Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Stupid lead

NASA's 400-page report says space shuttle crew's seat restraints, suits, didn't work as designed
This is the FoxNews lead for a story about NASA's findings in the Columbia crash. The point being if the the seat restraints, suits and helmets had operated as designed the astronauts would be...dead as opposed to what actually happened which is they died.

N.Y. Times sued

I love this story. The lobbyist, who the Times implied had an affair with Sen. McCain, is suing the rag for defamation asking $27 million in damages. That is some amount more than the company is actually worth today.

Not only can they not sell papers but now they're being sued like "The National Enquirer" for rumor mongering. They couldn't be bothered to report the actual affair of candidate John Edwards, but they printed an article that was totally without facts. Reading it was embarrassing due to the lack of actual sourcing.

The lesson, to me, is when journalist adopt an agenda instead of just reporting they will get hurt.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Warming? Then why am I freezing my ass off?

Yesterday, it was 82 degrees (a record high for December 14) this morning it was 23 degrees (something like the second lowest temperature on record for December 15.) A swing of almost 60 degrees in about 14 hours!

And we are to believe that the Earth is in peril because global temperatures climbed 2 degrees over a decade, and now are on the way back down.

The AP writes, "...2008 is on pace to be a slightly cooler year in a steadily rising temperature trend line. Experts say it's thanks to a La Nina weather variation. While skeptics are already using it as evidence of some kind of cooling trend, it actually illustrates how fast the world is warming." Up is down, in is out, lambs are lying down with wolves! This is the kind of thing that makes it hard to take the global warming nuts seriously. Of course the AP story had the ubiquitous reference to Al Gore, Panicker in Chief (see also ManBearPig.)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Farewell Ray

My friend Ray Ellis passed away a week ago. There was a memorial celebration of his life yesterday which appears to have been well attended by his family and friends. I didn’t make it to the celebration, but my thoughts were very much there.

I have only known Ray for 44 or 45 years, he died at the age of 49. Losing him is like losing a member of the family. If you grew up in a small town you know what I mean, and if you didn’t you will probably never understand. But I will try and convey the closeness that occurs in a small town, and a small school.

Our graduating class, Ray was in my class, had 35 members, give or take one. Of those 35, at least 20 of us went to school together for 12 years, and the others were with us for over six of those years. This forms a bond that is not much different than being brothers and sisters. You may not always get along, but you have to be forgiving of each other, because tomorrow you’re right back together. There was very little dating within the group, we dated up or down a class or two (the one exception I can think of produced a marriage that has lasted nearly 30 years now.) Maybe it was just too weird to date someone that close.

Being a member of a group like that means that you might not see each other for years, but when you do it’s like seeing a missing family member. It’s not awkward. You just catch up, and pick up where you left off. These are people that I would gladly do anything for, and I think they would for me. I may have secrets, but not from this group, as they know me as well, or better, than I know myself.

This closeness extends to everyone, though not quite as tightly, that you attended school with, up a couple of grades and down a couple of grades. It is a feeling of comfort which is hard to explain, but a joy to experience.

Sadly, Ray is not the first of our number to die. At least six that I can think of are already gone. Two were killed in auto accidents, and one was murdered, within two years of our graduation.

Farewell Ray, I will miss you and your wonderful sense of humor.

Friday, December 5, 2008

$25 Oil

Analysts predict that oil may drop to $25 in 2009 with gasoline below $1. Of course, back in July analysts were predicting that oil would be near $200 and gasoline at around $6 by this time. So, I'm not going to make a lot of plans based on this prediction.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. As we gather with friends and family to give thanks for our good lives, remember that by dint of living in these United States of America we are blessed beyond the imaginings of most people in the world.

I am thankful for my family, my friends, my health and my freedom. These are things that we tend to take for granted, but they are the true blessings of life.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Girls in the White House

How sweet is it that Barbara and Jenna showed Malia and Sasha how to jump on the beds at the White House? I think this is one of those really cool stories that, unfortunately, we don't hear enough of.

Gov. Palin pardons a turkey

Gov. Palin gives the traditional pardon to a turkey (a stupid tradition in and of itself.) Meanwhile, in the background, a worker continues with the process of beheading and bleeding turkeys in an abattoir.



The New York Times editorial staff reliably wets their pants over what a horrible person she is (they are such an entertaining group of panty waists.) I guess bleeding hearts think that food magically appears on the supermarket shelves and no animals are harmed in the process.

Mark Steyn sees the Governor's act of pardoning a turkey, and then allowing viewers to see others being slaughtered, as an allegory for government bailouts that pick and choose winners and losers. Ann Althouse, my favorite blogger, writes, "Deal with it, you candy-asses."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Obama on the economic crisis

Yesterday the office of the President-elect put out a video from Sen. Obama.



This is mostly soothing words to make people feel psychically better (which is the proper role for a leader to play.) We don't want a President Carter malaise speech.

There are some policy comments in there. The creation of 2,000,000 jobs to rebuild roads and the crumbling infrastructure. That sounds like a re-creation of the WPA (Works Progress Administration) from the New Deal. And then the bit about a 5,000,000 new green jobs, but I don't think he means the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps.) Since I am one of those who thinks FDR's New Deal didn't actually accomplish much in the way of reviving the economy (unemployment rates did not improve during the 1930's) it's going to be hard for me to endorse revisiting bad policies.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NY Times Election Analysis

The NY Times has an interesting analysis of the election which suggests that the results might indicate the end of the "southern strategy." I hope so, but I'm not so sure.

Monday, November 10, 2008

He rules!

For those of us who have doubts about President-elect Obama, this type of characterization is not encouraging. My understanding is the President serves the people of the U.S., apparently the leadership of the transition team thinks
it's important that president elect Obama is prepared to really take power and begin to rule day one.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Drunk videoing

There was always the risk of drunken emailing and drunken phone calling, this gentleman perfects drunken video. It is funny and I feel sorry for the guy.

Comment on government

Government is evil.

It’s a necessary evil, but it is an evil. Any application of government should be done in a somber fashion, as it is a failure of our humanity that we couldn’t handle it as individual citizens. Deciding whether to apply government to solve a problem should be considered on the same level as burning down an orphanage full of children to solve a problem. Deciding to tax should be thought of like deciding to stab an innocent man for our own gain. Anyone who celebrates government is a ghoulish wretch who must be ostracized from polite society.


Frank J. at imao.us

This is a libertarian statement coming from someone who considers himself a staunch conservative. Anyway, I like it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So Tired Today!

Cousin Mark had to road trip for business meetings today, which seemed a bit cruel after almost no sleep last night because of excitement over the election and the election results.

It is hard to describe the intense feelings I had leading up to the election and then the release of the headache when it was announced that Obama had won Ohio at 8:30 PM. I was so afraid that the polls were wrong, or something would happen, etc. (the usual Democratic paranoid feelings!). Anyway, my emotions were a mixture of joy and relief.

All during the afternoon and evening of election day I had fun sending text messages to my girlfriend Teneshia who was working the polls here in Houston and didn't have access to the news for part of the evening. It was fun to send the messages (Drudge headline says "Exit Polls Show Obama Big"). By the way, why is it that the right wing jerk Drudge always has the best gossip and scoops?! His site is indispensible when you need to know NOW!!

Anyway, I am very thankful that it did not take all night to find out the winner. Of course, I had all of the joyful emotions, and even a few tears at the amazing scenes shown on TV. I'm also mindful that many (and most of my own family!) do not wholly share my happiness, so I try to keep it all in perspective. I'm hoping for the best. It's also hard to understate the impact this election will have in our country and around the world. That is my feeling. All the best J.R. and other reader(s).

Wow

When the polls closed in California and it was clear that Obama won the election, I expected to feel some mixture of pride and disappointment. Unexpectedly, what I actually felt was a bit of fear.

We fear the unknown.

We just elected a man who's core values are unknown, and who's governing philosophy is unclear. If his past is the marker he will be truly awful. If what he has been saying in the campaign is the marker, then he has the potential to be a truly transcendent leader. My hope is the latter.

Congratulations to President-elect Obama. I wish him the wisdom to govern our country well.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Finally...

We come to the end of a long campaign. This Presidential race has been going on for the better part of two years. Frankly, I am tired of it in every way. There have been the good, the bad and a whole lot of the ugly, and thankfully some entertainment (can you think of Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich without smiling about how goofily odd they both are?)

