Saturday, April 18, 2015

Re-Booting America Starts with Deleting the Socialist/Collectivist Ideology

Re-booting America starts with booting out the far left-wing radicals who have infected the Democratic Party and sent them adrift. The Socialist/Collectivist liberal progressive ideology is finally losing the political clout that has poisoned the Party. 

The trouble with liberals is they’ve not figured out that capitalism is still the foundation and the future of individual prosperity in this country. Liberals and Liberalism got their collective wings clipped last November and they’ve got this delusion that what happened was an anomaly. 

The People are sick of collectivism and the redistribution of wealth policies---that have historically failed time and again---especially where a central government, (filled with corruptive politicians), controls the people’s financial well being, crushing the individual and entrepreneurial spirit of this great nation. 

This nation was founded, (and grew in individual wealth), on the free market principles of capitalism, and with little intrusion from the federal government. Liberals would like nothing better than to keep the status quo and continue the polices of ceding “the people’s money” to a central government, leaving a few selective politicians in Washington to decide where “the wealth” is distributed. This philosophy/ideology is coming to an abrupt and well deserved end as the liberals will come to understand in 2016. 

Since 2008 Democrats have lost 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats, 910 seats in state legislatures, 30 state legislative chambers & 11 governors, yet the old Democratic Party has yet to figure out that the policies of the far left-wing radical liberals have destroyed their party. Perhaps they’ll “get it” after this next major shellacking. Make no mistake, the People have decided to keep their money in their own pockets instead of sending it to Washington and the powerbrokers/redistributionist who plan to control their daily lives. 

There will be no Democrat in the White House in 2017. Even the House and the Senate will remain in Republican’s hands as liberalism is dealt its last blow. Only then will the Democrats begin to throw the far left-wing radicals out of their Party and return to the principles of a capitalist free market state. Liberalism/Socialism, (and by extension Marxism/Communist values), is dead on arrival in this next election cycle. And, Conservatives should throw them, [the misguided far left-wing liberals] a well deserved wake.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Jordan Spieth Wins the Masters----Wire to Wire!

Masters Winner Jordan Spieth

Ever since Jordan Spieth watched his quest for a Green Jacket slip away in last year’s Masters, he’s been on a mission---establish a lead, get into the final pairing, and finish off his competition.  Watching Bubba Watson slip on that Green Jacket, (for the second time), was all the motivation the young 21 year old needed.

And this year, he did it in a fashion rarely seen in a major tournament, going wire to wire, setting numerous records, and oh yeah, keeping a U.S. Open champion and a three-time Masters’ champion from overtaking him on Sunday.  Starting the day out with a four-stroke lead, the “contenders” made their runs at the young gun, but Jordy held them back with his steady methodical play, sinking some great birdie putts, scrambling for a few pars, and eventually watching both Rose and Mickelson fade away.

Yet the day was not by any means easy for Spieth.  After Justin Rose nailed a fifteen-foot birdie putt on the first hole and Spieth followed suit with 10-footer for birdie himself, the race was on!  After Rose birdied the second hole and Spieth could only par, the lead was already down to three, and Mickelson was still looming behind by 5-6 strokes and ready to make some noise.  However, both Mickelson and Rose would finish the front nine at even par, 36 (with two birdies and two bogeys apiece), and Spieth did them one better, (with three birdies and two bogeys), to make the turn advancing his lead---five over Rose, and six over Mickelson.

When Spieth birdied #10, (sinking a twenty-footer), and pared the difficult 11th  hole to reach a -18 under par score, (and a six-stroke lead at that point), the “race” seemed to be over.  Spieth had gone through “amen-corner” even par, (par, bogie, birdie), leaving his composure and lead intact.  Even Mickelson’s blast out of the sand trap on #15 for an eagle three didn’t seem to rattle the youngster.  On this same hole, he calmly pulled out his fairway wood for his second shot, flew it over the pond and through the green, chipped within six feet and nailed the putt to get to a record -19 under par.  Rose would birdie 13, 14, and 15 to make his final run at the kid, but it still left him four strokes behind with three holes to play.

What Jordan Spieth did on #16 was an exclamation point to what we may see for a very long time in this young man’s career----an “amped-up” and adrenaline-filled shot over the green, and, just a “fair” chip back onto the green, leaving him an 8-foot slider for par.  As his putter has not failed him all week, Jordan snaked the putt dead center into the cup for par.  

