Wednesday’s Review

Mrs. Crucis and I were startled by our doorbell this morning. It was our neighbor, Gordon, who, having not seen us for a few days, was checking on our welfare…he also cleared our driveway, sidewalks and steps with his snowblower. Judging by the average observable depth, we received over 8″ of snow.

We’ve always been very independent. We have had to learn, as we’ve gotten older, that some things should not be done…like shoveling snow.

Gordon and I discussed sharing the cost of a snowblower at one time. I didn’t hear more until I saw Gordon unloading one from the back of his truck. I went over and visited a bit, helped him get it out of his truck. Gordon told us we would not have to shovel snow anymore, he’d take care of that.

That was three years ago. Gordon has kept his promise.

***

Vlad the Putin lusted after the Winter Olympics and got them. It was his chance to show the world the recovery of the Russian Alliance. Athletes and reporters gathered in Sochi and stories are beginning to emerge. Unexpected, by the west, stories.

Sorry, Vlad, your New Russia isn’t ready for prime time.

***

My favorite picture from the Superbowl…

ramirez_02042014***

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia startled law students and most news junkies with this statement, Kidding yourself’ if you think internment camps won’t return.”

The context of the statement was a discussion with law students that the internment of Japanese-Americans during WW II, was wrong, regardless of SCOTUS approval.

It was a wake-up call for the students that reality often does not follow logic, nor law.

Scalia: ‘Kidding yourself’ if you think internment camps won’t return

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Scalia was responding to a question about the court’s 1944 decision in Korematsu v. United States, which upheld the convictions of Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu for violating an order to report to an internment camp.

“Well of course Korematsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again,” Scalia told students and faculty during a lunchtime Q-and-A session.

Scalia cited a Latin expression meaning, “In times of war, the laws fall silent.”

“That’s what was going on – the panic about the war and the invasion of the Pacific and whatnot. That’s what happens. It was wrong, but I would not be surprised to see it happen again, in time of war. It’s no justification, but it is the reality,” he said.

Avi Soifer, the law school’s dean, said he believed Scalia was suggesting people always have to be vigilant and that the law alone can’t be trusted to provide protection.

Soifer said it’s good to hear Scalia say the Korematsu ruling was wrong, noting the justice has been among those who have reined in the power of military commissions regardless of the administration.

To paraphrase Scalia, “During war, all legal bets are off…anything can and may be justified during the panic and chaos of war.” In some instances, like our current political environment in Washington, it applies to politics as well.

Snow Day

Today’s forecast for six to ten inches of snow reminded me of an unplanned snow day I had when I was in grade school. I grew up in the 1950s on a small farm in Southern Illinois. The roads in our area were maintained by the county and, for that time, well kept. They were gravel with three-foot drainage ditches on each side. Every fall, one of the county graders would drive down our road clearing those ditches in anticipation of the Spring runoff.

Those nice deep ditches made drivers in our area very careful. Frequently, we would have someone knocking on our door at all times of the day and night, asking Dad to pull them out of the ditch with his tractor. Often, because Dad was working in the coal mines, I drove the tractor, set the chains and did the deed. Imagine today, a ten-year old boy driving a large tractor, hauling chains, climbing underneath a car, truck or another tractor and pulling it out.

Well, those were different times. Parents expected more of their children and more often than not, the kids met those expectations. No helicopter parents then. They were too busy working, feeding their families, providing shelter and taking care of familiy and friends.

On this occasion, a storm had dumped a foot of snow across the county. I rode a bus to school, traveling over ten miles each way to school. The school was three miles away from the farm and during warming weather in May and September, I would walk the distance or ride my bike. In winter, I was glad to ride that heated bus.

I stood inside watching the road for that yellow bus. It usually arrived a few minutes after 7am. Dad had left for the mine an hour earlier. With the snow, he caught a ride with our neighbor who owned a war surplus jeep, the only 4-wheel drive vehicle in our area. Mom would usually be teaching but she was snowbound too. Her 1949 Plymouth was stuck in our driveway, failing the passage through a three-foot drift that blocked our drive.

