Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Hammer Goes Gay

Well not really but I do want to address the issue of gay marriage. I just finished a two day insult-a-thon on FB with various members of CW's extended family and I'm afraid I may have broken every rule Dale Carnegie ever thought of. But 'fools rush in' as they say and I have never shied away from controversial subjects.
But what never fails to amaze me is the construct of these kinds of debates. With liberals it always follows a certain form: Point counterpoint followed by rebuttal for a few rounds and then, invariably, just as surely as the sun will rise, the liberal(s) resort to insults and name calling. This is of course an attempt to intimidate, but for me that's when the REAL fun begins. Just as in a courtroom when the defense introduces a line of questioning hitherto forbidden, the prosecution then has carte blanche on the subject. So after being called hateful, full of hate, really fuqed up etc. etc., I bore in with the pertinacity of a yeast infection. At that point in time I am in a heightened state of Zen, a total focus of body and mind with one purpose; to ramp up the anxiety levels of my opponents to heart attack levels by showing them with every syllable I write that they are naive and gullible fools unworthy of being called AMERICAN! At which point liberals will do anything and everything within their power to shut me up.

Ok, so that being said, what about "gay marriage" or gays in general? Is the Hammer a homophobic bigoted Neanderthal with Victorian values in our oh so inclusive age of Obama? Well no I'm not, at least I don't think so.
Look I'm not a young man and I've been around the block a time or two. Being a student of the human condition I've come into contact with gays (shuddup, not THAT kind of contact) and observed gay behavior over the years (shuddup, not THAT kind of observation). Like anybody else some we very fine people that I liked, some not so much. But what did strike me was the out of control, pedal to the metal, off the charts promiscuity of male homosexuals. When I was in college one of my jobs (I usually had two) was a gopher/flunky at a country club. There was a "restaurant" there and the wait staff was about 60/40 gay guys to hot freshman chicks. So yours truly would sometimes hang around the wait station trying to chat up said chickies (never ONCE successfully I might add) and could not help but overhear some of the conversation. It was like the cheesiest soap opera you ever saw. These guys make the Botox Wives of Beverly Hills seem like a symposium at the Hoover Institute. They were catty, they talked about each other like dogs and keep in mind, they were minding their damn manners in front of me. The girls told me stories they had overheard that would curl any straight man's hair! The bottom line is gay males have all the dog that any male has (shuddup, YOU know what I'm talking 'bout) but all the emotions of females. They are not suited to any sort of committed relationship whatsoever, much less "marriage".

Look, I don't believe gays should be discriminated against, but I do insist on a little common sense. If gays want to serve in the military then fine, I spent a tour in the Army and I can assure you 'don't ask don't tell' has been around a lot longer that the Clinton administration. I would keep them out of the combat arms but apart from that, let 'em have at it. Also if there are tax advantages to married couples not available to gays then go to a consumption tax or something (FairTax) and base the tax breaks on other criteria. Again, gay people are here, they work hard and pay their taxes, they should be accepted in the brotherhood of man as equal members forthwith. Besides, without gay males where would we get our ballet dancers and Hollywood hair stylists?

But here's what gays don't get, marriage. It is no more possible, or appropriate, for same sex people to get married than it is for me to enter the Miss America contest. I don't qualify for Miss America (although I would appreciated a dressing room pass...paging Donald Trump) and gays do not qualify for marriage. It is an age old institution present in every culture for all of recorded history. We know what it means and we know what it doesn't mean. We know its purpose and we know why it must be defended for what it is, the most important and vital societal institution ANY civilization has. I'm sorry but gays need not apply. You can't nail wings to a dog and expect it to fly. It's a farcical, self centered and incredibly cynical proposal by leftist agitators using the issue (and gays) to corrupt Western Civilization and liberal democracy.

So that's the book on gays according to the Hammer, like it or not. And if this is hate, count me in.

Oh, one more thing. Really hot women are not allowed to be 100% gay. No debate, THAT'S IT! Bi-sexual is ok, but to be practiced only in the presence of a male. What could be more reasonable than that(?) and they call me a bigot!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What's the matter, Sister?  Not enough jobs for insurgents these days?  Much of the free world beginning to doubt your country's power and authority?  Single digit temps got you down?  Kvetch, people, get it off your chests!

Weighed in at 181, down two pounds from last Friday, 17.8 lbs down from diet start.  We are coming up on the two month point of the diet, with the goal remaining 159.9, or "150's by 50".  To think that there are still 21.1 lbs to go (not halfway yet) is a little daunting, but the fact that nearly half the weight is gone is encouraging.

What Does the Future Hold?

Everyday brings news of America's decline. Foreign policy, domestic policy, personal liberty and's all in a shambles. Barack Obama has bought off a large part of the electorate to the tune of nearly 10 trillion dollars so as to institute policies that will destroy us as a great nation. Barack Hussein Obama is to America what World War I was to the British Empire...if he succeeds. We are very close to being a bankrupt and powerless empire, irrelevant and nearly defenseless. He is certainly the transformational president he always wanted to be, and regardless if he is completely successful, dark days are coming. So how will it play out?
A couple of years ago on the non-partisan Sunday morning show "This Week" there was a discussion about the decline of Detroit. My God we have to do something, they all said. George Will pointed out that for 60 years Detroit had voted for crooks, incompetents and malcontents and with 80% illegitimacy, 47% illiteracy, packs of feral dogs roaming wild, no water, no police, no trash services etc. they were reaping what they have sown. The liberals were predictably offended; how could we just ignore the "less fortunate" they asked? After all the problem was "deindustrialization" not some right wing notion of moral collapse. Keep in mind that in 1960 Detroit was the richest city in America (and probably the world) and of course the liberal policy of forced deindustrialization was never mentioned. The point is Detroit is a precursor of things to come in America. What will America look like 20 years from now (if it takes that long)?
Will it be like a A Clockwork Orange with lawless gangs? Will it be like Dr. Zhivago with government officials showing up at our doors informing us that their records indicate we have a four bedroom house with only three people in residence, therefore we must allow five "needy" people to cohabitate our space (with rent vouchers paid for by government at government set rates and of course with government inspections etc. no doubt).
Seem farfetched? Don't count on it. How does a country with 60-70% of its population (currently about 50%) getting government checks sustain itself? We have (or will have) 20 trillion in debt with future obligations close to 100 trillion. States like Illinois and California are on their asses and although Illinois' new governor is showing some guts California will most certainly be seeking a bailout soon (let a Republican be elected President and they'll put him on the spot immediately). Economic collapse is an ugly thing, but it can happen here. Can we avoid it? I think we can, but it will take some doing.
With great powers the argument was always guns or butter? America had both. We were so rich for so long resentment was inevitable. Even though we showed them, the rest of the world refused to see the benefits of freedom and capitalism either because their leadership was threatened by it or they were suffering under some intellectual scourge like communism.
The fact is there are always people who wish to control other people to their benefit, and we have our share in America. But the social contract in America was just that, a contract. You do this and the state will guarantee that (freedom). Too much of the world relies on brutality and force, or lies and manipulation (or combinations thereof) to "control" their populations. We never sought to control anyone as long as they stayed within the bounds of the law. But our system has been used against us by those who hate freedom. We are at a precipice (I hope not too far gone), we can go either way. Barack Obama wants to tip us towards anarchy, social unrest and ultimate destruction. Not only does he not love America (thanks for saying it Rudy!), he hates America (thanks Dinesh). How can one want to "fundamentally change" something one loves anyway?
In the next few years we might be in waters only navigated by Lincoln. To save the Republic we might have to temporarily "suspend" some laws. We might have to deny due process. I don't look forward to it but giving Constitutional protections to the lawless (I'm thinking of illegal immigrants specifically who seek only our wealth and care nothing for our country) seems foolish. We are in a fight for our very way of life and when the rules have been perverted or ignored, then they no longer apply.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

