Thursday, October 29, 2015

Did you think last night's GOP debate was awful? You're not alone.

There's an old saying that goes, "Most people talk about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it".

Well, everyone is talking about how awful the moderators were last night, and Dr. Ben Carson has decided that he's gonna do something about it.

In an interview shortly after the debate, Barry Bennett, manager of the Ben Carson campaign, called the session here in Colorado "unfair to everyone" and said the current debate structure should not remain in place. "I think the families need to get together here, because these debates as structured by the RNC are not helping the party," Bennett said. "There's not enough time to talk about your plans, there's no presentation. It's just a slugfest. All we do is change moderators. And the trendline is horrific. So I think there needs to be wholesale change here."

Bennett said he will call Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski Thursday to propose a unified call for change. "Corey and I talk regularly, so I will talk to him," Bennett said. "I will call Frank Sadler (Carly Fiorina's campaign manager), I will call those guys and say listen, we can choose our own network and our own format. We don't need to be led around like prize steers."
Good for Carson. Good for all of them. They don't need the networks. Way back in the day when the only way to get in front of people was to use television, the networks had the power. Nowadays, the candidates have a myriad of ways to get in front of people. The candidates are the draw. The networks need the candidates now.

I'm glad that someone is wising up a little. For starters, maybe we can get rid of morons asking their moronic questions of people seeking to be President.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Regarding the Spring Valley High School Matter

By now, I assume that you've seen the video of the Richland County Sheriff's deputy "removing" a Spring Valley High School student from her desk. If you haven't seen it, here's a link.

I've noticed that all of the comments I have seen flying around on FaceBook, Twitter, and the other parts of the web have fallen into two categories. The two categories are this:

Category 1: You have to respect authority, and a student who won't obey teachers and openly defies a police officer gets what's coming to her. She should have known better.

Category 2: The police officer has no excuse whatsoever for his actions, and under no circumstances should force be used like this against children in school, who are just there to learn their ABCs in a safe space.

Not a lot of room for middle ground between those two lines of thought, is there? And it would be nice if life was simply a binary choice like this all the time. The answer is either A or B. Either the police officer is totally at fault, or the student is totally at fault. The thing is, life isn't this simple; it's complicated and messy.

Both the student and the officer contributed to this situation. They both made decisions that led to the ultimate violent outcome of the conflict. Both sides are wrong in certain ways, in my opinion. Let's take them individually.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ok. Very funny. Who's the joker who signed me up for "Team Hillary"?

So, I just got this in my e-mail:

Hillary for America
Thanks for joining Team Hillary -- we’re so excited to have you, and we hope you’re excited, too!
We have a LOT to do to make sure this campaign hits the ground running so Hillary can become the next President of the United States. Can you help?
  • Donate $1 or whatever you can to help put organizers on the ground right now.
  • Sign up to be a Hillary for America volunteer and meet other Hillary supporters in your community.
  • Tell your friends to join the campaign so they can be a part of this, too!
Thanks so much! Together, we can do this.
Hillary for America

You think this would be enough, right? But no, that e-mail was followed up by this:

Hillary for America
Hi Bryan--
Thanks for committing to volunteer for Hillary for America.
This grassroots campaign will only be as strong as its volunteers--we're thrilled you're going to help shape it from the beginning.
Stay tuned for organizing opportunities in your community. In the meantime, make sure your friends and family join you to say they're in for Hillary for America:
Thanks again,
Hillary for America

Say what? "Committing to volunteer"? I mean, I know that Hillary is feeling really good with Biden not running, and getting through the House Benghazi hearing, but this is probably an overreach. It's slightly too early for me to "commit to volunteer' for Hillary.

I think that my identity is being stolen, or that one of my more left-leaning friends is having some fun with me. Tell you what, come forward right now, and we'll forget all about this. Law school friends, I'm looking at you.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Local News Roundup

Use your imagination to remove the B-25, renovate the place, and add a brewery.

Last night, I took the night off from the news, from blogging, and pretty much relaxed. It was a really nice evening. There was steak involved, there was some wine involved, and I may or may not have played a video game.

In any event, there are lots of things going on in the Capital City that merit at least a note:

1. Hunter-Gatherer is going to be opening up a brewery in the old Curtiss Wright Hangar at Owens Field. This is going to be a great event space if they do it (w)right. I'd love to sit on an observation deck on top of the hangar, drink a beer, and watch airplanes take off and land.

