Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Retired basketball great Bob Kauffman passes

Bob Kauffman played for the Seattle SuperSonics, Chicago Bulls, Buffalo Braves and Atlanta Hawks, and then went on to management roles with the Hawks and Pistons.

The man was an inspiration to me, but it had nothing to do with basketball.

I was at the lowest of the low points in my battle with cancer more than 7 years ago, and this very tall fellow approached me at church one Sunday night. He too had battled, and won, his fight against the very same type of cancer, he said. I was too out of it from chemo and radiation to remember exactly what he said, but his words were compassionate, to the point, and inspirational. Divinely inspired, I dare say. I was reinvigorated with a will to win.

Before I knew anything about his history in basketball, Kauffman impressed me as a compassionate servant of the living God.

Prayers for his family. Rest in peace, Bob Kauffman.

Kaufman's obit in the Gwinnett Daily Post can be found here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

One Party Rule

No, not the old Soviet Union. Nor the Chi-Coms.

Not Cuba.

Not no farther than Washington DC.

They call themselves Republicans or Democrats.

But it's time to think in terms of the Incumbent Party, AKA "the permanent regime." 

Do we keep voting it forward?

What's in a name?

The Left now apparently puts forth the premise that the name "Forrest", if spelled with two Rs, is racist.

In the tiny community of Pine Lake, Georgia, residents fret that having the name on street signs sends the wrong message. WSB TV reports some of the city's residents believe Forrest Road might be named for Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

I watched the report. There's a city official who's concerned the stigma attached to the name drives business away from local merchants. I seriously about that to be the case.

I doubt anyone outside Pine Lake even knows there's a Forrest Road there. I doubt anyone with a brain would even care. Nevertheless, there's a petition drive underway to change the name.

If we start exorcising all the Forrests and their namesakes, what comes next?

The names Lee, Davis, or Jackson?

Speaking of Jackson, what about Stonewall?

Does the name Stonewall present any conflicts for the gay community?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

This one pegs my BS meter

Headline in the Washington Post declares "more guns equals more crime."

Strikes me, the Post has latched onto the latest "research" specifically intended to fuel anti-gun hysteria.

The Post's story delves into a recent study by Stanford law professor John Donohue:
The totality of the evidence based on educated judgments about the best statistical models suggests that right-to-carry laws are associated with substantially higher rates" of aggravated assault, robbery, rape and murder, Donohue said in an interview with the Stanford Report. The evidence suggests that right-to-carry laws are associated with an 8 percent increase in the incidence of aggravated assault, according to Donohue. He says this number is likely a floor, and that some statistical methods show an increase of 33 percent in aggravated assaults involving a firearm after the passage of right-to-carry laws.
So, Donohue's study wants you to believe more concealed carry is associated with higher rates of aggravated assault, robbery, rape and murder, But based on the Post's account, it doesn't tell us how many aggravated assaults, robberies, rapes and murders are committed by lawful carriers. 

Very seldom is a gun crime committed by someone who has passed a background check to become a lawful carrier (I can't recall a single mass shooting where the perp had a carry permit).

Donohue's research may only show law abiding folk are "gunning up" to meet an escalating threat from adherents of today's thug culture. Or to counter the kind of violent crimes once associated with gang controlled pockets of Central America or Mexico, but now becoming more common here, imported by criminal illegal immigrants.

Best I can tell, there's no evidence here, or anywhere, that more guns, when lawfully possessed and legally carried, equate to more crime. But more guns in the right hands do help balance the scales, putting an effective means of self defense within reach when a law abiding carrier becomes the intended target of a violent crime.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Shhh. Be vewy vewy quiet. We're fooling Americans.

John Kerry begs Iranians to hold their tongues until he and Obama wrap up approval of the nuke deal. 

Yet another sign Kerry's a frikkin' idiot?

Or, more likely, it's a clear indication of how easily fooled Kerry thinks Gruber-style Americans are.

Wake up, people. America's being betrayed from the top.

Conveying a message by sight and touch

Russia has debuted a new "military park" where people, including children, can experience the close-up look and feel of heavy military hardware.

Before you gasp, and denounce those war-like Russians, here's something to chew on.

In a time before political correctness, in the era of the Cold War, many American cities put military hardware not only on display, but also deployed it as playground equipment for America's impressionable children.

As a kid, I can remember climbing into the cockpit of a jet fighter and having an unrestricted, grand time there. Having a jet like that was a point of civic pride in many communities. Some cities still have those jets deployed on sandlot duty (or at least did as of a few years ago).

