Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Because we need bow control and quiver capacity limits

A Des Moines man and woman returned home after buying groceries on Sunday to find their neighbor standing on her front porch with bow drawn back ready to shoot, according to a Des Moines Police report.
(You only get a few free page views without subscribing)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

State to cities: cameras aren't there to just make money

State Transportation Director Paul Trombino said on Monday that Iowa cities like Cedar Rapids with traffic enforcement cameras on state roads won’t have to take them down if they add to highway safety. Instead, Trombino said proposed new rules being adopted by the state will require that cities with enforcement cameras along with the state conduct an annual review to see if the cameras are adding to highway safety and not simply producing revenue for local communities. DOT Director: Traffic Cameras Need to Prove Safety, Not Just Bring in Revenue
Not quite abolishing the revenue-generating boxes, but it's a step in the right direction, although a very minor one.

Don't want to kill the $3 million cash cow, do they?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Nothing to see here, move along

Does that name mean anything to you? Maybe it should re-phrased and say that the person who owns the company that is solely in charge of this multi-million-dollar transaction is Richard Blum the husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Reported and confirmed by Snopes that the firm run by the husband of rabidly anti-gun senator Feinstein will make millions for brokering land deals for the United States Postal Service.

 Would that a commoner get that same sweetheart deal...

Via Burlington Derailed

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A day with Number 1 son

Number One Son and I spent a few hours last Sunday at Camp Stranded. We walked the area and discussed my plans for spring planting, pointed out trees that I cut and need to cut this fall, and spent some time plinking.






The cans didn't stand a chance:


To change things up a bit, I shot at the weeds and small willow saplings that was in the field of my limited range. I was doing okay with the old 10/22 that I bought at a DNR auction years ago. The old Ruger Automatic Pistol needed a few rounds through it and the CZ 82 is my carry gun and I sure could use the practice.

I would not have traded those couple of hours it took for us to shoot a brick of 22 and a box of 9mm MAK for anything else. However, I would trade a day's pay for another afternoon like that.

After a cold snap starting today, next weekend looks to be in the upper 50's. Maybe it's Number Two Son's turn for some range time...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Senate Candidate forum


Iowa will be selecting a new senator next year with Tom Harkin's retirement after way too many years in office.

This is an opportunity to check out the Republican declared candidates and everyone can offer up questions for them.

Submit your questions here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's a free country

And I can choose to spend my money somewhere else besides Buffalo Wild Wings in Cedar Rapids, IA:


Any local business can put up a sign (ineffective as they are) as an ill-guided attempt at security. What this means to many is they are not welcome if they choose to carry but the business is open for any thug intent on harm.

I wasn't carrying and I didn't feel welcome after seeing this sign.

But seeing a similar sign at my county courthouse, I can't very well conduct all of my business elsewhere.


Based on the order of the Chief Judge, possession of all firearms is prohibited in the courtrooms, judges’ chambers, court reporter offices, jury rooms, clerk’s offices, juvenile court offices and hallways outside the courtrooms and clerk’s office of the Iowa County Courthouse, unless possessed by and on-duty  peace officer as defined by Iowa Code... (Sorry, but the picture did not turn out well)
If someone uses the Don't Show, Nobody Knows policy then how would they know?

Friday, October 11, 2013

I thought they were on furlough

From time to time I look up information from the forestry service (a part of  the USDA). This is in relation to my efforts to build up Camp Stranded. Two particular reference documents I had found weeks ago was Silvics Volume 1 and Volume 2. These tree references had been converted to PDF documents years ago and are out there on the Forestry Service's website for people throughout the world to use. Other documents are there as well but I hadn't the time to review all of them.

This week I wanted to reference volume 2 and elsewhere on the site for any other information on tree seed propagation. Last week, I had access.

This week, however, I'm out of luck:




Apparently it was deemed necessary and vital to remove access to information that had been listed on our nation's servers for years.

I could understand if the server was unplugged because the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, wanted to save money on electricity because now there is no money in the budget to pay for it. But a server is running in order to redirect it to the "Blame the Republicans for the shutdown" webpage.

