Friday, February 29, 2008

Milestones (Kinda, Sorta)

I've been so busy of late I didn't notice I recently passed a milestone of sorts here at The Iconic Midwest. Back on the February 25th I posted my 1000th item. Fittingly, it was a rant of sorts against Barrack Obama, who certainly has shown the ability to generate lots of positive and negative material from idiots like yours truly.

The generation of so much content for so few readers (1000 posts generated about 27,000 hits, which works out to 27 readers per post) would not make me a publishing phenomenon in anyone's understanding of the term, and part of me is surprised I'm still doing this after more than three years. Yet, it is curiously satisfying all the same.

Am I up for another 1000 posts? I've no idea, but I'm certainly up to interacting with my friends and loyal readers for the foreseeable future.

A pictorial history of this dog and pony show

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Anthropogenic Global Warming (TM) Stupidity Of The Day

Climate change threatens existence, Eskimo lawsuit says

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- A tiny Alaska village eroding into the Arctic Ocean sued two dozen oil, power and coal companies Tuesday, claiming that the large amounts of greenhouse gases they emit contribute to global warming that threatens the community's existence.

The city of Kivalina and a federally recognized tribe, the Alaska Native village of Kivalina, sued Exxon Mobil Corporation, eight other oil companies, 14 power companies and one coal company in a lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco.

I hate to break it to the poor deluded fools, but climate always changes and coastlines are forever eroding.

Just ask the people of Dunwich.

So Is This A "Lie"?

Let's hear the spin boys and girls: Obama staffer gave warning of NAFTA rhetoric

Barack Obama has ratcheted up his attacks on NAFTA, but a senior member of his campaign team told a Canadian official not to take his criticisms seriously, CTV News has learned.

Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have been critical of the long-standing North American Free Trade Agreement over the course of the Democratic primaries, saying that the deal has cost U.S. workers' jobs.

Within the last month, a top staff member for Obama's campaign telephoned Michael Wilson, Canada's ambassador to the United States, and warned him that Obama would speak out against NAFTA, according to Canadian sources.

The staff member reassured Wilson that the criticisms would only be campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value.

Remember: Obama is different and shouldn't be held to the same standards as other politicians. When he lies he does it for your own good.

This Person Should Not Be President

You only need one word to desribe this: foolish.

I'll grant that "naive" and "dumb" would also work, but you only need "foolish."

Gleaned from Blue Crab Blvd.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

At The Very Least Doesn't This Signal Ineptitude?

Rasmussen reports the following:

Just 24% of American voters have a favorable opinion of the New York Times. Forty-four percent (44%) have an unfavorable opinion and 31% are not sure. The paper’s ratings are much like a candidate’s and divide sharply along partisan and ideological lines.

By a 50% to 18% margin, liberal voters have a favorable opinion of the paper. By a 69% to 9%, conservative voters offer an unfavorable view. The newspaper earns favorable reviews from 44% of Democrats, 9% of Republicans, and 17% of those not affiliated with either major political story.

The Times recently became enmeshed in controversy over an article published concerning John McCain. Sixty-five percent (65%) of the nation’s likely voters say they have followed that story at least somewhat closely.

Of those who followed the story, 66% believe it was an attempt by the paper to hurt the McCain campaign. Just 22% believe the Times was simply reporting the news. Republicans, by an 87% to 9% margin, believe the paper was trying to hurt McCain’s chances of winning the White House. Democrats are evenly divided.

Now, let us say that the Times is actually trying to do what they claim they are, offering objective journalism. Wouldn't we, in that circumstance, expect similar results for conservatives and liberals?

The difference for liberals is +32% favorable to unfavorable. For conservatives, that number is -60%. A paper actually aiming at objectivity should tick people off more equally than that.

That is...if they are indeed trying to be fair.

Gleaned from Poligazette.

Your Musical Interlude, Part XXII

I haven't done this for awhile, but this is exactly the sort of stuff I simply love.

If you can't enjoy this on SOME level...check your pulse.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A New (Old) Den Of Corruption

Is there anything like Illionois politics? Since even before the days of Al Capone the mixture of money and politics, let alone the occasional floozy and the bathtubs of homemade gin, has made Chicagoland the happy hunting ground for all the would be Eliot Nesses of the world. For the last one hundred years Democrats and Republicans alike have done little else but fight off charges of wrongdoing, in between working out sweetheart deals for we say "constituents."

And the beat goes on:

Any thin veil still hiding the identity of the person prosecutors in the Antoin "Tony" Rezko political corruption case call "Public Official A" was abruptly ripped away Monday -- by a federal judge.

Judge Amy J. St. Eve revealed that Public Official A -- described by federal prosecutors for months as tangled in political corruption -- is Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

She said that Rezko, one of the governor's key campaign fundraisers, schemed along with millionaire attorney Stuart Levine to squeeze Hollywood producer and Chicago businessman Thomas Rosenberg for a $2 million payoff or a $1.5 million campaign contribution.

Prosecutors have said the money was for Public Official A. The money was to go to Blagojevich, St. Eve said in court papers.

"Levine and Rezko allegedly then agreed to approach Rosenberg through an intermediary to either make a $1.5 million donation to Governor Blagojevich or pay Levine an approximate $2 million fee in order to obtain the ... allocation," St. Eve wrote.

News organizations including The Associated Press have long reported Blagojevich was Public Official A. Advertisement

The only one denying it has been Blagojevich, who repeatedly has said he believed he was not the official in question.

One wonders if Blagojevich has been trying to figure out who to pay off to get out of this mess.

The sad thing is you could see this coming from day one. Oh, the particulars of how it would go down were unknown, but the politics of Illinois, and especially the Chicago Democratic party, are so inherently corrupt it was only a matter of time. It is a shame for the voters of Illinois who went from a corruption plagued Republican Governor, in George Ryan, to the Democratic equivalent in Blagojevich, but they always knew it was coming.

All of this brings up a question which has implications far beyond the borders of the Land of Lincoln: Can anyone from the political machines of Chicagoland be unsullied? It is hard not to think of Dan Rostenkowski, the son of a Chicagoland ward boss, who went from being the most powerful man in Congress to being just another felon in prison. It is telling that the Illinois Democratic pol with the best reputation in the last thirty years has to be the late Senator Paul Simon who made his mark defeating the hand picked candidates of the Chicagoland machine.

Can one rise through the ranks of the machine without in some way selling one's soul? History tells us, "Don't count on it."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Right Wing Hack Kinsley Carries McCain's Water...

...Or so I imagine the headline at the Daily Kos reading. McCain and the Times: the Real Questions

I have come under some criticism for my criticism of the New York Times for its criticism of Sen. John McCain. Many readers of last week's New York Times article about McCain, including me, read that article as suggesting that McCain may have had an affair with a lobbyist eight years ago. The Times, however, has made clear that its story was not about an affair with a lobbyist. Its story was about the possibility that eight years ago, aides to McCain had held meetings with McCain to warn him about the appearance that he might be having an affair with the lobbyist. This is obviously a much more important question. To be absolutely clear: The Times itself was not suggesting that there had been an affair or even that there had been the appearance of an affair. The Times was reporting that there was a time eight years ago when some people felt there might be the appearance of an affair, although others, apparently including McCain himself, apparently felt that there was no such appearance.

Similarly, I am not accusing the New York Times of screwing up again by publishing an insufficiently sourced article, then defending itself with a preposterous assertion that it wasn't trying to imply what it obviously was trying to imply. I am merely reporting that some people worry that other people might be concerned that the New York Times has created the appearance of screwing up once again.

