Sunday, February 28, 2016

Motivation Monday


New week, new weirdness.  As the saying goes...curiouser and curiouser.  If you've been following the Republicans (and how could you not if you turn on the news!) Trump, Cruz and Rubio are going at each other pretty hard.  It's become a low down, knock out campaign.  We've seen this kind of stuff before, it's just that most people don't like it.

Now there is a flap about the KKK.  Trump was asked about an endorsement from David Duke, a notorious KKK grand wizard.  He said he had never heard of Duke and couldn't comment.  Huh?  That doesn't pass the smell test.  How could he live in the world day to day and never had heard of Duke.  The answer is he couldn't.  Check out this article. 

But here's the thing.  IT WON'T MATTER.  This is the guy that has insulted John McCain.  He made fun of handicapped people.  He called Mexicans rapists.  He wants to ban Muslims from entering the country "until we can figure out what's going on".  On all these things he is a blabbermouth and incredibly shallow.  But...IT WON'T MATTER.  I just don't get it.  Of course, the media says it's over and I have some fear that it is.  But that is balanced by faith in the American people.  I'm hoping they will come to their senses.

Out Of Balance

Things seem to be out of balance.  Everything.  Whether it's in our political parties, race relations, the economy, world order, religion, everything.  I've got this weird feeling that things are just out of balance.  

Both political parties are suffering through traumatic times.  Both are in the midst of voting for a nominee for the Presidency.  But neither has, by any measure, a candidate that could be called "Presidential".  Someone for the population to look up to, to follow, to emulate, to be inspired by.  The Dems have a couple of people in the mix.  Hillary is a person who has been around singing the same old tired song for decades, has proven to be corrupt, is by any measure a criminal, and her main claim to the job seems to be that she is a woman.  Bernie is a 74-year old socialist.  A socialist!  In the United States of America a socialist is gaining credibility as a Presidential candidate against the establishment's pick.  Like I said...out of balance.  The Republicans have a few more candidates, but they aren't any better.  The kindest thing I can say about Trump is that he's been successful in business.  But he's alienated large segments of the population, has a tendency towards soft racism, is scarily thin on the issues of the day, and seems to be focused on anger.  The two Senators, Cruz and Rubio, seem to me to be just in it for power.  We've sent a first term Senator to the White House previously.  Didn't work out so well.  After all, it is the most powerful job in the world so the person who occupies it should have some experience.  Kasich, the only guy with experience can't get traction, and Carson is flailing away with no chance.  Like I said...out of balance.  And disconcerting.  I ask myself what my fellow citizens are thinking and have trouble figuring it out.  

It seems like we are still so far apart on race and gender relations.  Sometimes I think we've come so, so far in this area, and other times I think we've not even made a dent in the problem.  Just when I see blacks or Hispanics or Asians or whatever making strides and achieving the American dream, I'm slammed back to the reality of continuing inequity and the poor getting poorer.  No one seems to be able to even attack, let alone address the problem.  And if it is attacked, it's never enough.  If there is an effort made, there is inevitably suspicion and, it seems more times than not, it breeds resentment.

There seems to be little recognition by our leaders that we need an expanding middle class to maintain our place as a great nation.  And yet they aren't putting policies in place to achieve that goal.  It's not rocket science.  It is a finite problem and can be achieved.  They just don't do it.  There is a lot of blaming the big banks for our problems but I really think that is a cop out.  It's been famously said that the business of America is business.  I think that's right.  Banks and businesses will do what is required to make money for their owners and shareholders.  That is a just a natural phenomenon.  They will normally do everything in their power to bend the rules in their favor.  So when the government keeps increasing rules and increasing taxes there is a natural tension.  And a natural inclination to blame business.  And they probably have some culpability.  But for my money the economic woes we find ourselves in lies squarely on the government.

There seems to be no solution to the Middle East and more importantly our role in the world.  Whenever I hear leaders talking out national security strategy they focus on the military, on boots on the ground.  And that is so not the solution.  Using all the instruments available to us is required, but I don't hear anyone talking about that.  I've written extensively about this and won't focus on it here, but we face a dangerous, disruptive, and asymmetric world that takes an enormous amount of talent to navigate.  I just don't think there is anyone who is seeking the Presidency who is equipped to do this.

I'm a Christian.  I hear people talking about loving each other and loving Christ, and yet I see unbelievable discord and accusatory drama taking place around me that is definitely not in keeping with Christian values.  People need to think about their actions and their words...because both can hurt.

What is going on?  And what is the matter with people?   What is the matter with our society.  Why is everyone so angry?   I don't know...maybe I'm just getting old.  But I keep wondering when people are going to get their act together.  When are we going to come back into balance?  

