Saturday, December 31, 2011

Five Gun Myths That Everyone Believes (Thanks to Hollywood)

Pretty good list. #4 is my personal pet peeve:
Machine Guns are Magical Death Machines
Where You've Seen It:
Starship Troopers, The Mummy, Max Payne, Commando, every John Woo movie, Scarface.
The Myth:
It's an old joke by now that nobody runs out of bullets in action movies (unless it's suddenly convenient to the plot, that is). Hollywood shows some restraint with revolvers--usually no more than 10 or 11 shots per six-shot cylinder--but damn, do they go hog-wild with anything that fires full-auto. So much so that that most of us have wound up with an utterly ridiculous concept of how those guns work. They're seriously depicting these things firing a hundred times more bullets than they can actually hold.
Because you can't actually see the bullets in a machine gun, Hollywood takes this as a blank check to treat the inside of a gun as a magical bullet factory. So in Commando we see Arnold fire without changing magazines for what seems like half the movie.

Read the whole thing. It covers body armor, the silly cocking of guns, and suppressors. The examples from the movies are contrasted with real-life YouTube clips.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Happy Hour (Abita Turbodog)

Abita Turbodog. It's delicious, from Louisiana, and it's fun to say. Try it out.
Tub of Tasty Turbodogs

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull Bread

I just went to the gym today, so I'm going to fantasize about the best thing that has ever happened to bread (including slicing it):

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull Bread

Don't Look Directly at It!
It looks like the love child of nachos and Bloomin' Onion. Yes, please.

Jeffrey Toobin Is a Hack

Jeffrey Toobin went to Harvard for his undergraduate degree, and afterwards he went to Harvard Law School. He then clerked for a Federal Judge, served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and then went on to be a "legal analyst" for CNN and the New Yorker.

He's a hack.

Top 10 Moments in Gamecock Sports for 2011

I'm not a big basketball fan, but the order is pretty solid. Hopefully, the Gamecocks can start 2012 off right with a big win in the Capital One Bowl. I'll have some photos from my trip to the game.

DC Ordered to Pay $1M in Legal Fees to Heller

Remember DC v. Heller? Well, on remand back to the Federal District Court, the District of Columbia (the losing party) was just ordered to pay a little more than a million dollars in Heller's legal fees and costs for the case.

The trial judge based it on a $420/hour rate, which I think is in probably line with what a lawyer competent to argue in front of the Supreme Court would command. Maybe state and local governments will be a little more cautious before they infringe on second amendment rights next time. In my opinion, the prospect of being hit with attorneys' fees is sometimes the only incentive that some litigants have to be reasonable.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Don't Our Legislators Have Anything Better to Do?

As a threshold matter, the requirement that our state employees say "It's a great day in South Carolina." is silly. I understand the idea behind it, but honestly, it's style over substance. In any event, I would be annoyed at this requirement if I were a state employee. However, work (and life) is full of stupid rules that don't make a practical difference. Accordingly, I wouldn't waste my time arguing with the Governor about it if I were an employee, and I certainly wouldn't waste time on it if I were an elected official. The issue is entirely non-substantive.

However, two of our esteemed legislators (representing York and Charleston) have decided they have nothing more important to do. Here is what they propose:
Democratic state Reps. John Richard King and Wendell Gilliard have filed legislation saying no state agency can force its employees to answer the phone with, "It's a great day in South Carolina," as long as state unemployment is 5 percent or higher. Their bill also would prohibit requiring the greeting as long as all South Carolinians don't have health insurance.
This is a colossal waste of time and legislative resources. They're not arguing that our Governor can't make state employees say silly greetings. They want to put certain quantifiable benchmarks in place before silly greetings are spoken. This is not a serious legislative idea - it's the political version of schoolchildren calling each other names during recess.

Figure out something better to do, guys. You're an elected member of the South Carolina legislature, not a third-grader. Act like an adult. Get something substantive done.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 SEC Conference Football Schedule Released

With the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri, the SEC 2012 football schedule eliminates one of the inter-divisional games and adds a divisional game to keep the conference games at a total of eight.

Here is the 2012 South Carolina Football Schedule:
Aug. 30 – @ Vanderbilt – Nashville, Tennessee 
Sept. 8 – EAST CAROLINA – Columbia, S.C.
Sept. 15 – UAB – Columbia, S.C. 
Sept. 22 – MISSOURI – Columbia, S.C.
 Sept. 29 – @ Kentucky – Lexington, Kentucky.
Oct. 6 – GEORGIA – Columbia, S.C.

Oct. 13 – @ LSU – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Oct. 20 – @ Florida – Gainesville, Florida 
Oct. 27 – TENNESSEE – Columbia, S.C.
Nov. 3 – OPEN
Nov. 10 – ARKANSAS – Columbia, S.C.
Nov. 17 – WOFFORD – Columbia, S.C. 
Nov. 24 – @ Clemson – Clemson, S.C

Just some quick thoughts: First, the UGA/USC game is no longer the first SEC game for each team. It has been moved to the middle of the season, so that's interesting. Likewise, the Florida game is usually our last conference game. It's shaping up to pretty much decide the Eastern division race by probably 10/27. Finally, we're going to need that open date on 11/3 after going through that four game stretch of UGA, LSU, UF, and UT.

All in all, I'm happy with this schedule, and I'll probably go to the LSU game as my one away game. Any other thoughts?

