Friday, January 31, 2014

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What's got you down, Chum?  Your Louisiana Senate seat looking more and more dicey every day?  Bought a bogus Super Bowl ticket from your friend "Ant-ny"? 

Share friends, share!

Today's Weigh In:  180.4
Last Weigh in (12/13/13): 175.8
Diet Start (8/11/13):  198

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

As you may have guessed I'm no intellectual. I'm not a defense theorist or political scientist. My egghead quotient is minimal. But I know what I know, I have pretty good reasoning ability (horse sense) and I'm not distracted by or susceptible to political magic shows.

Which brings me to my point, I'm a small business man and I advertise in my local market. My website is a little dated so I've been looking around for a little revision and remediation. About three weeks ago I made contact with Click Optimize...BY PHONE! I made an appointment and entered everything on my iPhone calendar. That's it; no emails, no website forms filled out, no social media or internet contact whatsoever...NONE! So why is it I've been getting the above ad (I pulled this off Drudge 15 minutes ago) every time I turn around? How did they know?

It's obvious someone has been reading my mail (so to speak). If I had my way Edward Snowden would be brought back to the US a national hero for blowing the whistle on the surveillance state we now live in, and unfortunately it's not just the government. The Justice Department should be investigating firms such as Google with an eye towards regulating their snooping but the Obama administration is committed to some perverted symbiotic relationship between government and nerd that seems hellbent on knowing every detail of our lives. Technology has overtaken the law and if this data mining etc. is not a 4th. Amendment violation then I don't understand the English language.

Knowledge is power and the tables have turned. Rather than have an open and transparent government where ordinary citizens can and should know everything that's going on we have a secretive government that wants to know everything about its citizens. This cannot be tolerated in a free society and if Republicans had a brain in their head they would be screaming bloody murder.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

CW Book Review: "Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction" by Allen Guelzo

Having just completed this week's eSabbath, another book is added to the "read" shelf from the "to read" shelf, and that is Allen C. Guelzo's "Fateful Lighting: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction"  It is an absolute must read for any serious student of the Civil War, and for those who are not so serious, it offers the best "one stop shopping" overview of our nation's most consequential war.

I have read more books about the Civil War than any other subject, but I seem to have an insatiable desire for more.  This book certainly filled it.  Guelzo is evenhanded, favoring neither side.  He traces the seeds of secession from their roots in sectional colonial jealousy.  He punctures the myth of monolithic Northern hostility to slavery by distinguishing between it and the POLITICAL power the South maintained because of it.  He does not fixate on battlefield formations and he uses battles only as a way to move the story along.

If you want battles and diagrams and formations and topography--this is not your book.

If you want a damn good soup to nuts history of the Civil War--illuminated with superb writing and sources I have never come across before--then this is your book

Friday, January 24, 2014


Above is the trailer for the new Netflix movie "Mitt", available there today.  I just watched it.  My God, this country made a huge mistake in November 2012.

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What's the matter, Matilda? Your carefully scripted biography falling apart?  You get caught in a bridge traffic jam? Let it out, sister.  We're here for you.

The Kittens are in Florida for a few days, and so I am here with the dogs and cats.  The big dog has figured out how to escape from his nightly pen, and gleefully greeted me at 0500 with good morning hand licks and breath fetid from the catfood he had helped himself to.

I have been a horrible dieter for six weeks, and I resolve today to get back on the trail.  Will provide stats next week after a good week of diet and exercise.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Muse's Mudgings

My employer announced yesterday that our company health insurance costs skyrocketed this year and notified us that the company would no longer be able to cover 100% of the costs for employees.  This after a 15% increase last year which the company covered and which this year's increase "dwarfed".  I plan to explain to my employees that this is a direct result of the Affordable Care Act and recommend that they keep that in mind on November 4th.

