Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Hammer's College Football Review: Week 14

I know, this probably reminds you of that lap-dance you get every time the squeeze visits her sister in Pittsburg. But this ain't Scores or Leave it to Beavers, no friends it's Kenan Stadium yesterday where the NC State Wolfpack gave those cheaten' scumbags from Carolina a well deserved thumping for the ages. Carolina was never in the game, a rout from start to finish and it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys. But hey, we all feel bad for these young, nubile Physics majors (yeah right), and in their heart of hearts I know they wish they were Wolf Pack-ettes. I can tell because they're in the Wolf-Style position already.
Go to Hell Carolina!

Gosh, I feel so much better now! Ok, now on to REAL college football. Gee, sorry, one more thing before we get started, UVA blew it against arch-rival Virginia Polytechnic to put the cherry on top of their shit sundae of a season. Plus Mike London still has his gig! Dark days in Charlottesville and more to come I'm afraid. They got some issues up there I'm sure you're aware of, and they got nothing to do with sports. Good luck UVA, but if somebody screwed up just come clean, don't take the "Carolina way".

Ok, well we had a barn burner last evening in Tuscaloosa (they must not do Birmingham anymore). 'Bama's defense got smoked for 600+ yards and they still won the game! Auburn left a lot of points on the table with eight trips to the red-zone producing only two touchdowns (the Tide were five for five). But answer me this sports fans, has there ever been a team that plays .500 ball in their conference but could (and everybody agrees on this) beat anybody in the country on any given day? What team in college football would be more than a three point favorite against Auburn be it Oregon, Ohio State, any-damn-body? Auburn may very well lose to Oregon or Ohio State (hitting on all cylinders) but they would destroy Arizona or Arizona State, Wisconsin and any team in the ACC apart from FSU. I sound like a War Eagle fan and I'm not, I'm just saying this is a GREAT team with consistency problems, look for them next year!

Speaking of Ohio State, poor Urban Meyer must be in the Jack Black after yesterday. His second string quarterback JT Barrett has done a bang-up job but got his leg banged up pretty bad yesterday, good-bye season. Meyer has one game to prove he can get production out of a untried and untested Cardale Jones. The guy is supposedly a freak of nature so who knows? But Coach knows it'll be hard for the selection committee to give OSU a spot if they ain't got a quarterback. Wisconsin is certainly good enough to beat the Buckeyes whomever is quarterback, so we'll see. Better give this kid some reps Coach!

Ole Miss and Missississippi State went to war in Oxenforda yesterday and Bo Wallace had an ok game. I really like this guy, he's got a quick release (just like me or so says the wife) and a cannon for an arm but his accuracy sucks. If he could hit a bear in the ass with a bass fiddle just 50% of the time he'd be the second coming of Joe Namath. When he's on Ole Miss can beat anybody (ask Alabama) but it's always a 50/50 proposition. Anyway the Mississippi teams are done.

So, I know we have conference championship games next week but at this stage who's looking good? I'd have to say Oregon. They lost to Arizona back in early October but man I just don't see that happening again. Simply put they're a better team. So my first pick is Oregon.
Alabama will destroy Misery in my opinion. Look, Missouri ain't played nobody! They lost to Indiana for Pete's sake! Georgia destroyed them 34 zip and out of all those wins there's maybe three or four half-ass good teams (Arkansas, Texas A&M, South Carolina). Racking up Ws against Toledo and South Dakota State ain't gonna get 'er done against the Crimson Tide looking the trophy. Missouri is done, 'Bama is in.
Florida State of course. They win ugly but they win often. No way in hell Georgia Tech can hang! I love Tech's triple option offense but FSU will cut up that defense like a Christmas turkey.
So who gets the four spot, Ohio State, TCU or Baylor? Well that's the 64,000 dollar question ain't it? If Ohio State makes a good showing with their new quarterback (see above) well they're in. The selection committee wants a Big 10 school, the TV folks want it so hey, if it's a toss up OSU is good to go. But if they loose or look like shit I'd have to go with TCU. The Horny Frogs got a wicked offense that puts up numbers faster than Obama's debt clock. Look I know they stumbled against Baylor this year, and I wouldn't have a problem with Baylor getting in, I just think TCU is the better team. But what the hell do I know?

Well that's it, let's see how it shakes out. Now please, just leave me the hell alone.

Going Back to Cali....Cali...Cali....

In is almost seven in the morning, and I am sitting in the United lounge in Terminal D at Dulles, having arrived here a few minutes ago after a journey begun at the rude hour of 0400.  Dulles is 104 miles from my house--as opposed to BWI (63) and National (75), but it alone offers non-stops to San Diego, and so I trek out here for much of my business travel.

When I scheduled this trip several months ago, I did so with little regard to other calendar items, like Thanksgiving.  When I realized that I had booked a flight on "the busiest travel weekend of the year", I began to worry, worrying being something with which I have a good deal of skill.  But I decided to stick with it, to trust to an early wakeup, TSA Pre, the United Lounge, and Group 2 seating.  All systems are go at this point, and we board in a half hour.

Heading back to San Diego through Wednesday evening, at which point I will red-eye back.  The client pays the airfare, but I pay the kicker to get into Economy Plus, not for leg room (no need there, right?) but for the added space within which to work with the computer.  I have a good deal of work to do in the next six weeks, and I can't afford to sit on my ass for six hours and watch movies.

Not that I didn't sit on my ass a bit this weekend.  It was a glorious Thanksgiving on the farm, thank you, and it was good to have the oldest Kitten home for a few days.  She has contracted some sort of ague, and appears to have passed it to her mother.  I am hopefully escaping this Ebola-like outbreak for the salubrious climes of Southern California.  Though I am reliably informed that it is going to rain two of the days in which I am there.  Lies.  Damnable lies.

I'm sure the Hammer will write about it later, but my Hoo's were awful against hated Virginia Tech the other night.  I described watching the game as like "watching two drunk people having sex.  With a goat.  On a trampoline."  Neither team was very good.  But fear not, it is now basketball season, and the Hoo's are currently ranked #8 and will likely move up in the next poll.  They are a deep, talented team, and they will make a run in March...count on it.

I expected a Ferguson-like mob here at the airport, never actually having traveled on this weekend via air before.  But alas, it is calm and quiet, with only the din of the refer compressor and the drone of Sports Center to disturb one's peace here in the hermetically sealed United Lounge.  Never before had I realized there was a cornucopia of soft drinks to make off with stuffed into the carry-on, to sustain one through the agony of waiting for the flight attendants ("we are here primarily for your safety") to make their way to me with coffee, water, etc.  I am now better informed and provisioned.

I am become huge, roly-poly and doughy, still somewhat puffed by the Thanksgiving gluttony.  My rig for this trip is modified standard, with UVA ballcap, white T shirt, blue blazer and trainers, this time bepantsed with aging tan cords, as my Adidas track pants were nowhere to be found.  The prospect of hip replacement surgery in February has become a fine excuse not to exercise or to exercise any gustatory restraint.  "Ah, I'll get the hip swapped out and then be able to be fit as a fiddle" is the refrain I hum as I shovel in the second piece of pumpkin pie.  This is of course, a great fiction, and I am using this week to get back on a trail of dietary discipline and light exercise.

