Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Today, we remember Americans who are not here to thank.

In searching for words that expressed the spirit of Memorial Day, I found them in a passage from Ronald Reagan's First Inaugural Address.

"Directly in front of me, the monument to a monumental man, George Washington, father of our country. A man of humility who came to greatness reluctantly. He led America out of revolutionary victory into infant nationhood. Of to one side, the stately memorial Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence flames with his eloquence. And then, beyond the Reflecting Pool, the dignified columns of the Lincoln Memorial. Whoever would understand in his heart the meaning of America will find it in the life of Abraham Lincoln.

Beyond these monuments to heroism is the Potomac River, and on the far shore the sloping hills of Arlington Cemetery, with its row upon row of simple white markers bearing crosses or Stars of David.

They add up to only a tiny fraction of the price that has been paid for our freedom. Each of these markers is a monument to the kind of hero I spoke of earlier. Their lives ended in places called Belleau Wood, The Argonne, Omaha Beach, Salerno, and halfway around the world on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Pork Chop Hill, the Chosin Resivior, and in a hundred rice paddies and jungles in of a place called Vietnam.

Under one such marker lies a young man, Martin Treptow, who left his job in a small town barbershop in 1917 to go to France with the famed Rainbow Division. There on the western front, he was killed trying to carry a message between battalions under heavy artillery fire.

We're told that on his body was found a diary. On the flyleaf under the heading "My Pledge" he had written these words: 'America must win this war. Therefore I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully, and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone'."

We remember that spirit today.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Carpooling With Adele (and a Note about Memorial Day)

It's the Friday before a long weekend, so a lot of folks are phoning it in this afternoon. I'm doing the same thing with the blog today. Yes, this is a blog-post, but we're going to be fairly content light today.

Here's something that's pretty entertaining.

Everyone have a good Memorial Day Weekend. Have a few beers, cook some BBQ, and get outside. But in all the things that you do, set a side a moment or two to reflect on the men and women of our armed services who aren't here to celebrate with you.

Oh, and don't thank veterans for their service on Memorial Day, either. Memorial Day is the day that we set aside to remember those who aren't here to thank. My family and I are extremely thankful for all who have served. Let's take Monday to remember the ones who gave the last full measure of devotion.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Trailer for "USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage" looks...not horrible.

So they made a movie about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. If you don't know the story, it's one of the worst disasters in US Naval history.

The world's first operational atomic bomb was delivered by the Indianapolis, (CA-35) to the island of Tinian on 26 July 1945. The Indianapolis then reported to CINCPAC (Commander-In-Chief, Pacific) Headquarters at Guam for further orders. She was directed to join the battleship USS Idaho (BB-42) at Leyte Gulf in the Philippines to prepare for the invasion of Japan. The Indianapolis, unescorted, departed Guam on a course of 262 degrees making about 17 knots.

At 14 minutes past midnight, on 30 July 1945, midway between Guam and Leyte Gulf, she was hit by two torpedoes out of six fired by the I-58, a Japanese submarine. The first blew away the bow, the second struck near midship on the starboard side adjacent to a fuel tank and a powder magazine. The resulting explosion split the ship to the keel, knocking out all electric power. Within minutes she went down rapidly by the bow, rolling to starboard.

Of the 1,196 aboard, about 900 made it into the water in the twelve minutes before she sank. Few life rafts were released. Most survivors wore the standard kapok life jacket. Shark attacks began with sunrise of the first day and continued until the men were physically removed from the water, almost five days later.

Only 317 sailors made it out of the water alive after five days. If you'd like a more dramatic recitation of the story, I would refer you to Robert Shaw's great soliloquy from Jaws.

It's too bad Robert Shaw isn't still alive to make a cameo in this new movie. Judging just from the trailer, the pros look like there is some genuine drama, but the cons are that Nicolas Cage is in the movie, and the CGI looks...meh.

However, it's a great story, and if they tell it well, it has the chance to be a great movie.

Is Our Government an Old Forest?

Over time, old forests build up with dead trees, decaying plant matter, and old vegetation that chokes out and prevents new growth.

When a forest fire breaks out, it destroys all these things and returns them (and the nutrients they’ve been harboring) back to the soil in the form of ashes. The underbrush is cleared so sunlight can reach the forest floor and new growth can emerge. Invasive weeds are gone, insects are eliminated, and newer, younger growth explodes.

I have to say, I’m not totally opposed to it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

IG Report Confirms Hillary Clinton Intentionally Broke Laws and Lied

I know, I know.

Here are some of the highlights:

1. Her private e-mail account was in violation of State Department rules. These rules were made to give specific effect to law. So...she broke the law.

2. She claimed to have turned over all her "work related" e-mails. The IG found work e-mails that Hillary never turned over. These e-mails were recovered by other means.

3. Hillary kept claiming that she was cooperating with the investigation, but guess what...she (along with most of her staff) never answered the IG's questionnaire. Sounds like super cooperation to me!

