Sunday, November 29, 2015

Propaganda by polling

The propaganda is rife on the eve of the Paris climate conference. Pew Research, which is usually reasonably credible, is advertising its survey that purports to reveal "broad support for limiting emissions" around the globe. Dig through to the question asked, though, and it becomes hard to imagine any other answer:

Countries from around the world will meet in December in Paris to deal with global climate change. They will discuss an agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions, such as from burning coal or [gas/petrol]. Do you support or oppose (survey country) limiting its greenhouse gas emissions as part of such an agreement?
Yeah, well, unless you're a libertarian -- and very few people around the world are -- it is hard to argue with "limiting greenhouse gas emissions." One is forced to wonder, however, whether the results would be decisively different if one appended to the question some notion of cost, to wit: "even if it substantially increased the prices you will pay for gasoline, heating your home, and electricity?" That is such an obvious qualification that it is hard to imagine an intellectually honest poll on the subject that does not reflect the price of greenhouse gas regulation.

The Hammer's College Football Review: Week 13

Well let's get this out of the way. My WolfPack let this one get away early. We always were slow starters in big games and man did we start slow yesterday. The Heels sliced and diced us for 35 FIRST QUARTER points before we settled down and started playing a little defense. It was as ugly as it gets but the bottom line is we aren't as good. That's it, no excuses. But now comes the aftermath.

How does a team with essentially the same personnel as last year go from one of the worst defenses in the country to one of the best? How does that happen? Here's how. We've known Carolina has had the horses for a couple of years now but just couldn't get it together. So they brought in defensive specialist and national championship winning coach Gene Chiznik (14-0 Auburn 2010) to take over the defense to the tune of 700k per year (plus a little "off the books" scratch from the Rams Club I'd wager). He has performed magnificently. This illustrates Carolina's mentality to a tee, when adversity strikes double down and pony up, money can't buy you love but it can sure can buy your way out of trouble sometimes.

I look at it a bit differently. I think they've bought their way INTO trouble and maybe only just now have they realized it. Here's the deal. Carolina is a basketball school, an ACCEPTED, cream of the crop, they don't get no bigger basketball school. A basketball school with VERY FEW peers! Dirty? Hell yes! But certainly no dirtier than Kentucky. However they are, without doubt, carved in stone, never to change for all time, a SECOND TIER football school. They are NOT Alabama, Ohio State or USC... and never will be. Clemson, a football school from way back is barely in this club of which we all know who the members are and who the members ain't. That's just the way it is. This fact puts Carolina is in a very precarious situation, very precarious indeed!

How so Hammer? I'm glad you asked. This Tar Heel team is the best of my lifetime and I've been hanging around a while. Whichever team wins the ACC Championship game, and it could very well be Carolina, has a guaranteed spot in the four team playoff and a shot at the NCAA Championship! Clemson by virtue of their #1 ranking and undefeated season, UNC by virtue of their knocking off #1 and their one loss season. If the North Carolina Tar Heels win and is one of those playoff teams, if Carolina and not Clemson takes a spot from the traditional powers, and remember they'll be half a dozen very pissed off teams who think THEY deserve inclusion, then my friends the Heels with all their high powered New York lawyers  and all their money will be drowned by the tsunami of investigations that will descend on the lovely Chapel Hill campus. You cannot pull the illegal shit Carolina has pulled, up to and including running a bogus department with bogus classes for 18 LONG YEARS, and then turn around and take (for instance) Oklahoma's place in the playoff and not expect retribution! The traditional powers in college football would put so much pressure on the NCAA, Carolina would think the Russians have invaded. There would be no more foot-dragging, no more delays, no more breaks. Sanctions would be devastating and swift. People would go to prison. Forget football, a Tar Heel victory over Clemson next Saturday would spell the end of Carolina basketball for potentially twenty years! If a pissing contest ensues between football and basketball football will win by a mile every time because THAT'S WHERE THE MONEY IS! North Carolina has put themselves in the unique position of winning it all in a sport they don't care that much about at the cost of losing it all in a sport they think they own. Saturday's game is the biggest game in the history of UNC athletics. Therefore I say....GO HEELS!

Ok, that's done. Now let's talk a little football playoff. TigerHawk's Hawkeyes are getting notice. The sports establishment is asking just what we've all been asking, is Iowa for real? My view is a good passing team will beat Iowa. If they've got a weakness it's in the secondary. They don't make a lot of mistakes and they're solid, but a top team running, let's say the Wildcat would overwhelm them I'm thinking. But last I looked Michigan State didn't run that offense. Even still, sorry TigerHawk, I just don't see these guys going much further. However you may have noticed my predictions yesterday so what do I know?
Alabama has to be in unless they stumble against Florida and that ain't gonna happen. Well done Florida, great season and the program is definitely back, but it's over, see you next year.
Ohio State is maybe done but how could you leave this team out? They can beat anybody, in fact absolutely would beat just about anybody. But the numbers just ain't there.
They want a west coast team in but who? Stanford had a nice win against Notre Dame (removing them from any consideration) but no way they're good enough. There are no other west coast teams.

Right now I'd say Clemson and Alabama are locks unless they really screw up. Whoever comes out of the Big Ten Championship game is a lock as well. I'd guess Michigan State but hey, it could be Iowa. The last spot has to go to Oklahoma. Now, who SHOULD get in? Ohio state without doubt. Stumbled against Michigan State but so what? Clemson would be my next pick then Alabama and then the Big Ten champ. Oklahoma would be out. Is that going to happen? Hell to the friggin' NO!

Well that's it, it's after 11, time for a drink. By the way, how ya liking them Panthers?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Hammer's Rivalry Week Predictions 2015

CW is fond of his end of year predictions (me not so much). To me predicting what will happen in the geopolitical world is about as useful as predicting the weather three months out, but college football is a bit different. How so I haven't a clue. Anyway here are today's game predictions according to the Sage of Tickbite.

Clemson vs South Carolina: This game will break one of two ways. The Cocks will play them very tough and maybe even pull out a win or Clemson will run through 'em like Sherman burning Columbia. Get out the fire hoses. 42-7

North Carolina at NC State: After last year's embarrassment at home (35-7) the Hells are looking a little payback, and they got the team to do it. State has been hurt this year by injuries (Matt Dayes) and ejections (as in get off campus and stay off campus) Shadrach Thornton. Carolina's defense has shown more improvement than CW's waistline this year and their offense is efficient and potent (much like my wedding tackle). With much sadness I predict a Tar Heel victory 35-28

VPI at Virginia: You know you're an old bastard when you still call Va. Tech VPI (guilty as charged). This will be a tough day in for Wahooligans everywhere I'm afraid. Beamer's last game against a Virginia team that's just finishing up #1 their fourth straight losing season #2 Mike London's coaching career...well things ain't looking good in Charlottesville. Tech 24-17

Florida State at Florida: Flawda State is a young team and Jimbo Fisher ain't done a bad job this year even though two losses are unusual for the 'Noles. Down in Gainesville first year Florida head coach Jim McElwain (home to the hottest coeds in the a mile) has gotten the Gators back in their comfort zone having lost only once this year. But Florida had to suspend their outstanding QB Will Grier for getting high and trying to bang every last coed on campus (a noble pursuit but inconsistent with team rules), but then again FSU is highly suspect on the road. I don't this one a toss up.  FSU is a 2.5 point favorite, to which I say bull-fuqing-shit! 0-0

Oklahoma at Ok State: Oklahoma
Notre Dame at Stanford: Notre Dame
Ole Miss at Miss State: Ole Miss
UCLA at USC: who gives a shit?
Wisconsin at Mini-soda: Mini-soda
Alabama at Auburn: take a wild guess
Georgia at Ga. Tech: Ga. Tech
Ohio State at Michigan: Big Blue
Indiana at Purdue: I'd rather watch midget wrestling
Iowa at Nebraska: I predict Iowa 28-20

Well that's it, now go clean the garage like the old lady said!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Expungification Watch: What about Times Square?

