Sunday, December 30, 2007

The year in Review

Dave Berry, the syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald, has done another of his "Year in Review" pieces. As a public service, in case you can't get it in your own paper, it is presented here.

Political Predictions

Although totally meaningless, it is sometimes fun to make predictions and commit them for further review at a later date. A sort of time capsule that remains open for viewing at any time. As such, and with all of the gravitas of a fortune teller, here are my predictions for the coming primary season.

Democrats: Although the race in Iowa has supposedly tightened up, I still think that Hillary will either win or come in a close second to Edwards. The reason for this is that Edwards has been camping out the most in Iowa, and has considerable support from the party regulars that he will be able to use. But Hillary has the advantage of the Clinton machine. Don't underestimate their ability to both get out the vote, and then to put the votes in the right places. If I remember right, Iowa has a threshold level of 15% for a candidate to be viable. That means that all of the Dodd, Biden, Richards and other supporters can be knocked off of their first choice by flooding precincts that have close support with her own supporters, and then persuade them to go with her inevitability. I just don't think that Joe Trippi (Edwards' campaign manager) has the ability to efficiently move supporters to the necessary precincts like Hillary's machine can. If Edwards wins, I think that he will fall to third at best in New Hampshire after Hillary and Barak. After that, South Carolina will probably be the nail in the coffin for Edwards, as the state rejects their native son and Hillary will sweep that state, and then all of the rest.
Barak will be poised for his return in 2012.

Republicans: Huckabee has been the media darling for the last few weeks, but that has also brought increased scrutiny. With Romney attacking Huckabee, they may be tied into a death spiral that will knock both down, although not enough to have a replacement winner of either McCain or Thompson. But, since the primary season has become so compressed, both Thompson and McCain will probably emerge as the new leaders after New Hampshire with McCain probably being the ultimate winner, but I am still hoping that "No fire in his belly" Thompson could pull off an upset in several Southern states, and actually make the race interesting.

Well, let's see what happens. Wish the Republic well. We will need it.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

How to get Rich

Someone once said that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Evidence of this is shown by the buzz generated by Jonah Goldberg's new book "Liberal Fascism." Dave has a post on this already at his site. In the comments, Wulfgar, in his usual inarticulate manner, cites to a site that supposedly has a review of the book, which is interesting, since it is not due for release until January 8th. Tracking the site that he mentioned, you find that he refers to a posting by Dr. Helen, in which she and her husband Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit have a podcast interview with the author. As usual, Wulfgar fails to actually think before he denounces, nor does he actually bother to read that to which he links. Typical.
In any event, the buzz generated has created an attempt to Googlebomb the book. You can't pay for that kind of publicity. Jonah is going to be rich!
But I think that the reason this book has generated so much publicity is that it touches on commonly and wrongly held assumptions. For instance, if you were to use the classical definition for liberalism, you would find that liberals are people who believe in
the importance of human rationality, individual property rights, natural rights, the protection of civil liberties, constitutional limitations of government, free markets, and individual freedom from restraint as exemplified in the writings of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill,[3], Montesquieu, Voltaire [4], Thomas Paine and others.
Now compare this list with the objectives of people who call themselves "liberals" today. You can't be trusted to smoke, let your child ride a bike spend your money the way that you want. You should also succumb to what the government thinks best with regard to health care, schools, speed limits, and just about any other item that a special interest group is able to get the government to impose on you. Oh, and Free Markets? they simply don't or shouldn't be allowed to function because they are made up of those evil corporations.
Getting back to my point, I think that the reason that the Left is so upset with Goldberg's book, is that it strikes a chord that they recognize, and don't really like about themselves. Not that I think that todays Liberals are Nazis, but that the same techniques used by Mussolini who is associated with Hitler in the Axis Pact, are in play here. And even then, it's not that the particular policies are necessarily evil, but I do think that the Left fails to appreciate that even good intentions can have disastrous results, and if hijacked by people with evil intent, can become so destructive to the individual that they bear no relation to the original intent of being liberal.
But what do I know? Since I am not a member of the Left, I must be a fascist, right?

Notes From Paradise

I have returned, tanned, rested, and ready from a wonderful vacation in Mexico at the Iberostar Grand Paraiso. I thought that I would share some interesting observations from the trip that you might find amusing.

On the way down, we stopped for a transfer at Atlanta's airport, and due to my wife and my enjoyment of the Native American ceremonial herb, we had to stop in the smoking lounge where there were a large number of soldiers on their way to Iraq. While there we made the acquaintance of a few of these fine young men and women, and were talking to them about going to Iraq. Most were positive and upbeat, saying that their only regret is that so few people understand what is really happening in Iraq. Then there was one young soldier who was definitely scared about going back. All perfectly normal reactions, in that the majority believe in what they are doing, and there are those who are sure that their number is going to come up this time, and there is nothing that they can do about it. I hope that the young man has a good sergeant that will straighten him out and help keep his head on a swivel.

