Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How Bad is the Freaking F-35? It's Pretty Freakin' Bad.

On the scale of military disasters, it ranks somewhere between the Charge of the Light Brigade and the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

If you didn't know, the F-35 is supposed to be the new aircraft that the Air Force, Navy, and Marines are going to use for everything. It's supposed to be the air-superiority fighter and our air-to-ground strike aircraft.

Accordingly, if you're keeping score at home, that's a single aircraft for service across three branches of the military, and at least two distinct roles. It's essentially being asked to do everything in one platform. Which, I don't have to point out, is a horribly dumb-ass idea. But, it's a horribly dumb-ass idea. One plane can't be all things to all people. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

So, the F-35, as the aircraft of the future is supposed to replace lots of different aircraft. One in particular is the venerable F-16. The F-16 was designed in the 1970s and is our current highly-maneuverable, light fighter aircraft that we use for basic air superiority. You would think that the new F-35 that we've spent over One Trillion on would be better, right? Yes. One freakin' Trillion dollars. I think you have to put your pinky finger up to the corner of your mouth when you say that. But you would think it would be better than the aircraft its replacing, right?

Well, in point of fact, no.

Apparently, the federal government has managed to spend over a trillion dollars to produce an aircraft that is inferior in air-to-air combat that the very aircraft that it's supposed to replace. How do we know this? Well, they had a little mock dogfight.
The F-35 was flying “clean,” with no weapons in its bomb bay or under its wings and fuselage. The F-16, by contrast, was hauling two bulky underwing drop tanks, putting the older jet at an aerodynamic disadvantage.

But the JSF’s advantage didn’t actually help in the end. The stealth fighter proved too sluggish to reliably defeat the F-16, even with the F-16 lugging extra fuel tanks. “Even with the limited F-16 target configuration, the F-35A remained at a distinct energy disadvantage for every engagement,” the pilot reported.
Yeah, it's bad. Oh, and if you're going to reply that dogfighting is obsolete, well, the last time dogfighting was considered obsolete was Vietnam. Many pilots died because of that thinking.

Monday, June 29, 2015

SCOTUS and Value Judgments

In light of the King and Obergefell decisions, I'm just going to let Justice Scalia say what I'd like to say, because he said it first.
"What makes all this relevant to the bothersome application of "political pressure" against the Court are the twin facts that the American people love democracy and the American people are not fools. As long as this Court thought (and the people thought) that we Justices were doing essentially lawyers' work up here--reading text and discerning our society's traditional understanding of that text--the public pretty much left us alone. Texts and traditions are facts to study, not convictions to demonstrate about. But if in reality our process of constitutional adjudication consists primarily of making value judgments; if we can ignore a long and clear tradition clarifying an ambiguous text, as we did, for example, five days ago in declaring unconstitutional invocations and benedictions at public high school graduation ceremonies, Lee v. Weisman, 505 U. S. ___ (1992); if, as I say, our pronouncement of constitutional law rests primarily on value judgments, then a free and intelligent people's attitude towards us can be expected to be (ought to be) quite different.

The people know that their value judgments are quite as good as those taught in any law school--maybe better. If, indeed, the "liberties" protected by the Constitution are, as the Court says, undefined and unbounded, then the people should demonstrate, to protest that we do not implement their values instead of ours. Not only that, but confirmation hearings for new Justices should deteriorate into question and answer sessions in which Senators go through a list of their constituents' most favored and most disfavored alleged constitutional rights, and seek the nominee's commitment to support or oppose them.

Value judgments, after all, should be voted on, not dictated; and if our Constitution has somehow accidentally committed them to the Supreme Court, at least we can have a sort of plebiscite each time a new nominee to that body is put forward."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Why I Support Term Limits (From Ace)

"I think term limits are good. I think that people suck up the attitudes and bigotries of those they see all the time. People form a society, and then attempt to advance socially by the rules of that society. These long-serving professional politician motherf***ers form a society with other long-serving professional politician motherf***ers, and adopt each others mores and bigotries, including hatred of us, the non-political-class.

The longer someone serves, the further he moves from the person who deserved to be elected and the closer to someone who needs to be run out of town and tarred and feathered.

There is an actual evil in some places. I don't mean supernatural evil, but if you, horrible thought, were in prison for six years, you would indeed begin to adopt many attitudes and thoughts of prisoners.

A place where you take other people's money and spend it to feather your own nest is an evil place. People should know that money comes from hard work and the voluntary agreement with other folks to exchange goods and services for money. They need to feel that, and after six years playing by Capitol rules where money is gotten by swindle and menace, they forget that.

