Saturday, September 27, 2014


If you've been reading you know I've been off the grid on vacation in Europe for the last few weeks.  As is usually the case, when I leave the country and either read international newspapers or watch local/international TV, it is difficult to not realize what a feckless and incoherent national security policy/apparatus that we have.   At least according to the international press.  Fundamentally we are viewed as at best weak and at worst unreliable by the international community.  Only one guy to blame for that.  But that's not the subject of the post.

One of the things about going on vacation is that you can (somewhat) remove yourself from the everyday craziness in the news.  It's sort of nice to just live in the moment and not think about all the societal, political, and social woes.  But upon return it can slap you in the face!  I really had forgotten we have an election (an important election!) in only about 6 weeks time.  Well, upon return I was aggressively reminded of this upcoming election.

Here in San Diego we have one of the key Congressional races in the U.S.  Incumbent Democrat Scott Peters is being challenged by Carl Demaio.  Now, full disclosure is that I am a registered Republican and tend to lean to the principles espoused by that party.  But I am by no means a guy who votes the party line.  When it's time to vote, I pride myself on investigating the candidates and the issues, and then voting what I believe.  So it's not a lock that I would favor Demaio.

Here's the thumbnail sketch on these guys.  Peters is a party guy.  He kowtows to the Democratic establishment.  He was a member of the San Diego City Council when the horrific pension mess came to light.  I don't think it's too much of a stretch to believe he had a lot to do with creating and perpetuating the mess.  In Congress, he's been pretty invisible.  He pops his head up every now and then and votes with Harry Reid.  His main goal seems to be to get reelected.  Demaio has been an up and comer in Republican circles for several years.  He was also on the City Council but he was one of the guys that brought the pension mess to light and he actually helped devise the solution.  He is a self made man and has built a business from nothing to a point where he has the resources to enter politics to "give back".  Is he perfect?  No.  Does he try to do the right thing?   It appears that the answer is yes.  He had a knock down, drag out battle for the Mayorship of San Diego.  He didn't win, but he gave it a good shot.  Oh yeah...he's gay.  But that  doesn't matter.

So when I get home I'm inundated by attack ads by Peters and the Democratic party stating that Demaio is in the pocket of the Tea Party and is fully engaged in the "war on women".  I won't repeat all the charges and all the lies, but it's pretty extensive.  The thing is...who believes this crap?  Do they think that people who live in San Diego and have watched him rise to prominence by cleaning up the pension mess will actually be gullible enough to believe this "war on women" bullshit?  Especially about Demaio?  It is literally a gross insult to our intelligence.  Of course, we are the city who elected Bob Filner as Mayor.  So maybe there are a bunch of folks out there who would believe it.

Here's the bottom line.  Peters is a sleaze!  He is the worst form of what our politics have become.  He can't talk about his record because he has none.  And he can't talk about his party's record, because it's a disaster.  So he goes on the attack.  Sleazy.  Yuchy!  The power of incumbency is a big deal.  When someone gets in, it's hard to get them out.  But man, this guy is a sleaze.  I hope that he gets what's coming to him.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Funnies

A Trip to Remember

We just returned from an idyllic 12 days in central Europe.  The main feature of the vacation was a Viking River cruise on the Danube.  The map below shows our journey from Budapest to Nuremburg over 8 days.  We then spent the last 3 days in Prague as an extension to the cruise in order to explore the city.  We went with 2 other couples who have been friends for decades.  I had several observations of the vacation, the cruise, and the area which are provided below.

