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.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Patrick O'Brian Quotes about Lawyers and the Law

As you may (or may not) know, I'm going through Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series. I've just finished The Reverse of the Medal, which is the eleventh book in the series of twenty one.

The series is set during the Napoleonic wars, and centers on the exploits of a British naval officer (Jack Aubrey) and his friend (Stephen Maturin), who is an intelligence agent. It's wonderful writing, and I've been enjoying it thoroughly. Although most of the action takes place at sea, the most recent novel deals with Aubrey's being framed for a stock exchange fraud and the civil trial that ensues. It allows O'Brian to give some wonderful commentary on the legal system. Here are a couple of my favorite quotations:

On lawyers: "I do not say that lawyers are bad, but I do maintain that the general tendency is bad; standing up in court for whichever side has paid you, affecting warmth and conviction, and doing everything you can to win a case, whatever your private opinion may be, will soon dull a fine sense of honor."

On truth in the law: "What should like is simply to have my say, like a man called before his captain, and tell the judge and jury just what happened. Everyone agrees that there is nothing fairer than English justice, and if I tell them the plain truth, I am sure I shall be believed"

On the complexity of the law: "It is a game that has been going on for hundreds and hundreds of years, growing more tortuous with every generation, the rules multiplying, the precedents accumulating, equity interfering, statues galore, and now it is such a bitter tangle that a layman is perfectly helpless."

The ideal of the law: "For him they [certain complex civil cases] do not represent the real law at all, but only the technical warfare of pettifogging attorneys. For him the law is something much simpler and more direct - the wise impartial judge, the jury of decent fair-minded men, with perhaps a few barristers to speak for the inarticulate and ask questions designed to bring out the truth, probing questions that he is happy to answer." 

One Third of Californians Ready to Seceed

The ruins of Columbia, SC after Sherman's burning in 1865. This is the view from what was the statehouse.

As a friendly reminder to everyone in California, South Carolina tried secession once. It didn't really work out so well for us. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Rasmussen Daily Tracker - Trump at 57% Approval

As we know from the election, polls are not the most reliable things out there, but still, he's at 57% approval.

So far, his biggest move as POTUS is to effectively cancel the TPP, in what is not really a surprise to anyone. We'll see where it goes with a SCOTUS appointment.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Potential SCOTUS Frontrunner?

Here's the info on Neil Gorsuch from SCOTUSblog.

He's turning 50 this year, which is very young in Supreme Court land. He's essentially a younger Scalia, so if he became the nominee, that would be a Trump campaign promise kept.

Not a bad pick. His credentials would make it very tough for Democrats to effectively oppose him.

Smooth Seas and Pleasant Weather Open Thread

HMS Duncan at Mahon - William Anderson
Happy Monday, campers. Luckily, the heavy blow that came through Georgia yesterday died out by the time it got here.

The weather here in Columbia is a bit dreary, so I'm enjoying this painting of warmer, happier weather of Mahon, which is an island off the coast of Spain.

Enjoy your work-week.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day's here.

I'm watching it streaming over twitter at work. Pretty neat. Regardless of what you think of the people, it's always nice to see the peaceful transition of power.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Obama Commutes Manning's Sentence

It's got to be frustrating to be a Democrat while Obama is doing stuff like this.

If you don't recall, Manning was the enlisted soldier in the US Army who intentionally leaked tons of information to Wikileaks and was convicted dozens of offenses related to this intelligence loss back in 2010. Manning has been in jail since 2010, after being sentenced to thirty-five years. Oh, and he thinks he's a woman or something.

Anyway, it really must be tough to be a Democrat these days. Right now, the big Democratic talking point is that this is really serious you guys about Russia "hacking the election" and using Wikileaks to do it.

And now Obama decides to take this solider who pleaded guilty to intentionally giving a huge amount of classified material to Wikileaks and let him out of know...because Manning's sorry.

Oh, you're sorry? Well shucks, why didn't you say that earlier? I guess it's all good then. You're free to go. Have a nice day!

In any event, it seems difficult to say that the Russia/Wikileaks thing is a big deal and bad, while simultaneously saying that it's no big deal and that Manning should walk free.

