Three Things You Need to Know - September 26, 2017

The Cowboys set the example.

We need to give credit to America’s Team for showing the rest of the NFL a path forward.

Last night, just before their Monday Night Football game against the Arizona Cardinals, the Dallas Cowboys walked out to center field, knelt in prayer, then stood up and respectfully listened to the national anthem.

What the Dallas Cowboys did last night was a microcosm for the entire country. They came together as a team, stood up for what they believed in, included prayer, and did it all respectfully. You can disagree with what they’re protesting, but you can’t say that what they did was in any way disrespectful.

This is the type of leadership we need for the entire country. Can you think of any other political activism, in this day and age, that has ended with non-violence and with both sides feeling respected? It just doesn’t happen anymore.

We desperately needed something positive, and I guess I’m not too surprised that it came out of professional sports. Historically our professional athletes have transcended their professions. In 1936 Jesse Owens won four gold medals, showing the “Master Race” they weren't that superior after all. In 1980 Herb Brooks and the US Hockey team broke the myth of Soviet invincibility.

In 2017, the Dallas Cowboys showed us that respecting each other is possible. They provided a path forward for the NFL, and an example for the entire country.

Alejandro Villanueva has the perspective too many Americans are missing.

“The Giant.” That’s what the locals in Afghanistan called him.

His platoon called him “Lieutenant V.” Sometimes just “V.”

One night in August 2011, the Taliban ambushed his platoon. A furious firefight broke out. Three American soldiers were hit immediately in the bullet spray. Lieutenant V – “the Giant” – took the wounded men to a nearby school, carrying one of them on his back. A helicopter eventually rescued them.

V was awarded the Bronze Star for valor, but he’d rather not have it, because one of the three wounded men died that night – Private Jesse Dietrich. V still hasn’t come to grips with the tragedy.

Yet, there would be two more tours in Afghanistan for V, this time as an Army Ranger.

V has an unusual background. He was born in Mississippi to Spanish parents. His dad was a Spanish naval officer. Later, his dad worked at NATO in Belgium where V played football for the first time at an American high school. He was smart, athletic and really big.

He made the football team at West Point as a walk-on. By his senior year, he was team captain.

Then came Afghanistan. The Bronze Star. Falling in love and marrying Madelyn.

Though he hadn’t played football in five years, he tried out for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014. He made the team but was cut before the season started. Then he made the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad. Halfway through the next season, he earned a starting spot. This summer, the Steelers gave him a four-year, $24 million contract extension.

Last Sunday, 29-year-old, 6-foot-8, 320-pound offensive lineman, “V the giant” Alejandro Villanueva, was the only Pittsburgh Steelers player to step out of the tunnel for the national anthem. He stood with his hand over his heart, and by doing so, stepped into the hearts of millions of Americans disgusted by the childish activism of so many NFL players.

He already regrets the attention. He apologized, saying he made his team and coach look bad. But something drew Villanueva to step out for the anthem, something most of us will never fully understand because our lives haven’t been at stake for our country.

As he stood for the anthem, Villanueva undoubtedly thought back to Afghanistan and the loss of Private Dietrich. Villanueva has perspective, an attribute that is sorely missing from too much of American life.

Time for a quick quiz.

Is 60,000 greater than, less than, or equal to 100?

If you're in the media, you probably just answered "equal to."

That's because the media really wants us to believe that 60,000 emails from Hillary Clinton's private server, over half of which were deleted, are the same thing as the less than 100 emails found in the private email address of Jared Kushner.

You might still think to yourself, "did Jared miss the whole email scandal during the election? Why is he using a private email address?" Fair question, but perspective is important.

First of all, no one is even accusing Kushner of emailing classified documents. He didn't call up some IT professional to set up a private server, he just used a family domain account. And reportedly, the emails were nothing but a bunch of links to news stories, mostly sent to him by other people, that he then forwarded to his government address to fulfill federal record-keeping laws.

This information hasn't been verified yet, and they may still find something real that Kushner did wrong.

But, at this point, we don't even have weird emails about grandma yoga, John Podesta wearing socks to bed, or creepy codes about child trafficking rings held in the non-existent basement of pizza restaurants. So far, there's nothing here at all. Which makes the equation that much easier to solve.

60,000 is not even close to equal to 100. The math couldn't be more simple. Unless, of course, you're in the media.

MORE 3 THINGS

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.