Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Far too much is being made of Obama's alleged snub on the house floor at the SOTU address the other night.

I think it is a result of the press reading far too much into a coincidence of crowd dynamics because it makes a good story.

I'm sure the Clintons are all too happy to fan the fake flames. But I doubt they started it.

Has our political process really eroded down to scoring points on who did or didn't shake hands with whom on the floor at the SOTU address? Really, folks. Really.

The press is far too involved in "shaping" The Process™.

Primary Concern

Morgan pointed me to this, and I commented on that post on his blog. But I decided that it'd make a pretty good post of its own over here.

I got my sample ballot for next Tuesday. Fred Thompson is on it. I considered voting for him anyway. Now I am considering it more.

McCain is near or at the bottom of the rung as far as I’m concerned in the Republican Field. This is mostly because of his buying in to the AGW fraud (but then again, so has Bush, at least verbally) and his support of amnesty, no, really, amnesty -- for illegal aliens. And of course to a lesser degree, McCain-Feingold anti-free speech. At least he likes Justice Roberts and is a proponent of fighting Islamism. And I think he supports the second amendment with no “but”’s.

He has criticized Bush’s Iraq strategy without getting ugly about (a gentlemanly disagreement) it and he supports the general mission.

That all being said a vote for Thompson isn’t excactly going to take my vote away from someone else that I have strong feelings one way or another about. It’ll either take one away from … let’s face it, McCain or Romney — that’s who I’m left with after Rudy pulls out … and I really don’t care that much.

In the end, Thompson will release his delegates to whomever he thinks can win the general election. I suspect that will be McCain as they are reportedly friends.
So you’re right, a vote for Thompson in the primaries is not a bad idea. I suspect, though, that there aren’t enough of us who would do it to even show up as a blip on the radar. Not saying don’t do it. Just saying don’t get your hopes up too much.

On the other hand, a McCain/Thompson ticket might not be TOO bad, considering the choices.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What Democrats Want

So last night our local Libertarian radio host asked the question, "What do Democrats want? I know what Republicans want, I used to be one. What do Democrats want? I want to hear from the Democrats."

So the first caller calls in ... I don't remember his excact words, but these are pretty close:
"Well I like Obama because he makes me feel good and all that. But as far as what I really want, universal health care. .... And I'm just starting to pay off my college loans. I think there should be free college tuition for poor families."

He couldn't think of anything else off the top of his head, he said.

But that seems to sum it up pretty well from where I stand. Democrats want a President that will make them feel good and promise to give them stuff.

Monday, January 28, 2008

All-Purpose Stump Speech

Via Mark Steyn, from a non-american friend:
My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Party of Civil Rights

Republicans are racists and Democrats the party of enlightenment & of Civil Rights, right? Republicans wanted to keep the black man down, keep them in slavery. Keep segregation.

All of this couldn't be any more backward.

Everyone should see this video editorial by Bob Parks.

The facts go against the conventional wisdom here, too.

How the democrats ever got away with casting themselves successfully as the party of Civil Rights, I don't know.

This about sums it up

[Click on the picture to see larger version.] My wife sent me this in an email with several other funny pictures.

I know it's a spoof, and believe me, it's a great one. It's just the logical conclusion, the brittle extreme -- of where this all leads.

To me, this sums up the culture war. On the one side, we have people who tend to side with liberty. These people typically believe in personal responsibility and self-reliance. They're generally quite happy to help others, even warn them of dangers like, say, a bridge being out.

On the other side we have people who think everyone should be protected from everyone and everything. This ends up working against liberty. It wouldn't be so bad if they could stop at signs telling you of things like a bridge being out. But no.

We have commercials showing people doing things that are obviously dangerous, and they must be subtitled with do not attempt. Or somebody could sue them for... er... suggesting anyone can do it and should try. Or the little signs on cat-litter buckets that warn you kids could drown in them. There are, of course, a zillion more examples. I once read that the cost of a ladder was half liability insurance for the ladder company.

Bigger government=less liberty. The founding fathers knew this.

When politicians promise to give you stuff and fix stuff, they usually mean "by making government bigger". By intruding more and in more places.

Both of the major parties do big government, because it sells. Back in the Reagan years, and again in the mid 1990's with the Contract With America -- the Republican party attempted to don the old mantle of the Founding Fathers to a certian degree, but have since wandered from that.

I tell people I am not a democrat or a republican. I am an independent American. I do tend to vote republican these days, not because republicans are less corrupt or don't do pork barrel spending --- but because those who believe in Liberty tend to run as republicans.

It's not a great position to be in. But it's where I am.

Apparently money and power talk and politicians from both parties can be corrupted. The founding fathers forsaw this, too, and tried to guard against it as much as possible. Unfortunately, the whole thing relies on an informed, educated, even (indoctrinated only in the Constitution and what it means and why it is the way it is) electorate. Not people who vote for someone becaus they're the "it" candidate to vote for, or to say "hey, I'm ready for a black prsident" or "I'm ready for a female president."

