Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Illinois Budget Meltdown

Illinois has long been spending more money than it's been taking in. When you aren't the federal government, and you have to actually balance a budget, that's eventually going to be a problem. For Illinois, the day of reckoning is soon.
“The state [of Illinois] can no longer function without a responsible and complete budget without severely impacting our core obligations and decimating services to the state’s most in-need citizens,” Mendoza wrote. “We must put our fiscal house in order. It is already too late. Action is needed now.”
Things that can't go on forever, won't.

Monday, June 19, 2017

An Interesting Discussion about SCOTUS and Political Gerrymandering

Come over to Brad's site and add your two cents. Do you think the Supreme Court might wade into the political issue of partisan gerrymandering?

As you'll see from my comments, I certainly think partisan gerrymandering is an issue that needs to be addressed, but I'm not convinced it's the court's province to do so.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Comey Tells Lawmakers in Closed Door Session: Lynch Obstructed Justice

 This seems like obstruction of justice.
During the conversation, Comey told lawmakers he confronted Lynch with a highly sensitive piece of evidence, a communication between two political figures that suggested Lynch had agreed to put the kibosh on any prosecution of Clinton.

Comey said "the attorney general looked at the document then looked up with a steely silence that lasted for some time, then asked him if he had any other business with her and if not that he should leave her office," said one source who was briefed.
Trump's a buffoon, but he's doing pretty dang good at the job description of: "Not Being Hillary Clinton and her Corrupt Crime Syndicate". If Hillary had won the election, there's no telling how much crap like this would be going on.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Happy Thirteenth Anniversary!

Thirteen years ago, I married a girl better looking that me, smarter than me, and nicer than me. She's the best thing that ever happened to me, and I'm looking forward to many more happy years!


6-12-04

Thanks for being my shade tree and best friend!


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thoughts on Comey, Trump, and Fish



It is true that among the impeachment charges leveled against President Richard Nixon was one for obstructing justice, but didn’t Nixon commit the independent crime of instructing his aides to lie to the FBI? I think that was sort of the "hook".

I’m just saying that I don’t think there is an actual, criminal statute that applies. I’m not 100% sure of this, but I think the reason that the FBI is in “independent agency” isn’t because of some particular law. I think it’s this way because there has been decades and decades of Presidents who have ceded their authority over the FBI because of republican deference. (That’s republican with a little “r”.) In the past, Presidents have directed that the DOJ prosecute (or not prosecute) individuals. That’s a historical fact. You can go look it up.

What if Trump had told Comey, “You are no longer authorized to legally investigate Flynn because I’ve decided to pardon him.” Would that be obstruction of justice? No, obviously.

But we elected this knuckle-head who doesn’t really do “deference to power” or worry about “conflicts of interest”. Rather, he did the clumsy, classless, entitled guy thing of just being stupid. I think it’s abuse of power, unethical, and outside of the standards of decency that have been set and respected by Presidents since time out of mind.

But I don’t think it’s actually a crime. Sorry if you don’t like it. If the President has the Constitutional authority to fire the FBI Director, he certainly has the authority to tell him what to do (or not do). It doesn’t mean that he should, but it sort of does, in fact, mean that he can.

At the end of the day, it’s not Trump’s fault. It’s our fault. We elected this scrub. So, it’s sort of hard for me to come down really hard on the moron we elected President because the country did, in fact, elect him. It would be like electing a fish to run a 100 yard dash and then getting mad at the fish because he can’t run. It’s not the fish’s fault it can run. It’s your fault for making a fish try to run. It’s a freaking fish, you ninny.

Democrats, maybe next time around you won’t run the most unlikable, entitled harridan to be the candidate. Everyone owes a big apology to the founders. We really screwed up. Who knows, y’all don’t really seem to be getting this particular lesson. Maybe Hillary will be the candidate for President until she either dies or wins. Anything is possible with the Democrats.