Tomorrow the 75% or so of voters who have not voted early will go to the polls and by days end the race will be decided. If it is close we may not know who the winner is but the die will have been cast.

I can say that clearly I have a preference as to who the winner is, but in the end both candidates are decent, intelligent men who are standing for a job that no one can truly appreciate the difficulty of. No matter which way the election goes we will have a new President who deserves the respect that goes with the office. The country will not be destroyed by whoever the winner is. We may discover ourselves moving in a new direction, but that will be tempered by the reality of governing.

Hopefully the hot heads on the far right and far left will remain calm and we will proceed in an orderly fashion from the Bush era to the new administration. America is the greatest nation on Earth and our election process though messy, long and ugly proves this because in the end the winner is accepted and we get on with our business.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Bottom Line

Christoper Hitchens of Vanity Fair pretty much sums it up for me on why I can't stand the Republican Party and their most frightening manifestation, Caribou Barbie:

"In an election that has been fought on an astoundingly low cultural and intellectual level, with both candidates pretending that tax cuts can go like peaches and cream with the staggering new levels of federal deficit, and paltry charges being traded in petty ways, and with Joe the Plumber becoming the emblematic stupidity of the campaign, it didn't seem possible that things could go any lower or get any dumber. But they did last Friday, when, at a speech in Pittsburgh, Gov. Sarah Palin denounced wasteful expenditure on fruit-fly research, adding for good xenophobic and anti-elitist measure that some of this research took place "in Paris, France" and winding up with a folksy "I kid you not."

It was in 1933 that Thomas Hunt Morgan won a Nobel Prize for showing that genes are passed on by way of chromosomes. The experimental creature that he employed in the making of this great discovery was the Drosophila melanogaster, or fruit fly. Scientists of various sorts continue to find it a very useful resource, since it can be easily and plentifully "cultured" in a laboratory, has a very short generation time, and displays a great variety of mutation. This makes it useful in studying disease, and since Gov. Palin was in Pittsburgh to talk about her signature "issue" of disability and special needs, she might even have had some researcher tell her that there is a Drosophila-based center for research into autism at the University of North Carolina. The fruit fly can also be a menace to American agriculture, so any financing of research into its habits and mutations is money well-spent. It's especially ridiculous and unfortunate that the governor chose to make such a fool of herself in Pittsburgh, a great city that remade itself after the decline of coal and steel into a center of high-tech medical research.

With Palin, however, the contempt for science may be something a little more sinister than the bluff, empty-headed plain-man's philistinism of McCain. We never get a chance to ask her in detail about these things, but she is known to favor the teaching of creationism in schools (smuggling this crazy idea through customs in the innocent disguise of "teaching the argument," as if there was an argument), and so it is at least probable that she believes all creatures from humans to fruit flies were created just as they are now. This would make DNA or any other kind of research pointless, whether conducted in Paris or not. Projects such as sequencing the DNA of the flu virus, the better to inoculate against it, would not need to be funded. We could all expire happily in the name of God. Gov. Palin also says that she doesn't think humans are responsible for global warming; again, one would like to ask her whether, like some of her co-religionists, she is a "premillenial dispensationalist"—in other words, someone who believes that there is no point in protecting and preserving the natural world, since the end of days will soon be upon us. "

Socialist or Marxist, it's just a matter of degree

Obama, in a 2001 NPR radio interview, referring to the Warren Court during the civil rights era:

It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendancy to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.


So the problem is we, as a country, have not been able to break the restraints placed on government by the Constitution. Therefore, the government cannot provide for all of the needs of the citizenry.

This is very scary stuff.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tough questions

This interview of Sen. Biden is tough, and he obviously doesn't like it. I think the press should be asking all of the candidates tough questions.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Damn Jacoby's

First we have Jeff Jacoby writing columns for the Boston Globe and not adhering to the Massachusetts liberal line (read a few of his columns and you will see that he probably has no friends in Boston,) and now we have Mark Jacoby allegedly committing voter registration fraud because he lied about his place of residence. This is the worst case of registration fraud I've heard about it. Acorn only registers imaginary people, dead people and felons; this guy had the temerity to claim he was a resident of California when he hasn't lived there in a few years.

Anywho, good for the California legal authorities for stepping down hard on voter registration fraud. This should not be acceptable practice by anyone. I look forward to reading about them arresting Acorn voter registration workers.

Just for the record, Jeff and I have established that we are probably not related, and Mark Jacoby is my first cousin, but not the Mark Jacoby arrested in California. Oh, and Cousin Mark who posts here is not Mark Jacoby either. He is not nearly fired up enough to go out and commit voter fraud.

"W" and Colin Powell

Yesterday afternoon I went to watch Oliver Stone's "W" and it caused me to wonder even more if indeed Colin Powell was going to end up endorsing Barack Obama today. And lo and behold this morning I turn on "Meet the Press" and Powell gave the most comprehensive and effective endorsement of Obama I have yet heard.

In the movie, Colin Powell is shown as constantly feuding with Cheney and Rummy, and being the lone hold out on the decision to invade Iraq. By the end of the movie, it was implied that Powell felt used by the administration, and saddened that he had made the final sales pitch to the UN on Saddam and the weapons of mass destruction.

By the way, the movie is interesting and funny, but it is a work of fiction and speculation. If you love President Bush you won't like it, but I didn't think it was all that harsh.

Search Me

As a service to my many, many readers I wanted to pass on this wonderful site. SearchMe is really cool. You just put in a search term and it pops up sites in the same format as the music covers on an iPod. When I "Stumbled Upon" it, the site was set for "Politics" and had stories from news sites all over the world. It is very cool, go give it a try.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

McCain doesn't want to win

The first topic of the debate is the economy and taxes. Joe the plumber was told by Senator Obama that "he would have to sacrifice so we can spread the wealth around." McCain brought that out, but when Obama said he was going to cut taxes for 95% of earners, McCain did not point out that giving a tax cut to the 50% who don't pay taxes is impossible. This is a redistribution of taxes from taxpayers to non-taxpayers through refundable credits not a "tax cut".

I really don't have a problem with taxing those who make the money, but it is wrong to take that money and give it to people who contribute nothing to the treasury. That is classic socialism, and McCain is either uninformed or too much of a pussy to point it out.

McCain deserves to lose if he can't explain the fundamental differences between himself and Senator Obama. A pox on both their houses.

End of rant.

ADDED:

If I were gullible enough to believe Senator Obama rather than knowing how easily he dismisses his past, I might vote for him. Unfortunately, if any time is spent looking into his past as a community organizer, Chicago politician and his association with the very worst people in American society; from the Chicago mob, William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Acorn and on and on, then it is impossible to believe that he is really reformed from his past self.

A pox on both their houses. Intelligent men playing the American public for total fools. I might vote for Cynthia McKinney, at least she is honest about her stupidity.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The trouble with Obama

Guns? Absence of religion? Lack of self-esteem? Poor parenting? The entertainment industry? Who's to blame for Mr. Barack H Obama's appalling homilies? Numerous professionals (and not-so-professionals) have speculated and mulled, publicly and privately, over what has caused Obama to mold the mind of virtually every citizen -- young or old, rich or poor, simple or sophisticated. Before I launch into my rant, permit me the prelude caveat that if we're to effectively carry out our responsibilities and make a future for ourselves, we will first have to stop this insanity.

As my mother used to tell me, "It's about time Obama stopped claiming his raving canards were influenced by outside sources and just admitted he was wrong." For better or for worse, honest people will admit that his belief systems oscillate between disruptive pauperism and immature ruffianism. Concerned people are not afraid to tell you things that Obama doesn't want you to know. And sensible people know that Obama's secret passion is to destroy that which is the envy of -- and model for -- the entire civilized world. For shame!

There are two kinds of people in this world. There are those who use terms of opprobrium such as "condescending, obdurate carpers" and "self-centered malefactors" to castigate whomever Obama opposes and there are those who name and shame his chums for their balmy acts of poststructuralism. Obama fits neatly into the former category, of course. Mark my words: I wonder what would happen if he really did impose infernal new restrictions on society just to satisfy some sort of insufferable drive for power. There's a spooky thought. I am familiar with Obama's goals, I understand how he operates, I have long recognized his tactics, and I know just about where Obama now stands on the ladder to total power. I can therefore say that, surely, I hate it when witless pinheads like him go on with such vigor about subjects they don't even know about. I could write pages on the subject, but the following should suffice. It strikes me as amusing that Obama complains about people who do nothing but complain. Well, news flash! He does nothing but complain.