I am one again trying a new Hotel in San Diego, this one a "hotel and marina".  The early timing of my flight leaves me unsure whether I will be welcomed long before "check-in" time, but I'm sure I can occupy myself should they not accommodate me.  My needs are modest--comfy bed, free wifi, free (or in this case, modestly priced) parking, breakfast, location.  Oh, and a gym should I actually do what I suggested above, exercise.

Enough for now, friends.  I need to make my way to the gate.  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Southern Democrat May Rise Again (and pigs might fly)

When I was a young whippersnapper (snapping whips like you wouldn't believe) the South was solidly Democratic. I recall sitting in a diner in Tickbite back in 1972 and our local State House member was working the crowd (wish I could remember the guy's name) and he approached our waitress. She was our age and we knew her of course (her daddy owned the joint) and she indicated she would probably vote Republican (Nixon Now, More Than Ever!). Our Representative was absolutely horrified! You see said politician had grown up in the days of Sam Ervin, John Stennis, the Longs and Richard Russell...the days of the Solid South when Southern Democrats from LBJ in the Senate to Sam Rayburn were a force, sometimes THE force in Congress. The idea that Republicans could win damn near anything was just not possible in the minds of many. Well a wake-up call was imminent as that same year a Republican was elected governor, the first since Reconstruction (you Yankee pricks remember hearing about Reconstruction don't you? Friggin' assholes!) But check this out, if Mary Landrieu loses her runoff in Louisiana there will be not one Democrat controlled house chamber, governor or US Senator from the Carolinas to Texas. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Mr. Sam.

Now as expected after this last election Southern Democrats have been analyzing what happened and how to get competitive again. They think pocketbook issues (as they see them) like raising the minimum wage, are the road to redemption. Well maybe but stuff like that has about as much chance of success as handing out toys in Kabul hoping to change the hearts and minds of the Taliban. Good luck.

The facts are the Democratic Party cannot win without working class whites. In Arkansas a two term incumbent Senator won just 31% of the white vote (with the Clintons campaigning their asses off for him). In Louisiana Landrieu got 18 measly percent! No way in Hell anyone is going to win with those kinds of numbers I don't give a damn if every illegal and every minority in the state votes twice! So what's the problem? Why can't Democrats attract white voters?

It's simple really, white middle-class and working class voters perceive the Democratic Party as their enemy. We're the ones who "didn't build that". We're the racists who need to be punished. We're the ones who's kids are turned away from our universities in favor of a "dreamer" who is way way WAY less qualified. We're the ones who hate gays, "war on women" and cling to our guns and religion. We are the fall guy when Democrats make their pitch to any and every interest group under the sun. We're the bad guys not to be respected or listened to, and we should just shut up and continue to work our asses off to pay for everybody else's food, clothing, shelter, entertainment, drugs, booze and degenerate lifestyle.

So to the Southern Democrat...the very best of luck in your efforts. But the fact is you have worked very hard over many decades to change your image from B. Everett Jordan to Justin Bieber, and you can live with the damn results.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

On Ferguson

The morning after the made for TV event that was the spectacle of the first night's rioting in Ferguson (I write it that way as there is probably more to come) and social media is alive with comment.  Conservatives and law and order types are doing a bit of an end-zone dance at Officer Wilson's not having been indicted, and Liberals are falling all over themselves to burnish their empathy credentials by showing how "down" they are with the miscreants burning, looting, and injuring.

Like any of these incendiary situations, there really are only "less bad" outcomes, and no real good ones.  There are parents, and friends, and relatives who grieve the death of their son and friend.  There is a policeman who feared for his life and reacted.  There are people who believe they cannot get a square deal from the police.  There are people who believe those people should be more restrained in their reactions.  Their are business owners waking up today to ruin.

Let's face it.  There is no rational logic to looting, burning,  and destroying police cars--but this isn't a logical or rational reaction.  This is emotion, and we need to view it in those terms.  A grand jury has reviewed the evidence and decided not to indict--something RARE indeed in grand jury proceedings (a sign of just how weak the case was). Every single witness corroborating Officer Wilson's testimony was black.  No person who made statements about him having shot Mr. Brown in the back actually witnessed the conflict.  Those of us sitting in our comfy places watching and tut-tutting probably don't understand deeply enough the mistrust that exists between a good bit of the black community and police forces.  I'll wager that if we were to get some of these hooligans to sit down and present them with the evidence, they might even come to the same conclusion as the grand jury--but their reactions would still be the same.  This isn't necessarily about Brown's death, it is about perceptions built up over years and simmering rage.  The Ferguson incident simply provides a convenient outlet for these emotions.

The inconvenient thing though, is that another man's life and liberty were on the line here, a man paid to protect and keep order, a man who approached two men walking down the middle of the street impeding traffic, when sidewalks were available to them.  Putting aside for a moment, this clearly unobjectionable instance of where we as a civil society would wish our police to get involved, upon closer inspection, the men met the description of two men who had just robbed a convenience store and roughed up the proprietor, something store videos later confirmed.  I truly believe that there are those protesting in the streets and those sitting in comfy dens of liberal smugness who find none of this important, and that deep down, they would have us sacrifice Officer Brown's freedom in order to sate their sense of injury.  They would have us believe that it is better that Wilson go to prison an innocent man, than the "wrongful death" of the "unarmed", "gentle giant" Michael Brown go unpunished and "the community's" rage go untended.

What good comes of this tragic situation?  For one thing, the riots last summer and the response shown by law enforcement raise important questions about the increasing militarization of police departments, something that causes me a good deal of pause.  Secondly, and this is something Mr. Brown's family has taken up as a cause, there is the growing sense that police should wear body cameras not whose purpose would be not unlike that of the dashboard cameras with which we have all become familiar.  These cameras are for the protection of the public AND police alike, and rather than spending gobs of cash on uparmored HUMVEES, I'd like to see cops on the beat so equipped.

And so Ferguson will burn for a few more days, innocent businesses will be ruined, cable news will be fed, and race victimization merchants will take to the hustings, chief among them our President and Attorney General.  And the Party which birthed them (Messers Obama and Holder) will continue to treat African Americans as vassals, beholden to the machine that keeps them in the conditions that create the tensions we see spilling over on our TV sets.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Hammer's College Football Roundup: Week 13

It was a high old time in Charlottesville last evening as the mighty Fighting Fops of the University of Virginia took it to a lackluster Miami Hurricane squad in the foothills of the Shenandoah Valley. There's hasn't been a bigger upset in that neck of the woods since Stonewall Jackson was tormenting the hapless Yankee interlopers in the Valley Campaign of 1862. Our blog host CW was in attendance and captured the moment of unbridled ecstasy exhibited by the Wahoo faithful acting as if they had beaten the Miami of Vinny Testaverde, Bennie Blades and Alonzo Highsmith. Alas many on the 6-5 Hurricanes wouldn't make the practice squad on those great Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson or Dennis Erickson teams. But not to be insulting, it was a great win for Virginia. Unfortunately it's probably too little too late for Coach London as he showed himself to be a complete idiot on at least one occasion. Hey Coach, learn how to tell time why dontcha?

