Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Lull

The Kitten has abandoned me with the younger of the Kittens, taking the older one with her for a little adventure before school starts.  It seems "The Village" in which I live deems me an only moderately competent parent, as there are many people willing to take the younger Kitten off my hands for periods of time.  I've seen to the periods that I have to be away from home, but I fear that if I acceded to all these requests, I would spend no time with the Little Monkey.  I will stand firm.

It is difficult to believe that we are a wake-up from August.  Global Warming has conspired to create seemingly perfect Summer days here on the Shore, low humidity, temps in the 80's.  Things have slowed and the pace seems right.  I'm working pretty hard to lay out where my little business is going to go in the Fall, when those I would do business with have returned from their vacations, and furloughs, and other distractions.

The presence of the second Lab has renewed Baloo's lease on life.  No longer content to laze around the house, he spends a good part of his day being hectored by his six-month old stepsister Zu-Zu whose energy seems even to weary him.  They are fast friends, and I am happy to think of them growing old together.

A week ago, I began my summer beard, much to the consternation of the women of my house to whom it is a naked affront.  Seeing a portion of them off at the airport yesterday, I was reminded of the wisdom of shaving it before their return.  The one who remains wriggles and squirms against even the gentlest nuzzle, creating for some future boyfriend a horrible precedent of continuous clean-shaven-ness.  They don't understand the necessity of the summer beard.  It is a way to mark time, to see how the previous year has ravaged one's face through the accumulation of grey.  It is a way to mark virility, making sure one still has the capacity to even make a run at a beard.  And it is a way of asserting one's independence, one's agency.  I shave fifty weeks a year, dammit, and for two weeks in the summer I will not be denied!  Until the Kittens' return, that is.

Monday, July 29, 2013

CNN Host Has Strong Words for Black America


I realize that a large portion of black and liberal America will see this piece by CNN's Don Lemon as simple "Uncle Tommery", but that friends, is exactly the problem.  Lemon's words here are strong, they are clear, and they are spot on.

And most of them apply to white America as well.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Way Better MLB Photos

[Ed Note: This is an admittedly cheap and pandering attempt to stimulate the CW economy by increasing the volume of CW website "hits" as we attempt to recover from the worst readership recession in CW's history. We would like to point out that CW's guest bloggers inherited this recession but commit to you that we are doing everything in our power, between golfing, vacations and other distractions that is, to turn this around. But it's going to take...uhm...uhm...(can somebody reset the teleprompter dammit?)...time and your help so we're just going to ask everyone to do his or her fair share. So read The CW. And you better do it because, you know, we know people at the IRS.]



And just so you don't think we're only looking out for the male readers, here's a nice little selection for you ladies out there:

You're welcome.

Friday, July 26, 2013

First MLB Game of the Year, First Nationals Game Ever

Looks like I picked a good day to watch my first Nats game.  The park in SW DC is a phenomenal place to watch baseball.

And Bryce Harper winning it in the bottom of the ninth with a 2-run dinger was icing on the cake.

Big Fat Friday Free For All!

What's on your mind, folks?

Don't be stingy--share with your friends!

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Over at Pajamas Television (PJTV) (hat tip: there is a great video report for those who thought they knew everything about the Zimmerman/Martin encounter.  Of course, this will be denounced by liberals and main stream media (that's like saying "dogs and beagles" or "trees and oaks" or "cheese and brie") as racist, right wing internet hyperbole, but can you imagine how fast (and loudly) this information would be out there if the roles had been reversed in the Travon Martin/George Zimmerman confrontation?

Whatever else you had planned for the next 10 minutes and 12 seconds, put it off and watch the video. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Big Fat Friday Free For All

In all my flabby splendor!

What's on your minds, folks?

Your photo show up on the cover of Rolling Stone, but you're getting no chicks out of it?

Share, folks, share.

For Those with an Interest in the Navy

Here's a video of a talk I did in Norfolk yesterday.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Heading Home

I've spent the last few days with my Mom and Dad in Clayton NC in order properly to observe my Mother's Birthday.  Let the record show that I was the only out of town child to make the haj this year, a sign not only of my loyalty to my parents but of the sloth and contempt of my siblings.  Both the oldest and youngest of us live here in Clayton and were able to rouse themselves for a fair showing of familial affection, but I am certain they would have missed the occasion were they out of  towners.  Such is the burden of being the favorite of six children.

