quidni pro quo

Random musings at random intervals. Erudition not guaranteed.

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Location: El Paso area, Texas, United States

I'm a 40-something Christian, conservative, pro-life, Constitutionalist, motorcycle-riding, pick-up truck driving, wife, mother, state employee, ham radio operator and part-time college student, enlisted in the Texas State Guard. Everything else is subject to revision without notice.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sunday morning weigh-in


Not a lot of progress, but at least I'm not re-gaining.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

More Americans killed by illegal aliens than Iraq war, study says

Courtesy of OneNewsNow.com

Illegal aliens are killing more Americans than the Iraq war, says a new report from Family Security Matters that estimates some 2,158 murders are committed every year by illegal aliens in the U.S.

"The military actually called for the BORTAC team, ... the elite unit of the Border Patrol, to be detailed to Iraq to help to secure the Iraqi border," Cutler notes. "Now, if our military can understand that Iraq's security depends in measure on the ability to protect its border against insurgents and terrorists, then why isn't our country similarly protecting our own borders?" he asks.

Read the entire article.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Definitely needs to be archived

(I'm tucking this here because I don't think the Shooting Wire archives past posts, and this definitely needs to be saved. Please do not copy without crediting Jim Shepherd.)
Zumbo Fallout Continues

Three days after Jim Zumbo committed career suicide via Outdoor Life blog, the shock waves continue to reverberate through the shooting world.

Unless you've been comatose since Sunday afternoon, you've probably seen a small fraction of the furious responses to Zumbo's personal observation that "assault rifles" should be banned because they were "terrorist" weapons with "no place in hunting". Unless you've waded through more than 3,000 emails, fielded dozens of angry phone calls and talked with dozens of people in the industry who are absolutely flabbergasted at the outpouring of anger, you've only seen a part of what's happening.

AR-style rifle enthusiasts have forced the entire shooting industry to acknowledge a blinding glimpse of the obvious: there are many, many more "recreational shooters" out there than there are hard-core hunting types.

For many in our industry, this was a frightening epiphany. They've continued to market their products to the hunting community while blithely ignoring the growth segments of the industry.

They are decidedly not ignoring us anymore.

When the firestorm ignited on Sunday, Remington was the first to taste the fury.

Mr. Zumbo had casually name-dropped a pair of Remington execs in the first sentence of his now-famous writing. In response, Tommy Millner, CEO of Remington, tried explaining on the Outdoor Life blog that Remington tested their products with writers. That didn't slow the calls for complete boycotts of all Remington products.

If Remington was associating with Zumbo, Remington was an enemy.

Remington got the message, issuing this statement on Monday:

"As a result of comments made by Mr. Jim Zumbo in recent postings on his blog site, Remington Arms Company, Inc., has severed all sponsorship ties with Mr. Zumbo effective immediately. While Mr. Zumbo is entitled to his opinions and has the constitutional right to freely express those options, these comments are solely his, and do not reflect the views of Remington.

"Remington has spent tens of millions of dollars defending our Second Amendment rights to privately own and possess firearms and we will continue to vigorously fight to protect these rights," commented Tommy Millner, Remington's CEO and President. "As hunters and shooters of all interest levels, we should strive to utilize this unfortunate occurrence to unite as a whole in support of our Second Amendment rights."

By then, Outdoor Life had decided to discontinue the Hunting With Zumbo blog "for the time being, " saying "Outdoor Life has always been, and will always be, a steadfast supporter of our Second Amendment Rights, which do not make distinctions based on the looks of the firearms we choose to own, shoot and take hunting."

And still the protests grew.

Yesterday, other companies expressed their disapproval by withdrawing sponsorship or affiliation agreements.

Mossy Oak Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Butch English issued a statement saying it was "unfortunate that a long-time hunter and outdoor writer took a personal position that was unsupportive of the Second Amendment which does not differentiate between firearm types. As a result of comments made by Mr. Zumbo in recent postings on his blog site, Haas Outdoors, Inc. the home of Mossy Oak Brand Camo has ended all sponsorship ties with Mr. Zumbo, effective immediately."

Last night, Zumbo's hunting program didn't appear in its regular time slot on The Outdoor Channel - or subsequent scheduled repeats. I was told that was because "requests were made for changes regarding the nature for participants. Those changes could not be made in time for its airing." I was also assured Zumbo's show would be "back next week in its same time slot."

Pardon me if I don't make a wager on that happening.

Zumbo has gone from bankable brand name to leper status in record time.

Remington, Mossy Oak and Cabela's have swallowed a bitter pill and divorced their companies from any Zumbo connection. After more than 40 years in the industry, Zumbo's contacts and connections drive deeply into the hunting world. Those connections are painful to break - especially under these conditions.