On Virginia Basketball

For those who aren't basketball fans, or ACC fans, or UVA fans, go away. Stop reading. I don't want to hear your bitching about posts that don't interest you.  If this comes down to just between me and three other Wahoos who live and die UVA sports, so be it.
"Uncle" Malcolm Brogdan

UVA Men's Basketball is 24-1, in first place in the ACC and ranked #2 in the country.  This is close on the heels of last year's campaign in which they won both the ACC regular season title and the tournament title, which were followed by a #1 Seed.

The Hoos play a stifling brand of defense known as the "Pack-Line" defense.  Virginia fans have come to appreciate the team's ability not only to shut down other teams offensively, but also to effectively neutralize the efforts of their best players.  This hyper-defensive brand of basketball has created quite a stir in college hoops circles, with some writers suggesting that it is "boring" and "bad for the game."  Anyone who watches UVA play cannot possibly agree with this, as the Hoos games are nothing, if not exciting.

But, I am worried.  Very worried.  I am worried that we--Coach Bennett, the team, and legions of Hoo fans around the country--have gotten all liquored up on our defensive prowess to the point where we have begun to dismiss offense as a necessary and proper part of the game.  One of my correspondents, when i kvetch about this, just posts the number of wins, as if barely beating the likes of Wake Forest is something for the nation's #2 team to measure itself against.  The plain truth of the matter is that while UVA is a great team, probably top 10, unless we figure out a way to score more points, we will not get ourselves over the next hump and into the Final Four.  Not this year at least.

"But CW, one of your most potent offensive weapons got hurt a few games ago and is out for 4-6 weeks.  Aren't you just responding to a wholly foreseeable dip in performance as a result?"

No.  I'm not.  Here's why.  The player in question is Justin Anderson, and he is a force to be reckoned with when playing well.  But before his injury, he was not the offensive force that he can be.  In the ten games leading up to his injury, Anderson scored 11.4 points a game, including 2 against Louisville, 7 against Georgia Tech and 8 against Boston College.  In the FIRST 10 games of the season--which included contests with VCU and Maryland, he scored 15.8 pts per game.

Now that he is gone, our offense has been JUST good enough to beat a few pedestrian teams.  The game we lost--Duke at home--was a collapse of epic proportions that included once again, poor shooting not only by JA but by many of his teammates.  Our team field goal percentage of .460 is 67th in the nation.

So where is all this leading?  It is leading to a suggestion to my fellow Hoo fans that we need to be a little more objective about our team's strengths and weaknesses, that with JA we are a better team, but a team that needs to figure out how to get and to take better shots.  Twitter wars with analysts who say we are boring may be fun, but there is a kernel of truth in what they say, and that truth pertains to our OFFENSIVE style and performance, one that occasionally shows signs of life, but which will not take us to the next level.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Two Weeks On....

It is a lovely, cold winter's morning here on the farm, another great reason to stay in doors all day, though I have little need for such excuses.  Two weeks ago this morning I had my left hip replaced, and I can report to you this day significant progress and high spirits.
Rehab beard, endangered species

There is weakness and a bit of pain in the joint area, and there can be instances of jarring, sharp pain such as when my little female lab jabs me behind the left knee in order to let me know she is alive and that I remain in her good graces.  I am walking largely without a cane, but to put it away at this point is probably premature.  I don't need it, but if I had to walk more than forty feet at a stretch, I'd be happy to have it.

The Kitten remains in the running for Sainthood for her loving care and tolerance, which these days consists mainly of getting the silly compression socks on my feet (hate them) and driving me around to PT sessions.  I believe that I would be driving myself right now had mother nature not intervened and dumped two inches of snow here the other day, as I am in no mood to remove it from my car before driving.  The news speaks of five plus inches of new snow tonight, so I fear my mobility--at least as far as autos are concerned, remains limited.

When I speak of the Kitten's tolerance, it revolves mainly around my rehab beard, shown above.  She hates facial hair with the heat of ten thousand suns, and that it grows on my face gains it no additional acceptance.  I'm thinking of keeping it through Thursday evening, so I can go "full liberal professor" on my class.

Although the weather may intervene, the Kitten and I have agree to disassemble the chambre de malade on Wednesday, at which point I'll return full time to the ManCave.  This recovery period has proved the sturdiness and value of my comfy chair, which will be used more often as a napping platform in the ManCave when the fancy takes me.  The poor Kitten has had to sleep elsewhere due to the logistics involved in my sleeping arrangement (I have the little compressor that makes a bit of noise), but that goes away tomorrow at my "staple removal" doctor's appointment.  It however, may be a victim of the great Eastern American snowstorm headed our way, so I may keep the staples a bit longer.

I tried to take a photo of my incision this morning, but because of its location (high on the front of the thigh), there simply is no way to get a good shot without taking in the unsightliness of my diminished, though still prodigious, pendulous belly.  I weighed in this morning at 179.4 (first measurement below 180, thank you), which means I've lost 19.4 lbs so far.  After looking at the selfie feature of the phone as it relayed up to me this snapshot of sloth and excess, I decided against sharing it with the faint of heart.

