Monday, October 27, 2008

Early Voting Split Almost Evenly.

Gallup reports this morning that about 11 percent of registered voters who plan to vote already have done so, and that they're split almost evenly between supporters of John McCain and Barack Obama.
The 11 percent early voting rate is just a little higher than the 9 percent who'd voted at this stage in 2004,
according to Gallup.

Interesting. You'd think with all the bad news Obama would be killing McCain in early voting. I don't know what this means...probably nothing but it certainly doesn't comport with media claims that there's this huge pool of folks dying to vote for Obama. You'd think people would be lining up around the block.

Lawyers who supervise voting rights are Obama donors.

If voter fraud would ever be ripe for investigation, this would seem to be the year with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (Acorn) having been caught filing thousands of bogus voter registrations in at least 14 states. Acorn's history of deceit and the national sweep of today's scandal demand a federal probe. Safeguarding the integrity of the vote is every bit as important as protecting access to the polls, yet Democrats want Justice to pay attention only to the latter.

Slanted Election Coverage and the Reasons Why.

The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I've found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I've begun -- for the first time in my adult life -- to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was "a writer," because I couldn't bring myself to admit to a stranger that I'm a journalist.

The Campaign Takes a Strange Turn.

Why didn’t the media or McCain just ask Obama a few of the following questions: Why did you keep emailing and phoning Bill Ayers for three years after 9/11, when the country was gripped by fear of terror, and Ayers, like bin Laden, said that he had not done enough bombing, and had no regrets about the terrorism he had committed?

Why did Obama say in 2004 to the Chicago Sun-Times that he went to Trinity Church every Sunday at 11AM, and then later claim he had not been there that regularly once Rev. Wright’s venom was disseminated to the general public? Is Obama for, or not for, a simple yes or no, missile defense, nuclear power, off-shore drilling, and coal-powered electrical generation? There might be legitimate answers, but surely the public could profit by them, rather than worry over the Palin pregnancies, wardrobe, or Tasergate.

Read the whole thing.

Signs Pointing To A McCain Victory?

That Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States. It's inevitable. It's his election to lose. What proof does the media offer? Public opinion polls that supposedly show Obama "winning" the race. (But see here and here.) The thousands of devoted supporters who attend Obama's rallies. The legions of blacks and young people who are more "inspired" than ever to vote for a candidate who understands their needs and interests. Etc. We all know the story by heart by now.

This is the "narrative" that the mainstream media has been imposing on this year's presidential campaign almost from the start. Remember how quickly the MSM jumped off the Hillary Clinton bandwagon and onto Obama's? Remember how annoyed and angry they became as Hillary refused to concede the nomination? The MSM decided that electing the nation's first black, socialist, anti-American president was politically and historically more important (and, for them, more exciting) than electing the nation's first female, socialist, patriotic president. And they are doing everything they can to achieve this goal.

Man calls 911 after Subway left sauce off sandwich.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Jacksonville police say Reginald Peterson needs to learn that 911 is not the appropriate place to complain that Subway left the sauce off a spicy Italian sandwich.
Police said the 42-year-old man dialed 911 twice last week so he could have his sub made correctly. The second call was to complain that officers weren't arriving fast enough.
Subway workers told police Peterson became belligerent and yelled when they were fixing his order. They locked him out of the store after he left to call police.
When officers arrived, they tried to calm Peterson and explain the proper use of 911. Those efforts failed, and he was arrested on a charge of making false 911 calls.
Peterson did not have a listed phone number.

Why do all these stories come from Florida?

Luciano Pavarotti: The Official Site.

Pimp My Little Tikes.

More Here.

Europe on the Brink.

How will this financial mess play out? No one knows for sure. Believing as I do in the resilience of capitalism and the resoluteness of the American worker, I suspect that things will sort themselves out in due course. (And how long is a “due”? That’s a good question that I cannot answer.) One thing that is becoming ever more clear, however, is that the economic situation in Europe and Asia is likely to be far worse for a longer period than in the United States. Writing in the London Telegraph today, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard observes that Western European banks hold about three-quarters of the $4.7 trillion in in cross-border bank loans to Eastern Europe, Latin America and emerging markets in Asia. This, Evans-Pritchard notes, is “a sum that vastly exceeds the scale of both the US sub-prime and Alt-A debacles.”

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Odd Site of the Week: Zombie Pinups.

The world is a strange place.

The Joe Biden Gaffe Clock.

Very funny. The clock is here.

Two of my Favorite Things in One: Futurama in Lego!

More Here.

The Polls vs. Reality in Presidential Elections.

