Thursday, June 26, 2008

Decisions, Decisions...

Interesting… From the Air Force Association’s Daily Report:

Putting Money Down: Following BRAC 2005, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico has made good on a pledge to provide money to ensure the Air Force can improve and expand operations at Cannon Air Force Base--and keep the new western base for special operations off any potential future base closure lists. In a June 24 release, noting the state's $5 million investment, Richardson said, "We are fulfilling a promise I made to modernize Cannon Air Force Base and increase its military value to the Air Force." The money is to go toward transfer of state land to the Air Force to expand the Melrose Bombing and Gunnery Range, which was one of the prime features that attracted Air Force Special Operations Command to select Cannon for its western base. New Mexico Finance Secretary Katherine Miller signed a memo of understanding with Air Force installations chief William Anderson this week. The land has yet to be identified, according to the release, but Miller said state offices would "work diligently" to identify "potential land that meets Air Force requirements." Base officials planned to begin using the existing range for AC-130 gunship training earlier this year. In addition to the AC-130, AFSOC plans to place the new CV-22 and a proposed light gunship, in addition to other SOF aircraft with the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon. (Read Special Operators Head West)

OK… the money’s there, but expansion of the Melrose Range may take some time, as the land required to expand the range hasn’t actually been identified yet. That apparently isn’t stopping USAF from bedding the Special Operators down at Cannon, though. Last week while I was out at the base I counted five C-130s on the ramp, as opposed to the one or two I usually see. Which doesn’t mean a danged thing in and of itself… the planes and their crews could have been TDY to Cannon for training. Still, I like it when I see lotsa aircraft on the ramp. That’s a good sign.


This just in (via the WaPo), and it’s good news from the Supremes, for once in this term:

The Supreme Court, splitting along ideological lines, today declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own guns for self-defense, striking down the District of Columbia's ban on handgun ownership as unconstitutional.

The 5 to 4 decision was written by Justice Antonin Scalia, and went beyond what the Bush administration had counseled. It said that the government may impose some restrictions on gun ownership, but that the District's strictest-in-the-nation ban went too far under any interpretation.

Scalia wrote that the Constitution leaves the District a number of options for combating the problem of handgun violence, "including some measures regulating handguns."

"But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table," he continued. "These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home."

The Court “split along ideological lines” yet again. And I’ll repeat my Presidential Election Mantra yet again: “It’s all about the Court!” And dead terrorists too, of course.


Today’s Pics: Three more items from Mr. Dalley’s windmill collection. One of the more interesting things about Mr. Dalley’s windmills is the variations in the fan designs one sees in the collection. The first picture is a close-up of the “classic” windmill, and by that I mean the most commonly seen version; the second is a more aerodynamic fan; and the third is two more variations on fan design.

One has to think the “classic” fan won out because it’s basically a simple design that would cost much less to manufacture. And lower manufacturing costs always translate directly to lower sale price. I’d also assume there wouldn’t be much, if any, gains in efficiency with the more esoteric designs. But those other designs are aesthetically pleasing, aren’t they? If you have other thoughts I’d love to hear ‘em…


  1. WOW! Fabulous windmill collection!

  2. You are so right about the Supreme Court issue. How could the judges vote so differently - after all, we have a Constitution. They are suppose to uphold the law. But apparently there are four judges who want to interpret things according to their own ideology.

    I like the windmills.

  3. Jeff, my FIL and I were just discussing the bombing range thing not 30 minutes ago. Wonder how it's going to effect us and our neighbors. Will the AF want our ranch? (if they pay us what it's worth they can have it!). Some of our neighbors are a little closer, what will happen to them? I'm all for the expansion, as long as the AF treats us fairly throughout the deal. If it doesn't effect us, that's great, too.

    I wonder if the prettier windmills were just too delicate for OUR winds?

  4. The Court “split along ideological lines” yet again. And I’ll repeat my Presidential Election Mantra yet again: “It’s all about the Court!”

    Right you are, and all the rest of you McCain lackeys. This is unquestionably a point for your side.

    My side, the one that is still leery of The Maverick and still trying to make up it's mind, has a point to make too. I think you're ready to hear what it is; I'll shoot you an off-line.

    But THIS time, yes, yours is a better way to go. We've got to thin out that Stevens-Ginsburg plank. The survival of the nation does depend on it.

  5. Good deal. They got one right. Well, at least 5 of them did, anyway.

  6. Re: the judges, worth noting that all but Ginsburg and Breyer were appointed by Republican Presidents, including two of the more liberal (Souter and Stevens) and the swinger (Kennedy). Not trying to minimize their importance, just pointing out that the D or R behind a President's name isn't a guarantee of the type of judges they are going to appoint.

