Wednesday, March 4, 2015

They're Coming To Take Me Away

I've been vaguely aware of various reports here and there that say the obama administration has categorized people as potential terrorists in what appears to be a move to intimidate anyone opposed to obama and his policies. For example:
...a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program dubbed Operation Vigilant Eagle tracks military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and characterizes them as extremists and potential domestic terrorist threats because they may be “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war.” Since launching Operation Vigilant Eagle, the government has steadily ramped up its campaign to “silence” dissidents, especially those with military backgrounds. Coupled with the DHS’ dual reports on Rightwing and Leftwing “Extremism,” which broadly define extremists as individuals, military veterans and groups “that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely,” these tactics have boded ill for anyone seen as opposing the government.
I plead guilty to not according such reports the serious attention they deserve. In my defense, I can only claim that I have been overwhelmed by the number and absurdity of the policies and actions taken by the federal government over the past six years to such an extent that I have become numb. It's incrementalism at its best - the 'frog in the boiling pot of water' theory.

But I recently ran across an article that opened my eyes to a shocking realization. It dramatically illustrates the extent to which Big Brother, in the guise of the federal government, views ordinary citizens like you and me as potential terrorists.

The 72 Types Of Americans That Are Considered “Potential Terrorists” In Official Government Documents
Are you a conservative, a libertarian, a Christian or a gun owner?  Are you opposed to abortion, globalism, Communism, illegal immigration, the United Nations or the New World Order?  Do you believe in conspiracy theories, do you believe that we are living in the “end times” or do you ever visit alternative news websites (such as this one)?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are a “potential terrorist” according to official U.S. government documents.
Also included on the list is anyone concerned about illegal immigration, anyone who believes in the right to keep and bear arms, and those that display the Gadsden Flag ("Don't Tread On Me").

Conspicuously missing is the phrase "Islamic extremist."

Here's the list. Go to the linked article article for the source document for each one.
1. Those that talk about “individual liberties”
2. Those that advocate for states’ rights
3. Those that want “to make the world a better place”
4. “The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule”
5. Those that are interested in “defeating the Communists”
6. Those that believe “that the interests of one’s own nation are separate from the interests of other nations or the common interest of all nations”
7. Anyone that holds a “political ideology that considers the state to be unnecessary, harmful,or undesirable”
8. Anyone that possesses an “intolerance toward other religions”
9. Those that “take action to fight against the exploitation of the environment and/or animals”
10. “Anti-Gay”
11. “Anti-Immigrant”
12. “Anti-Muslim”
13. “The Patriot Movement”
14. “Opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians”
15. Members of the Family Research Council
16. Members of the American Family Association
17. Those that believe that Mexico, Canada and the United States “are secretly planning to merge into a European Union-like entity that will be known as the ‘North American Union’”
18. Members of the American Border Patrol/American Patrol
19. Members of the Federation for American Immigration Reform
20. Members of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition
21. Members of the Christian Action Network
22. Anyone that is “opposed to the New World Order”
23. Anyone that is engaged in “conspiracy theorizing”
24. Anyone that is opposed to Agenda 21
25. Anyone that is concerned about FEMA camps
26. Anyone that “fears impending gun control or weapons confiscations”
27. The militia movement
28. The sovereign citizen movement
29. Those that “don’t think they should have to pay taxes”
30. Anyone that “complains about bias”
31. Anyone that “believes in government conspiracies to the point of paranoia”
32. Anyone that “is frustrated with mainstream ideologies”
33. Anyone that “visits extremist websites/blogs”
34. Anyone that “establishes website/blog to display extremist views”
35. Anyone that “attends rallies for extremist causes”
36. Anyone that “exhibits extreme religious intolerance”
37. Anyone that “is personally connected with a grievance”
38. Anyone that “suddenly acquires weapons”
39. Anyone that “organizes protests inspired by extremist ideology”
40. “Militia or unorganized militia”
41. “General right-wing extremist”
42. Citizens that have “bumper stickers” that are patriotic or anti-U.N.
43. Those that refer to an “Army of God”
44. Those that are “fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)”
45. Those that are “anti-global”
46. Those that are “suspicious of centralized federal authority”
47. Those that are “reverent of individual liberty”
48. Those that “believe in conspiracy theories”
49. Those that have “a belief that one’s personal and/or national ‘way of life’ is under attack”
50. Those that possess “a belief in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism”
51. Those that would “impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists)”
52. Those that would “insert religion into the political sphere”
53. Anyone that would “seek to politicize religion”
54. Those that have “supported political movements for autonomy”
55. Anyone that is “anti-abortion”
56. Anyone that is “anti-Catholic”
57. Anyone that is “anti-nuclear”
58. “Rightwing extremists”
59. “Returning veterans”
60. Those concerned about “illegal immigration”
61. Those that “believe in the right to bear arms”
62. Anyone that is engaged in “ammunition stockpiling”
63. Anyone that exhibits “fear of Communist regimes”
64. “Anti-abortion activists”
65. Those that are against illegal immigration
66. Those that talk about “the New World Order” in a “derogatory” manner
67. Those that have a negative view of the United Nations
68. Those that are opposed “to the collection of federal income taxes”
69. Those that supported former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr
70. Those that display the Gadsden Flag (“Don’t Tread On Me”)
71. Those that believe in “end times” prophecies
72. Evangelical Christians
For the record, I scored 29 out of 72.

