Friday, December 30, 2016

Thursday, December 29, 2016

I'm a Bad Fan - Bowl Game Edition

I'm a bad fan.

I was generally aware that the Gamecocks were playing in the Birmingham Bowl. I knew that it was today, and I knew that the opposing team was USF. However, I had no idea what time the game was. I just never thought to look. I assumed it was a night game.

This morning, a friend texted me and asked me what I was doing for the game. I responded that I was working most of the day, and then would watch the game (assuming it was a night game) he reminded me that the game was at 2:00PM.

As Rick Perry would say: "Oops."

Go Gamecocks!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Obama Makes Last Minute Change to Classify People Receiving SSI as "Mental Defectives" Thus Making Them Ineligible to Own Guns

Giving a big middle finger to due process.

So the Social Security Agency can now prohibit you from gun ownership without you having a chance to present your own evidence, cross-examine witnesses, or attend any sort of formal hearing...because this is simply some government employees sitting in a room looking at documents then making a decision about someone's second amendment rights.

Supplemental Security Income helps blind, disabled, and elderly people with little to no income. Previously, it was understood that "mentally defective" referred to one's mental health. Citizens who have been institutionalized against their will are restricted from owning a firearm. The new definition of "mentally defective" has nothing to do with being mentally ill.
What an absolutely spiteful person.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Goodbye Princess

Carrie Fisher was obviously iconic for her role in Star Wars. I'm sorry to hear she passed away, and at 60, which is young. I'm sure that everyone will be seeing pictures of her from Star Wars, but I also really, really liked her as a supporting actress in When Harry Met Sally.

I just saw Rogue One earlier this month, and she makes an appearance there (as her younger self) through some special effects. I guess that's the thing about movie stars with iconic roles - you never really think of them as aging.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Long Weekend Open Thread

Happy Friday, boys and girls. Everyone is starting to check out for the long weekend, so I thought it would be nice to put up an Open Thread.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Five Rules for Getting Toys for Your Five Year Old Boy

Let's talk toys for a second, shall we?

Christmas is a fun time for your five year old boy. Boys this age are usually getting started in sports, so there's all sorts of sports related things he wants. Maybe he wants his first baseball glove, or maybe he wants a basketball. Reading is also starting to become a thing at that age.

Boys this age also are into all sorts of vehicles and action figures. Legos, trucks, dinosaurs, things that shoot any sort of projectile are good. Anything that zooms, crashes, or has some sort of appeal to the prehistoric reptilian brain we men have - you're good.

Accordingly, as a parent of a five year old boy, I've got some rules for you. I'm not going to address safety, because I'm starting with the assumption that no one is getting a five year old an actual sword, knife, gun, or motorcycle. So there.

In reality, if you have a five year old, you probably are hoping for a toy that your son will love so much, he'll take it into his room (or outside) and play with for hours...possibly without you. I can remember playing with legos in my room for hours, building castles, spaceships (lots of spaceships) and all sorts of other things without once asking my dad to come help me. And I think my dad was cool with that. In fact, he probably enjoyed having me spend a little time on my own using my imagination, rather than having him build lots of things for me.

Rule No. 1: Thou shall get your boy something that he can play with on his own, or at the least, with your preferred level of parental assistance. For instance, if you're thinking about legos, pay attention to the age range! Don't get your five year old a lego set that is for ages 9-13 and expect to have him assemble it like a mini-McGuyver. You're going to need to be in there...pretty much constantly. And you may have to basically do it for him.

Remember, five year old boys are still developing their fine motor skills, and manipulating those little pieces can be difficult. Getting him something that has an axle and a wishbone suspension isn't a good idea. So, legos are great, but just be aware of the age range and be aware of how much you want to be involved.

Transformers are another area that might need parental involvement during play time. Our son loves Transformers. Up until now, he's had these kind of Transformers that go from vehicle mode to robot move in one move. This is great because the coolest thing about Transformers is that they Transform super-fast in the shows. For instance, in the cartoons Optimus Prime jumps up, and transforms in the air before he hits the ground. Accordingly, our son can take him all over and transform him on his own, have all sorts of imaginary Transformer adventures on his own, and really get into it without coming to me for assistance at all.

If you give him a Transformer that is too complicated and takes too many moves, it's like handing your kid a Rubik's Cube and telling him to have fun. Guess what? He's going to hand it back to you and ask you to do it after he gets frustrated. So again, keep in mind your child's limitations and how much you want to be involved with the toy. It's easy to get frustrated when you're five.

Caveat: Now, this rule is balanced with how much you want to challenge your child, how much you may or may not mind helping out, and how much you may or may not want your child to play independently. So I'm not saying don't get legos or transformers, I'm just saying you may need to manage your child's expectations. Our son actually got a pretty complicated Transformer recently, and it turned out great. He loves it even though he can't transform it on his own. He's so into Transformers, it doesn't matter that he has to take it to me to go from one mode to the other. He also doesn't change it from mode-to-mode every five minutes.