We have a right to Life, Liberty, and the Persuit of Happiness. Not to education, nor free or subsidized health care. Or protection from the sharp edges of warning signs.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bush Derangement Syndrome - Diagnosis and Treatment


Victims are prone to blurting out derogatory, over-the-top condemnations of Bush (and/or Cheney and Rove in more virulent strains) in emotional, often tourrete-syndrome-like outbursts. They typically seek affirmation of their proclamations, but the soothing effect is fleeting. Liberals are more succeptible than the rest of the general population, especially if they are partisan Democrats.

Examples: "Bush Lied", "Bush=Hitler", "George Bush can just drop dead", "Bush wants to establish a Christian government", "Bush doesn't care about black people", "Bush caused Katrina", and "Bush Knew". These are just a few examples which barely scratch the surface.


Regular bathing in the world of fact, particularly those pertainent to percieved transgressions by the Bush administration. This is not a guaranteed cure as many are impervious to facts and cling to a world ruled by emotion. However, this is likely the only effective treatment. Thus it should be at least tried.

Ron Paul

Ron Paul was on Glenn Beck the other morning, talking about economics. The main place where Ron & I disagree is the bit about pulling out of Iraq & Afghanistan immediately. Remember, I have voted for Ron Paul for President once before. Glenn and I agree on the Iraq/Afghanistan bit, but Glenn had him on to talk economics and they stuck to that.

The most enlightening thing I got out of the interview -- and this came from Glenn himself, Ron didn't bring it up... in this interview. But he'd interviewed Ron on another show and Ron said that if we eliminated the federal income tax completely in 2005 .... the Federal Government would still be bringing in the same amount of money it brought in in 1995.

Glenn said that he wanted to correct him on that point, that that couldn't be true. But he didn't have the facts and he thought he'd bring it back up and correct him later. He went back and did his research, and found out....

Ron Paul is technically correct on this point.

Think about that. 10 years ago all federal taxes, income taxes & otherwise, totalled the same amount as all federal taxes today, without counting income taxes.


How much better is government today than it was 10 years ago? It's bigger. It's nosier. But what about it has made life enough better to account for ALL of the income tax we pay today?

Still, it's only technically correct. Because apparently right now the 1 trillion dollar difference would only be worth a 700 billion dollar difference back then, leaving a good 300 billion dollar deficit.

It begs the question ... what is the budget of the IRS? Because if it's anything close to 300 billion dollars.... it's a wash. I'll admit, that sounds a bit high to me, but I have no idea.

But suppose ... just suppose everybody paid only 1/4 of the taxes they pay today. Oh hell let's be generous and say 1/3 of the federal income taxes we pay today. Even the most die-hard Libertarian would have to say it would be a gigantic step in the right direction. And if a $600 tax "rebate" for everyone will stimulate the economy... imagine how much more just plain cutting our taxes by 2/3 would do for it!

Here's the sad thing. Except for Iraq and Afghanistan ... Ron Paul is mostly right in my book and could easily be my next choice down the list of candidates if it weren't for that big "except".

I'm not opposed to a military isolationist policy. It has a lot of merit, a lot going for it. It's a very respectable position.

It's just that my sense of responsibility won't allow us to suddenly and prematurely disengage from Iraq and Afghanistan. We started what we started and we need to see it through. We can talk about not going in to help anywhere else after this. But after this, hey, I'm open.

I do find it ironic that a lot of America critics even long before 9/11 complained that we go in to places and then pull out and leave a mess. Most of those same people are the ones screaming loudly that we need to pull out of Iraq and/or Afghanistan -- without regard as to what happens to Iraqis and Afghans as a direct result.

And I think that's because they want to be able to "prove" to the world that BushHilter-CheneyHalliburton are evil, genocidal, blood-for-oil-thirsty Crusaders for Jesus. In other words, it's not about doing what's right. It's about vidication.

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Climate Change!!!!!!

I saw the story that Global Warming should cause fewer, less-intense hurricanes the other day, and of course, it didn't really make an impression on me because this is what hurricane experts have been saying all along, and I pay attention to these things. It's not like I don't have any personal background in this, either.

I saw Misha's and Michelle's take on this and reacted as follows.

Anybody who’s been paying attention to this issue knows that this “fewer, less intense hurricanes” theory isn’t a “new” theory. The AGW Scaremonger’s critics have pointed out all along that Global Warming should bring less intense hurricanes. Of course the critics deniers were summarily riddiculed or at best ignored.

Since we’ve had a few … disappointing … to the AGW crowd … hurricane seasons they’ve suddenly “discovered” that hurricane experts say that Global Warming should de-intensifiy them.

