Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year's Eve!

It's been a great year, y'all. Enjoy the last day of the year in style, and get ready for 2015!

Plenty of football today and tomorrow. My prediction is that Alabama and Oregon meet in the title game, with Alabama winning it all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

We're Almost There!

Birds got to sing, bees got to buzz, Christmas lights got to tangle

Alright, y'all. It's the last day of the workweek for me. I've sent all my demand letters out, done my final real estate closing for the year, and tallied up the billable hours. There may be one or two more litigation e-mails, but I'm pretty much done here at the ol' law practice for the year. All in all, it's been a good year.

Judging by the gifts I've received from other lawyers and co-workers, everyone thinks I need alcohol and ammunition. (Y'all are totally right.)

If you're a regular reader, thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internet. We here at Permanent Press know that when you browse the internet, you have options. So thanks for making us a part of your day. If you've been here just a time or two, try to come back more often. And please always feel free to comment!

I'm going to put it on cruise control the rest of the way, but we'll continue to have some content all through the holidays.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Gear for Guys: Bow Tie Edition

Christmas is this week! Many of you, like me, are still working hard this week. However, despite working hard, you can still have some Christmas Cheer.

Here's the tie I am wearing today, courtesy of Bird Dog Bay. The material is the perfect thickness for a tie. It ties easily, yet isn't too floppy, so it maintains a nice crisp bow.

Mine is a shotgun shell print. Their line of ties would make a great gift for any well-dressed man in your life. Bird Dog Bay has the Permanent Press™ seal of approval.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Fog of War

In the second volume of his history of the Civil War, Foote described the fog of war through an episcopal clergyman in New York described the many reports that came in about the Battle of Chancellorsville:
"It would seem that Hooker has beaten Lee and that Lee has beaten Hooker, that we have taken Fredericksburg, and that the rebels have taken it also, that we have 4,500 prisoners, and the rebels 5,400, that Hooker has cutoff Lee's retreat, and Lee has cutoff Sedgewick's retreat, and Sedgewick has cutoff everybody's retreat generally, but has retreated himself, although his retreat was cutoff.

In short, all is utter confusion. Everything seems to be everywhere, and everybody all over, and there is no giving it any truth."
Thus, the second attempt to capture Fredericksburg ended in a Federal defeat, albeit a dearly bought one.

Friday, December 19, 2014

No More Politics for Awhile

You leftists are killing me.

I'm taking a break from politics for awhile. We'll be going with some bourbon, shooting, BBQ, and clothing items here at Permanent Press Mission Control for the foreseeable future. Maybe some legal stuff...maybe.

Enjoy your day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Obama to Normalize Relations with Cuba

Although I'm normally opposed to most of the stupid stuff he does, I'm not really against this.

The Cuba thing is a Cold War relic. I think we're all over it. It's like two people who get in an argument and stop talking to each other. After awhile, they start to forget what they were even mad about, and just go along with the "Not Talking To You" thing because no one wants to admit they can't remember why they originally got mad at each other.

I get that we didn't want Cuba to become a wealthy satellite of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In that context, the embargo made sense, but after 1991 that ceased to be a concern.

We have relations with other communist regimes (Hello China!) and other thuggish regimes who we actually consider friends (Hello Saudi Arabia!). So don't give me the argument that we can't have normal relations with Cuba because they're a repressive or communist state.

Actually, I think we'd have more influence on getting them to stop with the whole Communist thing if we engage in some trade and travel. Let Levi Strauss, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Goldman Sachs, and Koch industries go down there. They'll all be capitalists in no time.

Having said that, Cuba wants us to normalize relations. It's a bigger "get" for them that it is a "give" for us. Accordingly, as Rod Blagojevich so eloquently stated: "I’ve got this thing and it’s f----ing golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for f---in’ nothing."

Basically, we should get something in return for granting them status.

However, Obama once again fails to negotiate. He's just doing this thing and giving them something for nothing. Whether he's refusing to negotiate for whatever reason in many contexts, the man just absolutely baffles me in his failure to understand negotiations.

Happy Birthday to My Wonderful Wife!

I am happy to announce that today is Mrs. Permanent Press' birthday! She is a wonderful wife and mother to our children, and I've been lucky enough to be able to keep her around for more than ten years of marriage.

Because she is more gracious than most people, she has seen fit to overlook my many flaws. I am thankful for everyday that we are together, and I am proud to wish her a hearty Happy Birthday!

Here's looking at you, kid.

Monday, December 15, 2014

I'll Shoot You Tomorrow

A quote from the passage I just read in Shelby Foote's second volume on the recent unpleasantness.
The ground in front of the sunken road, formerly carpeted blue, had taken on a mottled hue, with patches of startling white. Binoculars disclosed the cause. Many of the Federal dead had been stripped stark naked by shivering Confederates, who had crept out in the darkness to scavenge the warm clothes from the bodies of men who needed them no longer... No one assigned to one of the burial details ever forgot the horror of what he saw; for here, up-close and life-size, was an effective antidote to the long-range, miniature pageantry of Saturday's battle as it had been viewed from the opposing heights.

Up close, you heard the groans and smelled the blood... Not even amid such scenes as this, however, did the irrepressible rebel soldier's wry sense of honour desert him. One, about to remove a shoe from what he though was a Federal corpse, was surprised to see the 'corpse' lift its head and look at him reproachfully. "Beg pardon sir," the would-be scavenger said, carefully lowering the leg; "I thought you have gone above." Another butternut scarecrow, reprimanded by a Union officer for violating the terms of the truce by picking up a fine Belgian rifle that had been dropped between the lines, looked his critic up and down, pausing for a long stare at the polished boots the officer was wearing. "Never mind," he said dryly. "I'll shoot you tomorrow and git them boots."
This is Foote's description of the aftermath of Fredericksburg.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Senate Report On the CIA Reminds Me of A Movie

There's been a lot of debate about the use of the CIA's interrogation techniques, in the wake of the Senate Intelligence Committee's Report. It's been a chance for everyone to re-litigate the entire issue of whether we tortured detainees, and there's been some good debate on this.

