Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oh Yeah, It's Spring All Right

The hair, the hair is everywhere.

That's what I got with one swipe of the rubber curry.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Congratulations, Iowa!

Today, March 29, the Iowa House of Representatives passed Senate File 2379 by a vote of 81 to 15. It will now head to Governor Chet Culver (D) for his consideration and hopefully signature. The bill had previously passed in the Senate by a vote of 44 to 4.

If Culver signs, on January 1, 2011, Iowa will go from may-issue to shall issue and will recognize all other states' permits.

Greatest of kudoes to the great folks at IowaCarry for all their hard work and dedication!

ETA: Countdown to PSH in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

A Call For Justice

Three years ago, a piece of subhuman scum named Tony Meyers bought a little mare at auction for $37. When she would not load into a horse trailer, Meyers attacked her with a level of violence that is almost impossible to comprehend. He beat her in the face, wrapped barbed wire around her halter to try to drag her into the trailer, finally did drag her behind the trailer, backed the trailer over her, and then shot her in the head.

Rescuers had to remove the trailer from on top of the mare where Meyers left it before they could try to save her life. (Warning: graphic photos)

She survived but it has taken almost three years for Tony Meyers's case to come to trial. It will be heard starting on Tuesday, March 30, at the St. Martinsville Court. The case number is 07-00009229.

Tony Meyers needs to go to jail for his actions, but without sufficient media attention, there is a very real chance he will be let off with a slap on the wrist. There are still many who say "it's just an animal." Even those who believe animals cannot feel pain or suffer should care about the incontrovertible link between violence toward animals and violence toward humans.

I'm willing to bet that Tony Meyers's anger management issues are not limited to other species.

Here are the folks to contact to ensure Tony Meyers gets what he truly deserves:

WBRZ is the local Baton Rouge ABC affiliate: 225-336-2344
WAFB is the local Baton Rouge CBS affiliate: 225-383-9999 or e-mail
WGMB is the local Baton Rouge Fox affiliate: 225-766-3233 or on their website

Something else I find extremely disturbing about this whole incident is that there had to be witnesses who saw what Meyers was doing to this mare. Why did nobody step up to stop him? While it can be argued that the apparent mugging just might be a scruffy undercover cop taking down a white-collar criminal, I can think of absolutely no circumstances under which obviously abusing an animal or child is allowable.

Oh, yeah, I should have asked Kitty Genovese for the answer to that question. Sorry.

UPDATE: There isn't going to be a trial. Meyers caved in, bawled like a baby before the judge, and pled guilty to felony animal abuse. For this felony, he was sentenced to three years at hard labor, sentence probated. Effectively, he got probation for three years. He is not allowed to be around horses for the three years of his (non)sentence until he completes a psychological examination and pays all court costs plus a $50 per month probation fee.

Sounds like a freakin' slap on the wrist to me. I guess as a convicted felon he's now a prohibited person, so at least he can't "legally" shoot a horse through the face again.

So you can beat a horse nearly to death, drag her by a halter wrapped in barbed wire, back a trailer over her, shoot her in the face, and get three years' probation for the felony conviction in Louisiana. But having a spent .22 casing stuck in the sole of your boot in Massachusetts without an FID or LTC ia a felony with mandatory jail time.

Friday, March 26, 2010

With Friends Like These

Who needs enemies?

ATK is the parent company of such popular commercial ammunition brands as Black Cloud, Blazer, CCI, Estate Cartridge, Federal Premium, Fusion, and Speer. They also own the famous Lake City Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri, where they manufacture military ammunition under a variety of hugely-lucrative government contracts.

Now, as Kurt Hofmann points out here, ATK is promoting destruction of once-fired military brass rather than allowing it to be sold to the reloading market. They actually claim that allowing once-fired brass to be used for reloading by civilians is illegal:
"One problem that has become more and more evident, is the public response to the purchase of spent brass. Public sales are readily available via the internet. This type of sale allows military grade cases to be reloaded and sold on the commercial market. This practice with Gov't issued ammunitions is strictly against the specs of the demilitarization Manual.

"DOD4160.21M1 states that all small caliber ammunition must be deformed or burned prior to public sale."
Yes, the document referenced, DoD 4160.21M1, does say ammunition must be deformed or burned. But spent brass is classified as DEMIL Code E and fully allowable for sale as-is under the same waiver it qualified for prior to the DoD effort a year or so ago to classify it DEMIL Code B and ineligible for the waiver.

