Ted Cruz Wasting Our Tax Dollars and Time

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Ted Cruz is up there going on & on not because the ACA (Obamacare) is such a bad thing.  He’s up there protecting the interests of the rich.  

Private health care can’t compete with gov’t funded health care, and the private health care industry lines the pockets of the Republican Party big time. Ted Cruz is showing everyone how much he cares about this country, which is not at all. Cruz and his tea-bagger buddies don’t care about the man or woman who gets up and goes to work everyday for a company that does not provide healthcare to its employees. The ACA helps those people and I have absolutely no problem with that.

Now the jokers standing on the corner or sitting at home who aren’t trying to help themselves, I’m not really concerned about them. It shouldn’t be a privilege to simply go to the doctor. I sure hope that I don’t ever get so arrogant and pompous as to where I forget that the only reason I can afford decent health care is because the company I work for provides me with excellent medical benefits.  I’m blessed, I’m fortunate, and I just can’t bring myself to look down my nose at those who are less fortunate. I’m no better than anyone else.  But the Republicans seem to think they are.  Ted Cruz is railing against government subsidized healthcare while he’s enjoying the subsidized health care that comes along with being a senator.  What a hypocrite.  Paul Ryan did the same thing with the stimulus plan. Ryan was railing & railing against President Obama’s stimulus plan while at the same time submitting requests for stimulus funds for the state of Wisconsin. Joe Biden called him out on it during their VP debate too. This is why no one is taking the Republicans seriously but the Republicans. This dumb stunt by Cruz isn’t helping the GOP, it’s hurting them. They’re going to lose more seats in the House & Senate because of this foolishness.

The GOP thinks they can lie & scare people into doing what they want them to do. Keep talking Ted. No one listening though.

How Texas A&M kept it so close (September 14, 2013)

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I’m a die-hard Alabama fan.  Not just because of their recent success, but because I married a woman who was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  And, as anyone from that part of the world knows, if you’re from Tuscaloosa you are an Alabama fan. 

Despite our recent success (3 National Championships in 4 years) we’ve had one Achilles heel, the Quarterback who can scramble and invent create something out of nothing.  We had this problem with Tim Tebow.  We also had this problem with Cam Newton.  And finally, now we’re having the same problem with Johnny Manziel.  Elusive and talented young athletes break the mold of what is expected at the college level of football.  Yet, once in a while they pop up, like these young men have; and when they do it creates nightmares for coaches and teams to defend against.

Last year, Alabama was shocked, and so was much of the college football world, when Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies took off to a quick 3 touchdown lead in the first quarter against the #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.  Alabama had just come off a really hard game against LSU the week prior, and was certainly caught off guard by this fairly unknown Quarterback out of Texas.  After a long and hard fight to come back, Alabama came within one play of winning the game, yet fell short.

With an entire year to prepare for a little payback, Nick Saban should have been ready for whatever Johnny Manziel had to throw at Alabama.  He was not.  Ultimately, it came down to the simple fact that at the college level, the majority of the athletes on the field at any given moment do not have the skillset to stop a player like Johnny Manziel.  On September 14, 2013 Johnny started off the game the same way he did the year before with two relatively quick touchdowns scored in the first quarter.  What was clear however; was that basically two things were working for Texas A&M.  Those were: Johnny Manziel and a wideout by the name of Evans, who was a former 6 foot 5 inch high school basketball player.  In order to move the ball up the field Texas A&M would either have Manziel run it himself, or throw to Evans (who turned out to be a mismatch for whoever Alabama tried to apply man coverage on him).

This was serious gut-check time for the Tide.  It rapidly became apparent to Alabama that the only way to beat this guy was to out-score him.  So, that’s exactly what Alabama set their minds on, and apparently changed their game plan to achieve.  On Alabama’s second drive of the game they played a much faster, hurry-up offense than is typical of Alabama.  They threw the ball much more than is typical as well.  In short order and by the end of the first half of the game Alabama had turned the tide in their favor with a 28-14 lead.

