Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Illinois Budget Meltdown

Illinois has long been spending more money than it's been taking in. When you aren't the federal government, and you have to actually balance a budget, that's eventually going to be a problem. For Illinois, the day of reckoning is soon.
“The state [of Illinois] can no longer function without a responsible and complete budget without severely impacting our core obligations and decimating services to the state’s most in-need citizens,” Mendoza wrote. “We must put our fiscal house in order. It is already too late. Action is needed now.”
Things that can't go on forever, won't.

Monday, June 19, 2017

An Interesting Discussion about SCOTUS and Political Gerrymandering

Come over to Brad's site and add your two cents. Do you think the Supreme Court might wade into the political issue of partisan gerrymandering?

As you'll see from my comments, I certainly think partisan gerrymandering is an issue that needs to be addressed, but I'm not convinced it's the court's province to do so.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Comey Tells Lawmakers in Closed Door Session: Lynch Obstructed Justice

 This seems like obstruction of justice.
During the conversation, Comey told lawmakers he confronted Lynch with a highly sensitive piece of evidence, a communication between two political figures that suggested Lynch had agreed to put the kibosh on any prosecution of Clinton.

Comey said "the attorney general looked at the document then looked up with a steely silence that lasted for some time, then asked him if he had any other business with her and if not that he should leave her office," said one source who was briefed.
Trump's a buffoon, but he's doing pretty dang good at the job description of: "Not Being Hillary Clinton and her Corrupt Crime Syndicate". If Hillary had won the election, there's no telling how much crap like this would be going on.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Happy Thirteenth Anniversary!

Thirteen years ago, I married a girl better looking that me, smarter than me, and nicer than me. She's the best thing that ever happened to me, and I'm looking forward to many more happy years!


Thanks for being my shade tree and best friend!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thoughts on Comey, Trump, and Fish

It is true that among the impeachment charges leveled against President Richard Nixon was one for obstructing justice, but didn’t Nixon commit the independent crime of instructing his aides to lie to the FBI? I think that was sort of the "hook".

I’m just saying that I don’t think there is an actual, criminal statute that applies. I’m not 100% sure of this, but I think the reason that the FBI is in “independent agency” isn’t because of some particular law. I think it’s this way because there has been decades and decades of Presidents who have ceded their authority over the FBI because of republican deference. (That’s republican with a little “r”.) In the past, Presidents have directed that the DOJ prosecute (or not prosecute) individuals. That’s a historical fact. You can go look it up.

What if Trump had told Comey, “You are no longer authorized to legally investigate Flynn because I’ve decided to pardon him.” Would that be obstruction of justice? No, obviously.

But we elected this knuckle-head who doesn’t really do “deference to power” or worry about “conflicts of interest”. Rather, he did the clumsy, classless, entitled guy thing of just being stupid. I think it’s abuse of power, unethical, and outside of the standards of decency that have been set and respected by Presidents since time out of mind.

But I don’t think it’s actually a crime. Sorry if you don’t like it. If the President has the Constitutional authority to fire the FBI Director, he certainly has the authority to tell him what to do (or not do). It doesn’t mean that he should, but it sort of does, in fact, mean that he can.

At the end of the day, it’s not Trump’s fault. It’s our fault. We elected this scrub. So, it’s sort of hard for me to come down really hard on the moron we elected President because the country did, in fact, elect him. It would be like electing a fish to run a 100 yard dash and then getting mad at the fish because he can’t run. It’s not the fish’s fault it can run. It’s your fault for making a fish try to run. It’s a freaking fish, you ninny.

Democrats, maybe next time around you won’t run the most unlikable, entitled harridan to be the candidate. Everyone owes a big apology to the founders. We really screwed up. Who knows, y’all don’t really seem to be getting this particular lesson. Maybe Hillary will be the candidate for President until she either dies or wins. Anything is possible with the Democrats.

I’m not trying to carry Trump’s water. I have nothing invested in him. I didn’t vote for him. I wish he weren’t the President. But, I can look at the facts, look at the law, look at how our Constitution works, and see that this isn’t a crime based on what I’ve seen thus far.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wednesday Art Open Thread

It's been a long day. Here's an open thread to get you through the night.

Trafalgar Square, 1884 Tom Roberts

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

D-Day: 73 Years Ago

73 years ago, over 150,000 Allied troops landed on the shores of France, intent on reclaiming Europe from the German army that had overrun and occupied Europe. It was a calculated gamble, and the outcome was far from certain. In the early morning hours of darkness before the sun rose, thousands of men dropped from the sky in connection with the landings.

Of the over 150,000 Allied troops that landed that day, 4 received the Medal of Honor for their actions on that day. One of those men was Teddy Roosevelt's son.

When the first waves hit the shore at Omaha Beach, they were immediately met with withering fire from fortified German positions. Omaha Beach is a curved beach, like a crescent moon, and it has high bluffs overlooking the shore. Accordingly, it was the most easily defended by the Germans. Here's what it looked like that day.

A good view of the high ground at the rear of Omaha beach, known to the Americans as ‘bluffs’, that made such a natural defensive position. The Naval gunfire had set fire to the grass, which provided a certain amount of unintentional cover.

Separating Omaha Beach and Utah Beach was the highest point - Pointe du Hoc.

Pointe du Hoc as seen from the air today. It separates and overlooks both Omaha and Utah Beach.
The American Rangers were assigned the task of scaling these cliffs and taking this point. Here is President Reagan recounting the assault:

Think about all the things you do this morning. You might have had to deal with some young kids who didn't want to go to school. Maybe you got stuck in some annoying traffic. You might have to do some difficult work at your job. But stop for a second to think about what you didn't do.

You didn't cram into a plywood thing that was half-boat and half-target that took you out on a choppy ocean channel. You didn't have to wade out into cold ocean water when the front door on that boat dropped open, which was the cue for thousands of men to start shooting at you in your little plywood target. You didn't have to fight through artillery rounds, mines, bullets, grenades, and make your way over the beach to the men shooting at you from protected bunkers.

