Thursday, November 28, 2013

The TRUE STORY of Thanksgiving

I've heard this many times before and again yesterday. So at the risk of pissing off CW (not a big Rushie fan) I would like to share it with you.

But in the interest of equal time and fair play I also offer an alternate view, and this I might add is the one being taught to your children.

So, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and God Bless you all.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Random Thanksgiving Thoughts

The Geheimstattpolizei with whom I reside take a tough line on any outward recognition of Christmas prior to the completion of Thanksgiving dinner.  Recognizing of course, their sovereignty within the living spaces of the house, I exercise complete dominion over the ManCave, where Christmas candles blaze as I write this, and Pandora serenades me with Christmas carols.  There are some elements of their argument for which I have sympathy.  For instance, the thought of Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving is a horror to me.  Black Friday too.  But the essence of their beef comes down to Thanksgiving not getting its due--which I completely deny.

Thanksgiving is to Christmas like the Daytona 500 is to whatever is the last NASCAR race of the season.  It gets things off to a great start. In my view, the Christmas Season starts with Thanksgiving and ends with Christmas Dinner.  New Years Day doesn't count in any of this, as it is basically a sideshow to me.  That I may burn Christmas candles and listen to Christmas music in no way diminishes my love for Thanksgiving.  This is not a zero sum.  I have limitless love to give this season.

I have great sympathy for those who travel this time of year--especially this year, given the weather on the East Coast.  We have settled into a routine here in which Thanksgiving is spent either at our house with local relations or at the Kitten's Aunt/Uncle's house with the same relations.  This year, it is here.  I am the Turkey Commissar, a task in which I revel.  Very few smells in the world like a basting bird.  The attention and care a turkey demands is similar to that of a fine woman, the delivery of which brings great reward to the provider.  I will remove the 22 pounder from the fridge tonight for some initial prep/innards removal/stock creation.  It'll go in the oven at about 1100 tomorrow.  Yum.

On another note, I will head down to Mudge's place Friday to take my place in a deerstand Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.  The hunting grounds have been fertile thus far in the season, at least judging from Mudge's photos.  Having not so much as SEEN a deer from my stand in previous trips, I remain a skeptic.  Mudge's company is however, sufficient palliative to my hunting woes.  There is some talk of Admiral Nevin showing up too.

The Wahoos host rival Virginia Tech this Saturday, both programs having had tough years (though Tech remains much better).  I have passed along my tickets to my buddy from Richmond, hoping of course he does not further gift them to a dreaded Hokie.  Given the choice between sitting and watching bad/frustrating football and sitting in a deerstand quietly contemplating the world, I chose the latter.

From the McGrath/Murphy Family, Happy Thanksgiving to all who keep the season well.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Hammer's "The Week in College Football"

This was sort of a bye week for a lot of the teams what with rivalry week coming up. Clemson played the Citadel and the Cocks played Central Carolina, both winning handily. 'Bama tuned up against UT Chattanooga (definitely a word Yankees can't spell) 49-zip.

But there were a couple of good games on the schedule, one being  the undefeated Baylor Bears on the road against Oklahoma State (the best team in Oklahoma). Baylor started off moving the ball real well (that spread offense of their's is awesome!) and should have scored but Bear QB Bryce Petty tripped up at the one. Then the rains came. Baylor proceeded to fumble and Ok. St. drove 99 yards for the touchdown and never looked back. That's the thing about these high powered offenses. Baylor when they're feeling it can score 50, 60, 70 points at the drop of a hat but often times when a team like this gets into a wrestling match they loose focus cause it ain't fun no more. Baylor limped along and scored 17 points but the Cowboys hung 49 on 'em...and the game wasn't that close. But I have to tell you, I'm not at all surprised. I've seen this kind of thing a million times. So, according to the "better to lose early than late" rule Baylor drops from the ranks of the undefeated and they're yesterday's news. Look for them to lose to Texas in a couple of weeks.

Oklahoma whipped an overrated Kansas State squad (did Katherine Sebelius go to K-State I wonder?). Duke beat Wake to go 9-2. Out west Oregon lost again this time to the Arizona Wildcats 42-16 (OUCH!) and UCLA's effort at making themselves relevant again took a hit with a 38-33 lose to Arizona State. Missouri is looking mighty good at 9-1 with their only loss being South Carolina in Columbia (which Columbia I'm not saying).

But the big news this week is Florida State's Jameis Winston may be indicted for rape. The crime was reported last December and as you might imagine was not aggressively pursued by Tallahassee police (total shocker). There are some holes in the case (no pun intended) as the alleged victim described her assailant as being five feet nine inches tall and Winston is six four. Now I personally have misrepresented myself to females in terms of being off an inch or two (three at the most!) but I've never had a female who didn't spot the discrepancy immediately. And we've got a seven inch swing here (a helluva lot bigger than I would ever try to get away with), so maybe something ain't quite kosher. But there's DNA evidence in the girl's knickers so strictly from a football perspective it looks like trouble for the Seminoles. Jimbo Fisher must be beside himself! And one more thing, why... WHY would an athlete at Florida State University NEED to rape anybody. Nothing against FSU women but this ain't Bob Jones University we're talking about. If a football player at Florida State can get some lovin' from the oven without raping the poor girl then that guy has problems that can't be fixed by the hand of man. If this idiot did this crime as far as I'm concerned it's HELLO FLORIDA STATE PRISON (at Raiford).

Oh, again I feel compelled to mention that NCSU lost AGAIN to East Carolina 42-28. The Pack hasn't won a game since September and our three wins this year came against a 4-7 La. Tech,  a 5-6 Central Michigan and the 6-6 Richmond Spiders 23-21 (after a late rally). We are without doubt the worst team in the ACC and perhaps the country. These guys suck worst than Jenna Jameson on speed. You should have heard the po-mouthing and rationalizations on the Wolfpack Sports Network (consisting of 8 guys over at WRAL) after yesterdays loss ( God love these guys because these days they're earning every penny!

Friday, November 22, 2013

I Wouldn't Be Surprised!