This being the week before "rivalry" week not much was shaking. Ole Miss has crashed and burned, UCLA beat USC in a "who cares" matchup and Florida State is still winning ugly.

The Western Carolina Catamounts took a trip down to Alabama to play the Tide, and well you know. So, why do we get these "tune-up" games this late in the year you might ask. Simple, the conferences mandate it. You see too often we'd get a powerhouse team scheduling their bye week the week before their big game, thereby giving them two weeks to prepare. That's fine as long as both (for example) Alabama AND Auburn take their bye weeks at the same time. But too often they didn't and this of course gave an unfair advantage. So everybody kicked up bloody friggin' murder and the big boys started scheduling Al's Barber College the week before the big one; hence, Auburn played Samford (SAMford NOT Stanford) and 'Bama played those half-baked dope smokers from Cullowhee (actually fully baked, at least most of 'em). So there you go sports fans.

Well that's it, as I said it's been a slow week. Thank God UVA is playing Va Tech in Blacksburg next week! If it were a home game and they won they'd probably be rioting in the streets! C-ya.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Congratulations Carolina! Now Quit the BS!

UNC breezed into Wallace Wade Thursday night and hung one on a stumbling Duke 45-20. It was a good win for Carolina, one in which I'm sure they used the current scandal to motivational advantage. As you are well aware Carolina has been experiencing some institutional improprieties that threaten the university's worldwide reputation for excellence along with their entire athletic program of course. Now if you know me you know I'm a compassionate, forgiving individual with a heart of gold, and I do feel somewhat bad for the current crop of Tar Heel players and coaches, after all they didn't do anything wrong (I would like to think anyway). But as an institution I'm afraid many of these people just don't get it.

There's a local blogger who goes by the name of Bob Lee. Now Bob is a fellow Tickbitian who went to the city and made good. He's a UNC grad (class of WTF knows, he's OLD), a conservative politically, a shit writer and a Grade A first class asshole. But he's well thought of and has a large cadre of fans who read his tripe regularly so what do I know? Anyway, he being a tapped in Tar Heel kinda guy got hold of an email to the UNC Athletic Director from some very prominent alums (many sit on the UNC Board of Governors) complaining...(wait for it)....not about the current academic scandal and the resulting fallout, no friends, they're upset about (I will quote Bob Lee directly):  "Amid this Historic Tumult in which this University community is dog-paddling to stay afloat, these privileged powerbrokers are insisting that Bubba Cunningham and Larry Fedora reorder their current priorities.   Bubba and Larry are, they contend, 'inflicting irreparable damage to the brand of Tar Heel Football' by tinkering with Kenan fashion tradition." 
What? Your worried about uniforms? WTF is going on here?

Sarge, I need a dentist. I just stepped on a land mine and my lower leg is probably about three blocks over but I've got a wicked case of gingivitis that needs attention.

So let's review, the school's reputation is perhaps "irreparably damaged", the drip drip drip of bad news has continued for three years running, the beloved and revered basketball problem is in peril, the accreditation people are all over their asses, they're getting sued left right and center, and the powers that be at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are worried about God-damn uniforms? You couldn't invent this shit.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Aw, what's the matter friend?  Your President decide that he isn't bound by that silly old Constitution?  Can't abide by all the Christmas decorations already?  Six feet of snow got you down?

Get it off your chest!  Out with the bad, in with the good!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Re-shaping Obamacare

I saw an article on Facebook this morning that gave two stories about the impact of Obamacare on DC area small business, one positive and one negative.  I posted it, and this comment:

"See, this is the thing. A "thriving insurance market for small businesses and individuals" is not the same thing as "Obamacare". We didn't need Obamacare to get the kind of coverage that the Whitfield's now enjoy. Except that no one--and I am talking to my Republican friends too--seemed terribly interested in making such a market happen through changes to existing regulation, etc. And so, in this monster that is Obamacare, there are people who are very, very happy with what the law has brought them, and they should be. Just the other day, the CEO of Uber talked about how the law has been a boon to his business, as the law's provisions for the purchase of insurance for individuals has helped create a ready market of drivers who are essentially, private contractors. While we Republicans are busy with our 2 yard-line dance (not quite in the end-zone) over Jonathan Gruber's revelations of the Obama team's legislative playbook, we need to realize that there is a not insignificant group of people who have benefited from this law. They need to be considered as we look to reform the healthcare system in positive ways. And we need to take responsibility for the fact that prior to January 2009, we simply did not care enough about this issue to get something done."

Now, I know that this may raise Mudge's hackles, but after Republicans go through the theater ONE TIME of "repealing" Obamacare--which will not be successful, they need to begin to make improvements to it that are in alignment with our values and that retain the parts of the law that are popular with a broad spectrum of Americans.  Here's how one comment on my Facebook post put it:

"As a Navy reserve officer, I've had access to insurance independent from my "main" employer for years. The freedom to switch jobs, go on orders, start a business or take time to take care of family while keeping the same insurance, rates, doctors and network is huge. The alternative is staying in a job you hate, paying huge COBRA fees (for a limited time) to maintain insurability if you have a pre-existing condition, and finding new doctors (if you can) for your new network."

We cannot forget that the 2008 Republican Presidential candidate DID in fact run on a platform that broke the connection between one's employment and insurance coverage.  This relic of WWII does not serve our increasingly labor-mobile economy at all.  Obamacare has provided just such a system, but the bad things about the bill kept Republicans from voting for any of the good things.  So let's move forward and begin changing the things that ought to be changed while we recognize the real hunger out there in our society for people to feel safely insured irrespective of their employment situation.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Hammer's College Football Review: Week 12 (Bob Devaney spinning in his grave edition)

Are people in Mini-soda badasses or what? Look at my man there. It's snowing like Stalingrad, probably about 17 degrees, a Bud Grant kind of weather day for sure and on the sidelines Coach is knocking back a pre-game Dove bar. That gentlemen is how you intimidate your opponents! Unfortunately for the Gophers they were playing Ohio State so it didn't turn out all that well, but I appreciate the gesture. Watching that game brought me back to the old Bloomington days of my youth with Joe Kapp and Alan Page and the flame-thrower turf de-icing contraptions thawing the painted "grass". Brother that was a home field advantage for sure. Those were the days!