While the media is obsessed with a seasonal phenomenon called "snow," what has gone by without much comment is the fact that the (horrors!!!) federal government was shut down today.  One would think that with all the breathless coverage of arctic extreme weather gear-suited reporters showing--no kidding--an actual icicle and yardsticks pushed deep into the entire 4 inches of white ground covering--that some of the more intrepid among them might have retraced their steps from last fall to the WWII memorial to show the barricaded access and federally-employed guards keeping citizens from seeing their monuments.  Oh wait, you apparently don't have to barricade everything if it is an act of God--only if it is an act of someone who THINKS he's God.


Someone to whom I am quite close who has had insurance to cover her 15+ neck and back surgeries and chronic pain for the past 20 years, lost her insurance just before Christmas.  Like millions of other Americans, what she had and liked, she could not keep. period. However, she is now able to get Medicaid so that shows how good the ACA is, right?  Well, consider that for 20 years she and her family were able to keep her off the financial liabilities list for her fellow citizens, and were quite happy to do so.  Then the Democrats fixed all that.  Not to mention that they pretty well f-ed up her Christmas worrying about what the hell she would do for her next painful episode that required a doctor's visit. Still, this will no doubt count as one of the success stories for the Dems.  "We made another one of those formerly self-sufficient citizens dependent upon us. Ding ding ding [applause and congratulatory back slapping]!"  

Speaking of ACA and millions of Americans without health insurance--I recall the number espoused by the Dems and media, tsk, by the Demedia as being somewhere around 47 million.  The latest tally of people signed up for the health care exchanges was just above 2 million.  By several accounts that I've read, more than 2 million have lost their health insurance that they liked but couldn't keep period so I wonder if the ACA hasn't in fact caused more people to be without health insurance than it has helped.  This, of course, is the perfect glide slope if your real intent is to establish the need for a total government take over of health care such as a little known politician several years ago suggested:

What the heck, I'm feeling a little nostalgic today so I might as well throw in a nostalgic little piece showing a less experienced pathological liar as he tried early in his ascension to formulate a lie about single payer on national television. We forget, looking at his mastery of the skill today, that he once struggled to tell lies, perhaps due to the dwindling remnants of a conscience or perhaps due to not yet having discovered portable teleprompters and lapdog Demedia reporters.  This little piece from a reliable lap dog, Meredith Viera, was admittedly difficult for Mere because she had to beat up a little on a fellow Dem (B. Obama) to protect another Dem (H. Clinton).  Here it is (but please watch the above clip first to give the "missing context" our young and still developing Liar in Chief referenced): 

Well, looks like the government will be opening tomorrow 2 hours late.  Finally, the citizens of the United States of America will be able to resume their lives.  What kind of God would put snow in the way of our government taking care of us, anyway?  That's right--a GOOD God.  Hey, You wouldn't be interested in a repeat of that 40 days/nights gig again would You?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

CW Book Reviews

With the rollout of the eSabbath around my place, I've been able to read a bit more--which fills another New Year's resolution.  I recently finished two books, and I want to recommend them both to you.

Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence  by Joseph J. Ellis

Joseph Ellis is probably the most readable historian of the Founding of the United States, and this book is no exception.  Set against the backdrop of both the political and the military questions of the Summer of 1776, Ellis makes a convincing case that the one cannot be properly understood without the other.  In that effort, he uses the words of the primary actors to paint a compelling picture of just how fragile the new nation was, and how close it appeared to come to annihilation in and around New York.  John Adams, George Washington, and the Howe Brothers figure prominently in these pages, and Ellis has convinced me of just how strategically wrong the British were (the Howe Brothers, specifically) in believing that the support of the people for the Revolution was soft, and so the center of gravity for their efforts should be to wage a limited campaign designed to preserve something of a relationship between Britain and the Colonies while winnowing support for Independence.  To his great credit, General George Clinton--one of the Howe's subordinates--never wavered from his contention that destroying George Washington's Army was the main effort, something that was well-within the grasp of the Redcoats in the Summer of 1776. 

Don't buy this book if you are looking for the great sweep of the Revolution.  It is quite limited in its focus and for readers without much grounding in the history of the Revolution, more questions will be raised than answered.  But if you have a pretty good foundation in that history, this book drills deeply into one of the more fascinating six months of the conflict.

