Saturday, April 30, 2005
Friday, April 29, 2005
I've just shown an example of a politician with the courage to stand up for his actions.
Now comes word that the entire city government of Roswell, GA is populated by two timing, poll driving, anti America and anti Constitution, feckless pussies. Seems a commie mommy soccer mom was upset that a hunter shot a deer (with a bow and arrow no less) and demanded the city stop the slaughter and ban the use of all weapons. Being the pandering pussies they are, everyone went along with it. That is, until the NRA alerted its members. Now these shit heads are scrambling all over each other to take out the other guy and avoid blame.
Roswell Mayor Jere Wood, who is a lawyer, says the ordinance was outdated because the state law takes precedence — but he added that the change wasn't his idea. It was David Davidson's, the city attorney, the mayor said.
Actually, Davidson said, the idea came from Ed Williams, the police chief. "I just reviewed it for legality," the attorney said.
But Williams said it's the City Council that makes the laws and Davidson who writes them. "My place is to remain neutral and to enforce the laws that are handed to me," Williams said.
Roswell City Councilman Kent Igleheart, who heads the public safety committee and who is up for re-election this year, said the City Council will examine the issue thoroughly before finalizing the wording of the ordinance.
By the way, Igleheart noted, the change wasn't his idea, either.
Fuck 'Em All. If they oppose the Second Amendment, they ought to at least have the balls to come out and admit it.
Short of publicly supporting the abolition of all firearms laws (Vermont Style) this group of pandering pussies should all be thrown out of office.
Hat Tip to the sweet, sexy, and not incidentally single again Baby Bitch
Whatever you think of his individual policies, how can you not appreciate the courage and integrity, indeed, the leadership, of George Bush?
Just imagine what Bill Clinton's (or Al Gore's or John "Traitorous Lout" Kerry's) response would be to this question by Senior AP White House Correspondant and member of the Journalism Hall of Fame:
Is the poll (numbers) troubling?
This was meant to dislodge the President right out of the box, but when you have convictions, it becomes a softball lob. Bush, of course, knocks it out of the park.
Polls? You know, if a President tries to govern based upon polls, you're kind of like a dog chasing your tail. I don't think you can make good, sound decisions based upon polls. And I don't think the American people want a President who relies upon polls and focus groups to make decisions for the American people.
Thank You Mr. President.
Here is a basic recipie for Avgolemono Soup, one of the tastier things you will ever have the pleasure to consume.
Next week, I'll highlight some ways in which you can use it as not just a soup, but as the super base for a variety of other culinary delights (think lamb and grape leaves).
8 cups chicken broth.
3 medium eggs.
1/2 cup rice.
Juice from two lemons.
Black pepper -- fresh ground
Nutmeg -- ground
1. Bring chicken broth to a boil. Salt to taste.
2. Add rice, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Remove from fire.
4. In a blender, beat the three eggs, slowly add the lemon juice to the eggs.
5. Add one cup of chicken broth, do not stop blending. The constant blending is the secret to prevent curdling of this delicious soup.
6. When the eggs and broth are well mixed, pour this mixture back into the remaining broth and rice.
7. Stir well over heat, but do not allow to boil.
8. Sprinke with pepper or nutmeg if desired.
When the anti American bigot Michael D. Barnes chastises the New York Times for reporting correctly about the Assault Weapons Ban, and in doing so contradicts what his own people are saying, you know the tide has turned for the best.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Hot, Damn Hot
I once posted a pretty hot picture of Jessica Simpson.
Turns out I get a ton of traffic generated by folks searching google for hot images of Jessica Simpson.
For all you pervs out there (not that there is anything wrong with that), here it is again.
While enjoying Jennifer, you might also be tempted to read the good news I reported earlier today.
Bruce at mASS BACKWARDS is wonderin' whether to keep beating the snot out of the friggin equine that is Taxachusetts' gun control laws or give up since the state is a Marxist shitbag.
Go over and let him know your thoughts. While there, peruse his blog, cause even with its limited geographical focus, he's got alot of good to spread.
From the newspaper that brought us the strictly heterosexual Man Date, we know learn that straight guys also like to frolick nakedly in pools together.
To quote one of those annonymous participants the Times has interviewd, "it's very, very, very gay."
Not that I disapprove of skinny dipping. But to do it solely in the company of men is strange, very strange.
Another Hero of Freedom
"He smelled bad, like a homeless person, and had the long beard and hair, but I knew it was Saddam. I told everyone, 'It's Saddam. It's Saddam!'"
Unconvinced, Special Forces had Samir ask the captive his identity. When the man answered that his name was Saddam, Samir says he shook him by his hair and dirt-matted beard.
"I said, 'Yeah, Saddam what? Saddam what?' Finally he said, 'Hussein.'"
Upon hearing that, Samir unleashed years of pent-up rage.
"I told him that I was going to fuck him up the ass. That we were all going to fuck him up the ass. I told him he was a criminal and a murderer. I hit him and spit in his face. I stepped my foot on his head and his back. He wasn't crying, but I think he was shocked. No one had ever treated him this way."
If Samir ever makes it to D.C., I'd love to buy him a drink.
This is great news!!! Looks like its almost impossible for me to get prostate cancer.
It will make you go blind. It will make your palms grow hairy. Such myths about masturbation are largely a thing of the past. But the latest research has even better news for young men: frequent self-pleasuring could protect against the most common kind of cancer.
Thats great, and it pleases me to no end that the tremendous investment in time and energy over the last 20 years or so will actually pay off in the long run.
If you haven't tried it, what are you waiting for?????
Thanks to Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey for the link.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Why Is Gas Expensive??
According to the Energy Information Administration, between 1985 and 2005, the number of U.S. refineries fell from 223 to 148. A new refinery hasn't been built in this country since 1976. Through expansion and technology, refining capacity today is greater than it was 20 years ago (17,042 thousand barrels per day in January 2005 versus 15,659 in 1985). However, refineries are consistently running over 90 percent capacity utilization in recent years, compared to 78 percent utilization in 1985.
Now, understanding the laws of supply and demand, ask yourself who is responsible for the current situation and what is really causing the spike in fuel prices.
Welcome Google Researchers - August 12, 2005
I actually think about this issue and the government policies that impact it quite often as part of my job. I've blogged a bit on what I think are some of the big regulatory drains on our economy that force the conditions leading to high gas prices and sending jobs offshore (but for the most part avoid blogging about work).
Anyway, you can read more on the issue here, here, here, here. You can also read this post, and especially this post on the cost of regulations.
Sunday I traveled up to Philly to meet my parents.
Driving in, the city is mostly a dump, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the area around the Art Museum
We met at the Philadelphia Museum of Art which is hosting a retrospective on Salvador Dali. It looks to be the same one I saw at the Tate in London a few years ago, and is well worth going to. Unfortunately, we didn't have tickets, so we didn't make it to the special exhibit, though we did take in the rest of this wonderful museum.
For me, of course, the highlight was its tremendous collection of weapons . . .
and even some pretty nice looking rifles.
They actually have one of the better collections of medieval weaponry around, but sadly, their web page doesn't even mention its existence.
DC Picture Bloggin
Sometimes, you just have to stop and smell the flowers.
I enjoyed throwing my Cherry Blossom pics up so much, and today was truly such a gorgeous day, that I thought I might try a bit more photo blogging of DC.
This is a picture of what may be DC's most famous new resident (next to the Nationals)
The duck decided, some weeks ago, to set up shop right outside the main entrance to the Treasury building in what was then freshly laid mulch. This is right off of 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue - where they just spent the last 2 years refurbishing it into a pedestrian walkway - and folks enjoyed the nesting ducks that the secret service has erected a pretty elaborate security perimeter for the bird (as well as stationed a 24 hour watch there.
Mere steps away is LaFayette Park, home to a never ending stream of tourists this time of year but also some glorious flowers.
Red Tulips and the statute of LaFayette
Some neat purplish blue flowers. If you know what they are, please let me know. I'd like to plant some in my front yard garden.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
All i can say is WOW!!!
