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.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy Birthday, Marine Corps

On this day in 1775, the United States Marine Corps was founded by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress. At the time, only two battalions of Marines were formed. Today, the United States Marine Corps is one of the toughest forces of the United States Military. They are the tip of the spear.

Happy Birthday, USMC!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Mustaches for Men's Health (MoVember)

So I signed up with a few guys to grow a mustache during the month of November to raise money for prostate and testicular cancer.

I'm not really a mustache guy (or any facial hair for that matter) but this is for a good cause. In any event, if you want to see our progress, you can check out our team site here. If you want to donate a few bucks to the charity, that would be appreciated. To those of you who have already donated, we really appreciate it. At some point, my wife may start donating money to get me to shave.

If you're interested in joining MoVember, it's not too late. Here's a good video on how to grow a 'stache from Ron Swanson:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Review of Backwoods Quail Club

Last weekend, I went to the Backwoods Quail Club in Hemingway, South Carolina to shoot round of 100 sporting clays. I live in Columbia, so the drive to Hemingway is about an hour and a half – each way. When I arrived, the first thing you can’t help but see is the giant sign proclaiming the club to be the site of the 2013 US Open Sporting Clays Championships. So right there, you get the idea that it must be a pretty good place if they decided to have the host a major event.

On the way in, you drive past two skeet fields, a five stand, and another warm-up area. The skeet is lighted, so even after the sun goes down, you can still break some clays. (This is probably pretty handy now that it gets dark early.)

The sporting clays consisted of two courses - orange or green. We decided to go with green for no particular reason. The two courses are essentially together along a main road. Some stations are orange and some are green, but they’re all along the same path. This is a shot looking down the path. You can see shooting stations on either side. The lift in the distance has a trap on top of it that throws a bird upwards. I'm not sure what it's simulating, but it's a long shot.

The first station was supposed to be a fairly simple crossing report pair, but one trap didn’t work at all. It was not a good start for a place that was supposed to be hosting a national event. The next few stations were good and worked with no problems. On the 5th station we encountered this: 

Why yes, that is a trampoline. What is a trampoline doing at a sporting clays station? Well that’s exactly what I was wondering. After looking at the setup for a minute, it appeared to me that the trap was angled to throw the clay into the trampoline. Could that be it? Are these guys really bouncing clays off trampolines?

Yep. And it was pretty cool.

The course featured a variety of shots that went from fairly easy to very challenging. There were several stations with screaming fast crossers. I’m talking so fast you don’t have time to even really look at the bird – you just swing your gun and shoot instinctively. One station combined the fast crosser with a slow incomer that you had to wait on first, so it was more about tempo than anything else. You had to wait…wait…wait on the first, and then as soon as you hit it, the second bird crossed back the other way going fast. Really fun stuff.

Towards the end, the best station of the day presented itself. (Orange #13, I think.) It was a beautiful little pond with two outgoing birds: the first one went out away from you at a little bit of an angle, skimming a yard or two off the surface of the water. The second bird went high, heading for the tree-line. Shooting those as a true pair was fun. The best part about the low bird was watching all the pieces break and skip across the pond.

Overall, Backwoods Quail Club was a great place to break some sporting clays. The shots presented were interesting and moderately challenging. I ended up with a 71 out of 100.

I would recommend it to anyone interested in seeing some of what the low country offers for sporting clays. The clubhouse wasn’t fancy, but it was well stocked with gear, snacks, and drinks. The place is laid back and comfortable. Inside and outside of the clubhouse:


 I will definitely be going back. The only downside is that it’s 110 miles from Columbia.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'm Eliminating Things That Suck

If you're coming here for politics (or other things that suck), you best go elsewhere. I'm shifting into blogging about stuff that's actually fun. So from now on, you'll be seeing more of this:

Browning Citori at Rest: Backwoods Quail Club
 Life is just too damn short.

Monday, November 5, 2012

2012 Electoral Map; My Prediction

I've looked at the polls and I've decided that I'm going to go with my gut on a few picks. First I think that that Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia go red. Florida is the state that Romney really needs, and he'll get it earlier in the night than most people think. North Carolina is red. 2008 was sooooo 2008. It's red again this year, along with Virginia.

New Hampshire goes red because Romney is in solid shape there. I wouldn't have expected this a month ago, but I'm cautiously optimistic for New Hampshire. Colorado goes red, because it's razor thin in the polling, and it's been moving Romney's way in the last month.

So, to count electoral votes at this point, I've got Romney 261, Obama 223. The remaining states are Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Since Romney needs 9, Iowa becomes irrelevant.

Romney wins one of the remaining three, or Obama wins all three, and it's game over. I know that lots of really optimistic GOP folks are saying Pennsylvania is going red this year, but I'm not buying. PA is blue. Just to go for the unexpected, I'm going to say that Obama gets Ohio and Romney pulls a surprise and takes the Badger state to go over the top.

Final Score: Romney 271; Obama 267.

Here's my map. Am I crazy? Or crazy like a fox?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Reading: WWII Posters and the Brooklyn Bridge

If you've seen my Twitter icon, it references this WWII propaganda poster that the British used. I decided to go with it while reading Churchill's epic memoirs of WWII. Seriously, it's a lot of reading, but it's good (if you like that sort of thing).

I've put my own little spin on it, but here's an interesting read on some of the other related posters and how the same ethos is applicable today.

On a related note, I've started an old book (new to me). It's David McCullough's "The Great Bridge". It's the story of the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, which I thought was somewhat topical, given recent events. I'm still not through with Churchill's memoirs, but I'll double-fist it for awhile.

Friday, November 2, 2012

National Deviled Egg Day

Happy Friday, y'all.

Did you know it is National Deviled Egg Day? Yep, there's actually a day for the best way to eat eggs.

In other news, this is the last weekend before Armageddon the Presidential Election. Enjoy this weekend with your friends from the other side of the aisle. Next weekend is reserved for gloating. I'll be using this bye-week to go break some clay discs into small pieces. I haven't done a sporting clays review in awhile, so I'll try to get some good pictures and do a review of somewhere I haven't done yet.

This weekend is brought to you by a young Queen Elizabeth.

HRH Princess Elizabeth in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, April 1945

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Obama Cuts Through Red Tape

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, President Obama has repeatedly said that he wants his administration to cut through the “red tape” and inefficiency of government regulations and rules in an effort to more efficiently bring relief to the devastated Northeast.

“We are here for you,” Obama said in Brigantine, N.J. “We are not going to tolerate red tape. We are not going to tolerate bureaucracy.” 
Does anyone else find this kind of funny that Obama is repudiating government regulations? Let me see if I can figure this out.

We have a government, with rules and regulations in place. Ok, check. Now we have natural disasters, which occur from time to time. We don’t always know exactly when a natural disaster will occur, but we know that eventually, we will have one. Apparently, these rules and regulations don’t allow for efficient disaster relief, so the President has simply told his administration: Hey y'all, just ignore the rules. The normal course of government is too damn inefficient. Just deregulate as you go on an ad-hoc basis to get things done.

This strikes me as really funny when it comes from a President who is committed to enlarging the Federal Government and increasing regulation. If we’re just going to suspend the rules and regulations when it suits us (and apparently the President can just ignore these regulations when it suits him) why not just get rid of these inefficient rules entirely? It’s almost like the government is the problem, and getting it out of the way is the answer.