Near and Far

Today’s been largely spent on endeavors other than writing. I was able to hook up with a friend and address some Second Amendment related needs. In the course of my travels, after reading about it in the local paper, I visited a shop in Mitchell, South Dakota. Here’s a bit from the newspaper article:

The number of concealed pistol permits in the state has jumped almost 17 percent since 2006, and one gun shop owner said the election of President-elect Barack Obama has a lot to do with it.

“The day that Obama was elected, gun sales from distributors to gun shops shot up,” said Robert Brown, owner of 2nd Amendment Guns in Mitchell. “The gun world is really scared.”


While he’s hoping the concerns surrounding Obama’s election do not come true, he’s frightened by what might happen if fear becomes fact.

“It scares me that I might be seeing a time when guns might be taken out of the people’s hands,” Brown said. “It’s sad.”

When I was speaking with Mr. Brown about the article in the paper, he was glad to say that the newspaper had been pretty evenhanded in writing about him, but that he had said much more that didn’t get included. Much of the material which was left out pertained to the Second Amendment and what it means (and should mean).

I enjoyed talking with Mr. Brown and conducted a bit of business with him while I was there. If you are in the area and would like to work with someone who is knowledgable about his topic and cares deeply for the rights which are stated (though not created) by our Constitution, you would do well to look him up. He does not currently have a website, but his listings on GunBroker may be found here. His shop is located just a block south of the Corn Palace.

Spearfish, I Mean “Sea Kitten”

Fish for foodIn case you needed a warm fuzzy today to offset the winter cold, I bring you the following:

As part of a campaign to stop people eating fish, PETA is asking American schools with fish names to change their names to Sea Kitten High School.

The sea kittens campaign, launched in October last year, argues that calling fish sea kittens will make people think twice about eating fish, because fish have feelings as well.

Schools asked by PETA to change their names so far are Whitefish High School in Missoula, Montana and Spearfish High School in Spearfish, South Dakota.

PETA said in a statement that “If [the schools] became Sea Kitten High and everyone in town starts calling fish ’sea kittens,’ fewer of these gentle animals would be violently killed for food, painfully hooked for ’sport,’ or cruelly confined to aquariums. Schools strive for achievements in academics and sports, so why not add compassion to the list?”

There are so many directions I could take this, but I’ve got to head out for lunch. For some strange reason, cat tacos sound appealing today . . .

South Dakota’s Congressional Delegation on Next Stimulus

Since allocating $1 trillion of our future earnings didn’t stop the recession dead in its tracks, Congress–at the request of the President-elect–is desirous of throwing another trillion at it. FDR would be so proud of us.

Here’s the breakdown of the the current positions on this from the members of Congress who hail from South Dakota:

  • Tim Johnson–“It sounds good, as far as I’m concerned.” No big surprise here, particularly if spending more money that we do not have keeps people from losing their jobs.  “I’m hearing more about job losses back in the state and people having trouble making ends meet.” He’s good with the stimulus as long as it helps the middle class, but how about doing something that would help everyone?
  • John Thune–“Any stimulus needs to be targeted toward fostering long-term growth, creating real jobs and not political pet projects.” Unfortunately, Senator Thune believes that government creates jobs. Government only creates jobs as a byproduct of letting people do stuff with their own money. While we are talking of political pet projects, does not the the ethanol industry seem to fall squarely within that category? Yet Thune and Johnson both want that to expand.
  • Stephanie Herseth Sandlin–“”Moving forward, I will continue to evaluate the proposed solutions with an eye not only on ensuring we do what we need to do to stimulate and strengthen the economy, but also to ensure that taxpayer funds are guarded and we have a long-term commitment to fiscal responsibility.” She has learned quickly to say much and mean little.

Now, I realize the Obama is still in the honeymoon phase, where both friends and opponents of his policies will go out of their way to say nice things, but I am deeply saddened that not one of South Dakota’s delegation is willing to say “bad idea.”

Sticking a knife into one’s chest has a way of stimulating things, too, but 9 out of 10 doctors do not recommend it.

Character of Individuals

Ms. Barber comments specifically on the issue of responsibility as it relates to crime and family in minority communities. However, her comment is applicable to all of us, regardless of classification:

The standard liberal solution to society’s problems in general and social pathology among blacks in particular strays far away from confronting the individual. Well-intentioned but ultimately useless social programs funded by taxpayers make liberals feel like they’re doing something. The truth is, we’re just spinning our wheels like hamsters. The character of individuals, not so much the dynamics of the group, must change.

The article from which this quote is extracted is well worth reading. Do it.

Performance Boosting

To ensure that an organization is more efficient, it is a generally accepted practice to add middle and upper management employees: yes or no?

Obama’s creation of a position for a CPO (Chief Performance Officer) is mindbending (at least when it comes to my mind). How does adding the equivalent of a middle/upper-level manager to an already muddled mix make things more efficient?

