Archive for March, 2012

Either Dan Freedman doesn’t know the real story…

March 11, 2012

…or he’s thinking that you don’t:

The one thing the salesman at JJ’s Pawn Shop in Beaumont remembered about Robert Riendfliesh from the day he picked up an order of 10 AK-47s was his military-style camouflage hat.

An Army veteran of the Iraq War, Riendfliesh was familiar with weapons like the Romanian-made 7.62 semi-automatic, capable of firing 30 rounds in under a minute. But Riendfliesh, 25, wasn’t buying the guns for himself. Records show they were for “Manny,” a drug dealer who had promised him $650 in cash.

Six months later, ballistics tests proved one of the weapons Riendfliesh bought was used Feb. 15, 2011, in a deadly attack on a Mexican highway that left ICE Agent Jaime Zapata dead and a fellow agent shot in the leg. Both special agents were assigned to ICE’s attaché office in Mexico City….

Court records and ATF case files reviewed by the Houston Chronicle indicate the investigation’s plodding pace may have kept agents from short-circuiting the guns purchase, but there is no evidence of so-called “gun walking,” or trailing weapons to see where they would end up instead of interdicting them.

…buhwha? Congressional Democrats like to compare Fast and Furious to the Bush-era Operation Wide Receiver, but there was one critical difference between the two — namely, that there were apparently no provisions in Fast and Furious to actually, y’know, track the guns across the border.

And “no evidence”? Considering that it took so long to for the feds to arrest straw purchaser Manuel Gomez Barba, even though they knew he was a prohibited person — I’m sorry, but that seems pretty damn suspicious, even though it might not count as “evidence.” Sure, the ATF will deny that they sat on their asses and let those guns go, but considering the cluster-copulation that Fast and Furious turned into in Arizona, would you be inclined to believe them?

Sure, discussion is good…

March 10, 2012

…but it doesn’t change one vital thing:

Unions may be united in working to re-elect President Barack Obama, but their leaders also are trying to repair bitter divisions over his rejection of an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas.

Trade unions representing workers who stand to benefit from thousands of new construction jobs from the Keystone XL pipeline are furious at other unions that joined environmentalists in opposing the project….

After the White House blocked the pipeline in January, Laborers union president Terry O’Sullivan said he was “repulsed by some of our supposed brothers and sisters lining up with job killers like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council to destroy the lives of working men and women.”…

“I think discussion is always good,” said Larry Cohen, the Communications Workers’ president. “You have to treat disagreements with respect. You have to work hard for unity.”

What thing is that, you ask? Well, it’s that Larry Cohen and his ilk really didn’t have any business speaking for or against the Keystone XL pipeline, considering that they didn’t have anything to gain or lose from it. One wonders what he would say if the shoe were on the other foot. For example, assuming there was no such thing as a First Amendment, one wonders what Cohen would say if there was a law being debated that required all stories that discussed national politics to be vetted by a government agency and certain unions came out in support of that. I bet you he wouldn’t treat that with respect. And he’d be right not to. I would agree with Cohen about treating disagreements with respect, if the adoption of his position didn’t mean fewer jobs for his union brothers. You all know by now that I am not really a fan of unions, but they are actually right on some things. Terry O’Sullivan is absolutely right to feel he’s been stabbed in the back and to be angry about this. And if I were him, I’d be raising holy hell at the union’s annual meeting.

I did find it amusing, though, that United Steelworkers president Leo Gerard — whose union supported the decision to delay the pipeline — was making noises about the “99 percent” and the “right wing.” Hey, Gerard, you git, your hated right wing was actually standing up for the 99 percent in this case! I know the case could perhaps be made that the interests supporting the pipeline were looking out for the folks at the top as well, but lest we forget, there are a lot more jobs at stake vis-a-vis the Keystone XL pipeline than just cushy office jobs.

Or perhaps this is really all about the power to people like Leo Gerard. It wouldn’t be the first time union advocates have put power over jobs.

Another song that makes me speed.

March 9, 2012

Some songs are really bad for my ability to maintain the speed limit. And that’s really bad in heavily-patrolled residential area. (Fortunately for me, I pulled it off this morning.) This song is one of those.

Originally recorded by Brownsville Station in 1973, “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room” was revived by Motley Crue for their 1985 album Theatre of Pain. The song became the band’s first Top 40 hit, reaching No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. I think this was the first version of the song I ever heard. The Brownsville Station original is good, but it’s the Crue’s version that has always been my favorite.

Incidentally, I have heard this song more in the almost two years I have been in San Antonio than I have in the last 20 years. Yay for SA classic rock radio!

He thought he was Billy Badass…

March 8, 2012

…right up till they stuck the needle in him, and then he turned into a sniveling little pussy. Don’t see that too often, at least I don’t remember the last time.

I have to admit I was puzzled and more than a little vexed by this, though…

Incensed that one of Thurmond’s friends had photographed the couple after they had passed out after a round of drinking, Sharon Thurmond waved a 9mm automatic at her husband and taunted him to shoot her, a police report said.

Thurmond threw his wife to the floor and kicked her after she hit him in the face with the weapon.

Hit him in the face? She should have emptied the damn thing into him. If she had, she might still be alive today.

But there’s one fewer murderer the state’s taxpayers are going to be feeding tomorrow. So at least there’s that.

This is all they have?

March 7, 2012

Apparently so:

In a comment at Sebastian’s is repeated the hoary old meme “libertarians just want to get stoned.”