It's certainly an open question, and anyone who conclusively comes down either way without acknowledging the other side may have a point is not a grown-up. This debate about torture is a debate about where you draw the line on what can and what cannot be done to captured combatants in war. Reasonable minds can disagree.

However, what really upsets me about this report has nothing to do with the issue of torture. What I find completely revolting about this report is the the fact that the main findings of the committee are essentially that the CIA didn't tell them about all this, and they are shocked, shocked to find out that gambling is going on in Rick's. But that's not the movie reference I thought of.

Essentially, this report is some Senators trying to avoid the fact that they asked the CIA to do whatever it took to avoid another 9/11. Do you remember how America was after 9/11? I do. 

Everyone was looking at the smoking rubble of the twin towers, a crater in Pennsylvania, and a hole in the side of the Pentagon and saying: We cannot let this happen again. You guys in the CIA need to take the gloves off and make sure this doesn't happen again. Keep the country safe. Stop playing nice - go after these people. Do everything you can.

People who weren't openly saying this were silently happy to go along with those who were. Not a single representative of the people rose up to say Well, wait. Maybe we don't need to change how we deal with the bad guys just because they did something bad to us.

Accordingly, the CIA started turning up the heat - as they were asked to do. They didn't do this on their own accord. We the people, through our elected representatives, asked them to do this. The Senate Intelligence Committee was briefed on exactly what the CIA was doing. And now, they're trying to say: Hey, I didn't intend for you to be mean to those poor souls! I wanted you to do everything possible to keep us safe while being perfect gentlemen! I have no culpability for these things that you did!

I know. Politicians evading their responsibility seems so farfetched. In any event, this whole thing reminded me of the end of Clear and Present Danger. In the movie, the President gets very upset when a Columbian drug cartel kills a personal friend of his who was laundering money for them (and stealing a little bit for himself). Therefore, the President tells his Chief of Staff to get the CIA to start really going after the drug cartel. The CIA basically does what it is told and starts really hurting the cartel - killing people and breaking things.

Eventually, the President decides he's had enough of the operation, simply says it should go away like "It never happened", and hangs all the men out to dry, who are then killed by the cartel. Ryan is neck deep in the whole thing and eventually goes to confront the President. Here's the scene:

The President tries to tell Ryan that he is "just becoming aware" of the certain things that happened, and that he "never ordered any" strike against the cartel. Ryan, having no patience for the cutesy little game of plausible deniability, tells the President: I will not have you dishonor their memories by pretending you had nothing to do with it.

That's the note that the Senate Report strikes for me. They're trying to pretend that they had nothing to do with the CIA's methods, when it's crystal clear that they asked the CIA to take the gloves off. Specifically, the WaPo had an editorial pointing this out:
On May 26, 2002, Feinstein was quoted in the New York Times saying that the attacks of 9/11 were a real awakening and that it would no longer be “business as usual.” The attacks, she said, let us know “that the threat is profound” and “that we have to do some things that historically we have not wanted to do to protect ourselves.”
This report is a purely political document, and its intent is to allow the authors to engage in some moral preening. They're simply engaging in a political act to curry favor with their constituents now that the existential threat from terrorism is a distant memory, and the people who swallow this report are doing the same thing.

I accept that we did some brutal things to people. We the people, asked the CIA to do exactly that. Maybe we made a decision in a moment of weakness that some of us regret. That's fine. However, it's just a damn lie for the Committee to say that they didn't know what was going on.

They all knew and approved. We The People all knew and approved. If you feel regret for what happened, that's fine. If you're ok with what we did, that's fine, too. But for goodness sake, take some responsibility for your actions.

Charcoal Is My Ally

I'm grilling some pork loins at the office today don't really need a reason to grill some meat for lunch on a Friday. Did I mention that my office has a charcoal grill? It does.

How's your Friday going?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

BREAKING: Lying Politicians Lie

The Democratic Senate Report on CIA's methods is just politicians lying about what they knew, what they authorized, and what everyone wanted in the aftermath of 9/11.

CIA didn't conduct this program on some kind of wild notion - they didn't just make this up because they were bored.

CIA did this at the specific request of the American people's elected representatives in Congress and the White House. The Department of Justice was kept in the loop on the program and issued legal opinions on it. Congress was repeatedly briefed. CIA did all this...because we asked them to.

It makes me sick.

Pardon me, but these politicians are lying sacks of shit. CIA does difficult stuff. The easy stuff gets handed off to other agencies. We asked CIA officers to do things, and now we're throwing them under the bus? Well, good luck getting CIA officers to go do anything remotely controversial in defense of the country in the future.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Revolutionary War Hero Isn't Welcome in Washington, DC

Francis Marion and the famous "sweet potato incident"
One of the members of the Columbia Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution has been working for years to get a monument of Francis Marion placed in our nation's capital. After going through a long process which included getting the SC Congressional delegation (all of them) to support a law that would authorize the National Parks System to plan for the statue, the President signed the law in 2008 to go forward with the project.

Fittingly enough, there's a small park in DC that is already named "Marion Park" in honor of the man. It also happens to be located along South Carolina Avenue.  Sounds great, right? Accordingly, the NPS thought that putting the monument there would be logical. What could go wrong?

