Combs Spouts Off

"It's my opinion and it's very true."

Thank you, veterans

Posted by Richard on November 11, 2018

On this Veterans Day, please make a contribution to an organization (or two or three!) that supports veterans or active-duty military personnel.

Salute

To those who have served, and to those who serve today:

Thank you.


It Is The Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

Copyright Charles M. Province, 1970, 2005

http://www.pattonhq.com/koreamemorial.html

The Signaleer has a nice history of Remembrance Day, which begat Armistice Day, which begat Veterans Day, and he includes the classic World War I poem, In Flanders Fields. Well worth a visit.

 

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Hitting the Stoly pretty hard

Posted by Richard on November 7, 2018

It’s not a good night for small-government advocates (e.g., libertarians) in Colorado. Admittedly, Republicans haven’t been very good proponents of small government, but they’re still far better than Democrats. And Republicans have been routed in this state. At this time, it looks like Democrats may win every state-wide office (the AG race is still too close to call, but Dem Phil Weiser, a far-left law school professor with no prosecutorial experience, leads).

The Dems have flipped three state senate seats to take control of that body, while expanding their lead in the state house. So the entirety of Colorado government is going to be in control of Democrats. People who support “single-payer” (i.e., government-run) health care, more gun control, more money “for the children,” more “affordable housing,” more “multimodal transportation,” etc., etc.

In Denver, it looks like voters have approved tax increases for parks and recreation, “mental health” and housing, the “Urban an Flood Control District,” and a proposal to increase the sales tax to “provide food and education about food to young people in need.” Also passing is a measure to fund election campaigns with tax dollars, giving each candidate $9 for each $1 they raise within the rules.

I. Am. Bummed.

True, some of the ballot initiatives and proposals offer some more optimistic interpretation.

  • Voters rejected 112, which would have essentially ended oil and gas drilling in Colorado.
  • Voters rejected 73, a massive tax increase “for the children,” which would have mainly increased funding for education administrators.
  • Voters rejected 110, which would have allocated tons of new tax dollars to “transportation,” including lots of money for “multimodal” nonsensense plus lots of grants to local governments to do whatever they want.
  • They also rejected 109, the Independence Institute’s proposal to fund specific road projects from existing revenues without tax increases.

Overall, it looks like a massive blue wave, with the caveat that voters don’t want taxes to go up.

I’m thinking that I should seriously think about moving back to  Tennessee.

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Montana LP Senate candidate decides not to help Tester get re-elected

Posted by Richard on November 2, 2018

Rick Breckenridge, the Libertarian candidate for Montana Senator Jon Tester’s seat, may have just ensured that Tester is finally retired:

Ever wonder how Senator Jon Tester, a Beltway swamp creature who voted against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh and famously stays in lockstep with his fellow Democrats on immigration and gun control, keeps getting elected in a state like Montana? The answer is simple: the Libertarian Party usually nominates a spoiler who siphons enough votes from Tester’s GOP challengers that he wins by the skin of his teeth.

In 2012, for example, Libertarian Dan Cox garnered enough of the vote to allow Tester to eke out a 4 percent win. This year was no different — until yesterday — when Libertarian Rick Breckenridge decided to endorse Republican Matt Rosendale. The Libertarian has been pulling enough support in the polls to enable Tester to slither back to the swamp again. …

Breckenridge endorsed Rosendale in response to a “dark money group” mailer aimed at persuading conservatives to vote for the Libertarian. I guess he didn’t like feeling like he’s being used.

Tester’s re-election chances were also hurt recently due to a self-inflicted wound:

This is not Tester’s only PR problem. Having sent out mailers to voters suggesting that he was an avid hunter, it was recently discovered that he hasn’t had a hunting license in years. This damaged Tester’s credibility and made him the butt of more than one joke. Donald Trump, Jr. recently quipped, “That Senator won’t hunt.” …

So Montanans now know that Sen. Tester is either a liar or a poacher.

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A surprising revelation by Walker Stapleton

Posted by Richard on November 1, 2018

The other night, Next on 9News played an excerpt from Kyle Clark’s 13-minute interview with GOP gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton in which he revealed something that surprised me. Here’s the full interview, which is pretty interesting. The surprising revelation is in response to Kyle Clark’s last question at 11:37.

He’s got my vote. Low taxes and jam bands!

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If you aren’t watching SEAL Team, you’re really missing out

Posted by Richard on October 31, 2018

The CBS series SEAL Team is in its second season. If you haven’t been watching it, you’ve been missing some of the finest TV drama in many years, IMHO the best since the ’90s series Homicide: Life on the Street. It’s realistic, believable, and compelling. For me, tonight’s episode (S2E5, “Say Again Your Last”) was gut-wrenching to watch, but oh so worthwhile. I agree completely with David Hookstead:

As I’ve said many times before, “SEAL Team” is one of the greatest shows ever made, and an absolute home run for CBS(RELATED: One Of The Best Military Shows Ever Made Returns Tonight. Here’s What You Need To Know)

It’s not about a bunch of mindless guys in uniforms running around shooting people. It’s just as much about the home life as it is the action of combat.