The worst part of ATK's misleading campaign to military organizations is the attitude they display in their literature:
"To PREVENT anyone from using your scrap ammunition components for non-military purposes."


"Currently handling brass scrap for ATK Lake City -- for sole purpose of recycling material and preventing any reloading of spent cases by the public with military grade brass."
Sounds like more of that "Only Ones" mentality to me.

ATK claims the demilled cases will be melted down and made into new cases for military use only. The unintended consequence will be the loss to the civilian ammunition market of huge quantites of quality, affordable, reloadable brass.

Or is it an unintended consequence? ATK's civilian-market subsidiaries sell factory loaded ammunition for the most part, and loss of reloading components will force more people to buy factory ammo rather than reloading in any useful volume. It will also drive the cost of factory ammo up even more than the current astronomical level. "Cheap" practice hardball in .45 ACP has doubled in price since Obama was elected -- if you can find any.

Hmm, it now looks like the weight of public opinion has been felt by ATK. We can't afford to let up the pressure. Those who would profit from creating scarcity (where have we heard that before?) need to be on notice that we're paying attention and will not tolerate such behavior.

And please remember November is coming. The Evil Democratic Party stranglehold on the legislative process must be dismantled. The Stupid Republican Party needs to field some real candidates that aren't just RINOs. Pay attention, get involved, and VOTE.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Six Million Strong

Courtesy of Snowflakes In Hell, we find this article that says six million Americans are now licensed to carry.

As usual, the Violence Policy Center shows how truly ignorant they are:
"Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center, a gun-control group, said the movement 'has to do with selling more guns.' While it was pushed by groups like the NRA, it also 'dovetailed with the gun industry’s desperate need to find a new market.'"
Huh? Last time I looked, gun and ammunition sales are still enjoying all-time highs. Many popular models are still backordered from the manufacturers, and 24x7 production at ammo plants still can't fill the shelves.
"'Their efforts at reaching out to minorities and women have failed,' said Rand, whose group advocates banning all handguns and some rifles but believes sporting rifles and shotguns should remain legal. 'The industry constantly has to look for a way to make a guy who already owns 15 guns buy a new one.'"
Obviously, Ms. Rand needs to go visit a shooting range for a reality check, where she'll see people of all races as well as an ever-increasing percentage of women. Even near Chicago.

The article also links a poll that asks, "How safe do you feel knowing there are people around legally carrying concealed guns?" I had to choose "Very safe: If a crime is committed or a threat of violence made, they’ve got the means to respond." Emphasis mine. The survey didn't offer an option for "Very safe: If a crime is committed or a threat of violence made, I’ve got the means to respond."

Good Thing They Can't Have Guns In China

A knifeman* kills eight children and wounds five more in a brutal attack at a school in China. H/T to War On Guns.

People bent on committing violence will do so with whatever tools are available.

Of my five friends who have been murdered, not one was killed by gunshot. A sixth friend was shot in a public parking lot, in broad daylight. He survived. The FBI Uniform Crime Reports list knives or cutting instruments, blunt objects, hands-fists-feet-etc., poison, explosives, fire, narcotics, drowning, strangulation, asphyxiation, and "other or weapon not stated" as facilitators of homicide. Banning guns in other countries might superficially or temporarily reduce crimes committed with firearms, but overall violence increases when criminals know victims are helpless.

And that includes criminal governments.

* News writers are fond of calling criminals who use guns "gunmen." So why don't they prepend other criminals' weapons of choice?

Monday, March 22, 2010

"When Restraining Orders Cannot Stop A Killer"

That was the title of the ABC News "Nightline" segment I just watched, describing cases where women were murdered by exes who refused to take "it's over, now leave me alone" as an answer.
"Police patrolled the area, making extra trips to homes where Cindy Bischof stayed, and arrested Giroux several times, but Mike Bischof said there weren't adequate tools to safeguard victims like his sister.

"'They were as helpful as they could be to the extent that they had the latitude to be helpful,' he said. 'We believe that there weren't the tools available to safeguard these just wasn't part of the arsenal.'"
Interesting he should use the word "arsenal" to describe defense options in Illinois, the only state with absolutely no way for anyone to legally carry a handgun for protection, openly or concealed.

