Sunday, January 27, 2019

Dynamic Movement

This whole #MeToo thing is really murky and confusing if, instead of reacting viscerally to it as one is supposed to do, one steps back and thinks about it with a minimum of logical reasoning.

There was a time that a woman would never reveal that she became successful because she slept with a man who was in a position to advance her career. If she did she would have been accused of having “prostituted herself,” and the value of her accomplishments would have been diminished. The man would have been admired for having slept with so many women.

Then we went into phase two of the movement where a woman says that sleeping with a man was required as “a condition” of becoming successful, and her status as a celebrity is enhanced rather than diminished, because now she is a victim as well as a star. The man, in this phase, is reviled as evil and is cast out of the realm of acceptable discourse without possibility of self defense.

Then Kamela Harris and Willie Brown bring us to phase three of the movement where both parties admit that a woman not only slept with a man to advance her career, but did so adulterously, and not only does the man admit it, he is quite proud not only of sleeping with her but of advancing her career while doing so. In this phase both sides are admired for their ability to translate fornication into a form of upward mobility.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

We Don't Need No...

Elizabeth Warren is floating the highly popular “wealth tax” in her presidential campaign, a plan which is more widely than not seen as unconstitutional. She has letters from “16 legal scholars,” however, who opine that the tax is not a “direct tax” and is therefor exempt from Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4 of the constitution. (“No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the Census...”)

I’ve read a couple of these letters, which are written in legalese and are fairly difficult to understand, deliberately so I’m quite sure, and they remind me of memos written by John Yoo for the Bush Administration for the purpose of legalizing the use of torture. If that draws a parallel the between intelligence levels and general methodologies of Elizabeth Warren and George W. Bush…

Democrats don’t usually bother with such niceties. Barack Obama simply declared that the constitutional ban on the deprivation of “life, liberty or property without due process of law” could be voided by declaring the person a terrorist and killing him with a Hellfire missile. He didn’t need any lawyerly doublespeak to back him up and said, in fact, that giving that order was the easiest decision of his presidency.

I still kind of shudder at what it says about a person’s character that they consider the violation of an oath of office, not to mention ordering the death of another human being, to be easy, but Democrats in general seem to have no problem with it at all. Actually, come to think of it, the same could be said for most Republicans. Doesn't speak well for this nation.

Friday, January 25, 2019

"Symbolism" and Trivia

No one in the media, or in any political discussion I have read, points out the real idiocy of the current government shut down, which it that it is due to something utterly trivial. The government spends $3.5 trillion annually, and is now shut down due to squabbling over the allocation of $5.3 billion, a whopping 0.15% of actual spending. The government spends $5.3 billion every 13 hours.

Economists like everything to be related to GDP, so we have shut down the nation’s government over the expenditure of 0.003% of GDP.

Evening news spends half of its thirty minutes rhapsodizing about the travails of 800,000 government workers, ignoring that government is about serving some 325 million people who live in the nation. They are saying, in effect, that we should ignore national governance and the well being of 325 million people because 0.7% of those people are momentarily not getting a paycheck.

There is validity to arguing about whether or not we should build a wall, but to shut down the government over it? That’s like a parent terminating his own employment to punish his child for wanting a bigger allowance.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Over The Top

My wife claims that I am not a football fan, more of a fanatic. I am a rabid fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, and certainly was not pleased to see them lose last weekend. I not unsympathetic with fans of the New Orleans Saints, but filing a lawsuit against the NFL because a bad call by a referee caused "denial of the enjoyment of life" is a little much.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Oh No, Romo Again

The Super Bowl will be on CBS, and I may not watch it because doing so will mean another three hours of listening of Tony Romo worshipping and swooning over the New England Patriots. This does not have to do with the Kansas City Chiefs breaking my heart yesterday, I was ready to kill that blithering idiot well before the game started.

During the game Romo described as new and amazing one Patriots play in which the linemen drop back and pass block, and then the quarterback makes a delayed hand off to the running back. He even diagrammed it on screen for us ending with, “they think you’re going to pass and then you run.” He almost wet himself describing the innovative genius of Bill Belichick.

Well, not quite, you moron. It’s called a “draw play.” There are 31 other teams in the NFL who run that precise same play, in precisely that same manner, and they’ve been doing it for more than fifty years. It’s as common as white stripes on a bone-headed referee, and it was designed and implemented well before Bill Belichick was even born.

Romo wasn’t very bright when he quarterbacked the Dallas Cowboys, either.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Predictions for Today (Football)

Reading the expert opinions on likely outcomes for today's games leads me to solidify my conclusion that this nation's water, or perhaps air, has something in it that causes a massive die-off of brain cells. Sports writers have become even more stupid than political writers.

One pundit was predicting outcomes based on the records of the teams over the past ten years, which includes statistics from periods when many of today's players were not yet in the NFL, let alone with the teams they currently play for. Only one of the head coaches has been in place for that long, and one of them is only in his second year.

To be reasonably fair, most are evaluating the teams' performance this year, but what does that actually tell us about how they will play today? So the Chiefs scored 40 points against the Broncos, and the Patriots scored 48 points against the Chargers; does that mean that today's game will be 40-48 in favor of the Patriots? Get a grip.

I remember all of the pundits who were predicting that Patriots/Chargers would be a close game based on the way that the way the Chargers beat the Ravens the previous week. Some even picked the chargers to win based on the win over the Ravens. And then the Patriots led the Chargers by 35-7 at halftime in a game that was not as close as the score made it look.