I could understand a 404 page not found message or a "Server unavailable". But someone, after the shutdown started, logged in and placed this up for the world.

I can even understand if a site hadn't been updated and still showed data from prior to the shutdown. For instance, the site still displayed Sunday's temperature in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Remember folks, shutting down information sites that are basically static information, that hasn't been updated in years, is a vital service and that Republicans in Congress are the evil reason for the government shutdown.

But then there's this: you can still apply for a job at usajobs.gov. Never mind that this is a website that is an access point to a database that is not static. I found several jobs here in Iowa that were posted this week. Apparently it is a vital and essential service to post jobs that no one can interview for until after the shutdown. Here's one posted for a cook position, opened yesterday.

Department: Department Of Veterans Affairs
Agency: Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration
Open Period: 10/10/2013 to 10/31/2013
Who May Apply: United States Citizens
Location(s): Iowa City, Iowa

Yes, the VA hospital needs cooks. My point is to bring out the notion that this "shutdown" of non-essential government services is an intentional attempt to inconvenience and annoy the population and then to blame the other party.

This crap I blame on the administration and the bureaucrats that hold these fed positions. Don't expect sympathy from this taxpayer when these little "dirty tricks" are pulled. Back in 95/96 employees received back pay for their furlough and I expect this time, they will again.

As a warning to democrats, my liberal friends and co-workers agree with me. The president is losing this argument by pulling websites down or putting barricades around monuments that had been open 24/7 prior to the shutdown.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

No man is an island

I forget that sometimes.

I spend most of my time working. For my employer (probably too much if history shows me anything) or personally as in towards a goal at Camp Stranded. Not to say I don't have idle time or that I don't waste time down a rat hole like watching the TeeVee.

One of the best things about starting this little blog (just turned 4 a few days ago) was the chance to meet several people on the internets. Sometimes only through emails, comments or message boards, but I've learned from many out there.

The rare chance one gets to find a true connection beyond the keyboard, it makes it even better.

David from over at Truebluesam and his mom, Bea, met up with part of the Stranded clan over at the camp this past Labor Day weekend. We picked a good day as I spent Sunday and Monday taking support calls from work.

After supper and conversation



David shared much needed advice regarding the fledgling tree farm and Bea and the Mrs hit it off. The heat encouraged us to shorten the tour, but I've been hoping Sam would stop by sometime. He gave us a boost by sharing Kentucky Coffeetree seeds last year and I think he was surprised to see our showcase tree doing exceptionally well.


I've neglected Between Two Rivers as life and work tend to get in the way. As I told Bea, I did not want to turn this into something that produces nothing but negative posts. With the state legislature not in session, there hasn't been much in the news that you can't find somewhere else.

But now I've got something positive to share. Their visit has been a blessing to a tired soul and reminds me of the need for a life beyond just being a productive cog in the workforce.

Family, friends, food and conversation. You can't beat that.

Thanks for sharing your time with us.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Guns used in crimes are sold to the public - OH NO!

The Cedar Rapids Gazette discovered something that has been going on for years:
Confiscated rifles and shotguns that were used in crimes are sold to the public.

The Iowa DNR is tasked to auction property that was confiscated during crimes such as poaching and somehow the Gazette thinks this is a terrible thing.

With no evidence that any of these thousands of weapons have been used to harm another person, the article heavily implies that these weapons could be used by violent criminals, domestic violence predators or any average murderer that happens upon the auction.

Maybe... Possibly... some future crime might be committed so let's not send $80,000 plus each year for the DNR and state general funds.

Two-thirds of the way into the article they give a dismissive glance at attendees needing a purchase or carry permit in order purchase firearms (they wrote "valid firearms permit," whatever that means -ed.). FFL holders could purchase weapons as well.

I've attended these auctions when I had time and spare change in the pocket. I've noticed that many of the guns were purchased by dealers. I've seen attendees turned away because they didn't have a permit to purchase or carry. None were happy about that. But if someone has gone through the process of getting a permit, they've gone through the NICS background checks and could purchase from a dealer just as easily.

But that's not the point.

