Ten Years Of Punditry And Mayhem

Jon, Todd, Steve and myself started Exurban League ten years ago today.

What a long, strange trip it’s been. I live in Florida now, and this blog is pretty much shut down. Todd and Steve don’t blog (never really did, to be honest), I’m writing over on my gun blog and a bunch of other places, and Jon is Editor In Chief of Ricochet.com.

We started late in the blog world, and we missed catching the wave of blogs that drove many people to the top of the journalism ladder, but thanks to our great good decent adequate writing skills and a wry sense of humor, both Jon and I have both come a long way, for which we credit God’s grace, good luck and a lot of hard work.

With a little nepotism and sucking-up thrown in for good measure.

Please consider joining Ricochet as a way to keep up with we have to say. Some of what we write is pretty good, the rest is merely brilliant.

 
Number of comments: 0 Add comment
August 17th, 2016 by exurbankevin

Local Boy Makes It To The Big Time

Four guys were hanging around a coffee shop on a Saturday morning in 2006, solving all the world’s problems in just a few hours. We’d known each other from college, and all of us shared a passion for technology, Christ, our families, and our country.

Oh, and Salma Hayek. Her too.

We decided to start a blog to let the world know we’ve solved everything that ails it, and the rest, as they say, is history. Two of the guys from the coffee shop made a few posts and then never wrote again, and a fifth friend joined in as well, but two of the guys wrote often, and started to get some notoriety for what they wrote.

Now one of those two guys is the editor-in-chief of Ricochet.com.

Congratulations, Ex(urban)Jon.

On a related note, I think I’m going to begin powering down this part of the blog and move my political rants to the member feed of Ricochet. I believe in their model, and it’s time to support it with money and content. I’d encourage everyone reading to join Ricochet, it truly is a unique outpost of civility in the ever-increasing vulgar wasteland of the ‘net. Other things working against keeping up the blog is that I’m not wired in to the local scene like I was in Arizona, and I’m just not as motivated to write about politics as I was in 2008. The gunblog will continue, but it will be moved to the MisfiresAndLightStrikes.com domain and spun off on it’s own.

 
Number of comments: 0 Add comment
September 26th, 2015 by KevinC

The Suicide Bombers of the Free Speech Movement

Another “Mohammed Cartoon Festival” is in the works, this time in Phoenix, Arizona. Unlike the last one, which was held on the property belonging to a Texas educational institute and therefore “gun-free,” (funny how the jihadists didn’t get that message…), the organizers of this festival are encouraging participants to come armed.

Jon Ritzheimer is the organizer of Friday’s “Freedom of Speech Rally” outside the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix.

It’s the mosque that Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi attended for a time. They’re the men who drove from Arizona to a Dallas suburb to shoot up a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest there. Both were killed by police early this month.

Ritzheimer anticipates possible problems because of the rally and says people should bring their guns.

“People are also encouraged to utilize (their) second amendment right at this event just (in case) our first amendment comes under the much anticipated attack,” the event’s Facebook page says.

Let me state my biases up front: I work in a gun store. I carry a firearm with me wherever it’s permissible by law. I think people who CAN carry a gun, SHOULD carry a gun.

I enthusiastically support artistic expression and turning sacred cows into ground chuck roast. I spent ten years making a living as an advertising photographer, so free speech and artistic freedom aren’t just concepts to me, they were how I put food on the table.

I was one of the few people in my (mostly Christian) circle of friends who saw “P*** Christ” as a valid work of art, not as something to be banned. Blasphemous? Yes. Art? Also yes. It wasn’t a particularly good work of art (it was as subtle as a hand grenade),  but turning the sacred into the profane has been a part of art since art itself has been around. But paying for it with my tax dollars? That’s another matter.

I digress.

Also, I’m a Christian. I think my brand of belief is superior to Islam, and I’d be happy as a clam if the mosque in question shut down because of poor attendance.

But this cartoon festival is a bad idea, for any number of reasons.