I'm hoping for an indictment and the rule of law, but I'm expecting neither. In this day and age, when you break the law and compromise national security, you don't get indicted. Apparently, you get promoted.

Just a good ol' girl
Never meaning no harm
Been in trouble with the law since the day she was born
Usin' servers
Hidin' e-mails
Some day the mountain may get her
But the law never will

Monday, May 23, 2016

Friday, May 20, 2016

The NRA endorses Trump

I can't say I'm really surprised, given how anti-gun Hillary is. I mean, what where they going to do, endorse Hillary?

I'll say this, though. I don't join the NRA in endorsing Trump. I just can't.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tom Cotton calls Obama's Advisers a Bunch of Slapfighting Nancy-Boys

He singled out Ben Rhodes as a "chump".

“You know, most of who’s left in the administration now are all these yes men and fan boys who were van drivers or press flaks for Barack Obama in Iowa and New Hampshire in 2008,” Cotton added, recalling Obama’s first presidential campaign.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      “As if any of them have ever seen anything more dangerous than a shoving match when they were playing beer pong in the back of a bar in Georgetown.”

Boom. The only way you can up that insult is to say they were playing beer-pong with Zima.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Art Open Thread: The Battle off Cape St. Vincent

I'm on the fourth book of the Aubrey-Maturin series, The Mauritius Command, and enjoying the entire series immensely. Accordingly, the Art Open Thread is inspired by my reading.

The moonlight Battle off Cape St Vincent, 16 January 1780 by Francis Holman, painted 1780, shows the Santo Domingo exploding, with Rodney's flagship Sandwich in the foreground.


Sports Update - Big Hits Edition

I haven't had a sports update in awhile, but there are a a few sports items that bear mentioning:

1. South Carolina is on the bubble of being a National Seed. Personally, I think that South Carolina will end up being left out of the national seeding, but that's fine. All that matters is winning games. Being a top seed just means you play games at home. Win anyway. It was nice to see the Gamecocks salvage the last game against Texas A&M yesterday. Getting swept would have been a huge blow to the team.

By the way, Dom Thompson-Williams hit a mammoth home run yesterday. Not only did it go over the fence - it went over the outer fence of the stadium. He hit a ball that landed somewhere in the vicinity of Sumter. When you hit a ball that far, you get to admire it and flip your bat like a boss, regardless of what the unwritten rules say.

2. Speaking of huge hits, Jose Bautista took a huge hit to the face in yesterday's Blue Jays-Game. We all know that there's no crying in baseball, but Jimmy Dugan never said that there's no hay-makers. Here's the video.

3. And finally, to a guy who's a big hit in Columbia (and all of Gamecock Country), Marcus Lattimore talked with ESPN about his career-ending knee injuries, his path forward, and his life now. He's currently an assistant coach with a local high school here in Columbia.

There's your sports update, campers.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Obama administration directs schools to accommodate transgender students

All schools. Everywhere.

The directive comes from two top administration officials: Catherine E. Lhamon, the assistant secretary of education for civil rights, and Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. It put state and local officials and higher-education institutions on notice that they risk losing federal education aid if they limit students to areas or teams based on their gender assigned at birth.

"Risk losing federal education aid" equals; Hey, nice school you got there. It sure would be a shame if, you know, something happened to it. 

So now all the bathrooms in all the schools everywhere are going to be equal opportunity for boys and girls, like a different gender, I guess. I'm sure this will lead to zero problems at all.

On a practical level, what will happen when some boys decide to just go in the girls locker rooms? Can a teacher tell them to get the hell out? And the bathroom thing is just gross, especially if you're a girl. I mean, the girls have the nice bathrooms. There's usually a lake of pee on the floor of the boys' bathroom, so I see girls as the total losers of this arrangement. The ladies are losing the exclusive use of the nice bathroom.

So much for your "safe space".

And sports teams? Great. Just wait until some guys want to join the girls basketball team. I'm sure that will go over really well. Hey, if you don't make the high school basketball team, slap on a pair of panties and go try out for the girl's teams. Have fun!

This country is losing its ever-lovin' mind. We've got serious problems to address, and this is sort of nonsense that our government has decided to fool around with.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Citadel maintains their dress code standard. Legal battle looms.

After consideration, The Citadel has declined to alter their dress code to allow an accepted student to wear a hijab over her cadet uniform. So it now looks like this student will be suing.

Because of course she will.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Recapping a Great Vacation

Last Friday morning, I departed Charlotte International Airport for the Dominican Republic with my wife and three other friends. We were all taking a vacation without the kids for the first time in over five years. We arrived back in Charlotte today, refreshed, rested, and completely relaxed.

For those of you with kids, you know that children are wonderful. Children are a blessing from God. But hey, sometimes it's nice to wake up in the morning and not have your first thought be about making breakfast for your toddler and changing diapers on your littlest one. Every five years, it's not too much to ask to have a long weekend.