You didn't have to ride in an airplane with heavy gear strapped to you, fly into the teeth of anti-aircraft fire, and then drop thousands of feet in the dark, only to find yourself scattered and surrounded by hostile German soldiers trying to kill you, and all that you had to fight back was the gear you carried with you.

When you think about what the men of D-Day did seventy three years ago, what we do today in our daily lives seems pretty small. There aren't very many veterans of D-Day left anymore, so you probably won't get a chance to thank one of them personally.

If you're in Columbia today, chances are you'll run into a soldier from Ft. Jackson if you're around town. Take a moment to stop and thank them for their willingness to serve. Everyone who has worn the uniform of the United States military had the willingness to serve.

Monday, June 5, 2017

South Carolina Doesn't Have an Official State Flag

Which one of these flags do you like the best?

Okay, the headline is a bit misleading, but it's not entirely false.
Part of the problem is while S.C. law says the flag will be blue and have a white palmetto tree and crescent on it, that law does not set specifications for their exact placement or design. As a result, some variations have found themselves into the state flags produced by competing flagmakers.
And one lawmaker has decided it's high time South Carolina have an official flag.

Growing up here in South Carolina, I've seen all the different flags variations, but I sort of always figured that the one in the upper left hand corner was the "official" flag. Maybe I just sort of saw that one most of the time. What about y'all? Which flag looks right to you?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Davidson College Students Tricked Into Saying They Don't Want Socialism

As you can see, almost all of the students don't think it's "fair" that those who work hard should have their GPA lowered, with part of it being "redistributed" to raise the GPA of the students at the low end.

The best part is the reaction that the students had after they realized it was just a hypothetical to make them think about larger issues.

But after students discovered later the petition was a hoax played on them by conservative students in an attempt to illustrate the unfairness of wealth distribution, they hastily called a teach-in at the campus union at which they denounced the effort and vented their frustration.

Some students said the fake petition made them struggle with feelings that they do not belong at Davidson, while others aggressively attacked the video, calling it “oppressive,” “illegally filmed,” and “inflammatory bullsh*t,” according to a video of the April 27 teach-in on Facebook.

So instead of examining their position on redistribution of income as potentially hypocritical, (or at least inconsistent when it comes to other things) these students got mad that they've been tricked into thinking about things.

Everyone is conservative about their own work. Other people's? Eh, not so much.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Movies, Politics, Sports, and Other Randomness

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Memorial Day. Now it's back to work and the regular routine. I'm going to try and be a bit better with the regular posting, since I sort of fell off the wagon lately. I'll be trying to at least one post a day, even if it's not a big in-depth one.

With that in mind, here are a few of the things I saw recently that were interesting:

1. Bryce Harper charges the mound on Hunter Strickland and goes nuclear. I have to say, I'm all in Harper's corner for this one. Strickland is upset about something that happened in 2014, and has been nursing a grudge since then? Come on, man. That's just sad. Move on dot org and stuff, bro.

2. In other violence related news, Democrats and Republicans in the Texas statehouse did their own version of the Sharks and the Jets fighting it out. In true Texas form, threats of gun-play are prominently featured.

3. Watch this trailer for the movie Lucky Logan. No, seriously. If you haven't already seen it, stop reading this, click the link, and watch teh trailer. It's worth the price of admission just to hear Daniel Craig (Yes, James Bond) cast as a redneck southerner with what my ear detects to be a high Alabama redneck accent. The man has some serious acting chops.

3. In news of the ironic, Germany's PM Angela Merkel said the "U.S. No Longer a Reliable Ally for Europe" which is pretty rich if you consider that it's all the European countries who aren't actually spending the agreed upon amount of GDP on their military. Maybe it's a good thing that Merkel said this, maybe Germany and the rest of the NATO members will decide to actually spend some money on defense rather than just being free riders.

4. In other baseball related news, USC Athletic Director (and former baseball coach) Ray Tanner has to decide whether or not Holbrook keeps the job as head baseball coach after missing the NCAA tournament two out of the last three years. If nothing else, go read the article for the first line.

Here's how I would like to see it play out.

Have a good one, folks.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday Art Thread

I've been reading Bible stories to our five year old at bed-time, and we skip around a lot, but the story of Daniel in the lions den is one of his favorites.

Personally, I like the story of Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, but I found this nice painting, so we're going with Daniel.

 Daniel's Answer To The King -  Briton Riviere, 1890

Monday, May 22, 2017

Holbrook: "I can get the Gamecocks back to Omaha"

How about try and make it to the field of 64, bro.

If it's a traditional early exit for the Gamecocks at the SEC Tournament, they will be lucky (Lucky!) to make the field of 64 for the NCAA baseball tournament.

(Omaha is the "Elite Eight" of the NCAA Tournament)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Art Open Thread

Getting some work done and then going to cook some BBQ in Camden. Enjoy your weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Come to the Battle of Camden This Weekend!

No, it's not a Revolutionary War re-enactment, it's better. It's a BBQ festival!
The Battle of Camden BBQ Festival, a barbeque contest to benefit the Camden Jaycees’ Annual Stocking Fund, will take place on May 19th and May 20th of 2017 at 222 Broad Street in Historic Camden, South Carolina.  The event will include a Chicken Wing Competition on Friday Night, barbeque from some of the finest BBQ Competitors in the Southeast on Saturday, delicious food and drink from local vendors, and live music both days.

This is a Battle with a Purpose: The festival is hosted by the Camden Jaycees, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to improving the lives of the most disadvantaged citizens in Kershaw County by providing meals and toys to families during the Christmas season.
I'll be out there cooking with some friends, so if you make it out there, feel free to stop by our area and say hello. It's BBQ for a good cause; doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Will RompHims Catch on This Summer?

No. No, they will not.

I know that every so often, something comes along that is supposed to be the Next Big Thing, but this is not going to be it. I'm not sure what problem these folks were trying to solve with men's clothing, but this is not the answer.