The Gazette gins up fear and implies that anyone, even those of us who have passed every background check year after year, is a potential criminal ready to take another life.

That's the point to the whole article.

If this is true: "Having access to firearms of any kind can increase the odds that domestic abuse will escalate to violence, Fortmann-Doser said." Then every spouse in Iowa County would have been shot a hundred times over. (Iowa County, Iowa, having one of the highest per-capita gun-ownership in the state.)

Good thing the Gazette is here to recycle fear and innuendo.

Monday, April 29, 2013

DNR Auction set for May 4th this year

Another change, it's in Polk City instead of at the Iowa State Fair

A list is at Auction Solutions

In the past, I've found a few bargains but I don't know if I'll make it this year.

If you can, please save a gun from a life of crime.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Another busy week unfolded at Camp Stranded

After the 5+ inches of rain on the 17th, we've had to keep an eye on the local rivers. Standing by with sandbags and ready to evacuate friends and neighbors to higher ground. Below is an indication of the rollercoaster we had to monitor near Camp Stranded.


A creek to the east of the property overflowed on the 17th closing off one neighbor's property for most of the day and into the 18th. A few inches more and it would have been over the road and this would have restricted us to only one access to the property, nearly causing Camp Stranded to be truly stranded.

We still have some roads under water to the south and west of us but the week ahead looks to be dry.

On the political front, Des Moines is quiet with nothing leaving committee. I truly believe that the number of calls and emails our representatives received was overwhelmingly against any new restrictions on our liberties. Despite the so-called polls that favored more gun control.

With the criminals in DC failing in their attempts to pass background checks etc. we have some relief. But just as we have to remain vigilant against the flood waters of the Iowa and English rivers that I live by, we need to keep an eye on the cesspools on the Potomac and the Des Moines rivers.

A couple more days at my paying job this week and I'm already hankering to return to the place. Truthfully, I was ready to get back before Monday started.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A quarter century ago...

the Mrs and I got hitched.

We've come a long way together in spirit, though at times apart.

Our journey does not have a destination, but a direction.

I'm glad I'm not headed there all alone.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Camp Stranded update, April 9, 2013

Spent 12+ hour days for the last six weeks on a project to receive a nominal pat on the head.

I'm glad spring is here so I can get work done at Camp Stranded.

So far, something to control the sediment in the pond:


I was able to squeeze some additional work in this past weekend and visit with some squatters:


I'm lining up work for this weekend, including but not limited to getting the equipment ready for spring, transplanting some red cedar trees, and battling multi-flora rose. I pulled out a 6 foot honey locust on Sunday and only jabbed myself twice, so I'm optimistic with the rose.

Between the meadowlarks and red wing blackbirds, it was hard to hear much else, but I have something moving into the bluebird boxes. Probably crappy sparrows.

April, May and June are lining up to be very busy on the work front. I'm hoping I get a chance to spend time at the Camp.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Journalism at its finest

I don't have a journalism degree but I think most objective people would notice the bias on display at local TV station, KCRG, Sunday morning concerning the report of a new gun control group in Iowa City over the weekend.

At the end of snippets from the on-site reporter, the in-studio pseudo-newsperson, Nadia Crow, read this: "The group led moments of silence in remembrance of the Sandy Hook tragedy. That silence was interrupted by others who disagreed with the group's....."

It can't be just me that noticed her implication that anyone who wasn't in favor of gun control and voiced their opinion that day, did so in a rude and disrespectful manner? Or it could be that I just inferred it with no evidence.

It's not part of this report that was originally aired on Saturday night:

                       

But that report also implied the same thing with these words. "... To prevent future victims of violence by remembering the past victims. Only some people did not want to be quiet."

And this in the online version of the report:
“We’re here to remember the victims of thousands and thousands of individual and mass murders that have happened,” Jim Tucker said.

Not everyone was so respectful. A handful of dissenting voices pierced through the silence to show their Second Amendment support. Throughout the rally, those voices sparked some heated debate.
Can you figure out who the villain of  the story is here?

KCRG graciously provided the answer for us.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Register Poll: Iowans don't want more gun laws

They have a different headline.

