Monday, February 29, 2016

Justice Thomas Finally Asked a Question In Supreme Court Hearings...

...and his question concerned the Second Amendment.

In a question to Ilana Eisenstein, assistant solicitor general who was arguing about a federal ban on gun ownership for anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, Thomas may have lit a fuse. It was a question transcribed by the Huffington Post and it is a thorny issue for some civil rights activists.

“Can you give me another area [of law] where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right?” Thomas reportedly asked.

Wonder if he's been possessed by the spirit of his dead colleague Antonin Scalia?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

They'd Be Disinclined To Acquiesce... Trump's demand to have prisoners tortured:

The former head of the CIA and NSA said that if Donald Trump is elected president and follows through on certain campaign promises, the U.S. military would “refuse to act.”

“I would be incredibly concerned if a President Trump governed in a way that was consistent with the language that candidate Trump expressed during the campaign,” Michael Hayden told “Real Time” host Bill Maher on Friday night.

Hayden noted Trump’s statements that he’d authorize waterboarding as an interrogation tool and kill terrorists’ families.

“If he were to order that once in government, the American armed forces would refuse to act,” Hayden told the host, who seemed taken aback.

“What?” Maher shot back. “That’s quite a statement, sir. I thought the whole thing was that you have to follow orders.”

Hayden explained that the military is “required not to follow an unlawful order that would be in violation of all the international laws of armed conflict.”

Friday, February 26, 2016

Johnny Cash Would Have Been 84 Today.

Here's John from the end of his career, a heart-rending song from the Grammy Award-winning album Unchained:

The Protected and the Unprotected

Peggy Noonan gets the dynamic at work in the rise of Donald Trump:

But I keep thinking of how Donald Trump got to be the very likely Republican nominee. There are many answers and reasons, but my thoughts keep revolving around the idea of protection. It is a theme that has been something of a preoccupation in this space over the years, but I think I am seeing it now grow into an overall political dynamic throughout the West.

There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.

I want to call them the elite to load the rhetorical dice, but let’s stick with the protected.

They are figures in government, politics and media. They live in nice neighborhoods, safe ones. Their families function, their kids go to good schools, they’ve got some money. All of these things tend to isolate them, or provide buffers. Some of them—in Washington it is important officials in the executive branch or on the Hill; in Brussels, significant figures in the European Union—literally have their own security details.

Because they are protected they feel they can do pretty much anything, impose any reality. They’re insulated from many of the effects of their own decisions.

Read the whole thing. Along the way she invokes - - possibly inadvertently - - a Warren Zevon song title, bonus points for identifying it.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Still Discussing Hitler's 'Nads

"Hitler had a deformed micro-penis and only one testicle, medical records reveal."

Further research concluded that Goering had two testicles, but rather small; Himmler's were similar, and Goebbels had no balls at all.

Amontillado To Put a Sparkle In Poe's Eye

Versos 1891 Amontillado from Barbadillo.

Manuel Barbadillo (1891-1986), poet, author and historian on Sherry and successful bodeguero was the director of Bodegas Barbadillo for many years. As a christening present he and his four brothers were given one each of a set of five butts known as “Las Botas de los Niños. Manuel’s butt contained Amontillado described as very old in 1891. As some of the wine was drunk the butt was occasionally refreshed with suitable old wine until the 1980s but it still shows massive concentration and is rich and nutty, given that some of it is 150 years old.

It is presented in a high quality leather gift box made by expert tanners in Ubrique (Cádiz) and the bottle is a hand-blown crystal decanter made by Portuguese crystal specialists Atlantis. Only 100 bottles have been filled and no more will be forthcoming for many years so this is an extremely rare wine, the second most expensive Sherry ever, but it will no doubt sell quickly to collectors.

If that's 8,000 UK pounds sterling per bottle I'd want it in a solid silver chest, myself. It's pretty, but only someone seriously rich and seriously into wine can afford it.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Year Everyone Died

2016 is taking a toll, isn't it? I read today that not only has Harper Lee died, but just over the transom is the news that Umberto Eco, the author of The Name of the Rose, has also died.

