Coyote n. A small wolf (Canis latrans) native to western North America.



The Old Coyote's alter ego is:

Anthony A. (Swen) Swenson

Mild-mannered archaeologist by day..

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I owe it to Geraldo

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Visits since May 20, 2002

A Coyote at the Dog Show

Wednesday, July 31, 2002- - -  
Via the InstaPundit, Dave Kopel and Robert Racansky point out a few more gun control loopholes worth considering.

I think I'd take the Kopel/Racansky proposal to its obvious conclusion and propose that no government employee or elected official should be exempt from any law enforced on the citizenry.

@8:34 AM

Tuesday, July 30, 2002- - -  
I'm back from Evanston, Wyo. with many tales to tell. We'll be at the house for a few days of report writing, then we'll be headed back down there for another round of fieldwork. I notice that whenever I tell someone I've been in Evanston, or in Rawlins, I'm quick to tell them why I was there. I suppose there's a slight fear that in either case they'll otherwise draw the obvious conclusion - Evanston is home to the State Mental Hospital, Rawlins has the State Prison. I don't feel a similar need to explain myself if I've been in Laramie (U of Wyo) or Cheyenne (state capitol), so I guess this indicates a certain insecurity on my part. But then, I've never been accused of being a legislator but I have been accused of being a lunatic.

We're safely ensconced in the Phillips RV Park in Beautiful downtown Evanston. Catering to tourists as they do, it lacks the full flavor of the rural trailer court - no cars teetering on cinder blocks or starving mean Alsatians on weak and rusty chains. In fact, it's quite a nice place, with shade, grass, and even utilities that work. The guy who owns/manages the place puts in long hours, and it shows in spotless bathrooms and laundry room, and super well-kept grounds. If you're passing through on I-80 and need a place to camp I heartily recommend it.

I've been feeling internet deprived. The RV park even has an internet lounge, although after the statutory oilfield 14-hour day I don't have a great deal of enthusiasm for anything but a beer and a barcalounger. So we've been relying on the Red Star-Tribune and (horrors!) TV news. I'd been so disgusted with television news - or what passes for news on TV - after September 11th that I hadn't watched anything except the Weather Channel and occasional sports ever since. Now, if anything, I think CNN, FoxNews, et al. have become even worse. Sensational trivia and a constant stream of 'experts,' most of whom just happen to be running for office. The talking heads seem to have decided that they're in show biz and the news is all about them. Pretty lame. If I want to know what the devil is going on, I'll take 15 minutes of the InstaPundit over a day of CNN any time.

Being on the road underscores my appreciation for the internet and blogs. As a certified (certifiable?) current events junky, I feel sorry for the folks who get all their news from a small-town newspaper and from the tube, and I really wonder at the folks who get along without the newspaper. Personally, I feel very uninformed without my daily surfing. I really want a wireless connection, but I've a feeling the technology isn't quite there yet, or here yet, to deliver decent bandwidth.

The work has been very interesting. We've found very little evidence of prehistoric activity on the Bear River Divide. My wife the geologist thinks it's because there's very little raw stone of the sort used to make stone tools, thus prehistoric habitations are devoid of the massive concentrations of chipped stone waste commonly found elsewhere in the state. Lacking the chipped stone waste, little evidence would be left of the ephemeral campsites of the prehistoric foragers who inhabited the high desert. However, I disagree. I suspect that, being on the Utah border, the Indians shunned the area because of the high concentration of Mormon missionaries. Whatever.

But we have encountered a variety of historic remains, including long-abandoned segments of the original route of the Union Pacific Railroad only a few miles short of Promontory, Utah (the golden spike and all that), several segments of the California and Mormon trails, the Pony Express route, old stage and freight roads, and the ghost town of Piedmont. The Bear River Divide, on the west flank of the Green River Basin, is impressively rugged country. It doesn't really qualify as mountains, at least by western standards, but it remains a difficult country for travelers and must have been brutal on the westward migrants. About the only advantage of the area is an abundance of springs and streams, which must have been a relief after traversing the Green River Basin.

Between the Sweetwater and Big Sandy rivers on the eastern flank of the Green River Basin the overland migrants found the longest waterless stretch of the entire Oregon/California trail - over 50 miles with no water. That doesn't sound like much until you consider that ox-drawn wagons only averaged about 12-15 miles per day. Fifty miles without water posed a significant threat to the migrants.

The wildlife have been abundant and entertaining. We didn't see any moose or elk, although we were several times in the high mountain valleys where they spend the summer. Antelope and deer are ubiquitous, if noticeably fewer than in times of better range conditions. But the smaller wildlife and particularly the birds have provided considerable diversion.

I watched a pair of prairie falcons catch a dove one afternoon. One falcon hovered over a patch of sage flapping its wings and darting in and out until the dove flushed. Then the other falcon rocketed in and nabbed the dove in mid-air. Very efficient, magnificent little predators.

Sandhill cranes are making a comeback and we saw several pairs as well as hearing their bizarre calls on several occasions. The noise they make is indescribable but unmistakable and carries for miles. In the air, they look positively prehistoric - like some Jurassic Park-recreation of a pterosaur.

Kestrels and hawks of all kinds were everywhere and we watched them hunt wherever we went. A badger sat sunning and scratching himself while I snapped a bunch of photos from the truck window. He seemed utterly unconcerned with the truck, but disappeared instantly when I opened the door and got out.

All in all, a very successful trip and I'm ready to go back tomorrow, so I'd best get some work done and quit clogging the epipes for a bit.

@7:33 AM

Saturday, July 20, 2002- - -  
Wow! A real toad choker last night. It rained hard for an hour or so and sprinkled off and on all night. My roof repair held up, although I still need to give it another coat this morning. Packing the office equipment, printer, scanner, etc. this afternoon. The fridge is full of beer and we're ready to roll Sunday am.

@8:43 AM

Friday, July 19, 2002- - -  
The Coyote is six months old today.

Thanks to my small but loyal readership for their email and encouragement!!

@8:00 AM

Oh, yeah! Samizdata has moved, so update your links!

@7:25 AM

Jeez. I don't remember the last time I posted to Blogger and didn't get an error message of some sort. Today's: Error 503: Unable to load template file. We're working on this. Please try back later. But the post seems to publish Ok.

Update: Not 10 minutes later I published my 'Samizdata has moved' notice and voila! No error message from Blogger. First time in a week. Maybe I should complain more often..

@7:21 AM

MommaBear says mothballs will keep the mice out of the trailer. It's worth a try. Today I shall endeavor to stop the leak in the roof that developed over the winter. Everything else checks out, so the yacht is hot to trot. If this shapes up to be a normal year, our work will become more frenzied until late fall and we'll have more than enough of linear living. Federico Felline makes fine trailer trash and he'll go along for the ride.

