Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The audacity of misinformation

Via Hot Air...

Absolutely unbelievable. In a video response to the president's State of the Union address, Barack Obama had the Audacity™ to make this statement to the American public:
"...tonight we heard President Bush say that the surge in Iraq is working, when we know that's just not true."
The whopper comes at about 1:30 into the clip. To borrow a phrase from Obama's opponent, this statement requires the willing suspension of disbelief.

Park art

At first glance in the half-light this morning, this sculpture at the corner of San Carlos and Market in San Jose, California looked like, well, a pile of crap. Can you tell what it's supposed to be?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Palestinian drama queens

According to al-Reuters:
"Palestinian lawmakers attend a parliament session in candlelight during a power cut in Gaza January 22, 2008. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem"

Via LGF, Newsbusters reports on the latest staged photojournalism intended to extol the pluck of the poor Palestinian terrorist government in the face of Israeli "oppression". The series of photos shows the Hamas parliament meeting by candelight, while curtains are drawn against glaring sunlight outside. From the Newsbusters link:
It appears that Hamas legislators have staged fake power outages to illustrate how oppressed they are for the benefit of journalists. The Journalists were treated to a photo op of the Hamas legislators sitting in their halls of power surrounded by burning candles in rooms with curtains drawn. The scene was set to show how they have had their power cut by the eeeevil Jews. Only problem is, midday sunlight can clearly be seen against the curtains. So, the candles were unnecessary. All they had to do was open the curtains and they would be able to see just fine. Obviously Reuters (and others) allowed Hamas to manipulate the facts. But that didn't seem to bother any of these so-called journalists who were quite happy to go along.
I disagree with Newsbusters that this indicates the power cut itself was fake, just that the event was staged to evoke sympathy for a pack of murdering terrorist Islamist thugs.

Piecemeal science

Let's say I ask a scientist to give me a report on human saliva. In the report, the scientist says that saliva is swallowed by humans in small amounts. Now, let's say I ask another scientist for a report on how many people swallow saliva in small amounts, and I get a report back saying "all of them". Now, let's say I ask a third scientist about human mortality rates, and he reports that all people eventually die.

With much fanfare, I issue a report saying that swallowing saliva in small amounts over a long period of time leads to death in 100% of the cases, and list the three scientists as contributors to the report. One of the scientists demands in no uncertain terms that his name be taken off the report on the grounds that the information he supplied in no way supports the conclusions in my report. The other two scientists are funded by the spittoon manufacturing lobby, and don't object.

This, in essence, is what we have in the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Odd couple

Our 4-pound kitten and 80-pound lab have become best buddies.

Chavez expands paranoid fantasies

Chavez with Cold War-era commie retread, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua

Venezuela's president and cartoonish commie dictator broadened the scope of his paranoid fantasy by claiming that Colombia is in league with the US to invade Venezuela and overthrow what passes for a government there.
"A military aggression is being prepared from Colombia against Venezuela by the United States," Chavez said. He warned Colombia not to attempt "a provocation against Venezuela" and said his country would cut off all oil exports in the event of a military strike from the neighboring country.

Chavez did not offer evidence to support his claim. He has repeatedly accused the United States of plotting to oust him or kill him, though it was the first time he has accused Colombia's U.S.-allied government in such strident terms.
Get over yourself, Hugo. We're just not that into you.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Ron Paul Book Club

A light post to round out a week of light posting due to the burdens of business travel.

I was having a last smoke outside the terminal before catching my flight this morning out of San Francisco, and there was a guy there reading a book. I glanced down at his laptop bag and noticed a "Ron Paul 2008" button pinned to it.

Oh...the book he was reading? The Zombie Survival Guide.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fred for VP?

One of the problems with business travel is being disconnected from the steady stream of news I get while I'm at home, so it wasn't until yesterday evening Pacific time that I learned of Fred's withdrawal from the race. Not that it came as a complete surprise, I just hate getting my news late.

The question now is whether McCain will tap Fred for VP. In fact, there's a dubious story circulating that the VP choice was Fred's intent all along. I'm doubtful.