Steven Hayward over at PowerLine mocks the editors of The New York Times -- no sophistry required to do that -- over their support for the proposition that Princeton University should expunge Woodrow Wilson from his place of honor on its campus. Hayward points out that the Times had endorsed Wilson, an "unrepentant racist," in 1912 and 1916, long after Wilson's attitudes had manifested in policies that were plainly evident even to those editors.

Curiously, today's editors made no mention of the manifest racism of their predecessors, or even the paper's own error in that endorsement. All the news that's fit to print, indeed.

Regardless, we are aghast that the iconic center of Bill de Blasio's Manhattan still goes by the name of "Times Square," named as it is for an institution that went out of its way, with malice aforethought, to endorse the unrepentant racist Woodrow Wilson. We await on pins and needles the editorial from the not-all-that repentant NYT, 2015 edition, to demand that Times Square revert to its historical name, Longacre Square, in the spirit of the, er, times.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Boot-licking reporters and journalistic "ethics" in Clinton-world

Gawker has a great story, scraped from emails produced in a FOIA lawsuit, that exposes Mike Allen, Politico's Chief White House correspondent, as a world-class devotee of boot sole. In order to get an interview with Chelsea Clinton, Allen promised her handler (Deputy Secretary of State Philippe Reines, who apparently had the job of publicist or gatekeeper for the Secretary's adult daughter, a fact that itself would be considered very out-of-bounds if it happened in any non-governmental corporation) that the interview would be, essentially, no-risk publicity for Chelsea. Allen positively grovels:

This would be a way to send a message during inaugural week: No one besides me would ask her a question, and you and I would agree on them precisely in advance. This would be a relaxed conversation, and our innovative format (like a speedy Playbook Breakfast) always gets heavy social-media pickup. The interview would be “no-surprises”: I would work with you on topics, and would start with anything she wants to cover or make news on. Quicker than a network hit, and reaching an audience you care about with no risk.
Mmmm! Boot be tasty!

Sorry to share something so degrading this early in the morning, and on the verge of a nice holiday at that. But if your "progressive" niece chokes out her Obamacare talking points per HuffPo, you can roll this baby out in retaliation.

Regardless, I have a modest proposal that would put an end to this sort of thing, or at least shine a light on it.

Journalism, which claims the status of a "profession" without any of the regulation that goes along with one, could very easily establish a norm -- call it an ethical rule -- that would separate genuinely independent work from the pseudo-PAC propaganda pushed by most journalists: Before every interview or feature, append a simple statement that describes the extent to which the subject had any control or influence over the questions before they were asked, or any ability to review the story before it was published. An example: "In order to secure this interview with Chelsea Clinton, Politico promised that Clinton's representative would agree on the precise questions in advance, that there would be no surprises, that Politico and Clinton's representative would collaborate on the topics addressed in those questions, and that Clinton would have an opportunity to speak on any subject important to her at the beginning of the interview."

Then we can all decide whether the interview is worth reading or not.

It is hard to imagine a more obvious reform. Since it has not been adopted, we can assume the press is in league with its subjects more often than not, and reporters should be considered flacks for their subjects unless they establish otherwise.

CWCID: Glenn Reynolds.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Deliver Us From the Clueless

Friday night I was minding my own business, relaxing, watching a little idiot-tube after a hard day in the salt mines and what do I come across but a Republican "communications consultant". Oh Joy! As you might imagine I was all ears. After all, over the past several years have we not gotten our asses kicked mightily by the news media, social media, popular name it? Obviously we are not communicating our message well, otherwise campaigns like "Pajama Boy" would have never made it past the brainstorming stage. The Democrats have a very effective propaganda machine and I want our side to study their methods and at the very least neutralize their message but preferably go on the attack and put them on the defensive for a change. So, how do we do this Mr. Big-Time Consultant?

Wow, talk about let down! To me this was very disheartening to think somebody like this has influence over our messaging. I came away thinking this guy is part of the problem, in fact this guy (and others like him) may BE the problem. Anyway the pearls of wisdom this gentleman espoused were things like "We study the language of leadership, what Americans are looking for now is a leader". Sounds great, tell me more. "They're looking for someone who is responsible with their rhetoric, positive about solutions, this whole notion of getting into a fight about whether we call it Radical Islamic terrorism or whether we point fingers at others...we've tested it" So we shouldn't call it Islamic terrorism because you're worried about the language, you're worried about being PC? We shouldn't put the words Islam together with terrorism? "Everyone knows who we're talking about at this point. The time we spend talking about the language, we politicize the situation and take the focus away from agreeing on the solution. We have much less of a gap on policy solutions than we do on this rhetorical debate of what to call it." This has all been "focus group tested" we are assured.

I'll just bet it has. I'd also bet the focus group were self described "moderates" of the type the GOP is forever obsessing about. The country clubbers listen to a guy like this, they tone down their language to the most white bread, least offensive possible and then proceed to get their 40% (if they're lucky) of the conflict averse, muddy middle all the while alienating five million base conservatives who would have otherwise turned out and voted Republican. Brilliant strategy. I just wish our consultants would change sides. Maybe then we wouldn't have to deal with things like this.

President Obama compared congressional Republicans who reject his nuclear deal to Iranian hardliners who chant “death to America” during a speech selling the agreement with Tehran at American University Wednesday.

In Congress, Republicans have a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life. 

Harry Reid sees a common thread in GOP White House field: ‘They’re all losers’

Pelosi: The GOP is 'a political party at war with its own government'

One would think this kind of rhetoric would scare the hell out of our mild-mannered GOP Super-Genius consultant class and their testosterone free focus groups. But apparently it's only a problem when conservatives use blunt language.

Buy a clue Republicans, taking (and actually paying for) advise from clueless losers will get you nowhere. Ask Mitt Romney.

The Hammer's College Football Review: Week 12 (to hell with it, I'm getting drunk edition)

The wheels on the bus go round and round and it just ran over THE Ohio State Buckeyes. Man what a defense those Spartans have! Michigan State shut down OSU's running game like they were the '78 Steelers, most especially in the second half. The Buckeyes with this big late season loss at home, well that pretty much does it for the playoff. You know I'm not at all surprised. A team that has three quarterbacks has no quarterbacks and an implosion is potentially just a game away. I know these guys are defending champions but they haven't really been pushed to the limit this year, Michigan State has. Up against a top defense something cracked in the foundation. That was the difference in the game. Now it's on to the undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes for Big Green.

Speaking of Iowa, the Hawkeyes are a well coached, fundamentally sound football team with some good wins against quality competition. But they haven't played the likes of an Alabama or Clemson. Yes indeed Pitt is respectable, Wisconsin and Northwestern are GOOD football teams. But Iowa hasn't even played the best in their conference so who knows? Next week they play a struggling but again respectable Nebraska in Lincoln. I expect them to win. But in the Big Ten Championship game I wouldn't wager a penny on them. Sorry TigerHawk, we know they're good, the question is are they THAT good? We shall see.

