Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The End

As you probably have noticed, I haven't really blogged at all in the last several months. It's been an accumulation of several factors.

First, I've been working more than ever with my new law practice, so I don't have time to generate all the content I used to on a regular basis. Owning your own business is pretty time-consuming. Don't get me wrong, it's really rewarding, and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but it does consume a lot of time.

Second, my kids are at that age where they really need/want a lot of my time. When I get home from work I'd rather be out playing catch with my son, or doing an imaginary tea party with my daughter. My wife and I really guard our family time, so when it comes down to an issue of family time vs. blog time, the family wins. And as Don Corleone famously said, "A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."

Finally, if I'm honest, I'm suffering from a little bit of Blog Burnout. I've been doing this blog since 2011. I've been through six years of it, and I'm sort of burning out of it. It's been a great run, and I've enjoyed all the connections I've made, but I think it's time to hang up the keyboard.

See you around, BlogSpot.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mattis Grants Interview to High School Newspaper

 Once again, Jim Mattis proves he's the best person in the current Presidential Administration.

Apparently, the high school got in touch with Mattis after his personal cell phone number was accidentally leaked by an aide in a photo run by the Washington Post, and Mattis agreed to do the interview.

It's a great interview. Great questions and great answers. Here's a snippet:
TEDDY: You were quoted recently in the The New Yorker as saying that what worried you most in your new position as secretary of defense was “The lack of political unity in America.” How do you believe younger generations of Americans should be working towards improving America’s political climate?

MATTIS: I don’t care for ideological people. It’s like those people just want to stop thinking. I think the first thing is to be very slow to characterize your fellow Americans. I know that when people have to run for office they have to say “I’m smart and my opponent’s dumb,” or “I’ve got better ideas than my opponent.” That’s politics there’s nothing wrong with that. But, I get very very concerned when I hear people start characterizing their opponents as stupid. I still understand that because politics is a little rough and tumble at times, but I don’t buy it and when they start calling each other either crazy or evil. You and I, we don’t compromise with crazy people or evil people. And so, I don’t think that’s helpful. Generally speaking, just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t make them crazy or evil.

By sitting down and talking with them, after having a good strong argument, going out and having a root beer with them, maybe showing up at the same church, maybe going to the hospital to see their kid when they’re having their appendix out, reminds you that they’re human beings too. There’s no reason to get all worked up as if someone is evil or crazy. For one thing, none of us are perfect and all-knowing, so this might be their right, and that’s why I don’t care for ideological people. It’s like those people just want to stop thinking. They know what they think, they don’t read anything but one newspaper that agrees with them or they watch only one television news show because it reinforces them, instead of listening to the ones that don’t agree with them. So, I think the way you get over it is, you take people one at a time and you give them the same credit you give yourself and your ideas.
Go read the whole thing.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The American Spirit - According to Benjamin Rush

I'm currently taking a short sabbatical from the Aubrey-Maturin series to go back to my sweet spot of reading history books. I started Washington's Crossing on the Fourth of July, and I'll probably finish it this weekend while at the beach. So far, it's very good.

I'm currently reading through the part of the darkest time for the Americans in the Revolutionary War. It's right after the British have captured New York, Rhode Island, and have driven almost to Philadelphia. The Cause is beginning to look lost. It is the winter of 1776, when Thomas Paine publishes his famous pamphlet "The American Crisis" following the bitter defeats and a period where victory looked remote.

I was struck by this paragraph:
"Doctor Benjamin Rush, who had a major role in the event, believed that this was the way a free republic would always work, and the American republic in particular. He thought it was a national habit of the American people (maybe all free people) not to deal with a difficult problem until it was nearly impossible. 'Our republics cannot exist long in prosperity,' Rush wrote 'We require adversity and appear to possess most of the republican spirit when most depressed.'"
Perhaps this is still true today. Perhaps our peace and prosperity have sapped our republican (small r) spirit.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

British SAS Soldiers Outnumbered and Trapped by ISIS Fighters

Earlier this week, some British SAS soldiers were trapped in a small river bed in Iraq. The Brits were down to ten total bullets between everyone. They were surrounded by about 50 ISIS fighters.


Sources told the Daily Star that they were convinced they were going to die in the battle, so they chose to 'go out fighting' in the hope that they would kill as many ISIS fighters as possible before they died....'They knew that if they were captured they would be tortured and decapitated.

'Rather than die on their knees, they went for a soldier's death and charged the IS fighters who were moving along the river bed. They were screaming and swearing as they set about the terrorists.' 

The soldiers then used everything at their disposal in the desperate fight for their lives.

The Brits charged out, fought hand to hand after their ammo ran out, used their guns as clubs, used knives, and brute strength. One SAS solider drowned an ISIS fighter in a puddle with his bare hands.

After four hours of fighting, there were 32 dead ISIS fighters, and the rest had fled. The SAS troops then made it back five miles where they were picked up and brought to safety.

Feel good story of the day.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Supreme Court’s 2016-2017 term – ‘the calm before the storm’

That's what the headline is over at the Washington Post's Volokh Conspiracy. Here's what the Court has next term:



In addition to all that, we've got rumors of Justice Kennedy's retirement swirling. Throw that into the mix, and it's going to be a pretty big term for the Court. 

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?