The very first thing which should be considered for increasing government efficiency is decreasing its reach. Everything else fails to address the core issue: government for the people, or the people for government?


I do realize that the point of this person is to, in theory, make recommendations as to how things can be made more efficient. I also realize that following some of these recommendations could be of benefit. However, I have little faith that the position will be  more than a bit of feel good with a side of warm fuzzies.

Park Carry Update

One of the arches in UtahA while back, I addressed the good news that National Parks in the US would no longer be gun-free zones. Unfortunately, my celebration might have been a bit premature:

This week should’ve been a day of celebration for Second Amendment fans: The Bush administration’s ruling to allow loaded guns in national parks was scheduled to take effect on Friday. Now that rule change is under threat, as The National Parks Conservation Association and the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees filed suit this week in Washington, D.C. in an effort to block the regulation change.

In the suit, both groups claimed the Department of the Interior “adopted the gun rule with unwarranted haste, without following procedures required by law and without the consideration of its consequences that they are required to observe under law… The new regulation is an affront to the National Parks’ missions and purposes and a threat to the National Parks’ resources and values, which must be held unlawful and set aside.”

In checking around a bit on the the two organizations named above which are seeking to block the ruling, I found that the National Parks Conservation Association proudly remembers its “first major park issue” back in 1919:

[A]dvocating that the Park Service provide food for the elk that live inside Yellowstone during the winter, to prevent the elk from wandering outside the park in search of food and being killed by hunters.

Nothing against feeding the elk, but, in my experience animals don’t “wander.” They just don’t worry too much about lines on a map. More recently, in 1983, the NPCA states that:

U.S. courts rule in favor of NPCA’s amicus brief against the National Rifle Association. This ruling clarified that hunting is prohibited in national parks unless otherwise allowed by Congress.

Then, from its FAQ page, we have the following:

What is the National Parks Conservation Association?

We are an an independent, nonpartisan voice working to address major threats facing the National Park System. NPCA was established in 1919, just three years after the National Park Service. Stephen Mather, the first director of the Park Service, was one of our founders. He felt very strongly that the national parks would need an independent voice—outside the political system—to ensure these places remained unimpaired for future generations. Today, we have more than 340,000 members and supporters, and 24 regional and field offices around the country. Our Mission: To Protect and Enhance America’s National Park System for present and future generations.

A “nonpartisan voice”? All too frequently, when an organization claims to be nonpartisan, that is simply its way of saying “no one should accuse us of anything, ’cause were doing the right thing.” This organization’s history shows that it is far from nonpartisan.

Moving on to the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, we have the following description:

We are all former employees of the National Park Service (NPS), numbering 683 with more joining us each day. Many of us were senior leaders and many of us received awards for stewardship of our country’s natural and cultural resources. In our personal lives, we come from the broad spectrum of political affiliations.

One wonders where the “spectrum of political affiliations” starts and ends. From an earlier news release, we have a slightly different explanation of who the members are:

The Coalition of Concerned National Park Service Retirees consists of more than 300 former non-political career employees of the National Park Service. Many Coalition members were senior NPS leaders who received awards for stewardship of America’s top natural and cultural resources. The Coalition ranks include five former directors and deputy Directors of the National Park Service; 16 former regional directors or deputy regional directors; 20 former associate or assistant directors at the national or regional level; 40 former division chiefs at the national or regional level; and over 90 former park superintendents or assistant superintendents.

Now I see. They are “non-political.” I’ve yet to meet any lifetime beauracrats (which is what this organization would seem to be comprised of) who are non-political. No, they are political to the extent that they are interested in preserving the future of the government body which supports them. In short, they are interested in maintaining, if not expanding, the power of their department.

I trust that the interests of these two non-partisan, non-political organizations on the matter of concealed carry in National Parks will fail when held up against the clear statement of the Second Amendment.

Not Time to Check-Out

The 111th Congress has begun. It is time for all of us to not abscond to a quiet cabin on the shore of a lake somewhere north of Palintown. We must become educated on the bills which are being introduced and move quickly to ensure that they are not sliding through a “bipartisan” Congress like a Kilo-class sub heading under the ice pack out of Archangel.

An excellent place keep track of those things which will be occupying Washingtonians for the next while is Washington Watch. A sampling of the bills which have already been submitted are as follows:

S. 2
A bill to improve the lives of middle class families and provide them with greater opportunity to achieve the American dream

S. 4
A bill to guarantee affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans, and for other purposes

H.R. 20
To provide for research on, and services for individuals with, postpartum depression and psychosis

H.R. 25
To promote freedom, fairness, and economic opportunity by repealing the income tax and other taxes, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, and enacting a national sales tax to be administered primarily by the States

Many more may be found by following the above link. Over the next weeks and months, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on these. Briefly (going by their names alone) I can say I’m in favor of H.R. 25 and against S. 2, S. 4 and H.R. 20. Would that it were so simple.