This was and is the week that I begin my return to the productive and useful, but the likelihood of great snowfall will almost assuredly keep me here on the farm for a few days.  There is much to be done, and the world has suffered horribly from my absence, so I must lace up my wing tips, tie my bow tie and get back in the game.

March brings with it a trip to California for a few days, and a panel/speaking gig up at the Naval War College.  I actually need to whip up 1000 words for the suits at Newport to let them know what I intend to say there....something I've put off but which could comprise a bite sized little project for the day, after I submit to the screws at Guantanamo Detachment, Easton later this morning.

That's all for now.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Ruling Party

There's been talk of another "looming government shutdown" as the press likes to describe it. This is newspeak for "just try it asshole, we'll crucify you!". The words themselves evoke a paralyzing fear in our sissified Republican leadership like none other. Thermonuclear holocaust, the AIDS "crisis", 9/11, opening up the Congressional swimming pool to women (by God a man SHOULD be allowed to swim naked with his friends!!!!) or curtailing the House bank where members once could kite checks 'till eternity never cause the anxiety that doing their damned Constitutionally mandated duties elicits in our brave cadre of conservatives.
So, let's look at the history a second. Since Reagan there have been nine government shutdowns; six under Reagan, one with GHWB, one with Clinton, one BHO. Do I need to even mention who got "blamed" each and every time? By blamed I mean who the news media blamed naturally. Of course not, you already know, and so does McConnell and Boehner. But did they really cost anything in terms of who and who didn't win an election. No they didn't, and history proves it. They were basically just media temper tantrums and nothing more.
So if I understand the situation correctly, Boehner has given away all his leverage by agreeing to a budget deal during a lame duck session of Congress, giving the Democrats each and everything they wanted and locked it all in for two years even though there hasn't been a real budget passed since before Harry Reid reared his ugly head. McConnell and Boehner have publicly stated that a shutdown is off the table. They are now bitching about how they just don't have the votes? Well a super-majority never stopped Harry Reid and for these guys to complain when they've given away the farm for dick, well I can conclude only one thing.
You see the problem is not this political party or that, the problem is with our elites. I'm referring to the money boys who control our button-down, mealy mouthed leaders. The Chamber of Commerce etc. loves Obama. Oh they may disagree on some policy issues here and there, but say what you will about the guy, he's put more money in their pockets than GWB ever did...AND HE WAS ONE OF THEM! From immigration to Obamacare the Republican Party establishment is closer to the Democrat position than to Ted Cruz or Mike Lee. THOSE guys are the REAL enemy, and EVERYONE agrees on that.
This is all a charade. Real policy in this administration and in the Boehner/McConnell controlled Congress is done behind closed doors, under the control and for the benefit of the rich and powerful. What we're witnessing is a political version of professional wrestling, a grand manipulation of two sides when there's really only one. Boehner and McConnell can break promises with impunity and lie as much as they like, it doesn't mean a thing. We only have one political party now, the ruling party.

AMENDMENT: Some have suggested our leaders have done all they can do, I disagree strongly! Where in the Constitution does it say Obamacare can be voted law by a simple majority but the repeal of Obamacare must have a super-majority? Senate tradition be damned! When Harry Reid couldn't get Obama's appointees confirmed, what did he do? He changed the rules.
As one pundit said, this past election was not so much an affirmation of Republican principles (they have none) but a restraining order against Democratic policies. We sent those people there to do a job, and I am in no mood to hear excuses!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Thanks For the Memories

As you well know North Carolina is basketball country. We appreciate well played, well coached basketball be it the Indiana Hoosiers, CSKA Mockba, the New York Knicks or the Fighting Wood-Ticks of good old Tickbite High.
Although I am a Wolfpacker I very much appreciate what Dean Smith did for the sport. He was a credit to UNC, the ACC and basketball generally. He ran a clean program and did it right. I cannot remember even a hint of scandal in Dean's personal or professional life.
Dean came aboard in the wake of a point shaving scandal involving primarily UNC, and was seen as a fill in until it all blew over. However coming from KU and having played under the tutelage of Phog Allen (who had been coached by Dr. James Naismith himself) Dean had other ideas. He brought in guys like Billy Cunningham, Bob Lewis, Dog Moe, Larry Brown, Larry Miller and Charlie Scott. Starting in 1967 Carolina became a national power going to the Final Four three years in a row. Unfortunately for the Tar Heel faithful they lost them all, which would become a theme in Chapel Hill, that being CAROLINA CHOKES!
I don't think that was the case, at least in the early years. In '68 they ran into arguably the best college basketball team of all time in the Lew Alcindor led UCLA Bruins and lost by 23. Nobody could have done better. But with the talent that Dean Smith had (they made the tournament in 1967-68-69-72-75-76-77-78-79-80-81-82-83-84-85-86-87-88-89-90-91-92-93-94-95-96-97) they won just two National Championships in 11 Final Four appearances.
For me, what Dean Smith was, the essence of Dean so to speak, is best illustrated by the 1977 Final Four. That year Carolina had a depleted, walking wounded squad with All American Phil Ford with an elbow injury, All ACC Tommy LaGarde benched due to a bum knee and Walter Davis with a broken shooting hand. Carolina had to start two freshman Rich Yonokor (aka Big Bird) and Mike O'Koren (his coming out party as it turned out). This beat up and battered bunch whipped a killer two loss UNLV squad that I swear played like the LA Lakers! The Heels then go to the final against Al McGuire's Marquette Warriors.
Keep in mind in BOTH these games Carolina had gone behind early by double digits. They had fought back against the Running Rebels and won the game by a point late. Against Marquette they were behind by twelve at the half but came out smoking and tied the game about five minutes into the second half. They then traded baskets a couple of minutes and Smith lost his nerve. He went to a stall, the "Four Corners" stall with 13 minutes on the clock. Carolina threw away their momentum, Marquette took a two minute blow, regained their composure and won going away. Sheer idiocy!
I look at it this way, there has never been a finer teacher of basketball fundamentals than Dean Smith. He along with guys like Dave Gavitt and Bobby Knight trained a generation of European coaches. He won Olympic Gold medals, conference championships, regional championships and national championships. He minded the store during some rough times in ACC b-ball history. But even though his was a winning, well run program, a model for every school in the country, it has to be said that with the talent and resources he possessed he should have won seven or eight championships. I just don't think the big games were all that important to him, and that was, I guess you could say his strength and his weakness.
Smith was the enemy but he was an honorable enemy. I appreciate him, what he accomplished, the players he trained and the characters he built... and I celebrate his legacy.
RIP Dean. Thanks for the memories.

