Monday, December 31, 2012

Fiscal Milk Cliff

I just don't get this. Apparently, the Agricultural Act of 1949 is still in effect. But not really, since Congress passes a law every so often that basically says "Ignore the Agricultural Act of 1949".

However, Congress has been really busy not getting other things done, so they haven't had time to pass the Ignore the Old 1949 Law, and apparently, that means milk prices are going to double.
But the prospect of higher milk prices has prompted some action. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said Americans face the prospect of paying $7 for a gallon of milk if the current dairy program lapsed and the government returned to a 1948 formula for calculating milk price supports.
After some quick research here is my basic understanding of the situation. Back in 1948, we decided that we didn't want dairy farmers to go bust if the bottom fell out of the dairy market. So, to provide a safety net for dairy farmers, we passed a law that said the federal government would buy milk at a certain price (calculated by a mathematical formula) to guarantee the dairy farmers would at least break even.

Here's the problem: since 1949, we've become slightly more efficient at dairy farming. That means it costs less to produce milk now than it used to. Economies of scale, technology, and all that. However, the little math formula in the law never got adjusted to account for this, so it's calculates too high of a price for the feds.

If the federal government uses the formula to buy milk, they're going to pay almost double the current market rate of milk. Therefore, if you're a dairy farmer, you're not going to sell your milk to Publix for $3.50. You're going to sell your milk to Uncle Sam for $7.00. Accordingly, if Publix wants to have any milk to sell to their customers, they'll have to match the government's price, which is ultimately passed on to you.

We've had this problem for a long time, and Congress only fixes it on a temporary basis each time it comes up. I guess it would make too much sense to permanently solve a problem, though.

Congress. What the hell, y'all?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Need Legal Advice? Don't Ask the Judge.

I just stumbled across the Law and Baseball blog. I had been following him on Twitter, but I just realized he had a blog. If you like CCU baseball, he's your guy.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Memphis Belle Open Thread

Here's a photo of the B-17 "Memphis Belle" on a war-bond fundraising tour in Ohio.
Not much news today. Talk amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

DC Police Investigating David Gregory

PROTIP: If you're advocating for banning something nationwide, you probably shouldn't posses that same item in a jurisdiction where it's currently banned.

Irony, how does it work?

Cool Columbia Guy Store

I really need to spend more time reading the Shop Tart's blog. I recently tried (and failed miserably) to buy Mrs. Permanent Press a sweater all by myself. It was a major-league failure.

In order to avoid a repeat performance, I'm going to try and raise my shopping IQ via the Shop Tart. If you're looking for cool stuff for a guy, check out this Shop Tart find.

I'm easy to shop for. Women, that's another story.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas, y'all. I got everyone just what they wanted, but were to afraid to ask for.

In all seriousness, Merry Christmas. It's been a great year.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mayor Joe Riley's Ideas for Gun Control

The much beloved mayor of Charleston has an editorial in Sunday's Post and Courier detailing his proposal for new gun regulations. I have a great deal of respect for Mayor Riley, and he is arguably the most successful mayor in South Carolina. Accordingly, I was interested to see what he thought would be "common-sense" regulations.
1) Restore the assault weapons ban. These are not sporting weapons. They are not needed for protecting our homes or for self-defense. And conversely, when they get in the hands of deranged or hate-filled people, they become the tools of mass murder.
An assault weapon can shoot many rounds per second. These are deadly, certain to kill — the weapon and the operator of the weapon can reload in seconds and keep firing.
Sigh. His first proposal is to restore the Assault Weapons Ban that was previously in effect from 1994 - 2004. What's an assault weapon again? I keep forgetting. When you think about the words, it's kind of funny. If I beat you to death with a lead pipe, the lead pipe would be the weapon...which I just assaulted you with. Oh no! Lead pipes can be assault weapons! So it's a silly term, and people who use it are equally silly and unserious.

Also, was everything better from 1994 - 2004? I don't remember a wave of peace breaking out across the nation. Anyway, Riley's assertion that certain types of firearms are not "sporting" strikes me as both odd and irrelevant. There isn't a "sporting" aspect in a great many firearms. However, that isn't a reason to ban them. Firearms aren't solely for "sportsmen".

On a side note, I really hate it when someone says You can still keep your guns for hunting and sporting. First of all, thanks for allowing me to continue exercising a basic right. Don't do me any favors, bro. Second, the point of the Second Amendment had nothing to do with hunting. I may do a whole post on that later.