2. The baseball park where the USC Gamecocks play has a new name. No longer simply "Carolina Stadium" it is now "Founders Park". I like that the company ending up with the naming rights is a company with local ties to South Carolina, and doesn't have stupid name like "Smoothie King Park". Good job, Ray.

3. The Exxon in Five Points is going to become...a parking lot? Yeah, I don't really get this, either. This is probably the most "prime" real estate in Five Points. It's on the corner, across from the fountain, and fronts on Harden Street. I get that the existing shops, bars, and restaurants in Five Points want more parking for their patrons, but I really have to question two things.

First, I'm not sure why the City of Columbia paid so much. $100,000 per year (and going up each year) for a fifty year lease doesn't sound like my idea of a good investment by the City. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the City stands to lose money on this deal unless they park a whole lot of cars. 

Also, yeah, Five Points is tight with parking, but it's not impossible. I go to Five Points all during the week for lunches and occasionally on the weekends, and it's never impossible. There is parking available, but you sometimes have to walk. Accordingly, I just hate to see that the premier corner in Five Points turned into a parking lot. So many much better things could have been done with this lot, it's just staggering.

But hey, at least I'll be able to find really easy parking when I want to go to lunch at the Gourmet Shop.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Daily John Adams Quote

“I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a disgrace, that two become a law firm, and that three or more become a congress.”

– John Adams
Not altogether inaccurate. Enjoy your Wednesday, and try not to be useless.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Star Wars Open Thread

So here's the new trailer: squeeeee!

This looks like it's going to be way better than the horrible, no good, very bad prequels that George Lucas did with all his overblown CGI, idiotic dialogue, and plots that made no sense. Basically, it looks like JJ Abrams might be the right guy to bring Star Wars back from the awfulness that Lucas drove it to.

It's kind of like coaching. Eventually, you have to fire the head coach who lacks the fire to bring in a young talent looking to re-kindle the program. JJ Abrams might just be the head coach that Team Star Wars needs. 

Also, forget that movie trailer. This looks like a better Star Wars promo. Yes, I'm a lawyer in his mid-thirties, but I would buy this game and play it for hours like a 12 year old kid, which is why I am not allowed to own a video game system.

And speaking of kids, it's going to be really fun to watch Star Wars with my four year old son, who si already starting to get interested in it. After going to Disney and riding on the Star Tours ride, he's been requesting the "Star Wars music" in the car on the way home from school.

Yes, I've done well.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Interesting Viking Board Game

“I love the asymmetry in this game. To win in this game, you absolutely have to think like your opponent,” emails Kristan Wheaton, a former Army foreign area officer and ex-analyst at U.S. European Command’s Intelligence Directorate. “Geography, force structure, force size and objectives are different for the two sides. If you can’t think like your opponent, you can’t win. I don’t know of a better analogy for post-Cold War conflict.”
The game is similar to chess, but with several important differences. Instead of two identical and equal opponents facing each other, Hnefatafl is a game where one side is surrounded and outnumbered—like a Viking war party caught in an ambush.

Pretty cool. Wonder where I can pick one of these up. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Clean at last, clean at last!

The water is clean again, here in Columbia, SC.  I'm gonna go just run the taps and look at the sweet, sweet, gift of clean water. Seriously, it's nice to have clean water again. It's amazing what we start to take for granted.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Spurrier Takes Himself Out of the Game

And just like that, he's gone. No farewell tour, no victory lap, just gone.

I tweeted about this yesterday evening when the story broke on Twitter, but this topic deserved an entire post.

First of all, anyone who is criticizing Spurrier for not staying until the end of the season has no idea what they're talking about. Also (and this isn't news for y'all who know anything about college football) Spurrier doesn't care what we all think about him.

He was the kind of coach who kept scoring as much as he possibly could, and if the opposing coach complained about him "running up the score", he'd just spin it back around and say that it's the other team's job to stop us.

He didn't follow the script as to coaching norms, whether it was calling plays on the field, saying what he thinks in the press conferences, or otherwise. When he got to South Carolina, he openly called for the Confederate Flag to come down. And that ways way back in 2007, well before everyone changed their minds after the Charleston shooting.