This brings me to Rule No. 2: Thou shall not get your five year old son overly fragile toys. Everyone remember the wisdom of the Old Skin Horse in The Velveteen Rabbit?

'When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'

'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.
Your five year old boy is a tornado. He's full of energy: playing, running, jumping, and karate-chopping his way through life. Don't get him a delicate collector's edition Hess Truck that you're going to fuss at him for getting sand and grit in the wheels. Probably don't get him anything that you want to be a "collector's item" if you want him to actually play with it.

Don't get him anything that has multiple pieces to be a complete set, where you're going to get upset if one piece gets lost. (Because one piece will certainly get lost.) Don't get him some super expensive telescope, because he'll probably end up using it as a light saber when you're not looking.

You know what's super durable? Those big steel Tonka trucks. Those things are bomb-proof, which is about the same as being kid-proof. They don't have motor that's going to break, they aren't electronic, so no worries about water, and they won't crack like cheap plastic. Try to find older ones that are almost all metal, if you can.

Some of our boy's favorite gifts are things that are virtually impossible to break. I know this because they've "flown" off of the top of the clubhouse, been stepped on, gotten wet in the bathtub, been slammed in a door, been muddy, and been slept with.Go with something tough. The worst thing is having a toy that breaks on Christmas Morning.

Caveat: This doesn't mean the concept of respecting your toys goes out the window. You should still teach your child not to leave toys out in the yard overnight, not to intentionally try to break toys, or otherwise be disrespectful of toys. It's just that life happens.

Rule No. 3: Books are never a bad idea. Yes, I know that books aren't durable Tonka Trucks, but you also want to balance out some of that running around with the time when he's going to be in bed looking at books. Five is prime time for learning to read, and books open up a wonderful world of reading that will lead to infinite adventures for you boy. Even if your five year old isn't reading, if you get him a book on dinosaurs with lots of pictures, I promise you he will sit down and look at it.

Rule No. 4: Not everything has to be an amazing, whiz-bang, super-toy. Pay attention to the stuff your kid is interested in. Yes, television commercials will be showing remote controlled dinosaurs that light up and shoot laser beams and stuff, but kids are really not that complicated. Also, they want to be just like their dads, so getting your boy stuff that is "like dad's" is always a safe bet.

If you're a handy guy, getting your son a real tape measure that is "just like dad's" is huge. If you're a sporty dad, getting your son a jersey of the team you like is an easy winner, because he wants to cheer for whoever is "your" team. Whatever you're into, he's probably interested in it, because five year olds are big into being "just like dad". For instance, one Christmas we got our son some pants that matched mine and he thought it was the coolest thing ever.

Rule No. 5: Finally, thou shalt have your boy remember to be grateful for all gifts. Yes, children build up huge expectations for Christmas gifts. It's just how things are. Christmas Morning is a huge day, so make sure your boy keeps things in perspective. Remind him that everyone should be grateful for everything they get and that acquiring things is not the point. This is a life-long goal, because eventually your five year old is going to be thirty-five. You want to raise a young man with a true spirit of thankfulness and gratitude.

With that, I'll throw it open, what else do people think about when buying gifts for kids?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Happy Winter Solstice

One way to look at today is as the first day of winter. True enough, the season of "winter" starts today. Being a glass half-full kind of guy, I like to look at today as the winter solstice, when after today, the daylight hours start increasing on the march back to warmth and summer.

Even though it's going to be cold for several more months, I take heart in the return of the sunshine.

If you're really far up north, this is what you see today, with the sun barely getting up over the horizon.

It may be the first day of winter, but don't worry: Summer is coming.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

What's on Your Bookshelves These Days?

Brad had started a discussion about what books he was reading, and it turned into talking about what happened to be sitting on your bookshelves, nightstand, desk.

Here are my bookshelves. (Not pictured are the Aubrey-Maturin books 1-9 that I have on my Kindle right now, books in my closet, books I've donated, and books that are otherwise scattered about.)

The Churchill books are first editions, and were a gift to me from my sister-in-law.

Yes, more military history. I know you're shocked.
Sort of mix here. Everything from my personal bible, next to shotgun books, and some Tom Wolfe.

So what's on your bookshelf, nightstand these days?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Season 2 of The Man in the High Castle is Out

This is the US in the alternate history where we lose WWII

This is the alternate history, based on Phillip K. Dick's book where Japan and Germany win WWII, and have occupied the USA. Season one was great in a bit of a scary way. It's sort of like reading 1984. You're in this dystopian world where you have characters struggling against the system.

And according to Gizmodo, season two is "too good to binge".

Oh yeah? Challenge accepted, Katie.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

"Dunkirk" Movie Trailer

Most Americans who are casual WWII historians don't know about the Battle of Dunkirk because the United States hadn't joined the war yet. It happend in 1940, well before Pearl Harbor got the US into the war.

