Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm Impressed

MIT has made a major breakthrough in Solar technology. More details here.

Clinton to Contest at the Convention?

Over at The Moderate Voice Tony Campbell thinks its highly likely that the Democratic National Convention could prove to be a Clinton vs Obama showdown.

I talked to a Clinton delegate here in Maryland and he told me that they have been instructed to vote for Hillary on the first ballot. To make things more interesting, there is a movement to swing 160 delegates from Obama to Clinton. If that occurs, Clinton could re-establish her campaign and face John McCain in the fall.

The group, P.U.M.A (Party Unity My A**) claims that 15 delegates have switched from Obama to Clinton in July. There is still the possibility of a floor convention vote to fully seat the delegates of Michigan and Florida which would benefit Senator Clinton. Finally, the Obama flip-flop on the FISA bill has not been well received by the more liberal segments of the Democratic faithful.

...

Where are the Clintons? They are patiently waiting for Denver. The only question is: will it be an easy nomination for Obama or one of the grandest political ambushes ever pulled off…on the voting floor of the Convention.
I just don't see it happening. Not because I don't believe that Clinton doesn't want it that badly. But because I believe that she knows that its not only a huge gamble but if she somehow won the nomination Obama's supporters would fail to show up at the polls come election day. She's too smart to risk her career and any future chance of being president by backstabbing Obama at the last moment. What she is however doing is letting PUMA keep her name in the news. Which I must add they've done a mighty good job of. Then once the election is wrapped she pulls a McCain and begins appearing on every TV and radio program she possibly can to ensure that she stays on the public's radar thus increasing her support for a run in 2012.

After all you never gamble what you can't afford to lose.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sen. Ted Stevens Indicted




Bad news for him considering the fierce competition for his seat....


From McClatchy news:

WASHINGTON — Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, at 84 the longest-serving Republican in the Senate and one of its most powerful members, was indicted Tuesday on seven felony counts alleging that he lied to conceal his acceptance of $250,000 in gifts and services from a now-defunct Alaska oil services and construction company.
...
The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in Washington, charges that Stevens made false statements on his annual Senate financial-disclosure statements for the years 2001 through 2006 to conceal gifts from VECO Corp. and its chief executive officer, Bill Allen. If he's convicted, Stevens could face an unspecified fine and as much as five years in prison.
If hope that if he is found guilty that he punished to the fullest extent of the law. Additionally I hope that he is the last of the corrupt Republicans still in office. I have little doubt that had the GOP not been in the majority he either would have kept his nose clean or been indicted sooner. That brings me to one of my chief concerns about an Obama presidency. I fear that should the Dems control the house, the senate, and the Oval Office that we'll see the same level of corruption and excess. To me this is one of the most important functions that divided government serves. By that I mean as long as one party feels that the other is is breathing down their neck waiting for them to screw up they tend to stick to the straight and narrow.

Not that that alone is enough to push me into the McCain camp mind you. He's not the McCain of 2000. However as both he and Obama are moving to the middle the differences in the views on major issues are starting to dissapear. If that continues and both of them prove to politicians rather than leaders in my case the divided government arguement may prove to be the tipping point in McCain's favor.

That is of course provided that I don't become totally disgusted with both candidates and throw my vote Bob Barr's way. After all in Texas that vote would be just as a significant as a vote for Obama.

H/T Memeorandum

Thanks to DWSUWF for linking to this post

Monday, July 28, 2008

Something is Missing

I normally don't post about tragedies like the shooting that took place at a Unitarian church today. That's largely because I don't feel that I will anything particularly insightful to add to the dialogue by the time I get around to posting. Additionally something seems wrong about using a tragedy to draw visitors to my site. However today, because I read the story on the BBC rather than the American news wires, I noticed something was missing from blogland's coverage of the story:

Police have named one of the two people killed as Greg McKendry, a 60-year-old usher at the church. The other, Linda Kreager, died of her injuries at a nearby hospital a few hours later.

Church member Barbara Kemper said that Mr McKendry had "stood in front of the gunman and took the blast to protect the rest of us".

Simply put when his fellow man needed him most he showed his quality and answered the call with both courage and selflessness. In doing so he not only saved the lives of those around him he also changed the narrative of this story. Because, if one leaves out Mr. McKendry's part this is just another senseless act of violence however, once one includes the details of his final selfless act, the story shows that there are heroes and villains on both sides of the aisle.

