Sunday, June 28, 2009

Our Weekend Project

Last weekend I found this garden bench at an estate sale for $8.00.

A couple cans of spray paint, new wood and stain turned it into a nice addition to our back yard furniture.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cindy and the Breast Cancer 3-Day

Hopefully a few of you have noticed the "Support Cindy" banner on the sidebar. You may have asked yourself "Who is this Cindy person?" and "What the heck is a Breast Cancer 3-Day?".

Cindy is a daughter through our extended family. She is fighting a very hard battle against Cancer, and with the Lord's help she is persevering. There is something about Cindy that makes her truly special, she just glows with an energy that is hard to describe. If you want to learn more about Cindy and her fight with Cancer, you can visit her website here.

Today Cindy sent out an email asking for help with the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk:

Please join me as a I walk to put an end to Breast Cancer

Support Cindy in her Efforts to Raise Money for the 2009 Dallas/Fort Worth Breast Cancer 3-Day

As most of you know, in January of this year I learned my cancer had spread/metastasized from my breast to my liver. The doctors were not at all very optimistic about a cure. Well, during my many stays in the hospital and my time at home being sick during January, February, and March, I kept seeing the TV commercial for the Komen 3 Day Walk that is going to take place in Dallas November 6-8, 2009. After seeing the commercial several times, I decided that was going to be my goal to get through all of this treatment torture. I was and am still bound and determined to make it to November to walk 60 miles in 3 days to help find a cure to this awful disease of cancer. So, I took the plunge and made the commitment and I am now an official registered walker…YEA!!!

I will be walking with a team called the Texas Longlegs, along with thousands of other women, and men too. I have several friends on other walking teams as well and we are all in this together…to make a difference. As part of my commitment as a walker, I agreed to raise $2,300 in donations. However, since I have the greatest friends and the best supporters who have been through this breast cancer journey with me, I decided to set my goal at $5,000 in donations. I have no doubt in my mind that God is going to provide, even in this troubled economy, and together we will reach this goal. So, please consider making a donation of any amount…even $10. If I get 50 people to give $10, that’s $500, and THAT will make a difference somewhere. As you consider the amount you would like to donate, please keep in mind how far I will be walking…60 MILES in 3 days (YIKES!)…and how hard I'll have to train to finish all those 60 MILES. I started training back in April and will continue to train through the hot months, even while I continue my chemo treatments too.

The easiest way you can give is online. Just follow this link to visit my personal fundraising webpage and make a donation. You can also call 1-800-996-3DAY to donate over the phone. All donations will support breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment through Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund.

According to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, approximately 200,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and nearly 40,000 will die from the disease. I REFUSE to be one of those 40,000. That's why I'm walking so far…to do something bold about breast cancer. I hope that you'll share this incredible adventure with me by supporting me in my fundraising efforts.

From the depths of my heart, THANK YOU soooooooooooooo much in advance for your generosity and donation! It means a LOT to me…more than words can ever express!!

God Bless!


Cindy Semple

P.S. Ask your employer if they will double your donation through a matching gift program!

Click here to visit my personal page.
I would very much appreciate it if you would help Cindy reach her goal of raising $5000 to support this outstanding cause.

If you can not help out now, the banner will be on the side bar through the walk so you can give at any time.

Monday, June 22, 2009

From the TSRA

The "War on Gunz in Mexico" is starting to hit home.

From the TSRA:

June 22, 2009 - FFLs and purchasers of "certain types" of firearms in Texas are being scrutinized by BATF due to the gun smuggling into Mexico.

Dear John,

In Border States, BATFE Asks: "May We See Your Guns?"

Friday, June 19, 2009

NRA-ILA has recently received several calls from NRA members in border states who have been visited or called by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In some cases, agents have asked to enter these people's homes, and requested serial numbers of all firearms the members possess.

In each case, the agents were making inquiries based on the number of firearms these NRA members had recently bought, and in some cases the agents said they were asking because the members had bought types of guns that are frequently recovered in Mexico.

This kind of questioning may or may not be part of a legitimate criminal investigation. For example, when BATFE traces a gun seized after use in a crime, manufacturers' and dealers' records will normally lead to the first retail buyer of that gun, and investigators will have to interview the buyer to find out how the gun ended up in criminal hands. But in other cases, the questioning may simply be based on information in dealers' records, with agents trying to "profile" potentially suspicious purchases.

On the other hand, some of the agents have used heavy-handed tactics. One reportedly demanded that a gun owner return home early from a business trip, while another threatened to "report" an NRA member as "refusing to cooperate." That kind of behavior is outrageous and unprofessional.