Especially since Zumbo's opinion really isn't all that uncommon in hardcore hunting circles. And those hunting circles have traditionally dictated how - and to whom - many companies market their products.

And for that wakeup call, we might find that we owe Jim Zumbo.

We don't owe him our loyalty, our support, or our forgiveness, but we owe him for motivating us to tell the industry they'd better start paying attention to the silent majority.

Even if you call us "shooters" or "paper punchers" or "plinkers" or whatever, there are many more of us than there are hunters. And we're neither terrorists nor fools.

When I made the decision to begin The Shooting Wire, some outdoor writers questioned why I would start a "shooting" wire instead of a "hunting" wire.

Today, they know why.

The in the firearms industry, is not in hunting rifles. It is in those "terrorist" black guns (in a growing variety of calibers, further reflecting the platform's many useful applications) and the military-style handguns that accompany them. Ditto ammo and accessories. There are many, many manufacturers in the "black rifle" space - and more of them are coming.

Mr. Zumbo notwithstanding, AR-style rifles are regularly winning precision shooting titles. AR-style rifles are accurate. With the right ammo, they can hit targets at prodigious distances or protecting your home in an emergency.

In fact, the carbine style rifle with special ammo is becoming a huge player in home defense.

So what can we take from this experience?


First, it would appear the internet is the primary means of distributing information today. A blog that normally generated fewer than 50 responses was shut down after thousands of responses. Personally, I have received thousands of emails asking simply "seen this" with the Outdoor Life blog address. Those emails have broadened to direct recipients to the myriad chat rooms, message boards and other blog sites responding to the controversy.

Another lesson is one we all should remember: clicking on "SEND" is pulling a trigger-it's no more possible to recall digital words than it is to put a bullet back into a barrel. Likewise, you should never write anything on the internet that you don't want to see posted on your worst enemy's website - or the front page of the New York Times.

Yesterday afternoon, I started speaking with contacts in the firearms manufacturing area, asking them if they'd ever seen anything like this controversy. They all agree it was one of the most amazing things we'd ever seen. The almost instantaneous mobilization of AR advocates was breathtaking - and sobering.

After all, we didn't turn out in those numbers when Congresswoman McCarthy re-introduced the Assault Weapons Ban last week. Responses like the ones we've seen over the past two days would have melted down the Congressional e-mail servers.

So what have we learned, I asked Doug Painter of the National Shooting Sports Foundation?

"The important perspective from our side of the street," Painter said, "is that whether you hunt or shoot in competition or for sport with a primitive muzzleloader or the latest high-tech rifle, what links us is more important that what divides us. We may shoot cowboy, skeet, practical or whatever, but our common belief has to be the Second Amendment - everything else is just a matter of style."

He also had a sobering reminder.

"The flip side," he said, "is to remember our opponents have all of us in their crosshairs."

And he's right. Long after the Jim Zumbo controversy is over (it will probably never be forgotten - or forgiven), we will still face the ongoing assaults on our Second Amendment rights.

Now that we've discovered our voice - we must continue to apply it to our opponents.

--Jim Shepherd

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Random Snippets

Stayed home sick with a sore throat today - don't know if it's allergy related or viral, but I didn't want to take a chance on spreading it around just in case it's contagious.

Yesterday on the way to work, I saw two different women, in two different vehicles, curling their eyelashes while the vehicle was moving. The scary thing is, neither was a passenger - they were the drivers. God help the other folks on the road while these women had one eye (and thus half their vision, plus most of their attention) impeded, and God help them if they had to hit the brakes (or were hit) with the curler so close to their eye.

Note to Pelosi - you want to see income "leveled out" and the "poor" doing better economically? Let people (rich as well as poor) keep more of what they make! There's no incentive to work harder, earn more, and thus better yourself if what you make is only going to be taken away from you and given to someone else who won't work as hard. (Note: I didn't say to someone who can't work.)

Random sampling of stories I've read today (with links, if anyone wants further details)

Cuban Official Defends Internet Controls
by John Rice, AP Writer
He defended Cuba's "rational and efficient" use of the Internet, which puts computers in schools and government computer clubs while prohibiting home connections for most citizens and blocking many sites with anti-government material.

"The wild colt of new technologies can and must be controlled," he said.

Control the flow of information, and you control the people....

Iraq: Borders with Syria, Iran to close
by Kim Gamel, AP Writer
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq will close its borders with Syria and Iran for 72 hours as part of the drive to secure and pacify Baghdad, the Iraqi commander of the crackdown said Tuesday, hours after a suicide bombing in a mainly Shiite neighborhood killed at least 15 people.

Lt. Gen. Abboud Gambar, addressing the nation on behalf of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, did not say when the borders would be closed. A government official said it was expected within two days.