Duty:  Memoirs of a Secretary at War  by Robert M. Gates

Along with Leon Panetta, I believe Robert Gates deserves to be considered one of the most skillful and effective bureaucrats of the past 25 years, and I use the term "bureaucrat" with no malice.  Let's face it folks, we pay a lot of money for the government we have, and we have a right to expect some people to become very good at making it happen. 

Gates has had an amazing Washington career, first as a CIA Analyst, then at the National Security Council, then back to the CIA as Chief of Staff, Deputy Director and Director.  President Bush enticed him away from his position as the President of Texas A&M University to replace Don Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense.  He served in that capacity for 4.5 years, two and a half of which were in the Obama Administration.

The news has been aflame with excerpts from the book, in which Gates appears to settle scores with his bureaucratic opponents, including Tom Donilon (NSC), Vice President Biden, and Harry Reid.  And while some of these snippets are delicious to read, one comes away from this book with the impression of Gates that probably matches the impression one had before reading it--that he was a man of the moderate middle, that he was a patriot who got along well with others, that he was an amazingly skillful Mandarin, and that he is possessed of preternatural fairness. Yes, he takes a shot or two at some of his colleagues in both the Bush and Obama Administrations. But in almost all cases, he is careful to put the relationship AND the comment in context, circling back soon after (or later) to ensure that the reader is not left solely with a clownish or nefarious view of the commenter. 

I was most interested in Gates' assessments of the men who hired him, George Bush and Barack Obama.  Gates is very fair to both, ensuring that the reader gets a full picture of the goods and others.  His assessments feed my own political biases, but he is blunt about cautioning the reader not to go too far with the view.  For instance, George Bush comes out of this treatment as almost without any sensitivity to the political ramifications of his decisions, while Barack Obama (and his team) seem obsessed with them.  Of course I believe this is an accurate portrayal of both men's approach to governing, but in truth, Gates came to work for Bush after Bush had no elections left in him and after the serious political partisans of his first term had long since faded (including the Vice President).  Barack Obama was a new President when he worked with him, and his team reflected a campaign vibe--which is to be expected.

Gates clearly admires both men, which is to me a comforting thought.  His portrayal of George Bush's courage in replacing a Secretary of Defense, a Central Command Commander, an Iraq Forces Commander and overruling his SecDef, CJCS, and all the Joint Chiefs to undertake the 2007 Surge tracks closely with my own assessment of the magnitude of that effort.  Mr. Obama's decision to surge in Afghanistan was no less opposed, primarily by the politically oriented White House staff.  And the decision to go after Bin Laden--one Gates opposed--continues to stand out to me as an example of Presidential courage of the highest order. 

What I didn't realize before reading this is what a seething cauldron of emotion Mr. Gates was.  He spends a good portion of this book MAD about things.  He is often "furious".  And when he isn't "furious", he is weepily emotional about the ardors and rigors of what the troops in the field were undertaking at his direction.   None of these are bad things, they simply represent a side of him that I as a detached observer did not know.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hotel Room Musings, 5:20 AM

Because my alarm is set for 6:00AM, my body feels the necessity to give me a good head start, therein depriving me of a few final, blissful moments of sleep.  Never mind that though, as I now have the opportunity to share a few thoughts with you from the road.  Well, it isn't really the road, it is Crystal City, Arlington VA.  I am attending an industry trade-show, and the thought of back and forthing it to Easton didn't thrill me.  So I got a room for two nights and here I find myself.

The show I am attending is the annual conclave of the Surface Navy Association.  I have probably written of it before. Besides being a very important place for me to be for business purposes, it is a time where a lot of old friends from the Fleet are in town.  Old home week so to speak.  Some brief thoughts, maybe?

1.  The bath soap in this hotel (name brand,  nice) is one of those ergonomically designed bars with the massage bumps on one side.  Really now, besides looking neat, do those bumps really offer anyone anything resembling a massage?  Do people rub that soap along their bodies and coo?  I sure don't.

