Tuesday, September 2, 2014

27 Maps That Explain America

Happy Tuesday. Hope all y'all enjoyed the weekend.

Here are some interesting maps. The one that totally blows me away is this one: Half of America's population lives in the blue-shaded counties. Half.

The next time someone advocates for getting rid of the electoral college, show them this map.

Another map that is particularly nice for South Carolina is this one. Apparently, people are moving here. Not good news for New York and Illinois.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Obama's Big Mistake

Back in high school, I had a friend who was fairly smart. However, instead of working relatively hard and making great grades, he was always looking to circumvent the rules. He spent almost all of his time and energy trying to find loopholes in school rules and regulations.

More often than not, his actions would get him in trouble with teachers and administrators. He constantly pushed back against almost all authority, constantly pushing the envelope of what was allowed. Basically, he spent most of his time and energy fighting the system, rather than trying to work within the confines of the school rules.

It caused a lot of bad blood between him and the school officials over what were essentially unnecessary conflicts. He ended up graduating, but refusing to participate in the ceremony. If my friend had spent his time simply studying and working to get along with people, he would have been a top student, and he would have probably been the valedictorian, speaking at his graduation, rather than skipping it.

I see that same characteristic in our current President.

Ever since he lost his super-majority in the Senate, he's gotten absolutely nothing done. He goes on and on all the time about how the mean ol' Republicans won't work with him on anything, but the fact is, he doesn't want to work with them, either. Accordingly, our President now spends all his time trying to figure out how much he can get done without Congress. He's doing everything he can to simply avoid Congress on almost every issue. He's unilaterally changing the ACA, fighting the Halbig case so he doesn't have to ask Congress amend the law, raising the minimum wage via executive order and so on. His famous "pen and phone" line is emblematic of his mentality to simply fight/ignore the Legislative branch of our government.

This isn't how to win friends and influence Congress. (Or enact policy.) Another example is evident today, in the realm of the climate change argument.

Just today, the President has now decided that he's going to try and do some strange end run around the fact that the Senate has to ratify treaties. Apparently, the President wants to cut carbon emissions in an international treaty, but he knows the Senate won't approve it. Therefore, rather than going to the Senators and trying to cut a deal and give them something in exchange, the President is now just going to try and do what he can without the Senate.
In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path.

Our President isn't even trying to convince the Senate to go along with this. They've told him "no", but he's undeterred. He's going to try and figure out some way to enter into a treaty without actually entering into a treaty. That will be quite a trick.

If the President spent half the time actually trying to compromise and work with Congress that he spends trying to come up with ways around Congress, he might actually get something done. He needs to understand that you can't always get everything you want when there's divided government. Out of all the campaign promises he's made and broken (and there's a lot) the number one promise he's broken is that he would be a pragmatic "uniter", ending our bitter partisanship. He's absolutely done the opposite. As I referenced in my last post, steamrolling the ACA through Congress is what created the Tea Party.

For all of the soul-searching that leftists do about how our foreign aggression "creates" terrorists, they sure don't seem to realize how political aggression created the Tea Party.

But instead, this current President looks like he's going to be end up like my friend from high school. He's going to struggle against the system, and he's going to engender lots of bad blood, and ultimately, it's all going to be a big waste of time and effort, never really reaching his potential. At the rate he's going, he'll probably end up skipping graduation to go play golf.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Obama Waited 30 Days to Authorize Foley's Rescue

Here's a hypothetical for you: You're the President. You get some intelligence about the location of the whereabouts of a captured American held hostage by ISIL. How long would you wait to order a raid to rescue an American citizen held hostage by ISIL?

Our President waited "almost 30 days."
Anthony Shaffer, a former lieutenant-colonel in US military intelligence who worked on covert operations, said: “I’m told it was almost a 30-day delay from when they said they wanted to go to when he finally gave the green light. They were ready to go in June to grab the guy [Foley] and they weren’t permitted.”

Another US defence source said: "The White House constantly goes back and forth on these things. These people are a bunch of academics who endlessly analyse stuff and ordering up another deep-thinking paper but can't decide what to order for lunch."
This makes me angry. I don't care about Obama playing golf. I don't care about Obama raising money. That's fine. Just make decisions.

I want him to make good decisions and act in the best interest of our country and my fellow citizens. This thirty day delay to authorize a rescue mission just flies all over me.

