Friday, October 30, 2009

Cheney, Wilson, Novak and Perjury

Sounds like a law firm, but the AP has an article up about a summary of an FBI interview with VP Dick Cheney back in 2004. They were trying to figure out who leaked Valerie Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak. Lying under oath to a federal agent is a crime, and to avoid it, deponents are advised to say they "don't remember" rather than flatly deny something. And the AP article takes Cheney to task for this:
Cheney's denials that he talked about Plame are among the few things in the lengthy interview with the FBI that Cheney appeared certain about. He repeatedly said he could not recall key events. Among them, he said he did not recall discussing Wilson's wife with Libby before her CIA employment was publicly revealed by conservative columnist Robert Novak in mid-July 2003.
Problem is, we now know that Cheney's answers were mostly truthful: he was asked if he mentioned Valerie Plame's name to Karl Rove. He answered that he didn't remember mentioning her name to Rove. In fact, it now seems certain that he did not mention her name to Rove. The AP article sounds skeptical; how could Cheney not remember these key points? Well, the obvious answer to that is that we now know that these things never happened. Cheney never mentioned Plame's name to Rove, so how could he be expected to "remember" something that never happened?

The AP article never mentions Richard Armitage, the man who was the real source for Novak's article. It was Armitage who told Novak that Plame was a CIA analyst; not "Scooter" Libby, not Cheney and not Rove.

Cheney did the right thing by saying he did not remember giving Plame's name to Rove; after all, if Rove had told the FBI that Cheney did in fact give him Plame's name, and the prosecutor decided to believe Rove, because it moved the ball down the field, then Cheney could be charged with perjury, even though he told the truth.

Ridiculous article that conceals as much as it reveals.

Here's a link to the CNN story in which Armitage admits all.

Nation's Boyfriends Reluctant to Move In

h/t TSLR.

It's A Corvair, That's What It Is!

I drove one of those things once. This one must be, oh, forty-five years old.

Spotted this one in my 'hood this afternoon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two Views On Afghanistan

And they're pretty much the same:
What if we shrink our presence in Afghanistan? Won’t Al Qaeda return, the Taliban be energized and Pakistan collapse? Maybe. Maybe not. This gets to my second principle: In the Middle East, all politics — everything that matters — happens the morning after the morning after. Be patient. Yes, the morning after we shrink down in Afghanistan, the Taliban will celebrate, Pakistan will quake and bin Laden will issue an exultant video.

And the morning after the morning after, the Taliban factions will start fighting each other, the Pakistani Army will have to destroy their Taliban, or be destroyed by them, Afghanistan’s warlords will carve up the country, and, if bin Laden comes out of his cave, he’ll get zapped by a drone.
I beg to differ. I think that when bin Laden comes out of his cave and declares victory, he'll immediately be murdered by rivals, saying, "Who are you to declare victory? You hypocritical, cowardly bastard! You hid in a cave for eight years while we did all the fighting!"


And this:
The highly decorated general sat opposite his commander in chief and explained the problems his army faced fighting in the hills around Kabul: “There is no piece of land in Afghanistan that has not been occupied by one of our soldiers at some time or another,” he said. “Nevertheless much of the territory stays in the hands of the terrorists. We control the provincial centers, but we cannot maintain political control over the territory we seize.

“Our soldiers are not to blame. They’ve fought incredibly bravely in adverse conditions. But to occupy towns and villages temporarily has little value in such a vast land where the insurgents can just disappear into the hills.” He went on to request extra troops and equipment. “Without them, without a lot more men, this war will continue for a very, very long time,” he said.

These sound as if they could be the words of Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, to President Obama in recent days or weeks. In fact, they were spoken by Sergei Akhromeyev, the commander of the Soviet armed forces, to the Soviet Union’s Politburo on Nov. 13, 1986.

From My Cold, Green Hand ...

Would a cup of Starbuck's be sufficient to cause Margaret Hamilton to melt-down? Not if she had her flintlock!

"Alcohol Is A Stupidity Force-Multiplier."

Quote of the day, from TOTWTYTR.

