Friday, July 29, 2011

Hey RAGBRAI'ers...

Get off my lawn.

After tolerating your behavior through the years, I've had enough.

While trying to go to work one year, we had them hang onto the truck because they were so tired. The stupidity of riding your bike across both lanes. Broken bottles, trash and beer cans thrown in the streets. Three years ago I found used condoms and dirty panties in my neighbor's back yard while mowing.

Take that crap somewhere else.

So to the guy who parked in front of my house today, and I tell you that I'll be mowing my grass, you shouldn't be surprised when I tell you to get out when I come around the corner and to see your crap piled in my yard and your bikes leaning against my maple trees.

And to the woman who said all I needed to do was ask for them to leave, no I don't. None of you asked to use my property for a rest area or my trees as a bike stand.

My property may not be much and will never win a Better Homes and Gardens award, but it's all I got.

Respect it and the homeowner.

Only then will the respect be reciprocated.

Sweatin' to the oldies

Old memories, that is...

Tamping the dirt back into the post holes reminded me of when we built fence at my grandfather's farm in Henry county when I was in my early teens. He had a knack for tamping all of the dirt back into the hole regardless of the size of the post. Using a hedge pole, he tamped so well that most of the time we could have put more dirt in.

I'm not that good.

The cicadas calling and red-wing blackbirds song bring back a flood of memories from that farm and the summers I spent there building fence, cultivating or baling hay. I also worked for a neighbor of his and I miss that character.

Nostalgia lane has been interrupted with my work Blackberry chirping at me with another request (even though I'm supposed to have time off) and I've been tempted to throw it into the pond. But then I would have missed my boss thanking a coworker for something I found and a few other curious happenings in my absence.

With the progress we made this week (albeit slow), I recalled the one compliment that my father shared with me. He told me I would have made a good farmer.

Even as a part-time farmer, I hope I can be a good one.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Morning news drive-by

If we all paid attention to just "Good Morning America," we'd know that a British singer dying earlier this week is more important news than the ATF facilitating guns into Mexico.

Just a thought.

For coverage of the ATF Gunwalker "perfect storm of idiocy" go to:
War on Guns
National Gun Rights Examiner
Sipsey Street Irregulars

Iowahawk has a few ideas of what will happen after the default

Among his ideas:
Beltway policy experts begin living by own wits; after 45 minutes there are no survivors.

Sesame Street descends into Mad Maxian anarchy; Oscar the Grouch fashions shivs out the letter J and the number 4
Find more at Default, Dear Brutus, Is Not In Our Stars, But In Ourselves

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I must be crazy (or stupid)

I hadn't had an official time off from my work since I started there in May of 2009. All that changed this week (sort of) as I decided to take a few days off for a "vacation." (I still answer emails and log in to do requests.)

Did we go to Disneyland? - No

The Riviera or a Caribbean cruise? Nope

This Iowa boy decided to put some work into Camp Stranded and build a small storage shed. The crazy part being that I picked the hottest time of the year to do this which has turned into a corn-belt weight reduction plan. Better than Jenny Craig!

Tools of the trade.

Nothing fancy since I've don't have the skill set of a professional carpenter and nothing big since I don't have the tools required.

But a couple of mistakes: being an inch and a half longer than I first measured and I had to dig a hole twice. But it wouldn't be a Certified Stranded-In-Iowa fiasco without something going wrong.

Progress has been slow, what with the heat, humidity and general lack of knowledge of what I'm doing. That's really hampering productivity.

A positive since we started working on the acreage has been the Tick Twisters recommended by True Blue Sam. These things work because DEET doesn't repel them all.

One thing that has been nagging at me is whether we did the right thing getting this piece of ground. Equipment issues, can we afford it, etc...

But when my son and I stood over-looking the pond and felt the cool breeze while we watch swallows skim the water feeding off insects, for that brief moment in time, I think of nothing. No work, economy, statehouse bills... I'm at that point in time appreciating the variety of nature while trying to identify the different bird calls or remembering the name of a particular weed species. (Funny how I used to know that stuff long ago.)

That's when I become re-convinced that it we did something right.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Out of steam, 7/24/11

I've been slacking off lately, what with server crashes, network upgrades and general spinning of wheels, I've left many things undone. Not much has been posted, including today's Sunday (not so) funnies.

I even missed out on this:
The Iowa Interstate 6988 steam locomotive cruises through corn fields in Oxford on Saturday, July 23, 2011. The excursion was part of a trip from Rock Island, Ill. that provied [sic] passengers with a seven hour trip through various towns in Iowa, before returning to Rock Island. (David Scrivner/SourceMedia Group)

Steam locomotive chuggs through Eastern Iowa, train lovers give chase

Iowa Interstate Railroad was born out of the ashes of the Rock Island Line and is building a new shop facility west of Homestead, Iowa without public assistance.

