Archive for July, 2006

Alan Jackson’s New Coke?

July 31, 2006

As Readers no doubt know, not only am I a gun nut, at least as much of one as my limited budget will allow, but I am also a big music fan. And I like to spin one of my myriad cds as I clean my gun after each range trip. I can usually clean and oil the gun in the time it takes the cd to play, usually about 45-50 minutes at the longest. I know a lot of seasoned gunnies can clean their arms (at least their pistols) in a fraction of that time, but I am a bit diligent about it. You could eat off my guns after I am finished with ’em.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I was going through that post-range ritual with the Springfield 1911, listening to Alan Jackson’s 1994 cd Who I Am. That was not the first Alan Jackson cd I bought — that honor goes to his first greatest-hits cd — but it was Who I Am that made me see his greatness. “Livin’ On Love,” “Gone Country,” “Thank God for the Radio,” Job Description,” all those songs made Who I Am one of Jackson’s two best cds — along with 2002’s Drive — and, in my mind at least, cemented his legacy as the Merle Haggard of his generation — a simple singer of simple songs that every man can relate to at some point, all delivered in an unmistakably traditional country package.
Which is why, to say the least, I am disturbed in the extreme by Jackson’s latest offering, “Like Red On A Rose.” I am not sure what to say about it, but that this is not the Alan Jackson that made the two cds referenced above, or for that matter, Don’t Rock the Jukebox, Here In the Real World or the rest of that catalog to date. Which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, but by Jackson’s lofty standards, this song, well, just sucks. Sucks molasses through a coffee stirrer in January. I had heard that Alison Krauss was producing this next cd, and I really like Krauss as a singer, so, to say the least, I was expecting much, much better than this. I had heard Alan had an interest in bluegrass, and I was expecting to hear something a little more in that vein. Perhaps we’ll hear some of that, perhaps this cd will just blow the doors off anything he’s done before, who the hell knows, but at this point I am not holding my breath. If this lead single is any indication, Jackson’s next cd is going to be his equivalent of New Coke, and it deserves to fail just as spectacularly. I recall Natalie Maines saying not so long ago about the country fans the Dixie Chicks once catered to, “I’d rather have a smaller following of really cool people who get it…who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith. We don’t want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do.”
I suppose perhaps that last sentence is true to an extent, and I’ll put my varied tastes up against anyone’s, but once you’ve established yourself as an artist with a certain sound — as both the Chicks and Jackson did — people are going to come to expect certain things from you, and if you do anything else, there are those who might come to see it as compromising what you stand for as an artist. I can’t speak for the Chicks, as I haven’t heard anything from their latest cd and have no plans to pick it up, but I’ll admit that I think Alan’s compromised himself here. I expected better, I really did. I’ve picked up every Jackson cd on the day it’s hit the stores for the last eight years — with the exception of the gospel cd, but the budget’s kinda tight these days — or at least within a couple of days after, but with this new one, I am just going to wait and see. I work hard for my money. I don’t want to spend it on something I don’t like. If I remember right, Keith Stegall has produced every Jackson cd from the start, right up to 2004’s What I Do, and he’s had a stellar track record with Jackson. Alan should have stuck with that. What I Do was a little ballad-heavy for my tastes, probably his most depressing album ever (though I think that opinion may be due to the bad situation I found myself in about the time it came out), the closest thing to a dud that Alan’s had, and not one of Alan’s better sellers, but it was still a solid, traditional country, Alan Jackson album, sure as hell not worth switching producers for. We’ll see what happens, but it’s not sounding good so far.

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Compromise For Thee, But Not For Me

July 29, 2006

The Anchoress is one of my favorite bloggers, but I think she strikes out here… (emphasis mine — ed.)

I guess the fact that Rudy poses a threat to the “favorite sons” of the far-right, Romney (unelectable) and Allen (unelectable), we’ll now have to watch Rudy’s own side try to sabotage him, just like the Dems are trying to toss Joe Lieberman under the bus.
It’s shameful, but it is becoming less and less surprising. Recall, these are the same folks who, a few months ago, were almost calling for the impeachment of President Bush, because he was only giving them 75% of what they were demanding.
Reagan had problems with these folks, too, recall. They are the folks who always let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
I’m pro-life, pro gun-ownership and I would vote for Rudy in a New York minute. I trust him to do the right thing. He turned NYC from a hellhole into a haven.