Well...big news kids, #1 ain't #1 anymore. Missississippi State ran into Roll Tide in Tuscaloosa and did not, I repeat DID NOT look anything like #1. It was a pipe-dream anyway. No way Missississippi State is gonna go undefeated in the SEC...not a chance in hell! So, considering late losses count more than early losses it's safe to say the Bulldogs are done. That last game with Ole Miss doesn't look that important anymore.
Guess who's coming up though, that's right the other Bulldogs...Georgia. Todd Gurley is back from his Heisman killing suspension and looked ok, he did twist his knee late but he's fine I think. Anyway Georgia spanked a demoralized Auburn between the hedges. You know I've never been to Athens, Georgia, but they sure love their football down there.
LSU took the day off in Fayetteville 17-0. What the hell is that about? South Carolina put the last nail in Coach Muskrat's coffin and Misery got by Texas A&M.
Do you get the feeling college football, apart from a few notable exceptions is just all about SEC football? How else does one explain an undefeated national champion, on a 25 game undefeated streak, being ranked BEHIND a SEC team? Look I'm well aware the SEC plays the best football by far, and I certainly don't have a problem with a SEC team being on top, but they had the wrong team all along and most people know that. If they didn't they sure as hell know it now.

In ACC action (is that the right word "action"?) Duke hooked a field goal in the final seconds to lose to Va. Tech. UNC beat a sorry-ass Pitt and Clemson's quarterback got injured early and they fell apart against Ga. Tech. Hey man, WE WON ONE! That's right, the Wolfpack beat Wake Forest like we was their daddy. I'm PUMPED! FSU keeps playing with fire, starting off like shit and winning in the second half. These guys are good but man they're gonna get reamed sooner or later playing like that!

Let me ax you something? What do you think of when I say a hundred a quarter? I personally think of my retirement portfolio but in Wisconsin it means "Nebraska can't tackle". The Badger's Melvin Gordon (never heard of him either) put up 408 yards against a Cornhusker defense that must have thought this was tag football. Good Grief, is he that good or is Nebraska that bad?
Q: What is arguably the best defense in the history of college football? A: Bob Devaney's 1971 Nebraska squad (13-0). They had three shutouts that year, seven more where they allowed seven points or less and only one game where more than 17 points were scored, and that was against the 11-1 Greg Pruitt led Oklahoma Sooners 35-31 (often called the game of the century). All the while averaging about 40 points a game culminating in a 38 -6 win over Bear Bryant's #2 Alabama in the Orange Bowl. If you happen to be from Nebraska you may throw up now.

So, where are we in terms of final four? You'd have to put in Ohio State just based on tv, politics etc., Flawda State of course unless they screw up, which doesn't appear likely. I don't know who's coming out of the SEC but the best team right now is without a doubt Alabama. Then who knows, TCU, Oregon, Baylor, it's hard to say. If I had to guess I'd say Oregon, again based on tv, politics etc.

We'll see, but we're coming up on rivalry week with is like a last football-gasm and a chance for losers to redeem themselves. I'm looking forward to State-Carolina this year. We both suck BADLY so it's a toss-up.

That's all I got, now you can turn on Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long and listen to their scripted bullshit, fake laughs and rehearsed ad libs. C-ya.

Reagan National Defense Forum Day 2

Forgive me if this reads rushed, as I am trying to get it down before the battery expires, having forgotten to bring its charger, the mouse and the mouse pad in my haste two mornings ago

A full day yesterday at the Reagan Library began early with a quick 15 minute drive from my hotel.  First though, I had to caffeinate, which meant a little trip around Westlake looking for the coffee shop indicated on Yelp.  This place (Westlake) is designed much like Reston, for those familiar with that place in Northern Virginia.  Lots of hills and embankments, behind which hide the nasty, dirty, places of commerce which in other places, sit proudly streetside.  So ferreting out the shop was no easy task, but success was earned and a four shot latte was the prize.

After a quick drive to the Library, I parked and hopped into line with the well-heeled Republican-looking bunch also obsessed with arriving places early.  I nosed around the open space of the Library for a bit, reacquainting myself with the memories I made a year earlier, and then proceeded down to the first floor for the breakfast session.  I sat at a table near the stairs down from the main entrance, a propitious decision as I was able to greet friends and colleagues as they descended.  Many of the folks I worked with on the Romney Campaign were here, and a good number of other folks I work with in the DC Vast Right Wing Conspiracy also attended.  I sat with a good friend who does many of the same things I do for a living, and consumed a Nerf Football sized breakfast burrito that was brought to me.  As I ate, a kindly woman sat down next to me and said, "good morning, I'm Kay Granger."  Representative Granger was a delight to talk with, and we covered a number of subjects including her recent re-election, her work as Vice Chair of the Defense Appropriations Committee, and her obvious joy at the success of the Republican Party ten days ago.

For the rest of the day, I attended the sessions that were in the agenda I posted yesterday.  Two really stood out--the first was a panel of Wall Street types--bankers, investors, and private equity men--who gave their views of the defense space.  I find Wall Street fascinating, and I have always been a little envious of those who have positioned themselves to make money based on their knowledge and experience.  The second panel to recount was the penultimate of the day, and it was powerful.  Bush II National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, Leon Panetta, Bob Gates, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, and Senator John McCain, with a moderator for NBS News.  A couple of take aways.

Panetta and Gates pull no punches in their disappointment in Barack Obama (obviously, something this crowd was all too happy to hear), which is something one would expect to hear from McCain (and we did), but is still somewhat jarring when it comes from two men who served as Obama's Defense Secretary.  Both Gates and Panetta have written books, and both have received criticism for their criticism of the President--primarily from those who would have them wait until the President's term is over before opening fire.  Secretary Jeh Johnson was somewhat of a tethered goat in the affair, as a serving cabinet officer in the Obama Administration and having been both men's top lawyer at Defense during their terms.  I had thought the comments would have made the news today, but my brief scan finds no mention.

The second thing I found interesting was Stephen Hadley's descriptions of his interaction with George W. Bush.  You know I have great esteem for GWB, but it was only increased by Hadley's views.  There was great wisdom and conscience at work in that man, and I continue to believe historians will treat his Presidency with more respect than the press has.

The final speaker of the day was Secretary of Defense Hagel who continues to underwhelm, and who gave a speech that appeared to have been alien to him before he stood up to read it.  Many times during delivery, it sounded as if he reached the end of a line, or a page, and paused oddly mid-sentence.

After the day ended, I joined some friends at a local watering hole for a bit and then headed back to the hotel to watch back episodes of Once Upon a Time.  Because that's how I roll.  I need to leave for the airport in just over an hour, which is just over an hour away.  I have a couple of books with me including GWB's new book on his father.

All in all, a great trip.  Next year's version of this affair will be dominated by election issues, and I look forward with great anticipation to it.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

On The Road Again: Reagan National Defense Forum

Many thanks to The Hammer for stepping up yesterday to fill the gaping hole in our lives left by my failure to post a BFFFFA.  I must say, his choice of photo was stunning.  I find myself at computer greeting the morning here in Westlake Village, CA, dashing off this quick post before performing my toilette and then heading to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for the Reagan National Defense Forum.  Here's the lineup of events for the day, and then many of the Romney Defense Policy Committee folks will reunite to raise a cup of cheer, and another of schadenfreude.