First, there's no problem with men's clothing. We have shirts, pants, and (if it's hot and we're feeling casual) these things called shorts. They're like pants, but shorter, so you can stay cool.

There's really no need to combine the shorts and shirt into one item. It's really not necessary. I've never heard a guy say: "Bro, what I could really use is a shirt and and shorts item that is just one thing. This whole two pieces of clothing thing is so overwhelming and stressful."

Sorry Buzzfeed, this is the worst idea in a while.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Erick Erickson: "Shut the hell up, Mr. President" a/k/a The Inverse Rule of Trump

Do you ever find yourself reading something and nodding along the whole time?

Yeah, I did that today with this column from Eric Erickson. Erickson begins by recounting all the breathless reports that have swirled around the Comey firing, and how they've been shown to be  entirely incorrect.

He then makes the point that I think is beyond dispute:
Everything made sense and was justified, despite the partisan outrage. It was defensible, even if the timing looked bad.
But God help us all, the President felt overshadowed. He was subservient to checks, balances, systems, and recommendations. So what did the President do? He lashed out and said he’d made up his mind to fire James Comey even before the Department of Justice recommendation. On top of that, he said he would have fired Comey regardless of Justice’s recommendation.

In one short interview, the President made liars of every single person who mounted a credible defense of the decision — a decision that remains defensible.

But the decision is not defensible if the President did it just because Comey wasn’t loyal to him personally. The decision was not defensible if the President did it because he felt personally offended by the FBI Director.

The President’s behavior is juvenile and asinine. He undermines his Vice President, his communications team, and the very foundational reasons for firing Comey. He can’t help but make it about himself and in so doing he undermines his own integrity in the process.
At some earlier point in the Trump administration, someone else came up with the "Inverse Rule of Trump", and this whole Comey thing is a textbook example.

The Inverse Rule of Trump posits that for everything the Trump Administration does, the less that Trump is directly involved in it, the more successful that action will be. However, the more that Trump is directly involved in an action, the less successful that action will be.

With the Comey firing, everything was pretty defensible until Trump decided to just bigfoot everyone and make it all about himself. Now, Trump is facing even more legitimate criticism about the firing because he's gotten more involved.

Trump needs to take this advice and shut the hell up. Being Trump of course...he won't.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Proper Way to Observe Confederate Memorial Day

"Wouldn’t it be nice if folks who wanted to have an observation to respect the suffering and deaths of forebears (including several of mine) in the Recent Unpleasantness could come up with something less confrontational as waving those flags around."

Indeed. I'll take the folks who go out to the cemeteries and care for the grounds, place a wreath, and solemnly observe the day over the flag-waving yahoos. It's a memorial day, not a celebration.

Jackson grave site, in Lexington, VA

Here's the statue of Jackson at his grave in Lexington, Virginia. It's a beautiful statue. When I look at it, I don't think of slavery, which has long been (and rightfully so) tossed into the ash bin of history. 

Rather, I think of and remember the man's best attributes: his bravery, resourcefulness, and honor. Also, I don't think Jackson would hold with all these folks yelling and waving flags today. I think he'd rather you say a prayer for the thousands of men who died in a conflict that Shelby Foote called "The crossroads of our being".

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Trump fires Comey

Could be because he botched the investigation. Could be because he's pushing the Russia investigation.

Or...with Trump? Could be a situation where he shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.

SC Guard Expo at McEntire Flies High

(Video of the finale simulating an airstrike in the joint air-ground operation)
(Video courtesy of Mrs. Permanent Press)

Over the weekend, our family went to the South Carolina Guard Expo at Joint National Guard Base McEntire. In addition to some civilian run airshows, I've been to two other military facilities for airshows: (1) MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) Beaufort, and (2) Shaw AFB.

This one was the best air show events I've attended - military or civilian. Yes, the air show in Beaufort had the Blue Angels, and yes, the air show at Shaw had the Thunderbirds. While I will acknowledge that the Blue Angels performance is definitely the best stand-alone performance I've ever seen, taking the whole event into account, the air show this weekend at McEntire was the best one I've ever been to.

The event at McEntire gets top marks because they used the space so well. There were lots of picnic spaces open for relaxing, rather than feeling like you were always in a crowd. They had at least 30-50 (and even that may be a low estimate) static displays all over the place so there was always something interesting to see. They had a dedicated kids area set up with free inflatable bounce houses. Our daughter enjoyed the 246th Army Band's rendition of When the Saints Go Marching In. There were lots of food trucks so there weren't any long lines, and there were plenty of trash cans. The MPs did a good job with the traffic - it was actually the easiest in-and-out of an air show I've ever been to.

As forth the show itself, it was great. The announcer did a wonderful job of telling you all about each aircraft, giving out facts, and telling stories about the pilots that really made me just want to listen to him the whole time rather than going to the bounce house for the kids.

The even really had something for everyone -old WWII warbirds, helicopters, kids activities, modern jets, tanks - even a stinger missile demonstration where you could hold the missile launcher and simulate firing it.

In the end, you can't go wrong with a big ol' explosion for the finale.

Well done, McEntire. Well done.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Full Sgt. Pepper/Star Wars Mashup (For the Win)

This is the best thing that you've seen all year. It's amazing. They did the whole album.

The. Whole. Album.

First Two (Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band/With a Little Help From My Friends) This is great. If you don't listen to all of them, at least listen to this one.

The next one (Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds):

(Getting Better)

(Fixing a Hole)

(She's Leaving Home)

(Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!)

(Within You Without You)

(When I'm Sixty-Four) One of my favorites in this mash-up.

(Lovely Rita) This one is pretty good, too.

(Good Morning, Good Morning)

(Sgt. Pepper Reprise/ A Day in the Life) 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

South Carolina Family Court Discovery Rule Change

One area of law in which I practice quite a bit is family court litigation. That includes divorces, custody issues, child support, alimony, property division, and all the ancillary matters that go along with these issues.