There's a book making the rounds all good conspiracy theorists might be interested in purporting LBJ's involvement with the Kennedy assassination; well more than involvement, it's claimed he was the main conspirator. The argument is LBJ was under investigation by Bobby Kennedy's Justice Department for corruption (what else?) and indictments were if not imminent certainly a possibility. The Bobby Baker mess was all over the press (Johnson's Texas bag man) and best case scenario was he would be dropped from the ticket in '64 (worse case being prison) and his political career over and done. I haven't read the book and I might spring for the five dollar Kindle version if for no other reason than it catalogues Johnson's troubles back then, but I reserve judgement on its veracity.

I really detest Lyndon Johnson. As I've said before he was the most dangerous of politicians; a man with burning ambition and a strong sense of infallibility. In short a man who believed his own bullshit. Everything for Johnson was either a political problem or a messaging (PR) problem. Intimidate them or buy them off or run over them was Johnson's modus operandi because after he made up his mind the facts could go to hell. Johnson always got his way.

These kind of people are especially dangerous because they attract the stupid, the ignorant and the weak minded as flies to shite. Jim Jones, Father Coughlin, George Wallace, Bill Clinton...these kinds of people are so full of themselves people feed off their self confidence and buy into their ideas, often times ignoring their own interests and in some cases even their lives. And unfortunately the disease must be catching because we see the same kind of behavior today with the present administration.

So, did LBJ kill Kennedy? I doubt it simply because it would be hard to keep a secret like this for this long. But if you asked me if Lyndon Johnson were capable of such a thing, I would reply with an emphatic "Hell Yes! "

Big Fat Friday Free For All

'Smatter friend?  Lose your filibuster power?  Your signature legislative accomplishment going down the toilet?  We feel your pain--so share it willingly!

Today's Weigh In:  177.2
Last Friday's Weigh in: 179.4
Diet Start (8/11):  198

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kennedy was NOT a Liberal and Nixon was NOT a Conservative!

As you know Friday marks the 50th. anniversary (if one can call it that, anniversary sounds too pleasant a word) of JFK's assassination by the avowed Marxist-Leninist Lee Harvey Oswald. Rush was talking yesterday about how the Kennedy legacy has been highjacked by liberals since the day he was shot. Progressives just could not reconcile the fact that one of their own shot a Democrat President and they've been doing their damnedest to muddy the waters ever since. But a commie murdering JFK stands to reason because John Kennedy helped start the war on Stalinism that Ronald Reagan (nearly) finished. At the time Oswald's primary motivation was Kennedy's supposed ill treatment of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Communist dictatorship, not that Kennedy was somehow too liberal (as Oliver Stone would have us believe).

"There are many people in the world who really don't understand, or say they don't, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass' sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin." JFK, Berlin June 1963. 

Does this sound like a man who wants to just get along with those Soviet pigs?

Ok, so JFK was a cold warrior extraordinaire, so what? He still governed from the left. No so fast my bed wetting friend. From 1944 until 1960 the top marginal rate on income was 91% and the growth rate was a very Obama-like 2.1% (so much for Eisenhower's legacy). Kennedy came to town and almost immediately lowered business taxes and got an across the board personal tax cut through (it came online in Jan. 1964) that produced -CHECK THIS OUT- a 48% expansion in the economy by 1969! Be still my foolish heart...this guy was Reagan before Reagan! So don't let anybody tell you John Kennedy was a lib, it's BS. And besides, anybody who went skinny dipping in the White House pool with a couple of 20 something secretaries (WITH THE OLD LADY UPSTAIRS!) has cajones of steel and deserves our respect.  

That brings us to the great Kennedy rival and bogeyman to all good liberals Richard E. Nixon (shaddap, I know!). Tricky Dick's foreign policy chops should be undisputed. Say what you will about the guy he was a student of power having personally known most of the great post war leaders like Adenauer, de Gaulle, Chiang Kai-shek etc. He understood power politics as played by the world's most dangerous dictators and he was highly respected (and feared) by his peers! No greater Secretary of State than Nixon if only he had had THAT job.

But on everything else Nixon was your typical establishment Republican; predictably tough on foreign policy but a total wus on the domestic front. Even though the great Milton Friedman (one of Nixon's economic advisors) told him repeatedly to cut taxes and get a handle on the money supply, Nixon repeatedly ignored his advise: "I don't care what Milton Friedman says, he's not running for reelection".

In addition Nixon presided over massive expansion of government. And you may think the Clintons were the first to take a shot at socialized medicine but you would be wrong. It was Dick Nixon! He failed in his national health insurance scheme but succeeded spectacularly with the Environmental Protection Agency. WHAT A DICK! The fact is Nixon was part of, and a member in good standing until the day he died, the Republican liberal establishment along with other luminaries like George Romney, Prescott Bush, John Lindsay, Earl Warren and the Godfather of Progressivism, Teddy Roosevelt.

So if you're one of those people who like to label people, get your labels straight. And don't let liberals tell you different.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 4: The Conference

If you thought the Day 3 rundown was boring, this is even worse.  In fact, we should stop right here, and instead, you should go to the War on the Rocks Blog and read what I said.

Other than that, it was a day long conference....good conversations with very smart people.

I'll be traveling tomorrow, so maybe I'll get something to you tomorrow afternoon.

Day 3: The Broadmoor

The Broadmoor
Yesterday was pretty uneventful, which when traveling, is sometimes very good.  My flight was on time, I had a row to myself, I was able to write my 15 minute presentation for today during the flight, and there was a nice little steak spot right there in the Denver arrival terminal so I could have a bit of bison before driving to Colorado Springs.  All was very, very good.

I arrived at the world famous Broadmoor Resort at around 2PM.  I am here to appear on a panel presented by the Heritage Foundation and the El Pomar Foundation--their "Annual Journalist Conference". It is a very cozy affair, with all participants able to fit comfortably in one parlor for a cocktail party--maybe a total of 50.  The journalists are pretty well-known, at least to people who keep up with the news. The Broadmoor is wonderful--I really would like to come back someday and enjoy all that it has to offer, including the surrounding, stunning countryside.  But alas, I am here to sing for my supper, not to have a good time, and so my enjoyment of the place is limited to walking around, doing a little shopping, and hitting the gym.  My room is luxe, with a huge walk in shower AND spa tub, TV in the bathroom. Big, king size she-she bed.  All the trimmings.