I’ve been around Phoenix gun owners for a long, long time. The vast majority of them know how to safely enjoy their guns no matter where they are, but I’ve seen enough disregard for basic gun safety at other gun-related political events to know that it’s not a question of IF something bad is going to happen at an event like this cartoon festival, it’s WHEN

Then there’s the fact that cartoon festivals like this are to free speech what carrying a slung rifle at low ready is to Second Amendment rights. Yes, you CAN perform such actions, but NO, you probably shouldn’t. Advancing your cause by acting in an abnormal manner does nothing to make your cause seem more normal. In fact, it does the exact opposite, because it makes it appear to outsiders that extreme behavior is the norm within your cause. If you want your cause to become the norm, you must act normally while advocating for your cause.

Appearances matter. To the layman not involved in such things, a cartoon festival blasting Islam and the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church seem just about the same. Both are filled with self-righteousness and are meant to provoke an extreme response. Neither of them are particularly good at making their point.

The bottom line is, we must present ourselves and our viewpoints as something other than extreme if we want our communities to become aware of the threat of home-grown extremist Islam.

Exit question: We in the gun culture like to use Robert A. Heinlein’s famous quote, “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his actions with his life.” How does wearing a t-shirt that says “F*** Islam” jibe with that statement?

 
Number of comments: 1 Add comment
June 4th, 2015 by exurbankevin

First in Arizona, then in the rest of the nation.

Michael Barone talks about what today’s elections will mean for the Democrats

President Obama’s ideology — expanded government, Obamacare — has been less widely acceptable and his reputation for competence is currently in tatters. He was able to eke out re-election with a reduced percentage by good organization. But he leaves his party in trouble.

Yes, Hillary Clinton leads in polls for 2016. But her numbers have been sagging. And other Democrats poll worse against not-very-well-known Republican alternatives than I can remember any party’s potential candidates polling in the last half-century.

Why does that sound so familiar? Oh yeah, because that’s just how Janet Napolitano left Democrats in Arizona when she bolted for the Obama Administration

With Napolitano gone, Camacho worries about a Democratic “power vacuum” in her absence, though some political observers suggest the void will be filled by Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, the state’s highest-ranking Democrat.

Re-running a perpetual second-place finisher like Goddard didn’t work out so well, and re-running Hillary in 2016 is going to work out just as well for the national party as it did for Arizona Dems. 

That’s not to say that things are rosy for the GOP after today, either. It’s up to them now to provide an alternative to the wretched hive of suck and fail that has been Obama’s big government style of (non)leadership, and if Republicans see their mandate as Compassionate Conservativism v2.0, they’re also facing a short trip to the dustbin of history

People are voting for the GOP right now because they’re not Obama, and that’s a valid reason to vote. It is not, however, a valid vision of government, and that’s the battle that the Republican party faces these next two years.

 
Number of comments: 0 Add comment
November 4th, 2014 by exurbankevin

The World Is About To Get A Little Less Smart

I don’t like talk radio. I don’t listen to Rush or Hannity, and when my co-workers play Mark Levin, I turn up the volume on my Surf Rock Pandora mix and rock out with my headphones on.

I don’t like talk radio. But I liked the Jim Sharpe show when I lived in Phoenix, and now it’s going off the air

Jim’s a friend, and he was stupid enough to let me into the studio every once in a while to rant on the air. Obviously, he’s never seen “Play Misty For Me“, or he’d know how that sort of thing ends. 

I digress. 

In a world full of radio polemicists who use repetition and the volume of their voice to make their points, Jim and John McJunkin (the Sancho Panza to Jim’s Don Quixote) used reason and consistent, logical arguments. That was why their show was #1 in their time slot for years on end, and that’s what made them so special.

And now it’s ending. Jim and John, you’ll be missed, even from 1500 miles away. Ride hard, shoot straight, tell the truth, and may we meet again around a mic (or a cold beverage) very soon. 

 

 
Number of comments: 1 Add comment
October 16th, 2014 by exurbankevin

On SB1062

An ASU law prof weighs in on Arizona’s “controversial” anti-gay/pro-religious freedom bill and finds it to be a big, fat nothing-burger

“…in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff, which do extend rights based on sexual orientation, only the government can take action against an offending firm, with companies already able to claim a shield against government action under existing law. There is no individual right to sue.

