Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Just for Mark T.

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

Color me confused

Last night, I watched the Democratic debate because my wife (The Good Democrat) wanted to know what Obama's positions are. She has been in that classic constituency that is identified as being for Hillary, but the daughters are working on her to go with Barak. I was expelled from the room because I kept asking silly questions like "Is s/he nuts?"
But I have to give Tim Russert credit for his question on what would happen if after either Hillary or Barak removed all of the troops from Iraq, what would they do if Al-Qaeda established a base in Iraq. It was a brilliant question because it played on the Democrats desires to run away now, not later, and not think about the consequences. By forcing them to address what those consequences are, there was some stuttering and stammering, but Obama said that he would re-invade Iraq if Al-Qaeda established a base in Iraq. Well that had me going for quite awhile, let me tell you.
Then, John McCain
mocked Democrat Barack Obama today for saying he'd take action as president "if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq."

McCain told a crowd in Tyler, Texas "I have some news. Al-Qaida is in Iraq. It's called 'al-Qaida in Iraq.'"

Obama responded by saying: "
Well, first of all, I do know that al Qaeda is in Iraq. That's why I've said we should continue to strike al Qaeda targets," he said. "But I have some news for John McCain, and that is that there was no such thing as al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq.

So, Barak admits that al-Qaeda is in Iraq, but he is going to withdraw anyway, so that he can reinvade later? Or does he think that if we leave Iraq, al Qaeda will leave as well? I can just see it now - "Well the infidels are outta here, so we'll be going as well. You Shiite heretics have fun without us, okay?"

I'm trying to keep my head from spinning on this one.

FISA Follies

With the expiration of the Protect America Act, we are facing an interesting question: What will happen now? The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece which describes the current situation pretty well, noting in part:
"[W]e have lost intelligence information this past week as a direct result of the uncertainty created by Congress' failure to act," Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and Attorney General Michael Mukasey wrote in a letter dated Feb. 22 to Mr. Reyes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Breaking it down in simplest terms, the occurrence of a terrorists attack is probably 50-50. That is it will happen, or it won't. Factors that increase the likelihood include the stated desire of the terrorists to commit just such an act, combined with our lack of ability since the expiration of the Act to sniff them out in advance. There really isn't that much to decrease the probability, except for the hope that by electing a Democrat the murderous thugs will realize that we mean them no harm, and will quit trying to kill us.


So, what's holding up the renewal of the Act? Some would argue that it violates Americans protections from being secure in their persons, houses and effects. And this has been demonstrated by, . . . er, . . ., I mean, . . . .
Actually, one of the problems with this argument was clarified when the Supreme Court bounced a case against the telecoms because the plaintiffs could not prove that they had been harmed, or for that matter, that they had even been monitored. For the plaintiff's attorneys, this problem can only be overcome if they can find someone whose communications were actually monitored. Now, I am not necessarily one to deny those members of the bar who are able to get really rich, while throwing a few crumbs to the named plaintiffs, but I think that this sort of suit would be a bad idea for the rest of the country.
If the trial attorneys are able to sue the telecoms, all they will need is one sympathetic judge (how can that be you ask?) who will allow for discovery. This discovery is having all of the telecoms produce records of what numbers were surveilled and when. Contact those people, and you have a case for millions, at least for the attorney.
But in the interests of making my fellow barristers lives easier, I would propose an advertising campaign, much like those for asbesteosis, or the use of certain drugs that were later found to be harmful. It would lead off with a voice over along these lines:
Were you planning an attack in America, and have that attack fail because your conversations with certain caves in Afghanistan were illegally monitored? If you have, you have the right to recover damages. The law firm of Dewey, Cheatam and Howe stands ready to act on your behalf in correcting this trampling of your constitutional rights. Call 1-800-SHYSTER with details of what attack you were planning, how it failed, and when you made calls to Afghanistan and we will see to it that you are allowed to carry on with your mission unimpeded. Call now, operators are standing by.

Makes one proud of the legal profession.

Let's all Sing Along

Mother Jones has a list of songs that are played to detainees as a way to keep them disoriented. Now, Mother Jones claims that these are "torture." Since the definition of torture is the infliction of "severe" pain, it seems hard to argue that these songs really qualify. Except for the Barney song, and the theme from Sesame Street.
Why, the more I think about it, that really is inhumane for anyone whose kids are older than six.

Another Passing

William F. Buckley has died. NRO has a link to look at here. Buckley was a class act, His sense of humor, wit and intelligence will be missed.
When you couple his passing with that of Milton Friedman's and the world is a far worse place for the loss.