To paraphrase a line from Hamlet, "Extremism, thy name is Barack H Obama". He doesn't want me to expand people's understanding of his ungrateful subliminal psywar campaigns. Well, I've never been a very obedient dog so I intend not only to do exactly that but also to create and nurture a true spirit of community. I wouldn't even mention that it is not difficult to see the undercurrents of irreligionism in his prank phone calls if it weren't unmistakably true. Obama does not merely shout obscenities at passers-by. He does so consciously, deliberately, willfully, and methodically.

Obama has been trying for some time to sell the public on an interventionism-based government. His sales pitch proceeds both pragmatically and emotionally. The pragmatic argument: Obama is the ultimate authority on what's right and what's wrong. The emotional argument: The Earth is flat. As you can see, neither argument is valid, which should indicate to you that Obama's favorite tactic is known as "deceiving with the truth". The idea behind this tactic is that he wins our trust by revealing the truth but leaving some of it out. This makes us less likely to snap Obama's cult followers out of their trance. So you see, I indubitably seek nothing but justice.

(I found a rant generator! http://www.pakin.org/complaint/ That is why this doesn't really make any sense.)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

State of the Race

McCain-Palin have had a bad few weeks, but I feel that we are about to enter a new phase of the race for the White House, with only 1 month to go to election day.

According to the polls Obama has a 5-6 point national lead, and the swing states are trending toward him as well. Supposedly McCain is pulling out of Michigan (although Sarah Palin wants to fight on??). The question for me is, is McCain going to keep sinking, or are we about to see another turnaround in the race? I have NO idea, but I'm expecting the race to tighten for the following reasons:

1) Palin did well enough in the VP debate to excite the Republican base again. I think the talking heads were really worried after the Katie Couric interview, but she showed she can put words together and attack Obama.
2) McCain is probably about to go strongly negative. I expect to see ads with Jeremiah Wright figuring prominently very soon.

On the other hand, voters may decide that because the economy is so bad right now, that it is time to change parties in the White House. Also, I am not sure how Palin plays with the swing voters. She is like fingernails on a chalkboard to liberals, I know that, but for middle of the road voters, I'm not sure how she plays.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Republican Implosion

As a Democrat, I have to shamefully admit that I am not putting "country first," mentally at least, and have been thoroughly enjoying the spectacle of the Republican implosion of the past few weeks.

Can anything beat the Palin Show with Katie Couric for cringe inducing humor? It's sad when Tina Fey doesn't even have to change Sarah's words to get laughs on Saturday Night Live. Maybe tonight Palin will pull it all together -- she had better is all I can say.

John McCain seems like a scatter-brained cranky old man. Could he have screwed up worse regarding the mortgage bailout bill or the first debate lead-in? He seems like he changes his stance by the hour, on any number of topics. Barack Obama is supposed to be the risky choice?? And why won't he look Obama in the eye during the debate or shake his hand in the Congress? What's up with that? Can't you at least be civil Mr. McCain?

From reading the right-wing nut jobs on my favorite Texas A&M website, it seems that almost all of the posters are ready to vote out the Texas Republican Senator Cornyn because he voted for the Wall St. mortgage bailout bill. "He's not a true Conservative!!" "He's a RINO 'Republican in Name only'". If they are stupid enough to vote out Cornyn and put in a Democrat (Noriega) this November, I am more than happy to help them!

I'm sure I need to enjoy this week while it lasts.. I can't imagine it's going to get any better than this!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Economic stress

If the economic crisis on Wall Street is due to a lack of liquidity in the money markets and a tightening of credit, then there is no need for a massive bailout. The federal government, through the Federal Reserve, already has the means to increase liquidity and ease credit.

The appropriate mechanism for dealing with large failures is to allow them to work out through the bankruptcy system. That is what any of us who default, or who are in danger of default, would do. Why we have investment bankers and insurance companies running to Congress rather than the nearest bankruptcy court is not clear.

A large part of the blame must fall on governmental mandates to make loans to those who cannot repay the loans. This is what a sub-prime loan really is, and they are strongly encouraged by federal oversight.

It still seems outrageous for any of us who did not choose to participate in high risk activities to have to pay the bills for those who did. There is high reward for risk, but the alternative is the loss of investment. But I don't believe nationalizing the equity markets would be wise. Politicians would just load up even more stupidity like making loan policies based on political ends rather than credit worthiness.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Some things should be obvious

According to an article in "New Scientist" a plant called horny goat weed may be just as effective in treating erectile dysfunction as Viagra.

Hello! It is called horny goat weed. Maybe the scientists would have figured it out sooner if it were called horny old goat weed.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Palin is a Game Changer - Part II

I've been watching some clips of Palin's interview with Katie Couric and it is SCARY. It appears to me that she is totally unqualified to be Vice President, and that in fact J.R. would have been a much better pick for McCain.

And what is up with McCain's stunts regarding the debates and the Wall St. bailout? I am amazed watching McCain and Palin over the last few days.. amazed and afraid if they could still actually win after all of this!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bayonet the wounded

In the grand tradition of Congress they are lining up to bayonet the wounded in the Wall Street mess. If they'd just get out of the way and let the dumbasses, oops, I mean geniuses, on Wall Street suffer from their mistakes, it will all be fine in the long run. Congress is really good at shutting the barn door after the horses get out. I'm sure they will come up with some wonderful regulations to fix last years problems, and in the process compound the problems going forward.

But it never fails, they let the market work when it succeeds but can't suffer the ultimate failures. Business is good at creative destruction. Things that don't work fall apart, and those things that do work, move forward. All we need now is some massive federal intervention and regulation to ensure that the failures stay in place.

Economics is probably the least understood thing in DC. Politics will screw up economic creativity (with creativity comes destruction) every time.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Anthropological study of conservatives

I won't comment on this blog post by Judith Warner...yet! I read it yesterday, and have thought about it at length, so I do have some comments. But, I would like to have all of my three or four readers comment on it before I weigh in.

Please, if you visit here, read the item and express an opinion.

ADDED: Since only one of my massive reading audience chose to comment (thank you Miss Brazil) I will go ahead and give my opinion of this piece.

Ms. Warner brought a massive load of condescension to her post. She went forth to laugh and make fun of those conservative women who might think Gov. Palin is something other than evil in a lovely dress. She found, to her horror, that these women were actually nice to her. She has no context for understanding that people with political views other than her own might be rational, thinking human beings. It was embarrassing to read how flummoxed she was to find that these were not people out for her blood.

Her final bit about research showing that conservatives can empathize with liberals, but not vice versa was totally borne out by the commenters. The viciousness and hatred expressed by these people was more eye opening even than her own post.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

OODA

Today Michael Barone visits the effect that McCain's fighter pilot training seems to have on his campaign. This is something I referenced here a couple of weeks ago. The OODA loop; Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.

The two weeks since my original post have only confirmed my belief that McCain is solidly inside the Obama campaign's decision making process. He is forcing them to react rather than act. They are constantly reacting, and it makes them seem ragged and undisciplined.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shocked!

I am shocked, shocked I tell you!

There are claims by everyone in the media and both sides of the Presidential campaign that lies are being told! Oh my God! This is the most amazing thing I have ever encountered. Politicians who shade the truth, tell us what they think we want to hear and sometimes tell the truth but not in a manner acceptable to the opposition.

I have to admit that in my case this mostly falls on deaf ears. We've had to endure screams of "Liar!" for the past seven years every time President Bush says something that the left doesn't agree with. When policy differences are not argued, but simply dismissed as more lies from those lying liars it becomes difficult to really care.

Newsflash: Just because you disagree doesn't make it a lie.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ike yikes!

It looks like hurricane Ike will hit somewhere between Galveston and Corpus Christi as a major storm. Southern Harris County is evacuating, let's hope this goes better than it did in 2005 for Rita. All of my friends in south Texas get out please.

Cousin Mark what are you doing about this one?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pretty pigs

"You know, you can put lipstick on a pig," Obama said, "but it's still a pig."

uh-oh.

Taxes

"Democrat Barack Obama says he would delay rescinding President Bush's tax cuts on wealthy Americans if he becomes the next president and the economy is in a recession, suggesting such an increase would further hurt the economy," the Associated Press reports

So tax increases are bad for the economy? Why then is Sen. Obama's plan to raise them supposed to help the economy? I am just so confused.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Community organizer (seriously)

This article by Byron York describes what Sen. Obama did as a community organizer. I have honestly been curious about what this activity really involved, and this seems to answer that question.