I arrived, putzed around, got in a workout, and prepared for the visit of the great Chris Chelales, known to many as "Chili".  Chili and I went to the Joint Forces Staff College together, and we both retired around the same time.  He's out here in tech sales, doing great and loving life. An Air Force Academy grad, he has returned to Colorado Springs like a salmon swimming upriver.  Chili lives about 30 minutes from the Broadmoor, so we met for some coffee before the first event of my conference, an evening ice-breaker.

Chili is a great guy--easy to talk to, interesting.  It would have been wonderful to just keep talking, but I had to make the bus to head a few minutes away for the ice-breaker.  It turned out to be a pleasant affair, an interesting mix of center right scholars/think tankers, journalists, and academics in a lovely old mansion owned by the El Pomar Foundation.  There were heavy appetizers (I can't spell the French word without looking it up, and so shan't)  which is never good for me, as I do much better when set amounts of food are presented to me.  I was marginally responsible however, and only had five "buffalo sliders".  After two hours of pleasantries, I hopped on the bus to get back to my room to go over my remarks and watch the Broncos game.

I told you, it was an uneventful day.  More later.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Could It Happen Again? The Hammer's College Football Week in Review.

I know I know, but you have to admit David Cutcliffe has got it GOING ON over at Duke University (otherwise known as the University of New Jersey Sud). The Dookies are 8-2 and have beaten Va. Tech in Blacksburg and Miami at home, handily I might add. Now I'm not looking for Duke to play 'Bama or anything, but hey, if this ain't a top 25 team then the polls are wrong. And if there's any Volunteer fans reading this, my sympathies...SUCKERS!

Ok let's head West. Did I say something last week about the best team on the left coast being Stanford? May I revise that statement please? There ain't no "best team" out West. Souther Cal got a late field goal to give Stanford their second loss and ruin any wild dreams they may have had about playing for the Big 'Un. You may recall USC has been in a funk this year after athletic director Pat Haden pulled Boy Wonder Lane Kiffin off the bus at LAX , took him into the Ambassadors Lounge (CW was probably there drinking a latte) and summarily fired his ass! But I hear Kiffin is big into Amway now so at least he landed on his feet. Anyway, interim head coach Ed Oregon, eh Oberon...Origami...crap, let me look it up...ORGERON is making the case for the job. We'll see.  

Did you see the Auburn-Georgia game? What a shootout! The War Eagles got lucky as a dog with two penises when they hit a 70+ yard bomb with twenty odd seconds on the clock. This was really a case of poor coaching. The Georgia safety was trying to catch the ball (presumably to get that INT and jack his numbers) and the cornerback (with zero field awareness) was in pass defense mode and slapped the ball up in the air. The Auburn wideout was 2 yards out of the play in a dead sprint and the ball plopped right in his hands, he didn't even break stride on the way to the endzone. The Georgia coaching staff all fell over like the Fort Knox scene in Goldfinger...poor bastards! But this sets up an Alabama/Auburn game like we haven't seen in a long while. Auburn is 10-1 and a win over the Tide puts them right where they want to be. Can't wait for this one.

Ohio State won (who cares?) Oklahoma beat Iowa State (big deal!) and Texas lost to Ok. St. (goodbye Mack Brown). Hey, did you catch Louisville and Houston? On a goal line play one of the Cardinal tackles grabs a safety's face mask and the guy took immediate offense and slugged the lineman twice. Now in my view punching someone with a football helmet on will not achieve the desired results, and a 180 lbs. safety should probably not get into a slugfest with a 290 lbs. lineman (just saying), especially right in front of the line judge (there was so much laundry on the field it looked like an Irish tenement after a windstorm). But the kid was ejected so he turned a face mask penalty for the good into a touchdown for the other guys and gets his ass kicked out of the game to boot. I'm thinking Coach ain't gonna appreciate this come Monday and I'm also thinking this fool will be running laps until Tuesday.

In ACC play (I feel compelled to talk about it) a mediocre Boston College partied hardy with the Wolfpack 38-21. No surprise there but BC's Andre Williams ran for 339 yards in front of an "energetic" crowd of 31,000 (according to the Boston Herald). THIRTY ONE THOUSAND, in a town of at least a couple of mil? Would someone please tell me why the hell we let these chumps into the ACC? My league corrupted by a bunch of Mass-holes and there ain't even that many of them! They're nothing but a bunch of ill-bredded, Irish-Catholic Notre Dame wannabe Southie scum and they're defiling MY beloved ACC. John Swofford if I ever meet you in person it's your hillbilly ass pal! COUNT ON IT!

Well there you have it. Oh, Virginia had a bye week and they take on a wounded and embarrassed Miami Hurricane squad next week in South Florida. Good luck with that one. So C-ya, wouldn't wanna be ya.

Day 2: The Reagan National Defense Forum

Loyal readers know what a travesty coffee in a glass is.

Remaining as I am, bodily attuned to East Coast time, it is 0447, and I have been awake for 17 minutes.  As my wakeup call is a scant 43 minutes from now, I thought it best to rectify my evening’s sloth by hopping to it this morning and getting a post done to cover what was a truly fantastic day.  I will not be able to post this immediately though, as the internet gods have conspired to make my room wifi sub-optimal, therefore I will have to wait until I get to the airport in a few hours to post this ditty.  Either there or the airplane itself, which is by the looks of my boarding pass, is equipped with airborne wifi.

Now, to yesterday.  I woke at the crack of dawn (natch) and spent a bit of time screwing around in my room, to include yesterday’s Day 1 post.  After showering and assuming the Republican uniform of the day (dark suit, white shirt, appropriate tie) I ambled over to one of the little establishments on resort in search of sustenance.  Finding a little bar/coffee shop open, I ordered myself some morning rocket fuel and a bit of food.  Whilst sitting there reading on my iPad, the lovely Jennifer Griffin from Fox News walked in.  Ms. Griffin is a cancer survivor, and wears her hair closely cropped ever since her chemo experience.  We exchanged pleasantries about our surroundings (“lovely, “nice room”) and our hopes for a grand day of defense policy. 