The black helicopters are circling overhead...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

For Lou And Mel

Don't know if y'all saw this or not, but I thought you'd like to know...

Cheatham Street Warehouse Owner Kent Finlay Dies at 77
Kent Finlay, a voice for Texas Music and owner of the famed Cheatham Street Warehouse where many artists got their start, died on Monday. He was 77.

Finlay has often been seen as one of Texas Music’s best friends and premier mentors to songwriters and bands alike. His songwriter’s circle on Wednesday nights has a staple at Cheatham Street Warehouse for decades.

Finlay helped launch the careers for many famed artists, including Stevie Ray Vaughan and George Strait, among others. He was a songwriting mentor to many, having co-written songs with names such as Randy Rogers, William Clark Green, Slaid Cleaves and Walt Wilkins.

“Country music — and just music in general really — lost a great friend today,” George Strait said in a statement. “His legend will live forever in Texas, though. We’ll never forget our friend Kent Finlay. Sad day.”

Strait played his first-ever show at Cheatham Street with his Ace in the Hole Band on Oct. 13, 1975.

Superstar after superstar has graced the stage at Cheatham Street Warehouse, the famous venue by the railroad tracks in San Marcos. Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Townes Van Zandt and nearly every Texas country star has graced Cheatham Street.

...he died on Texas Independence Day. “You know he would have loved that,” his daughter, Jenni, said.

You can’t make up stories like that. It’ll probably even make a great song.

Tinder Hearted

If you're like me, you are totally clueless when it comes to online dating applications. There's a bunch of them out there, but one of the most popular is something called Tinder.
If you're single, you're probably on Tinder. If you're happily coupled up, you've probably helped your single girlfriends swipe through the reams of desirable, and not so desirable, potential dates. You cannot escape it.

New research shows that there are 50 million active users on Tinder, who check their accounts 11 times per day and spend an average of 90 minutes per day on the app...

How does this Tinder app work?

It's really very simple and easy. It finds your location using GPS, then uses your Facebook information to create your profile (don't worry, nothing about Tinder will ever be posted to Facebook). A Tinder profile is made up only of your first name, age, photos (of your choice) and any pages you've 'liked' on Facebook.

Tinder then finds you potential matches near you (you can narrow it down by searching by age and distance) and if they take your fancy, you swipe right to 'like' them. If not, go left to 'pass'. If they’ve also 'liked' you – bingo. It’s a match and you can start messaging.

There's more at the link, but basically it's like going to a bar full of people who have already been screened by your friends.
- You 'like' people in the same way you would in a bar – on whether you find them attractive at first glance. A little shallow, yes, but let’s face it, it’s what we all do on a night out anyway.

- The mutual friends function means people almost come with references – if you’ve got 10 Facebook friends in common with a match, chances are you could be on to a winner.

- It’s easy to use on the run. The app’s designed for mobile users, and it shows. The layout’s clear and it’s simple to use.
So why should we (that is, us more mature adults who are already in established relationships) care about an online dating app for youngsters? Because:

Tinder Is Charging People Over 30 More
Tinder is taking an extra-large swipe at the wallets of users 30 and over who sign up for Tinder Plus, a premium service the dating app rolled out today in the United States.

For the unindoctrinated, Tinder allows users to swipe right on their smartphone if they're interested in a person and left if they are not. Many users swipe so fast that it's common to occasionally nix a person they would have otherwise been interested in meeting.

For the privilege of undoing the damage of an itchy Tinder finger, a.k.a. a left swipe, users can sign up for Tinder Plus for the price of $9.99 a month -- that is, if they're under 30 years old.

The 30-and-over crowd will have to pony up $19.99 per month for the service, which also allows subscribers to use a passport feature and swipe with potential matches around the world...

"Younger users are just as excited about Tinder Plus, but are more budget constrained, and need a lower price to pull the trigger," Rosette Pambakian, vice president of corporate communications at Tinder, told ABC News in an email.
First of all, that's blatant age discrimination. Imagine If we mature folks had to pay a premium for other goods and services. The howls of outrage would echo through the halls of congress.

Second, doesn't this two-tiered pricing approach fly in the face of net neutrality. If charging more for a higher level of service is so evil when it comes to ISPs, how can app providers get away with it? Someone should report this to the FCC...