The jurisdiction for these family law issues takes place in family court, which is separate from common pleas, where almost all other civil litigation takes place. There are lots of differences in how family court operates from common pleas, and most of those differences reflect the different nature of the cases.

One difference which has long been an odd one, is that in family court, you have to get the court to authorize discovery before it can take place. However, discovery is always granted. In fact, I've never had a case where discovery wasn't granted, much less even contested. Nevertheless, it was one of those things you had to specifically ask for, or get the other side to stipulate to.

On the contrary, in common pleas discovery just exists. You do it. You don't have to ask for the ability to engage in it. Accordingly, it sort of was this annoyance that in family court you had to ask for the power to engage in discovery since it was granted as a matter of routine.

Today, the Supreme Court of South Carolina has fixed this issue and moved the family court to where common pleas is. I applaud the decision, and I am glad that this has taken place.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Study Says "Breastfeeding Should Not Be Called Natural"

No, really.

“Referencing the ‘natural’ in breastfeeding promotion… may inadvertently endorse a set of values about family life and gender roles, which would be ethically inappropriate,” the study says.
I'm not a scientist, but I think that breastfeeding would fall under the category of natural. But then again, I don't really mind if I inadvertently endorse a set of values...that seem to make sense.

Talk about a science denier...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

First we had intentionally ripped jeans. Now we have intentionally dirty jeans for sale.

And these dirty jeans can be yours for $425 from Nordstrom.

No, really.

Mike Rowe, who always has a commonsense take on hard work noticed this.

Finally – a pair of jeans that look like they have been worn by someone with a dirty job…made for people who don’t. And you can have your very own pair for just $425.00.

Here’s the official description, from their website.

“These heavily distressed medium-blue denim jeans embody rugged, Americana workwear that’s seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.”

"Not real mud. Fake mud. Something to foster the illusion of work. The illusion of effort. Or perhaps, for those who actually buy them, the illusion of sanity."
Rowe goes on to say that these jeans are just a "costume". And to a certain degree he's right. But so much of our clothing is to project an image. For instance, I wear a suit and tie when I meet with clients in my law office, as opposed to shorts and a t-shirt. Guys who go to the gym (even just a little) a lot wear cool workout related stuff when they're out on the town to project that image. We all know a person who ran one 5K, got a t-shirt, and wears that t-shirt all the time.

But you have to sort of be closely related to the clothes you're wearing, or otherwise you're just playing dress-up. For instance, it wouldn't make sense for me to wear a Quiksilver t-shirt around, because I don't surf. I've never surfed a day in my life. For me to wear that shirt would be to be simply playing dress-up. Nor would I wear some Army-style jacket as a fashion because, again, I would feel like I'm just playing dress-up.

So where do these jeans fall? To me, it's gauche. It's "rich guy pretending to be a poor guy" kind of thing. No one has dirty jeans because they choose to - you get dirty jeans like that from working outside doing manual labor. And here, there selling that look for an exorbitant rate so rich folks can have that "look" without going through the labor. So it's sort of a way to wear a working man's uniform without actually being a working man. What the heck?

I wonder if you have to pay extra for the dip ring worn into the back pocket.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sneering Televangelists of the Left

It's what I've been saying all along. "Sneering at the masses and how it helped lead to Trump"
She touches on the broader point when she says “the tone of these shows [is] one imbued with the conviction that they and their fans are intellectually and morally superior to those who espouse any of the beliefs of the political right.”
All of these sneering folks remind me of televangelists of the left, who deliver sermons to their faithful progressive audience, and tell them how evil and horrible their enemies are.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Fresno Shooter Kills Three - Taken Into Custody Shouting "Allahu Akhbar"

From Reuters:
A gunman who went by the nickname Black Jesus killed three white men in downtown Fresno, California, on Tuesday, and fired at another before he was taken into custody while shouting "Allahu Akhbar," police said.
We may never know this guy's motives.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Night Infiltration Exercise at Ft. Jackson

Last week, Brad Warthen was nice enough to invite me as his guest for the night infiltration exercise at Fort. Jackson. It was important not to be late, since we were all guests of the commanding general, Major General John "Pete" Johnson, and when a Major General is your host, you don't show up late.

I picked up Brad especially early, since he, like Stephen Maturin, often gets sidetracked when trying to get out the door. I helped him along, and we made it to Ft. Jackson without incident. I saw a few friends, including Shaun and Allison Cranford, and the other Mr. Caskey, Micah Caskey. If you don't know Micah, he's a great guy. I'm so proud that he's in the Statehouse, and I expect big things from him...but I digress.

In any event, the event was about 160 soldiers who were in their sixth week of training. Basic training lasts ten weeks, so these are soldiers who are transitioning from being yelled at by authoritarian drill instructors to being taught things by these same drill instructors, in more of a mentor manner. The soldiers had to craw about 75-100 yards through dense, difficult sand in almost no light. Machine guns were shooting over the top of them with live rounds, and they also simulated artillery rounds with explosions in buried boxes.

The video is what I shot with my camera's video function looking through the night vision optics that the General was kind enough to provide to us civilians. You can see the tracers of the machine gun rounds impacting on the berm behind the soldiers crawling low.

It was a wonderful demonstration of how the Army can take regular civilians and who volunteer and turn them into soldiers. We got to hear from the soldiers afterwards, and it was inspiring to hear about why they volunteered, what they hoped to accomplish, and what they had learned so far in their six weeks.

In General Johnson's lecture beforehand, he made it clear that the competitive advantage the US military has over other armed forces is the training our soldiers receive coupled with the values that the United States has. Our soldiers trust each other, and we (as civilians) trust our armed forces in ways that other countries don't. The values that our citizens bring to the armed forces makes our fighting forces better and stronger. China may have a greater number of soldiers, but they don't have our NCO strength and experience.

