December 19, 2008

Typical...

Here's the AP Headline (I kid you not):

Mother of Palin Daughter's Boyfriend Arrested

Attend an inflammatory preacher's church for twenty years? No ties there. Serve on a couple of boards with a former domestic terrorist? No ties there. Former fundraiser's a felon? The same fundraiser who was instrumental in setting up the administration of the governor who was just accused of selling your soon-to-be-empty senate seat? Move along, nothing to see here. But the mother of your daughter's boyfriend? That's worthy of a headline with your name in it. My god! You might as well be joined at the hip!

Maybe we should look at Obama's father's brother's sister's boyfriend's babysitter's hairdresser, and see what dirt we can dig up there.

December 15, 2008

And So It Starts...

I had to laugh a little when I read this:

President-elect Barack Obama said Monday a review by his own lawyer shows he had no direct contact with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about the appointment of a Senate replacement, and transition aides did nothing inappropriate. (emphasis mine)
Yes, that's right...his own lawyer. This must be that transparency he was promising. Just think--this novel idea could spread to other sections of society. We'd have no need of juries anymore; we can simply let the defense attorneys decide the fate of the accused. No more jury duty! We could all give ourselves raises at work. No more economic problems there!

And just in case you think there might be something shifty about the investigation...

[Obama] said the probe was complete and thorough, but did not say which of his aides Craig interviewed, whether any of them was under oath at the time, or any other details.
Well, there you go. Obama's lawyer investigated him, and we know he did a good job because Obama (the guy he was--in part--investigating) said he did. Nothing shady there.

C'mon...are you kidding me? Even Clinton didn't have the balls to try to get away with something like this.

When asked about Obama's claims, the mainstream media replied "sounds good to us!"

December 14, 2008

Duck!

That's some damn fine reflexes on Dubbya, don't ya think?

Throwing something at the American president in Iraq has got to be right up there with running up to him and handing him a toy gun in terms of the "I have a death wish" scale.

December 13, 2008

Doomed, I Tell You! DOOOMED!

I was reading an article that discussed the fact that there's a spectacular moon out tonight when I found this at the end of it:

Another astronomical treat that could be seen tonight and for the next two nights is the annual Geminid meteor shower, one of the year’s best displays of shooting stars. Up to 100 meteors an hour can fly across the sky. The meteors, which are easy to spot with the naked eye, appear to shoot out from the constellation Gemini, hence their name, but they can be seen all over the sky. However, with a full moon so bright, the best place to look is away from the Moon.

Meteor showers happen when the Earth passes through clouds of debris shed from comets. As the tiny fragments smash into the Earth’s upper atmosphere at about 100,000mph, they burn up in streaks of light.

For reasons that are not understood, the Geminid meteor showers are tending to grow stronger each year.

Wait...What? "Growing stronger every year"? "For reasons that are not understood"? I got your reason--Maybe it's because we're hurtling towards them at galactic speeds!!

December 12, 2008

That's A Whole Different Kind of "Stiff"


Sadly, 1950s pin-up and bondage queen Bettie Page passed away yesterday. Apparently she had suffered a heart attack a few days ago, and never recovered. I'll be flying at half-mast for a while.

*The picture is from thebettiepage.com, and I'll most definitely take it down, should they ask. In the meantime, go visit them and check out some of the pictures too racy for me to post.

There Will Never Be Another



There's nobody today who even comes close. Happy Birthday, Frank.

November 29, 2008

A Pressing Matter

Let me start by saying that I don't really expect much of my fellow man. I think we're motivated primarily by selfishness, and that there isn't much altruism out there. Not only am I not that shocked by it, I actually find it fairly logical. I tell you this so you'll understand when I say how this next bit disgusted me, and made me ashamed to be a human being, you'll understand just how severe I think it is.

A Wal-Mart worker died early Friday after an "out-of-control" mob of frenzied shoppers smashed through the Long Island store's front doors and trampled him, police said.
Four other people were injured in the incident, including a woman who was eight months pregnant. And just when you thought you couldn't add insult to injury, it appears that the shoppers complained...because the store had to be shut down by the police.

[Police spokesman] Fleming said criminal charges were possible but that it would be difficult to identify individual shoppers in surveillance videos.
I dearly hope they can prosecute a few of these assholes.

November 21, 2008

Can You Say "Old News"?

You can if you've been a semi-regular reader here. This is by Wesley Pruden, and appears in today's op-ed in The Washington Times:

So far the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports 63 record snowfalls in the United States, 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month. Only 44 Octobers over the past 114 years have been cooler than this last one. The polar ice is accumulating faster than usual, and some of the experts now concede that the globe hasn't warmed since 1995.
he continues:

Only last month Dr. Hansen's institute announced that October was the hottest on record, and then said "uh, never mind." The London Daily Telegraph calls this "a surreal blunder [that] raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming."

In this account, the institute had to make the humiliating climb-down after two leading skeptics of the global-warming scam, Anthony Watts, an American meteorologist, and Steve McIntyre, a Canadian computer analyst, discovered that temperature readings from September had been carried over and repeated for October.

I've pointed out some of the problems with the whole global warming/climate change frenzy here, here, and here, and there are many others out there (much more qualified than I) saying much the same thing.

What are the odds Al Gore will give his Nobel Prize back?

November 20, 2008

Wow

I can't say too much about this. I was tooling around YouTube, and I ran across this. It's one of my favorite songs, and I really like this version. If you like it, go visit her website.



Man, that's purty.

November 05, 2008

R.I.P.

This came out of nowhere:

Prolific novelist and "ER" creator Michael Crichton has passed away. He was 66.

I always liked him. I had just finished my latest book on tape (CD, really), and was ready to start his newest.

November 02, 2008

I Guess All Green People Look The Same To Him...

I was just watching Obama give a stump speech in Ohio, and he was trying to make a joke about John McCain being a "sidekick" to President Bush (a joke that he already had used, by the way).

"He's like Kato to the Green Lantern. Y'all remember that. Those of you who are over a certain age."
If you're going to make a pop culture reference, it's usually a good idea to get it right. Bruce Lee's Kato played the sidekick of Van Johnson's The Green Hornet.

Just a couple of thoughts...

* He couldn't come up with a better example of a sidekick in the last 40 years??

* Maybe he didn't want to. After all, unlike Obama's ticket, the one without the experience is usually the sidekick. Guess he didn't want to point that out too much.

* Another reason he shouldn't have choosen the show "The Green Hornet"? Kato kicked some serious ass. If I had to be any sidekick, Kato's a pretty good one to be.

UPDATE: It wasn't worth another post, but I just watched Obama say that we don't know what John McCain stands for because "he's talked a lot about me" but not the issues. This is after discussing for five minutes what he thinks McCain did wrong, including what I wrote about above. In fact, after writing the post, and this update, he's still talking about McCain. Does he understand the meaning of "hypocrite"?

October 25, 2008

Uh-Oh-Seven!

I actually like Daniel Craig as an actor, but I was a little bothered by his reasoning in answering a question for Parade Magazine:
"I finally ask this British actor a deeply American question: 'Who do you think would be the better James Bond—Barack Obama or John McCain?'

Craig doesn’t hesitate. 'Obama would be the better Bond because—if he’s true to his word—he’d be willing to quite literally look the enemy in the eye and go toe-to-toe with them.' "
Maybe someone should point out to Craig that one of the two actually has "quite literally looked the enemy in the eye and [went] toe-to-toe with them." Every day for five years.

Guess which one.

October 16, 2008

"And All The Women In My Family Are Female."

