Thursday, October 11, 2018

Supreme Court - Historical Background to Election Year Nominations

Here's some historical background which puts McConnell's hold on the Garland SCOTUS nomination in perspective.

Since 1950,  Twenty-Seven Justices have Left Office - only four Died. 
Four died  and 23 resigned or retired. Those who died were:
  1. Fred Vinson - 1953
  2. Robert Jackson - 1954
  3. Rehnquist - 2005
  4. Scalia - 2016. 
Of the 23 that resigned or retired, only 2 did so in an election year.
First, Sherman Minton who retired due to bad health on October 15, 1956.  Justice Brennen replaced him on October 16, 1956 - but was not confirmed until March 19, 1957.  Note: had Stevenson been elected, he would've replaced Brennan with his own choice.  

Second, in June 1968, Chief Justice Warren resigned - pending confirmation of a successor. However, lame-duck LBJ chose Abe Fortas - who had ethical problems - and the Senate refused to confirm.  As a result, Nixon appointed Warren Burger as the new Chief Justice in June 1969. Which made Earl Warren very sad. 

Summary 
Historically,  SCOTUS judge openings rarely occur in an election year.
  • Judges rarely die in office, (only four since 1950) and the chances they will do so in election year are only 1 in 4.
  • Retiring Judges almost never leave in a presidential election year. Only two Judges out of twenty-three did so. And Minton delayed his resignation till Oct 15th so Stevenson, (if elected) could  replace  Ike's recess appointment. 
  • Earl Warren was the only Justice, who tried to "game the system." A hard-core liberal, he wanted lame-duck LBJ to appoint his successor - not Richard Nixon.  However, the Senate didn't go along.
  •  Since 1950, the Senate has NEVER confirmed a SCOTUS Nominee in an election year. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

John McCain R.I.P. - Part I

I'd planned on not writing anything about the death of one of my least favorite politicians,  but given so many awful editorials ( like National Review's),  I changed my mind.

McCain the Media Creation
I don't think there's ever been a Senator who did less and was more famous than John McCain. People forget that McCain was NEVER in the Senate leadership and only headed one Senate Committee - Armed Services - for 2 years.

 His actual power in the Senate, as 1 out of 100 Senators,  was quite limited, and was primarily devoted to stopping the Republicans from doing things.  He helped defeat the Bush Tax cuts, saved the "Nuclear option", and prevented Trump from repealing Obamacare. When the Democrats were in power from 2008-2014, he faded into the background, except to talk about foreign policy

His positive accomplishments were few.  There's "Campaign Finance Reform" which helped the Democrats and little else.  But he never got Amnesty passed (because of the Republican House) and couldn't stop Gays in the military.

His primary focus was foreign policy. He was constantly rattling on about foreign policy and going to Iraq and meeting foreign leaders (who all loved him).  But there's no evidence that Bush or Obama gave a damn what he said.  Certainly Trump didn't care.

But Man - Could he Talk
But no one was quoted more, or racked up more TV time than John McCain. For almost 20 years, from 1998-2017, it seemed like Johnny McCain was on a Sunday Talk show every week.  His constant attacks on his fellow Republicans, his support for Globalization, Wars in the Middle East, Open Borders, Amnesty, and Bad Trade deals made him a favorite of the New York Times and Washington Post.  And therefore, all the TV networks. If the press ever wanted a Republican with a bad opinion of Trump or Bush, or some praise of Ted Kennedy or Amnesty for Illegals,  Johnny McCain was there.

But his actual political accomplishments were almost nil. Ultimately, he was a talker - not a doer. Its fair to say, that Mitch McConnell - in 4 years - had more *real* impact on the country as Senate Majority leader - then McCain has had in 30 years in the Senate.

Friday, August 24, 2018

African-American Soldiers In World War One

Since Wikipedia is inaccurate, here are some statistics from the US Army Military histories on the African-American (called "Colored" in 1918) participation in World War 1 and A.E.F.

Service in France.
Total A.E.F. -  2,000,000
Total Blacks. - 180,000
About 9 percent.

Served in Combat Zone
Total Americans - 1.2 Million
Total Blacks -  Approximately 50,000
About 4 percent

Combat Deaths
Total A.E.F.  - 52, 947
Total Blacks  - Approximately 800
About 1.5%

Blacks Fight in the 92nd and 93rd Divisions
The US Army was segregated during World War One and Blacks were excluded from the Marines and US Air Service. And Blacks only served as "Mess-men" and Cooks in the U.S. Navy.

Consequently, the African American combat participation was limited to Segregated US Army units. Surprisingly, unlike World War 2,  these units were led by black junior officers.  Whites only held Company Commander rank and above.