The government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the borders with Iran would only be partially reopened even after the 72-hour period ended.

The United States has long charged that Iran and Syria were allowing militants to use their territory to slip into Iraq to attack U.S. and Iraqi forces, as well as civilian Iraqi Shiites. Iraqi authorities have routinely echoed the U.S. charges against Syria, but they rarely accused Iran of the same.

But let the U.S. talk about simply "controlling" our borders, not closing them down completely, and suddenly we're the "bad guys."

Suspected Islamic Militants Warn Barbers
by Habibulla Khan, AP Writer
KHAR, Pakistan -- Suspected Islamic radicals have issued a Taliban-style warning to barbers in a Pakistani border town not to shave off or cut their customers' beards, saying it offends Islam, residents said Monday.

"Barbers! Correct yourselves," said the handwritten, Pashto-language notes, one of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

"Any barber shop where acts against Shariah (Islamic law) - shaving or cutting of beards - are seen, are given a final warning to stop this anti-Shariah work and if they do not stop, they should take responsibility for whatever harm they come to," it said.

The Taliban's harsh interpretation of Islam saw them also ban women and girls from work and school and outlaw activities such as kite-flying and chess.

In other words, "Trim any more beards, and we'll cut yours for you at the neck...."
Religion of Peace, my great-aunt's second cousin's carbunkles.

North Korea Agrees to End Nuke Program
Fox News, AP Press
BEIJING — It didn't take North Korea long to put its own spin on an agreement reached Tuesday that calls for the Pyongyang regime to close down and cap its main nuclear reactor and eventually dismantle its atomic weapons program.

Just hours after announcing the agreement — which clearly states North Korea must "shut down and seal for the purpose of eventual abandonment the Yongbyon nuclear facility, including the reprocessing facility" — Pyongyang issued a statement claiming it had agreed only to a "temporary suspension" of its nuclear program.

Barely on the bike and already they're backpedaling. No surprises here.

Report: Bank of America's New Credit Card Targets Illegal Immigrants
EW YORK — Bank of America Corp. has begun offering credit cards to customers without Social Security numbers, typically illegal immigrants, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

In recent years, banks across the country have been offering checking accounts and even mortgages to the nation's fast-growing ranks of undocumented immigrants, most of whom are Hispanic, the paper said, adding these immigrants generally have not been able to get major credit cards.

The new Bank of America card is open to people who lack both a Social Security number and a credit history, as long as they have held a checking account with the bank for three months without an overdraft, the Journal said.

Bank of America tested the program last year at five branches in Los Angeles, and last week expanded it to 51 branches in Los Angeles County, home to the largest concentration of illegal immigrants in the U.S., the Journal said.

A Bank of America spokesman was not immediately available to comment.

No comment? Gee, I wonder why.... Oh well, if we can't deport them, let's make them pay high interest rates like everyone else does. Maybe the credit card companies can keep track of these folks for us.

Obama Apologizes for Saying Troops' Lives 'Wasted'
AP Wire, CNN
During his first campaign trip this weekend, the Illinois senator told a crowd in Iowa: "We now have spent $400 billion and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted."

During an appearance Monday in Nashua, New Hampshire, he apologized again, telling reporters he meant to criticize the civilian leadership of the war, not those serving in the military.

"The things which come forth out of the mouth come from the heart." (Matt. 15:18)
In other words, if you'd never thought it, you wouldn't have said it.
He sounds kinda like someone else we know, doesn't he?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday morning weigh-in

135.6 lbs.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

We can only hope...

that this will actually lead to appropriate "legal liabilities" but personally, I doubt that Bloomy will take it as anything more than a "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" and a token slap on the wrist.

For Immediate Release: 2/8/2007

BELLEVUE, WA – A letter to the office of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg from the U.S. Department of Justice scolding the mayor’s infamous 2006 gun sting operation and advising that Bloomberg’s administration could face “potential legal liabilities” over such stings was called a “significant victory” against the Big Apple mayor’s anti-gun antics by the Second Amendment Foundation.

Earlier this week, SAF was advised by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that the agency is investigating Bloomberg’s multi-state sting operation “in order to determine if violations of Federal firearms laws have occurred.”

“This new development,” said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb, “adds insult to injury for Bloomberg. We were adamant early on that this vigilante attack on gun dealers by Bloomberg and his posse of private investigators went way beyond his legal authority. Now it appears the Justice Department believes likewise.”

The New York Daily News reported Thursday that Michael Battle, director of the executive office for United States Attorneys at the Department of Justice, sent the letter warning Bloomberg’s administration that it could face “potential legal liabilities” if such sting operations continue. Battle also said the Justice Department will not be filing criminal charges against any of the 15 gun dealers targeted by Bloomberg’s 2006 lawsuits over alleged “straw man” purchases. Such operations lack “proper law enforcement authority,” Battle’s letter stated.