  • The folks at Viking totally have their act together.   From the time we got off the plane in Budapest until we walked onto the plane in Prague, things went smoothly.  They are a professional and very friendly bunch.  I'm sure there was a lot of behind the scenes activity, but they made it appear very smooth.  Every question was met with a cheerful smile and they made every effort to fulfill requests and solve problems.  In short...very impressive.
  • The river cruise experience was a lot of fun.  We have been on the larger cruise lines and weren't sure what to expect.  It turned out to be a low key, relaxing, fun, comfortable, and educational trip.  The ship's personnel were great.  Very accommodating.   The quarters were not large, but they were clean and comfortable.  The food was great and as on many traditional cruises, there was an emphasis on food.  The variety, quality, and availability was superb.  Another thing that was very good was that the cruise was all inclusive.  Most excursions were included and were professionally done.  At meals beer and wine was included.  There wasn't a casino or large production shows, but that turned out to be okay.  The ship only held about 190 passengers as opposed to several thousand on a major cruise ship so you really got to know your neighbors.  The crowd was older than you would see on a major cruise ship and there were no children at all.  
  • One of the features of traveling down the Danube was the necessity to go through several locks.  This turned out to be very interesting and educational.  Sort of an engineering marvel.  If you've never experienced traveling through a lock on a major river, then it's a great experience.
  • Traveling with friends turns out to be a lot of fun.  Of course, it has to be the right people and there needs to be a synergy amongst the group.  It turned out that this was the right group.  No one was demanding or dominant.  There were no agendas.  We all got along great from beginning to end and had a lot of laughs.  It helped that the three guys were old Navy buddies and we had all known each other for decades.  It was very comfortable and being with friends made the trip even more memorable.  
  • None of us had spent any appreciable time in Central Europe and the trip turned out to be a great educational experience.  As an American, it is always amazing to visit a place that has thousands of years of history versus our relatively short historical perspective.  It continually amazed us to hear our guides talking about the invasions and conquests that lasted hundreds of years.  I came away realizing that this part of the world has hundreds, if not thousands, of years history of invasions, conquest, and oppression.  
  • In the 3 countries that had been subjected to Communist rule for the 40 years of the Cold War, there was a definite feeling of freedom.  You could sense among the people that even though they've been out from under the yoke of Communism for 25 years, they still felt the exultation of freedom.  
  • One thing central Europe has is Cathedrals and magnificent examples of phenomenal architecture.  They are all breathtakingly beautiful.  But..for someone not attuned to the history, it all seemed to run together.  Don't get me wrong, it was great.  Just somewhat overwhelming.
  • There was so much to see and so many wonderful experiences that it is difficult to pick my favorite.  However, Budapest turns out to be a wonderful city.  Very cosmopolitan, beautiful architecture, friendly has it all.  I would definitely like to spend some time there.  I also think it would be cool to return to some of the small towns in the winter.  
  • Air travel turned out to be as miserable as I remember it.  Cramped planes, lousy food, harried really stinks!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Back in the Saddle

Been off he grid on vacation in Europe.  River cruise down the Danube.  Then 3 days in Prague.  Fabulous time.  Will include some pics later in the week.  As always...great to go but also great to return!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Not His Time

You can't make this stuff up!

Masters of Their Domain!

Genetics Are Good

I've never been to Scotland but it might be worth going to check this out.  Wonder if they want independence to keep the gene pool pure?

No Gloating!

News You Can Use


Sand sure can be gets in all the wrong places!

Unique House

I can't tell is if this is "Photoshopped", but if it's real it would be quite a place to call home.  Imagine the views!  And when a storm rolls in it would be breathtaking!

So True

It's difficult to realize this when something is weighting you down.  But the better course is to embrace the issue, find a solution, and move out.  Easy to say...tough to do.

Cool Pic

Strategy Part II

I put a post up a few days ago on Obama's gaffe in stating he didn't have a strategy to deal with ISIS.  You can read it here.   It's been a bit surprising to me that the MSM has persisted with this story.  Usually they can't pay attention for more than a day and then move to the next thing.  And usually they give him every break in the book so he is not held accountable.