The poll results state only 33% of Iowans want stricter laws, but at the same time want new laws to restrict magazine size and background checks for all gun sales.

How does that work out?

If people can be confused (or manipulated) into giving such differing answers, should this be a good method to affect laws that restrict citizens?

I'm trying to figure out why rights should be limited based on the opinions of my neighbors.

The city of Mt Vernon has a discussion about guns.

Cedar Rapids Police Department Veteran of 30 years Mark Risse, said it’s sick that we expect teachers to fight with scissors and baseball bats. He said if teachers want to be taught about firearms, it should be made readily available. Joel Foreman, Director of Praise Worship at Solon High School said there are teachers out there that want to be trained on firearms.
The city of Mt Vernon has a discussion about guns.

The "prohibition" of firearms in schools will need to be changed as well, otherwise those trained teachers' guns would have to be left at home.

On Sunday morning, this was broadcast over the air and unfortunately the TV9 signal goes bad for me during rain.  Let's hope this got a wider audience.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Gun transfer bill introduced last Thursday

House File 164
The bill prohibits a person from selling or transferring a firearm to another person without receiving verification from a federally licensed firearms dealer that information on the prospective purchaser or transferee has been submitted to the department of public safety for a criminal history background check and that a determination has been received by the department of public safety that the prospective purchaser or transferee is not prohibited under either state or federal law from possessing a firearm. A criminal history background check under the bill includes an inquiry  of the national instant criminal background check system maintained by the federal bureau of investigation.
Penalty of two years if you give or sell a firearm to another without the buyer going through a background check.

And don't think about passing down a family heirloom - no free passes for that.

Heads up from Iowa Gun Owners

Another bill introduced on Thursday:

House File 163

A bill banning magazines or "similar devices" that can hold greater than 10 rounds. And another two year prison sentence for the seller. It won't outlaw possession (yet) and it doesn't penalize purchasers. What if one orders a few mags from an out of state seller. This bill doesn't address that, so it would seem we would be able to buy them from sellers outside of Iowa legally. Maybe...

We have to keep alert on the cesspool that is in Des Moines although a couple of positive bills have been introduced the past few days as well.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Iowa Legislative update, 2/6/13

HouseFile57 A reasonable force\stand your ground bill
The Senate version:  Senate File 96

A Bill to eliminate a permit to purchase a handgun and change it to a permit to purchase any firearm. It would be optional to use for acquiring firearms from an FFL dealer. A cursory reading gives the impression that no permits needed for private sales (even for handguns). House File 73 
 
House File 81. This would make carry permit information confidential. One thing I would like added is a penalty for making that information public. We should hold people who release that information accountable, both the public servant and the publisher.
 
House Joint Resolution 6: A Constitutional Amendment for the right to keep and bear arms
 
No "assault" weapon bans or some such nonsense have been introduced this year (so far). But a couple of other bills have caught my interest that require a bit more research.
 
Iowan's, contact your legislators regarding these bills and express your thoughts.

Friday, January 18, 2013

PETA piping up

The old saw, "I support the Second Amendment and no one wants to take your right to hunt..."

These idiots do:
PETA says the Obama administration is sending a mixed message to children about gun violence by not calling for a ban on hunting.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gun Appreciation - Jan 19th


Should I express my appreciation with the acquisition of a firearm for the collection? How about assisting a citizen to become a new gun owner? Or maybe practice my marksmanship? How about all three?

Used Magazines

$80 for used AK 30 round magazines.

Demand vs Supply with a little bit of scarcity thrown in to muck things up.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Guns and Freedom" from Judge Napolitano

Most people in government reject natural rights and personal sovereignty. Most people in government believe that the exercise of everyone's rights is subject to the will of those in the government. Most people in government believe that they can write any law and regulate any behavior, not subject to the natural law, not subject to the sovereignty of individuals, not cognizant of history's tyrants, but subject only to what they can get away with.

These words from Judge Andrew Napolitano, express what many of us have been thinking and believing for a long time.

Most people in government won't leave us alone.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Idiot Wind

The wind was blowing today and there was a familiar stench that I hadn't been around for a few months.