All in all, the Night Infiltration Exercise was a wonderful demonstration of the great work they are doing at Ft. Jackson. Everyone here in Columbia should be proud of the great work that takes place right next to our fair city.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

US Drops MOAB Bomb in Afghanistan, Using the "Mother of All Bombs" for the First Time in Combat

Apparently, it was dropped on a tunnel system in Afghanistan, and possibly in retaliation for the death of a Green Beret.

It sort of remind me of this scene from the first season of The West Wing:

I don't want to get bogged down in nation-building in Afghanistan again, but hey: It's also not the worst thing to kill a bunch of ISIS guys with a big ol' bomb if we're already killing them with bullets. Zero US casualties from dropping giant bomb today.

It also might have the side-effect of showing the crazy guy in North Korea that we might just drop one of these on him if he gets out of line.

I also like the idea that if we lose a guy - one guy- the enemy loses an entire mountain. Utter destruction. A dis-proportionate response.

Civis Romanus Sum.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Free Laundry, Courtesy of Pope Francis

As they say: "Cleanliness is next to Godliness."
Pope Francis has opened a free launderette in Rome in the latest of a series of initiatives aimed at poor people that has included help with housing, showers, haircuts, meals and medical care.
His Holiness even includes the detergent and fabric softener for free. Nice guy, this Pope.

Monday, April 10, 2017

News Roundup for Monday, April 10, 2017 - Double Secret Probation Edition

Happy Monday, campers. It's officially springtime now that the Masters tournament has come and gone. Break out your shorts and sandals during the weekends, and make sure you've got plenty of sunscreen.

Here's a roundup of some of the news stories going on:

1. Nikki Haley was booed at a "Women in the World" summit. Tolerance and respect seem to be in short supply if you don't agree with liberal positions on things.

2. Lake Katherine home prices have rebounded following the flooding. "It was a forced revitalization".

3. The City of Columbia is looking to shut down the Pour House in Five Points. It sounds like they've had enough of the problems associated with this place. I bet this place has already been on double-secret probation for awhile now.

4. Russia and Iran are threatening to hit back at US if we strike Syria again. Maybe we should explain to Russian and Iran that Syria has been on double-secret probation for quite some time now.

5. Sergio Garcia wins the Masters. Glad to see he finally got a major win.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

We're in for a blow.

Apparently, it's going to rain today. A lot.

Schools are closing, things are shutting down, people are bugging out. Apparently, there's going to be some heavy weather coming. Batten down the hatches, reef the sails, and make fast. We're in for a blow.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Aubrey-Maturin Book Report Update

Just to give everyone an update on my reading, I've made it 61% of the way through The Thirteen Gun Salute, which is, incedentally, the thirteenth book of the Aubrey-Maturin series.

I've been enjoying the books and my Kindle immensely. Now that I'm deep into the books, the characters are like old friends, and I enjoy hearing about their exploits. For me, the Kindle has been a wonderful replacement for the old leather-bound books I've pictured above. True, the Kindle isn't leather bound and doesn't smell like rich mahogany, but it allows me to highlight, share passages, jump back and forth easily, and I never lose my place.

Best of all, unlike a real book, I don't have to worry about a dust jacket getting creased, or setting a glass on it and it getting a water-ring. It's actually much hardier than an actual book. And the space savings? Forget about it.

My goal is to make it through the entire series before the Fourth of July, so I can start in on the Marine Corps Reading List that I've already set as my next goal.

What is everyone else reading?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

News Roundup for Wednesday, March 29, 2017

 Lots of things shaking in the news this week. Here are a few:

1. Brexit is happening. It sounds like Great Britain going through with the breakup. I beleive the next step is where it asks for its old CDs back and the old t-shirt that it left at the EU's apartment in Brussels.

2. Friday is the day that the Gorsuch nomination goes to the Senate floor. It's still unclear if the Democrats are going to filibuster him and force the Republicans to change the rules in what is being called the "nuclear option". If Democrats were smart, they'd keep their powder dry over this, and fight on a subsequent nominee. But they have to appease the rabid base, so it looks possible they're going to die on this hill.

3. Gamecock Men and Women basketball teams both reach the Final Four. Everyone expected the women to be in the Final Four. No one expected the men to crash the party. Should be an epic match-up for the men against Gonzaga on Saturday

4. Speaking of events on Saturday, the Carolina Cup is also this Saturday morning. Break out your sun dresses and bow ties, it's a tradition unlike any other.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Greetings From the Big Apple!

That's Permanent Press, Jr. in front of the "Big Apple" at the arrivals terminal of JFK airport. He and I are in New York for a weekend of sightseeing, Gamecock Basketball, and eating some hot dogs.

Tomorrow morning, we're off for the Museum of Natural History!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hillary Clinton Can't Let Go of the Salt

My law partner told me a story today about Dave Chappelle. If you didn't know (and I didn't) Chappelle turned down a lot of money when he decided not to keep going with his very popular comedy show.

He was already a millionaire many times over, and he was happy. The added money would certainly be more money, but it wouldn't really mean much. Obviously, walking away from millions of dollars was something that isn't normal in show business. He explained it with the following story:
"I watched one of these nature shows one time, and they were talking about how a Bushman finds water when it's scarce," he said. "And they do what's called a salt trap. I didn't know this, apparently baboons love salt. So they put a lump of salt in the hole and they wait for a baboon. The baboon comes, sticks his hand in the hole, grabs the salt, the salt makes his hand bigger and he's trapped, can't get his hand out." That baboon, Chappelle recalled, is later placed in a cage and given "all the salt he wants" until thirst strikes. "The first place the baboon runs to is water, the Bushman follows him, and they both drink to their fill," Chappelle said. "In that analogy, I felt like the baboon, but I was smart enough to let go of the salt."
I thought about that, and I was glad for Chappelle. He's figured out that he's got what he wants in life, and he's content with it. He's not going to go chasing after money that he doesn't need when he's got happiness and fulfillment already. Too many people can't let go of the salt, which brings me to Hillary Clinton.