Whether agents act appropriately or not, concerned gun owners should remember that all constitutional protections apply. Answering questions in this type of investigation is generally an individual choice. Most importantly, there are only a few relatively rare exceptions to the general Fourth Amendment requirement that law enforcement officials need a warrant to enter a home without the residents' consent. There is nothing wrong with politely, but firmly, asserting your rights.

If BATFE contacts you and you have any question about how to respond, you may want to consult a local attorney. NRA members may also call NRA-ILA's Office of Legislative Counsel at (703) 267-1161 for further information. Whether contacting a local attorney or NRA, be sure to provide as many details as possible, including the date, time, and location, agent's name, and specific questions asked.

Copyright 2009, National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action.


Alice Tripp
Texas State Rifle Association
Legislative Director
Just remember - No warrant, no entrance.

Now that the meme that Americans are responsible for the Drug Gang Violence in Mexico has been such a successful propaganda tool, no matter what the evidence proves, the Antis are now starting to blame us for the violence in Jamaica.

David Codrea reports that U.S. guns blamed for Jamaican crime. At least they are not blaming Texas this time.

How long until the BATF comes knocking on your door, asking to see all the firearms you have legally purchased via an FFL?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lack of Posting

I must apologize for my recent lack of posting. Work has been a pretty significant drain on me lately and the news headlines make it seem like the Administration is Hell bent for leather to destroy the free market and make every American dependant upon the .gov for their daily needs.

I just needed a little downtime to recharge, and I am just about there.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Over the Past 24 Hours...

...we have received a boatload of rain. One storm would roll through dumping buckets of water on us and then a few hours later here comes another, with just as much rain. At 0330 it was raining as hard as I have ever seen it, pretty much a solid wall of water.

Of course with all this rain came strong winds, hail, and even a small twister or two.

All is well at Casa JR. One of the neighbors trees dropped a branch on the back fence, but there was not much damage at all. I'll just have some cleaning up to do when everything dries out.

Our oldest daughter lives in Little Elm, and she was not so fortunate.

It's interesting how the fence was taken down and the trampoline moved, but the unsecured ladder for the trampoline wasn't moved a bit.

The damage continued down the block.

Those fence posts are relatively new 4X4's snapped off right at the ground. It was quite the little Straight Line Wind Downburst to create such linear damage. There is also some roof damage to the houses along the path of the downburst, but nothing major. Our daughter and the grand kids were not home at the time, but this wind gave the neighbors a pretty good scare.

I just noticed that you can see where the trampoline sat next to the ladder. The trampoline was staked, the ladder was not.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Rochelle High School...

...takes the Texas Track and Field Team State Title. Congratulations to this high school from a small Texas town (population 600) who really took it to the larger schools for the second year in a row.

How many athletes are on the Rochelle High School Track and Field Team?


That's right, a Track and Field team of 1 won the State Title.

From Y News by Stuart Kantor:

Teen wins team state title by herself - again
Bonnie Richardson, from tiny Rochelle, Texas (population 600), has accomplished what no other Texas high school track and field athlete has ever achieved: back-to-back team state championships – by herself.

Richardson captured first in the long jump (17-04.50), second in the discus (126-09) and first in the high jump (5-8) on Friday for a total of 28 points. Returning to Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas on Saturday, Richardson placed third in the 200 (25.78) and fourth in the 100 (12.51) for a two-day total of 38 points – two points better than second-place Cayuga in Class A...
You are going to have to head on over and read this entire article for yourself.

Bonnie Richardson holds the trophy for winning the girls 1A team Texas championship on Saturday

Image by Harry Cabluck / AP

Now that is quite the accomplishment. This well rounded young woman will most likely be able to succeed at pretty much anything she puts her mind to.

Friday, June 05, 2009

New From Oleg

New From Oleg Volk

The Long Awaited... update on the status of firearm related legislation in the 2009 Texas Legislative Session.

I will start with the bills I was actively supporting:
  • HB267 / SB1188: An act relating to the interstate purchase of certain firearms.

The BATFE had been denying long gun purchases to some Texans who were trying to purchase firearms from states that were not "contiguous" to the state of Texas. This legislation changed the working in Section 46.07 of the Texas Penal Code to resolve that issue.

SB 1188 was signed into law by Governor Perry on May 30th and was effective immediately upon his signature.

  • HB1020: An act relating to the use, exhibition, or possession of a firearm by public school students participating in certain school-sponsored programs and activities sponsored or supported by the Parks and Wildlife Department.
HB 1020 opens the door to public school sponsored, off campus, shooting sports.

HB 1020 passed the Senate and the House. It was sent to Governor Perry on May 26th and is awaiting his signature.
  • HB1301 / SB730: An act relating to an employee ’s transportation and storage of certain firearms or ammunition while on certain property owned or controlled by the employee ’s employer.