2.  Esther, my housekeeping representative (or so the card in my room informs me) will receive less than my standard rate of consideration for my two night stay, as she failed to refresh my coffee service with sweetener and creamer.  The room is (blissfully) equipped with a coffee maker, one of those one cup at a time deals that I actually prefer in hotels, as it is easier for me to pour water into the machine without spilling it all over if I pour from the paper cup I will drink from, rather than the little coffee pots constructed with industry standard dribble spouts.

3.  The trade show is populated with the various people one might expect at a function such as this, but there is one very small demographic worthy of mention.  It is the somewhat inappropriately dressed female attendee, and I espied two of them this week.  These aren't the "booth babes", mind you, the handsome young women recruited to hawk the wares of some unmanned underwater vehicle.  These are attendees, proper.  Sometimes the outfit is simply too formal, almost evening wear.  Sometimes it is flashily fashionable, standing out among the besuited, paunchy, middle-aged men who make up the great number of attendees.  In any case, it makes for a pleasant diversion from the Mad Libs like-chatter templates that one finds oneself resorting to.

4.  I met a rather remarkable fellow this week, Dino the shoe-shine man.  Dino was set up at his mobile stand on the first morning I arrived, and as I walked by, he began his well-rehearsed (and executed) patois.  As I have written here before, the shoeshine is the last acceptable vestige of male vanity, and so when he stated that the shine was "compliments of the Surface Navy Association", well, who was I to pass it up?  Truth is, I would have gotten one anyway, but it was the provision of the service gratis that caught my attention. This was a good thing that SNA had done, hiring Dino to be there for a few days.  And so I decided to dig deeper into his business model.  First, I told Dino to give me the "ten dollar shine", because that is what he will receive for it in consideration.  Thusly motivated, we began the conversation that even for a curmudgeon like myself, never gets old.  After a bit, he informed me that he had done "all the shows" in town, and he really liked the military associated ones, as those men knew the need and value of a shoe-shine.  He then said "I'm at five other shows this week in town" or something like that--and I realized that I was in the presence not just of a shoe-shine man, but an entrepreneur.  He has contract shoe-shine gigs at conventions all over the city and uses "independent contractors" (his phrase) to perform the service.  He gets the fee from the trade association and I imagine the shoe-shine guys get a small cut plus tips.  Works for everyone.  I love this country.  It was indeed a ten dollar shine, by the way.

5.  It is hard to get older.  I of course, look out onto the world through the same eyes I did as a 21-year old Ensign, and so while all around me age, I remain 21 psychologically.  The Kitten would tell you that I remain 13, but that is a different story.  But each year, the Fleet gathers at this show, my old friends and mentors get older, some dramatically so, and the young, wet-behind the ears bucks come into their own, many of whom now command their own ships.   Some of these newly empowered commanding officers come up to me and take great pride in telling me how in some way, some small thing I said or did when they worked for me or with me has had an impact on them. I never remember saying what they recall, something I would attribute to early onset Alzheimer's except for the fact that I have never had a memory for these kinds of things.  It is as if God decided that he would give me the gift of being able to say really insightful, admonitional, inspirational things so that others might be inspired, but decided that would contribute to my already narcissistic demeanor in an unhealthy way, so he robbed me of my ability to remember the interactions. Either way, I get a pleasant reminder of some guy who used to say cool things, with whom I am now unacquainted.

6.  Several four star Admirals were speakers at this event, as was the Secretary of the Navy.  They do not linger, they do not mingle with the unwashed. They sweep in from the edges of the empire on their government provided airplanes where they are met on the flightline by government provided ground transportation (usually giant, black SUV's) to convey them to the event.  There they are met at the entrance by a variety of eager functionaries, there to usher them to the "private room" where they can "freshen up" or "make an important call'.  Most interesting of all is the size of the retinue accompanying these modern Viceroys.   There are generally at least one of the following:  an aide, a senior aide, a public affairs officer, and a speechwriter.  In addition, there are two earpieced "security" officers nervously eyeing all who walk past.  There is often a staff photographer.  Sometimes there is a communications specialist.  The point is, there are a lot of people.  I used to be one of these, traveling with the Chief of Naval Operations in the mid 90's.  On international trips, we took a very senior medical officer.  There were too many then, there are too many now.  When the fourstars get together for a confab,  the extra people standing around would outnumber most third world militaries.  It is a bit unseemly.  I contrast this with most Members of Congress, whose staffs are ridiculously small in comparison, and who move about the country/world either with one or maybe two people with them. 