Maybe Rudy would do the right things vis-a-vis the General War on Terror, and for that he should be lauded and commended, but as far as everything else goes, he’s little better than the likes of Arlen Specter or Lincoln Chafee. Also, as far as turning NYC into a “haven,” if it was really that good, then Rudy’s successor, the would-be Napoleon Michael Bloomberg, would not have more or less declared war on a certain industry that has done nothing wrong. And in the same vein, surely the GOP can do better than someone who thinks that “just as a motorist must have a license, a gun owner should be required to have one as well.” Not only can it do better, but it must. Let the Democrats be the ones not to trust the people to do the right thing.
But — and this is where the title of this post comes in — here is what really gets my goat:

There can be no common ground on an idea that an “adult in good faith” should be able to take an underage girl out of state to procure an abortion. While Hillary and her cohorts plead “compassion” here what they are doing is making it easy for your 14 year-old daughter’s 24 year-old exploiter to take her across the state lines and have the evidence of his statutory rape vacuumed out of her body before he leaves her, crushed and alone, to deal forever with what has happened to her.

Well, the fact of the matter is, there are more than a few of us who hold the exact same position on any kind of gun control — that is, we believe “there can be no common ground on the idea that the American people must be licensed by the government to own the best tools for the job of upholding the first law of nature, that of self defense.” We believe “there can be no common ground on the idea that the American people must be licensed by the government to own the very tools which raise the cost of that government’s potential oppression.”
So it would seem that what is being advocated here is “compromise for me, but not for thee.” And say what you will, but I think that’s outrageously unfair. People can argue about abortion all day long, but owning a firearm is a natural right granted to a person by that person’s very existence. I refer you once again to the GeekWithA.45, who explained that first law of nature better than I ever could:

Let’s start with the very first principles.
I (we) exist.
Inherent in that existence is the right to continue that existence, and that right exists everywhere we are.
There is nowhere on this earth or off it where the right to defend yourself does not exist.
Implicit in this right of self defense is the right to take positive action to actually effect that defense.
Since you have the right to take action to defend yourself, you also have the right to use tools to make that defense as effective as possible.
Since an immediate threat to your life is the most dire circumstance imaginable, and that this threat can emerge at any time, and in any place, and since failing to deal effectively with the threat means that you DIE FOREVER (as far as we can tell, anyway) any and all means are legitimate to effect your defense.
Therefore, you naturally have the right to posess and have with you, anywhere, the most effective means available to defend yourself, be it a stick, spear, sword, flintlock, modern firearm, forcefield, or phaser.
If you deny any element of the above, the whole thing will unravel all the way back to your very existence, and you are really arguing that someone else has a right to make you not exist.

You might well ask, “what’s any of that have to do with Rudy Giuliani’s position on guns?”
Everything. With that license proposal, he’s basically saying we should cede the decision to own a gun to a government-sanctioned body, regardless of all the basic violations of Constitutional and human rights that could ensue. I’ve heard it said before that in places like California, New Jersey and Massachusetts, you could be denied a purchase permit or Firearm Owner ID card/renewal if you went to your local police station (or whichever law enforcement agency regulates gun purchases in those respective states) wearing the wrong color shirt. Rudolph Giuliani wants to take that system and impose it on all of us, from sea to shining sea.
And that is what some people think we should compromise on? Uh…no. Not just no, but hell no. If the Republicans cannot find someone to put on their ticket who will make the tough decisions in the War On Terror AND protect the basic, God-given rights our Founding Fathers fought and died for, pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor for — if the Republicans cannot find someone who will do all that and ultimately trust the people to do the right thing, be it with their money, choice to own instruments of deadly force (you know, trust the people to take personal responsibility for that action and all it entails) or anything else — then maybe, just maybe, they deserve to lose. The only thing that makes me hesitate to say that is the fact that someone like John Kerry or Nancy Pelosi would then have their finger on the nuclear button, and then where would that leave us? The perfect is indeed often the enemy of the good, but as far as I am concerned, Rudy Giuliani doesn’t even rise to the level of “good.” We can do better, and we must.

