Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Guest Post from Dillon Goertz on Recent Racial Incidents:

This is America

In 2018, Childish Gambino released the single This is America and the video that was meant to not just supplement the song, but to be part of it. The video and lyrics are a powerful statement about how blacks in America live in a state of constant fear of the potential for institutional failure, whether that failure is with the government that is supposed to create a safe environment, or with the law enforcement agencies that are supposed to enforce the laws fairly and equally, or with the members of the general community, who say they want to live in the land of the free but who often act like the land of the free was only meant to belong to certain groups.

Interestingly enough, when the single won the Grammy awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Music Video, and Best Rap/Sung Performance, Donald Glover, the creative force behind Childish Gambino, was not there to accept the prizes. He was nowhere to be seen. Of course, I can only speculate as to what led to his decision not to attend, but if I had one guess, it would be this: he didn’t care about being recognized; he just wanted people to listen to the message.

I’m troubled by the repeated reminders, so many over the last few years, that a lot of people not only haven’t listened, they don’t even want to hear it. When people of color complain about the systemic inequities, pointing at extreme but repetitious examples, those who should be listening default to their echo chambers and shoot off false axioms (“there must have been a good reason”, “cops lives are hard”, “maybe if the person hadn’t done...” and on and on).

So it’s already started with two very notable stories in the news yesterday.

In the first, a black man wisely decided to start recording a white woman who was becoming aggressive towards him in a relatively secluded portion of Central Park called The Ramble. There are a few things to note:

1. The encounter began when Christian Cooper, the man, asked the woman, Amy Cooper (same last name was only coincidence), to leash her dog in accordance with posted rules of the park. Other areas of the park allowed dogs to be off-leash, but he was there specifically to bird watch, a known hobby in that area of the park and exactly why the leash rule was posted.

2. In the video, Ms. Cooper tells Mr. Cooper that she is going to call the police and “tell them that an African American man is threatening my life.” This, to me, requires the most unpacking of the whole event. First, instead of leaving (which is what any sane person would do if they felt their life was threatened), she took the time to call the police on her cell phone, while holding her dog up in the air by its collar, and tell the police exactly what she said she would. But before the call, she didn’t say “I’m going to tell them that YOU threatened my life” but “an AFRICAN AMERICAN MAN is threatening my life.” That distinction should be clear to anyone: it was an unveiled threat to use racial profiling as a weapon. This is the “white privilege” that people talk about in disgusting clarity.

3. She kept approaching HIM while making ridiculous comments about how threatening he was (which was clearly the trigger for him to start recording). And STILL people say “well, we don’t know what he said to her. She may very well have felt threatened.” No, she was angry that HE didn’t feel threatened by HER. Her control mechanism wasn’t working, and so she resorted to threatening to call the police. And when that that threat didn’t work either, she DID call the police.

In the second story, a black man named George Floyd was killed on video by a police officer who refused to lift his knee off of the man’s neck, even as the man pleaded with them to let them know he couldn’t breathe, even after Floyd became non-responsive, even as onlookers pleaded with the officer to take corrective action, even after the cop looked directly into the camera and knew he was being filmed. A couple of notable things:

1. Video taken from a surveillance camera shows the police detaining the man with handcuffs and walking him to the side of the building. At no point on this video does Mr. Floyd appear aggressive, confrontational, or resistant.

2. The alleged crime? Forgery. He wasn’t suspected of violence, he wasn’t suspected of carrying an illegal firearm, and nobody in the surrounding area could attest to him behaving violently.
The message to be heard from these events is this: we have to honestly ask ourselves if we hold a different standard for people who look different. Why is it okay for police to treat one person brutally but if they do it to someone with lighter skin, they’ve overstepped their bounds? What gave that lady the idea that a black man needed to do what she wanted (to let her break the posted rules) or she could call the cops on him? What was she hoping for? That he be treated the same way that George Floyd was treated?

Another thing to remember: both of these incidents occurred in cities in the historic Union, not in the south, where racism seems to be more expected. Minneapolis and NYC are both very liberal, filled with the types of people who like to virtue signal on this type of thing.

