Goodbye, Farmer Frank

The blogging and shooting world is small, it seems. When we lose one, it affects all of us who knew him. The ripples of the announcement continues to spread: Frank James has left us.

Who is Frank James? He was an Indiana farmer, a blogger, shooter, gun writer, consultant and contributor to several gun magazines and outdoor TV shows, and death to feral hogs. He was also a true gentleman, husband and father…and a friend to almost everyone he met.

My wife and I first met him at a gathering of Indy area bloggers. Frank sat across from me at a long table and we talked for quite some time. Frank was a crop farmer. As a gift to those at the gathering, he filled the back of his pickup with freshly picked corn. Mrs. Crucis brought home a full bag of corn. Frank was generous with the product of his labor.

I met Frank a few times after that. The last was at the St. Louis NRA convention. Frank and I, bloggers both, had media credentials. We met again during a break in the media room. Frank talked about his latest muscle-car, one that he’d driven to St Louis from his farm in northern Indiana.

Some time later, I heard that Frank had suffered a severe stroke. Followup reports indicated that he was recovering albeit slowly. Then I saw this notice, shared on FB by some mutual friends of Frank.

Frank_James

Frank James, 69, Wolcott, IN

Frank W. James, 69, of Wolcott, passed away at 7:34 p.m. Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at his home surrounded by his family.

He was born April 24, 1946 in Lafayette to the late Harold “Pete” and Ruth Irene (Wurzbacher) James and was a 1964 graduate of Remington High School. He graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Agricultural Economics in 1968.

His marriage was to Cathy Gudeman on January 22, 1977 in the Wolcott Christian Church; she survives.

Frank published thousands of articles over seven countries during his career as a writer. He published five books and was awarded the Anschutz Outstanding Writer of The Year Award in 1994. He was an expert outdoorsman with a passion for adventure and travel. He also owned and operated farms in the White County area for over 45 years. Frank created the White County Shooting Sports 4H Program and hosted Davidson’s Gallery of Guns on the Sportsman Channel as well as appearing on Gun Stories that airs on The Outdoor Channel.

He was an active shooting competitor, having shot in The Masters International Tournaments and USPSA (IPSC) competitions. He and his wife were longtime members of Palestine Christian Church and he also served on the Wolcott Library Board for several years.

Goodbye, Frank. Feral hogs in Texas still fear you.

Back to the grindstone

A week ago I was on my way to Nashville. J and I are now back. The initial flurry on our return, checking the mail, doing errands postponed from last week, recovering from a bit of physical overexertion, are over.

Like any long anticipated event, there’s a let down when it’s over. The excitement, built by anticipation over the last weeks and months, is gone.

Sole Mio Banquet Room, Nashville, TN

Sole Mio Banquet Room, Nashville, TN

Last Saturday, J and I were invited by a number of blogger friends to dinner at a small Italian place, Sole Mio, a couple of blocks from the Music City Center. I had met about half of group from the St. Louis NRAAM in 2012. Some have become good friends despite the fact we’ve only met, face-to-face, once or twice before.

As bloggers, we all have our separate interests. Some write solely about guns and gun issues. Others, like my friend, Kelly, AKA, Ambulance Driver, writes about EMS topics. Some write about their military experiences and Jim, a new writer, presented me with signed copies of his books. All of us, however, have one common topic that we all write about at one time or another: Shooting.

It was a fun night. We agreed to meet again in a year at the next NRAAM in Louisville. Mrs Crucis and I have already marked our calendars for May 20-22, 2016. They’re still counting the attendance. The Annual Meeting continued through Sunday. The attendance by Saturday night was over 78,000. When Sunday’s attendance is added, I expect that number to exceed 80,000. The question is by how much. IMO, the Music City Center was too small. I hope Louisville is larger.

Next year we hope to take a couple of local friends with us.

***

I may have escaped the political escapades in Missouri for a few days. That didn’t mean it stopped. In the Missouri Senate, the Tax ‘n Spend crowd wants to raise Missouri’s gas tax by 10¢. IIRC, it sits today at 19¢. This crowd says it must go up to 29¢ or we’ll lose some federal money.

