Let’s go racing!

Well maybe not just yet….

Fridays were race-night in the environs of Ohio where I grew up – it’s all we had to do. Tinker with our cars, and race them. Today it’s Honda’s & Mitsubishi’s out there warring on the streets – sometimes with disastrous results. It took long years and an street  racing crash that left a friend in a wheel chair and almost took my own life before I became wise enough to understand the phrase “take that shit to the track”. But if I had to do it all over again – I probably would.

My first car was a 73 Monte Carlo and it was powered by a 2 barrel Rochester Carb feeding an anemic 350 cubic inch small block. That car was a ‘compromise’ of sorts between my Dad and I – I wanted a 68 440 Hemi powered Charger – back then they were cheap – you could pick one up for about 4 grand used – but ‘wisdom’ prevailed and I ended up with the Monte. Dad knew I (and I know now) – I’d not be sitting here writing this – I’d be dead, that charger had a long list of tweaks on the already impressive performance list it came out of Detroit with. It was a beast – and I’d have killed my fool self with it.

I hated that Monte at first – the thing wouldn’t even turn the drive tire unless you stomped on it going around a corner and to be blunt – water helped that particular effort considerably. There was absolutely nothing about the car that was fast.

One night coming back to town on I-680 I had another Monte pull up next to me – Gold, maybe a 78 or 79 or so and challenge me, I said “oh what the hell” dipped my lights and it was on – as I watched the needle flirt past 110 MPH – I noticed something – that 79 was about 15 cars length behind me and I was pulling away. I had just won my first race in this ‘grandpa’s couch cushion of a car”.

An obsession took hold, could I really turn this rolling couch into a sleeper ? And it wasn’t long before the 350 was replaced with a 454 – the rear end swapped with a Posi and various other modifications – but it still kept the “old mans sofa” demeanor – I had built a  high 12  second sleeper and I won as many as I lost. It was especially fun to smack around a Camaro or Trans-Am of the day back then.

Over the years I owned various other Monte Carlos – some fast, some just basic transportation and some – one in particular a 1972  became another obsession. In fact I had a damn website once devoted to that very car, it sits idle now.

I found it in Chattanooga – out on E-bay for 4000.000 bucks and it had all the makings of another sleeper – 454 Power plant included. That was back in 2007. I more or less stripped it and it’s been mostly rebuilt. It was a 1972 low optioned car when it rolled out of Baltimore back in the day – and because it came to me with a few parts done in primer – I dubbed her “Patches”.

As fate would have it in 2011 after 5 years, a lay off and some bad times meant the 72 called Patches and I had to part company. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, there was 10’s of thousands of dollars in the car by this point and what I ended up selling it for was not even half of what I had in it – but you can’t live in a car – and I sold her to the guy, Mat,  who built the 496 Cubic Inch Rat I stuffed in between her front wheels.

A couple of days ago I got an E-mail out of the blue – Mat had finally had time to fire up that 496, the car’s been in various stages of interior and body work since I sold it and as friends do – Mat promised to keep me posted on the car’s progress. Car guys do that sort of thing I guess.

I got the this video and thought I’d put it here – maybe lighten up the mood around the Empire going into the weekend – G-d knows we have enough bad shit to think about with Herr Obama – Holder and the rest of the craven punks running  amok these days…

So here is that 496 and the 72 Monte Carlo called  Patches – I’d say it’s turning out pretty good…..enjoy! And Oh – Might as well deem this an “Open Thread” going into the Weekend….



  1. 1
    themandownthehall growls and barks:

    Ah, yes. Memory lane!!! My early “big car” was a 73 plymouth satelite. 318. Not the biggest or baddest, but looked cool. But dang that thing drank gas. Replaced it with a plymouth horizon tc-3 4 cylinder manual… Much better for the commuting lol

  2. 2

    I remember those Satellites – had several friends that had those and Road Runners… Plymouth made some cool cars back in the day.

  3. 3
    Igor, Imperial Booby growls and barks:

    Thanks for the video, CiSSnarl5.7

    Good times, good times, when gas was 30 to 45 cents a gallon, and I used to go out to Felts Field and get two gallons of Avgas (octane 110) which may be hard on the engine but sure gives a nice little boost without having to go NOX.

    My first speed racer was a ’67 camaro with a stock-as-a-rock 327 but had the Rochester 4MV quad on it, so if I kept my foot out of the carb it got decent mileage (almost 21 mpg!). Once those secondaries opened, the suck started, along with a LOT more acceleration. By the time I got done tweaking it, I was racing in the quarter-mile and turning 13.5’s consistently. (FMP class for those of you interested.)