Palin is a Game Changer

I have been out of it the last week with jet lag from my China trip, but to me it's becoming obvious that McCain's selection of Sarah Palin is a game changer for Election 2008.

Just look at the new polls coming in this morning. The USA Today/Gallup poll has McCain/Palin at 54% and Obama/Biden at 44%. Wow! That is one hell of a bump!

I don't think the Democrats know what to do about Sarah Palin and the new strategy of the McCain campaign (that McCain/Palin are the real "change" agents). On the face of it, it seems ludicrous that 4 more years of Republican rule would be a "change," but we can't put anything past these Republicans!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Free Obama-Biden

There is a Google ad on the site promoting "Free Obama-Biden" stickers. What are we freeing them from? Are they incarcerated? Or are we, hopefully, freeing them from their socialist, Marxist tendencies?

Obama the Muslim

I have never believed the internet driven stories that Obama was/is a Muslim in an America hating, black theology sheep's clothing, but this comment raises questions:

"Let's not play games," he said. "What I was suggesting -- you're absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith . And you're absolutely right that that has not come." (Emphasis added)

This is not a slip of tongue I might ever make even if accused of being a Muslim.

Experience

Experience; nobody cares! Get over it. The election, like every election before it, is not about experience. It is about character and personality. The question is; Do you think this man or woman has the leadership qualities to run our country. This has nothing, or as close to nothing as you can get, with actual experience and credentials.

We are not hiring a CEO, we are electing someone that we think has the character, judgment and ability to lead. Leadership ability is the only qualification at the end of the day. We elect a leader who we think has the steel, the balls, the guts to make an important decision without letting all of that extraneous bullshit that fills our world distort the process. Senator Obama has not gotten this far based on his experience, he has none of any value, but on the belief that he has leadership qualities that will make him a good President. We may disagree on the assessment, but that is the only reason he is his party's nominee.

The 3:00 A.M. question is relevant. Who do you want answering that phone? Decision processes are the only important issue facing the Chief Executive. Can he/she make a decision faced with limited/conflicting data that leads to a positive result. That is a hard thing, it requires character, judgment and surety. It is okay to be wrong, but it is not okay to be indecisive. Being the big dog, the final authority does not allow for a lot of soul searching, that person has to know what he/she believes and act accordingly.

Question

There is a relentless expression that this is the most important Presidential election in a generation; has there ever been an election that is not framed in this way?

I think this is an important election, as is each one, but I fail to see exactly what makes this one more significant than any other in the past 40 years.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Community organizers

According to David Burge, Community Organizer and Presidential candidate (no I don't know what party he is the candidate of) this is what community organizers do:

* reach out and work with communities in various ways.
* liaison with, and for, community agencies for service within affected areas.
* fight to make a difference.
* raise awareness.
* deal with community issues.
* raise awareness in the community of how we are making differences about undealt-with issues .
* when necessary, refer inquiries to outreach coordinators.
* Help coordination agency administrators identify and address outreach opportunities.
* model timetables and conceptualize benchmarks.
* issue guidelines for poster contests and interpretive dance festivals.
* Gather voter registrations, win valuable prizes.

I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume this is not an exhaustive list. After reading it I guess I know what a community organizer does, but that doesn't really help me understand how that benefits anything beyond the organizers own ego. If this were a business plan it would have to be redone as none of these items is specific, and there are no goals involved.

The last two are my favorites. It is hard not to smile or even chuckle a bit when issuing guidelines for poster contests and interpretive dance festivals, and winning valuable prizes are part of your job description.

The rest of the article is extremely helpful, you can read it here.

Ok, so it's satire. And I still don't know what a community organizer does. The one description I found talked about registering voters for ACORN, but since they tend to have dubious methods that is surely not all that is involved.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Is Natural Gas Pipeline God's Will?

I found these excerpts from Palin on MSNBC this morning and found them pretty humorous.

“I can do my part in working really, really hard to get a natural gas pipeline, about a $30 billion project that's going to create a lot of jobs for Alaska. … [but] I think God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that,” she said. “I can do my job there in developing our natural resources, in doing things like getting the roads paved and making sure our troopers have their cop cars and their uniforms and their guns, and making sure our public schools are funded. But really that stuff doesn't do any good if the people of Alaska's hearts aren't right with God.”

It wasn't all serious, though. At one point during the address, Palin praised the graduating class as “a bunch of cool-looking Christians.” Then she picked out one student in the crowd and said with a smile, “Ben, I don't know you well enough yet, but looking at you, I'm thinking, people are going to interested in Jesus Christ through you because of the way you look - this red-headed Sasquatch for Jesus. You look good!” The students cheered. “Times are really changin'. And with the times that change, looks even change.”

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sun spots (so what?)

There are actually things more important than the pregnancy of Gov. Palin's teenage daughter. For instance, sun spot activity of either zero or one-half for the month of August may have significant implications for the Earth's climate. There is significant evidence that sun spot activity has influence on global climate. Periods of heightened activity such as we have experienced since the 1940's lead to warming, periods of decreasing activity lead to cooling and perhaps even increasing glaciation. If activity continues at this level we may be facing another minimum.

Since it seems obvious that the most important cause of any temperature shift is the sun, this is something that we should pay attention to. There is not anything that can be done, like carbon reduction, (well maybe increasing carbon would attenuate some of the cooling effect,) but it at least gives a warning and allows for preparation.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Palin and PUMA's

PUMA's (party unity my ass) will not likely be attracted to the Republican ticket by the choice of Gov. Palin. If the reason they supported Sen. Clinton is that she is ideologically at home in the Democratic Party then they will not find much to like in Gov. Palin. Those who supported Clinton because she is a woman, and pay little attention to her politics may consider switching to a McCain vote.

Palin is more important in shoring up the conservative wing of the Republican Party. She is the poster girl for the religious, uber-conservative part of the party. This group has never been fond of McCain and there was a danger that they would just stay home on election day. That is not a problem now. Further, she may help in attracting some women who are independent, and even a small fraction of PUMA's in the right states may be enough to change the electoral map.

She may turn out to be a deeply flawed choice, but at first blush she seems a good choice by Sen. McCain.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Palin is a badass

From Cousin Mark's favorite columnist, Maureen Dowd:

This chick flick, naturally, features a wild stroke of fate, when the two-year governor of an oversized igloo becomes commander in chief after the president-elect chokes on a pretzel on day one.

The movie ends with the former beauty queen shaking out her pinned-up hair, taking off her glasses, slipping on ruby red peep-toe platform heels that reveal a pink French-style pedicure, and facing down Vladimir Putin in an island in the Bering Strait. Putting away her breast pump, she points her rifle and informs him frostily that she has some expertise in Russia because it’s close to Alaska. “Back off, Commie dude,” she says. “I’m a much better shot than Cheney.”

Then she takes off in her seaplane and lands on the White House lawn, near the new ice fishing hole and hockey rink. The “First Dude,” as she calls the hunky Eskimo in the East Wing, waits on his snowmobile with the kids — Track (named after high school track meets), Bristol (after Bristol Bay where they did commercial fishing), Willow (after a community in Alaska), Piper (just a cool name) and Trig (Norse for “strength.”)

“The P.T.A. is great preparation for dealing with the K.G.B.,” President Palin murmurs to Todd, as they kiss in the final scene while she changes Trig’s diaper. “Now that Georgia’s safe, how ’bout I cook you up some caribou hot dogs and moose stew for dinner, babe?”


I don't care who you are that's just funny!

What's even funnier is you can almost imagine Gov. Palin doing all of this. But, can you imagine Sen. Obama doing anything as decisive and macho? Me either.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fighter pilot

I have my doubts about McCain, but despite the lack of excitement, he is very good at one thing. He is a trained fighter pilot which means he knows how to get inside his opponents decision loop and stay a step ahead. As a fighter pilot he was trained to "Observe, Orient, Decide, Act" and repeat. The object in a dogfight was to work through the loop faster than your opponent, therefore gaining the edge that would result in a kill.

What he did today in naming Gov. Palin as his VP choice was to undercut the energy that Sen. Obama gained with his excellent acceptance speech last night. The Obama campaign might very well call foul, as a matter of fact, their statement yesterday was that if McCain did this it would be political malpractice. But, if they are protesting today, no one is hearing. As the pundits like to say, McCain sucked all of the oxygen out of the room this morning.