However, the Battle of Dunkirk (and the ensuing evacuation) was a huge moment in the early part of WWII. Essentially, the German Army had the British Expeditionary Force and the French army completely surrounded with their backs to the English Channel. The Germans assumed the channel was a backstop, but the British used it as an escape route.

Although the evacuation was mostly successful, the British loss of materiel was enormous, as massive amounts of artillery, tanks, trucks, cars, and ammunition was simply abandoned in France as the men evacuated back to England. It was one of those battles where the success was simply not being entirely annihilated. Also, the evacuation was done in part with the assistance of hundreds of small non-military vessels such as fishing boats, pleasure boats, etc. It was an amazing display of the British flexibility and ingenuity to avoid a complete defeat.

Accordingly, the movie Dunkirk  is going to be one that shows courage in the face of overwhelming odds, and it looks pretty good.

Christopher Nolan is directing it, and I've liked all his movies. Also, Kenneth Branagh is in this move, and he's a great actor.

I categorize movies into ones that I see in theaters (the best, I don't do this often); ones I wait to get on PPV (a large category); and ones that I wait until they are just out for free.

I may go see this in theaters. Thoughts?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rick Perry to Head Dept. of Energy

Don't worry. I'll shut the DOE down in an orderly fashion.

Yeah, it's the one agency that Rick Perry famously forgot, but it's also an agency he said he would close down.

Yes, the left is having a lot of fun with the irony, but I think it's a good pick. As someone who wants the federal government to be less intrusive in my life, I want the people at the head of federal agencies to be predisposed against using their power rather than being thrilled with their ability to inflict regulations on us.

So far, I'm pretty impressed with the Cabinet nominees.

The Real Issue With Russia Isn't the Hacking

I apologize for not having a post yesterday. I really try to put at least something up every single day to keep the blog fresh and tidy. Yesterday, I was in a CLE all day and then had to get a bit of work done afterwards, and then get home to do the dad thing.

In any event, it seems like the news is mostly centered on Democrats going nuts about the Russians "hacking the election" which seems to be an imprecise way of putting it. Yes, the Russians hacked the people at the DNC and then released their private e-mails. Essentially, this revealed to everyone what we all had already guessed - that the DNC put their thumb on the scale to help Hillary win the primary.

But okay, whatever. I'm not in the Democratic party, so it's none of my business. And frankly, I don't have a big problem with the party choosing one candidate over the other. That's sort of the point of the party, right? The guys in the smoke-filled backrooms help pick the candidate that they think is best? But I digress...

Anyway, the e-mails simply revealed what we all pretty much assumed. None were really a big deal, and I don't think anything swayed anyone's vote. Do you know anyone who was going to vote for Hillary, but then changed their vote to Trump because of something they saw on Wikileaks from the DNC?

I mean, it's just silly. So in any event, I think this whole thing of the Russians "hacked the election" is simply a Democratic campaign to make Trump seem illegitimate, sort of like the birthers did with Obama, and how Gore did with the Florida recount.

It's all politics, which means it's entirely non-substantive. And stuff like this is why people hate politics.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a Trump fan. I think he's a seriously flawed guy, but he's our guy at this point. We all need to come to grips with that. If you want to oppose him on something (and I'm sure I'll oppose him on many things) that's fine.

But I'm just not sure what the point is with going on about the Russians. It's something we knew then, and it hasn't changed. What's more concerning than what the Russians did, is how we are going to deal with them going forward. Are we going to give Putin leeway to do what he wants, or are we going to stand up for freedom in Eastern Europe and the Baltic States? Are we going to let Russia be the dominant foreign player in the middle-east?

That's where the rubber meets the road.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Browning Hi-Power (A Love Story)

It's more Brad Pitt, not so much John Wayne
The first handgun I ever purchased was a Browning Hi-Power. It's still my favorite one. So, when I ran across this piece, I knew that I wasn't alone in my appreciation of the Hi-Power.

The Hi-Power was different. Whereas the 1911 is John Wayne, a big brawler with hams for fists, the Hi-Power is Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden in Fight Club. It’s lean, sleeker, all tendon and muscle. The way the slide and frame narrow towards the muzzle, the sides stepping down in that iconic Browning look. Everything about the pistol seemed refined to me, deadlier. It was a Fairbairn-Sykes to a Bowie knife. The Hi-Power would leisurely, coldly, smoke a cigarette while it watched its victim bleed out. The 1911 would spout off some 1940’s patriotic John Wayne/Captain America lines before stomping out to go punch some more Nazis and Japs in the face. I was at that point in my life where I was tired of punching Nazis and Japs. I wanted to spike my hair, flip the collar of my jacket up, and smoke a cigarette. It was so different. I was in love.

Here's my Hi-Power. It's still going strong, and I still love her. I'm never selling this gun.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

South Carolina May Not Be the Biggest State, But...

This morning, I was driving the kids to school and having a conversation in the car with our five-year-old son about states. He eventually asked me "Which state is the biggest?" and I replied, "Well, California is big. Texas is another big state."