I'm looking forward to getting out in the hills. Life in an office seems like a sentence to me. It will be interesting to see how the drought is effecting southwest Wyoming. We were last down there late last fall, but our problem then was one monsoon after another. I'm expecting it to be dry, although the Wasatch Range and Bear River Divide catch moisture from the prevailing southwesterly winds and receive more rainfall than the surrounding basins.

I've been informed that part of the project is being dropped for now, due to a forest fire burning a couple of miles from that project area. Most of the rest of the project crosses a rugged badlands with occasional sparse stands of junipers widely separated by near-barren mudstone and sandstone exposures. You would think this sparse vegetation would not be very conducive to wildfire, but the vegetation is dry and many of the shrubs are particularly oily woods - juniper, sage, and greasewood - the desert burns with a particular fury.

Because prairie fires burn particularly hot and fast, and because there's no commercially valuable lumber or vacation homes out there, fire suppression has not been emphasized, and the fires are generally contained between areas of previously burned land. Thus, the fires start fast, but are generally brief affairs of limited area. If you consider 100,000 acres a limited area. The fires kill the woody shrubs and rejuvenate the grass, actually improving range conditions for wildlife and livestock.

@7:19 AM

Thursday, July 18, 2002- - -  
Life goes from bored to frenzied at a stroke.

We dragged the Land Yacht to town early yesterday, evicted the mice (how the hell do they get in there??), cleaned it up, charged the battery, and started the refrigerator. Today I'll pull it over to the local campground and hook it up, check the pipes & water heater, electric system, & furnace, and fill the propane bottles. That gives me a couple of days to do any needed repairs before we depart Sunday for Evanston. A week's work in the hills southeast of there.

From the search of the state's cultural records I can see that we'll have about 42 crossings of the Emigrant Trail, the original route of the Union Pacific Railroad, and the Lincoln Highway, the first Interstate highway authorized by Congress. Thank god for digital photography.

Posting will be sporadic while we get ready to non-existent while we're gone, but at least I'll have something to write about besides the view out this window when I return.

@7:31 AM

LOS ANGELESA white police officer caught on videotape pummeling a handcuffed black teenager has been indicted on assault charges, less than two weeks after a beating that has drawn comparisons to the Rodney King case.

Inglewood Officer Jeremy Morse, 24, is expected to surrender later today, said his attorney, John D. Barnett. Morse will plead innocent, he said.

"My client believes that an impartial jury will find that the use of force was necessary and he will be acquitted," Barnett said.

A grand jury also returned an indictment Wednesday afternoon against Morse's partner, Officer Bijan Darvish. He will face a charge of filing a false police report and is also expected to surrender today, Barnett said.

@7:14 AM

Tuesday, July 16, 2002- - -  
DENVER - Seven U.S. environmental groups on Thursday urged the federal government to list the white-tailed prairie dog as threatened or endangered, saying plague, oil and gas drilling as well as suburban sprawl are decimating the species.

Prairie dogs are not dogs. They are rodents, closely related to rats. Of course their population is in decline. We're in the midst of a deep drought. All of the wildlife are suffering. But prairie dogs are not in danger of extinction. They're just weathering another of many cycles of population boom and bust caused primarily by climate and disease.

Loss of habitat is the greatest threat to most wildlife species, and loss of habitat isn't really the problem they portray in Wyoming, Northwest Colorado, and northeast Utah. Urban sprawl is a blight on the landscape on the Front Range of Colorado, but the total area of development, as a percentage of the vast area of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, is miniscule. I've walked through prairie dog towns that extend for miles. The occasional fence line, gravel road, and 5-acre well pad don't have much effect on them. Every predator in the west eats them. You see them mashed on the highway. These losses are a miniscule percentage of the population. Likewise, you would run out of money for ammunition before you shot enough of them to have an effect on the population of a big town; they're rodents, they breed fast.

Plague can and does wipe out entire PD towns, but what would you suggest doing about it? Various government agencies, farmers, and livestock grazers have poisoned entire towns. Before you condemn them, ask what you would do if burrowing rodents known to carry Bubonic and Sylvatic plague moved into your back yard, or the vacant lot next door? But despite droughts and plagues, shooting and poisoning, they come back. They're rodents. There are millions of them.

There are species, such as the black-footed ferret, California condor, whooping crane, and many more you can name, that truly are threatened with extinction. Saving those species is a worthy goal and that's what the Endangered Species Act should be all about. The ESA should not be just another tool for those who would obstruct all development in the west. Listing rodents that thrive over hundreds of thousands of acres of plains along-side the whooping crane, makes a mockery of the ESA and wastes valuable resources that might be better spent on the species that truly are endangered.

@3:32 AM

Steve Den Beste observes that many cities have landmarks that are universally recognized:

So I was sitting there drinking my coffee and noticed one of the posters up at the multiplex, for a movie called "Reign of Fire". The picture is quite graphic: London is in flames. You can tell it's London because Parliament is in the foreground and you can see Big Ben. It's visual shorthand so that you know where you are. If it had been Paris, it would have been the Eiffel Tower. For NYC, it would probably be the Statue of Liberty. You got the Space Needle for Seattle, the Arch for St. Louis, smog for Los Angeles. What about San Diego?

Nothing ever happens in San Diego, so the question doesn't arise.

Many other cities, and even whole states are recognizable because of their unique landmarks. Colorado has the Grand Teton. Montana and Idaho have Yellowstone National Park. South Dakota has Devil's Tower.. at least in their tourist advertising.

@3:31 AM

Monday, July 15, 2002- - -  
A couple of weeks ago, Eric Raymond published a series of three posts (1, 2, 3) that paint a bleak picture of Islam and its foundational roll in the current Middle Eastern situation. From that point of view it is hard to imagine continued coexistence with those who adhere to that belief system as it is currently espoused throughout much of the Arabic Middle East.

Yet for those raised on the American ideal of freedom, including the freedom to believe and speak that which we consider vile, it is most difficult to contemplate taking the action that would be required to impose change from without. Perhaps it is wishful thinking on my part, but I can't help hoping that Paul Palubicki is right, that the majority of the population of even the most Islamofacist countries would rather live in peaceful coexistence than continue to commit societal suicide.

As Paul asks: Where's the Palestinian Jesus? Where's the guy saying violence isn't the way and those who live by the sword die by the sword? ... Where's the Palestinian Ghandi? The Martin Luther King of the West Bank? The guy who leads non-violent marches and preaches civil disobedience? The guy who makes grand speeches against injustice and does all of it not to gather power unto himself but to empower his people? ... where's the guy denouncing violence and calling for peaceful resistance? I've never seen him.