Monday, January 21, 2008

End of the line for Fred?

Well, Fred didn't do as well as we'd have liked in South Carolina, and there are rumblings that he may drop out of the race as early as tomorrow. Carl Cameron of Fox News is saying that Fred won't be at Thursday's debate in Florida, which of course is an ominous sign.

In fact, Cameron suggests that Fred has been angling for a VP slot the whole time. I'm not too sure about that. I guess the question is if he ends up on a ticket with McCain, does Fred's conservatism bolster McCain's decidedly non-conservative tendencies, or does McCain dilute Fred's conservatism?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Surreal news item of the day

Via Hot Air.

Legislators from the Mexican state of Sonora were in Tucson, AZ to complain about new laws making it impossible for illegal immigrants to stay in the US. It seems they don't know what to do about the influx of Mexican citizens with no money or jobs, and they want to make it our problem.
A delegation of nine state legislators from Sonora was in Tucson on Tuesday to say Arizona's new employer sanctions law will have a devastating effect on the Mexican state.

At a news conference, the legislators said Sonora - Arizona's southern neighbor, made up of mostly small towns - cannot handle the demand for housing, jobs and schools it will face as illegal Mexican workers here return to their hometowns without jobs or money.
Does this make your head hurt as much as it does mine?

The un-PC pizza

Via my brother Mark, The Sun's editors have a little bit of fun over a school's assignment to students to create a PC pizza, one with ingredients to offend nobody.

Note, however, that even The Sun's editors got squeamish over putting any pork on it.

I think I have the winning entry for the most PC pizza:

Wait, you're not on a gluten-free diet, are you?

The Vegas drug

I thought it was a case of auditory hallucinations when, while half-listening to the TV in the background, a commercial for restless leg syndrome drug Mirapex came on, and at the end where they always rattle off the side effects, the narrator said something about gambling urges and increased sex drive. I just had to look it up. Sure enough, the drug's web site says this about possible side effects:
There have been reports of patients taking certain medications to treat Parkinson’s disease or RLS, including MIRAPEX, that have reported problems with gambling, compulsive eating, and increased sex drive.
So, if you experience any of these symptoms while taking Mirapex, forget about seeing your doctor...book the next flight to Las Vegas.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Offensive imagery

As an American of Irish ancestry, the image above wounds me grievously. It's an aching reminder of the hardships my Irish forebears endured during the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s and the English treatment of my people during that horrible period in history.

Eh, not really.

In other news, the image below got some Golf Week editor fired because nooses are symbols of, well, hangings, I guess.

The article that was the subject of the cover photo was, of course, about the Golf Channel anchor who used the term "lynch" in reference to what Tiger Woods' competitors would like to do to him.

Not that anyone aside from an African-American has ever been lynched, of course.

Oh, and since my Mom's from Sweden, this offends me, too:

The economy and energy policy

I'm not an economist, so you can take what follows with a grain or two of salt.

With the stock markets tanking to kick off the new year, and other economic indicators such as jobs and employment reports not looking too great, there's talk in the news that we're entering a recession. While the money geeks on the financial news shows prattle on about the intricacies of the sub-prime lending market crisis, it doesn't take a financial genius to see where a large part of the problem lies...oil prices. The simple truth is that you can't buy a single thing whose retail price isn't affected by the price of oil. Whether it's a direct cost of production, such as the gas you put in your car, or a more indirect effect such as the cost of transportation of goods, oil prices hovering around $100 per barrel have an effect on the cost of just about everything.

Even if a manufacturer doesn't immediately increase the unit price of its goods, they must make up for the added cost by cutting expenses, which takes money out of somebody's pocket, whether it's that of a laid-off employee or less money spent with a supplier. And if they do nothing at all, the money comes out of the shareholders' pockets. Of course, if the manufacturer and/or retailer does increase the price, then it's your pockets and mine that are a little bit lighter. With a commodity such as crude oil, the effect is incredibly pervasive because not a single segment of the economy is unaffected by changes in the market price of oil.