“I stepped over that putt (on 16) just trying to put good speed, feed it out there and visualize a line,” Spieth said. “That was certainly … I would call that the biggest putt I've ever hit in my life.” 

Rose missed his 19-foot birdie putt, to leave him still four strokes down with two to play.  Both Rose and Spieth would par the 17th, and bogey the 18th, but the party was on!


Add to that a 1.8 million dollar check, and a custom fit Green Jacket, a lifetime exemption to playing Augusta, (and moving into the number two spot in the world rankings), it just doesn’t get much sweeter than this.  Well done Jordy……well done.

(photo credit, (above), to the Bleacher Report)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Final Round at the Masters---Who Joins the List of Immortals?

O.K., I’ll admit it----I’m a Masters junkie.  My own personal passion for the game of golf transcends to this single tournament every year---it’s the superbowl of professional golf---and I rarely miss a single shot, from the Wednesday final practice round to the final pairing walking up to the eighteenth green on Sunday.  Just ask any man still walking on these hallowed grounds on Sunday, (or a few who missed the cut), which major tournament they covet more than any other, and most of them will tell you it’s the Masters.  And, they all dream of slipping on that Green Jacket while joining the immortality of the title, and the heroes of the game that walked the same grounds, hit the historical shots, and inhaled the echoing roars of the back nine at Augusta, as they claimed their title as Masters’ Champions

From Horton Smith, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson in the 30‘s, to the battles of Jimmy Demaret, Sam Snead, and Ben Hogan in the late 40’s and early 50’s, then “the big three” who dominated the game, (and Augusta), for the next two decades, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player, then the 80’s march of Tom Watson, and the “foreign invasion” of Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, and Bernhard Langer, and yes, Ben Crenshaw sneaking in a  victory, (and the Golden Bear slipping in one more miraculous victory in ’86 for his unprecedented sixth Green Jacket), then on to the 90’s with José María Olazábal, Langer, Faldo, and Crenshaw “winning again”, and then a young upstart by the name of Tiger Woods in 1997.  From then on, (from 2001 to 2010), it was mostly Woods and Phil Mickelson who owned the majestic grounds of Augusta, winning six out of the nine year span with three apiece, before a young lefty named Bubba Watson sandwiched in a couple of victories between Adam Scott---who would later garner a world #1 ranking.

Yes, these are the immortals who have etched their names into the record books of the Masters, and slipped on the Green Jackets that insures an automatic and lifetime invitation to return to the course Bobby Jones, Clifford Roberts, and Alister MacKenzie founded, built, and designed---The Augusta National Golf Club.

Which is why so many avid golfers---the duffers, the hacks, the accomplished amateurs, and the pros---inordinately covet this tournament.  If you love the game, (as I do), you can’t help yourself from embracing the storied history that is The Masters.

Who ever reaches the pinnacle of the Masters this Sunday will become a part of this history, forever leaving their mark and footprints along side of the greatest that ever played the game.

Somewhere, Bobby Jones is smiling. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The 2015 Masters---Round Two "In the Books" Jordan Spieth's Still on Fire

So far, Jordan Spieth has been........Masterful.

After Jordan Spieth's first round score of 64, what does one do for an encore? How about firing a bogey-free 66 early in the day and leave the rest of the field wondering "who is this guy?"  Spieth has now gone 36 holes with only one bogey on his cards.  His -14 under par for the first two rounds is a Major record, (Jordan Spieth's 130 thru 36 holes is a new record at the Masters and ties the record for all majors).
"I've been kind of on my game and feeling really good about coming to a place that I love, that everybody loves," Spieth said. "It's special to be in the tournament, let alone out front."
"On his game" is an understatement:
In his last three starts, Spieth has won the Valspar Championship and finished runner-up in the Valero Texas Open and the Shell Houston Open. In his last 11 worldwide starts, he has three wins, two seconds, a third, a fourth and two ties for seventh as he's risen to a career-high No. 4 in the world rankings. 
"You just cannot see this kid not win many, many majors," said Els, playing in his 21st Masters. "I think he is by far the most balanced kid I've seen. … He's got that little tenacity to him and he's really got a fighting spirit, and he's the nicest kid in the world. So I just love playing with him. I played with him last week and we had a ball.
"He's a special kid."  (link)

And, barring a total meltdown*, there's just a few golfers left in the field who can catch him.

So, who’s got a shot at catching the hottest player in the game?  My prediction: if Spieth shoots either a 68 or a 69 today, (Saturday),----NOBODY.  Even if he post two 72’s over the weekend, some one’s got to shoot much lower.  