He did everything exactly like he wanted to, all the way up through the end, when he decided that he wasn't the best coach for the job here at South Carolina. As soon as he decided that, he called it quits, because in his mind, that is what was best for the team.

Spurrier is famous for taking struggling quarterbacks out of games midway through games, and putting in the back-up, only to pull the back-up out if he struggled. He always, always preached the gospel of getting the best guy in the position, no matter what. Even though the accepted conventional wisdom in college football is to kind of stay with the starting quarterback through struggles, Spurrier openly defied that and made no-bones about pulling a starting player if he didn't think he was going to be as good for the team as someone waiting in the wings.

He was no different with himself, in the end. He decided that even though he was the head coach, he owed it to his team to get the best guy in the head coach position, and he knew that it wasn't him.

It's fitting that he made the same decision about himself with the same objectivity. It would have been so easy to stay too long, even knowing that you were going to call it quits at the end of the season. Spurrier realized the he needed to take himself out of the game for the good of the team, and good for him.

The Steve Spurrier era has come to an end at the University of South Carolina. It's been a heck of a ride.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Open Thread for Monday, October 12, 2015

It's been a busy week and the work (legal and non-legal) continues. Accordingly, I'll put up some links for some stuff today.

1. Will Grier, the Florida Gators starting QB, has been suspended for the year after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.

2. In what is an obvious attempt to squish the right-wing "Freedom Caucus" in the House of Representatives, the Chamber of Commerce is threatening to primary any member of congress who opposes Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House.

3. News of the strange: At UT Austin, anti-gun students are going to carry around dildos to protest a recently passed Texas statute that allows concealed weapons to be carried on college campuses. Right, because that's gonna change people's minds. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Conditions of Gills Creek Watershed

Here is the latest from the Gills Creek Watershed Association:

It has been a disastrous few days. Never before have we seen this much rain falling in one storm event, up to 20 inches of rain in some places. The effects of this rain were devastating - leading to the loss of several lives and hundreds, if not thousands, of homes. Our thoughts are with those who lost loved ones in this terrible tragedy.

The conditions in the watershed are stabilizing and things are looking up. The information being reported about the lakes and dams has been shaky at best. Here is what we know for sure: 

Sometime Sunday morning around 7:30am the Cary Lake Dam AKA Arcadia Lake Dam failed. This was probably around the same time that Pine Tree Lake Dam failed (just below Windsor Lake). That surge of water rushed downstream, washing out Rockbridge Rd and overtopping the Spring Lake Dam. Forest Lake Dam and the Lake Katharine Dam were also overwhelmed and overtopped and that floodwater continued downstream along Gills Creek. 

Also Sunday morning the Semmes Lake Dam on Wildcat Creek (on Ft. Jackson) failed. This water came down Wildcat Creek which flows through Kings Grant and meets Gills Creek just below the Lake Katharine Dam near Shady Lane and Kilbourne. 

On Monday the Upper Rockyford Lake Dam failed sending excess water into Lower Rockyford Lake. Shortly thereafter the Lower Rockyford Lake Dam failed sending the excess water into Forest Lake. The Rockyford Lakes are much smaller than Forest Lake and by this time the Forest Lake level had dropped enough to buffer the excess water from Upper and Lower Rockyford. 

On Tuesday there were multiple FALSE reports from news outlets that the Windsor Lake Dam had failed. The Windsor Lake Dam is fine, as is the Upper Windsor Lake AKA Parliament Lake Dam. 

Beaver Dam (Boyd's Pond) off of Polo Road is experiencing erosion and is at risk of failing. Crews worked all day Tuesday to stabilize the dam and dug an emergency "controlled breach" around the side of the dam to alleviate pressure and move more water downstream. As of Wednesday morning, the Beaver Dam is stable and not expected to fail. 

The Spring Lake Dam was heavily damaged during the storm. It is still holding water and as of Wednesday morning appears to be stable. The Spring Lake HOA is working to drop the lake level 6 to 12 inches per day (the maximum safe amount) until the lake has been mostly emptied. 

Lake Katharine Dam and Forest Lake Dam appear to be in good working order. 

President Obama has declared Richland County a disaster area which means residents that were impacted by this storm are eligible for federal assistance. If you have experienced any sort of hardship or property damage as a result of the storm (flooding, tree falling, missed work, etc.) you need to file a claim at or by calling 800-621-3362.