On the Education of Scott Walker

The Republican Presidential "flavor of the month" since Mitt's dropout appears to be Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin.  Walker has had a particularly effective run in Wisconsin governing as a Conservative and taking on a number of entrenched interests.  His candidacy is interesting to me, as it is a lot of Republicans who want to win in 2016.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Because of this surge in popularity, there has been a concomitant surge in investigating Governor Walker's life, one notable aspect of which is that he did not finish his undergraduate degree, quitting Marquette sometime during his senior year. The circumstances of his leaving are in dispute, but the University maintains that he was not expelled and that he was a student in good standing when he left.  This overview of the situation provided me some worthwhile background.

The vigor with which the Press is going after Governor Walker's past is in stark contrast to the incredible "hands off" approach they have taken with the academic background of the sitting President.  That said, politics is a sport for big kids, and Walker should have known this was coming.  His response thus far has been unsatisfying.

Here's the deal.  The Democrats aren't doing themselves any favors with this elitist attack on Walker's lack of a Bachelor's Degree, especially with a demographic they will HAVE to do better with in 2016 given the unlikelihood of black turnout/proportion matching what it has been in the previous two elections, and that is blue collar whites--a large number of whom ALSO don't have degrees.

And Republicans are doing a solid job of pointing this out in their public responses, but I have to sound the alarm about overplaying the hand.  The real likelihood here is that Republicans come off sounding anti-education/learning by devaluing the importance of higher education.  That isn't the point here.  The point here is that Scott Walker has managed to build a solid life for himself while effectively governing a large diverse state WITHOUT a degree.  This is a good news story.  The story should NOT become "degrees are worthless".  I know that's not what many are saying, but the debate has the earmarks of heading in that direction.  The thing that bothers me about the whole thing isn't that he didn't finish his degree, but that he didn't finish something he started.

Walker needs to come clean.  He needs to release his transcript and he needs to say something like, "I made a decision about leaving school twenty years ago that seemed right for me then, and which has thank God, worked out for me.  But I do wish that I had that degree--not because having it would make me a better person but because FINISHING it would--and earning it remains an important goal for me within my lifetime."  There you go.

One more thing about Scott Walker, a candidate with much to recommend him, but who I am slow to embrace.  Here's the deal.  Like most of the rest of the field, he's done almost NOTHING else in his life but politics and public service.  For whatever reason, this bothers me.  Mitt's private sector experience was one of the MOST attractive things about his candidacy for me, while Mr. Obama's utter lack of anything resembling challenging private sector work was a mark against him (as it was for most Republicans, if we're honest with ourselves as we look back to 2008).  As I gaze across the contenders left in the race, I am thoroughly unimpressed with the depth of this field as measured by this important metric.  There is of course, very important executive experience within the field, as we are blessed by a number of very effective Governors and former Governors (Walker obviously among them).  I just wish there were someone in the field who had done something else, and done it well.  Ben Carson and Rand Paul are obvious exceptions to this.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Big Fat Friday Free For All

"Fat Leonard" of the ongoing US Navy Scandal
Aw, what's got you down this week?  Your team lose their best player?  Your team lose to the team who lost their best player?  Share friends, bitch.  Get it out of your system.

Weighed in at 183 today, down 15.8 since just after Christmas and down .4 since just before my operation.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

On the Departure of Jon Stewart from the Scene

Not being capable of exceeding Kevin Williamson's treatment of Mr. Stewart's impact on modern America, I thought I would however provide some commentary pertaining to how I view and have viewed Stewart's contributions.  I am not a regular viewer of the Daily Show, nor are many of you if its ratings are to be believed.  I tune in almost exclusively by accident, or via cached snippets of interviews with those souls who seem competent enough to frustrate Mr. Stewart's breezy, left-of-center, we all believe the same things, wink, wink nudge, nudge patois.  But some do watch, and for many, he is sadly the purveyor of the majority of the news that they do receive on a daily basis.  So here I go.

First, the man is undeniably funny.  I am almost always entertained by him, whether he is making fun of people or ideas I support, or people or ideas that I don't.  Let's face it--that's really what he does.  He makes fun of things.  He lampoons them.  He distorts them and then compares them to--his breezy, left-of-center view of the world.  His talent and creativity makes the distortions funny.  As entertainment and political parody, I find him unmatched.

Second, he is undeniably smart (though not that smart, or he would have recognized the error of going to William and Mary) .  Not all smart people are funny, but damn near all funny people are smart.  The ability to recognize irony followed by the timing necessary to create laughter--flows from what can only be classified as innate intelligence.  Stewart has it, and he has it in abundance.  He's very well prepared, and he knows a great many things about a great many things.

Third, he is undeniably a man of the left.  His defenders--who are almost always also people of the left--point to numerous times in the show's history where Stewart's guns have been turned on liberals and Democrats as evidence that he plays both sides of the street.  But this is silly on its face.  Jon Stewart's schtick is to make fun of things, to distort things, and when he turns this distortion upon Democrats is is because they are not being Democrat enough, not being sufficiently liberal--for him or for his perception of his audience.  He skewers Democrats when they let him down, and he can be downright savage when he does it.  But the truth is, no Democrat acting, thinking, writing, and politicking like a Democrat, need fear Jon Stewart's barbs.  It is hardly the same for Republicans.  Republicans are skewered by Stewart for doing reliably Republican things.  Stewart lampoons and distorts the unremarkable and entirely predictable political practices of right of center people.  Thus, the belief of many (generally apolitical people) that he plays it straight or is a middle of the roader, is entirely false.

Fourth, as Williamson states in his piece, many people say, "why don't you guys get your own Stewart?", as if it is a desire of the conservative movement for people to get their news and information from a comedy show.  It isn't and they shouldn't. Of course I find it unfortunate that the other side has stumbled upon this unique talent, and that he has had the platform he has for so long, and that he has used it to--as Rush Limbaugh put it, "cement liberal thinking" about politics.  That doesn't mean though, that I want to replicate the asshattery.

Who knows how long this farewell tour will last, as he hasn't given a date for his departure. I wish him well, and I wish his benighted followers a speedy recovery from their sedan chairs, to which they have retired in contemplation of how barren the 2016 election will be without Jon Stewart to guide them through it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

$500M Powerball Jackpot

As we've discussed here before, I'm of the opinion that you don't get to fantasize about "what I'd do" if I hid the lottery, unless you actually play the lottery.  After the last round of crazy pots, I signed up for an online service through which I obtained five tickets a week for Powerball.  Week after week, I'd get the email warning that a transaction had been made, and I'd see the charge when I'd review the credit card account against which it was charged.  Week in and week out, the money went out, but no giant jackpots came my way.  As time went on, I soured on the process. I thought about the money I was spending/wasting.  So I shut down the account and have not bought tickets in some time.