Enough for now. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Another Media Free (sorta) Sabbath

It is a few hours after sundown on Saturday evening, the Wahoo Men's Basketball Team has dispatched the hapless Wolfpack, Seattle seems poised to move to the NFC Championship, and I am back on the interwebs after 24 hours of blackout.  Sort of.

We had a big day of Kitten stuff--with the younger of the two involved in a horse show and the older needing a pick up and drive home from school.  I drew the pick up from school task, though I got involved in the horse show too, as someone had to get the Princess to the barn at 0545 and " are just better at getting up early than I am", my five straight days of 0500 wakeups having provided ample evidence of the same.  Feeling like I really wanted to sleep in, I decided to take my sleeping in hours from the front of my sleep, and went to bed at 8PM, which was heavenly. 

Returning from the barn, I had a few hours of silence to enjoy, hours where generally I would troll the internet, blog, Tweet, etc.  But there is none of that on Saturdays now.  And so, I read.  I read Issues 16 and 18 (can't find 17) of National Affairs, a journal I consider to be simply the finest compendium of thinking for right of center policy fans.  For instance:

--Many think conservatives don't think enough about the jobless, poverty and poor people in general.  Read this and this for some great conservative thinking on the subjects.

--Tired of listening to the President prattle on about "universal preschool"  and his plan to spend tens of billions on it with little or no evidence that we get any bang for those bucks?  Read this

--Are you someone who believes that the Tea Party has it right on their sense of what the founders wanted government to do and not to do?  Read this. And this. 

--Want to read George Will on religion and politics?

--How about a great idea on how the Republican Party could alter its Presidential nomination process?

You get the point--really, really good reading.  What I like best about this journal is the fact that they 1) virtually always treat liberal counter-views with respect while taking them apart 2) the great thinkers and the great ideas behind conservatism are always front and center.  This is one of the great things about conservatism, its historicity.  Liberals quite frankly--by definition--tend to devalue their own history.  We don't.  There is great thinking by great thinkers behind ideas like limited government, individual freedom, etc, and you get to learn a good bit about those thinkers from this journal.

Enough of the unpaid advert--after five hours or so of reading, I left to go pick up Kitten 1 from school.  Realizing that I had to get in touch with her for the pickup, and that I would likely need to be able to contact The Kitten or be contacted by her while we were widely separated on our parenting beat, I realized that I would have to turn on the cell phone.  Never fear, I did not look at my email, I did not make any calls, and I accepted calls only from The Kitten.  Furthermore, I did not listen to the radio in the car.  So there.

As for this New Year's resolution, I have mixed feelings about it.  I miss the internet for the day I am not on it.  I like Twitter, and Facebook and this blog and others.  I like the news and being informed.  But there is something really peaceful about not being slaved to a piece of technology.  We'll see how it goes, but for now, it is going fine.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

How Christie Should Handle "The Bridge Scandal"

Come out with guns blazing.

Maybe with a little something like this...

"Grow up, America.  This is what happens in politics.  Power is gained and used.  Political opponents are targeted and marginalized.  Actions have consequences.  All these effete New York writers and  taking to their sedan chairs with sudden cases of the vapors need to calm down and go back to writing their fawning puff pieces about the President and the former Secretary of State.  Four people died at Benghazi because they couldn't be bothered to act, and the New York Times tells us that it was all about a video tape and terrorists weren't involved.  THAT my friends, is a scandal.  This is just the way we do things in New Jersey.  And by the way, IF I run for President, and IF I am fortunate enough to be elected, you can damn well bet that folks who cross the United States will get similar treatment."