Monday, March 2, 2015

Texas Independence Day 2015

Today is Texas Independence Day. On March 2, 1836, Texas declared itself a free and independent Republic.
The Texas Declaration of Independence was produced, literally, overnight. Its urgency was paramount, because while it was being prepared, the Alamo in San Antonio was under siege by Santa Anna's army of Mexico.

Immediately upon the assemblage of the Convention of 1836 on March 1, a committee of five of its delegates were appointed to draft the document. The committee, consisting of George C. Childress, Edward Conrad, James Gaines, Bailey Hardeman, and Collin McKinney, prepared the declaration in record time. It was briefly reviewed, then adopted by the delegates of the convention the following day.

... the document parallels somewhat that of the United States, signed almost sixty years earlier. It contains statements on the function and responsibility of government, followed by a list of grievances. Finally, it concludes by declaring Texas a free and independent republic. 
Full text here.

That's the basic history. Now for the fun stuff.

Celebrate Texas Independence Day with free beer
Today, all Houston-area Rudy's locations in Texas will be giving away one free bottle of Lone Star beer per guest of legal drinking age and there's no purchase necessary.

 Or you could come by my house. I'll provide the Shiner.

Here's a bit more history. As a proud graduate of THE University of Texas, I'm pleased to provide this look at one of the more enduring - and endearing - UT traditions.
For the proudest of Texans, it's the most important day of the year. It's a holiday that no other state can claim. March 2 is Texas Independence Day, and it's observance on the University of Texas campus began with a missed class, a visit to Scholz' Beer Garden, and a spiked cannon. In the spring of 1896, the fledgling University was confined to a 40-acre campus, with a white-washed wooden fence around the perimeter to keep out the town cows. A Victorian-Gothic Main Building, only two-thirds complete, commanded the hill in the center. It was flanked by the Chemistry Lab Building to the northwest, and B. Hall, a men's dorm, down the hill to the east.

The University's 482 students were divided into two departments: Academic and Law...

On the cloudy, warm and humid morning of March 2, 1896, the Junior Laws were waiting for their next lecture in criminal law, taught by Judge Robert Batts, when one student bemoaned the fact that the day was Texas Independence Day, a legal holiday for Texans, except, apparently, for UT students.

For years, students had regularly petitioned the faculty for a break on March 2nd, but had always been refused...

After serious discussion, the Junior Laws decided they would honor such an auspicious day by avoiding class altogether, and invited Judge Batts to join them. The diplomatic Batts responded with an eloquent speech, espousing all of the dire things that might happen to Junior Laws who skipped lectures. The students listened, cheered, and promptly ignored Batts' pleas, choosing instead to spend the day at Scholz' Beer Garden just south of the campus, where they were reportedly "very gemuethlick."
"Gemütlich" is a German word that doesn't translate directly into English, but which basically conveys a feeling of warm and friendly congeniality, much like one feels after a few beers. For the record, Scholz' Beer Garten is the oldest beer garden not just in Texas, but in the entire United States. When I was at UT I lived just a few blocks away - within staggering walking distance. And like the 1896 Law students, I missed more than one class while sitting in the back under the trees and sipping a few brews.

One year later, in 1897, the now senior law class was determined to include the entire campus community in a celebration of "the natal day of Texas Independence," and again petitioned the faculty for a holiday ... Working with the Texas Attorney General, four of the students signed a bond in order to borrow one of the two brass cannons that stood guard in front of the State Capitol. It took most of the afternoon of March 1st to roll the cannon to the Forty Acres, where the Laws planned to use it for a 21-gun salute to Texas at dawn following day.

Just before sunrise on March 2, 1897, the Senior Laws arrived for their celebration, only to find the cannon had been spiked. A large nail had been driven in to the ignition hole, and it took some time, persistence and the employment of several pocket knives to remove the offending item. By then, (the university president) George Winston had arrived on the scene, and was rather unhappily resigned to the fact that the students were going to celebrate, whether or not the faculty approved. Hoping to minimize the damage to the class day, Winston asked the Laws to move the cannon away from the Main Building, down the hill to the University's athletic field...

Boom! Starting at 9:30am, an otherwise peaceful March morning was harshly interrupted by a series of cannon blasts from the athletic field. The entire Law Department attended...

Meanwhile, a distracted Academic Department continued to hold classes as best as it could, some of the faculty hoping the Laws would tire of their efforts, while other professors were no doubt wishing they could join in the fun. The Laws, though, weren't going to allow Texas Independence Day to pass without including the rest of the University.

At 1pm, a fresh supply of gun powder was secured, and the cannon was dragged up the hill and positioned directly in front of the Main Building, facing the Capitol. The first blast "threatened to break every window in the building." In a flurry, the Academs vacated their classrooms and joined the Laws outside...

Midway through the afternoon, it was discovered that President Winston had quietly made his escape home just north of the campus, to which a large and boisterous committee of students promptly followed. Refusing to take no for an answer, Winston was persuaded to return and make a speech of his own. He opened with the remark:

"I was born in the land of liberty, rocked in the cradle of liberty, nursed on the bottle of liberty, and I've had liberty preached to me all my life, but Texas University students take more liberty than anyone I've ever come in contact with."
You've got to love a state that celebrates its independence with beer and cannons!