Oh yeah, my favorite blurb from Buckley, was that he wanted to create an organization of Veterans of Future Wars, so they wouldn't have to wait around and join a cool drinking club.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

They're Coming

Instapundit has this, and I am reproducing it in its entirety.
I’d like to say something pithy and cutting regarding this newest asininity spewing forth from the bloated arse of the European Union, but that horse is seriously dead, no sense continuing to beat it.

Ted and I spent much of this last weekend discussing various things that are wrong, and how to fix them, and it really comes down to the fact that everything leading to the rise of the nanny-state cannot be fixed. There are too many corrupt bastards too happily taking advantage of too many acquiescent sheep. The number of sheep isn’t going to decrease, therefore there will always be corrupt bastards. And until we can start lining them up against the wall wholesale, nothing about that dynamic is ever going to change.

There are always going to be people who want to be told what to do. They need someone more powerful in charge and are fine with giving up whatever personal liberties they possess for a sense of security. How do the rest of us, who are perfectly frippin’ capable of providing our own sense of security, fight against that? There’s more sheep than there are wolves, that’s for damned sure, so how do we win? Do we all pack up and move to Montana? Buy up all the property we can get our hands on and secede? Limit immigration to those capable of demonstrating self-reliance and an IQ over 150?

How do we win?
(Emphasis added)

Don't they know that we really aren't that much better here either?

Pride in Country

Michelle Obama has said that “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country,” she told a Milwaukee crowd today, “and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.”
I notice this at the same time that National Geographic channel is running "Inside 9/11 Zero Hour." One of the survivors of the North Tower was recalling as he went down the stairs, he met a fireman going up. He said "I looked into his eyes, and I knew that I was going down, and I saw that he knew he was going up. And he didn't miss a G_d D_mned step."
If that fireman was the only thing that this country ever produced, (which he is but one of many) this is still a country to be proud of.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

An Interesting Dilemna

NRO has the answer to the question of how many Democratic delegates are left to be selected. Although the dateline of the piece is February 12th, or the date of the Potomac primaries, it does contain this interesting tidbit:
After today’s races are done, there will be 1,071 delegates left to be selected by voters and delegates in 17 states and territories. Obama would have to win more than 90 percent of them in order to win the nomination without the involvement of the remaining 443 superdelegates — who still have not publicly declared for either candidate at this point. Of course, that is impossible. And if Clinton does indeed perform well on March 4, she might erase Obama’s lead and return the contest to a near-tie

While the superdelegates are free to change their vote, assuming that Obama does win all of the 443 uncommitted superdelegates, he would still have to pull around 500 of the pledged delegates to claim the nomination. This is not impossible given the proportional allocation, but I think that if Hillary pulls off Texas and Ohio, that he will be unable to obtain the magic number.
Throwing it to the superdelegates will open the doors to cronyism, bribery and outright threats to secure the nomination. In this regard, I think that the Clinton machine will still excel, although their vulnerability is being exposed by Hillary's flagging performance. Throw in John Edwards and his delegates, and you could have some more fun. I think that if Edwards would be offered some post that he really wants, say Attorney General, he will throw in with whoever offers it first.
As a political junkie, I have to admit that I relish the idea of chaos. The Democrats are certainly creating some interesting scenarios.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Road to Hell Paving Co. Reports

After all of the hoopla about how ethanol is the holy grail for reducing greenhouse emissions comes this.

Who would have thought that after all of the consideration for reducing greenhouse gases, our best solution just really sucks. Kinda makes you wonder what else they have wrong.

A Tale of two Americas

John Edwards used to rail at the "Two Americas." Right, one where people have a house with more square footage than my block. And one where he would put on his pedestrian Levi shirt and his plain front Dockers and would walk around nodding his head knowingly, while listening to all of the woes and laments of being victims of hedge funds.
But I am beginning to think that there may be Two Americas, just not the ones that Edwards envisioned.
In one America, I see a people who are optimistic, hopeful and happy.
In the other, I see a people who are pessimistic, dour and angry.
In one America, I see people who value achievement and accomplishment.
In the other, I see people who rage in jealousy at the fact that they have not achieved or accomplished anything, and want the other group to pay for their failures.
One group that thinks that all people are intelligent individuals who can exercise smart choices.
Another who think that we can't be trusted to make choices for our own benefit, and that those choices should be transferred to some higher power of their choosing.
One America that sees 9-11 as part of a continuum of attacks by Islamic terrorists.
The other that sees 9-11 as either a criminal conspiracy by the Bush administration, or a minor blip that needs to be disregarded at the earliest opportunity.
One that sees Iraq as in the process of transformation, and hopefully the model for the future of a dysfunctional Middle East.
The other that sees Iraq as impossible to change, and that sees the Iraq war as a political tool with which to seize power.