The second half started out with Alabama having possession of the ball; however a couple of false starts and Alabama was having to punt the ball away.  One thing that Johnny Manziel either doesn’t know how to do or believes is beneath him is to throw the ball away when there is no play to be had.  Twice in this game he made this dreaded mistake.  Once, in the first half he tossed up a poorly thrown pass which was picked off in the end zone.  In the 2nd half, on A&M’s first drive Manziel tried to thread the needle and throw what was an ill advised pass up the middle into triple coverage.  It cost him not only the down, but it also cost him 6 points.  The ball was popped up into the air right before it got to its intended receiver and then picked up by Alabama’s safety Sunseri.  Sunseri returned the interception over 70 yards for a Touchdown.  At this point in the game Alabama had outscored Texas A&M 35-0 since the initial 14-0 Texas A&M had put up on Alabama in the first quarter.

Effectively, at this point in the game Alabama had secured themselves a victory without a total meltdown.  Of course, Manziel did continue to make amazing passes to his go-to receiver Evans, and scramble for many yards.  But in the end it wasn’t enough.

I could discuss some terrible calls (and no-calls), but that wouldn’t change the outcome of the game anyway, so what’s the point?

Ultimately, the only answer right now to beating a team with Johnny Manziel on it is to keep their wide receiver Evans from catching any passes and to contain Manziel at the line of scrimmage.  Don’t get behind him or he’ll leave you and run up the field for a lot of yards.

Roll Tide Roll

Killing Trayvon Martin

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In the state of Florida, we have statutes which dictate the “Justifiable Use of Force”.  The 2012 Florida Statutes discuss this in Chapter 776 of Title XLVI.

This chapter starts out with section 776.012 – Use of force in defense of person.  It states the following…

A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or

(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s.776.013 (let me save you some time.  This statue referred to here is regarding breaking into a home and using deadly force in protection of one’s home.  We can safely assume this is not the case with regard to Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman as George Zimmerman has never stated that he witnessed Martin breaking into or trying to break into a home.)

For me, the most interesting part of this chapter is section 776.041 – Use of force by aggressor.  It states the following…

The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:

(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or

(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:

(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or

(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.


We’ve reached a crossroads.  Unfortunately for Martin, he is not alive to tell his side of the story.  However; given witness statements, 911 calls and Zimmerman’s own admission, George Zimmerman did in fact follow and then get out of his car and pursue Martin.  This begs me to ask the question, was Martin scared?  Did Martin fear that this person who admittedly was following him intended to do him harm?  How can we possibly know?  Well, we could take a stab at some educated guesses.

1.  George Zimmerman has stated that Trayvon Martin walked directly past Zimmerman’s parked car on two separate occasions the night Martin was shot and killed by Zimmerman.  As far as testimony in court has shown, at no time did Martin threaten Zimmerman during those two encounters.  For what it’s worth, my guess is that Martin didn’t know who was following him and wanted to walk up and get a closer look; and upon not recognizing Zimmerman, Martin continued to make his was towards his home (probably thinking “who the hell is this guy and is he going to try to harm me?).

2.  Next Zimmerman, again by his own admission, got out of his car and continued to pursue Martin.  Again, my guess is that Martin saw this and was certainly at this point scared, or at a minimum concerned for his safety.

This is key in understanding whether Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin was justified.  The legal definition of “Assault” is “an act that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent, harmful, or offensive contact.”  If I’m being followed by an unknown person on a dark, rainy night; I’m likely to be scared.  If that person continues to follow me by getting out of his car and I am afraid for my personal safety, it is a logical step to assume that an assault is occurring.

Next, let’s discuss the definition of “aggressor”.  All dictionaries say basically the same thing in identifying an “aggressor” as one that engages in aggression.  Ok, so what is “aggression”?  Again, my search finds “the act of initiating hostilities” and “hostile or destructive behavior or actions”.  Luckily for you and I , we don’t have to guess.  Florida law dictates its own definition of “aggressor”.  It is referred to as “The First Aggressor Rule”, which is a rather simple common law rule that says “a defendant who provokes an encounter as a result of which he finds it necessary to use deadly force to defend himself, is guilty of an unlawful homicide and cannot claim that he acted in self-defense.”