The creators of this gathering want it to grown into something of a Defense Davos, where all the biggies will come for a day or so of conversation, elbow rubbing, and bowing and scraping.  They've done an able job in the two years the Forum has existed in getting a great bill of fare, and I would like to see it grow into exactly what they seek.  For now, it is the premier gathering of right of center defense policy types, and it is a must do on my calendar.

Sometime late Wednesday, I realized that I had boxed myself in preparation-wise, for this trip.  I was about to get to bed when I realized that I would have to get up at 0500 and be on my way to DC on Thursday, and that I would not get home until after 2200 on Thursday evening (teaching).  Then I would have to get up again at 0500 on Friday to get to Dulles for my flight to LA.  I had not packed.  I had not prepared.  I had in fact, done nothing.  So when I arrived home on Thursday evening, a good deal of scurrying about went on to get ready for what was admittedly, a pretty quick trip back and forth to California.

So I packed Thursday night.  Pretty easy kill.  But I had a few things to do on my computer still before leaving the next morning, so I hustled through the routine Friday morning and got myself into the mancave to download hotel, rental car, information.  And of course, my receipt/ticket for the Forum itself.  Which I could not find.  I usually cut/paste such thing into my outlook calendar for the associated event,but none was there.  I was distraught.  So I went to the event website to see if I could sign up still, thinking that it was entirely possible that I had not even signed up, that I was so far ahead of the curve in early August when I made my flight reservation, that perhaps registration had not even been open yet.  Of course, the sign up link on the site had been disabled.

All the while, the clock is ticking, I have a hundred and four miles to drive to Dulles during rush hour, and I am already a bit of a Time Nazi.  I eventually ran across the electronic receipt for the Forum in my "expenses" file, got on the road, got into a bit of traffic on the north side of the beltway, but made it to the airport in time to grab a sandwich for the flight.

Of note, I believe my bitching about the lack of an X-ray scanner at the TSA Pre line last flight appears to have been successful, as there it was, a functioning AIT machine when I approached the line.  I took to Twitter shortly after making it through security to pass props to the TSA Twitter Minder who responded to my omnidirectional bitches a few weeks ago.  He seemed delighted to be publicly praised on The Twitter, and took great pride in his accomplishment.  Who says government can't do anything right?  Well, me for one, Usually.

I arrived at LAX, which fifty years ago must have looked good, but which now (like JFK) is an eyesore.  I had about a sixty mile drive from LAX in my rental (Hertz, Stall 281) and so enjoyed the Southern California freeway view for a while.  I said it last year when I wrote from here--you could easily be in Israel or Spain, or some other Mediterranean landscape, as you drive through SoCal.  I really like it, quite a bit.  I like driving by roadsigns that mark places of significance in our pop culture, though I have no intention of seeing what lies upon those roads.

Got to the Hotel at about 1430 after stopping by a hole in the wall Chinese joint nearby, one I discovered my last trip here.  I need to remember next time that the dumplings were substandard.  Checked in with plenty of time before my 1600 massage (wasn't too time compressed to schedule that---priorities, friend.  Priorities.) so I had a nap.  The massage was good, excellent head and neck work, and I emerged from the little treatment room with a steely determination to continue to loaf the rest of the day, passing up little platoons of right wingers gathering for dinner and conviviality in favor of a steak and a bottle of fizzy water in my room.  I grow more introverted as I age, something that likely will deal my political aspirations the death blow.  The attraction, of a quick bite, a chat with the Kitten, and then blessed snoozing beginning at 2100 was gravitational, especially since I knew that my internal clock would mess me up today (first wake up at 0330, though I did snooze until 0500).

Looking forward to a good day of red meat defense chat, a good bit of back slapping over the recent election, and of course, thoroughly irresponsible postulating about the 2016 Presidential Race.  Should anything be of interest to you, dear reader, I will let you know.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Icing on the Cake

Has this been a great election or what? First we drub the Democrats like it's 1984 and then we get to watch Mary Landrieu swing in the wind for another month or so. There she is in a panic, languishing in her purgatorial world of eroding power with the only outcome being humiliation and ignominy. 

It's obvious this job gave her life purpose and meaning. Being Senator for her wasn't a means to an end, it was the end. She came from money, a good family, the best of everything, but what did she accomplish? Apart from politics not much. But she was not just a good team player, she was the BEST team player! No better Senator for the Democratic Party than Mary Landrieu! Her home in DC (she uses her parent's old La. homestead as her home of record - co-owned by her and her seven siblings) is fundraising central for the Dems. During campaign season not a week goes by without some function or another taking place at her "townhouse" (townhouse in this context being a multi-million dollar 7400 sq ft mansion). Yes indeed, she has been the Washington Democratic establishment's best friend.

Which makes it all the more heartbreaking that Chuck and Harry have abandoned her in HER hour of need. Yes friends, the Dems have decided Mary is not a good investment any longer. They tried, nobody can say they didn't, but it makes no sense to throw good money after bad...and Mary Landrieu is soooo over. Sorry but if you want a friend in Washington.... See you at Marti Gras Mary, can you put me and the wife up for a few days?

What did you expect Mary? You last faced the voters in 2008. You have done NOTHING to protect Louisiana jobs or the all important oil and gas industry there. You have been a Senator for the Democratic Party NOT your constituents. Hell even James Carville bitches about you, sometimes openly! You lost your way Mary, you became a Washington animal with nothing in common with the people of your State. You're voting record reflects Dick Durban's priorities, not Duck Dynasty's.

What the hell, don't worry about it, it happens. But it happens far too often so forgive us if we relish in your desperation, you deserve every bit of your anguish. YOU didn't lose your home or a paying job you actually needed! YOU can go home (or stay put most likely) and live comfortably. The oil worker or the fisherman can't, they're on foodstamps thanks to the policies you supported. So keep swinging at the Republicans like with your newly found attention to Keystone, and we'll keep watching you swinging in the wind. We love it, how 'bout you?

Big Fat Free-For-All Friday

Add caption
CW's out of town (CW is ALWAYS out of town) so it's left to me to do HIS job. But the upside is I'm a helluva lot better at it than he is.
Anyway, let's get down to bidnez. What's on your mind? Electric bill gone tropospheric? Old lady catch you chatting up the Walgreens check-out floozy and cut you off? Your neighbor's new hound crapping in your yard?
We feel your pain, let it go good-buddy, just let it go.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sharing the Lyme: Various Musings about the Midterm from the Sage of Tickbite

Ok now that the dust has settled let's have a look at some analyses (and fallout) from both sides of the isle (both sides being Democrat scum and me). What happened and why?