Drug Dogs and the Fourth Amendment

Orin Kerr over at Volokh has an interesting post about a pending cert petition on the limits of using drug dogs before implicating Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.
Under Illinois v. Caballes, the use of the dog around a car is not a “search” and therefore outside the Fourth Amendment. The question is, does the Caballes rule apply when the dog is brought to the front door of a home rather than a car? A divided Florida Supreme Court ruled in Jardines v. State that Caballes does not apply and that probable cause is required to bring the dog up to the home for a sniff.
My guess is that the Court will draw a distinction between your home and your car, and say that the two rules do not "conflict". You certainly can't have a ruling that allows drug dogs to go house-to-house without some other  indication of illegal activity. Your car isn't your house, and when you're traveling down the road, there's less expectation of privacy than in your home. In any event, if you're a law-geek or someone who does drugs, you may want to read the whole article.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

DOJ Nixes the Proposed SC Voter ID Law

Over the Christmas break, the DOJ announced that it was not approving the proposed South Carolina law requiring voters to show a picture ID.

In other news, four people in New York pleaded guilty to voter fraud.

How much of a "burden" is it to visit a government office and pick up a free ID card?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

This Christmas is brought to you via sleigh, from the JFK White House

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Work and Play

You have to have balance.

Porn Store on Devine Street

Brad has the full run-down here, with lots of fun in the comments. I don't really care one way or the other if the store sets up. I would rather it be something else, but part of living in America is tolerating stuff you don't like and being an mature adult about it.

Personally, I would rather it be a firearms store. I hate having to drive all the way out to Shooter's Choice or Palmetto State Armory.

SC Legislators Get More In Pension Than Salary?

Reading this article in The State, I couldn't believe what I was reading. I knew that South Carolina House and Senate members receive a modest salary for serving in what is essentially a part-time job. Prepare to be amazed:
If state lawmakers want to retire, they would have to give up their seat in the Legislature, according to a proposal moving through the state House of Representatives.The proposal would end the practice of lawmakers retiring but remaining in office and replacing their $10,400 annual salaries with much larger pension benefits − more than $30,000 a year, in some cases.
If state lawmakers want to retire, they would have to give up their seat in the Legislature, according to a proposal moving through the state House of Representatives.The proposal would end the practice of lawmakers retiring but remaining in office and replacing their $10,400 annual salaries with much larger pension benefits − more than $30,000 a year, in some cases.

Read more here:
If state lawmakers want to retire, they would have to give up their seat in the Legislature, according to a proposal moving through the state House of Representatives.The proposal would end the practice of lawmakers retiring but remaining in office and replacing their $10,400 annual salaries with much larger pension benefits − more than $30,000 a year, in some cases.

Read more here:
If state lawmakers want to retire, they would have to give up their seat in the Legislature, according to a proposal moving through the state House of Representatives.The proposal would end the practice of lawmakers retiring but remaining in office and replacing their $10,400 annual salaries with much larger pension benefits − more than $30,000 a year, in some cases.

Read more here:
If state lawmakers want to retire, they would have to give up their seat in the Legislature, according to a proposal moving through the state House of Representatives.The proposal would end the practice of lawmakers retiring but remaining in office and replacing their $10,400 annual salaries with much larger pension benefits − more than $30,000 a year, in some cases.

Read more here:
If state lawmakers want to retire, they would have to give up their seat in the Legislature, according to a proposal moving through the state House of Representatives.The proposal would end the practice of lawmakers retiring but remaining in office and replacing their $10,400 annual salaries with much larger pension benefits − more than $30,000 a year, in some cases.

Read more here:
This is insane. Our elected officials can retire and receive more in "pension" than they did in their actual salary? Who came up with that ridiculous idea? Our tax dollars are simply being wasted on such a vast scale that you cannot even fathom it. Almost every single thing the government (State or Federal) touches is a nightmare of waste an inefficiency. How do you even begin to justify paying a person more in pension than he actually earned while working? Mind blown.

I'm past "camping" on the Statehouse grounds. That's totally ineffective and stupid. The next elected official who describes themselves as a "public servant" should be tarred and feathered. They sound more like thieves to me.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Unload Your Gun...Then Clean It

This is really sad. The worst part is that it was entirely preventable. If you want to clean your firearm (and you should) make sure the damn thing is unloaded.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Watch Out for Ultrarealistic Nerf Guns!

Slate writers are silly. All in all, it's one of the most ridiculous articles I've seen. Ever. The deep question it asks is:
Over the past few weeks I’ve been playing with some of the new Nerf guns, and I’ve tied myself in knots thinking about whether ultrarealistic weapons are just harmless fun or whether they reveal something terribly wrong with modern American boyhood. I’ll admit it: As a father of a 1-year-old son, Nerf’s weaponry worries me. And it worries me mainly because these guns seem irresistible.
I guess these are the kind of people who have a heart attack when we discuss concealed carrying of actual firearms. Just as a reminder, these two things are not the same:
H&K MP5 (Real Gun)

Nerf Blaster (Not a real gun)

What Medicare Really Is

I came across a transcript of a discussion George Will had with Robert Reich. After Reich touted the benefits of high taxation and entitlements, Will responded with this:
GEORGE WILL: Five years ago when I turned 65, I got my Medicare card. I showed it to my doctor, he said, that's wonderful, George, now we'll send your bills to your children. I find that a regressive transfer of wealth, and the welfare state is full of them.
Read the whole thing here.

Occupy Columbia: When the Levy Breaks

To update you on the Occupy Columbia movement, the Occupiers had a small victory in Federal Court when Judge Currie basically allowed the Occupiers to stay on the Statehouse grounds because there were no written rules in place prohibiting camping.