Intelligence goes bad over time. The longer you wait to act on intelligence, the less likely it is that the hostage will be there. An "almost 30 day delay" is hard to understand. It's now understandable that Foley wasn't there once the mission finally got the green light. It had been about a month since they got the tip.

I don't really even see how this is a "hard" decision. We have soldiers who have signed up to defend America and protect our citizens. That's is their job. This is what they do. They know the risks. If something had gone wrong, it would be horrible, but it's worse to just dither. And this delay absolutely reeks of political calculation.

You get the intelligence, the military plans a mission, you say "go". I don't know how I could delay that long and then still look grieving parents in the eyes.

We're not talking about just a terrorist bad guy. We're talking about an American citizen who was being held captive.

He's dead now.

By the way, a British newspaper broke this story. Nice job, American press.

Monday Game Week Links

Happy Monday.

A few things going on this week:

Rick Perry will be in Columbia fundraising for SC Republicans in various different places. He'll be at First Citizen's Cafe on Main Street on Wednesday to raise money for the SC GOP in general, and on Thursday, he'll be at Doc's BBQ for Kirkman Finlay.

In case you want to attend any outdoor events, it looks like the tropical storm is going to miss South Carolina. So the weather should be nice all week.

Friday, August 22, 2014

2014 Gamecock Football Prediction

Ok, campers. We are at T-minus six days and counting to the kickoff of the South Carolina Gamecocks 2014 season. As I've done in years past, I'm going to give you a game-by-game prediction for the entire season before it starts.

However, before I get into this year, I'm going to recap my previous predictions, just so you can see how they shook out. All numbers exclude the bowl game. I'm just talking about the regular season.

2011: My prediction was 11-1 . Actual result was 10-2.
2012: My prediction 10-2. Actual result was 10-2.
2013: My prediction was 11-1. Actual result was 10-2.

So, with the exception of 2012, I have a track record of being one game too many too optimistic. I guess that's probably true, as I freely admit my bias towards the Gamecocks. Anyway, here's my 2014 season prediction, for whatever it's worth.

8/28 Texas A&M vs. South Carolina
This game will be the kickoff of the entire college football season. It's a Thursday night game, so the entire college football world will have it's eyes on this game. TAMU will come in ranked at #21, and the Gamecocks will come in ranked #9. This will be a great test right out of the gate for both teams. It's a conference game, so there isn't any tune-up game in week one to work out the kinks. Both teams need to hit the ground running to be successful.

We know that TAMU will have a good offense. Coach Sumlin likes to throw the ball around a lot, so we'll really see how good our secondary is (or isn't) in the first game. Having said that, I think this is going to be a game that has become somewhat of a normal recipie for a Gamecock victory under Spurrier. When confronted with an opponent who likes to throw the ball most of the time and use tempo, look for the South Carolina offense to really grind the clock with a heavy dose of running the ball. I think South Carolina will win the time of possession battle, keep the TAMU offense off the field, and wear down the TAMU defense. The rushing attack will be interspersed with Dylan Thompson throwing some deep balls to keep the Aggie defense honest, but in the end, I see this being a solid win for South Carolina. A&M will be starting a new QB, so look for our defense to try and force some mistakes.

South Carolina 1-0

9/6 East Carolina vs. South Carolina
Once again, the Gamecocks will face a team that likes to thrown the ball a lot, however there will be less talent on the ECU compared to TAMU. I think the Gamecocks will play fairly conservatively, keeping the ball on the ground and controlling the tempo of the game.

South Carolina 2-0

9/13 Georgia vs. South Carolina
This game. It's always big. Barring some crazy injuries to one of the teams, this game will be a dead heat in Vegas. Big implications here. Both teams will probably come in undefeated, which makes it a top ten match-up. ESPN College Gameday will probably be here for this game.

Both teams will try to run the ball, and Georgia will certainly have success doing so with their big horse in the backfield. This is already set for the 3:30 CBS game, so it's going to be a day game. I'd prefer a night game, but the atmosphere will be electric anyway. I think this one is going to come down to a turnover or two, because these teams are so evenly matched. You could really pick this one either way, but since the game is being played in Columbia, I'm going to take the home team in  a very close game.