I’m not trying to carry Trump’s water. I have nothing invested in him. I didn’t vote for him. I wish he weren’t the President. But, I can look at the facts, look at the law, look at how our Constitution works, and see that this isn’t a crime based on what I’ve seen thus far.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wednesday Art Open Thread

It's been a long day. Here's an open thread to get you through the night.

Trafalgar Square, 1884 Tom Roberts

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

D-Day: 73 Years Ago

73 years ago, over 150,000 Allied troops landed on the shores of France, intent on reclaiming Europe from the German army that had overrun and occupied Europe. It was a calculated gamble, and the outcome was far from certain. In the early morning hours of darkness before the sun rose, thousands of men dropped from the sky in connection with the landings.



Of the over 150,000 Allied troops that landed that day, 4 received the Medal of Honor for their actions on that day. One of those men was Teddy Roosevelt's son.

When the first waves hit the shore at Omaha Beach, they were immediately met with withering fire from fortified German positions. Omaha Beach is a curved beach, like a crescent moon, and it has high bluffs overlooking the shore. Accordingly, it was the most easily defended by the Germans. Here's what it looked like that day.

A good view of the high ground at the rear of Omaha beach, known to the Americans as ‘bluffs’, that made such a natural defensive position. The Naval gunfire had set fire to the grass, which provided a certain amount of unintentional cover.

Separating Omaha Beach and Utah Beach was the highest point - Pointe du Hoc.

Pointe du Hoc as seen from the air today. It separates and overlooks both Omaha and Utah Beach.
The American Rangers were assigned the task of scaling these cliffs and taking this point. Here is President Reagan recounting the assault:



Think about all the things you do this morning. You might have had to deal with some young kids who didn't want to go to school. Maybe you got stuck in some annoying traffic. You might have to do some difficult work at your job. But stop for a second to think about what you didn't do.

You didn't cram into a plywood thing that was half-boat and half-target that took you out on a choppy ocean channel. You didn't have to wade out into cold ocean water when the front door on that boat dropped open, which was the cue for thousands of men to start shooting at you in your little plywood target. You didn't have to fight through artillery rounds, mines, bullets, grenades, and make your way over the beach to the men shooting at you from protected bunkers.

You didn't have to ride in an airplane with heavy gear strapped to you, fly into the teeth of anti-aircraft fire, and then drop thousands of feet in the dark, only to find yourself scattered and surrounded by hostile German soldiers trying to kill you, and all that you had to fight back was the gear you carried with you.

When you think about what the men of D-Day did seventy three years ago, what we do today in our daily lives seems pretty small. There aren't very many veterans of D-Day left anymore, so you probably won't get a chance to thank one of them personally.

If you're in Columbia today, chances are you'll run into a soldier from Ft. Jackson if you're around town. Take a moment to stop and thank them for their willingness to serve. Everyone who has worn the uniform of the United States military had the willingness to serve.

Monday, June 5, 2017

South Carolina Doesn't Have an Official State Flag

Which one of these flags do you like the best?


Okay, the headline is a bit misleading, but it's not entirely false.
Part of the problem is while S.C. law says the flag will be blue and have a white palmetto tree and crescent on it, that law does not set specifications for their exact placement or design. As a result, some variations have found themselves into the state flags produced by competing flagmakers.
And one lawmaker has decided it's high time South Carolina have an official flag.

Growing up here in South Carolina, I've seen all the different flags variations, but I sort of always figured that the one in the upper left hand corner was the "official" flag. Maybe I just sort of saw that one most of the time. What about y'all? Which flag looks right to you?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Davidson College Students Tricked Into Saying They Don't Want Socialism

As you can see, almost all of the students don't think it's "fair" that those who work hard should have their GPA lowered, with part of it being "redistributed" to raise the GPA of the students at the low end.



The best part is the reaction that the students had after they realized it was just a hypothetical to make them think about larger issues.

But after students discovered later the petition was a hoax played on them by conservative students in an attempt to illustrate the unfairness of wealth distribution, they hastily called a teach-in at the campus union at which they denounced the effort and vented their frustration.