Why McCain is set for a landslide victory if Obama is up by less than 6 pts in the polls before election day.

That's this guys argument anyway. I'm not sure that I'd go that far and I have reservations about his methodology but...the truth is polls are always problematic. There wrong as often as they are right.

Anyway the article is here.

Related thoughts from Michael Barone.

A little Auto Porn for Matt...

Tons more here.

AP: Obama, McCain Even!

I'm not sure I beleive that ...yet. I'd like to see it other polls before I get too excited, but it does serve as a reminder that the race is closer than a lot of people seem to think.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?

This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party.

Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie. Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!

What? It's not the liar, but the victims of the lie who are to blame?

Something to consider...

In 1948, Gallup screwed with the weighting, assuming the republicans would turn out much in much larger numbers than the democrats, but they were wrong, and badly miscalled the election. In 1952 Gallup assumed the other way, that the race would be tight and down to the wire, but they blew that call as well. In 1976, Gallup assumed the opposite, that democrats would overwhelm republicans because of Watergate, but when it became obvious that republicans would vote anyway, Gallup had to change its model to show their participation more accurately. In 1980, Gallup called Carter ahead until the very end, when they grudgingly granted Reagan a small lead, yet another case where Gallup's assumptions were well off the mark. In 1996, Gallup overstated Clinton's support and understated Dole's support throughout the campaign, and in 2004 Gallup called the race too close to call.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm out of town for a while... my postings may be somewhat erratic for a time. Hopefully I'll be able to resume regular blogging shortly.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Fact-Check Follies.

"True," says CNN. "False," says ABC. They're talking about the same McCain statement!

Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Infertility patients caught in the legal, moral and scientific embryo debate.

Six years of frustration and heartbreak. That's how Gina Rathan recalls her attempts to become pregnant.

Finally, she and her husband, Cheddi, conceived a daughter, now 3, through in vitro fertilization. About a year later, she became pregnant with a second child, naturally. Their family was complete.

Then, a year ago, the Fountain Valley couple received a bill reminding them that their infertility journey wasn't quite over. They owed $750 to preserve three frozen embryos they'd created but hadn't used.

"I don't see them as not being life yet," says Gina Rathan, 42, a pharmaceutical sales representative. "I thought, 'How can I discard them when I have a beautiful child from that IVF cycle?' "

Many other former infertility patients also appear to be grappling over the fate of embryos they have no plans to use: An estimated 500,000 embryos are in cryopreservation in the United States.

As with the Rathans, this unexpected conundrum often arises well after the infertility crisis has passed, triggering impassioned and highly personal debates about the science and ethics of human life. The discussion boils down to a fundamental question: What is this icy clump of cells smaller than a grain of sand?

Handy Latin Phrases.

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

More here.

American Financial Meltdowns in the Past.

As bad as today seems, we've been through worse.

The Ghostbuster’s Ecto-1 For Sale.

If you have $45,000 to spare, check out the auction on

The Tyranny of the Baby Seat.

The tyranny of the car seat isn't confined to the mollycoddlers in Washington. Every state in the union has laws on the books mandating the use of car seats for infants and toddlers. Thirty-eight states now have laws also mandating the use of booster seats. If anything, the laws in the District of Columbia are on the lax side.

In Massachusetts, once eight-year-olds graduate from their booster seats, they must remain in the backseat of the car, using normal seatbelts, until age twelve. In Maine, children over 40 pounds must be in a booster seat until they reach eight years of age or 80 pounds--whichever comes last. The penalty for violating these laws varies from state to state, ranging from $10 to $500 per infraction. (The District of Columbia also tacks two points onto your license for good measure.) In Nevada, you can be sentenced to up to 50 hours of community service.

This Guy Get More Creepy Every Day.

Good News: McCain Within 2 Points Despite Bad Economic News.

Bad News: It's a Zogby poll.

Actually it's really all good news. Despite some pessismism in conservative circles and the media acting like the race is over, it's still surprisingly fluid and more importantly...close.

A lot can happen in the next 30 days. The media is finally beginning to notice the Ayers thing and sooner or later somebody is going to ask Obama why raising taxes as you head toward a recession is a good thing. Who knows, some people might even notice that we've won a war that Obama has been desperately trying to lose.

I still think McCain has structural advantages when it comes to the Electoral College and if McCain can successfully paint Obama as a risky, hard left candidate who lacks the experience to be President he'll not only win-he'll crush him.

Jeannie C. Riley - Harper Valley P.T.A.

So I'm on the freeway today...

A wholesome young woman in her Freudian slip.