Highly amusing.

Even if you don't care for McCain and would never vote for him barring a Clinton/Obama baby seal killing spree, its time to admit the Times was trying to sell a sex scandal they didn't deliver on.

The Short Case For Labelling Obama A Leftist

Powerline presents the short case for viewing Barack Obama as a leftist, at least by the standards of the American political scene: A centrist with no one to his left

The often sensible Washington Post editorial board came up with a howler yesterday when it argued that, notwithstanding Barack Obama's ranking by the objective National Journal as the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate in 2007, it is "not clear" whether Obama is "a liberal at heart" or "more of a centrist." The Post's main evidence for this alleged lack of clarity is laughable. It notes that Obama declined to filibuster the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. But, as Ed Whelan retorts, no Senator voted to filibuster Roberts; there was no cloture vote in that instance. In the absence of a filibuster, Obama did the next best thing; he voted against the Roberts nomination, even though half of his fellow Democratic Senators (few of whom can be called centrists) voted for confirmation.

Moreover, Obama did join in the unsuccessful filibuster of Samuel Alito's nomination. He thereby once again joined with most left-wing portion of his party's Senators. Thus, in Whelan's words, "no Senator was to Obama's left" when it came to the Roberts-Alito confirmation wars. It's similarly apparent from the National Journal's ratings that no Senator is to Obama's left generally.

Until this election cycle, a Senator's voting record was always considered the best evidence of his position on the political spectrum; nor were rhetorical flourishes ever counted as countervailing evidence. The Post's willingness to make an exception for Obama constitutes deception, the only question being whether the editors are deceiving themselves as well as their readers.

Indeed, the emphasis put upon Obama's rhetoric seems to be the key. Many people presumably are working under the idea that they know he's a moderate because he SAYS he is, and all contrary evidence be damned.

This prompted me to post the following on another site:

Is moderateness (or reasonableness) a matter mostly of style or substance?

Lets say you have two theoretical candidates A and B (and really, dont think of one as Obama and the other as McCain)

Let’s say candidate A is a U.S. Senator who holds positions that are ideologically pure, but is generally an affable fellow who tries to get along with his political opponents while NOT compromising with them because he is committed to his principles. He often complains about the growing incivility of Washington, but he would never change the legislation he wants if he could ever avoid it. If that means ramming an agenda via partisan lines, so be it. “That’s political reality,” he often says “It’s nothing personal.” He famously invites everyone over to his house for a BBQ every spring.

Let’s say candidate B is a US Senator who isn’t an ideologue at all, but instead she most often attempts to pull support from the center of both parties to meet legislative goals, even if that means differing from the bulk of her own party. Let’s also say she is often combative, castigating the ideological wings of both sides as being detriments to the well being of the country. When called on this her favorite response is “Hell, I don’t care what those jerks think.” She famously never makes it to Senator A’s BBQ, because she holds a grudge over a parliamentary maneuver that stopped a vote on legislation she felt was vital for the well being of the country. “Goddammit,” she stated, “This country should come before anyone’s ideology.”

To my mind it is a no brainer which of these two would be a more moderate candidate if substance is valued more highly than style, and vice versa. To my mind it should not matter if Candidate A is an Arch conservative or a high-minded liberal, or if candidate B is nominally a member of the Democratic or Republican party…I think B would be preferable to my own sensibilities as a middle-of-the-road guy.

Now, I don't think my hypothetical Senators are perfect analogs for our present choices, but I know who I think has a clear edge in substance given these choices.

I don't think a press committed to presenting the Democratic and Republican nominees fairly would be able to support Obama's pretense to moderateness in a general election.

So let's see how fair the press is. Based on what we have already seen from the New York Times, I'm guessing the answer will be closer to "Not so much," than not.

The Political Silly Season Starts Early

Did you know a photo of this will rightfully be used to make me look like an idiot?  It's true!
Of course some of us date it to the entry of Ron Paul into the presidential race, but the Silly Season has hit full swing now.

Antarctic Glaciers "Surging"

I forget...if we are worried about Anthropogenic Global Warming (TM) weren't we supposed to be expecting glacial melting? Antarctic glaciers surge to ocean

UK scientists working in Antarctica have found some of the clearest evidence yet of instabilities in the ice of part of West Antarctica.

If the trend continues, they say, it could lead to a significant rise in global sea level.

The new evidence comes from a group of glaciers covering an area the size of Texas, in a remote and seldom visited part of West Antarctica.

The "rivers of ice" have surged sharply in speed towards the ocean.

Now, as we have been told numerous times, any retrograde movement in glaciers is seen as a clear indication of global warming. Now, we are told, any forward movement (one is tempted to use the word "growth") is also a sign of something sinister. But what??

David Vaughan, of the British Antarctic Survey, explained: "It has been called the weak underbelly of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and the reason for that is that this is the area where the bed beneath the ice sheet dips down steepest towards the interior.

"If there is a feedback mechanism to make the ice sheet unstable, it will be most unstable in this region."

There is good reason to be concerned.

Satellite measurements have shown that three huge glaciers here have been speeding up for more than a decade.

The biggest of the glaciers, the Pine Island Glacier, is causing the most concern.

They have been growing for more than a decade? Why wasn't Al Gore informed?

Julian Scott has just returned from there. He told the BBC: "This is a very important glacier; it's putting more ice into the sea than any other glacier in Antarctica.

"It's a couple of kilometres thick, its 30km wide and it's moving at 3.5km per year, so it's putting a lot of ice into the ocean."

So...we were told (by Al Gore among others) that the "problem" in Antarctica is glaciers that are over land will melt, dumping the newly released water into the oceans. Now, we are being told the problem is glaciers that are getting larger because of a "feedback mechanism to make the ice sheet unstable" (hmmm...could that be because much of Antarctica has been getting colder?)

I'm not an expert on glaciers by any stretch of anyone's imagination, but go read all of the BBC article and tell me if it doesn't seem "carefully worded." One basic question that the article leaves unasked and unanswered is if the glaciers are getting bigger (i.e. growing) or if they are simply sliding around. Call me a cynic, but I get the feeling the reporter is trying everything in his power to not say the glaciers are growing when they obviously are. AGW believers would probably see that as a heroic effort of self censorship for a higher cause.

I see it as crappy journalism.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sec. Rice Caught In Obvious Lie

There is simply no way to spin your way out of this one: Bush has rhythm, says Rice after Africa trip

President George W. Bush has rhythm, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice assured reporters on Friday after watching her boss join African dancers during his five-nation tour of the continent this week.

"I just want to report that the president did a fair amount of dancing when he was in Africa and demonstrated that he can stay on the beat," said Rice, an accomplished musician who loves to dance herself.

"You look skeptical, but I was there? I can certify," Rice added when reporters chuckled at her observations and asked to see a video of the president dancing.

I defy anyone to watch the President dance and NOT think "That has to be one of the whitest men in America."

Remember, Even When Stuff Like This Happens IT NEVER HAPPENED

....Or else.

The annual State of the Black Union forum boasts a number of famous names as it gets under way in New Orleans, but this year's event is getting much more attention for who won't be there.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, was the only major presidential candidate to accept an invitation to attend.

Her rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, declined, as did Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

But it's Obama's absence that's prompted both controversy and a backlash against Tavis Smiley, the organizer of the event who has openly criticized Obama's decision.

In a letter to Smiley earlier this month, Obama commended the forum for addressing important issues, but explained he needed to focus on his presidential run ahead of the critical March 4 primaries.