Well, some people don't like the idea of putting a monument of Francis Marion up in Marion Park.

Because of racism, obviously.
A South Carolina plantation owner and slaveholder, Marion fought against the Cherokee Indians during the French and Indian War. In the Revolutionary War, he used the guerrilla warfare tactics he learned from the Cherokee against the British, earning him the nickname “Swamp Fox.”

“They say Francis Marion is a hero, but who is he a hero to?” says Lawrence Smith, 70, who lives about a block from the park. “The first Americans, who he helped wipe out? I bet they don’t feel that he’s a hero. The African-Americans who were kidnapped and brought here in bondage, do they see him as a hero?”

The proposed placement of the Marion memorial is particularly insensitive, says Capitol Hill resident Peter Glick, 53, since the statue would sit in the shadow of the Progress For Christ Baptist Church, which was built by freed African slaves right after the Civil War.

“The people who lived in this area and who went to this church no doubt escaped from people like Francis Marion,” Glick says.
Hey, here's a fun little game. Let's see what happens if we replace Marion (the evil slaveholder) with someone else.

"A South Carolina Virginia plantation owner and slaveholder, Marion Washington fought against the Indians during the French and Indian war."

Yes, this George Washington fellow fought in the Revolutionary War, but he was a plantation owner and slaveholder. Wait, I've just been informed that Thomas Jefferson, the man who drafted the Declaration of Independence, was also a plantation owner and slaveholder as well. Gee, I guess it's a good thing that neither of those two jokers have any monuments in the vicinity.

The sad thing is that Francis Marion fought side-by-side with blacks, whites, friendly Indians, free and slave. It was probably the first integrated fighting force in North America. That's a historical fact. Oh, you didn't know that? Here, let me Google that for you.

But I guess some people like Peter Glick and Lawrence Smith would rather just wallow in their own shallow understanding of history.

Tomasky Encourages Democrats to Abandon the South

I guess he's a little bitter about the fact that Southern states have rejected the Democratic party so resoundingly in the recent elections, so he's going with the old: You can't fire me; I quit! routine.
And that is what Louisiana, and almost the entire South, has become. The victims of the particular form of euthanasia it enforces with such glee are tolerance, compassion, civic decency, trans-racial community, the crucial secular values on which this country was founded… I could keep this list going. But I think you get the idea. Practically the whole region has rejected nearly everything that’s good about this country and has become just one big nuclear waste site of choleric, and extremely racialized, resentment.
Well that's just genuis, Tomasky. Just take about one-quarter of the entire country and insult it. That's really the best way to win friends and influence people. Remember. liberals love tolerance and diversity, unless your diversity happens to be diversity of thought - they won't tolerate that.
At the congressional level, and from there on down, the Democrats should just forget about the place. They should make no effort, except under extraordinary circumstances, to field competitive candidates. The national committees shouldn’t spend a red cent down there. This means every Senate seat will be Republican, and 80 percent of the House seats will be, too. The Democrats will retain their hold on the majority-black districts, and they’ll occasionally be competitive in a small number of other districts in cities and college towns. But they’re not going win Southern seats (I include here with some sadness my native West Virginia, which was not a Southern state when I was growing up but culturally is one now). And they shouldn’t try.
Oh, we can't fire you because you quit? Well that's really mature of y'all.

Instead of encouraging the Democratic party to look in the mirror and re-evaluate some of its positions, Tomasky has decided that the only lesson to learn from the recent electoral defeat is that us Southerners just aren't worth the time and effort. I guess we're just too darn backwards for the Democrats to spend any more time down here. Talk about sour grapes.

Whatever makes you feel better, I guess.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Happy Friday from Barry Jive and the Uptown Five

Have a good weekend, y'all.

Our National Strife

I have just made it through Vol. I of Shelby Foote's Civil War - A Narrative, and it's absolutely captivating. Foote is a remarkable storyteller. I've always enjoyed history because, to me, good history just reads like a story, and most of the time the truth is more dramatic than fiction. Towards the end of the first volume (which is just about the winter of 1862), a passage struck me. 

Foote recounts a speech that Lincoln delivers to Congress in 1862, just as it had become clear to him (and others) that the Civil War was not going to be easily or quickly won.
Our national strife springs not from our permanent part, not from the land we inhabit, not from our national homestead. Our strife pertains to ourselves, to the passing generations of men, and it can without convulsion, be hushed forever with the passing of one generation.
                                                                                -Lincoln's Second Annual Address

To me, the idea that our national problems can be solved with a new generation  has an optimistic sound. Essentially, we may have troubles now, but the future generations of Americans can solve them simply by coming into existence. I guess it's a faith in the moral arc of the universe. The flip side to that coin is that it only takes one generation to lose what we presently have.

I guess the both are true. Anyway, it seemed particularly relevant to all of the national strife that we seem to have today.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

South Carolina Charges White Police Officer With Murder for Shooting Unarmed Black Man

Bernard Bailey

Richard Combs
With the grand jury not indicting the officer in Ferguson, and now the grand jury not indicting the police officer in New York City, I thought this story was kind of...topical.

If you hadn't heard, here's the basic fact pattern:

Bernard Bailey had come to the town hall complain about his daughter receiving a ticket for a broken tail-light. At some point, Combs (the police chief) attempts to arrest Bailey for obstruction of justice. As Bailey leaves the town hall, Combs follows him and a struggle ensued near or in Bailey's vehicle. Combs then shot Bailey twice in the chest.

Combs was charged with murder yesterday. Obviously, this is a different fact pattern from what happened in Ferguson, and what happened in New York. However, you have the similarity of a white law enforcement officer's actions resulting in the death of an unarmed black man.