#68 World-ranked Charley Hoffmann has the best chance at -9 under, just five shots back.

Other than Hoffmann, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Paul Casey---all seven shots back at -7 have an outside chance, but Jordan Spieth will have to falter.  Even if Spieth shoots par, the rest of the these guys MUST shoot 3-4 under par to have a shot at him on Sunday.  

Phil Mickelson (at -6 under) and two-time Masters’ winner is eight shots back heading into the weekend and could contend, but he’s got to shoot something around 64 to get back into the race.

Ernie Els (-5 under par), and the rest of the field are just too far back.  Making up nine shots over two rounds is nearly impossible, and that would be just to tie Spieth’s -14 under.

* Ah yes, there have been "meltdowns":  Can Spieth have a Greg Norman breakdown, (final round 78 in the 1996 Masters)?  Or, a Dustin Johnson meltdown, (shooting a final round 82 in the 2010 U.S Open at Pebble)?  Or even a Rory McIlroy disaster, (shooting a final round 80 in the 2011 Masters)?

Anything is possible, and meltdowns do occur.  But in Spieth's case, I just don't see it happening.  If he keeps his focus today and breaks par, it's his Masters to win-----or lose.


Addendum:  Tiger Woods says in his interview that “maybe the committee will tighten up the golf course tomorrow, (with pin placements and dryer greens), to make it tougher”.  

So, Tiger thinks the course has been too easy?  This coming from some one who’s shot a 73, 69 and only two strokes under par.  But, you can’t compare this scenario to Tiger’s game, right?  Then, let's take a look at the top 20 golfers in the world and see how they feel about "this easy course": 

   1    Rory McIlroy    71-71 -2 under par            
   2    Henrik Stenson  73-73 +2 over par   
   3    Bubba Watson    71-71 -2 under par            
   4    Jordan Spieth      64-66  -14 under par      
   5    Jason Day      67-74 -3 under par          
   6    Adam Scott    72-69 -3 under par           
   7    Dustin Johnson   70-67 -7 under par        
   8    Jim Furyk    74-73 (missed cut)            
   9    Sergio Garcia   68-74  -2 under par         
  10    Jimmy Walker   73-72 +1 over par          
  11    Justin Rose   67-70 -7 under par           
  12    J.B. Holmes    76-71 (missed cut)          
  13    Rickie Fowler  73-72 +1 over par          
  14    Martin Kaymer  76-75 (missed cut)          
  15    Patrick Reed     70-72  -2 under par        
  16    Matt Kuchar      72-74  +2 over par        
  17    Hideki Matsuyama   71-70  -3 under par     
  18    Billy Horschel     70-78 (missed cut)      
  19    Brooks Koepka       N/A     
  20    Victor Dubuisson    74-75 (missed cut)

  #44  Paul Casey   69-68  -7 under par
  #63  Charley Hoffman  67-68  -9 under par

  UNRANKED  Mark O'Meara*  73-68  -3 under par

Yes, there are a few here who are having a "fair to good" Masters.  But where would they be if the course was "tightened up" as Tiger suggest?  

* Mark O’Meara:   Now 58 years old, O’Meara spent nearly 200 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking from their debut in 1986 to 2000. He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2014 and will be inducted in July 2015.

(this article may have some additional information and edits)


The 2015 Masters---Round One “In The Books”

Records Shmeckords---If Jordan Spieth wants to win this Masters, the best thing he can do is stop listening to and reading headlines about what kind of records are in reach and go right back into his mode of playing each hole like it was the last one of the tournament---one shot at a time.

The way Jordan Spieth “almost flawlessly” played Augusta yesterday should be his template for the next three rounds---stay away from the leader board gazing, the thoughts of breaking records, or putting on a Green Jacket. There’s still 54 holes ahead of him, and field of hungry veterans just 3-5 shots behind him, and waiting for the young upstart to stumble.

Yes, while Spieth flirted with Augusta History yesterday, (carding an impressive 8-under 64), if not for a few fortunate bounces, (including hitting the flagstick on #14 after a wayward tee shot, and snaking in a 15-foot birdie putt on #18), Spieth could have easily given back 2-3 strokes to the field, and the storyline could have been “Spieth negotiates a condition-friendly Augusta to take a one-stroke lead over a field of hungry sharks”.