And given the way things are going with the rest of the country, it may be time for Texas Independence Day - The Sequel...

FOD 2015.03.02

Let's take a closer look at issues surrounding obama's original choice for U.S. Attorney General - Eric Holder - and his choice for holder's replacement.

The AG is the chief law enforcement officer in the United States. As such, one would think he would vigorously prosecute those accused of federal crimes - tax evasion, for example. But not only does holder refuse to do so, he defends them.
At tax time, many Americans might find it pretty tempting to emulate Rev. Al Sharpton. After all, he seems to get by just fine no matter how many taxes he owes and no matter for how long... the reverend and activist owes New York State over $900,000 from 2008 and 2010 taxes, and greater sums to the IRS. With about $4.5 million in tax liens, most taxpayers know they would be pushed and prodded to pay.
Rev. Al, however, seems to be blessed by some sort of divine intervention.
Several fires destroyed Mr. Sharpton’s financial records just as he was about to turn them over to officials...
Kind of like the Lois Lerner emails. In fact, the IRS has accepted 'the fire ate my homework destroyed my records' as an excuse for not paying his taxes.
Mr. Sharpton has been to the White House on many occasions ... (but) Mr. Holder saw no problem with Rev. Sharpton’s proximity to the most powerful man in the world, saying, “The president has a number of people who he listens to, who he interacts with. You know, Reverend Sharpton is a person who has interacted with people within the administration, including myself.
You are known by the company you keep. Or, to put it another way, if you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas. Hanging out with a convicted tax cheat and swindler should make most reasonable people question your character.
In 1993, Rev. Sharpton pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for failure to file a state tax return. His Raw Talent operation which he uses for speaking engagements has reportedly also had tax problems... It isn’t only the taxman that is not being paid, according to reports. Even worthy causes like hotels, landlords, and travel agencies are getting the cold shoulder from Mr. Sharpton or from his advocacy organization, the National Action Network.
Yet obama and holder continue to treat this cheat like some sort of father figure. That says a lot about their character - or lack thereof.

Perhaps influenced by Rev. Al, holder wants to lower the standard of proof for (alleged) federal civil rights violations. Why not - the standards for college admittance have already been lowered for blacks and hispanics.

More on that at a later date. But for now, back to our story.

While letting black people slide on federal tax evasion charges, holder wants to make it easier for the feds to prosecute white people accused of civil rights violations.
Attorney General Eric Holder says that he will soon call on Congress to lower the standard of proof in federal civil rights cases, to allow federal prosecution where local authorities are unable or unwilling to get a conviction.
Why would he want to do that?
On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that it found insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges in the 2012 shooting death of a black teenager, Trayvon Martin, in Florida.
And there is speculation that Darren Wilson will not be charged in the fatal shooting of (alleged) 'gentle giant' Michael Brown in Ferguson last year.
Officials familiar with the case have said they expect that no federal charges will be filed.
"We do need to change the law. I do think the standard is too high," Holder said Thursday. "There needs to be a change with regard to the standard of proof."
Of course. Because everyone knows that those innocent unarmed black victims were mercilessly gunned down in the street by racist cops/security guards.
Pretending that racist police departments (or prosecutors or sentencing guidelines) are a bigger problem than black criminality may line Mr. Sharpton’s pockets and excite the Democratic base, but it won’t prevent future Fergusons or make inner cities less violent and more hospitable to the mostly law-abiding residents who can’t afford to live anywhere else.
And if one dares suggest that perhaps eric holder is doing less than a stellar job, that of course is racism.
In a lengthy discussion ranging from his own exposure to the civil rights movement of the ’60s to today’s controversies surrounding the shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, Holder also acknowledged that he felt some of his own struggles with Republicans in Congress during his six years in office were driven partly by race.

Throughout much his tenure, Holder has been a frequent target of criticism by Republicans in Congress, leading to some pointed confrontations. He was voted in contempt of Congress by House Republicans in 2012, and has sometimes felt disrespected during Capitol Hill appearances. He refused to dismiss the notion that some of the hostility was related to his race...

...when he was asked what book he would recommend to a young person coming to Washington ... Holder made a revealing choice: “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”
He also is "hoping to work with a university or think tank about setting up an Eric Holder Institute for Race and Justice."

I cannot think of a less qualified individual to head up such an institute. He is totally detached from reality.
Holder had only praise for Obama, the man who appointed him, disputing the claims of some African-American leaders that the first black president hasn’t really delivered for the black community: “You know, very often, empty barrels make the most noise. And I think there are any number of measures by which you can say that this presidency has been successful in a whole variety of ways, and especially when it comes to people of color.”
Please cite the statistics that support such a nonsensical claim. Anyone? ... Anyone? ... Bueller?