Now that this fact is useful to their agenda and they can’t use ever-increasingly-intense disasterous hurricanes as a scare tactic for the moment, they’re going to forget about it for a while.

Until the next big hurricane, of course, when they’ll re-discover the “we’re all gonna die in a mega-hurricane” tactic and go right back to it.

It’d be comical if it weren’t so damned sad that people fall for it. Such as McCain. And sadly, apparently, Bush (although I think he hasn’t really changed his mind on that issue, he’s just given in to pressure and thrown a bone out to the rabid dogs. It didn’t help. If he fed all the poor in the world tomorrow they’d still call him an Imperialist and a genocidal Hitler for giving them food with too much fat or too much sugar or animal products or whatever. You can’t win with that crowd.)
But upon further review, the story that Michelle linked suggests that maybe in this particular case they're not being so hypocritical after all (that I've seen yet. I rather expect some Chicken Littles to pick up on it anyway.) But in the story we read this:

Critics say Wang's study is based on poor data that was rejected by scientists on the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
In other words, they're not backing down from the scare tactic of predicting mondo hurricanes as a result of AGW. I do have to laugh, however, about the supposed credibility-enhancing mention of the "Nobel Prize-Winning" IPCC. Remember, Yasser Arafat won this prize as well. This prize has become about politics, not science. (Sort of like the IPCC -- which is a political body.) It's not like the Nobel comittee is an authority we should use to assign credibility. I suspect the IPCC rejected this data is that it didn't fit the agenda and it would send the wrong message.

But the article goes on to say:

One group of climate scientists has linked increases in the strongest hurricanes — just those with winds greater than 130 mph — in the past 35 years to global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said "more likely than not," manmade global warming has already increased the frequency of the most intense storms.

But hurricane researchers, especially scientists at NOAA's Miami Lab, have argued that the long-term data for all hurricanes show no such trend. And Wang's new research suggests just the opposite of the view that more intense hurricanes result from global warming. The Miami faction points to a statement by an international workshop on tropical cyclones that says "no firm conclusion can be made on this point."
Which is a fair, if incomplete, assessment of the situation. Basically, "Some scientists say this. But others point out that the data doesn't support it."

Personally, I'm going to go with the data.

Call me a denier.

A skeptic.

There's a BS propaganda video attached to that story, though, saying that melting ice (implying shrinking ice caps -- which are in fact growing) will cause coastal flooding, and implying that the drought in the southeast is a "signal" for global warming.

'Cause you know before "Global Warming", [Cue Vivaldi's Spring Suite ...] everything was in a nice state of Gaia-Pleasing Balance™ and there were no droughts, and the mice slept with the cats with colorful rain forest butterflies perched on their noses. Ice never melted. Every year, every decade, every century was precisely the same as the last. And all was good.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thompson Drops Out

Well, a sad day for no-nonsense politics.

Thompson Drops Out

Now I gotta figure out which of the others I like best. I've been working on that in case this happened, but I haven't gotten far.

Reality, BDS, RDS, Presumption and Assumption

(that's Bush Derangement Syndrome & Republican Derangement Syndrome)

Yesterday I vented about Bush Derangement Syndrome detonating in my living room. And I was thinking about how assumptions are made based on emotion and then spun off as facts and perpetuated by like-minded people -- completely disconnected from actual facts.

What really happened in Florida (in 2000, get over it!) was the election was extremely close, a statistical dead-heat but by the original count Bush won by 537 votes. Democrats basically tried to change the rules of presidential election in the middle of an election because they didn't like the outcome. Gore's team wanted votes counted in four counties -- highly populated counties -- where people leaning Democrat tend to outnumber people leaning Republican. No talk there of "disenfranchising" the other 63 counties in Florida, oddly. The Florida Supreme Court ordered a recount of all "undervotes" (invalid ballots that were invalid because of partially punched "chads") in all of the counties (not a re-count of all the votes in all of the counties)... but the US Supreme Court interjected -- no, you can't change the rules in the middle of the game. Still, a consortium of media companies including CNN were allowed to do their own independent, unofficial recount, just to see. Bush lost 44 votes, net. Meaning he still had 493 more votes than Gore.

On December 12, 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Florida Supreme Court ruling ordering a full statewide hand recount of all undervotes not yet tallied. The U.S. Supreme Court action effectively ratified Florida election officials' determination that Bush won by a few hundred votes out of more than 6 million cast.

Using the NORC data, the media consortium examined what might have happened if the U.S. Supreme Court had not intervened. The Florida high court had ordered a recount of all undervotes that had not been counted by hand to that point. If that recount had proceeded under the standard that most local election officials said they would have used, the study found that Bush would have emerged with 493 more votes than Gore.

But the myth persists that Bush "bought" the election, or somehow kept people from the polls, or his Sneaky Evil Brother Who Shares the Last Name of Satan™ cheated for him -- based on -- well based on the fact that Democrats didn't like the result of the election and the governor of that state was the President-elect's brother. Air-tight case there, for sure.

