Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Cracking Me Up Today

Some 200 protestors are camped in front of Dianne Feinstein’s house, complaining that the California Democratic Senator has “fallen in line with the president's positions and cabinet nominees 100 percent of the time,” and criticizing her for not answering her phone. The organization FiveThirtyEight calculates that she has a pro-Trump score higher than some Republicans.

It sort of cracks me up because she proves my suggestion that in this state you could run a dead jackass for office and it would win as long as you labeled it a Democrat.

There is actually nothing new about her voting record; her pro-Bush score was as high as is her pro-Trump score, and she won the 2012 primary election with 49% of the vote. Her nearest challenger, the Republican, got 12% of the vote and nobody else was above single digits.

But the voters blame her, of course, for supporting Trump, not themselves for reelecting her after she supported Bush. They probably didn’t know she supported Bush, they only knew that she has “Democrat” after her name on the ballot. She is not actually a Democrat, and never has been.

California has an open primary for everything except President, and the net result in the 2016 election was that there were two Democratic females on the ballot for the US Senate seat formerly held by Barbara Boxer, another Democratic female. Perhaps I should have made my saying that, “you could run a dead female jackass and…”

I suspect that Bruce is going to say that in 2012 we did run a dead female jackass and that it did win.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

New Rules

I thought politics was stupid. Then NASCAR announced its new rules for the upcoming year. They are awesome.

Football has a halftime period where talking heads can bore the audience, and for commercials, which aren’t seen because the audience is in the bathroom and/or in the kitchen getting more beer and snacks ready. NASCAR, in its quest to outdo “stick and ball sports,” is going to have no fewer than two halftimes in each race.

After changing the points system to reflect “one point per position” because the old graduated point system was too complicated and people watching could not figure it out, the new system includes “championship points” and “playoff points,” some of which are awarded at the end of the first of three halfs, some of which are awarded at the end of the second of three halfs, and some of which are awarded at the end of the race.

Note, however, that only ten drivers get points at the end of the first half and the end of the second half, while everyone gets points at the end of the race.

Both types of points count toward getting a driver into what used to be called “The Chase” at the end of then season but is now called “The Playoffs,” after several years of management insisting vigorously that “The Chase” was not to be referred to by sportscasters as “The Playoffs.”

Now it is “The Playoffs” and should not be referred to as “The Chase,” but the format and eliminations process is precisely the same as it was when it was called “The Chase.” What, precisely, was accomplished by changing its name is unclear.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Okay, Maybe Second Rate

I am not among those who think that the loss of the Chargers rendered San Diego a second rate city, but maybe this little treasure does.

In the San Diego Union Tribune "Dining and Drinking" section we read that, "Westfield UTC is emerging as San Diego’s next 'It' dining destination."

Really? What kind of city adopts a shopping mall as its smart, most popular, "place to be seen" dining location? San Diego: put on your tuxedo and your designer gown and head to the shopping mall for a fine dining experience.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Some Moral Compass

Some fifty Democrats have made a major production out of announcing that they will not attend the Trump inauguration. Turns out most of them were not invited, as Trump wanted the affair to be held less for the “elites” and “more for common people.” It may have been just a bit tacky of Trump and company not to invite these Democrats, but given that fact, their grand gesture lacks a certain degree of substance.

“If you’re not going to invite me to your party then I’ll show you a thing or two. I won’t go to your party. So there. Pffffbht.”

Much of the Democratic newly found moral compass lacks substance, given that their outrage is against behavior in which they themselves were engaged just a year a few months ago.

When, during the campaign, it was demanded of Donald Trump that he avow that he would accept the result of the election regardless of its outcome and he declined to do so, he was loudly and vigorously castigated by Hillary Clinton and her associates, and was the target of veiled accusations of treason. He was, you may recall, assumed to be the loser of the election.

Now it is the Democrats who are openly throwing into question the legitimacy of the election based on the popular vote, Russian hacking, Trump’s treatment of women, and actions of the FBI; none of which have any actual legal basis whatever.

Women are marching against him because of the way he treats women, notwithstanding that his opponent received fewer votes from women than Obama did in either of his two elections. So they didn’t bother to vote against him, but they will march against him.

Democrats are outraged that Trump is not getting rid of the businesses which he owns. They are outraged because the Trump children will be raking in cash for those businesses from nations and companies who stand to gain from presidential policies.