And it's true that there appears to be no voice in Palestine arguing for coexistence and peace. But perhaps there is hope elsewhere. John Weidner points to the growing unrest in Iran, where many are becoming disaffected with the Ayatollahs and where voices of dissent are being raised. This small seed, this single ray of light and hope in an otherwise barren landscape, is certainly worth nurturing and supporting in any way we can. Far better that reform grow from within than through military force, although that too will be required before any of us have peace again.


We are not politicians, nor are we generals. We hold no power to dispatch diplomats to negotiate; we can send no troops to defend those who choose to risk their lives in the cause of freedom.

What power we have is in our words, and in our thoughts. And it is that strength which we offer to the people of Iran on this day.

Across the diverse and often contentious world of weblogs, each of us has chosen to put aside our differences and come together today to declare our unanimity on the following simple principles:

- That the people of Iran are allies of free men and women everywhere in the world, and deserve to live under a government of their own choosing, which respects their own personal liberties

- That the current Iranian regime has failed to create a free and prosperous society, and attempts to mask its own failures by repression and tyranny

We do not presume to know what is best for the people of Iran; but we are firm in our conviction that the policies of the current government stand in the way of the Iranians ability to make those choices for themselves.

And so we urge our own governments to turn their attention to Iran. The leaders and diplomats of the world's democracies must be clear in their opposition to the repressive actions of the current Iranian regime, but even more importantly, must be clear in their support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.

And to the people of Iran, we say: You are not alone. We see your demonstrations in the streets; we hear of your newspapers falling to censorship; and we watch with anticipation as you join the community of the Internet in greater and greater numbers. Our hopes are with you in your struggle for freedom. We cannot and will not presume to tell you the correct path to freedom; that is for you to choose. But we look forward to the day when we can welcome your nation into the community of free societies of the world, for we know with deepest certainty that such a day will come.
John Weidner

@7:19 AM

Sunday, July 14, 2002- - -  
Not for those with high blood pressure!

The Feces Flinging Monkey has a whole series of posts regarding the US security apparatchiks' so-far retarded efforts to combat terrorism. Basically, they won't admit even to themselves that the Kamal al-Patoutis of the world might pose a threat, and refuse to see evidence of terrorism when it slaps them in the face. They show their sensitivity by searching little old ladies and giving a pass to the Richard Reids. It goes on and on. Just start at the top and read.

@9:50 AM

Reader Harvey Olson asks:

What's the origin of the phrase "poodle-shooter"? Basic Googling tells me that it refers to the M16, but the logic of describing a combat rifle as useful for dispatching domestic canines escapes me.

Colonel Jeff Cooper feels that the .223 cartridge is too small to be a credible military caliber, being more suited to varmints. I believe the good Colonel coined the term 'poodle shooter' with that in mind as the largest animal he'd use one on. The Wyoming Game & Fish must agree with the Colonel, as they've banned .22 caliber centerfires from use on big game - even those 75# antelope are considered too big for a .22 caliber centerfire.

Here's why:

The .223 (5.56x45 NATO) round loses velocity, thus power, very rapidly, and didn't have much power to begin with. The old 55 grain M193 bullet starting at about 3300 fps (1080 ft-lbs of energy) drops to around 2100 fps (400 ft-lbs) at 300 yards. Also, a 10mph breeze will blow the 55 grain bullet a foot off-course at 300 yards. So at 300 yards you're down to .38 Special-level power, if you can hit what you're shooting at. The military has tried to compensate for this somewhat with a heavier bullet. I don't have the numbers on the new SS109, but the general tables suggest that they can't be too much better.

By way of comparison, a 147 grain .308 (7.62x51 NATO) starting at a much slower 2700 fps is also down to about 2050 fps at 300 yards and is blown off about 8 inches at 300 yards by that same 10 mph breeze. But the .308 starts out with over 2400 ft-lbs of energy and still retains 1300 ft-lbs of energy at 300 yards. Much more credible.

All things considered, the Colonel must have been referring to a tea cup poodle, because I'm not sure I'd try one on a Standard at anything beyond about 50 yards.. As the Colonel says of the .25 auto, 'It's a fine weapon for those times when you don't feel the need to go armed.'

On the other hand, the first rule of gunfighting is Bring a Gun, and a .308 can be a handful for someone not accustomed to guns. It's much easier to train people to use the .223 effectively and the ammo is much lighter, a significant logistical consideration. I've seen women handle the M14 .308 with ease, but I've also seen big hairy guys who were absolutely terrified of it. In combat these folks are likely only going to stick it up and blaze away blind, so you might as well give 'em something that shoots a lot of cheap ammo very fast. The Colonel's 'spray and pray' technique.

@9:05 AM

Damn I love the new pop-up ads that don't even have a 'close window' button. The pop-ups that hid the X or positioned it off-screen were bad enough. I think I'm going to start making a list of companies never to do business with.

@7:59 AM

A reader writes:

Yesterday I received a Steyr Tactical Scout .308 that I purchased via What a beautiful example of design and function! Since I learned of Jeff Cooper's commentaries and the Steyr Scout through your blog, a thank you is in order for my introduction to both of these enlightening marvels. [links added]

You're most welcome, enjoy!

@6:31 AM

This is too awful to resist. From my dad via the internet; there's no attribution, so if you wrote it 'fess up.

Twenty-eight years ago, Herman James, a West Virginian mountain man, was drafted by the Army. On his first day in boot camp, the Army issued him a comb. That afternoon, an Army barber sheared his head. On his second day, the Army issued him a tooth brush. That afternoon, an Army dentist yanked several of his teeth. On his third day, he was issued a jock strap. . . the Army is still looking for him.

@6:22 AM

Saturday, July 13, 2002- - -  
Beer saves lives, eh? Well then this should be doubly good news: The barley has headed out and is beginning to ripen. In another week or two they'll begin harvesting another year's supply of headaches.

@7:02 PM

Now I'm happy.. I just finished installing a new Timney trigger in the poodle shooter (tm). It didn't exactly drop right in, there's considerable fitting required, mostly to fit the trigger to the existing safety, but it's easily doable for anyone with a bit of mechanical ability. I initially installed the light sear spring that was provided with the new trigger, but decided that it was too light for my tastes, so I reinstalled the factory sear spring, allowing me to adjust the trigger to 2½ pounds. And it's crisp. I'll be running out of excuses for bad shooting pretty soon.

@4:06 PM

Friday, July 12, 2002- - -  
A new winner in the 'how dumb can you get' contest.

@2:14 PM

Finally! Some good news. The problem is, the people who shouldn't, will.

@1:36 PM

As a charter member of the First Church of the Full Tilt Boogie, I've got to point out that that's BOGEYMAN! Boneheads. Okay, Okay, it can also be spelled Boogeyman, but please, let's not get Boogie bound up in this.