If the passenger rail line between Iowa City and Chicago returns, it would be on this track. It would be great if they would reject the public assistance money that has been floating around for that project.

This day in 1933, Clyde Barrow gun battle

Clyde Barrow escaped a posse after a machine gun "battle" near Dexter, Iowa.

"Notorious Bandit in Gun Battle"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New carry law in Wisconsin has some side effects

For one, it's helping the economy.

Concealed carry law boosts Green Bay area gun sales

Area firearm instructors and gun dealers are seeing a steady increase in business since the concealed carry bill was signed into law.

Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation July 8 that will allow Wisconsin residents to apply for a permit to carry concealed weapons.

The law doesn't go into effect until November, but John Pratt, owner of Pratt Security and Investigations in Green Bay, said there has been a "marked increase in people wanting training" for handguns.

And I'm sure guns sales throughout the state of Wisconsin have increased as well.

Congressman's home defended with a gun

Boswell 'doing well' after scuffle with armed intruder
U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell scuffled with an armed intruder at his southern Iowa farmhouse late Saturday night before his grandson pointed a gun at the intruder, who then fled, Boswell's staff said.
Congressman Who Defended Daughter Against Home Invader 'Did What Every Father Would Do'

Rep. Leonard Boswell said Monday his instincts as a father led him to try to tackle an armed man who burst into his home and attacked his daughter.

Boswell says the man wearing a ski mask burst into the home near Lamoni late Saturday, grabbed his daughter and demanded money.
Jim, over at Travis McGee Reader has some thoughts on the Boswell Break-in:
Decatur County Sheriff Herbert Muir said Sunday night that he doesn’t think Boswell’s house was targeted, either because of his job or for another reason. He said it was probably a random attempted robbery thwarted in part because the robber didn’t realize how many people were in the house.

Come on, Herb. There were three people in the farmhouse -- two of them aged -- and one young man. The thug had a gun, so we presume he was prepared to deal with people. He wasn't at all thwarted until he he found himself eyeball to muzzle with the owners' shotgun. Then he was thwarted
Could not have said it better.

After suffering a broken rib, I hope Rep Boswell and his family are doing well and the law catches up with the crook.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday (not so) funnies, 7/17/11

And a BTR commissioned cartoon:

Bernanke's plan is called Quantitative Easing, which is now into phase three because the first two worked so well.
The term quantitative easing (QE) describes a form of monetary policy used by central banks to increase the supply of money in an economy when the bank interest rate, discount rate and/or interbank interest rate are either at, or close to, zero.

What Is Quantitative Easing?
For another explanation:

I always thought increasing the money supply devalued the dollar, as a result causing more dollars to be needed to purchase the same goods and services. AKA inflation.

But then I received A's in my college economics classes.

And unlike our current Treasury secretary, I pay my taxes.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Former Iowa first lady to run for Congress

Against Steve King - good luck with that.

Carpet-bagger, Christie Vilsack, who took up "residency" in Ames so she could have a shot at Congress, apparently has come up with some money during a "listening tour" for the newly formed 4th District. Her opponent will be the formidable Steve King.

She's picked up almost a half a million dollars from poor, hard-working Iowans in the last quarter.

I don't know what kind of congress-critter she would be but I suppose she Congress could use more comic relief.

Before we go too far, I'm reminded of a State29 post regarding a column Vilsack wrote. He linked to a Boston Herald article that was none too flattering that now has a broken link. But here are a couple of classy lines from an op ed that Vilsack wrote in 1994:
"I am fascinated at the way some African-Americans speak to each other in an English I struggle to understand, then switch to standard English when the situation requires," Vilsack wrote in a 1994 column in the Mount Pleasant News, while her husband, Tom, was a state senator....

Vilsack wrote that southerners seem to have "slurred speech," wrote that she'd rather learn Polish than try to speak like people from New Jersey, and wrote that a West Virginian waitress once offered her friend a "side saddle" instead of a "side salad."...
I'm hoping that she brings her husband and current Ag secretary, Tom Vilsack on the campaign trail.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Will it play in Peoria?

At the very least, it plays in the Quad City Times and that's close enough.
Every kid who ever has played cops and robbers knows that the good guys try to keep guns away from the bad guys. The last thing you'd do is sit around and watch crooks sell each other weapons then sit back and wait for the carnage.

But that's exactly what leadership within the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are charged with doing, in an apparently harebrained ploy to get close to Mexico's drug cartels.

The plan was dubbed Operation Fast and Furious. Foolish and Fatal might be more accurate.
But he lost me when he promoted the "review the nation's gun laws" theme.

The meaning of the phrase "Will it Play in Peoria?"

Long gun reporting starts in the SW

And will soon come to a neighborhood gun dealer near you.

