Friday, January 31, 2014

Confessions from a TSA Agent

If you've ever gone through airport security, you should read this.

2014 Gamecock Baseball Season Preview

Last night, Holbrook, Myers, and Esposito spoke at a Palmetto Club dinner to give a season preview. I took a few notes, and thought I would share with fellow USC Baseball fans. It's long, so I'm putting it below a jump.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

It's Almost Baseball Season

It snowed yesterday, but baseball season is around the corner. Tonight, Coach Holbrook is giving a talk on the upcoming season for the USC Baseball team -- should be good. I'll have a full report afterwards.

We're all told at some point in time that we can no longer play the children's game, we just don't... don't know when that's gonna be. Some of us are told at eighteen, some of us are told at forty, but we're all told. 

Laser Keyboard

Anybody use one of these before? This looks freakin' cool.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Rock N Roll Breakfast

Want to up your musical IQ? I have the perfect blog for you. One of my best friends (Mike Z.) from law school has jumped on the blog train with his own music-themed blog: Rock N Roll Breakfast.

The beginning of rock and roll.
Even back in law school, it was clear that Mike Z. was the cool "music guy" in our group, so it makes perfect sense that Mike would start a blog focusing on his family's musical journey through different genres of rock and roll.
My life seems to have come with a soundtrack, and I want to share it with my family.  The kids may not like every song we play (I’m not foolish enough to think that I will always be cool…or ever was), but hopefully, they’ll hear these songs someday and laugh and make fun of their Mom and Dad or find a way to smile on a hard day or find just the right song to celebrate a great moment.  These organized noises and words are more than just songs, they are part of the fabric of our family.  I want our kids to create their own soundtracks – with a few dedications to Mom and Dad and a shout out to us in the liner notes.
He's starting with 1950's rock for his first post. If you're a music lover, or just want to up your musical knowledge, this should be a great blog for you. He also links the songs on Spotify so it's easy to follow along. I highly recommend it.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2014 State of the Union

Play along at home. I'm going to try and Live-Tweet the State of the Union on my semi-automatic Twitter Feed. It might not be the same as actually being there, but at least you won't have to stand up and clap every couple of minutes.

Meanwhile, in Columbia, no snow to report here at Casa de Caskey.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Winter is Coming (Tomorrow, Apparently)

Apparently, people are saying that a snowflake or two will come down in Columbia tomorrow, so everything for tomorrow is being cancelled because I guess everyone thinks it's going to be like this:

This is annoying. It's winter, people. It will be cold. It might snow a little. That's normal. The white walkers aren't coming to overrun the city. It's just a little snow.

Let's not cancel Court hearings, school, and regular events like work for a few snowflakes. Just drive safely and try to use a little common sense.

(But maybe keep the dragon-glass sword handy, just in case.)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cold Breakdown of the SC CWP Bill

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I'm both a lawyer and a gun owner with a CWP here in South Carolina. The new CWP bill that is about to become law hasn't really received an in-depth analysis other than focus on "you can carry in restaurants" line.

I'm not just blaming newspaper journalists here. Even the NRA's legal blog team has a cursory few sentences about this law that don't really tell you much. When you dig into this bill, there are actually some serious things that people need to know.

So, I (your humble blogger) have done the hard work of looking at the actual legislative language of the bill to let you know exactly what this bill does and doesn't do. So, here goes. (The alphabetical list is my own. It doesn't refer to any specific subsections. It was just a way to organize the points.)
A.     Carry Allowed into Restaurants and Bars: This is what most people know, as it's the big headline getter. As it stands right now, a person with a valid CWP (like me) cannot carry concealed into a bar or restaurant that sells alcohol for on-premises consumption. That means I can't carry into Apple-bee's or Rosso tonight because they serve alcohol. So, this law now amends that provision to say that a person who has a valid CWP license may carry concealed into a a business which sells alcoholic liquor, beer, or wine for consumption. However, that person may not consume alcohol at all. If you drink while carrying, you lose your CWP, and can go to jail for up to two years.

B.     Restaurants and Bars May Prohibit Carry: Now, there are a good number of people who don't like the new tweak to the law as described above. Accordingly, there's a second tweak. Any restaurant and bar may simply post a sign that prohibits carrying concealed, and no one will be allowed to carry concealed. If you ignore the sign and carry concealed anyway, same penalty as above. I like to think of this as the "If you like your gun free zone, you can keep your gun free zone" provision.