It's been pointed out that, according to these same people -- when Democrats win an election, the people have spoken. When Republicans win an election, it's because the people were too stupid to "vote in their own interests" or that the Republicans cheated ... 'cause, you know, Corporate-Corporate, Halliburton, and stuff. I must say that's the trend I've observed as well.

People often believe and repeat that which supports their world views based on the emotional comfort that gives them -- and don't bother to check to see if what they believe is actually based on, you know, the truth.

On Bob Parks Outside the Wire blog, a commenter left this for him on a post about Martin Luther King, Jr. yesterday:

I hate to be the one to say this, but you're nothing more than a traitor to your race.
You sir there, in your blind allegiance to a party that wanted to keep people like you in slavery, and you disrespect a man that did more to get your people out of bondage.
You're a damn disgrace to black people everywhere.
and I'm a white man, Imagine that.
-Chuck Adkins
Never mind the fact that Bob was in no way disrespecting Dr. King. Liberal whites like Chuck Adkins often seem fact-averse, and Chuck's ignorance is showing like a 3/4 length slip under a miniskirt. As is his smug self-righteousness (which is really what this is all about. Chuck soothing his ego and absolving himself for the "sin" of being white).

If you don't think large numbers of ostensibly well-meaning people can believe the excact opposite of the truth -- the truth that facts bear out, consider this:

True or False -- The Republican Party is the party that tried to protect and keep slavery as an institution?

Ask a room full of people. Especially a roomful of enlightened progressives.

Quick, what was the Party of Lincoln?

Correct answer.... Republican.

What party was Martin Luther King registered under? Careful...

Correct answer... Republican.

The first blacks elected to congress were all A) Democrats B) Republicans

Correct answer... Republicans.

The famous Emancipation Proclaimation that brought blacks out of slavery (Chuck, you listening?) Every Republican in Congress voted for it. 23% of the Democrats voted for it.

The 14th Amendment ... ensuring a federal guarantee of full civil rights across the states for former slaves ... every Republican voted for it.

No, as in Zero, Democrats voted for it.

Same with the 15th amendment giving blacks the right to vote.

The KKK was started by: A) Republicans B) Democrats

Correct answer?

Well you ought to be catching on by now... It's B) Democrats.

Al Gore's dad voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Al Jr. stated that his dad lost his Senate Seat because he voted for it. Ooops.)

Big hat tip to Bob Parks, and there's much more here.

The point here is, conventional wisdom often isn't. And when it isn't, it isn't because people will far too often bend the facts to their worldview rather than the other way around.

So next time you hear "Bush Lied", or he "Stole the Election" ... you might want to check your emotions against the facts before you go repeating it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bush Derangement Syndrome Strikes Home

It's really kind of hard when you get this stuff from your friends.

We were sitting around joking about something that was supposedly going to fix everything and the world would be wonderful, and I made the joke that George Bush and Nancy Pelosi would be embracing and kissing, and this friend just exploded the mood and announced in a loud and firm, serious voice,

George Bush can just drop dead!
Well, besides the fact that 4 out of 6 of us in the room voted for Bush, and one of those 4 went over and fought in Iraq, and we all support the troops and the mission... I thought it was a rather rude thing to say.

On top of that, it was a rather hateful thing to say.

I've spent a lot of time reading and talking to a lot of conservative people. I've heard a lot of them criticize Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and a bevy of the personalities we disagree with, and I've gotta say --

I've never heard a one of them say "Al Gore can just drop dead." Or fill in the name with anyone else outside of Al Queda.

This person further went on to state that Bush had "bought" the Florida election -- and I did have to say "says who?!" Which cut her off. I added that Bush won according to every recount that was done after that election.

Since this was supposed to be a friendly gathering, I left it at that.

I will say here, in my venting space, that I'm sick and tired of being polite in the face of unbridled and self-righteous rudeness. These people regurgitate stories fabricated and perpetuated by Bush's (and America's) political enemies both inside and out this country that have no basis in fact, but make them feel better about losing a close election.

By God, Bush has made some mistakes and I have my disagreements with him, but the man has more class in his little finger than most of these people have period. (Who would like to have to have made the decisions the man had to make since 9/11, seriously?) George didn't lawyer up and try to invalidate ballots and try to validate invalid ballots in an attempt to scrounge up the few votes he would have needed to win the state, all while making baseless selective accusations of "voter disenfranchisement". That was Gore.

But I've reached the point where I realize that when we on the right, who are in general far more polite than our leftist counterparts -- let them do this unchallenged, it just re-enforces the "truth" of it in their minds.