Apparently, when it matters, signaling virtue is not the same as having it.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

2019 Restaurant Visits

Name                        Loc                    Rating   Beer Selection Rating

Binky's MP 5 2
Coda del Pesce MP 5 2
First Watch Sum 4
Grit Counter MP 4 3
Maison NK 4 2
Matt's Burgers Sum 4
Minero's DT 4 3
Vincent Chicco's DT 4 2
Fish Camp Var 3
Holy City Brewing NC 3 4
Ruttledge Cab Co NK 3 3
Saltwater Cowboys MP 3 2
Sorghum and Salt DT 3 3
Swank Sum 3 0
Tiki Tacos Sum 3 2
Westbrook Brewing MP 3 4
Husk DT 5 3
JackRabbit Filly Park 5 3
Wild Common DT 5 2
Wine and Company DT 5 5
Baker and Brewer NK 4 4
Mill Street Tavern MP 4 3
Sweetwater Café Var 4
Bad Daddy's Burger Sum 3 3
Coleman Public  MP 3 4
Edison WA 3 3
Indaco DT 3 3
Indigo Reef MP 3 3
Oak Road Brewery Sum 3 4
The Shelter Kitchen  MP 3 3
Vickery's MP 3 3
Hall's DT/Sum 5 3
Estadio NK 4 3
Nico MP 3 3
Little Jacks NK 4 3
Herd Provisions Var 3 3
Wide Awake Brew Sum 3 3
House of Brews MP 4 5
Swig and Swine Var 4 3
Edmunds Oast NK 5 5
Madres' Sum 5 0
Bacco MP 4 3
Coastal Coffee Roa Sum 4 4
Famulari's WA 4 4
Leon's  NK 4 3
The Darling DT 4 3
Culver's Sum 3 0
Red's Ice House MP 3
Top Dawg Tavern Sum 3 3
Olive Garden Var 2 1
Coast Brewing Park 5 5
EVO Park 5 4
Malagon DT 5 2
Melfi's NK 5 2
Azul Park 4 3
Charleston Bakery  Sum 4 0
The Ordinary DT 4 3
Five Loaves Café Var 3 3
Jeni's DT 3 1
Workshop NK 3 5
Wiki Wiki Sandbar WA 4 2
Sweatman's MN 5 0
The Brew Cellar Park 4 5
The Codfather Park 4 3
Basil Var 3 2
Maui Tacos DT 3 3
Steel City Pizza NC 2 3
Parcel 32 DT 4 3
Butcher and Bee NK 3 3
Michael's on the.. DT 3 ?

Here's a link to the Master Restaurant Spreadsheet

Columns are Restaurant, Location, Rating and Beer Selection Rating.

Locations: Park - Park Circle, DT - Downtown, NK - North of 17 Downtown, Var - multiple locations, MP - Mount Pleasant, MN - Middle of Nowhere (Outside Holly Hill in this case), WA - anywhere West of the Ashley, NC - North Charleston

Rating - 1 to 5 scale (5 being best (gotta be perfect to get a 5 - 4 is a perfectly great score and 3 is reliably good))

Beer rating:
1   No beer or little good beer (or a bad brewery)
2   Below Average (or a mediocre brewery)
3   Some locals and other good brews (or an OK brewery)
4   Excellent (or a good brewery)
5   Best (or a great brewery)

Here's an incomplete short description of some places worth mentioning...
Failure to talk about a place doesn't mean it wasn't great...

