Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Just about every McCain supporting commentator that I’ve seen has had a response to Obama’s VP pick of something along the line of “Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!” But I’ve got to say, I’m really pretty disappointed. Sure, from a strategic perspective, it’s a great pick (for those who don’t support BO), but we aren’t opposing teams here, we’re all for America. Barack Obama has a very good chance of becoming the next US. President, and, regardless of whether or not I want him there, if that happens, I wholeheartedly plan to support him (not necessarily support his policies or decisions, but I will respect him and the office that he holds). I want him to make good decisions. This was quite possibly the most important decision that he will make throughout this election, and it was not good. If he is to become the president of the United States, I would like to see more evidence that he can make good decisions.

Obama and Free Speach

I don’t know this paper very well, so maybe this is off, but it’s certainly worth considering. Apparently an independent group developed a television ad about Obama’s relationship with weather underground bomber Bill Ayres, who has a history of bombing government buildings and a few years ago stated that he was not the least bit sorry and feels that they did not do enough.

According to the DC Examiner:

Obama’s campaign has encouraged supporters to flood television stations with
protests whenever they see the ad. Nothing wrong with that, but the other thrust
of the Obama response was to ask the Justice Department to intervene to stop
further airing of the ad. That’s where Obama crossed the line and raised a
question of fundamental importance — does he or does he not believe the First
Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech?

Now, if the information was libelous, I could see trying to get the law involved, but there is no real indication of this, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

The Obama campaign describes the ad as “false, despicable and outrageous,”
according to The Associated Press. If the ad is false, the Obama campaign
should have no trouble refuting it, which would likely be sufficient to
persuade stations to decline the ad. Yet we’ve seen no such

If it is false, he should state what is false about it. But he has not, leading me to believe that there is nothing demonstrably false stated in this ad.

I want Barack Obama to be a good candidate, I really do. This is not a sport where one side benefits if the other screws up, this is a real decision about who will make vital decisions that will affect the entire world. Things like this scare me.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Obama's VP

So, Obama will announce his VP pick tonight, most likely. The conventional wisdom seems to be that he will pick Joe Biden. I do not think that this is a very good idea. It seems to me that this would 1) be an admission of his own lack of experience, particularly in foreign policy, by making it appear that even he knew that he had to balance the ticket; 2) be asking for trouble from all of Biden's past and future gaffes (he's sure to make a few more given this kind of national attention); 3) really hurt Obama's chances with the disaffected youth vot by completely undermining Obama's selling points of change and post-partisanship.

We'll see what happens

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Georgian President Speaks


"If Georgia falls, this will also mean the fall of the West in the entire
former Soviet Union and beyond," he wrote. "Leaders in neighboring states --
whether in Ukraine, in other Caucasian states or in Central Asia -- will have to
consider whether the price of freedom and independence is indeed too high."

I’m very concerned.

Additionally: I think its too soon to accuse the world of anticipatory capitulation- yet, but don’t think that I don’t expect it.

Waterboarding on Display

Seems to me that this sort of thing is likely to be counterproductive (to the artist’s goals) -

Seems like seeing it would take some of the mystery away to make it seem "not that bad" (like desensitization), and the fact that the artists themselves are willing to do it just reinforces that it's not quite worth getting too worked up about.

Death threats and other thoughts

Interesting story here about CNN and CBS running a story about a nutjob who wanted to kill Obama, but editing out the part where he also wanted to kill Bush.

I was at dinner the other day with a friend who’s a bit of an uber-liberal- in a discussion about the Supreme Court, he asserted that he would like to shoot a certain outspoken conservative Supreme Court justice in the head, and at another time, he asserted that he would like to run over a prominent radio talk show host with a truck. Now, I know that he was mostly joking, and I’m sure that if he actually had an opportunity to do something like that, he wouldn’t take it, but I have to say, I don’t know any conservative-types who would make similar statements about democrats. None. For example, when Senator Kennedy got sick, every person who I heard discuss it said something nice about him and indicated that they hoped he would be OK- I remember hearing the same when former President Clinton had heart surgery.

Why is this sort of language acceptable to the left, who generally claim to be more peaceable, than the right? Is this just anger over being out of power? Extended Bush Derangement Syndrome? Or do I only listen to smart, emotionally controlled conservatives? I don’t know.

That also got me thinking- if I had the opportunity to stop someone who was attempting to assassinate, say, Barak Obama, I would certainly take it. I probably wouldn’t take that opportunity if they were attempting to shoot, say, Kim Jong-Il, one of the Castros, or Hugo Chavez, but are there any politicians (or other public figures) here in the states who I would be OK with letting an assassination happen? I can’t think of any (barring, of course, some nut who was an immediate threat to others, like a bomber).