Back to Riley, he throws out the "No one needs a _______..." argument for guns. We don't make things illegal based on whether or not they are necessities. We don't really need  a law school in Charleston, but they decided to put one there. You don't really need that dopey-looking SmartCar, but people have them anyway.

Just like guns, SmartCars can become a tool for mass murder in the hands of a deranged person. Maybe we should talk about helping deranged people. (just a thought)

Riley's second paragraph here is odd. Is this Riley's definition of an "assault weapon"? Firing many rounds per second? Also, "these are deadly, certain to kill" makes no sense. Most guns are "certain to kill" if you shoot someone in a vital area. However, Riley seems to be saying that the reason these guns are "certain to kill" is because you can quickly reload them. Wait, what?

You can quickly reload almost all firearms, or maybe you can't. That has to do with the skill of the person - not the firearm. I could give the same firearm to two different people, and they would reload it at different speeds based upon their familiarity with the firearm.

This first idea makes people in the "guns are icky" group feel good. Unfortunately, it won't really make our society more safe, so it's not really common-sense, is it? But hey, I'm just using reason, logic, and experience here. That's probably not fair.
2) Ban high-capacity magazines. These magazines offer deranged individuals who wish to massacre large numbers of people the means to do so. They can equip semi-automatic and automatic weapons to fire a hundred rounds per minute. An assailant with a backpack or pockets full of these magazines can keep firing for a very long time.
There is simply no place for high-capacity magazines in self-defense or home-protection.
Ok, so we've already banned "assault weapons", whatever those are. Now, we have another proposal to get rid of all those high-capacity magazines for...our "non-assault weapons" that we've been allowed to keep. Awesome.

Unfortunately, Mayor Riley doesn't give us a number on what is "high-capacity". Is it 15, 10, 5, or 3?  No specifics here. I wonder why. Also, notice it's because deranged people could get these. Maybe we should do something about all these deranged people roaming around.

As far as there being "no place" for high capacity magazines in self-defense, that's what my law professors would call a "conclusory statement". It just a conclusion - not an argument. You have to say WHY. Unfortunately we don't get that. Oh well.

Riley here also refers to automatic and semi-automatic, and he just glosses over that. It's almost like he's just throwing those words in there because they sound scary. I'm not going to bore you with the automatic vs. semi-automatic thing, and I'm tired of explaining it over and over. On the specific issue of magazines, it's just silly to think lower capacity magazines are going to change anything. It's like saying you're going to reduce DUIs by requiring that we buy beer in tiny cans. If you have a "backpack or pockets" full of loaded magazines, what's the difference?

Would it make you feel safer if a deranged person had ten magazines that held ten rounds each, or five magazines that held twenty rounds each? Math, how does it work again?

Again, this is a law that makes people feel good, but doesn't accomplish anything. This is some major-league fail-boating. Come on, Riley. You're 0-2.
3) Strengthen the background-check system and close the loopholes in our gun laws.

Through the gun-show loophole, for example, a person who would not be cleared by a background check can go to a gun show and buy an arsenal and go to another gun show and buy another arsenal.

Through purchases at gun shows, any individual can bypass the background check system and fill a house with weapons they are not legally allowed to purchase.
This is ridiculous.

I agree. Currently, if I want to sell you my shotgun, I can do that without as much paperwork as a gun dealer would. Basically, I give you my shotgun, and you give me money. That's pretty much it. Now, I still cannot sell my shotgun to someone who couldn't own it legally (a child, a fugitive, or a mentally incompetent person). So, how would I make sure I don't do this? I just ask you: "Are you allowed to otherwise own this gun?". Yes? Ok, here you go.

Obviously, that's not a great way to check. As you may be aware, people sometimes lie. If there was an easy, free, and quick way for me to check you out, I would do it. Let's figure out how to make that database current, secure, and easily accessible to check. It would allow responsible gun owners who want to sell their guns the ability to make sure they aren't selling guns to bad guys.

HOLY MOLY! I think Mayor Riley and I just came up with a common-sense gun law.

4) We should impose stiffer penalties on “straw purchases” of guns. A straw purchase is when someone who can legally purchase a gun buys one for someone who cannot. A person who facilitates illegal possession of a weapon should face penalties for helping the illegal purchaser circumvent the law and for the consequences of any illegal use of the weapon.

So, Mayor Riley is not saying we need a new law; he's just saying we should impose tougher sanctions for violating a law that we already have. That's cool with me. People who knowingly facilitate getting guns to bad guys should be punished. Count me in on this one.

To sum up, Mayor Riley has two bad ideas (banning some guns, and banning some accessories) that won't solve any problems and two ideas (helping to ensure that background checks can be done and putting tough sentences on criminals) that might help. I guess 50% isn't too bad.