We can't do it anymore.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Christopher Hitchens on Identity Politics

Christopher Hitchens on Identity Politics

People who think with their epidermis or their genitalia or their clan are the problem to begin with. One does not banish this specter by invoking it. If I would not vote against someone on the grounds of "race" or "gender" alone, then by the exact same token I would not cast a vote in his or her favor for the identical reason. Yet see how this obvious question makes fairly intelligent people say the most alarmingly stupid things.
Perfect summary.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Winning the Tax/Economy Debate?

Dems Winning the Debate on Taxes & The Economy ?

What really strikes me about this paper is that it says nothing about the "debate" itself -- that is, it does not defend the basic premise that the majority of the taxes are paid by the middle class and that the rich get off with a plethora of loopholes. It just states it as fact, and we're just supposed to buy it. (I guess The Debate Is Over™)

No, what it really talks about is what proposals to "fix" the "problem" go over well with voters. In other words, it's about what to say to voters to get their votes, even if it amounts to lying. Which it does.

I see these numbers over and over again... the top 1% of income earners pay about 23% of the taxes. The top 10% pay just at half the taxes. Leaving the other 90% of America to pay the other half of the taxes.

This is a paper on what the public believes and how to pander to that, not about the truth or encouraging understanding of the truth and basing policy on the truth. This is about getting in to office. Period.

Monday, January 14, 2008


I just ran across this article:

Voter ID law an ugly effort to subvert ballot
It's not the first such article I've seen, but I'd thought these people had been laughed out of the public forum -- that it was no longer possible for someone to espouse this opinion with a straight face.

Apparently I was wrong.

Cynthia Tucker apparently believes that it is too much to ask people to obtain an acceptable photo id and the apparently tremendous effort it would take to get one will keep some people from voting.

So with a straight face she and others make the argument that any effort to thwart voter fraud is actually an effort to "subvert" the voting process. What else are we to make of such statements? That is exactly what they are saying.

Cynthia also appears to be under the impression that it's ok for 6 people to trap an innocent person and, based upon his race, beat the crap out of him because those six people happen to be black and they saw two nooses hanging from a tree a few months before. It's an injustice to prosecute them for assault and battery if it's black on white crime and the perpetrators have something to be mad about. Which, according to the race-baiting crowd, means any black, any time.

It's not so much that people like Cynthia hold such outlandish positions. It's that so many people are unwilling to challenge them on it. This is one of the reasons I started this blog -- because basically I'm too polite in public to challenge people on stuff like this, and by God I need an outlet. Such people have a grotesquely twisted notion of justice and injustice.

One "point" that really stuck out in her piece was that Republicans are really reaching, nay, fantasising that voter fraud actually exists even though, and I'll quote her here:
there has never -- never -- been a single documented case of "voter impersonation" at the ballot box, with a fake voter using an electric bill or phone bill to pretend to be a valid voter.
and then she laughs off the point that such a case would be impossible to document without, you know, documentation with this argument:

OK, then. Got that? It's a little like the search for life on other planets. Extra-terrestrials are out there, even if none has actually been spotted.
Nnnnot exactly. That's more like insisting that there isn't any voter fraud via voter impersonation because none has actually been spotted. Therefore we should resist efforts to make it hard to do without getting spotted????

It's pretty hard to say that there aren't extra terrestrials "out there" because, frankly, there's waaaay to much "out there" that is thus far impossible for us to observe. It doesn't mean there aren't any. That's just a fact.

Further, we know that voter fraud exists, and has existed since the beginning of voting. We know people, we know their strong motivations, and we know this huge loophole that would be relatively easy to exploit. We can't say the same for extra terrestrials. I'd say her example, if used properly, actually works against her argument.

I'm not going to come out and accuse progressives of exploiting the loophole, but I'd suggest that the howls of protest might -- just might -- be out of fear on the part of people who have been taking advantage of it. Playing the race card might just be a sign of desperation, who knows? The unassailable "victim" argument, that'll shut 'em up!

It is true that some people don't have photo id. But when your state passes a law saying you have to have one to vote, then my suggestion would be to go get one if you plan on voting. There's a way to get one if it's important to you. I am quite certain it doesn't have to be a drivers license, so poor little old ladies with epilepsy like Mary-Jo Criswell can still get one even if they can't drive.

Cynthia goes on to say that citizens like Criswell have every right to vote, "just like it says in the Bill of Rights". Ok, but how do we know she's a citizen? You're saying that's too much to ask. Not to mention that nowhere in the Bill of Rights is anything written about any individual citizen's right to vote. Careful, there, Cynthia, your ignorance is showing.

But while we're on the subject

My last post dealt with congress "outlawing incandecents" (which is technically not true).

But lest you think that it's time to breathe a sigh of relief that government isn't pushing the boundaries of liberty farther and farther back... this is no joke.

Granted, it's "only" being proposed in California right now. But imagine a president Al Gore with a congress full of Nancy Pelosis.

And be afraid.