So....the State is going to promulgate some rules. And the Occupiers, being Occupiers, are going to Occupy the meeting where the rules are going to be discussed. My prediction is that they make some noise, but accomplish little if nothing. Actually, that sounds like the entire movement so far.
At this point, I'm almost inclined to simply allow them to stay there as long as they want now that the winter months are bearing down upon us. If they want to camp out, that's fine. You know, the more I think about it, maybe there are some benefits to allowing folks to camp out at the Statehouse

Maybe I'll start a movement to allow people who drink to much in the Vista to sober up and sleep it off on the Statehouse Grounds. It's better than driving drunk, right? It's close, so you can walk it, and we can set up little "sober stations" with Waffle House food and Gatorade. We'll be "protesting" the fact that beer isn't free.

Happy Trails

Ellis Johnson is moving on from USC to be the next head coach of Southern Mississippi. This is what happens when you have a successful program.

Monday, December 19, 2011

1% of Wisconsin Wants a CWP

1% of the entire population of Wisconsin has applied for a CWP in the first six weeks that it has been available.

Insert Occupy Wall Street joke here.

Emergency Action Message to GOP

Did Gingrich really just say he would subpoena SCOTUS Justices to have them "explain themselves" to Congress, and that the President and Congress get a "veto" of opinions they don't agree with? It sounds like the "historian" needs to read the Federalist Papers:
Whoever attentively considers the different departments of power must perceive, that, in a government in which they are separated from each other, the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them. The Executive not only dispenses the honors, but holds the sword of the community. The legislature not only commands the purse, but prescribes the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are to be regulated. The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.

As far as Jackson ignoring the Supreme Court is concerned: He was wrong to do so, and he later changed his mind on the issue when the politics suited him. Lincoln ignoring Ex parte Merryman  was also wrong in hindsight. Gingrich is saying really stupid sounding things, and the only think I can guess is that he's hoping to win over the "I hate the lawyers" vote. Great.

And Romney is just the guy who says anything he needs to get elected. (Sound familiar?)

Hey GOP, the Iowa caucuses are just around the corner, and you still have some things need to be taken care of.
Don't make me force you to come in to work on a Saturday.

Death Triad (Hitchens, Havel, Jong-Il)

These things always come in threes for some reason. My favorite comment about the passing of the North Korean leader:
“I’d like to think God let Havel and Hitchens pick the third.”
                                                    -Josh Trevino

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nikki Haley Endorses Romney

Nikki Haley puts herself on Team Romney. I'm only mildly surprised at this. I didn't see her supporting Perry, and Bachmann, who I think is the natural inclination is too far out of the race. It always helps to support the eventual winner.

Elizabeth Warren and the Keystone Pipeline

One issue that I haven't heard much about has been the Keystone pipeline. As I understand it this is the deal:

Canada has a bunch of oil. They need to refine this oil. We have one of the world's largest refinery complexes in Houston, TX. Accordingly, a company in Canada would like to partner with some private companies in the USA and build a pipeline (with their own money) to get the oil from Canada to Houston. However, before they can build the pipeline, they need the US Government to agree to let them do this. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

However, the Democrats (in control of the White House and the Senate) are opposed to having the pipeline built. Their argument is that building this pipeline will be a climate-change disaster. Apparently, the benefit of the jobs created, the lowering of the price of oil, and the reduction of our reliance on imported oil from the Middle-East is not enough to offset the danger to Gaia that will result from building a pipeline through the mostly uninhabited great plains.

Even the Boston Herald is starting to see the sheer lunacy of the resistance to this project. They have a new article out criticizing Elizabeth Warren's opposition to this pipeline, who all the Democrats like to think of as "the smartest person in the room".

Here's my favorite part of the article, which perfectly sums up the current Democratic energy policy:
Instead, the Liz Warren left starts with “No war for oil,” then “No oil from Canada,” “No nukes,” “No coal” and then the inevitable, “Hey — wait! My iPad just died and there’s no electricity to charge it. Where’s my oil?!”
Remember: They’re the smart ones.
Just to review: The pipeline will cost zero government dollars; it's being built by private companies. It's the perfect kind of infrastructure we need right now. It will create jobs. It will lower the price of oil. It will reduce our dependence on oil from the middle-east. Oh, and if you think that not building the pipeline is going to thwart Canada from refining the oil - think again. So the oil is going to get refined one way or another. The only question is who do you want refining it: the USA or China?

On a final note: Everything still runs on fossil fuels, so until Elizabeth Warren invents a car that runs on oatmeal and will do 0-60 mph in 7 seconds and will drive for about 400 miles, we're going to still need oil. That's just a damn fact.

Last Debate Before the Iowa Caucuses (Analysis)

So, the millionth GOP debate was last night. I haven't been watching them, but I decided to watch this one. My thoughts:
  1. Huntsman pledged not to sign any pledges. Think about that for a second...Also he seemed kind of snarky/arrogant all night long. He also kept saying that he wouldn't "pander" either.
  2. Ron Paul laid out his position that we shouldn't be concerned about Iran and nuclear weapons. You know the movies where aliens land and one guy goes out to "reason" with them and gets promptly blasted with an alien ray-gun? Yeah, that's Ron Paul.
  3. Bachmann wears too much makeup (poorly) for me to take her seriously. She also has zero accomplishments.
  4. Santourm Every time he talks, I fall asleep. Oh, and the last time he ran for anything, he lost his home state of PA by double-digits. Doesn't sound too "electable" to me...
  5. Perry. He lost me when he said he wanted to be the "Tim Tebow" of this campaign. He just never really seems serious, and his idea that Congress should work less is silly.
  6. Gingrich talked about Jackson abolishing some Federal Courts in 1802 and said that's what he wants to do to the 9th Federal Circuit. Interesting history lesson, bro...The Courts may have some decisions that you disagree with at times, but they're really the least of our problems at this point.
  7. Romney. There's a saying in law school: For certain multiple choice questions, all of the answers seem kind of right and kind of wrong so you "Try to pick the answer that sucks the least". That's what Romney is for me. He's the guy that sucks the least so far.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fake Names are OK in Wisconsin Recall Petition