Additionally, even if the bar or restaurant doesn't post the sign, they can still request that any particular person carrying concealed leave on a case-by-case basis. If that person refuses to leave, same penalty as above. So if you're a bar or restaurant, you can either chose to have an entirely gun free zone, or a selectively gun free zone.

C.     Tweaks to CWP Applications/Requirements: Before, you had to have a valid SC driver's license. Now, any photo ID issued by a state will work, as long as you qualify as a resident. The residency definition is also modified to allow certain classes of applicants (former and/or current military, police, law enforcement) to be exempt from most the training certifications.

D.     Elimination of the 8 Hour Training Requirement: Before, pretty much everyone had to go through a class that was a minimum of 8 hours as a requirement for your CWP. The 8 hour class length requirement has been eliminated. You still have to do the same things (including actually firing a handgun in the presence of the instructor) but there's no time minimum for each class.

E.     Online Applications: You can now submit your application to SLED online.

F.     Express Written Consent In Contradiction of Posted Sign: Kind of an interesting amendment. You can now, post a sign in front of your business and completely prohibit concealed carry. This bill now has a provision that would allow the owner to issue someone a written exemption from the sign generally prohibiting carrying.

G.     Renewals/Vehicle Storage: Currently, your CWP is valid for four years, then you have to renew. The bill changes that to five years. The renewal fee is still $50.00. Also, it allows CWP holders to store a pistol under their seat in their vehicle or in any storage compartment. (Although I wouldn't recommend that.)
That's basically it. So on to the opinion part of this.

Is this a good bill or not? The substantive part about carrying in places that serve alcohol is not as big of a deal as either side would probably want you to believe. If you run a bar or restaurant and you want to keep CWP folks out, then all you have to do is put up a sign. The good thing about this law is that it doesn't force anyone to do anything. It offers a set of rules for everyone to follow according to whatever choices they want to make, and I like that.

Just because I like to carry CWP doesn't mean everyone does. I'm sure there are people out there who own restaurants that don't want guns in their establishments. That's fine. This law respects their wishes.

As for the other provisions, I'm not really wild about eliminating the 8 hour minimum class time. I took the class, and it was really informative, even though I already had a solid background in guns and shooting. There were some people in my class who has zero knowledge going in, and they needed every minute of that eight hours to get comfortable. At the end, they felt very much empowered by their knowledge of how a gun actually works, the different parts of a gun, and all sorts of other basics. I just don't feel like 8 hours is too much to ask for if you're going to want to carry CWP, if you're going to take it seriously.

Also, if you read the NRA's summary of the law, they say this bill "improves training standards". I kind of think that's misleading at best.

I'm fine with the online application, since you have to send all the same information anyway. It's just an acknowledgement that e-mail is a simple way to communicate.

The express written consent is an interesting tweak. It means that someone can selectively allow CWP into their place by giving written consent to whomever they choose. I guess if a bar or restaurant wanted to ban CWP, but then wanted to allow a regular guy they know really well to carry, they can exempt him. Kind of interesting, and since it's all left up to the individual owners, I'm fine with that. I doubt this will happen much in practice, though.

So is it a good law? I think it's a good law in that it has taken an existing law and given more flexibility for each individual citizen and business to decide how they want to conduct themselves. Will it actually change that much of what goes on in practical terms? Probably not. All the folks who say this bill will turn SC into the "wild west" with shootouts in saloons are blowing smoke. Guns are a hot-button issue, so each political "team" will try to amp their base up by either saying this law is horrible or that it's panacea. To me, it's very vanilla stuff that could have easily been included in the first CWP Bill.

If you're an anti-gun person, I hope this analysis has calmed you. If you're pro-gun, I hope this has shown you that you don't have the freedom to carry anywhere anytime, and that there are stiff penalties for breaking the law in this regard.

So there you have it, campers. I feel that I've done my public service for the week and made up for not posting yesterday. If you have any questions or comments about the CWP bill, I'd be interested to hear them. Also, if you think I got any interpretation of the law wrong, let me know.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Colorado to Require Education Classes Prior to Marriage?

Lumped onto the hours spent debating centerpieces, picking a photographer, finding the perfect dress and corralling future in-laws, the proposed Colorado Marriage Education Act calls for 10 hours of pre-wedding marriage education.
Yes, that's right, campers. State sponsored marriage school. There are people out there who think the State of Colorado should be involved in counseling you on your impending marriage. The mind boggles.

First (and let's get this straight right from the start) the government has absolutely no business trying to prescriptively tell people what does and does not constitute good marriage advice. Second, assuming they do this, what are they going to teach people?

I've been married for nine years, have a good matrimonial litigation practice, and I still don't consider myself qualified to give other people marital advice.