I can sure tell you who ain't good however, and that is the South Carolina Gamecocks. Ordinarily they wouldn't deserve a mention with the disaster that has beset Columbia this year, but news is defined by extremes sometimes. The University of South Carolina Gamecocks' loss to the Citadel yesterday must be unendurable to the Gamecock faithful. I'll let The State newspaper describe what happened.
"The Citadel handed South Carolina its first loss to a Football Championship Subdivision team in 25 years, 23-22 in front of 77,241 fans at Williams Brice Stadium, but it wasn’t an upset. It was the first loss by any SEC team to an FCS school since Florida lost to Georgia Southern in 2013, but it wasn’t an upset. It was The Citadel’s first win over a Football Bowl Subdivision team in its last 29 tries, but it wasn’t an upset."

I don't know about you, but sounds like to me somebody in Columbia is disgusted, upset and just tired of be tired of this crappy football team. How in the hell did a Steve Spurrier recruited and coached team fall so far so fast? Sheet fur I should have been able to coach this team to a win over the Citadel, from 40 rows up half drunk. Looks like interim head coach Shawn Neverheardofyou will be job hunting real soon.

And then there's Clemson. I actually think next weeks game in Williams Brice is up for grabs. The Cocks have hit rock bottom and they've got nothing to lose. They hate Clemson's ass like the Israelis and Pallies and would like nothing better than to ruin Clemson's run. In fact with a win over Clemson they would consider the season a success. Now if Clemson were 5-6 it wouldn't matter, but knocking Clemson off the top rung, man that would be SWEET. Clemson better be ready.

That's about it. Oklahoma State lost but no real surprise. I am surprised they stayed undefeated this long. Next week they have Oklahoma in Norman so we'll see. This is just another rival showdown on rivalry week. LOTS of big games and lots more shakeups to come. I do want to thank CW who pussied out on a proposed wager thereby saving me $75.00. Duke was a 2.5 point underdog against the Wahoos in Charlottesville and my wager was I'll take Duke even for a Cohiba sampler. No dice said CW. Just saved myself a weeks pay.

Not to be blasphemous or anything but if you have a God please pray to him/her for the Wolfpack to smite the unjust, criminal, cheating lowlife North Carolina Tar Heels next Saturday. This matchup transcends sport. This is good versus evil. This is Elliott Ness and Al Capone, Allies Axis, the West vs Islamic Jihad kinda stuff and we'll need all the help we can get. Thank you and God Bless.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What's wrong, chum? Your college basketball team drop its SECOND GAME OF THE SEASON? Or its first?  Your health care provider jumping out of Obamacare?

Share your pain, friends. Share it.

159 today. Gotta drop five.

Hey I've Got This...Hey, No You Don't!

When I was a kid we used to play pickup basketball at Fairfield gym in my hometown. On Saturdays in the winter we would literary play from around nine in the morning until around maybe ten at night (or whenever we were thrown out). We had a fairly eclectic group of players, young 16-17 year olds like me (some younger if they were good) and a few twenty somethings already married with jobs. The rules were you get a team together and call a game (we're next!) and you hold the court until you loose. The game was to 21 with each basket counting as one and you had to win by two. Games in the forties were not all that uncommon.
Well one Saturday I arrived late and there must have been fifty guys there so I had to take what I could get in terms of teammates. So I teamed up with some other stragglers (a group of county guys who had arrived together) and we anxiously waited a good two hours for our turn. The etiquette is when you get on the court you choose a man to cover defensively (it's all man to man defense). Well I chose Mark (no last name please) who was a lightening quick, highly skilled little guard (Wake Forest 76-80). I didn't know if I could cover Mark as I had been struggling with a twisted ankle for about a week, but I didn't think any of the guys I was playing with could. Remember, we had sat around for at least two hours just to get our asses on the court and if we lost I'd be waiting around another two hours unless I could catch on with another group! Damn-it I wanted to win and I also wanted to hang Mark's ass out to dry. But some 18 year old county high school senior insisted on taking him. It didn't go well.
Our opposition had only two players worth a damn, but that's all they needed. With Mark playmaking and 6-4 ex-All-Conference forward "Tuna" (can't even remember his real name) working the inside, well they were slicing us up. Mark was absolutely running wild and something had to be done. I tried sloughing off my guy and helping out but Mark was too quick and if I committed completely he'd find MY guy and MY guy would score and YOURS TRULY would look like an idiot. Well, when the score was like 12-3 I suggested in my famously diplomatic way that we should switch defensive assignments and I'll take Mark. Well, even the suggestion of such a thing by a younger guy to an older guy is a very serious breech of protocol requiring an immediate response. I was berated in the harshest possible terms and reminded of my age and inferior status (basketball skills not withstanding). As you might imagine we lost badly and the consensus among my teammates (the clique of county boys) it was my fault. Lesson learned.

This is EXACTLY the way I feel when I'm told the "outsiders" are losers by the establishment. Oh a Trump or Carson or Cruz may win the primaries they say, but in the general we need a professional who can appeal to the general electorate. Well that's fine, but let's look at the professionals and see what we've got.
Jeb: I actually like Jeb Bush. I think he would be a good administrator, have the proper respect for the office and his competence is unquestionable. The problem is Jeb is a garrison general. Jeb is George McClellan when a US Grant is what's required. In 1996 or 2000 Jeb would be perfect, not now. The times require an Alpha Male on steroids and that's not Jeb.
John Kasich: Kasich is a little too eager to cross the aisle. Unlike Scott Walker Kasich made deals with the unions in Ohio, he didn't take them down. When I hear him say "Come on, we can't deport 11 million" I'm thinking come on, it was 11 million in the 90's, the actual number of illegals is 30-50 million, no one knows for sure. THAT'S the problem. Gov Kasich either knows this FACT and is blowing smoke up our ass or is ill-informed. Either way he deserves ejection from the game.
Marco: Look I like Marco. He's a smart, talented individual and I look forward to voting for him...but not right now. I could say he's inexperienced and leave it at that, but that's not all. This may sound a little crazy but I want Marco to lose some more. An undefeated team that crushes their opposition over and over is always suspect. Losing is a valuable life experience and one that Marco needs.

The biggest issue, and I've said this repeatedly (ask CW) is immigration. It's not the only issue and it won't necessarily get you elected, but being on the wrong side is a death sentence. The nominee of this party must be a STRONG proponent of the enforcement of our immigration laws ALREADY ON THE BOOKS. The American people are scared. They see a President and a Democratic Party that is out of touch and GLEEFULLY unresponsive to their concerns. From tech workers who have lost their jobs to H-1B imports to union members at odds with watermelon environmentalists (green on the outside, red on the inside) to coal miners to academics (yes academics who feel besieged) to the unemployed to the underemployed from sea to shining sea, they are all unhappy. The people see a President who is offended and indignant at the very reasonable concerns for national security in regards to "Syrian" refugees. His pigheaded intransigence is on full display and he is not helping himself, Hillary Clinton or the Democratic Party.

This election is ours to lose. However, if by some miracle Marco or Jeb or Kasich is the nominee then I am there with my support, as I have always been. But if said nominee goes on to LOSE to Hillary talking their "crossing the aisle, let's all get along, pathway to citizenship" bullshit when it's our belief this is THE PERFECT YEAR for an outsider, then my friend we will be parting company. We, meaning the conservative base of the Republican Party have done our part. We have been team players. Take a hard look at your candidate. If you are not 100% sure he can cover Mark then do us all a favor and get the hell out of the way.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The GOP's "Get Serious" Moment

As a late-20's conservative from the Midwest, I didn't realize I could care more about politics until I had a son. With "his" first presidential race coming up, there is a new desperation to do everything I can to ensure the country he grows up inspires in him the same awe it did for me as a child.

This is why we conservatives need to get serious. The Paris attacks were an act of war by an organization grown in the vacuum provided by successful enacting of bad leftist diplomatic theory. From Libya, to Ukraine, to Iraq, Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba - a systemic inability to demonstrate credibility has left the global order itself in question.