My sincerest condolences go out to Mr. McKendry's family. His final act speaks volumes about exactly how much you have lost.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

TGIF

Changing genres again.


Old Crow Medicine Show covering Bob Dylan's Rock Me Mama aka Wagon Wheel

The Other Obamania

You know, the one that makes people believe and then try to prove irrational claims about him.
This time it was,"Obama is not an American citizen" which was dreamed up by a disgruntled Clinton supporter. Fortunately this one actually revealed credible evidence to the contrary.

An announcement in the Honolulu Adviser circa 1961:








While this finding may have dashed the hopes of Clinton's less logical supporters its not going to do a thing to stop the "truthers" from running with it. After all to real conspiracy theorist evidence to the contrary of one's supposition doesn't mean your wrong. It's proof of a cover up. Why? Because if they actually used Occam's Razor and faced the facts then they wouldn't be superior to the rest of the general populace. Think of it as a fundamentalist religion in which the darkest motives of man/alienkind and one's ego are the only deities and you'll have a pretty good grasp of the mindset of truthers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The New Flu

Is an interesting experiment. Essentially its trying to see how information is spread on the web. Just click the spread it button and post it on your site. The widget then ads a link to your blog on the map which is posted on hundreds of blogs already. More details here









H/T to OTB

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Jackson Vs Obama Redux

Over at the WSJ Shelby Steele tries to explain the motives behind Jesse Jackson's recent castration comment.

...he (Jackson) and the entire civil rights establishment pursued equality through the manipulation of white guilt.

Their faith was in the easy moral leverage over white America that the civil rights victories of the 1960s had suddenly bestowed on them. So Mr. Jackson and his generation of black leaders made keeping whites "on the hook" the most sacred article of the post-'60s black identity.

They ushered in an extortionist era of civil rights, in which they said to American institutions: Your shame must now become our advantage. To argue differently -- that black development, for example, might be a more enduring road to black equality -- took whites "off the hook" and was therefore an unpardonable heresy. For this generation, an Uncle Tom was not a black who betrayed his race; it was a black who betrayed the group's bounty of moral leverage over whites. And now comes Mr. Obama, who became the first viable black presidential candidate precisely by giving up his moral leverage over whites.

Mr. Obama's great political ingenuity was very simple: to trade moral leverage for gratitude. Give up moral leverage over whites, refuse to shame them with America's racist past, and the gratitude they show you will constitute a new form of black power. They will love you for the faith you show in them.

I think he's right about the root cause of the Jackson's enmity although I'd throw in a little jealousy as well. However I don't think he's entirely right about the gratitude part. That may play a small part but it occurred to me that a large portion of Obama's appeal is the fact that he is in all visible ways the opposite of George W Bush. I'd even argue that many of his supporters on some level see their choice of candidate as a refutation of the current administration. I'd even go so far as to argue that had someone seemingly more thoughtful and eloquent been president that eight years that Hillary would probably have gotten the nomination. It seems to me that W literally set the stage for Obamania.

Having said that I do however give points to Obama for eschewing Jackson's guilt strategy. That is indeed change I can believe in. Additionally it shows that Obama is smart enough to realize that that song just doesn't play as well with those born in the post Vietnam era. That may say more about him than anything else we know from his record. Because love him or hate him you have to appreciate the fact that he can figure out exactly which way the wind blows.

Finally, Some Clarification

First the Iraqi PM Nouri Al Maliki seemingly backs Obama's position on the timetable for withdrawl in Iraq. Then he claims it was a mistranslation by his own translator . Today we get a little clarification in English...



If this is true then McCain is going to have an extremely hard row to hoe this election season.

H/T to Donklephant for the video

Monday, July 21, 2008

Isn't It Ironic

That John McCain, who repeatedly opposed the creation of a holiday to commemorate Martin Luther King (although he did later change his mind), would be running against a man who is living proof of the fruit of Dr. King's labor?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

On the Other Hand

Would this have been condemned to the same degree as The New Yorker's cover?

H/T to DWSUWF

Things I Have Learned

Never taser someone when you are both standing in the same puddle.

Friday, July 18, 2008

TGIF

Moving to another genre...