Plus, the SEALs come off as very real, honest, authentic and believable. That’s not the easiest thing to pull of in a military drama, but “SEAL Team” did it without a problem.

Team leader Jason Hayes is the role David Boreanaz was born to play, and the rest of the cast is also outstanding. If you haven’t seen the show, and if past episodes are available from your cable/satellite provider or streaming service, I strongly suggest watching all of Season 1 so you really get to know the characters, not to mention seeing some great stories. But if that’s not an option, just dive in now. On the show’s CBS home page linked above, it looks like they’ll let you watch the first five episodes of Season 2 for free.

If at all possible, watch it on a big screen, not your 13″ laptop or (heaven forbid) phone. The videography is excellent and deserves all the screen real estate you can give it.

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Not The Onion: Young people explain why they don’t vote

Posted by Richard on October 30, 2018

Like all generations, millenials are a pretty diverse group. When it comes to voting, some of them fill out their absentee ballot at a forward operating base in Kandahar province after a day of locating IEDs, fighting off Taliban rebels, or helping villagers rebuild a bombed-out school. Others (probably living in their parents’ basement) can’t bring themselves to vote because mailing things causes them anxiety.

IMHO, this is a good thing. If you can’t deal with the post office or you need someone to print the registration form for you and provide you with stamps, then I’d rather you didn’t vote. Heck, I’d rather you didn’t drive a car or operate machinery.

But it’s only a matter of time until Schumer, Pelosi, Ocasio-Cortez, et al, complain that not allowing people to vote via Snapchat is another example of Republican voter suppression.

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Which is harder, voting or buying a gun?

Posted by Richard on October 29, 2018

Ho hum. Another anti-gun leftist betrays his abysmal ignorance of gun laws. And of voting.

Executive Director for Build the Wave, Nate Lerner, wants to make it as hard to buy a gun as it is to vote.

Huh.

We are totally good with making it as hard to buy a gun as it is to vote.

Totally.

EL OH EL.

I suppose a case could be made for flipping his argument around.

Suppose the opposite side of Nate’s tweet could work as well, maybe we do need to make it harder for some people to vote. Oh, don’t worry, just the illegal people … and the dumb ones.

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Happy National Cat Day!

Posted by Richard on October 29, 2018

Yes, today is National Cat Day. And I’m feline fine. The weather is purrfect. But before I go out for a walk, I think I’ll take a catnap. With one or more cats. I think that’s fur the best.

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Seventeen years ago today

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2018

Seventeen years have passed since that awful September 11th morning. Virtually all of today’s college students, and even recent grads, didn’t see what happened to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and to the Pentagon. They didn’t watch, in shock and disbelief, as the second plane crashed into the South Tower. They didn’t feel their hearts rising into their throats and a chill run down their spines as people jumped from 80+ stories up to avoid burning alive. They don’t know or understand the significance of what the passengers on United Flight 93 did, and they aren’t moved, as I am to this day, by the words “Let’s roll!” They may have seen some brief video or images, but they didn’t live it. And I suspect that their parents and teachers, in many cases, didn’t spend much time on this topic.

Most of the rest of this post is, with minor changes, what I’ve posted in past years on this grim anniversary. It’s my hope that someone will stumble across this page who is too young to remember or who has forgotten, and that it will have an impact on them. If you know such a person, share your memories from that day. Show them this post and other information about what happened and why. Maybe watch United 93 with them.


Seventeen years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.

We must not forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

Never forget.

Flag still stands

Never forget.

raising the flag at ground zero

Never, ever forget.

9/11 tribute of light

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Finally! Pat Bowlen nominated to HOF

Posted by Richard on August 23, 2018

If you’ve paid the slightest attention to sports news today, you already know that Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has been nominated to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It took long enough. Bowlen stepped down as CEO and turned the team over to a trust four years ago due to his Alzheimer’s disease.

Bowlen is often described as “a Canadian businessman,” but he’s actually an American businessman, born in Wisconsin, with degrees in business and law from the University of Oklahoma. He just happened to make tons of money in Canada, first as a lawyer and then in real estate, oil, and mining. But my impression (admittedly, from a distance with limited information) is that nothing meant more to him than the Broncos. He was certainly an actively involved owner on a day-to-day basis who had great relationships with his coaches and players. Check out the second and third videos embedded in the CBS Denver story linked above.