I won't even mention "Fast and Furious" other than to say that holder literally got away with murder (here and here), not to mention contempt of congress. (I can't fault him too much for that last one - I too have plenty of contempt for congress. But I digress again...)

Let's not celebrate too much as the worst president's ever worst AG ever rides off into the sunset. His heir apparent looks to be even worse. Here is just one of several reasons to be wary of Loretta Lynch.
The office headed by the woman poised to become the next attorney general has used an unusual method to keep many of its prosecutions hidden from the public, an NBC News investigation has found.

Federal prosecutors in New York's Brooklyn-based Eastern District pursued cases against secret, unnamed "John Doe" defendants 58 times since Loretta Lynch became head prosecutor in May 2010. Two of the 58 are terrorism cases.

Eastern District prosecutors have also sought permission to close the courtroom to the public for 11 different Doe cases during the same period, and judges have granted permission in at least 10 of the cases, as recently as February 12.

Critics are concerned the practice may infringe the Constitution's guarantee of a public trial.

None of the nation's 93 other federal district courts has charged more than eight "Does" during the same time period, and the national average is under four.
Other concerns about Lynch include "why she let multiple bank employees who funneled millions of dollars to the Iranian government, Middle Eastern terrorists and Mexican drug cartels walk away without criminal prosecution," "her support for Mr. Obama's recent move to defer deportation for up to five million illegal immigrants," and her opposition to voter ID laws.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire...

What galls me most about obama, holder, shapton, and their ilk is the unjustified playing of the race card. Anytime anyone disagrees with them or criticizes them, it's racism. That denigrates any valid instance where racism does in fact rear its ugly head.

IMO obama, holder, shapton etal. are assholes. Not black assholes - just plain, old-fashioned assholes. We would be better off without them, not because they are black, but because their actions hurt this country and damage race relations.

If that makes me a racist, so be it.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Funnies 2015.03.01

I know people in other parts of the country are having a much colder winter than those of us deep in the heart of Texas, but I really don't care. By our standards it's been damn cold around here. The picture below shows cactus on our property surrounded by ice-covered native grass.

That's just not right.

 In fact, it's so cold here that:
...the optician is giving away free ice scrapers with every new pair of eyeglasses!

...our kids are using a new excuse to stay up late: "But Mom, my pyjamas haven't thawed out yet!"

...we had to chop up the piano for firewood - but we only got two chords!

...we pulled everything out of the freezer and huddled inside it to warm up!

...we had to salt the hallway!

...I have a new excuse for drinking vodka. "But dear, it's the only thing that's still liquid!"

...we're making our beds with sheets of ice and blankets of snow.

Wife texts husband on a cold winter’s morning:

"Windows frozen, won't open."

Husband texts back:

"Gently pour some lukewarm water over it."

Wife texts back 5 minutes later:

"Computer is really screwed up now.”

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Naked Truth

Things have been a little hectic, so please bear with me while I post with minimal comment this article on Google's latest embarrassment.

Google left blushing after issuing U-turn on Blogger nudity ban
After just three days, Google has rescinded its decision to block almost all public nudity on its Blogger platform after they were inundated with complaints from its users.

On Tuesday Google took to notifying its users and the general public that as of 23 March 2015, no images which contained graphic nudity or sexually explicit material could be published on its Blogger platform, unless it was marked as private or as part of an artistic work.

And now, in a massive turnaround, Google took to its forums to say that alas, public nudity will remain on Blogger, but called on people to mark pages with nudity as private.
That seems reasonable. Let people publish what they want, along with a notice so that no one unexpectedly stumbles across something that mighht upset or offend them.
This comedown will be considered a victory for those who called on the move as a limiting of freedom of expression, with one vocal critic of the move being sex blogger and author Zoe Margolis who said that making blogs private effectively “kills them off”.

...“Forcing millions of blogs to become private is not just a free-speech issue, or one about making adult content harder to find (Google’s own search tool makes that argument redundant), but boils down to Google sabotaging the integrity of the web – and how it functions – and it is for this reason that we need to oppose this narrow-minded and short-sighted policy.”

Now if only the FCC would take the same approach to the Internet.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2015.02.27

The other day a friend of mine said he was working his fingers to the bones. That brought to mind this song, from one of my all-time favorite performers.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Throw Back Thursday - Texas Style

I don't know who started the Throw Back Thursday trend, but it doesn't do much for me. I've spent large chunks of my life, along with large chunks of money, trying to forget certain aspects of my past. But be that as it may, I've decided to go along with the whole TBT movement, albeit with a slight twist. My (irregular) TBT posts will focus on history in general, not my own personal history.