I then hopped in my rental and began the 11.8 mile trip (or so my trusty BlackBerry told me) to the Reagan Library.  It was an inconsequential drive, save for the reinforcement of my findings of yesterday (land time forgot, Brady Bunch street names). Arriving at the library, helpful staff ushered me to the plebian parking lot which was not at all inconvenient to the main venue.  A brief check in process including smiles and waves to old friends, and I was in.  In this case, “in” being a large pavilion in which an old version (707) of Air Force One hung suspended from the overhead.  There was a huge windowed wall looking out over the local mountains (the name of which is unknown to me) which served as a backdrop to a podium and numerous round tables postured for breakfast use by the defense policy elite.  I sat down with two friends from the Chief of Naval Operations staff, there as their boss was on the first panel of the day.  Soon we were joined by Secretary Lehman, who treated my friends to a few stories that were of course, roundly entertaining.

At about 0845, the program began with a welcome from the Director of the Reagan Library and a speech by the House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA).  Buck is a good man—and by that, I mean “good” as in Mitt Romney, Mormon Hall of Fame Good Guy category.  He does however, slightly resemble the now deceased Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, which causes me to treat him with some circumspection.  After Buck’s chat, we split up into dueling presentations, as there were at any one time throughout the day two separate venues with completely different panels going on.  I chose one on Asia rebalancing and made my way to it.

After the panel and fueled by several quarts of coffee, I made my way to the men’s room which was a popular decision to make.  Made for such moments, I grabbed my BlackBerry and began reacquainting myself with the world.  After a bit, I turned around and noticed a man in uniform standing behind me, quietly waiting his turn.  It was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  I smiled and extended my hand, saying “Good Morning, Chairman”.  As the occasion required, pleasantries were exchanged, and we traded our esteem for one of our mutual friends, Brigadier General Joe Harrington, who had been his Exec until selected for general grade.  We parted in order to execute duties assigned.

I took my seat in the very back of the room for the next panel, one devoted to the making of strategy.  After a while, a kindly looking fellow happened into my view and asked if the chair next to me were taken.  I answered, “yes, by the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee” to his warm smile.  It was Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who I have always liked.  Again, the requisite pleasantries were exchanged, to include my stock reference to friends of mine who had worked for him (Tim Long, Jeff Bennett, John Beaver).  For whatever reason, neither of us was particularly captivated by the panel, and so we sat there and chatted at a whisper throughout the next 20 or so minutes.  We talked about being a Senator vs. being in the House.  We talked about his duties on Budget vs. his duties on Armed Services.  He asked about my work, my life on the Eastern Shore, etc.  It wasn’t hard to understand why the voters of Alabama are fond of him.  It was a fantasy camp highlight, but more were coming.

This panel’s end meant the start of lunch, and I took my assigned table amongst a collection of Southern California locals, a Wall Street guy, a shipbuilding industry friend, and two friends from a DC think tank.  We had a lovely chat and lunch (a tasty chicken cacciatore) and listened to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs reprise the great theme of the day, that our military was in a readiness crisis imposed by the evils of sequester.  While I appreciate the evils of the sequester and the incredibly stupid strictures under which it is imposed, I tend to believe that it is really a sideshow compared to the bloat and inefficiency of DoD writ large, much of which is attributable to least common denominator strategic thinking that values consensus over all else, causing resources to be poorly allocated. But this isn’t a military blog, so I won’t bore you with that.  At lunch, my two think tank friends asked me to join them later in the day for a meeting with an influential member of the House Armed Services Committee to talk budgeting and planning.  Another fantasy camp highlight, I of course agreed.

After lunch, I attended another panel but was bothered by a cramp in my foot that caused me to have to walk around.  I looked at Air Force One, Marine One, and the 1984 Presidential Limo they had on the floor.  Nice care, but velour seats?  Not so Presidential.  At the appointed hour, I joined my think tank friends for our meeting in “the green room” which was a quiet, well provisioned space for the speakers/VIPs.  Comfy chairs, a large screen with football playing, and a number of computer/printer duos were there for the use of the anointed.  We took our places and were joined by the aforementioned House Member for a thoroughly great conversation.  Again, fantasy camp.

After this meeting ended, I scurried toward the door, aware of my pretender status there in the salon of the powerful and mighty—when my think tank guys ushered me back to sit in on another meeting, this time with a powerful Senator.  Again, fantasy camp.  I can’t talk about what I talked about at these meetings, but I can tell you that the things I think and write about on a daily basis were quite useful in the conversations and seemed to be appreciated by the heavy-hitters.  After this, I moved to the main pavilion for the arrival/speech of the Secretary of Defense.

Our current Secretary of Defense is a former Republican Senator, a man who got his start in government as a volunteer in the Reagan Campaign.  His wistful reminiscences of Ronald Reagan and his portrayal of the real hope that he represented stood in stark contrast to what many in the room discern as today’s atmosphere, under his present boss.  His speech was unremarkable, natch.

The conference ended, I made dinner plans with a young friend who runs a “Real Clear Defense” a DC based content aggregator and headed for my room.  After a good Mexican dinner, it was back to the hotel, stuffed and unexercised, there to head to bed.

It is now an hour after I began this post, and it is time to shower, pack and leave.  I fly from here to Colorado to participate in another conference in which I have a speaking role tomorrow morning for which I have still yet to prepare.  Fantasy camp part II. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Day 1: Getting There

To remind, "there" is the Reagan National Security Forum at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.  When last we spoke (wrote? read?), I was flying across the country making use of the wifi-enabled aeroplane.  It won't be long until all planes are so-equipped, leaving us breathless and bitchy when the system is down.  For now, I consider it a great gift of the airline gods, and so made maximal use of it by Tweeting incessantly throughout the flight.  You want to make seven hours of flying go fast?  Tweet your ass off.

I arrived at the Burbank Airport right on time (thanks, Southwest), and began my California adventure by attempting to find the rental car confab.  Didn't take long, but along the way, I was able to size up the Burbank Airport.  Horribly laid out, it is a place that appears to be stuck in the 1950's--a theme I will return to.  Don't get me wrong--it has all the accoutrements of an airport--but is very narrow, as if designed for smaller, less prosperous travelers.  One must walk everywhere (horrors), no moving sidewalks, no escalators (it appears to all be on one level).  It is one of those airports designed in a slower, different world, where a traveler would be let off right at their gate and or picked up similarly.  Which is of course, completely orthogonal to how it is done today.