By 7:30am, we were getting a bit worried…no yellow bus. At 7:45am, the phone rank—long-short-long. Our ring. We were on a party line. Mom answered. It was the school. My bus had slid into a ditch a mile from our house. The other bus, whose route covered the district on the other side of the highway, was blocked. It needed to pass over railroad tracks to reach our school. The railroad was ten feet above ground level. The bus couldn’t climb the rise. Under that foot of snow was a sheet of ice.

No school today! What every kid wants to hear. For me, it was even better. If Mom hadn’t been blocked in our driveway, I would have had to go to school with her. Today, we were both off!

I soon realized that put me in a situation. Mom was one of those who always had to be busy. She started planning her day: bake some pies, a cake. slow roast a chicken…clean house!

I didn’t mind helping her with the baking. I could get a few of the trimmings, lick the icing, get a nibble here and there, but cleaning the house? No, I better have a plan of my own.

The storm arrived in mid-November. Thanksgiving was still in the future. Some of Mom’s cooking was in preparation of that holiday. What could I do? The thought struck me—it was still rabbit season. That was my out, I could go rabbit hunting.

I told Mom my plans. I thought she might say no, but she and Dad liked rabbit, especially rabbit stew. If I brought home a rabbit before noon, we could have rabbit stew for supper instead of roasted chicken. Truth be told, I preferred rabbit stew over the chicken, too.

 Bundling up took planning. Start with long-handled underwear, smooth cotton socks, the first layer. Next came wool socks, flannel-lined jeans and flannel shirt. Over my shirt cam a wool sweater. Outer wear was a canvas hooded coat. Mom had dunked it into a new product (whose name I’ve now forgotten) that waterproofed the coat. Inside the coat was a quilted liner. Add a wool scarf, wool gloves within a leather shell, a hat with foldout earmuffs, rubber insulated boots and I was set.

Now, you may think that was all too much, that I’d be like the proverbial snow-boy with too much coverings to move. It wasn’t. First, the coat was two sizes bigger than I needed. That gave me flexibility and air-space between the layers. It it was too tight, I’d get sweaty, not good at sub-freezing weather.

Out I went, a .410 single-shot shotgun in hand with three shells in a side pocket. Rabbits were easy to find in snow. They would find a place out of the wind and sit. The snow would drift over them and when covered, the only sign was a ‘blow hole’ in the drift from the rabbit’s breath. If you were observant, you could see their breath steaming from the hole.

Hunters used two tactics hunting rabbits in snow. One was to stomp around, making a lot of noise to flush the rabbit. This wasn’t wise because usually the rabbit took off long before you got close enough to shoot. The second was to sneak up on the rabbit, stepping slowly to get withing ten to fifteen feet of the rabbit. You had a choice at that point—shoot where you thought the rabbit lay, or flush it and take a shot at the running rabbit.

Another tactic if you had a well trained dog was to have the dog flush the rabbit towards you. I preferred that method but Dad didn’t want me to risk one of his prized dogs hunting rabbits if he wasn’t there.

My favorite hunting area was a large corn field behind our house. The field had been harvested earlier in the Fall. The remaining cornstalks provided cover for small animals feeding off the spilled corn remaining from harvest. Rabbits preferred more cover, cover like the brush-filled fence line.

Dad and I would clear the fence line every few years, but in between clearings, briers would soon return accompanied by blackberries, raspberries and other brush useful to conceal rabbits and other larger predators.

It was quiet in that field. The snowfall had increased. The temperature, in the low twenties according to the large round thermometer next to our back door, had risen a few degrees since dawn. Instead of the small, dry snowflakes from early morning, they were now large, fat flakes. I could almost hear the ‘thud’ when they fell to ground.

I had the hood of my coat up over my cap. The only exposed skin was my face. My nose and cheeks tingled when exposed to the slight wind. Otherwise, I was fine.