To start things off, here's an essay on the Long Rifles of yesteryear. As an added bonus, the story also emphasizes the role that armed citizens played in winning independence for Texas.
The ragtag group that marched from Gonzales to San Antonio de Béxar in October 1835 was a bring-your-own-gun army. This volunteer force, led by Stephen F. Austin, called itself the Army of the People, and the people supplied their own weapons and equipment. When the call to arms came, the soldiers picked up whatever was handy and brought it with them.

Robert Hancock Hunter, who was living in what is now Fort Bend County when he joined the company, succinctly described the army’s weaponry in his memoirs, which he wrote in 1860 and in which he employed his own spelling style: “We had about 150 men, & our guns were no a count, little dobble barrels shot guns. Some men had rifels. I had a Harperferry yauger. The lock was tide on with a buck skin string & the stock & barrel was tide to geather with buckskin strings.” Some men may have had rifles, but others had no firearms at all. While the army was still assembling at Gonzales, Austin wrote, “Arms and ammunition are needed; we have more men than guns.”

Hunter’s “yauger” was a Jaeger (a German word for “hunter”) rifle, a gun with a 36-inch barrel manufactured at the United States Armory and Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. The “rifels” the rebels used were Pennsylvania long rifles, described by colonist and frontier blacksmith Noah Smithwick as “long, single-barreled, muzzle-loading flintlock rifles, the same that our fathers won their independence with and that the famous Kentucky brigade used with such telling effect at the battle of New Orleans.” Pennsylvania gunsmiths, mostly Germans, made these rifles from about 1725 to the early 1800’s. Their octagonal barrels were 40 to 48 inches long, and they fired .35- to .60-caliber balls. Their stocks were walnut or maple and were often heavily ornamented in brass, with boxes set into them that contained the patches used for loading. In the hands of a skilled marksman, they were accurate at more than two hundred yards.

The 300-man Army of the People left Gonzales on October 12 and reached the outskirts of San Antonio eight days later. For years San Antonio had been the capital of Spanish and Mexican Texas, and the rebels thought that if they could capture it, the revolution would be over. The town was defended by a garrison of 650 Mexican troops under the command of General Martín Perfecto de Cos. The Texas soldiers surrounded the town, blocking the roads leading into it to cut off the arrival of Mexican reinforcements.

Most of the Mexicans were armed with English-made Brown Bess muskets, smoothbore guns with a range of about seventy yards. In one of the opening skirmishes of the siege, at Mission Concepción, the Texans’ Pennsylvania rifles picked off the Mexican artillerymen, who were powerless to retaliate. One Texas veteran wrote, “We wondered to see that their balls often fell short of us.” Several Texans, he went on, were “struck by balls which were far too spent to break the skin, and only caused an unpleasant bruise.”

The siege of San Antonio dragged on until December 5, when Ben Milam and Frank Johnson led two columns into town. Four days of bloody house-to-house fighting followed. Creed Taylor, one of the participants, later remembered that the Pennsylvania rifles were particularly effective in that kind of fighting. “No sooner did a head appear above a wall,” he wrote, “than it was the target for a dozen hunting rifles, and there was always another dead Mexican.” On December 9 Cos surrendered and marched his army south, leaving the Texans in control of San Antonio. 
For those of you unfamiliar with Texas history, these events took place before the Battle of the Alamo. After the Texians captured San Antonio, the Army of the People disbanded and most of the volunteers returned home. A few stayed to garrison the town, setting up camp in an abandoned mission known then as Mission San Antonio de Valero. Today we know it as the Alamo.

So in December 1835 Texian forces occupied San Antonio. Sam Houston, commander of the Texas Army, ordered James Bowie to destroy the fort and withdraw. Bowie, however, decided to fortify the Alamo, in part because he didn't have enough oxen to haul away the fort's cannons. Just two months later, on February 23, 1836, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna arrived with a large army and laid siege to the Alamo. We all know what followed. Two weeks later the Alamo was in ruins and its defenders lay dead.
Though the Texans carried hundreds of weapons into the Alamo, few of those survived. A Mexican citizen of San Antonio, pressed into service by the Santa Anna soldiers to carry the bodies of the dead defenders to their funeral pyre, found a Pennsylvania long rifle in the ruins. He later gave it to Frank Johnson, who had not stayed behind to defend the Alamo. Johnson considered the gun a suitable gift for William Carr Lane, the mayor of St. Louis, Missouri, when he made a trip there in 1839. It changed hands several more times before coming into the possession of a retired Army colonel living in San Antonio named Walter Siegmund, who donated it to the Alamo in 1947, where it has been displayed ever since.

The gun is a fine example of the most effective weapon of the Texas revolution. It was made by Jacob Dickert, a master gunsmith of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The stock is curly maple, with an elaborately ornamented brass patch box set into it and eight oval German silver inlays under the octagonal barrel. The barrel itself is 45 inches long, with Dickert’s name stamped on the top. No one knows who carried this beautiful weapon into the Alamo, but it is on display in the shrine not far from where the defender must have fallen. 
Long Rifle from the Alamo
A beautiful relic with a valiant past. You shooters out there, take a look at the trigger. My, things certainly have changed over the last 200 years.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

If You Like Your Internet, You Can Keep Your Internet

If you've been paying attention - and I sincerely hope you have - you know that tomorrow the FCC will vote on a 332 page plan to regulate the Internet.