It is a failed policy of those informed by "fact checking" done by interns with campaign crib sheets or new-media journalists don't have an attention span longer than 5 years. It is a Vox foreign policy, and one we cannot afford for another 8 years. The GOP must nominate someone who is a capable and believable Head of State, who is a competent Commander and Chief. As conservatives who believe in small government, we inherently believe these duties to be the primary ones of the president.

Unfortunately, Trump is already seeing a bump. Ann Coulter claimed that the Paris Attacks were the night Donald Trump was elected. If she is right, if Trump is our nominee - conservatives will lose this election because the American people trust us on foreign policy and security, but watched us nominate a clown instead.

As a movement, we cannot take ourselves seriously if we then choose a candidate whose incompetence is a parallel to the superficiality of MSNBC, Salon, and Gawker. In a time when military and diplomatic decision making are increasingly important, the GOP front runner is a man who doesn't know the difference between a fighter and a bombercan't name the legs of the nuclear triad are, and thinks he was in the military because of his boarding school. No surprise from a man who admits to getting his military advice from "watching shows." To those who mistakenly think he can negotiate his way out of putting our military at risk, he can't even identify who he has to negotiate with. Trump is the "Vox" candidate - a mile wide, but a neck-snapping inch deep if he's ever required to get any real work done for the nation. When this amateurism is given any more authority than blog post privileges, it gets people killed.

If conservatives plan to go on the offensive against the degradation and destruction of a global order built over decades, they cannot be afraid to go on the political offensive against Donald Trump. The GOP's silken-glove approach to the famously explosive tantrum thrower has allowed him to thrive in a permissive space. Trump voters are mad at a party that will not fight - and the Republican candidates allow Trump to thrive by permitting him to win fights he has conjured out of whole cloth.

Republicans can and must force Trump to fight in their territory - a national security landscape where he will stumble and fall. Republicans must unrelentingly reveal to Trump supporters, and to those sitting on the fence, the terrifying incompetence behind his empty rhetoric.  Rand Paul showed how effective competent aggression can be against Trump when Trump wrongly announced that China was a signatory of the TPP. The GOP showed how not to combat Trump by ceding to his demands on debate time. Trump is supported because he can put on a guise of strength - his supporters will abandon him if the emperor is drawn too far out into the light in his "new clothes,"

Of course, this battle should be waged by only some of the Republican candidates. The longer Trump stays in front with only a 30% plurality of the vote, the longer he can maintain a façade of legitimacy. Roughly 70% of the Republican vote is currently split among 10 different candidates. If these candidates walked the talk, they would demonstrate the selflessness of Governor Romney, who preemptively ceded the field to newer leadership. Governor Jindal, wisely, chose to cede the field as Perry and Walker did before him. All worthy candidates who realized it was not their time. Meanwhile, Governor Bush is running a dead campaign, and attacking candidates with a chance of victory. Ted Cruz is courting Donald Trump, which is unbecoming of someone who values principled leadership. Governor Kasich, by all accounts a winning governor of a bellwether state, still plods along despite a less-enamored nation. Governor Christie is ruining renewed interest by decrying orphans (only Trump can get away with that stuff).  Governor Huckabee is still campaigning for another TV show. These are all becoming or are no-chance campaigns. 7 years ago we laughed about "hope" not being a policy. We should apply the same standard to ourselves. Getting serious is to knowing when to be a member of the supporting cast and play for the team win.

If the GOP loses the election, which we will with Trump as nominee or after a political horse trade that will drive his former supporters from the voting booth, we cede another 8 years to decline. Secretary Clinton will face the same China, Russia, and Iran that bested her, and a terrorist organization she ignored. Whether the GOP wins will determine whether we, as a nation, have given up.

We have been playing a game, which is Trump's natural habitat as a casino magnate. However, this is real life - it is time to get serious.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Dispatch from the Road

I awoke fully rested at 0345, which is fine when one goes to sleep before 60 minutes is over. Yes, I am in San Diego again, with my internal clock remaining on Easton time. I flew here yesterday, taking the opportunity before I left to post a Facebook shot of my standard travel rig (blazer, white t, track pants, trainers) which elicited far more discussion than it merited--but that's Facebook. I wish I had taken as much time thinking about my preparation, as I traveled without neck ties and without the power cord to my laptop.

The neckties were easily (and cheaply) remedied with a trip to some discount clothing mill called "Ross", a place I had never before been and wish never to return to. On a Sunday afternoon, the place was crawling with bargain hungry customers, clothes were strewn about, there seemed no order whatsoever to the place. I almost gave up looking when I happened upon a tie rack that had a few decent choices on it. Even better though, were the prices--$7.99 and $9.99 respectively.  They'll do just fine.

The power cord is a bit more of an issue. The previous one suffered a massive casualty last week in which the the cord essentially wore away at the AC adapter, but in my mind, this was not an issue as I believed that I had another. This belief was false however, and so Amazon is spiriting a few of these bad boys to me while I am here. I will use the battery until it dies, and then rely solely upon my phone for computing power from here.

It rained here yesterday. Rain is a noteworthy occurrence in Southern California. I happened to be at a local grocery chain buying pre-cooked hard boiled eggs (keeps the breakfast costs down--my clients appreciate my thriftiness) and the place was jammed. The conversation in line revealed clear consensus that it was due to the rain--as if people here did what we in the East do when it is going to snow. Odd.  But then again, this is California.

I will be here through Wednesday evening, and then redeye back to Easton. I have been assigned full Turkey duty this year, which means selecting and cooking, and so I will likely begin that process on Thursday and Friday. We normally field a crowd of a dozen on Thanksgiving, and so something in the neighborhood of 22-24 lbs ought to do. This will be my ninth Thanksgiving with the Kitten et Kittens, and it is my firm belief that they are nearing a consensus view that I should be invited back next year.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Hammer's Journal de Football Collégial: Week 11

To begin with let us all pray for our French brothers in arms who have experienced unimaginable tragedy this weekend. My hope is God gives them the strength to do what must be done. Enough said.

This time in the season is a very dangerous time indeed for teams in the hunt. You've played a good few games. Other coaches have the film, they know what you like to do and how you like to do it. Your guys are a little banged up at this stage. They're a little tired. They find it hard to get up for a team they know is inferior. If you make it through next week, two weeks from now is rivalry week. This week and next week is where upsets can and will happen. So, you've got to keep your kids focused on some 5-5 team and to not think about the 4-6 RIVAL (if you're lucky they're 4-6, they could be 9-1) you've got after that which will give you every last thing they've got so as to screw up your championship run...well, needless to say it's a tall order. I can tell you this though, there will be surprises the next two weeks. Somebody will go down HARD! If, let's say South Carolina takes down Clemson (I am in NO WAY predicting this) would anybody be shocked? Hell no! So there you go.

Alright, who got a scare yesterday and who screwed the pooch? Well number one on the scare list has to be Oklahoma State followed close behind by Iowa. Mini-soda played Iowa tough, probably their best game since the opening loss to TCU. However no shame there, Iowa is damn good football team. They've got a well balanced, potent offense and defensively they've solid. I'm starting to like this team. However Oklahoma State should have lost yesterday. They dicked around most of the game as is per usual. Look, these dudes can ring that cash register and against a vastly inferior team like Iowa State they should have hung 70 points on the Cyclones. But they like to sleepwalk through most of the game and then do the old John Elway thing in the 4th quarter. Ok fine. But they got a one loss Baylor and the Oklahoma Sooners coming up. Let's see how that strategy works for the Cowboys. Look for them to get mauled!