Let’s go back to Florida Statute 776.041.  This statute indicates that an aggressor is not permitted the luxury of using lethal force during an altercation unless he’s exhausted all efforts to stop an attack.

Zimmerman is Guilty

It is my opinion that Zimmerman provoked Martin, and almost certainly by the legal definition assaulted Martin.  Whether Martin attacked Zimmerman or Zimmerman simply grabbed Martin and told him to wait for the police, it is my opinion that Zimmerman did not have the right to do so.  In a nutshell, this is why Martin’s death was not justifiable.  Even if Martin physically attacked Zimmerman (threw the first punch), it was justified as it is reasonable to believe that Martin was in fear for his life after being assaulted (by the legal definition) by Zimmerman. Additionally, the injuries sustained by Zimmerman do not show someone who’s life was in danger and had exhausted all available options (short of shooting Martin) to flee from the altercation. Zimmerman didn’t even walk away with a concussion for God’s sake!

My bad experience with BMW of Melbourne, FL

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My wife and I leased a wonderful vehicle from BMW; however our experience with the local dealership was one that left a bad taste in our mouths.  We’ll regrettably never be leasing from them again.  Below are a few photos of our vehicle the day we turned in our lease, and below that is the letter that I sent to both the dealership and to the President of BMW of North America describing our experience.  I hope this blog entry can help someone else avoid the troubles that we did.

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BMW of North America, LLC
300 Chestnut Ridge Road
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07675

 

 

 May 7, 2013

To whom it may concern,

 

My wife and I leased a BMW 135i in June of 2010 from “BMW of Melbourne” in Melbourne, Florida.  It was due to be returned next month.  We are returning it today, almost 2 months early.

 

Yesterday, with only one remaining payment on our lease and very little mileage, I attempted to make a deal with the Sales Manager, Jeff Smith.  I asked if I could turn in the vehicle early.  I explained that although we were permitted 30,000 miles during our lease period, we had only driven a total of 12,800 miles.  Additionally, the vehicle was kept in our garage and very well maintained.  In other words it was in fantastic condition.  Literally, not a scratch could be found on the vehicle.  You could open the door and still taste that “new car smell”.  Given the excellent condition of the vehicle, he agreed that although the rear tires were worn to the point that they would need to be replaced (after only 12,800 miles) if I were to turn the car in now, he would “eat the cost of the tires” and buy the car back for resale.  He was very clear in indicating that each tire would cost us $200 if we kept it to the end of the lease, so this was a no-brainer for him to only have to invest $400 in tires and be able to resale such a fine vehicle with so few miles.

 

Of course, he said that I would have to make the remaining lease payment and a $350 “acquisition fee”; however considering my offer he said he’d take the car back early given the conditions agreed upon above.  I shook his hand and said I’d be right back.  I went straight home and got my wife so that we could bring the car in.

 

After only a short period of time (perhaps 30 minutes) I had returned to the dealership with the vehicle.  The Sales Manager, Jeff Smith, met with me and tried to find someone who could do a lease final inspection.  Of course, as the car was in perfect condition with the exception of the premature wear on the rear tires, I figured this was going to be a breeze.  Upon finding a service technician to do the inspection I was informed that the inspection could not be done at this time, as it was now 4:30 pm and they were going to leave at 5 pm.  So much for customer service.  Additionally, I was now told that the agreement we had was “contingent” on the tires not needing to be replaced.  This is a complete 180 degree contradictory statement to the agreement we’d made only less than an hour prior!  We spent the next 10 minutes or so debating what we’d agreed upon; however in the end it became apparent to me that the Sales Manager may have been making promises that he didn’t have the authority to make.  We agreed to leave the vehicle with the dealership overnight and that they’d do the inspection first thing in the morning.  I asked that Jeff Smith call my wife when he was able to give us more information.  He promised that he would do whatever he could to ensure that he would be able to stick to the agreement we’d made, despite his adamant statements to the contrary.