@7:24 AM

That's pretty odd. Blogger returns an error message every time I hit 'Publish,' but it appears that it's publishing just fine. Whatever.

@7:13 AM

Blast! Now Blogger informs me that it is 'unable to load template file' but they're working on it. At least with all the problems they've been having their error messages are becoming more and more varied and informative.

@7:10 AM

Originally via the Red Star-Tribune (no link to feature), Deroy Murdock says that the Bush administration is now to the left of Barbara Boxer on arming airline pilots. A very interesting run down of all the flimsy and/or foolish arguments against armed pilots.

Of course, slippery slopes run in all directions. Just as gun rights advocates rightly fear every incremental infringement of the right to bear arms, those who advocate victim disarmament rightly fear any easing of their hard-won rules. What's next if we allow armed pilots? Letting the little old ladies keep their knitting needles? Can't have that.

Update: Notice that on this, as with many other issues, the Dems & Repubs are pretty much interchangeable when it comes to easing up on the citizens. Can't have that either.

@7:07 AM

Thursday, July 11, 2002- - -  
Whoa Nellie! (tm) Andrea Harris lays a broadside on ol' Dan that surely ought to shrivel any mortal, in the comments on this post by Bill Quick. At some point you just have to get harsh with the idiots.

@10:44 PM

Oh my me then!

I've got a couple of wee longhorn cube steaks slowly simmering in plenty of soy and woozy, with a little chopped green onion. They've been at it all afternoon (they are a bit tough) and the smell is divine. I have to be careful not to drool on the keyboard. Every time I absolutely can't stand it I sample a bit. It's now melt-in-your-mouth tender and it tastes more like whitetail venison than beef. I'll put the heat to a steamer-full of broccoli in a few minutes.

Life is good.

@6:03 PM

Via the LA Examiner, Glenn Reynolds has an excellent article on the LAX shooting at today. Says he, the government's attempts to avoid calling this terrorism, even with appropriate caveats - you know, weasel words like 'alleged to be a terrorist act' - is embarrassing. Furthermore, the media reaction of demanding stepped up security is silly.

Reynolds concludes: The clearest lesson of the Los Angeles International shooting is that diffuse threats like terrorism are best answered with diffuse defenses: lots of people, preferably armed, who are ready to respond in a hurry. ... As we learned in the case of Flight 93, and again when airline passengers subdued "shoe-bomber" Richard Reid, a swift, decisive response by those on the scene is crucial.

Instead of crafting ever-narrower definitions of terrorism, or looking for easy solutions that won't work, both government officials and pundits should consider how we might mobilize the most potent anti-terror weapon of all: the citizenry.

Spot on, on all counts! Go read it.

@3:24 PM

Minneapolis - Four screeners of passengers and carry-on bags at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport were fired Tuesday after they failed to detect forbidden items in tests by federal inspectors.

The four were among about 720 screeners employed by Globe Aviation Services at the main Lindbergh terminal. Globe performs screening functions at the terminal under a contract with the new federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA). In Washington, D.C., TSA spokesman Greg Warren said Wednesday that he was not aware that screeners at any other U.S. airport have lost their jobs as a result of federal tests of their performance.
Via the InstaPundit.

Please note that these four screeners were not among the newly federalized security forces, they were privately employed.

USA Today: Checkpoint screeners at 32 of the nation's largest airports failed to detect fake weapons — guns, dynamite or bombs — in almost a quarter of undercover tests by the Transportation Security Administration last month, documents obtained by USA TODAY show. ... Overall, screeners missed simulated weapons in 24% of the tests. At three major airports — in Cincinnati, Jacksonville and Las Vegas — screeners failed to detect potentially dangerous items in at least half the tests. At a fourth, Los Angeles International Airport, the results weren't much better. The failure rate there was 41%. Screeners repeatedly failed to find stainless-steel test pieces that set off metal detectors as guns might. Screeners also had trouble spotting simulated bombs.

Can we expect more heads to roll? Probably not, under the current system. So maybe President Bush isn't so dumb.

@8:26 AM

A few more thoughts on the Redding Type S die:

The whole purpose of the Type S die is to gain greater control over case neck size in bottle-necked cases and thus, the degree of tension with which the case neck grips the bullet. Thus, although the die comes with a decapping rod equipped with a standard sizing button, running a sizing button through the neck would seem to defeat the purpose of the die, leaving the case neck sized to the button rather than to the desired bushing size. Therefore, I've always used the non-sizing decapping pin retainer that's also supplied with the die, although I haven't gotten so fussy as to sort or turn my case necks, yet.

When preparing new unfired cases, some means must be found of ironing out the dents or wrinkles in the case neck and opening the neck sufficiently to accept the mandrel of the case trimmer. Running the cases into the sizing die accomplishes this to some degree, but can leave the neck too small to readily accept the case trimmer pilot. And of course, running a too large case trimmer pilot into the neck after sizing may also expand the neck slightly, defeating the purpose of the Type S die.

At first, I ironed out the necks by running them over a sizing button - without actually sizing the case. Then I trimmed and deburred the cases and sized them in the Type S sans sizing button. This works well, but the sizing button works the brass more than strictly necessary and most require inside neck lubrication. Lately, I've found a much more satisfactory solution: A Lyman Neck Expanding M die. The neck expanding die is the third die commonly supplied with three-die sets for straight-walled cartridges, but is not supplied with two-die sets for bottlenecked cartridges, as the expander button of the standard sizing die serves more or less the same purpose. As far as I know Lyman is the only manufacturer that makes a neck expanding die in rifle calibers.

So here's my routine for preparing new unfired bulk cases: Using a little MidWay Mica, run the cases into the Neck Expanding M die, with the die set to stop before the second step of the expander rod engages the case mouth (it's not necessary or desirable to actually bell the case mouth). Trim the cases to length, then lightly debur them inside and out. Do any neck turning and flash hole deburring you may desire - go ahead, be anal, every little bit helps. As the final case prep step, again apply a little dry mica and run the case into the Type S neck sizing die. Add primer, powder, and bullet, shoot, repeat often.

It seems to me that the key to getting the best result from the Type S neck sizing die is to avoid any further operations on the case that may disturb the case neck size after it has been brought to the desired diameter with the Type S die.

MidwayUSA informs me that my new Timney trigger is on the way. Once I can eliminate all the crunching and grinding I'm going to start experimenting with bushing size to vary the degree of neck tension. I'll report back.

@7:40 AM

Wednesday, July 10, 2002- - -  
Compare the InstaPundit's comments on the Bush Administration's possible hidden agenda in federalizing airport security to Mickey Kaus' [7/10/02] observations on the Homeland Security bill.