I read a lot of people's writing every week.  Some I usually agree with, some I rarely agree with.  One that I rarely agree with is Maureen Dowd.  But her column this week really got me thinking.  Its basis is the Clarence Thomas hearings and the O.J. Simpson trial.  But those things aren't what I focused on when reading the article.  She really makes a pretty good point about how we are still so divided after all of the things that have happened.  You can read it here.     There are a couple of paragraphs that jumped out at me.  Here's one:
"Yet reliving those horrible, maddening events reveals how resonant our race and gender problems are, despite a black president and a Democratic woman running to succeed him. Things have changed but they haven’t changed. The country still roils with gender and racial tensions. Black Lives Matter and #OscarsSoWhite reflect the jarring dissonance in how blacks and whites see society."
It's true isn't it.  We see things differently.  There's old saying that I've quoted many times, but it seems to be truer with every passing day.  "Where you stand depends on where you sit".  People react to things, believe things, understand things, support or oppose things depending on their perspective.  On where they sit.  
 "Courtney Vance, who skillfully plays the late Johnnie Cochran in the FX show, recalled how he was in Toronto making a TV movie with Tony Goldwyn when O.J. was acquitted.  ‘Yes!’ and he screamed, ‘No!’ and then we looked at each other in horror,” Vance told The Hollywood Reporter. “And we began the dialogue — the entire country began the dialogue. Everybody went to their corners and it kept coming up again, the same issue. Ferguson, what went down in Chicago, shooting that teen 16 times. It’s crazy. Absolutely crazy.” 
Yep...absolutely crazy! 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Cool Pic

Girl Scouts Under Attack

I've seen an increasing number of stories about the Catholic Church's Archdiocese of St Louis trashing the Girl Scouts.  Imagine that.  The Girl Scouts!  The Archbishop, Robert Samuelson, sounds like a real jovial guy.   You can read about it here.  Here's the gist:

"In a letter to priests, followers and scout leaders, Archbishop Robert Carlson said the behavior and views of one of America's oldest, secular youth organizations run at odds with the teachings of the Catholic church -- in particular, the Girl Scouts' support for transgender rights and homosexuality."
If you've been reading at all you know that my thoughts about these subjects mirror that of many in today's society.  I don't care!  People are just people.  We all have our struggles.  We all are challenged to love one another.  Life is hard enough without discriminating against someone because of who they love.  Look at a group of people and maybe you can generalize and justify discrimination.  Get to know individuals and you won't.  You can't.  I lived in an organization that criminalized that behavior for 25 years.  The U.S. military has evolved.  So have I.  

But here's the thing.  My wife was a Girl Scout.  My daughter was a Girl Scout.  My granddaughters are Girl Scouts.  Trust me on this.  They have not and are not suffering from some indoctrination about gay and transgender rights.  Really they just try and develop, empower and teach young girls and have fun doing it.  Here's their mission statement:  
"Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place."   
Pretty diabolical, huh?  I can honestly say with no hesitation that the Girl Scouts have been a positive force and very good for every girl I've ever known who has been involved.

But I can understand the Catholic Church bullying those who don't comport to their way of thinking.  After all, they've been doing it for 1500 years.  But I've got a suggestion.  Fix your own house before you attack little girls.  Get rid of the pedophiles.  Give even a small amount of your opulent riches to the poor.  Come into the 21st Century and recognize the world as it is.  After all, even Pope Francis has said...who am I to judge?


Guess I'm going to have to start a Trump series like my Hillary series.  There is so much occurring that instead of updating or trying to sequence, I'll just call it Trump and let you figure it out.  I'm so lazy!

Anyway, the thing that is striking about Trump is the vitriol he stirs up from a certain type.  If you've been reading, you know he's not my guy.  But he's way, way, way better than the criminal or the socialist.  But it's interesting to see people trying to persuade by pointing out how bad he is.  They say don't vote for him because of the this, that or the other thing.  They say even if you don't like any of the Dems you can't vote for Trump because of how bad he is.  Really?  Now I appreciate their sincerity, but if I'm like many, many folks who are fed up, it falls on deaf ears.  When these people admit how bad Obama has been and how bad the criminal and the socialist would be, then maybe I'd listen.  Until then...well, you're talking to yourself.  Read this and you'll get what I mean.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Friday Funnies

Tonight's Debate

Did you watch it?  What a clusterf**k!  Oh it was entertaining, but man it was chaotic.  As with the other debates (I guess you could call them that) I come away with some pretty specific thoughts on each candidates.

