Archive for July, 2012

Some of you might be interested in this…

July 31, 2012

So last Saturday night, Queensryche played its first official gig with Todd La Torre at the mike, at the Halfway Jam in Royalton, Minnesota. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, those of us who weren’t there still got to witness some of the magic…

“Queen of the Reich”:

“Neue Regel”:

“Take Hold Of the Flame”:

“Jet City Woman”:

“Empire”:

“The Whisper”:

Oh, and just for comparison’s sake, here’s a clip of Geoff Tate-led QR performing “The Whisper” from 2009:

Geoff Tate was a vocal MASTER back in the day, but that last video was painful to watch. (It was filmed right here in San Antonio. As I said at The Breakdown Room, I hope the band comes back to San Antonio soon to give the fans a do-over on that one. ;-))

From what I understand, the last couple of years the band has had to play all the older songs in a lower key so Tate could choke ’em out. Mostly that’s his own fault, though; from what I gather he knocked out a chunk of his upper range when he started chain-smoking back when Mindcrime was being recorded. (Such is evident from a listen to the live cuts of “Take Hold Of the Flame” from Live In Tokyo and Building Empires.) Tate also smoked on and off through the ’90s and ’00s, and then came the whole wine thing, which as I understand it also negatively affects the voice — all of that on top of the fact that Tate pretty much gave up on that upper register in the studio about the time Hear in the Now Frontier came out. So, there you go.

The videos with Todd were pretty damn good, though. As I noted before, for those of us who never got the chance to see the band back when GT could actually sing, seeing them with Todd La Torre is about the closest we’re gonna get.

And that’s not a dig on La Torre by any means. The dude can flat-out wail. Flaws and all, he’s light-years ahead of Tate. And I stand by what I said about how much TLT sounds like Tate did 15-20 years ago.

(Oh, and an enterprising fan recorded the whole thing and put it up for download, if you’re interested….)

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Better a pistol than rocks or a stick.

July 30, 2012

Wow, such simple-mindedness on display here:

Hubert Williams, former head of the Newark police department and president of the Police Foundation, said that the idea that average citizens with guns could keep a theater safe only makes sense “on a piece of paper.”

“Reality is much more complicated. What if you pull a gun out, take aim and someone else thinks you’re the shooter?” he asked. “Would you stand up against an AR-15, AK-47 military-style assault weapon? Give me a break.”

I don’t see why one couldn’t go up against anyone with an AR or AK with a pistol. It’s not as if either one of those is some sort of magic death ray. Mark Allen Wilson sure as hell wasn’t afraid of it. He almost pulled it off, in fact. And the fact that Wilson failed had a lot more to do with his tactical errors and the fact that David Arroyo was wearing a bulletproof vest than the fact that he went up against Arroyo with a Colt 1911.

Would it be easy? No. Possible? I don’t see why not. Tell you what, I would sure as hell rather take my chances with that pistol than just lay there and wait on other people with guns.

What do they propose to do about that?

July 29, 2012

I am always amused by those who say things like “there are too many guns in this country.” Such would seem to imply that an undetermined number of those guns should be taken away. And that leads to the question: Who would end up having their guns taken away?

Law-abiding citizens? Why should they have their guns taken away for something they didn’t even do? Doesn’t that strike you as blatantly anti-American?

Criminals? Sure, they ought to have their guns taken away…as well as their freedom. I’ve been saying it since I don’t know when and I will keep saying it: if a person can’t be trusted with a gun, that person cannot be trusted among free individuals. Put a little differently, if certain people shouldn’t have guns because of their criminal behavior, they should be locked up.

Oddly enough, although so many killers have previously shown themselves to be dangers to society with lesser criminal acts such as robbery and assault, no one ever brings up the possible solution of keeping the bad people locked up. Why do you think that is?

Pardon me if I am a bit cynical here…

July 28, 2012

…but I think the Houston Chronicle wants a dialogue about banning guns as opposed to a dialogue about root causes of violence like mental health issues. They advocated an “assault weapons” ban right about the time the issue first came up of Mexican drug cartels getting guns from border-state gun shops, and I really don’t see why they’d have changed their position on that.