If a country's way of life is worth having, it's worth defending. That seems to be the message of Putin's military park. I think the civic leaders of 40 or 50 years ago probably had the same sort of thing in mind when they put milsurp jets in American playgrounds.

Such hardware also stood to testify about a nation's engineering and manufacturing marvels, served as a spark to one's imagination.

It takes more than military hardware to defend a nation, it takes a protective mindset, one that understands threats to a nation can come at home and abroad. It also takes a nation of bright people, proud of who they are, and who understand their history and traditions.

I wish we'd recapture more of a protective mindset in today's America.

I wish more people would take the time to rethink the idea of fundamental change they were sold some years back.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Via Twitter:

Monday, July 20, 2015

Social Security becomes Obama's latest domestic spy agency

Obama wants to enlist the Social Security Administration in his campaign to disarm Americans. 

More fiddling with old style comms

A while back, I posted about mounting a CB radio on my old Ford Ranger.

I've done a good bit of listening since then. Lots of guys running illegal high power in far-flung places. Next to nothing as far as local traffic's concerned.

Occasionally, I'll hear a trucker pass on a local highway (I'm 12 miles or so from the nearest
Oldies But Goodies. Left to Right:
Yaesu FRG-7 General Coverage Receiver
Kenwood TS-520SE Transceiver
President Washington CB Base Station

That said, I'm now adding CB capability at home.

The inside rig's a President Washington base station. Bought it used a while back,  it's probably 20 years old or more. Receives well on the regular 40 channels as well as upper and lower side band. Transmit power is constrained to legal limits.

Over the weekend, I put up a Solarcon IMAX 2000 antenna. It's a 24 foot antenna that, for now, is up on a 10 foot steel fence rail vertical mast.  A whole new world of listening has opened up on CB, I can almost make out the truckers on Channel 19, but thus far, I'm still not hearing an "locals".

The antenna also seems to work well on the 10 meter amateur band , showing a SWR of about 1.4:1 on 10 meters (it's a flat 1:1 SWR on CB/11 meters). Reception seems on par with a 10 meter wire dipole I've been using on an old Kenwood 520-SE for over a year. I haven't had a chance yet to test transmission.

I've not done a lot with trying to make contacts on either band. For now, the antenna's in a compromised location, mounted among the trees in a distant, but higher elevation, part of my back yard at the end of a 140 foot cable run (mostly RG 213 coax). Stealth is a priority, I want a low profile, so I accept the compromise.

Tests between home and the Ranger, and even with less than ideal antennas on each radio, showed clear CB communications about three to 4 miles out, and that's with a lot of natural and structural obstruction. Range might improve somewhat if I get an additional 10 to 20 feet in antenna height to compensate for the "hole" my yard's in.  Right now, I have houses on three sides taller than the tip-top of the antenna.

I'm having fun with the old radios. They're fun to tinker with, they give practical experience in applying radio theory.  I'm an old school guy who thinks they'd have solid value in a grid down, or wireless down, situation.

Some may see the CB as a step backwards for someone who holds a technician class HAM license, but CB is more of an "every man" radio. If digital comms ever go down for an extended period, my hunch is some old CBs may spring back to life offering up sit reps from both near and far.

Next steps in my comms plan? Raise the Solarcon.  Or maybe spend some time tweaking the 2-meter base station I set up a year ago. I kinda got bored with it because today's 2-meters is mostly about communicating through repeaters.

I also have an oldie-but-goodie portable 6-meter QRP (low power) rig I fiddle with from time to time.

Maybe the Ranger needs a 6-meter whip?

Long term, I may go for a general class HAM ticket, and venture into lower bands. But for the time being, I have enough to keep me busy were I am.

Every picture tells a story

Via Twitter:

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Knock, knock

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

An old Paul McCartney song can now be construed to dispense risky, life threatening instructions.

And an old SNL skit might not seem nearly so funny in an era with real life land sharks.

Stay safe, people. Exercise caution. Even at home.

Past time to arm recruiters

The military knows its recruiting offices are soft targets for terrorists.

As reported at Military Times:
“Recruiting offices have been kind of on the leading edge of targets simply because they are both ubiquitous and they’re vulnerable,” said Brian Michael Jenkins, senior adviser to the president of  Rand Corp... 
“These recruiting offices are everywhere,” he said. “They’re in shopping centers. They’re all around the country. So if you think about attacking a military target, as opposed to driving to some military base where there will be armed guards at the gate; if you want a geographically convenient, readily accessible target that the shooter can portray as a military target, then recruiting stations fit the bill. So the attack, while shocking, is not surprising.” 
It's past time to allow recruiters to carry firearms. Military personnel are trained professionals when it comes to safety practices and use of firearms. And the the threats they face from a known enemy is more than theoretical.