Merry Christmas Eve (Eve)

If you still haven't done all your Christmas shopping, I have a tip from 1962:

The days of getting a dictionary as a stand-alone item are probably gone forever.

Merry Christmas Eve (Eve), y'all.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Your Taxes Are Going Up in 2013

The GOP controlled House didn't have enough votes to put through the Plan B, that would keep the current tax rates in place for everyone up to $1M in annual income. Accordingly, the vote has been cancelled.

The GOP is definitely the party of dumb. I know enough to know that having the tax rates go up those who earn $1M and more is a better deal than having them go up on everyone. Apparently, the TRUE conservatives just decided that principle is more important. They're wrong. You retreat and take what you can get when you don't have the strength to win a battle. Failing to recognize this is what led to Pickett's Charge. Enjoy your "principle" now boys, you're about to get slaughtered.

If the House had passed "Plan B", the onus would have been on the Senate and Executive to fall into line. However, having DONE NOTHING, the Republicans play right into Obama's hands here. 

Merry Christmas you "True Conservatives". Thanks for being the party of stupid, once again. So, bottom line: Everyone's taxes are going up in 2013. Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

McBride Says She Hasn't Resigned!

UPDATE: Not so fast, my friends. McBride says she hasn't quit. I'm really starting to love this story.

Great. Now we need to find someone who can run an election.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

McBride Remains in Office - Crum Resigns

It's been over a month since the Richland County election fiasco, and the Richland County Elections Director, Lillian McBride, remains in office. Apparently, this has upset the Chairman of the Richland County Election Board, Elizabeth Crum to the extent that she has resigned.
Crum, an attorney, said that restoring voter trust in the combined Elections & Voter Registration Office would require a new director. She announced her views following a two-hour, closed-door session of the five-member board that oversees McBride’s office. The private discussion was to get legal advice and consider a personnel matter. Afterward, the board returned to public session, and Crum announced it [the Richland County Election Commission] had taken no action.
The Richland County Election Commission has decided to do absolutely nothing substantive after having over a month to think about things. This obviously didn't sit well with Chairman Crum, who resigned immediately following the meeting on Monday.

Here's what the Commission did suggest:
•  To push for a statewide early voting law to minimize long lines
•  To support a law that would allow counties of 100,000 people or more to open satellite locations
•  To ask the other 45 county election boards to lobby their delegations for the same laws.
Are you  kidding me? The Commission recommended "early voting" as a solution? Hey voters. We can't actually figure out how to get enough machines available to let all y'all vote on the same day, so if some of y'all could vote early, that would be great....m'kay? Thanks.

I don't really understand why we need early voting anyway. You can either vote absentee or can you vote on election day. What's the deal?

I also love the second suggestion. Hey, let's open more voting locations! Idiots. The locations that we currently have don't have enough voting machines! The problem isn't that we don't have enough places to go. We need more functional voting machines in the places we currently have.

The third suggestion baffles me. What right does Richland County have to demand that other counties do anything? As far as I can tell, the other counties actually have their ducks in a row and the voting is fine. This seems to me like the kid who can't get his homework done demanding that the prepared students come to the extra study-hall with him. If I were in charge of another County's election board, I'd tell Richland County to go pound sand.
ead more here:

So here's where we stand: The person who was actually responsible for the fiasco continues to serve, while the one Commissioner with enough guts to call for some accountability is out-voted, then resigns in disgust. Meanwhile, the Commission comes up with nonsensical ideas that won't solve the problem.

As long as corrupt and incompetent people are elected, this is what you're going to get.

Monday, December 17, 2012

An Example of Gun Ignorance

I don't get this. There's a left-wing blog, you may have heard of it, it's called The New York Times. You should check it out every once in awhile. They wrote a blog post that is essentially about understanding the AR-15 and guns. Here's an interesting line:
Mr. Diaz said semiautomatic weapons, including the AR-15, are increasingly being used in the killings of police officers, whose vests often provide little protection against such firearms.
Let's take the first part first: "Semi-automatic weapons" are apparently "increasingly being used in the killings of police officers". Ok...semi-automatic guns are most guns. Unless you're using a bolt action rifle, a pump-action shotgun, a revolver, or a slingshot, you're probably talking about a "semi-automatic".