Bush couldn't be that Machiavellian... Could he?

Count on it.

@8:07 PM

Fowl Play
It's interesting that squab and squabble share such similar etymology, because there's quite a squabble going on over at the Volokh's over whether chickens can fly. [Although a chicken isn't a squab, of course. Ed.]

In light of Sasha Volokh's citation of Frigaliment Importing Co. v. B.N.S. Int'l Sales Corp., 190 F. Supp. 116 (S.D.N.Y. 1960), I think I now understand the source of all the contention. Sasha quotes Judge Friendly: The issue is, what is chicken? Plaintiff says "chicken" means a young chicken, suitable for broiling and frying. Defendant says "chicken" means any bird of that genus that meets contract specifications on weight and quality, including what it calls "stewing chicken" and plaintiff pejoratively terms "fowl." Dictionaries give both meanings, as well as some others not relevant here.

So obviously, when Eugene Volokh said chickens can't fly he was referring to the common supermarket chicken (G. shrinkwrapicus), clearly an advanced member of the genus Gallus. I foolishly thought he meant chicken on the hoof (G. gallus), the more primative species of said genus. Now that I understand, I'll gladly grant him his assertion.

@7:32 PM

Blast! According to Blogger, their 'Server went Boom' just as I was about to put the finishing touches on the post below. But I'm patient. Very, very patient.

In the mean time all you fellow BlogSpotters, please republish your archives, they've probably gone bye bye like mine did.. Oh, can't do that either can we?

@6:55 PM

Mickey Kaus [7/10/02] has found something interesting in the H_____d Security bill that will surely be the source of some serious infighting:

Aha! Here's the point of the H______d Security department: Deep in the bill to establish the new agency is a provision that would allow a "flexible," and "contemporary" personnel managment system, "grounded in the principles of merit and fitness." Translation: They want to be able to fire people. WaPo, which gives the issue extended coverage (this is what's really important in D.C.!.) reprints the slippery explanations of Tom Ridge, and other Bush officials, who go on about how they want to keep the "best of the civil service" rules, which pointedly don't seem to include the rules that preclude firings. Nice try! The government employee unions will not be fooled. ...

Fire government employees? God forbid! After all, for a very significant percentage of them 'job security' was a very significant consideration in their choice of career. I know. I was one, too.

@6:53 PM

Fish + Barrel + Gun
Via Jan Yarnot, Eric Alterman relates an anecdote:

TONY BLAIR’s special relationship with George W. Bush is under considerable strain. Not only do the two disagree on Yassir Arafat’s tenure as leader of the Palestinian Authority, but Blair has started telling disparaging anecdotes about the President. Baroness Williams of Crosby recalled a story told to her by “my good friend Tony Blair” recently in Brighton. Blair, Bush and Jacques Chirac were discussing economics and, in particular, the decline of the French economy. “The problem with the French,” Bush confided in Blair, “is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.”

That's pretty clever actually. Too bad Eric Alterman didn't get the joke. The moral of this story? When attempting to be a wit, be careful that you don't prove yourself only half right. N'est-ce pas?

@4:03 PM

Matt Welch has a very interesting article in the National Post. He believes that Bush is losing the benefit of the doubt that had been extended to him since September 11th:

Nearly 10 months later, signs abound that the grace period is over. Bush's approval rating has fallen steadily from 88% to a still-impressive 70%, while polls show Americans are now worrying far more about the rattled economy than the possibility of a terrorist attack. It remains to be seen how Bush's once-reassuring tagline as America's "first MBA president" will sound after more and more of his CEO pals are dragged off in shackles for the mammoth accounting cover-ups that have been battering the stock market almost every day.

Of course, some of Bush's most shrill detractors never did let up, they still have tiny flecks of chad adhered to the corners of their mouths, and those folks tend to overlook the fact that Bush's CEO cronies were just as crooked under the Clinton administration and were shoveling just as much money at the Democrats - that's a brush with tar on both sides - but in general I think Welch is right. The public and the loyal opposition have cut Bush a lot of slack, as I think they should.

However, the tone deaf establishment of The Department of Homeland Security and the shell game that's being played between the DHS, CIA, FBI, the DOT, and the rest of the US security apparatus is starting to look like the standard bureaucratic blame- and responsibility-avoidance dance that plays out every time there's a minor crisis in DC. CYA is the rule of the day; and grab for some more money and power while you're at it. This should have changed September 11th. These folks have a real job to do now that's more important than protecting and growing their phony baloney bureaucracies. A real leader in a real war would be slapping them, not playing along.

Likewise, an MBA might be expected to see a certain downside to protectionist trade policy and corporate welfare. However, if Bush sees a downside it certainly can't be discerned from his actions to date. As Welch points out, this is nothing new, but: This makes a public mockery of Mr. Bush's (admittedly always fanciful) claim to be a new sort of politician, who does not abide by Washington deal-doing.

Finally, Welch absolutely nails it: It is possible that all the criticism amounts to nervous carping and that there are crucial maneuvers happening behind the scenes that we'll later hail as heroic. It's even possible we are entering a new Cold War-style era, but with a more enlightened view toward avoiding the murderous excesses that split the country in half for 50 years. But American power is too vast to give any one man, or administration, the benefit of the doubt.

Last September, Bush had it handed to him. Now it's time for him to earn it.


@8:17 AM

Tuesday, July 09, 2002- - -  
What! What? It wasn't me, I didn't do it, I wasn't there!

But there are some very bad jokes about Norwegian terrorists..

@2:35 PM

Are Ballchinians aliens, or victims of bad facelifts??

@2:34 PM

Eugene Volokh says chickens can't fly. I wonder if he's ever tried to catch one.. I suppose you don't see many chickens in downtown LA since my relatives moved away.

@11:42 AM

I'm probably the last to notice that Will Warren has new verse for us. A special for the Fourth.

@9:26 AM

The Fusilier Pundit writes:

I've seen two explanations for the 1:7 and 1:9 twist in AR barrels: 1:7 stabilized the M855 (SS109) but didn't stabilize the tracer, so they compromised, or 1:7 overspun the M193, esp if they were low-quality with inconsistent thickness of jacket (CG revolves around bullet/bore axis) so again they compromised on 1:9. They rollmark either a 7 or 9 on the top of the barrel, just in front of the front sight assy, on ARs. IIRC, Uncle Sugar is settled on 1:9".

My Contender is 1:12". I saved some of the keyholes made by 63-grainers. They hit side-on at 25 yards.

What are the consequences of too fast a twist rate, assuming that leading is not a problem?

All I know about it I learned from googling "Greenhill"+"twist" (very, interesting, stuff) and the rare technical article in the gun rags. My understanding is that a bullet can't be over-stabilized, but that too rapid a twist can accentuate any irregularities in the bullet - as you note - and with very thin jacketed varmint bullets the centrifugal force can cause the bullet to disintegrate in flight (not a problem for the military, as they don't use varmint bullets).