"In the final stretch, I will be on the campaign trail every day in states like Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin talking directly with voters about the causes that are at the heart of my campaign and the State of the Black Union forum," Obama wrote.

"That is why, with regret, I am not able to attend the forum."

Smiley has been vocal about his disapproval of Obama's decision.

"I think it's a missed opportunity on Mr. Obama's part," Smiley told CNN. "Now, I am not interested in demonizing him for his choice, but I do disagree with it."

Sounds ordinary enough. Plenty of these types of events criticize those who choose not to attend them. I think of Bush's non-attendence of NAACP events which draws criticism from the media, the BCC, as well as the NAACP itself. It simply is a part of the political terrain.

But not for Obama supporters seemingly:

But Smiley's criticism has also prompted many people to come to Obama's defense. The talk show host told The Washington Post he has been inundated with angry e-mails and even death threats.

"I have family in Indianapolis. They are harassing my momma, harassing my brother. It's getting to be crazy," Smiley told the newspaper.

Can anyone point to an similar incident involving any other presidential campaign in the last 30 years? Where critics of Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton were threatened for offering even the mildest and most ordinary of criticisms? Where the families of critics were targeted for harrasment?

This presidential season is taking on a decidely unpleasant vibe.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Times Expose Increasingly Looking Like Times Libel

It certainly seems like there was a willful attempt to knowingly spread false information in order to "discredit" John McCain. (See here and here.) I cannot remember a major front page piece by the Times that has fallen apart so quickly and so completely. Given this I think it would be difficult to support the story or even to be agnostic about it. If we want a better standard of political discourse in this country we must also stand for a better standard of journalism.

If the blogosphere didn't exist who exactly would have checked up on all this stuff I wonder.


It looks like team McCain did a good job responding to this. To use naval parlance: scratch one flat-top!

"Tactically, the McCain campaign executed flawlessly and quickly to put this story back in the box,” said GOP strategist Phil Musser, a former executive director of the Republican Governors Association. “They re-shaped the coverage from dawn to dusk, avoided any big name conservative defections and were actually monetizing the event online at the Grey Lady's expense.”

“Ironically,” says Musser, who supported Mitt Romney’s presidential bid, “the larger impact of the whole story may well be to further galvanize McCain's leadership position, especially if it goes away quickly.”

I really never thought McCain could win the Republican nomination, let alone get the Conservative wing of the party to rally to his defense. I forgot to take into account the "power" of the Times.


It looks like other papers with New York Times syndication rights, including at least one owned by the Times, have refused to run the salacious McCain story.

That is hopeful at least.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

This Is What Joke Writers Live For

Thank goodness nothing worse happened...but this opens so many comedic possibilities: U.S. senators forced to make emergency landing in Afghanistan

The military helicopter carrying Democratic Sens. Joseph Biden of Delaware and John Kerry of Massachusetts, and Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska had to land in the mountains because of a snowstorm, said Elizabeth Alexander, a spokeswoman for Biden.

No one was hurt in the incident, said Kerry spokesman David Wade. The senators proceeded to their destination in a ground convoy after the helicopter landed in a field, he said.

"Aviation experts were surprised the amount of hot air in the helicopter was not enough to keep it airborne. 'One of the Senators must have fallen asleep.'"

A Double Standard? You Betcha

Jon Henke over at QandO detects the pattern:

  • Thinly-sourced, unconfirmed 2004 rumor that a Democrat may have had an affair: the mainstream media won't cover it, and the Left bulldozes those who mention it.
  • Thinly-sourced, unconfirmed 2007 rumor that a Democrat may have had an affair: the mainstream media won't cover it, and the Left bulldozes those who mention it.
  • Thinly-sourced, unconfirmed 2008 rumor that a Republican may have had an affair: Front page of the New York Times

It's hard to argue there is the same standard in play. Some in the media are trying to claim that this is fair because McCain tries to present himself as a good guy. So, Kerry and Edwards were trying to present themselves in a negative light?

Yeah, that makes sense.

Where's The Hope?

Where's the accountability? Victor Davis Hanson has a piece on Clinton and Obama that deserves a read: Ivy League Populism

The rhetoric of Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton about the sad state of America is reminiscent of the suspect populism of John Edwards, the millionaire lawyer who recently dropped out of the Democratic presidential race.

Barack Obama may have gone to exclusive private schools. He and his wife may both be lawyers who between them have earned four expensive Ivy League degrees. They may make about a million dollars a year, live in an expensive home and send their kids to prep school. But they are still apparently first-hand witnesses to how the American dream has gone sour. Two other Ivy League lawyers, Hillary and Bill, are multimillionaires who have found America to be a land of riches beyond most people's imaginations. But Hillary also talks of the tragic lost dream of America.

In these gloom-and-doom narratives by the well off, we less fortunate Americans are doing almost everything right, but still are not living as well as we deserve to be. And the common culprit is a government that is not doing enough good for us, and corporations that do too much bad to us.

In the new pessimistic indictment, the home mortgage meltdown has not occurred because too many speculative buyers were hoping to flip houses for quick profits. It had nothing to do with misguided attempts of government and lending institutions to put first-time buyers in homes through zero-down payments, interest-only loans, and subprime but adjustable mortgage rates - as part of liberal efforts to increase home ownership rates.

And there apparently are few Americans who unwisely borrowed against their homes a second and third time to remodel or purchase big-ticket consumer items - on the belief that their equity would always be rising faster than their debts. Nor are we to look at this downturn as part of a historical boom-and-bust cycle in the housing industry - the present low prices and non-performing loans the natural counter-response to the overpriced real estate of the last five years.

There is a lot more to enjoy.

Where Was Obama?

Hiding under his desk?

David Brooks offered a fruitful variation on the "What, if anything, has Barack accomplished (I have a free thirty seconds)" question - why has he ducked the big bipartisan pushes of the last few years?

Where was Barack when the Gang of 14 teamed up to move judges through the Senate? McCain was there!

Where was Barack when the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill was stumbling through the Senate? McCain was there!

Where was Obama when roughly 20 Democratic Senators joined the Republicans in trying to update FISA? McCain was there!

The reality is that McCain has practiced the sort of bipartisanship Obama has merely preached, and has the political scars to prove it. Do we want the guy who does a great job of talking the talk, or the guy who has walked the walk for years?

Patterico adds:

It’s a good point. Reaching across the aisle isn’t all sweetness and light, and a couple of the specific examples offered have really upset Republicans — me included. But if what’s really important to people is a candidate who has proved he can do it — even when it’s tough — McCain is the obvious choice.

Again, I don’t consider these actions by McCain to be strengths. But if bipartisanship really is your thing, then you should.

This is the $100,000 dollar question. If claiming to be a moderate means anything, then it should mean that one is open to voting for moderate candidates regardless of the party they arise from. If it simply results in you picking the Democrat or Republican you like best depending upon which party you'd rather support, then you are not a moderate in any meaningful way.

Looking at the current slate of candidates and announcing that Barack Obama is the choice of moderate bipartisanism is nothing short of ludicrous.

When Can You Tell You Are Dealing With Irrational People?

When they cannot take a joke, refuse to look at facts or address contrary evidence, become petulant when challenged , and when incivility becomes the order of the day.

Just file that away for when you need it.

I've Heard Of "Fighting Irish," But "Dumb Irish"?

Damn that liturgical calendar! St. Patrick's Day causing Catholic dilemma

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- That famous saint named Patrick will have his green-drenched party this year, but it's unclear when the guests are supposed to arrive.

For the first time since 1940, St. Patrick's Day will fall during Holy Week, the sacred seven days preceding Easter.