Petitedov has a post on the alleged threatening remarks yelled about Barack Obama during a Sarah Palin rally in Scranton.

One of the things that struck me was the defense offered up by Jeff Sonderman, the Metro Editor of The Scranton Times-Tribune, the paper that "broke" the story:
“We stand by the story. The facts reported are true and that’s really all there is.”
This is what's known as a tautology. That is, since the word "fact" means "true," you're comparing synonyms. It's like saying "All the women in my family are female." It's not only faulty logic, it's redundant. What Sonderman essentially said was "All the true things we reported were true." Of course that says nothing about things that may not have been true.

"Say Hello To Your Mother For Me."

I don't know why, but this video just cracks me up. Enjoy:



I heard that Mark Wahlberg didn't think too much of this. That's a shame because I always thought he seemed like a pretty decent guy, and would have thought that he would have been a really good sport about it. You know...maybe even appear on the show so that they could do "Mark Wahlberg talks to Mark Wahlberg."

"Hey, Mark Wahlberg. Hows it going'?"
"Pretty great, Mark Wahlberg. I like your movies."

October 14, 2008

Just Frightening...

I know the Ayers-Obama connection has been done to death. I'm not going to try to top what's already out there, but I will link to this post from Deroy Murdock that puts a lot of information about Ayers (and his Obama connection) together in one place. I have to admit--I already thought that Ayers was a dangerous individual, but after reading this, I realize that I had no idea just how dangerous. You really have to read this.

Here's a sample about Ayers:
In 1970, Ayers encapsulated the Weathermen’s worldview: “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents.”
And another about his wife and fellow Weatherman (Weatherperson?) Bernardine Dohrn:
She later said this about the Charles Manson family’s August 9, 1969, murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and her friends in her Beverly Hills home: “Dig it! Manson killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!”
I think Murdock also brings up an important point--while everyone is focusing on how Obabma could accept support from Ayers and Dohrn, we ought to also be asking just what it was about Obama that made Ayers and Dohrn decide he was the candidate they wanted to launch. What was it they saw in him?

UPDATE: You might want to read the reprinted article that originally carried the quotes above.

October 09, 2008

Deep In The Heart Of Taxes

It's things like this that made me dig Larry Elder. Although I already knew most of this, I still had a few surprises, like this:
A U.S. News & World Report blogger went to the Democratic National Convention in Denver and conducted an informal poll of 24 DNC delegates. He asked them, "What should 'the rich' pay in income taxes?" Half the respondents said "25 percent"; 25 percent said "20 percent"; 12 percent said "30 percent"; and another 12 percent said "35 percent." The average DNC delegate wanted the rich to pay 25.6 percent, which is lower than what the rich pay now -- both by share of taxes and by tax rate!
It just goes to show that for the most part, people are stupid. I'm not just talking about Democratic people, either. And perhaps I should say "uninformed" rather than "stupid." For example, I wonder who people picture when they think of "the rich"? As Elder points out, to be in the top five percent, you only need to make more than $153,542. That's a lot, but I'll bet when you think of "the rich" you think of a lot more wealth than that.

One last thought...I found it interesting that Obama and Biden, who try to pass themselves off as men of the people, donated a much smaller percentage of their incomes than those greedy Republicans President and Mrs. Bush. Only $3,700 in charitable donations over 10 years, Senator Biden? Say it ain't so, Joe.

September 29, 2008

Covering Your Fannie?

This is a little long, but very enlightening. I know that politicians generally think that we have short memories, but when you consider what the Democrats have been saying lately, this goes to the extreme.



Thanks to Ken for alerting me to this.

UPDATE: Here's a quote from Stephen Labaton's September 11, 2003 article from the New York Times:
Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''

Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed.

''I don't see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing,'' Mr. Watt said.

This seems to fly in the face of Democratic claims that this crisis is a result of Bush Administration policy. (I would have linked to the article, but the Times requires registration, and I have it in a .pdf file.)

September 27, 2008

But I Could Be Wrong...

I'm not just some guy who lives to bash the media (see below). I call 'em like I see 'em, and here's two that I think the AP did all right with.

Fact Checking the Debate
I have small issues with a few of the things said, but overall, I thought it was fair.

Who Won Debate? TV Pundits Don't Agree On a Winner.
Again, pretty fair overall.

For my money (I watched it twice) I thought it was mighty close. In the end, I have to give the smallest of margins to McCain for a couple of reasons:

  1. He finished strong. He got better and better while Obama just seemed to become more and more flustered.
  2. Unlike some others out there, I didn't think McCain had to wow people over with this debate. In fact, I think that although Obama was more eloquent "off-the-cuff" than he usually is, I'm not sure if he rose to the expectations people had for him. That performance was a far cry from a candidate who is supposed to lead us into the promised land, or send a tingle up our legs, or whatever. Is that, then, a failure? A letdown? I don't know. I'm not sure I want to watch either one of them for the next 4-8 years, honestly.
  3. One moment that really stood out to me. After McCain talked about the bracelet from the soldier's mother, Obama tried to counter with his own "I have a bracelet" story. Unfortunately for him, he couldn't remember the soldier's name, and had to look down at his notes. It was a cringe-worthy moment, and made McCain look genuine while making Obama look too rehearsed and phony.
  4. One last thought. It worries me that Obama argued that going into Iraq to remove Saddam created our problems today with Iran by taking away an enemy of theirs. I'm sure it's true, of course, that Iran becomes stronger when you take away their aggressive enemy, but is Obama really implying that we should have left a guy who was not only torturing and killing hundreds of thousands of his own people, but also participating in the largest scam in history (oil-for-food) in power simply because he might have kept his neighbor in line? That's genuinely scary. That's like the FBI saying "let's not bother going after Al Capone because he keeps the other families in check." First of all, I could make the argument that if we were to leave Saddam in power, that would have been an even more risky move as Iran still would have had plenty of reason (if not more reason) to pursue nuclear weapons with a psychotic dictator just over the border. Add to that that Saddam would likely have become even more aggressive in return, and you have a bit of a powder keg. Not good. Second, the only reason that Iran is stronger with Saddam gone is because the country (Iraq) is "in between" governments right now. I think the argument can be made that once a new government is firmly established in Iraq, especially one that is on friendly terms with the west, not only will Iran lose any strength they may have gained, they will lose some of what they originally had. Of course, all this is speculation, but as I said, that kind of logic, that kind of thinking, from someone about to take the oval office, really scares me. I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone else comment on it yet.

That Explains A Lot About The AP

They can correct the article to reflect the release date of The Silver Chalice, but can't manage to run a corrected headline.

"The Films of Actor Paul Newsman"

Really? One of the most famous actors, I don't know...EVER, and you couldn't spell his name?

BTW: This may be corrected by the time you check it out, but take my word for it--they screwed it up.

UPDATE: Yep, they corrected it.

Sometimes Nothing Can Be A Real Cool Hand

Paul Newman lost his battle with cancer yesterday.

"Is that your answer, Old Man? I guess you're a hard case, too."

I didn't always agree with his politics, but I always loved his acting.

R.I.P., good Sir.