    On a related note, ironic that one of your commenters mentioned getting a fair deal from the AF in any possible transaction involving their property, as the two year anniversary of Kelo v. City of New London was a few days ago.

  7. The Judges finally READ the Constitution!

  8. Phlegmmy: Thank ya, Ma'am!

    Lou: Watching the Talking Heads on teevee last night (reacting to and commenting on this decision) was VERY interesting. I don't think we've heard the last of this issue. In fact I know we haven't.

    Jenny: The way I read the press release seems to indicate the expansion will be on state-owned land, some of which is being leased to farmers at the moment. I suppose it's open to interpretation, though. And a lot depends on just how much more land the AF feels it needs...

    You may have a point about the "prettier" windmills, although I think all of 'em are governed so they don't self-destruct in high winds.

    Moragan sez: Right you are, and all the rest of you McCain lackeys. This is unquestionably a point for your side.

    Lackey? Who you callin' a lackey, Bud? ;-)

    re: making up your mind. Seems like a no-brainer, to me. The choice is crystal clear when it comes to McCain/Obama. And please don't invoke that third-party argument...coz you KNOW, in your heart of hearts, that third-party candidates are simply NOT viable in this country. Other than serving as spoilers, a la Perot in '92 and Nader in '00, that is.

    Jim: Thank GOD for the Fab Five!

    Mike: The (D) and (R) behind a Prez ain't a guarantee, to be sure. But McCain is on the record as making appointments in the Roberts/Alito mold. Obama? He hasn't said...but his positions on literally everything else (when he's not changing them) leads me to believe we'd be in deep doo-doo if he wins...

    Noted on Kelo, as well. But when it comes to takings, I think the Feds would have a tougher time than a city gub'mint. In peacetime, anyway.

    Ash: Agreed!

  9. I think for the most part it will be on state owned land. I know a few people who do lease some of this land that will be turned into buffer. Not a big deal, except their homes are there as well. They lived there before it became state land, or had leases with the state to live on it. As for myself, I think we have been told that we will hear a bit more "traffic" (in the form of sonic booms, which always has me searching the house to see if some stray pickup has crashed into it) and gun fire (ahhh, we love to walk outside to the sound of machine gun fire! LOL!). And we have noticed a bit of increase in the latter.

  10. I don't think you'll be hearing too many sonic booms in the future, Jenny... unless the AF brings in fast-movers from another location to participate in exercises.

    But you'll most definitely hear the 105 mm howitzer (and the 40 mm cannons, too) when they light that thing off! I was 20 miles removed (at least) from the range at Eglin when I was down that way back in '99, and I could hear the muffled booms of the 105s when the AC-130s were exercising on the range there. And you're a LOT closer to Melrose than I was to the Eglin range!

  11. How come you and Jenny get all the cool new entertainment anyway? We're barely even getting fighters fly over lately.

    Oh my, the state does have a pretty good contiguous chuck of land north of Melrose, doesn't it? I was expecting more like the odd square mile of state-owned scattered widely like we have out here.

    On windmills, maybe the newer ones won't be so likely to disappear. Someone stole one of ours 'up top' before I could relocate it. I was NOT amused. I suppose the one down by the creek will be next to disappear since it is also a charming classic. Wondering why 'Thou shalt not steal' is such a hard concept to grasp.

  12. Lin... Jenny will be getting all the entertainment. I'm too far from the range to even hear the 105s go off, I think. On a calm night I might be able to hear a very muffled boom in the distance but that assumes "calm," which hardly ever happens around here!

    Do you have a url for the map you're looking at? I searched the NM ".gov" site for land use maps and came up empty. That map would be a nice thing to have!

    Dang. That's pretty sad about your windmill. I agree with you: "thou shalt not steal" isn't a particularly hard concept to grasp, now, is it? We seem to have many more morally-impaired folks these days than in times past. Or at least it seems that way.

  13. Buck, unfortunately I was looking at hard copy. It is a state atlas Mark picked up when Red took him into ABQ to look at maps and GPS units. This atlas is put out by Delorme for each state. With it's broader scale, it won't replace USPS tops any time soon but does show state, federal and private areas.

    Do you have a B.L.M office within a reasonable distance? They should be able to provide you with a road-map sized plat of your area ... maybe even free of charge methinks. That scale is much nicer and also shows the various divisions of property holdings. Be sure to look through their other printed offerings while there - they have archaeological tour maps and all sorts of other cool stuff.

    I found a good downloadable NM topo stash at LANL but lost the URL with the computer that died in transit. USGS topos are a wonderful and fascinating resource.


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