(Too Old To Work, Too Young To Retire)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Crunchy 5.56-millimeter Goodness

A Marine's account of an ambush in Iraq:
I flipped the selector switch on my M-4 rifle from SAFE past FIRE to BURST. I had never been allowed to use BURST mode during training. This seemed like an appropriate time to start. I peered through my EOTECH optical sight, looking for the source of the fire. I heard a Marine from First Recon open fire with his M-249 SAW machine gun from the roof of the house, applying 800 rounds per minute of crunchy 5.56-millimeter goodness to some unknown target. From my vantage point I could only see some houses about 300 meters distant, but no muzzle flashes or indications of the gunfire. I considered putting suppressive fire on the rooftops of the buildings, which was the most likely location of our assailants. However, I could not positively identify my target, and our rules of engagement required that before I opened fire.

Intergalactic Race Ends in a Virtual Tie

Albert Einstein still champion.
Astronomers said the gamma-ray race was one of the most stringent tests yet of a bedrock principle of modern physics: Einstein’s proclamation in his 1905 theory of relativity that the speed of light is constant and independent of its color, or energy; direction; or how you yourself are moving.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Don't miss this post at Say Uncle.

I laughed out loud for nearly a minute.

Well, nearly.

But once you run out of fireballs and atlatls, what then?

Classical Breakfast

Oatmeal and coffee while listening to The Four Seasons (Vivaldi) and Der Rosenkavalier (one o' them Strausses, Ah fergit which one).

Shanktified! Ha! I'm still chuckling. Java-lanche!

Meanwhile, outside, the wind howls and the rain pours.

That'll Buff Right Out...

Comment from "SGB" in Tallahassee.

Three burst chambers? Wha...?

h/t Say Uncle.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Caleb stops a knife-wielding wacko with a hot cup o' java and a cold steel Beretta. Nobody hurt. Knife-wielding wacko still at large. Thankfully, so is Caleb!

Stop by and wish him well.

"Shanktified." Is that a real word?

Friday, October 23, 2009

100 Kilometers

Thursday was another brilliant, warm fall day, so out the door I scrambled, returning home nearly seven hours later, having covered just over 62 miles.

Saw some cool stuff, including two of these:
Just sunning themselves on the road.

And this guy, who was determined to cross the trail and somehow avoid the speeding bicycles:

A sharp-tailed hawk flew down right in front of me and seized a tiny vole, or some such creature, then flew away, so close that I could have reached up and grabbed his talons.

Sheba the Queen of Milepost 13 was also holding Court, and receiving affection from her minions.

Another 3,000 calories burned.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Saddest Mugshot Ever

What did she do?

h/t Clayton Cramer.

Unintended Consequences, Part MCVII

Oh, the irony here is so delicious!

Animal Rights Activist Refuses to Let Bow Hunter Retrieve Dead Deer (L.A. Times)

After shooting the deer, the hunter tracked it onto private property. He knocked on the front door and asked permission to retrieve the deer. The property owner, Lynn Gorfinkle, who is CEO of the Animal Rights Alliance, refused. Here's my favorite part:
So the carcass remains in the Gorfinkles' yard, where it has been since Oct. 2. Lynn hopes that other animals will eat it because it is too big to bury.

"If someone's going to eat that deer, I want it to be natural predators, not some hunter," she said.

Her actions, meanwhile, may mean the death of another deer. "Since the hunter did not recover the deer, he did not need to tag it and it doesn't count toward his bag limit," [DEP spokesman] Dennis Schain told Outposts.

Dogs And Cats Living Together ...

... human sacrifice! Mass hysteria!

I missed this report from 2007 - NRA teams up with ACLU:
In a report issued in February, the Texas affiliate of the National Rifle Association joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition “to spotlight unlawful, unnecessary governmental encroachment on average law-abiding citizens.”

The report, “Above the Law: How Texas prosecutors are placing their own judgment over that of the Legislature and the law of the land,” found that district and county attorneys had instructed police officers to “unnecessarily” interrogate drivers and arrest them or take their weapons, “even if they are legally carrying the gun.”