Ann Althouse has the whole breakdown here. But here is the part that I cannot believe:
The Government Accountability Board will only check the addresses and dates that accompany the signatures. It will "flag" names that seem suspicious — e.g. Mickey Mouse — but "will not strike them without challenge."
Since when is the name "Mickey Mouse" on a petition merely suspicious? We're just going to "flag" them? That sounds suspiciously like take no action, while counting that name towards the total.

Hey Wisconsin: I have a radical idea for you: If a name that appears on a petition is the name of a cartoon character or other fictitious person, the name should be automatically stricken.

Hey everybody! I'm voting in Wisconsin!
Maybe we should have some sort of requirement that people show ID. That's so crazy though, right?

Seen on Twitter

"My favorite holiday drink is the Little Drummer Boy. It's one part rum, three parts pum."

If you're looking for another time-suck besides reading blogs, I recommend Twitter. I'm @BryanCaskey.

Hurricane Experts Give Up Trying

In South Carolina, the natural disaster that we worry about more than any other is the hurricane. (No, not this one.) Every so often, the weather experts tell us whether or not we should expect an active hurricane season or not. Personally, I put very little stock in these predictions. However, we're seeing a change in this:
“We are discontinuing our early December quantitative hurricane forecast for the next year … Our early December Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecasts of the last 20 years have not shown real-time forecast skill even though the hindcast studies on which they were based had considerable skill.”
Basically: Our predictions have been worthless, so we're going to wait until the hurricanes are closer before we try to predict them so we stop making fools of ourselves.
The two scientists from Colorado State University will still discuss different probabilities of hurricane seasons in December. But the shift signals how far humans are, even with supercomputers, from truly knowing what our weather will do in the long run.
What? You're telling me that even with a "supercomputer" you can't predict general hurricane patterns a couple of months out?

One Question: Are we still supposed to go along with all your friends who are telling us that the entire earth is going to heat up in the next twenty years, the polar ice caps will melt, the cute polar bears will all die, and we'll all cook to death because Mrs. PP (and company) drives an SUV?

Just checking, because if you can't tell me whether or not a hurricane season is going to be big or not in less than a year, I have trouble believing you when you talk about things that will happen in 20 years.

[H/T: Ace]

Monday, December 12, 2011

P.J. O'Rourke on the Occupy Crowd

P.J. O'Rourke is a pretty funny guy. If you haven't read Parliament of Whores, you should go out and read it right now.

In his latest riff, he explains how the Occupy movement is similar to his 13 year-old daughter.
Yes, it's upsetting that some people have so much while other people have so little. It isn't fair. But I accept this unfairness. Indeed, I treasure it. That's because I have a 13-year-old daughter And that's all I hear, "That's not fair," she says. "That's not fair! That's not fair!" And one day I snapped, and I said, "Honey, you're cute, that's not fair. Your family is pretty well off, that's not fair. You were born in America, that's not fair. Darling, you had better get down on your knees and pray that things don't start getting fair for you."
He's right. And the Occupy folks do have that common thread of throwing a temper tantrum until they get their way.

Can We Have Our Drone Back?

Apparently, the United States has been sending drone aircraft over to Iran. As happens sometimes to aircraft, they get shot down. And now our President, who is so smart - it blinds people to look directly at him - has asked for it back. You a kid asks for his baseball back when it goes over the neighbor's fence.
"We have asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond," Obama said.
Anyone want to take a bet on how the Iranians respond?

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Book on My Nightstand (Legal Cases of the Civil War)

I actually was loaned this book from a local judge who was kind enough to share it. It's interesting from a historical perspective (leaving aside the legal aspect). The book focuses on the Supreme Court during the years of our Civil War. It's one area of history that I previously hadn't even really thought about. However, the more I think about it, the more interesting it seems. (Yeah, nerd-alert, I know...)

Can you imagine what it was like for a Supreme Court Justice from Georgia to continue to serve, all while the civil war was ongoing?

I'll have a full report when I finish.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Belgium Brewing Company (Snow Day Review)

I'm a big fan of the New Belgium Brewing Company beers. Fat Tire is one of my all-time top five beers, and I've been fairly pleased with all their other offerings. Last night, I tried "Snow Day". It seemed appropriate, given that yesterday was the first genuinely cold day in Columbia in quite awhile.

It has a a nice dark (almost a deep garnet) color that has a crisp bite to it with plenty of hoppy taste. There are some interesting and complex flavors that I would describe as "malty". Overall, it's a solid beer that you would want to drink slowly and enjoy - not funnel. This is a great beer to drink beside the fire on a cold night. Enjoy!

Wal-Mart Coming to Downtown Columbia?

If you want to be heard, there is a public forum on December 19, 2011 at 6:00PM at 701 Whaley. I don't live over on that side of town, so I don't really have a dog in the fight. The only thing I would say is that I think putting a Wal-Mart there is better than not developing the area at all. It would be one thing if there was an alternative plan, but I haven't heard any alternatives. A good plan executed now is usually better than a perfect plan executed later.