Residents rally outside recruiting office

Report from Hiram, Georgia posted at Fox 5 Atlanta says, in part:
The morning after a deadly attack on two military centers in Chattanooga, residents in Hiram are standing watch outside the local recruiting office with their personal firearms. It is their unique way of honoring the fallen Marines and they said to protect the lives of those who serve in the military. 
"I teared up. I think any human being would be touched by what happened yesterday. Any U.S. citizen that has a heart and a soul to hear what had happened," said Crystal Tewellow, who organized the watch. 
Recruiting offices are designated as being "gun-free zones" which means officers working there cannot carry their sidearm into the building. Tewellow, whose son just enlisted and the army and has a brother who is a recruiter, felt compelled to organize the watch. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

White House priorities

Approximately eight hours after Muhammad Abdulazeez carried out a deadly shooting spree targeting U.S. Marines in Chattanooga, Barack Obama's White House tweeted a celebratory note to Muslims around the world concerning their Eid holiday.

Mention of the deadly events in Chattanooga would have to wait more than an hour before making the White House feed. And even then, it was in a somewhat cryptic form.

From Twitter. Screen shot taken at approximately 5:30 am EDT 7/17/2016

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Kansas City mayor reportedly touts his city's white population decline

Imagine the uproar if a mayor touted declines in the percentage of blacks or Hispanics in a city. 

But driving down white influence or population?

That seems to give some politicians bragging rights now.

From WND:

The mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, in an address to the radical socialist organization National Council of La Raza, bragged that his city is no longer majority white and the city’s schools now have students who speak 62 different languages. 
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Kansas City, Kansas, was 52 percent white.  
But in a speech before the La Raza National Affiliates Luncheon earlier this week in Kansas City, Mayor Mark Holland boasted that only five years later his city’s white population has been reduced to 40 percent.  
He seemed to suggest that La Raza was at least partly responsible for the progress. But he also cited the refugee resettlement work of the United Nations and U.S. State Department for the city’s transformation into a gleaming example of multicultural diversity. 
Kansas City, he said, “is very proud of the work of National Council of La Raza.” 

Another "gun free zone"

The recruiting office in Chattanooga was posted as a "gun free zone."

Same glass door with the sign that says so was riddled with bullets in today's deadly attack.

Inaccurate reporting, deceptive activist pitch

Saw this posted over at V-103's website (V-103 is a top Atlanta radio station programmed to a black audience):
The Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP is calling for the removal of the Confederacy from Stone Mountain Park. Local chapter president Richard Rose says, “It is time for Georgia and other Southern states to end the glorification of slavery and white supremacy, paid for and maintained, with the taxes of all its citizens.” 
Both V-103 and the NAACP seemed to overlook something here.

Fact is:
The Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA), a State of Georgia authority, is self-supporting and receives no tax dollars, is responsible for Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Is single family zoning racist?

Seems everything in America is subject to blame for having roots in racism.

Apparently there's a city study committee in Seattle that believes the concept of single-family zoning is racist.

The committee's apparent desire to fundamentally change Seattle zoning ordinances comes at a time the Obama administration, via HUD, plans to use zoning and other tactics to "diversify" established neighborhoods across the nation that fail to meet some government Utopian standard regarding racial and income diversity.

Credit card fraud

Spent four days at the beach last week.

This morning I woke up to an email from my credit card company that someone attempted to use my account to make an fraudulent purchase last night. The credit card company declined the charge.

Is the timing a coincidence?

My rule for using a card when traveling: Use only one, but carry others as back-ups should the original be compromised.

And when traveling, only use a card where the card provider has a record of being proactive in detecting fraud. Over the years, I've found both Chase and Capital One to be exemplary in their ability to flag attempted fraud.

Do you really live with what they're selling?

The Confederate flag flap is just part of a game. An excuse to disingenuously stir emotions, lay blame, and position "progressives" to tout their sort of self-proclaimed moral supremacy.

I'm surprised more American don't see through it. Or maybe they do see it; they're just scared of being called racist if they say so.

John Hawkins writes at
Smearing millions of innocent people as racist, deliberately trying to stir up hatred over race just like the KKK does and trying to shift the blame for the failures of the Democrat Party over to another group of innocent people is not just morally wrong, it’s vile and un-American. It’s also more than a little similar to what Germans were trying to do to Jews in the early thirties. If it breaks Godwin’s Law to mention that, then so be it, because sometimes when the jackboot fits, Democrats should wear it.
I find it enlightening that the progressive mob, which largely rose to power touting themes of tolerance, now shows very clear signs it's morphed into totalitarians.