My experience with the M16A2/AR15A2 is limited to those with 1:7 twist, I wasn't aware that they'd backed off to 1:9, but it makes sense. In my experience, the 1:7 twist shot well with the SS109 bullet but they wouldn't shoot the old M193 worth a damn, and I suspected it was because those bullets are quite [cough] inexpensively manufactured. Perhaps that's why they can sell the bullets to reloaders for $20/500. In fact, I've never found a rifle that would shoot those 55 gr FMJ-BTs very well, no matter what the twist rate. Of course, being a cheap shit, I've got bags of them just waiting in case I ever do find something that will shoot them.

This past weekend I loaded up several loads with Sierra 45 gr Spitzers, and after all my studying on the subject I wasn't surprised that they shot very well, even without much load work-up; I got ½" to ¾" 100-yard 5-shot groups right off, not bad for a light sporter. Unfortunately, I want to use the .223 as a turkey gun and I'd like to have something left of the bird, so varmint bullets aren't going to get it.

Next I'm going to try Barnes bullets and see how they behave in the 1:12 twist barrel. Everything I've read specifies that the Greenhill formula is only applicable to lead core/jacketed bullets. Hopefully the solid copper Barnes solids and Xs will stabilize. Because of their solid copper construction, Barnes bullets are awfully long for caliber and I'd think that there'd be all kinds of stability problems with them if they didn't behave differently than a lead core bullet, but I can't find anything on the Greenhill formula as it relates to Barnes bullets. I'll let you know what I find out..

@8:41 AM

Monday, July 08, 2002- - -  
Megan McArdle has something to say that we all need to hear from time to time.

@6:46 AM

Whoa Nellie! (tm) What a weekend. First, I was informed by the Wyoming Game & Fish that I hadn't drawn an elk license, first time that's ever happened. To console myself I bought a quarter of a Longhorn, grass-fed and well exercised (it was a rodeo roping steer), no stockyard, no hormones, no antibiotics, and very tasty. Unfortunately, with the garden starting to produce there wasn't room in our freezer, so this finally motivated us to buy another freezer. Except that the new freezer wouldn't fit under the ugly old cupboards in the laundry room.

So.. new cupboards from the big box lumberyard 'they're easy to install.' Sure they are, if you've worked as a finish carpenter. New freezer. Old freezer to basement. We found food we thought we'd eaten two years ago. My wife is ecstatic over the new cupboards, and I'm happy not to eat anything from ConAgra.

@5:58 AM

Sunday, July 07, 2002- - -  
Washington Post: The sleek, brushed-aluminum contours of Logitech's Pocket Digital never failed to draw admiration from onlookers -- except when passersby didn't even spot the tiny gadget tucked into a shirt pocket. ..

So how about a picture of this pocket wonder, or would that be too obvious?

@6:07 AM

Saturday, July 06, 2002- - -  
Drat. Blogger is finally back online and I've got to leave for Casper. I managed to get one of the posts from yesterday published but the rest will have to wait.

@6:14 AM

Okaaayy.. A little too much pizza before bedtime, perhaps?

@6:10 AM

Drat! I think I'm running afoul of Professor Greenhill. The poodle shooter does very well with Sierra 52 gr HPBT Match bullets. Such match-grade bullets should do very well accuracy-wise - they're designed for accuracy - but they're not designed for hunting or varminting of any kind and the effect of such match bullets on animals is unpredictable. Besides, all of the manufacturers produce a 55 gr FMJ-BT and a 55 gr soft point that are sold in bulk and are very cheap. It would be nice if the outfit would handle those $20/500 bulk-packed bullets.

However, the poodle shooter simply will not group 55 gr bullets of any kind that I've tried with acceptable accuracy. While it will frequently put 3 of the five shots into ½ to ¾ inch, one or two fliers will open the groups to 1½ inches at 100 yards on average, even after glass-bedding the action. Also, close examination of the targets shows that the bullet holes are not perfectly circular. Shooting these 55 gr bullets at 200 yards as I did this morning should produce 3 inch groups if the ammunition were stable and some other factor was causing the inaccuracy, but if the bullets are losing stability at 100 yards they should be flying wild by 200 yards. The fact that I can barely keep half the shots on paper at 200 yards and the bullet holes are decidedly oblong pretty well confirms my suspicions that the bullets are becoming unstable in flight.

The rifle has a twist rate of 1 turn in 12 inches (1:12) which is quite slow. According to the Greenhill formula, this twist rate should be adequate to stabilize most 55 gr bullets, but only barely. Also, because other factors can contribute to instability, the Greenhill formula only gives a rough estimate of the rifling rate required. Here are the lengths of a variety of .224 diameter bullets, with the twist rate required to stabilize each, according to the Greenhill formula, calculated for a constant of 180:

Bullet Winchester 64 gr PP: Length 0.808" Twist 1:11.18
Hornady 60 gr SP: Length 0.748" Twist 1:12.07
Remington 55 gr PSP: Length 0.691" Twist 1:13.07
Winchester 55 gr PSP: Length 0.700" Twist 1:12.89
Winchester 55 gr FMJ-BT: Length 0.746" Twist 1:12.11
Hornady 55 gr FMJ-BT: Length 0.731" Twist 1:12.35
Sierra 55 gr FMJ-BT: Length 0.760" Twist 1:11.88
Sierra 55 gr Spitzer: Length 0.730" Twist 1:12.37
Sierra 52 gr HPBT Match: Length 0.703" Twist 1:12.85
Sierra 50 gr Spitzer: Length 0.686" Twist 1:13.16
Sierra 45 gr Spitzer: Length 0.626" Twist 1:14.44
Sierra 40 gr Spitzer: Length 0.566" Twist 1:15.96

As you can see, a 55 gr bullet is about the maximum weight that the Greenhill formula predicts that a 1:12 twist barrel will stabilize, although the formula predicts that a Sierra 55 gr FMJ-BT would require a slightly faster rate of 1 turn in 11.88 inches, and indeed these bullets shoot particularly badly. Stability of a bullet is a function of its length in the Greenhill formula, suggesting that boattail bullets with their tapered bases are probably a disadvantage in rifles like mine with slow rates of rifling twist.

If the gun will stabilize any of the 55 gr bullets, it's probably the flat-based Remington and Winchester pointed soft points; the shortest bullets of that weight. In fact, if the gun likes the Sierra 52 gr HPBT Match - Greenhill twist = 1:12.85 - it should stabilize either of the Remington or Winchester 55 gr PSPs with Greenhill twists of 1:13.07 and 1:12.89. I'll have to try these two bullets, and I'll have to try the flat-based Sierra 45 gr and 50 gr spitzers as well. While I wouldn't expect any of these to group as well as the match-grade bullets, at least I think I can dismiss unstable bullets as a factor in inaccuracy with them.