Props to the McCain camp for a dexterous political maneuver.

Obama Bio



Jon Stewart said it was ok to laugh at Obama. Then he helped us do it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nothing to see here, keep moving

I didn't watch Hillary's speech last night, or any other part of the convention so far. Because, well you know, I don't really care what the Socialists, I mean Progressives, darn it, the Democrats have to say. But it was apparently the best speech she has ever given. As far as I can tell that's not saying much. She has a tendency to tick off a laundry list of programs, which does not make for riveting oratory. One thing about Obama, even when he is saying nothing, it sounds good.

His speech tomorrow night must be going to be a grand one. The backdrop certainly lends to his Godlike persona. I might watch that one. Somebody remind me when it is going to be on.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Greetings from Beijing

And unfortunately, no, I am not in the Chinese capital to attend the Olympic Games! Cousin Mark has to work and attend meetings.

It's been an interesting week here in Beijing, and I thought I'd share a few of my observations:
1) China is number 1 based on Gold medals. State Chinese TV shows China in first place, as compared to the US media's method of showing first place, which is total medal count. Ha.
2) I have never seen the air so clear here in Beijing. Taking half the cars off the freeways and shutting down industry really works.
3) You can't get anywhere near the Olympics venues without a ticket. Security is incredible. Bag screening and "the wand" at every hotel and subway entrance. It seems to me that the #1 priority of the Chinese has been that there should be no incident, and if the venues are not full, so be it.
4) The pandas in the Beijing zoo are so cute! The zoo is contained in a beautiful park with all the classic Chinese scenes, the wheeping willows draped over the water, etc. Very nice.

Drunk, high, naked and driving

Some things are just too funny to improve on. Read on. Be sure and read the comments as well.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Damp dreams

The Democratic Party platform will include a statement that sexism in the media will not be tolerated in the future, and that sexism "dampens the dreams of our daughters." That is just one of the funniest things I've ever read. I don't think that party platforms normally include anything comical, but I would welcome any other examples, current or past.

Friday, August 15, 2008

If only

If only I were a foot taller, 25 years younger and infinitely better in shape; I could outswim Michael Phelps!

Debate?



Gee, I thought cross examination debate was supposed to be a reasoned and thoughtful competition. Well, at least there were no nerds in the crowd!

If this is what Ian, Kyle and Mark get into; WOW!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

He's dreamy



Ok, I know that this must be somehow racist, because it is making fun of Obama's celebrity, again! And, well, if you don't worship at the altar of Obama you're somehow a racist. But it strikes me as pretty funny. I guess this falls under the category of negative campaigning but it is really clever.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Air up your tires

Last week Senator Obama suggested that properly inflating your tires will save huge amounts of oil. I'm sure he is right, though the savings is probably overstated. Obviously, keeping your automobile properly tuned and your tires properly inflated will increase fuel efficiency. The Republicans responded by making fun of the suggestion. The Senator said; "It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant."

The first thing that occurred to me when I read of his suggestion was President Carter telling us that we should turn our thermostats to 68 and wear a sweater in the winter. The problem with that is not that conservation is wrong, but, that it is not a solution, it is not big thinking, it is NOT what we expect the President to talk about. We expect the President to have a solution that solves the problem not merely mitigates its effects. And this is, I think, why the Republicans jumped so gleefully on the comment, because I am not the only one who was reminded of the feckless Carter administration.

Leah Daughtry

The Rev. Leah Daughtry is the Chief of Staff to the Democratic National Committee and the CEO of the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee. Among her other accomplishments she served as an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Labor during the Clinton administration. She serves as Pastor to the House of the Lord Church, Washington, DC. The House of the Lord Church was founded by the Rev. Leah Daughtry's grandfather, and is currently presided over by her father the Rev. Herbert Daughtry.

The House of the Lord Church is a church based on Dr. Cone's black theology of liberation, the same as Sen. Obama's former church headed by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. One of the stated beliefs is:

That Jesus is essentially African in origin.While Abraham, the father, was located in Asia, after hundreds of years in Egypt, northern Africa-and Canaan-during which obvious assimilation of religion, medicine, art, architecture, engineering, etc., occurred, what passed on to Jesus was Africanness.


We have all heard by now the statements made by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright; the question is, are these sentiments shared by the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, and his daughter? How does a black theology of liberation play with the mainstream Democratic voter?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Terroristic goats

Goats slip past security fence near NYC bridge-AP Aug. 8, 2008

The National Park Service could have asked any rancher and they would have known a fence wouldn't stop goats (or illegal aliens for that matter.) There is an old joke about a fellow who builds a new fence and asks his neighbor, an old rancher, if the fence will stop a goat. The rancher tells him to take a bucket of water and throw it at the fence; if any of the water goes through then so will a goat.

Other Viewpoints on McCain

Since J.R. has taken to referring to Obama as an "empty suit" I have been looking for some "liberal elite" commentary about McCain and as usual for this liberal elite, I find that Maureen Dowd is my favorite.

Some of my favorite excerpts from her latest column:

"The Arizona senator who built his reputation on being a brave proponent of big solutions is running a schoolyard campaign about tire gauges and Paris Hilton, childishly accusing his opponent of being too serious, too popular and not patriotic enough.

Even his own mother, the magical 96-year-old Roberta McCain, let slip that she thought the Paris Hilton-Britney Spears ad was “kinda stupid.”"

and

"McCain could dismiss W. as a lightweight, but he knows Obama’s smart. Obama wrote his own books, while McCain’s were written by Salter. McCain knows he’s the affirmative action scion of admirals who might not have gotten through Annapolis without being a legacy. Obama didn’t even tell Harvard Law School that he was black on his application.

McCain upbraids Obama for being a poppet, while he’s becoming a puppet. His mouth is moving but the words coming out belong to his new hard-boiled strategist, Steve Schmidt, a Rove protégé, nicknamed “The Bullet” for his bald pate.

Schmidt has turned Mr. Straight Talk into Mr. Desperate Straits. It’s not a good trade."

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sophisticated

Democrats have a candidate who is sophisticated in his understanding of policy, and Republicans have a candidate who is still largely running on his biography as a war hero, whose only coherent and consistent remaining policy position is support for offshore drilling.

That is how Adam Serwer describes the differences between the candidates. Of course, liberals are always sophisticated, and the rest of us are just empty headed, and don't know what is best for us. The actual word for this attitude is "condescension". I won't argue McCain's policy beliefs, as they seem to be muddy at best, but to call the empty rhetoric and platitudes that Sen. Obama spouts sophistication is to stand reason on its head. He sounds sophisticated, but if you read these speeches they are hollow and empty of any coherent thought. "We are the change we seek"? My bullshit meter goes way into the red when I hear something like that. It makes no sense, but it does sound very impressive. Or, "My friends we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it." Now that is sophisticated; wanting to change the greatest nation in the history of the world, and not specifying whether that change would be for the better, or for the worse.

Senator Obama's record at the national level is toilet paper thin, and his record at the local and state level is pure redistributionist socialism. But that alone makes him sophisticated by the lights of the Serwer's of this world. You can define sophisticated by their definition as "his politics align with mine."

The more I listen to this empty suit the less I find to like.

ADDED: As Barry Deutsch points out. Apparently the cited Obama quote is not something he said, see Snopes.com.

Racism is an issue

Race keeps coming up in the campaign for the Presidency. But it is not Republicans discussing Senator Obama's race, it is the Obama campaign calling the McCain campaign racist. I don't see how reminding those white voters that are reluctant to vote for a black man that Obama is half-African is a winner. And calling the campaign that never mentions race racist is certainly a loser.

Ruth Ann Dailey has a more detailed discussion in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sexism is an issue

Certain elements of the Democratic Party are pushing for a plank in the party platform that states that the primary elections "exposed pervasive gender bias in the media" and to call on party leaders to take "immediate and public steps" to condemn future perceived instances of bias. I didn't perceive this bias, but then I'm a white male and think Senator Clinton is perfectly awful enough without worrying about her gender.