Come on. We all know how this “dialogue” and “compromise” works. It’s always about the gun owners giving up more of their rights in exchange for…what, exactly? I mean, sure, that asshole Chuck Schumer will come out and say “maybe we could come together on guns if each side gave some” — but do you really think he or his allies in Congress would ever stand for a national reciprocity bill, the repeal of the Hughes Amendment to FOPA ’86 or taking suppressors off the list of NFA items in return for a ban on “assault weapons” or regular-capacity magazines? I think you and I both know the answer to that question.

As LawDog so astutely put it once upon a time, we really don’t have much cake anymore. We’ve been giving it away, a slice at a time, since 1934.

Overheard at Jack in the Box…

July 28, 2012

…at Northwest Military and Lockhill-Selma….

Me: “That high school they named after Christa McAuliffe whose mascot is the Rockets, is that here?”

(I remember hearing about that and face palming. I mean, really? Why didn’t they go ahead and make “Burned Like A Rocket” the damn school song?)

Sabra: “It’s a middle school, but yeah….that (Southwest) is the district that produced my ex-husband.”

Me: “HAHAHAHA! Well, that explains everything!

Friday morning musings.

July 27, 2012

Can anyone tell me why any self-respecting conservative would count useful idiots like David Frum and Bill Kristol as being on the same team? Democrats are being foolish by not pushing for yet more infringements on the Second Amendment (Kristol)? If I love my children, I will get rid of my guns voluntarily (Frum)? You’re more likely to kill yourself or a family member than a criminal? Oh my God, it’s the zombie Kellermann lie!

Of course, Frum is a Canadian who writes for the Daily Beast, which pretty much explains everything about his viewpoint. As for Bill Kristol, only God knows. He’s been described as a neoconservative, which could very well mean he’s always been a flaming liberal at heart.

And apparently, Eugene Robinson on the Washington Post considers banning an entire class of guns to be “minimal gun control.” One wonders what he would consider to be too much gun control. Based on everything he’s written before, I would guess he’d be for everything up to and including the ATF doing to gun owners what they did to the Branch Davidians.

They’re not even trying to hide it anymore.

July 24, 2012

E.J. Dionne, of the Washington Post, in the Houston Chronicle yesterday:

We’d all be safer, says the gun lobby, if every last one of us owned a gun.

Why is there so little pushback against assertions that are so transparently designed to prevent rather than promote dialogue? The answer lies in a profound timidity on the part of politicians in both parties. The Republicans are allied with the gun lobby and the Democrats are intimidated….

There are many reasons for this politics of timidity, not the least being a United States Senate that vastly overrepresents rural voters relative to suburban and urban voters. (The Electoral College overrepresents rural voters, too.) Add to this a Republican Party that will bow low before any anti-government argument that comes along, and a Democratic Party petrified of losing more rural support – and without any confidence that advocates of tougher gun laws will cast ballots on the basis of this issue.

So apparently, Dionne thinks we would be better off if urbanites could get away with basically telling the rural part of the electorate — in other words, the people who don’t have the luxury of having the police five minutes away — to go screw themselves. I guess that’s what you get when you live so long in the urban journalistic bubble like that, but he’d still quite deservedly be one of the first up against the wall when the balloon went up if we wanted to play by the rules by which Clinton played in Bosnia:

The war would certainly extend to those whose direct and support it– civilian or not– as they are primary targets…Bill Clinton extended our own rules of war in the Kosovo intervention to include the news media and other propagandists as legitimate targets.

No doubt Dionne doesn’t have a clue about that, or perhaps he is just whining, secure in the knowledge that as long as those rural interests keep those at bay who would do what he wanted, he can remain safe in his bubble.

As far as the “advocates of tougher gun laws cast(ing) ballots” goes, well, maybe they do cast ballots. But it seems to me to be pretty obvious that they’re outnumbered. I don’t know if the Brady Campaign vs. NRA membership would be an accurate indicator of anti-gunners vs. pro-gunners — it’s something like 28,000 for the Bradys vs. 4 million for the NRA — but if public polling is any indication, gun control is still at least as much of a loser at the polls as it was in 1994. And it’s probably more so, if Michael Bane’s musings on Gun Culture 2.0 are any indication.

And, of course, we haven’t even gotten to the at-very-best dubious constitutionality of gun bans. You will recall that when the Supreme Court handed down Heller v. District of Columbia, it ruled that arms “in common use” were protected by the Second Amendment. Considering the popularity of firearms like the Glock and AR-15, that protection would seem to extend to them. Of course it’s not as if progressives like Dionne give a damn about the Constitution anyway, so you might as well be talking to the moon by taking that tack with them.