Here's the thing, though. The people pushing for this program are doing it with good intentions. Their stated goal is to: "better prepare individuals going into marriage to fulfill their new roles as spouse and potentially as parent, to furthermore protect children given that marriage is the foundation of a family unit."

That's an admirable goal. Who could be against protecting children, right? Is there anyone out there against protecting children? This group of people is probably a really "family values" group that has a foundation in historical Christian values, and they probably truly want to see children protected and marriages succeed. They're probably Republicans. Those are certainly admirable goals.

However, the manner in which they are going about achieving these goals is the problem -- they're using the legal force of the law and the arm of government to require people to sit through their education classes.

This strain of Republican really bothers me. Like their Democratic counterparts, they think they know better than the rest of us, and if only we would let them be in charge everything would be better. Democrats tend to think they can do this in almost every aspect of our lives, so they're usually in favor of using the government to force people to do things that they might not voluntarily do.

Can't people be just left alone to marry anymore without some scolds or nags telling us everything that we need to do? I mean, isn't that going to happen anyway once we get married?

Just kidding, ladies.

In all seriousness though, there's nothing wrong with attending classes prior to getting married. Heck, I did that through my church about nine years ago. But that was a voluntary choice. A voluntary choice is the polar opposite of the government requiring you to do something as a precondition.

C. S. Lewis had a quote about this: 

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Goodell: NFL Might Get Rid of PATs

While I was busy working yesterday, the NFL Commissioner was busy coming up with weird ideas. Specifically, he floated the idea of eliminating the PAT.
“You want to add excitement with every play,” Goodell said. “So there have been some proposals. Some are still going through the process of creativity, but there’s one proposal in particular that I’ve heard about (where) it’s automatic that you get seven points when you score a touchdown, but you could potentially go for an eighth point, either by running or passing the ball. But if you fail, you’d go back to six.”
So we're talking about scoring a touchdown, getting seven points for that, and then having the ability to gain an extra point by going for the two point conversion, with the idea being that if you fail, you go back to six.

This is a silly idea. First, it's not going to motivate any coaches to go for two (or should we call it one?) with the conversion "bet", unless they otherwise would due to the score being odd. If you didn't know, there's actually a chart that you can use to determine when to go for the two-point conversion. I'm told there was math involved.

Anyway, my point is that eliminating the PAT kick won't really change the game at all, other than to have the effect of going directly from TD to kickoff most of the time. Does that really make the game "more exciting"? Not really.

It does move the game along a little, but the PAT only takes a few seconds. The big delay is really a feature of the TV timeouts they take between the TD, the PAT, the kickoff, and then the first offensive possession of the other team. In that span of time, you can get a TV timeout (a commercial) between all of those, resulting in about 4-5 minutes before more actual football occurs.

So, it's really the commercials. Also, do you know anyone who complains about PATs? Hey bro! You know, the thing I hate most about the NFL is those darn PATs. They're soooo boring! I wish they would get rid of them!

No, you don't know anyone who says that, because no one says that. You know what I would like to see? I would like to see the NFL tell advertisers that they can only show a certain commercial a limited number of times during each game.

Think about it. How many times have you watched a football game and seen the same commercial for three hours, over, and over, and over? Being overexposed to the same commercial makes you start to loathe the product. Case in point: Before he saw this commercial, my friend Will probably didn't have any strong feelings about the Nissan Rogue. Now I bet you a nickel he would never buy one, because he's had that stupid commercial force-fed to him about a billion times in the span of a few football games. If you bought one, he would probably make fun of you.

Keep the PAT, drop the repetitive commercials.

Monday, January 20, 2014

This Osprey Is a Better Fisherman Than You

But you probably can't see as well as he can. And you probably don't have talons. 

This is just a video of an osprey catching fish, but it's kind of mesmerizing.

This is how you fish with style.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fairly Comprehensive List of American Whiskey Distilleries

This list is an attempt to catalog all current American whiskey distilleries and brands. The idea is that if you see a bottle of American whiskey on the shelf, you should be able to consult this list and figure out who makes and markets it. 

The list has two parts. Part I lists all American whiskey distilleries which are currently producing whiskey, or have plans to produce whiskey in the near future, along with their brands, listed by state. Part II lists independent bottlers of American whiskey; that is, companies that buy whiskey from the distilleries listed in Part I and bottle it under their own labels. Note that some of the distilleries listed in Part I also source whiskey from other distilleries.These lists do not include all blended whiskey brands or brands that are for export only, though some are mentioned. It also does not include American bottlers of foreign whiskeys (i.e. American bottling companies that bottle Irish or Canadian whiskeys). It also does not include "spirit whiskey," which is whiskey in name only.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Why I'm Fine to Let Chris Christie Drown

Not literally drown. I mean politically.