Saying "semi-automatic gun" is almost redundant. It's like saying a "flat-screen TV" nowadays. Yes, there used to be big vacuum tube TVs, or big front projection TVs, but does anyone really have those anymore? A semi-automatic gun comprises most of the new guns out there, especially handguns. In the same vein, you would expect most TVs to be flat screens now, right? If someone said, "Flat-screen TVs are increasingly being used to watch television" would you really be surprised? The funny thing is that semi-automatic handguns have been around for a long time. This semi-automatic handgun has been around for more than a hundred years.

Ok, so we have figured out that that the semi-autos are being used more, because they dominate the market-share. Now, let's get to the really weapons-grade stupid part.

"whose vests often provide little protection against such firearms"

Seriously? The word semi-automatic describes the action of the firearm. Got it? It describes the mechanism of the gun. It does not describe the velocity of the projectile as it leaves the gun, it does not describe the nature of the projectile (weight, shape, composition), and it does not describe the trajectory of the projectile. All of those things that the word "semi-automatic" does not describe are the relevant factors in whether a projectile can penetrate a vest. The manner in which the gun functions is entirely irrelevant to whether the projectile can penetrate a vest.

It's just an insane proposition to write the quoted sentence. It's almost like Mr. Diaz at the VPC doesn't know jack-crap about guns. Maybe they should have interviewed me.

Conversation about Guns

Ok, y'all. I keep hearing that we need to have a "serious conversation" about guns. That's wonderful. I love having conversations about guns. Seriously. I could talk about guns all day. So, I would welcome anyone to have a rational, logical, legal, and fact-based conversation about guns, gun control, gun regulation, gun restrictions, cool pictures of girls with guns, on Permanent Press, it's all good. Here are a few ground rules, though:
You have to be informed. This means you have to have done a little homework about guns. You have to know the definition of the word "automatic" and the word "semi-automatic" and you have to know the difference. I would prefer the proper usage of "magazines" and "clips", but I'll let you slide a little on that one. You also have to know a little bit of constitutional case-law, specifically, but not limited to, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Knowledge of US history is also helpful.  

You have to be specific. If you want to talk about "assault weapons", you need to specify what that means. If you want to talk about specifics, be specific. If you're proposing a new law, you have to say exactly what the law would say, and why it would be beneficial. Remember, in a democracy the burden of persuasion is one anyone proposing new laws.

Check your emotion at the door. This is the time for factual, logical reasoning. Not shrill cries to "do something".

I'll start. I don't think that any additional laws are necessary. We need to stop half-ass enforcing the ones we have. I believe this because the laws that we currently have were all broken in the mass shootings we have recently had.

Specifically: You have to be 21 years old to own or possess a handgun in Connecticut. (See page 29 (on the .pdf counter) at this link). Also, you cannot take firearms onto school grounds in Connecticut. (See page 64 (on the .pdf counter) at this link). Obviously, these laws did not actually protect anyone in Newtown.

I don't think any additional laws would have prevented this tragedy. Arguably, the gun-free zone of the school was a bit of a disaster. Everyone keeps praising the "first responders" who came to the school. Those are the good guys with the guns, y'all. Maybe we should figure out a way for the good guys (who are already at the school) to be the first responders. It wouldn't be hard for the principal of the school to have a gun locker in his office. That might have helped, and it's certainly better waiting for the first responders.

Also, there may be some issues with how these guns were stored, whereby the shooter gained access to them. Were they in a safe? I don't really know, but it seems that the underage shooter had a relatively easy time accessing his mother's guns.

If you disagree, I would love to have a conversation with you. But...remember the ground rules.

Enjoy. I'm happy to talk about guns, gun control, and how to make our children society more safe all day long.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Conn. Elementary School Shooting

UPDATE: Looks like the loser killed his parents first, then mother (at the school) and then the children in her class. Here is a good thought from Ace on how to deal with reporting this story. Accordingly, I am revising my thoughts below.

BREAKING: Horrible school shooting in Connecticut. CBS news is reporting that "at least 14 children" and "27 total dead".

This is evil. This is pathetic.

Gov. Jindal Proposes End to Birth-Control Politics

Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, has what is going to be a much talked-about op-ed in this morning's Wall Street Journal. He's proposing that birth control simply be available over-the-counter rather than requiring a doctor's visit and a prescription.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists announced its support last month for selling oral contraceptives over the counter without a prescription in the United States. I agree with this opinion, which if embraced by the federal government would take contraception out of the political arena.
I agree with this idea. There's no reason that oral contraceptives should require a prescription, when the morning-after pill does not. Politically, this is a simple move. The Democrats ran around last election cycle and screamed about Republicans who were going to take away everyone's birth control. Making birth control the equivalent of buying aspirin would end that line of attack. So, politically this is a winner.

