4/17/14: A GIANT OF A MAN

4/17/14: A GIANT OF A MAN

I cannot recomment highly enough a recent read, Tuxedo Park, by Jennet Conant (2013 Simon and Schuster).  It is the remarkable story of Alfred Lee Loomis and the scientific laboratory he established in his home in Tuxedo Park, New York.  The lab was responsible for the development of the radar systems which changed the course of World War II.  What is remarkable about Loomis is that he was not merely a scientist and a philanthropist, but before that he was a Wall Street lawyer and fabulously successful investment banker.  On top of all that, he bought Hilton Head Island — lock, stock and barrel — for $120,000 cash in the early 1930s.  What a guy!

The only negatve was his shabby treatment of his socialite wife.  In his 50s, Loomis became enamored of a young Belgian girl, shunted his wife off to asylums and sanitariums, and eventually divorced her.  Their son rescued his mother from this terrible fate, but it remains quite a smirch on Loomis’ character.  Nonetheless, this is a beautifully written book about a truly Renaissance Man.  They don’t make them like this anymore.  Loomis and Anthony Weiner don’t belong in the same universe.  Well worth the read.  Enjoy.  

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

Debt: $17.581 Trillion

Deficit: $624.635 Billion

Interest: $248.850 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements: $128.737 Trillion

THE UNITED STATES IS BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.  GOD SAVE OUR PRINTING PRESSES.  

4/16/14: WHERE THERE’S A WILL

4/16/14: WHERE THERE’S A WILL

George Will had some spot-on comments last night on Fox News.  When asked — inanely, I might add – to comment on what Americans should be reflecting on during yesterday’s Tax Day, the pundit replied, “Their shame.  For generations, we have incurred debt for our future, to wage wars and build roads that will help us down the road.  Now we incur debt on the future, burdening our children just to keep afloat our consumer-driven economy.”  Later in the show, he said, more pithily, ”Americans want a giant welfare state but don’t want to pay for it.”

This is exactly right.  We elect, and re-elect, these bozos in Washington who for decades have given us high spending and low taxes, a recipe for disaster.  There are no victims, just volunteers.  We love to see ourselves as “victims” of Washington.  We have gotten just what we deserve.

The only way out is a balanced budget amendment, a term limits amendment, and entitlement reform, something it seems in reality few of us want.  Maybe we’ll change our minds when our creditors says it’s time to repay the $17 trillion we owe.  That day may be off in the future, but what’s just around the corner is an interest rate hike which will make our debt service about a quarter of our annual spending.  Then it will be time for draconian spending cuts and dramatic tax hikes.  Then the civil unrest will start.

That’s why the survivalists are stocking up on bottled water, canned food, guns and ammunition.  That’s why the NRA is advocating for our Second Amendment rights.   Trouble is coming.  Thank you, Mr. Will.  

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

Debt: $17.580 Trillion

Deficit: $624.989 Billion

Interest: $248.915 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements: $128.722 Trillion

THE UNITED STATES IS BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.  GOD SAVE OUR PRINTING PRESSES.

4/15/14: MIGHTY UCONN

4/15/14: MIGHTY UCONN

I was away last week on a motorcycling trip but got a chance to see both Final Fours in college basketball.  What a triumphant experience for a UConn fan!  I’ve never been wild about the boys. favoring the Tarheels as I do, but I’m rabid about the girls.  There are two UConn stats that completely blow my mind.  First, only one school, UConn, has sent both boys and girls to their respective Final Fours in the same year, and UConn has done it FOUR TIMES, WINNING BOTH TWICE (2004 and this year).  Second, the boys and girls have been to the national championship game 13 times, and WON ALL 13.  That is simply unbelievable.  Undefeated in 13 games.  The odds against that must exceed 10,000 to one.  

While it’s certainly true that the boys led from pillar to post over Kentucky, Big Blue lost the game at the foul line.  The UConn veterans were 10 for 10, while the Wildcat freshman were 13 for 24.  That’s what happens when you stock your team with super talents lacking basic skills.