And now we have a $500M jackpot, and I find myself thinking I made a bad decision.  I mean, what if this were the TIME for me?  Did I get up from the table too early?  I mean, who do YOU know who would do more substantial and important things with $500M than me?    Am I depriving the world of the skill and talent with which I would surely manage that money?


On Mr. Netanyahu's Address to Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to address a Joint Session of Congress on March 3, an invitation he received from the Republican Speaker of the House, who had not coordinated the invitation with the White House.  Initial reports were that Mr. Netanyahu accepted the invitation before the White House was notified, but this has been proven untrue.  The Speaker's Office informed the White House of the invitation, and only after that had occurred, Prime Minister Netanyahu accepted.

Let's get the important stuff out of the way first.  I am a huge fan of the State of Israel, of Bibi Netanyahu, of Speaker Boehner, and of a close relationship between the US and Israel.  I believe Mr. Obama entered office with an agenda to marginalize Israel and tilt the US from its previous position as unambiguously behind it.  I believe that Mr. Obama has irresponsibly managed this relationship, and it is among his most critical foreign policy failures.  His manic desire for a deal with Iran on nuclear weapons--it seems even a bad deal is better than no deal for him--has led to his even further distancing of himself and his administration from this key ally.  Relations with Israel are at a low point, and the fault is largely Mr. Obama's.

Which brings me to the matter of his invitation to speak before Congress.  As I am reliably informed, such things are generally the result of discussions on these shores in which the White House and Congressional leadership agree to the invitation, after which it is then extended.  Congress is under no requirement to seek White House approval, none whatsoever.

Yet our system vests the hard work of foreign policy largely within the Executive Branch, and while I am thoroughly disappointed with the consistent incompetence and ideologically weak approach to the subject that this administration has pursued, I find the prospect of publicly fractured diplomacy to be even worse.  Mr. Netanyahu could come to this country and speak at a million different places, and get plenty of Press coverage while doing it.  The invitation to speak before a Joint session of Congress was a schoolyard trick, designed to make the President look bad.  Tactically, it is a lot of fun. Strategically, I don't know what the payoff is.  If Boehner thinks the prospect of Democrats not attending the speech is somehow going to backfire on them, he clearly thinks foreign policy matters more than it really does.  If this is some kind of gambit to "peel the Jews from the Democratic Party", it makes a little more sense, but not much.  Jews are generally speaking more liberal because Jews are generally speaking more urban.  It really is that simple.  If Republicans talked more about policies that appealed to the URBAN nature of Jews, they'd attract more Jews.  This sense of a monolithic attachment to Israel just simply doesn't wash.

Now--Mr. Obama is not without blame here.  His public statements that a nuclear deal with Iran might not necessarily have to come before the Senate as a treaty matter (or before the Congress in any legislative form) ignores the real role in foreign policy that the legislative branch DOES exercise.  Add to this his obvious influencing of British Prime Minster David Cameron in calling US Senators to lobby against maintaining tough sanctions on Iran, and we find once again, the amateur hour nature of Mr. Obama's foreign policy and the team that implements it.  

We're probably too far along for Mr. Netanyahu to cancel the speech or for Mr. Boehner to revoke the invitation.  But a lesson should be learned here, and this is not something that should be repeated in the future.

#2 Man at DoD Throws Some Love at CW!

Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work at the USNI West 2015 Conference in San Diego.  He generously mentions me at the 36:45 mark.

A Troll Comes Clean

I frequent many blogs and news sites. I have debated leftists, harassed leftists and baited leftists. I very much enjoy confronting these people and exposing their blatant, thoughtless, unrelenting and unrepentant hypocrisy. I LOVE humiliating them in front of their peers. I live for the fight. I am George C. Scott in Patton speaking about war "God I love it so". Look I know, it's just showing off and wanting to be the center of a degree. I admit I like those aspects but that's not all it is. I genuinely HATE these people...and it shows. So when they criticize me for spewing hate I have no defense apart from pointing out THEIR hate, which is overt and palpable. Discourse with leftists (NOT liberals, leftists! A different animal altogether) inevitably turns into a spiral of insults, and I'm better at it than they are. Consequently they will do anything to shut me up.
You see people of the left HATE dissent. They HATE opposing opinions. They will sometimes make a half-hearted effort at "reason" but their argument always falls apart under scrutiny and they inevitably turn to ridicule and insult. I don't turn to ridicule and insult, I lead with ridicule and insult.
So I guess I am a Troll, although I don't necessarily agree with that term.  Is it wrong to attack the people who attack you? Is it wrong to turn their tactics against them? Here's a good example of a site I was recently barred from (PoliticsNC), read the comments, see if you can guess which one is me.

Any idea who these guys are? Ok, left to right, Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Roger Mudd, Eric Sevareid and Douglas Edwards. These guys are the A-Team of American broadcast journalists. The Godfather's of Soul, the soul of the American media. Every last one of them (apart from Mudd, he's like 90) is spinning in his grave. Why? Because everything they built, all the credibility they imparted to their profession, every thing they devoted their lives to is now turned to shit. Our media is corrupt. Our media lies. Our media obfuscates and misleads. Our media omits critical information. Our media tries to influence rather than inform. In a word our media has no respect; no respect for its history, its predecessors who's reputations it now trades on, itself or its audience.
Men like the aforementioned took their task seriously. They saw their job as gathering the news and presenting it in an unbiased, no nonsense way. They were very serious men, not without a sense of humor but serious about their job. No so anymore, and that needs to change. A bullshit artist like Brian Williams needs to be a news anchor like, well I'd rather Rosie O'Donnell, and I'm serious.

That's all I got. Shout out to CW doing his rehab. As I told him, war criminals, Hell's Angels, IRS agents and rehab folks are the same class of people. Rehab is a MOFO, mofo.

Monday, February 9, 2015

One Week Later

So I'm one week into recovery, and things are going really well.  I put the walker aside on Saturday for most of the day and then didn't use it at all yesterday.  I think we're past that stage.  Did four rounds of self-guided PT over the weekend at home and one at the PT office today--range of motion is slowly returning, but there is still a lot of weakness and uncertainty in certain axial movements.