Incidentally, increasing the twist rate to 1:7 was one of the modifications that our military incorporated into the M16A2 in an attempt to shoot heavier bullets and achieve acceptable accuracy and affect at longer range. However, they're not shooting varmint bullets and don't have to worry about a thin-jacketed bullet flying apart in mid-air from centrifugal forces. Regardless of the rifling rate and bullet weight, I've a feeling the Colonel would still consider the 5.56x45 adequate for a poodle-sized animal at best, hence is term 'poodle-shooter.' I'm afraid I agree.

GGrraarggh! As of 1pm, I've been trying to publish this and the post below [now above, if I can fix the links] since Oh-dark-thirty and Blogger is being totally bonkers. I'm going to give up and try again later.

@6:08 AM

Okaayy. Let's see if Blogger is back from lala land...

Alright! It works.

@6:01 AM

Thursday, July 04, 2002- - -  
The problem with all of these 'blow up the IRS Building' screeds is very simple: Demand all or nothing and you will get nothing. I agree with Llewellyn Rockwell's ideals, they make great rhetoric, but I don't think it's very realistic to demand a 'complete revolution in economic and political life.' Paul Marks, from whence the Rockwell link derives, himself notes that only a small minority of the population would be in favor of such drastic measures. Thus, Rockwell and Marks rather beg the question of how such drastic reform might be implemented.

@8:53 PM

Laurence Simon wonders what would have happened if LAX were still guarded by National Guard troops.

I imagine that a lot more people would have been hurt, as I wouldn't be surprised to find the NG packing unloaded weapons. At least that's the story I got from CNN. But then you have to consider my source..

@6:20 PM

Well, he's obviously not a very bright lad.

@3:32 PM

Gone crazy. Back soon!

@8:57 AM

The Fusilier Pundit has a very good point here. Guns are like condoms: When you need one it's too late to get one, much less learn to use it. On the other hand, you can carry one for years and be very glad you've never needed it.

@7:48 AM

One from my dad via the internet. As usual there's no attribution, so if you wish to claim authorship just let me know..

There's nothing worse than a snotty doctor's receptionist who insists you tell her what is wrong in a room full of other patients. I know you all have experienced this, and here's the way one old guy handled it.

An 86 year old Sun City man walked into a crowded doctor's office. As he approached the desk, the receptionist said, "Yes sir, what are you seeing the doctor for today?"

There's something wrong with my penis," he replied.

The receptionist became irritated and said, "You shouldn't come into a crowded office and say things like that."

Why not? You asked me what was wrong and I told you," he said.

The receptionist replied, "You've obviously caused some embarrassment in this room full of people. You should have said there is something wrong with your ear or something and then discussed the problem further with the doctor in private."

The man walked out, waited several minutes and then reentered.. The receptionist smiled smugly and asked, "Yes?"

There's something wrong with my ear," he stated.

The receptionist nodded approvingly and smiled, knowing he had taken her advice. "And what is wrong with your ear Sir?"

I can't piss out of it," the man replied.

Reminds me of the time I returned from Mexico incubating subdermal burrowing larvae. Eeeuuwww! I went to the doctor who prescribed a cure almost worse than the affliction - the stuff was poisonous enough to kill the little buggers without quite killing me.

I took the prescription to the local pharmacy, where I stood in a considerable line of folks packed in a narrow aisle. When it was my turn I presented the prescription to the young pharmacist, who studied it with a frown and informed me that he'd never heard of the stuff, but he'd look it up and he was sure he could order it. He found the reference. As he read it his eyes got wide and he announced to the room in a shocked voice "This is for pinworms!" Everyone in the crowded aisle took two steps back..

@7:23 AM

Wednesday, July 03, 2002- - -  
Kurt Eichenwald wonders whether capitalists could bring down capitalism. Of course the silly goose never considers the alternatives.

@4:43 PM

This sounds like a job for Hunter Thompson.

@1:02 PM

Things are so dry in Roanoke, VA. that city officials have forbidden residents to refill their backyard pools and hot tubs. That's harsh.

@12:01 PM

Gnnaarrrgh! Pacific Power is replacing power poles in the alley behind our house. Yesterday they broke the gas line and sewer main. We couldn't take showers because of the broken sewer main, but that's just as well as we didn't have any hot water to shower with anyway.

This morning I can't raise much of the outside world on the internet - no Denver Post, no InstaPundit or DailyPundit, Blogger is toast, I got on the Billings Gazette's front page but lost them when I tried to read this article, but I got the Washington Post and Virginia Postrel just fine. Me things Willy Wirehand may have jiggered the phone lines too. This all leaves me in a total funk - literally as well as figuratively.

Ah! I've raised the InstaPundit, but he's on vacation and he really meant it this time. The Denver Post is still history, but the Washington Post works just fine, complete with their hideous pop-ups. Weird. But it doesn't look like I'm missing much.

@11:59 AM

The headline for this story in the Billings Gazette is "Afghans demand safety for civilians."

Too bad they weren't more concerned for the safety of civilians under the Taliban regime, we might not be hosting this dance.

@11:59 AM

Tuesday, July 02, 2002- - -  
Steve Den Beste says: They do not understand what the US Constitution means to us; they think that we can just ignore it or modify it as necessary, and that we should do so in order to be team players.

By the way, he's talking about the EUnuchs, not the US Congress.

@1:18 PM

Federico Felline can be a holy terror, but never this bad.

@8:21 AM

In the L.M. Boyd Revisited trivia column published in today's Red Star-Tribune (no link to article), Boyd says: No bird is really blue. None produces blue pigment. What you see when you see a blue bird is the light that bounces off the bird's true pigment. It absorbs all the rays except blue.

Yep, this is true. But it's also true of everything else that derives its color from reflected light. So your yellow 'Vette isn't really yellow and my red neck isn't really red.

@6:49 AM

Everyone has something they'd like to spend your money on. That's largely why they call them special interests and, in my humble opinion, that's why legislation such as TABOR (the rather inaptly named Taxpayer's Bill of Rights) is a good idea. It's much less painful to slowly cut back than to make any radical change in government budgets. Unfortunately, as we see here, the response of those who spend the money is often to retaliate by cutting first from those areas considered by many to be vital services. This is their way of letting you feel their pain.

According to our local paper* (motto: Internet? What internet?), during a recent city budget meeting in which it was announced that the city has $1.4 million left over from the last fiscal year, and it was agreed to install redundant watering systems at the municipal golf course and one of the city parks - just in case they run out of irrigation water - one of the city commissioners opined that they'd be forced to let the city streets go to hell if we didn't allow them to raise taxes.