But hey, I'm guessing by now, the Democrats are starting to realize that Obama really only cares about himself and his feelings. The rub is that the Russians actually did try to undermine our election with what they did, but Obama has essentially killed that whole point.

No worries, Democrats, you've only got two more days of Obama screwing you over.

Friday, January 13, 2017

With one week left in his Presidency, Obama eliminates "Wet-Foot Dry-Foot" policy

This freakin' guy.

With one week left in his administration, Obama has decided to eliminate the United States' policy of granting residency to any Cubans who reach America's shores, but turning back those who are picked up in the water - commonly known as the Wet-Foot Dry-Foot Policy.

The idea behind granting Cubans this special status in immigration is that we're acknowledging that Cuba is essentially a prison for it's people and they aren't allowed to immigrate through natural channels. Essentially, the people there are under a dictatorship, and they're seeking freedom in the US.

Apparently, Obama has had enough of treating Cuba as an authoritarian regime, and he's decided to end this policy. Honestly, I wouldn't have a problem with this change in the policy of the US had been able to get Cuba to agree to allow it's people to immigrate normally.

Did we get that? Nope.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mattis Hearing Cancelled by Trump

I'm taking us to DEFCON 3

I don't like the sound of this.

Mattis was scheduled to appear before the House for a hearing related to his appointment, but now that's been cancelled by the Trump transition team.

Mattis has to get approved by both the House and the Senate for his waiver, but that was largely expected to be a done deal, given that he's the best person Trump has picked for anything yet. Even so, Mattis was going to appear before a House committee as a gesture to the fact that the House needs to vote on him.

The U.S. House of Representatives had been due to hear Mattis testify on Thursday and he had agreed to appear. Mattis, who retired from the Marine Corps in 2013, is technically ineligible to be defense secretary since he has not been a civilian for at least seven years. That means Congress would need to grant a waiver, something it has not done since 1950.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said it was his understanding the Trump transition team had blocked Mattis from testifying. Congressional aides also confirmed that Mattis had agreed to testify but the appearance had been blocked.
I really hope this doesn't have anything to do with the stories that Mattis has been objecting to some of the other military picks, or at least that he wasn't included in the decision making process.

Mattis is a smart, capable guy who knows what's what. He's a man of respect and honor. He doesn't need this job anyway, but he's agreed to be SECDEF out of sense of duty. If Trump tries to push Mattis around into doing things he doesn't want to do, Mattis is going to be heard on the issue, and he might just up and quit if it gets bad.

If Mattis quits or is pushed out of the Trump administration, that's an indicator that things are going south. Mattis is my "canary in the coal" mine for the Trump presidency. If he's out, things are getting bad.

I hope this isn't a big deal, but it does worry me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Man ticketed $128 for leaving his car warm it up...on his own property

Another reason not to live up north.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yep, it's my birthday, and I don't feel a day over the age I was yesterday. Since I've survived another year without being killed by a grizzly bear, I figured I'd go celebrate with the family.

I celebrated my birthday by going to court on a contested case, so you know...the usual. I hope everyone out there is enjoying their birthday as much as I am.

That reminds me, I need to go check out what my blog's birthday is. I've been doing this for awhile, and I need to figure out what day to celebrate myself in another way.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What Does Vladimir Putin Want?

He wants to undermine the West.
Putin’s goal is not just a little more turf. Russia has a lot of that. His telos—his endgame—is the destabilization, the overcoming, of the whole Western order. This sounds fantastical to Americans because we’re an ahistorical people. That doesn’t mean we’re ignorant of history, although there’s a great deal of that, too. It means the categories with which we apprehend the world are not defined by the past, and we can’t really understand how it could be otherwise.
There's lots more, but I can't use the whole thing. Go read the whole thing.

(h/t Insty)

Dylan Roof Sentenced to Death

Good. No tears should be shed.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Every Band Member a Rifleman

When the Germans broke through the Ardennes, American soldiers from the 28th Division Band and Quartermaster Company, stayed and fought Germans in Wiltz, Belgium, until their ammunition was exhausted. Of the sixty guys in the band unit, all but thirteen were killed or captured.