Because of the overlap, liturgical rules dictate that no Mass in honor of the saint can be celebrated on Monday, March 17, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

But a few Roman Catholic leaders are asking for even more moderation in their dioceses: They want parades and other festivities kept out of Holy Week as well.

Bishop J. Kevin Boland of the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia, wrote to practically every agency in his city, from the Chamber of Commerce to the Board of Education, saying the diocese was changing the date of its celebration this year. In response, the citywide Irish festival was moved to Friday, March 14, when schools will close and bagpipe-driven parties will carry into the streets.

More than half a million people stream into the Southern city for the festival, one of the nation's largest St. Patrick's Day affairs, said Bret Bell, Savannah's public information director. Savannah bars will be open March 17, but no organized events will be held that day, he said.

"The city has a very strong Irish Catholic community, a very traditional Irish Catholic community," Bell said. "They attend Mass regularly. And the last thing they want to do is get in the bad graces of the Catholic Church."

Philadelphia has also moved its parade date to avoid giving offense, and Milwaukee is hitting the streets sooner than usual, too.

But in Columbus, the Shamrock Club is going ahead with its March 17 parade, drawing protests from the local bishop. A handful of Irish-American politicians have lined up behind church leaders, breaking with tradition by refusing to march in the parade.

In a letter last fall, the Catholic Diocese of Columbus told the Shamrock Club, the group that organizes the parade, that Bishop Frederick Campbell wanted "all observances honoring St. Patrick" -- religious or otherwise -- removed from Holy Week.

"It's not a sin to celebrate your Irish culture," countered Mark Dempsey, the club's president.

"Actually, you're born Irish first," he said, "and then you're baptized Catholic."

Wow. What a dumb argument to make.

For starters, Holy Week is the single most important and central liturgical celebration of the year. St. Patrick's Day is the single most important day for the makers of green food dye. Which one of those demands the most respect do you think?

Also, this shows the Shamrock Club, and any other groups deciding to ramp up their boozing during Holy Week, to be nothing but a bunch of ingrates. Catholic dioceases in this country routinely give dispensations when St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday so Irish folks (and others) can enjoy their corn beef and cabbage without running afoul of lenten observances.

I guess such considerations are a one-way street only.

This Is A Stretch (And A Half)

The Weekly Standard is mighty impressed with the Navy's shootdown of a satellite many ways too impressed:

This is a major success for the Missile Defense Agency, the successor to Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, and it's going to be a tough pill for the program's critics to swallow. There have been two recent, successful tests of the missile defense system. In September 2007, the agency killed a dummy missile over the Pacific using one of its Ground Based Interceptors stationed in Alaska. General Renuart used the occasion to declare "that we have all of the pieces in place that, if the nation needed to, we could respond." There are up to 24 interceptors already deployed. And then in December the Japanese Navy knocked down a medium-range missile using the same, American SM-3 missile that was used in yesterday's strike.

Despite this good run, critics have effectively diminished the achievement by charging that the tests were rigged. This time was different. The administration bet big, and if the operation had failed, the program would have suffered a major, and possibly fatal, setback. Instead the bet paid off. It is the greatest PR boost the program could have gotten short of actually striking down a North Korean missile inbound to Hollywood.

The system will now be an easier sell to allies, and it should be a cudgel for Republicans in the fall. The "rogue" satellite cost more than a billion dollars. One suspects its destruction will be of greater value to this country than any mission it could have performed as a functioning spy satellite.

I'm sorry, but for any workable missle defense system the ability to shoot down an unpowered satellite should be a no brainer. The mere fact that the Pentagon kept heaping caveat upon caveat indicates that even this type of minimal performance isn't as cut and dried as they would like it to be.

I'll admit that the propensity of some Democratic critics to bet against the abilities of the American areospace industry always struck me as rather foolish, and I do think, in the end, such critics will be proven wrong. This excercise, however, isn't confirmation of the promise of missile defense. It isn't even a nail in the critic's coffin. All this shows is that our missile defense systems can crawl. They need to start walking and running before anyone can begin to crow.

Gleaned from Memeorandum

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Less then 48 hours after John McCain attacks Barack Obama for going back on his word on using public financing we get the following:

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain issued a statement Wednesday night saying he "will not allow a smear campaign" to distract from his campaign as published reports questioned his relationship with a lobbyist.

The Washington Post quoted longtime aide John Weaver, who split with McCain last year, as saying he met with Vicki Iseman and urged her to stay away from McCain. The New York Times suggested an inappropriate relationship between the Arizona senator and Iseman, a Washington lobbyist. The New York Times quoted anonymous aides saying they had confronted McCain and Iseman, urging them to stay away from each other, before his failed presidential campaign in 2000.

Eight years later, McCain is close to securing the GOP nomination. Aides said the senator would address the allegations at a news conference Thursday morning.

The published reports said McCain and Iseman each denied having a romantic relationship, and the paper offered no evidence that they had, saying only that aides worried about the appearance of McCain having close ties to a lobbyist with business before the Senate Commerce Committee on which McCain served.

The story alleges that McCain wrote letters and pushed legislation involving television station ownership that would have benefited Iseman's clients.

In a statement issued by his presidential campaign, McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said: "It is a shame that The New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit-and-run smear campaign.

"John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election.

"Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career."

McCain's campaign also issued a lengthy statement insisting that his actions did not benefit any one party or favor any particular interest.

Ah...the New York Times...trademark: "All the rumors we feel like printing."

Anyone who believes this is unconnected to one of the individual presidential campaigns would have to be hopelessly naive. The question is which one? McCain's current opponent on paper, Mike Huckabee? It could be the sign of a desperate Huckabee campaign. But it really doesn't fit. One, the rumor that McCain had an affair would likely only sway the segment of voters already voting for Huckabee. Two, the New York Times has hardly carried Huckabee's water in the past. And three, it seems out of character with the Huckabee campaign to this point. Look at all the hemming and hawing we saw when his staff dared to commission a contrast ad.

The Clinton campaign? Well, this sort of thing isn't unheard of in camp Clinton, and I certainly wouldn't put it past them if they thought it would benefit their candidate. Still, I don't see how smearing McCain helps Clinton. (Unless you want to accuse them of the same sort of "deviousness" usually reserved for anti-Semites when they talk about Israel.) And besides, don't they have enough on their plate already?

The Obama campaign? This makes the most sense. McCain did just call camp Obama out, and they just might be getting cocky with all their success. Plus, they may want to prove that they can be as "tough" when it comes to playing politics as any Clinton. I also don't find it hard to believe that the Obama campaign has a direct line into the New York Times offices when needed.

Of course, if it was camp Obama it was truly a despicable act. You might think McCain's point on public financing is overblown, but it is a real issue and one Obama could have avoided by not putting his name to something he didn't intend to follow through on in the first place. This response is nothing but character assasination of the worst kind.

"Change" isn't what it used to be I guess.

Of course the true believers won't even consider the possibility that Obama could be behind it, largely because they get all tingly when he speaks. How can you argue with "logic" like that?

Than again...maybe Obama just wanted to teach McCain about the "Chicago Way."

UPDATE: Turns out that the Obama camp may have had a line into TNR and not the Times directly. That doesn't surprise as TNR has the ethical standing of....hmmm...Sorry, I can't think of anything more unethical than TNR.