Addendum: You know, if it were dictators and crap politicians dying instead of prominent musicians, artists and writers, we'd be cheering.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Part Of My Philosophy... that my IRS refund should always be spent on firearms or firearms-related purchases. Thus:

1911 from Springfield Armory in .45ACP. It's a used gun purchased in a local pawn shop. As purchased it came with a full-length guide rod and black Hogue grips; I've changed it to a standard GI guide rod configuration and bolted on some coyote tan Dura-Grips with "wasp nest" checkering pattern. Three-dot sights, Commander-style hammer and beavertail grip safety. It doesn't have the locking mainspring housing that Springfield ships with its new 1911's, so a straight Series 70 setup.

I need to pick up some extras for the gun - - more magazines, a holster and magazine carrier. I'm pleased with the purchase, however.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

White...Um...Well, NOT White Privilege

"Oh, it's a parti-colored Cocker. Let's see if it has a white asshole, too. All of these Cockers have white assholes!" - - my sister Karen, watching the Westminster Dog Show.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Restaurant Review: Johnny's Bar B Q, Rockwell, NC

I'd passed by Johnny's Bar-B-Q in Rockwell several times in travels around NC, and finally made a point of going in for some barbecue.

Here's the sign:

Note that barbecue shares pride of place on the sign with seafood and steaks. That's important, and not in a good way.

The outside of the restaurant is attractive:

The requisite pigs are in evidence:

The inside is attractive, too, with plenty of tables and booths, as well as a lunch counter (no pic of the interior, sorry)

Johnny's serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the menu is correspondingly extensive, barbecue being just one small aspect of it, with no pride of place. There is no smell of smoke in the restaurant, nor smoke issuing from any chimneys. Not looking good.

I order a plate of chopped barbecue, with red slaw (both white and red is offered, to Johnny's credit), hush puppies, and french fries.

The meat is cold when it arrives. It has no smoke smell whatsoever. So: oven-roasted pork, basically. And cold? Who serves barbecue cold? Johnny's Bar-B-Q of Rockwell, NC, apparently. I didn't ask the waitress, but my guess is that the barbecue is cooked off-site and trucked in; Johnny's might not even make their own, but sub-contract it. It's probably then kept refrigerated and pulled out as necessary, without even going into chafing dishes, warmers or microwaves. Just...cold.

The red slaw is really red. Suspiciously red. "Red" barbecue slaw is typically light brown in color and made with vinegar and a splash of ketchup; any color it gets is from the ketchup. This stuff at Johnny's is so very red that I suspect that red food coloring was used to color it. Taste-wise it is no different than any other red slaw I've eaten. It's just...very red.

The hush puppies are warm, not hot, are properly oblong rather than spherical, and are neutral in taste; no onion or excessive sweetness. The french fries, although advertised on the menu as "home fries," are in fact the standard barbecue joint crinkle cuts.

There are three sauces offered: Eastern-NC-style vinegar sauce, which didn't have much pepper or other ingredients in it, so mostly just vinegar; a red sauce I didn't try; and Texas Pete. The best of the three to perk up this cold, flavorless chopped pork would be the Texas Pete, if you happen to wander into Johnny's and are unwise enough to desire the barbecue, rather than simply driving past it entirely and eating at Wink's King of Barbecue or M&K's, both in Granite Quarry, just a short drive up US 52.

It appears that Johnny's Bar-B-Q is really more of a steak-and-seafood place (deco in the restaurant includes fishing nets on the walls) and offers barbecue simply because they got a lot of requests for it. Rockwell isn't a large town by any stretch of the imagination, and Johnny's likely serves as a regular watering hole/eating establishment for the locals, where they can get eggs and bacon for breakfast, a burger or other sandwich for lunch, and a steak or plate of seafood for dinner. Barbecue is just another menu item here, not the reason that the restaurant exists. Bear that in mind in your travels. If a place doesn't focus on barbecue, then likely the barbecue will only be mediocre, if not worse.

Service was reasonably attentive, tending toward desultory. I'll give Johnny's Bar-B-Q a 2 on my five-scale of restaurant ratings: 2 out of 5: edible, but no effort to impress; staff/management going through motions.