Which brings us to our energy policy. While the left makes the claim that our energy policy is driven by Big Oil, it would seem to be driven more by a pack of retarded monkeys. Or maybe OPEC, since they're the only ones who actually benefit from it. Come to think of it, maybe someone should look into the lobbyists who argue for a "green" energy policy. It wouldn't surprise me to find that some of their money comes from OPEC member states.

The sad reality is that we have no energy policy. Or, to be more precise, our energy policy is paralyzed by idiots on the left who seem to think we can throw a switch and have all our energy needs met by wind, sun and the spilled latte from Prius owners. While I'm a big fan of developing alternative energy sources, we have to deal with the reality of today, which is that we have an entire global economy which depends on oil. If that global economy goes into the crapper, nobody will have the financial resources necessary to research and develop affordable and renewable energy sources. Except for OPEC, and that would be, you know, not exactly in their self interest.

What our next President needs to do is put forth an energy policy that includes:
  • Immediate construction of new nuclear power plants. We've not built a single new nuke plant since the Three Mile Island incident in 1979.
  • New off-shore oil drilling and exploitation of the ANWR oil reserves. Concurrent with this effort should be the expansion of our oil refining capacity.
  • A Manhattan Project-like program to develop inexpensive and energy efficient methods to produce and distribute hydrogen. The hydrogen fuel-cell technology for vehicles is already fully baked, and a hydrogen economy would be an OPEC killer.
I won't even get into the discussion of global warming. There are enough good reasons to develop alternative energy sources that are far less contentious, namely the marginalization of oil producing states that are hostile to America's interests as well as cleaning up the air a little bit.

We need to face facts that as long as we let the environmental and global warming movements control the narrative of energy policy, our economic woes will worsen and we'll lack the financial resources needed to develop viable alternative energy sources. One cycle will feed the other.

Monday, January 14, 2008

"Dustoff three-zero confirms three heroes on board..."

Not your typical military airborne camera footage. This one's from a medevac of wounded troops in Afghanistan last November after an ambush. Watch the video, then click here for the back story.


Hat tip: Hot Air

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The British National Party's anti-US and anti-Israel side

Any regular reader of righty or counter-jihad blogs is probably aware of the confluence of European neo-fascist political parties and the European anti-jihad movement. Certainly, any regular reader of Little Green Footballs would be.

Some time back, I got a copy of the British National Party's manifesto. It's a couple of years old, published around the time of the 2005 British general election, but I'm sure their positions have changed little, if at all, since then.

Much of the manifesto is actually sensible, but their foreign policy positions sound like something right out of the American far-left wing or far-right wing talking points:
National Defence
We would have no quarrel with any nation that does not threaten British interests.
We will not act as the world’s policeman either for the UN, the EU or the US. We will maintain an independent foreign policy of our own, and not a spineless subservience to the USA, the ‘international community’, or any other country. We will restore the county regimental system and also withdraw from the European Union plans for an European Army. We will invest in creating an integrated defence structure that can respond to all 21st Century threats. Successive cuts in defence spending have left Britain ‘s armed forces perilously weak. We will boost Britain‘s armed forces to ensure that they are able to deal with any emergency, and defend our homeland and our independence.
  1. We will bring our troops back from Germany and withdraw from NATO, since recent political developments make both commitments obsolete.
  2. We will also withdraw all British troops with immediate effect from Iraq. We will never again involve British troops in any more American ‘ wars for oil’ or neo-con adventures on behalf of the Zionist government of Israel.
Any doubt of which political party Ron Paul would belong to if he were British?

Osama Bin Laden's son snatched by cradle-robbing infidel trollop

Osama Bin Laden's son has applied for a British visa so he can live in Britain with his wife.

Omar Bin Laden, 26, who admits attending terror training with the Al Qaeda leader in Afghanistan, has been interviewed with his wife Jane Felix-Browne, 52, by British Embassy officials in Cairo, where he is currently living.