On one side we have the usually reliable Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy interpreting a domestic prohibition on the ownership of guns by felons to include foreign convictions.
On the other side we get Justice Stephen G. Breyer who rote for a majority that included Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg upholding the 2nd Amendment.
Like I said Wow! You can read the entire opinion here. Juan Non Volokh also weighs in with his/her opinion (Now, if he/her would just bring back the Sunday song lyric).
Of course, I understand why each side found as it did, and actually can't disagree with the dissent. I do think Congress intended the statute to include foreign convictions, but its nice that the liberal five are going to knock it down for not being clear enough.
If only they had accorded Mr. Emerson with the same amount of leniency
Shooting Occurs in Gun Free Washington, D.C.
Disarmed bystander dies.
As tragic as the case may be, there is a bright side. Police are looking for leads and have increased the reward for information on the case to $50,000. THey are urging anyone with information to call 202-727-9099.
Of course, no one in the neighborhood is talking, even though everyone knows who is ultimately responsible for this: that lying, corrupt hack of a police chief Chuck Ramsey who continues to insist, like Little Bill Daggett, that the residen't under his dominion remain unarmed and at the mercy of his Chuckie and his gangland hombres.
BAG Day Waiting Period
Well, I sent me BAG Day purchase into the CMP on BAG Day - and assuming they recieved it on the 18th of April, its been a week and still no garand.
I didn't think I would recieve it so soon, but I am still anxious to get it.
Anyone have an idea on how long this usually takes???
UPDATE: Ask and ye shall recieve. This morning (Wed. April 27) I recieved two emails from the CMP providing updates on my order status. I should expect to recieve the rifle from them within 21 days. They also provided me with login information to place orders over the web page. The countdown is on.
My assistant, an Afghani American whose well to do parents escaped Afghanastahn after the Soviet invasion, lent me her copy of The Kite Runner a couple of weeks ago and suggested I should read it.
It took me about 2 weeks to get into the book, and while the first 10 pages were good, they just didn't draw me into it in any more depth. I ended up putting it down (usually a sign I'll never pick it up again) but for some reason this weekend started the novel again (something I never do). I am glad I did, because when I started for me trip yesterday morning I was at page 20 and last night at about 11:30 I finished what may be the best work of fiction I have read all year long.
If you haven't had a chance to read this haunting tale of a families struggles to remain together and conquer their cultural demons in the face of the unrelenting oppression imposed by communists and the taliban, than you ought to stop what ever it is your doing right now and read it.
The story will move and haunt you, and if you remain a Democrat, then you simply have no heart.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
More than a month after spring's official start, old man winter is coming back to the Midwest for a visit.
Snow began falling in parts of the region on Saturday, with up to 1 foot expected in eastern Michigan and northern Ohio by Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures will be well below normal with a freeze warning posted into Sunday morning for much of Ohio and winds gusting to 35 mph.
Spring began on March 20.
Friday, April 22, 2005
Legacy of illegitimacy
David Brooks got some significant attention in the New York Times the other day with his thought provoking column on Roe v Wade's lasting impact and the damage it has done to both our political system and our judiciary.
His basic premise, as highlighted in the introductory paragraphs is as follows:
Justice Harry Blackmun did more inadvertent damage to our democracy than any other 20th-century American. When he and his Supreme Court colleagues issued the Roe v. Wade decision, they set off a cycle of political viciousness and counter-viciousness that has poisoned public life ever since, and now threatens to destroy the Senate as we know it.
When Blackmun wrote the Roe decision, it took the abortion issue out of the legislatures and put it into the courts. If it had remained in the legislatures, we would have seen a series of state-by-state compromises reflecting the views of the centrist majority that's always existed on this issue. These legislative compromises wouldn't have pleased everyone, but would have been regarded as legitimate.
While the damage Blackmun wrought through the Roe decision may be true, as David Bernstein points out today (though in not so many word), the individual who caused the most damage to our government in the 20th century was actually F.D.R.
FDR managed to appoint a group of Justices who lacked much intellectual independence, at least on New Deal issues, see, e.g., Wickard v. Filburn (unanimously upholding a law that would likely have been easily invalidated under the Commerce Clause a decade earlier)
Wickard v. Filburn, more than any other Supreme Court decision, dramatically change the course of this nation. It is the single greatest expansion of the commerce clause, and therefore the power of the federal government, that has yet to occur and represents the culmination of FDR’s threats to pack the court with his supporters. While he ultimately failed, he nevertheless frightened the judiciary enough into ultimately achieving his vision and single handedly reshaping the face of America (of course, being elected to four terms also helped).
I wonder what the liberals would say now if Bush proposed FDRs Court Packing Bill?
In any event, the monumental nature of Wickard v. Filburn - and its cosmic shift from the historic and precedential norms - acts in my opinion to undermine the credibility of nearly everything the federal government has accomplished since its decision. Indeed, I think for a federal program to really be considered legitimate one has to ask the question - how would the pre Wickard court decide the case.
Recipe of the week: Flan
It was a pleasure to host the Carnival of teh Recipes last week, and I thought for this weeks carnival I would contribute one of my favorite deserts, Flan.
12 egg yolks
1 can condensed milk
1 pint Vit D milk
1 tablespoon vanilla (use real vanilla, not the artificial stuff, trust me)
Pre heat oven to 375(f).
Blend everything together until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a cup cake tin (or appropriate sized glass or porcelain dish).
Cover each with aluminum foil.
Place in a larger baking pan half-filled with water.
Place pan in oven and bake until firm (about 60 minutes).
This is the tough part, and no instructions will really explain it. My suggestion is to put aside an afternoon and practice making carmel until you get it right. If you've never had Flan, the carmel should not be solid, but instead you want to keep it liquified as a translucent sauce.
The basic ingrediants are
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Place them in a saucepan over high heat and carmalize. Keep stirring and swirling the sauce in the pan and be careful not to burn it. It might take you a few times to get the technique right, but you'll get it. Sorry, don't really know how to describe the process, its sort of like riding a bike. Maybe one of my readers does.
Once the sauce is done, remove each flan from their cup, serve on a desert plate and cover with sauce.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
At about 9 p.m., police said a man who had been waiting in line for about 90 minutes, passed a book to Fonda and then spit a large amount of tobacco juice into her face.
Michael A. Smith, drinks are on me next time your in D.C.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
I just want to go on record now as saying that Eggs Benedict has been my favorite weekend breakfast choice for awhile.
If your in the D.C. area on a Saturday or Sunday, I highly recommend checking out the stellar Eggs Benedict at McLean Family Restaurant. Who knows, you might even see someone famous there.
Or me (100% chance of me being there actually).
Sam Lee, the chair of Australias National Coalition for Gun Control has called for
total ban on semi-automatic handguns to prevent them falling into criminal hands with deadly consequences
I thought Australia already banned guns, but I guess there are still some shreds of freeom left there. Now, of course, you might be wondering what prompted this latest call?
Acording to Ms. Lee,
What we are going to see in the future is more high-powered handguns on the streets because gun manufacturers are developing what are called quick-draws, which means they can be quickly grabbed and aimed at someoneEeer, isn't that the point of carrying a gun??
The campaign launch comes just days after the fatal drive-by shootings of two men at The Rocks in Sydney. "It is our belief that a handgun was used in this shooting and these lives could have been saved," Ms Lee said.Of course she doesn't elaborate on why that is her belief, or how a her plan actually addresses the problem, especially since her paper also finds that the majority of handguns have moved into the black market via theft notwithstanding the already existing bands on theft and burglary generally.
She is the author of a new research paper into handgun crime which found an estimated 291,273 handguns are in circulation in Australia.
What we're asking the government - both federal and state - is to ban all semi-automatic handguns
At least she is honest about her intentions. If only our own domestic enemies of the constitution were so forthright.
Sorry, I can't find a link to the story but I picked it up off of Lexis. Its from an AAP Newsfeed dated April 19, 2005 by Alyssa Braithwaite.
