7/14/14: AN AWAKENING

7/14/14: AN AWAKENING

I’m speaking of my own awakening to the world of soccer, or futbol as the rest of the world calls it.  Other than the World Cup women’s final in 2012 between the U.S. and Japan, I have never watched a soccer match my entire life.  This men’s World Cup, I watched 5 complete games, including the fabulous Group game between the U.S. and Portugal, about which I have previously blogged, our Group game against Germany, our tremendous Knockout match against Belgium, Germany’s stunning rout of Brazil in the Knockout semis, and of course yesterday’s final between Germany and Argentina.  Surely, Brazil’s stunning collapse in the semis and third-place game, being outscored collectively 10-1, was the surprise of the tournament.  Host countries have won 7 World Cups. 

I bet on the Argentines because of Lionel Messi, the consensus best player in the world, and I bet wrong.  I felt a great deal of compassion for him, failing as miserably as he did.  He’ll have to live with it.  The free kick at the end of extra time said it all.  He had a longshot chance to be a hero and tie the game, and he might as well have kicked the ball out of the stadium.  Though he was the technically best player on the field in the Final, he did not deserve the Golden Boot — that clearly belonged to Thomas Muller of Germany — but I did appreciate two things about Messi’s performance.  He didn’t engage in any of the ridiculous histrionics typical of all players in the tournament whenever they were fouled; I’ve never seen so much flopping in all my life.  And, more important, he didn’t shed a single tear at the end.  He failed, his team lost, and he took it like a man.  That’s a lesson for us all. 

Speaking of lessons, I generally don’t favor German teams; after all, the country started two World Wars.  And I don’t fault them for running up the score against Brazil.   But I do fault them for pounding the turf when Brazil finally scored at the end to prevent a shutout.  That was terrible sportsmanship, and only reinforced stereotypes in my mind.  But they were deserving champions.  I didn’t see a better team in the tournament.    

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $17.591 Trillion

Annual Interest on Debt: $225.725 Billion

2014 Projected Budget Deficit: $577.634 Billion

Projected Entitlements (MC/SS) Shortfall: $121.943 Trillion

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

7/7/14: GOLD STANDARD

7/7/14: GOLD STANDARD

The Wimbledon finals set new standards for excellence.  Petra Kvitova played the game as well as it can be played in dusting the new darling of tennis, Eugenie Bouchard, who made only 5 unforced errors and still got creamolated, 3 and 0.  In the second set, winner after improbable winner simply streamed off the racquet of the Czech.  The was nothing the lovely Canadian could do except look VERY GOOD in her short skirt.  I’m not sure Serena even at her best could have matched up with Kvitova this day.  Speaking of whom, I just don’t know what to make of the American’s behavior sometimes.  Viral condition, my ass!  It looked like drama to deflect from her stunning fourth round loss to a relative unknown.  

On the men’s side, it was extremely high level tennis from both men.  Novak Djokovic, who won 6-4 in the fifth, had 39 more winners than unforced errors, while the loser, the redoubtable Roger Federer, was +44.  I’m willing to bet no Grand Slam final ever sported those stats.  The tennis was simply sublime.  What amazed me most was the defense played by both players on impossible shot after impossible shot.  

I offer two further observations about the match.  First, the truth is Djokovic could have dominated the scoreboard.  He had set points in the first set, and a match point in the fourth, so he could have won all 5 sets had they been played.  Second, I’m not sure Nole answered his critics’ questions about his heart in the clutch.  He was up a break and had a match point in the fourth set, but let it slip away.  And Novak didn’t exactly shatter Fed’s serve to win in the end.  The Swiss missed all his first serves, and made 4 unforced errors.  Match over.  Nonetheless, from a technical standpoint, I’ve never seen better tennis played by both competitors.  I can’t wait for the U.S.Open.  

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL. 

National Debt: $17.585 Trillion

Annual Interest on Debt: $225.609 Billion

2014 Projected Budget Deficit: $580.132 Billion

Projected Entitlements (SS/MC) Shortfall: $121.863 Trillion

THE UNITED STATES IS BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.

6/30/14: SLAM DUNKS

6/30/14: SLAM DUNKS

A trio of key unanimous decisions by the Supreme Court last week are creating controversy, but they were no-brainers really.  Requiring a warrant to search the contents of a cellphone incident to arrest is manifest.  The police are still entitled to search the suspect and take the cellphone, and then all they have to do is get a warrant and search its contents.  No problem.  The real question that nobody asked was what might be the impact of this decision in the NSA surveillance controversy.  Technically none, since the NSA is not searching content and is getting the phone records from the phone companies, not the putative defendant.  These are meaningful distinctions in the law if not to the layman. 