...and there's this Humvee that is covered with promotional logos for The Bare Elegance, a Los Angeles strip joint. It's the sort of thing intended to draw your eye without being too obscene (much like the above photo). Anyway, I noticed it, the wife noticed it, a blind man would have noticed it.

I begin to pass the Hummer and the wife notices the van in front of it. In big green letters on it's side it says Fussy Painting.

The wife laughs and says:

"You know for a second there I thought it said something else"

Your humble author replies, "The funny thing is...I had exactly the same thought".

The SNL skit I linked to earlier is back redacted form.

Here's what happend.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Winds are Dominant Cause of Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheet Losses.

Two new studies summarized in a news article in Science magazine point to wind-induced circulation changes in the ocean as the dominant cause of the recent ice losses through the glaciers draining both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, not ‘global warming.’

Huh...good to know...still, we should all go back to living in caves just in case this global warming thing isn't the biggest hoax in human history.

Man Dumps Lifeless Body of Former Girlfriend in Woods...May be charged With Littering.

Now imagine for a second your having an intimate relationship doll. This kind of doll (link totally NOT SAFE FOR WORK). At first things are great: the sex is great, she doesn't eat much and she never complains about you looking at other women. Eventually though you realize your ready to move on. Maybe it was the rather one sided conversation. Perhaps her odd waxy skin. In any case you decide it's time for a clean break.

Do you:
A) Attempt to sell your slightly used "girlfriend" eBay.
B) Put her out with the trash.
C) Give her to a friend as a "gag gift".
D) Wrap the body in a bag and bind the neck, waist and ankles-then dump it in the woods.

You can see where this is going cant you? Well some time passes and eventually a dog walker stumbles upon the "corpse". The police were not amused.

Dino Directory.

A fun little site.

Now You See it, Now You Don't


Greta asks: what's the difference is between the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and David Duke?

Basically none.

Lessons Learned at the Movies.

The great thing about Paris is that you can always see the Eiffel Tower from your room, whether you're an artist in a tiny garret or a millionaire in a first-class hotel. Just look out the window and there it is. We who have spent much of our lives at the movies know this to be a fact, having seen it demonstrated on many occasions.

That's a perfect example of Movie Wisdom, the information we absorb inadvertently while sitting in the dark. We may go to the movies to enjoy the actors and the stories but the experience also enlarges our view of the world. In early autumn, when the Toronto International Film Festival comes around again, it reminds me of how much the movies have taught me.

Well I Have to Say This is Pretty Much SpotOn...

NBC seems to have taken the video down.

What is the Significance of Obama's Ties to Ayers (and Wright?):

Here's my take: Obama is an extremely ambitious man. He's been interested in a national political career for many years. It's not that surprising that he wouldn't find Ayers and Wright objectionable company--in the very liberal, Hyde Park/Ivy League circles that he's traveled in since attending Columbia, people with such views are more mainstream than, say, the average conservative evangelical Christian. That itself makes Obama far more liberal than the image his campaign attempts to portray.

But what is interesting to me is that not only did Obama not personally find anything especially obnoxious about Wright's radicalism, anti-Americanism, ties to Farrakahn, and so on, or Ayers' lack of regret for his terrorist past, he apparently didn't expect that much of anyone else would care, either. How else do you explain why he didn't jettison these individuals from his life before they could damage his presidential ambitions? How else do you explain how his campaign seemed to be caught flatfooted when Obama's ties to Wright and then Ayers became campaign issues? And, perhaps most tellingly, how else do you explain that when Obama was asked in a debate with Clinton about his ties to Ayers, he analogized his friendship with Ayers to his friendship with Senator Tom Coburn, as if being friends with a very conservative senatorial colleague is somehow analogous with being friends with an unrepentant extreme leftist domestic terrorist?

In short, Obama's ties to Ayers and Wright suggest to me NOT that Obama agrees with their views, but that he is the product of a particular intellectual culture that finds the likes of Wright and Ayers to be no more objectionable, and likely less so, than the likes of Tom Coburn, or, perhaps, a Rush Limbaugh. Not only that, but he has been in his particular intellectual bubble so long that he was unable to recognize just how offensive the views of a Wright are to mainstream America, or how his ties to Ayers would play with the public, especially post-9/11.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Ted Briggs has Died.

HMS Hood.

Ted Briggs was the last of three survivors of the HMS Hood, the ill-fated battlecruiser destroyed by the Bismarck May 23, 1941. At the time of the sinking the Hood was the world's largest warship. He now joins his 1,420 shipmates.