And only South Carolina is going forward with a case.

Just food for thought. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Stories from the Blackbird

The SR-71 "Blackbird"
The SR-71 Blackbird first flew in the 1960s. It's mission was essentially high altitude reconnaissance. It was built to fly high and fast. Really high and really fast. Like most of our military hardware from that era, it's now retired from the Air Force. However, the Blackbird still remains one of the baddest aircraft to ever slice through the skies at high speed.

How fast was it? For starters, it's primary way of defending against surface to air missiles was simply to outrun them. For a more humorous example of how fast the Blackbird was here's a great excerpt from the book Sled Driver illustrating it's speed compared to other aircraft:

There were a lot of things we couldn't do in an SR-71, but we were the fastest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the jet. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe flying this plane. Intense, maybe. Even cerebral. But there was one day in our Sled experience when we would have to say that it was pure fun to be the fastest guys out there, at least for a moment.

It occurred when Walt and I were flying our final training sortie. We needed 100 hours in the jet to complete our training and attain Mission Ready status. Somewhere over Colorado we had passed the century mark. We had made the turn in Arizona and the jet was performing flawlessly. My gauges were wired in the front seat and we were starting to feel pretty good about ourselves, not only because we would soon be flying real missions but because we had gained a great deal of confidence in the plane in the past ten months. Ripping across the barren deserts 80,000 feet below us, I could already see the coast of California from the Arizona border. I was, finally, after many humbling months of simulators and study, ahead of the jet.

I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for Walter in the back seat. There he was, with no really good view of the incredible sights before us, tasked with monitoring four different radios. This was good practice for him for when we began flying real missions, when a priority transmission from headquarters could be vital. It had been difficult, too, for me to relinquish control of the radios, as during my entire flying career I had controlled my own transmissions. But it was part of the division of duties in this plane and I had adjusted to it. I still insisted on talking on the radio while we were on the ground, however. Walt was so good at many things, but he couldn't match my expertise at sounding smooth on the radios, a skill that had been honed sharply with years in fighter squadrons where the slightest radio miscue was grounds for beheading. He understood that and allowed me that luxury.

Just to get a sense of what Walt had to contend with, I pulled the radio toggle switches and monitored the frequencies along with him. The predominant radio chatter was from Los Angeles Center, far below us, controlling daily traffic in their sector. While they had us on their scope (albeit briefly), we were in uncontrolled airspace and normally would not talk to them unless we needed to descend into their airspace.

We listened as the shaky voice of a lone Cessna pilot asked Center for a readout of his ground speed. Center replied: "November Charlie 175, I'm showing you at ninety knots on the ground."

Now the thing to understand about Center controllers, was that whether they were talking to a rookie pilot in a Cessna, or to Air Force One, they always spoke in the exact same, calm, deep, professional, tone that made one feel important. I referred to it as the " Houston Center voice." I have always felt that after years of seeing documentaries on this country's space program and listening to the calm and distinct voice of the Houston controllers, that all other controllers since then wanted to sound like that, and that they basically did. And it didn't matter what sector of the country we would be flying in, it always seemed like the same guy was talking. Over the years that tone of voice had become somewhat of a comforting sound to pilots everywhere. Conversely, over the years, pilots always wanted to ensure that, when transmitting, they sounded like Chuck Yeager, or at least like John Wayne. Better to die than sound bad on the radios.

Just moments after the Cessna's inquiry, a Twin Beech piped up on frequency, in a rather superior tone, asking for his ground speed. "I have you at one hundred and twenty-five knots of ground speed." Boy, I thought, the Beechcraft really must think he is dazzling his Cessna brethren. Then out of the blue, a navy F-18 pilot out of NAS Lemoore came up on frequency. You knew right away it was a Navy jock because he sounded very cool on the radios. "Center, Dusty 52 ground speed check". Before Center could reply, I'm thinking to myself, hey, Dusty 52 has a ground speed indicator in that million-dollar cockpit, so why is he asking Center for a readout? Then I got it, ol' Dusty here is making sure that every bug smasher from Mount Whitney to the Mojave knows what true speed is. He's the fastest dude in the valley today, and he just wants everyone to know how much fun he is having in his new Hornet. And the reply, always with that same, calm, voice, with more distinct alliteration than emotion: "Dusty 52, Center, we have you at 620 on the ground."

And I thought to myself, is this a ripe situation, or what? As my hand instinctively reached for the mic button, I had to remind myself that Walt was in control of the radios. Still, I thought, it must be done - in mere seconds we'll be out of the sector and the opportunity will be lost. That Hornet must die, and die now. I thought about all of our Sim training and how important it was that we developed well as a crew and knew that to jump in on the radios now would destroy the integrity of all that we had worked toward becoming. I was torn.

Somewhere, 13 miles above Arizona, there was a pilot screaming inside his space helmet. Then, I heard it. The click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the very moment that I knew Walter and I had become a crew. Very professionally, and with no emotion, Walter spoke: "Los Angeles Center, Aspen 20, can you give us a ground speed check?" There was no hesitation, and the replay came as if was an everyday request. "Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots, across the ground."

I think it was the forty-two knots that I liked the best, so accurate and proud was Center to deliver that information without hesitation, and you just knew he was smiling. But the precise point at which I knew that Walt and I were going to be really good friends for a long time was when he keyed the mic once again to say, in his most fighter-pilot-like voice: "Ah, Center, much thanks, we're showing closer to nineteen hundred on the money."

For a moment Walter was a god. And we finally heard a little crack in the armor of the Houston Center voice, when L.A.came back with, "Roger that Aspen, Your equipment is probably more accurate than ours. You boys have a good one."