Similar was the Court’s decision to strike down the President’s appointments to the NLRB under his “recess” power.  The Court determined that the Senate was still in session under its own rules, though observing a highly abbreviated schedule, and therefore the appointments were invalid.  My question is why the President and his Democratic Senate didn’t coordinate the matter better.  The result was so obvious as to render the administration’s appeal borderline frivolous, but it does bode poorly for the President’s similar unilateral actions regarding ObamaCare, for example, where he has effectively  amended the law without Congressional approval 39 times.  I was struck by Congressman Bacera’s defense of all this on Fox News last evening, when he said these patent violations of separation of powers under the Constitution were acceptable because they were popular.  Say what?  Thanks for the non-sequitur, Congressman.  We are a nation of laws.  Period.  

Most striking is the Court’s rejections of Massachusetts’ buffer zone around abortion mills, where protesters weren’t allowed.  Apparently, the pro-death forces think the right to abortion includes the right to silence pro-lifers.  Ever heard of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution?  I have a perfect right to disagree with anyone on any point, and to express my disagreement to them, subject to states laws on trespass and harassment.  In other words, protesters have the absolute right on public sidewalks to politely explain to young women why they shouldn’t murder their babies.  The solution for abortion mills is to have private entrances to their killing zones, so protesters can be excluded as trespassers.   

I give a lot of credit to Chief Justice John Roberts for cobbling together unanimity on all these cases, to dispel the illusion that the Court is a mere extension of the partisan wranging that is paralyzing this country.  

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $17.556 Trillion

Annual Interest on Debt: $225.495 Billion

Projected 2014 Budget Deficit: $567.649 Billion

Projected Entitlements (SS/MC) Shortfall: $122.784 Trillion

THE UNITED STATES IS BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.

6/25/14: ADVERSE INFERENCE

6/25/14: ADVERSE INFERENCE

The circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Lois Lerner’s emails in the IRS scandal are extremely suspicious.  The Service claims her hard drive crashed in 2011, taking with it her emails from 2009-2011.  The new Commissioner found out about it in February of this year and nonetheless testified to Congress the next month that her emails would be produced.  His position now is that he wasn’t talking about the missing emails, just the ones that survived.  This doesn’t pass the laugh test.  He should have told Congress there was a problem in March, but that disclousre wasn’t made until this month.

I’ve had several hard drive crashes, but computer experts were able to retrieve my contents and transfer them to new hard drives in every case.  The IRS claims they tried everything to no avail, and then disposed of Lerner’s hard drive, ensuring it is lost forever.  And it seems that the hard drives of 6 other IRS bureaucrats involved in the scandal also crashed about the same time, and their contents were lost as well.  You can’t make this stuff up.

What Republicans believe might be in those emails is evidence that IRS in Washington or perhaps even the White House was directly involved in orchestrating the harassment of conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status, which the IRS claims was a “rogue” operation limited to its Cincinatti branch. We already know the orders came from Washington IRS.  The question is was President Obama involved.  We know he had several lengthy meetings with the then IRS Commissioner in the oval office, which is most unusual.  What business does the President have meeting with a non-Cabinet-level official?  

The cover-up is so obvious it’s almost embarrassing, but what to do?  A Special Prosecutor would surely help, but the currently Democrat Senate surely would not concur.  There is a principle in the civil law known as “adverse inference,” penalizing a party who destroys evidence by presuming conclusively that the destroyed evidence would undermine their legal position.  In this case, the House could assume the destroyed emails showed White House involvement.  It’s a well accepted legal principle that should be invoked in this case.  We can’t let obstruction of justice succeed.  The President’s conduct is Nixonian, and we all know what happened to him.

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $17.552 Trillion

Annual Interest on Debt: $225.412 Billion

Projected 2014 Budget Deficit: $562.349 Billion

Projected Entitlements (SS/MC) Shortfall: $124.727 Trillion

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

6/23/14: UNIMAGINABLE

6/23/14: UNIMAGINABLE

How does the U.S. soccer team not win that game yesterday against Portugal?  We gave up the tying goal with 15 seconds to play, setting an alltime World Cup  record for the latest regulation goal allowed.  Everybody’s just chalking it up to bad luck, but there was a good deal more at work.  Just how do you let one of the game’s premier players, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, get a right-leg kick from the right side into the middle of the crease for a header by another player?  How do you not overplay his right leg and force him left to center the ball high, well away from the goal area?  Well, for starters, you cover him in this crucial moment with an injured player, who’s limping on a bad ankle and can’t make the defensive play that would have ended the game and qualified us for the knockout round.  That’s a coaching failure, so I blame this tie on Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. coach.  We have had super subs during our first 2 games — the Ghana game was won by a late goal by a sub — and subs had played very well in this game.  What was Klinsman thinking?  Not much, apparently.  

We wasted a magnificent comeback after allowing a terrible early goal, taking the lead before blowing it.  So now we have to face formidable Germany on Thursday, and win or tie to gain the knockout round.  We could have made it a lot easier by beating Portugal, but that’s done.  I hope the coach has learned his lesson: TRUST YOUR SUBS.  

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.           

National Debt: $17.550 Trillion

Annual Interest on Debt: $225.379 Billion

2014 Budget Deficit: $563.220 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements: $124.704  Trillion

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

6/20/14: JUSTICE FOR ALL?