But no matter. I don’t presume to say that there won’t ever be door-to-door gun confiscation, but the vigilance of gun owners has paid off quite a bit since 1994. And there’s no doubt the movement has been helped along quite a bit by events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. So let them whine. The rest of us will deal with reality.

A snapshot…

July 23, 2012

…of what’s wrong with the media, in these two items from the New York Daily News.

The first one is just more of the old “NRA and American gun owners are to blame” bullshit and whining about bans on “assault weapons,” unconstitutional as they may be, and the “gun show loophole,” even though the killer got his weapons at a gun store — you know, the general tone that the Daily News is known for by those who read it.

The next item, though, ought to really burn your ass.

That one is the story of Jamie Rohrs and Patricia Legarreta, two of the survivors who are going to get married in the aftermath of the shooting. Everybody say it with me now, “Aww, how beautiful.”

That’s exactly what they wanted you to say, too. They didn’t want you to read that story and think about how that chickenshit Rohrs ran out of the theater to save his own sorry ass leaving  his girlfriend and two kids to die. Not a word about the guy who stayed there and saved their lives. (h/t JayG)

His name, by the way, is Jarell Brooks. Sounds like he’s the one whose name Patricia Legarreta should be taking, not the guy who ran out on her as the bullets were flying.

So what’s wrong with all this, you ask? The blaming of the inanimate objects and the glossing over of what has to be the ultimate act of cowardice, that’s what. Run out on your girlfriend and your kids as some madman is raining bullets, fire, or what-have-you down on them, have a come-to-Jesus moment, ask her to marry you and have the story run by an adoring media with the focus on your proposal, with no mention of the stranger who stayed behind and protected them. That’s a handy little template to follow for all the sackless wonders out there, if you think about it.

O. Ricardo Pimentel knows the answer to his question.

July 22, 2012

He’s by and large just being his willfully obtuse self. Why do bad people have guns? For myriad reasons, of course, in the case of the Colorado shooter the fact that no one around him bothered to do anything about the possibility that he was a ticking time bomb. I seem to remember that the mother of the shooter was not surprised that he was involved.

And Pimentel might not come out and say it, but he seems to imply in a lot of these columns that  the police and the military are the only ones who should have certain weapons and accessories. Presumably he means people like Nidal Malik Hasan and Lee Rakun.

Whoa, can’t believe I missed this.

July 22, 2012

Looks like our buddy Dan Freedman at Hearst is back doing his PR for the ATF, and this particular release is a real doozy, too.

First of all, he — yet again — completely glosses over the fact that the ATF didn’t make any attempt to track the guns when they crossed the border.

And, of course, there’s the standard boilerplate about the ATF not having a permanent director and those poor, poor ATF agents being overworked and underfunded. No doubt Mr. Freedman never stopped to think about this particular approach backfiring, as there are those of us who might take the tack that ATF itself saw Fast and Furious as an opportunity to go to Congress and lobby for more funds, materiel, and manpower. Which, considering the ATF’s various and sundry documented abuses of power, in a way is almost as bad as the Obama administration hatching Gunwalker to gin up stats to justify more gun control.

Freedman also seems to be aghast that the NRA and Congress are always on its back. He apparently either doesn’t remember or give a damn about the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986, which was passed following a Senate report on ATF misconduct in a report four years earlier. Somebody has to be looking out for gun owners, because God knows the media won’t do it.

And as for this:

…some street agents feared they were enabling mayhem in Mexico and putting the lives of U.S. law enforcement personnel at risk.

These whistle-blower agents connected with gun-rights bloggers who saw Fast and Furious as an Obama conspiracy to promulgate greater gun restrictions.

Considering how mainstream outlets such as CNN/Fortune blamed Fast and Furious on lax gun laws and blamed the fact that it got any coverage at all on said “right-wing bloggers…trying to score points against the Obama administration,” could you really blame them? It’s not as if they had much of a choice. And it’s not as if the Old Media outlets have as much credibility as they did even a decade ago — because, after all, that was way before blogs, Jayson Blair and the Dan Rather document scandal.

And I’m really not seeing a problem with Codrea & Vanderboegh as sources here. Anyone who reads either of them knows they take shots at both the Democrats and Republicans, which is a hell of a lot more than can be said for the mainstream media.

(h/t David Codrea)