The field was a mile long ending in a wood-line and a small creek. http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/ohotnik/ohotnik1011/ohotnik101100036/8355385-winter-hunting-for-hares-on-the-first-snow.jpgI slowly walked down the fence line, looking for that tell-tale plume of steamy breath from a hidden rabbit. Halfway down the field I found one. When I crept closer, he ran…across the fence-line into the neighboring field. No shot.

Crunch…crunch…crunch, step by slow step, I walked down the fence-line. In normal conditions, I could walk that fence-line in fifteen minutes. Today, it took over an hour.

A hundred yards from where I had flushed the rabbit, I surprised a fox. He ran down the fence-line until he was just outside of shotgun range and stopped, looking back at me, daring me to shoot. There was a bounty on foxes and a fox pelt was worth a few dollars. It was tempting but I remembered I only had three shells of #6 shot, two my pocket, one in the shotgun. The shot was too light for foxes. It was almost too light for rabbits. I normally preferred #4 shot but I didn’t have any. Besides, shot-shells were too expensive to waste. A box of twenty cost nearly five dollars.

I reached the end of the field. The snow was still falling steadily, the depth approaching a foot by this time.  The trees, though bare of leaves, blocked some of the wind. I dug into my coat for a handkerchief to blow my running nose.

I had planned to circle the field following the fence-line that would eventually bring me back to the farmyard. But the morning was still young, only 10 o’clock. I had no rabbit and if I returned too soon, I’d still have to help Mom clean. That was the whole point in going hunting, to escape from Mom’s addiction for a clean house. At ten years of age, I had better things to do.

I wasn’t cold…except for my face. I remembered Mom’s warning about frostbite. I had a wool scarf around my neck. I raised it to cover my mouth, nose and cheeks—like a bad-guy in a western, I thought. Soon, the tingling stopped. The only exposed skin now was my eyes and an inch or so above them not covered by my cap.

Some of the trees in that woodlot still had a few brown leaves; a few that failed to fall in the previous weeks since the beginning of Fall. As I stood there, listening to the wind and distant sounds, something fell, striking twigs and branches in its fall to the ground. I looked around on the snow covered ground and saw cracked acorn and hickorynut shells littering the base of the tree…shells too fresh to be covered by the falling snow.

Squirrels! If I couldn’t bring home a rabbit, a squirrel or two would do as well.

Squirrels are skittish creatures. If anything strange moves in their area, they freeze in place. Once they’ve identified the source of the noise or the location of an intruder, they will move to keep the trunk of a tree, or limb, between them and the possible predator.

During squirrel season, I would hunt squirrels with a .22 pistol. Squirrel season was in late August through September. My method was to find a tree containing squirrels. I’d then lay on the ground next to the tree trunk, raise the pistol and rest my arm against the trunk of the tree and wait for a squirrel to appear. In a few minutes, if there was no more movement, they would creep out, curious to see where the predator had gone…right into my pistol sights.

Squirrel season was long over. But—I was still on our farm. It was open season for everything on your own property. I chose to use a variation of my usual squirrel hunting tactic.

I moved to the trunk of a large hickory tree. The snow surrounding it was littered with cracked hickorynut shells. I raised my .410, held it vertically in front of me, and leaned against the tree trunk to wait.

It seemed like forever.

After 15 minutes I heard something scampering in the tree-limbs above me. I kept still. More scamperings. Finally, I heard what I was waiting for, a falling nut shell.

I slowly looked up, looking for the squirrel. Then I saw it move, a large fox squirrel, almost the size of a rabbit. I slowly raised my .410. I paused whenever the squirrel stopped chewing on a nut, until I had it in my sight. That bronze bead on the tip of my .410 never seems so small.

Bam!

Squirrels scattered. There must have been a dozen in that tree and its neighbors…squirrels I’d not seen. I looked for the fox squirrel.

At first there was nothing. Then, I heard it, the thump, bump of the squirrel falling down through the tree-limbs. It fell to ground a few feet in front of me. I picked it up in my gloves, checking for fleas and other parasites that indicated a sick squirrel. It was clean. No obvious blood either except for a small trickle from it’s nose.