September 22, 2008

The Proof Is In The Pudding...I Mean Voting

So you think McCain doesn't know much about the economy? Think he's out of touch with what the people want? Just in case you'd better take a quick look at this. It's a report on the Senate, put out by the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW).
The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) is the lobbying arm of CAGW. The CCAGW mission is to advocate the elimination of waste and inefficiency in government through nonpartisan public education programs and lobbying activities. Each year, CCAGW tabulates its Congressional Ratings, evaluating how each member of Congress measures up on key tax and spending votes.
The report on the Senate covers 35 key votes from last year, explains whether the taxpayers "won" or "lost" the vote, and follows up by tabulating how often each senator was on the side of the taxpayers. Some very interesting results:
  • Obviously, Sarah Palin is not on the list since she isn't a senator, but John McCain? On the side of the taxpayers 100% of the time. That's right--he voted against waste and to benefit the taxpayers every single time. And his lifetime record is 88%. Not too shabby. In fact no other senator had a 100% rating for last year.
  • Barack Obama, who claims to be on the side of the taxpayers, measured fairly close to the bottom of the barrel at 10% (18% lifetime). But that's not even the worst percentage...
  • Obama's running mate, Joe Biden (along with a bunch of other senators) came in at 0% (22% lifetime). That means in every single vote that he cast for those 35 key votes, he voted on the side that would hurt you, the taxpayer. Every single time.
I think it's pretty clear who's really got our best interests in mind.

*To be fair, though, most Democrats score consistantly poorly on these rankings, mainly because they always want to--you guessed it--raise taxes. They're generally for bigger government, also. So if you see the government taking more of your money and spending it to spread its influence into more and more of your life as a good thing, then maybe you're all right with the Obama/Biden rankings.

September 17, 2008

The Coolest Thing I've Seen In A While

You know how when you were young, you believed in cool things, like Santa, and the Easter Bunny, and Playboy models? And then some adult told you none of them were real, and pretty much ruined your life? This totally makes up for it.

September 16, 2008

Why Brian Austin Green Is The Luckiest Man Alive

Gulp!

For those following the "Brian Austin Green luckiest man" Google search here, I apologize. The above link was to a smoking hot picture of Megan Fox. It's no longer there. But I have confidence that you can find any number of smoking hot pictures of Megan Fox out there if you try.

September 14, 2008

I'm Sure It Won't Be Long...

before we see a headline like this:

We're Pretty Sure Palin Would Be Lying If She Had Said Some Stuff That We Were Hoping She Would.

The latest, from CNN (big surprise there) has the headline "Palin Never In Iraq, Campaign Now Says."

As NewsBusters points out, though, she never actually claimed she was ever in Iraq!

This is getting ridiculous, and it's beyond excusable. Palin never claimed she was in Iraq. "Palin officials" never claimed she was in Iraq. It seems that the only one who ever actually claimed she was in Iraq is an unnamed "Palin aide in Alaska." So, let me get this straight--the credibility of the entire story rests on someone who could possibly be some high-schooler doing an internship in the governor's office after school and most likely didn't know the difference between Kuwait (where Palin did visit) and Iraq?

The Boston Globe has a little more, and handles it a little better:
Following her selection last month as John McCain's running mate, aides said Palin had traveled to Ireland, Germany, Kuwait, and Iraq to meet with members of the Alaska National Guard. During that trip she was said to have visited a "military outpost" inside Iraq. The campaign has since repeated that Palin's foreign travel included an excursion into the Iraq battle zone.
They still don't report when these things were said, or by whom, but I noticed that in one case, they use the term "Iraq battle zone," which it appears she did, by visiting a military installation on the border.

At least the Globe makes it clear that she only went to the border because she wasn't allowed to go any further.
But she did not venture into Iraq, Osborn said. "You have to have permission to go into a lot of areas, and [the crossing] is where her permissions were," he said.
The last thing that struck me is that both papers seem to imply that her occasional claim of traveling to Ireland, although technically true, should be discounted because it was only a refuelling stop. In nearly the same breath, though, even though she was in a potentially dangerous area on the border of Iraq, visiting troops that, as a matter of course, had to go into Iraq, she somehow can't count that because she technically didn't cross the border, as if she had somehow managed to do a hokey-pokey and put her left foot in and shook it all about, all of this wouldn't be an issue.

If anyone has any legitimate story with quotes from Palin herself or a named source, saying that Palin went into Iraq, would you send them to me, or post the links in the comments section?

UPDATE: I guess I need to read more carefully. It looks like Palin did cross into Iraq, however briefly. The NewsBusters uses a quote from the CNN article that appears to have been changed (another "stealth edit"?). The line in question, as quoted by NewsBusters, says
"The Boston Globe reported Saturday that Palin visited the Iraqi side of a border crossing -- but never journeyed past the checkpoint."
The CNN version?
"The Boston Globe, however, reported Saturday that in response to questions about the trip, Alaska National Guard officials and campaign aides said Palin did not go past the Kuwait-Iraq border."
I have no proof that CNN changed their copy, but the Globe article seems to indicate that she did, in fact, enter Iraq proper.
"Her visit to Iraq itself..." (bold mine)

"Palin did not stay the night in Iraq..." (bold mine)
Why say that unless she was there during the day?

Whatever. Maybe we should stop being nit-picky and look at the candidates for president. Can we start listing the trips that they've made? I guess we could start with Obama's vacation to Bali, where he worked on his book, or maybe his trip to Germany to speak in front of the Germans while electing not to meet with actual Americans...wait, do those count?

Eh...

So I watched the season premiere of Saturday Night Live last night. Random thoughts:

1) Tina Fey really does look a lot like Sarah Palin. It freaked me out a little at first.

2) Speaking of Sarah Palin, they didn't give her too hard of a time. I think there was maybe a half-dozen or so. And I could count the Obama jokes on one hand. Oh no, wait...no I couldn't BECAUSE THERE WEREN'T ANY!! Not one. (Maybe I missed one...anyone?) I find that a little strange that this close to a presidential election that SNL chose to poke fun at only the Republican VP candidate. Granted, the opening sketch also made fun of Hillary "third place" Clinton, but she's not running, is she.

3) Casey Wilson is hot in that "Will you be my girlfriend and wear oversized tee shirts and white socks a lot?" kind of way.

4) What was going on with that camera work? Whoever was running things seemed to have them on the wrong person, and things seemed to be framed oddly.

5) The joke they stole from themselves (the locker room pep talk, originally with Peyton Manning) was weak. It's a long drive to the punchline, and when you know what's coming it's even longer.

6) Phelps stumbled once or twice, but did better than I thought he would. He's no Manning, though. (Manning's fake United Way commercial for SNL is hysterically funny.)

7) Really? No Obama jokes? In the couple of months you've been off the air, you couldn't come up with one thing to poke fun at? You couldn't get Tim Meadows to come back and do a bowling sketch or something?

8) Making fun of home schooling AND public education...sweet.

September 13, 2008

Google This! Some More

UPDATE: Ever since installing Google's new browser, Chrome, the Google Installer continues to try to connect to IPs for everyone but Google. The last two IPs were for Yahoo! and Amazon.

This sure seems like some kind of data mining to me...

UPDATE UPDATE: Looks like Google is going to be a little to busy with this and this to "fix" their browser any time soon. (Interesting...that second article about the partnership with Yahoo! seems to make my discovery above seem even more suspicious.)

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE: Here's a copy of Chrome's privacy policy. I just buzzed through it quickly, but I didn't see anything about trying to send or get information when the browser isn't open, or is uninstalled.

UPDATE X 4: Okay, this morning, it finally tried to connect to an IP owned by Google; however, about five minutes after that, it tried to connect to a website apparently owned by the credit reporting company Experian, and which is apparently trying to sell you a "protect your credit" service. That's the scariest thing yet, I think.

UPDATE X 5: A little more searching tells me consumerinfo.com is apparently also known as freecreditreport.com (I bet you're singing the song right now...) They've been in trouble with the FTC and had a number of consumer complaints.

September 12, 2008

This Is News???

I really expected more from The Washington Post.

