Friday, March 27, 2015

Sorry for the absence, the doctor will see you now.

I've finished guest-blogging for a friend of mine who was on a long trip to Thailand. If you want to see what I've been blogging about for the last two weeks, you can go check his blog out.

But that's all over now. It was actually kind of nice to hear from a few concerned folks who were wondering if I was ok. Rest assured that Permanent Press is still operating and fully functional.

Anyway, since I've been gone a whole lot has happened.

For instance, Obama is trying to give the Iranians a nuclear weapon, and even the French (the French!) are saying that this may not be a good idea. Pro-tip, y'all. If the French are saying that your proposed terms are too favorable to the enemy, you may need to take a time-out and re-evaluate.

Also, it looks like a pilot decided to drive his airplane into the side of a mountain in what appears to be either the most selfish suicide on the planet, or simply mass murder. Either way, it's really bad.

So, it appears that I've left this blog along for just a little while and the entire world goes nuts. Anyway, the doctor is back in.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Monday, March 9, 2015

I'm guest-blogging for a friend... that means I'll have to divide my blogging time between this place and his blog. However, since I feel more responsibility towards his blog, I'll probably be focusing my efforts there. Don't go anywhere though, I'll still be putting up content daily.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Thoughts From Reading the King v. Burwell Transcript

I took a little time to read the transcript from today's Supreme Court oral arguments in King v. Burwell.

If you want to read the transcript, you can find it here. It's always a dicey proposition to read anything into how the Justices will rule from their questions/comments at oral argument, but here are a few of my impressions:

1. Justice Ginsburg immediately jumped on the issue of standing from the get-go. After some back and forth, and with what ultimately seemed like a concession from the Government, the likelihood of kicking the case out on a lack of standing seems extremely remote.

2. Justice Kagan seemed to have gotten the better of Petitioner's counsel with her hypothetical about law-clerks and memo writing, but Alito jumped to the rescue with such a good response that even Kagan remarked of Alito "He's good."

3. The real question seems to be where Justice Kennedy is going to land. He seems to want to say that the Petitioner's argument necessarily requires the conclusion that conditioning subsidies on states setting up the exchanges is coercive, and would therefore be unconstitutional. Obviously, this would result in disruption of everyone who got a subsidy in the states where HHS set up the exchanges, and Kennedy seemed loathe to make that leap. Petitioner's counsel responded to Kennedy by observing that the government hadn't made that that argument, and Kennedy says "Sometimes we think of things the government doesn't".

4. Carrying that last point further, the real question seems to be whether Kennedy is willing to interpret the statute in a manner that avoids having to find the statute to be unconstitutional under the avoidance doctrine. I think that Kennedy wants to say it's unconstitutional, but I think he's concerned with the resulting effects of what happens if he makes that finding. Ultimately, I think he'll avoid doing so, and the Government's position will prevail.

5. The Government's counsel took a little bit of a shot at Congress when Justice Scalia pressed him on why the Congress wouldn't just amend the statute if the Court accepts the Petitioner's position. Scalia says "You really think Congress is just going to sit there while ­­ while all of these disastrous consequences ensue?" and the Government's lawyer responds somewhat tongue-in-cheek with "Well...this Congress, Your Honor? I...I..." to which there's some general laughter at Congress' expense.

Ultimately, I think the Government will win this because I think the easy place for Kennedy to land is that there is a little bit of ambiguity in the statute, so you go with the interpretation that doesn't render the statute unconstitutional. That' just my guess, anyway. I would be surprised if the Court did something radical and essentially forced Congress and President Obama to fix the law.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I Really Don't Understand Hillary and the E-mail Thing

Is Hillary Clinton the dumbest person in the world?
Maybe one of y'all can explain this to me.
"Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act."
I don't understand this on any level. Even if you can say that this wasn't illegal, which it clearly appears to be, what's the point of having an unofficial e-mail? I'll tell you: the only reason that you would not use an official e-mail is to hide something. And guess what, campers? That shows a bad intent. In the legal world we call that mens rea. But even if you don't even address the legal issues, from a political perspective this looks like a disaster.

The other thing is that it's not even really hiding something. Even a rookie con-man knows that if you want to keep a secret, you have a false front. Why not have an official government e-mail for the official stuff that is day-to-day, and then have your super-secret, black-site e-mail address for all your nefarious work that you don't want to disclose?

How about don't e-mail at all? Don Corleone managed to run a pretty sizable group of folks and he didn't have to send out family-wide e-mails all the time. But this just having an off-the-book email is such a flagrant disregard for everything, I don't even know where to start.