Another Apostate

Robert Samuelson worries that the media and the public is being "dazzled" by Barack Obama. To my mind he certainly has a point. From the Washington Post:

A favorite Obama line is that he will tell "the American people not just what they want to hear but what we need to know." Well, he hasn't so far. Consider the retiring baby boomers. A truth-telling Obama might say: "Spending for retirees -- mainly Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- is already nearly half the federal budget. Unless we curb these rising costs, we will crush our children with higher taxes. Reflecting longer life expectancies, we should gradually raise the eligibility ages for these programs and trim benefits for wealthier retirees. Both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for inaction. Waiting longer will only worsen the problem."

Instead, Obama pledges not to raise the retirement age and to "protect Social Security benefits for current and future beneficiaries." This isn't "change"; it's sanctification of the status quo. He would also exempt all retirees making less than $50,000 annually from income tax. By his math, that would provide average tax relief of $1,400 to 7 million retirees -- shifting more of the tax burden onto younger workers. Obama's main proposal for Social Security is to raise the payroll tax beyond the present $102,000 ceiling.

Political candidates routinely indulge in exaggeration, pandering, inconsistency and self-serving obscuration. Clinton and McCain do. The reason for holding Obama to a higher standard is that it's his standard and also his campaign's central theme. He has run on the vague promise of "change," but on issue after issue -- immigration, the economy, global warming -- he has offered boilerplate policies that evade the underlying causes of the stalemates. These issues remain contentious because they involve real conflicts or differences of opinion.

The contrast between his broad rhetoric and his narrow agenda is stark, and yet the media -- preoccupied with the political "horse race" -- have treated his invocation of "change" as a serious idea rather than a shallow campaign slogan. He seems to have hypnotized much of the media and the public with his eloquence and the symbolism of his life story. The result is a mass delusion that Obama is forthrightly engaging the nation's major problems when, so far, he isn't.

I think Samuelson's right and too late. The folks he is addressing are beyond being able to critically evaluate Obama. The complete and utter failure of people to deal with the reality of candidate Obama, complete with the moral righteousness and indignation they heap on those who have remained immune to his supposed charms, merely confirms the cultish quality of the Obama phenomena. Obama supporters seem to believe they are watching a charismatic prophet. All I see is a demagogue.

It's funny that I have reached this conclusion. My original objection was to the idea that Obama was some sort of moderate. But to my way of thinking now, I don't want people who believe they are part of some sort of moral crusade gaining the upper hand because whatever lies down that road it isn't conducive to liberty.

Gleaned from Blue Crab Blvd.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Really Stupid Idea

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) is doing his best job to make Republicans look like complete and utter morons. Go read this to see how.

More "Yes, but..."

Get a hold of you wallet, because here it comes again:

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign intends to go after delegates whom Barack Obama has already won in the caucuses and primaries if she needs them to win the nomination.

This strategy was confirmed to me by a high-ranking Clinton official on Monday. And I am not talking about superdelegates, those 795 party big shots who are not pledged to anybody. I am talking about getting pledged delegates to switch sides...

"I swear it is not happening now, but as we get closer to the convention, if it is a stalemate, everybody will be going after everybody’s delegates," a senior Clinton official told me Monday afternoon. "All the rules will be going out the window."

This is pathetic. Yes, it's true that a delegate who arrives as a pledged delegate for Obama is not bound by the rules to actually vote for Obama. But...

But nothing. I'm supposed to get my knickers in a twist because the Clinton campaign will try to win a brokered convention???????

O, the horror!!!!

Jesus H Christ people. Grow up.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Take That!

Obama supporters like the Daily Kos never tire to point out that the Clinton campaign's assertion that Obama may not, in a general election, win a lot of the states (like, say, Idaho) where he is picking up caucus wins now is the same as telling the voters in those states to take a long walk off a short pier. (Via what logic they reach that conclusion escapes me...but hey, it's the DK. No one goes there for the way they tenaciously cling to the tenets of formal logic.)

So what do we make of this?

Our future First Lady made a bit of a faux pas today as she proclaimed that seeing the support of her husband's run for president marks the first time in her adult life that she's been proud of her country.

That's just great. Should we even allow our scumbag parents and grandparents to vote? After all, they created and ran the horrid country Michelle Obama could take no pride in whatsoever.

Obama Supporters Threatening Violence If They Don't Get Their Way?

Sure sounds like it:

Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder warns there will be chaos at the Democratic National Convention if superdelegates anoint a nominee who did not win the most popular votes.

If that happens, the scene at the Democrats' August convention in Denver could be worse than the unrest at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, Wilder said today on the CBS program "Face the Nation."

"You know what a mess that was," Wilder, an Obama supporter, told host Bob Schieffer.

"If the majority of the American people" voting in the Democratic primaries and caucuses back either Obama or Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "and if the superdelegates intervene to get in the way of it and say, 'Oh no, we're going to determine what's best,' there will be chaos at the convention," Wilder said.

"It does nothing to help the Democrats — and if you think 1968 was bad, you watch 2008," Wilder said. If that happens, "it will be worse."

Ah...Obama is promising change. He never claimed it wouldn't be change akin to Weimar Germany.

Consider me unimpressed.

Yet Even More (And Again) Is It NOT Getting Hot In Here?

Turns out, much to almost nobody's surprise really, that the AGW crowd may have underestimated the influence of the urban heat island effect. Actual heating may be only half of what has been claimed:

If a scientific paper appeared in a major journal saying that the planet has warmed twice as much as previously thought, that would be front-page news in every major paper around the planet. But what would happen if a paper was published demonstrating that the planet may have warmed up only half as much as previously thought?

Nothing. Earlier this month, Ross McKitrick from Canada's University of Guelph and I published a manuscript in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres saying precisely that.

Scientists have known for years that temperature records can be contaminated by so-called "urban warming," which results from the fact that long-term temperature histories tend to have originated at points of commerce. The bricks, buildings, and pavement of cities retain the heat of the day and impede the flow of ventilating winds.

For example, downtown Washington is warmer than nearby (and more rural) Dulles Airport. As government and services expand down the Dulles Access road, it, too, is beginning to warm compared to more rural sites to the west.

Adjusting data for this effect, or using only rural stations, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states with confidence that less than 10% of the observed warming in long-term climate histories is due to urbanization.

That's a wonderful hypothesis, and Ross and I decided to test it.

We noted that other types of bias must still be affecting historical climate records. What about the quality of a national network and the competence of the observers? Other factors include movement or closing of weather stations and modification of local land surfaces, such as replacing a forest with a cornfield.

Many of these are socioeconomic, so we built a computer model that included both regional climatic factors, such as latitude, as well as socioeconomic indicators like GDP and applied it to the IPCC's temperature history.

Weather equipment is very high-maintenance. The standard temperature shelter is painted white. If the paint wears or discolors, the shelter absorbs more of the sun's heat and the thermometer inside will read artificially high. But keeping temperature stations well painted probably isn't the highest priority in a poor country.

IPCC divides the world into latitude-longitude boxes, and for each of these we supplied information on GDP, literacy, amount of missing data (a measure of quality), population change, economic growth and change in coal consumption (the more there is, the cooler the area).

Guess what. Almost all the socioeconomic variables were important. We found the data were of highest quality in North America and that they were very contaminated in Africa and South America. Overall, we found that the socioeconomic biases "likely add up to a net warming bias at the global level that may explain as much as half the observed land-based warming trend."

How quaint! Hypothesis testing! Havent they heard that verfication is so 20th century, and no longer necessary for post-modern "science"?

Funny how this study didn't land of the front page of The New York Times (trademark: "All The News We Feel Fit To Fill You In About..You Ignorant Jerk.")

Ah well...tell us again how to appease the carbon neutral gods.

No Media Bias?