It all had lasted for just moments, but in that short, memorable sprint across the southwest, the Navy had been flamed, all mortal airplanes on freq were forced to bow before the King of Speed, and more importantly, Walter and I had crossed the threshold of being a crew. A fine day's work. We never heard another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast.

For just one day, it truly was fun being the fastest guys out there.
These guys definitely had the right stuff.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sloppy Drinking Dogs May Be Smarter Than You Think

Everyone knows that when they put a water bowl down for their dog, the result always involves a giant mess of water everywhere. Accordingly, the conventional wisdom is that dogs are sloppy and clumsy drinkers.

Well, some folks have researched dogs' drinking, and our canine friends might be smarter than you think.
There were key differences between cat and dog strategies. The dogs extended more of their tongues to whack the water with a much wider surface area, then used their tongues to pull the water upward into a column at a blazing rate — hitting an acceleration of roughly five to eight times that of gravity when changing direction from downward to upward. That’s much faster than cats move their tongues, Jung said. And while cats barely flick the water, dogs use a wide cross-section of tongue to plunge into the liquid.

But dogs and cats, it turns out, time one key movement in the same way: Just before the column of water is about to collapse, they close their mouths around the airborne liquid, maximizing their water intake.

“Dogs use a very smart (mechanism) to optimize their drinking,” Jung said
So maybe we should cut our dogs a little slack for the mess.

[via Ace's ONT]

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Congratulations to Clemson and Advice to Gamecock Fans

My three year old son is starting to learn to play games. He loves games. Right now, one of his favorite games is "Go Fish", which he calls "Go Fishing". Every time I say "go fish", he says "No, Daddy, it's go fishing".

When he first started to play Go Fish a/k/a Go Fishing, we let him win almost every time. Now, I'm letting him win about 2/3 of the time because he got really upset the first time I beat him. He didn't understand the concept that he could lose the game, and he didn't like it. However, I explained to him that you don't always win, and it was important to not get upset when you lose.

Now, my son is starting to take losing in a much more mature way. This is good, because he's going to grow up a Gamecock fan, and he needs to understand that losing is something you deal with on a regular basis. Which brings me to the Carolina/Clemson game.

Although I would have certainly like to see Carolina win yesterday, I can easily say that Clemson was the better team yesterday. It really wasn't even close. I know lots of you Clemson fans who are very happy that their team came out on top. I would probably guess that this win was sweeter for many Clemson fans specifically because of the last five years.

I give my Clemson friends a hard time, but it's all in good fun. If you can't trade a little paint over a college football rivalry game, then what's the point? Accordingly, you won't hear me complaining when my Clemson friends enjoy this win. That's the whole point of being a fan. For those of you who are Carolina fans, remember to be a gracious loser.

No one likes to lose, but without the struggle winning doesn't mean much. Winning this rivalry game is hard. But it's the "hard" that makes it great.

Congratulations to Clemson. Enjoy the win this year. But don't slack up, we'll be coming for you again next year. (Hopefully, with a better defense!)

Friday, November 28, 2014

It's Black Friday

Who in their right mind would actually want to go out shopping today? I'd rather have the peace of a nice walk in the woods. If you're not working today, find a little time to get outside and enjoy this beautiful November day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Carolina/Clemson Hateweek: Wednesday - Analysis

Enough with the taunting.

Pretty good Q&A over here. It was informative for me because I haven't really followed Clemson much. I was not aware that Clemson's big weakness was O-Line.

Ok, well, maybe a little more taunting is in order.

Politically Correct Scene from "The Godfather"

Courtesy of Popehat. Go read the whole thing.
Inside, Sonny, Clemenza, and Tessio were waiting. Sonny came to Zach, and took the young student-columnist's head into his hands, saying kiddingly, "Beautiful, beautiful, that police captain sure knocked you up real good."

It was Tom who spoke first, over the stunned objections of Clemenza and Tessio: "Sonny, 'knocked up' is an outdated phrase used by anti-woman bigots and mansplainers to describe pregnancy. It implies, to right-thinking people, an element of physical violence, and if I may say so, using that term is a monstrous form of Hate Speech. It denigrates women, and it denigrates choice, the choice that each woman has to decide for herself whether to terminate an unwanted fetus."
“We are all honorable men here, we do not have to give each other assurances as if we were lawyers.”

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Carolina/Clemson Hateweek: Tuesday - Clemson Sucks

This sticker has been on my car for the last three years.
This morning, I was getting gas at the Exxon at the corner of Gervais and Harden street. As I was standing there watching the gauge click up, a man cutting the corner walked past my car with his dog.

He stopped and looked at the sticker (pictured above) on my car's rear window. He wasn't very close, so he smiled and asked, "What does that sticker mean?" I replied, "It's appropriate for this week. The CS stands for Clemson Sucks".

This clearly surprised my interlocutor, as he had apparently been expecting the sticker to reference a beach or something equally ordinary. He stood there surprised and asked "Really?" I responded, "Yes, really." Again, failing to believe me, he asked "Really?" to which I replied "Yes, really. You can see at the bottom where it says Clemson Sucks."

Still not getting it, he simply repeated himself, "Really?" Getting slightly exasperated at this point, I responded, "Yes, Clemson really sucks. They really do."

Finally getting a close enough look for himself, the man simply said "Wow." chuckled a little, and began walking his dog again.

I love this sticker.

I've had that sticker on my car for probably about the last three or so years. I've decided that I'm going to keep it on my car until Clemson finally beats Carolina. Is this the year I take it off?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Carolina/Clemson Hateweek: Monday - Pace Yourself

Happy Monday, campers. Probably won't have time to deal with politics this week, because there are more important things to argue about. Today, we begin the hateweek with a slow simmering. 