Finding my rental (Chevy Cruze), I began the 33 mile trip largely up 101 , or "the 101" as Californians put it.  All highways (freeways) are preceded by "the" as in "the 5", "the 405"---something not done in any other state, to my knowledge.  Burbank ain't much of a town, kinda run down, kinda seedy, but once you're free of it things begin to improve.  As you drive, you see signs for streets you've heard of your entire life, because much of your life has taken place in Southern California produced TV shows--Van Nuys, Oxnard, Sepulveda--the names roll past as you drive along the road. 

California was once the land of the future, but to me these days, it seems stuck in some weird time warp, as if the population density and environmental regulations conspire to ensure no buildings are torn down.  And so, my mind looks around and sees street scenes and other scenery that would have been familiar to me as a five year old watching the Brady Bunch.  It just never seems to change.

Ravenously hungry (it now being 3:30PM stomach time, with only peanuts thus far consumed), I stopped off at a small commercial strip about a mile from where my GPS program was telling me my hotel was.  There I found a serviceable looking Chinese joint busy with the daily lunch crowd.  I was ushered to my seat and enjoyed a tasty chicken and broccoli and treated to the overloud conversation between a doughy white man of about fifty, and a 20ish year old Latino.  Truth be told, it was more of a monologue, as I did not hear the Latino utter a complete word the whole time, merely monosyllabic grunts of assent.  The largish fellow spoke several decibels higher than was required, and in his banal story telling, seemed to take great pride in his ability to recreate engine noises and the vocalizations of farm animals.  Needless to say, I did not linger, and headed to my hotel.

The hotel is a resortish place, very nice, and I have a fine room with all the trimmings including a Keurig single serving coffee maker, which I believe should be included on the "Travelers Bill of Rights".  My first request at the front desk was to have a massage, and they made the appropriate arrangements for two hours later.  Once in my room, I tried to do some writing (I have a speech to do in Colorado Monday, and I am avoiding its creation), and I made a few business calls.  At the appointed hour, a nice woman arrived and gave me the aforementioned massage, which was wonderful.  As soon as she left, I suited up to get a little exercise in, hoping to relieve myself of the Chinese calories recently acquired.

As I walked in, I ran into former Missouri Senator Jim Talent, the senior defense adviser to the Romney Campaign.  We spent a half hour trading stories of depression as we ran on the treadmills, both of us reaching the same conclusion many of you have--we elected the wrong guy, and we missed the opportunity for sublime competence.

Back to the room for a bit, then off to dinner.  The resort has a few restaurants, but I was too lazy to look at the map to figure out where, so I ambled by the front desk to ask.  There, seated by the fire, was my friend/mentor former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, also a senior Romney adviser.  We greeted each other warmly and spent a few minutes doing what Talent and I had done.  It is almost like some kind of flamingo mating dance, this renewal of friendships among those from the Romney team.  There is a structure to it, wistful but clear.  All of the conversations play out along this structure, only the players change.  Secretary Lehman--in his wonderfully inclusive way--asked me if I would join him and one other for dinner, and as they were headed where I was headed, I of course agreed. 

It was a delightful dinner.  Lehman is one of the single most interesting men I have ever met.  He worked for Kissinger in the Nixon White House, and was in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in the Ford White House.  He was Reagan's Secretary of the Navy, perhaps the most consequential man ever to hold that title.  He then went off and created what appears to be an investment bank/hedge fund, buying up American industrial businesses initially in the maritime industry, but increasingly now in other areas.  He knows everyone, or at least everyone who has mattered to me in my lifetime.  He is downright funny, and his stories lock you in rapt attention.  What amazes me is that he's been at this stuff since 1969..but is STILL only 70 years old.  He was Secretary of the Navy at 38.  If it sounds like hero worship, it probably is.

The three hour time difference began to catch up with me as the night rolled on, and so I begged to be allowed to proceed on duties assigned.  Short walk, clothes in a pile, wake-up call requested, unconsciousness.  Eight hours later I was up and alert at 0500, and so here I am. I will shortly get myself together and head over to the forum.  I imagine it will be an amazing day, and I will let you know how it goes.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Off on Another Little Adventure

I'm writing this to you from the comfort of seat 13D on Southwest Flight 393 en route Burbank CA via Denver.  My 0800, direct flight was at some point since I purchased my ticket, turned into a 0720 with one stop in Denver, something I discovered several milliseconds before beginning my morning sprint through the terminal.  Luckily, I was there just as boarding started, and was able to assume my place in the famous Southwest Lineup.

I love Southwest.  A lot.  It is a particularly well-run airline.  I even like the lineup/no assigned seat policy.  I always pay for "A" seating, so there's always plenty of overhead space and I get a seat that I like.  One thing I don't like?  The invariable discussion with those who simply MUST know your number so that they can get in the exact order their boarding number states.  Today, I was number A-29.  If you're familiar with the way SW seats, the last pole has "30---26 <" on it, indicating that boarding numbers 26 through 30 should line up there.  There is no pole after it, just space.  So, I assumed a spot approximately 6 feet aft of the pole.  Wouldn't you know, I get approached by the lady who must know my number.  Now, this was not a necessary question.  If she were 30, then she should know to get behind me.  If she were not 30, there was seven feet of space for her to slide into without having to engage me.  I know, I know.  I am a curmudgeon.

For those hoping for some kind of zany traveling rig, I must disappoint.  I guess the new, slightly slimmer me (see BFFFFA) rejects the betracksuited approach for travel in favor of something a bit more stylish, this time a tweedy sportcoat, special forces quality crew neck long sleeve black T, jeans, and cordovan tassel loafers.  The method in the madness is 1) slip on shoes 2) wear shoes that I will wear with all business rigs 3) lots of pockets in the sportcoat.  I look downright dandy, if I do say so myself.

The travel Gods are smiling, as the middle seat in my three person side of the plane is unoccupied.  The window seat is taken by a pleasant and engaging woman of about my age, who is deeply engrossed in the Washington Post crossword.  I am not a crossword guy, nor a Sudoku (sp?) guy.  I suppose I am bound for Alzheimer's or some other affliction in my dotage, but I simply cannot get into those kinds of things.  I'd rather write to you.  She has already signaled her intent to sleep much of the way, so I will blissfully occupy my aisle seat without much fear of having to get up for my seatmate's potty breaks.