The dressing I was patched up with last Monday came off today, and the Kitten was a trooper in pulling off changing it.  She's been a trooper at everything, and I am very lucky to have her.  the scar is somewhat smaller than the right leg, but not by much.  It has an angry look to it, and there is still a good bit of swelling in the leg.  Between the swelling, my under-performance in matters a la toilette, and the weight of the new joint, I have put on 2.5 lbs since going in for surgery.  Never fear, all part of the plan.

Today marks the first day "back at work", in that I really just ignored everything last week.  Most of what I have to do involves marking papers and getting back up to speed in my teaching job.  The rest of the stuff is more manageable.

I've watched a number of interesting things on TV....I need to recommend the Netflix miniseries "Marco Polo", the French movies "Haute Cuisine" and "Le Chef", and of course, any UVA basketball win.  Our primo star player has gone down with a finger injury, and he will be out for 4-6 weeks...we head down to Hammer's NC State Wolfpack this for our next game, and it will be interesting to see how we react.

Brother Sean had a tough week....his brother-in-law died, someone he had become close with...leaving a little girl who will surely miss her Daddy.  Much love to that family, and to brother Sean.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Hematophagic Times

Well....the vaccine controversy has been in the news lately and I've heard much of nothing that actually addresses the issue. So please allow me to explain JUST WHAT THE SAM HILL IS GOING ON! For the record vaccines are good, in fact GREAT! As a child I remember getting the polio vaccine. Can you imagine having to deal with that bit of horror? I certainly can't and I thank God everyday we live in a society where we have eradicated many deadly diseases... like measles (ooops!). But we've had an REAL epidemic these past twenty or so years, an autism epidemic. So what's going on? Is it related to vaccinations?
A few facts: Autism is a genetic disorder, and since there is no such thing as a genetic epidemic then one can conclude the cause MUST be environmental. So, what is the cause?
Here's what I think. Prior to 2001 the mercury preservative Thimerosal was routinely used in many childhood vaccinations and is still used today but not quite as extensively. That's right friends, if you had a kid from 95 to say 2010 it's very likely the neuro-toxin ethyl mercury was injected into your baby. Even a total idiot would see that's insane, you know, unless you're a government bureaucrat.
Now the CDC tells us: Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines and other products since the 1930's. There is no convincing evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site. However, in July 1999, the Public Health Service agencies, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and vaccine manufacturers agreed that thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated in vaccines as a precautionary measure.
What they don't mention is the amount. Starting in the early 90s new vaccinations were ordered and the cumulative mercury "load" for children increased to as much as 80 times the recommended levels for adults as directed by the EPA. In fact the EPA monitored mercury levels in our streams and waterways much more closely than the CDC monitored the toxicity levels in our infants' bloodstreams. So the question is, do we have an autism epidemic or widespread heavy metal poisoning as mandated by the federal government and administered by "asleep at the switch" bureaucrats? You be the judge.
My thinking is I just don't know, but it seems to me the cause could have been determined by now. I suspect they do know the cause, they just don't want us to know. So for me personally I have to conclude we are being lied to, stonewalled and otherwise deceived by people looking to cover their asses. Can you imagine the fallout and consequences if the federal government were to admit to destroying the lives and futures of literally millions of children through ineptitude and incompetence? A revelation like that would be justifiably used as a stick to beat big government types over the head for all time, therefore in this not at all far fetched hypothetical scenario it couldn't be allowed. Just one concerned Tickbitian's opinion.

Do you guys miss GWB? I do and I don't. Obviously compared to Obama the guy is Caesar Augustus but he did some real stupid shit. Not the least of which he wouldn't defend himself, and thereby dragged down the whole party which consequently set the table for BHO. A politician doesn't get to ignore politics just because he doesn't have to run again. He had a responsibility to the people who put him there.
But GWB initially dropped the ball when he didn't investigate the excesses of the Clinton years. The law is the law, and wrongdoing should be punished I don't give a rat's ass who it is. Which brings me to my point. What should the next Republican President (please God!) do?
The next Prez should immediately start investigating the lawlessness of the Holder Justice Department. I'm talking a major league, get to the bottom of it, let's clear the air and let the indictments fall where they may investigation. Why? Well number one it's the right thing to do. The law is the LAW, and no President or Attorney General has the right to ignore the law. Prosecutorial discretion yes indeed, not enforcing the law because you don't agree with the law is criminal. These guys took an oath to uphold the law, as will the next President. From Fast and Furious to the IRS targeting coverup there is fertile ground to be plowed and the next Attorney General has an OBLIGATION to punish any and all crimes regardless of the political consequences. Do you realize not one Obama administration official has been charged and indicted for any crime? Hell I don't think anyone has even been investigated apart from a few efforts by House committees. I chalk up a lot of this feckless, timid behavior to our feckless and timid Republican leadership. Boehner should have been screaming for a special prosecutor from the day he took office. These guys take the fun out of dysfunctional and God damn-it I'm tired of their chicken shit ways. Get on board or get out of the way, we got a Constitution to defend!

Man oh man is Virginia having a great year in b-ball or what? They are 21-1 with the one loss at the hands of, well I won't mention their name, no really, I shouldn't...jeez ok HOME in Charlottesville! But still, this is by far the best team since the Big Ralph days. You will recall what we (NCSU) did to the mighty Cavaliers in '83? I know, ancient history but if Obama can bring up the Crusades (a BIG raghead talking point) then I can bring up our (NCSU) last NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP! How many does UVA have? What's that, NONE!!? Oh well, maybe they can get some belated 32 years coming payback Wednesday night in Raleigh. But I have it on good authority the Cavaliers, sorry the Wahoos (the only school I know that's ashamed of their name) are in for an epic ass-whooping. In fact I guarantee it!

That's all I got...see you Wednesday.

Saturday Update

I am breaking the eSabbath this week due to the large amount of quiet, contemplative time I have already spent this week, and the fact that I am rapidly losing my mind due to inactivity.  I sought special dispensation and received it with little protest.  The granting authority was of course, me.

Yesterday was a setback day, begun with a bad decision (not to take my pain meds) and then exacerbated by serious stiffness and pain at PT.  I have no illusion that this process will be straight line improvement, so it wasn't a surprise that I felt crappy.  As the day wore on (and the meds kicked in), my outlook improved and I felt much better.