The issue of a strategy to deal with the Islamic Jihadists and the turmoil in the Middle East is vitally important.  The U.S. obviously has a strong national interest in the region and needs to exert leadership to ensure that the balance of power is maintained.  In the last several years that balance has been upended pretty dramatically.  But this isn't something that will be addressed during the next news cycle.  It's not short term.  That's called tactics.  Instead, we must have a long term strategy that is consistent and reflects our national interest.  I'm a big fan of George Friedman at STRATFOR.  He has produced a great, short overview of his thoughts on a strategy the U.S. could and should employ against the Islamic State.  You can read it here.  Here is the link:
"<ahref="">The Virtue of Subtlety: A U.S. Strategy Against the Islamic State</a> is republished with permission of Stratfor."

The conclusion says it all:
U.S. strategy is sound. It is to allow the balance of power to play out, to come in only when it absolutely must -- with overwhelming force, as in Kuwait -- and to avoid intervention where it cannot succeed. The tactical application of strategy is the problem. In this case the tactic is not direct intervention by the United States, save as a satisfying gesture to avenge murdered Americans. But the solution rests in doing as little as possible and forcing regional powers into the fray, then in maintaining the balance of power in this coalition. 
Such an American strategy is not an avoidance of responsibility. It is the use of U.S. power to force a regional solution. Sometimes the best use of American power is to go to war. Far more often, the best use of U.S. power is to withhold it. The United States cannot evade responsibility in the region. But it is enormously unimaginative to assume that carrying out that responsibility is best achieved by direct intervention. Indirect intervention is frequently more efficient and more effective. 
It takes into account the need to think long term, tries to steer clear of tactics, and sets a framework for our long term strategy.  And by long term I mean generational.  Everyone should face that fact that this issue isn't going away.  Those of us in the West are going to have to face this issue for decades.  Sorry to burst your balloon.  Let me know if you disagree...and why.

BTW, I'm starting to feel a sweeping landslide for the Republicans is coming in November.  There are many who will rationalize it as being normal for a President in the 6th year of his Presidency to have a tough off year election.  I think it's more than that.  Americans expect their President to be competent, attentive, dedicated, and truthful.  Obama has shown he is none of those things.  The Democrats may pay big time for that in a few months.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Lies, Damn Lies, and Presidential Lies

There has been a bit of a dust up in the last few days in some of the press regarding another Obama lie.  You won't find much in the MSM, but a few are reporting about it.  The subject is ISIS or as Obama calls them, ISIL.  And of course there is only one reason he uses the term ISIL.  The L in ISIL refers to "Levant", a term that refers to the region.  The "S" that most use refers to Syria.  He's clearly trying to deflect attention from them as a specific threat.  Anyway, in his effort to downplay these monsters for what they are, he referred to them as the "junior varsity".  Now that he's under pressure to exert some leadership and act Presidential, he's reinventing facts.  Of course, he'll get away with it pretty easily.  Check out what PoliFact found here.  There is no disputing the lie.  But like I said, no one really cares.  Presidential lies...Something you've got to expect with this guy!


Says his comment about extremists being a JV team "wasn’t specifically referring to" Islamic State.

Barack Obama on Sunday, September 7th, 2014 in an interview on "Meet the Press."

Thursday, September 4, 2014


There has been a lot of bru-ha-ha about Obama not having a strategy to deal with ISIS.  First, the vast majority of the media wouldn't know a strategy if it hit them in the mouth.  A strategy can be pretty simple...means and ends.  But it's in the detail that the strategy comes alive.  Second, it's not surprising that even if he had something, he wouldn't share it.  And I'm positive that DOD has shared potential courses of action that would make up the strategy.  Third, he does have a strategy.  I think the analysis here is spot on.  It's retreat.  Get out.  Pivot to Asia.  Grovel to the Euros.  Give a glancing nod to Africa.  But forget about the Middle East and get out.  Let them do what they will to each other.  Minimize the specter of the proliferation of evil to the West.  Because after all, it won't happen before 2016...