As for the girls, I’m convinced UConn would have prevailed, albeit in a more competitive contest, had the Irish’s Natalie Ochunwa not been sidelined with an injury.  UConn won the game on the inside, in terms of both points and rebounds (54-31!), so there’s no doubt her presence would have helped the Irish.  But we’ll never know.  What did strike me was what a bunch of crybaby losers the Irish girls were.  Kayla McBride was crying in the first half, and the other girls were hangdog throughout, particularly Jewell Loyd.  For all its recent success against UConn, the Huskies have hammered (18 and 21) the Irish in the Final Four the last 2 years, and Notre Dame has lost three of the last four national championship games, with one non-appearance.  A sorry legacy.  UConn is ascendant, and the Irish are a sorry second.

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

Debt: $17.579 Trillion (estimated by the OMB yesterday to increase to $25 trillion by 2024!)

Deficit: $625.289 Billion

Interest: $248.970 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements: $128.709 Trillion

THE UNITED STATES IS BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.  GOD SAVE OUR PRINTING PRESSES.

4/3/14: READ THE DAMN THING

4/3/14: READ THE DAMN THING

The Supreme Court decision yesterday abolishing campaign contribution limits should come as no surprise to readers of the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.”  Period.  End of discussion.  Is there something unclear about that?  Financial support to political campaigns is the quintessential expression of political speech, and “Congress shall make no law.”  The Sentinel is a textualist.  Justice Thomas concurred in a separate opinion, adding that he would abolish all campaign finance restrictions as violative of our First Amendment.  The Silent One is absolutely correct.    

Yes, the decision gives the fat cats more power in our democracy and that may be unfair.  But the Supreme Court should not make rulings on the basis of what is fair or unfair.  We have a written Constitution which must be objectively applied.  That is the oath all judges take — to “uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.”  The Supreme Court is not a policy-making body; it’s a court of law.  If you don’t like the ruling, then work for a Constitutional amendment.  If the Republican House prevents that, well, that, too, may be unfair, but you know what?  Tough beans.  Grow up.  Grow a pair.  Quit whining.     

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

Debt: $17.564 Trillion

Deficit: $629.242 Billion

Interest: $249.694 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements: $128.540 Trillion

THE UNITED STATES IS BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.  GOD SAVE OUR PRINTING PRESSES.

4/2/14: ANOTHER WAY

4/2/14: ANOTHER WAY

Some NLRB Commie stunned the sports world last week by finding that football players at Northwestern — of all places — were employees, not students, and therefore entitled to unionize.  The empahsis was on the right to bargain for safe conditions, like concussion treatment, but we all know this comes down to dough.  Of course it does, because our colleges have become the minor leagues for pro sports.  I’m not here to pontificate about the decision but to urge that we, as a society, follow a different path.

Let’s face it, we’re nuts about sports.  But The Sentinel says why not tell pro football and basketball to set up their own minor league systems, like baseball has?  Make the colleges 4-year bastions for education and amateur athletics.  “One and done” like Kentucky basketball should be a national disgrace, not something to celebrate by fat cat Kentucky alums.  When I was a kid, it was called the Rose Bowl.  Now it’s the FedEx Rose Bowl, or some such nonsense.  One of the possible outgrowths of this NLRB decision is corporate sponsors for individual college athletes, so now we’ll be treated to ”Jadaveon Clowney, courtesy of Chevrolet.”  Doesn’t anyone but me find this repulsive?  Doesn’t anyone find it odd that college basketball is white audiences cheering for 5 black youngsters who will never get a degree?  

The NLRB guy may be right.  They are employees, not students.  The solution is not to pay them like employees.  It’s to make them students again.  Let’s go back to the old days.  Wishful thinking I know, but deeply wished. 

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

Debt: $17.563 Trillion

Deficit: $629.553 Billion

Interest: $249.751 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements: $128.527 Trillion

THE UNITED STATES IS BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.  GOD SAVE OUR PRINTING  PRESSES.

4/1/14: NO FOOLING

4/1/14: NO FOOLING

Speaking of the NCAA basketball tournament, only one school has sent teams for the Final 4 in both the boys and girls divisions in the same year — UConn, and they’ve done it FOUR TIMES, winning both in 2004.  It just might happen again this year.  I’ve got a bet on it, and got 10-1 odds.  I like my chances. 