    In other words, the Employer Parking Lot bills.

Let's start with the House version of the bill, HB 1301. HB 1301 was referred to the Public Safety Committee on February 26th. Nearly a month later, March 23rd, HB 1301 received a public hearing. Following the hearing, the bill was left "pending in committee".

The Senate version of this bill did much better. SB 730 was referred to the Criminal Justice Committee on February 25th. SB 730 received two public hearings in committee, was amended and was placed on the Senate Intent Calender on March 24th. On March 25th, SB 730 passed the Texas Senate with a unanimous vote of 31-0. SB 730, which received the full support of the Senate, was sent to the House on March 26th. Five days later, March 31st, SB 730 was read for the first time in the House and referred to Public Safety Committee. This bill, which had the unanimous support of the Senate, sat in the Public Safety Committee for near another month before receiving a public hearing on April 27th. SB 730 was voted on in committee on April 27th, the results: Ayes=5 Nays=0 Present Not Voting=1 Absent=3.

SB 730 was voted out of committee on April 27th. The bill was not sent to Calendars until May 6th, a full 10 days later. SB 730 sat in Calendars for two weeks before being considered on May 21st. The Calendar Committee placed SB 730 on the General State Calendar on May 23rd, too late for it to get considered on the House floor. Being placed on the General Calendar this late in the session pretty much ensured that SB 730 would not reach the House floor, even without the chubbing that was going on to prevent a vote on the Voter ID bill.

SB 730 was sent to the House by a unanimous vote of the Senate. The House version of this bill, HB 1301, had the bi-partisan support of 48 Members who signed on as either authors or coauthors of this legislation. This bill had the full support of the Governor and was legislation supported by the Texas Republican Party Platform.

Even after SB 730 was amended to exempt the petrochemical industry and schools, it was killed by two Republican led committees.

  • HB1644 / SB1236: An act relating to admonishments given to a person charged with a misdemeanor.
This bill requires a defendant be notified of the effect of a guilty plea or conviction for family violence on their right to possess firearms and ammo.

SB 1236 passed the Senate and the House. It was sent to Governor Perry on May 22nd and is awaiting his signature.

  • HB1893 / SB 1236: An Act relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on the campuses of institutions of higher education.

    These are the the campus-carry bills

As you know, these bills are dead. I have a future post, The Life and Death of a Texas Campus Carry Bill", bubbling around in my head so I will save any commentary until then.
  • HB3684: An act relating to the carrying of a handgun by a disabled person.
I did not talk enough about this legislation that would have allowed a disabled CHL holder to open-carry if the person’s disability “prevents the person from effectively concealing the handgun.”

HB 3684 died in the House Public Safety Committee without even receiving a public hearing. I guess "Public Safety" does not extend to those with disabilities.
  • HCR76: A resolution memorializing Congress in defense of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, affirming the right of states to nullify acts of Congress, executive orders, and judicial orders, and calling for the creation of a joint committee to communicate with other states about the limits of federal power.
HCR 76, my favorite bill of the session, died in the State Affairs Committee without receiving a public hearing.

Now for firearm related bills that I was actively opposing this legislative session:
  • HB760 / SB2345, HB736, HB1119, HB1507 and SB1893 are all noise regulation related bills that had the potential to significantly curtail firearms use in unincorporated areas of the state. All these bills failed.
  • HB1164 / SB651: An act relating to restrictions on the use of a stun gun; providing certain criminal penalties and defenses to prosecution. These bills would require an individual to obtain a license similar to a CHL in order to carry or use a stun gun. SB94 is a similar bill that would criminalize having a stun gun in your own home with out a license. These bills also failed.
There were several pieces of CHL and Firearm related legislation that made it through the legislature that I was neutral on but are very important. I will cover this legislation in it's own post soon.

Oh, one last thing. Hunters will be happy to know that PETA sponsored bill HB 1395 also died in committee.

That is it in a nut shell. Some minor victories and a couple pretty significant defeats. We did move ahead during this session and suffered no setbacks. The fact that we did not move as far ahead as we had hoped is disappointing, but not totally unexpected.

We lost ground in the last election cycle. Losing elections has consequences

Honeyville Food Products... a favored supplier for the Casa JR "rainy day" preparation effort. When I have mentioned Honeyville in the past, I stated that:
Honeyville is a great resource for folks who like to put a little something away for a rainy day. Their food storage products include a wide variety of foods that would fit very well in any food storage program. The powdered eggs and instant milk substitute are definitely worth a look. They also have high quality freeze dried fruits and vegetables to add a bit of flavor (and nutrition) to your menu if you have to dig into your food stores for any reason.