Just a thought: Why do we not see stories saying "If Obama loses Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania, is he out?"

Oh I see, because it is likely that he will indeed lose all three contests and that's morally unacceptable. It's best to spin his "inevitability."

Can someone Fed Ex me a copy of the new liberal bible so I too can be hip to the new orthodoxy?

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Question For Independents & Moderates

I wrote this in a comment over at Donklephant and I thought I'd let my readers here ponder it as well:

I simply dont get it. It strikes me that if one is truly interested in charting a moderate course and one is given a choice between two candidates, one with no track record of working with the opposition and who has been embraced by the most intolerant and ideological wings of his own party, and another candidate with a track record of working with the opposition so extensive that half his own party hates his guts because he’s not “one of them”…I just dont see how the former is preferred over the latter, no matter the “tone” of his rhetoric.

When it comes to words vs. deeds…I’ll take deeds as the better indicator of future behavior every time.

I simply do not see a moderate/independent case to be made for Obama.

What could it possibly be?

Song Lyrics Quiz

This is inspired by two contests put up over at Patterico's place (here and here). There have been complaints that Pat's been making them too hard...but I say the hell with that!! It's just like dumbing down the SAT's.

Here goes my quiz:

1. Who knows where time goes? I waste mine thinkin' 'bout it I suppose.

2. Now you have a howitzer all of your own.

3. Our time is just a point along a line that runs forever with no end.

4. I bet he can't afford to take you to the Nine Inch Nails.

5. The first thing I taste is the toothpaste in her kiss.

6. I'd settle for a bad reception than have to listen to the next selection.

7. Fly away through the midnight air as we head across the sea.

8. It's either sink or swim. And when I'm done I'm ready to begin.

9. Watching the skirts you start to flirt.

10. Thoughts are forming in my brain, the neighbors woke me up again.

11. Tracy, would you listen? This is Christmas!

12. People so busy, make me feel dizzy.

13. Your safety net just walked out much to your surprise.

14. When the Reds came to town, yo, she gave 'em all the slip.

15. The lines on her face betray her rage as she looks around her every night.

16. Well I know right away by the look in her eyes, she habors no illusions and she's worldly wise.

17. Going to a funeral dressed in pink. Stop and love and not stop to think.

18. She was first revealed in her grandpa's field of grain.

19. Time it's a flyer. Sunny day fly away, english summers are gone. So long.

20. All that you need is wine and good company.

Obama's Change?

Since when is a politician lying through his teeth an example of change? Why, when Barack Obama does it of course!

Elizabeth Bumiller reports in the New York Times that John McCain has come up with an interesting way of defusing Barack Obama's financial advantage: Senator John McCain's presidential campaign said Thursday that it stood by a year-old pledge made with Senator Barack Obama that each would accept public financing for the general election if the nominee of the opposing party did the same. But Mr. Obama's campaign refused to reaffirm its earlier commitment.

Presumably the promise was only meant to be upheld as long as it didn't disadvantage Obama.

What courage.

This is the kind of crap that gets people all misty?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I Wish This Came As A Surprise

Sometimes you can just feel the ill wind start to blow. Jewish Rep. Cohen Battles Antisemitism and Racism In Re-Election

If you thought race was an uncomfortable issue in the Democratic presidential primary, wait 'til you get a load of what's going on in the Democratic primary in the Memphis area's 9th District of Tennessee, where a shockingly worded flier paints Jewish Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) as a Jesus hater.

"Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen and the JEWS HATE Jesus," blares the flier, which Cohen himself received in the mail -- inducing gasps -- last week.

Circulated by an African-American minister from Murfreesboro Tenn., which isn't even in Cohen's district, the literature encourages other black leaders in Memphis to "see to it that one and ONLY one black Christian faces this opponent of Christ and Christianity in the 2008 election."

Cohen's main opponent in the August 5 Democratic primary in his predominantly African-American district is Nikki Tinker, who is black. The Commercial Appeal wrote an editorial in Wednesday's paper condemning Tinker for not speaking out against the anti-Semitic literature.

"What does Nikki Tinker think about anti-Semitic literature being circulated that might help her unseat 9th District Congressman Steve Cohen in the Democratic primary next August?" the editorial asked. "The question goes to the character of the woman who wants to represent the 9th District, and 9th District voters deserve an answer. But Tinker declined to return a phone call about the flier."

The editorial also noted that last summer Cohen came under attack from black ministers who challenged the congressman's support for federal hate crimes legislation to protect gay rights. The paper wrote that the "real motive" behind the ministers' attacks was revealed later by Rev. Robert Poindexter who, according to the Commercial Appeal, said of Cohen: "He's not black and he can't represent me, that's just the bottom line."

Cohen tells the Sleuth it was "shocking" to receive the flier, "particularly coming from an African-American the week after Dr. King's birthday. This was just such an ignorant and racist and prejudiced type of flier -- it's hard to fathom we're in the 21st century," Cohen says.

Unfortunately, this sort of thing seems to be all the rage in the 21st century. I am beginning to wonder when more of my decent fellow Americans will begin to wake up to this very sad fact.

(Gleaned from CQ)

I've Said It Once, I'll Say It Again...

...I'm really a dork of almost unimaginable proportions.

I cannot help myself, but I'm almost 40 years old and I'm truly excited about the new Indiana Jones movie. (See the newly released tralier here.) I even watched the godawful Good Morning America program to get an early look at the thing.

It's a sickness really.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Enthusiasm Is Not A Replacement For Rational Judgement

Well, now more media has publically stated they can no longer be objective about Barack Obama:

During MSNBC's live coverage of Tuesday's presidential primary elections, after the speeches of Barack Obama and John McCain had aired, Chris Matthews expressed his latest over the top admiration for Obama's speaking skills as the MSNBC anchor admitted that Obama's speech created a "thrill" in his leg: "It's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often." Minutes later, Brian Williams poked fun at Matthews' confession: "Let's talk about that feeling Chris gets up his leg when Obama talks ... That seems to be the headline of this half hour."

At about 10:13 p.m., right after McCain finished his speech, which came after Obama's speech, co-anchor Keith Olbermann remarked that, due to Obama's unusual speaking skills, it was a good idea for any other speaker to speak before the Illinois Democrat instead of after him. Matthews then expressed what he referred to as an "objective assessment" of Obama's speech:

I have to tell you, you know, it's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often. No, seriously. It's a dramatic event. He speaks about America in a way that has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the feeling we have about our country. And that is an objective assessment.

Alright. Now get a hold of yourself all of you unabashed Obama backers, because I'm gonna bring up Hitler. Now, I'm not comparing Obama to Hitler, and in fact I'm not talking about Obama at all but the reaction of some of the electorate (including an ever larger portion of our supposed watchdog media) watching all of this. All of the hyper emotionalism attached to the Obama candidacy is reminiscent of the reaction of most Germans to Hitler. Rationality was discarded because all that was needed was the belief in the personality of Hitler. What became important was not the content of ideas and policies but the way he made you "feel." The end result was utter disaster for humanity as a whole. I know I am hopelessly old fashioned, but reason and good old American pragmatism still matter to me and I view all such emotional enthusiasms as suspect by definition. I decided a long time ago that history does have things to teach us, if not in the area of particulars than in generalities.

If you don't see parallels in this instance you are either A) not looking, or B) swept up by "enthusiasm" yourself. That doesn't mean you cannot support Obama, but it does mean you have to stand up and demand rationality in the process, especially from the media.

It is starting to scare the s%$t out of me.