He sort of got a bit dejected about that, as it seemed he was hoping for South Carolina to be one of the biggest states. I thought about it, and trying to think of something positive about South Carolina, I said, "Well, South Carolina is one of the oldest states."

He perked up, and said in the assertive voice he uses when making a logical conclusion of figuring something out, "Ohhhh, so that's why our roads have so many cracks in them."

Kids. Gotta love 'em.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December 7, 2016

Good morning, campers. Seventy-five years ago, the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor, 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 were wounded, and America's entered WWII. Take a moment to remember what happened three-quarters of a century ago.

Fortunately for the United States, our aircraft carriers were untouched by the attack.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Then and Now; Two Marines in Okinawa - About a Half Century Apart

I was thinking about my father-in-law today. He's not doing so well. Here's a picture of him from a long time ago, back when he was in Okinawa.

My Father-in-Law, James Barber, in Okinawa in the early 1960s
And just for perspective, time-capsule purposes, here's a picture of one of my friends, Steve, from earlier this year in Okinawa, celebrating the USMC's Birthday.

My friend, Steven Kasdan (center) in Okinawa a few weeks ago
Anyway, keep my father-in-law in your prayers.

Social Justice Warriors Change Lyrics to "Baby It's Cold Outside"

Most notably, when Liza sings, “I ought to say no, no, no,” Lemanksi responds with “You reserve the right to say no.”

Progressive aren't happy unless they are banning/prohibiting something fun, huh? The Puritans called and said, "Whoa, back off, dudes!"

Also, I always thought the song was pretty clear that she's fine with the idea of staying but is trying to put up a plausible resistance to save her reputation. But maybe that's just my privilege showing.

Whatever. These people annoy me so much (and I don't even really like this song that much). Here's the version I like best.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Why Mattis Makes a Great Pick for Secretary of Defense

It looks like it's going to be the "Warrior Monk" for Secretary of Defense.

Here's why I think Mattis will be an excellent Secretary of Defense:

First, Mattis is going to stop/reverse the idiotic social engineering that gets put on the armed services. He's not going to be worried about the politically correct stuff.

Second, I think he's going to be pushing for sensible ROE policies for the men and women who are at the tip of the spear. If we send an Iowa kid into some hell-hole on the far side of the world, he's going to make sure that the kid from Iowa has rules in place to engage the enemy that make sense.

Oh, and he cares about his Marines. Go find the story that everyone will be telling you in the next few days and weeks about Mattis and Christmas guard duty. Just remember I told you here, first.

Third, I think he's going to honestly focus on war-fighting and making the military the best that it can be at killing the enemy and breaking their things. That's what the military does, campers - it's there to kill people and break things. The military isn't there to be some social experiment, or be some progressive enclave of social justice. However, Mattis is going to try and avoid conflict if possible because he knows the cost. He's seen it firsthand. But, as he's said, "there are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot".

Fourth, he's also going to do this job with a sense of history, so he's not going to ever find himself at a loss for a sense of how things can go wrong. He's such a student of history, he carried his own personal copy of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius throughout his deployments.

Finally, and most importantly, he's going to tell things to his boss (the President) like it is. He's not going to live in a fantasy world, he's not going to hide the truth, and he's not going to avoid the hard questions. I think President Trump is getting someone in Mattis who is not going to be intimidated by the oval office and try and cover things up or mask the hard choice. Mattis is too smart for that, and he's not a political hack. He's a professional war-fighter. Trump is getting someone who will force him to think and make tough decisions rather than provide easy outs.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

No, we shouldn't get rid of states: My case for states from over on Brad's Blog

I gave this some thought. I had my two drinks as recommended by the federal government while doing it. After giving it considerable thought, I don’t think it’s a good idea to get rid of states.

Our system of government entirely revolves around the idea of many states working together with a federal government in a balance that can be sometimes frustrating, sometimes inefficient, but ultimately provides for a great deal of diversity and freedom for the people.

We don’t have a “one-size-fits-all” set of laws in all aspects of our lives because the people in different areas of our vast country have different beliefs, cultures, and ideas. Federalism allows us to have these different cultures, beliefs, and ideas flourish together. The people of New York can have very strict gun control, while the people of Wyoming don’t. The people of Texas can have zero income taxes, while the people of Connecticut have high ones. The folks in Louisiana have some really weird real estate laws. (By the by, South Carolina has some weird laws, too.) But that weirdness makes us great.

It’s the motto of our country – e pluribus unum. Out of many…one. At our core, we are many people in one country all living together. We have different cultures, ideas, and beliefs. And this diversity is to be celebrated and protected – even thought it’s not super-efficient. However, as you’ll probably agree: Government isn’t like running a business.

Federalism allows for diversity of culture, ideas, and beliefs. Is it easy? Nope. For example, it’s it a pain in the behind for me to have to understand that the concealed carry laws in South Carolina don’t in another state. However, I respect that the people in New York have a different point of view than I do on this issue, and I don’t begrudge them the right to restrict the carrying of firearms, as wrong-headed as I think their belief might be.