On Saturday, Carolina travels up to take on the Clemson Tigers on Saturday. For those of you who might have been asleep for the past five years, Carolina has won the last five games against Clemson, or as the Augusta Chronicle puts it, "Clemson has lost to South Carolina five  years in a row."Either way, really.

Accordingly, the Clemson fans are really, really hoping that they don't continue to lose to Carolina. Clemson has a few reasons to be optimistic. First, the game is up at their place, so they'll have the home field advantage. Second, the Clemson team has been playing pretty well, while Carolina has been struggling, especially on defense. Third, all the Clemson players are going to be motivated to win because...well...that's what happens when you lose five in a row. So there is reason for Clemson fans to be optimistic. In fact, Vegas even has Clemson favored by a few points.

On the other hand....

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday ATF: Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms

Happy Friday, y'all. Usually, when people hear the words "Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms" it's in the context of the government agency. However, here at Permanent Press, alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, is more like this:




Have a nice weekend.

Democracy Never Lasts Long

I am tired of people repeating the phrase that "our immigration system is broken". It's not. What's broken is our enforcement system - it's as simple as that. We have an immigration system that allows over 1 million people to emigrate legally.We have an immigration system that allows for 250,000 guest workers and work visas.

That is not a system that is broken. What's broken are our "leaders".

I'm not even going to begin addressing the substance of the executive order, because I don't acknowledge it's validity. To address the executive order on its substance gives it more respect that it is due.

Quite simply, the President was unhappy that the Legislative Branch was not enacting his policy preference, so the President decided rather than to advocate for his policy preference, he was just going to enact his policy in direct opposition to the will of the Legislative Branch.

What's sad is that so many people support the President's policy, they're willing to just cast aside our well-settled checks and balances to achieve their goal. And there's a whole bunch of other people who are ready to use this new precedent to enact other policies, and push the boundaries just a little bit further.

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." - John Adams

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tom Brokaw's "Opening Day" Was Pretty Good

Last night, around 4:30AM (during a late night feeding), I watched Tom Brokaw's Opening Day, which I had recorded for just such an occasion. It was pretty good. I certainly wanted to book a trip to South Dakota when it was done.

Brokaw is originally from South Dakota, and according to this documentary, he goes back there to hunt fairly regularly. If you didn't know, there is some phenomenal pheasant hunting in South Dakota. It's the northern equivalent to the southern Georgia quail plantations.

Here's my favorite line from the piece I linked:
Brokaw said the New York area in some ways is more understanding of sporting gun culture than it used to be.

"New York is ringed by shooting clubs," he said. "Within two hours there are one, two, three, four, five that I know of . . . When hedge-fund guys started making big money they all discovered shotguns. So they started buying shotguns and going on these big hunting expeditions."
Ha. How funny is that? You don't have to make big "hedge-fund" money to buy a shotgun and go bird hunting. We've been doing that in the South for a long time. An 870 Wingmaster and a good dog is all you need.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The President Is Going to Cut Down a Law or Two Tomorrow

Sure, I agree. We all like rational stuff. Even if the House doesn't like the current Senate bill, they can always amend it, or just pass their own. What are they waiting for?

Maybe they're waiting for the new Congress to be sworn in. Maybe they're waiting for Christmas. Either way, it doesn't matter why Congress is choosing not to act; that's entirely beside the point. If the President doesn't like the lack of immigration reform bills in the Congress, maybe his party should start winning some elections. Or maybe the President could have done something for the two years he had a super-majority in Congress.

But all of this talk about the President's action and the Congress' reaction also misses the point of this being bad precedent.

The President shouldn't do what he's about to do. There's no broad public support for it. It's against the specific will of the majority of the legislative branch. The legal basis is unsound. There's no national crisis at hand that cries out for drastic action. In fact, the President is actually creating a crisis with this defiant move. It's also not a permanent fix, either. It's theater. But it's theater that sets a horrible precedent of cutting down laws by Presidential order.

But you know...I don't put 100% of the blame on the President. I blame us. The entire Democratic party is thrilled at the idea of this executive action, and it is actively encouraging him to do this. A little less than half of the electorate is excusing the means because they like the end result. There's plenty of blame to go around. The President is going to announce that he's going to ignore some laws tomorrow, and it won't really register for much of the citizenry here in our young little republic.

At the end of the day, we have to have laws that mean things. If the law can just be altered (and non-enforcement is altering the law) then what is left? I know I use this clip all the time, but it's relevant once again.

You start cutting down a little bit of the law here, a little bit of the law there, and pretty soon, a cold wind is blowing, and the Devil will turn 'round on you. Where do you hide then?

Keystone XL Dies in the Senate

Mary Landrieu was just cut loose from the herd.
Democratic incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) failed to convince enough members of her party to support the Keystone XL pipeline Tuesday evening, a vote considered a desperate attempt to save her Senate seat.

Legislation that would have expedited the approval of the pipeline failed 41-59, falling short of the 60-vote threshold needed for approval. All 45 Republicans voted for the bill.
Not that getting this vote through would have saved her anyway. Oh well, I guess the next question is whether the new Senate will be able to get to 67 votes.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mid-Afternoon Snow Puppy

Take five parts snow, add one part puppy, and mix.

Headlines for November 17, 2014

It's cold, rainy, and foggy out there today. Good Scottish weather.

I was going to have a trial today, but the case settled just before we started picking a jury. Consequently, you get a blog post. (Lucky you!)

