Thursday, April 30, 2015

Chris Christie's people could learn a thing or two from Hillary Clinton

I bet Hillary is somewhere laughing and thinking: "What a bunch of amateurs. You always delete your e-mail!"

The scandal burst into view in January 2014 with the release of an e-mail that Bridget Kelly, a former Christie deputy chief of staff, sent to Wildstein on Aug. 13, 2013, almost a month before the unannounced lane closures.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Kelly wrote. “Got it,” replied Wildstein, a former interstate capital projects director at the Port Authority. He ordered the lane closures and monitored their progress at the bridge on the first day.

Good thing Hillary deleted thirty-thousand of her e-mails. Think of all the problems she avoided. That's just smart thinking on her part. You've got to be a total moron to engage in corrupt practices and self-dealing and just leave behind digital records incriminating yourself.

Hillary 2016: It's not illegal if you don't get caught!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

U.S. economic growth slows to 0.2 percent, grinding nearly to a halt

This Obama economy is really hitting its stride now.

The gross domestic product grew between January and March at an annualized rate of 0.2 percent, the U.S. Commerce Department said, adding to the picture of an economy braking sharply after accelerating for much of last year. The pace fell well shy of the 1 percent mark anticipated by analysts and marked the weakest quarter in a year.

The economy had expanded at a rate of 2.2 percent in the final three months of 2014 and at a rate of 2.4 percent for the year.

Economists, employers and policymakers now face the challenge of determining whether the slowdown is temporary — stemming mostly from an unusually snowy winter in the Northeast — or a sign of broader problems.

Maybe the sales of fire extinguishers and new windows in the Ferguson and Baltimore areas will help stimulate the economy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Iranian Navy Boards Marshall Islands (US) Flagged Cargo Vessel

Iranian forces boarded a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship in the Gulf on Tuesday after patrol boats fired warning shots across its bow and ordered it deeper into Iranian waters, the Pentagon said.

U.S. planes and a destroyer were monitoring the situation after the vessel, the MV Maersk Tigris, made a distress call in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most important oil shipping channels.

Iran's Tasnim news agency quoted an unidentified source who sought to play down the incident, saying it was a civil matter with no military or political dimension. But the Pentagon described it as an apparent provocation.
For the record, the Marshall Islands are legally protected by the USA under a Compact of Free Association. So yeah, the ship isn't a "US" ship, but it's pretty much the same thing since we are obligated to protect them under a very specific treaty.

The part I really don't like is where this happened: the strait of Hormuz, which Reuters accurately describes as "one of the world's most important oil shipping channels". It's not hard to see why.

See the red arrow? Yeah, it's the choke-point for the Persian Gulf.

So we've now got the Iranians testing us by seeing what we'll do if they start to exercise their power and cut off navigation through the strait of Hormuz. Not good. While I believe that Iran has previously claimed the strait of Hormuz to be part of it's "territorial waters", I don't believe the international community, or more to the point, any American President has ever agreed with this assessment.

If the US does not react in a very clear way to this, I am afraid that this will embolden Iran to further restrict shipping through the strait. You have to make it very clear to your adversaries what your intentions are. That's how you prevent small things from escalating into big things.

Continuing to let the bully push you around is what got everyone into trouble with Putin and Ukraine. I think Iran has been taking notes from Putin, and they're putting a similar plan into action here. This boarding of a ship is just the slow easing of the water temperature upwards so as not to make the frog jump out of the pot. The next move will be just slightly more aggressive. Then next one, just a little more. Nothing will be a big incident that makes us want to react, but the ratchet will continue to turn.

I'm sure the US Navy has been told to stand down and not do anything that would scuttle the Iran-US deal. I'm also pretty sure the Iranians know this, so they're pushing the envelope as far as they can. They're going to keep pushing until we push back.