I mean, really? The thrust of the headline and the opening is that Palin somehow made a gaffe in her statements.
Gov. Sarah Palin linked the war in Iraq with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, telling an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would "defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans."

The idea that the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaeda plan the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a view once promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by the president himself.
Yeah. Except that's not what she said. She said that they would defend people from the enemies (not the Iraqis) who did those things. The paper is making the assumption (or hoping that readers will) that since the troops were "Iraq-bound" that she was talking about "the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein." Obviously that's not true for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that that government, and Saddam Hussein, no longer exist. So she's clearly not talking about them. The paper knows this, though, as the very next line explains:
But it is widely agreed that militants allied with al-Qaeda have taken root in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion.
Oh, so you mean al-Qaeda, which did plan, carry out, and rejoice in the deaths can actually be found in Iraq, where those Iraqi-bound troops seem to be bound for? And so the troops might defend the innocent (which I would argue includes the Iraqi people/government themselves) from al-Qaeda in Iraq?

Isn't that what she said???

Shit like this really pisses me off because it preys upon ignorance of both facts and language. And the Post should know better.

The rest of it has problems, too, but not as bad as this.

UPDATE: Ace (and others) beat me on this because I was doing stupid things, like e-mailing this info to Ken and going to work. As it turns out, that line about al-Qaeda taking root in Iraq? It was a stealth edit. It wasn't there in the first draft.

Google This!

Okay, so I downloaded the new Google browser, Chrome, and installed it. First off, I'm not all that impressed. I haven't had much time to play with it, but so far, I'm doing everything that Chrome can do with Firefox and a few add-ons. And frankly, it seems a bit slow when loading pages. But I am really concerned about one thing, though. After installing Chrome, I've noticed that every half-hour or so, my firewall reports that Google Installer is trying to connect to the Internet. I let it through at first, figuring it might be trying to update or something. After a half-dozen or so times, though, I began to get a little suspicious. The program seemed to be working, and I checked manually for updates, so why did the installer need to connect to the Internet (and sometimes my trusted zone...trusted zone?? Stranger Danger!!!) I've also noticed that the IPs seem to be different every time.

To be frank, whether or not this behavior is intended, I don't like it. I traced a couple of the IPs and so far, not one has actually led to Google. There have been a few related to other, non-Google software that I have on my Computer. Anyone out there more knowledgeable than I know what might be behind this behavior? Is it some kind of data mining?

As you can see, I'm not the only one who's noticed this. In the first link a Google rep (at least I think it's a rep) says that it needs to connect to download the rest of the Chrome package. Yes, it does, but we're both beyond that step. We've downloaded and installed the complete package. We're up and running. In the second one, the poster says that even after uninstalling Chrome the Installer is still trying to connect, so I'm skeptical that that explanation is valid.

Considering that I'm not seeing any major difference with this browser as opposed to others, and the constant attempts to connect my computer to various IPs even after uninstalling (which I'm guessing would have been done without my permission, had I no firewall) I would advise you all to be a little wary about downloading and installing Chrome.

September 06, 2008

Some Of Us Never Thought He Went Away

Mickey Rourke is getting good reviews as a washed-up wrestler in Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler:

Talk about comebacks. After many years in the wilderness and being considered MIA professionally, Mickey Rourke, just like the washed-up character he plays, attempts a return to the big show in "The Wrestler." Not only does he pull it off, but Rourke creates a galvanizing, humorous, deeply moving portrait that instantly takes its place among the great, iconic screen performances.
Diner is one of my favorite movies. Best Rourke line: when Rourke's (uncultured, ladies-man) character, Boogie, asks an upper class young lady with whom he has been flirting, her name.

"Jane Chisholm. As in the Chisholm Trail."

After she rides off on a horse, he turns to Kevin Bacon's character Fenwick.

"What fuckin' Chisholm Trail?"

September 05, 2008

When Did Bill Maher Become Such An Asshole?

I used to like the guy. The last couple of years, I haven't been able to stand him. He used to be witty, and insightful. Now, most of the time he comes off as smug and condescending. Oh, well...maybe he's learned who his audience is.

Regardless, I happened to run across this op-ed piece of his in Salon. It's fairly offensive and demonstrates a significant amount of prejudice and ignorance. Bill thinks that all Republicans are dumb? Wow. Does he subscribe to any other insulting or degrading stereotypes that we should know about? Does he think all black people like watermelon? Does he think that all Mexicans are shiftless and lazy? Does he think that all women are weak-willed and emotional? The whole "Republicans are stupid" line is old. It was old in 2000, it was old in 2004 and it's still old. Worst of all, it's not true. I posted on it a while back. Here's the highlights.
The Democrats in this country do not have a stranglehold on intelligence, or culture, or diversity of thought. For them to even think that they do, much less speak or write it, is the worst kind of prejudice.

So, for those of you out there who voted for George Bush, and are tired of the aspersions being cast on your intellect, here's what you do: The next time someone states, or even hints, that Bush won because the people who voted for him are ignorant, hit them with some facts from the people at Gallup.

* If the uneducated people of the country had NOT voted, not only wouldn't Bush have lost, he would have actually won by a larger margin. According to Gallup, nearly a third of all voters had an education described as "high school or less." Of that third, 54% voted for Kerry, while only 46% voted for Bush. Yes, that's right--more uneducated people voted Democrat than Republican.

* Bush kicked ass among those voters (48%) who had "some college" or "college graduate (no postgrad)," winning the first group by 12 percentage points, and the second by 16 points. That's nearly half the voting pool.

* To be fair, Kerry did win the "postgraduate education" bunch, but they were only 20% of the voting population, and he won them by only 6 percentage points. So, it appears that the Democrats would have you think that 47% of Americans who have made it to the highest echelons of our educational system, still managed to keep from picking up any smarts.
Here's the link to the rest. (NOTE: The original link to Gallup is gone, so I updated it here and in the original post. You might notice that the numbers for the 2000 election were essentially the same as for the 2004 election.)

September 03, 2008

There Are Probably A Few Sarah Palin Bikini Photos Out There Somewhere...

...but this isn't one of them.

The picture, allegedly of Palin in a red, white, and blue bikini, holding a gun has been "making the rounds." In the digital age, people should really know better, but I've already seen a number of posts on various sites describing the photo and then demanding "explain that!"

One word...photoshop.

Right Wing News has the goods on the fake and the original.

It's All In The Numbers

I saw this by Roger Simon over at Politico:
It is not an unfair question. While the standard that the vice presidency is “only a heartbeat away from the presidency” has become a cliché, it is also accurate. Four vice presidents have become president through the natural death of a president, four through assassination and one through resignation. That’s quite a number considering we’ve had only 43 presidents.
I guess it's all in how you frame the issue. I'm already a little sick of the "only a heartbeat away" line, especially when you consider that the other side of the aisle is trying to put someone who is (I think, anyway) just as inexperienced less than a heartbeat away--in the oval office itself.

