Thursday, July 31, 2008

Batman versus Zod

Via Sean

Hmm a quiz to see who said what: Bush or Batman?

Personally I'd rather have Batman as president, even campy Adam West Batman, than General Zod

People of the World indeed.

What's wrong with Science as a Religion?

Salon comes up with a question that reeks of failure.

Anyone that thinks Science can work as a Religion or Religion can work as Science does not understand religion and/or science.

The core to science is verification through experimentation. Nothing, nothing is taken as sacred and unquestionable. That's the whole point. Everything is fair game, but to overturn an existing idea you need to prove it wrong. Science's purpose is to give a flexible framework to observe, model, predict and attempt to understand the natural world.

The core to religion is faith in something that cannot be proven. Religions have principals that are not determined via experiment.

The fallacy of attempting to equate the two should be readily apparent.

People who try to use science as a religion: Radical Environmentalists, and people that try to use religion as a science: Creationists, are cut from the same cloth. They both want use the authority of science to lend a veneer of validity to their agendas.

Rand Simberg has more thoughts.

So how good are those climate models?

Model vs. Reality
Always always bet on reality.

The blunt truth is that every, every model is wrong.
The important and difficult thing is determining how wrong the results are and then what conclusions can reasonably be made given the accuracy of the results.

The assumptions have to be factored in. Which effects were simplified, which ones were ignored totally. What is the range of values where certain assumptions are more valid? How good is the data being input into the model?

So, let’s review the bidding. The IPCC and the models on which it premises its version of reality are wrong on rainfall. They are wrong on GHG concentrations and behavior. Models are wrong on Antarctica, on Andean snowpack, on Bangladesh, on ocean temperatures, and wrong on the Northwest Passage. Roy Spencer’s research appears to have affirmed that models are demonstrably and fatally wrong on the threshold question of climate sensitivity.

Huh... that's not confidence inspiring.

Well what are they going to do with data of that reliability?

Other than that, why, those models are perfectly wonderful tools on which to premise trillion-dollar economic decisions!

That's not good. Not good at all.

Computer models make very nice graphs and can create reams of data. Their parameters can be varied to make lots of studies and comparisons...

but if the model itself is deficient, then all you have is very pretty garbage.

It's like he thinks he's already President...

From Glen

Democrat Barack Obama, the first black candidate with a shot at winning the White House, says John McCain and his Republican allies will try to scare them by saying Obama "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

Er, all those other presidents? Isn't there just one President on the dollar bill?

And have you noticed that it's always Obama who's actually injecting race into the campaign, under the guise of warning about what those Evil Republicans will do? And is it
likely that John McCain would be out there saying "don't vote for Obama, he's black?

Follow the link to see a bunch of other gaffes in that statement. It's an amazing collection of ignorance, arrogance, racism, and fear-mongering.

Also consider this part of the quote. "I know that I don't look like the other Americans who've previously spoken in this great city[Berlin]."

There's another gaffe in that statement too. Broadly, racially, speaking I would think the current and previous Sec State would count. Or is Obama limiting himself to just other presidents again?

Glen Reynolds: When the press is in the tank for you, you get sloppy.

And Glen ends with a preduction: Just wait. It'll get worse between now and November.

I wish he were wrong, but I'm sure he's right.

More on the Dollar Bill Statement by Peter Kirsanow

Amy Holmes nails the Obama spokesperson's transparent attempt to clean up the Dollar Bill quote. So we're to believe the statement had nothing to do with race, rather it referred to Obama not having spent decades in Washington? I suppose that last week when Obama — in terms similar to the Dollar Bill quote— told the crowd in Berlin, "I know that I don't look like the Americans who've previously spoken in this great city," he was referring to the fact that JFK wasn't as tall.
Not content with mere insinuations of racism, the Obama campaign publically signals their belief that we're galactically stupid.

Yes, because George Washington spent decades in Washington DC....

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Using Science against those that pervert it.

More on the deviousness of using Maths and Logic on Environmental issues.