Christianity vs Islam

I've had this nagging question in the back of my mind for several years as the craziness in the Middle East seems to continually spin out of control.  You can't turn on the news, read a magazine, or have a conversation without some discussion of the horror that is ISIS and what "we" are going to do about it.  These people are truly abominable and have done some unimaginable things.  But in truth there is not that many of them, they are poorly organized and led, and could be defeated.  It just would take something most Western societies don't have...the will to do it.

But an even more concerning issue is Christianity vs Islam.  I'm am beyond tired of hearing how the terrorism in the Middle East (and elsewhere) is not reflective of the average Muslim.  That the religion is a beautiful, peaceful religion and the people who practice it are peace loving people.  Oh yeah?  Then why do we not seeing broad, across the board condemnation of the terrorists who conduct their atrocities in the name of Islam?  Why are they silent?  The standard answer is that they are intimidated, they are afraid.  Oh yeah?  Even those living in the U.S.?  Even those in other parts of the world that don't have any physical threat?  I'm not buying it.

And what about the Christians.  They seem to be invisible.  Where is the outrage regarding what is being done to people in the name of religion?  Why are there no (or very few) Christian voices urging that this evil must be eradicated?  I get that Christianity is all about love.  Turn the other cheek.  And I agree with it.  But sooner or later enough is enough.  Christians are standing mute while people, both Christians and Muslims, are being slaughtered.  How is that okay?  We have a good example of a people who don't take any shit.  You know who I mean.  Israel stands tall in the middle of a hot, bubbling cauldron.  They stand up for themselves as a country, but also as Jews.

I don't have any answers.  But I know this.  The evil that is tearing apart the Middle East is getting worse.  It's like a cancer.  So the politicians dither, Muslims seem to be intimidated into silence or are in agreement with the evil, and Christians are mute.  And since nothing will happen on the political front until at least 2016, what is the average Christian in the West to do?  Many would say we are to pray for peace and I'm okay with that.  But when do Christians decide to do something tangible, something that would defend both the religion and it's followers?

I fear and am not saying we need some Christian army to march into battle.  No.  But the longer we (Christians) stand on the sideline and do not overtly address the presence and impact of evil, the more it will prevail.  It would take leadership for a rallying of Christians to stand up to these monsters.  I don't know who could do it, but we need someone.

This whole issue is frustrating, dangerous and confusing and I don't remotely have answers.  But we can't continue to accept the assault on our way of life and our religion.  Or can we?  What do you think?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

We've Gotta Get a Bigger Boat!

Here's your big chance to catch that "once in a lifetime fish" but the damn thing is too big.  Here's some good advice...make sure your boat is big enough.

Anybody For a Swim?

Grim Stats!

This is shocking!  And maybe explains a little bit why we are having such a time of immigration.  So if we could work with countries in Central America to curtail violence, promote economic opportunity, and increase education, we could start to get a handle on it.  Of course, that would mean we'd actually have to have a strategy!

Cool Pic

The French!

Reminds me of the old joke...why are there wide, tree lined streets in Paris...because the Germans only like to march in the shade!

Interesting Graph

Not right or wrong.  But pretty interesting what gets all the publicity and money versus hat is really impacting (killing!) Americans.  Just sayin...

Pro Football

Been to an NFL game lately?  If not and you only watch on TV, you don't know how true this is.  Last time I went I was really struck by how choreographed everything was.  It seemed like football was the least of it.  Much better to just watch it at home and not have to deal with it!


I didn't realize I have superpower also!!


No idea where or who this is.  But one thing for's pretty weird!

Tell It Like It Is!

Maybe the wording could use some work...but I like the concept.

Uh Oh

Kim Jong-Un, President of North Korea on the left.  And world class jackass!  He looks like he's pissed that they can't even make a decent sock.  And the guy on the right is trying to figure out which labor camp he'll wind up in.

Good Question!

I have thought this same question so many times!

Interesting Concept

On first blush I thought this was a bit weird.  But companies pay bonuses for performance, so why not?  If it works, good for them.

Nice Place to Drop Anchor!

Cool Pic