Happy New Years Eve

Time to start thinking about the end of the year. Not sorry to see 2010 go, since much like every year since 2008, it’s mostly sucked. A lousy economy where I worry daily about my job, and to top off the whole soggy ice cream cone, no mission to Jupiter. We did have the McDonald win, followed by the election win, so that was something, at least. But I’m happy to say goodbye to 2010, and here’s hoping to avoiding unemployment in 2011!

We’re celebrating tonight with some Navy Bean Soup I’m making out of the ham bone and ham I have leftover from Christmas. On top of that, we’ll be making a two cheese swiss fondue, along with a variety of dippers. For drinks we have Manhattans, Mimosas and some sparkling wine for ringing in 2011 at midnight. I also have some Kirschwasser leftover from the fondue recipe, which is a brandy made from distilled cherries. It’s not like cherry brandy, which is just regular brandy (distilled from grapes) with cherry flavor thrown in. It’s more like a cherry derived liquor you could probably run your car on if you tried. It has a certain knock you on your ass quality that regular brandy lacks.

What’s on your New Year’s Eve Agenda?

National Review Comes Down Hard …

… on Andy Traver. Looks like we’re not the crazy uncle in the attic to the National Review crowd anymore.

UPDATE: One slight error:

Most of the so-called assault weapons are the ballistic equivalent of sheep in wolves’ clothing; they’re basically scary-looking squirrel guns. The greatest part of them are .223-caliber semiautomatic rifles, which is to say that they are largely indistinguishable from the little .22-caliber plinkers boys have been knocking cans off of fence posts with for generations.

Little distinguishable in caliber, but the .223 fires at a much higher velocity, and with a heavier bullet than a .22LR. I would not consider the .22LR and the .223 to be comparable. Though he’s correct it’s not legal for deer hunting in many states for being too underpowered. The rest is spot on.

Getting the GOP Back in Line

Many readers of this site are Republicans or generally right-of-center voters. Yet, when we look at the battles we’re facing with the Second Amendment, it’s not uncommon that Republicans are a source of more than a handful of our problems. In Pennsylvania, we finally managed to get Castle Doctrine out of the hands of an anti-gun Philly Democrat in the state House last year only to be stopped by Republican members of the Senate who wanted to load it down with anti-gun amendments. At the federal level, we saw a huge number of Democrats earning their pro-gun ratings by passing good legislation, putting up a fight for even more great legislation, and holding off opponents in the administration. In other words, for gun rights to move forward, the Republican leadership needs to get its act together and start seriously working with gun owners if they want to earn our votes and help in the next election.

Americans for Tax Reform and The Daily Caller are hosting another RNC Chair debate next week. They have a site set up to submit questions and vote on your favorites. Last year, I believe they did feature a question about guns, but it was only a question of how many guns the candidates owned. As both a gun owner and a volunteer, the question was absolutely meaningless. The RNC Chair isn’t setting official policy of the party, and even if they own one gun for every Republican in the country, it doesn’t tell me crap about the role they are supposed to fulfill.

I would think relevant questions to the party chair candidates would include topics about how they see gun owners as part of their voter outreach strategy, and what messages they have for candidates and incumbents at all levels to build up their grassroots teams to include gun owners. These are the kinds of relevant messages that need to come from the party/brand leaders. I could care less what the RNC Chair has done before on the issue, as long as they are willing to talk to Republican candidates for office about how vital gun owners are on Election Day.

During the last RNC Chair election process, I was open to the idea that Michael Steele could bring a bit of fresh thinking to the party. He knew what it was like to run in a tough state, and to say that the Democrats had played dirty to hurt his candidacy is an understatement. Unfortunately, he spent the RNC into the ground, and stupid mistakes have been the highlight of his term. In 2010, it turned out not to matter too much. People were just that angry with the Democrats. But in 2012, we’ll have the very top on the ticket to worry about, along with defending many more seats. Even though the Democrats still control the White House and Senate, Republicans will shoulder an unfair amount of blame for anything bad that happens, regardless of which party is responsible. Voters who aren’t paying close attention will simply remember that Republicans “won” in 2010, not the real balance of power. We can’t really afford to not have money going into that fight, nor can we afford stupid distractions from the RNC.