Wouldn't that be wonderful?

But instead, I think he'll just fire everyone. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Keeping the Sabbath

Some of you may remember that I took a trip to Israel last year, and that one of the things I wrote most approvingly of was how an observant Israeli Jewish family kept the Sabbath. Starting with a joyous family meal on Friday evening and ending at sundown Saturday, this family eschewed electronic devices, cars, the whole schlemiel. The core of my admiration for the practice was how it appeared to create a pause in the week for family and for contemplation.  I came home wondering if there was a place in my life for something like this.

So, in my 2014 New Years Resolutions, I included an "electronic media free Sabbath".  While I wouldn't be incorporating all aspects of observant Judaism, I figure that I could do without computers, smart phones and televisions for a day. Yesterday...well Friday evening really...was the first go at it. In discussions with friends over the holidays, there was a universal sense that I would not be able to pull this off.  "I give it three weeks" was one estimate.  I think there is some truth to the doubters, but it was worth trying anyway.

And so, on Friday afternoon, I turned off my computer, my Blackberry, and my iPad .  The four of us had a nice dinner, and then later played a charades like game in the kitchen.  I did a good bit of reading, one of my other resolutions. On Saturday, my only concession was to watch TV while I was on the treadmill for 30 minutes in the morning, but otherwise, I was true to the goal.  I read more.  I did chores around the house. I took down the mancave tree and straightened up in there. I went grocery shopping, and I went to Lowe's. I talked with the other people living in my house. I played with the dogs.

When I went to the store, I took my phone with me but did not turn it on, its presence only for the "hey, I slid off the road into a ditch" call.  Did I enjoy my media free day? Meh....somewhat.  But I felt uninformed (even though I read both the NYT and WP old school that morning).  I wondered what the answer to the emails I wrote on Friday afternoon was.  I missed the chatter of Twitter.  But it was a net positive.  I spent more time with the Kittens. I read voraciously. I was productive in areas not tied to a PC.

I think I will do it again next week.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Random Musings from the 28% NOT Getting a Gubmint Check

This time of year we get a lot of these emotional ads on television about feeding starving children. They tell us that for only 19¢ a day we can keep hope alive for some malnourished progeny of a Panamanian prostitute (well, they don't tell us THAT). And I guess they must rake in the cash because these ads have been running since I myself was young enough to squat in an alley eating garbage while covered in Musca domestica. But I'm confused. Would we not be perpetuating the problem by giving? If our gutter-sniping little toddlers get their bellies full of American supplied nachos and beans often enough then by the age of twelve or so they'll be ready to reproduce and have another poster child (the first of many to come no doubt) for American guilt ridden chumps to throw their money at. It's a problem where the solution creates a greater, more widespread problem; in other words a liberal's dream. I say no. Charity begins at home so let somebody else sort this out. I've got enough on my plate making sure our welfare bums have HBO.

I know you've seen this, some research vessel stuck in ice down in Antarctica (lovely this time of year). It's been going on for a few days now and come to find out this thing is filled with "climate change" scientists. Ok, fair enough, but the thing is the media REFUSES to report this rather embarrassing fact. I watched the CBS Evening News yesterday specifically to see if they would mention it since the conservative press has been screaming. But NOOOOO, not a peep. My God these people have no shame and they won't give up. They get caught time and again fiddling the numbers, their climate models are absolute bullshit (and they know it), and they refuse to debate the issue with non-full-of-crap scientists preferring press releases and compliant politicians to get their message out. Obviously somebody is getting rich. These people are just government grant welfare bums worse than any lard ass, borderline diabetic, welfare mama riding the couch eating milk duds. We should leave them there.