Each morning, I would wake up, realize I had nowhere to be and then go back to sleep for about twenty minutes. When I did get up, I made a cup of espresso in our room, and then drank it on our patio overlooking the beach while reading my new favorite book series.

It was glorious.

Here are some photos.

This was the view out of our room on the patio. We're about 80 yards from the beach.

My beautiful bride and I pose on the beach.

The view overlooking the restaurant that overlooks the pool that overlooks the ocean. Lots to see.

At one point, I ordered a banana daiquiri, and they made it with actual, fresh bananas. The resort was absolutely phenomenal in almost every respect. We had a great time with our friends, enjoyed reading books in the shade on the beach, and did mostly nothing.

And it was everything I thought it could be.

Back to being a lawyer tomorrow. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

"I did nothing, and it was everything I thought it could be."

On the beach.

This is a stock photo, but I set this blog post up to come online at a scheduled time. I'm in the Dominican Republic, doing absolutely nothing.

And it's everything that I thought it could be.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Blue Peter is a flyin'

Traditionally, Blue Peter is the nickname given to the nautical signal flag that represents the letter “P.” When communicating with signal flags, each letter of the alphabet has a specific meaning. The letter “P” means “All persons should report on board as the vessel is about to proceed to sea.”

I'm leaving for the island of Hispaniola first thing in the morning with some good friends. I'll be gone for a little while, and although I will be unplugged from all communications, I've got some pre-selected blog fodder ready to auto-post.

New Red Line for Obama in Syria?

This time, they mean it. Seriously, you guys.

Secretary of State John Kerry imposed an August deadline for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to transition out of power, warning the Damascus-based government and its Russian and Iranian backers that non-adherence to the ultimatum will prompt a new US approach to ending the five-year-old war. "The target date for the transition is 1st of August," Kerry said in a press conference at the State Department on Tuesday. "So we're now coming up to May. So either something happens in these next few months, or they are asking for a very different track."

Here's the very next sentence: (You're gonna love it.)

It's not clear how much weight Kerry's ultimatum has.

It's not clear how much weight the ultimatum  has? Yeah. How about none? I'm sure Assad is really really worried that Obama and John Kerry are going to start pushing him around. If only someone would let our President be clear on this issue.

Our foreign policy in this region is a freaking clown-show. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

"When the fall is all there is, it matters."

So yesterday Cruz dropped out, and today, Kasich did the same.

So we're left with the Idiot Orange Carnival Barker against the Hillary. I ain't voting for either of those people. Neither are worthy of my vote, as neither is qualified to be POTUS. I know lots of traditional Republicans are going to eventually fall in line and support Trump because "He's better than Hillary", but we're not grading on a curve here.

I'm not going to surrender my principles and integrity and support Trump. I'd rather just die honorably, like Prince Richard in The Lion in Winter, who, believing that he's about to be killed refuses to beg for his life.

Richard: He’s here. He’ll get no satisfaction out of me. He isn’t going to see me beg.
Geoffrey: My you chivalric fool… as if the way one fell down mattered.
Richard: When the fall is all there is, it matters.

It matters how you handle Trump being the GOP nominee, especially if you're a tradtional GOP voter. Do you stick with your principles, or do you cast them aside? Brad had some thoughts on this and went with a WWII metaphor of the Nazis marching through Paris and how Churchill refused to surrender. I think that's appropriate.

Other thoughts I have on not giving in or giving up would be best embodied as follows:


Never give up.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Feel Good Story of the Day

Smith is the founder of Raising Men Lawn Care Service, a group that's lending a hugely helpful hand to neighbors in need. They do free lawns for the elderly, disabled, and single mothers. Smith says Raising Men Lawn Care Service is "the union of an ordinary yard maintenance service and the commitment to establish an inspiring program to keep our young men and boys (young women and girls) on a positive path while learning and understanding their value in society.


Monday, May 2, 2016

Are universities eroding masculinity?

Camille Paglia on gender and masculinity.
The problem right now is that the masculine has no honor whatever in our culture. We’re in a period now where young people are being processed for the universities, and the gender norms are said to be that gender is a construct. It is simply the product of environmental pressures on people. There’s no nothing in the body — .
COWEN: We have a big culture. Not everyone goes to university, thank goodness. You can go to a NASCAR race and a few of the people there have not been to the Ivy Leagues.
PAGLIA: Working class culture retains an idea of the masculine. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. But, with that, comes static. So you have to have strong women in order to deal with masculine men.
That is why masculinity is constantly being eroded, diminished, and dissolved on university campuses because it allows women to be weak. If you have weak men, then you can have weak women. That’s what we have. Our university system, anything that is remotely masculine is identified as toxic, as intrinsic to rape culture. A utopian future is imagined where there are no men. We’re all genderless mannequins.
The movie The Time Machine is like one. We’re moving toward that, the Eloi. That’s how I see the upper middle class graduates of the Ivy League. They’re the Eloi.