    My next one was the venerable Corvette, a ’67 two-top that had a 427 L88 that got 14 MPG but broke the tires loose whenever I stomped it. Great fun, sucky mileage, mucho tickets. Traded it for a Firebird, then got married and got a Honda Civic. Life caught up to me. *Sigh*

    Had three ’57 Chevys that I restored and hopped up, but being a family man with a critter on the way, had to get rid of two of ’em, then eventually the third one because… money got REAL tight. You know the drill.

    My only hot car right now is my ’89 SHO. Stock engine, but what an engine! Yamaha Racing sure knows how to build stock “sleepers”, unfortunately last night my shifter cable broke and I’m now shiftless (!). HOWever, I had planned to do the “linkage modification” that FoMoCo sold for the ’89 to ’93 models and it just happens to be sitting in my garage, waiting for installation. Good thing the weather’s good now. No need for a garage heater any more.

    Although I’m not into racing any more I’m into F.I. now, Megasquirt. First my motorhome, then my SHO when it becomes 25 years old and no longer has to pass inspection. Next year…

    Good times, good times. :em01:

  4. 4
    LC SecondMouse growls and barks:

    Planning on spending a little time in this over the weekend. I’ve had it since 99, bought it as a non-running mess sight-unseen out of storage in CA, and it took about four years to bring it to this state. Stock except for some bolt-ons and a Flowmaster exhaust. Still under 70,000 original miles, with the original 350.

    I had a ’73 LT 350 when I was a kid, but it was a beater, and I couldn’t afford to improve it. Got married, and had to let it go. The ’71 is a promise kept that I made to myself all those years ago.

    It is also the reason for the screen name I use on this site, as it is my ‘second mouse’. Car guys will (obviously) recognize the slang reference to the small block.

  5. 5
    LC Gladiator growls and barks:

    Obama Eliminates Breakfast for US Troops in Afghanistan – How YOU can help!
    This item updates item ‘Obama Eliminates Hot Breakfasts for US Troops in Afghanistan’

    [Click to view image: ‘dc6b962ca2b7-obama-eats-1-450×299.jpg’]
    Obama Eliminates Breakfast for US Troops in Afghanistan, Stuffs Own Face

    …Warren Buffett and other crony capitalists can pig out on Obama’s trillion dollar deficits. As for the troops. Let them eat MRE’s.

    The Army has stopped serving cooked breakfasts to some of the U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan as part of its drawdown, a move that prompted troops to write home asking their families and friends to send care packages with cereal, breakfast bars and other foods.

    The Army told the Washington Guardian the current cutbacks began Jan. 1, and affect about 2,700 soldiers deployed in forward operating bases in more remote areas of Afghanistan.

    Officials stressed other comforts at the forward operating bases may also soon be reduced, such as laundry and recreation, as officials look for other ways to reduce the American footprint in advance of departing the country.

    They said the meal cutbacks are currently affecting forward operating bases in more remote areas of Afghanistan and not affecting the main American bases in Kabul and Kandahar.

    Exit questions. How many cooked breakfasts for soldiers would Obama’s 20 million dollar Hawaii vacations and the 1.4 billion that his clan’s non-stop partying buy?

    While American soldiers go hungry, here is what Obama and his corrupt cronies had for their inaugural lunch.

    First Course: Steamed Lobster with New England Clam Chowder Sauce, Sautéed Spinach, Sweet Potato Hay
    Second Course: Hickory-Grilled Bison with Red Potato Horseradish Cake, Butternut Squash Purée, Baby Golden Beets and Green Beans, Strawberry Preserve and Red Cabbage
    Third Course: Hudson Valley Apple Pie with Sour Cream Ice Cream, Artisan Cheeses
    Wines: Tierce Finger Lakes Dry Riesling (2010), Korbel Natural, Special Inaugural Cuvée California Champagne, Bedell Cellars Merlot (2009)

    Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were humanitarian social workers compare to Barack and Michelle Obama.

    UPDATE: Here are some comments by current and former service members


    How outrageous – when I was in the US Army – it was a requirement that they provide 3 hot meals a day unless in field. Failure to provide that was grounds for an immediate honorable discharge.

    Warrant Officer
    US Army/US Army Reserves


    I’m over here in Afghanistan right now and it’s no “crock”. I’m on Bagram and they just stopped hot breakfasts here as of 1 Feb. This isn’t about winning or losing it’s about what the current President is doing against the country he is supposed to support.


    I’m glad I got out when I did. There were two things in Afghanastan worth looking forward to. Going Home, and hot meals. Now the hot meals were not exactly gourmet, but they got you through the day.