We should strictly limit how long we let people serve in such places. We let these people sit in monster-factories for a decade, and then wonder why they went bad."


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Staying Busy - My "To Do" Blog List

Yeah, this is about how many things I have going on right now. No worries, though -- that's the life of a litigator.

Unfortunately, it's keeping me from blogging about all sorts of interesting things. No, not the flag. I've kind of said my peace on that, and it is what it is. I really can't take talking about it anymore. It's so beaten to death that we're now seeing everyone go bananas about other things. I'm not talking about it any more.

We've got some actual interesting issues going on, and I just haven't had time to really give them an in-depth discussion. For instance:

1. James Horner died the other day. He was one of the best composers for music in the movies ever. If there's a Mt. Rushmore for movie music composers, Horner has to be on it. He's a legend. I love Outlawed Tunes on Outlawed Pipes, and there's so much more.

2. I want to get a post up about the new book that I'm reading listening to. It's the story of Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and Eddie Rickenbacker. I knew the basics about these guys, but their life stories are amazing.

3. BBQ Chicken. Yeah, I made some phenomenal BBQ chicken on my Weber Smokey Mountain, and I need to do a play-by-play blog post on this because it's that good. If only I had the skills of this guy behind the camera. Soon...

And that's just for starters. I still need to get the pictures up from the Beaufort Air Show. My new goal is to get them up before the next air show.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lee's General Order No. 9

Portrait of Gen. Robert E. Lee, by Edward Pine, On display at Lee Chapel, Lexington, Virginia

The banner has been poisoned by hatred to an extent where it no longer inspires reverence for dead men.

If there is truly a two-thirds majority to remove the flag in the SC legislature, then I hope that the members of the legislature who would otherwise hold out, would not do so. I hope they find inspiration from from General Lee, and not be drug along, kicking and screaming, when their vote would do no good.

When the outcome of the fight is no longer in doubt, my advice is to accede gracefully.
Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia, 10th April 1865.
General Order
No. 9

After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.

I need not tell the survivors of so many hard fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to the result from no distrust of them.

But feeling that valour and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuance of the contest, I have determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.

By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.

With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your Country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you an affectionate farewell.

— R. E. Lee, General, General Order No. 9

Bid the flag an affectionate farewell. Allow it to exit gracefully.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Charleston Shooting

I'm sure you've seen the news about the shooting at the Charleston Emanuel AME Church.

Other than to say there's a special place in hell for a person who kills people while in prayer at Church, I don't know what to say. Hopefully, law enforcement finds this guy post-haste.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Quote of the Day - Capitalism and Greed

From Uncle Milton, of course.

“Well first of all, tell me: Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? Of course, none of us are greedy, it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worse off, worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.”


Monday, June 15, 2015

Friday, June 12, 2015

Reasons the VA Building in Columbia Will Become a Parking Lot

The VA office at the corner of Laurel and Assembly street might become a parking lot.
The federal government plans to demolish the former Veterans Affairs regional office in downtown Columbia to make way for a parking lot, a move that upsets Mayor Steve Benjamin.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The agency moved its 400-employee regional office to a new site off Garners Ferry Road in 2009. But some call center employees originally remained in the five-story, 67-year-old building, at the corner of Assembly and Laurel streets near downtown’s main post office.

The U.S. General Services Administration, the landlord for federal buildings, is seeking bids for $2 million to $3 million in work to tear down and grade the downtown site to “create new surface suitable for a future parking lot,” according to a proposal.Now, however, the building is empty.
First of all, I've been taking both of my children to the Strom Thurmond Federal Building (adjacent to this VA Building) for about the last three years. I had no idea that the VA building was completely empty. I mean, I never saw anyone coming in or out, but I just kind of figured a huge office building in downtown Columbia would be in use. So, that just blow my mind.

As for the parking lot idea, I spoke with one of the security personnel at the Strom Thurmond Federal Building about it. He said that GSA wants to make it a parking lot because (1) parking lots are cheaper to maintain than buildings; (2) they are good from a security standpoint; and (3) it will likely be used to allow the parents of children at the day-care at the Strom Thurmond Federal Building to have some dedicated parking for pick-up and drop-off. This is all from my first hand conversation with a security guard at the Strom Thurmond Federal Building. He told me all this, and then concluded with "I really wish they would just put a place to eat there. There's nowhere around here to get a hot meal."

So that benefits...me and my kids.

In any event, I thought I would at least pass along what I heard from the federal folks. I know that most Columbia residents aren't thrilled with the idea of a parking lot right there, but I'm pretty sure the federal government doesn't really care about what anyone around here thinks.
Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article23622145.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I don't think anyone at the New York Times has been on a fishing boat.