South Carolina 3-0

9/20 South Carolina at Vanderbilt
This will be the first road game of the season for South Carolina, and this I'll actually be making this trip. I've been meaning to cross Vanderbilt off my list of SEC stadiums to visit, so I'll be doing that for this game. (Only Knoxville and Missouri will remain on my list in the SEC East.) Vanderbilt is plucky, has gotten better over the years, but so has South Carolina. I think South Carolina will go into their first road game with some confidence having edged past Georgia (or alternatively, fired up having lost to Georgia). Either way, I think South Carolina wins by two scores in Nashville.

South Carolina 4-0

9/27 Missouri vs. South Carolina
Revenge will be on the minds of the Missouri Tigers, since South Carolina absolutely broke their heart last year in a 2OT game, that culminated in a missed Missouri field goal. I don't know how good Mizzou will be this year. No one really predicted them to be good last year, but they were. I think that maybe Mizzou will come down to earth a little, and I think that the South Carolina defense will get the best of Matty Mauk. I predict two INTs for the Gamecock defense to set up short fields for the offense.

South Carolina 5-0

10/4 South Carolina at Kentucky
The second road game takes the Gamecocks to Lexington, Kentucky to take on the Wildcats. This ain't basketball, so South Carolina wins easily.

South Carolina 6-0

10/18 Furman vs. South Carolina
Spurrier won't let the team lose focus against Furman. He's undefeated in his career against FCS teams for a reason - he treats every game the same. Furman won't be any different. Look for USC to get an early lead, and then take out all the starters in an effort to avoid any injuries. Big game next week on The Plains.

South Carolina 7-0

10/25 South Carolina at Auburn
This will be the toughest game of the year so far. I would rank Auburn on par (or slightly better than Georgia) and when you throw in the fact that it will be on The Plains, this game has trouble written all over it. South Carolina has never beaten Auburn since joining the SEC, and I don't think this will be the game that snaps that streak. I think the Auburn rushing attack will be relentless, and ultimately, too much for the Gamecocks to handle. Unless Auburn makes some big mistakes they win this one.

South Carolina 7-1

11/1 Tennessee vs. South Carolina
This will be a revenge game for South Carolina. Had the Gameocks not lost to Tennessee last year, they would have gone to Atlanta. However, the clunker of a game in Knoxille last year had the Gamecocks watching the SEC championship game like the rest of us - on TV. Now, I look for the Gamecocks to pounce on Tennessee and extract vengeance.

South Carolina 8-1

11/15 South Carolina at Florida
I think Georgia will still only have one loss at this point (to South Carolina), so this will be the chance for the Gamecocks to punch their ticket to Atlanta with a win. We did exactly that in 2010 behind Lattimore and Garcia. I don't know what this Florida team is really going to look like, but I know the Florida defense is going to be nasty. This could be a low-scoring slugfest, which suits Muschamp just fine. While I'd really like to pick this as a win, my head says that Florida will hold serve at home behind the Gator faithful. I think South Carolina will make a few crucial mistakes and lose by one score.

South Carolina 8-2

11/22 South Alabama vs. South Carolina
The Gamecocks come home for a game against an FBS opponent this week. Coming off a loss to Florida and looking ahead to Clemson, they'll need it. A workmanlike win that should see lots of time for the backups.

South Carolina 9-2

11/29 South Carolina vs. Clemson
Look y'all. Clemson had the best chance to beat us (for a long while) last year and the year before that. Two years ago, Carolina started Thomson as a backup (without Lattimore), and beat Clemson up in Death Valley. Last year, Clemson had a great team, but still couldn't win. This year, Dylan Thompson returns to Death Valley to see if he can be one of the few Gamecock QBs to win two games in Death Valley.

He will. The streak will continue. Six in a row.

South Carolina 10-2

Post-Season/Final Thoughts
I'm not sure if 6-2 will be enough to win the East. I could see Georgia losing only one game. Heck, I could see Florida losing only one conference game. All I can tell you is that which ever team wins seven games will take the division title. I think seven is the magic number. If South Carolina finds a way to slip past Auburn or Florida on the road, then I think we'll get to Atlanta. I just don't think we can lose both of those games and make it to the Georgia Dome at the end of the year. That will be somewhat disappointing, but 10-2 with a sixth straight win over Clemson is enough to keep this Gamecock fan very happy.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'm Busy - Go Visit My Favorite Food/Beer/Grilling Blog

Had a full day of litigation and transactional work, but being busy is a good problem to have.