Now there's a lot of things we don't know just yet. We don't know exactly where the ship was, what its cargo is, or where it was going. All I know is that the Iranians are going to do whatever they can get away with.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Open Thread - The Ready Room

I need one of these:

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

Meetings, Deadlines, and People Who Like Beer

Sorry for the lack of content over the weekend. I was busy attending a meeting of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, and you know how long meetings go. Everyone just talk, talk, talks. Meetings are the worst.

Speaking of meetings, if you're not following me on Twitter, you missed out on the top ten things you can do to appear important in meetings. News you can use, amirite?

In breaking news, it appears that a whole lot of people in Columbia like good craft beer and yummy food. Who knew? Crazy.

I promise that I'll get my pictures of the Beaufort Air Show up soon. My personal deadline is to get the post completed before the 2017 Beaufort Air Show. That seems to be a reasonable deadline.

Until then, try to get a little work done. It's Monday, after all. Official slacking off starts Wednesday afternoon.

Friday, April 24, 2015

"You seem okay. It's just getting a little Diane Saywer."

The line is right at the very end, but if you watch the whole clip, you see how the interview goes from questions about the movie to questions about Downey's past. I like it as the parting shot.

I post this only as an interesting example of how you end conversations when you're done. I thought Downey did it quite well. It wasn't a mean comment, but it made clear that he really wasn't interested in talking about the touchy-feely stuff about his past.

I also like the little jab Downey gives him (around the 5:56 mark), saying that the interviewer's "foot is starting to jump a little bit" so he better go ahead and ask the next question.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The City of Columbia's Human Rights Consultant Resigned.

Mainly, I'm shocked that we had a "human rights" consultant on the payroll. Is there some big "human rights" crisis in Columbia that needs an expert consultant? We're not the UN, here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

My Personal Top (Worst) Five Places to Drive

This list is only from my personal experience of driving, so that's why places like Boston or Shanghai aren't on there.

1. Washington, DC: First, you've got the diagonally running streets that just create more confusion than anything. Using a simple grid works for everywhere else. Second, you've got tons of tourists who are looking out the window at monuments instead of where they are going. Also, they aren't familiar with the roads anyway, so they do crazy things like make last minute turns with no warning. (DC is the absolute worst place I've ever driven.)

2. Atlanta, GA: Not so much downtown Atlanta, but just everywhere around it, including the beltway. There's just too many people and too many vehicles for the amount of surface roads. Even on a good day, during rush hour the the traffic flows like maple syrup running uphill in a blizzard. (That's slow.) Toss any inclement weather into the mix, and it might as well be a zombie apocalypse.

3. Columbia, SC: I don't know what it is about Columbia, but everyone here runs the hell out of red lights to an extent I don't see anywhere else. The light will be solid red for two solid counts of One Mississippi, two Mississippi, and then someone will just cruise on through. It's insane. Driving in Columbia is just flat-out dangerous.

4. I-81, between Wytheville, VA and Lexington VA: This is a main trucking route on the interior of the east coast, and I had to drive it all the time between Columbia and Lexington to get to and from college at W&L. The problem is that the area is very hilly/mountainous, and the big trucks that use this route are constantly going slow up the hills and going super-fast down them, which makes traffic kind of like an accordion. It also leads to lots of bad accidents between large trucks and cars, which don't work out so well for the cars. Aside from this, it's actually a beautifully scenic stretch of road.

5. Houston, TX: See Atlanta, but add in even worse humidity and more people with no drivers license. I love Texas, but Houston is just the pits.

Two Sets of Military Photos

Happy Monday.

The first set of photos is categorized as "perfectly timed" photos that are mostly of right before or after an explosion of some sort. Kind of cool. I liked this one so much, I made it my desktop background.