Bud, I think you’re a very passionate person, I know you believe in what you believe in very deeply. That’s why you have such strong reactions to people who don’t share your viewpoint.

If you’ll permit me to give you a bit of friendly criticism, you go wrong when you think that you have a monopoly on what is right and what is good. No one does. That’s why I often in a half-joking way, occasionally state that “I’m just a moron” or “Your mileage may vary” at the end of some of my comments. Half of that is me just joking around. But the other half of it is me realizing that I don’t have the ordained wisdom of perfection in what is right and good.

What flows from your thinking thinking you have a monopoly on the right way of thinking is your desire to simply eliminate states and all the differences that they carry.

My advice is to realize that not everyone shares your exact culture, beliefs, and values – and realize that’s okay. So, let’s keep the states, and our state laws, and our differences.

But hey, I’m just a moron, and your mileage may vary.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Obama: The Democrats failed because "Fox News in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country"

In this election, [white working class voters] turned out in huge numbers for Trump. And I think that part of it has to do with our inability, our failure, to reach those voters effectively. Part of it is Fox News in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country, but part of it is also Democrats not working at a grassroots level, being in there, showing up, making arguments. That part of the critique of the Democratic Party is accurate.
I don't know what kind of bars and restaurants that President Obama has been going to, but all the bars I've ever been to have sporting events on the television. I mean, who in their right mind would go out to a bar and watch news of any kind? And if it's not sports, it's weather. But 99.9% of the time, it's sports.

In other public areas where there are televisions, like airports, it's CNN. (Or sports) A few weeks ago, I traveled via commercial air travel for Thanksgiving. I went from Columbia to Atlanta (you have to go through Atlanta everywhere in the South no matter what) and then on to Shreveport, Louisiana. Guess what is on every single airport television. Yeah, CNN. And in all the airport bars, it was sports.

No one puts Fox News on in public probably because so many leftists would freak out, but more importantly, because no one goes to a bar or restaurant to watch the freakin' news.

Can you imagine: Excuse me sir, I know you and your friends are watching the Notre Dame-Michigan game and drinking some beer, but could we switch it over to Fox News? I understand that a particularly good edition of Hannity is coming on in a few minutes.

Give me a break. This is such a cop-out because Obama is basically saying that the Democrats couldn't get their message out to the people. Apparently, they couldn't break through the Fox News stranglehold of Buffalo Wild Wings - not that people rejected their ideas on the merits.

I guess despite having every other media outlet and all newspapers in America they just couldn't break through the Fox News on the television down at Applebee's.

That's the thing about the Democrats and leftists in general. Nothing is ever their fault. It's bad messaging, or bad optics, or communism just hasn't been tried in the true sense yet by the right people. Nothing is ever actually their fault.

And again, we're talking about one news outlet. One. It's the only media outlet that the left demonizes. You remember the scene from Blazing Saddles where the Governor says, "I didn't get harumph out of that guy!", because one single guy didn't agree with him?

Yeah, that's Obama and the left - pointing at Fox News because it's not harrumphing.

Tim Scott and Trey Gowdy Named to Trump Transition Team

Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Trey Gowdy were both named to positions on the transition team Tuesday.

Scott was named a vice chair of the transition, one of seven named in a release sent out by the Trump team on Tuesday. Four others are also members of Congress. Vice President-Elect Mike Pence is the chairman of the transition.

I can't really see Tim Scott leaving his US Senate seat. He just won an election, so he's got a nice, long six year term. I'm not sure what would tempt someone to leave the US Senate in such a situation.

Gowdy is maybe more of a possibility. He's a great prosecutor and he could be a good fit somewhere in the Department of Justice. Maybe Deputy AG or Associate AG? I could see him leaving Congress for something like that, maybe.

Or is this just not that big a deal?

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Mitt Romney Sums Up 2016 In One Expression


Mitt Romney went to dinner with Trump tonight and a reporter "happened" to catch them, meaning that someone tipped off the reporter.

You can just feel Romney's embarrassment coming through the photo. I feel you, Mitt. We all do.

It's gonna be a weird four years.

Content Free Music Post

There may be some actual content later. Or maybe not. We'll see how you behave, and then I'll decide.

Monday, November 28, 2016

"I continue to believe it is strategically unwise, but it is a decision you have the right to make."

I guess we shouldn't be surprised at this development. My guess is he won't have much to say in his own defense.

Monday Morning Headlines

Curran, Charles Courtney. American 1861-1942. Shadow Decoration. 1887.

Good morning, campers! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with lots of good food and time with the extended family. Now it's back to work. Here's a few headlines to get you caught up on some actual news.

1. Fidel Castro is finally dead. Good. He was a murderous tyrant, and the world is a better place without him. Hopefully, the Cuban people can move forward towards freedom.

2. The Clemson football team beat the Gamecocks like Hannibal beat the Romans at Cannae. Yeah, it was that bad. No word yet if Dabo and his team are now preparing to march on Columbia to subdue the capital and complete the victory.