I know that women, particularly women who grew up in an era of overt discrimination against women felt that there was a strong gender bias on display in the Democratic primary. One even recently commented that if Senator Clinton is not the VP candidate she will not be able to vote Democrat this year. This is certainly something the Party should pay attention to, because this is a group who can move the election to the Republican side.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Houston - Let it Rot in the Landfill

Having lived during the past 20 years in both Houston and Northern New Jersey, one thing that strikes you is that in Houston you just throw out the trash, whereas as in NJ you are expected to recycle newspapers, plastics, glass, etc. It turns out that Houston ranks dead last among large US cities in recycling, according to this article from the NY Times.

I read somewhere else that recycling is becoming more lucrative now that commodity prices are so high, so maybe Houston will get with the program and give the landfills a break in the future.

Kerry’s office: Sen. wasn’t partying with women

You know what; I believe Sen. Kerry's office. Not being female, I can't say this with real authority, but I just don't see this stiff as a real babe magnet.

This comment by Kerry spokesman David Wade is great; “No wonder everyone in the Massachusetts Republican Party was shocked by the photo - they’ve never had a candidate surrounded by supporters,”

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Term Limits

The case of Sen. Stevens of Alaska is a warning about what happens when public officials serve for extremely long periods. I firmly believe that treating service in the House and/or Senate as a career creates greater problems than benefits. We end up with the likes of Sen. Stevens. Others that come to mind, and I am not implying they are criminals, are Sen. Byrd, Sen. Thurmond and Sen. Helms. These men become ingrained in the culture of power and in the end just hang on to hang on.

I think it is a mistake to provide pensions to legislators. Provide them a reasonable salary, make them participate in social security and encourage them to have a life outside of the Washington power circles. Over time they become so accustomed to power that they think they deserve things that they truly don't. Additionally, they lose context for the laws that they are tasked with enacting. Living inside DC is not anything at all like living in Peoria, Portland, LA, San Antonio or, really, anywhere else in the country.

It is deplorable that Sen. Stevens abused his position, but it is a danger to anyone that sits in a position of power for such a long time.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hurricane Season - Fast Start in 2008

I am a weather geek so I'm very interested in all things meteorological. After all of the excitement in Texas this week for Hurricane Dolly, I found this article which suggests that the high level of hurricane activity for July 2008 could mean that we are going to have a lot of hurricane activity in the months to come.

Masterful writing

Gerard Baker has a very entertaining column about the Messiah in the Timesonline.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

California Dreaming (of reasonable pay)

The Governator is slashing salaries for 200,000+ state workers to federal minimum wage. Interestingly, the state doesn't have to pay the California minimum wage of $8.00, but can go directly to the federal rate of $6.55; there is something wrong with that. The state is in the midst of a budget standoff, and this is (surely) intended to force the legislature to pass the budget the Governor wants. I'm certain that the California legislature will do the right thing and raise taxes so that even more businesses will flee the state.

I am no fan of minimum wage laws, but forcing state employees to live on federal minimum wage might be an educational opportunity; as one commenter says "after my rent, that would leave only $218 left." My money is on the budget being completed fairly quickly.

Liar or idiot

Senator Obama claims to be on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee; which he is not. Two choices; he is so green he doesn't know the committees he serves on, or he will tell any lie to make a point. But if you're an Obama supporter don't worry, the press will never question him on anything, even a blatant lie.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tone deaf

PETA is one of the most idiotic organizations that exists. They run advertising campaigns that surely cannot convert anyone who is not already on their side, as they are crude and insulting. This video is so tasteless and just plain stupid that it is hard to believe any television station would air it. Then today they come out against the military using pigs to train troops on managing critically injured soldiers. PETA ad campaigns are so sanctimonious they they actually make you want to run out and kick your dog!

These idiots have their priorities so far out of whack that they consider animals more important than humans. Humane treatment of animals is one thing, but animals are not human.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"American History X"

“American History X” is not a new movie, but I had not seen it until tonight. It is a good commentary on how poor race relations can be in America. The skinheads are disgusting, but the black gang bangers are not a notable improvement. It is rather hard for me to form any connection to either group, or the motivations that drive them. What is it about hatred that people, and young people in particular, find so consuming? Is it just confusion over one’s place in the world? Or is it something deeper and more innate? Is it natural to be uncomfortable, and by extension, hate the other; the different?

I don’t have the answers to these questions. I have certainly come into contact with people that held hatred for the other, but I’ve never been able to understand it. In high school I knew people who hated blacks; but why? They had never in their lives known a black person. They would malign Jews, again they might, maybe, know one. It is beyond me to grasp the basis for racial, ethnic, or religious hatred in individuals that are really uninformed about the other.

I don’t know, I don’t understand.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Supply and demand still applies, who would of thunk!

Senator Obama said offshore drilling will not lower gas prices "this year, next year, five years from now." But, the mere announcement of the lifting of restrictions led to a drop from $142 per barrel of crude to $138.50 in a single day, this is from a high of near $147 last Friday. Martin Feldstein predicted this very thing.

Perhaps the candidates should be required to take an economics course before they are allowed to take the oath of office!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mmm, beer

George Will writes about beer today. I knew there was a good reason to enjoy beer.

I've always loved the Benjamin Franklin comment; "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'll carry my gun by God!

The new law, the first bill Governor Rick Perry signed from the last session of the Legislature, now allows gun owners without a permit to carry a concealed gun both "to and from" their premises and their vehicles. Guns can be carried in cars with a few restrictions: They must be hidden from plain view, and the owner cannot be involved in criminal activity or a criminal street gang or otherwise prohibited by law from carrying a weapon.

In other words, if you're caught carrying a concealed pistol on the street and don't have a permit, tell the cop you're walking between your car and your home, either getting ready to travel somewhere or coming home. The burden now falls on the police officer to prove you are not really "traveling," which Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins says is virtually impossible.

This is from an October 2007 Dallas Observer article. The bottom line is that you can carry or travel with a firearm any time you wish. This predates the SCOTUS ruling on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Thank goodness Texas is sane on the right of a citizen to keep, carry and, if necessary, use a firearm. Also, a long gun, rifle to most of us, has virtually no restriction in its possession or carry.



Buck naked

Maybe this is the guy the Lady from Ipanema's grandson was talking about.

Daft

How clueless do you have to be to not know you have a bat in your bra?

GWBS

I was just watching the Weather Channel, and they were kind enough to tell me what the weather would be like in July 2050. The forecasters cannot even predict the high temperature 72 hours from now within a 3 degree range, but they were happy to tell me that we will be 3-4 degrees hotter in July 2050.

Bullshit!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

National Popular Vote for President

I know J.R. has made some earlier posts about the electoral college system; in particular, how unlikely it is that it will ever be eliminated by amendment to the Constitution.


I was reading an article last week that Maryland and New Jersey have enacted laws that will allocate their electors to the winner of the national popular vote, if enough other states also enact the same law to equal a winning margin in the electoral college (270 electoral votes). Some other states have partially passed the law (e.g. legislature passed it but governor didn't sign).


I'm not sure if the backers of this law will ever be able to get enough states to enact to reach 270 electoral votes, but it is definitely more of a possibility than getting 3/4 of the states to ratify a constitutional amendment.


I know the framers of our Constitution did not intend for the President to be elected by national popular vote, but I believe the current implementation of the electoral college is not done as per the Constituion. I believe there is nothing in the Constitution requiring states to even hold elections for President, just that the states can allocate their electors as they see fit. (I could be wrong on this, but I think I'm basically correct). Since the 19th century most states have allocated all of their electors to the winner of their statewide election.


Therefore, to me it seems that the individual states can change the way they allocate their electors, and if they want to do it by national popular vote, they can do it. The good people of Wyoming would lose their 4 to 1 voting power over the good people of California, but that's too bad!

Koran abuse

A group called the Book of Signs Foundation is leaving copies of the Koran on doorsteps in Houston. It frequently rains in Houston. Some of these holy books might get wet and be damaged. Shouldn't Muslims around the world rise up and riot in the streets over disrespect for the word of the Prophet? They certainly did when a false rumor was circulated that a Koran was dropped in a toilet at Guantanamo.

But, I am certain, that this is just another example of Muslims being inconsistent. Muslim art has a long tradition of images of Mohammed, but if his image is used in the West it will bring a Fatwah.

A pox on this religion of hatred and murder.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Poor pitiful Muslims

Wow, the Muslims are now upset because a puppy was used in an advertisement. What a God awful bunch of asshats they are. I can't claim to really give a damn when Muslims decide to be offended, but this really does take the cake. And perhaps even more offensive is that an apology was issued.