    When I ran a mess hall it was stressed to us to do the very best job possible because meals are part of a soliders (sic) pay. This is a violation of soliders’ rights. Where is Congress on this?


    [Click to view image: ‘dc6b962ca2b7-obama-eats-1-450×299.jpg’]

  6. 6

    Very nicely done Mouse…. Cool Screename too :em01:

  7. 7
    LC Jackboot IC/A growls and barks:

    Nice change of pace what with such a target-rich environment courtesy of the Thugocracy at 1600 Pennsy.

    I’m betting Holder is gone before mid-June…any takers? Sooner or later Ogabe is going to need a cabinet-level, public Seppuku festival.

    I was a hard working pre-teen and by the time I was 15, my dad allowed me to use his 1959 Star Chief that was perfectly functional power train wise but total rust from the rear seats back, as a trade in on my first wheels. You couldn’t even step into the trunk without ending up with your feet on the ground.

    I think I got like $50 for the car and the balance was paid in full, in cash to get me a 1964 Tempest, in-line 6, with a two-speed auto tranny. Great little car but underpowered as all hell. I used that for a year or so and after saving from working 3 jobs, two on the weekdays and one all weekend, I traded up to a beautiful 1963 Bonneville Coupe, with a 500-lb center console mounted shifter (auto) and a massive vacuum gage calibrated into “economy” settings, or lack of…under the hood a 421 c.i. ,4-bbl Rochester equipped power house churning out (if memory serves me) over 300 hp. That car could light the tires up for a mile or until you got tired of holding the throttle down. Of course, one needed to stop at the nearest gas station every hour or so too. Gas IIRC was about 32 CENTS/gallon and smoke about 35 CENTS/pack. I was in hog heaven and with a steady girl to finish decorating the interior front and back ….mheh….. times were good. From there after I enlisted and got my first PCS orders to San Diego, it was time to go with my first new car….1974 Tempest, right off the line in detroit….decent car, but pulling that little U-Haul over the Donner Pass did the tranny in and I was stuck for a few days, somewhere outside of Tahoe waiting for repairs…Hell it was my honeymoon and no lack of ‘things to do’ was an issue. I kept that car for a few years, bought a 650 Yamaha street-bike for fun and cheap commuting the few miles back and forth to the ship. Transferred to Mare Island for Nuke Skool and then onto Idaho Falls and the INEL for prototype training. Let me tell ya’ kids those desert roads go for farkin MILES and MILES with nary a twitch, let alone turn in them, and let the horses loose. I just HAD to get me something for fun and it came in the form of a tangerine orange Camaro, that some enterprising local had dropped an L-88, and short-gate Hurst, 4 speed into. I wanna’ say it was the 4.21 rear-end in in too, but I”m foggy there. Now were talking a rocket that handled better than about 80% of the Detroit iron of the day, as long as one understood some basic physics. I finished outfitting her by yanking off the catalytics and re-piping both sides through some Cherry-Bombs and instant audible orgasm resulted. I still can hear her burble and just laugh hysterically when the local punks with their “sweet 4’s” blow by sounding like go-carts to my old ears. I had the beautiful piece of machinery for about 4 years until the practicality of putting the baby-seat in the back sort of over-rode the circumstances. She walked plenty of unsuspecting ‘Vettes, SS396s by the bushels and forget anything made by Ford short of the rare Super-Cobra (the Torino one, savvy?) of the day. MoPar? Don’t make me laugh……sheesh…thanks for the reminisce buddy…


  8. 8

    LC Jackboot IC/A @ #:

    , as long as one understood some basic physics

    An object in motion tends to stay in motion? Or in that Era – “Any GM product going balls out tends to – go in a straight line no matter how hard you haul that steering wheel over”….. :em05:

  9. 9
    Uchuck the Tuchuck growls and barks:

    It was the summer of my seventeenth year and I was in love with a girl named Sonja. She was a beautiful young woman with a strong dose of American Indian in her heritage: long, glossy black hair, high cheekbones and a permanent tan. It was Saturday night and I was on my way to a date.

    I had gotten off work on the farm, run through the shower, stuffed a twenty-dollar-bill in my pocket and jumped in the truck. One of my friends from high school, Scott Godwin, was working on the farm that summer, so I was going to give him a ride home and then go pick up my girl. I was in such a hurry that I didn’t even stop to look for my wallet, just stashed that twenty and took off.