UPDATE: Via Gun Law NewsWhy Shooters Don’t Like Licenses:

Why Shooters Don’t Like Licenses

Advocates of tougher gun laws are unable to understand the horror that shooters feel when the word “license” comes up. After all, say the anti-gunners, aren’t drivers licensed? And pilots, and just about anyone who has anything to do with anything that moves? Well, here’s an example why we don’t like licensing, and it happened to a co-worker of mine who had a permit to keep two handguns in his home in New York City.

Mr. M, as we will call him, moved from one borough of New York to another, and as required by law sent in his application for a new license with the new address, along with a money order for $340. Time went by, and nothing happened. When Mr. M called the New York City Police Department, he was told that his permit had been sent to him. Then, after much back and forth, he was told that the permit application had been lost (but not, apparently, the $340 money order). And then he was told that since he had not notified the NYPD of his move, his permit was revoked.

Then followed a Kafka-esque back and forth with the NYPD, who advised Mr. M that since he didn’t have a permit for them, he had to surrender his guns or be arrested. So he did. And, pursuant to Title 38, Chapters 5 and 15 of the Rules of the City of New York, Mr. M requested a hearing, appealing the revocation of his license. He hired a lawyer to represent him and amazingly, the hearing officer found for him. This was on April 3, 2006.

Well, you say, the system works; the system is fair. Not quite. On May 10, a Mr. Thomas Prasso, who is Director (of what he does not say) wrote a letter to Mr. M that says:

“As a result of an administrative hearing held on April 3, 2006. Your license has been CANCELLED. A copy of the hearing report is enclosed.

“This determination concludes the Police Department’s review of this matter. You may appeal this determination by commencing an Article 78 proceeding in Supreme Court within four months of the date of this letter.”

And so Mr. M is out his two guns, which he will never see again, $340 for the money order, and $550 for the lawyer. If he is inclined to spend a lot more money and waste a lot more time, he can indeed pursue an Article 78. But what would you say his odds are of getting his license?

How can ANYONE be pro-gun-ownership and support something like this being taken nationwide???

Observation of the Day: or, You’re Not A Gun Snob Until…

July 27, 2006

Earlier today, Tam was blogging about gun snobbery:

After thirteen years in the gun business, most guns bore me…I’m happy for your new Ruger SP-101 or Ed Brown Kobra, but I’m having to fake the oohs and ahs because I’ve seen a dozen of them and I can pick up the phone and order a dozen more.

Even as someone who’s still fairly new to guns, I can understand that…really, in most cases, a gun is a gun is a gun. Don’t get me wrong, a Wilson Combat or Nighthawk custom 1911 pistol is a thing of sheer beauty, but, really, if you’ve seen one 1911 you’ve seen them all, at least if they’re made from the designs God handed JMB down from the mountain. 😉 And the aforementioned Ruger SP101 is a fine little compact revolver, built like a tank as all Ruger pistols and revolvers are, but it’s still based on a design that’s well over 100 years old. (Of course, if it’s a bona-fide 1911 GI .45 that saw combat on Guadalcanal or Verdun, well, that would definitely merit some ooohs and ahhhs.) But someone nailed the real gun snobs in the comments there…

You’re not officially a snob until you start to insult the gun and the owner for getting it.
“Ruger? Couldn’t you afford better?”
You’ve got a long way to go before snobdom.

A-yup. Really, I guess we should all be happy that they’re getting guns and not worry so much about makes and such, though if it’s a Jennings, Raven or Lorcin or something like that, that’s a whole ‘nother can of beans. 😉 Seriously, though, I am not a fan of any kind of polymer pistol, as I said, but if that’s what folks feel more comfortable with and shoot ’em well, well then, more power to them. Let us all bite our tongues, congratulate them for arming themselves, and beseech God and the spirit of John Moses Browning to show them all the error of their ways. 😉
/tongue in cheek

We Interrupt These Musings…

July 26, 2006

for a very important update: The latest goodness from the great Bill Whittle! An excerpt:

There was a time – and being born in 1959, I am old enough to remember it – when the idea of Civilization needed no explanation or defense. Everybody knew what it meant. Civilization was tied to another term, now likewise mocked, and that term is Progress.
Progress was the idea that society was moving forward, upward, toward higher goals – better medicine, faster transportation, the brutality of hard labor replaced by stronger, then smarter machines; abundant energy, increased wealth and leisure: all of these things were greatly desired, and society was proud to provide them, proud to show them off in World Fairs and Expos and in the mythology of the movies.
Now “progress” and “civilization” are ironic terms, in sneer quotes, muttered with that pathetic, bored tone of cynical nihilism started by the narcissistic brats that I have been ten years behind for my entire life. Today, I try to exercise and watch my weight only so that I may live long enough to see the last of these radical hippies die in their sleep.

And it only gets better from there…

A Pleasant Surprise

July 26, 2006

…via the AP and Houston Chronicle:

The House voted Tuesday to prevent law enforcement officers from confiscating legally owned guns during a national disaster or emergency.
…The House voted 322-99 in favor of the bill.

It’s not really a surprise to me that the bill passed, given the more conservative bent of the House as compared to the Senate — but I would have never expected the vote tally to be so lopsided. It’s good to know at least a few of our countrymen on the other side of the aisle don’t believe natural disasters warrant disarmament of the citizenry. But, as usual, some people just don’t get it…

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., called the bill “insane.”
He and some Democrats said the bill might satisfy the gun lobby, but it would put people into more danger during already perilous disasters.

Riiiiight. As if they would be in less danger after being disarmed and left unable to protect themselves from looters and thugs who were after their generators, food and God knows what else. Spoken like a true politician (with, of course, an F- GOA rating). Further vindication of the bill comes in the very next sentence, though…

The Fraternal Order of Police endorsed the measure. In a letter to Jindal, National President Chuck Canterbury said, “A law-abiding citizen who possesses a firearm lawfully represents no danger to law enforcement officers or any other first responder.

I know there are more than a few folks behind the badge who agree with that, but it’s always good to see it in print, especially considering the firmly established bias of the media on any and all things gun-related. Considering that, it’s also quite surprising that there were absolutely no quotes from The Organizations Formerly Known as Handgun Control and The National Coalition To Ban Handguns, or the Violence Policy Center. A small victory, I know…but we should take those victories anywhere we can get them.

More Thoughts on the Illinois Situation

July 23, 2006

Bill aka Yosemite Sam at The Ten Ring got me to thinking again, with a rant worthy of the great Kim du Toit. An excerpt:

Under no circumstances, should anyone that believes in the Right to Bear Arms live in the following Fascist states. These are, in no particular order, Illinois, California, New Jersey and Massachusetts. These states have absolutely no respect for the Constitution and as far as I’m concerned are no longer, in spirit at least, part of the United States of America.

He’s right…and it made me reflect more on what I said a couple of days ago about the Illinois firearm manufacturers getting out of there — “…it gets me to wondering why the gun makers didn’t pull out long ago. I have a feeling I know why — money and the expertise of master gunsmiths and such.”
Upon further reflection, I suppose that’s a valid concern, to an extent…but the people who build the guns should be as concerned and up in arms, so to speak, as the people who buy them and like to shoot them, and no doubt they are. And North Texas blogger Gandalf23 made an observation I can’t believe I didn’t think to make myself back when Springfield and the others threw down the gauntlet (emphasis mine — ed.):

We’ve got great weather, good food, good local beer, lots of trained machinists (lots of aerospace companies in North Texas), no state income tax, low taxes on businesses, and a thriving market for your wares.

I had forgotten about all about the thriving aerospace industry up in that part of the Lone Star State. Just right off the top of my head, I know Vought Aircraft is headquartered in Dallas and has a manufacturing site there and in Grand Prarie as well, Lockheed (formerly General Dynamics) has a huge plant over in Ft. Worth, and I know Raytheon once upon a time had a pretty big aircraft rebuilding and modification operation over in Greenville, 45 miles northeast of Dallas, though I am not sure whatever became of that. You never know where talent can be found. But in any event, I think it would only be good for the Illinois gunmakers to get the hell out, because, once again, I must agree with Bill:

There are those who will say that we should continue the fight there and that there are a lot of good people in those states that believe in RKBA. My answer to that line of reasoning is that it’s too late. The fight in those states was lost decades ago and the fat lady has already left the stage.