The couple plan to set up house in Jane's £550,000 home in Moulton, Cheshire, have a child through a surrogate mother and work as "peace activists".
I've got to admit that for 52, she doesn't look bad.

Shocker: Muslims in Britain not integrating well

A story in today's Telegraph cites a British study which says that 56% of Britons feel Muslims must do more to integrate with British society.
The poll comes at the end of a week in which Muslim integration has been pushed to the top of the political agenda following an article in The Sunday Telegraph by the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, who claimed that Islamic extremism in Britain had created no-go areas.

His comments have been backed by church leaders in majority Muslim areas who have disclosed that their congregations have been targeted by militant Islamists in a campaign of intimidation which has seen churches vandalised and converts to Christianity attacked.

They say that extremists are determined to make non-Muslim residents feel unwelcome, with the ultimate aim of driving them out.

[ ... ]

However, a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said that research showed that 81 per cent of people say that they feel that people from different backgrounds get on well together in their local areas.

"People of all faiths make a huge contribution to British life. Community cohesion is key to maintaining harmonious communities. That is why our strategy puts an emphasis on promoting integration and shared British values."
It's worth noting that saying "people from different backgrounds get on well together" in some local areas in no way refutes the findings of the study. It's an answer to a different question altogether.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Lancet study now thoroughly discredited

I've posted a couple of times about the questionable Johns Hopkins study published in the Lancet medical journal that figured Iraqi civilian casualties at over 650,000. Well, it's been a bad week for that study.

First came the results of a new study that put the actual toll at around 151,000. Still far too many, but a far cry from the 650,000 hysterically blared in Lancet.

Today, The Times of London reports that the Johns Hopkins study was funded in part by -- wait for it -- George Soros.
A STUDY that claimed 650,000 people were killed as a result of the invasion of Iraq was partly funded by the antiwar billionaire George Soros.

Soros, 77, provided almost half the £50,000 cost of the research, which appeared in The Lancet, the medical journal. Its claim was 10 times higher than consensus estimates of the number of war dead.

The study, published in 2006, was hailed by antiwar campaigners as evidence of the scale of the disaster caused by the invasion, but Downing Street and President George Bush challenged its methodology.

New research published by The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that 151,000 people - less than a quarter of The Lancet estimate - have died since the invasion in 2003.

[ ... ]

[Associate professor and epidemiologist at Columbia University Les] Roberts said this weekend: “In retrospect, it was probably unwise to have taken money that could have looked like it would result in a political slant. I am adamant this could not have affected the outcome of the research.”
Of course the damage is already done, with the earlier fictitious number firmly planted within the left-wing anti-war rhetoric. But then again, facts have never been very important to that lot.

Hat tip: Hot Air headlines for the ToL article.

A Ron Paul fandroid malfunctions

In a comment to this post I put up about Ron Paul's little newsletter problem, Ron Paul fandroid "george dance" posted this link in defense of Ron Paul. The article at the link, though, is not flattering to Dr. Paul.
Paul's campaign Web site declares: “Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution.”

[ ... ]

...we find that Paul’s absolutist statement “never” is false.
Must have been a bug in the fandroid's link pasting subroutine.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Clay Jones on the pollsters

Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star editorial cartoonist Clay Jones (who also plays a pretty good guitar) has this take on how well the pollsters did in New Hampshire this week.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The game of Clue - Pakistan Edition

Actually, it was Ahmed at the rally with the Kalashnikov

Reader Tyler sends this amusing editorial cartoon from the Dayton Daily News. Unfortunately, we'll probably never really know what happened.

Election 2008: Blogs don't matter

Much as blogging has been hyped (mostly by bloggers) as changing the media landscape, the GOP results from Iowa and New Hampshire say otherwise. If a large percentage of American voters actually read--and are influenced by--blogs, then Fred Thompson should clearly be the Republican front-runner. But they don't, and he's not. Take a look at all the blogs listed in that link...this humble blog is in some pretty good company.