Obama gets rick-rolled!

Enjoy some good, clear, non-mean spirited candidate fun:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Humor Campaign

A discussion of McCain’s “Humor Campaign

Will it work? It’s hard to say. I’m thinking that it’s pretty much unprecedented in presidential elections, but it’s certainly grabbed a lot of attention during what is traditionally a very slow period in the presidential race, and people do appreciate a sense of humor (I think that John Kerry’s tendency to take himself far too seriously certainly worked against him last time, and we all remember the wooden Al Gore.) Of course, Bob Dole is a very funny guy (I doubt that he does the late night shows anymore, but when he did, they were a riot), but I don’t think that he ever attempted to capitalize on that during his campaign.

Plus, there’s this:

The laugh-laced attacks have offered Democrats an unappealing set of options:
Respond to the substance of the criticism and look humorless -- or play along,
and risk permanent laughingstock.

I think that Dems have risked appearing humorless a lot lately, pretty much since they got the reputation of having to make everything PC, so this might really play to that.

Charlie Foxtrot: Finally a War to Protest

Charlie Foxtrot: Finally a War to Protest

Look, I'll give the peace at any pricers some time to get their outrage going about Russia's invasion of Georgia, but I'm not holding my breath to wait for them.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

News Flash: UN Security Council Ineffective!!

What, aren't you surprised?


World veto

Read this article about whether Obama (or other Democrat) supreme court appointees might lead to an American criminal justice system becoming subject to world veto.

Arbitrary Windfall Profits

Wall Street Journal looks at what is, and what isn’t, a windfall profit that democrats would like to tax. Of course, if you don’t want to think any deeper than “Oil companies are evil” and “corporate America is greedy,” this probably isn’t for you.

“The point is that what constitutes an abnormal profit is
entirely arbitrary. It is in the eye of the political beholder, who is usually
looking to soak some unpopular business. In other words, a windfall is nothing
more than a profit earned by a business that some politician dislikes. And a tax
on that profit is merely a form of politically motivated expropriation. . .

It's what politicians do in Venezuela, not in a free
Of course, if you don’t want to think any deeper than “Oil companies are evil” and “corporate America is greedy,” this probably isn’t for you.

Edwards admits to affair

I actually have pretty much thought that they should have left this alone- why torture poor Elizabeth when the guy’s really not much of a public official these days. Of course, hypothetical president Obama could have given him some role, and then it might be proper, but I just never saw the idea of him getting a major role all that likely. Either way, I call scum on him.

Question, though: why is it OK for Bill Clinton to speak at the convention, but not John Edwards?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Kids meals are too high in calories. Really? Who doesn’t know this? Jeeze people, learn how to cook- it’s really not that hard. Just find a recipe and follow it. There are dozens out there that are easy, cheap, and healthy, you can find just about anything online. And I can almost promise you that 99% of even the simplest meals are going to taste better than the slop that they serve at fast food resturants.

Seriously, if you don’t know what to make, email me and ask- I will be happy to point you in a direction that is far, far better than fast food.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

AIDS in America

OK, I just can’t bring myself to get worked up about AIDs in the US- whatever demographic group it’s currently affecting the worst. AIDS in Africa- sure, that’a big, big problem- and there are a lot of other problems (crippling poverty, lack of medical resources, cultural issues involving female submission and prostitution, lack of prenatal care to prevent transmission from pregnant women to babies, etc) that make it a whole heck of a lot worse. But here in the US- I’m sorry, no. You simply cannot tell me that most people, even if they’re poor, or female, or black, or gay, don’t know how it’s transmitted and how you can avoid it. You can get free condoms on pretty much every block, especially in the poorer neighborhoods. (My college roommates used to take the extras from the health dept and turn them into water balloons.) And thanks to Medicaid, those with it can get the very best treatment available, even if they don’t have the income or insurance. I’m sorry, there are a lot more problems in the world that are far, far more worth my worry.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Who's happier?

I was watching CNN the other morning, and they ran this story, describing that a new study that found that men were happier than women later in life, although women were happier earlier in life. The host wanted to know, why are middle aged women less happy? She read a few emails responding to this question on air, which all disparaged men and blamed them for any problems that these poor, unhappy middle aged women might have. The host cheered them on, laughing and screaming “I love it!” about the anti-male comments.