A-yup. The Geek said once upon a time about the voters of New Jersey, “The voters of New Jersey have made a loud, clear statement:

“‘We’re perfectly happy to bend over and take it up the ass.'”

One could say the same of the voters in the other states Bill mentioned as well. It may well be just a thin majority, and I do not mean to paint all the voters with the same broad brush (though in Jersey it might actually be fair). And Illinois is in quite the pickle, as you could probably say that Chicago and its leftist suburbs more or less impose their will on the downstate Illinois voters — but no matter the situation, the fact is the majority of voters in those states have indeed made the situation intolerable for those who cherish liberty, and getting the hell out of there by any means necessary would indeed be the prudent thing to do. Kim du Toit did it, the Geek did it, Bill and Denise did it, and so did this guy…and God only knows how many more could follow suit if they were willing to make the sacrifices.

On Being Old Fashioned…

July 23, 2006

Xavier had this to say, this morning…

I used to be a young buck a few years back, and I packed the latest tactical hardware. Back then, it was called Beretta. Mel Gibson carried it in Lethal Weapon, and the military had finally wisened up and gotten rid of that obsolete WW1 pistol for a modern Beretta. I had one too. Glock and HK were the dark force in polymer avant-guard in those days.

I would see the old fogies chomping cigars and shooting their six guns at the range. I would scare my targets half to death with hails of ammo peppering the entire area of the paper. I left no 4X4 inch area unshot. Dadgum I was good!…

Well now. I guess I’m even more old-fashioned than I thought. I have absolutely no use for rap “music” or any kind of video game (though I have absolutely nothing against the latter), and most of the music I like came out long before I was born. Much new “country” music I can’t stand because, well, it’s just not country anymore (it’s not evolution of the genre, it’s consolidation and bastardization of it). To hell with Rascal Flatts and Kenny Chesney, gimme some Merle Haggard and George Jones.
And even when I started shooting again, even though that first gun was a wondernine autopistol, I still had nothing against wheelguns and knew that I’d be adding some to my collection…and I had yet to discover the wonders and joys of that old WWI pistol Xavier talks about, but ever since I picked one up, it’s hard to pull myself away from it. Love at first shoot, it was, and as for wheelguns, there’s nothing like slipping a round in each chamber, snapping it shut and going to town. And I still have no interest in any kind of polymer pistol. Judas Priest, where’s my cane??
😉

Illinois: A Little Closer to Tyranny

July 21, 2006

The sun rises, the sun sets, and as it does so, Illinois comes ever closer to tyranny

Earlier this month, Cook County Board member Joseph Moreno stood before the county board and called for “…house to house searches to pull every gun out of Cook County.” Moreno’s statement comes within days of Blagojevich claiming that anyone in Chicago who owns a gun is a “gang banger” and is “…up to no good.”
“I think the timing of the Blagojevich and Moreno remarks is more than just coincidence,” commented ISRA-PVF spokesman, Richard Pearson. “During the July 6th dedication of the Sparta shooting complex, Blagojevich didn’t mince any words when he essentially declared that any gun-owner north of I-80 is a criminal. Then, days later, a powerful member of the Cook County Board calls for police sweeps against the homes of lawful gun owners. These statements didn’t happen by accident — the intent is clear….House Bill 2414 remains alive in a House committee awaiting a call for a vote. If passed into law, HB2414 would result in the banning and forced confiscation of millions of lawfully-acquired firearms from law-abiding Illinois citizens. The raids would be aided by a database of firearm owners being maintained illegally by the Illinois State Police.”