Right to Keep and Bear Arms for DV Misdemeanants

New case in the fourth circuit. Covered by Dave Hardy here, and Clayton Cramer as well. There have been a few courts that have taken this issue seriously. What interesting about this ruling is that it would seem to have been decided under intermediate scrutiny:

We cannot conclude on this record that the government has carried its burden of establishing a reasonable fit between the important object of reducing domestic gun violence and § 922(g)(9)’s permanent disarmament of all domestic violence misdemeanants. The government has offered numerous plausible reasons why the disarmament of domestic violence misdemeanants is substantially related to an important government goal; however, it has not attempted to offer sufficient evidence to establish a substantial relationship between § 922(g)(9) and an important governmental goal. Having established the appropriate standard of review, we think it best to remand this case to afford the government an opportunity to shoulder its burden and Chester an opportunity to respond.

Not a clear cut victory just yet, but it’s about as close as we can ask. The shame is this defendant seems a good bit less than ideal.

Good Things About Vacation

Some things I’m enjoying being on vacation:

  • Waking up when I feel like it.
  • When I do check into the office, I can do it in my underwear.
  • Mimosas. I generally don’t drink before dinner, but Bitter made Mimosas on Christmas, and we’re making them again tomorrow for New Years Eve. Starting the day with a buzz is a good way to start the day!
  • Time to think about the house, something I normally don’t have time to do. I’m determined to get a working master bath before January is over. I’m looking at a Neo-Round model from MAXX, their economy Advanta neo round base and walls, plus the Intuition doors. I figure I can do the installation, and Bitter can do the finish work.
  • Not paying as much attention to blog matters. I’m definitely on vacation this week. That’s why it’s all been Google alerts and not anything I’ve had to think about.

One of these days I’ll have time to get back into shooting again. I’m still trying to hit a match at least once a month, but lately that’s about all I have time for, considering I also have officer duties at the club too. We’ll get back to regularly scheduled programming when I’m back at work and the holidays are over, and we have a new fun Republican Congress to hate on.

More Home Improvement Blues

The drain I put in is leak free, but the shower is leaky beyond hope. The door leaks, the edges leak. The whole thing is a mess and it’s destroyed part of the underlay and vinyl tile I put in a few years ago. So needless to say I’m very displeased. I’ve dismantled the whole stall  and determined no matter how well you caulk the thing, eventually it’s going to leak when the caulk deteriorates or gets its seal broken somewhere. It’s just a fundamentally bad design, no matter how you cut it.

We actually hate the shower anyway, and were contemplating replacing it outright, but I decided I’d rather have the shower back quick and dirty, so I set out just to replace the drain. Not going to cut it. The new shower bases have lips to prevent water that might get out of the door from leaking all over the floor, and their walls are more substantial than a piece of vinyl glued to the drywall. The existing shower is an outdated piece of camel dung, and there’s no getting around it. Sadly, this is also going to mean replacing the floor I put in a few years ago, since I don’t have enough tile left to replace what I need to take up, and they don’t sell that pattern anymore. It’s vinyl tile, so not particularly hard to bring up if you use a heat gun to soften the glue. I may have a tiler come in and tile the thing with ceramic tile so I never have to worry about it again.

I really hate having to fix things. I really really hate having to fix things I already thought I fixed once.

More Humor from Cracked

Nine major stories everyone got wrong this year. Christine O’Donnell and the Tea Parties:

By focusing in on the assclowns the media painted a picture that not only wasn’t accurate, but pretty much made constructive political discourse impossible. They didn’t just fail to do their job — they did the opposite of their job, and they’ve been doing it for years.

Sadly, that’s only funny because it’s true. RTWT.

Ruger Scout Rifle

John Richardson and Michael Bane are both pretty excited about Ruger’s new scout rifle. From a business perspective, I think this is another win by Ruger. They are making unique firearms I think people are going to want. From my personal point of view, I’ve never understood the Scout Rifle, or how the concept would be inherently better than, say, a Springfield M1A Scout. In a survival situation, I’d want a semi-auto, and I’m pretty sure finding parts for an M1A in a SHTF scenario is going to be easier than for a less common bolt-action.