Going Incandescent

A week or so ago I saw a headline in the paper saying that Congress had outlawed incandescent light bulbs, effective 1012 as a part of an energy independence bill.

Now I'm all for energy independence. I'm all for efficiency. I'm "environmental", in that I want a nice environment to live in and pretty wilderness places to get away to when I have time to get away.

Of course, rising energy costs and hyper-inflated concerns over greenhouse gasses were already driving the market that way. As a matter of fact, most of those incandescent bulbs in my house have already been swapped for the mercury-laden replacements. I'm hoping the mercury recovery or mercury containment facilities will be in place by the time my bulbs wear out. I'm far more concerned with mercury in my ground water than I am with CO2 in the air, really. But I do like the 60% energy savings, no doubt.

Still, I think Congress has no business mandating these things.

I've worried about what we will do to replace our dimmable lights. There is a dimmable CF, but it won't look nice in smaller, open-style light fixtures where the bulb is visible (or would be visible if you had to use one of these new fangled things). I know LED is on the horizon, but it's DC and my light fixtures are AC.

So I dug in to this a little more, and it turns out the headline and the story were misleading. Incandescents aren't being outlawed. Oh, the kind we have now are -- but not explicitly. It's an efficiency coefficient that's being mandated. And apparently GE et. al. expect to have an incandescent that is twice as efficient as today's model (~2.2%) by 2010 (~ 5%). Which would put them about halfway in between current incandescents and current CF bulbs (~7%) in efficiency. And you'd still be able to dim them without re-wiring your house.

Apparently tube fluorescent are more efficient than CFs, and high and low pressure sodium bulbs are the most efficient at about 22%. Apparently there are some white LED prototypes approaching this figure as well.

So while I disagree with Congress sticking it's nose in the situation, it looks like it's mostly symbolic. It may force the issue some, but things were headed in that direction anyway. Still, someone came up with the observation that the incandescent bulb has been the symbol of new ideas since ... Edison, and lamented the prospect of squelching our innovative abilities by outlawing the symbol.

A comment on a forum discussing this by someone going by catfantastic caught my eye and my funny bone when someone suggested we won't be able to come up with ideas anymore when the incandescent goes away:

People will still be able to have ideas. It's just, there will be a one-second delay, and then they'll get a slightly dimmer idea, and then that idea will flicker for a second, and THEN they'll get the real idea.

We just need to think of a longer word than "Eureka!" so that people can shout something that covers the duration.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Privilege

Drove out to my parents' house for our family's Christmas get-together today, and I was treated to this sight about a mile or so from their house. A bird took off from the middle of the road where it had been feeding on a dead possum, and as it flew up 20 or so yards in front of the car, I saw the distinctive white tail, dark body, and majestic wingspan.

Is that a bald eagle??? I have never, to my knowledge, seen one in the wild. If I have it was certainly not this close. I didn't even think we had any here. I quickly pulled the car to the side of the road and hauled out my ever-present camera.

He wasn't going anywhere. He had a guaranteed meal to finish and he wasn't about to leave it. He waited high in a tree for me to move on, and I'm sure he went right back to it after we left.

No wonder we picked this bird as our national symbol. Wow.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Aw, shucks!

I am humbled.

I didn't do much internetting between December 21 and ... Well, Jan 2. No regrets about it, really -- I was doing that family Christmas thing. Christmas is a Big Deal to me ... to us, and I pay a lot more attention to IT than anything else for a couple of weeks every December.

But in doing that I missed what has to be the biggest compliment I've ever gotten from anyone, maybe ever -- besides my wife saying she'd marry me, of course.

It came from Morgan at House of Eratosthenes the very day I started my hiatus.

Wow. I mean really. Here's the whole post (with links to other sites he considers worthwhile). As he would say, I'm not in it for the recognition, but I will take some if I may since it was offered:

Phil, Clue Batting Cage. He comes in second after Buck. A close second. You know Myers-Briggs? This guys is as INTP as INTP can possibly get, and that’s supposed to be 1% of the population. I’m a heavy INTP myself, so Phil and I have some interesting off-line conversations about what’s going on and how “everybody” is kind of failing to grasp what’s really important about the latest events. Oh, but unlike myself Phil is somewhat well organized, can pass tests, and has actually pulled down some formal education for himself. Yet somehow, he’s sufficiently anchored to reality to understand something is heap-big-busted with the way such sheepskins are ritually handed out nowadays. From what I’ve been able to gather, Phil is married to an incredible woman and is one lucky sonofabitch.

Thank you, Morgan. High praise from someone I think has a lot more insight into people and behavior than I do and a special knack for expressing thoughts that often leaves me saying to myself, "now why didn't I think of that?"