If you ask me, we should be a lot more concerned about unhappy young men- they are in their prime educational years, productive years, and child creating years. How they choose to live their lives with regards to education, career, marriage, and childrearing have huge implications for the rest of their lives and for society in general. Not to mention the fact that young men are by far the most likely to commit crimes, exspecially violent crimes (thus creating a danger for society in general). Compared to that, I’m really not all that concerned about a bunch of middle aged women who aren’t fulfilled.

The audacity of the fact that too many people have already used the phrase "the audacity of Obama" for me to use it here

One of my goals for the summer was to read Barack Obama’s books, just to try to get to know what he is all about a little better. (I was also planning to read at least something by McCain, but I’m quickly running out of summer- but I feel like McCain doesn’t have much mystery to him, anyway) I finished The Audacity of Hope a little while ago, but it didn’t make a big impression on me. He was already involved in politics at the time, and I thought that it pretty much read like, well, like he was running for public office. An extended version of here’s my stand on this and that, if you will.

Hope was a little flat, but it was well enough written, so I had really been looking forward to Dreams from My Father. I hoped that that would give me some real insight- Obama, raw and exposed! I have to say, I’m pretty disappointed. First off, it’s not very well written. It rambles and doesn’t follow a linear pattern that makes much sense or comes to much of a logical conclusion. Second, it is incredibly self-focused. He was around my age at the time that he wrote it, and pretty much fresh out of law school, but he seems to think that by that point, he had already lived a great and important life, with so many significant experiences. Ok, sure, his life was probably more interesting than most- racial mix, lived abroad, kind of a screwed up family situation, that sort of thing. But it’s hardly the stuff of excitement. I’ve certainly known plenty of people in my own life just as interesting as the Obama from Dreams.

Third, and perhaps most grating to me is how much of the book just doesn’t ring true. Now, I’m sure that most of us have already heard of the flat out untruths in the book, such as the silly story that he told about the Life magazine article that suddenly made him aware of race, but turned out to just plan never have existed. The thing is, this book is full of things that, while not factually impossible, just aren’t beleivable, because things just don’t happen like that. For example, this story reminds me of a young adult fiction story that Teaches A Valuable Lesson about accepting people who are different:

There was one other child in my class, though , who reminded me of a different
sort of pain. Her name was Coretta, and before my arrival she had been the
only black person in our grade. She was plump and dark and didn’t seem to
have many friends. From the first day, we avoided each other but watched
from a distance, as if direct contact would only remind us more keenly of our
Finally, during recess one hot, cloudless day, we found ourselves
occupying the same corner of the playground. I don’t remember what we said
to each other, but I remember that suddenly she was chasing me around the jungle
gyms and swings. She was laughing brightly, and I teased her and dodged
this way and that, until she finally caught me and we fell to the ground
breathless. When I looked up, I saw a group of children,
faceless before the glare of the sun, pointing down at us.
has a boyfriend! Corretta has a boyfriend!”
The chants grew louder as a few
more kids circled us.
“She’s not my g-girlfriend,” I stammered.
I looked to Corretta for some assistance, but she just stood there looking down
at the ground.
“Corretta’s got a boyfriend! Why don’t you kiss
her, mister boyfriend?”
“I’m not her boyfriend!” I shouted. I
ran up to Corretta and gave her a slight shove; she staggered back and looked up
at me, but still said nothing. “Leave me alone!” I shouted again.
And suddenly Corretta was running, faster and faster, until she disappeared from
sight. Appreciateive laughs rose around me. Then the bell rang, and
the teachers appeared to round us back into class.
For the rest of the
afternoon, I was haunted by the look on Corretta’s face just before she had
started to run: her disappointment, and the accusation. I wanted to
explain to her somehow that it had been nothing personal; I’d just never had a
girlfriend before and saw no particular need to have one now. But I didn’t
even know if that was true. I knew only that it was too late for
explanations, that somehow I’d been tested and found wanting; and whenever I
snuck a glance at Corretta’s desk, I would see her with her head bent over her
work, appearing as if nothing had happened, pulled into herself and asking no

Or another story, where, as he tells it, when he heard his coach use the word “nigger*,” then brush it off by explaining that “there are black people, and there are niggers. Those guys were niggers.” Obama claims next that his response was “There are white folks, and then there are ignorant motherfuckers like you.”

Now, really? I mean, I’m sure that that was the response that he wanted to give, later, when he thought of it. I’m sure that's the response that you would have him give if you were writing a movie and he was the hero. But at the actual time, unprepared and under stress? No, nobody, not even the great Obama, comes up with a comeback response like that. It just doesn’t happen.

* No, I'm not going to call it "the N word" like we're in second grade. It's just a word, get over it.