Binky's is a new oyster bar with a great menu from the owner of Coda del Pesce and Trattoria Lucca
Azul is a casual Mexican restaurant with a great mix of classics and innovative dishes. The Molcajete is a great variety dish suitable for multiple eaters.
Maison is a great new French place on Upper King with a great bar staff.
Charleston Bakery and Deli has great breakfasts and sandwiches with a Jewish Deli twist.
Jackrabbit Filly is a new restaurant on Spruill brought to you by the geniuses behind Short Grain.
Matt's Burgers is a tiny place in Summerville with great value and delicious burgers.
Coast Brewing is still my favorite brewery. They have not succumbed to modern brewery fads (not that those are a bad thing) but instead continue to produce their classic styles with a smattering of innovations. Hop Art IPA, Boy King DIPA, 32/50 Kolsch and Blackbeerd Imperial Stout are some of the best examples of their respective styles.
Baker and Brewer is the bastard child of EVO and Holy City. Everything great from both combined in one location.
EVO is a slam dunk for pizza and an awesome local beer selection. The Pork Trifecta is the best pizza and is perfect reheated in the morning with a runny fried egg on top. Make sure to visit The Brew Cellar for an excellent tap list and brilliant selection of cans and bottles to drink on presence or take home.
Five Loaves Cafe has become a bit more "chainy" than before, but still serves good food with decent service. It is a good choice for Summerville due to somewhat limited options in the area.
Husk remains one of the best downtown restaurants, with a modern take on classic southern cuisine. Great for out of town visitors. The bar is a perfect option if you can't get in the restaurant since its menu is basically the Husk Greatest Hits menu.
Jeni's has some unique ice cream flavors, but make sure you pay attention to ensure you get dairy if you want it as it can be a little confusing.
Malagon is a grazer's delight. It's where Artisan Meat Share used to be and is a great replacement. Small plates and shareable entrees are the feature.
Melfi's has outstanding pasta and Italian food. They have parking nearby which is nice. The staff is very knowledgeable of what they are serving and why. Pasta is homemade.
Swig and Swine Summerville has reopened!!!! I really love this place, especially since it's so close to me. Not the best barbecue in the area, but extremely good.
The Ordinary still has amazing oysters and cold fish selections, along with excellent seafood options. Get reservations or arrive before it opens.
Wine and Company is still the best wine bar in Charleston with an incredibly knowledgeable staff. You can also buy bottles to go and they can help find what you want. They also have a phenomenal beer selection to go or drink on premises which most people don't know about. The beer list is very well curated. Located at Meeting and Spring, it's a great stop before or after dinner. Also great cheese and charcuterie.
Wiki Wiki Sandbar is a HUGE Polynesian restaurant with some great bars and a good selection of classic dishes mixed with some local standbys.
Basil is a reliable Thai restaurant with more options for non-Thai food fans than other places. I like the Garlic and Beef dish.
Maui Tacos does a good job of replicating the original. They are a good choice if you are bored with the cookie cutter Mexican that is way too prevalent in our town. Great beer selection. If your out of town family insists on going to Hyman's tell them you'll be at Maui Tacos waiting for them to finish being disappointed.
Steel City Pizza has a good beer selection. That's why they get a 2. You do the math...
Sweatman's has managed to maintain great barbecue standards despite the ownership change a few years ago. Still the best barbecue in the area. Visit Biedler Forest on the same day, since it is located in the same middle of nowhere. Better yet, do dinner and a Biedler Night Walk on the full moon Saturday of the month (not affiliated with each other - just a good evening plan).
The Codfather has outstanding Fish and Chips and Meat Pies. You can get the meat pies to go.

Check out my tax blog if you want to see why I'm so popular this time of year!

You may wonder why very few places got a score below 3. There's an explanation on the spreadsheet. In fact, there's a ton of information on the spreadsheet. But to answer the question, we go places we expect to be great. I'm not here to confirm that a mediocre restaurant is actually mediocre. So 2's will be rare, and 1's will be a catastrophic failure in planning.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

On Texas and Concealed Carry

I'm an advocate of concealed and open carry...
I think it will save lives in the aggregate...
But let's not delude ourselves into thinking there won't eventually be a tragic mistake...
Nothing is perfect...
It is all about the balance of benefits and costs...
We suck at this...
Gun rights advocates like myself need to be ready to admit it if the negatives outcomes outweigh the positives (this doesn't mean we have to abandon our support for a fundamental right).
I am also acutely aware that people on my side of the criminal justice reform debate are blissfully ignoring the fact that crime has plummeted during the mass incarceration years and we need to be prepared if it turns out that criminal justice reform dramatically reverses this trend...
Ending the drug war with a shift to treatment could also have more negatives than positives...

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Guest Post From Devin (actually stolen from his Facebook page)