It's plainly evident that for the majority of Americans, the so-called "legacy media" is still their primary source of information and editorial commentary.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ron Paul's day of reckoning

It seems the racist hate groups supporting Ron Paul may have had good reason to do so, according to a report in The New Republic which made its way rapidly through the righty blogs today.

The report centers on a series of newsletters published by various organizations either founded by, headed by, or carrying Ron Paul's name. The newsletters included the type of things that give conservatives a bad name and that the freakazoids on the left like to attribute to all conservatives:
Paul's alliance with neo-Confederates helps explain the views his newsletters have long espoused on race. Take, for instance, a special issue of the Ron Paul Political Report, published in June 1992, dedicated to explaining the Los Angeles riots of that year. "Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began," read one typical passage. According to the newsletter, the looting was a natural byproduct of government indulging the black community with "'civil rights,' quotas, mandated hiring preferences, set-asides for government contracts, gerrymandered voting districts, black bureaucracies, black mayors, black curricula in schools, black tv shows, black tv anchors, hate crime laws, and public humiliation for anyone who dares question the black agenda." It also denounced "the media" for believing that "America's number one need is an unlimited white checking account for underclass blacks." To be fair, the newsletter did praise Asian merchants in Los Angeles, but only because they had the gumption to resist political correctness and fight back. Koreans were "the only people to act like real Americans," it explained, "mainly because they have not yet been assimilated into our rotten liberal culture, which admonishes whites faced by raging blacks to lie back and think of England."
There's much more in TNR's article, and it's well worth reading.

Ron Paul's campaign issued the following statement in response to the article:
“The quotations in The New Republic article are not mine and do not represent what I believe or have ever believed. I have never uttered such words and denounce such small-minded thoughts.

“In fact, I have always agreed with Martin Luther King, Jr. that we should only be concerned with the content of a person's character, not the color of their skin. As I stated on the floor of the U.S. House on April 20, 1999: ‘I rise in great respect for the courage and high ideals of Rosa Parks who stood steadfastly for the rights of individuals against unjust laws and oppressive governmental policies.’

“This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade. It's once again being resurrected for obvious political reasons on the day of the New Hampshire primary.

“When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.”
But some industrious contributors over at Little Green Footballs turned up a newsletter that puts Paul's response in a questionable light. He simply couldn't have not known what was being published in his name.

Really, now...isn't it time for Ron Paul's fans to admit they were wrong about him and repudiate him? Or are his fans as bad as he is?

New Hampshire gets interesting

The major news outlets are calling New Hampshire for McCain, and it appears he may beat Romney by a pretty fair margin.

Even more interesting is the Democratic race. Politico at this time shows Clinton ahead of Obama, with 21% of the results in.

Better check the beer supply...could be a late night.

The good ship Hillary meets an iceberg named Obama

I suppose we'll know later this evening whether the ship can be righted, or if it's going to start taking on water and sliding under the waves.

At the national level, Clinton is in a dead heat with Obama, while on the GOP side, Huckabee has a five-point lead over Giuliani. The poll was taken immediately following the Iowa caucuses and compares to the same poll taken in mid-December. In the earlier poll, Clinton enjoyed a sizable lead while Huckabee trailed well behind, so it's possible that this is an Iowa bounce for both Obama and Huckabee.

Interestingly in the poll of Democrats, the percentage of respondents who selected "None/no opinion" doubled from 4 to 8 between the two polling periods. I'm not sure what that means, but I suspect a lot of Hillary fans were scared off by her poor showing in Iowa and hadn't yet gotten behind another candidate.

If Obama pulls off another big win tonight, and it looks like he will, he'll be carrying some big-time momentum into South Carolina and Super-duper Ultra-hot Mega-fantastic Tuesday, or whatever the hell they're calling it now.

My prediction: Obama wins convincingly tonight, and walks to the nomination. Huckabee wins, probably less convincingly, and continues to subvert the GOP agenda through the national convention.

The good ship Hillary picture is from Cry Havoc.

