Aug 28, 2014

The Revolver Door

Just in case you still think voting matters:

Former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who now controls the entire public policy practice at Squire Patton Boggs, expressed confidence that he and his lobbying partner, former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), are well-positioned if the Senate flips.

“We feel pretty good about our relationships on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol, but we are looking to strengthen our hands with House Republicans,” Lott said, adding that Republicans specializing in healthcare are particularly prized.

It is from a piece reporting that Republican legislative aides are flocking to K-Street Bandits in hopes of turning their influence into a ten-fold salary increase. They expect Republican free-ice-cream promises to outdo Democrat free-candy promises in the battle for a senate majority.

Nautical Distractions (3)

A lad for whom I hold infinite affection has just turned 19. When he is precisely 19 years and one month old he will have heard this phrase:

"Your other left you boot sonuvabitch!"

He is pretty well coordinated, so perhaps the tormentor will have screamed it at some other confused youngster taking his first marching steps toward becoming a wave-riding defender of the United States Constitution.

Call it a culture shock beyond the understanding of the twee Yankee tourist distraught at discovering  she can't get a truffle in Pago Pago.


Hi. I'm from Grampsington and I'm here to help!"


Among the several humiliations the Navy has in store for you is language.  Call it a wall instead of a bulkhead and you will be loudly informed that you are whale-turd low, an arse-pimple afflicting everyone from the Chief of Naval Operations down to Davy Jones, not to mention all of the training petty officers to whom your personal arse now belongs.

Hence a vocabulary primer:

Port is left, that part of the ship left of the center line. (Port and left each have four letters.)

Port is also associated with red -- and with even numbers -- and with a red channel marker called a nun buoy. Hence the mnemonic "Even the red nun drinks port." (Sadly, you have already lost enough innocence to know that port wine is red.)

Starboard is the right-side half of the ship. I never heard a really good memory aid. Maybe "R"(ight)  and "S (tarboard)" are consecutive letters. It is also associated with the color green and odd numbers.

Bow: the front, usually  pointy end of a ship.

Stern: The back end. Usually square, or squarish compared to the bow.

Fore: Toward the bow.

Aft: Toward the stern.

Abaft: Like aft except in reference to some point, such as "abaft the beam."

Beam: The middle of the ship, half-way between bow and stern. Often, not always, the widest part of the vessel.

Deck: What your mom calls a floor.

Overhead: What your dad calls a ceiling.

Passageway:  Generally, what your brother calls a hallway.

A door usually goes though a bulkhead.

A hatch generally goes through a deck.

Salt or Old Salt: A seasoned veteran.

Salty: What you will consider yourself beginning about your sixth week of Boot Camp.

Boot:  A rank beginner. What everyone with one more day in service will consider you -- right up until the day you retire.

Have fun, Pardner. Remember to invite me to the ceremony installing you as Chief of Naval Operations.


Aug 24, 2014

And BTW, Bruce Braley is an NRA "F"

The big kids in Washington have discovered  Iowa a little early this time around. We're usually invisible flyover matter until the caucuses get going.  But our Senator Harkin is retiring.  With no big-name  Kennedys  left to suck up to, he sees no point in hanging around the Capitol.

Democrat kingmakers tabbed Congresscritter Bruce Braley.  He was a shoo-in until he started screwing up everything his tongue touched  (what I like to call the Romney Coupla-Caddies Ploy.)

Lt. Col. Joni Ernst castrated her way to a GOP primary win, capitalized on Braley's  hoof-in-mouth affliction,  and the general election is in doubt. From down-12 or so in the polls, she's now up a scant point.

This all becomes important in the outside world because some other senate races aren't going quite as the RNC and DNC planned, and senate control might well depend on Ernst-Braley.

There is one certainty.  Iowa media will divvy up more money for spots of sound-bite mindlessness between now and November, and some senior operatives are trying to dope out where to spend it.

Don't know why  I felt the urge to toss them some free advice on Facebook this morning. Maybe a throwback to my own operational (though not very senior) days. To wit:


Iowa is cut diagonally, NW-SE, by the Des Moines River. West of the river, Ernst will win, and probably solidly; it is the Bible Belt, family-values, church-potluck half, scarcely differing from rural Nebraska.

The east is more densely populated with our strongest union presence and what, around here, passes for urban sophistication. There, Braley will be competitive, particularly  in the manufacturing cities -- Des Moines, Davenport, Waterloo among others -- and in Iowa City (U of I ,  that is, Obama Country) where he should win big.

Obviously a lot of plus-and-minus goes into this geographic sketch. Just as obviously the main GOP question is where to spend the heaviest resources -- west to try for an unbeatable margin or east to depress the Braley vote margin.


I hope no one thinks all this makes me a Republican or a Democrat.  I don't know what it is, come to think of it. Maybe an advertisement, and I suppose I would privately dilate on the theme for money if the prospective client could persuade me he smiles favorably on the Austrian School. Unless, of course, he thinks the AS is a neat operetta about Germans getting drunk in college

Aug 20, 2014

George L. Herter: "Do not be mislead by hokum!"

I told you guys she writes The World's Greatest Travel Blog.

Name another MSM writer willing to help celebrate the memory of a crazy dude who sold guns by the tens of thousands. It probably helps that she has been warmed by his Model Perfect sleeping bags and kept dry by his famous North Woods Guide Association Approved pyramid tent.

(If George L. failed to claim sleeping in his pyramid tent kept your teeth cleaner and automatically sharpened your knives, it was an oversight.)

The other thing she misses is the Herter's red jelly bean. Calling them Herter's Whiskey River Cherry Candy made them taste better around the camp fire.