Thursday, October 15, 2015

Debates, Ribbons, Trophies and Other Things On My Mind

The Kennedy / Nixon Debate of 1960
I'll confess right up front, I typically do not watch "presidential" debates. In most circumstances I have already formed an opinion of a candidate based on his or her record. If the person has not held any political office prior to the debate, there is usually a wealth of information regarding their actions or accomplishments in whatever they've done in their life so far.

Unless of course that candidate just landed on this planet or has successfully avoided all forms of interaction with the public until now. Then one would have to wonder how they managed to do that. Perhaps the candidate is actually a cyborg and just came off the assembly line that very morning. No amount of clever / witty repartee in a "debate" will sway my opinion about a candidate. Do something, don't just flap your gums.

For the most part I loathe the political class. Most of them seem to have never had real jobs and by real I mean the sort of jobs that require one to show up for work at a certain time each day, perform duties for a certain duration during that work day and those duties must needs be actually have provided a service of some value to someone. Anyone. (No, community "organizing" doesn't count as a real job.)

Many people complain that the politicians in DC are "all lawyers." I confess to having used that characterization on more than one occasion. I don't really have a problem with lawyers per se, what I have a problem with is people who went to law school and never performed work as an actual lawyer. That would count in my book as a real job. Folks who immediately run for office without ever having done anything else are, to me, particularly loathsome creatures. I can't explain why I feel that way. I don't care for rats, snakes, spiders and ants either for that matter, I don't know why, it just is. Not that I'm comparing those latter creatures to politicians. I don't care for those beasties but I still respect them for the functions they have evolved to perform. Unlike the politicians.

So I tend to skip the debates. How well one performs in a debate is a measure of how well the individual prepared for the debate. Knowing the types of questions that will be asked enables an individual to have prepared stock answers to most things. It doesn't tell me how well that person would handle a real world scenario. Most things in real life don't lend themselves to quick, snappy answers.

So no, I haven't watched any of the debates and don't plan to watch any now or in the future. My personal opinion of politicians at that level is, for the most part, not expressed in polite company.

Next topic...

Over at Ask Skipper the other day there was a very fine post which covered one of my pet peeves. Awards and decorations, i.e. ribbons, fruit salad, the colored bits of cloth one wears on one's uniform to denote to the world one's accomplishments in the service of the Nation.

Ya know, these things -

Not mine by the way...

While I wasn't in 100% agreement with that post, it was damn close. The proliferation of awards in the military is out of hand. It goes hand in glove (which would be a pocket in the Air Force) with the "everybody gets a trophy" mentality which stalks the land.

I remember coaching kids soccer back in the day. Before one game my co-captains and I met the opposing coach at mid-field. We discussed various things and then the other coach happened to mention that there was no need to keep score. One of my kids asked him if he was pusillanimous. Okay, he used a word derived from that big word. The other coach was shocked and flabbergasted. Of course, I had to chastise my lad then and there.

He got a high five when we got back to the bench. My kids always played to win. They took defeat seriously and learned from it. It's the only way.

Everybody gets a trophy?


Well, that's what's on my mind.

I am not looking forward to the upcoming political circus campaign. Lies will be told, promises will be made and the only winners will be the evil a$$holes behind the scenes. Their puppets will do stupid things and the MSM will either praise them or demonize them based on which party the puppet belongs to.

Can this change? I don't know.

Heading to New Hampshire recently I listened to Bobby Jindal talking with some conservative talk show guys on the radio. I found myself actually liking the guy. He seemed like a real down-to-earth American.

Yeah, he has no chance at all.

I just hope whoever gets to be in charge next doesn't screw things up too badly for my grandchildren.

There are days I miss George the Third...

All photos in today's post are in the Public Domain. No rats, snakes, spiders or ants were harmed in the writing of this post. A few politicians had their feelings hurt but who cares?


  1. All those law school graduates need to be fed and housed somehow. Read where the EPA employs some 1,000 lawyers.
    Agree on the awards issue. Small quibble, those are Air Force mittens.

    1. After the Animas River Debacle, they probably need about 10 times more lawyers and all should be put in jail without bail until trial. Put me on that jury, please.

    2. @WSF - The Army may have called them mittens, we called them gloves. But I see your point.

    3. @juvat/

      Jury? Hell, let me be the sentencing judge! Pick me! Pick me! :)

      (PS: Check back on your post about strafing, I left a couple of questions for you)

    4. Okay, Virgil, you can pronounce sentence. After a "trial."

      Which post are you talking about? The one on General Olds?

  2. Couldn't have said it better myself.

    1. Bet you could give me a run for my money though.

  3. You just jogged a memory that may result in a post...not about debates, I'm done with them also. Except when Trump is involved, he is damn entertaining!