James Hansen asserted that there is a 99% chance of four conditions being met.
Now the probability of each of the four conditions being true has to be greater than 99%
(For example the probability of Heads on a coin is 50% but the probability of Four Heads is greater than 50% In fact it's 0.50^4).

So look at this

It’s also important to distinguish the varying degrees of climate-change scepticism that exist. For example, someone might be sceptical about one or more of these commonly accepted statements:
1. Global warming is really happening.
2. Global warming is caused by man-made greenhouse gases (GHGs).
3. Global warming will be harmful.
4. GHG emissions must be reduced in order to combat global warming.

And if there really is an urgent need to reduce GHG emissions, all four of these statements must be true.
Predictably, James Hansen has no doubt: ‘I can assert that these conclusions have a certainty exceeding 99 per cent.

Follow the link to see what the actual numbers are.

You know... if a guy lies about basic, basic probability... why are we supposed to trust intricate and complex computer modeling?

Science can't always give us definite answers to our questions, even when the issues involved are very important to us. But it often can tell us how certain we should allow ourselves to be. And the certainty expressed by far too many environmentalists goes well beyond what the science will support.

That right there is the rub for me about a lot of the eco-people trying to use science to prove a certainty in things that we don't know

The standard deviation is not the same as the distribution of a set.

Unfortunately, journalists of both sexes tend to not be math geniuses. Few of them anywhere on the continent noticed that Ms. Hyde's data actually come a lot closer to supporting Mr. Summers' hypothesis than they do to refuting it.
And that's exactly what Ms. Hyde's team found: The test data for boys were spread out more in every state, and in every single grade, by between 11% and 21%. That may not sound like a big difference. But such differences can create tremendous disparities in the relative proportion of men and women meeting a certain criterion.

Which is to say, the Science study has produced a recognizable echo of what Mr. Summers pointed out, to such indignation, in 2005. It is hard to tell if intelligence follows a normally distributed statistical pattern at the very high end of cognitive achievement. But if so, that means male-female ratios will naturally grow even more dramatic as the cutoff is placed even higher — as is inevitably the case in elite quantitative professions.

If someone writing a story makes a basic goof on something simple about statistics, math, history, or logic...

Then what about the rest of their work? Where did their conclusions come from? A mind that may be over their head? Or are they being spoon-fed by someone else?

This is why being a skeptical reader/viewer is so important. It's more work, but isn't the truth preferable to what might be false?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A couple questions to and from the Media about Obama.

The latest new drug: Hopium

Pop quiz for the press corps. Which of the following phrases is not attributable to Sen. Obama?

Simple assignment for the press corps: ask the senator to name three specific traditions to which America will return upon his election and why his election will prompt their return. No teleprompters allowed.

New York Times: Why didn't Obama leave his aides behind and visit those wounded troops alone

More on White Knight Two

Popular Science

Popular Mechanics

From StrategyPage today

Iran's internal and external problems.

Sri Lanka: Downfall Here's another war against terrorists that seems to be being won.

Koreans Build A Better OICW One wonders if they can solve the problems in the American version of the weapon.

A practical jet pack? Maybe.

A man says he has a better jetpack. One that can lase more than 60 seconds.

An older article on the limits of the current tech.

It looks like the inventor here had a workaround by scaling up the whole pack. Instead of something that you can wear as a backpack, he built a 250lb machine that you buckle into. By going heavier than a man-portable design (that is something a single person can carry), there's more margin for fuel. Note what may be a large fuel tank in the lower portion of the "jet pack".

This is a similar scheme that allows ultralight helicopters (essentially just a framework to support a seat, controls, fuel, and engine) to work, while helicopter "backpacks" are impractical and suicidally dangerous.

This also reminds me of the "powered glider" that's also in the works

Monday, July 28, 2008

White Knight 2

Virgin Galactic Rolls it out.

Nice looking plane.

Satire's Hard... when the Reality looks like this...

If you're an emotionally stunted, needy whiner that just couldn't handle eight years of Bush... then has the easy emotionally soothing solution for you.


If you're the type of person that needs to believe in change, believe in hope, believe in a politician, feel good about their "Dear Leader" then... well the joke writes itself.