Many liberal talking heads say it was a vote against "gridlock" or an anti-incumbent vote, which I think is not very creative. Jeez if you're gonna bullshit show a little imagination. Now Nancy Pelosi is on the right track, she claims it was voter suppression. “To succeed, we must inspire, educate and remove obstacles to participation. Only by changing our political environment and broadening the universe of the electorate can we build a strong sense of community and an economy that works for everyone". 
See? That's how you BS! But lets define a couple of terms shall we? By "broadening the universe" I assume she means that anybody and everybody who wants free stuff courtesy of the American taxpayer not only may vote in our elections, but are encouraged to to do so be they whatever, whomever or wherever. Just have your ass at the polling station and you're good to go, and if anybody tries to stop you or there's not a ballot available in your native tongue of Ch'orti', then by (The Sun) God you are being suppressed!
Also I just love the new catch phrase being bandied about by the Dems (I noticed Kay Hagan used it a lot), " economy that works for everyone". Man if that's not a soccer mom, metrosexual, limp wrist focus grouped to hell and gone line then I ain't never heard one! An ECONOMY that works for everyone? That's like saying a baseball game that works for the players (Coach I'm hitting .167, this game just ain't working for me!). What does it all mean? I'm sure nobody has a clue but it sounds nice...and that's all that matters.

The Rev. Al has a different take, it was the Clintons fault (I guess he's not quite over that Sista Souljah thing). He goes on to say the Democrats should have embraced President Obama and if they had they would have won.
Ok I can buy half this argument. The Democrats should have embraced Obama, especially after in early October he declared this election to be all about him and his policies. Hell there wasn't a lot of wiggle room at that stage so why not? Plus they couldn't have done any worse and at least Obama might have spurred a little more turnout among the kleptocracy. Couldn't they see that their running from Obama was becoming the story? I'm so glad to see Democrat consultants are just as stupid as Republican consultants.
But as to the Clintons, they did this? Look I agree Hillary and Bill didn't help (Pryor must have been disgusted), but Obama campaigned for quite a few that lost as well. Check CW's adopted home state of Mary-Land.
Al screws up when he attempts logic, demagoguery is his bag. I would expect something just a little more entertaining out of him!

So...what DID happen? Glad you asked. This was a protest vote plain and simple (or as the guy over at the Daily Haymaker says, "a restraining order"). The Republicans didn't run on anything other than stopping Obama. So guess what? That's their mandate, stop Obama's ass...immediately! The voters have spoken loud and clear! Note to Republicans: git er dun!!!

Now if the chump wing of the Republican party loses their nerve and starts to believe all that "let's work together" bullshit, then we are toast. Don't be fooled or intimidated, rule the roost like you been there before and give 'em hell at every turn. Just keep in mind what Obama told us, if you want your way then win an election. We do and we did, thanks for the advise Mr. President.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Hammer's College Gridiron Review, Week 11

What a difference a play makes! Auburn was in the catbird seat ready to claim their spot in the final four. True they stumbled against Miss State on the road but apart from that had beat some quality opponents (Ole Miss, K-State and LSU). Just get by Texas A&M at home, a depleted Georgia on the road and then THE DECIDER, Ala-Goddamn-Bama in Tuscaloosa and you're good to go. If Miss State cooperates and loses a game (which is likely) then Auburn could be in the SEC Championship game against a very beatable Missouri...then it's off to the races!
Unfortunately somebody forgot to tell Texas A&M (who finally found a quarterback). A fuzzy-faced Kyle Allen gashed them for 277 yards and 4 touchdowns, but they still had ample opportunity to win had they not caught a monster dose of the the red zone...repeatedly! Oh well, it happens, but if it's any consolation A&M is a damn fine football team.

LSU knows just how Auburn feels. They had Alabama right where they wanted them; in Tigerland, playing like shit and behind. But the Tide knows how to win, and LSU gaged. Off to OT, 'Bama scores, LSU which had been running the ball pretty well all day loses their nerve and starts passing like crazy. Alabama's secondary steps up and game over.
By the way do you know the toughest position to recruit in college football? It's defensive back. You can have a great athlete, speed, quickness the whole package and the guy be a complete zero! You can't judge them in high-school really because they don't play a lot of single coverage at that level and it's hard to gauge that sixth sense a good defensive back has to have. You want a guy who can cover lightening quick receivers, anticipate the guy's movements, read the receiver's body language when his head is turned, and close on the ball without drawing a penalty. Plus you want somebody who can take on a fullback running at top speed one-on-one in the open field, and bring him down. Not an easy position to fill. If it was you wouldn't see quality teams getting drilled for 400+ yards in the air week after week. Ok, class over, let's move on.

TCU with that monster offense of their's overwhelmed K-State (see above paragraph) so their ticket is punched. Notre Dame...what can you say? Those poor papist bastards went down to Phoenix and the got sand kicked in their face. Arizona State went CRAZY on 'em! I watched about 20 minutes of the game and I was embarrassed for the Irish, it was ugly. Now Notre Dame came back but it was too little too late. I think maybe the heat and the light freaked them out, they just looked unsettled.
Baylor beat Oklahoma in Norman (first time in centuries) and Duke is 8-1 (somebody told me CW is getting a Duke sweatshirt for xmas this year). State lost (zzzzzz) and UVA came out strong against FSU but that didn't last long. West Virginia went big time against a 4-5 Texas down in Austin and it would have been a good win for them, but I think they got a little intimidated by the atmosphere...and that's always the coach's fault.
Did you see they postponed Jameis Winston's student discipline hearing until like two days after the National Championship game? Jesus H. Christ, what a load of bollox! Jimbo Fischer learned his lesson well from Bobby Bowden. Look I love Bobby Bowden, I though he was a great guy and a great coach. But if Bowden had a weakness it was allowing some of these numbskulls to play at FSU.
Press: Coach your starting running back just got caught kicking his girlfriend's ass in the dorm parking lot and ripping off lobster tails from Publix. What disciplinary action are you taking?
Coach Bowden: He's been severely punished with some internal things I'm not prepared to talk about but I just want you to know, we're not giving up on this young man and he will be starting against the University of Miami on Saturday.

Press: Great Coach, thanks for your time.

Oh yeah, Ohio State beat Michigan State and Oregon beat #17 Utah on the road (as if anyone cares).

So who's left undefeated? Missississippi State, Flawda State and Marshall. Marshall is averaging 50+ points a game and giving up less than 20, but they play teams like Miami of Ohio and FIU. That's a real shame they won't get a shot but that's the way it goes. Doc Holliday won't be hanging around much longer I'd guess. By the way somebody corrected me as to when Doc was at State, my error (memory ain't what it used to be).

That's it, now piss off I'm tired of looking at you.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Immigration Trap

The President and his Party lost the latest election in a grand way.  At least part of the victory in some states is likely to be attributed to their stance on immigration, though it is always difficult to nationalize a series of essentially state and local elections.  But for the purposes of this discussion, let us assume that indeed, the President and his Party's stance on immigration--specifically, the perception that they want to give legal status to those here illegally--was an important contributor to the defeat.

In post election news conferences, the President and his co-combatants John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, have begun to stake out their positions for the coming political battle.  The President has insisted that he possesses executive powers that will allow him to grant quasi-legal status to millions here illegally, and if a bill is not passed that meets his conditions, he will exercise that power.  Boehner and McConnell insist that they will not be blackmailed, and that the President's exercise of such dubious authority would have consequences.

The issue here for me isn't the political battle per se, so much as it is the consequences.  So far, neither Boehner nor McConnell has used the "I" word (impeachment) to describe what they consider those consequences to be.  That said, many, and I mean many, on the Right are beginning to lace their dialogue with references to impeachment as the means to deal with the President's potential overstepping of authority.