Spend! Spend! Spend! And when the money is spent, it’s never spent on what we really need. Missouri has allocated well over a billion dollars in the last decade to fix the state’s roads and bridges. Most of that money, once it was appropriated, was re-directed to more politically sensitive projects. MODOT is a joke. Nixon won’t release funds already allocated while claiming to need more. Now the idiots want more!? No! The Missouri Senate has blocked this tax and no-spend bill. At least for the moment.

***

The ‘Pubs have three announced candidates so far, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. They all made their announcements in public, in person, and made the media rounds afterward.

On the democrat side, Hillary announced her candidacy…via social media—not in public, not in person, and no interviews with the media. Instead, she rented a Darth Vader van, went to Iowa, found a restaurant, ran out everyone who was there, filled it with hired supporters and created a media event. And, like she did in 2008, departed without leaving a tip—verified by the on-site security cameras.

What a comparison: Cruz, Paul, Rubio, real people meeting real people vs. Hillary, a fraud and a phony, a manufactured candidate. It is a pocket-sized truism of left vs. right.

Hillary believes if she can manipulate the public, she’ll win. Not even the rabid democrats believe her anymore.

From PJ Media…

86% Say No to Hillary in MSNBC Poll

by Debra Heine, April 15, 2015 – 11:02 am

According to a new Rasmussen poll, nearly six in 10 voters believe that Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the next president. But perception is not reality, as an MSNBC poll seems to indicate.

The poll, which appeared on the MSNBC website on Tuesday morning, shows that 86% of MSNBC readers who responded would not vote for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential election. Only 13% responded in the affirmative and a mere 2% said “maybe.”

The poll, while not scientific, strongly suggests that progressives do not prefer to have a baggage-laden career politician as their party’s standard bearer in 2016.

***

“Missouri is no longer a presidential bellwether state. The state’s voters haven’t sided with the national victor since 2004,” so says the St. Louis Public Radio. What they really mean is that Missouri hasn’t been an Obama rubber-stamp much to the chagrin and disappointment of the St Louis liberals.  In fact, Missouri is so out-of-step, according to them, that the state’s political consultants are being chosen to lead the campaigns of Cruz, Bush, and perhaps Scott Walker.

Missouri’s position — and importance — in 2016 presidential contest up in the air

First, one thing needs to be made clear: Missouri is no longer a presidential bellwether state. The state’s voters haven’t sided with the national victor since 2004.

As a result, as more candidates announce their 2016 presidential bids, many activists in both major parties predict Missouri won’t be a battleground state this time, either.

This means, as in 2012, Missouri voters won’t see many presidential TV ads and likely won’t see much of the candidates.

Under that scenario, Democrats believe it will be too costly, too risky and unnecessary to try to carry the state. And Republicans are confident they don’t need to spend money to keep Missouri in their presidential column.

But that doesn’t mean Missouri has no role to play in the presidential contest. “We will not see presidential candidates coming here for votes, but they will be coming here for some of the talent in our state and probably more importantly, to raise funds,” said Republican consultant James Harris.

In fact, such quests already are underway. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush stopped by a couple months ago for a private money-raising event held at Hunter Engineering, the firm owned by former Ambassador Stephen Brauer and headquartered near Lambert Field.

And several major Republican players in the state already have lined up behind GOP contenders:

  • Kansas City-based consultant Jeff Roe has been assisting GOP hopeful Ted Cruz for months and recently was named his campaign manager;
  • Gregg Keller, a St. Louis-based consultant, is a senior adviser for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., also is on board with Walker, providing policy advice. Keller and Talent previously had been active in Mitt Romney’s presidential bids.
  • Prominent St. Louis lawyer Jack Oliver, former vice chairman of the Republican National Committee, has been volunteering in the state and nationally on behalf of Jeb Bush. Oliver earlier had been the campaign finance chairman for former President George W. Bush.
  • Harris, based in Jefferson City, isn’t officially aligned with any of the 2016 candidates, although he personally backs Jeb Bush. He served as a contribution “bundler’’ for Republican nominees John McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012.