The second set of photos are historic photos that have had color added to them. The color definitely gives the photos a sense of being more modern. For instance:

It takes awhile to click through each set, as there are a lot of good photos, but it's well worth your while.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Video of "Skipper" from the Beaufort Airshow

Regular reader Al. T reminded me that I hadn't done my post-airshow debriefing. I'll get on that ASAP. I've still got to transfer from my camera to my computer, so I'll have to do that tonight. However, to tide you over, I can show you this:

The best part is my three-year-old son cheering the whole time. "Skipper" is the name of the F4U Corsair in Disney's animated movie "Planes". The whole air show was basically the best thing in the entire world for him. We may have to start traveling around to other air shows.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

JV Team is poised to capture the strategic city of Ramadi

The JV team is going for their varsity letter.
Fierce fighting has engulfed Ramadi, which lies only about 70 miles (113 kilometers) west of Baghdad and is the capital of Anbar province, Iraq's Sunni heartland.

Essawi, the deputy head of the Anbar Provincial Council, told CNN from inside the city Wednesday that it's unclear how much longer government troops can hold their front lines against the ISIS offensive.
Yeah, those ISIS guys are are just about to surround the capital of Anbar province. I'm sure the rock that is Iraqi military can hold firm.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

It's not personal, Davey. It's strictly business.

David Brooks must not interact with law enforcement much because he writes things like this.
The cameras will undermine communal bonds. Putting a camera on someone is a sign that you don’t trust him, or he doesn’t trust you. When a police officer is wearing a camera, the contact between an officer and a civilian is less likely to be like intimate friendship and more likely to be oppositional and transactional. Putting a camera on an officer means she is less likely to cut you some slack, less likely to not write that ticket, or to bend the regulations a little as a sign of mutual care.
I don't know about you, but I would like for my interactions with law enforcement to be "transactional". A cop isn't pulling you over because he wants to start an "intimate friendship" with you; he's pulling you over because he thinks you have broken a law. I don't want "intimate friendships with police officers. I want them to do their job. We pay them money, and they enforce the law.

I'm not sure why David Brooks wants "intimate friendship" with police officers. Maybe he doesn't have very many friends. However, most of us aren't looking for a new friend during our interactions with law enforcement, or the government in general. I'm not looking for an intimate friendship at the DMV or the tax assessor's office. Just go about your business and do your job.

It's not personal, Davey. It's strictly business.

Azalea Open Thread

Spring is in the air, the azaleas are in bloom, and baseball is back.

I took this photograph of the azaleas in front of my house this morning. Talk about whatever you like.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hillary Clinton announced that she's running for President

And apparently, she wants to be "our champion". Kind of made me think of this:

I guess that means the GOP nominee will be "The Mountain". Don't the both end up dead?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Weekend Events Around South Carolina

Lots of news out there, but I thought I'd go a little different and put up some interesting/fun events that are going on around South Carolina this weekend:

1. Obviously, the MCAS Airshow is tomorrow. Hopefully, we'll have nice weather. I'm really excited about this, mainly because our three-year-old son is really into airplanes, so I'm going to enjoy him being able to see some airplanes up close.

2. The Gamecock Football Spring Game is tomorrow at Williams Brice. If you want to scratch your college football itch, now will be the best time to do that before the fall.

3. Even though it's sold out, this Sunday, Historic Columbia is having a bus tour of Civil War era buildings around Columbia. I may have to check this out when they do it again - it looks very cool.

4. Yeah, it's not in South Carolina, but it's close. Augusta is just across the line. Besides, I said events "around" South Carolina, not "in" South Carolina.

5. The minor league team up in Greenville (the Greenville Drive) is going to have "Fireworks Night" tonight after the game.

Lots of fun stuff to do this weekend, people. Get out there and have fun!

Friday Morning Open Thread

Feeling....not so good. I'll have something for you later.

Leon WyczółkowskiPlowing fields in eastern Galicia, oil on canvas, 1892
For more art like this, follow this homedawg on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Gifts from Thailand are not always what they seem.

Everyone knows the saying "Beware Greeks bearing gifts." However, most people are not aware of the somewhat lesser-known saying "Beware of Americans bearing gifts from Thailand." Oh yeah, it's totally a saying. Go look it up.