In an hour or so, I will "put her in the wind" as my Dad said so many times in our youth, and head home.  To Easton, you ask?  To your Kittens, house and dogs?  Well no, not quite.  To my other home.  Norfolk, Virginia, home of the Atlantic Fleet and in my view, The Navy's Home Town. 

I left home in NJ for college when I was 18, Mount Laurel never having had a huge draw for me.  Twenty-one years in the Navy bounced me around a fair number of times between sea duty, shore duty, and training time.  But there was always one constant--I could not wait to be back in Norfolk when I was gone, and I was happier than a tick in a kennel when I was there.  I'm headed there to deliver a speech to a predominately Navy audience; afterward, I'm going to have lunch onboard the ship I used to command.  My heart never ceases to skip a beat when I cross the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and see the majesty of the Navy broad on my starboard bow.  I think of so many sultry duty nights in Norfolk, heading out to the fantail to observe evening colors in the soupy air.  Norfolk has a bit of a bad name in the Navy, probably because it isn't San Diego, Mayport, or Pearl Harbor.  But it was always the perfect place for me, a place of great neighborhoods, patriotism, good restaurants and a steady desire to make itself better. 

Most times, when my ships would come in from a week at sea in the training opareas, we'd try and get in as early as we could on Friday, and once everything was buttoned up, liberty call would go down.  I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it felt to stroll down the pier early on a Friday afternoon, knowing that you didn't have to return to the ship until Monday and that the weekend lay before you. 

I miss Norfolk. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

On the Joys of Wall-to-Wall Carpet

Life with the Kittens at our place on the Eastern Shore has a lot of advantages, and I find my pulse slowing whenever I cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge heading eastbound.  But there is something missing from my idyllic, bucolic life there, what with our wide plank hardwood floors and the occasional ancient area rug.  And that is, the pure joy of the feel of wall-to-wall carpet between the toes.

I know, most people tend to get all misty-eyed when talking about walking through grass unshod.  Not me, not where I live.  The likelihood that one would make contact with the leavings of one of the two Labradors who use our farm as their litter box tends to keep me on covered surfaces or with suitable footwear.

No, I reserve that kind of Nivranic reaction for the feel of walking upon wall-to-wall carpet, of which none exists in my primary residence.  When I kept a pied a terre in the city, it was of course, wall to wall in every room (except the kitchen and baths).  I would joyfully walk through the plush wonders of the living room on my way to the coffee machine each morning for the first cup, then back again to the bedroom.  When arriving at home each night from a long day of work, my first action would be to get barefooted for the rest of the evening.

I find myself this week at the ancestral home in Clayton, NC, where there are a few patches of wall-to-wall, including the room from which I am writing and the bedroom in which I sleep.  It is one of the many benefits of coming home to see Mom and Dad.  In fact there are only a few feet of hardwood to endure between the couch upon which I now sit and the bed into which I will shortly alight for my afternoon nap.  Where I will dream of wall-to-wall in the ManCave.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

On the Trial of George Zimmerman

The latest trial of the century ended last night, with a Florida jury finding George Zimmerman not guilty of any of the crimes he was charged with, including the one he was charged with the day before the case went to the jury.

Here's how I wrote about the precipitating event a year and a half ago.  I regret much of what I wrote here, especially with respect to Mr. Zimmerman's character and conduct.  An empaneled jury, in whom I continue to trust, found that the views I shared with you then were and are, incorrect.  Like many others, I appear to have been swayed by my own preconceptions and the initial narrative that was developing.

Our vaunted press corps should share in my regret, though I doubt they will.  Their conduct throughout this trial has been execrable, from the deification of the victim to the slander of the suspect, their biases sang through loud and clear. 

Six brave women sat and heard evidence--presumably all of it--for three weeks, and sixteen hours later delivered a unanimous "not guilty".  I know no one who sat and listened as they did--certainly not the bevy of sanctimonious Hollywood do-gooders who took to Twitter last night to vent their uninformed outrage over the verdict.  The rest of us got snippets from the aforementioned media, or through our own internet research, but really we had only small pieces of a much larger puzzle.