    Cullman is located at the crossroads of US 278 and US 31, so we kind of have two main drags in town, one running east-west, the other running north-south. Both of these main roads are four-laned through town and the city fathers tried to keep the stoplights on each synchronized to facilitate traffic flow. As I pulled up in the left-hand lane of 278 at the first stoplight I saw my cousin Mike sitting in his Z-28 Camaro in the right-hand lane. We gave each other one good look, one nod, and the race was on.

    My truck was a bit misleading. It was a white 1976 Chevrolet ¾-ton pickup with a 350, a stock four-barrel carb, and three-on-the-tree transmission. It was a farm truck, plain, simple, a few dings and dents from stuff being thrown in the bed, and a bent corner post from where I had backed into the big truck one foggy morning. It was nothing special to look at. But I had done a couple of things with the carb, tinkered a bit here and there, and the result was a slightly beat-up farm truck that accelerated like an F-111 and topped out at somewhere around 130 miles per hour on the flat. Exactly how fast it would go was a matter of conjecture, as the speedometer only went to 100; I have had it up to the point where the needle had passed on around back to zero.

    When the light turned green, Mike and I both floored it. As we screamed through the next intersection a police car whipped in behind us from the cross-street, light and siren already going. Mike started to pull over and I thought, “Cool, he’ll nail Mike and I’m out of here.”


    The cop ignored Mike (who then drove sedately to his daddy’s body shop, parked the Camaro and grabbed another car) and fell in after me. I gunned it through town wide open, catching air on the railroad viaduct bridge and leaving the original police car a dwindling image in my rearview mirror. This was at the end of the Energy Crisis of the 1970s, and Cullman City Police had gone to some more efficient vehicles to save some gas. There was no way his little Malibu could catch me.

    Having broken initial contact, the task now was to get out of sight. I knew that a buddy of mine just off Saint Joseph Street had a garage, and that his parents usually left it open, so I started jigging my way toward David Graves’s house. Then I saw other blue lights approaching from the left, so I turned right on Main Avenue. This put me a part of West Town that I really did not know well…but Scott (who all this time had been white-knuckling the dashboard) lived on that side of town. As we roared down Main he started navigating for me.

    “Okay! Turn left right here!” So I did. Into somebody’s driveway. “Not here, you idiot! I meant at the next street!”

    So I cut through the back yard (carefully dodging the ornamental shrubs) and found asphalt again. I started doglegging down the side streets in the general direction of David’s house, having once again left the police car behind. This was a (usually) quiet residential area with little traffic and good visibility for approaching cars, so I was blowing through stop signs with little more than a slightly less firm foot on the gas. As we approached a five-way intersection with Dripping Springs Road, though, there was a stoplight, and as we got there it turned red.

    I actually remember thinking “Okay. I haven’t exactly technically run any red lights yet, and a five-way just has too many chances of cross traffic. I’ll turn right on red, then left, and that should take me to Saint Joseph.” So I turned right…and about a block away was another police car, headed toward me with lights flashing.

    This is how I discovered that while my truck could indeed outrun a Malibu, it could not outrun a Motorola.

    As the cop skidded his car to a broadside halt across the street I thought, “Well, I haven’t killed anybody yet, so it’s probably time to stop.” I was actually having a really good time, and as I came to a stop, switched off the truck and started to get out, I started laughing. Scott looked at me like I was insane, as first one, then another, and finally all six police cars of the Cullman Police Department converged on my location.

    My first realization that this was not going to continue to be fun was when the first words out of the first cop’s mouth were, “Ah-ight fatboy! Up against the truck!”

    While I assumed the position and got patted down, his partner walked up to the passenger side, where Scott started explaining what was going on: “I was just getting a ride home from work and I live right over there and my dad is Reverend Charles Godwin of the West Cullman Baptist Association and can I just go home?” The officer looked at him a minute, shrugged and said, “Yeah, get on out of here.” Scott lit out for the house.

    Meanwhile, my side of the truck, things were not going quite so well. A whole bunch of police officers, including Kenny Culpepper, the big brother of one of my friends from grade school, Tim, were milling around while the original officer laid out the contents of my pockets on the hood. Kenny caught my eye, pointed at me and laughed, then he and his partner got back in their squad car and left. Kenny eventually became Chief of Police and Tim became a judge, but at the time there was no help there.

    The remaining officers cuffed me up and sat me down in the back of a police car, then set about composing a ticket; I say “composing,” as it was a group effort, each car adding its own facet to the legal gemstone they were creating. I can still remember it: Speeding. Reckless Driving. Attempting to Elude. Failure to Yield to Blue Light. Running Stop Sign. Running Red Light. Illegal Left Turn. Illegal Right Turn. Driving Without a License. Improper Tag, Tires, and Muffler. It was signed by no less than six different police officers.