Two of the 42 divisions that reached France were Black - the 92nd and the 93rd.  However the 93rd Division, was a division in name only.  It consisted of 4 all-black Infantry Regiments with a total strength of 12,000.  These 4 regiments were given French uniforms and were attached to French Army Divisions.

Total Combat deaths (KIA and died of wounds) for the two Black Divisions

92nd Division -  200
93rd Division  -  600

The  KIA/WIA ratio for the 92nd division is much higher than normal. For the entire A.E.F. it was 4-1 but the 92nd Division had 1,400 WIA which is a Wounded/Dead ratio of  7-1.  The difference is due to a higher than normal number of Gas Casualties. Poison Gas was serious, but less fatal than gunshot or shell fire.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Peter Thomson - Overrated Wanker

He was Overrated

Well,  Peter Thomson, 5 time Open Champion, has died, to the sniffles of the Golf writers. Sorry, I can't join in. One of the most overrated Golfers of all time - Thomson is remembered for winning the British Open 4 times between 1954-1958.  A pretty impressive record until you realize that American Golf Pros avoided the British Open between 1946-1959 and 1st prize was $2,000.  Once Palmer in 1960, and Nicklaus in 1962, started showing up, Thomson only won one more British Open - in 1965.

His record in the USA was terrible.  Two top-ten finishes in US Open, Masters and PGA in 9 tries. And when he played PGA tour he could only win one tournament. The "Texas Open."

And He was a Wanker

So, that takes care of the "overrated" part. What about being a wanker?

Well, that's easy. Y'see, Thomson was full of sour grapes.  He couldn't win in the USA, so he dismissed American golf as "target golf" - only the Links courses were "real tests of skill". And then when he stopped winning - anywhere - he started wanking on about how "What do sports matter in the big scheme of things?" The apex of this came in 1969 when he missed the cut at "The Masters" and told the press that he couldn't concentrate on golf because "What did it matter when the Vietnam War was going on?"  Sportswriters love this kind of gamma nonsense. 

Thomson - The Intellectual & Internationalist 
In the  State of the Game podcast, the sportswriters talk in awe about how Peter Thomson turned down an invitation to play in Masters in order to play in the Indian Open. Because "Peter Thomson knew growing the game in India was more important than the Masters".

LoL!  Thomson would've done NOTHING in Masters, probably would've missed cut. And he was a big nobody in the USA.  On the other hand, in the India Open he was  - the center of attention - "the big man" who won 5 British Opens.

But Thomson was considered an "intellectual" in the Golf World. Which means, he read the London Times & New York Times,  and had all the fashionable  "chattering class" opinions.

His Comments on Hogan and Snead  - Notice the Pattern
Thomson's comments on Hogan and Snead are illustrative of his personality. He had nothing good to say about Hogan. He wrote off "the little wee ice man" as a neanderthal, who had nothing of interest to say. Meanwhile, he had nothing but praise for Sam Snead.  Why?  Well simple, Hogan didn't talk to Thomson in 1953, just like he had nothing to say to most of his golf partners. He was engrossed in the game.  Accordingly, Thomson bad-mouthed him for the rest of his life.  Meanwhile, Snead went out of his way to befriend Thomson during his time on the PGA tour in 1956.  So, Thomson wrote about how "smart" and "wonderful" Sam Snead was.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Why I don't watch "Meet the Press"

Having some downtime, I downloaded the MTP transcript for December 3, 2017 and did a quick word count analysis.  In summary,  the Guests, do 30% of the talking (excluding commercials and video) and Chuck Todd and "The Panel" do 70%!  What a waste of time to watch it. Details as follows:

Chuck Todd No. Words %
Opening Remarks            900
Questions/Guest Intro        1,500
Total Chuck Todd         2,400 34%
Guest Answer
Senator Collins               600
Senator Feinstein             700
Cory Lewandowski             800
Total Guest        2,100 30%
Panel Discussion        2,500 36%
Grand Total        7,000

Friday, September 01, 2017

Eisenhower explains why General Robert E. Lee was a Hero

August 9, 1960

Dear Dr. Scott:

Respecting your August 1 inquiry calling attention to my often expressed admiration for General Robert E. Lee, I would say, first, that we need to understand that at the time of the War between the States the issue of secession had remained unresolved for more than 70 years. Men of probity, character, public standing and unquestioned loyalty, both North and South, had disagreed over this issue as a matter of principle from the day our Constitution was adopted.

General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America; he was a poised and inspiring leader, true to the high trust reposed in him by millions of his fellow citizens; he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his faith in God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history.

From deep conviction, I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s calibre would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the Nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.

Such are the reasons that I proudly display the picture of this great American on my office wall.

Sincerely,

Dwight D. Eisenhower