I wish this were satire, but it's real, which means Moveon thinks that it will help Obama.

Win or Loose Obama's gonna let a lot of people down. Reality tends to do that to dreams and idealistic notions.

He's not heavy...

At least Carter's brother just sold beer.

What's green on the outside and red on the inside?

"Environmentalists" that use saving the world as cover for socialist and totalitarian projects. Like banning compound interest.

Hat Tip: Sean

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dark Knight.

I just saw the new Batman movie.

It's worth seeing. If for no other reason than the movie will surprise you. It's been so long since there was a movie that actually broke with the standard mold.

The Joker was portrayed very well.

I found it better than Iron Man. Iron Man was fun and like a guided tour of making a battle-suit. Dark Knight was gripping and kept you guessing. No one else knew what the Joker would do and that dread hung over the film, and was conveyed to the viewer.

This is a movie that should not be spoiled. The events are not ones someone with half a brain can figure out, so the spoilers actually mean something.

All the characters were great. The movie dealt with tragedy, heroism (what it does and does not mean), and evil.

A releated link from Cathy
Here are my thoughts before seeing the movie

Broadly speaking the initial comparison seems apt. In specifics it falls apart.

What's more interesting is the economic angle. How movies like Batman and 300 are popular and thus profitable, while the vast litany of anti-war films are all flops.

That shows that most Americans wouldn't want to pay good money to be lectured about how evil and wasteful they are, provided it's preach and boring and clumsy. Do it in a clever and fun way and you have Wall-E (which is an endorsement of making your idea appealing instead of preachy).

After seeing the movie. I'm not sure the political comparison is so apt. But I underestimated how stark and deliberate the movie is. The movie shows that evil exists and it doesn't need a reason, and for good or ill, it must be fought.

"Some men don't want anything logical, they can't be bribed, bullied or bargained with, some men just want to watch the world burn." -Alfred.

If you were planning on seeing it, see it sooner rather than later.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Requiring Flex-Fuel

Now here's an interesting idea that can be a part of a broad range of ways to help the energy situation.

The Open Fuel Standard Act would require that beginning in 2012, 50% of new automobiles, and in 2014, 80% of new automobiles, sold in the U.S. (imported and produced domestically) be warranted to operate on gasoline, ethanol, and methanol, or be warranted to operate on biodiesel.


Flex-fuel would provide consumers more choice in terms of what fuel they use, with only an estimated $100 to $200 additional cost per car. That’s only a few tankfuls of gas! According to Zubrin, methanol today sells for $1.50 a gallon, the equivalent to $2.80 per gallon for gas (allowing for lower ratio of miles to the gallon).

A low cost way to increase the flexibility of what we can put in our vehicles? More flexibility is always a good thing. Especially if non-food ethanol takes off.

There is no silver bullet solution for the energy "crisis", but there are alot of things tha can be done. Things that are more helpful than jetting around the world lecturing others about their Carbon Sin.

Another Obama roundup

This is getting creepy...

Now, in terms of knowing my commitments, you don't have to just look at my words, you can look 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." Obama

"But Obama is not a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. Obama just made that up so he could count the committee's action as one of "my deeds."

If committed by a Republican, this would be a gaffe of historic proportions. Even a Senator as inattentive to his duties as Obama certainly knows what committees he serves on. For him to fabricate the claim, out of whole cloth, that the Senate Banking Committee is "[his] committee," strikes me as another sign of Obama's megalomania. That, plus more evidence that he is totally at sea without a teleprompter.

He's right. I wonder how it can be 'his' committee if he's not even on it. The guy's going from inept bungling statements to outright obvious lies. I wonder if the media will start to call him on things this obvious?

And what would happen if McCain had called the Banking Committee "his committee"?

If only appearances matter.

And so Obama came to Berlin to build up his image on national security. If only appearances matter, then he did himself some good. The substance of his remarks was different. He credited the 1948 Berlin Airlift to international cooperation. "It was this spirit that led airlift planes to appear in the sky above our heads," he said, as if some global vibe called aircraft from the vasty deep. Actually, it was Harry Truman. As Elizabeth Spalding recounts in The First Cold Warrior, "At first, Truman was almost alone in thinking that an airlift would work as an effective response to the Soviets."