Speaking of losing... Baylor. Oklahoma shut down their running game and rattled the Bears freshman QB who replaced starter Seth Russell after he got his neck broke (or some shit) a couple of weeks ago. The Sooners are one of those teams that lost early (Texas) but just doesn't have the mojo to make it into the playoff even if they do win out against Ok. State and TCU. Oh well, somebody get Chuck Fairbanks on the phone. Is he still alive?

Well let's talk about the best of the rest. Who are the best teams right now that haven't a hope in hell of making the playoff?
1. Arkansas. I know, they got a shitty record, but these guys are bangers. They couldn't win a championship if you held a gun to their heads but they can beat anybody on any given Saturday. Ask LSU.
2. Florida. The Gators are a year away but even still, when they get into the SEC Championship game against the Tide, Saban better have his boys ready. Florida has something to prove.
3. Michigan State. They fuqued up, that's all I gotta say.
4. North Carolina. It disgusts me to say this but Carolina can play with anybody. They're the second best team in the ACC and without doubt if they hadn't lost to South Carolina first game they'd be ranked 5 or 6. This is one of the best offensives they've ever had and certainly the best since Dick Crum's 1980 team (Amos Lawrence, homeboy Ron Wooten, Lawrence Taylor) that went 11-1. I wasn't around for "Choo Choo" Justice so my frame of reference is limited but currently they're in the midst of their longest winning streak since 1914. One can only hope everybody on campus gets indicted for corruption but that appears unlikely. UNC has spent 11.5 million dollars in legal and other fees (PR firms etc.) with people like the New York City law firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft (founded 1792) to make this NOT happen. By the way, these guys are GOOD! They got me out of a indecent exposure charge a few years ago (hey, I had to piss ok!?) for which I am forever grateful. Of course I am permanently banned from all Applebees but that's ok.

Well that's all I got. The next two weeks should be a lot of fun.
Viva la France!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Paris Terror

Like many of you I am sure, I spent much of last evening glued to the telly (and Twitter) watching coverage of the terror attacks in Paris, perpetrated almost certainly by one or another subsidiary of radical Islam. I grow weary of apologists who lecture me on the vast number of Mohammedans who are not actively involved in terror. Yes. I am bright enough to make a distinction. But I am also bright enough to realize that there is a vast heat sink of support that exists for radical Islam nestled snugly in the heart of "moderate" Islam. One simply does not exist without the oxygen supplied by the other. Not to mention the double standard applied to "moderate" Islam, one that rises when one considers the lunacy of a hypothetical. worldwide Catholic terror organization dedicated to the restoration of the Holy Roman Empire actively killing people in modern national capitals, who behead apostates for the sport of YouTube videos. "Moderate" Catholics would be pilloried daily and the entire religion would be smeared and rooted out by secular governments appalled by the anti-modernity and the violence.  Such a hypothetical (as you already know) is playing out before our eyes, while our leaders speak of  "the struggle against violent extremism" (Clinton, Hillary Rodham) without the courage to name its source.

We--the font of freedom and liberty in the modern world--have become content to diminish ourselves as agents of goodness and right, preferring instead to ponder what additional benefits we might receive from the sweat of the brows of others, while our ability to contend with horrors such as last night's continues to decline. The vermin who carried this out are hatched and succored from a known location, their supply lines and their means of funding are known, and their general movements are well-understood. We (the West) knew and know with certainty that evil-doers were sprinkled among the refugees, but our empathy prevented acting to stem the tide.  What is required is the will to challenge them, but we appear to be lacking it.  Were the will present, the ways are increasingly absent.  We look at our defense budget as that which is to be resourced after all else is well-stocked, rather than that which is first to be funded. We "lead from behind" while doing the absolute minimum to retain some semblance of world leadership, creating for ourselves seemingly insoluble situations through our weakness and then shrugging our shoulders at the lack of good options available.

Some see last night's violence as the path to the Presidency of a candidate without restraint, who makes them believe that he is all powerful, all knowing, and all capable. He provides us with this persona through his carefully managed irresponsibility aimed at whipping up the masses without so much as a plan for a plan nor a hint as to who would help him implement it, had he stumbled upon one. Perhaps, but I will prefer to continue to believe the American public will select a man or woman of balance, strength, resolve, and character as the reality of what we face further wakes us from our increasingly isolationist slumber.

It is high time that serious people began to run the show once again.  Let us hope that we are not too much damaged before they can grab an oar.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Debate: The Day After

As most of you know, I am a Rubio supporter (and fundraiser--see your great opportunity to donate off the right side of this page).  I think he clearly won each of the previous debates, and the contests were not close.

I'd say he either tied Cruz last night or was nipped in the end by Cruz opportunistically jumping onto the "experience" question Rubio was asked. Either way, he clearly remains the class of the field.

The surprise of the evening was Rand Paul--who jumped on Marco like a hobo with a ham sandwich--and he did so by rediscovering his (Paul's) libertarian roots.  Rubio is out with a broad-based plan to increase defense spending, and if you add it all up and multiply it across ten years, some analysts think it would cost $1T.  I won't quibble with that estimate, but I will only remind you that in that 10 years, the Federal Gov't will spend over $35T, and so an additional $1T to shore up our increasingly unprepared defenses seems reasonable to me.  Oh, and don't forget that in that 10 years, our economy will be worth over $200T.

Rand was the guy I always figured would be standing at the end to face the eventual nominee.  The problem he's had though, is that he's been running less as a libertarian and more as a Republican, and as a Republican, he's pretty bad.  Reverting to his libertarian roots last night was a smart move, and while I utterly disagree with him on his isolationism and his craven attack on Rubio's defense plan, as a tactical move, it was smart.  As was his attack on Rubio's enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) plan, but this will ultimately be an unsatisfying line of attack, as Rubio continues to point out that even if those receiving it have no income tax liability, they continue to pay payroll taxes--and so they are in fact, receiving their own money back -- which remains--even in this weird environment-- a bedrock conservative position.

Cruz was good--very good.  But I am not a fan.

!Jeb did not move the needle, and we are at the beginning of the end of his candidacy I believe.

Kasich as a royal pain in the ass, and he played himself right out of the VP stakes with his holier than though bullshit.

Carson was believable, reasonable, and straightforward.  I am growing to like him more and more.

Fiorina was less effective than in the past-- this "lets take our government back" cry is a little annoying.

Finally, he who shall not be named continued to beclown himself with his detail free platitudnal mumblings.

As for the debate itself--my goodness, what an improvement.  With the exception of Kasich's annoying interruptions, this was a high minded, substantial debate with really good questions and really good back and forths (especially Rubio and Paul).

I would dearly like to see a foreign and defense policy debate conducted on the same terms.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Random Ramblings from the Sage of Tickbite

Do you ever read Phyllis Schlafly? Probably not, I doubt most of you have even heard of her. I myself first became aware of her during Reagan's campaign of 1980. I was a senior at TIT (Tickbite Institute of Technology...I keep having to mention that!) and my professors, believe it or not, HAD heard of her, and they HATED her living guts! You know the emotion of hatred is rarely invested in those you believe powerless or intellectually inferior. Hatred is reserved for those you loathe and fear, and so it was (and is) for Mrs. Schlafly. But she always was a feisty old broad so she can handle it. I would put her on the same plane as Maggie Thatcher in regards to temperament and intellect, and Ann Coulter LOVES her! Anyway she's got a column out urging our new and improved Speaker (a Mr. Paul Ryan) to take back Congress' Constitutional power (obligations) that our previous chain-smoking, alcoholic Speaker chose to not exercise.