Current President/CEO Joe Ellis and former player Steve Atwater (who should also be in the HOF) delivered the news to Bowlen, who reportedly smiled when told of the nomination. That’s good. I’m glad he’s still aware enough to derive some pleasure from hearing the news.

Ten owners have preceded Bowlen into the HOF, and only three or four of those can hold a candle to Bowlen’s record of contributions to the league and accomplishments as a team owner. The record of the Broncos under his leadership speaks for itself: more Super Bowl appearances than losing seasons; best winning percentage of any NFL team, and second-best of any professional sports franchise (I believe the best is the Denver Outlaws lacrosse team, and — surprise! — Pat Bowlen owns that too).

Bowlen’s work on numerous ownership committees makes him arguably more responsible than anyone else for NFL football’s tremendous TV success and ascendancy to being America’s favorite sport. Are you one of the umpteen millions who enjoy Sunday Night Football, perennially the highest-rated show on TV by a large margin? Thank Pat Bowlen; it was his idea.

The actual vote on the nominees takes place February 2nd (the day after the Super Bowl), and the induction ceremony will be next August. All the experts I’ve heard say he’s a slam-dunk, that the vote will be basically a formality. I certainly hope so. And I hope when that happens, he’s still able to understand that he’s received that well-deserved honor.

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Fatally stupid

Posted by Richard on August 16, 2018

From The Daily Wire:

A young American couple who took a year-long bike trip around the world, believing that evil was a make-believe concept, took a fatal route in Tajikistan near the Afghan border, where alleged ISIS terrorists stabbed them to death.

Alleged? ISIS, which claimed responsibility, released a video showing the five men pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu al Baghdadi.

Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, 29, quit their jobs last year in order to make their trip. Austin was a vegan who worked for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Geoghegan, a vegetarian who worked in the Georgetown University admissions office.

Check out the picture of the couple accompanying the article. They look exactly as you’d expect such people to look. Young, idealistic, and clueless. All about rainbows and unicorns, at least figuratively.

I know, I sound cold, heartless, and cynical. Really, I’m not. I have great sympathy for their families and friends, and I’m saddened that they died such a horrible death. But ideas have consequences, and their delusional beliefs led to their demise. May others learn from that.

While in Morocco, Austin wrote:

… Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own—it’s easier to dismiss an opinion as abhorrent than strive to understand it. Badness exists, sure, but even that’s quite rare. By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind. No greater revelation has come from our journey than this.

On July 29, the five ISIS men rammed their car into Austin, Geoghegan, and two other Western cyclists, hopped out, and stabbed all four to death. Thus providing Austin for one brief moment with a greater revelation.

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Guess who’s meddling in US politics now

Posted by Richard on August 14, 2018

An investigation by the Daily Caller News Foundation reveals that Iranian nationals are posing as anti-immigrant Americans as part of a campaign to defeat the repeal of per-country caps on the number of employment-based green cards (permanent resident visas) issued to mostly H1B visa holders:

Iranian nationals are impersonating Americans online to demonize Indian immigrants as part of a lobbying campaign against proposed legislation in the House of Representatives, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has found.

Using Twitter usernames that read like foreign stereotypes of American names, they tweet obsessively at reporters and high-profile political figures about the threats they say Indian immigrants pose to America.

H.R. 392 enjoyed broad bipartisan support and has been incorporated into the Homeland Security appropriations bill as an amendment. Contrary to what many of the fake Americans’ tweets claim, it doesn’t increase either the number of H1B visas or the number of green cards issued. It simply eliminates the per-country limits on the latter.

To be clear, these people aren’t living in Iran and doing the bidding of the Mullahs. They’re Iranians who’ve fled from the Mullahs and are living in the US under non-permanent visas. Their greatest fear, I’m sure, is being forced to return to Iran. They’re desperate to not have their already slim chances at gaining the security of permanent residence status further eroded. So I’m quite sympathetic to their concerns.

But their tactic of ginning up anti-immigrant sentiment and encouraging the false belief that this legislation will lead to countless Indians taking “all the jobs of the US citizens” is deplorable.

Before I retired as a technical writer, I worked with a number of H1B visa holders from around the world, some of whom were lucky enough to eventually obtain green cards. They were, to a man and woman, highly skilled, valuable professionals in software engineering and related fields. On net, they didn’t “take Americans’ jobs”; they created far, far more jobs than they “took” by helping to develop new products and services (including innovative, patentable new technologies) that greatly improved video conferencing and collaboration, distance learning, etc. They were exactly the kind of people we should want to become Americans. The US would become wealthier (and create countless new good jobs) if it allowed more such people to come here. And to stay.

Probably the only thing I’ve ever agreed with Thomas Friedman about is his suggestion for an immigration compromise: build a high wall with wide gates. In other words, make it harder to come here illegally, but easier to come here legally.

Perhaps that would assuage the fears of these Iranians by making them feel less like they’re playing a zero-sum game rigged against them. Which they are.