  • Carson--it's embarrassing that he is still on the stage.  He should think of his dignity.  He was not called on very often, he made jokes, he was almost a caricature of his real an SNL skit.  Dr. Carson please...go home.  You've made your point.  Just go home.
  • Kasich--I thought he was the smartest and had the most substantive comments.  In any other year he would win walking away.  But this isn't any other year.  He can't get his voice heard.  But his experience, his specific proposals, his vision, his optimism...they are all great.  Don't know if I read this right, but I could really see him as Trump's VP.  I think he could be the adult in the room.  
  • Rubio--Thought he did well.  He obviously came out swinging on Trump.  I'm sure he had to grit his teeth when he had to team with Cruz against Trump.  His points were spot on.  His proposals had depth.  His ideas on foreign policy were well thought out and believable.  But I just don't see it.  He's got to win something.  So far that hasn't happened and the longer it goes without it happening, the worse it is for him.  And if he doesn't win Florida in a few weeks, then he is dead meat.  I could see him with an outside shot at Trump's VP.  But don't know if he'd take it.  There would be a pretty strong ideological conflict.
  • Cruz--Nothing has changed.  The sleaze factor remains.  His stridency, his whining, his holier-than-thou attitude really, really rubs me the wrong way.  He's just so damn sure of his positions and his positions are just a little right of Attila the Hun.  He's the only one on the stage I wouldn't vote for under any circumstances.  I sure hope he's not the nominee.  But if he is, well then my name is going to appear as a write-in on at least one ballot!  
  • Trump--Still rolling.  He remains an inch deep and a mile wide.  I just couldn't believe he got away with some of his answers.  And gets away with them every time.  On issue after issue he gives a shallow, vacuous answer and no one can get to specifics.  And many times his specifics are ridiculous.  But, like I said, this year is like no other.   People are pissed.  Really pissed.  And they don't care about shallow answers, how conservative he is (or isn't), what the power brokers in Washington DC think, what the PACs think, or anything else.  He plays to their anger and that is more powerful than anything else.  And I don't see that changing.  Many of the professionals say it's still early and it can break different ways.  I don't see it.  But I'm not a professional.  I hope I'm wrong, but I think he rolls to the nomination.  
Powerline also has a pretty good analysis with more detail.  You can read it here.  

And then there is CNN.  Two thoughts about them.  First, Wolf Blitzer was terrible, as were the other questioners.  The questions were either gotcha or easy.  The amount of time to answer was idiotic.  Wolf had no control.  None.  The second thing was their fawning over Trump.  I mean, it was pretty obscene.  They kowtowed to him during the debate and gave him an unbelievable amount of time in the after-show show.  It's clear that they want a Trump-Hillary contest to boost ratings.  And that is shameful.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Motivation Monday

South Carolina

The third round is over.  Not too many surprises.  Trump won big as expected.  Rubio and Cruz are knotted at 2 and 2A.  Bush is out.  Kasich is hanging on and counting on the industrial North to save him (or he's in denial).  Carson?  Beats me.  He's done...he just doesn't seem to know it.  Sort of painful to watch.  

For my money, the big story was how far up Rubio moved.  For him to wind up 2nd (although really in a dead heat with Cruz) was remarkable.  The South Carolina primary also gave the Republicans the chance to showcase a new generation...a new face of the party.  I mean, to see a first generation Senator from Cuba, endorsed by a popular black Senator from South Carolina and a wildly popular first generation Indian woman who is Governor of the state standing on the stage together was awesome.  Talk about diversity.  I can't really fathom why these folks don't attract more voters looking to the future.  Especially when they are competing with an old, tired criminal (who happens to be a woman) and a 74-year-old Socialist!  It's just beyond me.  The only explanation is that the media and the unions are very powerful in promoting what they want.

So there are a lot of scenarios from now to the nomination in Cleveland.  Now that Bush is out I assume most of his supporters will move to Rubio.  Maybe a few to Kasich.  But it looks to me like Rubio and Cruz are going to continue to divide the vote and Trump is going to waltz to victory.  Unless he doesn't.  It's really up in the air.  So no predictions.  I'm just along for the ride like the rest of you.  I like Rubio.  I could live with Trump.  I could even hold my nose and vote for Cruz.  Anything but a criminal and a Socialist!

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Scalia Nomination...and More!

I've said previously how much I like and admire the writing of Peggy Noonan.  This week's column in the WSJ is a masterpiece.  She knocks it out of the park.  You can read it here.  In talking about the Justice Scalia nomination she makes total sense.  Her arguments are wise and reasoned.

But she also has a bit on the state of our culture and the impact of politics.  If there is anything that has been written about the frustration of the conservative side of the aisle with the progressive side, this is it!
There is something increasingly unappeasable in the left. This is something conservatives and others have come to fear, that progressives now accept no limits. We can’t just have court-ordered legalized abortion across the land, we have to have it up to the point of birth, and taxpayers have to pay for it. It’s not enough to win same-sex marriage, you’ve got to personally approve of it and if you publicly resist you’ll be ruined. It’s not enough that we have publicly funded contraceptives, the nuns have to provide them. 
This unappeasable spirit always turns to the courts to have its way. 
If progressives were wise they would step back, accept their victories, take a breath and turn to the idea of solidifying gains, of heroic patience, of being peaceable. 
Don’t make them bake the cake. Don’t make them accept the progressive replacement for Scalia. Leave the nuns alone.
Progressives have no idea how fragile it all is. That’s why they feel free to be unappeasable. They don’t know what they’re grinding down. 
They think America has endless give. But America is composed of humans, and they do not have endless give.

National Security

I know I've posted on this previously, but as the current crop of Presidential wannabes get closer to occupying the Oval Office, I look around and get plenty worried.  The world is a complicated place in so many ways.  I just read a great survey of the issues over at The American Interest.  You can read it here.  Hat tip to SC!

There is a lot of meat in the article.  If you're interested in this subject I would encourage you to read and absorb it.  If you don't agree, that's okay.  But go find an analysis that makes sense to you.  I would postulate that no matter which national security expert you reference, you're going to find that virtually all are worried.  At least the serious ones are.