Practically, it also makes sense. It eliminates needless doctor's visits, and increased competition would probably lead to a price decrease. I'll be interested to see if the social conservatives get heartburn from this proposal. For what it's worth, I'm usually in favor or reducing restrictions and regulations for people buying things. It's time to end the need for a prescription for birth control.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hank and the Birds

Best bird dog photo I've seen in awhile.

UK Woman Hates Baby Boys

Some crazy UK mother-to-be has a long column about how baby boys are horrible, but she doesn't want you to "condemn" her:
Please don’t condemn me. I know very little about boys, coming from a family of all girls, but what I have seen I really haven’t liked. Boys are gross; they attack their siblings with sticks, are obsessed with toilets, casually murder local wildlife and turn into disgusting teenage boys and then boring, selfish men.
Too late. I'm condemning her. Who would write this about the actual child they are expecting? Any parent who rants about the characteristics of their unborn child is a horrible person. End of analysis. And what kind of guy is she married to?

As for her "critique" of boys, it's all the grossness, attacking things with stick, toilets, killing kind of related to your parenting?

Also here's a crazy idea: If you really hate boys that much, maybe you shouldn't try to raise one. Find a couple that can't have children and do an adoption. Some people shouldn't procreate.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gov. Haley Down to Five Names

The actual headline from The State is "Haley chooses 5 finalists to succeed DeMint".

First of all, spoiler alert: I'm not one of the five people. Sorry, folks.

Second, "finalists"? That's not really the right word. This isn't an episode of American Idol. We're talking about a short list to be nominated to the US Senate. I guess The State trying to be pop-cultural and hip, but it seems a little kitsch to me.

Monday, December 10, 2012

WWII Bomber Jacket Art

Ever see a guy with a really cool leather bomber jacket? Here's the history on how they became iconic. The best part is that they used to be even more badass than they are now.
“The commanders, for the most part, understood this,” Conway continues, “So there was a little bit more leniency in that regard than there would have been with ground guys. The officers figured, ‘Well, if this guy wants to paint a naked lady on the back of the jacket, what good is it to try to stop him? He could be dead tomorrow morning.’ The main objective was winning the war, not enforcing minor regulations and rules.”
The B-17 known as “Lady Lorrie,” from the 306th Bomb Group, flew 35 missions, according to this jacket. The original owner is unknown. Via Manion’s International Auction House.
Pretty awesome. I can definitely see how the guys who wore them all the time during the war wouldn't wear them again afterwards. Probably too many bad memories and/or they'd be criticized by people who didn't understand the context.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor Day 2012

Every day we are losing our surviving WWII veterans. It's up to each one of us to remember our history.

Never forget.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Best Toddler Christmas Gifts

I know...I know. You're all wondering what you can get your toddler (or a friend's kid) for Christmas. No need to worry, though. I've got the ultimate gift list for the Southern Toddler. If you want your child to start living the Permanent Press LifestyleTM, then you need look no further. Here are three great Christmas gifts for your Southern Toddler.

(1) First, all children need to go places. They have work to do! There are  books to pull down from shelves and cabinets on the other side of the house to open. How is a busy toddler to get there? Look no further than the John Deere Foot to Floor Tractor.

Here's the best part. It's $28.99. In American money. I defy you to find a better deal on a sit-on-top kind of toy like this. This is easily one of the best Southern children's toys you can get value-wise. It works great inside or out.

(2) Moving along, after a long day of pedaling around, a young Southern toddler needs to kick back and blow off some steam. What better way than to go fishing, right? Every good angler knows that the first step in going fishing is that you have to have a good fishing vest.

Obviously, LL Bean rolls out a great fishing vest, but did you know that they make a small one for the little fisherman in your family? Boom. And it's only $39.50. This sucker has all sorts of pockets everywhere, so it's perfect for carrying around all the worms, frogs, and bugs that you find. You can just thank me now.

(3) If you're looking for something educational, that's sweet, but seriously, toddlers are getting their ABCs and 123s from their parents. You don't need to duplicate that. Every good duck hunter knows that identification of ducks is an important skill to have. Accordingly, you'll want to get your young toddler a plush wood duck from Orvis.
Apparently, the lawyers at Orvis say you shouldn't get this for a child under three, but look, y'all. Watch your children and make sure they don't pry the little eyes off and eat them. Got it? Good. Anyway, it will be a great starting point for identification of ducks. After a few years, you're good to go with the first shotgun. But that's a whole other blog post.