    1. "...jogged a memory..."

      Cool, I love it when that happens. Trump is entertaining, I'll give you that.

  4. If they were really debates...
    Ain't gonna happen, I know, because those folks are too self-centered to ever expose how weak they really are.
    A real debate would pit a team from one party vs. the other.
    Then the voters could see just how well those folks work.

    Don't even get me started on the fruit salad.
    Suffice it to say, my uniform remained untouched by any.
    The last command didn't present me with my GCM because I was a short timer.
    I didn't particularly care because nobody else had much to show except for maybe an Operation Deep Freeze ribbon.
    It was the group accomplishments we were most proud of, like the green 'E' for Operations Efficiency that we all wore on our right sleeve.

    1. I agree with your assessment that what is held on TV is not a debate.

      The group accomplishments are what the services are really all about. The individual awards have always been a crap shoot. In the early 1900s the Medal of Honor was even awarded for acts of peacetime bravery or certain accomplishments.

    2. I was just getting ready to hit post a mock of Frank Morneau. His bio at is classic. I just think the next to last paragraph is funny. He "is proud to wear two Naval Unit Commendations, two Meritorious Unit Citations and the Battle E Efficiency Award...." Except, as you can see from the attached photograph, he is not actually wearing any of those awards.

      All those years in Cali ruined debates for me since there was no point. By the time we got to vote in the primaries all the cripples had been shot and we were permitted to vote only for the first loser in each party.

    3. I had to go read that and you're right, it's a classic.

      I would think that the selection of candidates in California would be somewhat slim. All those progressives.

  5. Good post. All I can say is today's political process is nothing more than a big popularity contest. The Americans who are not
    too apathetic to forego voting mostly just vote for who they 'like' and it doesn't have anything to do with their candidates past
    record or accomplishments. This doesn't keep me from voting but it seems like I'm usually just voting for the lesser of two evils.

    I think Uncle Skip said it all perfectly, including the fruit salad comments!

    1. I so get that "lesser of two evils" remark. Oft times we've been represented by people who sucked less than their opponent.

  6. I tend to watch the debates, but not to figure out who has the best plan. It's more of a Sun-Tsu thing- Know your enemy as yourself...

    1. We don't really get to see the enemy, though, do we? We see the enemy's playskool theater production, then waste time and energy obsessing about the costumes and props. Where's Toto? Where's the wide-eyed kid pointing toward the nekkid kommisars? To use a different metaphor, are we engaging real targets or wasting warshots on the chaff cloud?

    2. Hhmm. That seems worthy of a post all its own.

  7. Ho, hum. Follow the money, follow the power.
    Buy ammo while you can. Don't get any delusion of grandeur about using it though.

  8. I could see the award inflation coming back in the late 80's. I don't know about today, but back then the good guy ident was multiple sea service awards and the lack of a good conduct ribbon.

    1. Yeah, the Good Conduct Medal is odd. In the Air Force if one didn't get one, one could not re-enlist. Of course, I never knew anyone who didn't get one in the Air Force without having been court martialed.

      In the Air Force I always looked for the overseas "short tour" ribbon. At least then the person had been someplace classified as a "hardship" tour. Of course, in the Air Force that meant the golf course only had nine holes.

    2. In the Army in the 30s & 40s the Good Conduct medal for enlisted types was the Holy Grail and extremely hard to get in those days according to Dad.. My Dad, who was drafted in the "one year" of service draft in 1941-42 (supposed to discharge everyone in Oct of 42, hence the "OHIO" draft--"Over The Hill In October" that, for obvious reasons, never played out as advertised) qualified just before he went to OCS. After his Combat Inf Badge it was his proudest award--even years later when as an OCS grad w. a Silver Star and two Bronze Stars w. V device.. (and a third Bronze star for "meritorious service" years later awarded in the 90s--iirc--when I think all those on active duty overseas in WW II got one, lol)

    3. My uncle (infantryman) used to kid my Dad (Signal Corps) about his lack of a GCM.

      Dad had some adventures in postwar Berlin. He got to make corporal. Twice.

  9. PS: A humorous aside. In the 30s and 40s people were not as mobile as now (iirc as late as 1944 60% of all Americans lived within walking distance of work) and Dad was teaching HS in the little town of Wood River, Illinois where he was the ONLY guy of draft age from out-of-town. When it became known that Wood Rivers quota was only ONE person, he didn't even wait for the telegram/letter, he started packing his bags right away! LOL!!!

    1. Makes sense. Cars were expensive.

      Also people tended to settle near their relatives. Not like now I guess.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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