Monday, April 18, 2005
The Washington Post has a good article on folks giving up on the high price of housing around here and opting instead to live aboard boats. (Full Disclosure: I used to represent Gangplank Marina)
Its a good article and worth perusing. When I was in high school a friends mom dated (and still is) a hippy college professor type who lived on a big old boat just under the Brooklyn Bridge. He had a tremendous view, that would have cost him millions if he lived in one of the co-ops in the area - and he had lots more space. We spent a lot of time there, getting ready for nights out in the city that never sleeps and reconvening as the sun came up. It was a good time and he could live like a millionaire on at lot less money.
In law school I recieved one television station, CBS. Being a bit of a night owl, I spent countless evenings with Tom Snyder.
Even though we don't agree on nearly any issue, I always considered him one of televisions great hosts, a gregarious and gracious man who asked deep and probing questions and had the balls and depths of courage to interview a single person over the course of his program and a range of issues - poking fun at himself and his lack of knowledge (or audience share) along the way.
It is thus, with some sadness that I read Tom Snyder has leukemia.
May you get well soon sir, and return to television sooner.
For what its worth, C-Span is broadcasting Tom Delay's address to the NRA Convention.
He's saying all the right things, but frankly, isn't the worlds greatest speaker.
Right now he is going over the heros mentioned in the NRA Armed Citizen's column and confronting armed violence with concealed carry permits and the imminent restoration of the 2nd Amendment to D.C.
He also mentioned how he got shot with a facefull of 20 gauge birdshot by his fathers accoutnant as a teenage hunting guide.
Cowboy Blob has already had a chance to use his BAG Day purchase, and is praising its glories. Of course, he also indicates it may be the last rifle he ever owns. I just don't know. If it were me, I might very well consider retiring it right then and there and just hanging it on the wall as the batting a 1000 rifle.
But whatever course he chooses, congrats to Cowboy Blob on the good shooting and the good rifle (even if he has returned to the DC area again without notifying anyone).
Friday, April 15, 2005
Carnival of Recipies
Welcome to the Countertop Chronicles, where we are thrilled to be hosting this weeks edition of the Carnival of the Recipies.
Sorry for getting this week's edition up so late, I work in D.C. as a government relations professional and its been, quite frankly, a hectic week. But have no fear. Spring is well underway and with that comes Cherry Blossoms and my son’s birthday, both of which occurred in all their glory last weekend. And, while today was about as hectic of a day as we have had in a long long time, it was stunningly beautiful, and I managed to grab a margarita over lunch. Plus, today was Buy A Gun Day. I ordered mine, did you get yours??
In that spirit, this weeks Carnival is a celebration of spring and a rebirth of the trees and flowers for another summer of fun, and of course, out of doors entertaining.
So, lets get the Carnival started!
First up, of course, is my contribution to the carnival. As the host, I get to go first and what more do you need on a nice spring afternoon than my diabetic friendly, no sugar added, Orange Julius, a favorite treat when the weather gets nice in our house.
Add the following to a 48 oz blender
4 oz of Orange Juice concentrate (use Minute Maid or Tropicana for best taste)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract Shhhh, this is the secret.
¾ cup of Splenda.
2 ¼ cups of whole milk
Fill the blender with ice cubes (approx. 2 ½ cups)
You can generally vary the amount of Splenda and concentrate to suit your taste – or you can replace the Splenda with ¾ cups of sugar if you want to gain weight and support your dentist (my wife made me add that).
Blend until there is a creamy, almost smooth but still icy, consistency. It will serve about 4 (or two, if your my wife and I)
Of course, Trub is asking who doesn’t like Margarita’s? Well, I don’t know. I had a pretty good one at lunch today, but while the kids are drinking my Orange Julius, I suggest you head over there and make your self the true celebratory drink.
Nothing says summer time fun quite like a table of chips and dips. I love New Hampshire, and the Granite State Ruminate has the right spring time attitude with this Guacamole recipe.
However, before filling up on the guac, you just have to try some Mango-Habenero dip. Who thought you could only get sweat and spicy at Chinese restaurants.
Prochein Amy is hoping were having fun. Well, we are. But were also a bit stuffed. Still, there is always room for olives and for cheese puffs (especially cheese puffs). Amy takes these two great ideas one step further and combines them with a bit of heat to create Hot Olive-Cheese Puffs. Sinful.
I'm not an artichoke fan, and so I didn't really know that spring is the heart of the artichoke season. It is, and Punctilious is photoblogging his Upstate Artichokes. I've got to say, it sounds pretty good, and looks alright too.
Soups and Salads
I love penne salads in the summer, and eveything and all that's penne and spinach fits the bill.
Meanderings has a very nice (not mean) pasta salad for you to try.
Sometime, a salad it just a salad, and sometimes a salad is awesome.
The Main Course
I'm half Swedish, and sadly, as my mor-mor gets older she has lost the ability to make swedish meatballs. In my family, they are an appetizer, a main course, and a desert that we eat all year long. Here is a gorgeous photoblog of the meatball making experience (on a .Mac page taboot too).
If your going to a baseball game and planning on tailgating, why not double your pleasure and double your fun with Mostly Cajun's Smothered Cabbage and Sausage or Smothered Cabbage and Potatoes.
The only problem with Cabbage and Sausage is that little kids might not eat it. Oh well, serve their needs too with a nice helping of grease pizzalets, enjoyed by the kid in everyone.
Nothing says summer though, like a burger on the grill. Well, instead of throwing a shrimp on the barbie, the Aussie wife is grilling up someChicken Chilli Burgers.
We eat a lot of curry at the Countertop, and one of our favorite dishes is palak paneer. The Glittering Eye is offering up Sag Paneer and I've got to say, this may be the first time my wife is excited about my blogging habit.
I blog alot about guns and some military things here. Well, as after saying grace and thanking the U.S. Military for protecting the world from murderous tyrants, why not try some of General Tso's Chicken.
Did someone say Burrito? Others like Spicy Peanut Chicken, just remember the cilantro.
Well, while enjoying the weather, few things are as precious to eat as a side dish as asparagus, and Elisson has the secrets down pat.
Of course, if your going the spicy cajun route, maybe some New Orleans Braised Onions are your thing. I know their mine.
Deserts and other treats
Cookies, good enough to Melt In Your Mouth, it doesn't get better than that. Just keep 'em out of the sun.
I once had an apple tree growing right outside my bedroom window (when I was in Vermont) and my wife and I have been looking at purchasing a pecan farm in Georgia. Rocket Jones checks in with an all time favorite, Apple Pecan Cake, and the best of both worlds. Analog Mouse has a great Apple Pie at a blog all about pies. Of course, if your a diabetic, you might want some of Caltechmom's sugar free apple pie to enjoy with your sugar free orange julius instead.
Finally, in some parts of the country, its still a bit chilly. I used to live in Vermont, and this time of the year is known as mud season. I liked it, but you never knew if you would get 80 degree weather or 3 feet of snow. Therefore, hearty foods are still in order.
During the colder months, one of our favorite meals is Red Beans and Rice. Its also good in the summer and has all the right colors to set you at ease. David at Third World Country has what looks like a delicious take on this classic staple. Of course, Sneakeasy's Special Combo Meal looks pretty filling and tasty too. Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmmm. I eat a ton of lamb - at both the Greek Taverna in McLean as well as Aranthi in Vienna. I might have to try cooking up Romeocat's spicy lamb stew.
Frazzledad is cooking up what looks like a delicious Roasted Vegetable Soup with Goat Cheese.
Meanderings has a great wild game recipe, especially if your fat and hungry or have a whole village to feed. Of course, if we are speaking about game, let me leave you with a great recipie that I found on the internet (but don't remember the source)
4 loin steaks
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Melt butter over medium-high heat in large fry pan and quickly sear steaks.
Reduce heat and cook for an additional 2-6 minutes on each side.
Mix 2 tablespoons brandy and Worcestershire sauce and pour over steaks.
Simmer on low heat for 1-2 minutes.
Serve and Enjoy
Thanks, its been fun and its gonna take me a couple of weeks to cook all this food up, but someone's got to try. Feel free to look around here as long as you want, lots of hidden gems (its not just gun blogging 24/7 contrary to popular belief). As always, if you have a recipe to submit, send it to recipe DOT carnival AT gmail DOT com
Next weeks carnival is hosted by Bev at http://www.bebere.com.