David Codrea: DoJ proceeds with long gun reporting requirement

Dave Workman: BREAKING: DoJ announces gun reporting requirements; Issa, Grassley respond

Our Senator Grassley had this to say:
“We’ve learned from our investigation of Fast and Furious that reporting multiple long gun sales would do nothing to stop the flow of firearms to known straw purchasers because many Federal Firearms Dealers are already voluntarily reporting suspicious transactions. In fact, in just the documents we’ve obtained, we are aware of 150 multiple long guns sales associated with the ATF’s Fast and Furious case, and despite the fact that nearly all of these sales were reported in real time by cooperating gun dealers, the ATF watched the guns be transported from known straw purchasers to third parties and then let the guns walk away, often across the border. This makes it pretty clear that the problem isn’t lack of burdensome reporting requirements. The administration’s continued overreach with regulations continues, and is a distraction from its reckless policy to allow guns to walk into Mexico.”
Grassley has been using the term "walked" more often lately and I heard this from him in an interview on WHO radio last week. "Gunwalker" is the term David Codrea came up with to describe these weapons that the ATF allowed to go into Mexico and other countries in Central America.

Now we are hearing of reports that the Tampa and Houston ATF offices followed the lead of the Phoenix ATF office and allowed now up to 5000 guns out of the country.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Because these mayors are so helpful

They want to make sure we get to the bottom of the whole "Fast and Furious/Gunwalker" fiasco.
The group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, is pushing Obama to lift a rider known as the Tiahrt Amendment from the fiscal year 2012 budget proposal. By removing the rider, lawmakers would gain access to records of guns sold through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ operation "Fast and Furious," which oversaw the sale of weapons to known and suspected straw purchasers for Mexican drug cartels.
And more helpful advice:
“It is time to put it into effect to help ATF and other law enforcement identify individuals who may be buying guns like AK-47s and AR-15s by the carload and driving them south for sale to the violent drug gangs who are murdering thousands of people and destabilizing the entire border region,” they wrote.
Weren't the ATF involved with getting the guns to Mexico? If so, wouldn't they already know who was involved with the straw-purchasing? Considering they assured gun dealers to go through with the purchases anyway, it's a safe bet the answer is yes.

Mayors call on Obama to strengthen enforcement of country’s gun laws

I just trust them. (The proofreader missed his mark and may soon be fired - ed.)

Supporter of 2nd Amendment has a but

"I support the 2nd Amendment, but..." is a line that most politicians use just before the legislation comes along that would inhibit that right.
Rep. Bob Kressig, D-Cedar Falls, is the ranking member of the House Public Safety Committee, which dealt with a lot of the gun legislation. He said he's in favor of Second Amendment rights, but also thought the state needs to "be smart" about how the permits are issued.
His idea of "smart"?
"I think there are some opportunities for improvement in the training," Kressig said.
In other words, more state involvement because there have been a rash of incidents around the state involving permit holders that need to be reigned in because of the irresponsible or illegal behavior.

You read about these incidents in the papers, right?

You can read more at 'Shall issue' gun law sparks surge of new permits

Friday, July 8, 2011

Gun carry permit revoked

Before January, sheriffs had discretion in issuing the permits and could place restrictions on the licenses. With the change, sheriffs are directed to issue permits to applicants who meet training requirements and aren't barred from possessing firearms because of a criminal record or mental health reasons.

"The number of revocations has increased since the new law, and the nature of the types of offenses that have occurred has also increased,"[Sheriff] Thompson said.

He said revocations before the new law were rare and minor.
Gun permit revoked after altercation in parking lot

Numbers, sheriff???

I predicted that each revocation (justified or not) of a carry permit would get media coverage and I'm just not seeing it. Not to say it hasn't happened before this incident, but I haven't heard of a rash of revocations. And there's not enough details in this case to make an informed opinion.

I would say that the carry permit process has been so successful that more county sheriffs' departments are giving classes to compete with the commercial certified instructors that have been giving classes around the state. That brings in another 30-50 bucks on top of the permit fee into the county coffers.

My county sheriff is offering classes now. But he's not one of the critics of the carry law.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Out of steam, 7/7/11

Been a little busy lately, work, home and I've been looking for a small tractor and mower.

Here's an update:

Reminds me of my career, except this old engine makes it to the top.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Golf summit deemed a success

When Obama criticized the congress in a press conference last week:
"They're in one week they're out one week. You need to be here, I'm here. You stay here. Let's get it done."

"These folks are counting on us. They desperately want to believe their leadership is thinking of them and is not playing games."
Apparently this is what he really meant:

President Tee-Time yucking it up with Cry-baby Boehner, VP Biden aka "The Plagiarist" and a GOP presidential wanna be from Ohio.
"The foursome had great time and really enjoyed playing golf at Joint Base Andrews today," a statement from the White House said.
And the picture shows that they were thinking of the American people and not playing games because golf is not a game (or something.)

A classic "let them eat cake" moment and all four of these guys are either too stupid or too arrogant to realize it.

"The foursome had great time..."

Sunday (not so) funnies, 7/3/11