3. Heroes in Blue is kicking off their second "Feed and Officer" campaign. Consider visiting one of the participating restaurants and making a donation.

4. Nikki Haley is going to be the new UN Ambassador. I think she'll do a good job in a tough role, but don't feel too sorry for her. She gets a very nice penthouse in the Waldorf Astoria as her new permanent residence

Oh, and here are some tips on how to be a Gentleman. (Also know as just being polite.)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Freedom From Want, Norman Rockwell 1940

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Relax, enjoy the holiday with your families and be thankful for all the blessing that you have.

Remember that there are people out there who don't get the day off. From our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines around the world, to local police, firemen, and doctors, all these folks are hard at work making sure that we're safe and secure.

Oh, and we've got some football teams out there practicing, getting ready to entertain us on the gridiron. For instance, Coach Muschamp, when asked if the Gamecocks would be practicing, said "Thanksgiving is a meal, it's not a day." indicating the Gamecock football team would be practicing today.

In all fairness, I thought the meal was the day. On the other hand, the team could probably use the practice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Handy Guide For Liberals Who Are Suddenly Interested In Gun Ownership

Yes, there is some snark, but it's also full of actual tips for people interested in gun ownership.

Many of you have been sharing every second hand account, rumor, and urban legend about some random doofus in Somnambulant, Wisconsin or Bumfight, Louisiana, shouting an ethnic slur or spray painting a swastika on a wall. Newsflash, in a country with a third of a billion people, some percentage of them are going to be assholes. I hate to break it to you, but the assholes were there before, and they will be there forever. Just right now the news has a self-serving incentive to report about these assholes in particular.

But Correia! You’re not a marginalized Mexican transsexual Muslim! What do you know!?

I know that anybody can be “marginalized” if they walk into the wrong neighborhood. Violence can happen to any of us, and it does, all the time. Whether your odds of being a victim are good or bad, it still sucks when you draw the short straw and somebody tries to hurt you. Whoever you are, you are correct to be concerned for your safety. Anybody can be attacked, and everybody should be prepared to deal with it.
Go read the whole thing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Marine Corps Reading List

Not the first thing you think of when I say "Marine Corps" is it? You might be surprised.

Normally, you don't think of the United States Marine Corps when you think of great reading. Usually the first thing that comes to mind is strong men storming out of amphibious landing crafts storming the beaches to close with and kill the enemy. Maybe you think of their famous assault on Chapultepec in the Mexican War, or Belleau Wood, or Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

In any event, the image of the Marine Corps is one of martial strength, discipline, courage, and commitment. Notably absent there is the virtue of being well-read. However, that's a bit inaccurate.

Did you know the United States Marine Corps has a reading list? Yes, every Marine has assigned books to read based on their rank, and it's phenomenalAt minimum, three books per year are required to fulfill annual reading criteria for all active duty and reserve Marines, officer and enlisted.

Here's a selection of some of the books on the list:

The Killer Angels -Michael Shaara
I'm Staying With My Boys...: The Heroic Life of Sgt. John Basilone, USMC - Jim Prosser
The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
The Marines of Montford Point: America's First Black Marines - Melton McLaurin
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
The Art of War - Sun Tzu
Infantry Attacks - Erwin Rommel
Black Hearts - Jim Frederick 
On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society - Dave Grossman
The Face of Battle - John Keegan
Diplomacy - Henry Kissinger
Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Federalist Papers - Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay

Again, this is just a partial list, but look at it. There is everything from the philosophical to the historical, to the abstract, to the in your face awfulness of war. Just even looking at this partial list, how much have you read?

Since I'm always looking for a good book to read, I've decided that I'm going to work my way through the list (after I finish the Aubrey-Maturin Series, of course). Accordingly, just like the Marine Corps is always looking for a few good men, you should always be looking for a few good books.

If you are in need of a good book, the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps has a few suggestions for you.

Carry on.

Monday, November 21, 2016

James Mattis on the State of the World

Happy Monday to all the ladies, gentlemen, scholars, Thanksgiving procrastinators, lawyers everywhere, and all the ships at sea!

This is a short week since the Thanksgiving holiday will be cutting into things, which means I'll be working to get the regular amount of work done in less than the regular time. As Jerry Reed would say, We've got a long way to go and short time to get there.

However, I would encourage you to find some time this week to watch the video below. Right up front, I'll let you know it's long. But hey, not everything is a quick-hitting hot take.

The video is a speech that General (Ret.) James Mattis gave back in 2015 to the Heritage Foundation in which he discusses his view of the state of the world. If you hadn't noticed, Mattis appears to be on the short list for SECDEF in the new administration.

In this lecture, Mattis discusses expansionist Russia, the issues dealing with a muscular China, and he lays out the fundamental question we aren't asking ourselves in dealing with the middle-east, which is preventing the United States from having an overarching strategy.