Wille Nelson's Whiskey River

Thursday, July 17, 2008

McCain at the NAACP Convention




He gave a solid, but not inspiring, speech which was pretty well received considering the audience's strong pro-Obama leanings. What's more important to me though is the fact that he actually bothered to speak there considering how few votes he'll garner for his troubles. However I think he seemed more like the McCain of 2000 than anything we've seen of late. It was a good first step by McCain to make the GOP seem like a more inclusive party with a few good ideas.


You can watch the full speech here here here and here

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dreaming of Electric Sheep

Like this one...

Its actually a six legged robotic lawn mower. Now all we need is a robotic sheepdog to keep an eye on it while it does its job.

Yay, More Media Bias

Looks like the MSM is starting to mirror blogtopia more and more.

About the AP:

Ron Fournier says he regards Sandy Johnson, his predecessor as head of The Associated Press’s Washington bureau, as “a mentor.”

Johnson, though, regards Fournier, who replaced her in a hard-feelings shake-up in May, as a threat to one of the most influential institutions in American journalism.

“I loved the Washington bureau,” said Johnson, who left the AP after losing the prestigious position. “I just hope he doesn’t destroy it.”

There’s more to her vinegary remark than just the aftertaste of a sour parting. Fournier is a main engine in a high-stakes experiment at the 162-year old wire to move from its signature neutral and detached tone to an aggressive, plain-spoken style of writing that Fournier often describes as “cutting through the clutter.”

In the stories the new boss is encouraging, first-person writing and emotive language are okay.

So is scrapping the stonefaced approach to journalism that accepts politicians’ statements at face value and offers equal treatment to all sides of an argument. Instead, reporters are encouraged to throw away the weasel words and call it like they see it when they think public officials have revealed themselves as phonies or flip-floppers.

The new approach was on display in a Liz Sidoti news analysis written earlier this month with the lead, “John McCain calls himself an underdog. That may be an understatement.”
...
Fournier and other critics of the conventional press model, especially those on the left, have said that being released from the tired conventions of news writing is exactly what journalism needs.

By these lights, the mentality that presumes both sides of an argument are entitled to equal weight is what prevented the media from challenging the Bush administration more aggressively on the Iraq war and other issues.

Others warn that what Fournier and other proponents see as truth-telling can easily bleed into opinionizing — exactly the opposite of the AP’s mission of “delivering fast, unbiased news.”

“The problem,” says James Taranto, the Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web columnist and a frequent critic of what he sees as the AP’s liberal bias, “is that while you can do opinion journalism and incorporate reporting into it, you can’t say you’re doing straight reporting, and then add opinion to that.”
And Mr. Taranto is right in my opinion. Once a news agency abandons objectivity they cease to be a credible news source. By allowing opinion to be presented amongst fact even a little they create a slippery slope and risk becoming nothing more than a well funded investigative blog. And while I wouldn't mind seeing a few more of those around the need for truly objective journalism is even greater. Does this mean I won't be quoting the AP anymore? Nope. But it does mean that I will be scanning the articles that I link to for obvious bias.

Related Posts:
This Liberal Media Bias

Friday, July 11, 2008

TGIF

A little lighter fare...

All We Want to do is Eat Your Brains
by Jonathan Coulton

Pure Idiocy

Trading your wife of ten years and your kids for internet porn and an eighteen year old. Especially when your wife is twenty years younger, a model, and also a millionaire.



Sorry, but my internet connection is intermittent right now so this is the best I can do in the time allotted.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Iran Answers Israel

Looks like Iran engaged in a little saber rattling of its own today...

From the WaPo:

Iran Test-Fires Long-Range Missile

Iran said today it had test-fired a long-range missile capable of reaching Israel and U.S. troops in the region, a step promptly condemned by the Bush administration as heightening tensions over the country's suspected nuclear weapons program.

The roughly 1,200 mile range of Iran's Shahab-3 rocket has been known for several years, but the test firing -- and pointed statements from Tehran about the country's "capability in hitting its enemies" -- added to a tense climate.

...

The Islamic Republic News Agency reported that the missile was test-fired as part of a larger military exercise by Iran's Revolutionary Guards. In Tehran, the Associated Press said that as many as nine missiles of different sizes were fired during the exercise, carried out partly near the Persian Gulf shipping lanes that Iran has threatened to close if it is attacked.

A top Iranian official said this week the country would also retaliate against Tel Aviv if any targets inside the country are struck.

"Our hands are always on the trigger and our missiles are ready for launch," Revolutionary Guard Gen. Hossein Salami said today, according to the wire service.