Prior to the lane-closings on the GW Bridge turning into an abuse of power scandal for Governor Christie, he was viewed as one of the primary front-runners for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2016. He has been described as a practical governor who was willing to work across party lines to advance his state's interest, and that he was a "moderate".

That is certainly true. However, I would like to recap a little recent history for everyone:

2008: McCain gets the GOP nomination for President because he was a pragmatic moderate who had worked across the aisle to get things done. He lost.
2012: Romney gets the GOP nomination for President because he was a moderate who had worked across the aisle in his home state of Massachusetts to pass a health insurance regulatory scheme that was the forerunner of Obamacare. He lost.

So, does the GOP really want to nominate another moderate republican candidate who has worked across the aisle for the 2016 Presidential race? What's the definition of insanity, again?

There are two basic reasons I don’t want to see Christie be the GOP nominee besides historical precedent. He supports immigration amnesty and he accepted ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion in his state. If he had only done one of these, there would only be a red flag. Both of these are a disqualification to me.

Here's the thing. No matter what anyone says, one of the major points of the 2016 debate will be Obamacare. It will likely be a flaming train-wreck of a program. The GOP cannot have a nominee that is tainted by the program.

Remember back in 1940 when Winston Churchill won the Prime Minister job? He won because he wasn't tainted by the Munich Accord. He was always against appeasement of Hitler, and the men who had either tried to do so or had accepted the trying were not able to convince enough of the electorate that they were the men for the job.

Christie won't be able to convince enough of the electorate that he's the man for the job because he's tainted by his going along with Obamacare's medicaid expansion. It's Romney all over again.

Get someone who isn't tainted. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Question for All the Central Planners Out There

Question for all the super-smart central planners out there: How do you lower the cost of a product or service?

It is an iron-clad rule of economics: The only way to reduce cost is to increase supply or decrease demand. 

Forget reducing demand. That's not happening, because we're not talking about a luxury good like wine or iPods. We're talking about getting your head stitched up when you fall off a ladder, or getting your gall bladder out. Demand isn't going anywhere, so that leaves us with the supply of health care. Not health insurance. Health care.

And Obamacare does nothing to address cost, because it doesn't increase the supply of health care. If you wanted to increase the supply of health care, you could come up with lots of ways to do that. However it does nothing of the kind.

In fact, Obamacare is chock-block full of policies and regulations that further artificially limit supply.

A bill that increased the supply of health care--not health insurance!--would be a bill with majority support.

Alas, the same folks who wrote this failure of a law will likely be the ones to write the single-payer law to follow.

Friday, January 10, 2014

And. Here. We. Go.

But in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Humana disclosed to investors, "as a result of the December 2013 federal and state regulatory changes allowing certain individuals to remain in their previously existing off-exchange health plans, the Company now expects the risk mix of members enrolling through the health insurance exchanges to be more adverse than previously expected."

Can you say "death spiral"?

Math doesn't care about your good intentions. It just likes to watch the world burn.

Almost to the Weekend, But Not Quite There

It's been a busy day. I'm still working. However, I decided to bring you this picture of a dog, as a content-free post this Friday afternoon.

Enjoy your weekend. I'm still trying to get there.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Rifle Maker Is Loving SC After Leaving CT

“I have personally been able to get a very good feel from South Carolina, from the governor down to the local beat cops to your average citizen,” he said. “The welcoming has been tremendous. People on the street, cashiers at the gas station or the pizza place, or even TSA agents, they know who we are and they’re happy to have us. In Connecticut, we always felt like a dirty little secret. Down there, it’s very much the opposite.”
Looks like South Carolina is doing something right.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Trigger Discipline (Do's and Don'ts)

Brad had a post today about some Jihadists who wear knock-off clothes. I'm not really sure what his point was, but the guy in question had some poor trigger discipline. (Finger directly on the trigger; go see for yourself) Also, it was an RPG, so we're not just talking about a stray round from an AK here. Don't be this guy.

If you're a regular reader of this blog (or just have good gun safety) you know the rule. Say it again, this time with feeling
Keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you have acquired your target and made the decision to fire.
Here's an example of good trigger discipline.

Obamacare Actually Cancels More Plans Than It Creates

Remember way back, a long time ago? Back when we were debating Obamacare having Obamacare shoved down our throats because it would result in more insured people? For our own good, of course.