[h/t to Mrs. Permanent Press for inspiration for this post]

Jim DeMint's Resignation

First of all, I don’t think Jim DeMint’s resignation from the Senate to go to the Heritage Foundation is some kind of pre-positioning for 2016. That’s not how you become President, and I think he knows that. If you think this is pre-positioning for a Presidential run, you need to stop doing drugs.

We all know that DeMint isn’t exactly a “team player”. He’s kind of the lone voice of really hard conservatism in the Senate, and he’s not really getting much done. Most of DeMint’s power was stop other things from getting done, and that’s got to be frustrating for him. Honestly, he hasn’t really been that effective at getting other hard-conservative/tea party folks elected, so it’s not like he’s been practically productive.

I think this is DeMint cashing in his chips when he can, as I’m sure the Heritage Foundation will probably pay him pretty well. Other than that, the main intrigue is how the seat goes. Governor Haley gets to nominate someone, and then they’ll have to have a special election in 2014 (I think). If that’s the case, then both seats in the US Senate from South Carolina will be up in 2014.

In any event, the Democrats will still control the Senate, and DeMint will still be a voice of hard-conservatism.

Ultimately, I kind of rate this as kind of a non-event. The only thing that is kind of a story here is someone walking away from a US Senate seat. He probably could have kept that seat as long as he wanted. You kind of have to respect that on a certain level.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

You Need Good Friends and Family

I'm really thankful for having great friends and a great family. In a world where so many people are horrible, it's great to have a solid core network of people who you enjoy working hard with, celebrating and sharing events with, and just having fun.

This Christmas season, let your friends and family know they are appreciated. Mine certainly are, and I need to do a better job on letting everyone know that.

Bill and Dan
Good friends help you out even when it's a dirty job. Actually, that's when you really need good friends and family because....who you gonna call?

Iran's Blue Submarine

The new Iranian submarine looks like it escaped from the "It's a Small World" ride at Disney World.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Costas Doubles Down On Gun Control

Bob Costas stands by comments he made in favor of gun control at halftime during the network's most recent "Sunday Night Football" telecast. In an interview with New York Times media reporter Bill Carter that appeared in Tuesday's editions, Costas said: "I think most reasonable people think we do not have sufficient controls on the availability of guns and ammunition."
What new law could we pass to have prevented this crime? Also, anytime you start supporting your argument with "most reasonable people think..." you're losing the argument. It's a good thing we have a Constitution to protect us from people like Bob Costas.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bob Costas Is A Moron

But if you're a big sports fan and you've had to sit through him during a baseball game, you probably already knew that.

By now, you probably heard the story of the NFL player who shot the mother of his child and then shot himself. It's really sad.

Bob Costas decided that he would talk about that during halftime of last night's Sunday Night Football game and give his editorial on the subject. Keeping it to something like "We pray for the families and the surviving child." would have been fine. However, that's not what he did. Ol' Bobby decided that he was going to assign blame for why this tragedy happened. Guess who he blamed?

You might think that naturally the person, you know, the sentient being who decided to actually kill the other person and then commit suicide. Sure, that would be one way to go. Pretty predictable and logical, though. Where's the fun in that?

Here's the problem with Costas blaming the gun: it's weapons-grade stupid.

The gun didn't do anything wrong. It didn't do anything right. It's just a gun. It doesn't have a good or evil spirit, it doesn't make people do things, it doesn't do anything other than make a small piece of lead go really fast. It's a dangerous tool, but hey, there are lots of dangerous things out there. A gun is not a good thing, and it's not a bad thing. It's just a thing. Inanimate objects don't get moral status.

Costas specifically went on to blame the "gun culture".

Ok, let's talk about that. With all due respect to Bob Costas, he has no freaking clue about the "gun culture". I bet you a silver dollar that Bob Costas has never done much shooting (if any), or even knows people who shoot. Accordingly, he is about as much of an authority on the "gun culture" as I am on the "Chinese Culture". (Side-note: Ever notice how people with no idea what they are talking about have the strongest opinions?) Just a thought.

Not to be deterred by something as insignificant as facts, knowledge and experience, ol' Bobby tells us what the gun culture promulgates and stands for:
"Our current gun culture, ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead."
If you're going to shoot someone because you're in a domestic dispute or their music is too loud, you need to sit down and examine yourself. Also, I'd like to note that it's illegal for teenagers (boys or girls) to own handguns. Am I to understand that law is ineffective? Where is my fainting couch? Try removing the word gun and re-read the sentence. That's actually something worth discussing.