“Bloomberg’s house of cards is starting to crumble,” Gottlieb stated. “This underscores why SAF called upon Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to investigate Bloomberg’s rogue operation last August, and why we were delighted to learn earlier this week that ATF is conducting a thorough investigation of this enterprise.

“It is both sad and revealing,” Gottlieb added, “that more than 150 mayors around the country have been drawn into Bloomberg’s folly by joining his anti-gun mayors’ coalition. That group’s launching pad was this bogus gun sting, which is now imploding. Every one of these city leaders is now linked to this misadventure. These mayors let their anti-gun bias, rather than good sense, lull them into joining and supporting what is becoming a colossal blunder, and now might be a good time to reconsider that participation.”

The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nations oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 600,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control. SAF has previously funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners, a lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers and an amicus brief and fund for the Emerson case holding the Second Amendment as an individual right.


See the Second Amendment Foundation or, if you'd like to read comments that folks have made (or leave one yourself) visit the Free Republic reprint of the article.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Diet update

My weight varies a pound or two from day to day, sometimes up, sometimes down, but it's been fairly consistant this past week.... my "center" weight is down 5 pounds from when I started. I've got a skirt I really like that I can now zip up again.

Five down, ten to go.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Angel of Jurisprudence

passed over me this week, and I’m not sure yet whether I’m relieved or disappointed.

Yes, getting called to report for jury duty can be deucedly inconvenient. At the least, it’s half a day or more gone out of your schedule if you don’t get selected; if you do get selected it can be a day, a week, or even more out of your time that can’t always be afforded. And the emotional drain can't be discounted, either. I sat on the jury for a murder trial some years ago, and while the trial itself was only a week long, the nightmares lasted for some months.

This time, there were three panels (30 people each) summoned for 9:30 Wednesday morning. We sat there for over a half hour, with the bailiff coming in every few minutes to apologize for the delay. Finally, another bailiff came in and said, “I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is, the cases you were summoned for have been resolved without trial; the defendents all decided they’d rather not face a jury and pled guilty. The bad news is, there are several other cases that the judges want to get out of the way, since there’s now an available pool of jurors!” One of the panels was sent up immediately, and the rest of us were left to cool our heels for almost another hour before the other judge was ready.

Our case was a criminal assault charge, involving a couple of inmates from a local correctional facility.

We were halfway through the voir dire when the judge asked whether anyone needed to break for lunch (seems like the lawyers were being drowned out by growling stomachs). The prosecuting attorneys finished their say, & we got to break for an hour. The defense attorneys had their say after lunch, and then we got to sit and wait again, while they spoke with several of the panelists in private. It was already 3:00 by the time the jury was selected and seated.

As the clerk started calling out the 12 names, and waiting for each to walk over to the jury box to be seated, you could feel the tension building up. There were grumbles from a few of the folks that were chosen, and sighs of relief from many of those who weren’t.

There’s a local radio station that occasionally broadcasts the “Top 10 Things To Say To Get Out Of Jury Duty” as part of their talk program. The judge mentioned the program with a smile, during the voir dire, and asked that folks refrain from using any of those particular statements. “It may just increase your chance of getting chosen!” Very few people really want to serve on a jury; I've heard discussions on various ways of answering questions in the courtroom in the hopes that the attorneys will find that viewpoint unattractive in a potential juror. For example, seems like just about every time I’ve been called, whether for criminal or civil cases, someone will stand up and state, “I’m against the death penalty and won’t vote ‘guilty’ if that will be the result.” (“Thank you, but this is a libel lawsuit and that really doesn’t signify here...”)

I did my best to answer every question truthfully, and part of me was relieved that I wasn’t chosen. I’d already lost one day from work (and paperwork piles up and doesn’t do itself), I had a headache, and I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to hear the details of the alleged assault. On the other hand, part of me was disappointed as well. I don’t mind serving if it isn’t a civil “fluff” case (like the real estate lawyer, claiming her employer “promised” to give her a property that he gave to his family instead, but she didn't have anything in writing, so they were suing and counter-suing each other..... lawdy, I felt like I was in the middle of a kindergarten fight, and I wasn't even chosen for that one.)

Part of being a good citizen is recognizing the right that another citizen has to a speedy trial, and a jury of his or her peers. That right is fulfilled by citizens being willing to sit on jury panels for each other. I try to not grumble about it, and put myself in the other person’s place for a minute, because of a question my husband asked me many years ago -

If I were the one on trial, would I want someone like me on my jury?

I want to be able to answer “yes” to that question.