I am headed west, young man, en route this day to Southern California.  I will be attending the Reagan National Security Forum at the Reagan Library all day tomorrow.  It is new this year, and its organizers are looking for some kind of "mini-Davos" like National Security networking shindig.  All the biggies will be there, and I will skulk about the perimeter.  I land midday California time, will likely head to the Reagan Library  to tour it (free! as part of my $500 signup) and then head to my hotel.  All day tomorrow is spent at the Library for the forum, overnight again at the hotel, and up early Sunday for a flight to Denver.

In Denver, I will grab a rental and drive to Colorado Springs to check in at a place called The Broadmoor.  The good folks at the Heritage Foundation have asked me to join a panel discussion at a conference they are hosting Monday and Tuesday, and so I'll sing for my supper on Monday morning, flying home to arrive at an ungodly hour on Tuesday night.

My all-star Texas debutante college girlfriend and her family were frequent visitors to the Broadmoor, and I remember her raving about it some 29 years ago.  I'm looking forward to the visit.  This should be a good trip all round, with a lot of good panels, discussions and networking.  The Reagan National Security forum is aiming at bipartisanship (giving Carly Levin an award), but it will be well-attended by GOP defense and foreign policy types.

I have never been to Burbank, or to the Reagan Library.  I cannot say that I have ever wanted to go to Burbank, but the Reagan Library will be a treat.  The only thing I know about Burbank is that it is where Johnny Carson used to broadcast from, and he often poked fun at it..  Perhaps there is a Johnny Carson Museum, with wax figures of his many wives.  I shall look into it.

Someone seated in my vicinity has a bit of a flatulence issue this morning, issuing their essence with some vigor and texture.  Truth be told, I am sometimes the offending lout, but not today.  He or she should be proud of their work, both in terms of intensity and duration.

One final point for this post.  Is there anything quite as wonderful as The Skymall Magazine?  Where else can one person find so many really cool and dubiously useful things?  I am both attracted and repelled by it, paging through thinking that I must have many of the items ("One Handed Barber", or the "Peeing Boy" fountain") while simultaneously upbraiding myself for even the thought.  Though that ManCave sign does look mighty nice.....

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Your blogger, in all his rotundity
Aw, what's got you down, Schuyler?  Your signature piece of legislation going down in flames?  Your team can't seem to win a home game?  Share your pain!  Others are here for you.

Today's Weigh In:  179.4
Last Friday's Weigh in: 181
Diet Start (8/11):  198


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Decision Time for the GOP

It grows increasingly clear that Obamacare is a national calamity, perhaps headed toward the dreaded "Death Spiral" some have written about.  Although I wrote here many times that the GOP's best policy would have been to simply get out of the way and let this train wreck occur, in my wildest dreams I could not have envisioned just how poorly this has turned out.  I am told that several weeks ago, the GOP shut down the government, and would suffer mightily for it.  Remember that?

But, we are headed toward a very, very interesting point.  The President lied, and he knows he lied.  Democrats across the country in both chambers were complicit in that lie, as they unanimously voted against Republican measures that would have ACTUALLY allowed people to keep their healthcare.  So not only did every Republican in the land vote against Obamacare, every Democrat voted against the one measure that would have relegated this current mess to a simple web design error.  Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.

I don't know the right answer to what to do now.  Should Republicans shout from the highest mountain "we told you so, and we voted that way--deal with it" as millions lose their coverage and find sticker shock on these exchanges?  Remember--this is simply the first wave, the individual policy holders.  Because the business mandate was put off for a year, millions and millions of people who get their coverage through their jobs HAVE YET TO FIND OUT that their policy is non-compliant, and therefore will be cancelled. Of course, compliant policies will be 1) more expensive with 2) higher co-pays.

If so, how would this go over with voters?  Could we overplay our hand on this?  Could we potentially screw this up, as the President earnestly takes to the airwaves to tell the country he's made a giant mistake, he's sorry and wants to fix it, but THE BIG BAD REPUBLICANS ARE STANDING IN THE WAY, AGAIN? 

I'm frankly astonished that the House hasn't passed a clean, one year delay bill that sets the clock back (if such a thing is Constitutional).  It would force the Senate to vote ONE MORE TIME on the thing that they wouldn't do before, but that which many of them would now give their eye-teeth to have (Pryor, Landrieu et al).  That way, both the individual mandate and the employer mandate would come in at the same time, revealing beyond a shadow of a doubt the depths of the calumny perpetrated upon this country by President Obama---right before the midterms.  I believe it would lead to Republican majorities in both chambers.

I think we need to be very, very careful here and make sure that we don't snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

But as of right now, I like our odds....

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day 2013

Happy Veterans Day to some folks who are very important to this blog, including The Hammer (Army), Mudge (Navy), Sally (Navy), Dear Ol Dad (Navy), General Dan (Army), Bobby D (Navy), General Joe (Army),  Captain Todd (Navy), Fred (Navy) and Tom De Plume (Navy..heh heh).

Circa 1995, in the days of no sleep.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Hammer's College Football Roundup: Week 11

Roast duck anyone? The Quack Attack is no more, at least for this year. That's right friends, the mighty Oregon Ducks waddled their way to defeat yesterday against an outstanding Stanford squad deciding the best team out West for 2013. The Cardinal (in reference to the color, not to be confused with ecclesiastics or passeriformes) plucked the Duck for three quarters before the gaggle made a furious run with three touchdowns in the final quarter. But it was too little too late and Oregon's championship aspirations are a dead duck. There will be no heading South for the winter this year as the Ducks get a l'Orange rather than Crimson. The Duck is now a turkey, and that's all the puns I can think of so let's move on.

Holy Mary mother of all football teams (I know, I'm going straight to hell!) Alabama looks incredible. LSU is a great football team and they came ready to play last night, but 'Bama is so danged good, so well coached, so methodical and so unrelenting. Come the fourth quarter the Tide put the brakes on LSU's offense, scored a couple of touchdowns and cruised home to a 38-17 victory. Hey, just another day at the office, and their recruiting class for 2014 is supposed to be GREAT!