Update: McCain wins and Hillary's in the lead. My political predictions suck.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Corporate stupidity

Very large companies are known for sometimes doing spectacularly stupid things. By contrast, smaller ones usually seem to be a bit sharper and less tone-deaf to what their customers want. The Free Lance-Star Companies here in Fredericksburg, Virginia have shown that they're an exception to this rule.

FLS owns the local paper (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star), as well as a few radio stations; WFLS 93.3 (country), Classic Rock 96.9, and WYSK 99.3 (alternative rock). Today, they switched WYSK's format to hip-hop/R&B. Surely there's an audience for that format here, but WYSK was the sole alt rock station in town, and I'm fairly certain there's a broader market for that format than for the new one.

In any event, surely killing off a popular radio station pisses off more people than never having had a station of a totally different format.

Dumb asses.

Hillary's in trouble

Brunhildary is down in the polls for tomorrow's primary in New Hampshire, and early polls show her well behind in South Carolina now.

Frankly, I'm enjoying Hillary Clinton's discomfort too much right now to worry about the prospects of a Barack Obama presidency.

Venezuela's socialist Utopia

Erik over at No Pasaran cites an Investor's Business Daily column that may come as a shock to the likes of Sean Penn and Harry Belafonte. It seems that in the last third of 2007, Iraq was a safer place for Iraqi citizens than Venezuela was for Venezuelans.
Quick, which nation shows average civilian deaths at 33 a day in the last third of 2007? Now name the one where civilian deaths average 19 a day? If you guessed Iraq and Venezuela, you'd have it backward.

Shocking? Of course. But true. With even Venezuelan officials admitting their country clocked 12,249 murders in 2007, Hugo Chavez's socialist "sea of happiness" resembles a war zone. In December alone, Venezuela had 670 murders while Iraq had 476 — and that number is falling fast.
Dude...12,249 murders in 2007? That's over 1,000 a month. In 2006, the US had 17,034 homicides, with a population of around 300 million. Venezuela's population is only around 27 million...less than 10% of the US population. That puts Venezuela's murder rate -- number of murders per 100,000 people -- at 45.36. The US murder rate for 2006 was 5.7.

I won't hold my breath waiting for retractions from the idiot lefty celebrities who all said how wonderful Venezuela is under Comrade Hugo.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Adam Gadahn: Return of Abu al-Babee Faht

Fat-ass traitor Adam Yehiye Gadahn, aka Abu al-Babee Faht

MEMRI has excerpts of tubby traitor Abu al-Babee Faht's new video in which he comically warns of "booby traps" set for President Bush during his upcoming visit to the Middle East and struggles feebly to tear up his US passport.

The guy is such a clown, I can't believe he takes himself seriously.

Saturday night's debates: Spare change

I watched most of both the GOP and Democratic debates, and if there's one word I'm sick of hearing, it's 'change'.

Almost by definition, any presidential candidate runs on a platform of 'change'. When laying out their policy positions, they explain what's broken and what they'd do to fix it. But when Barack Obama pummeled Hillary Clinton in Iowa the other night, suddenly every Democratic candidate jumped on the 'agent of change' bandwagon and started promoting themselves as the only true serious 'agent of change'. (Funny how these guys just figured that out...pimping oneself on a resume as an 'agent of change' has been fashionable in the corporate world for a while.)

There truly is little difference among the Democratic candidates. You want change? You'll get plenty of it with either one of the remaining top three...a change from a representative republic to a socialist welfare state.

On the Republican side, it was mainly Mitt Romney who bought into the 'change' mantra with his little "been there, done that" riff, which McCain somewhat deftly turned back on him in a flip-flopper jab.

So who won? On the Democrat side, I'd have to say Obama, hands down. He didn't screw up any responses I saw, and he always comes across well. At the other end was Bill Richardson, who said that as President, he'd start negotiating with the Soviet Union. Yes, really. (Though, in his defense, it is getting easier to confuse the new Russia with the old Soviet Union.)