You know what irks me?
The same people blasting Lt. Col. Vindman for requesting to be called by his rank, from the ranking member are the same ones who get bent out of shape about the president being called Mr. Trump.
On the flip, those who are all SJW come to Vindman's defense are calling our president horrible things, making disrespectful baby balloons, and actively mocking him when it's possible that he had a health crisis.
At this point I have so little respect for our political parties. The way politicians and loyal constituents of those parties are behaving is reprehensible.
Disrespect isn't cool, doesn't matter who is being disrespected.
Othering and dehumanizing people isn't cool, doesn't matter who it is.
Our problems extend way beyond Obama or Trump, McConnell or Pelosi...our entire society is SICK. It may have started with politicians, it may have started with us (the people), it may have started with corporate interests. FFS, it doesn't really matter how it started.
It's up to each and every one of us to demand better. To respect and listen to our fellow humans, our fellow Americans. The complex issues in today's world don't fit into a nice little partisan talking box. Echo chambers produce consensus but consensus isn't always what you want if it's consensus for self destruction.
We've got to move past the fear mongering and hatred.
Liberals... the average Christian Conservative doesn't want to legislate you into going to church, stone members of the LGBTQIA+ community, or go to war over everything.
Conservatives... the average Atheist Liberal doesn't want to outlaw Christianity and prop up Islam, make your kids transition to the opposite gender or be non-binary, or completely sell-out our country.
Yes, there are extreme people on both sides who are pushing for things that are in nobody's interest. You have wedge issues like 2nd Amendment and abortion that are purposefully hyped up and taken out of context to divide people. Meanwhile, Congress is busy throwing stuff into bills that have nothing to do with the bill... agreeing on the gerrymandering of districts that maintain the status quo and overall turning a blind eye to criminal business behavior while legislating away personal freedoms.
Your average politician does not care about you, does not care about your family, and frankly doesn't give a flying flip about our country. Your average national politician has more in common with the ultra wealthy than the average American... and if you work for the government, I can assure you they have nearly nothing in common with you.
I feel like I've been beating this drum a lot lately but it's because I care...I care about people, I care about justice, I care about our country and the ideals I'd like to believe we once stood for. I hope 20 years from now our children and grandchildren look at this period with the same eye that we now look at the era of the Vietnam war; with disgust and embarrassment. Much like we learned the importance of treating veterans with respect from Vietnam, I hope our children learn to bring respect and dignity into politics.
Y'all just be kind to one another.
It's ok to disagree and debate, we should but this unhealthy lambasting and railroading gets us nowhere productive.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Don't Read Self Help Books...

Stop Reading Self Help Books
A Self Help Book

By Kirk Taylor
Copyright 2019

You’re still here?
Did you read the title?

Anyway…there are a million self-help books out there.
Why do we need another one?
Because this isn’t really a self-help book…

It is a self-help book…
But this one is a little bit different.

It’s not written by an expert on anything other than taxes…
But it’s written by someone who has done things and seen things and works with a LOT of people…
I see a lot of people living their lives…
Some are successful, some are just getting by…
Some are struggling…

The one common thread is that people seem to focus on the wrong things…
They worry about the wrong things…
They’re afraid of things that are never going to happen…
They miss simple things they can do to improve their lives…

This book is going to be different…

This book is going to have short, simple, easy to understand sections that give practical, actionable life advice that you can start using immediately.

Most of it is easy…
Some of it is hard…

But all of it will help you in either big or small ways…

Some of it you will have heard a thousand times…
Much of it will be new to you…
Some of it will seem like strange things to find in a self-help book…

Read the whole thing…
Be prepared for some tough advice…
Be prepared for some easy advice…
Be prepared for some foul language…
Be prepared for some aggressive rhetoric…

I was a sailor…
I don’t do subtle…

Monday, July 22, 2019

Guest Post from Devin on hate...

So....earlier today I shared several posts I saw on my timeline that WILDLY disagree with my world views.
With each of these I wrote a comment when I shared them expressing my disagreement.
Let me be clear HATE is NEVER ok, it doesn't matter if you are hating a majority group or a minority group.
There is NO MORAL SUPERIORITY in hate.
In today's world many of the sensational articles shared on Facebook are crafted by malicious actors (often nation states) with the intent of dividing Americans and weakening our unity.
I understand people don't like Trump, and with some valid reasons. I understand some people do like Trump, and with the terrible partisan BS nowadays I can understand WHY people who wouldn't usually stand by him do.
In today's world it feels like a battle for life, but the issue is the battle for life isn't between REPUBLICANs and that is the SMALL battle. The battle for life and death is between FREEDOM, LIBERTY, DECENCY and OPPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT. You're fooling yourself if you think either party gives a flying flip about you as a person; they don't.
What OPPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT fears is unity among the constituency.
What OPPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT fears is thoughtful debate.
What OPPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT fears is us realizing that we agree on 80% of the stuff that really matters and that we'll stop arguing over their "solutions" that are meant to be a distraction to us.
Quit being Sheeple, quit feeding into the mass hysteria!
Diversity is beautiful, love is beautiful, fear and hate will NEVER win against LOVE they can't. But what can happen is that fear and hate can infect us as a society, and poison us. It can cause us to stop being loving and during these periods of time fear and hate can gain massive ground.
I'm ashamed of how many "good" people I know take "sides" with Evil A and Evil B. Stand up for what's right, call right right and wrong wrong. Stand for RESPECT, DIGNITY, TRUTH, and LOVE.
You can really tell Facebook's UI (intentionally or unintentionally) is geared towards furthering the divide and spreading misinformation because in all of these circumstances it looks like I was in support of the point that I FIRMLY stand AGAINST.