UNTO Almighty God we commend the soul of our brother departed, and we commit his body to the deep; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection unto eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; at whose coming in glorious majesty to judge the world, the sea shall give up her dead; and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in him shall be changed, and made like unto his glorious body; according to the mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.
-Book of Common Prayer (1925)

Daily Telegraph Obitary.

HMS Hood Association.

Pedal-Powered Panzer.

Must get one of these. It shoots hot dogs for Pete's sake!

Tales From the Help Desk...

CIOs were asked, “What is the strangest or most unusual request you or a member of your help desk or technical support team has ever received?” Their responses included:

“Why isn’t my wireless mouse connected to the computer?”

“My laptop was run over by a truck. What should I do?”

“Can you rearrange the keyboard alphabetically?”

“How do I read my e-mail?”

“My computer is telling me to press any key to continue. Where is the ‘any’ key?”

“Can you reset the Internet for me?”

“There are animal crackers in my CD-ROM drive.”

“Can you build me a robot?”

More here.

What Fresh Hell is This...

Apparently this is supposed to be an Alaska politician...I'm guessing it's Ted Stevens.

Pet Costumes.

Free Speech and my Alma Mater.

Citing a state law banning state workers from certain types of political activity while on state time, the school went overboard:

The University of Illinois has sparked outrage by telling faculty, staff and graduate students that a 5-year-old state law designed to prevent state workers from campaigning for candidates on state time or with state resources meant they could not express support for candidates or parties through pins, T-shirts or bumper stickers while on campus. Nor could they attend any political rally or event on campus, the administration said.

The governor's Office of Executive Inspector General, which investigates ethical violations, has gone one step further, saying state law meant that university students, not just employees, were prohibited from participating in political rallies on campus--an assertion at odds with the university's interpretation.

Outright thuggery.

The Heart Attack Grill.

I know where I'm going next time I'm in Chandler Arizona.

The Art of Groundskeeping.

Carl Spackler would be proud.

Solar Power Faces Environmentalist Opposition.

Solar companies proposing large power plants in the Mojave Desert are facing opposition from conservationists. They say a rush to build solar here threatens to tear up large tracts of desert habitat and open space.

I've been trying to point out the environmental costs of solar power are not zero for some time now. Glad to see I'm not the only one.

Don't get me wrong, I'm for solar power (and nuclear and coal and just about everything else), but the idea that it was free energy without consequences was always stupid.

What’s In a Product Name? Why, Deception Of Course!

Product names don't necessarily reflect the truth of the products. Ever heard of Corinthian Leather? Think New Jersey, not Corinth, Greece. How about Häagen Dazs? Nothing Scandinavian about it. Read on to find out how a product's name can deceive you ...

The story is here.

How the markets really work.

Can’t See the Forest for the Trees.

Despite assumptions that globalization is destroying forests, these researchers argue that in many parts of the world globalization and the policies that go along with it are in fact helping to create them. Migration from rural areas to cities or other countries, new markets for forest commodities, and even war are helping in some places to bring trees back. In other places the demand for diverse and far-flung products like rubber, tea, and açaí fruit, for example, is transforming existing forests and the lives that depend on them, often in unexpected ways. Perhaps most surprisingly, archaeologists and ecologists have discovered growing evidence that many forests once considered pristine, including much of the Amazon, have long been marked by human activity.

The VP Debate

The Appearance of Impropriety.

Unqualified home buyers were not the only ones who benefitted from Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank’s efforts to deregulate Fannie Mae throughout the 1990s.

So did Frank’s partner, a Fannie Mae executive at the forefront of the agency’s push to relax lending restrictions.

The fallout for all of this is just beginning.

Bailout Saga Proves that Elites Don’t Care What We Think.

In mid-September, when it became clear to Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and George Bush that extraordinary measures were needed to address the mess that had built up in the financial markets during the past decade or so, their first instincts should have been to say:
“We need to have a complete plan to deal with this.”

“We need to make a case to Congress and the American people that our plan will work.”

They did neither of these things; nor did they even seem to consider whether what they wanted was even constitutional.

Instead, they in essence demanded that Congress and the American people give them a blank check, saying, “Do this, or else.” Last Sunday, I called it blackmail. I stand by that.

Of course, a large plurality of Congressmen and Senators, along with a majority of the American people, were repulsed. The wonder is that everyone wasn’t.

Stupid Criminal of the Week.

Never rob a Dunkin Donuts...especially one where you just turned in a job application...with your address on it.

The story is here.

Themistocles: Master of Deception.

About 2,500 years ago, a Greek commander executed what might be the most perfect case of deception in the history of warfare. He was cunning and cocky, but above all, he was successful because he knew how to use human intelligence. This brilliant Greek commander was Themistocles of Athens, and the date was 480 B.C.