At the highest levels of the Republican Party, it must be acknowledged that unless Obama personally cuts out the beating heart of a virgin, illegal immigrant on the Arizona/Mexico border while selling secrets to the Chinese,  this issue cannot and will not trigger anything like a move for impeachment.

Let's face it folks, this is a trap of the highest order, one designed to ensnare Republicans and allow us to indulge the lesser angels of our nature--which include the remarkable capacity to self-destruct over unforced errors.  The President and his Democratic henchmen KNOW that there would be zero chance that the President would actually be removed from office over an abuse of power charge, but the country would once again be treated to the circus that is impeachment without removal.  This entire fight is designed to suck up all the available political oxygen while making Republicans look unhinged and incapable of governing without recourse to Soviet style show trials.  We cannot swing at this pitch in the dirt.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Wednesday Morning, November 9, 2016

Last night was a bloodbath, friends.  President-elect Hillary Clinton and Jack Reed won 32 states, the Democrats took the Senate back, and the Republican majority in the House is down to 10--that is.  With John Boehner having been defeated in the Republican House Primary, there is no real consensus on who the Speaker will be.

The Republican Party's moment of ascendance in November 2014 was just that--momentary.  It is hard to believe that a modern American political party could fall from grace with such rapidity, but that's what has happened---and here is how it did:

1.  We did not capitalize on the opportunity the voters gave us in 2014.  The overwhelming victory handed us in November of 2014 did not come from Republican Party regulars or movement Conservatives.  It came to us from disaffected working class Democrats, the apolitical and the non-aligned, people who do not value our ideological positions, but who did say to us, "fix things".  And we didn't.   We simply took our turn in the batters-box of partisan gridlock and spent more time making the President look bad than we did making the Republican Party look good.

2.  We failed at the Presidential level because we failed to recognize that this election was JUST LIKE the 1980 election, and that our victory would come courtesy of working class Democrats, people whose real wages and income have at best stagnated, and who increasingly have been turned off by the Democratic Party's brand of identity politics.  Our candidate did not put forward coherent policy positions to bring market forces to bear in healthcare and education, we did not attack the cozy relationship between banks and government, we did not put "the little guy" squarely in our sights and figure out how to apply conservative principles to advancing his plight and that of his family. We did not advance a positive message of how we were better suited to leading the nation forward; rather, we continued to focus on making life better for business and harder on those we feel "take" from the government.

3.  We bungled the Senate hearings for the new Attorney General and the new Supreme Court Justice.   Sonia Sotomayor's surprise resignation turned into a circus, and we have been without the ninth Justice for 16 months.  Rather than working with the White House to create a list nominees acceptable to the Democrats, we played hardball and refused to give the President's two nominees hearings.

4.  We did not do anything to make the healthcare system in the country better.  For good or bad, Obamacare is the law of the land.  Given the President's veto power, there was never a hope of repealing it, we spent over a year trying to do so without trying to do things that WERE possible.  And now here we are, two years down the road and the chances of making changes to the system that our voters would have liked, has disappeared.

5.  We let the President trap us into an immigration fight, and during that fight we fell all over ourselves in the race to be as insulting and insensitive to Hispanic voters as we could.  So instead of cutting a deal with the President that got us the Fence and got him a path to legality, we played chicken with him, he issued his executive orders, and even though the Supreme Court walked some of it back, we succeeded in alienating a growing portion of the electorate.  Exit polls indicate that we did worse with Hispanics than we did in 2012.  We lost Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico.  We won Texas by 53-47.

6.  We did nothing to grow the economy.  We could have traded a modest rise in the minimum wage for lower corporate taxes and brought jobs back to the United States, but we decided to die on that Hill and continue to resist an issue that breaks against us every time it is polled.  So no raise in the minimum wage, and no fall corporate tax rates.

7.  We fell in love with the conditions of our 2014 victory and did not examine presumptions.  The conventional wisdom was that our new technology "got out our vote", while what really happened was that the other side simply didn't.  I remember talking to a dude a few days after we took the Senate and won a squeaker in the Florida Governor's race.  He's a Florida absentee voter, and he had been on the Romney for President Team.  Yet even then, he got three emails from Charlie Crist during the election, and not one from Rick Scott.  We weren't very good then, and we aren't very good now.

8.  We did nothing to continue with the inroads we made in 2014 with candidate diversity--women, blacks, Hispanics, the young--seem to have been forgotten about in our candidate search this year.

There was so much hope, back in early November of 2014.  The Democratic Party was demoralized and its shining hope was an unlikable woman in her late 60's.  And here we are, a Party in tatters.  It was all was all so avoidable.....

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Hammer's Election Analysis

It was a really big show, as someone once said. I swear I must have spilled half my boilermaker on at least several occasions. Although I haven't looked at the numbers specifically, I'd guess the Republicans made as good a showing as 1994, maybe even better. So what are we to take from all this? Here's what I think.
1) This was absolutely NOT a watershed "OMG the Republican have been right all along" moment. There were no Hallelujah epiphanies by moderates or leftists who have finally seen the conservative light.
2) This was a clear referendum on Democratic leadership and policies, plain and simple. Exit polls in North Carolina showed 90% plus were voting AGAINST rather than FOR!
3) If Republicans blow this opportunity they will be just as throughly rejected in 2016.
4) Libertarians are a problem that have to be addressed, and establishment Republicans are woefully ill-suited for the job.

Let's dig a little deeper. Where did the Republicans over-perform and why? In Virginia Ed Gillespie almost pulled one out against a very popular ex-Governor (lost by less than 1%), and would have won had not the Libertarian syphoned off 2.45% (Gillespie was so far behind he wasn't even on anyone's radar). In Colorado Cory Gardner won over an incumbent (admittedly an idiot) in a state Obama took twice. So how did they do it? Messaging that's how. They offered a clear agenda for the future. They ran as optimistic, enthusiastic conservatives and that excitement and energy was felt by the electorate...and they responded. Contrast that to Tillis who won by a point and a half in a state that Romney carried in 2012. His was a drone campaign, all TV ads and press releases. He won because he had the resources not to be "disqualified" by Hagan's henchmen, not because he had a positive agenda. Hagan and her support of Barack Obama and Harry Reid was rejected, Thom Tillis was just the means to that end. He's damn lucky he won.

CW mentioned that the Tea Party was over and done. Maybe he's right, as a organized political entity. The Tea Party never was that organized to begin with but the ideas and ideals espoused by the Tea Party are as old as America and the notion that they have somehow gone away just because the Republican Party establishment rode a protest wave, well it's just ridiculous. The Tea Party is here to stay, whatever it may be called.

But CW is right on one point, the task of the Republicans now is to put on their big-boy pants and start governing like grownups! No games, no shenanigans just hard-nosed legislating for the American people, and that includes oversight of the executive. We've had a lot of corruption these past six years, the subpoenas should be flying out the door very soon.