If you’ll recall, HB 2414 is the “assault weapons” ban currently in the Illinois legislature; the bill “(p)rohibits the knowing manufacture, delivery, and possession of semiautomatic assault weapons, assault weapon attachments, 50 caliber rifles, and 50 caliber cartridges.” Illinois firearm manufacturers — Springfield Armory, Armalite and Rock River Arms — have told the Illinois State Rifle Association that “should any form of HB-2414 pass, they will be leaving the state, taking with them over $300 million in manufacturing.”
Add to that Richard Daley’s demands to Illinois gun owners to appear before him and explain to him why their guns shouldn’t be banned and confiscated, and it gets me to wondering why the gun makers didn’t pull out long ago. I have a feeling I know why — money and the expertise of master gunsmiths and such — but still, if I were in the position to do it, I’d be doing my level best to get my company the hell out of such a place. I don’t think I could stand to put so much money into the pockets of people with such a hostile attitude towards the lawful, safe and fun products that put food on my family’s table and shoes on my kids’ feet. I have to wonder how many master craftsmen could be found down this way, and in neighboring states such as Oklahoma and Arkansas, should the Illinois gunmakers’ workers not want to relocate. It would be interesting to find out, and see what happens if 2414 ever becomes law, although I hope it doesn’t, for the simple reason that Illinois gun owners deserve better than to have Richard Daley’s demands shoved down their throat by Daley’s puppet Rod Blagojevich and his minions in the Illinois Legislature.

Musings on Cross Canadian Ragweed

July 18, 2006

Just for grins, the other day I figured I’d check out the customer reviews on Amazon.com for Texas-Oklahoma red dirt country band Cross Canadian Ragweed. I have their self-titled cd (the one with the purple cover, excellent disc, best one I bought in all of 2005), and I was aiming to pick up Soul Gravy, the 2004 follow-up, but before I did I figured I’d see what others had said about it. One reviewer offered this observation:

But as a country fan myself I can say that this is NOT country music it is southern ROCK, and southern rock is not country music its ROCK.

Now, granted, I can see his point. Haggard and Strait, CCR most definitely are not. Still, though, I have to wonder if this particular self-proclaimed “country fan” had any problem hearing the likes of Shania Twain and Rascal Flatts on CMT and country radio. And say what you will about “southern ROCK,” but I will tell you right here and now without even a hint of apology that bands like the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band had a hell of a lot more country “street cred” than poseurs like Kenny Chesney (Judas, talk about a one-trick pony!), Shania Twain and Rascal Flatts could ever even think of having. I just can’t help but think that more than a few people who think of a band like Cross Canadian Ragweed as a southern rock band, and see that as a bad thing, see what’s going on in mainstream country music today as the pinnacle of the genre’s evolution. And perhaps the greatest irony of that is that they’d tell people like me that we are the closed-minded ones, that country has room for all kinds of influences, yet in their next breath denigrate the country music credentials of a band like CCR. I daresay Cody Canada, Randy Ragsdale, Jeremy Plato and Grady Cross have more country soul in their respective little fingers than most of these Hot New Country “stars” have in their entire beings. Country? Maybe not in the strictest sense of what many would define as “Real Country Music,” but these guys have soul, style and passion, three things sorely missed in today’s “country music” environment. I hope they keep doing exactly what they’re doing, because it’s damned fine stuff indeed.

Irony from the UK?

July 15, 2006

(background here, here, here, here and here)

Regarding the nasty, threatening comments made by moonbat leftist professor Deborah Frisch (whose name has now been immortalized as a verb) against Colorado blogger Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom, a fellow with the online handle of Brit had this to say:

If this little fracas between two egotistical bloggers had taken place in the UK, and you had taken the matter to the authorities, you would have been told, in no uncertain terms, to grow a pair of balls and learn to cope with Ms Frisch’s colourful terminology in a less fearful manner.

How rich is the irony there, coming as it supposedly did from a subject (you’ll note I didn’t call him a citizen) of the United Kingdom, where just about any kind of self-defense is outlawed, where they tell you if someone breaks into your house to give them what they want, to cooperate at all costs? I’d be willing to bet that they’d probably shut Goldstein’s site down and say it was all his fault if all this was going on over there. Whatever the case may be, I’d like to think that as far down the toilet the UK has gone, they still give half a shit when somebody makes any kind of threat against a toddler. Yet another reason I am glad I am an American, and a Texan, as if anyone threatened my loved ones like that, I have a hell of a lot more options, up to and including Mr. John Moses Browning’s creation. Looks like Mr. Goldstein might be taking that route, and I must say, I think he’s doing the right thing.