It seems like Hillary is either really dumb or she doesn't think that the rules apply to her and no one will care if she's found out. I don't think she's dumb.

Embrace Your Inner Don Draper

In the cross-promotion that is standard for Caskey Worldwide Enterprises™, you can find my blog post about men's haircuts over at FigColumbia.

Friday, February 27, 2015

House of Cards: Season 3

Since Season Three of House of Cards came out at midnight last night, I thought you might enjoy this overview of the last two seasons.

h/t David Smith

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

14 Things You Should Know About Guns

My CWP choice - a .45ACP Springfield XDS

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you probably already know them these things. However, it never hurts to spread some knowledge around.

On a semi-related note, when I started carrying almost two years ago, I was constantly worried about people looking at me and seeing my pistol underneath my jacket. Now, I realize that no one really looks at me that closely. Most people are so wrapped up in their own business, they rarely scrutinize what other people are doing. And after awhile, carrying becomes fairly routine. Since the CWP law was modified to allow for carry into restaurants, I've had to disarm less during the day.

Luckily, I haven't ever been in a situation where I've needed it, and I hope I never do. (Kind of like the smoke detectors in my house)

Monday, February 23, 2015

A wonderful sentence from Shelby Foote

"Steedman, who was 47, Pennsylvania born, a former printer, Texas revolutionist, and Ohio legislator, a great hearty man, broad breasted and broad shouldered, whose face, according to an admirer, was written all over with sturdy sense and stout courage, brought them up on the double and committed them with no more delay other than it took to tell a staff officer to see that his name was spelled correctly in the obituaries."

A single sentence.

The deliberate and slow manner of Foote's writing is wonderful. Here, he's describing a particular point in the Battle of Chickamauga, where Steedman essentially rallies the Federal troops in a valiant counter-attack.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday ATF Photo

Happy Friday. Here's your Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

Otherwise, enjoy your weekend, peeps.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

70th Anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima

U.S. Marines during the assault of Iwo Jima, 1945

If it hasn't been mentioned, today is the 70th anniversary of the amphibious assault by the United States Marines on Japanese-held Iwo Jima on 19 February 1945. 

U.S. losses amounted to 6800, with 17,000 wounded. 

The Japanese lost almost 22,000 men. Only 216 prisoners were taken. 

Many today question why Truman used The Bomb. They are idiots.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sell me this pencil - Mike Rowe on Credentials and Competency

“Hi there. My name’s Mike Rowe, and I only have eight minutes to tell you why this is finest pencil on Planet Earth. So let’s get right to it.”

Great Characters Make Great Stories

Two sides of the same coin.
John Daniel Davidson has a piece in which he talks about the "literary genius" of Justified, it's good and worth a look, but I think it could be more accurately titled "Great Characters Make Great Stories".
In the world Yost and Leonard spun out of one of those “oddball tales,” Boyd is no more a villain than Raylan is a hero; each man is a kind of shadow of the other, ill-suited to their assigned roles and unfit for the wider world. Cold and remorseless, justified in all his killings, Raylan is knotted up with anger and violence. His moral conscience amounts to allying himself with the law, though he ignores it when it’s convenient and flouts it openly to protect an ex-wife he loves but refuses to be with.

By contrast, Boyd exudes a kind of joie de vivre amid his many depredations while betraying a moral sensitivity far more developed than Raylan’s. He does wrong but doesn’t try to justify it to his conscience. In season three, Boyd kills a man on his crew, Devil, after learning of the man’s plans to betray him. While dumping the body, Boyd quotes something his father used to say: “Once you make up your mind to kill a man, ain’t nothing left to talk about.”
For me, what really makes Justified a great story is the complexity of Boyd and Raylan. Neither man is the classic one-dimensional hero or villain, and their interactions are the best part of the show. It's almost like they are each other's alter-ego, and I could almost see Boyd coming over to the right side of the law as easily as you could see Raylan slipping into a life of crime. Perhaps there's something to be said about how these two characters embody the opposing forces in human nature, and how they struggle against one another.

Similarly, the character of Walter White is probably why I liked Breaking Bad so much. Walter White was a complicated character, and it was fascinating to watch his story unfold. The transition of Walter White from a high school chemistry teacher to drug kingpin was quite a character arc than ended the only way it really could.

Hopefully, Justified wraps up as nicely as Breaking Bad did. Boyd Crowder may be one of the few "bad guys" I'd like to see get away. Maybe.