What I found especially interesting in the column was she mentioned Congress' power to regulate "inferior" courts, meaning all federal courts apart from the Supreme Court. Imagine if Congress had showed some balls and fired the Carter appointee (eliminated the court, no court no judge) who struck down Prop 187, which was perfectly within their purview? Then of course it becomes a MAJOR political battle but what argument could be made against a plebiscite? The opposition's position could very easily be turned into an argument against democracy itself. What is one person's opinion against the vote of the people? And if this had indeed happened how many judges would think twice before they flew off into progressive land where disgrace and unemployment awaits? Now before you say it I am well aware this is a radical departure from tradition. So what? We've seen a lot of radical departures from tradition in the last 30 years, all from the opposition. They never let things like tradition and fair play get in the way of their agenda. Their rule is if you can do it, do it, we'll sell the thing and fix the politics later. Furthermore how "radical" is it for a Speaker to give away every last Constitutional power to an authoritarian "radical" President? All I counsel is using our Constitutional powers to advance OUR agenda, no more no less. Our reticence (cowardice actually) is why we are constantly on the  defensive and how's that been working out for us since Reagan? Buy a clue and grow a pair Mr. Ryan, we'll all be better off.

A big shout out to CW who is running with the big boys these days. He recently testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee and did some shit out at the Reagan Library. I always knew he would make good. CW has the full package; he's smart, he's ambitious and he's short. Now don't sell being short short. The fire that burns in the belly of short mofos must be intense. Look at Napoleon,, Gary Coleman. These are guys who never let the indignity of shopping in the boys department impact their lives. Now I know what you're thinking, "But Hammer, CW's opinion is useless these days. He's too interested in being Secretary of the Navy to give an honest appraisal of current events". Well that may be true my friends, and he may be a careerist jerk but he's our friend and we must support him in every way possible. Some of us are born to greatness and some born to obscurity (me for example). Besides, if things do work out can you imagine going to DC and dropping in on our "good friend" the Secretary of whatever? Hell I may even be able to get that ugly incident with the street walker and the fire hydrant expunged from my service record. How the hell was I to know who some damn carabinieri is related to? The Army was real uptight in those days! Anyway well done CW, we're all proud of you.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Recap of the Weekend in California

I am at 30-some-odd-thousand feet four hours from Dulles having left LAX, an airport that has seen better days. But then again, I suppose I should say that for most of our airports. I'll land at Dulles near 7PM and then have my 2 hr drive back to the Shore.  Somewhere along the way will be sustenance, but I have no clue as to what at this point.

I arrived at LAX on Friday as scheduled, at midday.  My rental chariot (Chrysler 300) was in its appointed stall, which was however unequaled in distance from where we were left off the bus. I love airports where rental cars are on property--the extra bus rides on both ends are a pain.  The ride to Westlake from LAX was typical Southern CA Friday afternoon...crowded, but moving.  My plane was full of folks who inhabit the same national security know-it-all bubble as I, some friends of long standing.

Having nothing on my agenda until 1900, I got to the Hyatt and fiddlefaddled for a bit, including a two hour nap.  Upon waking, I saw that some colleagues were meeting for drinks by the firepit, and I happened upon them as I headed down to the gym to create some caloric room for dinner that evening. I rejoined them after the workout and had a delightful chat as the chill of the evening began to manifest itself.  Having to get myself together for dinner, I begged off and began my toilette.

Bond, James Bond
This evening's dinner was to be in the company of a number of generally right-wing national security types, to talk, and plot, and scheme.  I knew most of the folks in the room, and the ones I didn't know were people whose names I knew.  Thinking this the appropriate venue to debut the killer new suit, I sought the advice of my (female) friends around the firepit about whether or not to wear a tie--both said no, we were in Southern CA.  As it turned out, of the fifteen or so men there, only three were tieless.

The dinner was interesting, and there was a sense of both hope and frustration in the room.  Hope that we (GOP) would have a good chance next November, frustration with the Congress and the Administration for having gotten defense into the pickle that it is currently in.

After dinner, I headed back for the night, but not before joining a good friend at the bar for a nightcap (club soda, lime). Together, we schemed about how we would change the world for a good twenty minutes, and then it was time for bed.

In the morning, I skipped the workout (bad boy) and met a couple of friends bright and early to drive them to the Reagan Library for the National Defense Forum.  One was going to stay for a VIP dinner there afterward, and the other was going to join me and a few others for dinner elsewhere.  As it turns out, all of these plans pretty much crashed at the end of the long day, but good intentions were on display at its dawn.

I won't bore you with details of the day, but suffice it to say it was 1) interesting 2) well attended and 3) a maximal networking event.  I had a lot of good conversations, met some new interesting people, and rubbed elbows with the great, the near great, and the once great.  I breakfasted with Reagan Speechwriter Peggy Noonan and former California Governor Pete Wilson, both happily in the latter category.  There were more folks from the Democrat national security scene than in the past, and I think the folks organizing it are actively trying to make it non-partisan.  But when you hold it at the Reagan Library, you're likely to get a heavily right wing crowd.

The plan for after the forum was a group of six or so would head out to get steaks, and then we'd retire to the home of one of the group who had rented a place in the hills from AirBnB.  As the day went on, news arose of a couple of VIP's from the event who had indicated that they were going to join us at the house in the hills for drinks, and so the guys who were renting the place begged out of dinner to go home, buy beer, and clean up.  Two other folks got roped into the VIP dinner afterward, so I and one other went out for a steak.

We ate at a place called the Prime Steakhouse, which was sort of a neighborhood joint.  There was a single large dining room with a bar on one wall, and the place was pretty crowded.  In one corner was a straightup lounge singer, a la Bill Murray on Saturday night live.  He had a little music machine feeding a small speaker that he essentially Karaoke'd to--and I was of course, delighted by this little slice of Americana.  If you haven't been to California, you might not have a sense that while it is a huge, diverse, place, it is littered with little towns/suburbs each of which has its own character, and each of which could easily be found in Tennessee or Wisconsin.

After a bit, we received news that the VIP's had begged out of the house party that was planned, but we decided to soldier on, and so headed back to the hotel to get into some more comfortable clothes--I into my Addidas track pants and UVA pullover, which was my transit rig to California and which is my transit rig as I write.

The home where the two colleagues were ensconced was pretty cool, and they had prepared well for a big crowd--although I and my co-conspirator were ultimately the only ones to show up.  The highlight of the evening for me was after having complemented one of the guys on how cute his kids are, I was regaled with a story of how he personally delivered the third one in the vestibule of his front door.  Nearing ten, I motioned to my friend and we alighted to our escape vehicle.

Hannah, Pluto.  Champions
I woke this morning and packed before heading down to the restaurant to break my fast.  Having not checked in with The Kitten during the trip, I was unaware of the great triumph that had occurred.  Kitten #2---expert equestrienne--one a show that crowned her as some manner of great champion, a bittersweet accomplishment as her pony--Pluto--would at the end of that day be trailered off to its new owner who had bought it from The Kitten (Kitten 2 having outgrown it).  I learned fo this by opening my Facebook account and seeing the picture below.  With great pride and happiness, I began to cry like a little baby at breakfast---happy that Hannah had won, but a little wistful in knowing how she loved that pony so....

And so I find myself now jetting across flyover country enroute home, eta 2200 hrs (land at 1900, two hours transit, stop for dinner).  Busy week ends Sunday with another trip across country back to San Diego.