I had a very odd phone conversation with a loyal reader of this blog yesterday, who was kindly checking in to say hello.  During the chat, I discussed a side effect of the pain meds, and that is a bit of "gumming up the works" if you get my drift.  My twice daily regimen of pills includes agents designed to smooth the way, but with the exception of a lone episode Wednesday, little else has transpired.  Obviously, this will be "too much information" for many of you, but the reason it is interesting is that the conversation took a decided turn for the strange when this solid citizen and titan of industry suggested that I "get the Kitten" to go buy my diapers, so that I might simply go when I wish to, rather than take on the logistics necessary to get my beswollen lower body into a favorable axis for alimentary expulsion.  What had my interest was the degree to which this fellow had thought out and analyzed the pros and cons of the approach...I suggested that in all the time I had known him, I had heard no other subject so thoroughly considered by him.  He however, was very enthusiastic about the prospect for great joy that might flow from this approach.

I'm sure it might shock some of you, but I am somewhat particular about what I eat and when I eat it.  The Kitten and I have taken on this proclivity by largely vesting me with the family cooking duties when I am around, as none of the Kittens are as persnickety as I.  But my current condition limits me somewhat, and the Kitten has risen to the occasion by preparing me wonderfully scrumptious meals that are consistent with convalescing and dieting.  Among the delights have been a spectacular tuna melt (using a tomato for the base) and a chicken/bacon/cream cheese tornado that will henceforth become staples of my own repertoire.  I am considering grilling steaks tonight, as I'm feeling strong and mobile.

I have very limited objectives for the day, but one of them is to shower, something I have avoided for long enough.  I also have two self-guided PT sessions to tackle, which will put me in fine fettle for tonight's UVA/Louisville game.  Things are going well--and I am shockingly farther along than I was at this stage in the right hip procedure.  Cheers, friends.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Big Fat Friday Free for All

Aw, what's the matter Scout? Your President equate the evil acts of modern religious terrorists with thousand year old medieval events?  Did your puppies eat an entire tray of fudge, requiring yet another trip to the vet? Share friends, share.

Although the diet is not being put aside during my convalescence, weighing myself is.  I'm hoping this period of confinement helps things along, but I don't see weighing myself until I am rid of this ridiculous compression machine I wear around my neck, a la "Flavor Flav".  The other thing that's pissing me off about it is that its little "Compliance" graph says I'm at 80%  This is utter bullshit, as from the time I came home from the hospital on Tuesday until this moment, I have had it off for 2 entire hours.  Someone will hear of this.  Perhaps a sternly worded letter of complaint!

Yesterday's trip to the Physical Therapist was fine--not as bad as it could have been, but a little painful here and there nevertheless.  The PT did tell me that I already have more motion in my left hip than I previously had, which is nice.  Just a hell of a lot of pain with certain motions.  I return to GTMO Det Easton this morning for another round, and will likely follow up with some on my own later this afternoon in my sickroom.  Yesterday's morning session took a lot out of me, as it created the requirement for a two hour afternoon nap.

I have a ton of work piling up, but I'm sticking to a "one week/no work" policy.  It feels a bit lazy (it is), but one must have standards. I received a nice bouquet of flowers yesterday, with a mylar balloon festooned with smiley faces and a card saying only "MCG".  I know not from whence it came, but I am grateful nonetheless.  Also, my high school buddy (and vivacious mega-fox) Stephanie Wilson sent me a Taylor Swift video, to feed my unhealthy obsession.  Stephanie was among the more centered, intelligent young women with whom I grew up, so her stoking of this unhealthy habit some 35 years later is worthy of questioning.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Where There's Smoke There's Fire...Maybe

No this isn't a 'Hillary is a lesbo' piece, although that is one great photo isn't it? No this is all about rumors, specifically rumors about Hillary's health.

But first let's get the lesbian stuff out of the way. The Hammer's position is who knows and who cares? With a hubby like Bill I wouldn't blame her! Besides, he's probably into it. However if I were standing next to Christina Aguilera I would hope I'd have the good sense to avail myself of the opportunity. Case closed.

Down to it, does Hillary have cognitive issues? She fell and concussed herself in 2012 and took six long months to recover. It was later discovered she had a blot clot on the brain (not the ideal place I would think). It has been suggested by some very well placed people that she may indeed be in the early stages of dementia.
Now regardless of how the press might try to knock this down it's a fair question. This is a woman in her late sixties who sustained a fairly significant head injury with complications. Even the facts admitted to by Bill would cause warranted speculation. We need full disclosure up to and including a complete medical report. This woman is running for President of the United States, not school board president.

Does Hillary have a drinking problem? Well the National Enquirer thinks so. I know, it's just a tabloid but sometimes they get it right, just ask John Edwards. Might she be doing the Betty Ford thing out in the California desert? She sure has been laying low lately with only two appearances in the past six weeks (both in Canada, both on the same day). Maybe she got a day pass.
Look it's a well known fact Hillary likes to drink, and anybody can get into trouble with booze if they're not careful (myself and present company excepted). So again, this is a legitimate question that deserves an answer. Will it be forthcoming? From the Clintons? HELL TO THE NO! Will the media press the issue? Not as long as she has a D after her name.

Update from the Sickroom

Had a pretty good day yesterday, though it declined in quality as the evening wore on.  My wound seems to be "leaking" a little more than I'd like, but it still has not consumed over 75% of the bandage so I am told not to worry.  The first formal post op physical therapy happens this morning, and I anticipate it being a tad bit more rigorous than my home regimen yesterday.

At some point, The Kitten added a bunch of premium channels to our DirecTV package, and now there are some 50 channels of movies to choose from at any one time.  It is AMAZING how often there is nothing on those channels I wish to watch.  I did watch "The Longest Day" about the Normandy invasion yesterday, but mostly just wandered among countless bits of programming that did not appeal to me in any real way.

One of the little bothers of my current state is the requirement to fight blood clots.  This is often done with drugs and compression socks, but my doctor does it with a system of legsleeves and a compressor known as The ActivCare System.  You can watch a video here.  I am required to wear this little bugger 22 hours a day, and as you might be able to discern, it can be a bit of a pain--especially when sleeping.  I also get to wear the compression socks, which are a bear to take off and put on.

My dogs, with whom I gambol and frolic every day, cannot understand why I am keeping them at a distance.  They are very disappointed in not getting their daily "two minutes of love" in which we romp and wrestle as a way of greeting each other in the morning.  Soon, I hope.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Recovery Begins

It is nearly 0730 on Wednesday, my surgery proper having been completed some 46 hours ago.  I am at my trusty laptop in the little nook I created in the bedroom, and have been here for about two hours.  The Kitten sprung me yesterday at about 2PM, and I have moved between my bed, my comfy chair, and this desk in that time.