The legislature is back in session in Des Moines.

For you young-uns who aren't familiar with the title.

From the song:
Idiot wind blowing every time your move your mouth
Blowing down the backroads heading south
We have our work cut out for us this year.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Camp Stranded Update - Bluebirds on my shoulder

I've caught hell for this but I built a birdhouse for my wife and gave it to her for Christmas. In fact, I built two bluebird boxes while #1 and #2 sons built one each.


 

The Mrs. loved them but her friends thought of me as a cheapskate (which is true). They have other words to describe me, but this is a PG blog.

Why did she love these? We built these with our own hands, no store bought fancy-house will grace the confines of Camp Stranded. If we can only get one pair of birds to nest, the thought having those little song birds singing will brighten up the place. That's why she appreciated a gift that will hopefully bring some joy down there during our visits.

We put them up last weekend as I'm hoping they will get aired out by the time they go house hunting in March. Two out of cedar and two out of pine and I coated them with linseed oil to protect them from the elements. I used two clamps through slots on a facing board to attach to steel posts that we put in the open and facing a tree to roost on after leaving the nest. Then I mounted the box to the facing board.

Will we get some boarders? I hope these are inviting to any newcomers to the area and with different woods and locations, I'll have a good idea of what works. We can add more boxes next year, but I better have something different for the Mrs. at Christmas.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I am not a Resource, I am a Human Being

This being a paraphrase from the late sixties British series, The Prisoner, the iconic "I am not a number, I am a Human Being." I spent more time than I wanted serving my employer this past year, culminating in a late July confrontation with my supervisor. I've never done that before with an employer. I'm under no illusions about being irreplaceable - but I have the unique position of being the person to contact when things go wrong. (Having the answers is another story)

This past six months have been spent trying to move to a new position and barring that, finding a new employer that appreciates my services. Coming home at night (or sometimes the next morning) I lost most of my motivation to post for the most part. And Iowa has been quiet on gun issues until the last couple of weeks. Along with challenging technology on the home front and a serious family issue  that drew attention away from all else, I've fallen out of grace regarding blogging etiquette.

I'd like to share my philosophy of the employer/employee relationship.

I hate the term "Human Resources" - People are not resources.
Resources are products used in production like coal, steel, or power resources like electricity. When we think of employees as nothing more as units of production, employers may look at not much beyond productivity levels. The old "What have you done for me lately" syndrome. For example, in the middle of a project, getting pulled into a second project, and then being asked if I have the first one done. (That resulted in a bit of a conflict)

I view employment as a partnership.
Yes, there is a subordinate relationship, but it is a group of people focused on a common goal. Hierarchical leadership is necessary to achieve goals with the key of having that leader keep a "follow me" quality. The best leaders I've worked for were those who focused on getting resources to their team members for them to do their jobs. All partnerships require communication. All partnerships require a balance which relates to the next thought.

The law of Reciprocity will be obeyed.
When hard work is rewarded, people respond. When an employer neglects this law, the employer/employee relationship is not in balance. As in all relationships, when a side is taking and the other is giving, there is an imbalance that must be corrected. If not, irreconcilable differences ensue and a mental "divorce" takes root. Soon a separation is the only answer.

And a separation was completed at the beginning of the new year as I've moved to a new part of the organization.

I've got the same demands as before and in some cases, more. But in less than a week, acts of reciprocity has already taken place with the new supervisor. The old supervisor has made demands from both me and the new super since the transfer, but maybe that would calm down.

There are dark clouds on the horizon with idiots in the statehouse in Des Moines demanding a full semi-auto ban along with confiscations. I'm getting tired of talking heads on the idiot box yammering the familiar, "I'm support the Second Amendment, but...". Just fill in the blank with magazine limits, treating semi-autos in the same category as full-auto, and the eye rolling, "No one needs an assault weapon to hunt deer." (SKS rifles are considered "assault weapons" by many but are used by hunters in Wisconsin).

We've got our work cut out for us and it's time for me to get back on the blog and keep you aware of what's going on here in Iowa.

That is, if any of my former loyal readers are still around. I hope you all understand.