The complications that we will face in the years ahead deserve serious people thinking through serious solutions.  Because they will be deadly.  Whoever you favor in the Presidential election, it is critical that you think through how they would respond to crises.

We know how Hillary responds.  We've seen it at Benghazi.  She lies, obsfucates, deflects and parses words.  Sanders simply downs doesn't have the tools.  If you like our retreate in the world, enabling of rogue states, ignoring the mass murder of millions, then Bernie is your guy.  Trump?  The only hope I see is that he's smart enough to surround himself with experts.  He's always hired smart people.  The question is would he listen.  Cruz?  I shudder to think.  He is the scariest.  The Dems would be passive sheep.  He would be aggressive and not remotely have the ability to restrain our power.  Or use our power.  Rubio, Kascich, or Bush seem to me to be best qualified to navigate these dangerous times.  But whether or not they will get traction is the question.  As of today it doesn't look likely.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Friday Funnies

Dogs Are Cool!

Too Common

Not so long ago it would have been the other way around.

Cool Pic

New Kind of Desk

I've seen of stand-up desks.  But have never seen this.  Not sure what the point is.  Maybe to take a nap when convenient?

Cartoon Logic

Never thought about this.  But this is a good question...

How'd They Do That?

No answer!

Ride em!

I keep trying to figure out who is going to ride and what they are going to do.  Doesn't make sense.


These sneaky beasts cause their owners to do some very, very strange things.


Social media seems to full of this knucklehead.  I don't really get it but he seems like a spoiled whiner to me.  And he's married to one of the slimy Kardashians.  Don't know why media outfits give him the time of day but maybe this is just his day in the sun.  Quickly to burn out and crash in flames.  At least one could hope...

Cool Pic

South Dakota is the one state out of 50 that I haven't visited.  Guess I'm going to have to make a trip.


Every once in a while I come across a photo that makes me go, "WTF"?  This is one...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sex and Golf

Professor Higgins at the University of Sydney was giving a lecture on 'Involuntary Muscle Contraction' to the first year medical students.

This was not an exciting subject and the professor decided to lighten up the mood.

He pointed to a young woman in the front row and asked, 'Do you know what your asshole is doing while you're having an orgasm?'

She replied, 'Probably golfing with his buddies

It took 45 minutes to restore order in the classroom.

Monday, February 15, 2016

R E S P E C T!!

Not true for some.  But for most...yeah.  I get that!

Cool Pic

President's Day

This seems appropriate for today.  Not too many people stopped to think about Washington and Lincoln.  But I bet a shitload of people got a great deal on a sofa!

Fun Wedding

Wonder what else or who else is under there?


This guy has his strategy for a successful marriage down to a science!

Cool Pic

And the really cool thing is that I've been there!

Devine Intervention

While I'm all about the power of prayer, I bet this driver wished they had a couple of wrenches instead of some religious articles.

Makes Sense


I went to the local high school the other day to conduct some interviews for a Rotary Leadership Camp that I'm involved in.  As it happens, I arrived during class break.  As I was walking to the office to check in, this was a pretty good approximation of the scene.  Seriously!  I hadn't been on a high school campus in quite a while and it was pretty entertaining.  I don't want to sound too much like an old fogey, but...when did dress codes go totally out the door?


With each passing day, people are realizing how awful she is.  And the voters are reflecting their disgust.  I mean, she's being beat by a 74-year old Socialist.  Sweet.  People seem to know that she is a liar.  Soon they will understand that she is a felon!

Life Decisions

The U.S. has an all volunteer force.  Which is a good thing.  But one of the ramifications is that fewer and fewer are choosing to spend some of their life in the service to the country by joining the military.  Now this is a funny little meme, but there is a lot of truth to it.  Ask almost anyone of a certain...ahem...age and they will likely tell you the same thing.  It was the best years of their life and they'd likely do it all over again.  So if you're just starting out, check out the options to serve your country.  You won't be sorry.

Cool Pic

We spent Sunday afternoon down at Balboa Park, a real gem right in the middle of San Diego.  It was a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.  Went to the Hall of Champions, strolled over to the museums, went to the Art colony, walked the promenade, visited the international village and listened to some organ music at the pavilion.  And really, we didn't even scratch the surface.  There are a ton of things to see and do in the park and on a nice day it can't be beat.  Two attractions that we've been to several times are the Aerospace Museum and the Old Globe Theater so we bypassed them.  And if you're looking for a great meal in great atmosphere, you can't beat The Prado.  Check it out if you're in San Diego.  You won't be sorry.

Motivation Monday II

Searching for something else and found this.  Thought it worth posting.  Enjoy.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Motivation Monday

Next time you hear the "Bill Gates was a drop out line" remember this.  Getting into Harvard isn't too shabby.  Face it...he is a smart dude.  He was going places wherever he was going.  And it took smarts, luck, and hard work to get to where he is...