My fear is that the second America will be in the ascendancy. The one hope that I have is that the Republic has been through tough times before and emerged stronger than those who would have pulled it down. Unfortunately, a smart man I know added the comment after the above: "I am sure that is what the Romans thought too."

The Coming Deluge

Arnold Kling has an excellent piece on what is going to happen when we have a Democratic President combined with a Democratic Congress. As he points out, the Democrats will not really be able to offer "Middle Class Tax Relief" because the money just ain't there.
Kling posits that the only remedy for them is going to be over regulation of all aspects of public life. Some bureaucrat is going to be able to decide what services you will be able to get, what products you can buy, what jobs you can have, in short, he will decide for you how to live your life. Mainly because you can't be trusted to make the right decisions. The sad thing is, that I think that there are enough underdeveloped adults who will be willing to sign on to being told what to do.
When I was in Europe the first time, I got to go to East Berlin, Socialism's showcase window on the world. I can see that we will be soon going down that road to end up where the East Germans were in the early '80s. The worker's paradise was never what it was promoted to be. Why we in the West are so interested in repeating a failed experiment is either a product of hubris (we know how to do it right) or stupidity. Neither of which is particularly appealing to me.

The Solution to All of Our Problems

Bill Clinton is telling a college audience that Hillary will "Stop bad things from happening." and that she will cause good things to happen.

Ah, the wonderful simplicity of it all. And here I thought campaigns are supposed to be substantive. The bad thing of course, is that there are those people who honestly do believe that by replacing Bush, all that Bill has promised will come to pass.

And they have the same right to vote as someone who actually thinks? Well, as someone once said, even idiots have a right to be represented.

What a country.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Pain of Betrayal

Rolling Stone has an article that documents how the anti-war crowd was betrayed by the very Democrats that they elected. Now, I don't agree with the anti-war crowd, mostly because I think that we cannot afford to lose, and there does seem to be progress because of the "Surge." (Trademark pending).
But nonetheless, I can sympathize with those who believed that the Democrats would make a change, only to have that belief crushed under their booted heel.
There ought to be a special ring of hell for those who cynically betray the naive for their own political purposes.
Oops, that would be a pretty full ring, now wouldn't it?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Contemptible Congress

This Wall Street Journal article details the typical running roughshod of innocent people who suffer from being of the wrong party while serving in government. It ties in with a report that I heard on PBS's News Hour (Which I still think of as McNeil Lehrer) where Waxman is going after Dr. Michael Jarvik for pimping a cholesterol drug. According to Waxman, Jarvik is practicing medicine without a license by prescribing the drug. I am sure that I can run down to the local pharmacy with a video copy of the commercial and get my prescription filled.
But Waxman's real anger is directed at the fact that the commercial shows Jarvik rowing a boat, and Jarvik only did this for the commercial. Quelle horreur! It is just this sort of attention to inanities, and it is not specific to Democrats (Spectre's calling for an investigation of the Patriots intercepting signals for one) which leads to the lowest opinion of Congress ever.
I have always thought that if I was called before Congress, I would have to decline on the grounds of the Vth Amendment. For anything I would say would be contemptible of the less than august body of blowhards. And there would be no defense.
"Yes I hold you idiots in contempt!"
Hire the Handicapped: Elect someone to Congress.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Why I am now for McCain

Viceroy's Fuguestate has a good piece on why having a McCain Presidency may not necessarily be a bad thing. Watching Harry Reid get slapped around could be fun. Which compliments a piece by Confederate Yankee who has created the bumpersticker: Vote for McCain, or we're really screwed.
I guess that I have become a broken glass Republican for McCain: If confronted with eating broken glass or voting for him, I am heading to the polls.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Montana GOP caucus

I was invited to the GOP caucus here in Missoula to try and persuade the voters to consider Fred Thompson. Unfortunately, Fred dropped out before I had a chance to use stirring oratory to persuade the voters that he was the one.
I decided not to go, mostly because I lack inspiration for any of the remaining candidates. But I missed my chance to use the best line ever:

"I represent the Party wing of the Republican Party."

Party on Dudes!


Odd thoughts for no other reason than it has been two weeks since I last posted.

Whatever happened to cold fusion?

Whatever happened to the vaccine for cavities?

If there really is a patent for a carburetor that gets 100 mpg, why is it that all of these car companies are not using it to capture market share?

Why are there conspiracy theorists who believe that there really is such a thing as a carburetor that gets 100 mpg, but that the car or oil companies are not letting anyone use it?

Why does the US Congress believe that tax cuts are bad, but giving $185 billion in borrowed money is good?

Feel free to add your own musings.