See you then.
UPDATE! The broken links have been fixed. Sorry about that, it seems blogger often times has trouble accepting code that was typed in a word processor (in this case MS Word) and then transferred over. What is strange though is the random nature of the end result, some links work and some do not. Its just another mystery of blogger.
Welcome IMAO Readers. I've been Instalanched a bunch of times before, and was expecting it with this carnival, so didn't post a welcome for them. HOwever, I've never been the recipient of Frank J's graciousness, and while this time it seems instead to come from SarahK, who am little old me to be bothered by that. So, Welcome IMAO readers - both Frank J's and SarahK's. I hope you take a minute to look around, and while I am not nearly as witty as the IMAO universe, I do have some interesting gems hidden here. While at it, I guess I should also say hi to all the instapunidt readers too. Welcome, Enjoy, Eat Well.
Court documents said the suspect allegedly talked of using the man's head as a "bong," a pipe for smoking marijuana.
Welcome to Howard Deanville.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Lawful Commerce In Arms Act
A full House Judicial Committee markup was held yesterday on HR 800 - the Lawful Commerce In Arms Act (this is the house version of Sen. Larry Craig's bill). I'll have more on that mark up in a little bit.
Right now though I would like to share with you the testimony offered at the March 15, 2005 House Judiciary Committee - Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law hearing.
The witnesses at that hearing were:
- Rodd C. Walton - general counsel, Sigarms Inc.
- Dennis A. Henigan - director, Legal Action Project, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence ;
- Bradley T. Beckman - Beckman and Associates, counsel to North American Arms
- Lawrence G. Keane - senior vice president and general counsel, National Shooting Sports Foundation Inc.
For the sake of brevity and in the interest of not publishing the lies of traitors and scoundrals, I'm going to pass on Henigan's shameful and worthless testimony. You can find it elsewhere on the web if your interested, but I'm not giving this enemy of the constitution a forum on my web page.
Rodd C. Walton, general counsel, Sigarms, Inc.
I'd love his job.
Statement of Rodd C. Walton, General Counsel, Sigarms, Inc.
Committee on House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law
March 15, 2005
Chairman Cannon, Members of the Committee, my name is Rodd Walton. I am Secretary and General Counsel of SIGARMS, Inc. and its affiliates and subsidiaries in the United States. I am here today to ask you to support H.R. 800.
Since 1853, SIGARMS related companies, together with our predecessors, have been manufacturing small arms for military, law enforcement and commercial use. Switzerland`s Federal Ministry of Defense challenged a Swiss wagon factory to make a rifle for the Swiss Army. Accepting the challenge and after receiving the contract the wagon company changed its name to the Swiss Industrial Company - Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft known worldwide as SIG. SIG brought our firearms business to Virginia in 1985 and then moved it to New Hampshire, where we call our home today.
The foundation and thrust of SIGARMS business has been and will continue to be support military and law enforcement customers worldwide. The list of SIGARMS customers in the United States reads like a Who`s Who of law enforcement. SIG SAUER pistols are carried by the Department of Homeland Security, The U.S. Coast Guard, The Federal Air Marshalls, The U.S. Secret Service, state police agencies from Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia as well as the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers just to name a few. And SIG SAUER pistols are carried by many in combat and most notably by the U.S. Navy SEALs.
Today, approximately 65% of the output at the New Hampshire-based manufacturing facility is devoted to supplying firearms and training to military and law enforcement.
Since 1998, we at SIGARMS have been defending ourselves against a multitude of lawsuits brought by government entities, organizations and individuals seeking to blame the firearms industry, including SIGARMS, for the criminal and wrongful misuse of firearms in the United States. To blame SIGARMS for the criminal misuse of firearms that are lawfully manufactured and sold is unjust. It also is threatening to our very existence. We have been fighting for our very survival against these lawsuits, diverting time, money and other of our limited resources to defend ourselves.
As I walk through our plant, employees stop to ask me how the war is going. The war that our employees are asking about is not the Iraqi War; it is the war we are fighting against plaintiffs filing junk and frivolous lawsuits against the firearms industry, spurred on by plaintiffs` trial lawyers.
SIGARMS and many others in the industry have been fighting for ten years now, beginning with the Hamilton v. Accu-Tek case, in which the plaintiffs claimed that we manufacturers negligently distributed our firearms. While the jury in that case found some of the manufacturers liable, the verdicts were properly reversed on appeal. The same plaintiff`s lawyer decided to bring a similar case before that same trial judge. They brought the NAACP v. A.A. Arms, Inc. case based on similar theories that had already been rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals. While we are resolved not to wear down, there is a cost to this war.
Beyond these lawsuits draining our already fragile national economy and littering our already over-burdened court system, this war is hindering companies like SIGARMS from engaging in a legitimate business, making a lawful product. The existence of these lawsuits thwarts our ability to raise new capital, borrow money, establish credit, obtain insurance, attract new employees, and retain valued employees in the same manner that companies in other industries are able to do without these attacks against their industry.
These lawsuits are dangerous not only to us but also to manufacturers of lawful products in other industries. Where will it end? Should General Motors be liable for an aggressive driver who crashes into another car? If the theory of these cases is widely applied, it could result in the bankruptcies of countless companies and the displacement of innumerable amount of American workers.
I come here today to ask you to support H.R. 800. This Bill would protect legitimate businesses, such as SIGARMS, that provide hundreds of thousands of jobs for our citizens, assemblers, polishers, tool and die makers, cafeteria workers and the people who fill our snack vending machines.
If enacted into law, this Act would preempt state and local government entities and other parties from bringing aggregate liability lawsuits against the firearms industry as a way to circumvent our legislatures. It also would promote interstate and foreign commerce of small arms. A majority of the states in fact, over 30 states have passed legislation of some type that insulate the firearms industry from these types of suits. However, we need and are seeking passage of Federal law that would afford protection to the industry on a national level.
Let me emphasize that this legislation would not provide the sweeping immunity that many of its opponents suggest. This Bill would not protect gun manufacturers from liability claims. Instead, it would stop lawsuits against our industry that are based on the criminal misuse of lawfully distributed products and premised on theories such as public nuisance and market share liability.
If passed, this Bill would help to set a much needed precedent that frivolous and junk suits like these should be stopped. If passed, it would prevent the usurpation of power by the judicial branch from the legislative branch. For it is the legislature that makes laws on how we should manufacture, design, and sell firearms, not the courts. If not stopped, these lawsuits clearly will threaten other legitimate and vital industries in America.
This Bill if enacted would restore the rule of law and protect manufacturers and sellers in the firearms and ammunition industry who act legally from being harassed by frivolous and junk lawsuits. However, the Bill ensures that if a seller provides a firearm and the seller knows or should have known that the firearm would be used negligently, that seller would be liable.
We are dutifully helping to defend our country when attacked and in times of war. I ask that each of you help us in our time of war so that we can focus on making the best firearms available for our men and women in uniform and law enforcement.
In conclusion, it makes no difference that SIGARMS or other firearm manufacturers make high quality firearms that enjoy excellent records of safety. It makes no difference that we and our industry are committed to continuing our efforts, individually and together with others, to increase awareness of the issues related to the safe handling and storage of firearms and the criminal acquisition of firearms. In makes no difference that the firearms industry is one of the most patriotic and staunchly pro-law and order industries in the corporate landscape. These frivolous and junk lawsuits are being brought to exert undue pressure on our industry to settle or cave under the massive weight of litigation. Without this Federal legislation, the survival of SIGARMS, our firearms and ammunition industries, and all of the jobs, taxes, and commerce that we contribute to the U.S. economy are threatened.
Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president & general counsel, National Shooting Sports Foundations, Inc.
Statement of Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, National Shotting Sports Foundations, Inc.
Committee on House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law
March 15, 2005
Chairman Cannon and distinguished members of the Subcommittee, my name is Lawrence G. Keane. I am the senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. (NSSF). The National Shooting Sports Foundation appreciates the opportunity to appear before the Subcommittee this morning to offer testimony in support of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (H.R. 800).