Yeah, about that.
More than 4.7 million Americans had their health insurance canceled as a result of any of the thousand-plus-page law’s new rules, The Associated Press reports, but the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed Tuesday that between federal and state exchanges, just two million Americans have signed up for Obamacare coverage. (RELATED: Obama administration announces net loss of at least 3 million insurance plans)
So, we're down 3 million insurance plans due to this law. I guess this is what the Ivy-League folks call a "sub-optimal" outcome, right? I'm only asking because I'm a moron from South Carolina.

Just to recap: Less people have insurance, it costs more, and it covers less.

That's one hellava a system you came up with, guys.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Florida State vs. Auburn (My Pick)

It's a beautiful backdrop in Southern California, perfect for the last game of the season. It's also the last BCS Championship ever. Next year will be the first year of the playoffs, so there's a special quality to this game.

Auburn has gotten here due to some magical plays down the stretch. Some people are calling them the "Team of Destiny". Florida State has gotten here by beating the snot out of what is admittedly a weaker schedule than most. However, they're for real.

I don't know if the Auburn magic will continue for one more game, or if Florida State will continue their dominance, but we should be in for a good one.

Relax, crack open a cold one, and enjoy the majesty of this beautiful game. For a die hard football fan, it's really nice to be able to watch a game without really having too much stake in the outcome. My new brother-in-law has Auburn in his family, and my mom has some Florida State in hers.

Being a good southern boy, I'll go with my mama and the Seminoles.

Enjoy the game.

Midlands Schools to Have Delayed Opening Because of Cold Weather

No precipitation, but we're now having a delayed opening for the cold? I could understand if it was going to be icy due to snow, or sleet, but there isn't any actual precipitation being forecast. It's just going to be cold.

I don't really think that two hours is going to make much of a difference.

Bart Starr in the 1967 Ice Bowl

Put on a coat, y'all. Or don't. Bart Starr didn't need a coat in the Ice Bowl. Man up.

George Will on "Fox News Sunday"


Friday, January 3, 2014

You've Lost Another Ship?

Remember the ship full of global warming scientists who are stuck in the Antarctic ice? Yeah, the ship is still suck, but that's not why I'm updating you.

You've lost another ship?
I'm updating you because a second ship (sent to rescue them) is stuck. So at this point, the score is:

Massive Anarctic Ice Sheet: 2
Scientists: 0

At some point we need to talk to these supposedly smart people who keep getting stuck in the ice. I'm not being filled with confidence that these are our best and brightest. This is comedy gold. I'm sure even the penguins are laughing at these idiots.

You know what's even funnier? When Al Gore got a Nobel Prize in 2007, he said in his Nobel acceptance speech that the arctic would be ice free in 2013. Oh well, at least I have a new theme song for the global warming dopes:

Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it.

Elections Have Consequences

Magpul Industries has finally made good on their promise to leave Colorado. They've announced that they will be taking their 250 jobs and moving to Texas and Wyoming. I'm sure the anti-gunners are probably happy to have Magpul gone anyway.

That's fine. I'm sure Texas and Wyoming are happy to welcome manufacturing jobs to their state. If you're going to be hostile to a particular industry, you shouldn't be surprised when they leave.

Maybe Colorado can make up the loss of jobs and revenue by selling more marijuana.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Spurrier is OG

Allow me to sum up the awesomeness of the Capital One Bowl for you in one GIF (via @BuzzFeedSports):

GIF: Spurrier and South Carolina getting frisky! Bruce Elling... on Twitpic

  1. Connor Shaw takes the snap from the shotgun
  2. Shaw hands off to Pharaoh Cooper on what looks like a sweep left
  3. Cooper laterals it back to Bruce Ellington
  4. Ellington then throws it back across the entire field to Connor Shaw, who has slipped into the endzone unnoticed until it's too late.
  5. Touchdown
Spurrier is original gangsta.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Capital One Bowl Pre-Game Thread

Happy New Year! I stayed in last night, but apparently I was the only person who decided to do that. It sounded like there was a Revolutionary War battle going on last night from around 10:00PM until about 12:30AM.

Anyway, it's one of the best days of the year. Today is the day when college football gives us an overflowing buffet of football games to watch as we enjoy the beginning of a new year.

Enjoy the day, y'all. If you need to get pumped up, here's the scene setter.

To begin the New Year I'll be smoking some wings, enjoying frosty refreshment (required when using the smoker) and basking the glory of college football.

Go Gamecocks!