The plan to regulate the Internet was proposed by barack obama. Support for it is split along partisan lines. An earlier version was rejected by a federal court. The current version was written behind closed doors; no details have been released to the public.

Sound familiar?
Critics of President Obama’s “net neutrality” plan call it ObamaCare for the Internet.

That’s unfair to ObamaCare.

Both ObamaCare and “Obamanet” submit huge industries to complex regulations. Their supporters say the new rules had to be passed before anyone could read them. But at least ObamaCare claimed it would solve long-standing problems. Obamanet promises to fix an Internet that isn’t broken.
That right there is the crux of the matter. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

As the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Election Commission toy with regulating aspects of the Internet, critics on those agencies are warning that speed and freedom of speech are in jeopardy.

In a joint column, Federal Communications Commission member Ajit Pai and Federal Election Commission member Lee Goodman, leveled the boom on the Obama-favored regulations, essentially charging that it will muck up the freedom the nation has come to expect from the Internet.

“These Internet regulations will deter broadband deployment, depress network investment and slow broadband speeds. How do we know? Compare Europe, which has long had utility-style regulations, with the United States, which has embraced a light-touch regulatory model. Broadband speeds in the United States, both wired and wireless, are significantly faster than those in Europe. Broadband investment in the United States is several multiples that of Europe. And broadband’s reach is much wider in the United States, despite its much lower population density,” the two wrote.
Europe has socialized medicine. obama and the progressives want us to be like Europe.

Europe has slow Internet speeds, limited broadband reach, and restrictions on free speech. obama and the progressives want us to be like Europe.

More evidence that it ain't broke:
According to a report last year by New York Law School, the number of high-speed broadband lines more than doubled between June 2009 and December 2012, while the percentage of Census districts with one or fewer fixed broadband providers fell to 1.2% from 3.5%. Broadband cable prices plunged to $1.10 per megabit per second in 2013 from $19 in 1998.
More evidence that the feds are making a power play to grab control of the Internet:
(Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler) asserts that public broadband is necessary and in the public interest because “commercial broadband providers can pick and choose who to serve based on whether there is an economic case for it.”
Sounds like the free market to me - as opposed to government sponsored initiatives.
Rather than driving competition, municipal broadband can undercut the private market. Because they benefit from public financing and right-of-way, munis can price services below private carriers ... (financing) broadband via tax-exempt municipal bonds, loans from the public electric utility and federal grants.

This puts taxpayers and in some cases electric-utility ratepayers on the hook if the ventures go belly up. Taxpayers in Monticello, Minnesota, had to bail out their government-run FiberNet after it defaulted on municipal bonds. The publicly financed network in Groton, Connecticut, was sold to private investors at a $30 million loss. Google paid $1 for the failed municipal broadband enterprise in Provo, which cost taxpayers $60 million. Largely because of these risks, 21 states impose restrictions on municipal broadband, which range from requiring public hearings to outright bans. 
And yet the dems/libs/progs want to hand over the Internet to the feds. What is wrong with those people?

And in true liberal fashion, they are keeping us in the dark about their plans.
A key Republican lawmaker in Congress called for Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to make proposed net neutrality regulations public before a planned Thursday vote on the measure.

"Although arguably one of the most sweeping new rules in the commission's history, the process was conducted without using many of the tools at the chairman's disposal to ensure transparency and public review," (Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee) said.

Chaffetz urged Wheeler to publicly release the 332-page draft order that was given to the other four commissioners nearly three weeks ago

A senator who supported the FCC's postponement back then, Chaffetz notes, was then-senator Barack Obama. "He specifically noted while a certain proposal 'may pass the muster of a federal court, Congress and the public have the right to review any specific proposal and decide whether or not it constitutes sound policy. And the commission has the responsibility to defend any new proposal in public discourse and debate,'" Chaffetz said citing the original letter sent by Sen. Obama (to the FCC).
Typical obama/liberal hypocritical crap.

Of course, there's also the tax angle. If the Internet is classified as a public utility, as net neutrality proponents want, then it can (and undoubtedly will) be taxed as a public utility.

The bottom line:
“Internet freedom works. It is difficult to imagine where we would be today had the government micromanaged the Internet for the past two decades as it does Amtrak and the U.S. Postal Service. Neither of us wants to find out where the Internet will be two decades from now if the federal government tightens its regulatory grip. We don’t need to shift control of the Internet to bureaucracies in Washington. Let’s leave the power where it belongs — with the American people. When it comes to Americans’ ability to access online content or offer political speech online, there isn’t anything broken for the government to “fix.” To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, Internet regulation isn’t the solution to a problem. Internet regulation is the problem.”
Please contact your congressperson today and tell them: "Hands off our Internet!"