Formed in 1961, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, with approximately 2,500 members, is the trade association for the firearm, hunting and recreational shooting sports industry. NSSF is proud of our industry`s cooperative relationship with law enforcement, as exemplified by the NSSF - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) partnership program called Don`t` Lie for the Other Guy that ATF Director Carl Truscott described as ``vital in educating Federal firearms licensees (FFL`s) and their employees how to recognize and deter the illegal purchase of firearms through straw purchases.`` He called the program ``an important tool for ATF as we pursue our missions of preventing terrorism, reducing violent crime, and protecting the public through Project Safe Neighborhoods and other initiatives.`` NSSF`s commitment to promoting the safe and responsible use of firearms is typified by our Project ChildSafe program. Operating under a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, NSSF, in partnership with state and local governments throughout the United States, has distributed to the public over 25 million firearm safety kits, which includes a free firearm lock. We are very proud that Don`t Lie and Project ChildSafe are both components of the Justice Department`s Project Safe Neighborhoods program.
We strongly support the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (H.R. 800) because it is an important common sense legal reform that will help restore integrity and fairness to our nation`s judicial system by preventing lawsuit abuse. This vital bipartisan legislation is critical to protecting America`s firearm industry from destruction and bankruptcy at the hands of opportunistic trial lawyers, seriously misguided politicians and radical antigun interest groups who seek to destroy and bankrupt our industry through massive damage awards and/or bleed us dry through ever mounting legal fees. These predatory lawsuits misuse and abuse our nation`s judicial system in an attempt to dictate to all Americans public policy choices that are rightfully the purview of Congress and elected state legislators. In dismissing one such suit, a Florida appellate judge astutely observed that [Miami-Dade County`s] request that the trial court use its injunctive powers to mandate redesign of firearms and declare that the [firearms manufacturers`] business methods create a public nuisance, is an attempt to regulate firearms and ammunition through the medium of the judiciary. . .. The County`s frustration cannot be alleviated through litigation as the judiciary is not empowered to `enact` regulatory measures in the guise of injunctive relief. The power to legislate belongs not to the judicial branch of government but to the legislative branch.
This misuse of lawsuits by interest groups to force public policy changes, so-called ``regulation through litigation,`` when under our Constitution those policy choices are for Congress and state legislatures to make, represents a direct threat to the entire business community and the nation`s economy. This is why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Association of Wholesalers, the American Tort Reform Association, and many others support H.R. 800. As National Association of Manufacturers executive vice president Michael Baroody has said, ``It is a certainty that other businesses will be the next target if these groups succeed in misusing the courts against the firearms industry.``
This legislation is supported by organized labor as well. Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of America, which represents nearly a thousand workers at the Remington Arms Company`s plant in New York, said this bill ``will help prevent lawsuits by various parties that are intended to shut down the legitimate and legal firearms industry in the United States because of improper use of firearms by individuals.`` He cautioned, ``The United States is losing our industrial base and since January 2001 we have lost 2.5 million industrial jobs in the U.S. . .We need to take steps to protect and encourage growth of our industrial base, including our firearms manufacturers.``
Beginning in 1998, a group of approximately forty urban politicians, aligned with contingency-fee trial lawyers and anti- gun activists, have flooded our nation`s courts with lawsuits filed against law-abiding, federally licensed firearm manufacturers, wholesale distributors and retailers. These suits blame federally licensed firearm manufacturers for the actions of criminals. The plaintiffs in these cases allege that the sale of a legal product in full compliance with the vast and extensive array of federal, state and local laws and regulations somehow causes criminal violence to occur. They allege that members of the industry are subverting the law by knowingly and willingly selling guns to criminals and are funneling firearms to the so- called ``criminal market.`` These despicable allegations are both patently false and highly offensive and defamatory to the tens of thousands of men and women who work in our industry.
Despite some success in the courts, this well-funded, highly coordinated onslaught of abusive lawsuits against members of our industry continues unabated. Several cases are currently pending at the trial court level with several more cases at various stages of appeal that could be returned to trial courts for costly and time-consuming discovery and trial. A single hundred million dollar verdict will bankrupt virtually all of the defendants. In fact, the companies would almost certainly be unable to post the bond required to enable them to appeal such an award. Recently, the City of New York enacted into law the Gun Industry Responsibility Act that imposes absolute liability on law abiding, federally licensed firearm manufacturers and dealers for criminal shootings that occur in New York City. Members of our industry are being sued today right here in the District of Columbia under a similar law that imposed absolute liability upon manufacturers and dealers for criminal shootings occurring in the District because they lawfully sold a firearm that was then illegally brought into the District and used in the commission of a crime. A manufacturer is being sued in federal court in California for selling firearms to a police department in Washington State that was later used in a criminal shooting. In that same case, a distributor is being sued even though it never owned, possessed or sold the firearm in question. This case, Ileto v. Glock, is the poster child for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
Winning on the merits is not necessary in order for these politicians and antigun activists to impose through litigation, or financially extorted and coerced settlements, a radical gun control agenda repeatedly rejected by Congress and state legislatures, and not supported by the American public. At the time he filed his suit, Chicago Mayor Richard Dailey said, ``We`re going to hit them where it hurts - in their bank accounts. . .`` Andrew Cuomo, then Housing and Urban Development Secretary, threatened firearm manufacturers with ``death by a thousand cuts.`` NAACP president Kweisi Mfume said its lawsuit was ``an effort to break the backs`` of industry members. These antigun plaintiffs can implement their gun control policies throughout the entire nation if the coercive effect resulting from the staggering financial cost to defend these baseless suits forces industry members into a Hobson`s choice of either capitulation or bankruptcy. Companies have gone bankrupt, and thousands of people thrown out of work, vindicating themselves against baseless lawsuits; just ask Dow Corning.
The collective, industry-wide cost to defend these ill-conceived, politically motivated, predatory lawsuits has been truly staggering. Exact figures are unavailable because the defendants are competitors, and each considers its defense costs to be confidential business information. However, based on discussions with insurance industry executives, manufacturers` corporate counsel, reading cost estimates in various publications and NSSF`s own experience as a defendant in these cases, I believe a conservative estimate for the total, industry-wide cost of defending ourselves to date now exceeds $200 million dollars. This is a huge sum of money for a small industry like ours. The firearm industry taken together would not equal a Fortune 500 company.
The cost of litigation is borne almost exclusively by the companies themselves. With few exceptions, insurance carriers have denied coverage. These antigun plaintiffs have carefully drafted their complaints to take them outside of liability insurance coverage in order to apply maximum financial pressure on the defendant manufacturers. Because of these lawsuits, firearm industry members now confront skyrocketing premium increases when renewing their insurance policies. In addition, insurance policies now universally exclude coverage for these types of suits. This has resulted in large, across-the-board price increases for consumers. In addition, in these trying economic times, taxpayers of the cities that have chosen to pursue the utterly discredited notion that manufacturers are responsible for the acts of criminals are forced to shoulder their city`s cost of pursuing such a lawsuit, money that would be better spent hiring more police officers, procuring new equipment or funding critical social services.
These lawsuits threaten the very existence of the manufacturers that produce the tools our military and law enforcement agencies use every day to protect America and our freedoms both here at home and abroad. If these companies are driven out of business, from whom will our military and law enforcement purchase firearms? Make no mistake about it; these lawsuits have national defense and homeland security implications.
The legislation you are considering today is perhaps more important for what it does not do. It does not, as antigun interest groups have falsely alleged, ``close the courthouse doors`` to those who have been injured by firearms that have been illegally sold, supplied to a person likely to use the firearm in a manner involving an unreasonable risk of injury to himself or another, or prevent a suit due to a defectively designed or manufactured product. The bill expressly provides that injured parties will be able to assert well-recognized tort law claims against the manufacturers and sellers of firearms. The Wall Street Journal clearly stated in an editorial that, ``This isn`t immunity, as some critics claim. Gun makers and distributors would still have to abide by product liability laws and still face civil suits for violating regulations on sales or distribution. But just as Sony is not responsible for someone who uses a camcorder to film child pornography, no longer could Beretta be held responsible for someone using its legally purchased product to rob a liquor store.`` (Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2003.) It is that abuse of our judicial system that this legislation is carefully drafted to stop, nothing more and nothing less.