We are updating our Facebook page with accurate and timely information. Please like our Facebook page to get the latest updates and to see pictures from around the watershed.

This newsletter is only being sent to our membership and contact list so please help us spread the word by forwarding this email to everyone you know that's been affected. If you are not on our mailing list please email Erich to be added to the mailing list. We will be sending periodic email updates as conditions change.

Thank you,

Erich Miarka
Executive Director, GCWA

No, this isn't my cargo trailer....

...but it could be. This guy was right in front of me on Two Notch yesterday as  I left the rental car location. This is a picture of his cargo trailer.

It's hard to pick a favorite sticker, but if forced, I'd probably go with the one in white circular sticker in the top right that is the picture of gun sights that says "My peace sign".

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My car is disgusting.

Normally, that means I've spilled some coffee in it or something. This is entirely something else, though.

You would not believe how bad this smells.

My cup holders still had flood water in them a day later.

The flooding totally submerged my Honda Accord where I left it on Shady Lane, and what you're seeing is the muck and disgusting mess left inside. You can't smell it from the picture, but it smells awful. How bad? Based on the smell alone, you would total the car.

The dirt and muck is on every surface of the car, and the whole thing is dead. I can't even shift the car into neutral to push it anywhere, so it's going to have to get moved via a roll back truck whenever that happens.

Luckily, this is really my only big loss. My house is a few miles from Shady Lane, so it's fine. We're not as bad off as my parents, who are going to have to replace all of their flooring on the first floor of their house.

Thanks to everyone who has been supportive. Columbia, Forest Acres, and the Lake Katharine community has really been pulling together to help each other out.

Yesterday, while my family and I were moving all of my parents' stuff out of the first floor (to make way for demolition), the entire football team from my high school showed up and assisted in getting personal property either upstairs or into a moving truck. Totally amazing. They were going house to house, and helping people all over. The coach said we were the ninth house they had done at that point, and I know they did many more after us.

The whole neighborhood had been outside and taking care of each other in any way that we each can. We'll all get through this because of all of the people pulling together to help each other. As long as no more dams break (knock on wood) we should be rebuilding stronger than we were before.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Historic Flooding in Columbia (Shady Lane Still Cut Off)

My house is up on high ground, so I am able to provide a place for my parents to stay until the water goes down. Their house is ground zero for all the Gills Creek flooding, so they were rescued by boat.

Just tried to get back to their house this morning, but all roads to Shady Lane (Kilbourne, Quail Lane, and Woodlake) are all still impassibly flooded. Shady Lane is still cut off. Hopefully, the water will go down soon so we can get them back in there and start the process of drying things out.

Meanwhile, everyone is safe, dry, and in high spirits here at my house. Here are a few pictures from this morning. Here are two pictures from our attempt to make it back to Shady Lane, where we had to turn back.

Woodlake and Kathwood. You can't tell from this picture, but water is flowing with force.

Kilbourne Road bridge over (well, actually under) Gills Creek.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Apparently the New York Times thinks that "Modern Man" means "Consumer Obsessed Teenage Girl".

"A man may make a list. But he may not make a dumb one." -Jaqen H'ghar, probably.
The other day, some dopey guy at the New York Times decide that he was going to tell all us rubes about how to be a "modern man". Because we all know the NYT is where we go to learn about being real men, right? I'm not really even sure what a "modern man" is supposed to mean. Either you're a man or you're not. In fact, we men don't really talk about being manly. To do so...isn't. You just do it.

Frankly, the whole article is embarrassing - for the guy who wrote it that is. Apparently, all you have to do to be a "modern man" is to buy a few certain things, have certain fashion preferences, and (get this) have all the same behaviors as a liberal white girl living in downtown Portland.

Luckily, I'm here to correct the record. I'll put the New York Times list in italics, and my commentary in bold. Let's begin, shall we?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Donate to Greg Alia's Family

I meant to get this up earlier, but there have been some extenuating circumstances. As I'm sure you know, there have been tragedies all over America recently. However, if you're reading this blog regularly, you know I live in Columbia, SC and we've had one local tragedy here with Forest Acres police officer Greg Alia being killed in the line of duty on Wednesday morning. He leaves behind a wife and a newborn son.

The outpouring of generosity from the community has been overwhelming, but we can do more. If you haven't given yet, do so.