Morgan has been on the top of my "Highly Recommended" blog roll for quite some time now. It was a good day when I found a link to one (three, actually: I II III) of his posts with high recommendation from Misha, the infamous Anti-Idiotarian Emporer. I was immediatley struck by how closely Morgan shared my world view, but was much better at expressing it. So I stuck around. He always has something interesting and insightful to say. He's a daily read. More than that, really. And a friend I have never met in person but would surely enjoy tossing a few back with him on some patio somewhere.

As a footnote, he's since added a couple more installments to the What Is a Liberal? series.

IV and V


"In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope." - Barack Obama

Wow. He has the audacity to say that?! What courage!

Now, what did he say?


Again, it is meaningless on purpose. This is what everybody's excited about? "The Audacity of Hope". "Change We Can Believe In". "There has never been anything false about hope!"

There has never been anything shoe about ears, either. What's that got to do with running a country?

Update: Yes, ok, I know, that was a little obtuse. It was intentionally obtuse. But it's been pointed out that it's a bit too obtuse. It was all I could come up with at the time. I guess I falsely hoped that everyone would see that. So here's a better example:

There's never been anything shallow about water.
See, shallow isn't an inherent property of water. Water can be deep, and water can be shallow, depending on where the water is and how much of it there is. Similarly, falsehood is not an inherent property of hope, either. But hope can certainly be false hope, depending on what is being hoped for and the liklihood of that thing happening being a positive number with reasonable magnitude.

Human Events Endorses Fred

I heard it from Fred, first, but I'm also on the Human Events mailing list so I'll probably see it later today from them.

Also, if you haven't seen it and you're wondering "hey, I've never heard of this Thompson guy" or "I have but I don't know much about him, check out the video at the top of this website:
Fred Thompson

Not to be confused with, the official site.

Sombody Turned the Thompson Switch On

Wanna see some passion?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Stupid Bumperstickers

Same culprit as the Che one from a couple of weeks ago, only this one's on her car instead of her guitar case:
"The important thing is to never stop questioning".

While I agree that questioning - or skepticism - is healthy, it isn't "the" important thing. And when you do question, be prepared for an answer, and you should be prepared to evaluate that answer for yourself.

The important thing is to obtain good answers to your questions.

I wanted to slap another bumpersticker right on top of that one. It would say:
"Are you sure about that?"

Pat Sajak

Yup. That's right.




That one. Yes, the same. The one that's been hanging out with the blonde with the legs and the big smile in front of the big wheel for what, 25 or so years?

Turns out the guy is also a pundit. And a conservative one at that. Maybe I'm late to the game and everyone else knew this. At any rate, a couple of days ago I read a satire article he wrote about Al Gore suing Time magazine to recount their votes for Man of the Year. (Or would that be ManBearPig of the year?)

That very evening, a friend of mine sent me another article by him, A Solution to Man Made Global Warming -- basically a throwdown to Global Warm-0ngers. Pretty good.

So I went looking to read more of his stuff. And with all our recent talk about polls, I found this one from 2006 relevant.

The man is obviously articulate, observant, and intelligent.


The whole "Hilly cried" bit was a bit much for me. Not so much that she did it, but that it got analyzed and analyzed and analyzed. My inclination is to believe it was calculated, but how can I really ever know? And does it make a difference where she stands on the issues if she shed a tear about pressure? No. I don't like her beliefs. It has nothing to do with her emotional expression.

As a side note, for what it's worth, Karl Rove believes Hillary's scant emotional display was genuine.

Some of the analysis actually raises my eyebrow -- not about the "event", but about the analysis itself. Which is why I'm even mentioning this whole thing to begin with. There are those analysts out there who actually think that a bunch of New Hampshire women changed their minds about voting for Obama and switched to her because ... she shed a tear. Like, a day or two before voting. It reminds me a bit of the election process in the movie Brazil1.

I don't know about you, but I think that's bizzare. Because I don't think that way. And nobody I know thinks that way. Maybe it's the quality of the company I keep.

The other main idea explaining the "surprise" was that NH women who had been excited about Obama suddenly changed their minds after seeing the results of the Iowa primary -- and were now afraid that a woman wouldn't make it to the White House. Huh? They liked Obama until they thought he might win?

I've heard the argument that a straight democracy eventually leads to government by the stupid. I thought (at the time) that was a bit harsh. I'm not so sure anymore. I really do hope we're not so whimsical on our candidate of choice that our minds can be changed at the drop of a tear or a sudden shift on who the underdog is, or because he or she is black or white or male or female or southern or northern or whatever.

What I find most interesting is the adherence to the theory that if the polls said A on Sunday, and not-A happened on Tuesday, it must mean that something happened between Sunday and Tuesday to "change" the outcome.

It couldn't possibly be that the polls were just ... wrong.

1 For those of you who haven't seen it, each candidate was represented by a TV network. Ratings for each TV network were continuously, instantaneously being updated based on how many people were tuned in right then. At a certain time on Election Day, which ever network had the highest rating at that instant -- well the candidate who was represented by that network won the election.