The loudest voices arrayed in opposition to this legislation are the same antigun interest groups that are orchestrating and financing the litigation assault to regulate the firearm industry in ways Congress and state legislatures have roundly rejected and hold no support with the American public.
There are several refinements between the bill passed by the House in the 108th Congress (H.R.1036) and this legislation. One change better clarifies that suits can proceed where there is a defective product, but that when a criminal volitionally pulls the trigger causing injury, the manufacturer cannot be sued. As revised, for instance, a juvenile who while target shooting without written permission from his parents (a violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(y)) is injured by defective ammunition could still be able to bring a suit against the ammunition manufacturer. H.R. 800 defines a ``trade association`` based on Internal Revenue Code and regulations. This new definition avoids specious arguments that the former definition was intended to protect the National Rifle Association. There was never any such intention in the previous bill, and this language makes that clear. H.R. 800 provides that manufacturers or sellers can be sued if they ``knowingly`` violate laws applicable to the sale or marketing of the product, and the violation is a proximate cause of harm to the plaintiff. By comparison, H.R. 1036 said ``knowingly and willfully.`` We support these refinements because they enhance and further clarify the bill`s purpose and intent.
Over thirty states have already enacted similar laws to stop ``junk`` lawsuits designed to destroy this industry and to achieve gun control regulation through litigation. We agree with President Bush who recently said, ``Our country depends on a fair legal system that protects people who have been harmed without encouraging junk lawsuits that undermine confidence in our courts while hurting our economy, costing jobs and threatening small businesses.`` The time has come for Congress to enact a common sense legal reform to restore integrity and fairness to our judicial system, protect American jobs and industry and to prevent an unconstitutional attempt to circumvent Congress and state legislatures. We call upon Congress to prevent lawsuit abuse. The future of one of America`s oldest, most important industries and the loss of thousands of American jobs vital to the health of our economy is at stake, as is a critical component of our national security industrial base.
The shuttering of the firearm industry will hit states especially rural states especially hard. Each year hunters and shooters spend $21 billion generating 366,344 jobs that pay more than $8,896,623,900 in salaries and wages and provide $1,223,049,215 in state tax revenue.
In closing, if these lawsuits are not stopped, then it is open season on any industry. It is guns today, and we are already seeing similar legal assaults on the fast food industry cars, alcohol and distilled spirits could be next in line at the courthouse door. In some way, these lawsuits will impact job creation in your districts and states and not for the better.
The National Shootings Sports Foundation urges you to vote in favor of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (H.R. 800). I thank you Mr. Chairman for permitting the NSSF to address the Subcommittee and for the Subcommittee`s attention this morning.
North American Arms
Bradley Beckman, counsel, North American Arms
Statement of Bradley Beckman, Counsel, North American Arms
Committee on House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law
March 15, 2005
Mr. Chairman, my name is Bradley Beckman and I am here representing a modest-sized firearms manufacturer with which I am sure you are familiar, North American Arms. North American Arms is based in your district. I want to begin by thanking you for holding this hearing. The legal assault on the firearms industry by opportunistic lawyers and anti-gun politicians threatens to bankrupt an entire industry that scrupulously follows all federal, state and local laws in the manufacture of our products and their sale to federally licensed firearms distributors.
North American Arms employs approximately 40 people and specializes in the manufacture of small-sized, personal protection firearms. Many individuals who choose to carry our high-quality products are members of the law enforcement community who use them as a second or ``backup`` firearm to their standard sidearm. North American Arms has been named in several of the state and municipal suits against the firearms industry.
The lawsuits brought against gun manufacturers are nothing short of outrageous. Holding gun makers liable for the criminal misuse of our products one of the central accusations in these suits is akin to holding Ford, Chevy or Honda responsible for the illegal actions of a drunk driver or holding Kodak responsible for the use of their film in the vile world of child pornography. It is an accusation that defies common sense. While these lawsuits barely pass the straight face test, the consequences of these suits are no laughing matter.
North American Arms is literally being crushed under the weight of legal expenses. Money that could be used for developing new markets, hiring workers, improving firearms design and safety is instead channeled to fund the huge costs associated with the legal defense of the company.
These lawsuits are nothing short of legal backmail lawyers, politicians and anti-gun groups want to achieve in the courtroom draconian changes in gun laws that have been rejected by Congress and state legislatures. Their message is simple: ``settle with us or we will bankrupt you with lawsuits.`` This legal extortion must be stopped.
North American Arms is a responsible firearms manufacturer that adheres strictly to all laws governing the manufacture and sale of our products to distributors. We have an excellent relationship with law enforcement. We have done nothing wrong, yet if a judge and jury in, for example, New York, decide against our industry it holds the potential of bankrupting not just North American Arms, but the entire U.S. firearms industry. It is doubtful that North American Arms or other manufacturers could post the necessary bond to appeal a verdict. If these suits are successful, they will be a wrecking ball on our national economy. Any member of Congress from Michigan should be ready for a similar assault on the auto industry. We already see suits against purveyors of fast food. The list of targeted industries could go on and on.
I want to close with two quotes. The first from a recent decision by California Judge James Marchiano, writing for a unanimous state Court of Appeals decision in favor of the firearms industry just last month. Judge Marchiano wrote:
``The only business practice the defendants in this case have engaged in is marketing their products in a lawful manner to federally licensed dealers``
``In this case, there is no causal connection between any conduct of the defendants and any incident of illegal acquisition of firearms or criminal acts or accidental injury by a firearm. Defendants manufacture guns according to federal law and guidelines.``
In March 2002, the City of Boston dismissed with prejudice its lawsuit against firearms manufacturers. The city, facing mounting legal bills and recognizing that it would lose its case, stated in its dismissal that:
``members of the Industry and firearms trade associations are genuinely concerned with and are committed to, the safe, legal and responsible sale and use of their products. . .The Industry and the City believe that through cooperation and communication they can continue to reduce the number of firearm related accidents, can increase awareness of the issues related to the safe handling of storage of firearms, and can reduce the criminal acquisition of firearms.``
Mr. Chairman, passage of H.R. 800 is common-sense judicial reform. This bill will protect jobs, prevent the misuse of the courts to circumvent elected officials and prevent abuse of the judicial system.
Check It Out!
Its a new (for me at least) and pretty cool site compiling a wealth of gun related resources. They are also doing a fair bit of tracking of various legislative pieces.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
The House Judiciary Committee is marking up H.R. 800, The Lawful Commerce in Arms Act today.
Contrary to most press reports, the legislation does not provide a blanket immunity to firearms manufacturers. Instead, it is part of a regime of narrowly tailored bills responding to the growing trend of orchestrated litigation being filed against entire legal industries with the goal of either raising government revenue of achieving policy goals outside the constraints of the political process.
H.R. 800 curtails this abusive situtation by limiting speculative litigation against firearms manufacturers for legally selling their product. It simply makes clear that, in most circumstances, a cause of action does not exist against the manufacturer or seller of firearms for the criminal or unlawful or otherwise negligent misuse of the product by the plaintiff or a third party. It does not provide blanket immunity however, and specificially preserves the ability of injured parties to pursue litigation if they are injured by a defective product or as a result of illegal conduct on the part of the firearm manufacturer.
If you can, please contact the members of the House Judiciary Committee today and ask that they vote in support of this important piece of legislation. This is a link to the markup webcast.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
As seen on < haref="http://gutrumbles.com/archives2/002520.php#002520">Gut Rumbles, Kim Du Toit's, and Synthstuff (where I decided to go ahead and post).
What time is it? 3:00 am. I just finished a memo for my boss and a letter/faq on air emissions for some of our clients.
Name as it appears on birth certificate: Something Something Something (lets just call it countertop) - not into identity theft.
Piercing: None and none planned.