Looking around, here are some of the headlines that caught my attention today and over the weekend:

1. South Carolina beat Florida in overtime which got the Florida head coach fired. What's really interesting is whether South Carolina will now offer the former Florida head coach a job as a defensive assistant.

2. A doctor who was transported from West Africa to a Nebraska hospital has died of ebola. Apparently, he got to the US just recently, and it looks like he was in a pretty advanced stage of the disease before he got here.

3. One of the scientists who helped land the Rosetta probe on a comet wore a shirt that offended some people. If you're over 13 and offended by someone's shirt, you're a weak-minded moron. Get a grip, people. It's a shirt. You people are worse than the preacher in Footloose.

Other than that, what else you got?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Steak and Wine Open Thread

Get some protein and some wine to celebrate your Friday. Congratulations, you made it.

No politics today. It's all too stupid to even bother discussing. I'm going to enjoy the weekend, and I suggest you do the same.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Winter Open Thread

LOST IN WINTER — PALETTE KNIFE Oil Painting On Canvas By Leonid Afremov
Open Thread. Talk about whatever you like.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day: 2014

Parris Island Marine Corps Recruits, WWI

Today, we remember all our veterans, but to me, this day seems mostly about remembering the veterans of The Great War.
“The muffled tongue of Big Ben tolled nine by the clock as the cortege left the palace, but on history's clock it was sunset, and the sun of the old world was setting in a dying blaze of splendor never to be seen again.”
― Barbara W. Tuchman, The Guns of August

Monday, November 10, 2014

Why Healthy Girls Think They Are Fat

The magazine Elle says this is their "plus sized" model.

This is obviously stupid. When I see crap like this, I really don't even know what to say.

It's Monday; Don't Go Back to the Future

You made it through another Monday. Congratulations.

It may not have been the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, but you made it. Around these parts, I'm the only one in the household who isn't in sick bay or confined to quarters under quarantine. Something's going around. Don't worry, it's not ebola.

Other than that, not much news. I may do a bourbon post, or a Gear for Guys post later to break the political rhythm. Anyone have any cool gear they're looking at these days? I've been on a knife kick recently.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Supreme Court Accepts Obamacare Subsidies Case

Remember the Halbig case? Well, that issue is now going to the Supreme Court. Just today, the Supreme Court accepted a case (King v. Burwell) which is the same question.

Interestingly, with King, the lower court ruled that the subsidies apply everywhere, so the administration won. Don't forget, the Supreme Court doesn't have to take this case. They could have just refused to take it and let that decision stand. However, SCOTUS decided to take the case, and you need four votes to accept a case.

So are there now four votes to overturn King and say that the ACA does not allow for subsidies to federally established exchanges? Perhaps so. That would be big.

This could be a very interesting case to watch.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Abraham Lincoln's Advice to Lawyers

"Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough."

-Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Last Night's Election - The Devil's Own Day

Nikki Haley cruised to a fairly easy victory last night, as Republicans swept pretty much every race there was, in both South Carolina and nationwide. Even the state of Maryland elected a Republican Governor. Maryland, y'all.

Anyway, we'll see how things go for the next two years. My only admonition to Republicans in the Senate is this: All glory is fleeting. Remember the hubris of the Democrats, who basically thought the were going to have a permanent majority?

Well guess what, y'all. No majority is ever permanent. Get things done, and you'll be rewarded. Act like knuckle-heads, and you'll be out on your ear next time. Being marginally better than the Democrats isn't something to get all that excited about. There's always another battle to be fought.

I'm reminded of the exchange between Grant and Sherman at Shiloh. After the first day of battle, the Confederates had taken the Federal position and forced a retreat of the Federals under Grant and Sherman. The Federals had been driven from the field and looked like they would be finished off the following morning.
When Sherman arrived at Grant's headquarters later that evening, he found the general–broken sword and all– chewing on a soggy cigar in the rain, which had begun soaking the battlefield.

'Well, Grant' Sherman said to his friend, 'We've had the devil's own day, haven't we?'

'Yes,' replied Grant, 'lick 'em tomorrow, though.'
The GOP could easily be licked next time.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day: 2014 - You can't vote for me; I'm not on the ballot.

Well, today's the day. Although there aren't really any competitive races in South Carolina, it will be interesting to see what happens around the country. I'll certainly be interested to see how the dynamics of our national politics changes if the entire Congress becomes controlled by the GOP.

I guess the last time we had the Congress controlled by one party and the White House controlled by another was during George W. Bush's presidency. Man, doesn't that seem like a long time ago?

Voting was easy this morning. No delays, no broken machines. I had actually looked at a sample ballot last night, so I knew what to expect. (Yeah, that's kind of a dork move, isn't it?) And once again, I was the youngest person in my polling place again. I'm sure that will change eventually.

Also, there were lots of people running unopposed. What's up with that?

In any event, go vote if you are moderately informed about current events and the news.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Getting Shit Done

Yeah, it's been awhile since I've given you lovelies a blog post to chew on. I've been getting some serious work done at the office, so I don't feel too bad, given that this here blog is a lark. We will now resume regular blogging. 

Don't forget to vote tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I Got "the Smile" on Saturday

This is what happiness looks like
You know that irrepressible smile that a first time shooter gets when they break their first clay target? It's roughly 50% pride and 50% pure joy. You know the look I'm talking about?

Yeah, I got that last Saturday.

I took a non gun-owner friend of mine out to Live Oaks Sportsman's Club over the weekend, and we did some basic shotgun shooting. He had never fired a shotgun before, so we waked through safety and some basics first. After that, we started on just a straight, softly outgoing target. We got a very nice break on his third shot.

And I got that smile.