Truman made a tough, risky decision. That's what presidents do. Obama did not acknowledge this point. He didn't even mention Truman's name.

Obama's ignorance and his team's ignorance of history is no longer a surprise, but it's important to keep referencing it. Simply to deaden the idea that Obama is some great mind in forgien policy, history, judgement or anything other than an empty suit that can excellently read from a teleprompter.

Maybe that's why news anchors love Obama. He's just like them

From a National Review reader
"But in the darkest hours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning. The people of Berlin refused to give up. …." - in reference to the Berlin airlift period.

Why did the people of Berlin keep the flame of hope burning? They did because they believed that America would not abandon them despite the hardship and risk associated with the flights, that's why.

This from a man who was desperate to abandon Iraqis at the very moment that they were in their darkest hours. If Iraq is any indication, he would have abandoned Berlin.

He has some chutzpah to even mention the benefits of fortitude in a speech.

President of Earth

From Glen Reynolds.

POLL: No bounce for Obama from overseas trip. I don't think he cares -- I think he figures he's got the election won already, and that this trip is about laying the foundation for his administration's foreign policy.

This isn't presumptuous. You'd think Obama would wait until he had a bigger lead over McCain, but facts are for mere mortals, and Obama knows he's won.

Glen continues "He's not running for President of the United States. He's running for President of Earth."

Oh joy.


Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance

For years, there have been calls from Iraq and Afghanistan for more intelligence analysts, computer techs and geeks of all types. It's easier to get good infantry than it is an effective intelligence analyst. None of this gets covered much in the media, because the military, especially the army, doesn't want to talk about it. That's because they don't want the enemy to know too much about how U.S. troops can predict what the enemy will do, who they will do it with, and how they will do it. This sort of predictive analysis is nothing new. Been used for years in the commercial world. But even there, not many people paid much attention to what the bean counters and geeks were doing. However, most of the time all this analytical stuff, and the math it is based on, does work. ISR has saved thousands of American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's saved even more Iraqi lives, because it enables U.S. troops to go after the enemy with more precision, and fewer casualties among nearby civilians. So it's no wonder that the generals, and troops, want more ISR.

Very cool. There's some really interesting stuff that the media has ignored. Which in this case is for the best. Though it can get very frustrating.

I'm right, it's reality that's wrong.

Richard Fernandez of the Belmont club notes something
"Tetlock described how analysts who failed to predict the fall of the Soviet Union still argued that if the coup attempts against Yeltsin had been somewhat better organized and succeeded there would still be a USSR. Hence they were almost right but they were betrayed by facts."

Hmm... alot of people are more bound to their own ideas than the actual facts and reality of events.

The link shows the obvious current examples.

He also has a post of some heroism and interesting stories from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Couple interesting combat reports

Princess Obama

Melanie Philips has some thoughts on the "Obamamania".

But such Obamania should worry us all, for it is based on emotion and, where the Democrat candidate is concerned, the normal faculties of judgment appear to have been suspended.

Important questions about Obama’s judgment, consistency and honesty are not being asked, let alone answered.

He has got away with the fact that for 20 years he belonged to a church which preaches black power racism against white people.

He disavowed his long-time mentor, pastor Jeremiah Wright, only when his extreme views could no longer be ignored — despite the fact that Wright is a supporter of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the black power Nation of Islam.

The media brush all this aside as ‘personal details’ which are of no interest to voters. But if, say, John McCain’s pastor and mentor had turned out to support the Ku Klux Klan and his church was found to be sympathetic to its philosophy, his candidacy would have been defenestrated and rightly so.

Once again it's important to consider what would happen if the situation were reversed. What if McCain were to have said an Obamaism? What if Obama had said a "Bushism"?

Something like
“Let me be absolutely clear. Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s.”
“You know, it’s always a bad practice to say ‘always’ or ‘never.’”