Democrats were not outraged by a gigantic charitable foundation run by the spouse of the Secretary of State raking in cash from nations and companies who stood to gain from national policies and did not seem to be unhappy with that continuing after Clinton was elected to the White House. Interestingly, now that the Clintons are no longer in a position of power, that foundation is laying off most of its staff since the "donations" have dried up.

So apparently Democrats think that it’s okay for husbands to collect bribes in behalf of the president (and Secretary of State), it’s just not okay for children to do so.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t like Trump. I didn’t vote for him and don’t like a lot of what he stands for. But this effort by the political left wing to delegitimize the election and the office of President of the United States is shameful.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Fundamental Error

I can’t get upset about the Chargers leaving San Diego because I have not really been a fan for quite a few years. It’s not that they have been losing games, I can live with that, it’s that they have been playing crappy football.

Football is about precision, execution and imposing your will on your opponent, and the Chargers have not played that type of game since the Bobby Ross era, when they had the likes of Stan Humphries, Natrone Means, Lorenzo Neal and Ladanian Tomlinson. In those days they lined up and did what they wanted to do.

Under Turner and McCoy the Chargers do whatever the opponent allows them to do, and I just have never been able to get excited about that kind of football. Actually, I don’t even consider it to be football at all. I wanted to throw up every time the head coach was asked why the team lost a game and he started talking about what the other team did. Championship football teams do not let the opponent dictate the game.

“They didn’t do what we expected them to do,” he says, which boils down to, “They didn’t let us do what we wanted to do.” Of course they didn’t let you do what you wanted to do, you idiot. If they are going to let you do what you want to do, why are they even on the field at all? Their whole purpose in being on the field is to prevent you from doing what you want to do. Sheesh.

Given that they have ownership that has permitted that kind of field leadership for more than a decade, I do not expect it to change any time soon, so I am shedding no tears for the loss of the Chargers.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Day of Infamy

I’m discussing with my wife that perhaps we should consider moving from San Diego, given that this city is fated to become a failing empty shell, a mere shadow of what it once was. Bridges will likely start collapsing, tall buildings falling down, and the economy deteriorating to the level of a Tiajuana suburb.

Well, that’s the projections of San Diego sports writers, who may be a bit overwrought by the announcement that the Chargers are moving to LA.

A group of fans gathered at the Chargers complex (the national media mistakenly identified it as the stadium) to discard and burn their Chargers gear and hurl insults at the owner, Dean Spanos.

In a nice little bit of irony, one such fan was breaking and tearing up several pieces of gear, cursing mightily and wearing… Wait for it… He was wearing a $250 leather jacket with a huge Chargers lightening bolt logo on the back.

Another guy was shirtless, having burned his Chargers jersey, and was screaming that Dean Spanos should perform an act physiologically impossible for human beings, but was still wearing his Chargers hat.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Pyrrhic Victory

Democrats should, of course, actually be celebrating because the worst thing that can happen to a political party is to win an election. It puts them into a position in which they will demonstrate to voters and to the world that they are woefully incapable of governing.

We have been through this many times. Democrats win control and accomplish essentially nothing that they promised to do. Having no accomplishments on which to campaign, they use the "we're feckless but the other party is evil" approach to stay in power, only to have the voters say that Republicans weren't all that evil last time and getting something done is better than getting nothing done and throw them out.

Republicans get control and get things done, but they get all the wrong things done. They try to convince voters that those things are actually good ideas, but voters decide that maybe doing nothing is better than doing stupid things and put the Democrats back in office. Wait five minutes, rinse and repeat.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wilder Fantasy

According to the New York Times, Obama, Congress, and Trump himself knew last fall that Russia had dirt on Trump which could be used to derail his election and/or used to blackmail him after he became president.

It’s not petty stuff. It includes, according to the Times, “sex videos involving prostitutes with Mr. Trump in a 2013 visit to a Moscow hotel,” and memos quoting “an unidentified Russian source” to the effect that “the hacking and leaking of Democratic emails was carried out with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team.”

“One of the memos claims,” the Times tells us, “that Mr. Cohen (a Trump adviser) went to Prague in August or September to meet with Kremlin representatives and to talk about Russian hacking of Democrats,” which is interesting. You may recall that intelligence officials invented a Prague meeting between a 9/11 planner and an Iraq official during the Iraq war buildup. It was later proven to be fiction, and Mr. Cohen has provided his passport which shows that he has never been to Prague in his life.