Some students said the fake petition made them struggle with feelings that they do not belong at Davidson, while others aggressively attacked the video, calling it “oppressive,” “illegally filmed,” and “inflammatory bullsh*t,” according to a video of the April 27 teach-in on Facebook.

So instead of examining their position on redistribution of income as potentially hypocritical, (or at least inconsistent when it comes to other things) these students got mad that they've been tricked into thinking about things.

Everyone is conservative about their own work. Other people's? Eh, not so much.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Movies, Politics, Sports, and Other Randomness

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Memorial Day. Now it's back to work and the regular routine. I'm going to try and be a bit better with the regular posting, since I sort of fell off the wagon lately. I'll be trying to at least one post a day, even if it's not a big in-depth one.

With that in mind, here are a few of the things I saw recently that were interesting:

1. Bryce Harper charges the mound on Hunter Strickland and goes nuclear. I have to say, I'm all in Harper's corner for this one. Strickland is upset about something that happened in 2014, and has been nursing a grudge since then? Come on, man. That's just sad. Move on dot org and stuff, bro.

2. In other violence related news, Democrats and Republicans in the Texas statehouse did their own version of the Sharks and the Jets fighting it out. In true Texas form, threats of gun-play are prominently featured.

3. Watch this trailer for the movie Lucky Logan. No, seriously. If you haven't already seen it, stop reading this, click the link, and watch teh trailer. It's worth the price of admission just to hear Daniel Craig (Yes, James Bond) cast as a redneck southerner with what my ear detects to be a high Alabama redneck accent. The man has some serious acting chops.

3. In news of the ironic, Germany's PM Angela Merkel said the "U.S. No Longer a Reliable Ally for Europe" which is pretty rich if you consider that it's all the European countries who aren't actually spending the agreed upon amount of GDP on their military. Maybe it's a good thing that Merkel said this, maybe Germany and the rest of the NATO members will decide to actually spend some money on defense rather than just being free riders.

4. In other baseball related news, USC Athletic Director (and former baseball coach) Ray Tanner has to decide whether or not Holbrook keeps the job as head baseball coach after missing the NCAA tournament two out of the last three years. If nothing else, go read the article for the first line.

Here's how I would like to see it play out.



Have a good one, folks.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday Art Thread


I've been reading Bible stories to our five year old at bed-time, and we skip around a lot, but the story of Daniel in the lions den is one of his favorites.

Personally, I like the story of Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, but I found this nice painting, so we're going with Daniel.


 Daniel's Answer To The King -  Briton Riviere, 1890


Monday, May 22, 2017

Holbrook: "I can get the Gamecocks back to Omaha"

How about try and make it to the field of 64, bro.

If it's a traditional early exit for the Gamecocks at the SEC Tournament, they will be lucky (Lucky!) to make the field of 64 for the NCAA baseball tournament.

(Omaha is the "Elite Eight" of the NCAA Tournament)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Art Open Thread

Getting some work done and then going to cook some BBQ in Camden. Enjoy your weekend, everyone.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Come to the Battle of Camden This Weekend!



No, it's not a Revolutionary War re-enactment, it's better. It's a BBQ festival!
The Battle of Camden BBQ Festival, a barbeque contest to benefit the Camden Jaycees’ Annual Stocking Fund, will take place on May 19th and May 20th of 2017 at 222 Broad Street in Historic Camden, South Carolina.  The event will include a Chicken Wing Competition on Friday Night, barbeque from some of the finest BBQ Competitors in the Southeast on Saturday, delicious food and drink from local vendors, and live music both days.

This is a Battle with a Purpose: The festival is hosted by the Camden Jaycees, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to improving the lives of the most disadvantaged citizens in Kershaw County by providing meals and toys to families during the Christmas season.
I'll be out there cooking with some friends, so if you make it out there, feel free to stop by our area and say hello. It's BBQ for a good cause; doesn't get much better than that.