Not the exact phrasing, but that was indeed the gist of it. And that’s pretty much the only argument many traditional conservatives have against libertarians. Such would be bad enough, were it not for how much further they take it:

if you want to put an end to the War on Drugs, you’ll have to deal effectively with the “You just want to get high” meme.

Which sounds logical on the surface, but how do you deal with something that arguably exists primarily in the heads of power-hungry authoritarians and their supporters? Maybe it’s just the corner of Algore’s Internets that I hang out in, but most arguments I have seen for ending the War On Some Drugs go along exactly the same lines of Tamara’s. Saying “libertarians want to end the drug war so they can get stoned” is about as intellectually sound as saying “gun owners want fewer gun laws so they can shoot stuff.” Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that so many who are anti-drug would chalk it up to people just wanting to get high, because you have idiots on both sides who are incredibly simplistic that way; I have no doubt there are more than a few on the left who would say that gun owners want fewer gun laws so they can shoot stuff. Still, though, it’s a sad and discouraging thing to see.

Wanting to have their cake and eat it too.

March 6, 2012

The Washington Post, that is:

Gasoline is undertaxed in the United States — in two senses. The 18.4-cent-per-gallon gas tax is the main source for the Federal Highway Trust Fund, but it hasn’t been raised in two decades, starving infrastructure. Also, the gas tax is too low to offset negative side effects from gasoline consumption.

Those costs include traffic, air pollution, climate change, and dependency on unstable sources of foreign oil.

So which is it? Do they want Americans to buy more gasoline to fill up the coffers of the Federal Highway Trust Fund, or do they want Americans to buy less gasoline to save Mother Gaia? However, with a second read I would think it’s more the latter, considering the fact that they mentioned traffic and air pollution. Yeah, I know, screw the economy, right?

And they wonder why they’re circling the drain…

He still doesn’t get it.

March 6, 2012

Eric Church, that is:

AC/DC and Metallica and Tom Petty and Springsteen. … This whole generation, that’s what our influences were, that’s what we grew up on. So when that stuff starts making its way into the format, I don’t have a problem with it because people are just being true to what their influences are and they’re just making music.

Well, sure they are. The problem is that the music they make isn’t so much country as it is a bad imitation of all the above artists — a bad imitation of hard rock in general, to put a finer point on it. Church’s musings only lend credence to the theory that country is the go-to genre for those who couldn’t make it in rock. When you listen to, for example, pretty much anything from Jason Aldean these days, it’s pretty clear that he isn’t much if anything more than a frustrated ’80s rocker born ten years too late. Sure he’ll claim George Strait as an influence, but Garth Brooks did the same thing 20 years ago and I didn’t see it then either. I suppose next Church is going to say that we shouldn’t have a problem with the inevitable covers of “Enter Sandman” or “Back in Black.” (And you know that’s what it’s going to be, too, because I’d bet money that none of the pickers playing for any of those hacks would have the chops to pull off “Creeping Death.”)

And yeah, I would have a problem with that. If these people weren’t listening to country music growing up, why the hell do they want to play it now? Such is another question that the act of asking is to answer, but it’s still sad to see Nashville reduced to this.

(h/t Country California)

Yeah, whatever.

March 5, 2012

Such was my reaction to this:

“In 150 years, this is the strongest relationship with Mexico that we have ever had. I hope they will all give the commitment that they will continue working with the United States,” (Rep. Henry) Cuellar said of Mexico’s presidential candidates. “Mexico is a friend, it is not the enemy.”

Uh-huh. I can tell you that if I blamed my friends for my problems the way Felipe Calderon blames Americans for the carnage wrought by the drug cartels, I would have alienated them all long ago.

Romney should find that disturbing.

March 5, 2012

What, you ask? Well, this. Apparently my fellow gun owners either:

A. have no faith in presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney; or

B. think he’ll be at least as bad as Barack Obama if he does stumble his way into the White House.

I figured this sort of thing was going to happen about the time Rick Perry dropped out of the race. I just didn’t think it’d happen so fast. Funny thing about it is, I am all but certain the VFMOTRGI brigade would see it as fear mongering just like that Judas goat Mark Greene.

Not-so-random music observations…

March 4, 2012

Hey, Y100? The fact that you supposedly play fewer commercials than KJ97 doesn’t make you a better radio station. It just means you play more Nashville crap. Or, as Sabra said, it could just mean you suck so bad you can’t get anyone to buy your commercial airtime. KKBQ in Houston was doing that same thing vis-a-vis KILT and I thought the very same thing when they did it. Funny thing about it, though, was that at the time KILT was actually a decent radio station. (Man, I do long for the olden days of Rowdy Yates’ Country Gold Live and Leslie T. Travis’ Texas Music Revolution. The demise of the latter was a huge, if not the deciding, factor in my going to Sirius satellite radio.)

Maybe I’m just getting old and set in my ways, but I don’t understand the appeal of Marilyn Manson. I understand their appeal even less when hearing bands like Iron Maiden and Triumph in close proximity. (This observation brought to you by “The Dope Show,” “2 Minutes to Midnight” and “Lay It On the Line” on the drive home last night.) To each his own and all that, and I know there are a lot of different styles of rock and metal, but I guess you could say I am just as much of a traditionalist when it comes to that as I am when it comes to country.

And finally…Next cd on the to-get list: Iconoclast, from Symphony X. Wednesday or Thursday, depending on when it gets to the San Pedro Barnes and Noble. 😉 Albatross reviewed the album last September and included a sample of the title track and it was really good. Sort of like a Dream Theater fronted by Ronnie James Dio. Yeah, I am sure you metal fans can imagine the awesomeness of that.

More when I get the cd and have a chance to listen to it…