The missile tests and statements from Iranian officials are part of a recent sharp back-and-forth between Iran, Israel and the United States that have formed the backdrop to ongoing negotiations about Iran's nuclear program.

This is most definitely a response to the recent Israeli war games and was meant to send a message to Israel. Considering that Iran supposedly has stealth capable missiles I'm certain that its meaning was crystal clear. It's also a pretty good indicator of how well our current tactics in dealing with Iran are working. Those aren't going to change anytime soon so lets see what our presidential hopefuls had to say about this incident....

Senator John McCain issued the following statement:

“Iran’s most recent missile tests demonstrate again the dangers it poses to its neighbors and to the wider region, especially Israel. Ballistic missile testing coupled with Iran’s continued refusal to cease its nuclear activities should unite the international community in efforts to counter Iran’s dangerous ambitions.

Iran’s missile tests also demonstrate the need for effective missile defense now and in the future, and this includes missile defense in Europe as is planned with the Czech Republic and Poland. Working with our European and regional allies is the best way to meet the threat posed by Iran, not unilateral concessions that undermine multilateral diplomacy.”

And Senator Barack Obama, speaking on NBC’s “Today” show urged “aggressive diplomacy” when it comes to Iran:

“There’s no doubt we’re seeing rising tensions in the area, and it’s part of the reason why it’s so important for us to have a coherent policy with respect to Iran. It has to combine much tougher threats of economic sanctions with direct diplomacy, opening up channels of communication so that we avoid provocation but we give strong incentives for the Iranians to change their behavior. We’ve got to have the kind of aggressive diplomacy that unfortunately has been absent over the last several years.”

This is one area in which I agree with Obama however I'm not certain that he'd use some of the stronger diplomatic tools at his command were he to become president (example: blockading Iran's ports should concrete proof of Iran's nuclear weapon program become available and they fail to abandon pursuing nukes afterwards.)

McCain's insistence on continuing the current administrations policy towards Iran is more troubling. After all isn't performing the same actions repeatedly and expecting different results one of the definitions of insanity? Additionally McCain's "Bomb bomb bomb Iran" and his more recent kill Iranians comment don't score him any points with me at all.

There is a middle ground between the two stated positions and what I want is for one of the candidates to channel Teddy Roosevelt and be willing to go there. Is that too much to ask?

Pure Genius

Now all we need is egg flavored toothpaste...

Bacon Flavored Dental Floss


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Mental Vacation

Pretty much every place I didn't go on my vacation...


If the video doesn't appear click here.

Backstory and more videos at Where the Hell is Matt

McCain Draws Dogged Support

McCain may not be doing well with the base but at least he's kicking butt...

with pet owners?

From the AP:

Pet owners prefer McCain over Obama
If the presidential election goes to the dogs, John McCain is looking like best in show.
...
The apparent Democratic nominee Barack Obama, on the other hand, doesn't have a pet at home.
...
An AP-Yahoo! News poll found that pet owners favor McCain over Obama 42 percent to 37 percent, with dog owners particularly in McCain's corner.
...

He has a veritable menagerie, including Sam the English springer spaniel, Coco the mutt, turtles Cuff and Link, Oreo the black and white cat, a ferret, three parakeets and a bunch of saltwater fish.

On the other hand, the poll found that among people who don't have pets, Obama leads McCain 48 percent to 34 percent.

Does this have much to do with anything? Nope. I just like weird polls and happen to be a pet owner myself. On that note I'd like to see a poll showing the political affiliation of American pet owners.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A Minor Observation

I took a little time during my vacation to blog surf some smaller blogs that are representative of the GOP base and found that almost all of them had negative things to say about Obama however none of them had anything positive to say about McCain. Admittedly my sample was small but if it is indeed indicative of a larger trend then McCain is in trouble. It would also explain why McCain is still running to the right while Obama seems to be moving to the center.

McCain is in a tricky spot in that his courting of the right turns off the independents while his attempts to woo the center turns off the base. My feeling remains that unless Obama screws the pooch somehow McCain will lose. The only question to me is by what margin.

His only chance, in my opinion, is to master Obama's technique of not being specific without appearing to be vague.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Birthday America!

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...

Please take some time today to read the whole thing.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

On Vacation

My firstborn arrived for the summer this past Saturday so I'll be going on vacation for a week or so. I may post hither and yon but there are no guarantees.