On the practical side, a Wal-Mart would provide a convenient location for USC students in the area to get cheap stuff for their dorm rooms, and it would probably be the closest grocery store to them.

I understand that some people are against Wal-Mart because they fear it will put smaller retailers out of business, but I'm not really buying that argument in this case. I like being able to go to Wal-Mart to buy certain things very cheaply. Oh, and it will bring some jobs and tax revenue in to Columbia - that's not a horrible thing.

If Permanent Press had a vote (and it doesn't) it would vote to allow Wal-Mart to develop the property rather than let the dilapidated baseball stadium just sit there.

Anyone disagree?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More College Malpractice

I previously discussed the Jay-Z class at Georgetown University. Now, Walter Russell Meade has a similar, yet better written article inspired by people who he views as simply wanting to ruin their lives by taking out huge student loans to take silly classes:
So, inspired by this list of awesome courses, here is a sure-fire way to make yourself miserably unhappy in your twenties. 
First, enroll in a college that you cannot afford, and rely on large student loans to make up the difference. 
Second, spend the next four years having as good a time as possible: hang out, hook up, and above all, take plenty of “awesome” courses. 
Third, find teachers and role models who will encourage you to develop an attitude of enlightened contempt for ordinary American middle class life, the world of business, and such bourgeois virtues as self-reliance, thrift, accountability and self-discipline.  Specialize in sarcasm and snark. 
Fourth, avoid all courses with tough requirements, taking only the minimum required number of classes in science, math and foreign languages. 
Fifth, never think about acquiring marketable skills.
He's got more. Read the whole thing. 

It's Just My Nature...

Have you heard the fable "The Scorpion and the Frog"?

The Scorpion and the Frog

  A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the 
scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The 
frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion 
says, "Because if I do, I will die too."

  The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of 
paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp "Why?" 

  Replies the scorpion: "It's my nature..."
Obama can't help himself from making a straw man argument. It's just his nature. 

Pearl Harbor Day (70 Years Ago)

December 7, 1941: A day that will live in infamy.

Never forget.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lawyer Moves for Continuance Based on BCS Title Game

College football is really important in the South. I mean really important. For example:

My favorite part is the footnote. I just hope the Judge isn't an Oklahoma State fan. That lawyer is definitely living the Permanent Press Lifestyle.

[H/T TigerLawyer in Shreveport, LA].

USPS to Delay First Class Mail Delivery (Who Cares?)

The US Post Office, which has been losing money for years, is finally deciding to cut back. Now it may possibly take four days instead of three to get mail. Does anyone even care?

Think about what you send/receive in the mail these days. 95% of what I receive is catalogs and junk mail. Very little comes in the mail that is actually important correspondence. Almost all of our bills are paid electronically. Accordingly, the USPS has simply become a provider of direct advertising. Therefore, I don't really care if my catalog gets here on Wednesday or Thursday. It usually goes directly into the trash. (Oh, and where are the environmentalists on this issue? Isn't all of this junk mails a huge waste of trees?) Admittedly, it will affect some:
Netflix - one of the Postal Service's biggest customers, with expenses of up to $600 million a year - has repeatedly warned in regulatory filings that any Postal Service cutbacks that delay its DVD-by-mail deliveries will make it more difficult to keep subscribers happy. And, with encouragement from Netflix, customers are already abandoning mail service for movies delivered online.
Honestly, it's sad that Netflix is one of the USPS's largest customers because in a few years, Netflix will probably be exclusively done on an instant basis through your internet connection. If the USPS is counting on Netflix to keep them going, they're living on borrowed time.

Also, the real money drain on the USPS isn't the current operating costs of delivering the mail or keeping locations open - it's their pension obligations. All of the retired postal workers have a sweet benefits package that is the lion's share of the USPS's yearly budget. The USPS could probably close all of their offices and stop delivery altogether, and they wouldn't even cut their budget in half.

My prediction is that even with this "drastic cut" in operations, we'll see postage increases soon.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Adventures in Editing

As Rick Perry would say: "oops".

SC Colleges Get Bad Report Card

If you feel like South Carolina college tuition is getting more and more expensive, you're not alone:
Tuition is rising faster than household income in South Carolina, says the study of eight colleges and universities by the S.C. Policy Council, a public policy research and education foundation that advocates for more limited government. The study, which did not include Winthrop University, The Citadel and many other state institutions, also says:
The colleges and universities do a poor job of retaining and graduating students. The amount they spend on administrative costs is rising faster than the amount they spend on instruction. Instruction too often is tilted away from general education coursework toward "narrow or trendy subject matters. Governance of higher education does not encourage efficiency nor does it offer help in measuring and improving academic quality.
This isn't just a South Carolina problem. All across the country, tuition costs are going up. When you have a student loan system that makes is so easy for students to access huge sums of money to pay the tuition and a culture that demands everyone go to college, I can see why colleges and universities continue to raise prices - there's no pressure on them to keep prices low.

The demand for a college education is very high, and it is easy (perhaps too easy) to get the money. This model isn't sustainable. Prices (tuition costs) keep going up, and up, and up... and people are willing to buy more and more (because it can't be a bad investment, right?) just like the housing market. I think we all remember how that turned out.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

No Guns Allowed on Airplanes

And by "guns" the TSA means ladies' purses with a gun design on them.

I think the TSA lost the common sense luggage a long time ago. Also, notice the line about men wearing belts that have emblems of guns on them being prohibited? What in the wide world of sports is going on here? What about a picture of a gun in a catalog? What if I point my index finger and thumb at the TSA person like a gun? Is that allowed?

