Getting Ready for a Range Session


A fellow church member is interested in getting a CCW. In Missouri, you have to show proficiency with both pistols and revolvers. He hasn’t either yet, so I offered to take him, his wife and adult son to my gun club and let him try out some of each.

In preparation, I took inventory and noticed I was short of .45 practice ammo. I work at home, so during lunch I ran down to the local Wally World and picked up a 100-round value-pack (Winchester white-box) of .45 ACP for 29.95+tax. That’s not so bad for just blasting ammo. It’s not like the $9.95/box of 50 that I bought last year but still not too bad.

For the session, I’ll take my 1911, Officer-sized .45, Kahr P-45, Browning HP, S&W M19 4″, M13 2.5″ and M442 2″ and give them some basic training. They’ve handled firearms before for hunting, but not handguns. It’ll all be new to them.

So, for your viewing pleasure, here’s a photo of my wife, Joyce, practicing with my S&W M13 a couple of weeks ago. She wanted to try out some .357 in it. I think she was a bit surprised by the recoil.

Polls, Lies and more Polls.

On the Drudge Report today are headlines about the other poll, Real Clear Politics indicates the average of the current polls is 11 points in Obama’s favor.

How can this be? One theory, known as the Bradley Effect, is an explanation for observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some political campaigns when a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other. Named for Tom Bradley, an African-American who lost the 1982 California governor’s race despite being ahead in some voter polls, the Bradley effect refers to an alleged tendency on the part of some voters to tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate, and yet, on election day, vote for his/her white opponent.

Another theory is that the polling groups are slanting the polled base. An examination of the recent IBD/TIPP poll shows more people were chosen in the Northeast, than any other area and more urban than suburban or rural by a 60% to 30% margin (I can at least understand this since there are more voters in urban areas than others.)

The bias here is the selection of sampling is from the predominately Blue/Liberal areas of the country. This item from the Rasmussen Report indicates more Democrats were selected than Republicans. Fifty-two percent (52%) of persuadables are unaffiliated with either major political party. Thirty percent (30%) are Democrats and 18% Republican.” Assuming that the “unaffiliated” respondents were equitably chosen, the distribution would still tilt towards more Democrats than Republicans.

In summary, Michael Barone, in an editorial for the Wall Street Journal titled, “Are the Polls Accurate?” provides a number of opinions why the current polling may be inaccurate. My opinion, however, is that most Republicans and Conservatives refuse to respond to polls leaving the polling agencies with a tainted pool with the resulting slanted report.

Be that as it may, we’ll all learn the truth of the polls the evening of November 4, 2008.

Polls, Lies and more Polls.

On the Drudge Report today are headlines about the other poll, Real Clear Politics indicates the average of the current polls is 11 points in Obama’s favor.

How can this be? One theory, known as the Bradley Effect, is an explanation for observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some political campaigns when a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other. Named for Tom Bradley, an African-American who lost the 1982 California governor’s race despite being ahead in some voter polls, the Bradley effect refers to an alleged tendency on the part of some voters to tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate, and yet, on election day, vote for his/her white opponent.

Another theory is that the polling groups are slanting the polled base. An examination of the recent IBD/TIPP poll shows more people were chosen in the Northeast, than any other area and more urban than suburban or rural by a 60% to 30% margin (I can at least understand this since there are more voters in urban areas than others.)

The bias here is the selection of sampling is from the predominately Blue/Liberal areas of the country. This item from the Rasmussen Report indicates more Democrats were selected than Republicans. Fifty-two percent (52%) of persuadables are unaffiliated with either major political party. Thirty percent (30%) are Democrats and 18% Republican.” Assuming that the “unaffiliated” respondents were equitably chosen, the distribution would still tilt towards more Democrats than Republicans.

In summary, Michael Barone, in an editorial for the Wall Street Journal titled, “Are the Polls Accurate?” provides a number of opinions why the current polling may be inaccurate. My opinion, however, is that most Republicans and Conservatives refuse to respond to polls leaving the polling agencies with a tainted pool with the resulting slanted report.

Be that as it may, we’ll all learn the truth of the polls the evening of November 4, 2008.

A Democrat Speaks the Truth


I ran across this column today by Orson Scott Card. Card is a self-proclaimed Democrat. He has, however, frequently diverted from the Democrat party-line and spoken his opposing opinions. Here is one Democrat I can respect.

Here’s a portion of his column. Go read and think. You won’t find the MSM writing about this.


Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?
By Orson Scott Card

Editor’s note: Orson Scott Card is a Democrat and a newspaper columnist, and in this opinion piece he takes on both while lamenting the current state of journalism.

An open letter to the local daily paper — almost every local daily paper in America:

I remember reading All the President’s Men and thinking: That’s journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn’t come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It’s a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor — which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can’t repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can’t make the payments, they lose the house — along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It’s as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

Isn’t there a story here? Doesn’t journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren’t you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. “Housing-gate,” no doubt. Or “Fannie-gate.”

READ MORE…

A Democrat Speaks the Truth


I ran across this column today by Orson Scott Card. Card is a self-proclaimed Democrat. He has, however, frequently diverted from the Democrat party-line and spoken his opposing opinions. Here is one Democrat I can respect.