This is an opportunity, a trial run for 2016. Let's not blow it. Let's get the Dems on the defensive and keep them there.

A Big Night for the GOP

I went to bed when the Senate was at 52-44, comfortable in the knowledge that a majority had been won.  I woke to the news that Sullivan would probably win in Alaska, so we're looking at 53.  A month from now, I'm hoping to see Mary Landrieu finally ousted from the Senate, to get to 54.  Most surprising of all though, was that the People's Democratic State of Maryland elected a REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR.  Who had Barack...and Michelle....and Bill....and Hillary....all campaigning for his opponent.  This is indeed a wonderful day.

I was honestly (pleasantly) surprised by the Tillis win in North Carolina, having received most of my news on that race from the Tickbite Tattler's constant screeds against the Republican Establishment and the apocalypse that would befall us for not running a sufficiently ideological candidate.

So, what does all this mean?  It does not mean that the electorate all of a sudden loves Republicans, or our ideas.  They are decidedly down on the President, they are unsure about the direction of the country, and they made the choice that the direction we were on was the wrong one.  We should not misinterpret this victory.  Each of the races was indeed an individual contest between those running, but the President was on the ballot, in a deeply psychological way.  That said, this was NOT in my view, an affirmative choice about GOP ideas or policies.  There is no real mandate here, only a tentative decision to had us the keys to the car and ask us to drive for a while.

I believe that this election means that as a separate political entity, the Tea Party is now moot.  Its five year run is effectively over, but not without demonstrably changing the tone and tenor of the Republican Party.  That is a good thing--a strong Party is like an alloyed metal, with new ideas acting to change the character of the whole.  If it wants to keep Tea Partiers in the fold, GOP Leadership will have to make sure that they respond to the issues they hold dear.  If it gets cocky and starts to act as if the Tea Partiers have been defanged, we'll have another painful insurrection.

This also means that Hillary is now unbound.  Democrats will be unnerved by the extent of the defeat last night, and Barack Obama is a dead man walking. The President is so unpopular that she now has a pass from her party to run against Mr. Obama.  Look for her to begin to talk about reforming Obamacare, for example.

Republicans should (as I said yesterday) use their time in the spotlight to show Americans that the legislative branch can function.  It can pass budgets.  It can move legislation to the President.  Uncork that bottle of bills that Harry Reid has sat on and begin sending them up to the President.  Act like adults.

This is a really great day.  Two years ago on the day after Mitt Romney lost, I could not have thought this possible.  But that's the great thing about American Politics.

Monday, November 3, 2014

On Tomorrow's Midterm Elections

Tomorrow evening at this time, I'll be in front of my ManCave TV with election night coverage on and some manner of internet device in my hand to follow along with Twitter.  I'm genuinely excited about what seems to be a good night for Republicans, though I am less sanguine than some.  I'm a huge fan of Larry Sabato's election analysis at UVA, and he seems to figure in a big night for the GOP.  I won't make any exact predictions, but I think Sabato is like others, giving R's more than they'll get.

I desperately want to see Mary Landrieu ejected from the Senate, and I am very much pulling for Tom Cotton in Arkansas.

The prospect of Harry Reid vacating the Leader's chair is delicious, as is the likelihood that Chuck Schumer will try and take him on for minority leader, sensing blood in the water.

What will be very interesting to me is the Lame Duck session.  We saw a good deal of important things happen in the 2010 Lame Duck, and perhaps we'll get something out of this one.  Since the a Republican dominated Congress is likely to pass Keystone, and since most D's in the Senate want it anyway, I wouldn't be surprised to see Keystone passed before the end of the year.

But....don't get too excited about what can be done.  The President yields the veto pen and that veto is not going to be overturned in the Senate.  Anyone who believes that "we can just "repeal" Obamacare using Reconciliation (simple majority only needed) in the Senate" fails to recognize that Obama could then simply veto the repeal.

Republicans should send a series of popular bills to the President in the next two years and force him to veto them or bite down hard and sign.  Additionally, they MUST pass all funding bills IN REGULAR ORDER.  No continuing resolutions.  Show the country that you know how to lead, that you know how to be responsible...and good things will follow.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

College Football Roundup: Week Zehn

Beware Texas kickers with German surnames. WVU should have remembered that well known Hammerism.  West Virginia had TCU on the ropes at home and decided to hunker down and take the 4th. quarter off... against of the best offenses in the country that rings the cash register so fast it'll make your head spin. Great strategy Coach Holgorsen! 
Look I understand how he got there, West Virginia's defense is real damn good. But Jeez you can't just run off tackle play after play with apparently no purpose and expect your defense to do it all. It's just stupid! Plus it's not like it was a mistake where you just kinda choke and screw up with clock management or commit a turnover or something. This was a conscience in-game football decision.
Remember Russell Erxleben (currently in the federal penal system)? I'm sure the Oklahoma Sooners do. And I'm also sure ole Dana will remember Jaden Oberkrom for a while. What a dummy!

Ooooooo, bad day in Oxford, and I ain't talking The Boat Race on the River Thames against Cambridge. No friends, the William Faulkner, John Grisham, James Meridith and Archie Manning Missississippi. Yeah I know, glad I ain't there too! Anyway tough tough outing for the Rebels. Last week LSU took them to school with a pounding ground attack and this week Auburn did much the same thing. But Ole Miss still could have won this game but for two red-zone turnovers one of which resulted in their star receiver Laquon Treadwell snapping his leg. See you next year Laquon, you too Ole Miss.
However in other Missississippi news the Miss St. Bulldogs held off Arkansas for a good win to retain their #1 spot. Unfortunately they still have to play Alabama and a very pissed off Ole Miss both on the road. I'm not looking for these guys in the final four, but if they make it then by golly they'll deserve it!

I want to mention Florida State. God knows this is a talented football team but it just seems these guys are as ripe for the picking as a South Jersey Homecoming queen after a few fuzzy navels. I cannot stand Jameis Winston. To me he seems like he's just having too much fun being Jameis Winston, and the rules don't really apply to Jameis Winston ALL AMERICAN. These guys are due for an ass-whooping of Biblical proportions, I just don't know who's gonna give it to them. They got Virginia at home next week, so we can forget about that one. Maybe the Gators, they sure stuck it to Georgia yesterday (rivalries, you never can tell).

Locally (local to me) ECU took the day off against Temple (I hate Temple almost as much as Carolina) and Duke won a thrilla in Heinz Field against Pitt. The Tar Heels lost to Miami, State beat Syracuse after doing their best to lose and Ga. Tech kicked the living shit outta Virginia in Hot'Lanta.
Which brings me to Virginia Tech. What is wrong with those guys? Look I get it, can't be top ten every year, but Beamer is losing games he's supposed to win like yesterday against BC. Wow, can't wait for the Hokies and the Wahoos to square off, I'm sure it'll have the intensity of a lovers tiff in a Greenwich Village leather bar.

Well that's it, we're getting down to the short strokes now. Lots of good teams out there and lots of shakeups on the horizon. Should be good!


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