[H/T Alphecca]

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Unemployment Rate is Down to 8.6%

Unemployment is now at 8.6%. It's either because people have found jobs or have stopped looking. Which one do you think it is?, too.

Teaching Jay-Z at Georgetown

Courses like this may be part of the reason why some college students are having a hard time finding a job these days.
Something of a rock star in his own right, Professor Dyson received the blessing of Georgetown’s sociology department to teach the course earlier this year. It would be a vast understatement to say that “Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z” is a popular class. Dyson says that 20-30 students typically try to sign up for each of his courses; his latest offering drew five to seven times that sum.
In full disclosure, I went to what can be described as almost a pure "liberal arts" college. I double majored in economics and philosophy, so I know all about the benefits of a liberal arts education. The idea is that you learn to think critically.

But seriously, Georgetown? Having a sociology class on Jay-Z? First of all, I'm not even sure what career path sociology sets you up for, but I can't really see any interviewer being impressed with you "A" in Jay-Z. "Oh, I see you're a Jay-Z, scholar, let's set you up in the corner office".

The professor of this class compares Jay-Z to Shakespeare and Homer, but as a "modern" artist of the times. Ummmm, no. There's a difference between studying the classics - which are by definition...old, having stood the test of time, and studying Jay-Z.

You paying $59,116 PER YEAR for the privilege of attending Georgetown University. When you graduate, you're going to want a job, and the last time I checked, there aren't too many openings. Maybe these kids should spend their time learning something useful. Everyone always sees college as an "investment in your future" but if you waste it on stupid classes, it's about as useful as a crocheted condom. Then again, maybe it explains this.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bone-In BBQ (Buffet Review)

The Hungry Lady (a local Columbia food blogger) has a photo-heavy review of the Bone-In BBQ Food Truck's lunch buffet. Looks like they're really doing well. there anything it can't do?

I Wish I Could Go Back To College (Sometimes)

"The Grove at Ole Miss smells like a combination of bourbon and Chanel No. 5"
-Scott Van Pelt

Oh college football....I can't stay mad at you.
The Grove at Ole Miss

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vigilante Justice in McCormick Correctional Institution

Jerry Sandusky better be glad he's not going to end up in a South Carolina prison. Can't say that I feel too much sympathy for the victim. One-hundred years ago, they would have hanged Mr. Cooper at dawn the morning after the guilty verdict.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

SC Statehouse Christmas Tree

It's up and looks nice. Check out The State for more photos. Merry Christmas!

South Carolina Historic Aviation Foundation

This Saturday, SCHAF will be commemorating the 70th anniversary of the opening of Columbia Army Air Base. They will have vintage military vehicles, actual WWII aircraft, and all sorts of WWII artifacts from collectors and historical organizations.

WHERE: 2553 Airport Blvd, West Columbia, SC 29170 (Adjacent to Columbia Metro Airport)
WHEN: December 3, 2011 from 11:00AM - 3:00PM
COST: Free

For more information check out SCHAF's website.
P-47 Thunderbolt

Monday, November 28, 2011

Flying with Guns

Really good tips. I'm usually inclined to drive for most of my holiday travel, but if you decide to travel with firearms: knowledge is power.

[H/T: Uncle]

Memo to Politico: Amending the Constitution is Not Unconstitutional

Unconstitutional? I don't think it means what you think it means.

The same candidates promising to appoint strict constructionist judges clearly think the Framers, for all their wisdom and foresight, forgot a few things, which they now want to tack on with an array of proposed constitutional amendments that would bulk up the document.
Heaven forbid anyone proposes to modify the document through the process embedded within the document itself. Epstein is a blatant political hack for writing this article.

Clemson vs. Carolina (Clemson Fans Leaving Early)

This is the last you'll see me discussing the Carolina/Clemson game until next football season (maybe). In any event, soak it up Carolina fans. For all you Tiger fans out there: It is what it is.

[H/T GodfatherGamecock]

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Occupy Columbia: Judge Lee Allows Tents and Sleeping Bags

Judge Lee has issued a TRO allowing the protesters to bring tents, sleeping bags, and other living gear.

I respectfully dissent. The Statehouse is not a campground. You cannot live there.

Hateweek (Clemson Myth #3)

We continue our odyssey into Clemson football with Myth #3: Running down the hill is "the most exciting 25 seconds in college football".

Wow. OK. I'm not sure it's "the most exciting 25 seconds in college football". I think I will refer to it as "the 25 seconds before Clemson starts disappointing their fans".

The Browning M-2 (Forever Young)

Developed in the 1920's, it's still going strong today.
Three years ago, the U.S. Army gave up on getting a replacement for the nearly century old M2 machine-gun, at least not anytime soon. However, many of the current ones were wearing out, so the army began replacing over 80 percent of its 36,600 M2 machine-guns, a process expected to take five years, with new M2s. Numerous efforts to develop a replacement for the M2 have failed so far.
Not bad for a weapon system that is approaching it's 100th birthday. How many things can you think of that were designed in the 1920's that haven't been improved upon since?

[H/T Ace]

ABA Rates 14 of the 185 Obama Judicial Nominees as "Not Qualified"

Volokh has an interesting discussion of the various issues this raises. First, I would probably guess that at least a few of the "not qualified" nominees are requests from Democratic Senators who have certain "pet" nominees.

More interesting than the ABA deal is the debate in the comments about what actually makes a person qualified to be a Federal District Court Judge. Would you prefer a district court judge with trial court litigation experience, or would you rather have a credentialed, tenured law professor who knows more of the substantive theory of the law?