I had some firsthand experience with an American bearing gifts from Thailand when a friend of mine brought me back some gifts from his trip to Thailand. I was surprised and gratified that he even thought of me, because I didn't really think I merited a gift to begin with.

In any event, the first gift was really wonderful. it was a silk necktie. A tie. A Thai tie, to be exact. I love telling people that I have a Thai tie. Here's the my Thai tie, actually tied:

My Thai tie
It's actually quite snappy. I actually prefer red ties, and the elephant look is very Asian. All in all, it's a smashingly successful gift. I wear a tie pretty much everyday, so the cliche gift of a tie is actually a good gift for me.

In any event, the second gift was a lot funnier, or at least it ended up being funnier. After giving me the tie, Brad pulled out a little candy bag, which he said he picked up for me, because it said "M16" on the packaging.

So, figure this is candy, right? The little cartoonish-smiley face guy in the upper lefthand corner is playful, right? I think we both kind of figured that it would be a fruit candy that would be some sort of Thailand jolly rancher, or something.

A couple of days went by, but eventually I figured that I'd open up the Thailand candy and maybe try it. I mean, how weird could it possibly be, it's candy!



Just seeds. Just plain ol' seeds. Not candy seeds. Not chocolate covered seeds. Not seeds dipped in yogurt. Just seeds. Joke's on me, I guess. I think I could plant them and grow some Thai-watermelons. In fact, that's actually what I did. I'll let you know how that turns out. 

By the way, Brad. I think you should have declared this agricultural product to US Customs upon your return. Oh well. I'm sure no one will know. Our secret.

University of Michigan Students are Special Little Snowflakes

What the what? It's not the proper venue or time? Seems like showing a movie at movie night would work out ok. Oh, it's going to hurt someone's feelings? Oh noes! Luckily, the University of Michigan will be showing "Paddington" instead of the offending movie. But wait, there's more! They'll also be having a Build-a-Bear workshop. Yessir, they're serious folks up there at Michigan.

Congratulations to the University of Michigan football team are in order. You're no longer the most embarrassing thing associated with the University of Michigan.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Counting down to the MCAS Airshow: P-51 Mustang

The airshow is this weekend, so there are only a few shopping days left until the big day. In my previous post about the air show, I had some helicopter photos. Today, we're stepping up a little: videos of WWII aircraft.

First, even though it's a commercial, it still gives you a good look at a P-51 Mustang and a F4U Corsair. Oh yeah, there are some chicks. Pay attention to the airplanes, chief.

I know everyone likes the Mustang, but I love the gull-wing curvature of the Corsair.

For all you Mustang lovers, here's a cool video from a Mustang that you can actually catch at some air shows. I certainly cringe a little bit when the ground starts to get really close.

Here's our video from Columbus GA last weekend. Awesome show as always! On to Tyndall AFB next!
Posted by QuickSilver P-51 on Monday, March 30, 2015

Two more: Here's a good video that captures the classic sound of a P-51, but if you really want to know, for me, when we're talking Mustangs, this is the moment I think of:

Pat Conroy is now an editor.

"South Carolina has given me a million stories and no writer who ever lived had such riches to choose from. This is the reason I offered to edit the Story River Books imprint for USC Press."

Friday, April 3, 2015

Frederic Remington Open Thread

Happy Friday.

"The Parley" Frederic Remington - 1903
Talk amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The American experiment is over. Status: Failure

So they phone in death threats and someone incites potential arson to some local, small-time mom and pop pizza place. Because gay people are always wanting their weddings catered with pizza, and this place has the market cornered on pizza delivery. No one else does that. So obviously, arson and death threats are the order of the day.

Yeah, tell me more about how open-minded and tolerant the left is again. But seriously, I am starting to expect that someone is going to murder a Christian business owner just to make a point.