 

He called my wife this morning, at approximately 10:30 am to let us know that the inspection is underway.  We heard nothing more from him all day.  Finally around 2:45 pm I decided to give him a call.  I got his voice mail on both his cell and his office number.  I then called the operator at the dealership and asked to speak to “whoever can help me with turning in a lease”.  After some time I was told that Jeff Smith would be calling me back.  About 10 minutes passed.  Jeff Smith called me and informed me that he could do nothing for me.  He said that had I bought or leased another BMW, it would be different; however since we did not I was simply out of luck.  He informed me although that the inspection was complete and we would be charged $600 for the 2 rear tires instead of the $400 I was originally quoted!  Again, he tells me another lie.  He told me we had the option to come pick up the car; however he was quick to point out that in two months the front two tires may not pass inspection and I could be faced with even more damages.

 

My chief complaints are the following.

  1. We had an agreement to turn in the vehicle early and the Sales Manager reneged.  This deal would have benefited the dealership greatly, as they will be able to easily re-sale this vehicle and make a nice profit.  This was a win-win for both parties, as I would have saved a little money on the fee for tires that wore prematurely.
  2. I was returning a vehicle with 18,000 miles less than I was allowed.  How much would BMW have charged me had I gone over on mileage?  It seems that nitpicking on the cost of tires given how little miles we actually put on the car is not a good way to do business.
  3. I was told that if I held on to the vehicle until the end of the lease I would be facing a $200/tire fee when in fact it turned out to be $300/tire for a total of $600.
  4. The “run flat” tires on this vehicle are unbelievably absurd.  I’ve never in my life heard of a tire that only lasts less than 13,000 miles.  That is inexcusable, and the fact that I had to pay for them is even more so.

 

In the end, I decided it was not worth the hassle anymore and we just turned in the vehicle early.  We have been so completely frustrated by the lack of integrity shown to us by the Sales Manager and ease with which he lied to me that we will never lease nor buy another BMW from this dealership again.  I plan to inform all of my friends and family about this incident and especially about this particular dealership.  It’s a common saying that car salesmen are sleazy.  This guy really takes the cake.

 

This is a very unfortunate end to what we considered a great time leasing this vehicle.  We never had any trouble with it and truly loved it.  However; this experience has soured us to the core.  I would love for BMW of America to try to make things right.  I can’t imagine that misleading customers is a policy that BMW maintains.  Unfortunately my future with this particular dealership is finished.  I’ll certainly share my experience with my family and friends and peers at work.

 

Sincerely,

 

Christopher L. Kirkman

 

Cc: BMW of Melbourne, FL

Grueling, Long Ride

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I participate in an annual “scavenger hunt” for members of the Harley Owner’s Group, called the “ABCs of Touring”.  The idea is that participants collect points for taking a photo of their Harley Davidson motorcycle alongside City, County, State, National Park, National Forest, HOG Rallies, Harley Davidson Dealers, etc.  Participants get 1 point for each photo.  The rules are fairly straight forward.  For cities and counties only 1 point can be received for each letter in the alphabet.  So, if the city “Atlanta, GA” is included in one of the photos, then no more cities starting with the letter “A” can be included.  The signs in the photos must be “official signs”, and all that really means is that they need to be put up by the state, city, county, etc.  “Bob’s Pizza Palace” wouldn’t count.

I decided to take a few days off of work this past week and try to collect some points while also doing one of the most ambitious rides I’ve ever done since owning my Harley.  1,000 miles in two days.  To some, that’s not a lot of miles.  To me, well, it is.  Especially given all the bad weather I ran into along the way.

Day 1 – My plan was to drive from my home in Melbourne, Florida to Albany, GA.  However, I was not going to take the straightest and most direct route to get there.  Remember that my goal is to collect points.  There are a few national forests in my state that I did not already have, so I needed to work them in.  Apalachicola National Forest was the first.