Why is it an example of Bush being a stupid Texan if he says it?
Or an example of McCain being senile?
But for Obama he's merely tired?

He is not old, frail and nondescript like McCain, but young, vigorous and attractive. He is, in short, everything they want America — and themselves — to be.

His very incoherence over policy, the fact we don’t know what he really believes in, enables people to project onto him their hopes and desires. He is the perfect fantasy politician. He is America’s very own Princess Obama.

But, of course, the belief that a handsome prince can magic away the troubles of the world is infantile. The idea that there is a new kind of sanitised politics by which problems can be solved without having to make hard choices is a dangerous delusion.

There are good reasons to vote for Obama. A deep and personal distaste/distrust for McCain or the Republicans. A view that Obama's policies will be better (such as Obama's policies can be determined).

However, the idea that Obama is some great new leader that will usher in a new age, or some other idealization. That's just begging for abuse and disapointment.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Obama Love

Remember this whenever the media pounces on McCain's statements yet lets Obama flub and flounder.

Edit: It looks like the vid was pulled because the McCain camp was very, very stupid and didn't get the rights to the song. Way to go guys.

Oil and Market Economics.

National Review asks a relevant question.

"Has anyone seen the headline, "oil prices drop $21 a barrel in two weeks"?

Since the issue of gas prices emerged, the expectation has been that it would be a dominant issue until November. Is it possible we'll see a price drop, almost as rapidly as we saw a price increase?"

Given the rate of the increase in Oil prices some had thouht it was a "bubble" it's possible that buble has/will burst. It's also possible that prices can go back up again. Much depends on the perceived future suply of oil.

Not only has Oil gone down in price, but the Dollar is stronger and the Stock Market is better.

It's interesting perhaps the economy can be helped, without having massive new social programs. Maybe we can transition to better energy systems without listening to modernday con-men.

More gold down, Dollar up

Civil Rights Voilations.

Via Glen, Reason reports on DC's foot dragging.

D.C.'s political leaders know they are inviting another Second Amendment lawsuit, but they are determined to defy the Supreme Court and the Constitution for as long as possible.

This and further rulings based on Heller are more reason that the selection of the next few Supreme's is still quite important.

VDH on McCain and Obama

Here's a bunch of thoughts today Victor Davis Hanson.

Victor Davis Hanson on what McCain should do

But that said, McCain should not get trapped into surge dialectics, but stay on 5-6 domestic themes: he wants to transition us to green energy through drilling, nuclear, clean coal and all our resources; Obama has bought into Gorism and thinks we can hope and change our way magically to "wind, solar, and millions of new jobs in green energies"; McCain will close the border first and discuss the thorny issues later; Obama won't. McCain will cut federal spending and pay off debt, Obama wants a trillion dollars in new entitlements; McCain won't raise taxes; Obama's could make the top brackets pay, European-style, 65% percent in state and federal taxes, and stifle economic growth with new levies on capital gains, inheritances, payroll, and income; McCain will appoint judges who follow and interpret, not create, laws; Obama will do the opposite; McCain knows the military and what it can do to protect American interests; Obama wants to create a shadow civilian force "that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" as the $500 billion a year Pentagon.

That should be his message, and he should not get involved with pro-Obama pundits refining and upgrading Obama's latest incarnations on Iraq. Even biased reporters are chaffing at the new gospels of Obamism, and the carefully scripted appearances designed to limit exposure to the sort of circus we see at the White House Press room, and eventually will want more impromptu Obama.

Ideas on Energy and the like.
The more we size up the current energy crisis, the more it seems like we are waking up from a long coma. Yet it turns out that even in our decline we still pump 8 or so million of our 20 million plus imported barrel daily appetite. We have some of the world's largest deposits of coal, tar sands, and shale. We could get another 5 million barrels per-day off our coasts, off the continental shelf, and in ANWR. And we still are the world's largest nuclear producer, and could produce 50% of our energy with such clean power plants. Wind and solar will help, especially as in the Pickens' plan to divert natural gas and/or propane to transportation. Our engineers are the best in crafting enhanced conservation in our homes and cars, and the country is mobilizing to stop the annual trillion dollar wound.