    Having finished the ticket, the officers then closed the door on the squad car and started for the police station. I had gone far beyond any opportunity for “catch, tag, and release” with my escapade; I was headed for jail. As we started to pull away, the driver of the car stretched himself up like Barney Fife and glanced at me in the rearview mirror.

    “Reckon you learned that you don’t run from the Cullman po-leece, didn’t yuh?” he drawled.

    I shrugged and replied, “I was doin’ pretty good until that last right turn.” At this point his partner turned around and asked “What kinda motor you got in that truck?!” We then proceeded to talk trucks and motors until we got to the cop shop.

  10. 10
    FrankOK growls and barks:

    Worked all one summer to buy a guitar (which I still have) and a car for relatively cheap (I thought) – a 1962 Ford Galaxy 500 XL.

    For those of you into the old muscle cars, I just told you everything about that old hog but for those not familiar:

    406 inch engine w/405 hp.
    Three twos (factory). Cast iron factory headers, later replaced with a set of Jardine’s best.
    Radio, heater, four speed transition and bucket seats, two door & fastback style.

    Dark red in color, would pass anything but a gas station – ran like a scalded dog. Wish I still had it.

  11. 11
    Fa Cube Itches growls and barks:

    Yeah? Well, I had a Huffy 10-speed, so *nyah* :em07:

  12. 12
    LC Gladiator growls and barks:

    Feds suggest anti-Muslim speech can be punished

    By BYRON TAU |
    5/31/13 5:26 PM EDT

    A U.S. attorney in Tennessee is reportedly vowing to use federal civil rights statutes to clamp down on offensive and inflammatory speech about Islam.

    Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, was quoted by the Tullahoma News this week suggesting that some inflammatory material on Islam might run afoul of federal civil rights laws.

    “We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we’re here, they’re going to be protected,” Killian told the newspaper.

    Killian, along with the FBI special agent that runs the Knoxville office, are set to speak next week to a special meeting with the local Muslim community, informing them about their rights under federal law.

    “This is an educational effort with civil rights laws as they play into freedom of religion and exercising freedom of religion,” Killian said about the meeting. “This is also to inform the public what federal laws are in effect and what the consequences are.”

    Killian pointed to a recent controversy where a local Tennessee politician posted a photo of a man aiming a shotgun at the camera with the caption “How to wink at a Muslim.”

    “If a Muslim had posted ‘How to Wink at a Christian,’ could you imagine what would have happened?” Killian asked, according to the newspaper.

    The Department of Justice did not respond Friday to a question about what guidelines it draws concerning offensive speech and Islam, or whether the department believes that civil rights statutes could be used to stifle criticism of Islam.

    While threats directed at individuals or small groups can lead to punishment, First Amendment experts expressed doubt that the government has any power to stop offensive material about Islam from circulating.

    “He’s just wrong,” said Floyd Abrams, one of the country’s most respected First Amendment attorneys. “The government may, indeed, play a useful and entirely constitutional role in urging people not to engage in speech that amounts to religious discrimination. But it may not, under the First Amendment, prevent or punish speech even if it may be viewed as hostile to a religion.”

    “And what it most clearly may not do is to stifle political or social debate, however rambunctious or offensive some may think it is,” Abrams said.

    A conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, accused the Obama administration of using federal law to specifically protect Muslims from criticism.

    “In its latest effort to protect followers of Islam in the U.S. the Obama Justice Department warns against using social media to spread information considered inflammatory against Muslims, threatening that it could constitute a violation of civil rights,” the group wrote in a blog post.

    In recent years, the federal government has faced difficult questions about how to respond to material posted about Islam and the Prophet Muhammed — especially when the content causes riots or attacks abroad.

    In 2010, a Florida pastor made international news when he threatened to burn 200 copies of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

    The federal government admitted it was powerless to stop Jones, though President Barack Obama condemned the idea. Jones backed off from his September attempt, but later burned a Koran in 2012.

    A similar controversy erupt when a Coptic Christian man posted the trailer for an anti-Muhammed film online — causing rioting and an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

    The Obama administration condemned the attack, while blasting the filmmaker for religious intolerance.

  13. 13
    LC Gladiator growls and barks:

    IRS may have targeted conservatives more broadly
    IRS probe

    Susan Martinek, right, and Mary Cherion pray as they walk the block around the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Planned Parenthood, on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. Martinek is the president and Cherion serves on the board of Coalition for Life of Iowa, which faced scrutiny from the IRS before being granted 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in 2009. | Liz Martin/MCT
    email this story print this story jump to comments

    By David Lightman and Kevin G. Hall | McClatchy Washington Bureau

    WASHINGTON A group of anti-abortion activists in Iowa had to promise the Internal Revenue Service it wouldn’t picket in front of Planned Parenthood.