The Hammer's College Football RoundUp: Week 10

What a Saturday of college football! Not since the '71 Nebraska Cornhuskers cruised into Norman with that GREATEST EVER defense (7 all Big Eight, 4 All Americans, 2 Outland Trophy winners; Rich Glover and Larry Jacobson) and put a hurting on Greg Pruitt and that wicked Oklahoma wishbone have I seen such defensive excellence! Alabama's defense yesterday was superb! What the Tide did should be studied at West Point along with Jackson's Valley Campaign and Patton's relief of Bastogne. LSU's great runningback Leonard Fournette who AVERAGES almost 200 yards per game got a grand total of 31 yards yesterday at Bryant-Denny! And Jesus Christ 18 of those yards came on a run where he FINALLY got to the outside! I didn't in a million years think ANYBODY could put the clamps on LSU's running game like that! I'm not surprised Alabama won but I'm very surprised at how they won. So, delete Leonard Fournette and insert Derrick Henry on your Heisman list.

How 'bout those other Tigers? Clemson finally got the Seminole monkey off their backs. This was another defensive struggle at least after FSU's opening drive 75 yard TD run. Everything stayed locked until the 4th quarter when Clemson finally took control, but the game was a lot closer than the final score. FSU was never out of it until very late. Clemson is a GREAT football team and just like in '81 they are scrappers. They're gonna be a tough out.

And then there's the Tar Heels, the Tar Heels. As I've said before their defense is outstanding. The question is, is it capable of stopping Clemson? Carolina has been lucky in their schedule. The teams they have beaten are all over the and cold. Ga. Tech, UVA, Pitt; nobody knows what these teams are gonna do week to week. The Heels got a great win yesterday against Duke which I think is their most significant win to date. I'm thinking Duke is just suffering a hangover from last week's Miami loss. But win they did so who knows, they may be indeed for real. Next up they've got Miami at home, Va. Tech in Blacksburg and NC State in Raleigh. They could lose them all or win them all and nobody would bat an eye. It's gonna take a win over Clemson in the ACC Championship game (assuming they get there) for them to get any respect. We'll see.

Did you see poor Michigan State? They got beat late in Lincoln on a somewhat iffy play. Hey shit happens, shoulda been ready. A team like Nebraska with a long winning tradition and an undefeated, league leading national power comes to town? You gotta figure these guys will be ready, and they were and the Spartans weren't. Winning national championships is all about consistency.

TCU went down to the other OSU who happen to be undefeated. Looks like Boone Pickens is getting his money's worth. Arkansas won against Ole Miss with another bullshit razzle-dazzle play. I'm getting a little sick of those to be honest. Toledo and Memphis fell from the ranks of the unbeaten never to be mentioned again. Stanford is still the best out west beating Colorado. Iowa is still looking good, they wore out IU yesterday. But undefeated, defending National Champion Ohio State awaits the Hawkeyes (don't get nervous now!) if they can win out.

So who are the four best at the moment? Well according to my Hammeratic Gridiron Evaluator Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson and (I know, stupid) either Florida, Michigan State or LSU. Now I didn't say who I thought would get in the playoff. There is a ton of football left and until rivalry week nothing is certain. Florida has to play FSU last game, Clemson has to play South Carolina, Ohio State plays Michigan in Ann Arbor and on and on. Anything can happen and probably will. But right now, at this point in time, these teams are the best.  

That's it. Oh, I almost forgot. CW's Wahoos got thumped by THE U yesterday in Miami and my own Wolfpack won at Boston College for the first time in 30+ years. Both games were about as entertaining as midget porn. And so it goes, now piss off!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Our authoritarian future

Among our many great accomplishments -- good restaurants and craft beer have to rank high -- we baby boomers have a lot to atone for, at least in the raising of our children. Especially those children whose heads we filled with mush and dispatched to elite universities.

This morning brings a sadly believable "social justice" moment from Yale. In brief, a group of administrators sent out a very inclusive email over a bunch of signatures imploring students to be careful not to offend anybody by dint of their Halloween costume. A professor responded quite reasonably with what is actually a lament:

Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious… a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive? American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition.
The response, suffice to say, has been massive demonstrations, and demands that both the professor and her husband -- who did his duty and stood up for her -- resign their positions at Yale. Click through the link and read the whole thing.

This is not an isolated moment. The great organization FIRE has documented many such cases. And the response today is usually the same -- some combination of increasingly partisan outrage and counter-response, and some tut-tutting about "kids today." Both responses entirely miss the issue.

Your blogger is vastly more worried about the strong authoritarian impulse that seems to beat within the heart of today's undergraduates, at least at elite universities. Their first response when confronted with something they don't like is to appeal to authority. In doing so, they demand that the authorities impose a punishment on the target of their ire calculated not only to redress the particular perceived offense, but to intimidate third parties. In the linked case, they are demanding the termination of two professors because one of them voiced objections to a university policy, and the other one defended his wife. Seriously?

The term we would have used back in the day to describe these impulses -- and that is what they seem to be -- is fascistic.

The common response of my generation is "these delicate flowers are in for a real shock when they enter the real world."

I am more worried the effect this generation of students will have on the real world. We are breeding a generation whose first impulse is to appeal to power, and to demand that "the Man" crush people that the local majority finds offensive, or out of step, or in some undifferentiated way non-conforming in their ideas.

What are we going to do when these very bright and hard-working elite students become our judges, regulators, prosecutors, and politicians? Do we actually believe they are going to change in this fundamental respect? Highly unlikely. In the absence of a transforming catastrophe, like a world war, our basic generational sensibilities and impulses do not seem to change very much.

We have a lot to atone for, and if we live long enough, most of us with the inclination to express our opinions will feel the lash of this new authoritarian generation. The fascist impulse is back.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

On the Road Again....

I'm heading to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA tomorrow for Saturday's Reagan National Defense Forum.  I look to provide you with glimpses and insights from the road.  I will also be unveiling the new suit for public viewing--I will of course, report on its reception.

One for the Bucket List: Testifying Before the Senate Armed Services Committee

I spent 90 minutes or so this morning testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Roles and Missions of the Armed Services.  The video is at this link.  I recommend watching the whole thing (there's about 30 minutes of dead air to start), but if you simply want to see how I may have beclowned myself, I can be seen:

36:40—Opening statement


A couple of thoughts.  First,if you are a red-blooded American patriot, going before Congress is one of the all time great honors.  I've done it now less than a half dozen times (this was the first Senate appearance), and all I can tell you is that I am proud of the process, I am proud of the preparation, and I am proud of the people who I sat before--good Americans trying hard to figure out how best to keep the nation safe.

Second:  Watch Tom Cotton, junior R Senator from Arkansas.  The dude is just flat out sharp.  Wicket smaht, a little Abe Lincolnish.

Third:   I have to imagine that testifying under more critical conditions (see Clinton, H--Benghazi) is a hell of a lot tougher.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Hammer's College Football Review: Week 9

You know college football is a crazy game. You work hard, train your guys, suit 'em up and send 'em out on the field Saturdays and hope like hell they perform up to potential. The thing is you don't know what's going on in their lives. They could have substance abuse issues you are not aware of. They could have personal issues, women problems...whatever. And I know this sounds crazy but I'm sure it happens all the time, and that is unreported injuries that may seem minor to the individual (or not so minor) and they want to hide it just to get their game. That I'm thinking is what happened at Wallace Wade yesterday because those officials must be fuqing BLIND!! On this four seconds on the clock kickoff return there were at least three...THREE blatant blocks in the back (and two that could have reasonably been called). On one "backward pass" the player's knee was clearly down. Plus there's a sideline player who ran on the field DURING THE PLAY and he's real easy to spot, he's the one not wearing a helmet! Look, I say this not as a Duke fan (believe me) but this is the most egregious piece of high school officiating I've seen in my lifetime and I've been watching this stuff a while. It was absurd, it was crazy, it's Hillary's emails on the football field. When ESPN leads with this play and spends their first 15 minutes talking about how nuts this travesty of a play it was, then it seems to me the league office has a lot of splaining to do! What a Goddamn joke!