I highly recommend that you watch this video, if for no other reason, to educate yourself on how the possible new Secretary of Defense views the world. If you aren't as fortunate as me to have wonderful in-laws, you could watch this video over the holiday with some earphones and avoid them for awhile.

Video below the jump

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Open Thread

Happy Friday, campers.

Lots of work today, so you're just going to have to enjoy this picture of a dog in a boat. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Great Rogers Hornsby Anecdote

I was re-watching some of Ken Burns' series Baseball last night, and I enjoyed this anecdote about the great hitter, Rogers Hornsby:

Rogers Hornsby - Perhaps the game's best right-handed hitter

Rogers Hornsby, who averaged.400 over five years, and was unquestionably one of the greatest hitters of all-time was facing a rookie pitcher. The pitcher was understanably nervous facing Hornsby at what was the height of his career, and he threw the first three pitches just barely outside the strike zone. However, the rookie pitcher thought that he thought these pitches were strikes and shouted to the umpire as much. The umpire then replied: "Young man, when you throw a strike, Mr. Hornsby will let you know."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Cause and Effect

They raised the minimum wage, but are confused as to why daycare now costs more.

Starting in January, Advent Child Center is increasing tuition about $140 a month per child, taking tuition from $705 to $845 a month, an increase some are not ready to pay. “It just adds to the tightness of general month to month expenditures," said mother Dawn Ellis, who has two children enrolled at Advent Lutheran. The increase is a direct result of the passing of Initiative 1433, increasing statewide minimum wage to $13.50 by 2020.
See, if you require businesses to pay their employees more, the business is going to have to charge more for the service in order to make up for that. That's how it works. It's what people who understand economics have been saying for forever. Here's my favorite part an employee who still doesn't get it.
Kristin Larson, program supervisor at Advent, said that "women and men who work here and go to school and get a degree in early childhood education should be paid a living wage." But the staff does wish that money could come from somewhere else. "I feel the state needs to be helping a little more,” said Larson, “it would be nice if parents didn't have to spend a majority of their paychecks for childcare."
Ms. Larson seems to have decided that the "state" a/k/a everyone paying taxes needs to now pay part of her salary. It's always this way with government intervention into markets. The government intervenes a little bit and then causes a problem. The proposed solution to that problem is additional intervention into the market. And so on, and so on, until the daycare facilities are just run by the state.
Same as what we've been seeing in healthcare. Intervention causing problems in the market and the next proposal is always more and more intervention until we get single-payer.

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

Monday, November 14, 2016

UVA Students Beclown Themselves

So I saw this today:

The key quote from the offended folks is: "For many of us, the inclusion of Jefferson quotations in these e-mails undermines the message of unity, equality and civility that you are attempting to convey."

I knew the social justice warriors of the left had repudiated Andrew Jackson. Apparently, they would like another scalp, and even Thomas Jefferson is not safe to quote by the President of the University that Thomas Jefferson founded.

Bless your heart, kiddos. By the way, we're not laughing at you...wait. Yeah, we're laughing at you.

P.S. This is just another reason why my alma mater of Washington & Lee University is better than TJ's college. Oh, and William & Mary (where Jefferson went to school) is also better

Lots of Work Today - Open Thread

Doing lawyer stuff all day, but I wanted to give y'all an open thread.

Friday, November 11, 2016

To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high!

In Flanders fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses, row on row, 
That mark our place, and in the sky, 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly, 
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

-John McCrae

Veterans Day 2016

On this morning 98 years ago, The Great War finally came to a halt. The guns that had first roared in August of 1914 finally fell silent. Although Veterans Day first commemorated this occasion, it is now a day when we recognize all veterans for their service in uniform, whether in combat or peace, and over all branches.

To everyone who has worn our nation's uniform or continues to wear it today, this day is your day for recognition. We all collectively thank you for your service to our country.

United States Marines at Belleau Wood - WWI

November 11, 1918

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

There's No Crying In Baseball

This morning, I had to take an exam. Well, I didn't have to take it - I chose to take it. For a long while, I'd been procrastinating becoming a title insurance agent, and since my law firm has other agents, it wasn't a big priority. However, I wanted to get certified and it was time.

About two weeks ago, I scheduled the exam for 8:30AM on 11/8 since that was the best time for my schedule this week. I didn't even really think about the fact that I was scheduling an early morning exam the day after the election.

In any event, I wasn't overly worried about the exam. It was essentially an exam about an area of law that I've been practicing in for ten years, so I felt my practical experience was mostly sufficient, combined with a bit of studying while watching returns and drinking wine.

I showed up at 8:00AM as instructed. I didn't know what to expect, and I discovered that there were a bunch of other people there to take various types of state licencing tests. Mostly people were there to take exams for things like general contractors, plumbers, cosmetology, electricians. There were about fifteen other people there for the early exam time. Of those fifteen, I was the only lawyer, and one of two white guys. The average age for everyone was probably about 30. Our group was in good cheer, and we helped each other with the check-in procedures, explaining the line and the forms, and we were all generally happy to be there.