In the last 24 hours since the death of Justice Scalia, tributes and analysis has poured in.  It is widely accepted that he was a giant intellect and a historical presence on the court.  The Republicans and Democrats are predictably arguing over whether or not Obama will be able to appoint a successor.  You won't be surprised that my view is that the next President should get that choice.  But of course Obama will nominate someone.  And the Dems will scream bloody murder if the nomination gets hung up in the Senate. what.  That is the nature of our government and the way the founding fathers designed it.  Don't move too fast, give each branch the ability to slow things down, build in ways for each branch to provide a strong check and balance.  So there you go.  The Senate will put this nomination on the shelf.  Like I said, I think that is the right thing to do.  We'll see if they have the balls to see it through.

But this post is about something else. I've been struck by the numerous stories about Justice Scalia's consistent contention that he loved to argue the rule of law, but he never took it personally.  The Daily  Mail has a pretty good article about his friendship with a very unlikely colleague, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  You can read it here.  They were about as far apart as two people can be ideologically, but they had a very close friendship.  They travelled together.  They went to dinner together.  By all accounts, they had a close friendship and respected each other.  So this is a real lesson.  A lesson in what's important.  This is really something to emulate.  I find myself getting pissed off at someone who has a different ideological or political view than me.  I find myself shying away from them.  But that is wrong.  We've got to stop looking at people as a small part of their whole and start looking at the whole person.  Let the ideological stuff fall away.  Or leave it at the door.  Start to see the whole person.  And appreciate everything that he or she brings to the relationship.  You will be much better off for it.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Justice Scalia

I've said in this space before that one of the best years of my professional life was the year at National War College at Ft McNair in Washington, DC.  It was intellectually challenging, mind-expanding, I made a lot of great friends, and I had access to people in the highest level of our government.  I took many electives that were both enriching and opened my eyes to how our government works (or doesn't work).  I developed a fascination and really a love of the Civil War during that year.  I went on a regional study trip to Tunisia, Morocco, and Spain and learned a ton about that region.  

But the best part of the course of instruction was the quality and quantity of guest speakers we had.  Every week we had one or two leaders of government would come to the school and give a presentation.  It was extremely interesting and varied.  We had the President.  We had Congressmen and Senators.  We had business executives.  We had foreign leaders.  We had the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all the Service Chiefs as well as the Service Secretaries.  And on and on.  It was great.  But from them all there were two who undeniably stood out and I will remember for their presence alone.  The first was General Krulack, Commandant of the Marine Corps.   The second was Justice Scalia.  I don't even remember the particulars of their presentations.  But I remember two things.  The first is that they didn't bring a cavalcade of PowerPoint slides with facts and data.  Instead, they told a story.  And the story was powerful and all in their mind.  And the second thing, and probably the most memorable, was just their presence.  Quite simply, they filled the room.  Their charisma, their obvious intellect, their ability to connect with their audience were just amazing.  They had the entire audience at rapt attention for the entire address.  

I specifically remember Justice Scalia making time to answer questions and it was as if he were sitting in a small room with an intimate group instead of a large audience with a bunch of high-powered senior military officers and government employees.  I will readily admit to being pretty intimidated as were most, but the experience was very memorable.  I've been in the presence of people like that a few times in my life.  And there is no explaining it.  It is a quality that is really mysterious.  That he was a towering intellect is an understatement.  That he was a giant of the court is obvious.  His sense of humor is legendary.  I think it was all these things plus his sense of humanity that made him such an impactful justice throughout his tenure.  I've heard all the descriptors of his career.  A giant.  A towering figure.  Hugely impactful.  For my little glimpse...I strongly agree.  We've also heard today about Antonin Scalia, the family man.  He and his Irish wife had 9 children and 35 grandchildren.  By all accounts a wonderful family man who loved those around him.  RIP Justice Scalia.  

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Friday Funnies

Poor bastard...

The Middle East Quagmire

That's the only word for it...quagmire.  This area has evolved to become a "dog's breakfast".  It's a mess and difficult to describe.  And even more difficult to deal with.  I've been thinking about the candidates for President and how they'd handle national security.  And of course in this day and age, all national security roads either go through the Middle East or end with the Middle East.

As I look at the landscape, I'm not sure any of them are adept enough or patient enough to handle the quagmire safely.  Because it will take nuance, persuading, give and take, patience, and prodding to navigate safely.  Who can do that?  If you've been reading at all you know I have a love/hate relationship with Tom Friedman.  Most weeks he pisses me off.  But he's undeniably a smart guy with a lot of experience in the region, so I continue to pay attention.  His column in this week's NYT is as good a summary in a short package as you'll find.  You can read it here.  He rightly points out how much the region has changed, how the players are many and varied, and how old rules don't apply.  Here's the pull quote:
"This is not your grandfather’s Israel anymore, it’s not your oil company’s Saudi Arabia anymore, it’s not your NATO’s Turkey anymore, it’s not your cabdriver’s Iran anymore and it’s not your radical chic college professor’s Palestine anymore. It’s a wholly different beast now, slouching toward Bethlehem."
So the more I think about how dangerous it is and consider the candidates for President, the more worried I get.  As I said, it's not going to be easy.  But there is one guy who has shown unbelievable ignorance and naivety in developing his national security strategy.  Ted Cruz.  Check this out. 
"So just who is Dr. Victoria Coates, who appears to be Cruz's sole National Security Advisor?  Let us start with what she is not.  She has never worked in the Pentagon; never worked in the State Department; never worked in the intelligence community; never served in any branch off the military; never lived overseas representing the United States in any way; never worked for the federal government; never had a security clearance (Unless perhaps for editing.  I'll check that.); never written a book, or indeed any academic or professional article, on national security, any aspect of any of the branches of the military, or on modern international relations; never been in a combat zone, one of ours or anybody else's."
Dr. Coates is an art historian at the Cleveland Museum of Art!!  If he can choose someone who has no experience in national security to be a key advisor, what does that say about him?  For me it's just another reason that he is wholly unqualified to be President.  And that doesn't even take into account his breathtaking arrogance.