*Update: To be fair to the Northern Wyoming Daily News, I note that in today's edition they've published a list of the individuals and businesses who've bought shares in the new Wyoming Sugar Company, a private cooperative that's been formed to try to keep the old Holly Sugar plant in operation. The plant is one of the few value-added agricultural industries in the Bighorn Basin and it would be a horrible shame to lose them, so I believe this is a very worthy economic development effort. The Northern Wyoming Daily News and our mayor have bought shares in the plant, setting themselves virtually alone among all the folks who have been vocally pushing the idea of raising taxes to fund economic development. This speaks well of the paper and the mayor, but not so well of the other interests who would gladly invest someone else's money, but are less profligate with their own.

@6:38 AM

Monday, July 01, 2002- - -  
When Michael Kinsley regains consciousness he'll be washing his own mouth out with soap. Says he: Indeed the free market economic system is a machine for rewarding ability. The more ability, the bigger the reward (at least that is how it is supposed to work). And this is generally regarded as a good thing. It is crucial, in fact, to the prosperity that allows us to indulge in exercises of social justice such as laws protecting the disabled.

Government exercises in social justice are a costly indulgence? I agree, but I can't believe he really meant to say that. A couple of paragraphs down he starts sounding more like the old Kinsley: The closer we come to eliminating discrimination based on race or sex, etc., the more important ability will become in assigning people their stations in life. Ah yes, and who might be doing that assigning?

I try to hire the best person for the job. As long as the person can do their job, it makes little difference to me if they are otherwise disabled, gay, Indian, female, or Martian [as long as the Martian has a green card! Ed.]. Unfortunately, the onus put on the employer by the ADA gives me pause for thought in hiring the handicapped. The unintended consequences of the Act may well make it more difficult for the handicapped to find employment in the future, as it is not sufficient to accommodate the handicap - you've got to meet the government's definition of accommodation.

@4:44 PM

Hans Eisenbeis has a Reason Online article today on the much maligned Silly Urban Vehicles. Mostly accurate, but this is silly: It is cause for concern or celebration, depending on your perspective, that just about every SUV today is built to serious off-road specifications. Except for the most recent trend toward car-SUV hybrids (such as the Toyota RAV, the Subaru Forester, and the Honda CRV -- cars that are referred to by industry folks as CUVs, "crossover utility vehicles"), these vehicles are built with special low-speed gearing and lock-out differentials, high clearance, roll bars, and all the other apparatus of genuine four-wheeling.

It takes a good deal of weight to get good traction on steep slopes, and sufficient power to pull all that weight. The military heritage of the Jeeps puts them in good standing, the Toyotas do well, and the full-sized Broncos, Blazers, and Suburbans get around off-road, but personally, I'd go for a good ¾-ton or 1-ton pickup for serious off-road use. Big trucks and jeeps are about all you'll see way off the road out in the big empty. And I've seen some popular SUVs get stuck in 4 inches of snow..

Update: Incidentally, it's generally illegal to drive completely off-road on public lands, as it probably should be. What is generally meant by the phrase 'off-road' is 'off the improved right-of-way' on trails such as the Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevadas mentioned in the Reason article. If it weren't for such trails much of Wyoming would indeed be roadless.

@4:07 PM

Scientists are working on pink Viagra, but they've just figured out something the rest of us have known for awhile. Says one: "Men are easy. In females, it's much more complicated."

Update: And this may qualify as my nomination for biggest understatement of the year.

@3:29 PM

Howard Kurtz asks 'who you gonna trust?'

@3:26 PM

More Gore in '04?

@3:14 PM

I hope this means I won't be getting any more spam from that direction.

@1:12 PM

Sounds like they ought to run the InstaPundit for governor.

@1:10 PM

Sigh. After spearheading the recent 'raise taxes for economic development' effort in Washakie County, the little blurb about supporting the free enterprise system on our Chamber of Commerce newsletter's letterhead did sound a bit odd. But at least they're honest: I notice today that any reference to free enterprise is now purged from the newsletter, replaced by a mission statement: To promote community involvement by enhancing area economy and quality of life. Heaven help us.

@8:38 AM

Hmmm. If I only had one of these I'd never miss another Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash! The Eclipse 500 cruises at a brisk 355 kts (403 mph), has a generous 1,300 nautical mile range (flying on cruise control with 4 occupants) and a 41,000 foot ceiling. It would take longer to get from DIA to Wynkoop's* than from Worland to Denver, and no more wondering whether we're going to make it over the next mountain.

In an AP article from yesterday's Red Star-Tribune (no link to article) much is made of the popularity of the corporate jet, post-September 11. One CEO found that removing his shoes was a bit more than he was willing to cope with, and Eclipse Aviation is courting like-minded business travelers. Their plan calls for production of the Eclipse 500 - a cute little 6-seater - for $837,500. That may sound like a lot, but it's dirt cheap for a jet aircraft.

Says founder and CEO of Eclipse Aviation Vern Raburn: "There's a paradigm shift coming in the per-mile transportation cost on jet aircraft that will replicate the personal computing phenomenon. ..Remember in the mainframe era how everyone said that individuals would never want computers in their homes? Well, every other aspect of society over the past five decades has been going toward individual choice - think about cars, PCs, your cell phone. But here's the one big component of our economy - air transport - where everybody has decided that it's OK to go Greyhound."

Most interesting, Eclipse has an agreement to deliver 112 Eclipse 500s to Aviace AG, a Switzerland-based international jet club: In Europe, flying clubs are an emerging phenomenon, offering private air travel solutions to frequent flyers. Aviace AG is in the process of establishing jet clubs in several European countries. Aviace intends to use the Eclipse 500 to bring jet clubs to every country in Europe including small airport destinations that travelers cannot currently reach through commercial air travel. In addition, the economic advantages of the Eclipse 500 will enable Aviace AG to significantly decrease the cost of this growing mode of private jet travel throughout Europe, allowing more people to use private jet travel as an alternative to commercial airlines.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

*I'd lobby for the Falling Rock, right around the corner on Blake Street, but only if they promise to put the spices back on their blackened burger..

@6:56 AM

Great. Once again, the Forest Circus abdicates management of the forest.

Judging from the local paper (motto: Internet? We don't need no stinking internet!) the Circus has plenty of time to cite people for gathering firewood 310 feet off the road instead of the allowed 300 feet. Of course, collecting downed timber for firewood removes the fuel load and helps prevent fires. Wouldn't want that.

On the other hand, these off-road vehicles rip up the wet meadows and riparian areas, and have created new trails along every ridge top. That, apparently, isn't a problem.

@5:56 AM

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