The Baylor Bears are looking good scoring three touchdowns in the second quarter and ruining Bob Stoops' and Oklahoma's day. I never liked Stoops, always thought he was overrated. The man is from Iowa for Pete's sake! I ask you, what has ever come from Iowa apart from corn, cows and John Deere tractors that was worth a schei├če? Thank you.

Missouri is 9-1 (this years sleeper), FSU destroyed Wake, OK. St. is 8-1 (proving Sports Illustrated's point) and Fresno State is 9-0 (what's in Fresno anyway(?), it's California without the great weather). Ohio State had a bye week so they're still undefeated but really, who cares? Michigan sucks, the rest of the Big 10 is marginally competitive (Mich. St., WisCONsin, Mini-soooda...PLEASE!). So Ohio State can win out but it don't mean nothing. 

Now let's talk about the underachievers. The Florida Gators have got to be the biggest surprise of the year. They haven't beaten anybody that's really any good, they're on a four game losing streak and still have to play the Gamecocks in Columbia and Florida State in Gainesville (lucky them). So their prospects ain't great. And the thing is they have talent! This team has a ton of potential. These guys were pre-season Top Ten! I don't know maybe Coach Muskrat should bring in some Aaron Hernandez types to get 'em back on track. Anything is better than what's happening now.  

In ACC action (or would a better term be inaction?) Va. Tech got back on track kicking the Miami Hurricanes a new one (FSU took the starch out of their collar, they're done). UVA looked absolutely terrible against a Tar Heel team that just lost one of the best quarterbacks the school has ever had, fifth year senior Bryn Renner. The Wahoos took advantage of the situation by not scoring a point until about 5 minutes to go in the third quarter (insert sarcasm here) and added another touchdown late against the scrubs finally losing 45-14. They suck almost as bad as NCSU who actually took the lead against Duke with eight something to go but then watched as Wallace Wade erupted in a shower of Duke touchdowns. The Pack reeks like cat vomit! Our new coach ain't impressing me. We shoulda known, nothing good ever comes from Chicago including Dave Doeren. Maybe State and Virginia can trade coaches, at this point I'll take anything.       

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Hammer Wire

Holy deuce Batman, just what the hell is happening here? The Naval Intelligence Director and a bunch of other brassified individuals busted for selling secrets to foreign defense contractors? Man when I think Admiral I think Bull Halsey; competent, tough as nails, focused on the mission and in no mood for playing be it politics or anything else. But above all LOYAL! Now look at what we got! And I don't want to just pick on the Navy, the other services have seen their share of scandal but this just blows my mind. The state of security across the board in America's intelligence apparatus is appalling! Why back in my day...

So how many people have signed up for Obamacare I wonder? A couple of hundred maybe? News accounts say 4 in Delaware at a cost of 4 million. Here in the Old North State we've had one, and that individual has already been the victim of identity theft (hilarious!).  Here's a great article  about some maroon who got "the letter" and is crying a river!

“I was really shocked … all of my hopes were sort of dashed,” Wagner said. “’Oh my gosh President Obama, this is not what we hoped for, it’s not what we were told."
Oh really Mssss. Wagner? You were lied to, by President Obama? I can't believe my ears...zzzzzzz. Good Grief! What are these people smoking? But, it's all good. The more these brain dead Obamatons get burned (or is it only Obama who got burned?) the better it is for those of us who opposed this thing from the start. And have you noticed all the bills being presented trying to fix this or that? This is the consequence of not passing the bill through the regular order of debates, amendments etc. Passing any bill, especially one of this magnitude without a full vetting (this one without even reading the damned thing) is fascist insanity. It reminds one of the Supreme Soviet or the Reichstag, not the United States Congress.

Here's a little something about a Tea Party organization that's actually a front for some lawyer/scammer (a million three in contributions to the organization, a million one in overhead, that kind of thing). The Charlotte Observer (just as bad as the N&O, in fact the same thing really) bit hook line and sinker on one of their sham attacks. If there's a lower form of life on this planet than a lawyer I have yet to see it. I'd rather my daughter (if I had one) marry a carny than an attorney.

On a personal note I think real estate agents are nearly as bad a attorneys (forgive me sis). I've been going around with one who owes me $160 for services rendered. The guy has jerked me around since the middle of June and when I finally had had enough and starting getting a with him (I told him he was so full of -hit he should be an Obamacare facilitator) he started calling me...hang on a second, see if you can guess... that's right, a racist, homophobic, AK-47 loving (he actually got that right!) potential serial killer racist! In short an angry white man beating my kids and abusing my wife. Listen I'M NOT KIDDING. He further went on to say if I were a "smart" businessman I would forgive him his bill just to have a relationship with such a "well connected" titan of industry such as himself. I almost fell out of my chair! I replied that he was obviously a homophilic Democrat as he was free and easy with other people's money and full of self importance (actually I was a bit more crude than that but you get it). The bottom line is I don't think I'll ever be paid and Keller Williams Realty can kiss the Hammer's ass for all time. And so it goes. We all got our problems.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Today's Weight: 181
Last Friday's Weight: 181.2
Diet Start Weight: 198

You look down, Chum.  What's eatin' you?

Diet all week and only lose .2 lbs?  Have to go on national TV and apologize to the American people for your lying policy implementation failure? 

Get it off your chest!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

CW Does Some Navy Stuff

For those interested, here's a panel discussion from today's inaugural event of the Hudson Center for American Sea Power.

I come in at around 43:00

Video streaming by Ustream

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why I'm Not a Republican: Reason #5698

I've seen some BS artists in my day but nobody takes the cake like Terry McAuliffe. Here he is with his best Bub (no slouch in the BS department either) running the game on Haley Barbour with that electric car scam they had going on (you would think Barbour would be wise to their jive but hey, a good scam artist knows which buttons to push). So how exactly did a guy like this, a smarmy con man, a grifter, a proven liar and a cheat, how exactly did a guy like this get elected Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia? He should be under indictment for Christ's sake! Simple my friends, the GOP preferred him over Cuccinelli.