So after seeing Friedman's article describing the mess that is the Middle East and stumbling on the article about who one of the prime candidates would turn to for national security advise, I'm pretty concerned.  I've not checked out who the others are listening to.  But I will.  Stay tuned.  In large measure it is said that the job has become too big for one man.  That's why it is so important and a key capability of any candidate to choose smart, experienced, wise advisors who will tell truth to power.  That's really important in many areas, but even more important in national security.  Because that could be the difference between life and death!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Anyone who has been reading for a while knows that I'm a retired U.S. Navy Aviator.  I was in for 25 years, had an unbelievably wonderful career, and wouldn't change a thing.  Part of being in the military is a (good natured) competition between the services.  In short...we like to give each other grief.  We respect each other, we work well together, we go in harms way together...but we like to give each other grief.  If you haven't been there, you don't understand.  But someone who does understand is one of my favorite bloggers, CDR Salamander.  He has a great little blurb in his blog today on service culture.  You can read it here.  It's really good so I'm going to paste it below in case you don't want to follow the link.  This cracks me up.  

As for service differences, my subjective opinion is no more or less perfect than anyone else - so let me put this out there.

1. USMC: Agreed with RADM Klien, they do have the best culture in the aggregate. They are smaller, more selective, and are all focused on supporting the rifleman - their core competency. From a distance, that comes from mutual respect derived from high standards and a culture that tries to promote both obedience and contrary opinion. Tradition, yet innovation. Not that it does them all that good, their opinions as of late have been treated with disdain by their civilian leadership - but at least they tried. If you love being part of a well coordinated organization that will let you become something greater than yourself, a great place to be.

2. Army: Years of garrison duty have made the Army in general a bit more rigid and bureaucratic, and with the exception of certain branches of the combat arms, run by the lowest common denominator. Anyone who has tried to get issued gear from the Army knows of what I speak. Slow to move, and difficult to change. If you want to serve, but not sure how, what, or for how long, a great place to be.

3. USAF: Take the most irritating parts of the DMV, mall cops, and a country club - throw in a little IT support center - and you have the USAF. They took the Army's love of process and combined it with a aviator's disregard for admin overhead. If you are good at shutting up and coloring, aren't a big fan of dirt and discord, a great place to be.

4. Navy: Pick your rate, pick your fate. As I am Navy, I really can't look at the Navy from the outside. My subjectivity is just too subjective. But let's play opposites for a bit. What I noticed first while serving with other services, perhaps the opposite is what the Navy is. Perhaps. So, we are big and wide from SEALS to Surface Nukes. From VFA types to AMPHIB CHENGs. From Riverine to Submarine. All we know is we do what we do, and everyone else is somehow not as good as we and our command is at what we do. That, or someone has stolen the strawberries and gets too much sleep. We may be a bit slovenly and messy, perhaps a bit soft in the middle, but who cares? We tend to be loose and inconsistent with procedures, and if you can't keep up, well, every command needs FITREP fodder. We can't do configuration control for squat - but we like it that way for some reason. Sure, there may be a governing instruction, but that isn't quite how we do it here. No you can't park on the grass, no we aren't building new parking lots, no there isn't a shuttle. If you want a better spot, then come in before 0545. Not my problem. SUPPO ordered too much asparagus and only Rice Krispies are available until we get back home. Suck it up.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

New Hampshire

The second round is over.  And there are some surprises, some confirmation of predictions, and as has been usual in this looney tunes year of Presidential politics, a lot of head scratching.

On the Democratic side it was predictable that Bernie would win big.  And he did.  Really big.  Hillary's humiliation continues.  Oh she's putting on a good face and "eagerly" moving on to South Carolina, but she got beat like a tight drum.  I mean shellacked!  In the last few days she brought out Bubba, Madeline Albright, and Gloria Steinham to rally the troops.  Now there is a group.  Bernie is tapping into the younger vote so Hillary brings out the geriatric set.  What that was going to get her is beyond me.  She is just so awful.  And the good news is that it seems like the Dems are starting to implode.  I mean, they all have to know deep down that a 74 year-old Socialist doesn't have a remote prayer of the chance in the national election.  They have to know.  You can see them fighting more and more every day.  If the Dems are fighting each other, that is a good thing.  Dick Morris has a pretty good piece over at The Hill.  You can read it here.  And the Clinton machine thinks that it doesn't matter what they do because she's going to march to the coronation.  But she still has this little thing about emails hanging over her head.  I've gone on and on and on about it over the months as has many news outlets, but let me just repeat one thing.  She must be indicted.  Thee is no way around it.  Simple as that.  If she is not indicted, then we should see mass resignation from the FBI and the Justice Department.  She is spinning about classified emails, but it's not about that.  It's about SAP material on her unsecured server.  Again, anyone else and they'd be making little rocks out of big rocks.  No question about it.  So what happens when she goes down?  Good question.  Oh there?

