Monday, October 31, 2016

Thoughts on the Election

“If we must have an enemy at the head of Government, let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible, who will not involve our party in the disgrace of his foolish and bad measures.” 

-Alexander Hamilton

That pretty much sums up where I am on this whole thing.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Top Five Expressions from the Aubrey-Maturin Series

I am into the eighth book of the series, The Ionian Mission, and I am enjoying the series far more than I expected, and my hopes had been high. Accordingly, I am trying to balance how fast I read the books. One on hand I am trying to go slowly enough to really enjoy the language and the subtleties, while on the other, I am wanting to spread all canvas and fly onward to the next adventure.

One of the best things about these books are the subtle expressions that recur through the characters. For instance, one of Jack's standbys is that he often declaims "There's not a moment to lose!" And often, there isn't. The expressions are a interesting sort of blend of standard English from the early 1800s and the esoteric language of the British Navy in the age of fighting sail. Accordingly, I thought I would rank my top five favorite expressions, with the caveat that I am only slightly more than a third of the way through the entire series.

So here they are, a top five list, High Fidelity style, in order:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Charleston School of Law Has 50% Bar Passage Rate This Year

Technically, it's 50.94%, but whatever. That's abysmal. I don't know what's going on at the Charleston School of Law, but they need to get this number up. I don't know if it's because the school is admitting marginal students, or if the school isn't teaching well, or whatever.

Bottom line, this is bad.

Get it together, Charleston, you're making Columbia look bad.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"The greatest pilot I ever saw" according to Chuck Yeager passed away Tuesday

"Bob Hoover, a pilot who escaped Nazi captivity in a stolen plane, tested supersonic jets with his friend Chuck Yeager, barnstormed the world as a breathtaking stunt performer and became, by wide consensus, an American aviation legend, died on Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 94."

You can't ask for a higher praise than having Chuck Yeager saying you're the greatest pilot he's ever seen. In case you want a second opinion, Jimmy Doolittle said Hoover was “the greatest stick-and-rudder man that ever lived.”

Letting Boys be Boys

A good essay on raising boys.
Parenting used to be a push-pull between husband and wife, finding the right balance between protectiveness and the freedom to explore, learn, test limits and sometimes get injured in doing so. Somewhere in the last 30 years or so, this balance shifted radically to the feminine side.
He's not wrong. When I was growing up, I used to get on my bike and ride around the neighborhood, ride up to the local pharmacy and buy baseball cards, and generally ride around as far as my bike would take me. I went "adventuring" through swampy parts of Gills Creek, built tree-houses with saws, hammers, and nails, and generally did things that would horrify lots of parents these days as being too dangerous.

And I turned out pretty much okay. Go read the whole thing.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Monday Sports Recap

Lots of stuff going on in the world of sports over the weekend, that merit mentioning. Let's start with the local stuff.

Jake Bentley hands off to David Williams in the Gamecocks' defeat of UMass.
The Jake Bentley era of Gamecock football is upon us. Yes, I know it was just UMass. Yes, I know that Bentley had a full compliment of receivers. Guess what?

Don't care. 

Bentley made some beautiful throws on Saturday that neither Perry Orth nor Brandon McIlwain have made in game situations. I think the Perry Orth moment is over. My guess is that we'll still see McIlwain in the specific situations like we did yesterday where his athleticism can stress a defense when the Gamecocks need to move the chains on third and short.

The fact of the matter is that Bentley is a very mature football player in that he knows how to run the offense, he takes care of the football, and he has poise. You can tell that the game is already "slowed down for him" more than almost any other freshman QB I can remember. He looked like a real leader out there on Saturday, and I am looking forward to seeing what he can do against a very solid SEC defense in Tennessee.

In less local news, the Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series for the first time in seventy one years. The World Series should be a great one, as the Indians have a great lineup. By the way, the Indians' right fielder, Lonnie Chisenhall briefly played baseball at South Carolina before being dismissed due to an off-the-field incident.

Oh, and Ohio State lost on Saturday, which is always a good thing.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Top Five Sports Movies Ever (With Iconic Scenes)

You were expecting a post about last night's debate? Sorry campers, if you want to get post-game analysis on the two bozos running for President, you'll have to go elsewhere. Neither of them really merit discussion beyond the fact that they're both unqualified to be President.

So, on to things that really merit good faith argument and debate: The top five sports movies of All-Time

First of all, there are a lot of great sports movies out there, so it's hard to come up with a top five list, as is normally done, High Fidelity style. But as they say, this is not 'Nam, there are rules. Otherwise, mark it zero, dude.

So here are the top five. Rules are only one movie per sport. Place them in any order you like, and I'd be happy, but you've got to go with some kind of order. If I'm looking for something to watch, and I come across one of these movies, I stop. And yeah, all these movies are sentimental feel-good movies, because that's what good sports movies are. As always, if you disagree, let me know.

Friday, October 14, 2016

"Duces tecum, that's the stuff."

Today's excerpt is from The Surgeon's Mate had our intrepid hero (Jack Aubrey) singing the praises of his lawyer, who has been helping to extricate him from a ponzi scheme.