I'm not sure you can count Ford, who became president after Nixon's resignation. The "heartbeat" issue--at least when I've heard it used--has always been in regards to the possibility of the death of a sitting president (generally a jab at McCain's age). Of the other eight, four have been "promoted" by the natural death of a president:
John Tyler (William Henry Harrison)
Millard Fillmore (Zachary Taylor)
Calvin Coolidge (Warren G. Harding)
Harry Truman (FDR)

And four by "unnatural" deaths:
Andrew Johnson (Abraham Lincoln)
Chester A. Arthur (James Garfield)
Teddy Roosevelt (William McKinley)
Lyndon Johnson (JFK)

You'll notice that only three of those happened in the last hundred years. I'm not sure that's "quite a number." We've had more wars in that time period. People living today may have seen it happen once...maybe twice. (I've never seen it happen--again, I'm not counting Ford.) Even the "natural" deaths are exceptional circumstances. Harrison, serving in his late sixties, died of pneumonia and its complications before medical treatment had advanced enough to even be aware of microorganisms. Taylor also died in his sixties (65) of a mysterious illness. Harding died at 57 from either heart attack or stroke while also apparently suffering from pneumonia as well. And FDR, also in his sixties, suffered from (most likely) Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which can be fatal. I'm not a doctor, so I don't know the likelihood that it may have caused the cerebral hemorrhage he died from. The point being that advances in medicine have extended life expectancy and the effectiveness of the Secret Service has reduced the chances of assassination. Three in the last hundred years isn't that frequent, and with the aforementioned advances, I would argue it's likely to be even less frequent in the future.

Look at it this way--you may be able to name the four presidents who were assassinated. Did you know the VPs who succeeded them? Could you have named the first four, who followed the natural deaths? Do you think most people could? Try this--ask friends and family to name more than four vice presidents from, say, 1850-1950. That's a hundred years. If Simon is right, and the possibility of a vice president taking over the presidency is so common, five shouldn't be a problem, right?

August 29, 2008

Why I Like Sarah Palin

I'll add to this as I think of things.

1. She's hot. Hair-up, glasses, naughty-librarian hot. (I had to get that one out of the way. C'mon, you knew I was thinking it.)

2. She plays nice with others.
She's teamed up with Democrats, and gone up against Republicans. Nice.

3. She follows through on her campaign promises. (She lowered her salary and reduced property taxes by 60%.)

4. She makes real change, railing against wasteful spending and unethical politicians, even those on the same side of the aisle. She gets things accomplished...and quickly.

5. She can see the difference between her personal beliefs and those of her constituents. (For example, she believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, but has vetoed a measure that would deny benefits to same-sex couples.)

6. Experience? If you measure experience in terms of accomplishments (see 2-5) as opposed to simple time frames, I'd say she's not nearly as inexperienced as her critics would lead you to believe.

7. She seems very practical. I really like that. Her history seems to indicate that she does what needs to be done, what's best for the people, not necessarily the party.

Sometimes the Smallest Ones Get Lost in the Crowd

With all the headlines going to Obama/Biden/McCain/Palin, I think it's important to make note of the developments in the Caylee Anthony case. It looks like the little girl is dead. Air samples from the back of Casey Anthony's car, the one that her mother Cindy said in her 911 call smelled like a dead body, indicate a decomposing body was in the trunk. The FBI preliminary results seem to indicate that a hair found in the trunk seems to be Caylee Anthony's and (I don't know quite how they can tell this, but I believe them) seems to indicate she was dead when the hair was lost. I thought I read something about a knife yesterday, but I can't seem to find it today. I'll keep looking.

Casey Anthony disgusts me. I can't believe that they are offering this woman immunity on the condition she lead them to the remains. (Even if she didn't kill her daughter, her self-centered behavior and refusal to help the police find her daughter still disgusts me. She is an embarrassment to the human race.) I'm against the death penalty, but people like Casey Anthony make me...well, let me put it this way. If she were to die in prison, I would sleep just that much better.

If they do find out that Casey killed her daughter, I seriously hope that they prosecute the grandmother (Cindy) on something like accessory after the fact, or at least obstruction of justice. At every turn she has impeded and confounded this investigation. Her latest? After hearing about the decomposition she suggested that a body was put in the trunk after it was in the tow yard. I just can't believe that these two thought, even for a second, that anyone would buy the shit they're shovelling.

UPDATE: Here's the bit on the knife, as well as some other tidbits.

More on Experience

I was reading Linda Bergthold on HuffPo regarding Sarah Palin. I'm always struck by that attitude (and maybe it's the circles I move in, but I see it sooooo much more in Dems) when someone believes in something so completely that they can't even imagine that someone would see it differently. I see it a lot in reporters and academics. Regardless, I really had a hard time with Bergthold's piece:

I think we will look back at today as the day when the Republicans most certainly lost the Presidency.
I think she's half-right. This is the day that decides the election. I'm just not so sure this is going down as a loss for the Republicans.

In choosing Sarah Palin of Alaska for Vice President, the Republicans have made a cynical but clever choice. At least they think it is clever. She is a woman, young (44 years old)
So...she's a young, good-looking minority...

a Governor (only two years)
So...she's run a state. (The largest one in the nation, by the way. More than twice as large as the next largest.) And Obama has run how many states? (Hint: it rhymes with "zero.")

a mother (five children)
So...check me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure Obama hasn't passed up a chance to get his two moppets in front of the cameras, to show what a great family man he is. Frankly, I'm impressed that she can run a family of five and hold down a job like Governor.

pro-life, and pro-gun.
Yes she is...that's why she's a Republican.

But what is she not? She is NOT pro-choice.
What?! How dare she?! You mean a woman might find abortion wrong? (See. This is that lack of acknowledgement of the other side of the argument that I was talking about.)

She has NO national experience. She has never been under the intense scrutiny of a national campaign.
This is true. You could say that she is a change from those same old politicians that we're all used to. You might even say she is a change we can believe in.

She is under investigation for some incident in Alaska that is messy and personal.
I'm sure any pertinent details about this will come out, but I would be careful dwelling on this if I were the Obama campaign, especially considering the stench of scandal after scandal around Obama himself.

She has no international experience. Her experience governing is in a very small state,
As opposed to Obama's vast international experience, I guess. How many times did he go to the Middle East, again? And as I pointed out, Alaska is the largest state. I think what Bergthold means is a sparsely-populated state. But even then, it's more populous than Wyoming, Vermont, and North Dakota, and it's in the same neighborhood as South Dakota...oh, and Deleware--the state represented by VP candidate Joe Biden.

famous for its "Bridge to Nowhere" kind of political graft. Her Republican colleague in that state, Senator Ted Stevens has been indicted for corruption.
Now Bergthold is just being intelectually dishonest. She's trying to associate Palin with Stevens, graft, and the "Bridge to Nowhere," as if Palin is guilty by association. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think it's a stretch to even call Stevens a "colleague." Palin is well-known for fighting (with Democrat Eric Croft, with whom she filed an ethics complaint against State Attorney General Gregg Renkes) against ethics violations and "pork" projects. "In the roughly three years since she quit as the state's chief regulator of the oil industry, Palin has crushed the Republican hierarchy," and she enjoys--depending on what poll you look at--somewhere between a 70-90 percent approval rating. The truth is that while Obama likes to talk about change, Sarah Palin has already implemented many changes of that type. Oh, and I'll give you one guess which Alaska governor cancelled that "Bridge to Nowhere" that Bergthold mentioned...

I think Bergthold needs to check her pants...something smells like it's on fire.

I like Palin. If this election is about change, the one who really represents change and reform is Sarah Palin. I think the Dems made a huge mistake in not including Hillary Clinton on the ticket, and it opened the door for Sarah Palin. But that's how these things work--chance. If not for a speech given at the 2004 Democratic Convention, there's not a chance in hell that Barack Obama would be where he is now.

By the way...all this "no one knows her" business? Notice the date and title of the Weekly Standard article I linked to above: "The Most Popular Governor" 7/16/07 (emphasis mine).