A nice little article on the battle of Salamis.

Sorry about the erratic blogging...

I've been kinda sleep deprived lately. Twins will do that I guess. I haven't been visiting my friends blogs, writing anything original, or even really answering my all of you I apologize for that. It seems the wife thinks the twins need to be fed every day-that seems a bit much if you ask me...and what's this whole "changing diapers" thing? Are we supposed to be doing that? They're only a month old, how much could they have possibly accumulated yet?

One of the big surprises so far is how often we wind up going to the doctor. Some of that is just normal follow up I guess, but we had a concern about one of the girls kidneys. It turned out to be nothing but the whole episode stands as powerful testimony to the ability of modern medicine to really freak you out.

The trips to the hospital wouldn't be so bad if weren't for the fact that they keep asking the same annoying background annoying that I've begun to have a little fun with it.

"Any pets in the house?" Just the lions. "What about smoking?" Oh I think there a little young for that doc. I guess if you insist could start them on Virginia Slims but surely it's too soon for menthol-that sort of thing.

Hopefully the worst is behind us.

Sports have been a bit of a distraction lately as well. For those who don't know I grew up in the Chicago area, went to University of Illinois as an undergrad and Nebraska for law school. The two sports I really care about are major league baseball and college football. I watch other stuff, the Ryder Cup was great this year for example, but baseball and football are my passions.

Just a few days ago, the fall was shaping up pretty well. Illinois went to the Rose Bowl last year and stood a good chance to go to a decent bowl game this year. Nebraska was well on it's way to repairing the damage caused by Bill Callahan and best of all, both the Cubs and the White Sox were going to the play-offs.

What can I I write this the Cubs have lost nine straight playoff games and were eliminated in three straight this year. The White Sox will probably be knocked out tonight. And the Cornhuskers? Well on the plus side, they held Missouri scoreless in the fourth quarter last night. The Wife and I are still debating if this because they were too tired from from scoring 52 points in the first three quarters (my view) or because they put in the girls chess club for the final 15 minutes (her view). In any case, it was an abject thumping of epic proportions.

The ray of sunshine in all this was the Illini. When I was a student at U of I we weren't exactly a football powerhouse. We had to satisfy ourselves with occasionally ruining the seasons of others...I'm looking at you Ohio State. Michigan, needless to say would usually beat us like a red headed step child. The Wolverines were a perennial power before I was born and probably will continue to be long after I'm gone...but every once in a while...

We hadn't beaten Michigan in nine in almost half the lifespan of a redshirt freshman. Even worse the game was in Ann Arbor, the place where Illinois football dreams go to die. What ever hope we had, it was of perhaps squeaking out a narrow victory with a late field goal after we've stayed close thanks to lucky plays. In my wildest dreams I couldn't have imagined what actually transpired.

Illinois 45
Michigan 20

Actually it was more lopsided than the score suggests. We utterly destroyed them. At one point we had scored four unanswered touchdowns. Aside from a Citrus Bowl against Tennessee a few years back, I don't think I've ever seen Michigan beaten this badly...and we did it! Yea!

Hopefully I can get back on a a regular posting schedule soon.

Update: Overheard at the barbershop this morning.

Customer: Hey...NASCAR has a black guy doing commentary...I wonder what his family thinks of that?

Barber: How would they ever find out?

Customer: You mean it's like those girls who come from really religious families and wind up doing porn?

Barber: Yep.

As the kids say...LOL.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Sox Loose, Cubs won't be Outdone!

First in war, first in peace, last in the National League?

Well tonight is the first time in history that Chicago has managed to lose TWO playoff games in a single day (it may be the first time it's happened to anyone...anybody know off the top of their head if it's ever happened to New York or LA?). Honestly I've got to say I'm flabbergasted. My expectations were kinda low for the Sox who had basically tried to give away the division over the last month of the season, but the Cubs were one of the strongest teams in baseball this year.

There can be only explanation: God is punishing Illinois for Barack Obama. God help you if he actually wins the election. I foresee plagues, locusts and whatnot...possibly even a repeat of the Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio trade...the horror...the horror...

Now it's not to late for Chicagoans to get right with the Lord. If love Chicago baseball put a McCain sign in your front yard, donate to the Republican National Committee, and above all vote for John McCain.

P.J. O'Rourke has Cancer.

I have, of all the inglorious things, a malignant hemorrhoid. What color bracelet does one wear for that? And where does one wear it? And what slogan is apropos? Perhaps that slogan can be sewn in needlepoint around the ruffle on a cover for my embarrassing little doughnut buttocks pillow.

The essay is here.