My hunting mission was accomplished. Should I wait and see if another squirrel would reveal itself, or go home? Waiting for another squirrel would take time; time for them to quiet, a half hour at least, and it was now after 11am.

The snow had continued to fall, another inch accumulating since I had left the house and it would only get deeper. The lure of a warm home, maybe some canned chicken soup for lunch and hot tea, won the mental coin toss.

 It was a good morning spent in the woods even with the cold and the snow. The wind had created some drifts that were waist deep as I retraced my fading footsteps back to the farmyard. By the time I reached the barn, those earlier steps were gone, covered by wind and blowing snow.

The barn was heated by a few electrical heaters. Our four horses were in their stalls feeding on oats and hay that I had placed there before sunrise. On the other side of the barn, behind a wooden plank fence, were our few head of cattle, glad to have a shelter out of the wet, snow and wind.

I had one more task before going home, clean the squirrel. That was one inviolate rule of hunting, clean what you shot, be it a rabbit, squirrel, duck or goose. It didn’t take long. There was a water line in the barn for the stock with a faucet. After washing the cleaned squirrel under the cold water, I was finished.

The barn was a hundred yards from the house, one last trek through the snow to warmth. I gave the squirrel to Mom when I was inside. As I expected, she accepted it in lieu of the promised rabbit. I left my boots and coat next to the back door, still dripping from melting snow. Up a few steps from the back door was the kitchen.

I made a line to our family’s favorite spot when returning from the cold outside—the heat register. Our house was heated by a coal furnance. Dad, being a miner and union member, was able to buy home heating coal at a ridiculously cheap price.

It wasn’t forced air heat. There were no fans on our furnace, just convection heating. I remember Mom standing on that same register, the rising hot air making her dress bloom.

It was farm life in the 1950s. A good day, a snow day well spent, cakes and pies in the over and a squirrel stew simmering on top. Life couldn’t be better.

 

 

Snow day!

Everyone seems to be taking a snow day today…and maybe tomorrow as well. I underestimated the snowfall last week. Once I got outside and made some measurements, we averaged 14″ in our yard. Our deck had a drift more than two feet deep. Fortunately, about half of the snow melted over the weekend.

Last night and continuing through today, we are receiving more snow. Using my Mark I eyeball, I would estimate we have around 8″ of new snow, so far. It’s a wet, heavy snow, clinging to trees and power lines.

Some 55,000 homes across Kansas City are without power including Mrs. Crucis’ cousin who lives in Kansas City.  We had a power ‘blink’ sometime during the night but it was brief. In our neighborhood, the power lines to houses are buried and the above ground lines are free of trees.

Here’s a couple of obligatory photos.

Snowstorm_02262013_tblet-1Snowstorm_02262013_tablet-2

***

Shenanigans.

The dems are using twitter  to send pro-gun control tweets to ‘Pub congressmen. I suppose I can’t really complain since we conservatives do too—to ‘Pub congressmen.

Republican rep claims Obama backers using fake Twitter accounts in gun-control blitz

Published February 25, 2013, FoxNews.com

President Obama supporters appear to be using fake Twitter accounts to send pro gun-control messages to members of Congress, Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman and conservative bloggers who also reviewed the messages said Monday. 

Bloggers first spotted the trend and said they suspected some social media funny business because the senders had sent no other tweets, had no followers and followed nobody.

In addition, blogger Stacy McCain said his review found the majority of the accounts supporting Obama’s gun-control campaign were created less than 48 hours before a member of Congress was contacted.

The tweets in question included the #WeDemandAVote hashtag – which President Obama told gun-control supporters to include in their Twitter messages to Congress.

Stockman is among 16 members of Congress who appear to have received the tweets.

On Monday, the congressman suggested “Obama’s anti-gun activists” were behind the allegedly computer-generated messages, which his office called a “scam” similar to those selling “male enhancement pills.”

Stockman also said accounts are linked directly to a former Obama staffer and called on the president to denounce the spamming.  

“Obama’s anti-gun campaign is a fraud,” Stockman said in a statement. “The White House has some explaining to do. To what extent is the White House involved in this attempt to defraud Congress?”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

‘Nuff said.