‘My summary is, it means almost nothing,’ said Paul Bender, former dean of the Arizona State University College of Law.

‘People talk about, “I’ll go into a bakery and ask them for a wedding cake,’ and they’ll say, “I don’t do wedding cakes for gay weddings,”‘ Bender said. ‘So what? You can’t sue them for that.'”

So it looks like a government body created a law that does no real good and only serves to make legislators feel like they’re “doing something”? 

Wow. How often does THAT happen? 

 
Number of comments: 0 Add comment
February 26th, 2014 by exurbankevin

History in the making.

The Beatles first performance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. 
The invention of sliced bread. 

What do all of these have in common?

They all PALE  to the the Arizona Bloggers (Conservative) meetup on the 22nd, location TDB. If you’ve gone to one, you know they’re always a good time of fun and smart talk with like-minded people.  

 

 

 
Number of comments: 0 Add comment
February 11th, 2014 by exurbankevin

Ten new gun bills in the Arizona Legislature

There’s a lot of variety in these new bills: Some of them appear to advance gun rights in Arizona, some don’t really affect the status quo in any meaningful way, and some try to repeal the gains that gun rights have made in the past few years.

  1. Senate Bill 1063: Allows people to carry guns in public establishments and events if they don’t offer secured storage areas for the firearms. Public establishments include buildings and vehicles owned by the state or its political subdivisions. Public events include those conducted by a public entity or a private entity that has received a permit from a public entity.
    My take: This is a bill that needs to become law as soon as possible I took my son to a Suns game last year and I had to make the walk to the Arena through darkened downtown streets with just a flashlight on me because there’s nowhere to stash a CCW gun at US Airways arena. We can’t support this bill too much, it needs to happen now.
  2. Senate Bill 1064: Modifies the definition of “firearm” in the criminal code to exclude those that cannot be fired without mechanical repairs or that were manufactured before 1899. 
    My take: A good idea, but not essential.
  3. House Bill 2186: Allows faculty members to carry concealed firearms at universities and community colleges. The rule only applies to permanent faculty, not visiting or adjunct professors, for example.
    My take: Why do we need a law to let adults act like adults and take responsibility for their own personal protection? This is a law we should have, but I’m afraid it’s not likely to happen.
  4. House Bill 2190: Creates an Arizona Citizens’ Marksmanship Program to teach shooting skills and sell firearms that can help members hone those skills. Though the bill is not especially detailed, the program sounds similar to the national non-profit Civilian Marksmanship Program, the modern version of which was authorized by federal law in 1996.
    My take: A good idea, but what does this do that the CMP/Project Appleseed doesn’t do?
  5. House Bill 2207: Makes it a Class 6 felony to discharge a firearm with criminal negligence if a person has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or greater. Law-enforcement officers with reasonable suspicion that this crime has been committed can require suspects to take blood, breath or urine tests. Those convicted of this crime may not possess a firearm for five years.
    My take: Some may cry “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!!”, but I am perfectly ok with this. I almost lost my parents to a drunk driver, and being drunk and having a gun is a stupid, stupid idea.
  6. House Bill 2337: Raises the legal standard, from “reasonable suspicion” to “probable cause,” for a law-enforcement officer to ask whether someone is armed. Current law makes it a crime for someone to answer that question untruthfully.
    My take: Again, why isn’t this the law of the land already? Do the cops need “reasonable suspicion” to arrest me for slander?
  7. House Bill 2338: Expands the definition of aggravated assault to include instances where someone takes or attempts to gain control of a person’s lawfully possessed firearm. That’s a Class 4 felony.
    My take. Another no-brainer. If it’s my gun and you want to take it away from me, that is AT LEAST Assault With Intent, IMO.
  8. House Bill 2338: Expands the definition of aggravated assault to include instances where someone takes or attempts to gain control of a person’s lawfully possessed firearm. That’s a Class 4 felony. 
    My Take: Not sure how this differs from the first one, but it’s still a good idea.
  9. House Bill 2346: Requires people to sell or transfer “assault weapons” — semiautomatic rifles, pistols and shotguns with features as defined in the bill — through licensed firearms dealers, who in turn must conduct background checks. The checks can cost no more than $50. The bill includes private sales at gun shows.
    My take: My opinion on this law is not something I can post here, as I strive to maintain a PG-13 rating or better in these parts…
  10. House Bill 2345: Requires a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Permit holders must successfully complete an eight-hour firearms-safety training program approved by the Department of Public Safety.
    My take: Not. Going. To. Happen. Yes, I’m ticked that Nevada and other states dropped CCW reciprocity. Not, this is NOT the way to fix that.