My prediction? I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm looking forward to watching it. I may be badly disappointed and watch one, or even two, blowouts. Those talking heads on the television have no better idea than I do.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

We Have the Biggest Targets

The US is talking about sending a carrier through the Taiwan Straight; a move that, as far as I can tell, would serve no purpose other than pissing off the Chinese and endangering the aircraft carrier. That seems counterproductive to me. Pondering that thought took me back to my days in “the silent service.”

Submarines are the original stealth machines. Stealth is our thing. It’s what we do best. It’s the one thing we do better than sinking enemy ships. It’s comforting to know that they can’t blow you up if they can’t find you.

Aircraft carriers are sort of at the opposite end of the spectrum, and we always thought that you had to be nuts to want to be on one of those damned things.

We were coming back to Submarine Base New London and for some reason had set the “special sea detail” earlier than usual. (I never figured out what was “special” about it, as it was really the only “sea detail” we had, and was set both entering and leaving port.) As we entered Long Island Sound we passed an aircraft carrier going the other way.

Carriers were not as large then as they are now, but from our viewpoint three feet above the waterline, that sucker looked pretty big to us. We looked at each other, two minds with but a single thought as Tom said to me, “How do you miss a target that fucking big?”

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Hand Wringing Runs Amok

Somebody needs to get a grip. The federal government does not exist for the purpose of providing paychecks for people who work in government jobs. Having the government shut down is not good, but the loss of income to government employees is not the main issue.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Refuting Mindlessly

Those who know me know that I am emphatically not a fan of Donald Trump, but listening to Pelosi and Schumer last night made me wonder if this nation is being governed at all.

“Let’s end this shutdown,” they urged, “so that we can continue discussing border security.” Just like they did before the shutdown. If that “discussion” had been showing any promise whatever of leading to resolution there would not have been a shutdown. Apparently Pelosi and Schumer are not aware of that. Let's end the shutdown so we can go back to doing what caused the shutdown.

Let me repeat that. They are seriously suggesting, "Let's end the shutdown so that we can go back to doing what led to the shutdown."

The real kicker, though is their rebuttal to Trump’s claim that 90% of the drugs that are killing people “came across our southern border.” No, they claim, it did not. It came from Mexico, they admit, but it came through legal ports of entry.

So these legal ports of entry from Mexico are apparently not on our southern border? Where are they then? Inquiring minds want to know.

And, wait… What?!  These illegal drugs came in legally? Or are we just not checking what people are carrying when they come in through these “legal ports of entry” from Mexico which are not on our southern border?

Pelosi and Schumer looked and sounded in that televised rebuttal like they were some sort of walking dead (except they weren’t in motion), and the content of their rebuttal was most certainly brain dead.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Diminished Intelligence

We do seem to be coming into the generation of declining intelligence, as reflected in discussion surrounding the football games this past weekend.

On the gambling/predicting side of it, forget “covering the spread,” three of the four teams favored by the odds makers lost. In two of those losses, the game was never even competitive. In the game that was forecast to be a blowout, not only did the wrong team win, but the game was decided by a single point, with the clock expiring. By a missed field goal, no less, with the ball bouncing off the goal post twice.

So much for “home field advantage,” three of the four home teams lost.

The Cowboys decided to shut Russell Wilson down and make Seattle beat them with their much vaunted running game – if they could. They could not, but they never stopped trying, even when it was obvious that they could not. They ran on first and second down well into the fourth quarter, and never gained more than 1.5 yards per run.

There are things you can do when your opponent is stopping your running game, but Pete Carroll never tried them until it was too late.

John Harbaugh left a rookie quarterback in the game after he dropped the ball three times, threw an interception and was held without a score. He had a Super Bowl winning quarterback on his bench and didn’t use him. He later explained that he did this because the kid "is the future of the team.” Stupid. He's a rookie. If he's the future of the team, let him play in the future, when he has gained enough experience to be of benefit to the team.

John Harbaugh placed the feelings of his quarterback as more important than giving his team an opportunity to win the Super Bowl, which is stupid. The team is stupid enough to thank him for doing it, and the media is stupid enough to applaud it.

Update, Monday 10:05pm: Just to add to the embarrassment of the punditry, the NCAA team favored by six points was blown out by 28 points in a game that made one wonder how Alabama won even one game, let alone fourteen.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Extreme Symbolism

Democrats are putting laurels on the head (an ancient symbol of victory) of a bartender elected to Congress, the much adored Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, for her vow to vote against Pelosi as speaker of the House because the Democratic Party needed new leadership.

How did that work out? Well, Pelosi is the current Speaker, of course but the Ocasio-Cortez promise to vote against her is even more empty than one might think, since when the vote actually occurred Ocasio-Cortez voted in favor.

When it was first announced the Democrats had regained control of the House there was a very real threat the Pelosi’s bid for a second term as Speaker would fail, in part because only 38% of Democratic voters endorsed her bid for Democratic Party leader.

Then Pelosi started spreading awards as chair of committees around to everyone who was opposing her, even creating a few new committees in order to have enough chairs to distribute. The largesse included a committee chair for Ocasio-Cortez, ending the Ocasio-Cortez rebellion.

Before the dust even settled from that, Democrats are breaking out the laurels again for an Ocasio-Cortez vote against the House rules due to the inclusion of the Republican rule of “Pay As You Go” (which Democrats cleverly renamed PAYGO), by which any new spending must be offset by spending cuts elsewhere or by a tax increase. Since only two other Democrats voted against the rules package, the Ocasio-Cortez vote was entirely symbolic.

“Symbolic” means that it is very good at cheering up the troops but serves no other useful purpose. Democrats are very big on symbolism, and very effective at serving no useful purpose.