    Catherine Engelbrecht’s family and business in Texas were audited by the government after her voting-rights group sought tax-exempt status from the IRS.

    Retired military veteran Mark Drabik of Nebraska became active in and donated to conservative causes, then found the IRS challenging his church donations.

    While the developing scandal over the targeting of conservatives by the tax agency has largely focused to date on its scrutiny of groups with words such as “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, these examples suggest the government was looking at a broader array of conservative groups and perhaps individuals. Their collective experiences at a minimum could spread skepticism about the fairness of a powerful agency that should be above reproach and at worst could point to a secret political vendetta within the government against conservatives.

    The emerging stories from real people raise questions about whether the IRS scrutiny extended beyond applicants for tax-exempt status and whether individuals who donated to these tax-exempt organizations or to conservative causes also were targeted.

    Former IRS leaders have apologized for inappropriate scrutiny of conservative organizations. They haven’t to date, however, divulged who developed the criteria, how they were developed or when and how they extended to groups associated with conservative causes that didn’t have “tea party,” “patriot” or similar catchwords in their names.

    Widening congressional investigations and federal lawsuits are likely to reveal more about the scope and intent of the inappropriate treatment of conservative groups by the IRS. The House Ways and Means Committee plans a hearing Tuesday to allow victims to testify for the first time. In earlier hearings, one IRS official pleaded the Fifth to avoid answering questions.

    The Treasury Department inspector general who’s probing IRS activities, J. Russell George, recently acknowledged that he’s looking into other watch lists created by IRS employees. He said he was barred by law from disclosing anything more.

    Sue Martinek of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, already knows what happened to her and others involved in the Coalition for Life of Iowa.

    She first sought tax-exempt status for the group in 2008, maintaining contact by mail and phone with a woman identified only as Ms. Richards in the Cincinnati office of the IRS that’s now at the center of the scandal.

    Martinek said the woman never offered a first name. A woman’s voice on a recording at her phone number doesn’t give a name, and messages left by McClatchy brought no response.

    Richards told Martinek by phone in early 2009 that the group’s application had been approved, Martinek said. But Richards added a condition, according to Martinek. Board members first needed to sign a letter promising not to picket in front of Planned Parenthood offices, Martinek said.

    “We were pretty surprised. But we had never gone through the process before,” Martinek said. “I was sort of, ‘If we have to, we have to, but this doesn’t seem a good thing to do.’ ”

    A board member suggested contacting the Thomas More Society, a public-interest group that provides free legal help on conservative hot-button issues. It saw the IRS request to the Iowa group as forcing the group to abandon its First Amendment rights.

    “We’re certainly not about protesting and picketing. That happens to be a small part of what we do. When we do go to Planned Parenthood, we’re going there to pray,” said Martinek, who said her group focused on educational forums and wasn’t a conduit for funneling money to political campaigns.

    Ironically, Planned Parenthood does enjoy the type of tax-exempt status that Martinek’s group originally sought.

    The story is similar for Christian Voices for Life of Fort Bend County, an anti-abortion group in suburban Houston.

    The IRS asked it, too, about protest plans. The IRS also asked for copies of grants and contracts. “I was quite surprised to see that our application wasn’t just immediately accepted,” said Marie McCoy, the group’s executive director.

    In March 2011, an IRS employee in El Monte, Calif., asked in a grammatically challenged letter whether the group protested in front of medical facilities.

    “In your educational program, do you education on both sides of the issues in your program?” IRS Exempt Organization Specialist Tyrone Thomas asked in the letter, a copy of which was provided by the Thomas More Society.

    Thomas also asked, “do you try to block people to enter a building, e. medical clinic, or any other facility?”

    The IRS hasn’t said who originally authored or authorized any of the questions that it now says were part of inappropriate criteria applied to conservative groups.

    “My first thought was that this particular agent was incompetent and didn’t know the law,” said McCoy, who described Thomas as polite but resolute. McClatchy tried to reach Thomas via the number on his correspondence, but no one answered the calls.

    Engelbrecht, 43, can sympathize.

    Concerned about government regulation of her family’s manufacturing business, she became dissatisfied with the political process and particularly the 2008 presidential choices.

    She discovered like-minded viewpoints and attended rallies, organizing a group called the King Street Patriots. It holds weekly meetings that include speakers on a range of topics, and it held a countywide candidates’ forum last year.