You might remember Illinois as the state where women are advised to vomit if attacked. Nowhere in the entire segment was the option of women arming themselves ever even mentioned.
"'[Domestic violence] can be stopped,' said Diane Rosenfeld, a Harvard Law school lecturer and expert on domestic violence and restraining orders. 'I think that law enforcement and the criminal justice system is not doing enough presently, obviously, to protect women from very predictable, very preventable types of violence.'"
How about women protecting themselves from very predictable, very preventable types of violence?

That's what I find most offensive about the idea that sole responsibility for keeping women -- or anyone, for that matter -- safe lies with law enforcement and the criminal justice system. It implies that women are incapable of taking responsibility for their own safety.

Oh, I agree a hundred thousand percent that putting violent offenders in prison and keeping them there is a good thing to do. But too many times, actions that would land somebody in jail in a heartbeat if taken against a male stranger are ignored or minimized by those same law enforcement and the criminal justice systems. I remember an acquaintance describing her soon-to-be-ex-husband running her car off the road into the ditch. She called 911, and when the deputies arrived, he was beating on her windows and yelling, "I'm gonna kill you, bitch." Was he arrested? No. The deputies just told him, "Aw, you don't wanna do that, Andy," and let him go. Nor did they investigate when he tampered with a gas line to try to blow up her house.

What finally got through to him was a new live-in boyfriend with a gun who made it quite clear that Andy's behavior was unacceptable.

Illinois has since passed a law to allow GPS tracking of stalkers, named after Cindy Bischof. A monitoring station will know immediately if a stalker wearing an ankle bracelet violates a restraining order.

If the monitors know where the intended victim is 24 hours a day so they can identify a violation. Then they notify the police.

The police still have to get there before it's too late.

The victim as her own first responder is already there to stop the threat. Now if Illinois would only let women carry concealed handguns to protect themselves.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Take THAT, PEG*heads!

* PEG*heads = Protest Easy Guns

It's a beautiful day (finally!) and I'm sitting here at Starbucks, blogging on my netbook over their Wi-Fi, with a 1911 in Condition 1 on my hip.

And it's not jumping out of the holster all by itself and shooting up the place. Funny, that.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

On Being A Fertilizer Magnet

Some years back, certain folks saw other people who were different from themselves and decided the way to deal with this differentness was to fly some planes into buildings. That same attitude is alive and well, albeit on a slightly smaller scale, in our local communities today.

We all face the choice at some point in our lives to Be True To Ourselves or Be Obedient Sheep. For the Conformity At All Costs crowd, there are planned communities with homeowner associations, where little Nazis can enforce approved paint colors, landscaping requirements, storage shed bans, and other examples of institutionalized codependency. They should stay in their gated enclaves instead of spreading through the countryside like a poo-flinging plague.

No, I don't think it was a coincidence that the BTK Killer worked in Compliance Enforcement.

Since I chose the other option, I constantly draw the ire of those who feel Everyone Who Is Not Just Like Them Must Be EVIL.

Now, I live out in the country surrounded by farmland. The closest occupied dwelling is over a quarter mile away. Law enforcement response time can be 20 minutes on a good day. There are no homeowner associations. But there is no lack of codependent idiots.

When my old mare was alive, the We Watch Too Much Animal Planet crowd figured in heavily as well. At age 22, she ruptured the lateral collateral ligaments in her right stifle joint fooling around in a muddy paddock. The local big-name-leg-man-horse-vet told me the injury wasn't survivable, but Margo had other ideas. With the help of my holistic vet, she healed and lived another six years, but developed a permanent hitch in her gitalong from fooling around and reinjuring her leg.

Margo a year after her "fatal" injury

Passers-by who saw her standing the way she was most comfortable or moving carefully ASSUMED there was Something Terribly Wrong and called the sheriff. After repeated discussions with my vet and my documentation that I was spending over $1,000 a month on her well-being, they advised me to post my property against trespassing and keep my gate locked.

Oh yeah, I forgot the earlier complaint by a Rural Living N00b that had a deputy nearly rolling with laughter when he came to check it out. Seems some fool reported I had a blindfolded horse after seeing her wearing one of these.