UPDATE: Someone pointed out to me that despite Bergthold trying to link the "Bridge to Nowhere" to Palin (she, in fact, canceled it), maybe we should lay it in the lap of those who voted for it...including Senator Barack Obama. (According to factcheck.org, McCain "tried, unsuccessfully, to add a 'sense of the Senate' amendment to the bill, stating a general objection to earmarks; in the end he voted against the legislation.")

And You Never Let Robin Drive the Batmobile

I think the Obama campaign is going to have a tough time criticizing the choice of Sarah Palin as VP, considering Obama himself has experience issues.

The McCain ticket is Batman and Robin. The Obama ticket is Robin and Batman.

August 28, 2008

Jimmy Carter is an Assdart

In an interview with USA Today and others...
"Former president Jimmy Carter called Republican presidential candidate John McCain a 'distinguished naval officer,' but he said the Arizona senator has been 'milking every possible drop of advantage' from his time served as a prisoner of war in Vietnam."
So fucking what?

He was in a Vietnamese prison camp for five and a half years! Do I need to point out that that's a year and a half longer than Carter's entire term as president? Did I mention it was a Vietnamese prison camp? As far as I'm concerned, the guy has earned the right to bring it up as much as he wants to. Ten times a day for the rest of his life. Twenty. He could begin the answer to every question he's ever asked from this point on with it and I'd still say he's entitled.

"What can I get you today, Sir?"
"Well, When I was in a Vietnamese prison camp for five and a half years, I ate nothing but maggoty rice and bugs, so I think I'll have a Big Mac."

"Hello. Can I ask who I'm speaking with?"
"Well, when I was in a Vietnamese prison camp for five and a half years, they called me 'White Devil,' so I'll go with that."

If it was anyone but Carter, I'd say that he/she should know better.

August 21, 2008

Again...Dat's What I'm Talkin' Bout

Of course, everyone else did too. It was obvious that the Chinese Women's Gymnastics Team had a number of underage participants. Now the Times of London is reporting that there may be some hard evidence confirming that. Or at least enough to warrant an investigation. How thorough that will be is anyone's guess...but I wouldn't hold my breath.

An IOC official told The Times that because of "discrepancies" that have come to light about the age of He Kexin, the host nation’s darling who won gold in both team and individual events, an official inquiry has been launched that could result in the gymnast being stripped of her medals.

The investigation was triggered as a US computer expert claimed yesterday to have uncovered Chinese government documents that he says prove she is only 14 - making her ineligible to compete in the Olympics - rather than 16, as officials in Beijing insist is her age.

I guess if the Chinese are disqualified, then the Americans will win the gold?

Could Be My Shortest Post Ever

Misty and Kerry win gold. Wearing white bikinis. In the rain.

Is this Beijing...or heaven?

UPDATE: This might not be my shortest post anymore, but I was just re-reading it and realized it sounded like some kind of beach volleyball haiku.

Dat's What I'm Talkin' Bout

I link to him, so you should be reading him anyway, but just in case you're not, you need to check out this article from Larry Elder. It's a pretty good example of why, although I don't really like either candidate, I think Obama is far less qualified than McCain, and consequently a less appealing choice.

And don't forget to read the last two paragraphs.
The following day, on "Meet the Press," NBC's Andrea Mitchell said some "Obama people" suggested that McCain heard the questions in advance because he "seemed so well-prepared."

Indeed, McCain did seem better prepared — to lead this country, that is

Ah, yes...of course. McCain couldn't possibly be better organized, better prepared, a better speaker off-the-cuff. He must have been cheating. So according to Obama and/or his "people" McCain has played the "race card" and now he's playing the "already read the card" card. What's going to happen when that deck runs out?

August 16, 2008

You Know, It's NOT Unusual...

I have no reason for posting this video other than I found it while looking for something else, and it made me laugh. My favorite is behind the scenes at the television show at 0:32. Thanks to the compiler.

And I promise, if you dance like this for a few minutes, you can't help but have a good day. Go on...you know you want to.

August 15, 2008

Movie of the Week

I just added the film Felon to my list of "recent movies I'm digging." It just came out on DVD, and if you get a chance, check it out. Stephen Dorff plays Wade Porter, a man who accidentally kills an intruder one night, and is sent to one bad-ass prison. It's a little contrived and predictable at times, but it's still pretty engrossing, the performances are good, and I just love the stuff Val Kilmer--who plays Porter's mass-murderer cellmate--is doing these days. Definitely worth the 1:44.

August 14, 2008

What's That? Somebody Wrote "Gullible" on the Ceiling?

Did you look up? If you did, you'll love this.

And this.

And just take a look at this:



I will say that there are two things about this that pique my interest:

1) Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe. Oh, sure...I try to deal with things rationally, with a skeptical, scientific mind. But Dude...we're talking about BIGFOOT.

2) They're providing, along with more photographic evidence, DNA evidence.

I'm curious to see where this will...Hey! I don't see anything on the ceiling!

It's a Long Drive for That Joke.

So I just finished my first fantasy football draft of the season. That started me thinking about fantasy sports in general, and then I was watching the Olympics.

So here's my fantasy team:
Alicia Sacramone - Gymnastics
Misty May-Treanor - Beach Volleyball
Kerri Walsh - Beach Volleyball
Logan Tom - Volleyball
Jen Joines - Volleyball
Stephanie Rice - Swimming
Jennie Finch - Softball

Now if I could just come up with a fantasy sports team...

The Agony of Da Feet

Well, it looks like the U.S. ladies lost the gold to the Chinese gymnasts, whose team apparently consists of a couple of infants, and possibly a zygote. I'm not saying they're young, but I'm pretty sure one of them was going through some kind of mitosis between the second and third rotations.

My heart breaks for Alicia Sacramone, and not just because she's smokin' hot. (See "The Thrill of Victory" below.) She had a few mistakes, and you could just see the anguish in her face. I don't know if the U.S. would have won if she hadn't made those errors, but she took the loss of gold on her shoulders.

Alicia, I know it was the Olympics, and at 20, I know it's probably your last, but still...you helped your team win a silver medal--doing things on a four inch beam that most people can't do on solid ground, no less. Everyone has a bad day once in a while. It reminds me of something my grandfather used to say: "sometimes you eat the b'ar, and sometimes the b'ar eats you."

August 11, 2008

The Thrill of Victory

Man, every time I watch an Olympics, I think "it just can't get any better than this." And four years later, I'm wrong.

Just a couple of quick thoughts:

The opening ceremonies? Wow. Just...amazing. I'm at a loss.

The men's 4x100m freestyle relay? It goes right up there with some of the great Olympic moments--Rulon Gardner over monster Alexander Karelin (2000); Spitz and his 7 golds/world records in '72; Kerri Strug landing on one ankle to win gold in 1996; the 1980 "miracle on ice"; and probably my favorite--Jesse Owens goes to Berlin and shoves four gold medals up Hitler's ass in 1936 in the best "fuck you and your Aryan race" ever.

The women's gymnastics? I hope they can pull it together after a somewhat disappointing opening. (Especially because I think Alicia Sacramone is a hottie!)

August 07, 2008

Paging Dr. Obama, Dr. Fine, Dr. Obama!

Maybe I'm just not watching enough of Obama. Maybe I'm missing the speeches where he actually talks about what he's going to do instead of hand out a bunch of empty rhetoric about hope and change and hoping for change and believing in hope to change beliefs.

Can you imagine, say, a surgeon trying to get away with that?

Shooting Victim: Ah...Doc! You've got to help me!

Dr. Obama: Yes. I'm here to help you. You weren't being helped before but I will change that because I'm here to help.

Shooting Victim: I'm bleeding...I don't want to die!