Oliver, by the way, disagrees with those pundits who write off Missouri as a 2016 battleground state.  “Missouri is a very important state, and will be in the primary and in the general election,” he said.

Some fellow Republicans who privately agree with him point to the state’s top Missouri Democratic consultant, who long has been a national player:  veteran consultant/money-raiser Joyce Aboussie.

Based in St. Louis, Aboussie was the national political director for U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt, D- St. Louis, for more than a decade. She has supported and assisted Hillary Rodham Clinton for years.

The column continues on the website, you can read all if it here. Missouri’s liberals may think Missouri has nothing much to be noticed. Others, on the national political scene, believe otherwise.

The end of an era

[tam_revolver.sized.jpg]One of the more famous—and visited, blog sites on the internet, Tam Keel’s View from the Porch, is no more. I would have provided a link, but the site is gone. Tam was a victim of constant personal attacks, a stalker, who continued his attacks in spite of a restraining order. Fortunately, he was wise enough to not attack her face-to-face.

But in the end, she decided enough was enough. We, all her readers, will miss her.

***

I’ve been writing this blog since 2008. Some ‘net commentators say the era of blogging is over, killed by Facebook and Twitter. They support their claim by the decreasing number of blogs, like Tam Keel’s, that disappear every month. I do know that it is getting more difficult writing a new post five days a week. It seems that we, as a nation, learn nothing and just continue repeating the same old failed policies, making the same old mistakes, repeating the same old lies and continuing to ignore the voting public.

Unlike Tam, I’ve never had a large number of readers. I do not write my blog for them but for myself, an avenue to allow me to vent my frustrations with government at all levels, particularly at the state and federal governments. I would like to think I’ve made some small contributions for change at the local and county level, but I’m one person at a time when most of the citizenry just can’t be bothered to spend any time with politics.

They all give excuses, the same old hackneyed ones but in the end, they show their true colors, political parasites who will complain when their personal ox gets gored but won’t take the time nor effort to prevent that goring.

I can understand Tam’s frustrations. I feel them too. I don’t have the same irritants as she but it is sooo tempting to just say, “to hell with it all,” and shutdown.

But not today.

Why does it feel like June 1914?

This train of thought was triggered by blogger friend, Tam.  She wrote a short post noting the similarities of the current world events with those in the months prior to World War I.

Like pre-World War I Serbia, the RIFs around the world are rioting. Supposedly the cause of the rioting is a 10 minute YouTube video that had around a thousand views before 9/11/2012.  The Obama White House jumped on this excuse with both feet to cover the fact that the real reason of the riots were a planned series of attacks by a renewed Al-Qaeda—a renewed Al-Qaeda that thrived in the vacuum created by Obama’s policy of Mideast appeasement.

The riots were aided by Obama’s state department orders that removed the Marines from Libya and disarmed the Marine guards in Egypt. Obama and Hilliary Clinton ignored warnings that could have protected the Americans in Libya but did not.

The First World War started due to a cascade of events that triggered the mutual assistance treaties of the initial participants: the  Triple Entente among the British, French and Russians and the Triple Alliance of Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Italy on the other. Like our Gulf Wars One and Two, the First World War was preceded by the Balkan War of 1908, The Boer War of 1880 and1899 and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.

The ignition of that war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife. The assassination was preceded by months of protests and riots using the pretense of the earlier Balkan War of 1908. By coincidence, Britain’s Prince Harry may have been an unintended target recently during a Taliban attack on a NATO base where the Prince was assigned.

Here is where the similarities between now and WW I begin to emerge. Today’s Mideast riots were planned by Al-Qaeda.  They are nothing more than a continuation of the wars and war-like acts going back to the creation of Israel, the several Israeli-Arab wars, the two World Trade Towers attacks and Gulf Wars I and II. When you include the tension between China, Japan and the Philippine Islands over the oil rich islands and coral reefs of the South China Sea, the coincidences can be amazing.