    After witnessing what she called voter irregularities in the Houston area, Engelbrecht formed a group called True the Vote. With a paid staff of five, it aims to educate 1 million poll workers nationwide on spotting election fraud. Liberal groups view it as a conservative effort aimed at restricting minority participation, a claim that True the Vote officials deny.

    In summer 2010, the groups sought IRS tax-exempt status. Six months later, Engelbrecht and her husband faced their first-ever audit.

    IRS agents “came to a small family farm, counted the cattle, looked at the fence line,” she said.

    The IRS continued to pepper True the Vote with questions, Engelbrecht said. In February 2012, the IRS sent the organization a 10-page letter with 39 questions including a request for “all of your activity on Facebook and Twitter.” Last week, still without a decision, True the Vote filed suit in federal district court asking for tax-exempt status.

    The experience of retired Army Lt. Col. Mark Drabik suggests a possible new dimension to the IRS story.

    After retiring in 2009 from a distinguished military career, he took a civilian job at the Strategic Command in Omaha, Neb. For the first time in his adult life, he could express political beliefs openly. He frequently wrote to elected officials and participated in conservative marches in Washington, attending national tea party events and donating to conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck’s 912 movement.

    Then came an audit letter from the IRS.

    The agency questioned him about church donations, deductions for family respite care – which provides caregivers with a brief rest – and his daughter’s equine therapy, he said. A doctor prescribed the last two as necessary because of the stress of caring for Drabik’s 19-year-old autistic son. The deductions had been claimed for almost a decade without IRS complaint.

    Amid the IRS scandal, Drabik now wonders whether his support of conservative causes is to blame.

    “I did contribute to them. I did participate in the marches. That’s what worries me,” said Drabik, 49, who’s fighting the IRS over a sum in the ballpark of $20,000. After losing an IRS appeal, he was entitled to a second appeal, which to his great surprise went to the same person who handled his first.

    The agency is prohibited from commenting on the cases of individuals.

    For Drabik, a seed of doubt has been planted.

    “I have to feel that that was a potential trigger” for the audit, he said, noting that the sum of his church donations and therapy deductions was pretty constant over almost a decade. “I am just a common citizen, who honorably served his nation for 23 years, who has not had this experience before and now honestly questions the actions and motivation of the IRS and how far they have gone in their actions.”
    Email: dlightman@mcclatchydc.com, khall@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @lightmandavid, @KevinGHall

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/05/30/192616/irs-may-have-targeted-conservatives.html#storylink=cpy

  14. 14
    LC SecondMouse growls and barks:

    Jackboot, my Dad had a ” rel=”nofollow”>1963 Tempest Le Mans Coupe with a 326 in it that was still to this day one of the coolest cars I’ve ever seen. He rolled it on an expressway right in front of the state police barracks and that was the end of that. I had a chance to buy one in a 2 door convertible about ten years ago but i didn’t have the scratch. I’d love to have it now. The Bonneville 421 you had made at least 370 HP if memory serves. I think some of the tri-power engines were rated over 400 in that era, if yours was one. That would be a car to have. When I was a kid my folks had a 69 Delta 88 with a 455 Police Interceptor engine in it that made 450 HP. The fools let me drive it, and spent a fortune on tires until I left home. It was actually possible to hit the accelerator quickly enough in that car to break the tires loose before the car started moving, and you could literally sit there burning the tires until they exploded or the tank ran dry.

    Frank, I loved those old Galaxies, especially with the big V8s in them. My grandfather had a convertible just like yours, and I always wanted it bad, but it never came my way.

  15. 15
    LC Gladiator growls and barks:

    Judge orders Google to give customer data to FBI

    A federal judge has ruled that Google Inc. must comply with the FBI’s warrantless demands for customer data, rejecting the company’s argument that the government’s practice of issuing so-called national security letters to telecommunication companies, Internet service providers, banks and others was unconstitutional and unnecessary.

  16. 16
    Slightly to the right of Gingis Khan growls and barks:

    My first car was a 76 Pinto…… in 1990 :em05: Fast cars have never been my thing, going over 100 never really did anything for me. Now going ANYWHERE that is another story! I built up an 82 CJ-7 with the 5 liter motor. Between gas and tie rods and such that thing cost me a small fortune. But it could drive straight up a rock face.

    I sold it along with a 6inch 3 screw .357 mag Ruger to buy my wife’s engagement ring.

  17. 17
    LC Jackboot IC/A growls and barks:

    LC IB CiSSnarl5.7 Imperial Foreign War Correspondant says:

    Or in that Era – “Any GM product going balls out tends to – go in a straight line no matter how hard you haul that steering wheel over”

    The exact truth of the matter. It had GM’s “Radial Tuned Suspension” system, that helped a lot, but you still had to learn throttle steering real real quick or make, an agricultural turn out through the sagebrush and rattlers.