Dr. Obama: In the past there have been many people who were bleeding. Abraham Lincoln was bleeding. John Kennedy was bleeding. Martin Luther King, Jr., who doesn't look like those other two, was bleeding as well.

Shooting Victim: But...but they all died!

Dr. Obama: In the past, many people died. Americans are tired of people dying. People died a lot when other doctors were in charge. I believe we can work together to stop people from dying.

Shooting Victim: Oh, God! I'm really losing a lot of blood here!

Dr. Obama: You are bleeding now, but when I help you, things will change--you won't be bleeding in the future.

Shooting Victim: So...you're going to operate?

Dr. Obama: I remember when I was young, and my grandfather had an operation. I hoped he would get better, and he did. It was then that I knew that hope could make people better. It's why I became a doctor. To hope and change the future.

Shooting Victim: I'm beginning to think that you're not a real doctor. Have you even operated on anyone before?

Dr. Obama: You know...other people have said that I'm not an experienced doctor. They said "he wears his stethoscope upside down." They said "he's got a different color lab coat..."

Shooting Victim: You're not answering the question.

Dr. Obama: You have to ask yourself: "what do I want?" Do you want more of the same kind of doctors you've had in the past? Ones who have had patients who have died? Or someone without a lot of "experience" who has never lost a patient? Now, c'mon...let's go operate!

Shooting Victim: Um...aren't you going to do any tests first?

Dr. Obama: I'm planning on performing some fact-finding tests after the operation, which will refine and confirm my present position. And while I'm there, I'll stop off and see the lab technicians.

Shooting Victim: Oh, so the technicians are also your patients?

Dr. Obama: Well, no. The the technicians are not technically patients...but aren't we all patients of the world? Anyway, the technicians really love me. Whenever I go there, they treat me like I'm the president...of the hospital. They cheer and clap and I apologize for the other doctors and the patients giving them all those tests to do. They don't seem to much like the other doctors and patients.

Shooting Victim: Well, without doctors and patients, the techs wouldn't have a lot to do.

Dr. Obama: And without change, the future will be like the past.

Shooting Victim: (flatline beep)

Welcome To Self-Delusion! Population: 62 out of 100.

I've noticed that most of the houses for sale in my little area of the world are asking what I find to be high prices, and have said as much to a number of people. This article in the WSJ might hold a key as to why, if the housing market is so bad, those sale prices aren't lower.

In its second quarter survey, 62% of the 1,361 homeowners who responded to the survey by Zillow said they believe the value of their own homes has increased over the past year.

But according to Zillow, that high level of optimism is out of sync with reality. The company’s research shows that the 77% of U.S. homes depreciated in value over the past year. Only 19% appreciated and five percent remained the same.

I don't pretend to know much about the housing market, but it seems to me that this presents more than a bit of a problem. This seems like it would create a situation that is neither a buyers' market (as houses are overvalued) nor a sellers' market (people won't be able to get the prices they want). That purchasing stagnancy has got to be bad all around.

August 01, 2008

Experience, Exshmerience...So Long As I'm President

Thanks to Ken, who sent me a link to this op-ed piece by Eric Egland in the NY Times:

In Paris, he said that “terrorism cannot be solved by any one country alone,” and that we should establish partnerships. In Berlin, he expressed hope that Europeans and Americans “can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks” of terrorists worldwide.

But there’s one problem. We already have a counterterrorism partnership with the European Union. And it works. Indeed, despite news media caricatures of aggressive Americans feuding with pacifist Europeans, both groups are quite serious about protecting citizens by working together.

And the crusher:

In 2004, J. Cofer Black, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, testified about the success of these partnerships before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee on European affairs. Had Senator Obama, who now heads that subcommittee, read the transcripts from the meeting, which took place before he came to office, or had he held a similar hearing, he might have known that the partnerships he called for last week already exist.

After years of investment and sacrifice, Americans and Europeans deserve accurate information about our efforts to defeat international terrorism, especially from a prospective commander in chief.

Ouch. How many of these types of slip-ups are people going to tolerate before they realize that the man just doesn't have the experience to be president?

July 26, 2008

Smoke And Mirrors

These kinds of things are the reason that I think that the longer this campaign runs, the more you will see Obama's numbers drop. By and large, I think Americans are not as stupid as the Obama campaign thinks we are.

“It is not going to be a political speech,” said a senior foreign policy adviser, who spoke to reporters on background. “When the president of the United States goes and gives a speech, it is not a political speech or a political rally.

“But he is not president of the United States,” a reporter reminded the adviser.


“He is going to talk about the issues as an individual … not as a candidate, but as an individual, as a senator,” the adviser added.

Oh...as a senator. I see.

Can someone point me to the section of the speech where he spoke about Illinois?

Isn't That What You're Being Criticized For?

I saw Senator Obama interviewed in London (you can read the gist here) on the tube, and was struck by the fact that yet again, he relies on the American public being too stupid to see through the empty rhetoric. In response to the criticism that he failed to follow through on his trip to visit wounded soldiers at an American military hospital in Germany, Obama and his campaign said that he had planned on going, but finally was afraid that it would be seen as political and therefore scrapped the visit.

Here's Robert Gibbs, Obama spokesman:

Gibbs said Obama had decided several weeks ago he wanted to visit wounded troops in Germany. Asked whether either the senator or aides had considered that the trip might be viewed as political, he replied, "We had taken some of that into consideration but we believed that it could be done in a way that would not create, it would not be created or seen as a campaign stop."

But after hearing from the Pentagon, he said, "We decided, Senator Obama decided having made that decision he was far more willing to take the criticism from some political people or political opponents in a political atmosphere than to put our troops in the middle of our campaign back and forth."

Sen. John McCain's campaign spokesman Brian Rogers criticized the decision, saying, "Barack Obama is wrong. It is never 'inappropriate' to visit our men and women in the military."

Gibbs brushed that aside, and said Obama would have faced criticism if the trip had taken place.

Wait...what?

Isn't the whole point of the criticism that Obama cancelled his visit because he was afraid of being criticized for using wounded soldiers as "a campaign stop"? And isn't that exactly what Obama's camp just confirmed?

Oh, sure...on the surface it looks like Obama's trying to protect the soldiers. But read through that quote above again, and ask yourself what it really says.

My paraphrase:

We wanted to make a good-looking political move by kissing babies visiting wounded troops in Germany, and fully believed it wouldn't look too obvious.

After the Pentagon told us we had to restrict any political activity on the visit, we figured we'd be better off taking the heat for not going than wasting our time on a pointless visit.

John McCain said "Man, are you stupid. Don't you realize that it's much worse politically to look like you're ignoring and unconcerned about American servicemen than to look like you're using them to help your image? Did I mention I was a soldier and a POW?"

Gibbs said "um...hello? If Obama had visited the soldiers, he would have been criticized. We didn't want that."

One line in the article is particularly telling:

At the Pentagon, spokesman Bryan Whitman said Obama was told he could go to Landstuhl, but the visit would have to conform to Defense Department guidelines that restrict political activity on military installation. That meant campaign staff would have been barred from accompanying him, he said.

Yes, that's right--after being told by the Pentagon that he couldn't turn this into a photo op (which, as the article makes clear, Obama's camp failed to mention initially), he then made the decision not to go.

And that's what it comes down to in the end--Obama made a decision that he would rather protect his political image than visit wounded American servicemen. This is exactly what he's being criticized for.

Let's not pretend his decision was out of concern for the troops, shall we? Everybody knows that this "fact-finding mission" was nothing of the sort. I'm not seeing him adjusting any policies in light of this trip; it's the same old same old. The only fact that seems to have had any impact is Obama finding out that troops are watching Fox News. No, this trip was to help get rid of an image of Obama as someone weak and uninformed on foreign policy.