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Most of the first day, although overcast and slightly cool went well.  About 10 miles east of Tallahassee, Florida it started to drizzle.  I pulled over and stopped underneath a highway overpass.  I put on my rain gear and then got back to riding.  Upon arriving in Tallahassee, I immediately turned South and headed for both Apalachicola National Forest and Wakulla County (2 important points).  As soon as I got those two photos wrapped up, it was time to head Northwest towards Quincy, Florida.

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This was my last stop in Florida for the day.  Heading out of Quincy (so I thought) I headed for the Georgia state line.  After about 15 miles of driving, I stopped and checked my iPhone to see where I was located to only find that I was driving West!  Wrong direction!  I put together a quick plan to get back on track and headed Northeast and entered Georgia.  My first sign in Georgia was Decatur County.

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My real goal for this trip was to try to get the 2 “Q”s.  That would be Quincy, FL and Quitman County, GA.  Once I got into Georgia, it became a struggle to remain on the correct state road that would drive me in the right direction towards Quitman County.  Eventually I made it to only find that the “Quitman County” official sign included the name of the one major city in the county, “Georgetown”.

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No matter, that’s what Photoshop is for!  Smile  I can remove the “Georgetown” from the sign and nobody will be the wiser.  Shortly after entering Georgetown I took a turn West and crossed a causeway and entered the great State of Alabama.  Roll Tide Roll!

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A quick u-turn and I was headed for Albany, GA.  Along the way I would collect several more points including 3 more counties.  By the time I arrived in Albany, GA I had collected 18 points in one day and been travelling for about 12 hours.  I was beat.  My knees and back were aching like crazy.

Day 2 – Right off the bat, rain!  Luckily I had a rain suit, but I didn’t have boot covers or a face shield for my 3/4 helmet.  The hour drive to Tifton, GA was pure hell.  I took a serious beating from the hard rain drops, but finally arrived at the Tifton, GA Harley Davidson dealership.  I arrived about 20 minutes before they officially opened; however they were nice enough to allow me to come inside and buy the near gear that I needed (a face shield, new dry socks and rain boot covers).  $90 later I was on my way back home.

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Once I got back on the road I realized what a difference having that face shield does!  It was a lifesaver.  I could not have made it home without it.  Day 2 was downpour after downpour.  I only managed another 6 points on day 2 day, but could have easily collected another 3 or 4.  My body was just telling me, stick to the main highways and get home, “I’m tired!”  I collected the 2nd National Forest that I hadn’t gotten yet this year, Osceola National Forest by taking the rest stop exit off of Interstate 10.

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By the time I got to Jacksonville, FL the weather was getting REAL.  You will notice from my next couple of photos that the rain was not letting up.  I just stopped at each location and made a quick picture and then got back on the road as quick as I could.

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My last photo of the day was “Bruce Rossmeyer Harley Davidson” in Ormond Beach, FL.  I didn’t even get off the highway for this photo.  I was beat and just wanted to get home.  At this point I was literally around the 850 mile mark for 2 days.  To make matter worse, the rain was pouring down on me.  My bike was dirtier than it had ever been and I was in no mood for this anymore.  I just wanted to be home.

Ultimately, I collected 24 points in 2 days and arrived home safely around 4 pm on Thursday.  I spent the next 3 days sleeping in till almost noon.  It was a great trip and a hard trip, all at the same time.  Would I do it again?  Probably, but not soon.  Winking smile

Why aren’t animals the size of Dinosaurs alive today?

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There is no question that dinosaurs once inhabited the Earth.  This is an undeniable fact, and if you do not concur, you should simply move on to the next article.

Something that has always puzzled me is that life once evolved on this planet such that animals of enormous size were prevalent; whereas today this is not the case.  The largest animal on Earth today is a whale; however it is not a land locked animal.  This is an important fact to note, as living it’s life in the ocean a whale doesn’t have to succumb to the problems that would inherently be involved with getting around outside of the ocean.  Imagine how difficult it would be for an animal the size of a sperm whale to walk (assuming it had legs).  The weight of it’s own body would prohibit its motion entirely, unless the leg muscles of this imaginary beast were stronger than any other that currently lives today.  Even our largest land locked animals today; animals such as elephants and rhinos are not typically anywhere near the size of the dinosaurs, nor are they very quick.  Rhinos can be quick in short bursts; however they spend much of their lives wading in water in an effort to eliminate the stresses of their own weight.