Monday Moments

It is bright outside here near KC. That won’t last. According to which track you’re following and which model your local forecaster is using, we’ll get between 8″ to over 12″ of snow in the next 36 hours. One local station estimates up to 18″. My wife teaches on Tuesday nights. She is expecting a snow day.

KC Storm Watch February 25, 2013

KC Storm Watch February 25, 2013

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South Carolina democrats are planning to hire private detectives to “discover” dirt on their ‘Pub opponents. It’s not an new tactic. In South Carolina, the purpose is to “cripple” the  legislative agenda of the ‘Pub state leadership and Governor Pat McCrory.

Liberal groups lay out blueprint for attack on state leaders

By Mark Binker

Raleigh, N.C. — A strategy memo circulated recently among liberal-leaning groups prescribes “crippling” legislative leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory with bad press and pressure tactics.

The memo, which was first reported by The Charlotte Observer, details communications strategy, political tactics and polling data that progressive groups can use to push the policy agenda in Raleigh, where Republicans control both the governor’s mansion and the legislature. 

According to documents included with the memo and interviews, the strategy outline was produced by Myers Research and Strategic Services for Project New America. It was originally provided to Progress North Carolina, a liberal nonprofit that has aggressively attacked McCrory during the 2012 campaign and his early term in office. Progress North Carolina shared the memo with Blueprint NC, a nonprofit that coordinates the activities of liberal-leaning nonprofits. In turn, Blueprint NC distributed it to its member organizations.

An electronic version of the memo appears to contain at least three separate documents. One is an email from outgoing Blueprint NC Communications Director Stephanie Bass describing the material and emphasizing that it is “CONFIDENTIAL to Blueprint, so please be careful – share with your boards and appropriate staff, but not the whole world.”

Sean Kosofsky, Blueprint NC’s director, said his group did not pay for or commission the research. “We were just forwarding it on,” he said.

On Saturday, two days after this post originally published, Kosofsky distanced his group from most inflammatory parts of the document, although acknowledged it was distributed at a meeting organized by Blueprint NC. Click here to read more about what Kosofsky says about the controversial memo.

The second document is a “talking points memo” that outlines strategies for progressive groups. Policy wins for the political left, the memo said, would likely be defined as “mitigating” legislation, rather than pushing their own agenda items.

“The most effective way to mitigate the worst legislation is to weaken our opponents’ ability to govern by crippling their leaders (McCrory, Tillis, Berger, etc…)” the memo reads, referring to the governor, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.

The memo goes on to describe a “potential two-year vision” during which the groups would “eviscerate the leadership and weaken their ability to govern.”

***

Need a job? Get paid to be a Gun Control supporter. Progressive USA Voters can’t get enough members to make an impact in Chicago’s ongoing battle against guns and the 2nd Amendment. They’ve found a solution. If there isn’t enough support, buy some!

Liberal astroturf group offering $9 to $11 per hour to join its gun-control campaign

10:12 AM 02/24/2013

The liberal organization Progressive USA Voters, which is housed in the same progressive Denver office building as a chapter of the infamous left-wing astroturf group ProgressNow, is offering an hourly wage of between $9 and $11 to join its gun-control campaign in Chicago, according to a flyer that was photographed and posted to Reddit Friday.

“Join the Campaign to Stop Gun Violence” reads the flyer, which also notes, “Hourly Wage: $9-11/hr.”

Progressive USA Voters is specifically focused on the April 2013 special election for Jesse Jackson Jr.’s vacated House seat in Illinois’ Second Congressional District. The group is targeting Democratic primary candidate Debbie Halvorson, who accepted more than $10,000 from the National Rifle Association, according to the Progressive USA Voters website.

Halvorson is running against former state representative Robin Kelly, who has received the endorsement of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC, Independence USA, which is also attacking Halverson on the issue of .

“Progressive USA will be going door-to-door in this important race in the coming weeks in order to educate voters about Halvorson’s record,” according to the group’s website.