A young man is dead.  Another man's life is in a shambles.  Nothing good happened here.  Except the proper functioning of a legal system. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Too Long-Winded Comment to CW's Immigration Post

[Since comments are limited to some number of letters fewer than what I have assembled below, I had to take advantage of CW's mistake of giving me the keys to the CW Blog. ]

1.  David Brooks is simply not a Conservative.  He may from time to time use some words that sound Conservative but my sense is that he is decidedly more concerned with giving his employeer the sheerest facade of balanced editiorialism while appearing intellectually thoughtful and refined than he is devoted to the conservative principles of this nation's founding no matter what.  I actually have higher regard for the likes of Paul Krugman who make no bones about where they stand.  Quit apologizing for Conservative principles (and principals), David.

2.  The oft repeated mantra that Dem talking heads have been spouting is that the GOP is finished if they don't start to identify with Hispanics and pass this bill.  Since when did Dems become so altruistic about keeping the GoP alive?  That's like Israel consulting with Hezbollah for national security strategies.  Has the GOP "leadership" become so rudderless and unaware of the Conservative principles that gave the Party its few huge successes with Reagan, the first GOP majority in Congress in the second half of the 1900s and the most recent GOP majority in Congress that they feel the only place they can turn for advice is to Chuck Schumer, David Axelrod and the mainstream media? 

3.  This isn't the first time we've drunk from this well.  The Conservative hero Ronald Reagan got swindled on this very issue by that great Republican strategist, Tip O'Neill, when we needed to address those already here in a compassionate way but in exchange for securing the border and ending the continuous flow of illegal immigrants to this country.  Following the Dem's advice back then worked so well that we're now returning to the well to drink the same pissy water that Tip O'Neill served Reagan.  BTW, what Reagan signed into law that granted "one time" amnesty in exchange for a secure border is still in place so I don't see how another law to secure the border in exchange for "just this one last time, I promise, amnesty" is going to be any different. I used to bristle at people calling the GoP the party of stupid but I swear to God the GOP is trying it's damnedest to live into that title.

4. GOP leadership needs to grow a pair (maybe Sarah Palin could lend her's to some of them) and stop allowing the dialogue to be that the GoP and Conservatives (two circles whose Venn overlap is growing ever smaller) are "anti-immigrant".  That's a campaign strategy lie (from the same ones who brought you "pushing grandma off the cliff" and "GoP war on women"), the Dems know it but the idiots in charge of the national GoP just wring their hands and look guilty while the media and Dems (redundancy alert) repeat it.  I've participated personally and actively in helping 12 legal immigrants obtain their US citizenship through the proper established legal pathway to that great privilege and I'm not ashamed to say it brought tears to my eyes each time one of them uttered the Pledge of Allegiance and became a fellow citizen of this remarkable nation.  That is more "pro-immigrant" than 99.99% of those spouting the BS that Conservatives are anti-immigrant.

5.  Our elected officials have an obligation to the CURRENT citizens of this country to pass fiscally-responsible balanced budgets and address the policies that are failing us economically such as the relentless extra-legislative regulations by government bureaucrats that serve more to bring them fiscal sustenance than allow the greatest economic engine in the world to generate wealth for its citizenry.  And as far as wealth, when we unleash our entrepreneurs and generate that wealth, we also do a damned good job sharing it with those in need around the globe  for we are also a generous nation with our wealth when we can be and our lives when we must be.  This is the most immigrant friendly nation on earth but somehow we have allowed the liberals to paint it as some sort of xenophobic hell hole for immigrants.  Shame on all of us.