Our planet exerts a force of gravity that is equal to 9.78 m/s squared.  Our sole astral satellite, the moon, exerts a force of gravity that is equal to 1.622 m/s squared.  Well enough, but what does that mean?  It means that while the Earth is pulling objects in space towards it, so is the moon.  Since the moon orbits the Earth, the force of gravity on the Earth is directly affected by the counteracting force of gravity on the moon.  Again, where am I going with all of this?  Through careful study, scientists have been able to determine that the moon (for reasons not relevant to this discussion) is moving further away from the Earth day.  In fact, the total distance that the Moon moves away from the Earth is equal to 3.8 cm per year (not a lot).  However, 65 million years ago (approximately when the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid or comet), the Moon would have been 247 million centimeters closer than it is today.  To put that into perspective, the Moon is currently about  384,000 km from the Earth at any given time.  Using our math from above, we can calculate that the moon (65 million years ago) would have been 2,470 km closer to the Earth, meaning it would be 381,530 km from Earth.  

That’s not a huge number; however it could be enough to account for other factors, such as the force of gravity that was being exerted on the Earth 65 million years ago.  Almost certainly, during the past 65 million years, and even long before that, the Earth was being bombarded with debris from space, resulting in the mass of the Earth to increase.  This increase in mass has a measurable and direct affect on the force of gravity.

It is my theory that Dinosaurs were so much larger than animals today for one simple reason.  That reason is that they could be.  The force of gravity was much lower 65 million years ago, and even many years prior to that.  This allowed animals to evolve; however those animals evolved to the size that the force of gravity would allow without those animals being crushed by their own size.  It is my further belief that if we were to clone a large dinosaur today, it would likely not be able to survive due to the force of gravity being so much stronger today than it was many millions of years ago.

Then again, I could be wrong.  :)

End the “Cocaine Drug War”

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I’ve spent the last hour watching a series on the History channel, devoted to educating the viewer on the drug trade.  This series is trying to teach the viewer how cocaine is harvested in Colombia, South America and then sold to drug cartels in Mexico, who then bring the drugs across the border into the United States for sale.

The question that keeps coming up is “is the drug war making a difference?”  And, the obvious answer is an undeniable no.  This drug war has been going on for over 40 years and trillions of federal tax dollars have been spent to fight this war.  However; I see this as a total waste of time and money.  Nobody seems to have an answer, yet I see this as nobody wants to face the reality of the problem.

COLOMBIA is the problem.  We can say that cocaine is the problem; however if the source of the cocaine is Colombia, and we’ve been fighting to stop its export for 40 years without success, it seems simple to me to come to the conclusion that ending the export of cocaine out of Colombia is the answer.  Sounds easy enough?  Well, yes it technically is.  We can stop being politically correct and just issue an ultimatum.  Colombia has not been able to control their own people from breaking the law, and the United States seems to love getting involved in fighting other people’s battles (Iraq is a great case in point).  So, I suggest the following.

We burn Colombia to the grown, from coast to coast, the entire country.  The only way to destroy this problem is to DESTROY the problem.  Enough with the “war on drugs” being a weak representation of a real war.  Colombia is responsible for more death and destruction in our country than almost any other, and they’ve been doing it for half a century or more.

Napalm the whole damn place to the ground.  Yes, this would be expensive; yet the problem would be gone almost overnight.

Assault Weapons and Large Capacity Magazines does NOT equal more crime

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Often, when people quote the statistics, they will state that since the Clinton-era Assault Weapons Ban expired, the number of violent crimes committed with the use of an assault weapon or a weapon with a large capacity magazine has actually gone up.  Some would argue that they’ve gone down.  Regardless of who is correct, one thing remains paramount and clear.  The ban expired.  Let’s be perfectly clear on this undeniable fact.

