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

Well...it'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 jail...you 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 running...to 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.