And the guy who showed up telling me I needed to sell my horse for slaughter since he never saw me riding her? I could get real good money from the killers for a big, fat horse like that, don'cha know. He'd even haul her to the auction for me, for a cut of the profits. I told him to leave while he still could.

Then there was the woman who showed up saying she'd just moved in down the road and didn't have any friends. She wanted to be my friend, and we could have coffee together, and swap recipes, and go shopping, and everything. Ick, ick, ick, ick, ick. I choose my friends, and that kind of crap doesn't qualify.

All my life, I've wanted to live in the woods. So an acreage out in the country should be just perfect for finally meeting that goal, right? Not so much. OF COURSE you must really want all those nasty trees cut down, and there are lots of people willing to tell you how they'll "help you out" by bulldozing everything, or even better, report you to the sheriff as being somehow incompetent because you don't have a chemically-dependent biological wasteland pretty wall-to-wall lawn like they do.

Then there's the series of people who want to buy my place. Call me stupid, but I generally figure a property that's for sale will, like, have a FOR SALE sign out front, or be listed with a realtor somewhere. If I saw a place I liked, I might make a note of it and inquire if I saw it go on the market, but I would never look up the owners' names and contact them saying I wanted to buy the place. Nor would I ever dream of justifying such behavior by claiming I'm somehow more entitled to own the property than they are.

Nor would I enlist the aid of friends in the county zoning office to bombard the owners with violation after violation (most of which were for violating the in-town zoning regulations of the county seat -- how stupid do you think I am?) in an attempt to convince them they should move elsewhere.

I had to go to the county attorney with my attorney on that one. Fortunately the old-boys club doesn't extend everywhere, and zoning employees lost their jobs before all was said and done.

Now I'm on the fourth round of wannabe-buyers who don't understand No Means No. This time they looked me up on the assessor's website (THANK YOU for enabling harassment and identity theft, you tools) and sent me a letter. They had bought the adjacent 150 acres and felt that entitled them to my little corner of the world as well. Let's see, they have over 100 times as much land as I do, and feel that only makes it "right" they have mine? Greedy much?

I sent them a response saying the property was not for sale and I wanted no further contact with them. So of course they later left a note on my gate saying I needed to call them ASAP or they'd show up at my door over the weekend. Did I mention the locked gate and the No Trespassing sign?

I called my lawyer who called them immediately, telling them I was not selling and they were not to contact me again. What happened next?* An anonymous call to the sheriff's office saying they need to check on me because I have VEHICLES and DOGS THAT ARE BIGGER THAN PIT BULLS. Oopsie, the dogs' fully fenced exercise yard is only visible from their property, not from the road. They also helpfully gave the sheriff's office an account of when I leave and return home every day. Nobody can see that from their kitchen window.

That got me a "welfare check" at 10:00 pm on a Friday night. More lawyer calls, more documentation sent in writing to the sheriff's office. This crap is getting to smell like stalking.

Why the bloody hell can't these morons just leave me alone?

There is one consequence of all the stupidity I'm thankful for. It was a sheriff's deputy years ago responding to an intruder trouble call who first suggested I should consider getting a gun.

* Almost forgot to include this incident and another where I came out my front door to find a pickup in my driveway with activity outside the privacy fence. They saw me coming and left in a hurry. I photographed the tracks in the snow where they were going to try to get around my fence. Oh, and the earlier one when I heard men's voices outside my window in the middle of the night. Calling out they had one chance to vacate the premises backed up by racking my 12-gauge shut that one down real quick.

Irish Appreciation Day

My genetic heritage is pure Slavic, but over the years I've had many Greyhounds with Irish bloodlines. Ireland has so far resisted the demonization of all hunting, and the persistence of coursing is reflected in the quality of their hounds.

Irish Thoroughbreds are also legendary, and two of my current horses have Irish ancestors.

So in honor of Judge and Sarge, and in loving memory of Dubh, Jessie, Duke, Jolie, and all the others from great Irish breeding in the past, tonight we're having Irish stew made with Guinness. May Brigid forgive me.

Has It Been Ten Years Already?

Last census, I hit the FedGov Annoyance Jackpot with not only the Long Form but a Household Survey, gov-speak for a whole series of face-to-face visits. A woman kept showing up at my door asking the same questions over and over again.