On the Republican side it's just as goofy but in a different way.  I'd be typing all night if I tried to describe the last shenanigans from the last week.  So here's my take on these guys for what it's worth:
  • Trump--no one thought he'd survive.  No one thought he could win.  Everyone thought he was too shallow, too brash, too crude.  And he is all those things.  Be here we are.  He wins Iowa and goes into South Carolina with momentum.  Can he go all the way?  Good question.  3 months ago I would have said no way.  Today?  Don't know.  I'm not a fan, but he's better than any of the Dems.  At least he's got a positive message.  How he would act sorta scares me though.
  • Kasich--spent a lot of time and money.  Surprised everyone at 2nd.  He was my guy but he faded too far.  Still talks too much about the past instead of the future.  I've heard that he is running out of money.  But maybe this 2nd place finish will bring in some funding.  I hope so.  And I still think he'd make the best President of the group
  • Bush--Jeb benefitted from Christie's attack on Rubio.  No doubt about it.  I think he's on life support.  Of course, he has a the Bush machine and a lot of money so he'll continue.  But I still don't think he has a chance.  It's only a matter of time.
  • Cruz--Jackass.  Simple as that.  Still can't get past the sleaze factor.  Wish he'd get thumped by someone and put in his place.  Don't know if it'd happen though.  Really hope he isn't the last man standing.  Because if he is, I'd have to hold my nose pretty tight to vote for him.
  • Rubio--Christie did a number on him at the debate.  And his speech tonight was almost perfect.  He took responsibility.  Rare in a politician.  And admirable.  So now we'll see.  I think he can come back.  But we'll see.  
  • Christie--Did what he wanted by trashing Rubio.  Or rather getting Rubio to trash himself.  So he took out Rubio for New Hampshire.  But I think he also took himself out.  Came across as too much of a bully.  Too prosecutorial.  I think he's done.  He went all in for New Hampshire and didn't get near what he needed.  If he doesn't drop out he's just wasting time.
  • Florina--She's done.  Like her a lot but it isn't happening.  She needs to go.
  • Carson--I'll say what everyone says and what I've said before.  Nice guy.  Not a President.  He may stay, but he's done.
So now it's on to South Carolina.  It just keeps getting more interesting.  

Friday, February 5, 2016


Somehow this is not surprising.  Cats give me the creeps.  Simple as that.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Women Registering for the Draft

Of course this should happen.  It's a no brainer.  If every job is open to women, then every obligation should be open to women.

U.S. military generals want women to register for draft
Jennifer Rizzo-Profile-Image
By Jennifer Rizzo, CNN
Updated 2:58 PM ET, Tue February 2, 2016 | Video Source: CNN

Two of the U.S. military service chiefs believe women should now be required to register for the draft
The comments come after the Defense Department opened up all combat jobs to women
(CNN)Two of the U.S. military service chiefs believe women should now be required to register for the draft after the Defense Department opened up all combat jobs to women.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley agreed that the current policy, which requires only males register for the Selective Service System, should be changed after restrictions that barred women from trying out for combat jobs were lifted last year.

"Every American who's physically qualified should register for the draft," said Neller at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday that examined the new policy to admit women into combat units.

"I think that all eligible and qualified men and women should register for the draft," Milley added.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Army Acting Secretary Patrick Murphy, also testifying at the hearing would not go as far but did say they believed the issue should be put to a national debate.

"This needs to be looked at as part of a national debate, given the changed circumstances," said Mabus.

The Supreme Court in 1981 upheld Congress' decision to exempt women from registering for the draft on the basis that since women were restricted from combat they would not be needed in the event of a draft.

"The existence of combat restrictions clearly indicates the basis for Congress' decision to exempt women from registration," Justice William Rehnquist wrote.

Congress would have to change the law in order for women to be drafted to the military.

Murphy said he encourages "the legislative body to look at" the issue.

Cool Pic

Dogs Are Cool

A Healthy Sense of Humor

It's always required.  A sense of humor that is.  This is rather tragic.  And yet here we are.  And sometimes...ya just gotta laugh.  Good for her!

Good Timing

Whoever took this shot timed it perfectly.  I mean...I'm sure she can't walk on water.  Or can she?