6/20/14: JUSTICE FOR ALL?

The “Central Park jogger” case has finally resolved with the announcement of a $40 million settlement with the five defendants whose convictions were overturned after a homelss man confessed to the crime.  Mayor Bloomberg litigated the civil case vigorously, but new Mayor DiBlasio sounded the surrender on entering office.  Seems open and shut, no?

No.  Doctors from the Medical Examiner’s Office have long maintained that multiple assailants were involved.  A knife was used to cut the poor girl, but the homeless man confessed only to beating her with a tree branch.  In addition, there were multiple handprints found on the her legs, as if she were held down by a gang as each member took his turn raping her.  True, only the homeless man’s DNA was found in the female, but rubbers take care of DNA evidence, and what young man on the prowl would not be armed with condoms?  

Then there are the confessions from all five defendants.  Yes, an appellate court found these to have been “coerced,” but that is a technical legal term for all manner of oppressive police tactics.  They weren’t water-boarded, or tortured, and they confessed to a brutal crime.  Would you do that because the police were yelling at you, or not letting you sleep, or keeping you away from your parents, or whatever else the police might have done.  In no other country in the world would these confessions have been thrown out.

So what likely happened?  The homeless man attacked the girl, and left her for dead.  The five defendants then happened upon her and, instead of helping the victim, they set upon her like wild animals.  For this they get $40 million and unrestrained sympathy from every liberal in the country.  That’s Democratic softness for you.  We are all victimes, and victims must be compensated.  What a world!

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $17.537 Trillion

Annual Interest on Debt: $225.329 Billion

2014 Projected Budget Deficit: $550.124 Billion

Projected Entitlements Shortfall: $124.670 Trillion

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

6/18/14: PIKERS

6/18/14: PIKERS

Greta Van Susteren and Bret Baier were the wrong choices to interview Hillary Clinton last night on Fox News.  Brit Hume and Chris Wallace would have been far better.  Wallace is the best interrogator on TV, and Hume the most knowledgable.  Bret got lost in the weeds on Benghazi, and Greta spent far too much time agreeing with the candidate on her criticism of the Obama campaign for its sexist attitudes towards Sarah Palin.  It is not sexist to posit that McCain’s choice of the ridiculously unqualified Palin was simply pandering to the female vote.    Greta’s further characterization of the NSA surveillance of our cellphones as plainly unconstitutional ignores Supreme Court precedent that we have no Fourth Amendment interest in our phone records at the phone company.  

Why these two were chosen for this historic interview is a mystery.  Greta is shrill and unattractive, and Bret simply can’t put a sentence together.  His favorite question to Fox’s nightly panel of pundits is “What about all this?”  Wallace asks the tough ones and don’t let people off the hook when they wriggle.  The questions I want answered about Benghazi is why more wasn’t done to secure the Embassy beforehand, and why didn’t our military respond during the 7-hour attack.  It’s obvious that blaming the internet video served the political agenda of the White House, but that’s a sideshow.  Let’s get to the meat of this story.

The net result was that Hillary came off very well.  She was largely untouched by either questioner, and appeared unruffled and presidential.  That does not serve the conservative cause.  I daresay the country would be in better shape today had she, rather than Barack Obama, been President since 2009.  Lets hope Republicans can come up with  better alternatives than Rand Paul and Jeb Bush.

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.  

National Debt: $17.535 TRILLION

Annual Interest on Debt: $225.296 Billion

2014 Budget Deficit: $551.118 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements: $124.647 TRILLION

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

 

6/16/14: A SINGULAR ACHIEVEMENT

6/16/14: A SINGULAR ACHIEVEMENT

All credit to the San Antonio Spurs for winning their fifth NBA championship in the Tim Duncan era last night.  I’m no basketball analyst but several factors stood out to me.  First, the complete dominance of the Spurs bench over the Heat was ridiculous.  In last night’s rout, the bench scoring was 22-2 for SA in just the first half.  Second, the ease with which the Spurs dispatched the Heat was remarkable.  They lost one game by 2 points and won 4 games by an average of 19.  Wow!  Third, not only was the Heat bench weak, but Chris Bosh and Dwayne (I just can’t bring myself to misspell his name like his mother did.) Wade seem shadows of their former selves.  Every time D-Wade tried one of his patented dipsy-doos around the basket, he got stuffed.  It seems that, for LeBron James, he’s become a Cavalier again … no supporting cast. 

It is simply remarkable that the Spurs bounced back from last year’s crushing loss to the Heat in 7 games, when SA gave away Game 6 and the championship, given that Manu Ginobli is 36 and Duncan is 38.  This year they were a year older, and had to play another full season and 4 rounds of playoffs to get another shot.  All credit to them.  My only regret is that both men didn’t announce their retirements on the court after the game.  Athletes simply don’t know how to call it a day, and apparently don’t see the sheer beauty of going out on top.  

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $17.534 Trillion

Annual Interest on Debt: $225.284 Billion

2014 Budget Deficit: $548.860 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements: $124.625 Trillion

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