Progressivism was never about tolerance. It's always been about power, and escalating that power by any means necessary.

Indeed, today's America progressives now openly seem to share tactics to Europe's fascists of the 1930s.

Do you really want to live in the kind of America they're now in the process of ushering in?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The forgotten task

We're not preparing young people for workplace realities.

And it's probably worse in the U.S. than it is in Australia.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Follow the money

So HUD finally did it. Came out with new rules intended to"diversify" more of America's neighborhoods.

Same kind of social engineering that made a mess of many an America city will now target the 'burbs where those who could fled.

But I'm still thinking it's more about the money here than it is about fostering racial diversity.

What are the chances this new HUD oversight will provide an excuse to withhold federal funds from conservative, Republican voting communities, freeing up that cash to bestow on Democrat-voting urban centers?

Coincidence? I think not

Biz and government can tell you yesterday's cyber outages were isolated, and not the result of any hacking.

But what are the chances so many happened in such close proximity (and I've heard or otherwise know of others besides those mentioned in this LA Times article).

Words to the wise: If you're on the road (local or long distance), don't depend exclusively on a smart phone or other GPS device o navigate your trip. At the very least, look over the whole route before embarking, in the event your GPS goes dark while in transit.

And don't depend exclusively on credit cards, pack a little cash in your wallet. Credit card processors are susceptible to the same kind of outages seen yesterday.  Heck, I've seen lightning take out credit card processing on a hyper-local basis, and had to use cash that time to make a gasoline purchase.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Don't be in a rush to replace your "cats"

Along about 180,000 miles, our good ol' 2006 Toyota gave warning. The "check engine" light came on, and three different shops told us we needed to replace one or more catalytic converters.

Nope, not going to rush into that, we said. The cat replacement cost was close to what the car's trade-in value would be. So I started digging on the Internet.

What I learned was the PO430 code, usually interpreted as catalytic converter failure, can have a multitude of causes, and could be triggered by something as simple as a clogged air filter, dirty fuel injectors, or a bad sensor. So I picked up a new air filter, and a couple cans of Seafoam fuel additive (as suggested by an Internet post), and dumped a can each into the gas tank on consecutive fill ups.

The "check engine" light went off less than 500 miles later.

That was two years ago. And shortly thereafter, we retired the Sienna from my wife's high mileage daily use in favor of a new Honda Odyssey. But the Toyota seemed too good to practically give away for a couple grand. So we kept it as a knock-around vehicle for trips or tasks deemed too rough or dirty for the "new" Odyssey.

Last week, approaching 197,000 miles, the Sienna's "check engine" light popped on again. Sure enough, the cheap Harbor Freight diagnostic tool I bought last go-round showed the same error code. Another can of Seafoam was run through with another tank of gas, and I erased the codes.

Been a couple more hundred miles now, and the codes haven't come back.

The Internet is an especially valuable tool when troubleshooting problems on today's complex vehicles. As long as you know how to phrase your symptoms for a search engine, chances are you'll find others who have had the same issues, along with multiple suggestions on how to deal with them. Even if you're not mechanically inclined, you might find a YouTube video to lead you step-by-step through troubleshooting that otherwise might seem too complex to even attempt.

There's a time and a place to move forward on costly repairs or vehicle replacement.  But other times, when possible, it's best to check alternatives, and do some experimenting, before committing a pile of cash.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Tired old boots

Back in 1990, I needed some 8-inch boots in a hurry. My visa had been approved, and as a journalist, I had an invite to travel Saudi Arabia to report on some of the Georgia-based troops deployed with Operation Desert Shield.

The boots didn't need to be anything special, just something that could get me through, at most, a week or two in the Saudi desert. I ended up picking up a pair of brown all-leathers at Walmart. I recall I paid about 30 bucks.

Now, 25 years later, I needed some replacements.  After an incredible amount of use, on all kinds of outings and adventures, the soles on my old standards had worn pretty slick, and become slippery on wet surfaces.

Earlier this week, I picked up a set of black Tacticals at Academy. Again, budget bootery, but I didn't slip and slide when I ventured out in the rain this morning.

Carved "retread" soles
I harbor no fantasies that these new boots will last the next 25 years, but at least I have a pair at-the-ready for hiking or fishing, or any other situation calling for ankle support and substantial footwear.