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Another “do as I say, not as I do” Democrat

Posted by Richard on August 13, 2018

Episode #13,496 of Not The Onion:

She ran on responsible gun regulation, now she’s accused of killing her campaign treasurer

ATLANTA – A former Georgia Congressional candidate has been charged with murder after her former campaign treasurer was found dead inside her apartment.

Kellie Collins, of Thomason, turned herself into the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office just as authorities in Aiken County, South Carolina found the body of Curtis Cain, Collins’ former campaign treasurer.

Investigators said Cain did not show up for work on Tuesday, so deputies went to his home to check on him. That’s when they found him dead from an apparent gunshot wound.

In 2017, Collins ran as a Democrat against incumbent Rep. Jody Hice, a Republican, for Georgia’s 10th District. She ultimately dropped out of the race, citing personal reasons.

During the race, she touted her support for responsible gun regulation to protect the community.

The typical gun banner wants to disarm you and me because we lack impulse control and might in a moment of rage shoot someone. That’s called projection.

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Training kids to be school shooters

Posted by Richard on August 8, 2018

It started out as a sad, but not terribly important, news story. Authorities raided a squalid “compound” in New Mexico, just south of the Colorado border last Friday looking for a young boy kidnapped by his father. They found 11 children, ages 1 to 15, malnourished and living in terrible conditions. They arrested three women, believed to be the children’s mothers, and two men. And they found the body of a child, most likely Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, the boy they were searching for and the son of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, one of the men arrested. Sad, but still not terribly important.

Then came news making it much more important. According to prosecutors, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was training some of the children to commit mass shootings at schools. That link is to the story aired on Next on 9News. Mind you, I like Kyle Clark and Next on 9News, a refreshingly different and generally thoughtful and fair-minded local newscast. But in that clip, they go out of their way to reassure us that an outburst of “Allahu akbar” in the courtroom could be totally innocuous and no different than a Baptist shouting “praise the Lord.” Nonsense.

Siraj Wahhaj is the son of an infamous imam, also named Siraj Wahhaj, of the radical Masjid At-Taqwa mosque. The elder Wahhaj was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a “character witness” for Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the notorious “blind sheik” convicted of plotting terrorist attacks in the US.

Shouting “Allahu akbar” was innocuous, my ass. It was the war cry of a radical Islamist who won’t rest until every infidel converts, submits, or dies.

I guess we should have expected that radical Islamists would target our schools as a way of terrorizing us. Schools were one of their targets of choice in Israel until the Israelis ensured that every school had armed guards. Do you have kids in school? Have any of the staff at that school undergone FASTER training?

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Sarah Hoyt: Heinlein vs. Handmaid’s Tale

Posted by Richard on August 1, 2018

Have you read Heinlein’s Revolt in 2100? It’s part of his future history series (which you should read in its entirety, and which is, IMHO, the ne plus ultra of the science fiction genre). I haven’t read it in about 40 years (although I’ve reread some of his other future history stories since then). After reading Sarah Hoyt’s column contrasting it and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, I think I’ll reread it. And I’ll continue to not read Atwood’s book and to not watch the Hulu series based on it (easy enough, since I don’t subscribe to Hulu and don’t intend to).

Hoyt’s column is impossible to excerpt in a way that does justice to it, so you just have to read the whole thing. But here’s the opening as a teaser:

I’ve been waiting for someone to accuse me of hypocrisy for liking Heinlein’s Revolt in 2100 (“If this goes on…”) and hating Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Mind you, I’m a libertarian which means being accused of hypocrisy is my bread and butter, and if it doesn’t happen at least twice a day I start feeling a little off.

The left, for instance, is fond of accusing me of hypocrisy for the stuff I write, since my moral and religious standing should not allow me to do that.  Not that I have a moral or religious stand (or rather I do, but often in a different direction from every other human being).  In other words, I’m often enough accused of hypocrisy for not matching their strawman of me, so that I expect to be accused of hypocrisy at the drop of a hat.

But there are substantive reasons why “If this goes on…”/Revolt in 2100 is a worthy contribution to speculative literature, while Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tail survives only by being mercilessly inflicted on school children by their progressive elders.  And the reasons go way beyond the fact that the blinkered Atwood refuses to be considered “speculative fiction” under the impression that science fiction is bug-eyed monsters ravishing beauties. (Yeah, she said that.  No, seriously.)  They even go beyond the fact that Robert A. Heinlein could spin a tale, while Margaret Atwood has the writing skills of a bad porn writer, easily matched by any of a dozen newby erotica writers on Amazon Lending Library who at least, most of the time, manage to make their porn titillating while she only manages to make hers stultifying.

The reasons are more substantive when you get to world-building and the nature of fiction.

Like I said, RTWT.

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