6. The real question here is what is the pressing need to pass "comprehensive" immigration reform?  I mean it must be critical since John Boehner declared this the most important piece of legislation he plans to pass this year.  Really? The most important legislation?  With a stagnant economy, spiraling out of control debt and an unprecedented march toward a nation of  government overreach and eroding of Americans' liberty and THAT is the most important thing you can come up with?   Not that I care very much for polls, but most of the polls I've seen on this issue from Hispanics place this pretty low on the list of issues they care about--and get this, at the top of their list is Joe Biden's "three-letter word": J-O-B-S.  No kidding.  So even the immigrants this purports to serve are telling elected officials to do something about employment in this country.  But the only jobs our elected officals seem to be hell bent on preserving are their own--and THAT my friends is precisely why they keep telling us we NEED this reform because both sides think this means more voters to keep them in their plush offices and leather chairs with hot young interns stroking their overinflated egos.  The Chamber of Commerce wants it for more cheap labor--is there really a shortage of labor with 7.5% (reported, actual may be as high as 19%) unemployment?  Really?  And if we think it's expensive now to pay for all the services of the "shadow" dwellers, what about the "come to America for free health care, free foodstamps, free college education and free pathway to citizenship" crowd that we will only draw in even bigger numbers than today?  We cannot generate that kind of wealth now and it is highly unlikely that if this nation continues to allow the Progressive's agenda to advance we will ever be able to afford it.  That is precisely what Cloward-Piven proposed, by the way, to collapse the welfare system so that a "more socially just" national annual salary system can be erected in its place.  And if the members of the Chamber of Commerce believe for one minute that once this "reform" passes, that labor will continue to be cheap, they are even more stupid than I thought.

I feel as if I'm watching one of those horror films where seemingly educated people keep walking into dark hallways where you know the ax murderer is waiting and even after they find their buddy's head laying on the floor beside his bloody body, they keep walking through the house looking for Lord knows what instead of saying "we need to go the other way NOW!"  Guess what, it never goes well for those people in the movies.  Sure hope real life works out better.  I doubt it will. 

There's No Such Thing as Media Bias. No. Not at All.

According to this poll, 55% of Americans support gay marriage.

According to this poll, 59% of Americans favor banning abortion after the 20th week.

Which have you heard more about?

On Immigration (again)

David Brooks, house Conservative of the New York Times, had an editorial yesterday in which he exorts Republicans to "Pass the Bill", by which he means presumably the Senate Immigration Bill. 

He makes a few sound arguments about the benefits of the bill, and he shrewdly ties them to Conservative goals, mostly economic. 

In the main, I think he's right.  But like so many other issues, he's right  "...all the way from B to Z".  It's the A to B step he misses.

Republicans want REAL border security, not the kind that is so riddled with holes and provisos as to render it feckless.  THAT is what the bill brings.  Brooks acknowledges as much, saying "The first conservative complaint is that, as Kristol and Lowry put it, “the enforcement provisions are riddled with exceptions, loopholes and waivers.” If Obama can waive the parts of Obamacare he finds inconvenient, why won’t he end up waiving a requirement for the use of E-Verify. There’s some truth to this critique, and maybe the House should pass a version of the Senate bill that has fewer waivers and loopholes. But, at some point, this argument just becomes an excuse to oppose every piece of legislation, ever. All legislation allows the executive branch to have some discretion. It’s always possible to imagine ways in which a law may be distorted in violation of its intent. But if you are going to use that logic to oppose something, you are going to end up opposing tax reform, welfare reform, the Civil Rights Act and everything else."   No David, you're wrong.  Quite wrong.  This is a valid argument, especially when one considers the relationship between the two main goals of this legislation--border security and some path to legality for illegals.  Why in God's name would Republicans roll over on the latter part, and then provide the President with endless options to stymie their main political goal in the legislation.  Brooks simply doesn't get the depth of commitment Conservatives have to doing a better job of closing our border.  

That said, Conservatives are still blowing this.  They are blowing this because of an unrealistic, dogmatic, and ultimately self-defeating stance on how to handle those already here illegally.  Truth be told, there are plenty of Republicans on the Hill whose approach to immigration reform would be to close the border and then do nothing else.  That's not realistic.  So how to move forward?

Republicans and Conservatives need to change the both the ideology and the rhetoric.  We must publicly and sincerely identify with the forces which drive someone to hazard their lives in crossing the border in order to find a piece of our American Dream.  We have to begin to use the language of understanding, the language of empathy.  "Yes.  We get it.  We understand why you came here, and while we find the circumstances of your arrival to be wrong, the circumstances of your presence must be dealt with.  We want you to participate fully in the blessings of this exceptional country.  We want you to live and work and pay taxes and raise families proudly in our country.  We will put aside our aversion to the illegal act that brought you here in order to ensure your full integration into our great civilization."