After a dusting that easy bird got to be fairly routine, my new shooter joked about shooting with a mirror (Annie Oakley Style). At that point, I realized that I had successfully built up his confidence up enough, so I took him over to a skeet field and showed him how it's not quite so easy when you start adding angles into the mix.

We had some fun over there, and turned quite a few pieces of clay into smaller pieces of clay. I absolutely love taking new shooters out. Seeing that smile is great.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

“It’s hard to argue that opposing marriage equality is a central tenet of Christianity when majorities of Christian voters support same-sex marriage.”

Says Sally Kohn, writing in The Daily Beast.

Whoa! Same-sex marriage and government's role in it aside, when did the central tenets of Christianity become determined by poll results? Did I miss a meeting where the Pope decided that Christianity's tenets would just be whatever the poll numbers showed most Christians wanted to go with?

I'm pretty sure Moses didn't take poll of all the Israelites when he came down off Mt. Sinai and saw them worshiping the golden calf.

You know, I read these kinds of pieces, and it's obvious that the kulturkampf war is over on this issue. However, unsatisfied with claiming the field, the victors are now in full "mop-up" duty, going around and humiliating and shooting the survivors on the other side.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Counsel Table or Podium?

Hercules and the Umpire poses this question to trial lawyers.

Personally, I like the counsel table if I'm questioning my own witness (direct examination), as I want the finder of fact looking at the witness, not me.

On cross examination, I move around a little more, as I want to draw the focus to my leading questions as opposed to the answers from the witness. I also like to stand between the witness and their counsel during my cross examination. This usually happens after I give a document to a witness. I approach, and then don't go all the way back to my table.

So I guess my answer to "table or podium" is the depends.

Friday, October 24, 2014

My Top Five All-Time BBQ Joints (So Far)

Some ribs of my own making. (click image for higher quality picture)
I was inspired to do this post since Brad informed me that he was going to serve Memphis-style BBQ at his political re-education camps. With that, I kind of figured: How bad could re-education be?

Anyway, it got me thinking about my favorite BBQ places. These are my top five. I'm not saying they are in this particular order. All I'm saying is that these are the top five places that I've been to. If your favorite BBQ place isn't on here, then it's either a place that I've been to and not in the top five, or I haven't been there.

I've been told that I make some pretty good BBQ ribs and pulled pork, so I (very humbly) feel like I have a good palate for what constitutes good BBQ.

If one of your favorite places isn't on the list let me know! I'd be happy for you to drop some BBQ knowledge on me and recommend some places to try. I really haven't done BBQ in North Carolina that often, hence the lack of North Carolina's representation on this list. That's a glaring problem that I should fix soon. Anyway, here's my top five:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Kate Middleton Open Thread

Good morning, campers. I'll be out of pocket most of the day, so I'm leaving the Duchess of Cambridge in charge while I'm gone.

Kate Middleton with what is probably a Holland and Holland 20 gauge side by side.
She'll be taking names.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Kickin' Pickin'

Swing by my Fig Columbia blog page and comment for the chance to win a free ticket to a pig pickin' this Sunday. Remember, you have to comment over there to be eligible.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I've Started Shelby Foote's "Civil War"

Shelby Foote - Southern Man of Letters

Now that I've finished a biography of Douglas MacArthur, I've decided to take the plunge into Shelby Foote's three volume history of the Civil War. (Sorry Admiral Nimitz, you'll have to wait.)

To be fair I'm not reading it. My conscience compels me to admit that I'm not reading it in the strict sense. I'm listening to it as an audio-book. Yes, I feel a little twinge of guilt for not actually reading the book, but I don't feel that guilty.

Actually, I feel so little guilt that I actually have a complaint about the audio-book - the reader's voice is not that good. The reader's voice is tinny and flatly accented (no accent at all), sounding more like a computer than an actual person. This is such a shame, since Foote had a wonderful low, gravely Southern accent that just curled up on you like a sleepy cat  looking for a warm place to rest.

In learning a tiny bit about Foote himself, I have come across some wonderful anecdotes about his life and quotes from him about writing and life in general. One of my favorite anecdotes is as follows:
A story I’ve heard, possibly apocryphal, has it that Shelby Foote and William Faulkner once made a pilgrimage together to the battlefields of Shiloh, in Tennessee. It was a Sunday morning, but along the way they were able to score some moonshine from a fellow they spotted having his shoes shined, Faulkner’s logic being that any man having his shoes shined was likely to know where to find some whiskey. By the time they’d reached the battlefield’s famed Peach Orchard, they were loose enough to want to reenact the great cavalry charge on their own, sabers drawn in their minds. That’s how to drink like a Southerner.
I hope that's a true story.

What Every President Liked To Drink

Here's a sampling, a tasting, if you will:
John Adams
Adams loved alcohol, starting almost every morning with a hard cider. Then porter beer, rum and copious amounts of Madeira.
Teddy Roosevelt
Teddy liked Mint Juleps and used them to entice his cabinet to come play tennis with him at the White House. He used fresh mint from the White House garden:
10 to 12 fresh mint leaves “muddled” with a splash of water and a sugar cube
2 or 3 oz. of rye whiskey
¼ oz. of brandy
Sprig or two of fresh mint as a garnish
Lyndon B. Johnson
LBJ loved Scotch whiskey and enjoyed driving (at high speeds) around his Texas ranch while drinking it out of a plastic cup.
I'm only going to quote three, because four would be too much. Everything in moderation, right?

If you feel like consuming more, you can see the whole list here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

An Autumn Weekend in Williamsburg, VA

William & Mary in 1902 (it hasn't changed much since then)

I'm spending the weekend in Williamsburg, VA. Autumn is absolutely wonderful in Virginia. Enjoy the weekend, y'all.