“It’s all the self-interest of the job,” said Scott Henson, a civil liberties advocate and blogger who wrote the report. Mr. Henson contends that police officers are opposed to citizens’ carrying guns and that prosecutors depend on gun charges to strengthen weak cases and prompt plea bargains.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Great Ride

Today was a perfect biking day. High 69 degrees, winds calm, clear sky. I rode out to milepost 26 and back, a round trip of 60 miles. Took six hours, plus an hour for lunch. I probably burned close to 3,000 calories.

As usual, Sheba the Queen of Milepost 13 was on patrol.

A happy cat and a warm spot of sunlight.


World's Youngest Terrorist

She's on the No-Fly List. She's four years old.

h/t The Volokh Conspiracy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Unique M1 Garand

Well, possibly.
The photo caption says:
Garand Mle 1936
Mounting in English beech of 1942.
The weapon was parachuted has the resistance "of Glières", close to Annecy, in 1943
It does not have markings of American property.
Photos send by "Alain"
If verified that would be outstanding. Unfortunately, there is no close-up photo of the receiver.

La Glorieuse Pipe Gun

Those Belgians have all the fun! This one fires .22 - the tiny pin in the stem is the trigger.

More hidden guns.

h/t Say Uncle.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Heller, Miller and the Coen Brothers

I was looking at some of the comments to the Heller decision, and I got linked back to the Volokh Conspiracy thread about the case. Here's one I missed, from commenter Letalis Maximus, Esq.:
The ultimate fate of the Miller case is a good example of why the federal public defender system is such a good idea. If Miller and Layton had been represented by a public defender, they would have had a brief filed on their behalf at the Supreme Court, and the public defender would have carried on the fight back at the district court after remand. As it was, the government basically got a default judgment and after remand Miller was already dead and, as far as I have been able to learn, Layton had R-U-N-N-O-F-T.
Mixing Miller and O Brother, Where Art Thou?


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Slow Day For News

Noted Toy Collector Dies

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fifteen Manliest Smells

Very interesting and fun! From "The Art Of Manliness".

The first fifteen are from the article and the rest are from the comments section. I bolded the smells that really remind me of my dad or my grandfathers:

1. Hardware Store
2. Shoe Polish
3. Cut Grass
4. Sawdust
5. Scotch whiskey
6. Gunpowder and fireworks
7. Original Old Spice aftershave
8. Campfire
9. Barbershop
10. Pipe smoke
11. Leather
12. Your Grandpa's chair
13. Gun Cleaning solvent
14. Charcoal
15. Bowling Alley
16. A construction site
17. Hot solder and vacuum tubes
18. A warmed-up Lionel transformer
19. Burning autumn leaves
20. Bondo
21. Cement mixed in a wheelbarrow
22. Coffee
23. Outboard motor exhaust
24. Old books
25. Bacon
26. The interior of a wooden sailboat (rope, sail, varnish, stale air)
27. Grandpa's garage: gasoline, oil, mown grass and sawdust
28. Gunk (lanolin-scented hand degreaser)

h/t Better and Better.

Re-Examining My Investment Portfolio

They say that every investor should put his portfolio into order about once a year. For me that's easy! Here's my investment portfolio before:

And here it is after:

Everything I will need for a quarter-century of comfortable retirement, all in one convenient spot!

Not shown: coffee and ammo - neither will fit in picture without wide-angle lens.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Appleseed Project

As soon as I no longer have to work every weekend, I'm going to do an Appleseed shoot. It sounds like great fun with a lot of like-minded people.

I was perusing their schedule and I was delighted to discover that they have scheduled over a dozen events next weekend alone! From Maine to California, and from Wabash to El Paso.

The Appleseed Project.

Funny Political Ad

They wouldn't be running an ad like this if their research didn't show that Mayor Bloomberg was widely disliked all over Virginia. The ad doesn't even mention McDonnell's opponent. You'd think that McDonnell was running against Bloomberg; that's how strong the antipathy is.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All Hail Sheba, Queen Of The Jungle!