But there must be a cost for this concession.  A political cost.  And that is, Democrats MUST agree to measures that more appropriately protect our borders.  Real ones.  Without loopholes.  With means for the ways to do so.  David Brooks wants Republicans to roll over on what to do with those already here for the dubious promise of an administration that has double-crossed time and again, one whose approach to its own power is of growing concern.  Republicans must stand their ground on border security, and make it the cost Democrats pay for a new Republican approach to legalizing those already here.


Big Fat Friday Free For All

Sorry I'm a little late, folks.  Had an optometry appointment this AM.

What's got you down?  One day back in the big leagues and you're hurt again?  Your signature piece of legislation falling apart piece by piece? 

Share your pain with your friends.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Topic for Today

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1
   Button Gwinnett
   Lyman Hall
   George Walton
Column 2
North Carolina:
   William Hooper
   Joseph Hewes
   John Penn
South Carolina:
   Edward Rutledge
   Thomas Heyward, Jr.
   Thomas Lynch, Jr.
   Arthur Middleton
Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton
Column 4
   Robert Morris
   Benjamin Rush
   Benjamin Franklin
   John Morton
   George Clymer
   James Smith
   George Taylor
   James Wilson
   George Ross
   Caesar Rodney
   George Read
   Thomas McKean
Column 5
New York:
   William Floyd
   Philip Livingston
   Francis Lewis
   Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
   Richard Stockton
   John Witherspoon
   Francis Hopkinson
   John Hart
   Abraham Clark
Column 6
New Hampshire:
   Josiah Bartlett
   William Whipple
   Samuel Adams
   John Adams
   Robert Treat Paine
   Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
   Stephen Hopkins
   William Ellery
   Roger Sherman
   Samuel Huntington
   William Williams
   Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
   Matthew Thornton

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

More Obamacare Buffoonery

Liberal blogger Ezra Klein wants to see the employer mandate repealed, rather than delayed.  Read his rationale here.  

Funny how liberals all of a sudden begin to understand how taxation impacts economic behavior when one of their sacred cows is on the line.

The Incomparable Remy, for Independence Day

Obamacare Employer Mandate Slips A Year

Suddenly adopting a pro-business attitude, the Obama Administration will, through unilateral regulatory authority granted it by a pliant Democratic Congress under the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (puke), delay the "Employer Mandate" provisions of the law one year, to 2015.  See this Weekly Standard piece on the ins and outs of the decision. 

While the Administration is pinning the slide on its desire to be responsive to the complaints of the business community, this is of course, rubbish.  This move can more correctly be called the "Save Harry Reid's Job as Majority Leader" delay, as the Democratic Party did not want to have to participate in mid-cycle Congressional elections with this hanging over their heads.

That said, while the employer mandate slips, the individual mandate remains in place.  That alone offers political hay to the Republicans.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Twenty Years Later....

I woke the morning of July 1st, 1993 with a splitting, hangover-induced headache.  You know, the kind that I got a few times a week for that entire year.  My drinking really became epic after Julie moved out in February; I'd stop at the Giant on the way home and buy two six packs of Labatt's for dinner.  Just the beer.  I'd set my the alarm in my bedroom before I started drinking, so I'd get up on time the next morning.  Set one in the living room too in case I didn't make it to the bedroom.  I brought method to my drinking, let no one say otherwise.

On this particular morning, I was waking from a doozie gained the evening before at some random bar at Tyson's Corner.  I think it was called "Champions" or something like that.  On the way out of the parking lot the night before (had to get to bed so I could get up and get driving--was going home to New Jersey for the July 4th weekend), I had a little fender-bender.  The good news was, the guy I hit (or who hit me, neither of us knew) had been drinking right near me for several hours.  Neither of us wanted the police involved, so we agreed to take care of our own minor damage.  Come to think of it, he was a good dude.  I surely didn't need a run-in with the police, no not me.  I had a security clearance.  I was going to BE SOMEONE SOMEDAY.  Besides, the two times I'd been stopped for suspicion of drunk driving in the previous month were clearly enough for one person, right?  The first time happened about 100 yards from my house, so the guy told me to park it and walk.  The second one happened RIGHT in front of my house.  He said I was "driving too close to the curb".  "Looks to be part of the road to me" was my smart-assed answer. I blew under the limit.