"Has the number of people living here changed in the past month?"


"Do you still own your house?"


Et cetera, et cetera, rinse, repeat. This time I got the 10-question version, which is about nine too many. Since I don't need any more fertilizer in my life and seem to be a fertilizer-magnet in general, I answered them all and mailed the damned thing back.

But if some idiot shows up at my door with a clipboard this time around, we're going to have words.*

* Gee, do I get put on a List somewhere for saying that?

DST Ennui

DST Lag just puts the icing on the cake of day after day of gray, foggy weather combined with general slop-season malaise. Meh.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's That Time Of Year Again

Several feet of snow kicked into melt-overdrive by a solid week of rain.

Terra not-so-firma

Muck Boots -- don't leave home without 'em.

Friday, March 12, 2010

You Ride Like A Girl

You wish.

And halfpassgal/Shannon's piece de resistance:


I've been riding twice as long as halfpassgal's been alive, and wish I had half the velcro-seat she does. When I work with horses who were messed up by ignorance and/or arrogance, I make sure I've stacked the deck way more in my favor before ever getting on them.

Even so, like the mare in the first video, sometimes they flash back to past bad memories and revert to old behaviors they developed way back when to save themselves. When that happens, the only way out is through. You have to stay on, stay calm, not punish, and straighten things out.

No funky sticks, magic ropes, waving flags, or endless circling. Just good classic horsemanship, pure and simple. As the late Col. Alois Podhajsky said, "Riding forward is the essence of correct training."

Calm, straight, and forward beats all those funky sticks, magic ropes, and round-penning ad-nauseam every time.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

BAG Day 2010

Jay G reminds us that Buy A Gun Day is a little over a month away.

Makes me wonder if these will be on the shelves by then.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thanks, Brady Bunch!

I'm not a coffee drinker (heresy for a computer geek, I know, but there are plenty of other caffeinated beverages to get you through those all-night change-control sessions). I had never set foot inside a Starbucks until the whole open-carry brouhaha broke out.

I e-mailed their corporate office when the Brady Bunch first went after them, and received a very nice response. After they held the line on staying in compliance with the law, I e-mailed them again to thank them. Since I believe in putting my money where my mouth is, I figured I might as well check out their website and see what they sell that I might like.

Well, in addition to a great hot chocolate, they have these:

Red Velvet Cupcakes!

I love Red Velvet Cake and have made it from scratch many times in years gone by. As recipes go, it's a huge pain in the rear. How often I made it was pretty much a function of how long it took the memory of just how big a pain it was to fade.

These cupcakes have the double advantage that somebody else has the mess to clean up, and they're just enough to satisfy the craving without inconvenient leftovers. You know, the kind you feel compelled to eat because good food shouldn't go to waste. Or should that be spelled waist?

So now Starbucks has a new, loyal, armed* customer. Had it not been for the Brady panty-wetting, I'm sure I still would have never set foot inside one of their stores.

So thanks, Brady Depend-Soiling Campaign To Prevent Gun Ownership And Effective Self Defense. If not for you, I would not be a regular 1911-carrying Starbucks customer today.

* While open carry is legal in Nebraska, I prefer concealed since I have that option and appreciate its many advantages.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Temps are finally starting to get back up to "normal," and the tons of Global Warming are melting. As much as we got this year, I'm amazed Milton The EvilPony™ didn't high-center.

The dogs' yard is still fence-to-fence ice, but they don't have any problems getting around. Me, when picking up poop, not so much.

As usual, the amount of mud on my horses varies directly with how light in color they are. The two grays are beyond gross and disgusting, while the chestnut, bay, blue roan, and black are nearly spotless. I tried to get some pictures, but it was already getting dark. No problem, I'm sure I'll have plenty of other chances to get pictures of filthy horses before the mud dries out.

Sarge's scar made it through the winter in great shape. I was concerned how all that hairless skin would tolerate the long stretches of double-digit-subzero days and nights, but it did just fine. Sarge will be four years old on June 1, and it looks like he's grown over the winter.

Early spring is flood season, when ice breaks up, floats down the rivers, and forms ice jams. They're calling for rain on four of the next five days. Neither my property or the barn is in a floodplain, but more wet is not what anyone needs.

At least the horses are starting to shed. Hope they're right.