Each and every time I pass through Falls Church on the W&OD bike path, there is this black cat who is patiently patrolling a 100-yard-long area to keep it free of field mice and other vermin. She deigned to pose for this portrait:

Here's a brief kinetoscope of life on the trail:

Torpedoes And Cloisonné

I spent an hour wandering the Torpedo Factory this afternoon. They made torpedoes here until just after WWII. Here's one; it's about twenty feet long:

Now the building is an art center, with painters, sculptors, potters, weavers, photographers and jewelers. The pottery gallery next to the big green torpedo is called, what else, "Fire One":

This sculptor works with tin cans. This is "The Center Of The Known Universe":

It's about seven feet in diameter.

I woulda bought it but it won't fit in my car.

I passed by an artist using dozens of little plastic spoons. He explained that he was making cloisonné.

The spoons contain pigments that he is selecting for the process. He is making oval cameos. He starts with a solid silver sheet and cuts an oval from it for the base. Using gold ribbon, he builds a design on the base. The gold ribbon will separate the pigments.

He is working on the gray panel in this picture. The colored beads show him what the pigments will look like after they are fired.

There are also big fish:

And landscapes:

The Torpedo Factory is located on the mighty Potomac. Here's a view out the rear window:

This is a view across the street from the main entrance. Suitably funky, don't you think?

81-Year-Old Man Kills Masked Burglar

From the Mobile, Alabama Press-Register:
By Connie Baggett
October 13, 2009, 6:15AM

BREWTON -- An 81-year-old man shot and killed a masked gunman during a home invasion early this morning at a residence north of Brewton, Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith said.

The sheriff said the robber had been released from a Nebraska jail just two days before he was killed.


The shooting will be presented to the grand jury, Smith said, but the sheriff said he doubted the homeowner would face any charges.

"The man was in his home, in bed with his wife, and he acted in self-defense," Smith said. "And as far as the wife, she had armed herself with a shotgun by the time I got there."

h/t Say Uncle.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"The Only Trouble Is..."

" gave me the missiles before I gave you the sanctions. And that's not good business. So off you go."

Hillary and Barack get body-slammed by the Kremlin. Reminds me of the classic Monty Python sketch about the charity worker (Terry Jones) trying to get a donation from a rich banker (John Cleese):

Jones: Would you like to contribute to the orphans' home, sir?

Cleese: Orphans' Home, is it? Jolly good! We here at Slater-Darcy have been rather keen to get into orphans – growing market and all that. What sort of amount did you have in mind?

Jones: Well, you are a very rich man, sir.

Cleese: Quite right! I am a rich man. Very, very, very, very, very very rich. What a bright little fellow! Yes, I do own the most startling quantities of cash.

Jones: [rattling cup] Well, how about a pound, sir?

Cleese: A pound? I see. And this loan would be secured by a ....

Jones: [interrupting] It's not a loan, sir.

Cleese: It's what?

Jones: It's not a loan, sir, it's a gift.

Cleese: A what?

Jones: A gift. [holding out “I Gave” button] You get one of these.

Cleese: [examining it] Bit small for a shares certificate, isn't it? Look, I wonder if I could just run this over to our Legal Department and if you could possibly pop back in on Friday...

Jones: Oh, sir, couldn't you just give me the money now?

Cleese: Yes, but, you see, I have to know what the money is for.

Jones: Well, you give me the pound, and then I go and give it to the orphans.

Cleese: Oh, I see! A tax dodge!

Jones: No, sir. It's not a tax dodge.

Cleese: Look, I don't want to seem stupid, but it seems like I'm a pound down on the whole deal.

Jones: You are, sir!

Cleese: Then what is my incentive to give you the money?

Jones: It's to make the orphans happy.

Cleese: Happy? [long pause] Look, are you sure you've got this right?

Jones: Sure, lots of people give me money.

Cleese: Hmmm. I don't suppose you have a list of their names and addresses, do you?

Jones: No, sir, I just go up to them on the street and ask.

Cleese: Good Lord! That's the most exciting new idea I've heard in years! Why it''s so simple it's brilliant! If that's not worth a pound I'd like to know what is!

Jones: Thank you, sir! [holds out cup]

Cleese: The only problem is, you gave me the idea before I'd given you the pound, and that's not good business.