Eye color: Blue.
Place of birth New Jersey
Favorite food Lobster and seafood generally. Also dig beef.
Ever been to Africa? Nope. Passed up a trip to Egypt to go ski at Crested Butte once, though. I'll go when i can afford to shoot something.
Favorite clothing? I like my searsucker suit. I generally wear lots of suits and like them (I am a lawyer) but the searsucker is a favorite. I also like jeans and khakis.
Ever been toilet papering? Nope
Have you ever had a speeding ticket? Too many to recall (this was a bit of an issue when I took the bar exam, I couldn't remember them all.
Been in a car accident? A minor one in highschool right after I had new brakes installed and the calipers cracked.
Favorite day of the week: Saturday??? Maybe Thursday.
Favorite restaurant McLean Family Restaurant or the Greek Taverna in McLean. I also like Iberia in Newark, NJ's Ironbound section and Peter Luger's in Brooklyn. Oh yeah, Armstrong's BBQ in Summeville, GA and the Fresh Aire BBQ in Jackson, GA. :
Favorite flower Tulips
Favorite sport to watch Football on TV and baseball in person.
Favorite drink Small Batch Bourbon or Johnny Walker Black.
Favorite fast food restaurant I'll pass.
What color is your bedroom carpet? Beige — came with the house and we will be replacing it sometime down the road.
How many times did you fail your driver’s test? Got it first time. What kind of idiot fails their drivers test???
Favorite perfume None
What do you do most often when you are bored? I have a full time job, a bunch of hobbies, a blog, and oh yeah, a three year old and wife. I am not usually bored.
Bedtime? When i turn out the lights, in about 5 minutes.
What is your favorite color? Green.
How many tattoos do you have? None.
Have you ever run out of gas? I almost did in Portugal once - we couldn't speak Portuguese and were lost on the side of a mountain in a VERY rural area. Couldn't understand the directions we were being given and it turns out we had driven past a gas station a half dozen times and didn't even realize it because the pump was inside the garage and not outside like it is here..
What is the last book you read? Guns, Germs and Steel and State of Fear. I read them on the same trip and don't remember which I finished first. I am now reading Guiliani's Leadership as well as the Kite Runner and The Art of War (oh yeah, and the Speer Reloading Manual, 13th Ed.).
Once again, Nicholas Kristof shows why he is one of the NY Times few shinning stars.
Indeed, it's a rare news organization that is trusted by more than one-third of the people in either party: the one thing Democrats and Republicans agree on is that the news media are not trustworthy.
I don't see any easy solutions, but print, radio and television all need to take much bolder steps to reconnect with the public.
More openness, more willingness to run corrections, more ombudsmen, more acknowledgement of our failings - those are the kinds of steps that are already under way and that should be accelerated. It would help if news organizations engaged in more outreach to explain themselves, with anchors or editors walking readers through such minefields as why we choose to call someone a "terrorist," or how we wield terms like "pro-life" or "pro-choice."
We also need more diverse newsrooms. When America was struck by race riots in the late 1960's, major news organizations realized too late that their failure to hire black reporters had impaired their ability to cover America. In the same way, our failure to hire more red state evangelicals limits our understanding of and ability to cover America today.
I think we're nuts not to regulate handguns more strictly, but I also think that gun owners have a point when they complain that gun issues often seem to be covered by people who don't know a 12-gauge from an AR-15.
If one word can capture the public attitude toward American journalists, I'm afraid it's "arrogant." Not surprisingly, I think that charge is grossly unfair. But it's imperative that we respond to that charge - not by dismissing it, but by working far more diligently to reconnect with the public.
Monday, April 11, 2005
As a kid, I watched with fascination every month on HBO as the young sensation marched through his opponents, with Tiger Woods like dominance, on his guaranteed way to overtaking Rocky Marciano as the greatest fighter every.
His fall has been particularly brutal and sad, another example of the evil of Don King and the way in which a seedy sport destroys the lives of the clueless young men it fosters.
At this point, after blowing close to a billion dollars, I just don't know whether his continued quest is more sad or pathetic.
Liberal environmentalist fundraisers were once on the attack about global cooling, before turning around and go after global warming. Well, last year, Al Gore fell flat on his face with a global warming speech on the coldest day ever in New York City. After this weekend's Blizzard in Denver do you think they are gonna start complaining about global cooling again???
On Friday, the New York Times ran a letter written by Paul L. Whiteley, Sr., of Louisville, Ky, an opponent of humanity and the constitution and Nazi supporter.
America's gun addiction and an outdated Second Amendment are moving us more and more each day toward "culture of death" dominance. Easy access to all kinds of guns by almost anyone, even terrorists, portends deadly violence waiting to happen.
Mr. Whiteley (if you even deserve that honor) I disagree. The only thing moving society to a culture of death is fools and opponents of humanity such as yourself who would rather subject man to the whims of tyrants and despots than allow those same people the chance to stand up and defend themselves. You say the 2nd Amendment is outdated, yet it was only 60 years ago today that Patton's 6th Armored Division liberated the Buchenwald death camp.
Tell me, Mr. Whiteley, how you can look at yourself in the mirror each day knowing that you support the very same policies that Hitler implemanted to ensure his death camps where functioning??
Tell me, Mr. Whiteley, do you support the genocide in Darfur?
Perhaps you don't think the 2nd Amendment should be able to help this child, since its "outdated"?
And to think, you allegedly spent your career teaching our children. Your nothing but a spineless enemy of humanity intent on spreading death and destruction in furtherance of your disgraced and discredited liberal world view.
Fucking Nazi Scum.
In case you have not heard the great news, Aaron has returned to fill us with rantblog goodies and helpo count down these final days to Buy A Gun Day To Piss Off Chuck Schumer!!!!!
He's got a ton of blogging BAG DAY goodies. Check him out, now.
Looks like I'm not the only blooming blogger this morning, with Lobbygow visiting the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens; Fletch, at his new home - nodirectionhome - showcasing geraniums; Sugarfused giving us all a botony lesson and SKBubba not only linking them all over but throwing down some great dogwoods ta boot.
Anyone else blogging the spring time bloom?????
If you haven't made your Bag Day Choice yet, here's a couple of more rifles to consider.
Only $179.00 at Southern Ohio Gun.
Or perhaps you prefer my choice in pump guns, the Browing BPS Hunter
Tasty, and it worked just fine for me at Bull Run Skeet Center yesterday.
Of course, if were talking Browning, then we ought to look at what I really want, a nice sweet A-Bolt in .30-06.
I've had my eye on one for quite some time, the cost just keep getting in the way, especially with the proper scope on top. We can dream though, can't we??
And if we are dreaming, how about picking up something like this fully transferable Colt M16A2 M203 complete with Grenade launcher? Its just down the street in Alexandria, VA and a steal at $21,800.00.
Have Fun Shopping!!!
Well, spring is here and with it comes not only gorgeous weather but here in D.C. it also means crowds and cherry blossoms and my son's birthday. I covered the Cherry Blossom's last spring here at the Countertop Chronicles, and this weekend, we celebrated both the blossoms as well as my son's 3rd birthday.
Most people associate D.C.'s cherry blossom's with the area around the Jefferson Memorial, Haines Point, and the Tidal Basin. While it is true that this is the place to catch the greatest numbers of trees . . . as you will see, it is also chock full of tourists and cars and congestion. If your going to visit D.C. in the future, remember that you can also see some wonderful sights downtown as well.
Earlier last week, the weather left a bit to be desired, but the blossoms at the White House had already peaked.
Within a few days though, following some horrid amounts of rain, things were going great. By Wedensday though, things were rocking and a rolling and lots of people were hanging out in Farragut Square.
On Friday, another tremendous day, I headed down to LaFayette Square - across from the White House to check out the tourists and the exploding Japanese Magnolias.
On nice days, LaFayette Square is one of the more popular locations in D.C. as a melting pot of white house staffers, tourists, lobbyists, lawyers, and even homeless guys all gather around the chess boards and play one another for money. If you intend to play, you better have cash and a good game cause the homeless guys in the square are pretty darn good.