With the expiration of the ban, firearms manufacturers have returned to selling weapons that firearms aficionados want.  That happens to include “assault weapons” and large capacity magazines for both assault rifles and all semi-automatic handguns.  I like to compare this to something that almost all Americans use, which are automobiles.  Automobile manufacturers build vehicles that are going to be able to get the driver from point A to point B efficiently (and sometimes quickly).  A great deal of research and development goes into building an automobile which can get great gas mileage, etc. however nobody would argue that selling automobiles with the largest possible capacity for storing gasoline is an ineffective design.  It’s obvious to anyone who can think clearly on the issue.  The fewer times you have to stop and fill up, the better.  The same line of thinking applies to firearms, and firearms manufacturers know this.

Let’s assume that the number of crimes committed with assault weapons and/or high-capacity magazines has risen since the Assault Weapons Ban expired is true.  Logically, wouldn’t it make sense that those weapons which the criminal would be using at the time of his crime would be those very same weapons which are available for purchase?  If assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are available for purchase, then logically those would be bought and then subsequently used in these hypothetical crimes.  If those weapons were not available, then a different weapon would be used; however I do not believe that the crime would not be committed.  That is shortsighted and ignorant thinking.  I mean, did all crime cease during the Clinton-era and the now expired weapons ban time period?  The answer is quite simply, no.

Lastly, try to recall the mass killing that took place a number of years ago at Virgina Tech.  This was committed on April 16, 2007 by a troubled student named Seung-Hui Cho, who used 2 semi-automatic handguns to carry out his attack which injured 17 people and took the lives of 33 people, including himself.  The handguns he used were a 15-round capacity Glock 19 (9mm rounds) and a 10-round capacity Walther P22 (.22 caliber rounds).  With the capacity to only carry 25 rounds of ammunition at a time, how did he manage to shoot, injure and kill so many?  It doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out.  And if you’re still too dumb to figure it out….he re-loaded!

In conclusion, it is my firm belief that the only way to stop crimes with firearms is for firearms to not exist. However; this is just as ignorant and unthinkable as believing that limiting the number of bullets a criminal’s semi-automatic handgun can hold will make any difference on the number of bullets he brings with him to his crime.

“No Easy Day” versus “Zero Dark Thirty” – The hunt for Osama bin Laden

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I just got back from watching “Zero Dark Thirty”.  About 2 months ago I read “No Easy Day” which was a first person account of the very same story by one of the members of the Navy SEAL Team 6 which captured and killed Osama bin Laden.
 
SPOILER ALERT… The movie followed an approximately 8 to 9 year period of time, where a female CIA agent (same as the book) tried to find UBL.  The government refers to Osama bin Laden as Usama bin Laden, and in both the book and the movie the use of UBL is used extensively.
 
IMHO, the book was better.  The reasons are that the book focused on the raid and killing of UBL.  The movie focused on the intelligence gathering which led to the raid.  Additionally, quite a few small, minor yet significant, details were either skipped or flat out changed.  As the movie focused so much on the time leading up to the raid, the raid ended up feeling very anti-climactic.  For me this was a huge bummer.  As an American who was fed up with the lack of our government’s ability to find UBL for all those years, I really was hoping for moment where the entire theater would want to jump up and applaud the death of UBL.  It didn’t feel this way at all.
 
The movie did a fair job of showing how brutal and methodical the Navy SEALs are when they’re “clearing” a room.  Even once an enemy has been shot, they always put two more rounds in to the chest of the enemy.  I suppose that is a good way to ensure he/she doesn’t jump back up and shoot you in the back.

I would have preferred if the story showed how America reacted after hearing the news (coming together outside the White House after hearing about the raid).  I would have liked to see the positive identification given by both one of the children of Osama and one of his wives.  In the book, the SEALs were very clear in not naming who they’d just shot.  They took steps to ensure that they didn’t put words in the mouths of those who were identifying Osama.  I recall the question “Who is this man?” and the reply was “You shot the Sheik”.  Upon, further interrogation, the question was asked again and the child was the first “to break” and say “he is Osama bin Laden”.  Finallly, one of the wives did the same.
 