We all had to wait awhile because there was only one proctor, and she checked each person in one at a time. While waiting together in our little room for check-in we all were a bit nervous, but everyone was upbeat, happy, and the general mood was that everyone was taking an exam that was going to improve their career. Everyone was looking forward to making themselves better. Even the proctor was upbeat and wished everyone good luck in a sincere way that made you feel like she had seen lots of people come through there but still cared about seeing people succeed.

By contrast, I saw (via Twitter) a Purdue college student's letter to a professor today, which made me embarrassed for the person who wrote it. Here's the letter:

First, I am profoundly embarrassed for whomever wrote this letter. It's an election and your preferred candidate lost. However, you're in college, not in daycare, so you don't get to cry about the fact that your preference wasn't met. The real world doesn't give you time for yourself when your feelings get hurt.

College is where you're supposed to be challenged. It's not supposed to be a place where you push off your responsibilities because you're sad.

By comparison, the people waiting with me to take exams didn't use an election to ask for an extension. They were ready to improve themselves and move their lives forward. They weren't looking for excuses to avoid hard work. They wanted to work. They wanted to succeed. I was proud to be with them and not with the students at Purdue.

Last Night's Election Results Were Surreal

Wow. Last night's result was surprising.

It now appears that the GOP is going to control the White House and Congress. I hope that the Republicans have learned from the mistakes that Obama and the Democrats made early on - namely, don't overreach. The pendulum always swings back. Remember when everyone was saying that the Republican party was a thing of the past back in 2008?

Let's start small. Maybe with passing a budget. You know, the budget? The thing that the federal government hasn't had for years and years because everyone on both sides has been really stubborn? Yeah, let's do a budget and then go from there. That would be nice.

Yeah. The Democratic party isn't going away. The Republicans can't act like they won't ever have to deal with the Democrats. Hopefully, those years in the wilderness were instructive on how to handle being in charge. The GOP needs to be humble, keep their heads down, govern responsibly, and avoid the hubris that the Democrats couldn't.

All glory is fleeting.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

My Election Prediction

Because why not?

Now that I've voted, I thought I would make a prediction. My map is above.

I think it's going to be a late night counting votes in Florida, but I think it will be blue at the end. South Carolina won't be very close, and will easily go red. I also think NC will be very close, but ultimately it will go blue.

After all the surprises in this election, I think the last surprise is that election night is going to be relatively boring.

What do you think? If you want to do your own prediction, you can make one at 270 to win.

My prediction for the next four years?

Election Day 2016 - Don't Let the Bastards Get You Down

Jasper Johns Flag, 1954-55
Either way, this long campaign will be over and half of America is going to be upset. If your preferred candidate loses, try to remember that the Office of the President is not the sole factor in your happiness as a person. We all have our families, friends, and interests outside of politics for that.

Ideally, we would live in a country where the chief magistrate of federal government doesn't affect our lives too directly, but the President has now become an avatar of sorts for our country, and the federal government has its hands in everything. It's easy to be dispirited and go to Negative Town when you get too caught up in politics, so maybe it will be a good thing for the entire country to take a step back from politics so deeply for awhile.

In any event, be of good cheer, you live in the greatest country in the world, no matter who the President is.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Tomorrow Is Election Day - Let's Not Think About It, Shall We?

Let's not think about it, shall we? Here are a few distractions:

JRR Tolkien's WWI Revolver. Pretty cool. I didn't know he was at the Somme.

Sights and sounds from the Missouri/USC game. This Bentley kid is starting to look like the real deal.

A nice reading room. Forget "man caves". You need a library.

Friday, November 4, 2016

There’s been a potential breach of Hillary Clinton’s firewall.

No, not the firewall protecting her private server, I'm talking about the metaphorical one in the electoral college map.

There’s been a potential breach of Hillary Clinton’s electoral firewall. And it’s come in New Hampshire, a state that we said a couple of weeks agocould be a good indicator of a Donald Trump comeback because of its large number of swing voters. Three new polls of New Hampshire released today showed a tied race, Trump ahead by 1 percentage point and Trump up by 5. There are some qualifications here: The poll showing Trump with a 5-point lead is from American Research Group, a pollster that’s had its issues over the years. And other recent polls of New Hampshire still show a Clinton ahead. But the race has clearly tightened in New Hampshire, with Clinton leading by only 2 to 3 percentage points in our forecast. 
If Clinton lost New Hampshire but won her other firewall states, each candidate would finish with 269 electoral votes, taking the election to the House of Representatives. Or maybe not — if Clinton also lost the 2nd Congressional District of Maine, where polls show a tight race and where the demographics are unfavorable to her, Trump would win the Electoral College 270-268, probably despite losing the popular vote.

So there's that. It's amazing that Trump is in a better position to win than either McCain or Romney was at this point, but in all fairness Obama was way tougher competition.

But who knows? Polling is like the point spread in sports. It's sort of a predictor, but you gotta go out and play the game.