I'll leave you with this thought: If Obama wanted to visit wounded troops without the impression that it was a "campaign stop," he had plenty of time to do that before he became a nominee for president. You know...when McCain and many other politicians did it.

July 25, 2008

Well, It's Not Like The MEDIA Is Going To Do It.

Thanks to Ken for alerting me to this examination of Obama's speech.

I found this great editorial from David Aaronovitch in the U.K.'s Times Online by following some links from the link above.
But even if [Bush] had been a half-Chinese ballet-loving Francophone, he would have been hated by some who should have loved him, for there isn't an American president since Eisenhower who hasn't ended up, at some point or other, being depicted by the world's cartoonists as a cowboy astride a phallic missile.
It's definitely worth a read.

July 23, 2008

What's In A Word?

I shouldn't be surprised by now, but I was a bit taken aback by the two headlines, one on top of another, by the Associated Press:

Obama Tells Israel He's Committed To Its Security

McCain Denies He Misstated Timing Of Iraq Surge

Look at that--Obama is "committed" (reuters had him "assuring" them he's a "friend); McCain "denies" and "misstates." Go figure. What's really interesting is that if you read these stories, you'll see that both articles report that each candidate made a "misstatement."

McCain's:

At issue are McCain's comments in a Tuesday interview with CBS. The Arizona senator disputed Democrat Barack Obama's contention that a Sunni revolt against al-Qaida combined with the dispatch of thousands more U.S. combat troops to Iraq to produce the improved security situation there. McCain called that a "false depiction."

Democrats jumped on his comments. They said McCain's remarks showed he was out of touch, because the rebellion of U.S.-backed Sunni sheiks against al-Qaida terrorists in Iraq's Anbar province was under way well before Bush announced in January 2007 his decision to send 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq.

McCain asserted he knew that and didn't commit a gaffe. "A surge is really a counterinsurgency made up of a number of components. ... I'm not sure people understand that `surge' is part of a counterinsurgency."

Obama's:

Obama said Israelis could be certain of his commitment to Israel's security by looking at "my deeds."

"Just this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which is my committee, a bill to call for divestment from Iran, as a way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon," he said.

However, Obama does not serve on the banking committee, and McCain's campaign seized on the mistake.

"Not only is it not his committee, but he's not even on the committee, he didn't vote on the bill, and he had nothing to do with its passage," McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said in a statement issued Wednesday.

Now, be honest--which one of these seems more egregious to you?

It's funny that Obama's "mistake" (a kind term, I think) didn't make it into the headline, isn't it?

UPDATE: Well, that was a quick update. I just noticed two other things: a headline for an AP video that claims McCain "flubs" timetable, and a link to Politico stating that "McCain Gaffes Pile Up." If you think Obama hasn't made his share of "gaffes," you can check my post here that references a few. The one that comes to mind is Obama thinking that Hillary was winning in the Kentucky primary because she was from "the nearby state of Arkansas," apparently forgetting that his state, Illinois, actually borders KY. I think that's actually a little more embarrassing than McCain's commenting on an imaginary Iraq/Afghanistan border, considering that Obama is actually from one of the places he screwed up.

July 22, 2008

Holy Schadenfreude, Batman!!

I'm seeing a lot of reports, especially on the television news, that Christian Bale was arrested for assault.

At the same time, I'm seeing (fewer) reports that this may be a case of verbal assault, which is apparently a crime in London. If this turns out to be the case, then shame on the media for jumping the gun on this one, because most reports are not making the distinction. In fact, some have even seemed to promote the idea that this was a physical assault.

UPDATE: I've been trying to post this info on Greta Van Susteren's website for about 10 minutes, but it's not going through. (Greta happened to be one of the people I saw who didn't make the distinction. I was watching for that story of the missing girl with the crazy mother and grandmother.) Someone posted there--so take it for what it's worth--to say that his father was a worker in the hotel where this supposedly happened and the father said that the mother and sister (who are estranged from Bale) were there demanding money, and seemed inebriated. Maybe they thought that Bale himself made all that money this weekend.

UPDATE #2: Leave it to the British papers to do it right. Looks like Bale "is alleged to have pushed and shoved his mother Jenny, 61, and sister Sharon, 40..."(emphasis mine). Later on, though, it's pretty clear that Bale maintains he never touched anyone, never threatened anyone with violence--basically that he had a fight with his family. Surprisingly, the mother and sister both claim that they never called the police, and that the matter was "a family matter." Strange.

July 21, 2008

YES!!


This is the most bad-ass thing I've ever seen. He must be the Jet Li of Leopards.

July 20, 2008

The Pope Calls The Kettle Black

While I applaud him for officially apologizing for sexual abuse by priests, I have to wonder what Pope Benedict XVI was thinking when speaking out against materialism at Australia's World Youth Day in Sydney.
Summing up his message, Benedict told young pilgrims at a Mass in Sydney that a "spiritual desert" was spreading throughout the world and challenged them to shed the greed and cynicism of their time to create a new age of hope.
This seems a lot like Lindsey Lohan speaking out for celibacy.

You know, when the Pope shows up in one of those sack-brown robes, and stops riding in the holy-copter, and gives up his Mercedes Pope-mobile, and a number of other things, then I'll listen to what he has to say on the subject of materialism.

I mean, the event was held at a horse racing track, for you-know-who's sake!

Is It Just Me...?

...or does everyone think Obama's progression regarding the Middle East is a bit wonky? First, he comes up with "his" plan, which must have been difficult, considering he hadn't been to Iraq or Afghanistan.* Now, after visiting Afghanistan...
Obama told CBS News that Afghanistan has to be the central focus in the fight against terrorists.
I guess that means instead of Iraq. Except he still hasn't been to Iraq!!! This is like saying "apples taste better than oranges, without ever having tasted an orange. Oh, sure, you can study oranges all you like. You can have people describe what an orange tastes like, but if you're going to make a decision regarding the nation's oranges, you ought to have tasted one for yourself.

Which is obviously what this trip is about. This is no "fact-finding mission." That would imply that the events could have some impact on the outcome. Clearly, that's not the case here. Obama has made up his mind and his policy--at least until it suits him to change it--and this trip is merely to deflect the (valid) criticism that he had no firsthand knowledge of the region.

*I know what you're thinking--"DS,I'm sure that you have an idea of what should be done in the ME, too. Have you been to those countries?" No, I haven't, Mr. Smarty Pants. But my plan also doesn't have a chance in hell of being implemented, which really makes it less of a "plan" and more of an "opinion."

UPDATE: I freely admit when I'm wrong. It seems Senator Obama did make one trip of two days to Iraq back in 2006. I think that the point still holds, though. He's comparing Afghanistan today to a 2006 Iraq. A lot has happened in that two years.

July 18, 2008

Oh. My. Sweet. Lord.


While you might mistake Katie Holmes for a boy (although, frankly, she's cute enough that I doubt it...unless you stand back and squint a little), there's no mistaking Rosario Dawson for a member of the male persuasion. And speaking of male members...(feel free to make up your own joke here.)

Man, look at the face on that kid in the background. Thanks to Rosario, I think he just hit puberty!

"Now, Can You Make Your Voice Lower?"

Over at "What Would Tyler Durden Do?" he's asking what's wrong with Katie Holmes's hands that she seems to be hiding them. I think the more interesting question is: did Tom make her cut her hair short and wear those clothes and sneakers so that she looks like a 12-year old boy?

A Tom Cruise joke? Man, have I sunk low.