Ok, let's get past that. Let me get the ACC out of the way and I warn you, I'm in a foul mood. It has to be said North Carolina has a damn fine football team, maybe even top ten. This group has always been able to score, they've got a lot of offensive weapons, but what held them back was their defense. The past few years their defense was among the worst in the country. So Coach Fedora goes out and spends 700K on Gene Chizik as defensive coordinator. You remember him don't you? Yeah that's right, the guy who won a National Championship at Auburn and then got fired almost immediately (wonder how Auburn feels about him now?). Obviously a guy like that is not going to hang around too long (if successful) and it's a gable paying an assistant coach this kind of scratch, but it's certainly paying off because the Heels' defense is outstanding! In fact if they can get past what will likely be a very pissed-off Duke next week they'll be playing either FSU or Clemson in the ACC Championship game. Then we'll see what they got. My advice? Take Carolina and the points.

Speaking of Clemson...well what can I say. The Wolfpack played as well as they're able but Clemson is just that good. Their big play potential is off the charts. I'm actually proud of our guys (except the secondary). We scored 41 points against a team that Notre Dame could only manage 22 against. You know Clemson drives me crazy. They have no offensive weaknesses and reel off yards in chunks. 8 yards here, 12 yards there and then when they get you in a groove looking for the swing pass or run, they pop you with a 45 yard post pattern and well, it can work your nerves. Anyway I'm just glad we hung with 'em, I guess. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

I'm guessing CW is happy. His Cavaliers held off a determined Ga. Tech squad with some good defense and a balanced running game. UVA is actually turning into a good team. Next up they've got Miami after that Duke, Lewisville and Va. Tech. They could salvage a decent year and get Mike London back, presumably to do the same shit next year. That's what I'm hoping for anyway. I'd hate to see somebody like, well for instance Carolina's defensive coach show up in Charlottesville. We might then have to take them seriously. No, I much prefer London. Go Wahoos!

Ok on to the big boys. TCU keeps rolling along whipping WVU like it was their little brother. Stanford got lucky as hell when Washington State's field goal kicker missed a game winner after hitting on four previously. Notre Dame got by a motivated Temple which actually looked like a football team. My guess is they probably drugged the Irish, that's Bill Cosby's alma mater you know. Florida owned Georgia in Jacksonville so Mark Rich will be part of the 47% not in the labor force very soon I'd say. In the Big Ten Iowa remains undefeated and looking really good. OSU and Michigan State better take notice. In fact there are a good number of undefeated teams at this stage in the season, more than usual I think. Teams like Houston, Toledo and Memphis are kicking ass and don't count these guys out. No way they're getting into the playoff but if you are a top ten school, no way you'd want one of these teams on your schedule.

Well that' it. I feel like the Wednesday after the Tuesday after the first Monday in November 2012....wrung out and too tired to be upset. We had 602 total yards yesterday against Clemson with NO turnovers and still lost by 15 points. We're 1-3 in the league and the only team we've beaten worth shit is, well nobody. Plus we have yet to play FSU and Carolina. Things ain't looking good. To hell with this game, I'm a Bayern Munchen fan.

Marco Rubio Campaign Event 3 December


I have been given the go-ahead to invite a small number of folks to a noon-time lunch event with Marco Rubio in DC on 3 December.

The cost is $1000, although you are free to contribute up to the individual maximum of $2700.

Get in touch with me if you are interested. Don't call dmoss.

On the Purchase of a New Suit

Some of you may have heard about my having lost a bit of weight this year, though the news has admittedly been rather hush-hush (heh).  After dropping 45 lbs, my collection of suits -- all purchased off the rack from Brooks Brothers or Joseph A. Bank-- gave me the look of a little boy stuck with hand-me-downs from bigger brothers.  I took a few suits in to be tailored, and while the fit improved, I still looked somewhat overtaken and rumply.

I had always toyed with the idea of a custom-made suit, especially while I was in the Navy and I would see friends return from port-visits to Hong Kong and other exotic places with tailored suits obtained at a fraction of what they would have cost in the States.  But I'd never quite come to justify the expense of doing so here--firstly, I was always too chunky--the lipstick on a pig description seems apt--but also, even were I svelte, the cost just seemed exorbitant.  Then I discovered the "made to order" suit--technically, not custom made (as the guy who measures you isn't the guy who makes the suit), but this is a close enough, middle way.  You are meticulously measured, and then the measurements--along with the details (fabric, cut, lining, ticking, etc) are sent off to the seamsters/seamstresses who put the suit together for you.  So I decided to take the plunge, and began to do my research.

I eventually settled upon Alton Lane for two reasons.  First, it is the entrepreneurial effort of two UVA grads, and I am always happy to help fellow Wahoos.  Second, they had a showroom in DC.  I made my appointment for a fitting and then hoped for the best.  Spoiler--turned out amazing.

I arrived at the showroom near Dupont Circle and was ushered into what sort of looked like a really respectable ManCave/Bar/Old Boy hangout, with lots of clothes hanging around.  I met the Senior Showroom Director Richard Newcomb and we began the process, but not before he first asked me what I was drinking.

That's right.  There's a bar in the showroom.  Fully stocked.  It had been a long, long, time since I had any reason to regret giving up alcohol, but THIS experience put me in that place.  I demurred, but not without some deep reflection.  I mean, after all.  Just one...and it was part of the whole deal, right?  I mean I'm getting a suit made for me?  I've earned this, right?  I worked my ass off to lose weight--don't I deserve an awesome suit and a bourbon?  Of course I did.  But my willpower remains stronger than my weakness for drink, and so we then spent the better part of the next hour in really pleasant conversation while Richard measured all of the parts of me appropriate to a new suit and (in the future--I needed to validate this whole process) new shirts.  Earlier, I had the opportunity to select from a truly dazzling number of fabrics and styles (in true Goldilocks fashion, I went for the middle of the road option), and fixed on a solid, blue suit, lighter than my existing Navy BB suit.  There's also this pretty cool little room where you stand in your "smallclothes" (see, Thrones, Game of) and this computer based measuring system maps you for even better fit.

We closed out this entire process with my rendering unto Alton that which is Alton's, and the total came up to approximately twice what I would pay for an entry-level, off the rack, Brooks Brothers suit.  Of course, this is twice what I had EVER paid for a suit in my life, so here was a little bit of apprehension.  But then again, I DESERVED THIS.

Well, the suit showed up Friday.  I unwrapped it, and it immediately felt and looked better than anything I had ever considered buying for myself.  When I put it on (I took off the suit I had worn that day--grey, BB, recently taken in), I looked in the mirror and realized that I had made the right decision.  I looked like a different fellow than I had ten minutes earlier in my Beltway Bandit Uniform.  I proceeded to the other end of the house to get the Kitten's thoughts, and she sat back in her chair and said, "Wow.  You kind of look like a movie star."  In my life, no one had said anything quite that nice--or quite as well timed, as only moments before, I had thought to myself that this is the way suits fit on Brad Pitt (no--I'm not saying I look like Brad Pitt--only that he likely does not buy Joe Banks suits off the rack).

Now--is this for everyone?  No. Of course not.  Most people aren't as vain as I am, and the expense --while considerably less than a custom made suit--is not insignificant.

But if you are a guy who "suits up" now and then, and maybe you have reason to celebrate something, well then I highly recommend you get in touch with Richard.

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