Last Friday, Hillary Clinton gave a speech in which she said she was "ready to come out of the woods" which I suppose means she's looking to get back into the spotlight of national politics. I sort of thought we had seen the last of Hillary, but apparently she has other ideas. Maybe it's because all she's done over her adult life is to be a political animal, she doesn't know what else to do with herself. She's obviously a millionaire many times over. It's not like she needs the money. She's set for life (financially) and she'll be 70 in October. Her political career is over. Why not retire and enjoy the rest of your life?

She can't let go of the salt.

We all have our own "salt" in our lives. I hope that when I come up to that decision, I can let go.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sweet Victory Over Duke

Last night, the men's Gamecock basketball team shocked the world and beat the highly ranked, storied Duke Blue Devils.

Duke was widely picked as one of the teams to win the entire tournament, and now they're out. To make it even sweeter, this win was the very first time the South Carolina men's basketball teams has gone to the Sweet Sixteen since the tournament was expanded to sixty-four.

The Gamecocks are now heading to New York, New York. They face the Baylor Bears in the Sweet Sixteen this Friday.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sen. John Courson Indicted on Ethics Charges

He's been charged with charged with conversion of campaign funds for personal use and misconduct in office, according to the P&C. These charges are the latest development in the corruption probe by special prosecutor David Pascoe.

Is this still the tip of the iceberg?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Main and Blanding: Coffee Is Coming

Since I'm a lawyer with a new downtown address, this re-development is right next to where I work. As my new law partner and I were walking* to lunch today, I took a quick snapshot of the artist's rendering of what the corner of Main and Blanding will look like after the development of the old Hennesy's is completed:

The sunken courtyard is slated to be a coffee shop. It's going to make a lot of money.
If you look just past the sunken courtyard, down Blanding, my office building is the first building there. Accordingly, I'll be right next to a brand new coffee shop. And lawyers and coffee go together like peas and carrots. We live on the stuff.

The development of Main Street is really going well, and I think it's going to keep picking up and spreading bit by bit. Hopefully, some of our good Main Street mojo will rub off on the Bull Street development. In any event, I'll be set for coffee for the time being. Just like Reagan had the "Western White House" in California, I might have the Coffee House Office every once in awhile.

*I love being able to walk out of my office and have so many options on where to eat lunch. I can walk everywhere and have everything I need. I'm getting a few more steps in during the day, feeling like a real downtown citizen, and seeing lots of people I know on the street. I love walking around downtown.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mattis is still the only Trump Appointee at the Pentagon

Mattis and the Trump Administration seem to be having a hard time getting together on some important jobs.

Mattis has said little publicly about the pace of getting a new team installed, but officials familiar with the process say he and the White House have been at loggerheads on some picks. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Mattis may be about to prevail in one important appointment — Anne W. Patterson, a career diplomat and former ambassador to Egypt and Pakistan who recently retired after serving as the State Department’s assistant secretary for near eastern affairs.

Officials expect her to be announced soon as Trump’s nominee to serve as undersecretary of defense for policy, a position of broad responsibility for steering policy. Critics, including some Republicans, opposed her selection on grounds that as ambassador in Cairo she was too accommodating to former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Among other key Pentagon offices still without a presidentially appointed leader: intelligence, budget chief, weapons buyer, technology chief and personnel policy.

I don't know about y'all, but those sound like moderately important jobs.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sporting Clay Review of Old Hudson Plantation

It's been a long time since I've done a review of a sporting clay facility. Too long. I've been shooting locally at my two great "home" ranges of Hermitage Farms in Camden and Palmetto Outdoors (formerly Live Oaks) in Swansea, so I haven't traveled anywhere far away to do any shooting worth reviewing. Until this weekend, that is.

Over the weekend, I had the chance to go shoot at Old Hudson Plantation, near Lake Oconee in Georgia. Old Hudson Plantation has been owned by the same family since 1779, it's a full-services facility for anything you want to hunt or shoot. From quail to deer hunts, from trap to sporting clays, this place has it all. They even have their own hatchery where they raise game birds.

Our group was there to shoot sporting clays, which is sometimes referred to as "golf with a shotgun". Since we were mostly experienced shooters, we had our own guns, ammo, gear, and all we needed was a gas-powered Kawasaki mule that the folks at Old Hudson let us use.

The course was wonderful. The sporting clay course is little over a mile loop through the tall Georgia pines and rolling hills. You could tell that the folks at Old Hudson really took care in setting up the course, as the target presentation was very precise, well-done, and challenging for an experienced shooter, but accessible to newer shooters.

The most creative bird presentation was one station where the trap dropped the clay target into a metal chute that was essentially two rails which made the target roll on its edge until it dropped out of the chute where it immediately fell downwards, forcing you to break it on the fall. I'd never seen that before.

The owner, instructors, and staff at Old Hudson Plantation were friendly, made us feel like old friends coming in for a shoot (as opposed to customers) and were generous with taking care that we had everything we needed without being overly pushy in the way some veteran instructors can be.

I had a wonderful time, and my only regret was that I had to leave. If you're ever around the Lake Oconee area (about halfway between Augusta and Atlanta) I highly recommend you stop by Old Hudson Plantation for some shooting. They'll treat you right.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday Open Thread

I'm heading out to Georgia with Mrs. Permanent Press and the shotguns for the weekend of breaking some clays.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Trenholm Little League Tee Ball - People Will Most Definitely Come

Tee Ball 2017
Today was the distribution of team uniforms for the Trenholm Park Little League teams. Permanent Press, Jr. is on the Hood Construction Company Team, and here he is showing off the new uniform. Note that he rocks the high socks as is the traditional baseball look, not the modern long pants. Baseball is a game of tradition, and you might as well look traditional - like Ian Kinsler.

He's also got his Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn glasses on. He'll wear some sports glasses for real games, but for today, he was just being him.

Baseball. It's marked the time, it's part of our past, and I'm now proud to pass it along to another generation.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Clemson Takes the Palmetto Series Due to Awful, Self-Destructive Decisions by Gamecock Coach

Clemson won the rubber game of the the three game set yesterday, and it was mostly because my Gamecocks just handed it to them.