“If some of the unproven claims in the memos are merely titillating,” we are advised by the Times, “others would amount to extremely serious, potentially treasonous acts.” If, that is, “unproven claims” could ever possibly be considered as treason.

A Russian spokesman said that the whole kerfuffle, “isn’t consistent with reality and is nothing but an absolute fantasy,” which I’d say is a reasonable assessment of the situation.

The FBI had this material as early as June and released none of it because none of it could be verified. (Which should surprise no one.) None of it can be verified now either, which begs the question that, if nothing could be released due to lack of verification earlier, why is this being released now?

No one is answering that question, for the simple reason that no one is asking it.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Offering Peace

There was an episode of Chicago Med the other day in which two professional cage fighters were brought in who had beaten each other into bloody pulps. They and their managers were shouting threats and insults and there was risk of mayhem – it was all very dramatic. When all was said and done, one of the fighters was patched up and discharged and the other had sustained a brain hemorrhage and was laying on life support and being declared beyond recovery.

The Muslim family, parents and brother, of the fallen fighter were with him, praying together, when the other fighter returned. It turned out he wanted to know if the guy was okay and was devastated to find out he was not. He was breaking down and in tears, saying that he was sorry and saying tearfully “I don’t know what to do.”

The brother was angry and making threats and the father came out of the room and gently told him to stop. He held out his hand to the fighter and said, “Come, will you pray with us?” The two of them walked slowly back into the room and were standing side by side at the bedside, looking together down at the man on life support.

It was fiction, yes, but very powerful. I am always profoundly moved when one person reaches out to another with an offer of forgiveness and reconciliation; an act which brings peace to mind and spirit. Life offers no finer moment.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Who Do You Believe?

A couple of Facebook polls which should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt, but which are food for thought nonetheless. I know where my vote would have been. It has been many years since it became my policy to believe precisely nothing which my government or the domestic media tells me.

John Harwood: Who do you believe America?
84,115 votes
83% Wikileaks
17% US Intel officials

Lou Dobbs: Who do you believe regarding Russian hacking?
17,899 votes
6% President Obama
94% Julian Assange

Did Russia hack the election? Sure, and Jessica Lynch was rescued in the midst of a raging gun battle after she herself had been gravely injured and at the point of death, bravely fighting off with her trusty M-14 the ravening hordes of Iraqis who were attacking her. And we have been fighting in Afghanistan for fifteen years to “deny them space in which to plan their attacks.” And, as the King of Siam says, “Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.”

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Nice Comeback

I don't much like either Penn State or USC, two elitist schools with snobbish student bodies, but I like good football so I watched the Rose Bowl last night, including the second half. Glad I did.

In case you missed it, USC was up six at the half, but Penn State scored three touchdowns in the first four minutes of the second half. Actually, they did it in three plays from scrimmage; a 79-yard run, a 72-yard pass, and a 3-yard run following an interception. USC tied the score with one minute remaining in the game, and then intercepted the ball and ran it back to within field goal range; kicking the winning field goal as time expired.

Interestingly, USC dropped an interception on the preceding play, and Penn State threw the exact same pass, to the same receiver, running the same route, immediately after. The defender jumped the route again and did not drop the interception a second time. That was weird. Who called that play?

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Hysteria Accelerates

The New York Times had an article, behind a pay wall, which headlined that the government had now “revealed the details” of the Russian hacking which caused Hillary Clinton to lose the election, but the details it revealed were all qualified with phrases such as “believed to be” and “likely connected to.”

Based on that we expelled 35 Russian diplomats and their families and expected that Russia would do likewise. Several papers actually reported that Russia had done likewise, in fact, before Russia revealed that it is governed by adults.

Then we get much hyperventilating about the Russians hacking a Vermont power company, along with a great deal of “I told you so” rhetoric about the vulnerability of our power systems to Russian cyberwarfare. Because Vermont is such a critical state to our economy. Why bother disabling New York, when you can do so much more economic damage to the nation by damaging Vermont?

Except that the “hacking” consisted of one piece of malware in a laptop which was not connected to the power company’s network, and was not used and had never been used to control the company’s power distribution system. It was, to boot, an obsolete version of a commercially available hacker’s program which could be bought by anyone pretty much anywhere, and thus was in no way attributable to the Russians.

It’s embarrassing. Why does anyone pay attention to anything American any more? We have become buffoons.

Update: Oh yes, and we put Ohio State in the FBS playoffs.