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Not Acceptable

OldNFO has a post regarding the unacceptably high rate of suicide among our veterans.
We are losing too many to suicide, it’s now estimated that 22 per day are killing themselves. ONE is too many. If you know a vet having problems, please take the time to help him or her, and get them help from the services available…
Go there for more. Go here to find help.

I lost a friend to suicide after he returned from 'Nam. Please do whatever you can to prevent others from taking that road.

For some additional perspective on our veterans, here's an account written by a French soldier who served alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
...they are impressive warriors! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark - only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered - everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump. Here we discover America as it is often depicted: their values are taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by promiscuity and the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley.
I'm not quite sure what that last sentence means, but you get the idea. Go here for the full story. It's well worth your time.

Change For The Worse

If you've been following the news, you know that Bruce Jenner, former Olympian (gold medal winner in the 1976 decathlon) and Kim Kardashian's stepfather, is 'transitioning' from being male to being female.
Sources close to Bruce Jenner’s family confirm to People magazine that the former Olympian is preparing to live life as a woman.

“Bruce is transitioning to a woman,” the source tells People.
From this...

... to this.

Far be it from me to make fun of someone who is searching for his true identity. But I would be remiss if I didn't note that he has recently been involved in a fatal traffic accident. There is some speculation that the crash was caused by Jenner's attempt to escape from paparazzi.
One person was killed today, and at least seven other people were injured, in a chain reaction, head-on crash in Malibu that may have been triggered by paparazzi chasing a celebrity.

Reality-TV star Bruce Jenner was quoted by tabloid news services as saying the deadly wreck followed a chase of his Cadillac Escalade by five paparazzi...
Truly a tragedy for all involved, and I don't mean to make light of it. However, given the gender-change aspect of the story, I have to admit I laughed out loud when I saw the following headline.

Bruce Jenner rear-ended cars in fatal wreck

Okay, perhaps that was insensitive of me. But my insensitivity pales in comparison to whoever came up with this.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bonus FOD - Assorted obama Bashing

Remember the uproar over obama's swap of suspected U.S. Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl? One of the unintended (perhaps) but undoubtedly not unexpected consequences of that decision has now come to light.
The brother of an American woman who was killed after spending months as a hostage of Islamic State militants says Kayla Mueller's situation worsened after the government traded five Taliban commanders for a captive U.S. soldier.

The militants increased their demands after the May swap for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Eric Mueller told NBC's "Today" in an interview that aired Monday.

"That made the whole situation worse because that's when the demands got greater," he said. "They got larger. They realized that they had something."

Some U.S. lawmakers were outraged by the exchange of five Taliban commanders held at the Guantanamo Bay prison for Bergdahl, an Idaho native who left his post in Afghanistan and was captured and held by the Taliban for five years.

President Barack Obama's administration has defended the swap...
Of course it has. In their eyes he can do no wrong.

The media also believes barry is above reproach. Other politicians, not so much. Especially when they might be a credible republican candidate for the White House in 2016.
In the last two weeks the media has reported more about Scott Walker’s college years and personal beliefs than we still know about Barack Obama’s.
What a racist observation.

And of course, we have obama's non-strategy for defeating ISIS. You know, give them jobs and they'll stop beheading people.

Maybe we just need a kinder, gentler approach to radical islamists people of another faith who only wish to live in love and harmony with the rest of the world - like we used in dealing with another group of people bent on world domination back in WWII.

I know - we can extend the blessings of obamacare to the radical islamists people of another faith etc.

I could go on and on about Ukraine, Iran, the Keystone pipeline, illegal immigration, and other obama fiascos, but I've gotten myself so depressed that right now I need a Shiner break...

FOD 2015.02.23

Rudy Giuliani evidently touched a raw nerve when he questioned obama's love for this country.
As the debate continues over President Obama’s refusal to identify radical extremism as radical Islamic terrorism, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani stepped into the fray on Wednesday evening, declaring: “I do not believe the president loves America.”
The best response came from a twelve-year-old black student (and I really hate that I must include the descriptive term "black," but since barry's defenders cry "racist" every time someone criticizes him, I do so as a pre-emptive form of self defense).
12-year-old student C.J. Pearson recorded a Youtube video and released it in answer to the controversial question: ‘President Obama: Do You Really Love America?”

“Here’s the truth of the matter: I don’t want to be politically correct. I don’t care about being politically correct at this point,” Pearson begins and lives up to that billing. He continues:
“President Obama, You don’t love America. If you really did love America, you would call ISIS what it really is: an assault on Christianity, an assault on America and downright hate for the American values that our country holds. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and every single thing that our country stands for.”

“I hope that one day people will get enough guts to speak out against your downright hatred for this nation.”
I wish young Mr. Pearson would hurry up and turn thirty-five, so I could vote for him for President.