Progressive USA Voters is a project of Progressive USA, which claims to “advocate for sensible policy solutions, hold our nation’s elected officials accountable for their actions and take head-on the flawed policies and hypocrisy of the radical right.” The group does not list its staff or directors on its website, and does not disclose its donors to the Federal Election Commission.

I don’t contribute to democrat politicians…but I’m tempted to send a few pennies to Debbie Halvorson.

***

Greed!

Chicago Teacher Union Prez Karen Lewis led a strike against Chicago Schools and Rahm Emanuel’s education reforms. Lewis won pay raises of 17.6 percent and now she’s under pressure—because she didn’t extort enough concessions and money. If I were the editor of the Chicago Tribune, I’d title this article as “Feeding on their own.”

Union boss who led Chicago teachers strike faces leadership challenge

6:19 PM 02/24/2013
Karen Lewis, the tough-talking boss of the Chicago teachers union who led the strike last September that derailed many of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s education reform plans, will face a leadership challenge in May.

Some members of the Chicago Teachers Union are dissatisfied with Lewis’s leadership. They think she should have won more concessions from the city.

We struck, we fought, we gave Karen Lewis all the power she needed, but she didn’t deliver at the bargaining table,” said Tanya Saunders-Wolffe, a school counselor who plans to run for CTU president, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.

As a result of the strike, Lewis was able to win teacher salary increases of 17.6 percent over the next four years. The compromise also gutted Emanuel’s proposal to tie teacher evaluations to students’ performances, and kept in place benefits and job protection for teachers with seniority.

Emanuel came away with his sought-after extension of the school day. He also turned the situation into an opportunity to push for school choice reforms.

Lewis wasn’t entirely happy with the deal and called it an “austerity contract.”

Evidently, some teachers agree with her. Saunders-Wolffe will run as part of a slate of candidates opposing Lewis’s leadership.

Lewis previously faced criticism for joking about the underclass murdering rich people.

Lewis is a nasty piece of work as is Rahm Emanuel. On one hand, it’s great to see two parasites fight one another. On the other hand if Lewis loses her re-election, Chicago will be saddled with a worse union goon boss.

***

My final topic today is an ad the NRA is running in some states. They acquired some DoJ documents that prove Obama really is planning to confiscate guns from US citizens.

NRA uses Justice memo to accuse Obama admin of wanting to confiscate guns

By Associated Press, Saturday, February 23, 2013

WASHINGTON — The National Rifle Association is using a Justice Department memo it obtained to argue in ads that the Obama administration believes its gun control plans won’t work unless the government seizes firearms and requires national gun registration — ideas the White House has not proposed and does not support.

The NRA’s assertion and its obtaining of the memo in the first place underscore the no-holds-barred battle under way as Washington’s fight over gun restrictions heats up.

The memo, under the name of one of the Justice Department’s leading crime researchers, critiques the effectiveness of gun control proposals, including some of President Obama’s. A Justice Department official called the memo an unfinished review of gun violence research and said it does not represent administration policy.

The memo says requiring background checks for more gun purchases could help, but also could lead to more illicit weapons sales. It says banning assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines produced in the future but exempting those already owned by the public, as Obama has proposed, would have limited impact because people now own so many of those items.

It also says that even total elimination of assault weapons would have little overall effect on gun killings because assault weapons account for a limited proportion of those crimes.

The nine-page document says the success of universal background checks would depend in part on “requiring gun registration,” and says gun buybacks would not be effective “unless massive and coupled with a ban.”

The administration has not proposed gun registration, buybacks or banning all firearms. But gun registration and ownership curbs are hot-button issues for the NRA and other gun-rights groups, which strenuously oppose the ideas.

Justice Department and White House officials declined to provide much information about the memo or answer questions about it on the record.

The memo has the look of a preliminary document and calls itself “a cursory summary” and assessment of gun curb initiatives. The administration has not released it officially.