You see Cuccinelli is a threat. To establishment Republicans he is more dangerous than Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or in this case Terry McAuliffe. He represents an existential threat to the Rockefeller Republicans who for all intents and purposes are Progressive Democrats, but unfortunately the Democratic Party is just too damned working class for their delicate sensibilities (what would Grand Pa-Pa and Grand Ma-Ma say if they were alive). Plus if one were a Democrat one would have to associate with union people, blacks, social degenerates and the like (what next, we'll have to carry our own golf clubs?). My God it's just intolerable. No, best stay behind the walls of our gated communities and let the Democrats protect our interests (did you see how much the DOW has gone up?).

Mr. Cuccinelli had to be nipped in the bud. So no fundraising letters from the RNC. No heavy hitters visiting Virginia campaigning for Cuccinelli. Get the word out to his consultants that unless he runs from the crazies like Ted Cruz they'll never get a job again. Hit the press hard with the "Cuccinelli can't win" message. Turn a blind eye when Democrats bankroll the Libertarian's campaign so as to syphon votes. In short do everything possible to sabotage Cuccinelli because with a huckster like Terry McAuliffe and all his baggage, it's gonna take some work.

Well thanks a lot GOP. I tried it your way...and lost! But until my wing of the party gets a little God Damned respect you've seen the last dollar from the Hammer household (no matter how much CW begs). And on election day I'll be playing golf...on my xBox.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The President Lied

Lets face it, friends.  There is a lot of fudging, shading of the truth, wiggling, and contextualizing that goes on in American politics.  Flat out, known in advance, unjustifiable and completely in the open lies?  Well, they are much, much rarer.  Yet we are being treated to the unraveling of just such a lie on a daily basis as the train wreck of Obamacare begins to become a reality.

I respect the President and the Presidency, and I understand that the title of this post is immoderate.  I use those words not only because it is the truth, but because it is appropriate.  

The fiasco of the website is just the tip of the iceberg.  There really isn't a lie there, just the hubris of centralized planning meeting the reality of government contracting and the influence of political timing.

No, the lie isn't about ADP problems.  It is about the consistently repeated fiction that Mr. Obama and his acolytes put forward in order to garner support for their signature legislative priority.  Here is a flavor of that lie:


There is no shading this one--in the history of modern American politics, it would be difficult to conjure up a larger, more consequential lie than this one.  In order to achieve two policy goals--one, expanding healthcare coverage to more Americans and two, ensuring coverage for those with pre-existing conditions--the Administration simply lied to the American public.  It lied by stating that we would be able to keep our doctors and plans, and it lied when it stated that the average family would see their premiums reduced by $2500. 

But you know what?  We wanted to be lied to. That's right--at least some of us.  We were so caught up in the unicorns and fairies approach to healthcare that we voted for him, supported his approach, gave him a Congress of his choosing and allowed them to produce a one-party approach to giant change.  That so many are now suffering buyer's remorse raises an almost indescribable schadenfreude.  But friends, the lie is just beginning.

Because all we're seeing now is the influence of Obamacare on the 15 million Americans who buy their own healthcare--50-70% of whom will lose the plan they had because it was either not compliant with the minimums of Obamacare or because the insurance companies made market based policy changes after the grandfathering date of the legislation.  We haven't begun to see the impact of Obamacare on employer subsidized coverage--which won't begin to really manifest itself until the months leading up to the 2014 mid-terms.

You see, many, many companies offer healthcare plans that vary in the generosity of coverage.  Some are very limited, but are popular with those who take greater risk,  and some are popular with young, healthy people who are acting responsibly.  Many of these policies ALSO will not stand up to Obamacare minimums...and so not only will THOSE policies have to be cancelled, premiums will rise for even the minimum coverage plans made available because these plans will provide coverage (forced by Obamacare) that the recipient previously did not desire.

This train wreck has not even started to happen. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

FSU Shows What They Got

What are we gonna do with Florida State? They play good football like all good Redneck schools should, but it's like it's a school for hell-raisers and strippers. I like FSU, I like the atmosphere at the school, I like all the hot women, but I just don't think it's a proper university. We get these reports every now and then about how WVU or Iowa State are these great party schools. Ok...I guess. But I'd rather hang out at Florida State on a Monday night than be in Ames, Iowa or Morgantown, West Virginia for New Years. Hey, just my opinion.

But let's talk some football. The Semi-holes ain't looking bad, in fact they're looking scary good. So far they've destroyed a highly rated Clemson down in Death Valley (sorry for mentioning Clemson CW) and whipped #7 Miami yesterday like a dog. So I think I can officially say FSU is officially back! But it really don't mean nothing. Alabama and Oregon (both with bye weeks) are in the catbird seat and unless BOTH stumble FSU, Baylor and Ohio State won't get the chance. Next year we get playoffs thankfully.

Speaking of Ohio State, they gave Purdue a hiding reminiscent of Woody Hayes '68 team with that crazy good backfield of Rex Kern, John Brockington and Jim Otis (those boys would steal your lunch money!). Of course Purdue couldn't beat Furman but a win is a win. Michigan got thumped by the Spartans (that had to sting) so they're still in the suck column. Tennessee got destroyed by the Missouri Tigers which a lot of people said had blown their wad. I think we can safely say Missouri is a damn good team and the Vols remain in football purgatory.

And what's up with Va. Tech? They started the season with a somewhat respectable lose to Alabama and then reeled off six straight wins. Then, out of the blue (no pun intended) they lose at home to Duke and BC on the road, two teams they should own! Now they've got Miami and Maryland next with UVA in Charlottesville to finish up. You don't think CW could possibly think UVA might possibly have a chance do you? The football Gods can be cruel and to give hope to the hopeless, well all I can say is FORGET IT CW.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Party Time!

This is the Google "barge" discovered recently floating out in San Francisco Bay, reportedly there's another one on the east coast as well. Google told the press it's a "showroom" for high rollers. A showroom... really? Ok fine. I'm an old fart not attuned to modern nerd-think so maybe so. Maybe those dweebs at Google want a party barge they can float around at a cost of probably a billion dollars. After all, why go to Vegas and rent a convention center filled with food, drink and high-dollar hookers when you can have this thing? But I am struck by how much this floating building looks like a com-center. It looks remarkably like so many secure communications facilities operated by the US government that it should have a name like Bauhaus or Art Deco or something. And if I were a jaded, cynical, conspiracy theorist I'd say this was a listening station targeted at us the American people. But what the hell do I know?

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