The book also provided an in depth explanation of the many months the SEALs spent planning the raid, and the contengency plans for a raid gone bad.  Their “marching orders” were to NOT be captured in Pakistan by Pakistani military or police forces.  They were told to use whatever resources they perceived as necessary, to ensure their safe egress.  This, too, was not discussed in the movie.

Additionally, the book explained how the POTUS and his team of advisors discussed options.  The option that the Secretary of Defense was really pushing, was an aerial bombing; however it was determined that no discernable evidence of Osama’s death would be achieved in this manner.

In the end, I believe that the American people want to give all the credit to the SEALs for capturing and killing Osama bin Laden, the most wanted man of our lifetime.  On the surface this seems appropriate; however this was an enormous team effort, and not simply a SEAL team effort.  I believe the greatest hero in this story is the female CIA agent who put her career before her life, to track down leads that others had written off as insignificant.  She spent almost 10 years of tireless and thankless time researching and even doubting herself at times.  Despite the beaurocratic roadblocks, she found the most notorious and infamous terrorist in American history.  Sure, highly trained feet on the ground were required to “go get him”, but ultimately that was the easy part, IMHO.
 
Overall, I would still give this movie a strong rating, yet if you want decide to go watch it, I highly recommend you do yourself a favor and read the book too.

Alabama versus Notre Dame (BCS National Championship)

First let let start by saying that I believe the Crimson Tide are going to wipe Notre Dame off the map.

Here are the break-downs of the two teams games that got them to where they are today.

First (Alabama)
Game 1 – 41 -14 (against #8 ranked Michigan)
Game 2 – 35 – 0
Game 3 – 52 – 0
Game 4 – 40 – 7
Game 5 – 33 -14
Game 6 – 42 -10
Game 7 – 44 -13
Game 8 – 38 – 7 (against #11 ranked Mississippi State)
Game 9 – 21 – 17 (against #5 ranked LSU)
Game 10 – 24 – 29 (loss against #15 Texas A&M, whose QB won the Heisman)
Game 11 – 49 – 0
Game 12 – 49 – 0
Game 13 – 32 – 28 (against #3 ranked Georgia in the SEC Championship game)

Overall Scoring
Alabama = 500
Opponents = 139

Second (Notre Dame)
Game 1 – 50 – 10
Game 2 – 20 – 17
Game 3 – 20 – 3 (against #10 ranked Michigan State)
Game 4 – 13 – 6 (against #18 ranked Michigan)
Game 5 – 41 – 3
Game 6 – 20 – 13 (against #17 ranked Stanford in OT)
Game 7 – 17 – 14
Game 8 – 30 – 13 (against #8 ranked Oklahoma)
Game 9 – 29 – 26 (3 OT against UN-RANKED Pitt)
Game 10 – 21 – 6
Game 11 – 38 – 0
Game 12 – 22 – 13

Overall Scoring
Notre Dame = 321
Opponents = 134

Some things to note.

1. Notre Dame didn’t have to play in a conference championship game. And as such didn’t have to play against one of the best teams (Georgia) in the country at the time.
2. The only common team played by both Alabama and Notre Dame was Michigan; where the margin of victory was heavily in favor of Alabama.
3. People like to talk about strength of schedule, and some actually argue that Notre Dame’s strength of schedule was harder than Alabama’s; however I disagree. The ranked teams that Alabama had to play, for the most part, were worthy of their ranking. For Notre Dame, the same can not be said.
4. Lastly, Notre Dame squeaked by 6 games by a margin of victory of only 9 points or less. 2 of those games were won in overtime and most embarrassingly 1 of them was against Pittsburgh who actually missed a game winning field goal in double overtime.

The luck of the Irish may have gotten them there, but they’re going to get a real taste of smack you in the mouth football when they face a real SEC powerhouse, the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Championship game in Miami.

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