I believe that litigation skills are transferable from one subject matter area to another. A district court judge needs to be able to understand how to run a contested case from the beginning to the end. That covers everything from discovery dispute, summary judgment motions, pre-trial motions, conducting the actual trial, handling post-trial motions, and a whole host of other things.

If you simply plug a “high intellect” transactional lawyer or law professor into the judgeship, you’re going to get a great deal of “on the job” training on the procedural side, and you’re still going to have to deal with them not knowing every area of substantive law. It just doesn’t make sense.

No one can know enough substantive areas of law to make up for neither knowing the basics of litigation skills nor having participated in a trial. If I had to pick a judge, I would take any lawyer who was tried 10 cases to a jury verdict over a tenured law professor any day of the week

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

5 Tips for Getting Upgraded to First Class

The first tip is the most important. Nobody does favors for jerks.

Hateweek (Myth #2)

A 2010 blog article from ESPN's Heather Dinich has been brought to my attention for Myth #2:

Myth #2 "Clemson is a national football powerhouse."
 There seem to be a few Clemson fans out there excited about the idea/speculation of the SEC inviting the Tigers to join their conference, should massive realignment take place across the college football landscape.

Be careful what you wish for.

Clemson has a losing record against every SEC school except for South Carolina. (Well, and Mississippi State, which it's 1-1-1 against). Overall, the Tigers are 112-160-14 against the SEC. Do you still want to line up against Alabama, Auburn and Georgia every year?


Alabama (3-12 remember what happened last time?)
Auburn (11-33)
Florida (3-9)
Georgia (17-41)
Kentucky (5-8, thanks to a Music City Bowl win this year)
LSU (0-2)
Mississippi (0-2)
Mississippi State (1-1-1)
South Carolina (65-38)
Tennessee (6-11)
Vanderbilt (1-3)

Still think it's a good idea?

Hey, don't shoot the messenger, that's Heather's opinion. It just happens to be correct. Just to throw you Clemson fans a bone, below the jump is nice shot of a celebration in Death Valley.

Government Confiscates Tuna

What should this guy have done differently? It seems like he did everything right, and the Government still took the fish away. Doesn't NOAA have anything better to do?

[H/T Uncle]

Restaurant Review (Gervais & Vine)

If you're looking for another Columbia foodie blog, go check out The Hungry Lady. She has a nice review of Gervais & Vine, which is one of Mrs. PP's favorite restaurants.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Protesters to Challenge Haley's 6:00PM Edict

As much as I disagree with the Occupy movement, I do not believe that Haley's decision to have everyone off the Statehouse grounds by 6:00PM is a reasonable time restriction. On the contrary, I believe it is an arbitrary and capricious time. Apparently, some people out there are going to call Haley's bluff.

Why 6:00PM? Why not 6:15PM or 7:00PM? The government needs to show a compelling reason why people should not be on public property after a specific time. Obviously, you can't camp out there, but you should be able to simply be there.

I'll be interested to see how it turns out.
UPDATE: Looks like I was exactly right. Maybe the Governor should have consulted me for legal advice first. Full roundup of the silliness from Mr. Warthen here.

Hateweek (Myth #1)

A friend (we'll just call him "GamecockGodfather") sent me  the following photograph to disprove Myth #1.

Myth #1: “Clemson’s fans don’t leave early. Only USC fans leave early.”
Death Valley (Carolina/Clemson 2010)
We'll do a myth each day this week. Ok, Clemson fans, don't get your feelings hurt. Send me a Carolina myth of your own, and I'll put the best up.

Super Committee Fails

Surprise...surprise....surprise. Did anyone really expect the "Super" Committee to actually come up with a solution? I didn't. The two sides both have equally deep-held beliefs on how to fix the country's economy. The only problem is that the two solutions happen to be diametrically opposed.

One side believes that government spending funded by higher marginal tax rates and management of the economy through regulation will stimulate economic growth. The other side believes that reducing the regulation on businesses and lowering taxes will be an incentive for private growth.

Everyone talks about how our government is "broken" or that it is "dysfunctional". I disagree. The system is working exactly like it is supposed to. The problem is that the viewpoints of the two political parties are so perfectly opposed to each other that there isn't any room for compromise anymore. Any middle ground solution will require each party to give in on what they believe is actually good for the country. Therefore, no compromise.

If history has taught us anything, it is that wars are never permanently resolved through compromise. One side has to entirely destroy the other. Until that happens here (in a metaphorical sense) there won't be any resolution. One side needs to win.

Hateweek (Clemson/Carolina)

The Clemson Tigers take on the South Carolina Gamecocks this Saturday night in Columbia at 7:45PM in a nationally televised match-up. Time to bring the hate. Alshon will bring the TDs

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Change You Aren't Allowed To See

The meeting on Government Transparency is closed to the press. Oh, and don't forget, there's no fighting in the War Room, either.

Friday Happy Hour (Best Bloody Mary Ever)

You know the scene all too well. It's early on Saturday morning, and you partied pretty hard on Friday night. You stayed up late, had a little too much fun, and you're paying for it at 7:00AM.

However, you know that you can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning, so it's time for a Bloody Mary. It's just the right combination of juice and alcohol to ease you out of the morning hangover and into the long Saturday of recovery (or more drinking).

Most of the time, I'm making these somewhere besides the kitchen (tailgate, someone else's kitchen, at the beach) I finally decided to go through what I like to put in Bloody Mary's and write it down. Behold: the Best Bloody Mary Ever. You can thank me later.