Let’s face a few facts, Augusta may never be as friendly as it was yesterday, with mostly calm winds, soft receptive greens, and the typical “non-man-eating” pin placements that comes with the first round of the Masters.  While the scoring average was 73.4179 for the entire field, 29 “other golfers” shot under par, (including the ageless wonder Tom Watson, who shot a 71).  And, yes, this course will change each day, and every hole will get a little tougher, the greens will firm up and get slicker, and the pin placements will be screaming “come and get me, if you dare”.  

Not to take anything away from the fabulous round Jordan Spieth recorded in the first round of this Masters---most of his approach shots were spot-on, and his putting was, again, nothing short of spectacular.   But, Jordy needs to go out today and shoot another sub-par round, stay within himself and negotiate the course as if it were Sunday and he’s two shots back.  If Spieth shoots a 72-74 today, the sharks will smell the blood in the water, and the talk about records will fade away like an Augusta sunset.

Historically, the first round leader hasn’t faired well in this tournament.  Fact is, only once in the last 30 years has the winner of the Masters been in the top spot after the first 18 holes, and that was Trevor Immelman in 2008, tied with none other than Justin Rose, both shooting 68’s.  Rose shot a 78 the following day, falling from first to 36th.  Brant Snedeker was just two shots behind Immelman after the third round, but shot a final round 77 to Immelman’s 75, and you guessed it, a final score of Spieth’s current score, 8-under par to win his only Green Jacket---three shots ahead of Tiger Woods.

So you see, Jordy Spieth’s got some hefty work cut out for himself if he plans on writing some Augusta history, and this next round will reveal plenty of “what ifs” and “if only’s”---or in Spieth’s case, (if he continues managing this course like it’s his private playground), the “history” will take care of its self. 

(this story was written after the first round of the Masters, but was not posted until now, 04-11-15)

The 2015 Masters---Who's Got a Shot at the Green Jacket?

So, it begins.  The quest for the Green Jacket in this, the 79th Master’s Tournament, the first of the Majors in 2015.

The Stories Within the Stories:  

Fifteen professionals will be playing in their first Masters, with Robert Streb the only pro appearing in his first Major.

World’s number one ranked Rory McIlroy will begin his quest to win the modern day Grand Slam---winning all four current Majors in a career.  At the tender age of 25, McIlroy already has under his belt the U.S. Open, The Open Championship, (also known as the British Open), and the PGA Championship.  “Before The Masters was founded, the national amateur championships of the US and the UK were considered majors along with the two national opens; only Bobby Jones has ever completed [the original] Grand Slam.”  Jones completed this feat in 1930, (winning all four Majors in the same calendar year), and later retired as he began his career, an Amateur.  Only Tiger Woods has come closest to winning the Modern Grand Slam by winning all four Majors “consecutively”, but over the span of two calendar years.

The Career Grand Slam:

Only five golfers have won all four of golf's modern majors at any time during their careers, an achievement which is often referred to as a Career Grand Slam: Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus*, and Tiger Woods. Woods and Nicklaus not only have a Career Grand Slam, they have won each of the four majors at least three times. 

Of the golfers who have failed to complete the Career Grand Slam, Phil Mickelson has yet to seal the deal by winning the U.S. Open where Mickelson has finished second a record six times.  At the age of 42, “Lefty” may have only a few years left to fulfill this quest.

The Masters is an invitational tournament and is unique in a few respects: It’s played every year at the same location, the Augusta National Golf Club, and previous winners have a life-time exemption.  As a tradition, three former greats and past Master’s Champions will be the first on the tee this morning to kick-off the tournament, but will no longer compete---Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player.  “The Big Three of Palmer, Player, and Nicklaus dominated the Masters from 1960 through 1978, winning the event twelve times among them during that span.”

Last year’s Master’s Champion Bubba Watson, (age 36), who also won in 2012, is returning to defend his title, and has to be considered a legitimate contender.  Other favorites to win this year’s title include the 21-year old phenom, (and last year’s runner-up), Jordan Spieth, World #1 McIlroy, current Fed-Ex leader Jimmy Walker, former winners Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson, along with Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, and, the rejuvenated Dustin Johnson.  Also returning to the field after a month long layoff is the four-time winner Tiger Woods, who will have the world’s eyes on him to see if his game has returned to competitive form.  Many Tiger fans are hoping he makes the cut, but Woods didn’t win four times here without knowing how to negotiate the difficulties of Augusta.