To take it further to the brittle extreme, the programming on these networks had nothing whatsoever to do with the candidates or their politics. Programming was chosen soley to get the most people to tune in.

Intellectual Honesty

From a big name in the press, no less:

Tom Brokaw, on the "surprise" NH Clinton victory over Obama and his colleagues' reaction -
"The pirouettes are amazing. The utter confidence with which everyone had been wrong 20 minutes earlier, they have the same utter confidence about what produced this surprise. It's intellectually dishonest."
Has Tom had a breakthrough about the culture in which he works? I'll bet if he sat and thought about it, other examples of how press culture works would pop out of the woodwork right and left.

But mostly left.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

What Have You Done for Fred?

This is a friendly little message to all the Fred Thompson backers out there.

I have never given money to a political campaign before. I mean, ever.

I was on the Blogs for Bush Blogroll for the last Presidental election. And I have a picture and link to Fred Thompson on my blog this time around. But nobody really reads this blog, anyway, with all due hat-tipping to Morgan.

And so I watch in vain this political campaign where my guy, the guy I would really rather have in the White House than anybody else running on either side ... struggles. He doesn't appear to have the big backers others have. But I know a lot of people who say they are for him. I also know a lot of other people who know absolutely nothing about him, but they'd be for him if they did and thought about their choices for a while.

If I do nothing, I can only blame myself.

So I did it. Not much, mind you, but a little. If everybody who wants to see Fred get out there and have the press take him seriously (which, of course is 90% of the problem) would donate just a little ... well he'd have a better chance.

So here's a little throwdown to all the Fred supporters out there. If you haven't already, put a little money where your mouth is. As Bob Parks just said ... he's the only real adult in the pack. A shame to let the fact that we actually have one go to waste.

Monday, January 07, 2008


My good web buddy Morgan Freeberg recommended this movie a month or so ago.

The throngs of 26th century people in this movie would be swept away by Obama. He's got electrolytes, you know. He's what the young people crave. It says so right on his label.

I laughed all the way through it.

I never made the connection between Mike Judge and Beavis and Butthead when I saw "The Office". For some reason I get him mixed up with someone else. But now that I've seen this movie I feel a whole lot better about secretly liking the Beavis & Butthead cartoon. My "excuse" had been that Beavis and Butthead were cariacatures of people we all knew and couldn't stand. This peek inside Mike Judge's mind assures me that that was his intent. We're not supposed to like them or what they do. We're supposed to shake our heads that people actually think they're cool when they do things that they think will make them cool.


In the paper the other day I saw a picture of Barak Obama with his campaign slogan on the podium in front of him. It was also plastered all over supporter's signs behind him. It said:

Change We Can Believe In
I hate to state the obvious, but that doesn't mean anything. Worse, it means nothing on purpose.

The candidates and pudits alike are all talking about "change" as if it means something. Something even semi-specific.

It means whatever the listener wants it to mean. That's why they use it. It's calculated ambiguity. Triangulation. Whatever you want to call it.

I'll throw out a simple example. Suppose a gun-banner hears the word "Change" and thinks there ought to be no guns in the hands of private citizens. There are guns in the hands of private citizens. So further restriction of the right to bear arms would be "Change". And suppose your average NRA member who is for less restrictive laws hears the word "Change". There are some very restrictive laws on the books about how and where you can buy a gun and where you can carry one and where you can't, and what you have to do to carry one where it can't be seen even if you're carrying one where you're allowed to carry one. Relaxation or repeal of some of these laws would be "Change" to the NRA member.

In this case, the politician asks "Do you want 'Change'? Are you for 'Change'?". And both people say "yes!". But they want opposite things. There is no better example of a meaningless question than one in which the same answer can have directly opposing meanings. Any answer to a meaningless question is likewise meaningless.

It's like the question "Do you think the country is headed in the right direction?" The question means nothing. It's far too vague. The same gun-control example I used above applies, and it can apply to almost any issue. More than that, neither one talks about any specific issue, so any answer could apply to anything. One person might think the question refers to culture. Say I don't like the trend toward shock celebrities and reality TV, but I'm supportive of the Iraq war. So I say, "No, the country is not headed in the right direction." And someone else who likes Brittany Spears and whatever that horrible new game/reality show ... "Nothing But the Truth" -- but is also strongly anti-war might say "No, the country is not headed in the right direction."

Protectionism, social policy, fiscal policy... there's something for anyone to answer that they don't like and want changed. A campaign slogan of "Change" allows anyone to hang their aspirations on that candidate.

Anyone who votes for a candidate based on the fact that he/she promises "Change" ... shouldn't be voting. Make 'em say where they stand on the important issues and decide whether or not you agree with their philosophy.

"Change" isn't a philosophy. It's certainly not something to govern by.