On the Republican side, it was clearly Fred Thompson who won. He comes into these debates with a great command of the facts and never leaves you wondering where he stands on a given issue. It's so tempting to say that Ron Paul was at the losing end simply on the basis of his whacked out isolationist foreign policy ideas, but at least in what I saw, he didn't screw anything up. So I'll have to reluctantly put Rudy Giuliani in last place just for not being very commanding.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Left-wing media wankers founding new religion on Obama

The journalistic fellatio coming from the left on Barack Obama's improbable win last night has become positively nauseating. As I've mentioned before, I believe Obama is probably an honest, decent man. I'm pretty sure Jerry Garcia was, too, but I wouldn't have wanted him to be President.

But according to Chris Matthews of MSNBC's Hardball, Obama has been "delivered" to us, sort of like, you know, Jesus.

And some kid by the name of Ezra Klein at American Prospect surely had to change his bed sheets after writing this totally over-the-top bit of journalism blow-jobbery:
Obama's finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don't even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I've heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.
I hope Obama respects him in the morning.

GOP in disarray

With the Huckster's convincing win in Iowa, it's clear that the Republican party is in complete disarray. Identity politics, once the domain of the Democrats, dictated last night's outcome for the Republicans while Barack Obama's trouncing of the once-inevitable Hillary Clinton seemed driven more by ideology.

If the evangelical Christians in the Republican party succeed in forcing Mike Huckabee down the GOP's throat, the Democrats are sure to win the White House in November. I'm still not sure that will happen, but equally bad for the GOP will be the division between the evangelical and more secular wings of the party.

On the Democrats' side, the outcome seems less about race, religion or gender (one figure showed Hillary only got 30% of womens' vote) than about ideological change. No matter how far Obama goes in this race, it's clear that a wall came down last night. I completely disagree with Obama's politics, but I don't question the man's honesty and sincerity, and Obama's convincing win -- without identity politics -- is a watershed event.

As for Fred Thompson...I'd hoped for a more convincing third place finish. But since I was seriously fearing a fourth place finish, I'll take it. What bugs me most is that I really think a lot of evangelicals' votes went to Huck when they otherwise may have gone to Fred, and I think their values would probably be better served by Fred than by the Clintonesque Huck.

Fred says he's staying in the race, so I'll scrape up some more money to send to his campaign.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hillary tanking in Iowa?

As of the time of this post, Hillary Clinton is polling in third place in Iowa.

Sweet, sweet schadenfreude.

Iowa caucuses

So, tonight's the big night in Iowa that I think could make or break Fred. My fear is that he'll end up in fourth place, but I'm hoping for a strong third.

If Huckabee takes first place, as some polls are showing he will, it merely proves the irrelevance of the Iowa caucuses and I hope Fred stays in regardless of his showing tonight.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Self-fulfilling prophecies

If you talk to nearly any conservative voter, that is, one likely to vote in his or her state's Republican primary, you'll find very little deviation from Fred Thompson's positions on the issues. So why is it that Fred trails in the polls? The unfortunate answer is that too few voters back candidates based on issues. Instead, they select the least-offensive from among the front-runners according to the polls and who are getting the most press. Clearly, if voters actually did their homework, Fred Thompson and Duncan Hunter would be duking it out for the top spot with all other GOP candidates in the single digits. In Iowa, Fred is fighting tooth and nail for third place in the polls while Hunter barely registers.

A quick read through any relevant discussion thread on blogs like Hot Air reveals part of the problem. Most of the reader-commenters at Hot Air are pretty well informed on the issues and candidates. Still, one consistently finds comments along the lines of "I really like Fred (or Duncan) on all the issues, but I don't think he's got a chance so I'll hold my nose and vote for Joe Douchebag instead." What's up with that?

Another frequent theme specific to Fred is "I really like Fred, but he's got no fire in his belly...he just doesn't seem to like campaigning." So, Fred should perform tricks like a trained monkey to garner votes? Gimme a fucking break.

If we had an electorate with integrity and one that is as principled as they say they want their candidates to be, maybe we wouldn't end up with such abysmally crappy political leadership year after year.

Oh, and happy freakin' New Year.