Lots of things going on, so the blog will be light today. Don't worry, there will be lots of content upcoming, as I have to do my traditional Gamecock Football Prediction Post. I also have a few posts in mind, but the real trick these days is finding the time to actually get them down.

Meanwhile, go over to one of my favorite food/beer/grilling blogs on the interwebz, and check out what Mike is doing.

Here's a teaser:

Can you tell why I like his blog so much? Mike's pretty much the go-to guy for grilling, beer, and photography. I'm pretty good on the grill, but I'm absolutely horrible behind the camera.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

American Journalist Executed - What Is Our Response?

In the wake of an American journalist being publicly executed by ISIS, I thought of this:

What will be the response from the United States today when one of our citizens is publicly slaughtered by a foreign power that has wrought so much death and misery on others?

What should our response be?

100k Pageviews

Just last night, this little rambling blog o' mine broke the 100,000 pageview barrier. I know that's not that much of an accomplishment for most blogs, but it's pretty big for a small-timer like me.

Therefore, I wanted to say thanks to everyone out there who stops by to read my musings from time to time. I started this blog on a lark,  (at the suggestion of my wife) and I've found that I've really enjoyed it.

In addition to helping me sharpen my thoughts about things, I've felt that I've had to be more involved with current events to stay up on blogging. I've certainly learned more than I've taught.

It has been wonderful to make some connections with other really talented and smart bloggers who I've had the opportunity to meet in person. I am looking forward to continuing to keep the blog rolling indefinitely. If there's anything you, as a reader, would like to see more (or less of) let me know. I'm always interested in improvement.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Journalist Thought Foam Earplugs Were Rubber Bullets

Can you identify this?

In what is now exhibit number 8,465,786,251 in our continuing saga of how journalists know absolutely nothing about anything remotely related to firearms, an intrepid reporter covering the Ferguson riots thought some foam earplugs were rubber bullets.

Is it asking too much for a journalist to have some basic competence in firearm knowledge? Am I reaching for the stars here?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Hey guys? I think Russia and Ukraine are at war.

I was going to try and make a joke, but there's not really anything funny about this.
Ukraine said its artillery partly destroyed a Russian armoured column that entered its territory overnight and said its forces came under shellfire from Russia on Friday in what appeared to be a major military escalation between the ex-Soviet states.
Yeah...armored columns going "poof" tend to indicate something more than a minor disagreement. I wonder what Fred Thompson's character in The Hunt for Red October would say about this.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Argument Clinic - Open Thread

Do you want to have just one argument, or were you thinking of taking a course?

Open thread. Argue about whatever you like.

Newberry Man Married to Four Different Women - All at the Same Time

Newberry County Sheriff James Lee Foster said between 1988 and 2013 Pixley engaged in a “matrimonial crime spree” and married four different women without the benefit of divorcing any previous wives.

Why would he want to do such a thing?

Protip from Permanent Press: Having one wife at time is probably a good guideline to follow - for your own protection.

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/08/13/3617691/sheriff-newberry-county-man-engaged.html?sp=/99/205/&ihp=1#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Your AR-15 is dangerous and unusual, and isn't protected by the Second Amendment!

So says a federal judge, anyway. This was a case where Maryland banned ownership of certain rifles in thewake of the Sandy Hook shooting. Among the long list of banned rifles were AR-15s and AK-47s.

Naturally, this law was challenged on Constitutional grounds. However, the judge held that these types of rifles were not protected by the Second Amendment, because...get this...the AR-15 is dangerous and unusual.
Upon review of all the parties’ evidence, the court seriously doubts that the banned assault long guns are commonly possessed for lawful purposes, particularly self-defense in the home, which is at the core of the Second Amendment right, and is inclined to find the weapons fall outside Second Amendment protection as dangerous and unusual.
(emphasis mine.)

Wait. How did "dangerous" become a disqualifying factor? All rifles are kind of dangerous, if you ask me. That's kind of the point though, isn't it? If a rifle isn't at least a little dangerous, it's not really worth having, is it? I don't even get this "dangerous" thing. The danger of a weapon has almost everything to do with the person holding the weapon, and very little to do with the weapon itself.

Moving on to the real part, this judge ruled that the AR-15 is "unusual". I'm not sure how you would call the most popular rifle in America "unusual". That's just stupid. This is an example of Judge that had already reached a conclusion and simply wrote an opinion that ended up where she wanted it to.