Kudos to Brenda Barton, Carl Seel and Rick Murphy for advancing the cause the cause of freedom, and Chad Campbell? Please move to New York City where you’re wanted. Arizona is no place for a politician like you.

 

 
Number of comments: 0 Add comment
January 24th, 2014 by exurbankevin

Neutral No More.

I sat on the sidelines during the 2008 Arizona Republican Senate primary because I didn’t see J.D. Hayworth as an upgrade from McCain. Yes, Hawyworth spouted all the right immigration buzzwords, but lordamighty, his voting record in the House was anything but a model of fiscal conservatism. 

This primary, though, things are different. McCain has got to go. It’s not just his enthusiastic support for drone strikes on American soil, it’s not just his involvement on amnesty for illegal aliens, it’s not just his pushing Obama’s gun control agenda in the Senate

… it’s all of that. The fact is, John McCain no longer represents the best interests of Republican voters in Arizona. 

Plain and simple. Thank you for your service, Senator McCain. I know you love boxing, (as do I), so you should know that a good boxer knows when it’s time to leave the ring before his legacy and ability to fight are lost forever. 

 

 
Number of comments: 1 Add comment
January 10th, 2014 by exurbankevin

The news is brought to you by the Democratic National Committee

If you were unfortunate enough to watch KPNX’s 6:00 news show yesterday, you would have been treated to one of the most blatantly pro-Democrat “stories” of the year running as their lead story. Apparently, according to CNN, 2013 won’t be known as the year that the IRS was used as a weapon of political chicanery or the year the NSA was outed as a bigger threat to Americans than our enemies overseas or even the year that Obamacare imploded and took the blue state model of government along with it.

No, the biggest story of the year, the question that’s on everyone’s lips, is the “Do-Nothing” congress” of 2013. 

The video here is from another Gannett affiliate, but this was the story that led on 12 News at 6. 

And to prove their point that Congress is a bunch of poopyheads that won’t do what the Presidents wants them to do, they bring out a Democrat, and Independent and… Olympia Snowe. This insured thereporters/activist had all relevant viewpoints in their story, from centre-left to hard left.

What, was John McCain not available?

This is how media bias happens: It’s not that there aren’t people out there who are upset that Congress hasn’t “done anything”, it’s just that one side of the story was told to the exclusion of all others. The big political story certainly isn’t a “do-nothing” Congress, according to NBC itself, the big stories are (in reverse order):

  1. The Obama administration’s coverup of the IRS and Benghazi scandals
  2. Gun control blocked in the Democratically-controlled Senate
  3. Über-liberal Bill De Blasio will be mayor of NYC
  4. Chris Christie’s re-election in New Jersey
  5. McAuliffe winning in Virginia
  6. Amnesty for illegal immigrants failing in the house
  7. Obama failing to control Syria’s WMD’s
  8. Snowden’s leaks about Obama’s NSA spying program
  9. The government shutdown 
  10. Obamacare crashing and burning and taking most of U.S. health care insurance along with it

Of those ten, only three might (and I say might) have something to do with a “Do Nothing Congress”, the rest of those failures and and scandals can be laid solely at the feet of our current President.

But that wouldn’t fit the narrative.

 

 
Number of comments: 0 Add comment
December 27th, 2013 by exurbankevin