And I'm still pondering whether I can craft some cuts in the soles of my old pair, something to retread and restore some of the traction that's been lost to wear. The uppers are still in great shape.

Update: While I was thinking about it, I took the old slick sole boots out and used a grinding wheel to carve in a little "retread." The forward soles were worn slick, but plenty thick and seem to have taken the carving well. Going to have to wait for the next rain shower to see if much of the old "grip" has been restored.

The Spirit of '76

July 4th isn't intended to be a military-themed holiday. And it's far more than picnics and fireworks.

Independence Day should honor the nation's citizens who chose to rise up, threw off the shackles of tyranny, and marched to the drum beat of liberty. And it should celebrate those who hold true to the spirit that gave birth to these United States.

Spirit of '76 parade, circa 1900
Bain News Service photo collection/Library of Congress

Today's "Google Doodle"

From: Google, July 4, 2015
July 4th. Today's Google Doodle chose lawn chairs, a cooler, and a couple of family pets to represent us on this Independence Day.  And, to be fair, Google did manage to work in a couple of table flags.

But, intended or not, I suspect there's more than a touch of accuracy here.

I interpret the empty chairs as symbolic of most Americans being MIA when it comes to protecting and defending their once-cherished rights and liberties.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Enjoy the 4th, it may be last of its kind

There's a warning this week that Saturday's Independence Day celebration may be the last to allow traditional cookouts or fireworks in many parts of the country.


Obama's EPA is moving toward socking America with a new dose of ozone/air quality restrictions.

The Daily Caller reports:
Viewing American Centennial Celebration Fireworks, 1876
Because the proposed ozone rule is set so low, things as harmless as a few backyard chefs grilling burgers in the same area at the same time, or even festive fireworks being launched during an Independence Day celebration, could cause an area to violate federal ozone standard thresholds. Such a violation of the EPA’s unreasonably low ozone limit would result in fines and other penalties for local governments from federal regulators.
If the Daily Caller report strikes you as alarmist, please understand it's not just outdoor holiday celebrations Obama and the EPA are putting at risk.

Business Roundtable notes:
Pursuant to court order, EPA proposed a new ozone NAAQS in December 2014 and intends to finalize the standard by October, 2015.  EPA has proposed to set a standard within the range of 0.065-0.070 ppm, largely consistent with the recommendations of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (0.060- 0.070 ppm) but it also has requested comments on maintaining the current 0.075 ppm standard and establishing a 0.060 standard.  If adopted, ozone standards in the 0.060-0.070 range would place large sections of the country in non-attainment status, thus making it difficult or impossible to expand manufacturing in these areas.    Standards in this range are close to background levels in many areas of the country and according to EPA, compliance increasingly would depend on technologies that have not yet been developed.
We have a federal government that's repeatedly and consistently using federal regulations and bureaucracy to shut down industry, and unplug energy infrastructure. But the pace of America's deconstruction is still slow enough that most Americans still can't grasp what's underway. Few bother to connect the dots of various federal actions, and the mainstream media shows zero interest in letting this cat out of the bag.  

Jefferson's view

"You seem to consider the judges the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter written September of 1820.

Duck and Cover

From Hope n' Change Cartoons:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sounds like a fascist mob

Breitbart reports illegal aliens disrupted an Ann Coulter book signing, attempting to stifle her public appearance, even burning her books.

Why is America tolerating mobs of illegal aliens who act more like fascist gangs of Europe in the 1930s than they do people who want to come here to assimilate into our American nation?

Are the "progressives" at the helm of the current U.S. government purposely exploiting alien mobs as their foot soldiers to help suppress traditional American viewpoint, and assist in ushering in what Obama said would be a fundamental transformation of America?

Why's most media afraid to report this?

Obama's pitching gun confiscation.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Got away for a few days

Headed for the hills (literally) and did a little camping and sightseeing in north Georgia and just across the state line in Tennessee.

My daughters insisted on "ENO camping," so they spent their nights, including those when it rained, sleeping in hammocks as we camped at a Georgia state park. For the most part, the rainflys kept 'em dry.

We spent a day whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River, and part of another tubing on the Toccoa. Same river, but known by different names in Tennessee and Georgia. We also stumbled across one of the few drive in theaters still operating in America.

The Swan Drive In has been showing movies in Blue Ridge, Georgia since 1955. We took in Monday night's first feature, Jurassic World.

Not sure which is harder to find these days. An operating drive in theater, or a shop targeting a tourist clientele with Dixie in its name. We found the latter in McCaysville, right next to the Drug and Gun store.