Actually, more an addendum. Had to point to this:

I have now basked in the glow of the biggest political rockstar of our times and I was much less-impressed than the rest of the crowd at the Kohl Center. Obama did his thing and it was good, let there be no doubt, but he really does seem more style than substance at this point. And when he does get specific about any policies I can be fairly certain I will disagree with him. But that's not the point, Obama is a rockstar and there are a whole lot of people who just want a fresh face, who sounds good and makes them feel good. That is Obama to a T. There is no way Hillary or John McCain generates the love that was in that place. People were ear to ear and just watch the 18,000 eyes raised to the big screen when the "Yes we can" video plays. That is a powerful force people and it transcends facts.

Facts and substance? Who needs em?

Sheep obviously do not.

Gleaned from Stubborn Facts.

Good I gonna be forced to give money to John "The whole First Amendment thing is overrated" McCain?

Quite possibly.

More thanks to Stubborn Facts for pointing to the following:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


The flag they fly at the Houston Obama for Prez office:

Whenever I see depraved stupidity, like the useless morons celebrating a murderous goon like Che, I always remember the words of John Lennon:

If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao,
You ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow.

Now, that is political wisdom.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Obama Cult

Is it time to break out the Kool-Aid? I think so, and I'm not alone. From First Things:

A cult can be defined as a tight knit group of people who devote themselves to a charismatic leader who promises to solve all their personal or social problems by the power of his personality. Given that definition, I would argue that the Obama campaign has all the marks of a cult.

First, Obama promises to solve the problem of politics. People attracted to his campaign think that he can transcend the ordinary negotiations and conflicts of the political realm just by the force of his powerful optimism. If the political itself is the problem, and not the various social problems that must be negotiated within the political arena, then Obama himself is the answer. Somehow, magically, he will create a new political space that will save us from having to fight or even disagree with each other. And politician who promises to put an end to politics must be subjected to the most stringent skepticism. What they want to put an end to, of course, is the politics they disagree with, while wrapping their own politics in a rhetoric of consensus and optimism.


Just talk to anyone who supports Obama. They will say that he does have policy positions, but they will also say that he transcends all the typical policy options. Most importantly, they will talk about how Obama makes them feel. They will say that Obama represents the future, that he can heal the country, that he will create a new unity in America. And they will look a bit glassy eyed as they tell you all of this. Don’t argue with them. It is impossible to argue rationally with a member of a cult. Don’t even compare Hilary to Obama, because, like all cult members, they hate their rivals. Just be as clear eyed as you can, and pray that Obama does not get elected—not because he claims to transcend politics, which is merely empty rhetoric, but because, like all liberals, when he says he is transcending left vs. right, he is really being more leftist than ever. He wants to replace arguments over real differences with feelings of good will, and that is the real danger.

I have gotten the feeling that Obama-nation is beyond rational discourse, where image and everything else ephemeral is valued more than anything actually substantive.

David Brooks has noticed it as well:

Obama’s people are so taken with their messiah that soon they’ll be selling flowers at airports and arranging mass weddings. There’s a “Yes We Can” video floating around YouTube in which a bunch of celebrities like Scarlett Johansson and the guy from the Black Eyed Peas are singing the words to an Obama speech in escalating states of righteousness and ecstasy. If that video doesn’t creep out normal working-class voters, then nothing will.

I guess I have a normal-working class voters take on life as well because, unlike some folks, it creeped the hell out of me too.

I'm sorry, but I already have a savior, and even if I were looking for a new one I'm sure I wouldn't find it in a politician from Illinois.

Great, Just Great

This is not encouraging:

More importantly, Power provides a window into the thinking of Obama, who in 2004 reportedly told Ali Abunimah, founder of Electronic Intifada, "hey, I'm sorry I haven't said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I'm hoping when things calm down I can be more up front." Pro-Palestinian sympathies, but no courage of conviction. Who says Obama is a blank slate?

So, Obama seem to buy into "the Jews run everything" storyline.

That's just peachy.

Remember...he's a uniter not a divider.

This Is A Pre-Emptive "I Told You So"

I'm getting this out of the way now so I don't have to waste time in a busier moment in my life writing the inevitable. To all the self delusional fools (yes fools) who have turned off all critical faculties to sing camp fire songs with Swami Obama: when the time comes and Obama shows himself to be just another politician who will use any and all means to attain and exercise power, who will use any dirty trick and sleazy tactic to slime his opponents, and who will get caught doing it (they all do), all I can say is you have completely given up the right to claim he's "betrayed" you or anyone else.

Obama has shown every indication of being an excrementally bad President...Jimmy Carter, only more naive and without the common sense or executive experience...and all I can think is that some of us will have deserved better.

The rest will get exactly what you ordered, and serves you right.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Zogby Is An Awful Pollster

Why does anyone still give credence to the Zogby polls? I know, once upon a time, he had a good reputation but how many terribly performing polls in a row do you need before you say "Hmmm...whatever his methodology is, it doesn't seem to work very well."

Let's look at Zogby's take on the biggest battle yesterday, California.


Zogby's world: Obama 49% Clinton 36%
Real World: Obama 42% Clinton 52%

So that went from Obama +13% to Clinton +10%.



Zogby's world: Romney 40% McCain 33%
Real World: Romney 34% McCain 42%

So that went from Romney +7% to McCain +8%.

Better than the Clinton/Obama race, but still pretty damn bad.

For folks who got it right in California look at these Mason-Dixson polls for the Democrats (had Clinton +9%) and Republicans (had McCain +9%).

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Super Tuesday Predictions - Republicans

Second verse, same as the first.

Huckabee: big goose egg.

McCain: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee

Romney: Colorado, Massachusetts

No Data: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, West Virginia

Going out on a limb I'll say:

Huckabee: Arkansas

McCain: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, West Virginia

Romney: Utah

It is intersting to note I'm predicting both Clinton and McCain to win all but four of the contests on Tuesday. But, you'd never guess Obama was in such a dire situation fom the fawning media coverage. Romney, on the other hand, was buried by the MSM last week without so much as a "by your leave."

I can hear the press now:

Stupid citizens!!! Why won't you do what your media overlords want you to do?? It is for your own good!!!

Stupid democracy.

Super Tuesday Predictions - Democrats

Real simple here. Three categories: states Clinton wins, states Obama wins, states without polling data I could find.

Clinton: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee

Obama: Colorado, Georgia, Illinois

No data: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah

Now, those are the results I'm fairly confident in, but because I'm predicting things I don't want to wimp out solely because I don't have any data. So in the no data states I'll predict:

Clinton: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, North Dakota, Utah

Obama: New Mexico

I'll go over the Republicans later...although I'm not sure what the point would be as Romney's support has fallen off a cliff.

Friday, February 01, 2008

More Breathless Obama Idiocy

I know I shouldn't view Obama less favorably because so many of his supporters have turned off their critical faculties...but the sheer stupidity of it all is a little daunting. Today it is this:

Poll: NJ primary now in play; Clinton's lead falls to six points

Hillary Clinton’s lead over Barack Obama in New Jersey has narrowed to 44%-38%, according to a private poll commissioned by one of the state’s most powerful Democratic leaders, George Norcross. The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner on January 30-31, was distributed to some Norcross allies earlier this morning and obtained by

A Quinnipiac University poll released on January 23 had Clinton with a 17-point lead, 49%-32%.

OHMIGOD the Clinton campaign is collapsing!!!!

Or not.

Whenever *I* see poll numbers I do what many reasonable people do, I check it out at RealClear Politics. When I click on the New Jersey page I see three polls, two that came out yesterday, the other the day before.