Jones: It's not?

Cleese: No. So off you go! [opens trapdoor under Jones]

You don't make concessions and then go to the negotiating table! You make concessions at the negotiating table!

Too much education and not enough experience.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Big Five-Oh!

Went for a fifty-mile bike trip today. It took about six hours, five if you only include the actual biking, 'cause I stopped for an hour for lunch.

Here's a look at the vehicle:
The rear pannier bag carried an MRE, thermos of hot coffee, water bottle and rain poncho. In the front handlebar bag is a first aid kit, pepper spray, tire pump, ID and CHL, keys, phone and $20 bill. The tool kit has a spare tube, patch kits and tire tools, tire gauge and the usual things. The front pannier rack is held to the front fork by six homemade clamps. First gear is a real "stump-puller" that allows the rider to climb hills so steep that you have to lean sharply forward so that the bike won't topple over backwards.

No, I do not wear those goofy tight bike pants. I need pants with a belt.

Is this an impossibly-blue sky, or what?

Let's see if I can imbed a GPS map here:

Hey, it worked! The blue line represents my trip home, except for a 3/4-mile GPS failure (yellow line).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Great Acceptance Speech

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman fantasizes that Pres. Obama travels to Oslo on Dec. 10th to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. He steps up to the lectern... and declines the honor. Then he adds:

"But I will accept it on behalf of the most important peacekeepers in the world for the last century - the men and women of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

"I will accept this award on behalf of the American soldiers who landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, to liberate Europe from the grip of Nazi fascism. I will accept this award on behalf of the American soldiers and sailors who fought on the high seas and forlorn islands in the Pacific to free East Asia from Japanese tyranny in the Second World War.

"I will accept this award on behalf of the American airmen who in June 1948 broke the Soviet blockade of Berlin..."

Read the whole thing! Unusual stuff for the NYT. I'll have a link when I get home later this morning.

Update: here's the link.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I Only Read It For The Interviews

The last issue I bought had an interview with Abbie Hoffman.

Fewer Americans Want Stricter Gun Laws

Support for stricter gun laws has declined from 78% in 1990 to 44% in 2009. And that includes a 5% drop just in the last year. Just guesswork on my part, but I would say that the 5% drop was due to the millions of Americans who went into a gunshop in the last year to buy their first gun, and found out just what hurdles an honest, law-abiding citizen faces to purchase a handgun. Two forms of identification, two long affidavits (one federal, one state) plus a call to the FBI? Surely that should be sufficient?

h/t Alphecca.

The Classy Thing To Do...

...would be to decline it.

I swear I thought this was The Onion. I kept blinking my eyes, but it wouldn't change!

I have mixed feelings about the guy. He has great personal charm, but he's waaaaayy to the left. And it's a good thing that we have the first African-American President. Even if he did not come out of the mainstream African-American experience, i.e. neither parent descended from ex-slaves, and he grew up in a white household. But his election does jab a pointy stick into the collective eye of America's effete critics overseas, and I like that!

And he's hardly done anything yet, except promise to print money in the future.

Lots of money.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Big Mac, II

MacDonald v. Chicago, that is.

Wonderful cartoon from

h/t Say Uncle.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Go, Rockets!

I have been testing a new IWB holster with a thumb-break retention strap on my bike outings. I'm wearing it in this picture, on my right hip. On my left hip is a spare magazine of 7 rounds of .45 ACP.

This was taken at a very weathered picnic table at milepost 16 on the W&OD trail.

The Letterman Scandal

Best comment came from his former girlfriend, Merrill Markoe, who said,

As you can imagine, this has been a very emotional moment for me because Dave promised me many times that I was the only woman he would ever cheat on.
She is the author of "It's My F***ing Birthday!" and "The Psycho Ex Game", both very funny and highly regarded here in Turonistan.

No Country For Old Men

Penelope Crux and Javier Bardem are engaged.

Maybe it was the shotgun silencer...

N.Y. Daily News.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Late Summer Colors

Some snapshots from my bicycle trips along the Washington and Old Dominion bike trail last week.