Carolina was one strike from victory when Beer homered to deep right field in the 9th to tie the game at 3-3. The Gamecocks loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning, but the contest went to extra frames when Carolina was unable to push the winning run across.
What this article doesn't tell you is much about the way the Gamecocks failed in the ninth inning. Allow me to walk you through the wreckage of bad-decisions.

When the Gamecocks got the first two runners on in the ninth, Alex Destino (arguably the best hitter on the team) came to the plate. Seems pretty promising, no? All the Gamecocks had to do was get the winning run from second base home, and there was no one out with our best hitter up.

So Chad Holbrook promptly decides to not only bunt the runners over to second and third in that situation (wrong, yet forgivable) but he decides to pinch hit for the best hitter on the team to execute the bunt. Yes, that's right campers. Alex Destino was told that not only was he not trusted enough to get a hit, but that he wasn't trusted enough to get the bunt down.

Oh, and the replacement guy? The guy who's one job it was to drop down a bunt? Yeah, he promptly popped the bunt up and it was caught by the Clemson catcher in front of home plate, so the entire plan utterly and completely failed.

Failure all around.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

General Goings On

Sailing Ship - Caspar David Friedrich

Today the law firm of Caskey & Imgrund did our first purchase real estate closing for a client. One of our areas of practice involves helping people negotiate and close on real estate deals, so in less than two weeks, we've gotten our first one done! The new firm is going great, and I'm so glad to be working with Alex Imgrund. He's a wonderful friend and a great lawyer who keeps me smiling all the time, even when we're doing the less than fun work of running a business. He might also be one of the few people in the world who quotes movies as much as I do.

In other news, I'm getting more involved in Scouting now that our son is going to be a Tiger Cub soon. I've signed up to be the Assistant Den Leader for the Tiger Den for Pack 100, and I'm really looking forward to it. I got my Eagle Scout rank back when I did Boy Scouts, so I'm excited about passing on that knowledge and sharing the scouting experience with our son.

My tee ball coaching is also going well - the players are having fun and we're learning some fundamentals. They're starting to do some things that resemble baseball...occasionally. Like a good friend of mine used to say: "This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." 

In my reading, it's slowed down a bit due to everything above taking up time, but I've made it through The Letter of Marque in the Aubrey-Maturin series. Possibly my favorite one, but I feel that way after every book of his.

Hope everyone out there is doing well.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Happy Wednesday

Slowly starting to get things back to normal around here. I've done most of all the administrative things that come with starting up a law firm, so I'm starting to actually sleep again (a few hours here and there, anyway).

A few legal links:

1. South Carolina Circuit Court rules that the student apartments around town are eligible for tax breaks.

2. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ignores Heller and fashions own test.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Long Absence Explained

Sorry for the long absence from posting. I've been really busy starting my own law firm, coaching tee ball, and generally living life with my wonderful family. Sorry for the lack of posts.

To apologize, here's a picture of a dog relaxing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Flynn out as NSA

Mike Flynn is out as national security adviser.

Eh, probably not a bad thing. Not sure Patreus is the right fit for the job, either. Can't anyone here play this game?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Tee Ball Coaching

It's been a busy time for me, as I am now the coach of our son's tee ball team. Our first practice was yesterday afternoon, which was nice as the temperature on February 12 was in the neighborhood of 78 degrees. Prime baseball weather.

Here's hoping everyone has a productive Monday. Keep your eye on the ball.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

How to Fix the Education System

To make it two British related posts in a row, I thought I'd share this short clip of how the British Prime Minister decided to fix the educational system.

It's so crazy, it just might work.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Theresa May to Decide on Brexit

Just so you don't think we're so provincial here, there is news outside of the United States. Today, the British Parliament voted to give Prime Minister Theresa May the ability to take the UK out of the EU.

It will be interesting to see if the US and the UK form a strong trading partnership in the wake of a Brexit.

So apparently, a few people liked this...

In response to this from our President, I subtweeted today.

And it got a ton of ReTweets and likes. So I thought I'd pass it along to the blog audience. Carry on.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Most American Bike You've Ever Seen

I came across this motorcycle today while helping a friend run some errands. He had to drop off his car at a place to get the seats redone. Next door was an auto body paint shop. Got talking to the owner about this bike he had out front. He painted this motorcycle eighteen years ago.

I'm no expert, but I'm guessing it was made in America.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Brady's Super Bowl Jersey Stolen?

Tom Brady says someone stole his Super Bowl LI jersey after the game.

Isn't this kind of like stealing a famous piece of art? For example, if you stole the Mona Lisa you can't sell it, because everybody would know it's not yours to sell. And nobody would buy it anyway, because everyone knows it's stolen property.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Trump's Political Blitz

It's certainly been a busy first few weeks of the Trump administration. Fay Voshell at American Thinker makes an interesting analogy:

The president is putting into play a classic military maneuver applied to politics: keep going on a total and accelerated offensive no matter what in order to keep your enemy digging foxholes and putting up barriers -- while all the while they actually are being forced to slowly retreat under the onslaught, screaming and holding up protest placards all the way to the back of the line.

Democrats are unused to a total war offensive, as they have relied on relentless guerilla warfare and the long march. They are even more unused to being on the defensive, and are ill-prepared to fight defensively. They are aghast over the Trump tactics being applied against them, are assuming the old weapons once applied so effectively against their political enemies still work.
Trump has referenced how much he likes Patton numerous times. Accordingly, it's amazing that Voshell gets through her entire piece without a reference to Patton - who famously advocated for and employed this same sort of strategy of keeping an opponent on his heels. Despite this obvious missed opportunity, it's not a bad piece.

Go read the whole thing.

Dept. of Education Gives Failing Grade to...Itself


Huh, so just sending people billions of dollars didn't actually accomplish anything? Gee, I wonder if we should keep doing that. Or maybe should we try something else?

Everyone wants public schools to get better. Everyone wants well-educated children. When do we admit that maybe we should try something else?