     'I am very pleased with him. A capital man of business, clear-headed, and as brisk as a bee. He is carrying the war into their camp, the infernal dogs: that is what I like to see. Says a writ of duces tecum will compel them to show the paper I signed, and put an end to the uncertainty; and he has already sued one out. Duces tecum: that's the stuff.'
     'What does it mean?' asked Sophie.
     'I never was much of a fist at Latin,' said Jack. 'Not like Philip Broke. But I do remember dux, a leader, an admiral as you might say: and the plural is duces. So you could construe duces tecum as the admirals are with thee; and I don't ask better than that. Excellent Mr Skinner.'

I sent out a few subpoenas myself today. It's not as exciting as Jack thinks, but we can't all be Post-Captains, can we?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

"Vast Majority" of Comey's FBI Team Investigating Hillary "Felt she should be prosecuted"

“No trial level attorney agreed, no agent working the case agreed, with the decision not to prosecute -- it was a top-down decision,” said the source, whose identity and role in the case has been verified by A high-ranking FBI official told Fox News that while it might not have been a unanimous decision, “It was unanimous that we all wanted her [Clinton’s] security clearance yanked.” “It is safe to say the vast majority felt she should be prosecuted,” the senior FBI official told Fox News. “We were floored while listening to the FBI briefing because Comey laid it all out, and then said ‘but we are doing nothing,’ which made no sense to us.”

As we all suspected.

Eh, you could get all these people to say "Hillary is guilty, and here's the proof" but it wouldn't matter. People just don't care or would rather have her than Trump, no matter what she's done. It's all so depressing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The GOP is Starting to Figure Out Who Trump Really Is

That's the good news. The bad news is that it's too late.

Who is Keyser Soze?
Like I've said herehere, here, and here, Trump isn't the answer the GOP is looking for. I'm not on Team Trump. He's a con man. He's a charlatan. He's a New York liberal who's pretending to be a conservative politician. He's successfully fooled lots of people. And don't try to tell me I'm being some kind of traitor by not supporting him.

I support ideas, not parties, and certainly not personalities. Trump supporters aren't supporting him because of his ideas, they're supporting him because of his personality. That's why his ideas (which are insane) don't matter to them.

You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into to begin with.

But Trump going to destroy the entire GOP for at least this cycle, and possibly beyond. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

This election is now the part of The Usual Suspects where Agent Kujan finally figured out that Verbal Kent was Keyser Soze, the GOP is starting to figure out that Trump is not who they thought he was. I'm not sure who people thought he was, but whatever. And just like Agent Kujan, the GOP is putting it together too late to make any difference.

Trump is going down. That's for sure. The question is now whether he takes the GOP down with him. Given what we know about Trump, he's going to take everyone down with him that he can.

So we're now at a point where Paul Ryan's main goal is to try and protect Congress from going Democratic, and I wish him good luck on that. That's now really the question we're down to.

Sen. Katrina Shealy Standing By Her Man

People always talk about Hillary "standing by her man" in regards to Bill's issues. It seems Sen. Katrina Shealy is doing the same. Is this the same or different? Will it be used against her later?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Shelters in the Midlands for Coastal Evacuees

WIS has a list of the shelters in the midlands (and pet-friendly lodging) for anyone coming in from the coast.

Stay safe.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Trump's Taxes and The Otter Defense

I didn't post anything yesterday about the piece in the NYT over the weekend that detailed Trump taking a $916 million dollar loss on his taxes in 1995, which he could carry forward into future years to offset income earned then. But everyone seems to be talking about it, and some people seem to think it's a "bombshell", so I guess I need to write about it.

Is this a big deal? I don't really think so.

Our federal income tax system is a tax on income a/k/a the money you earn. It's not a tax on the money you already have, or your wealth. If you've got a billion dollar net worth and don't earn any money in a given year, then you don't pay any income taxes, because you don't have any income. The income tax has nothing to do with what you have, it taxes your income.

Accordingly, the federal government is sort of like your partner in business. If you make a lot of money in a given year and have a large income then you pay a larger amount, in the form of an income tax, to the Feds. If you do well, the Feds do well.

Therefore, it makes sense on a policy basis to have the Federal government, as your "partner" also share in your losses. If your business does poorly, then the Federal government has decided that you're entitled to take that loss as an offset against future taxes.

For example: If you lose $5 million dollars in year 1, and then earn $5 million dollars in year 2, how much taxes should you pay over the two year period? Well, you've effectively earned nothing, since your entire second year just got you back to even after losing the same amount in year 1. Accordingly, our tax system reflects that reality and allows business owners to offset losses.

That's what we're dealing with here. In 1995, Trump declared to the IRS that he lost a lot of money. I'm sure the IRS audited that to double check him. As long as he's telling the truth about his loss, then he's legally entitled take the deduction and offset any future gains.

If you don't like this system, then that's fine. Make an argument why the net operating loss deduction should be eliminated from our tax code. See if you can get Congress to pass that. Go for it. But it's a longstanding deduction, makes policy sense, and is fairly commonly known. We're not talking about some weird tax voodoo here,

So yeah, Trump may have had a lot of money in wealth when he took the loss, and it may be the case that he had money to fall back on anyway. But a loss is a loss, and it's deductible.

The issue isn't whether Trump took a tax deduction. He did. But you can't hold a taxpayer responsible for the entire tax code. For if you do...