If you think this is a "luxury speedboat", I have bad news for you. You're an idiot.

Why do I think that?

Well, because they think that the boat seen above is a "luxury speedboat".

A publisher paid him $800,000 to write a book about growing up as the son of Cuban immigrants.

In speeches, Mr. Rubio, a Florida Republican, spoke of his prudent plan for using the cash to finally pay off his law school loans, expressing relief that he no longer owed “a lady named Sallie Mae,” as he once called the lender.

But at the same time, he splurged on an extravagant purchase: $80,000 for a luxury speedboat, state records show. At the time, Mr. Rubio confided to a friend that it was a potentially inadvisable outlay that he could not resist. The 24-foot boat, he said, fulfilled a dream.
Now, don't get me wrong. It's a nice boat. But calling it a "luxury speedboat" is just incorrect. It's a center-console fishing boat, and here in America, lots of people have them. The thing that I want to explore is not why the people at the New York Times are idiots. I mean, they are. It's not really a big mystery. No, I'm interested in what they think this story accomplishes. What are we supposed to think after reading this story?

Are we supposed to think that Marco Rubio has too much money, and that he's another out of touch rich guy like Mitt Romney?

Or are we supposed to think that Marco Rubio doesn't have enough money and spends his small amount of money on trifling things?

I don't really think it's the first thing. I mean, clearly, he doesn't have as much money as the multi-millionaire Hillary Clinton. Because if we want to get into a debate about which candidates have luxury living, I'm pretty sure Hillary Clinton walks away with that prize.

So it has to be the second thing, right? The bird-brains at the NYT want us to think that Marco Rubio is just a small time guy who doesn't have much money but spends what he does have on a "luxury speedboat" to fulfill a dream.

The thing is, not having a lot of money and buying something like a fishing boat anyway probably describes a lot more Americans than you think.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015

Tiger Woods shot the worst round of his career over the weekend


That's a big number.

I'm so old, I remember when everyone was predicting that Tiger was going to so easily pass Nicklaus' record of PGA major wins.

By all accounts, it's only a matter of time before Tiger Woods breaks Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major golf championships. So we looked at all the angles and can now project when he is most likely to claim the record. Here's a look.

Just by the numbers

Tiger has averaged 1.18 major victories a year since his first major in 1997. Rounding that down to one a year, if he only follows form, he'll tie Nicklaus in 2012 and break the mark in 2013. 
Now, it's been about seven years since Woods won a major (2008)...and he's 39 years old.

Time catches up with everyone.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Everyone is running for President

Maybe I should announce my candidacy since I have about as much chance to be president as some of these folks. I guess that means I'll need a platform of some sort.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

SC DOT Secretary Resigns

What is the deal with the SC DOT? The last guy left after a DUI charge, and now this Secretary has left to spend more time with her family after about a year on the job?

What is going on over at DOT? Can someone with some competency please run the department? Fix the roads, make sure the bridges and stuff are safe, and that's it. We're not trying to operate NASA and engineer a moon landing, here.

Roads and bridges. Just do it. Quit foolin' around.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Vince Vaughn on the Second Amendment

Vince Vaughn in the upcoming Season 2 of True Detective
The star of the upcoming Season 2 of True Detective on gun control:
I support people having a gun in public full stop, not just in your home. We don’t have the right to bear arms because of burglars; we have the right to bear arms to resist the supreme power of a corrupt and abusive government. It’s not about duck hunting; it’s about the ability of the individual. It’s the same reason we have freedom of speech
Yeah, this is pretty basic stuff, but it's surprising to me to the extent that a big Hollywood actor said it. You don't just go around Hollywood and say things like this. It's just not done. People might get the wrong idea, and think you're some kind of...conservative.

Vaughn is either an A-list actor or just on the bubble of being an A-lister. Either way, it's indisputable that he's a big star. We all know that Hollywood isn't the most friendly place for people who happen to have conservative viewpoints. 

It would certainly be easy for Vaughn to simply go with the mainstream liberal opinion in Hollywood, but he didn't. My theory is that he's now at least a big enough star that the liberals in Hollywood will (have to) overlook his politics because he's a huge box-office draw.

In any event, kudos to Vaughn for speaking his mind. Oh, and Season 2 of True Detective should be interesting. I'm really curious to see if a guy known for comedy can pull off a transition to a darker drama.

Back from Traveling Open Thread

I've just returned from traveling to the flood-soaked Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas area for the last several days.

I just got back to Columbia last night at about 3:00AM this morning, so bear with me. Content will be here, eventually.