Did you see that an illegal alien in California was granted a law license? An outlaw is now an officer of the court, Angela Davis must be beaming! I keep telling people California is lost and their reaction is I'm just a crazy redneck (not half wrong) redoing that secessionist thing from 1861. Well maybe so but I'm telling you right now when the money runs out and the Gringo has got nothing more to give then California will bolt to the motherland so fast you'll think the Declaration of Independence was signed on May 5th. There is nothing in this world that can't be taken away from you and there's nothing you have that won't be taken away if you don't have the balls to protect it. Ask the Romans.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Year of the Horse: The Hammer's 2014 Predictions

As you may know the horse has played a major role in my life. I was born in the year of the horse. My high school nickname was "Horse" (with the girls anyway) and I've always been of an equestrian temperament (brave, loyal, trustworthy, sleep while standing up, piss anywhere, and I loves my barley). So with the horse being such a virtuous creature admired throughout the ages, this year I believe we can expect some really good things. So let's get started.

1) Obamacare will continue to be a huge liability for the Democrats. However it will not result in the Republicans retaking the Senate. There are just too many half-baked conservatives in power and it will continue to split the base. And the Democrats have been masters at exploiting the chasm with money as well as focused attacks by the IRS and other government agencies. Sorry, no Senate this go round.

2) As President Obama's troubles mount the press will become more and more partisan and hostile. Since what Jonah Goldberg described as (I paraphrase) one of the biggest lies in American history "If you like your plan you can keep it..." has dragged down Obama's approval rating the left has been extraordinarily coarse with their commentary. It's obvious they feel threatened and I expect this to ramp up to heretofore unseen levels, and don't think it can't get worse.

3) George Soros will die. This is not so much a prediction as a heartfelt wish. Oh...and I hope he burns in Hell too! Take that for coarse.

4) The economy will continue to suck (HUGE prediction there) but the Republicans will cave and cave again on any sort of austerity measures. The good news is in states controlled by REAL Republicans the damage will be mitigated somewhat. Also in some of these Democratic strongholds like Illinois the fit will hit the sham fiscally speaking. I expect them to ask for (and get) a bailout.

5) China and some player in the Far East will have a confrontation. I would guess the Japanese but you never know, there could be a border skirmish on the Sino-Russian border or even a confrontation with the North Koreans. The point is the Chinese want to have a coming out party, a sort of "we're a world power now" debutant ball. They're going to pick a fight with somebody, whom I do nott know. I just hope it isn't Taiwan.

6) Iran will have or be damn close to a theater nuclear capability by the end of 2014, assuming of course John Kerry can keep Israel at bay. Regardless the Middle East will be big in the news this year, and it won't be pretty. Amateurs will get you in trouble every time.

7) In Europe we'll start to see some cracks in the EU and the political integration of the continent. Starting today Britain can no longer keep out Rumanians and Bulgarians. In case you don't know that's where a good part of the gypsy population resides. And know this, everything you've ever heard about gypsies, all the negative stereotype stuff about being thieves and whores you can take to the bank, they are all that and more. Hitler was right on this one, he should have killed them all. Anyway Britain is scared to death the Roma will come in like the locust plague and hollow out the already threadbare welfare state that idiots like David Cameron perpetuate. I say screw 'em, maybe now they'll wake up...but I doubt it.

8) Miley Cyrus will be the new "it" girl of pop music replacing the acutely weird Lady Gaga. I don't have a dog in this hunt but Gaga's ass was the only work of art she was ever near, and I have to say I will miss it. Miley Cyrus is just...pedestrian; she's got the sex appeal of a lawn mower. Now Katy Perry, there's a pop star you could sink your teeth into!

9) Auburn will win the BCS Championship defeating the undefeated Florida State Seminoles. I base this on two factors. One, Auburn is the luckiest team I've seen in a while (check out their last two games) and as Napoleon said, give me generals who are lucky. And two, FSU ain't played nobody.

10) Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson will run for Senate against Mary Landrieu but will lose as campaign season conflicts with duck, deer, wild hog and quail season. However he will still garner 20% of the vote (I'm a Si man myself).

There you have it. I have to be at least as accurate as CW was last year but we'll see. Regardless, good luck in the new year to all.
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