Honeyville's main focus has been grains and flour for the baking industry, so of course their selection of these items is going to be top notch.
In their recent sales flier, Honeyville announced a new product:
Greetings from all of us here at Honeyville Farms! It's time to stock up and prepare for the unexpected. We're releasing new products, from food staples to treats that will keep your family healthy and happy and give you the peace of mind you need in any economic climate. For a limited time we're offering 10% off of your ENTIRE ORDER. From Thursday, June 4th, 2009 thru Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 we're offering 10% off of everything in your cart (except for our already low flat-rate shipping cost of $4.49). Just order as usual and enter the coupon code PREPARE09 during checkout. The coupon code field is on the second page of the checkout process. Enter the PREPARE09 code, click the APPLY button to the right and the savings will automatically be calculated for you. This is a great time to stock up and save on our most popular staples like Powdered Eggs, Milk Substitute, and the all new Hard White Wheat in the #10 cans.

Visit us at ACT NOW as this discount will end promptly on Tuesday June 9, 2009 at 6:00PM PST. If you have any questions, concerns, or just want to place an order over the phone call us, toll-free, at (888) 810-3212. We're happy to help.
Also new this summer are canned Black Beans, Freeze Dried Blackberries, Hard Red Wheat in a #10 can, and much more.

The #10 cans of wheat is an expensive, but convenient way to store whole wheat. The #10 cans contain 5 lbs of whole wheat and, by the pound, are twice as expensive as purchasing the bulk 50# bags from Honeyville. However, the cans are packed with an oxygen absorber and have a reported shelf life of 10 to 15 years. I believe this shelf life can be easily doubled to 30+ years if stored properly. From the Provident Living website:
Longer-Term Storage—30 Years or More

Properly packaged, low-moisture foods stored at room temperature or cooler (75°F/24°C or lower) remain nutritious and edible much longer than previously thought according to findings of recent scientific studies. Estimated shelf life for many products has increased to 30 years or more (see chart for new estimates of shelf life). Previous estimates of longevity were based on "best-if-used-by" recommendations and experience. Though not studied, sugar, salt, baking soda (essential for soaking beans), and vitamin C in tablet form also store well long-term. Some basic foods do need more frequent rotation, such as vegetable oil every 1 to 2 years.

While there is a decline in nutritional quality and taste over time, depending on the original quality of food and how it was processed, packaged, and stored, the studies show that even after being stored long-term, the food will help sustain life in an emergency.

For tips on how to best preserve longer-term food storage products, see Longer-Term Supply.
Many of the canned freeze dried and low moisture products from Honeyville, if properly stored, will last decades and can basically be considered a one time purchase.

How much food should you store? This Food Storage Calculator can help with that answer.

Purchasing grains and legumes in bulk and packaging them yourself (.pdf) is a much more cost effective way to set up long term food stores, but these #10 cans of beans and wheat from Honeyville are a convenient way to get started or add something different to your current stores inventory.

For me, the freeze dried fruits and vegetables offered by Honeyville are a worthwhile addition to any long term food storage program.

If you decide to purchase anything from Honeyville, remember to enter the code "PREPARE09" at checkout to receive 10% off your entire purchase.

One last thing. I am not affiliated with Honeyville Food Products in any way. I just like their products and their flat rate $4.49 shipping fee.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

What the Heck... going on with the Detroit Red Wings tonight? It only took six minutes to turn a 2-1 lead into a 4-2 deficit.

They need to get out of the second period, quick.

Update: Final score 4-2 Pittsburgh.

For those of you who are not following the Stanley Cup Final, the series is tied 2/2. Next game is in Detroit, the day after tomorrow. Saturday night's game will be the fifth in eight nights.

Hockey players are tough.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Texas Legislative Session...

...ended yesterday. The good news is that it will be near a couple of years before we have to get busy contacting our Texas Legislators on specific firearms related bills. The bad news is that both Campus Carry and Employer Parking Lot legislation did not get passed this session.

Some time in the next few days I will compile a quick review of how all the firearms related legislation that I either supported or opposed did this session. We did make progress and suffered no setbacks. Some laws relating to Concealed Handgun Licenses have been changed so there is important information to be posted.

I just want to make sure I have all my ducks in a row before posting.

Another Nail

The Bastards!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Quote of the Day

From The American Thinker

The federal government and their junior partners, the United Auto Workers, will be like the two dogs that chased the garbage truck every day. One day the truck stopped and the dogs caught it. Now what do they do?
Taken from an interesting article on "Chrysler, GM, and the Law of Unintended Consequences" by Lee Cary