Costas goes on to further illuminate us with the light of his genius:
"Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it. In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions, and their possible connection to football will be analyzed. Who knows?"
Let's take this piece by piece. "Handguns do not enhance our safety." Do I really need to explain why this is a moronic statement? Next time you see a police officer, ask him if his sidearm enhances his safety.

The second sentence: "They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it." A gun is an inanimate object: like a rock, or a pencil, or a necklace. It doesn't enhance your flaws. A person's flaws are what they are. This is probably the most insidious line of the whole piece. Right here, Costas is shifting blame from the murderer to the murder weapon. The killer is not less guilty because he killed someone with a gun. The gun didn't make him kill someone. If inanimate objects can enhance our flaws, can any objects minimize them? Does carrying around a pocket Bible make you a less flawed person?

In his soaring crescendo of stupidity, Costas closes with:
"But here is what I believe. If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."
Apparently, no guns = no murder in Costas-Land. Unfortunately, that's not true. It would be nice if that were true, but it's not. Maybe it makes Bob feel better to believe that. I wonder if he still believes in the Tooth Fairy.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Gun Safety: It's Not Optional

It's sad because the guy died, but this is a good reminder to be safe at all times. Safety Rules from Grant:

- Always keep the muzzle pointed in a generally safe direction ("generally safe" means that should the gun unintentionally fire, it will not hurt or kill you or any other human being.)

- Always keep your fingers outside the trigger guard until you are actually ready to fire.

- Always remember that you are in control of a weapon, and if used negligently it may injure or kill you or someone else.

Don't be stupid or lazy when it comes to firearm safety, y'all.

End of Movember Thoughts

It's officially December 1, so that means one thing. It's time to say hello to my little friend:


Movember was a the first time I've gone more than about 4 days without shaving, so going a month without shaving was a new experience. It was nice not to have the task of shaving in the morning, but I never really felt comfortable with the beard. Having facial hair made me more conscious of other men with beards, mustaches, and other facial hair. I found myself sizing up other guys facial hair and feeling respect for someone who took the time to grow a solid beard or mustache. You see lots of baseball players with facial hair, some football players with it, and almost no politicians with facial hair.

In any event, we raised some money to fight cancer, and I realized I'm probably not a beard guy unless I end up in the mountains for several years like Jeremiah Johnson.

On Monday, it will be back to the clean-shaven version of myself, but it was interesting to have a different version for a month.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

Ok, fine. I'm giving up on the the "no politics" rule. President Obama finally came out with his offer to solve the fiscal cliff "problem" that Congress created. It's not really a problem, because that's what everyone agreed would happen. Both houses of Congress and the president all agreed on this horrible event. Let's not forget that. In any event, here's Obama's opening bid:
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a detailed proposal on Thursday to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, $50 billion in immediate stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.
Ok. Taxes go up, we spend more, and Congress can't control how much we borrow anymore. Wait, what? I get that Obama wants to start with taxes, but he wants to now have more stimulus spending, and Congress won't be allowed to control the debt ceiling anymore. Is this plan supposed to reduce the deficit? I don't really get this at all, except that I'm pretty sure the Republicans are going to cave on this eventually. Here is what I expect to happen:

We'll have moderately long negotiations, lots of bluster, and right before the cliff hits, the Republicans agree to tax increases on high earners, more spending, and some theoretical cuts to be named later...maybe. The GOP will say "This was the best deal we could get". The economy will continue to suck, and the GOP will get blamed for not having even higher tax cuts and more stimulus spending.

Here is what I would do if I were in charge of the Republicans. I like to call it the "Joshua" strategy. (You'll see why a the end.) I know the economy is going to suck as long as we keep spending and taxing. I know the media and the Democrats (but I repeat myself) are going to blame me for it. Either way, if I agree to a deal or not, the economy is going to stay in this horrible shape or get worse. The only question is how do I not be held responsible for the cratering value of the dollar, the higher taxes, inflation, and high unemployment.

Let it Burn.

I tell Obama in a public press conference that I am against raising taxes on anyone, and I am against spending more Federal spending. However, I tell him that I am going to give him everything he wants without asking anything in return. He wants taxes? However much he wants on whatever income levels...fine. He wants more Federal spending? Sure. Spend as much as you like. Heck, even have a budget. Or not. Either way, he can simply write down what he wants to do, I'm going to say "Sure, pal. You can do whatever you want, but I'm telling you now that it's not going to work. Don't come crying to me later."

All the GOP members vote "Present", and the bill can pass through the house and senate with universal Democrat support. Obama signs it and everything will be peachy. Or it will burn, and then we get back to basics.