But the NRA has posted the memo on one of its websites and cites it in advertising aimed at whipping up opposition to Obama’s efforts to contain gun violence. The ad says the paper shows that the administration “believes that a gun ban will not work without mandatory gun confiscation” and thinks universal background checks “won’t work without requiring national gun registration” — ideas the president has not proposed or expressed support for.

“Still think President Obama’s proposals sound reasonable?” Chris W. Cox, the NRA’s chief Washington lobbyist, says in the ad.

Last month, White House spokesman Jay Carney said none of Obama’s proposals “would take away a gun from a single law-abiding American.” Other administration officials have said their plans would not result in gun seizures or a national gun registry.

A Justice Department official who would only discuss the issue on condition of anonymity said the NRA ad misrepresents Obama’s gun proposals and that the administration has never backed a gun registry or gun confiscation.

While the memo’s analysis of gun curb proposals presents no new findings, it is unusual for a federal agency document to surface that raises questions about a president’s plans during debate on a high-profile issue such as restricting firearms.

Obama wants to ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines exceeding 10 rounds that are produced in the future. He wants universal background checks for nearly all gun purchases. Today, checks are only mandatory on sales by federally licensed gun dealers, not transactions at gun shows or other private sales.

His plan also includes tougher federal laws against gun trafficking and straw purchases, which occur when a person legally buys a firearm but sells it to a criminal or someone else barred from owning a weapon.

Interest in the gun issue has intensified since the December shootings in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 first-graders and six staffers at an elementary school. The Democratic-led Senate Judiciary Committee plans to write legislation addressing some of Obama’s proposals in the next week or two.

The NRA’s Cox declined to say how his organization obtained the memo.

He said the commercial is running online in 15 states, including many Republican-leaning states where Democrats will defend Senate seats next year, such as Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. There are also ads in papers in five states.

The memo was written under the name of Greg Ridgeway, acting director of the National Institute of Justice, the Justice Department’s research arm. It is dated Jan. 4, nearly two weeks before Obama announced his plan for restricting guns, and Ridgeway’s first day as acting chief.

The article is long and I included only a portion. Please follow the link and read the entire column. Obama may not get the legislation that he wants but we’ve already seen that he ignores congressional and constitutional constraints whenever they obstruct his goals.

Writer’s Block

I’ve run out of queued posts and I’m drawing a blank for new post. I could do the obligatory “Cold” post because it’s certainly cold. The lows for the last few days have been in the negative regions (Fahrenheit). We got another several inches (5?) of snow overnight on top of all the previous deposits since Christmas Eve. Tonight, the lows be be in the negative double digits and the forecasted high “may” reach zero but will likely be negative as well.

Here’s a photo taken on Christmas Eve.

Compare that with this one taken this morning. Yes, I know it’s not like the deep snow the east coast received, but it’s much above normal for the KC area. See, the usual winter climate for us is cold, but not a lot of snow. The plains are dry and most of the snow from the Colorado mountains gets dumped on eastern Colorado, western Kansas and Nebraska. By the time it reaches KC, we only get an inch or two that is gone in a few days. Not this time. The snow is not melting other than for some surface evaporation on the few sunny days we’ve had. No, it’s just getting deeper and deeper. The photo below that I took this morning and the beginning of the Crucis glacier. As I measured with a yard stick, it’s about 13″ deep on the average just off my deck. I haven’t checked the driveway yet.

I think I’ll just go hibernate for a while.

Snow

It started snowing this morning about 10 O’clock. This wasn’t the first snow this year. Last month we had a bit, more than a dusting but less than an inch. This time, it appears the snow will be more substantial.

I had to go out at noon—taking a break from work, and took this picture of my back yard before I left. It had been snowing about 30 minutes at this point.

A little less than an hour later, I returned home and took a second picture. Notice the difference.


While I was out, the snow was falling at a rate of an inch an hour. It’s still falling at that rate. The forecast has snow falling for another four hours. That could mean five inches before it stops if it continues at the current rate.

My wife has school tonight. She teaches at a local Bible college. She’s hoping classes will be canceled tonight. We’ll have to see.

I have “Jingle Bells” running in my head!