But this particular morning, I was in serious pain.  Middle of the head pain.  Not one of those wussy temple headaches.  No--this one was deep.  Brain stem stuff.  But I had to drive 150 miles to New Jersey.  On a bright day.  This was going to be agony. So I hopped onto the Beltway and began my journey. 

I drove for all of about ten miles, before I started crying.  Not an emotional cry, mind you.  A cry composed simply of agonizing head pain.  I pulled over on the inner loop, to the shoulder of the road.  Some of you may be familiar with this stretch of DC road.  Pulling over on the shoulder gives one the amazing sensation of having your car rock while people drive by at 80 miles an hour.  I sat there in my car, rubbing my head, crying.  Thinking.  I'm 28 years old.  I've got a responsible job that I do ok in.  I'm an Admiral's aide, for Chrissake. I've got good friends--really good friends.  Sure, I destroyed a marriage, but hey, that's what happens when you're too young to be married, right?  And my family--well hell, they mostly like me.  I can get a little mean when I drink, but hey, who doesn't?

What the hell am I doing.  Why am I doing this to myself?

So, I did something I hadn't done in quite some time.  I said a prayer.  I remember sitting there thinking about George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life--my favorite movie.  His prayer.  "I'm not a praying man...." .  I started out kind of like that.  And I asked God to help me, with a very simple request.

I'd like to stop drinking for 30 days.  Just a month.  Dry out, so to speak.  Show the booze who the boss is.  Yep.  That's it.  Thirty days.  I prayed hard for this, through the pain, through the tears.  God I hoped that a cop didn't show up.

Then I got an idea in my head.  If I stop for 30 days, day 31 then becomes a bender.  So what have I accomplished?  Nothing.  Why waste God's time with that.

And so I did it.  I went for the fences.

"God", I asked, "I need your help to never drink again.  From this moment forward.  Never again.  I may ruin other relationships in my lifetime, but it will be through some new and innovative device.  Not alcohol.  Please God.  You help me, I will hold up my end of the bargain."  That was it.  And those were the words, more or less.

And I sat there, thinking about what a life without alcohol would be like.  Would I still be interesting?  Was I ever? Would I be an outcast in my own cohort?  Could I actually do it?  Do I really want to do it?  What are the ramifications of breaking a deal with God?

I asked myself questions like this for about five minutes.  And then I looked up at the road....and realized I didn't have a headache anymore.  None.  Zero.  In fact, I felt GOOD, better than I had in months.  I shook my head violently, just to see if there were any residual pain.  None.

And then I really started to cry.

I realized then and there that I had gotten what I had prayed for.  A chance.  An opportunity.  Some help.  Some cosmic help.  I cannot blow this.  I have to follow through.

And so I drove to my parents' house, turning over in my mind the supernatural event that had happened in my car, alongside the DC Beltway.  Soon after getting home and exchanging pleasantries, I asked my Dad for a private conversation.  We went out on the back porch, and I told him "I have a drinking problem."  I told him, because he had several years before stopped drinking of his own accord, and I told him in order to seek wisdom.  "You're Goddamn right you do" was his answer.  Ok, I guess I deserved that, after my performance at the last family function.  So I told him I had decided to quit drinking--cold turkey, never again.  I didn't mention my chat with that which there is no greater than and the bargain struck as a result.  I asked him if I needed AA, or to go to a doctor.  "No", was his answer.  "Just stop.  You can do it."

He was right.  That chat happened twenty years ago today.  I have not had a drink, not even one, in those twenty years.  I can't say I haven't been tempted, but the temptation is never very strong.  I miss red wine, when I'm cooking.  That's about it.

People have asked me many times, "Why not give it a try again?  You're older and more mature now, you could handle it."  That argument has never held water for me.  They may be absolutely right...maybe I could handle it now.  But that's not the point.  If I can't keep a promise to God, what good am I?

So here I am, twenty years later.  I'm not perfect, Lord knows.  A few people love me, some like me, many tolerate me, a few can't stand me (and they have good reason).  But I have kept my promise and I aim to continue to do so. 

And you know what?

I remember that day like it was yesterday. 

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