Watch the video below. If you don't know this movie, stop reading my blog, go watch the movie and come back. I'll wait.

Strange game, this "politics". The only winning move is not to play.

Red Dawn Remake

Hollywood: I'm disappointed in you. The remake of Red Dawn had the opportunity to be really cool. All you had to do was do the exact same story over, set it in the 1980s (again) and then throw in a cameo of one or two of the original cast members (as townspeople) and you would have a hit.

When you're remaking a cult classic, you have to stay close to what made the original movie great. It was gritty, dark, and was semi-believable. Not totally believable, but the Russians invading is more believable than the North Koreans. Yes, the same country that has rolling blackouts and cannot even launch missiles.

This new remake is more fast-action, digital effects than story. Oh, and on the topic of digital effects, I'm not just talking about explosions. The North Korean uniforms and flags are all digitally created, because they were originally Chinese, but were changed at the last minute so as to be able to sell more tickets in the international movie community.

Don't waste your time.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wingnut Animal Rights Group Fights for Pigeons

Here's a legal question for you: If a private citizen flies a remote-controlled drone over your property (against your wishes) for the purpose of videotaping you and your guests doing something perfectly legal, do you have the right to shoot at it? Or can someone film you?

That is exactly what has been happening in an what has become an ongoing battle between the wingnut animal rights group SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness) and folks who participate in live pigeon shoots. If you've never heard of SHARK, that's ok. These are the people who think that Greenpeace and PETA aren't extreme enough.

In early 2012, SHARK flew a drone over privately owned Broxton Bridge Plantation to film the pigeon shoot with their drone. As you might have guessed, flying a small helicopter over the heads of a bunch of folks with shotguns might not be such a great idea.

Undeterred, these wingnuts are still following the pigeon shooters all over the country. Just this past Sunday, SHARK flew their drone helicopter over privately owned land near Philadelphia, and guess what? It was shot down.

Here's the thing, y'all: People hunt birds all over the country. It's perfectly legal. I did it this past weekend. Some folks don't like it and want to stop it. The folks who are shooting live pigeons aren't exactly shooting an endangered species. Pigeons are about as abundant as any bird can be. I just don't think this is the hill that animal rights folks need to be fighting on. It's not we're talking about people killing endangered whales, endangered tigers, or African elephants.

We're talking about freakin' pigeons here. Pigeons. They're everywhere. Let's get some perspective.

Monday, November 19, 2012

HateWeek Day 1: Getting You In the Mood

It's HateWeek 2012. Time to get your rivalry fires stoked. To get everyone in the proper mood, let's look back at Dabo Swinney's most famous press conference.

All that hate's gonna burn you up, kid.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New Record for Sniper Kill Distance?

Think you're good at shooting accurately? Try this on for size: 1.75 miles. Yes....miles.
Two marksmen using Barrett M82A1 .50 caliber rifles simultaneously fired. The bullets were six seconds in the air. One killed the Taliban commander. It is not known for certain which sniper fired the fatal shot.

While there have been no triumphant press releases, in the tight global Special Forces sniper community the shot is much discussed, because it seems certain to be a world record.

As the bullet yawed through the thin air on a windless morning, GPS aids measured the distance at 2815m. That amounts to 2 1/2 times the length of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. The targeted Taliban would not have heard the gunfire.
It took the bullet six seconds to reach the target. Six seconds. The other interesting thing is that that target wouldn't have heard the gunshot. Can you imagine just the Taliban guys hanging out, and Aazim's head just explodes? That would make you go to prayers pretty often.

This makes me feel bad when I miss a clay target at a range of....40 yards.

[h/t Uncle]

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

17th Annual SC Oyster Festival

Cool weather is here, y'all. You know what that means: time to get some oysters. The 17th Annual South Carolina Oyster Festival will be at the Robert Mills House in Columbia this Sunday.

I guarrantee you that it will be more efficiently run than the Richland County election process.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

You Can't Even Make This Up

From @GabrielMalor, but it was so good, I had to steal it.

Jill Kelley, the woman who was (allegedly) threatened by Gen. Petraeus's squeeze Paula Broadwell and who (apparently) started the FBI investigation that led to Petraeus' ouster, who went to the FBI for help after the threats and then (allegedly) had a relationship with the FBI agent in charge of her own case, who (allegedly) sent her shirtless pics of himself, also (apparently, allegedly) had "compromising" communications with Gen. John Allen, the Big Damn Commander of our war effort in Afghanistan.

You can't even make this shit up. It's not a love triangle. (It's five people.) 
It's a love Pentagon.