Saturday turned out to be one of the best days of the year - it was about 70 degrees without a cloud in the sky. It was also my son's birthday. One of the more pleasant surprises we discovered in our McLean, VA neighborhood was that the streets exploded in color to rival that of the Tidal Pools famous cherries.
Of course, the kids at the birthday party didn't seem to notice all the colors just outside the window from them.
They tended to have other things on their mind.
Like Army Tanks.
My wife is afraid our son is going to take after her father and spend 30+ years in the military commanding tank divisions around the world. I say how exciting, and while this years birthday theme was Race Cars, I am already planning next years Army Party. Here's a picture of his cake, btw.
Pretty cool, huh?? You can thank his mom for that!
The Tidal Basin
After his party was over, we cleaned up and headed down to the Tidal Basin for the big show. . . . . the Cherry Blossom's at their peek. Needless to say, traffic was at a standstill.
These folks had the right idea though.
Its too bad not everyone knows how to ride a bike. Some folks can use the pedal time.
Still wonder why Washingtonians dislike tourists?
The blossoms themselves though, were well worth it, with both the pinks and whites in fine form.
The Cherry Blossom Festival always begins and ends at the pagoda. It was surrounded with people today.
Just beyond it though, was a wonder land with a white canopy.
And beyond that was the view of the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial.
Across the street from it, of course, is the Washington Monument.
Amidst all this bustle, it was nice to see that at least some people found tranquility.
I think this might be my favorite picture of this years crop - if for no other reason than it really showcases the ability of my Kodak Easyshare CX7430.
I can't say enough good things about this camera, and Kodak's digital lineup in general. The ability to handle complex colors and take a picture nice enough to blow up as large as 8x10 with minimal loss of clarity is incredible. It can even do closeups.
Well, thats about it for this years Cherry Blossoms. Nice while they last, they only have a couple of more days left and if you haven't made it to DC yet this year, I fear your just too late. Its tough to know when, exactly, to come in the spring, but the Washington Post's and Park Service's resident expert picked it perfectly this year, claiming over a month ago that peek would land on April 9th. He got it right.
And, to quote Ice-T, Fuck The Baltimore Police.
Best Buy can't go out of business faster - as far as I am concerned - and Baltimore. . . .well, who needs a shit hole like that, especially when its got the biggest asshole in America running its ball club.
I hope they have to pay millions.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Hey, I got a real swell idea. After everyone's turned in their scary, evil guns, let's all jam flowers up our ass and listen to Donovan albums while we work on our macrame projects. That'll really show 'em how serious we are about fighting violent crime in our communities.
Wanting to be first, to beat the competition, to compel other media to say 'as reported yesterday in The New York Times' puts the paper in a position where it can build staff spirit, expand its reputation and win prestigious journalism prizes. And be manipulated like Silly Putty, too.
It gets even better.
I wish I could say the Columbia story was an aberration. I wish as well I could prove it was not. Reporters who make secret quid pro quo agreements with sources don't pick up the phone to tell me they've just concluded a deal. I've stumbled across several pieces in the last few months that emit a slightly fishy aroma, but it would be unfair to cite specifics when reporters deny they've made deals and I can't prove otherwise.
As they say, read the whole thing.
Friday, April 08, 2005
Some people are worried about attracting more traffic to their blog. I'm not, and the few times I've gotten huge traffic loads coming in (mostly from Instalanches) I've worried about other things I've written somehow being connected with me through folks at work or in the political circles I hang out in. I work in DC, and as is its nature, sometimes its best to just keep my real life and my blog life seperate.
Anyway, I nevertheless sometimes click on the sitemeter tags on other sites, mostly to see where they are getting traffic and more recently to see what kind of ridiculous search terms are driving people to their blogs. It was while killing time at work today and doing this that I discovered one of my favorite blogs, a blog I just can't imagine people not reading, and a blog I've always looked up to as an inspiration for how to do it right, gets less traffic than I do. Thats a damn crying shame, and while I don't get alot, if your one of my readers and your not reading the Backroad Blog, do yourself a favor and get over there right now.
A great place to start might even be Robert's excellent post about his childhood spent roaming with a rifle. I grew up in Northern New Jersey and had a much similar experience (though our property wasn't bordered by a train line) and spent countless hours wandering in the miles of wilderness that was then North Cental New Jersey. With my Crossman 760 pump BB/.177 pellet pump gun, the miles of woods and state forest accessible from my backyard was a private game reserve where no squirrel was safe and new discoveries transpired every day.
Thanks for the memories, I hope I can get out of Northern Virginia and move to a place more conducive to childhood exploration in time for my son to have the same thrills.
For what its worth, the Nationals are in a tie for first place with the Atlanta Braves. If things continue like this, we might even get the World Series here in D.C.
Not that I care, but the swindling racketeering slimebag's team from Baltimore is tied for last place . . . with the incompetents from Boston.
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Well, after my morning journey to work, I felt to need to remind readers that not everything metro is bad. Sure, the orange line this morning was once again too crowded, with too few trains running, spaced too far apart. Add to the mix cherry blossom tourists (pictures will be up tomorrow or Friday) and it spells trouble.
However, today I got lucky and landed on the train driven by Metro's star conducter. If your a frequent Orange line rider, you undoutably know who he is. His cheerfullness and pleasant disposition is the exception to the otherwise incompetant Metro system.
For example, this morning we were greeted with the wonderful advice of Coutesy Is Contagiooooouuuuuuusssss. Upon debarking, he reminded us all to Remember to have a bright bright sunshiny day.
I don't know what his name is, or what he looks like, but Mr. Orange line metro man, thanks for being such a bright spot in the otherwise dreadful Metro system. You have my vote as metro commissioner.
There's a reason most American's (even most Democrats) despise liberals/progressives/communists - its cause they are pompous, stuffy, self important, discriminating, assholes.
Well, one of those pompous asses, who claims to be a former speachwriter for my former super tall and super liberal and super out of touch (even if he was a good basketball player) Senator from New Jersey, Bill Bradley (the guy who narrowly won re-election against the unkown Christie Todd Whitman and then was crushed in his Quixotic quest for the White House) has some rather insulting and downright unintelligent things to say about Ryan Sager, the columnist who uncovered the Pew Campaign Finance reform video.
Ryan does a great job of pointing out how unintelligent Mark Schmitt sounds, as the foundation for his diatribe against Sager is mostly in the form of age discrimination. I can't add much to what Ryan has already covered, except to point out that I've never heard of Mark Schmitt before (and I've worked in DC political circles for some time) but that he seems to be the kind of self important fool who actually believes his own press releases that are unfortunately a dime a dozen in D.C.
I offer my own thoughts as an expert witness.
Eeer, isn't that awfully presumptious of him. But of course, liberals believe only they and their peers in the Ivory Tower have any right to opine on the state of the Republic.
The bio on his web page is equally pompous.
I'm the Director of Policy and Research at the Open Society Institute, a major foundation in New York.Uh, Earth to Mr. Schmitt, if you have to tell us OSI is a "major foundation" then perhaps it isn't. And, for what its worth, I am also a policy director at a major DC institution (and believe me we are are about 100 times larger than OSI) but don't believe that makes me any more credible than the next guy - its simply a meaningless title. Liberals - and DC types - love their titles. I prefer results.
I ran a program at OSI that made grants to organizations working on campaign finance reformOh, so you've made it your career to oppose the First Amendment. Is this something we should applaud you for? Or should we applaud you simply because you haven't accomplished a damn thing, except to act as the conduit for the flow of money? Did you raise the money yourself? Did you run the organizations you were funding? Or did you simply sit on your ass and give other people's money to your comrades in arms against the United States constitution?
I know a lot about recent U.S. political historyThat's nice. I guess since you say so, it makes you an expert, right? Nope. Its too bad you haven't seen it worthwhile to learn about any other periods of time in U.S. history, beyond what you've lived through.
I'm also interested in the role that ideas play in U.S. politics, and the absence of a coherent public philosophy among liberals and Democrats.Well, at least he admits to the tired irrelevance of the American liberal.