I hope that my country never becomes this politically correct. I can't really relate how loathsome this type of kowtowing to one group of religious fanatics is.

Muslims show no respect for the beliefs of others; why should they be allowed to dictate what is appropriate to the rest of us?

Patriotism

Jonah Goldberg writes about patriotism and makes an effort to explain what Americans mean by the word. It is indeed a difficult thing to explain. If someone does not have any patriotic fervor then it is unlikely that they can understand why someone else does.

I believe that patriotism is the belief that America is fundamentally good; that it is the greatest nation so far created; that we are lucky to live in a nation of free people; that the pursuit of happiness is the greatest boon we can be granted.

That is not to say that there are no flaws with the U.S., but that we as a people work to repair those flaws. We disagree on what the flaws are, and on how to fix them, but we are able to do that in open debate, and to elect representatives who reflect our ideals and biases.

A measure of a nation's greatness is the immigration rate, and the emigration rate. People of the world are willing to endure hardships to get here, and, despite frequent comments about leaving the country if this or that happens, very few people elect to surrender their citizenship and move elsewhere.

I am proud to be an American, and know that no matter what the naysayers predict, the people of this country will not allow it to become a place of which they are not proud.

McCain's military experience

Senator McCain retired from the Navy with a rank of Captain. This is equivalent to the rank of Colonel in the Army. This would make him the most militarily experienced President since Eisenhower.

Being a captive during the Vietnam War is not necessarily applicable experience for Commander in Chief, but moving up the career ladder to the rank of Captain is certainly good experience.

Monday, June 30, 2008

McCain's military service questioned

Some on the left, far left it appears, are questioning Senator McCain's war record. It is the usual garbage about war crimes and fighting in an unjust war. Outside of San Francisco and Berkeley, I'm doubtful that anyone will buy this particular line of unreasoning. This will play well in the old hippy echo chamber, but it is not likely to hurt McCain. It is more likely to damage Obama if it gains any level of press coverage. Though, he has clearly stated he considers McCain to be a war hero.

Friday, June 27, 2008

August Swim at the North Pole?

Despite some of the information being spread around on this blog and by the oil companies, perhaps there is something to this global warming thing. No ice at the North Pole? What will Santa do??

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Yes We Can - keep our guns

In District of Columbia v. Heller the U. S. Supreme Court finally, after 217 years, weighed in on whether Amendment II of the U. S. Constitution granted an individual right to keep and bear arms. Surprisingly, the decision was a narrow 5-4 majority in favor of Heller which recognized the individual right. It is hard to understand how it could have been otherwise. The Bill of Rights is a laundry list of individual rights, enacted in order to limit governmental authority.

Justice Stephens, in the dissent, wrote that the majority, "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made the decision to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian use of weapons." This is, in my opinion, exactly backwards. The purpose of Amendment II is to limit the tools of government against the individual.

I am no Constitutional scholar, but I can read, and it is sometimes hard for me to understand the contortions the Court must go through in order to reach a decision that fits the justices' individual prejudices. Today is a good day for those of us who believe that the Constitution means what it says rather than having some obscure meaning that is hidden somewhere just out of sight of the rational mind.

Below are the first ten amendments of the U. S. Constitution:

Bill of Rights

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Things that make you say WTF

According to the Pew Forum on religion and public life, 21% of atheists believe in God, 55% of agnostics believe in God. Do these people not know what atheist and agnostic mean? I can see where a small percentage of agnostics might believe in God, but not 55%, and atheist means, according to Webster's online dictionary, Someone who denies the existence of god. Is this just another example of American ignorance?

Elitism

Maureen Dowd has a column I really enjoyed this morning. The very idea that Rove, Dubya, Rush Limbaugh, et. al. dare to suggest that Obama is "elite" without taking a good look in the mirror is laughable.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hezbollah planning an attack?

This ABC News item is rather scary. Hezbollah, with the blessing of Tehran, is planning a large scale attack against a western target, probably Canada or South America. This group is well organized and financed, as they have the support of the Iranian theocracy. Hopefully, the intelligence services involved will be able to foil these plots.

"Hezbollah would not carry out an attack in the west, or wherever this attack is going to occur, without approval from Tehran," said Baer, the former CIA intelligence officer.

Baer says his Hezbollah contacts told him an attack against the US was unlikely because Iran and Hezbollah did not want to give the Bush administration an excuse to attack.

If this statement is true, then we should all be glad that President Bush has such an unpopular foreign policy. It seems very effective in this instance.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Futurism


Dr. Robin Hansen has an excellent article on change (the kind Senator Obama talks about, not the stuff in your pocket.) The basic theory is that world changing events occur more and more frequently. The pace of change is logarithmic (see the graph above), basically meaning significant events occur in half the time that the previous significant change occurred. The article is very interesting and not so technical that we can't all understand it. It also links to some other notable articles on the same premise.

These events are called singularities, and two of note are the invention of agriculture and the industrial revolution. The economic implications of singularities are also discussed. Dr. Hansen theorizes that the next singularity will come with the perfection of intelligent machines (those that are capable of thought and learning.)

There are many more graphs showing logarithmic progress in things like computing speed, internet use, U.S. war deaths, etc. It is very interesting.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Is warming bad?

Cousin Mark goes to the trouble of reading the IPCC report so we don't have to. I looked up site after site and graph after graph on the points made in the report. For every claim made there is a counter claim. The statistics can be interpreted in many ways. But, let's suppose that all of the global warming enthusiasts are right and we are entering a significantly warmer period; is this a bad thing?

One of the many things that is constantly brought up is increased drought due to warming; this makes no sense. If the planet warms then that should cause melting of glaciers and the polar ice caps. If that occurs what is the impact? The impact is to release more water. Therefore, a warm period should be a wetter period. Glacial periods are the truly dry periods with low biomass; fewer plants and therefore fewer animals. Interglacial periods are the periods of plenty on the Earth. The Mesozaic era, the dinosaur period, was a time of a warmer planet than what we are in now, or likely to be in, even in the worst case scenarios. This period lasted some 180 million years and was a time of tremendous abundance in flora and fauna.

The only real problem that warming presents is a disruption of the status quo. Flooding of some low lying coastal areas, and perhaps inundation of some low elevation islands, like the Maldives. This is problematic for the people in the affected areas, but on a global issue we have to consider the impact on the human species, not individual humans.

So though I'm skeptical of global warming as a long term problem. I think we should hope for warming as opposed to cooling, which is what sunspot activity would predict.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Le Regime Cowboy

Maureen Dowd is one of my favorite columnists. She has an amusing column in today's NY Times about Dubya's visit to Paris. Apparently the French feel that the 2008 Presidential election has already been decided in the Democratic primary. How could the Americans possibly elect the boring old man McCain? I'm afraid we Democrats may find out, but I sure hope not.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Global Warming - A Real Concern

I thought I would post the summary points from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report (see below), just to highlight items that concern me and apparently many millions of people.

Even though I am skeptical of the future predictions of climate based on global warming science, I believe humans are altering the atmosphere (the numbers indicated below are inescapable), and governments should take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Eleven of the last twelve years (1995-2006) rank among the 12 warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature (since 1850).
  • Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely (90%+ probability) due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.
  • The average temperature of the global ocean has increased to depths of at least 3000 m and that the ocean has been absorbing more than 80% of the heat added to the climate system. Such warming causes seawater to expand, contributing to sea level rise.
  • Mountain glaciers and snow cover have declined on average in both hemispheres. Widespread decreases in glaciers and ice caps have contributed to sea level rise
  • Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003, about 3.1 mm per year.
  • Average Arctic temperatures increased at almost twice the global average rate in the past 100 years.
  • More intense and longer droughts have been observed over wider areas since the 1970s, particularly in the tropics and subtropics.
  • Widespread changes in extreme temperatures have been observed over the last 50 years. Cold days, cold nights and frost have become less frequent, while hot days, hot nights, and heat waves have become more frequent
  • The global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased from a pre-industrial value of about 280 ppm to 379 ppm in 2005. The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide in 2005 exceeds by far the natural range over the last 650,000 years (180 to 300 ppm) as determined from ice cores.
  • The primary source of the increased atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide since the pre-industrial period results from fossil fuel use, with land use change providing another significant but smaller contribution. Annual fossil carbon dioxide emissions increased from an average of 23.5 Gt CO2 per year in the 1990s, to 26.4 Gt CO2 per year in 2000-2005.
  • The global atmospheric concentration of methane has increased from a pre-industrial value of about 715 ppb to 1732 ppb in the early 1990s, and is 1774 ppb in 2005.
  • The combined radiative forcing due to increases in carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide is +2.30 W/m2, and its rate of increase during the industrial era is very likely to have been unprecedented in more than 10,000 years.