This makes for a big pitcher, about 8 or so drinks (depending on the size of your serving)

2 1/2 cups vodka (you'll need this)
1 quart of tomato juice (or regular V8; I don't go with the new kinds)
1/4 cup horseradish (NOT horseradish sauce - big difference there, bro)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (that's a hard word to spell)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon regular, red tabasco (or more, depending on your taste)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (stay away from the concentrate)
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon grated fresh onion

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Put all that in your big pitcher. Mix it up. Pour it into a glass (have some ice already in the glass). Add a stick of whatever kind of garnish you like (celery, pickled okra, olives) with top it with fresh ground black pepper. Enjoy your morning and try to remember what you did last night.

18 Phrases to Avoid in Conversation

What not to say. For example:
Don’t say: “Are you pregnant?” Why: You ask, she’s not, and you feel totally embarrassed for essentially pointing out that she’s overweight. Instead say: “Hello” or “Great to see you” or “You look great.” Anything besides “Are you pregnant?” or “What’s the due date?” will do. Save yourself the humiliation and never ask. 
As a man, when speaking to women about pregnancy, I have a strategy for not saying anything offensive, dumb, or insensitive. I don't talk to women about pregnancy.

CNN Reporter Questions Obama

Objection, Your Honor. He's leading the witness.

This Is How You Sell A Car!

Advertising Genius.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Do You Need to "Tame" Your Southern Accent?

I guess there are some Southerners who are taunted by non-Southerners, and that makes them want to try and eliminate what they perceive to be a flaw. I guess I'm just more self-confident (or maybe I don't venture out of Columbia much) but I wouldn't try to change my accent for anything. Being Southern means that we are warm, welcoming, and our accents reflect that.

If your Yankee boss doesn't like it, then you can impress him with your actual skill and knowledge. Also, if you're a Southerner in an office full of non-Southerners, they're probably jealous that your accent makes you unique.

Don't let the bastards get you down.

Investment Banker Quits Job; Starts Making Knives

Two years ago, Greenville, SC native Chris Williams traded thirteen years as an investment banker for a small shop, a grinding wheel, and a fresh lease on life. Now he makes knives. Really nice knives. Talk about living the Permanent Press lifestyle...

Feel free to put that in my stocking for Christmas.
[HT: G&G]

SC Teacher Reprimanded for Receiving Foot Rubs From Students

Apparently, a Batesburg-Leesville teacher has been getting foot rubs from some of her students. Some people are saying this is serious, and some people are saying it is harmless. My opinion can be be summarized as follows: [Caution, mature language.]

Financial Wisdom from Captain Obvious

Pearls of Wisdom: Spending money you don't have to buy crap you don't need is a "flawed business model". John Madden has nothing on this guy.

Occupy Columbia: Normalcy Returns

Brad Warthen has a good, yet somewhat sympathetic, run-down of the six nineteen Occupy protesters in Columbia, SC being removed (via arrest) from the Statehouse grounds.

As I've been saying for awhile now, the Occupy movement should never have been allowed to "camp out" in public places using free speech as a stalking-horse. It's well-settled constitutional law that our First Amendment rights are subject to reasonable, content-neutral, time, place, and manner restrictions.

Obviously, the outbreak of Tuberculosis, lice, ringworm, Parvo (in the pets), scabbies, and all sorts of other horrible and gross things is evidence that these restrictions are in the public's best interest.

Protesting is fine, but you can't live on the Statehouse grounds to make a political point.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Co-Sleeping With Your Baby

The Milwaukee Health Department runs an ad that says sleeping with your baby is like sleeping with a knife. Overdoing it a little?

This is clearly based on anecdotal evidence, but you can base anything on anecdotal evidence. I'm sure the Milwaukee Health Department has all their other problems solved, so they've moved on to the real problems of moms who sleep with their babies.

[Hat Tip: Mrs. Permanent Press]

This Just In: Hawaii Is Now Part of Asia

Not so fast, my friend.

Five Tips for A Successful Range Trip

Via When the Balloon Goes Up. It's pretty good.

I certainly don't log all my range trips, and I could probably have more of a "plan" for each trip. I think these tips would also be good for a golfer going to the the driving range who is looking to get more out of it than just mindlessly hitting balls.

C-SPAN Requests Televised Obamacare Oral Arguments

The head of CSPAN sent a letter to C.J. Roberts asking for the Court to break with long-standing tradition and allow cameras in for the oral arguments which are scheduled for five and a half hours.

I can see the arguments on both sides of this issue. On one hand, it's an important case that will affect every single person in America in addition to having large political implications. On the other hand, it's impossible to bring cameras into a courtroom and not have soundbites put up that are not representative of the entire process. Both sides would be guilty of trying to "spin" the oral arguments, try to analyze each Justices' demeanor, body language, and so on. I think that would somewhat demean the process. Even if no cameras are allowed, SCOTUS always puts up an audio transcript of oral arguments a week or so afterwards.

If I were the Chief Justice, and I had to come down on this issue, I would continue with the tradition of not allowing cameras in. What say you? On an interesting note, I saw a documentary on the Supreme Court a few months ago, and I was amazed at how close the Justices are to the lawyers when they argue.

[HT Insty]

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Bumper Sticker that Sums up Legal Insurrection

One of my favorite sites is Legal Insurrection. If you haven't been there before, this sums the blog up nicely.

The Fountain in Five Points is Blue; Any Idea Why?

I took this photograph around 2:00PM today while running some errands. Any idea why the fountain is blue? The only thing I could think of was that we were pulling for Kentucky to pull a miracle upset of Georgia this weekend. Anyone else have any ideas?