Gif of our current policy below the jump.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thursday Open Thread

Been working all day. Mediation, and had to prepare for Court tomorrow. Accordingly, you'll get an open thread. Lots of work got done today.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Supreme Court Nominee - Neil M. Gorsuch

Just to start off with, if you read my blog regularly, you might recall that I picked up on Gorsuch being the frontrunner back on 1/23. So, you know...kudos to me.

I think this is a great pick by Trump, and it's another campaign promise kept. For all the things he's wrong on (and it's a good bit) I'm very happy that Hillary Clinton wasn't the one announcing her nominee last night.

Gorsuch is a great pick. He's going to be very much in the mold of Scalia, in that he's going to hew to the letter of the law regardless of where that outcome takes him - and that's exactly what you want in a judge. One line that Gorsuch had in his acceptance speech last night, which I tweeted out was:

As a practicing trial lawyer, I can tell you that it's wonderful to have a judge who will follow the letter of the law, rather than try to figure out what outcome they want, and then working backwards to get there. The proper role of a judge is to apply the law faithfully, fairly, and without any intent to reach an outcome they prefer. With Gorsuch, that's what we will all have on the Supreme Court, and we can't ask for anything better.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Top Headlines - Tuesday January 31, 2017

Lately, I've been busy with a personal project that has taken up lots of my otherwise free time. Accordingly, I've been sort of phoning it in with the blogging lately. Hopefully, I can get some time to get some good content up because there's certainly lots of news out there. Here's what I'm seeing today.

1. Trump fires Acting AG. Sort of the same situation as the clerk in Indiana (or wherever) who wouldn't do her job because she disagreed with it on a moral basis. Can't really do that. This Acting AG should have resigned, but she wanted to make a statement a/k/a grandstand, so she got fired. 

2. Trump to announce SCOTUS nominee today. Actually, he's going to do it in tonight, in primetime. For the ratings, I guess. It's truly a television age. It sounds like the Democrats are going to object no matter who is selected.

3. Iran conducted a ballistic missile test in violation of UN resolution. Great. It's not like Iran wasn't already getting too big for it's britches with all their aggressive actions. I'm sure they'll be really interested in moderating things now, right?

That's all I've got for now, campers. Everyone try to be nice to each other and don't burn the house down.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday Open Thread

Sailing Ships at Dawn - Konstantinos Volanakis 
Happy Monday, campers. It's cold out there today, so don't forget your booties.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Thoughts after Week One of President Trump

So it's been a week of Trump. I don't believe any nuclear war has broken out, and I don't think the re-education camps are up and running yet, but hey, it's early. Who knows what week two will bring.

The nice thing is, I didn't vote for Trump. I'm not tied to him. I have no investment in him which I need to defend. I also didn't vote for Hillary, so I don't have to go around lighting my hair on fire every time a few people at the State Department leave so I can try and somehow make the argument that Trump is a failure. I don't have to pass around false stories that the GOP is going to be selling off National Parks. I don't have to pass around false stories about a .27 cent foreclosure. (Keep it up, though, lefties. It's entertaining.)

Trump is wrong-headed about a lot of things. Not everything, but some things. He's wrong on foreign policy and wrong on trade, two give two specifics. I'm not sure we need a wall either. I'm not convinced it will make much of a difference, but I'm pretty sure it won't make things worse, either.

However, there is one thing I like about his Presidency so far: He's taking the rules created by the left over the last eight years and applying them to the left as equally and punitively as they have applied them to the right.

I do civil litigation for a living, which basically means I argue with people and advocate for my clients. In lots of cases, we end up settling the case. That's just the nature of the legal system these days. Contested trials are pretty rare. During settlement negotiations, I'm always trying to convince the other side why I'm right and why they should concede certain things. I'm directly engaging the opposing party/counsel and trying to convince them they are wrong (or at least not as right as they think they are).

However, every once in awhile I get an opposing party/opposing counsel that I just can't reason with. When I finally realize there's no reasoning with them, and that no settlement is possible, I stop trying to convince them that I'm right.

Why? It's a waste of time. It's not necessary anymore because they stop being my target audience. My target audience that point becomes the judge and jury because they are the only people who I need to convince. In a way, it's freeing. I don't have to argue with the other side anymore, I just make my case to the court and try to be a better advocate than the other guy.

That's where we are in politics these days. There's really nothing that either side can do to really convince the other side of anything. There's no point in having committed Democrats make arguments to committed Republicans, and vice-versa. It's mostly a big waste of time. I'm not going to some of my really good friends' minds because they're committed Democrats. And they know they probably won't convince me of much, either. We've all pretty much already made up our minds. And that's okay. We don't have to all agree,and we don't have only politics to talk about.

However, national politics has been in a state of affairs where total war has been declared. The left, supported by with the power of the Presidency, Congress for a few years, journalists, and other fellow travelers have been carrying it out for the last eight years. A few examples:

1. Memories Pizza being driven out of business.
2. IRS targeting of Tea Party groups
3. "I won. Deal with it"
4. "Ride in the back of the bus"
5. "Elections have consequences"
6. Shoving the ACA through using every parliamentary trick available.
7. "I've got a pen and a phone"
8. Killing the filibuster in the Senate
9. Everyone opposed to Obama is a racist.
10. Everyone opposed to Hillary is a sexist.

Democrats were so confident they'd be in perpetual power, they didn't stop and think about the precedents they were setting and the norms they were breaking. They never stopped to consider if the GOP might use these same sort of scorched earth tactics, too. But now the shoe is on the other foot - at least for a little while.

And yes, all glory is fleeting, so I'm sure the GOP won't be in power forever. I have an understanding of history to know that. But spare me the calls for a ceasefire now that your side is out of ammo. Sorry, fellas. Fair's fair.

I've gotten to the point where my offer is this to the left: Nothing. Not even the fee for the gaming licence, which I would appreciate them putting up personally.

That's probably a bit cold-hearted of me, but that's how I feel.