Playing in his final Masters, (and teeing off at 10:08 am ET), will be two-time winner,  (1984, 1985), Ben Crenshaw.  Born just a month before yours truly, (1952), the 63-old nineteen-time winner on the tour had never won any other Major, yet he finished runner-up five times in other Majors.  In 1973, Crenshaw became the second player in Tour history to win the first event of his career winning San Antonio Texas Open.  “Gentle Ben”, as the fans and sportswriters fondly called him, was considered one of the most prolific putters in the game. 

Even Jordan Spieth, (who played a practice round with Ben earlier in the week), listened intently as Ben explained how putt the greens of Augusta.  Tears of joy are allowed as we say goodbye to this longtime fan favorite.

The field is wide open, and it's packed with tons of young talent and wily veterans who know you can't win the Masters on Thursday, but you can lose it.

* At the tender age of 75, Jack Nicklaus---The Golden Bear---all-time leading Major Winner, (18, with a record 19 runner-up finishes), hit his 21st career hole-in-one in the Par-Three Contest.

(this post was written prior to the first round, but not posted until today, (Saturday, 04-11-15)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Above The Law---Part Two: The IRS's Scandalous Behavior

Yesterday, (Thursday, April 2, 2015), the Washington Times reported that a federal judge has ordered the IRS to turn over the list of groups who were targeted for scrutiny, as a class-action lawsuit by a group of Tea Party organizations progresses.  The IRS has, (until now), resisted releasing this list, insisting the information "is private":

Judge orders IRS to release list of tea party groups targeted for scrutiny
A federal judge ordered the IRS this week to turn over the list of 298 groups it targeted for intrusive scrutiny as the agency defends against a potential class-action lawsuit by tea party groups who claim their constitutional rights were violated. 
The IRS had argued it shouldn’t have to release the names because doing do would violate privacy laws, but Judge Susan J. Dlott, who sits in the Southern District of Ohio, rejected that claim and ordered the tax agency to turn over any lists or spreadsheets detailing the groups that were targeted and when they filed their applications. 
Judge Dlott also ordered the IRS to say whether a partial list of targeted groups reported by USA Today is authentic as a number of tea party groups try to win certification for a class action lawsuit against the IRS.
The information ordered by the judge is to establish "class certification", which is crucial to the plaintiff's case and will solidify the merits of the lawsuit.  Under Judge Dlott's order, this information [of the targeted groups] will resolve the issue of certification:
“The return information sought is directly related to the issue of class certification in this federal court proceeding,” the judge said. “The names of the putative class member organizations and their control dates — the date which the putative class member organizations submitted their applications for tax exempt status to the IRS — are directly related to the issue of class certification.”
From one other paragraph in the Time's story, I have submitted a few of my own "conclusions" and "opinions" of the IRS's probable liabilities by this agency:
“The scandal developed after the IRS acknowledged it singled out tea party groups for special scrutiny, and asked intrusive questions that agency executives later said were inappropriate. The IRS’s inspector general concluded that 298 groups were targeted, with all but a handful of them leaning toward the conservative side.”
When any branch of the United States government arbitrarily decides to purposely target a specific group for “special scrutiny“---effectively denying them the same privileges/status afforded to similar groups---this is NOT only inappropriate, it’s an egregious violation of the First Amendment’s clause that prohibits [the government] from “interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances”. By their own admission/acknowledgement, it can be appreciably argued that the IRS, and/or the institutions within this branch of our government not only broke this Constitutional law, they did it with malicious intent. That the IRS’s inspector general found “a handful” of other groups singled out for special scrutiny, this does not in any way excuse their actions. 

While the liberal media and the progressive left have decided to “move on” and ignore this “inappropriate targeting”, (along with the DOJ, who will never pursue any legitimate grievances that may embarrass, or admonish this administration’s power structure), the IRS must not be allowed to inhibit, restrict, or obstruct any lawsuit that has legal standing.
“Standing: The legally protectible stake or interest that an individual has in a dispute that entitles him to bring the controversy before the court to obtain judicial relief. Most standing issues arise over the enforcement of an allegedly unconstitutional statute, ordinance, or policy. One may challenge a law or policy on constitutional grounds if he can show that enforcement of the law or implementation of the policy infringes on an individual constitutional right, such as Freedom of Speech.”
NO ONE, and especially, no government entity is above the law. Any collaboration or willful obstruction by the federal government, or the agencies within, must be met with indignation and resolve from the full weight of the People, individually and collectively. And make no mistake, (Mr. Obama, Mr. Holder, and Ms. Lerner), any other form of redress is a scandal.

(all bolds/emphasis's are mine)