GQR (1/31) - Sample 600 Likely Voters - Clinton 44% Obama 38% - 11% Undecided
Survey USA (1/31) - Sample 642 Likely Voters - Clinton 51% Obama 39% - 6% Undecided
Rassmussen (1/30) - Sample 700 Likely Voters - Clinton 49% Obama 37% - Undecided not given

So...what does this mean? It means Obama has, in all probability, little chance to win in New Jersey.

So why should we be hysterical exactly?

Massive UK Blizzard

It looks like they are having a devil of a time across the pond:

Severe weather and heavy storms have been battering much of the UK, causing disruption and delay for travellers.

Durham police have launched a rescue operation after at least 150 motorists became stuck in snow on the A66.

A rescue operation has been launched after the captain of a cargo ship was seriously injured off the Scilly Isles during a force 10 gale.

Earlier crew and passengers had to be rescued from two ships off the coast of Blackpool and on St Kilda.

Blizzards have affected much of Scotland and northern England, with snow recorded as deep as 15cm (5.9ins).

Sounds like a good day to stay in the pubs.

Anti-War Morons

You know some people are beyond saving:

McCain's World: By Golly, We're Winning in Iraq!

So let me get this straight, Senator McCain. Winning means suicide?

Suicides among serving American soldiers reached a record high last year

"Winning" means bombs and bloodshed?

Powerful blasts triggered by female suicide attackers ripped through two Baghdad pet markets on Friday

Those would be the poor women with Downs syndrome packed with explosives and murdered along with 70 other human beings by a bunch of terrorist scumbags, who obviously hoped to influence a bunch of American scumbags.

Hey DK: Mission Accomplished

Tell Me These Folks Have Something (Anything) Better To Do

From the "You've Got To Be Kidding Me" file: NFL Commissioner Defends Destroying Tapes

In the face of congressional pressure over destroying evidence from the Spygate scandal, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell defended his actions Friday.

Goodell also said he'd be willing to meet with Sen. Arlen Specter, who sent a letter to the commissioner the previous day asking why tapes shot by the New England Patriots in the cheating scandal were destroyed.

"The reason I destroyed the tapes is they were totally consistent with what the team told me," Goodell said during his State of the NFL speech. "It was the appropriate thing to do and I think it sent a message."

Oh, c'mon Specter. Is there really nothing more substantive to the well being of the country that you could focus on? Everything else is hunky dory I guess.

The folks from Pennsylvania must be thrilled.


This might just scrap my plan to buy southern Arkansas real estate that will soon be beach front property due to AGW... We may be headed for a second Little Ice Age:

The Canadian Space Agency’s radio telescope has been reporting Flux Density Values so low they will mean a mini ice age if they continue.

Like the number of sunspots, the Flux Density Values reflect the Sun’s magnetic activity, which affects the rate at which the Sun radiates energy and warmth. CSA project director Ken Tapping calls the radio telescope that supplies NASA and the rest of the world with daily values of the Sun’s magnetic activity a “stethoscope on the Sun”. In this case, however, it is the “doctor” whose health is directly affected by the readings.

This is because when the magnetic activity is low, the Sun is dimmer, and puts out less radiant warmth. If the Sun goes into dim mode, as it has in the past, the Earth gets much colder.

Tapping, who was originally from Kent, says that “Typically as you go through the ten or eleven year solar activity cycle you see the numbers go up or down. The lowest number is 64 or 68. The numbers 71 or 72 are very low, but they usually start to go up. We are at the end of a cycle, but the numbers still haven’t gone up. We have been joking around coffee that we may be seeing the Sun about to shut down.”

Dammit!!! Doesn't the sun know it should only do what Al Gore tells it to!!

Gleaned from Stubborn Facts.

Show Me Which Way The Wind Is Blowing

From the New York Times: Bellwether State Fervently Seeks Choice Who Can Win in the Fall

ST. LOUIS — They are used to picking the president around here, and more than ever, it seems, they want to extend their winning streak to the primaries.

For a century, voters in Missouri have proven to be a nearly perfect gauge of the nation’s thinking on presidential candidates, swaying from Democrats to Republicans and back again, but always (besides a certain election in 1956) voting in general elections for the candidate who ultimately wins the nation.

But far more than pride over some old record can be heard in the fervor with which people here from both parties spoke this past week about the primary this Tuesday. Again and again, they told of their desire to vote for someone who is not only able to manage the country’s economic slump, its immigration policy and its war, but who is also capable of something far more immediate and pragmatic: winning the White House come November.

“I am looking for the Democrat who will actually pull that off,” Dan Shelton, 55, a federal employee, said as he ate lunch in downtown St. Louis. “I am interested in someone who is electable — now it is a matter of figuring out who that really is.”

In Democratic Party strongholds like this city, voters, grumpy after eight years with President Bush, spoke often of their passion about picking a nominee who stands the best chance in the general election.

Even Senator Claire McCaskill, who has traveled her home state in recent days pushing for Senator Barack Obama, has raised the politically thorny question of electability, to the fury of some Democratic colleagues. Ms. McCaskill has said she worries that Missouri, a state with a strong conservative base, a slew of independent-minded voters and a Midwestern distaste for rancor, might be unwilling to back Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the fall. old home state. I noticed our penchant to back ultimate presidential winners in general elections, but I was never sure if that meant we were good leaders or faithful followers. Either way it makes Missouri a "bellwether" in some people's eyes.

It is exactly the sort of homespun political truism I tend to be skeptical of most of the time. We are such a mobile society I find it hard to believe in the constancy of Missouri political acumen. Plus, the dynamics of primary races are so different I'm not sure whatever is helping Missouri pick general election winners translates. (I seem to remember on Super Tuesday v.1988 Missouri went for Bob Dole when most everywhere else went to George H.W. Bush.) If it does translate, then prepare for a Clinton candidacy:

The Post-Dispatch poll, this time of Democratic voters, showed Mrs. Clinton ahead with 44 percent, Mr. Obama with 31 percent and John Edwards, who has since suspended his campaign, with 18 percent. Representative Emanuel Cleaver II, who has endorsed Mrs. Clinton, was quick to point out that Missouri twice voted for Mr. Clinton and suggested that Republicans were “beating up on Senator Clinton” in part because they fear she will woo away Republican women.

The Republicans are running in a much closer contest, with Mitt Romney sitting in third:

A poll of Missouri Republicans last week for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and a television station showed a tight race: Mr. McCain with 31 percent; Mr. Huckabee, 25 percent; and Mr. Romney, 21 percent. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus five percentage points.

If we are going to believe that Missouri has a knack for picking candidates that will sell nationwide then it has to be a black day indeed for campaign Romney.

Here This Thread Of The Meme Dies

I guess I'm it. From Pat over at Stubborn Facts:

Simon tags me with the current meme. Here's the instructions:

1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

I was wondering if I was going to be tagged by this particular meme...and if I had seen it while at work I might have been able to post a little Plato. But I saw it at home so it is a little different:

From Simon Winder's The Man Who Saved Britain: A Personal Journey Into The Disturbing World Of James Bond

Peaks, groans, whimpers, jutting breasts, splayed legs, proud hillocks, snarls of desire now silently filled up household after household, corrording a space once reserved only for blameless gardening tips on the radio. Here we are at the absolute Genesis of the sexual revolution.

The films are badly flustered by sexual issues because they are desperate to arouse males a bit while not getting a certificate which would exclude a massive chunk of the audience, e.g., prepubescent dorks such as myself, clutching rapidly melting Old Jamaica chocolate bars.