The boys were seeded only 7th in their region, meaning they were ranked between 25th and 28th by the selection committee when the tournament began.  But they have the hottest player left, Shabazz Napier, and they beat Florida in the regular season.  I pick them to do it again, but I’m not so sure about the final against, I believe, Kentucky.  Those freshmen appear to be reaching their potential at just the right time.  It will be a battle for the ages, since both the Huskies and Big Blue are teams of destiny.  UConn by 4 over the Gators, and by 1 over Kentucky.  

On the girls side, Kaleena Lewis is the best player on UConn right now, and she’s not one of the three All Americans on this team.  That’s how good they are.  They’ll beat probably Stanford in one semi, and Notre Dame, even without Natalie Ochunwa, will beat, I believe, Louisville.  Without their big girl, the Irish will be no match for UConn in the final and won’t be even if she plays hobbled.  If she makes a full recovery, it will be 2 undefeated teams and bitter rivals having at it again.  UConn by 10+ without a healthy Ochunwa, by 3+ with.  

No matter what, there’s no doubt UConn is the best combined program in the history of the sport.  

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

Debt: $17.551 Trillion

Deficit: $629.884 Billion

Interest: $249.812 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements: $128.512 Trillion

THE UNITED STATES IS BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.  GOD SAVE OUR PRINTING PRESSES.

3/19/14: LINE IN THE SAND

3/19/14: LINE IN THE SAND

Crimea is gone.  We must accept that, though I’m open to a regime of sanctions to attempt to reverse that sad development.  Don’t hold your breath, as nothing forceful emanates from this administration.  We must, however, draw a line in the sand for Mr. Putin.  The rest of Ukraine should be admitted to NATO immediately.  We once pledged to leave Ukraine alone, as did Mr. Putin.  He has violated his pledge and must be punished.  Membership in NATO means a military response should Russian forces enter any part of Ukraine outside Crimea.  Period.  We may risk World War III, but fortune favors the bold, not the timid, Mr. President.

I am shocked at the meandering discussion about our response to a likely Russian incursion into the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania).  What will we do, the handwringers ask?  Those three countries are members of NATO, and membership has its privileges.  We respond, of course, with the full force of our military, and threaten Russia with nuclear annhiliation.  That Mr. Putin will understand.  The Russian stock market will collapse, and the Russian people will take to the streets.  The result will be regime change, which should be the foreign policy of the United States of America.  Putin must go.  

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

Debt: $17.524 Trillion

Deficit: $634.168 Billion

Interest: $250.597 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements: $128.329 Trillion

THE UNITED STATES IS BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.  GOD SAVE OUR PRINTING PRESSES.  

3/11/14: LESSONS FROM AN UNLIKELY SOURCE

3/11/14: LESSONS FROM AN UNLIKELY SOURCE

Perhaps because I fashion myself a bit of a constitutional lawyer, I was drawn this morning to the entry on History.com about the promulgation of the Confederate Constitution on this day in 1862.  Much of it parroted the Articles of Confederation, which preceded the federal Constitution, but what struck me was the stipulation that the Confederate President serve a single 6-year term.  Great idea, one that I’ve been espousing for us for years.  Our Presidents work for 2 years after their initial election, then campaign fopr re-election the last 2 years of their first term, then slowly become irrelevant in their second terms if they get one.  Time for a change.  It’s all part of the term-limit debate: one 6-year term for the President, two 6-year terms for Senators, six 2-year terms for House members, and that’s it.  We need to break this cycle of professional politicians whose only goal is to get re-elected time after time.  What better way to do so that lower taxes and increase spending, while running up unsustainable debt levels and deficits. 

On a related topic, a while back The Sentinel chastised Paul Ryan, my man for President in 2016, for running for his House seat while campaigning for the Vice-Presidency on the Romney ticket in 2012.  Now Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a 2016 presidential hopeful, is seeking to change Kentucky law so he can run for his Senate seat at the same time.  This is shameful.  The Kentucky legislature should stand on principle and vote no, but this is a world about personalities and not principles.  In all likelihood, Dr. Paul will not be our next President, but will retain his Senate seat.  The voters deserve what they get.  Vote against all incumbents at every opportunity.

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

Debt: $17.478 Trillion

Deficit: $636.810 Billion

Interest: $251.082 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements: $128.217 Trillion

THE UNITED STATES IS BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.  GOD SAVE OUR PRINTING PRESSES.