Global warming and the cost of gasoline

The whole climate change discussion strikes me as unbalanced. I have a hard time believing what is screamed by the media because they are parroting the environmental activists groups and, of course, Al Gore. The environmentalists are more anti-corporation and anti-free markets than they are truly environmental. The case of biofuels fairly proves that. So, it is virtually impossible to trust anything that is said by those groups or Al Gore (Manbearpig). These people provide the definition of "hidden agenda." But, they have had a stranglehold on the discussion to this point.

John Coleman, the founder of the Weather Channel, has some strong words on the subject. This article is well worth reading so that you get some balance on the subject. His point is that CO2 is not the enemy, and the "science" proving that it is, is highly questionable.

It seems to me that a wait and see attitude is by far the better response than destroying the world's economy in a silly effort to reduce carbon by 10% or 20% or whatever the number is today. The planet has cooled over the last ten years but the warming fanatics think we should ignore that; One even commented that the cooling was masking the warming trend. (That individual should get the Orwell award for double speak.) It is about the same as saying that the high gas prices are masking a downward trend in the price of fuel.

Talk about bitterly clinging!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Obama has a Muslim background?

I thought this had been put to rest. Someone forgot to tell Senator Obama's brother that he has never had anything do do with Islam.

Barack Obama's half brother Malik said Thursday that if elected his brother will be a good president for the Jewish people, despite his Muslim background.
And what about those of us who are gentiles? Will he not make a good president for us?

Al Franken Decade

The 1980's were the Al Franken Decade. At least that is what Al Franken declared on Weekend Update in late 1979. But now Franken expects the voters of Minnesota to make the 2000's the Al Franken decade, and elect him to the U.S. Senate. Seems a bit weird, but these freaky Swedish-Germans did elect a former professional wrestler to be their Governor.

There was a time when Al Franken was funny; like in "Trading Places" when he was working with Tom Davis as Franken and Davis. He hasn't been funny in quite a while. He has just been another angry liberal. But who knows, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party has nominated him their candidate for the Senate seat now held by Norm Coleman. Coleman should be in trouble as a Bush Republican, but the Democrats may have found one of the few candidates that can't beat a Republican this year. And the Republicans are already digging up every controversial comedy sketch he ever wrote, and there are a lot of them.

This one should be fun to watch; unless you live in Minnesota and are in danger of being represented by this nimrod.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Ruination

The Texas hill country is truly one of the most beautiful areas of Texas. Geographically it is roughly the area defined by the Edwards Plateau. The scenery is lovely, the people are friendly and the activities available are wide and varied. Everything from wineries to dude ranches. Fredericksburg is the central location within what would be considered the hill country. Fredericksburg is a German community settled in the late 1840's. The German influence is still strong; names like Klein, Schwertner, Weinheimer, Ersch, Knopp, Loeffler and even Jacoby are still common in the area. There are beautiful rivers like the Guadalupe, the Pedernales, the Frio, the Sabinal, the Medina and the Llano (one can see a bit of the Spanish influence there.) These rivers are lined with large cypress, oak, pecan and elm trees.

It has long been a well kept secret from non-Texans. That has ended. The New York Times puts the hill country as the number one vacation spot for the summer of 2008. Fredericksburg was already nothing more than a tourist spot. Now the rest of the region is in danger of becoming something quite not authentic. But know that you will always be made to feel welcome. This is a happy circumstance for the region economically, but there is always a lot lost in translation.

Hat tip to the Lady from Ipenema.

Warming is good

I am not a climatologist, but then hardly anyone else screaming about global warming is either. It seems obvious to me that warming is a net positive for humans. As the planet warms more areas become arable. The reduction in glaciation and the ice caps frees more water to the water cycle.

History teaches that the ice ages are droughty times which are hard on animal populations (including man) and the warm eras are times of great abundance. This is why I don't understand all of the current doom and gloom over potential warming. Unfortunately, it appears that the warming fear mongers are wrong and we are actually entering a cooling period.

This article in the Financial Post argues for the positive influence of CO2. I am not at all sure about the effects of carbon, but it does seem that high carbon levels follow warming, not the other way around.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hillary & Misogyny

The New York Times has an interesting editorial by Judith Warner which discusses the level of misogyny/sexism directed at Hillary during the Democratic primary campaign. It is an interesting read and also compares the situation with Hillary to "Sex and the City." (P.S. I may be one of the few men who plans to see that movie, but I really enjoyed the series!).


The editorial also has some good points about how it seems to be acceptable in today's culture to be sexist, and make abusive sexist comments, but racist and ethnic comments are taboo.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Cousin Mark

I have invited Cousin Mark to blog here with me. He should provide some balance to my political views which are unfailingly right wing.

Mark's mother and my mother are sisters. We both grew up in religious homes of Republican orientation. Somewhere along the way I went wrong on religion and Mark went wrong on politics. The family just kind of looks at him and shakes their heads. They talk about us heathens as well. I'm not saying we are black sheep, but perhaps there is more dark fiber in our fleece than some would like.

But on the positive side of things we are both Aggies, so we can't be all bad.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

BDS

Cousin Mark comments that President Clinton (that would be Bill, not Hillary) seems deranged these days. Perhaps that is just the ultimate manifestation of the BDS (Bush derangement syndrome) that the ultra lefties have suffered from for almost eight years.

Congratulations Senator Obama

While it is obvious I'm not a fan of the Senator from Illinois, I see clearly the significance of his likely nomination as the Democratic candidate for the Presidency.

It is wonderful to see that America has advanced to the stage where a black man can be a serious contender for the highest office. And he is indeed a serious candidate. Previous candidacies by Jesse Jackson and Al Shaprton were not truly serious. Those two represented black America only. Senator Obama, despite attempts by the Clintons to prove otherwise, is a candidate for all Americans.

I do not wish to see this man elected, but his nomination will make it possible for a black man or a woman, thank you Senator Clinton, to vie for the office in the future without the question constantly arising about race and/or gender. There are some good candidates ideologically nearer the center who may be more willing to enter future races thanks to the Democratic primary this year.

Congratulations Senator Obama.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cry baby

Father Pfleger who is the latest person to be caught up in the Trinity United COC debacle trots out the dumbest canard that the left has adopted in years. "This is a dangerous time in America, the freest country in the world," Pfleger says, "where you have to whisper your thoughts." This is right up there with the Dixie Chicks bullshit. No one has to whisper their thoughts. Read the blogs, watch cable news, read a newspaper; no one is whispering their thoughts. They are out there for everyone to hear and see. That is the problem he has. He said things that were widely condemned by the American public and he perceives that as some form of censorship. We are all entitled to say whatever we wish. Conversely everyone else is welcome to tell us we are ugly, racist, fools, etc. That is not censorship and it is not unAmerican, it is the epitome of free speech.

I am sick and tired of having people who say things that they then learn are unpopular, then demanding that everyone else shut up because disagreement is tantamount to censorship. And you know what; these people are always, ALWAYS, some dumbass liberals. They are so accustomed to silencing others by playing the political correctness card that when it is used on them they are shocked, shocked I say, to learn what it is like to be called on an unpopular opinion.

End of rant.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The topic of service to one's country

This is the topic of Senator Obama's commencement address to the 2008 graduates of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Senator Obama was subbing for Senator Kennedy who, obviously, could not make the address.

Obama makes the point that he took a job as a community organizer when he graduated Columbia, rather than pursuing the big bucks on Wall Street. Personally, I don't know what a community organizer is; the image I get is of a paid rabble rouser. He was paid only $12,000 plus $2,000 for a beat up old car. He goes on to describe the value of public service and the many opportunities available. Oddly, he doesn't mention one obvious line of service.

When I hear the term service to one's country the first thought I have is of military service. Senator Obama did not mention it as a course of service to one's country. I am sure that Senator Kennedy would feel quite comfortable with military service, as his brother Joe was killed in WWII and Jack was seriously wounded. President Kennedy was a true war hero. I don't think the words, "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," were a call to community organizing.

A man who is running for Commander in Chief should not be comfortable with ignoring the value of military service.