I feel a little like I've been hit by a left leg is very stiff and there is a good bit of soft tissue pain, but it is nothing like what I had 7.5 years ago when I did the right leg.  The physical therapist came by 4.5 hours after my surgery was complete on Monday to take me for my first walk around the Joint Clinic floor, and then I had another walk around dinner time Monday.  Dinner was not a successful evolution, as I had only a few bites before surrendering them along with copious amounts of water into the handy bucket that was close-by.  I dozed in and out until 0330 on Tuesday, awakened occasionally by some member of the medical staff who wished to assess my vital signs or relieve me of some of my blood.

It is clear that this "anterior" procedure is less dramatic than the posterior.  I'm moving around fairly well (with a walker), though the in and out of bed move remains a bit of a pain.  I have two sets of Physical Therapy to undergo today, but I'll wait until the Kitten returns from her morning labors, as I do not wish to get stuck on the ground in some awful configuration.

Six months from now, I will delighted to have taken this on--right now, just feel a little awful.  Not horrible, mind you, but a little awful.

Enough of being a slave to this computer, I'm going to go and have a set in my comfy chair and watch some mindless TV.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

On the Eve of My Invaliding

Tomorrow morning at 0545 I am to show up at the Anne Arundel Medical Center to exchange what has become an arthritic and painful left hip joint for a new model, one that I hope will fold well into the mid-life overhaul that is ongoing in my 50th year.  A week ago, I stopped taking any pain-easers (Ibuprophen), vitamins, and supplements.  Two days ago I began showering with some manner of antiseptic soap, and swabbing the inside of my nostrils with some ointment which has some benefit not explained to me nor after which did I inquire as to said benefit.  You see, some of you who know me see me as an authoritative little Napoleon wanna-be, which while humorous (to you), causes me only limited angst.  What you don't get is that I am also an exceptionally good order follower, and for the purposes of this operation, the Doctors (and nurses, and physical therapists, and The Kitten) are in charge.
My chair is to the right, with Wolf Blanket/Pillows

The order of events goes something like this--0400 Reveille, 0445 Depart for the hospital, 0600-0800 Pre-op, 0800-1000 Surgery,  1000-1300 Post-Op, 1300-?.  I am told that because of my early surgery, the former GTMO torturers physical therapists will have me "up on my feet" sometime tomorrow evening, and that I will join the "group" physical therapy session at 0830 on Tuesday morning.  There is a second PT session that afternoon, and it is at this point that I hope to have satisfactorily demonstrated the several things necessary to be discharged (PT things, that is.  Obviously, other medical issues have a huge impact).  I'll need to be able to get in/out of a car.  I'll need to get in/out of bed.  I'll need to get in/out of a chair.  I'll need to walk up and down three steps.  Stuff like this.
Command Center to the left of the fireplace

If all goes well, I'll be home late Tuesday afternoon.  If I get up to speed a little slowly, then Wednesday some time.

Yesterday was spent preparing my sickroom, which was previously the beautiful bedroom the Kitten planned and executed during our renovation.  She is wisely escaping to the guest bedroom during the early stages of my convalescence, and I have converted the room to a "chambre de malade" to include moving all the obstacles out of the way, rolling up and removing throw rugs, import of a my "comfy chair" and "Wolf Blanket"  from the ManCave, setup of a card table with a sturdy arm-chair atop which sits my laptop and a single issue Keurig coffee-dog. I will be spending a considerable part of the next two weeks in this room, so I wanted to set it up to accommodate my interests.  Tis a good thing that I have surgery tomorrow, as the setting up of this room yesterday was a bear--the Kitten is on a ski-trip with Kitten #2.  The hip is barking mad at me today.

I have several good books to read, and if things go as they did eight and a half years ago, I'll spend a good bit of time dozing off now and then, which is fine with me.  The physical therapy starts up again Thursday morning and continues for I think four weeks.  Bottom line is pretty much invalided for two weeks, moving slow on a cane for two weeks after that, and then the long slow road back to normal and full activity--I don't know, maybe six months, maybe more.  Won't rush it.

Should you happen to be in the neighborhood, I'll be accepting visitors with enthusiasm, though I will likely be somewhat of a poor host.  I may also be a bit flatulent, as my sister Kelly can confirm from her shift nursing me through the first go-round with this.

Needless to say, if anything goes wrong, you are to carry out your last orders.  You know the rules.

On the Non-Candidacy of Mitt Romney

I was very, very surprised and saddened to hear the news on Friday that Mitt Romney had decided to sit this one out.  His earlier statements seemed to me to be issued from a made up mind, or at least I assumed that no one would make them without having already made up his mind.  I was wrong.
Mitt won't run and I think we've missed this opportunity to have a really fine President.

Note how I put that.  THIS opportunity.  That means, Mitt wasn't the only person in America who could take on the job and do it well; I have to assume there are others.  And I have to assume that at least one if not more of the hopefuls in the Republican field are up to the job and can do it better than Hillary whomever it is the Democrats nominate.

Who that will be is anyone's guess right now.  Pay no attention to any poll taken in Iowa, as the state is not suitable as an indicator of national GOP support.

What I see developing are "strata" of candidates, or groups who share a governing vibe and who will compete for common voters at least early in the primaries.  Essentially, each of the people in these strata are effectively "running against each other", and need to stand out to see who can challenge the champions of the other strata.

I see Bush and Christie in one strata.

I see Walker, Rubio, Kasich, Perry, Jindal, and Pence in another.

I see Cruz, Huckabee, Paul, Carson,  and Santorum in the final.  At this point, I don't assess any of the others who have expressed interest as having enough name recognition to get a campaign off the ground.

As I've said in the past, I don't know who is going to win the nomination, but I know who will come in second....Rand Paul.  He is a good campaigner, he projects well, and he has a solid and loyal group of people who are unlikely to cast their lot with others, even at the bitter end.  I don't think he'll every have enough support to be nominated, but I do think he'll be a force throughout the primaries.  So that gives you my sense of one of the "strata" champions.

I think Christie will be interesting, but ultimately will find himself outspent and outperformed by Bush.  So there's the champ of the second strata.

As for the middle group--it is up for grabs.  Completely and utterly.  And this group will ultimately provide at least one VERY solid Presidential candidate.

So it is going to get interesting, and it is going to happen fast.  The race is on for big donors, started by Jeb Bush's early mover status.  Hang on, because it is going to be a wild 18 months.

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