  18. 18
    LC MuscleDaddy growls and barks:

    My first “Oh Shit It Can Do That!?!”-car was a 1970 Buick Riviera (boat-tail back window).

    Had to try to find a replacement for its timing-cover once, and through that search found out that my cousin had unwittingly sold me a car with a GS/Stage-1 455.

    …needless to say, I had to find someone who could do aluminum welding, since finding the Appropriate cover was rather out of the question…

    Damn. It. but that car could move …. in very straight lines. :em03:

    – MD

  19. 19
    LC&IB Vulcanrider, MSgt, USAF, Ret growls and barks:

    Seafoam green 1966 Pontiac Catalina 2 door. Yep, it was a land yacht, but it came stock with a 400 cube and an automatic. Started with a 2 bbl, but since my dad was a mechanic and we had our own shop, it didn’t stay that way for long. Only 2 real problems, keeping tires on it (still thankful for recaps) and finding anyone to take it on after a couple of months.

    Still miss that beast, and if I ever see one in the salvage yard, I’ll have it again…

  20. 20
    Library Czar growls and barks:

    My first car was a ’59 Willys CJ5 with a 4 cyc F head and a Carter YF diaphragm operated carburetor. Even 30 years after Carter produced them they denied ever making them. They had the unique ability to operate at any angle even upside down. Which sadly is how my beloved jeep ended up when I foolishly allowed my mother to drive it an steer it off a 300 foot embankment. I had about 4K into into it in the mid 70’s. That was a lot considering that was on top of the purchase price. My next car was a 70 something GTO with a gutless 350 with a two barrel carb. It was so gutless it didn’t have enough power to get out of its own way.

  21. 21
    LC Gladiator growls and barks:

    My two cents; 1964 Pontiac Catalina Convertible- 398 TRIPOWER- Ran like a beast, only two problems : Keeping tires on it (again thankful for recaps) and the stinking GM “slim jim” transmission which was a constant companion of the tranny shop.But it sure was fun going to the drive in movie with the top down, and as the evening cooled having to put the top back up, to warm up your date. (ahem)

  22. 22
    LC R6 growls and barks:

    My first was a 72 Monte Carlo. Blue with racing stripes on the hood. She was a 12 seconder as Second Mouse says, but before I started to put money into changing that I put a bunch of Oklahoma girls in orbit in both front and back seats of that car. Had a name placard at a parking spot at lake Holdercloser…. er I mean Overholster.

    You may not be able to live in a car, but you can LIVE in one.

  23. 23
    LC Gladiator growls and barks:

    Professor: What America Really
    Needs Now Is a Violent
    Civil War to Kill Off the NRA

    PJ Media, by Bryan Preston http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2013/05/31/professor-what-america-really-needs-now-is-a-violent-civil-war-to-kill-off-the-nra/

    More honesty, this time from a Professor Christopher Swindell. But he starts his own honest heartcry with a lie. Here it is. The NRA advocates armed rebellion against the duly elected government of the United States of America. No, it doesn’t. The NRA advocates fidelity to the U.S. Constitution. That’s treason, and it’s worthy of the firing squad. If he was a professor of history, he might know that even Benedict Arnold didn’t get the firing squad. The B.S. needs a serious gut check. We are not a tin pot banana republic where machine gun toting

  24. 24
    LC TerribleTroy growls and barks:

    @ Glad

    I saw this yesterday, the comments page of the Charlston paper that published this opinion piece are fucking hilarious. That stupid fucker actually tried to justify himself and got a epic internet smack down.

  25. 25
    LC Gladiator growls and barks:

    LC Gladiator says:

    My two cents; 1964 Pontiac Catalina Convertible- 398 TRIPOWER- Ran like a beast, only two problems : Keeping tires on it (again thankful for recaps) and the stinking GM “slim jim” transmission which was a constant companion of the tranny shop.But it sure was fun going to the drive in movie with the top down, and as the evening cooled having to put the top back up, to warm up your date. (ahem)

    meant 389 not 398

  26. 26
    LC HJ Caveman82952 growls and barks:

    Thanks for the smiles…..I’ll never forget the look on my dates face as I slammed that pumped 383 Magnum to the floor getting on the freeway……or the hi perf 429 I bought from a CHP……….long gone, always remembered.

  27. 27
    LC R6 growls and barks:


    I’ll never forget the look on my dates face as I slammed that pumped 383 Magnum to the floor getting on the freeway

    Errrr….. that is a CAR reference, right?