I've never understood the logic that ID's shouldn't be required to cast a vote.  This little comic sort of says it all.  There are so many places in life that you need an ID.  So why not to vote.  Like I said, I just don't get the logic.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


I guess I should just let it go.  After all, Iowa doesn't really matter that much after the caucuses are over.  They gave a start to the political process and on the Republican side Rubio had a surprisingly strong showing while Trump got beat.  And I guess the closeness of the race for the Dems was a bit of a surprise.  But just as I said last night, it's got to be humiliating for Hillary.  I mean, she got thumped by an unknown first term Senator eight years ago and now a 74 year old Socialist takes her down to the wire.  And the truth is that it was too close to call.  And did you hear that some of the races were called by the flip of a coin.  Really?  So that's how it works in Iowa?  Amazing.  Anyway, she comes within a hair of losing and the margin is so thin as to not see any light.  But what does she do?  Check this out.  Look at about 1:12.  She claims victory boisterously, enthusiastically, confidently.  Oh well...I guess that's what politicians do.  And the beginning with Bubba is just a little bonus.

So now she is campaigning hard in New Hampshire and she is going to get her ass kicked.  That's a given.  Will just depend on how badly.  Of course, from there they go South and she will pick up steam and Bernie will fizzle.  Her money will continue to flow and Bernie's will dry up.  

But what happens if/when she has to face the music for her actions in the email fiasco?  Don't know.   But if she gets what's coming to her, she and the party are in deep shit.

Groundhog Day

Don't know if there is anyone who hasn't seen the classic movie Groundhog Day.  It still cracks me up.  If you haven't seen it, here's the trailer.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Iowa's over.  At least as this is written on the Republican side.  The beginning is over and now it's on to New Hampshire and the rest of the political process.  The Iowa caucuses are antiquated, inefficient, influenced by some pretty radical special interest groups, dependent on weather and turnout, and are decidedly unscientific.  But they are first.  And they do start everyone out of the gate.  And already a couple of the contenders have dropped out.  That is a good thing.  We need to get this thing down to a reasonable number.

So for the Republicans the order of finish is Cruz, Trump, and Rubio.  The rest don't matter.  To be sure, some of the others have focused on New Hampshire and subsequent states so they may do better as time unfolds.  But tonight it's Cruz, Trump, and Rubio.  But for my money there are really two stories.  The very big story is how well Rubio did.  No one expected him to get 23%.  No one.  I'm a Rubio supporter so I'm heartened by this result.  His speech tonight before his supporters was inspiring and uplifting.  I hope that if you're reading this and haven't decided, you'll consider Rubio.  He's the real deal.  Check it out...
Contrast Rubio with Trump.  That's the second story on the Republican side.  Trump lost.  He is consistently an inch deep and a mile wide.  Oh he's got the beautiful people on the stage and he thanked everyone, but he just seems pretty empty.  I've read his book.  I've listened to his speeches.  I've tried to imagine him as President.  I don't see it.  He also gave a speech tonight in Iowa.  For my money it was empty.  Nothing there.  Check it out...
And then there is Cruz.  I still think he's a bit of a sleaze.  And I think he won by a very direct pander to the evangelicals who are plentiful in Iowa.  I just can't help but think that wearing his religion on his sleeve is a bit disingenuous.  I like some of the stuff he says, but for some reason he just rubs me wrong.  I'm just not sure I'd trust him.  And I don't think I'd turn my back on him.  I'm listening to his speech and it is going on and on and on.  He is just so...I don't know...smarmy!  To me he fulfills the old definition of a cynic to a tee..."someone who knows the cost of everything, but the value of nothing".  He is one of those guys who believes he is absolutely right about everything.  Remind you of anyone?  Maybe another first term Senator who now occupies the White House.  How he would get anything done in the Washington bureaucracy is beyond me.  He would be polarizing and would drown out dissent.  Or at least he would try to drown it out.  But I fear he would be just as ineffective as Obama.  But...and this is a big but...I'd vote for him every day over Hillary.

Speaking of Hillary.  So she suffers a humiliating defeat 8 years ago from an unknown first term Senator from Illinois.  Now she gets taken down to the wire in what is looking like a dead-heat by a 74 year old Socialist.  Humiliating!  So now they go on to New Hampshire where he will beat her like a tight drum.  After all, he's from next door Vermont.  And then things will dissolve for him as the Clinton machine and the big money donors kick in.  There were a couple of things interesting in her speech tonight.  Maybe I'm superficial, but I don't think I've ever seen more makeup on a political candidate.  Seriously, I thought that if she smiled too big, maybe her face would crack.  This was clearly designed to appeal to (fool) younger voters.  Second was Bubba.  He was standing behind her and he looked...well...out of it.  None of the fun-loving tomfoolery was evident.  This is another indicator that they are worried.  But she shouldn't be worried about Bernie, she should be worried about Loretta Lynch and Jim Comey.  As the days go by and the news gets worse, it's clear that she broke the law.  And not like a jay-walking breaking of the law.  This one is a doozy.  She had Top Secret Special Access Program (SAP) material on her unsecured server.  If that doesn't result in an indictment, then I truly don't know what would.  Anyway, that's for another day.  Here is her speech.  She is scary.  And awful.  And yesterday.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  How anyone could support her is way beyond me.