Here’s a portion of his column. Go read and think. You won’t find the MSM writing about this.


Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?
By Orson Scott Card

Editor’s note: Orson Scott Card is a Democrat and a newspaper columnist, and in this opinion piece he takes on both while lamenting the current state of journalism.

An open letter to the local daily paper — almost every local daily paper in America:

I remember reading All the President’s Men and thinking: That’s journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn’t come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It’s a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor — which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can’t repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can’t make the payments, they lose the house — along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It’s as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

Isn’t there a story here? Doesn’t journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren’t you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. “Housing-gate,” no doubt. Or “Fannie-gate.”

READ MORE…

Squirrel Season

This time of year I get a craving for squirrel stew. Growing up on a farm, I had plenty of opportunity to hunt—squirrels and rabbits mostly. Rabbit stew was alright, but for some reason, Grandma’s’s squirrel stew just hit the spot. The problem with this craving was acquiring the primary ingredient, the squirrel.

I would usually arrive home from school on the bus around 3:30pm. I’d get a half dozen .22LR cartridges, grab my old Stevens single-shot rifle and head out the back towards the tree line at the far end of our property. In that tree line stood a number of Hickory trees just covered with squirrel food.

I frequently walked through the woods after school while my Grandmother, who lived with us, prepared supper. Mom was teaching and Dad still worked at the coal mine the next town south of us. Neither would get home earlier than 5:30pm. That gave me two hours of freedom to do what I wanted.

When I approached the tree line, the squirrels vanished as I expected. Most of the area around the trees were littered with leaves, some freshly fallen. One large Hickory tree rose from a small rise amid a ground cover of moss rather than leaves. My favorite squirrel hunting position was to lie down on the moss near the base of the tree, lean the rifle against the trunk and wait for the squirrels to get over their fright and to re-appear.

In this particular tree was a colony of large, red Fox squirrels. They had run off all the grey squirrels and claimed the large Hickory tree and some surrounding ones as their private domain. A Fox squirrel was much larger than a grey one so they were my preferred prey.

After lying quietly for a few minutes, I’d hear nut shells and husks falling through the limbs and remaining leaves. They told me the squirrels were out again. I slowly loaded the rifle, cocked it and aimed generally at the tree top. When a squirrel stopped on a limb in the open, I’d fire. I rarely missed. After an hour, I’d have my limit.

I returned to the house a little before my parents and would have the squirrels cleaned and soaking in cold water just as supper was ready for the table. With the larder filled, Grandma would fix the squirrels for supper the following day. We ate a lot of game during those years; squirrels, rabbits, ducks and geese. I miss those times. The freedom of the woods. Listening to squirrels running through the trees or an occasional rabbit through the thicket. The smell of freshly fallen leaves.

I don’t hunt anymore, but I still have the memories.

The Great Skunk Expulsion

I grew up on a small farm in Southern Illinois just off I-57 in Franklin County. Dad was a coal miner and after we moved to the farm in 1953, became a part-time farmer as well. The farm was only 60 acres, with an apple orchard, two ponds, a house and a barn.


The barn was old enough to have hand-hewn beams and joists. Along one side of the barn were several stalls and feed trough for larger livestock. There was a loft above the stalls where we kept hay, straw and feed. It was easy to fill the feed troughs by dropping hay or feed down a chute into the trough. There was a small space between the barn’s dirt floor and the bottom of the feed trough. Over the years, this area became filled with hay, manure and animal feed to form a fairly solid mass. Dad kept a few head of cattle and took in some horses owned by folks who lived in town.

One summer, a skunk moved into the barn under the feed trough into the far corner of the barn. For the most part, if the skunk didn’t bother us, Dad and I wouldn’t bother it. When the skunk had some kits, that changed. The skunk became very possessive of her territory and sprayed the horses, cattle and whomever else came close. When the cattle and horses would no longer enter the barn, everything came to a head—the skunks had to go.

I was in the sixth grade at that time. Dad got off from the mines about the same time that I got out of school. It was in May and the weather had been warm. Dad decided it was time to root out the skunks. The plan would be that he’d get the shotgun and shoot the skunks and I’d get the rack and drag them out and take the bodies off to the back of the farm. I didn’t much care for the division of labor. Dad got the easy part and I got the stinkin’ part.

So off we went, Dad with the shotgun over his shoulder and me with the garden rake. I opened the door of the barn to let in more light. Dad got down on the floor and with his best imitation of shooting in a prone position, sighted on the skunks in the corner under the feed trough, fired—and missed! He must’ve nicked ol’ Mama Skunk because she flew out of the corner, reversed and let fly all over Dad! Dad jumped up hollering, wiping his eyes and headed for the house with the skunk following.

I picked up the shotgun. It was an easy shot with the skunk in the open. I finished off the remaining skunks and followed Dad back towards the house. Mom fixed Country-Fried steaks for supper that night. Mom and I ate inside, Dad had his outside under the maple tree next to the house.

Fortunately, the horses took care of any skunk that tried to find a new home in the barn. Every now and then, we’d find a mashed skunk where skunk met horse and lost. Horses have long memories.

Funny how memories return. I hadn’t thought of that episode for decades until I saw a posting on Night Lightening Woman’s blog.