No, I'm not going to post the photo here, so just go ahead and click the link. Yes, I know it's tough to click, but it's worth it.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Happy Friday Night

Sorry for no post today. I had lots to do at work - hearings, arguing with other lawyers, etc. The big snow and ice system is heading in tonight, so Mrs. Permanent Press and I have stocked up on the essentials so we don't need to leave the house.

By essentials I mean a good bottle of Madeira, various meats vegetables, cheeses, coffee, and other sundries.

I also brought in a big stack of firewood and have it stored on the screened-in porch so it won't be wet.

Stay warm and stay safe. Enjoy the cold.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Brave Revolutionary Activists Kidnap and Torture Special Needs Kid

First of all, this makes me sick.

I guess when prominent political leaders go around saying and writing that Trump is "racist" and that he's "Hitler", some people will feel like they can strike back with violence against Trump and his supporters (or just white people generally, I guess) and somehow still  be in the moral right.

Again and again, I must remind you that I didn't vote for Trump. However, the conduct of people taking place after his election constantly make me not unhappy he won.

Regarding the four guys who were arrested: I am really impressed with the courage of those revolutionary activists fighting back against the white oppressors. It takes a special kind of courage to kidnap, beat up, and torture a special needs kid.

These cowardly, miserable creatures deserve every bit of whatever the criminal justice system gives them. People who bully and hurt special needs kids earn themselves a special place in hell.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Journalists Freak Out When Asked "Do you know anyone who drives a truck?"

I guess when you live in a bubble, you get a little irritated when someone points it out.

Which brings us to the simple question about truck ownership from John Ekdahl that drove Acela corridor progressive political journalists into a frenzy on Tuesday night: “The top 3 best selling vehicles in America are pick-ups. Question to reporters: do you personally know someone that owns one?”

Rather than answer with a simple “no,” the esteemed members of the most cloistered and provincial class in America–political journalists who live in New York City or Washington, D.C.–reacted by doing their best impersonation of a vampire who had just been dragged into the sunshine and presented with a garlic-adorned crucifix.

There were basically three types of hysterical response to a simple question about truck owners: 1) shut up, 2) you’re stupid and/or sexist and/or racist, and 3) whatever, liar, trucks aren’t popular (far and away my favorite delusional response to a simple question from a group of people who want you to believe they’re extremely concerned about “fake news”). It turns out that people who are paid large sums of money to opine on what Americans outside the Acela province think get very upset if you demonstrate that they don’t actually know any of the people about whom they pretend to be experts.

The really telling thing is that they're getting so upset about it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Giving Your Five Year Old Some Freedom

The rally point is the bread aisle. Meet me there, soldier. Papa Bear out.

Our five-year old son got a set of walkie talkies for Christmas this year. One of the things I do with him to let him get a bit more freedom and independence is that when I go to the grocery store with him (we're Publix people) I usually tell him to go get an item and then meet me at somewhere else. 

For instance, I'll say "I'm going to the vegetables. Go get one carton of yogurt and meet me there." He'll then go get the yogurt, find me in the vegetable section, and I'll send him on another mission.

This has a couple of benefits:

1. First and foremost, it's giving him a bit of independence, where parents aren't hovering over him all the time. Boys need that. He knows I expect him to act politely in the store, and he acts accordingly because he feels "grown up" getting "missions" to get specific items. I've actually seen him (when he didn't know I was looking) politely ask a lady to get some hamburger buns from a shelf that was too high for him to reach. He asked nicely and said "thank you" when she handed them to him, then he  calmly walked off down the aisle like he owned the place.

2. It keeps him from getting bored in the grocery store just following me around, which inevitably leads to him asking for things to put in the basket. He gets so into obtaining whatever I assign him, he doesn't even stop to think about getting cookies or whatever.

3. It saves me time in the store. I get in and out faster since I have someone getting me things.

I know that some people worry that you shouldn't let you kids get out of your sight, but you've got to give little boys a little rope. Also, Publix is a really controlled environment. Heck, half the people in the store are my neighbors who know us. My wife and I have a joke that you can't go to Publix looking like a slob because you'll invariably see someone you know. It's not like I'm taking him to the State Fair and setting him loose.

Why do I bring this up? I think I might get the walkie talkies involved just for fun.