After we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted by a valet with iced towels to refresh ourselves and then champagne while we checked in. After getting our room, we were walking down corridors of polished marble, with paintings overhead that rivaled the Sistine Chapel. I immediately turned to my wife and told her "We don't belong here." But we quickly got over it. It is a fantastic hotel, with excellent service, fine food and spirits, and a wonderfully relaxing atmosphere.

Our first full day there was raining, so that afternoon, I had the chance to watch Special Report with Brit Hume, which I normally don't get to see because it is on when I am working. My wife (The Good Democrat) watched patiently with me, and afterwards she started to gag about Fox news because she knows that I am not allowed to watch her Keith Olbermann show with any heavy objects at hand in order to save the TV from destruction. So I asked her what specifically she did not like about Brit Hume, and she said that she didn't know any facts to disagree with but she told me that they were saying "blah, blah blah" and did not say that Bush was absolutely horrible like Keith would have done. Laughed my ass off. Talk about seeking reinforcement for your opinions.

Mexico in mid December is absolutely wonderful. One thing about the Mexicans, they are second only to the South Koreans for being the hardest working people that I have ever seen. The image of Mexicans being lazy is probably predicated on the siesta, which when you have been in really hot climates for any length of time, you do appreciate a break from the heat. The phrase "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun" certainly comes to mind if you don't have a pool and someone to bring you a refreshing chilled drink.
One aspect of the immigration issue that will need to be addressed in the future, is that we will be needing their workers for tasks that the Baby Boom echo will be unable to fill. In exchange, I think that we will be sending them our retirees. Anybody got tips on American style nursing homes in Mexico stock?

I really didn't want to leave, but the realization that I couldn't afford to live there for the rest of my life quickly sank in. So now I have to work for another year to afford a few days in Paradise.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Radio Silence Reimposed

Just as some things are starting to get interesting, like Fred Thompson standing up to the moderator at the last debate, and all of the other candidates going "Me too," I am going on vacation. To Mexico, warm beaches, Don Julio, Cuban cigars, and Mayan ruins.
I thought about taking the lap top, where I could blog about the vacation and include photos. But that would just make people jealous, and besides, it's a vacation.

See you after Christmas.

Happy Hannuka, and whatever seasons greetings that you might enjoy, I wish you and yours the best of the season, and may peace and goodwill extend to all of humanity.

Rabid out.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Iran's next Revolution?

Students in Tehran are protesting against the oppressive policies of their clerical government. One has to wonder if the Mullahs aren't at least a little bit concerned, since this is how they came to power in the '70s.
Of course, I have always argued that we should be supporting opposition groups in Iran that would change it from a theocratic megalomaniac state to one that is welcome to participate in the realm of civilized nations. I argue that the best way to do this is to fly over Iran every night and use B-2s to drop Victoria's Secret catalogs and credit card applications.
We can only hope.

Friday, December 07, 2007

NIE versus Reality

The recent release of the National Intelligence Estimate that says that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons has been widely trumpeted as proof that we don't have to worry about it anymore. Why am I still concerned then? Oh yeah, that's right, look at the history of the Intelligence Community.
First, they were completely surprised at how far along Saddam was in 1991, Then they missed the Pakistanis development until they actually tested their nuke. After that, there was "Slam Dunk" Tenet, and his wonderfully incorrect failure. At the start of the Iraq war, a nuclear weapons program was found, in Libya, that the IC had no inkling of.
But I am sure that they have this one right. Right? I mean how often can they be so darned wrong and still be taken seriously? Of course, as shown at the link above, it is possible that this is just political chicanery, designed to make Bush look bad. Not that that has ever happened before. Snark!
It is also reasonable to question why the basis for the change was based on some notes from a meeting. Color me skeptical. It couldn't be part of any organized disinformation campaign could it?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Harry Reid is an idiot

Arlen Specter went to the Senate floor today to call out Harry Reid for his intemperate remarks. Now Arlen is perhaps to cute by half, but his remarks certainly ding the present Majority leader. Link to the video is here.

When you contrast Reid with our own Mike Mansfield, you have to wonder about Reid's competence. Now it could be that Reid is just playing to his base and "standing up to the Republicans." But it just demonstrates his lack of effectiveness. This is either a lack of control on Reid's part, or a calculated undertaking that realizes he will get no assistance from the Republicans, so he might as well play to his base. Either way, it means that nothing will get done.

But maybe that isn't such a bad thing.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Edward's Mandatory Health Plan

Protein Wisdom put this up, and at first, I thought that I had been misdirected to the Onion. Using the IRS to make sure that everyone buys health care.


Who wants to question the real power behind the facade of our democratic republic. Not me. In fact, I try to make it a point to overpay my taxes every chance I get, so if I should receive a visit from the kindly gentlemen who want only to suck my life's blood, that I will in the end receive a refund.

Please don't audit me. I really don't need the hassles.

Class is not dead

The Missoulian letters to the editor was taken up almost exclusively by fans of Wofford who were writing to thank the Griz fans for their sportsmanship during last week's loss to the Terriers. Give them a read. They should make you proud that our fans can be fanatical without being a**holes.

Of course, this probably wouldn't be applicable to how the Bobcats are treated.