The members of the Triple Alliance perceived a weakness among the members of the Triple Entente. They thought the Triple Entente signers would not honor the alliance. Likewise today, the US has mutual assistance treaties with Japan, Israel, the Philippine Islands and NATO. Our enemies see weakness in the US by the bunglings of Obama and Clinton. They see weakness in the economic disarray of the European Union, and, like the Triple Alliance of the last century, believe the current treaties will not be honored. The misperceptions of the Islamofascists, the Islamic Brotherhood and China could lead us to another global conflict that would rival the participants of World War I.

The election coming in November has an importance that extends far beyond our national borders. A Romney win and a repudiation of the Obama policy of Islamic appeasement could forestall another global conflict—one that could include tactical nukes if Iran completes her nuclear program or acquires a few nuclear weapons from Pakistan. The danger of a regional nuclear war is very real.

China has nuclear weapons as well. Japan has the knowledge and material to build nuclear weapons quickly if they perceived a real need.  Survival threats can easily overcome Japan’s nuclear phobia if the US does not stand as a shield against China.

We know the Islamofascists are not sane. We believe the Chinese leadership are sane…as long as they believe they can maintain their power. If China believes their need for resources, the oil fields of the South China Sea are such that the lack could endanger their position, they, too, may be willing to threaten to use nuclear weapons in a seizure of the contested islands and oil fields.

It is a perilous time. The Twentieth Century has been named, “The War Century” by some historians. The Twenty-first Century has the potential to be one as well.

Notes from the Edge

I call it the Edge.  Mrs. Crucis and I trolled, watching and listening, along the edges of the crowds attending the 2012 NRA Annual Meeting.  We met some blogger friends face-to-face for the first time and some nationally known folks as well.

When we arrived Thursday evening, our “free” wi-fi hookup at the hotel didn’t like my Android Tablet.  No outside internet access.  That left us with our Sprint android “smart” phones.  I wrote Friday’s post and then couldn’t get it published. It finally went out on Saturday…late.

Truth be told, unlike so many others, we didn’t go to see all the vendor booths.  We went to see and listen to the speakers, see Trace Adkins Friday night and Larry the Cable Guy with Glenn Beck on Saturday night.

I called and received media credentials like many other bloggers.  I was surprised how easy it was.  Give name. Give blog URL. Presto! Credentials!

Thursday evening and continuing Friday and Saturday, we joined our cohort…bloggers. We met many like AD, Old NFO, Frank James, Jay G, Phlemmy and Lawdog, Matt G, Sebastien and many others. The bloggers had seized a large round table in the corner of the media room.  It was our central collection and meeting point.  I’m embarrassed to admit, I should have taken notes, matching face to name to blog.  Alas, I didn’t.  Mrs. Crucis and I spent a while in conversation with AD.  He and NFO were easily the most approachable in our group.

I think this is enough for today. I’d intended to talk a bit about the Friday speakers, but I was diverted from that subject today.  Come back tomorrow for my observations.

I’ve completed my quest

This week is ending on a definite positive note.  I’ve completed a decade-old quest and I’ll meet some blogger friends face-to-face Saturday.

The quest is that I’ve finally acquired a Colt Combat Commander, blued in .45acp.  It has some slight holster wear and a scratch on the slide around the slide release pin.  According to the serial number, it was manufactured in 1977.

I don’t have it in hand at the moment. It’s being transferred from Kansas to my local FFL and I don’t have a photo—yet.  In the mean time, feast your eyes on the image above from the internet. It’s almost exactly like mine.

The second item is that Holly Berry and her hubby, Johnny, AKA JPG, will be in the KC area this weekend and we’re having lunch Saturday.  We’ve never met but I think Mrs Crucis and I have a lot in common with Holly and Johnny.  I’m looking forward to it and we’ll show’em some KC BBQ.

I can hardly wait!