The point? That for all Al Gore's notion that we will soon be plugging our battery-powered caterpillars and semis into wind-generated electrical sockets at night, the future is still not, well, that bleak. I think if we use ALL our resources, and don't fall into Gorish fundamentalism, we could cut 14 million barrels of daily imported oil within 15 years through conservation, flex-fuels, natural-gas and electric cars, oil, coal, tar sands, shale, nuclear, wind, solar, and geothermal. Like Obama, though, with Gore it's a certain pie-in-the-sky liberal fundamentalism from the 1960s: you are either for the apocalyptic vision of current greed and the need for massive government planning, or you are a hopeless naïf.

Ironic that the people that are taken in by plans that seem logistically and mathmatically... "hopeful" accuse people that don't take their schemes at face value "naïf" but so it goes

The media's fanboyism.
The distinction again is that Obama appeals to the gullible and puerile as a sort of James Dean candidate. And thus he is not to be cross-examined, but instead free to shun interviews and clarifications, and prone to avoid reporters who might be less than adulatory — the normal stuff that so irritates the supposedly sensitive press that has now gone brain-dead.

What is fascinating about the tingly-leg press is that they are exhibiting the very symptoms of arrested development and star-struck immaturity that they always accuse America in toto of suffering. The usual critique of the elite media is that we are a nation of mindless followers, who go from one fad to another, and value looks, youth, and pizzazz over substance.

But the current spectacle suggests something worse — that the press who claims they know better and are more sophisticated are, in fact, far more infantile than most Americans, and essentially Access Hollywood, People Magazine, and the National Enquirer dressed up with network logos and NY-DC bylines


If one were to take Obama's recent deer-in-the-headlights comments, stutters, pauses, contortions, and false starts when asked about the surge, and put them into the mouth of Dan Quayle, well, case rested...

An interesting mix of projection, and favoritism.
Just remember, whenever someone excuses one of Obama's "oppsies".

Would they extend the same for Bush or McCain?

Edwards who?

Meanwhile there's something up with John Edwards

But now that the cat is out the bag, I will say what I wanted to say then. John Edwards–he of constructing a 28,000 square foot home while preaching about the two Americas and remonstrating about the environment–is one of the most reprehensible schmucks to appear on the American political scene in some time. And that's saying something. That he played this game while his wife had cancer makes it contemptible beyond words. Now we know why he was always primping in the mirror. It is narcissism unbounded.

But there is a moral to this story - and I think we all know it. I hate the use of caps, but I think in this instance I will use them. DO NOT BELIEVE THE HIGH FLOWN RHETORIC OF POLITICIANS - ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS HOLIER THAN THOU. THEY ARE LIKELY TO BE MASKING SOMETHING.

"Will this be the first presidential-contender level scandal to occur completely in the undernews, without ever being reported in the cautious, respectable MSM? . . . You'd think MSM reporters would resent being played for chumps by Mudcat Sanders, et. al."

Something to keep in mind when the media starts gushing about -well- anyone or anything.

EDIT: Added link

Edwards did not answer and then ran into a nearby restroom. He stayed inside for about 15 minutes, refusing to answer questions from the NATIONAL ENQUIRER about what he was doing in the hotel. A group of hotel security men eventually escorted him from the men's room, while preventing the NATIONAL ENQUIRER reporters from following him out of the hotel.

Said reporter Hitchen: "After we confronted him about seeing Rielle, Edwards looked like a deer caught in headlights!

Monday, July 21, 2008

the United Nations vs. the Second Amendment.

Via Glen Reynolds.

David Kopel reports on the UN's designs for the 2nd Amendment

Obama Iraq

What if Obama got what he wanted?
Imagine if it were American forces fleeing Iraq in retreat, as the American Left has long urged. Al Qaeda and Iran would be surging into their new playground in Iraq, with new terrorist recruits from all over the Muslim world surging into the triumphant al Qaeda that defeated the American superpower.

Try to remember this. What would have happened if Obama et al had gotten what they wanted.
Remember this when you think of who you want in charge.
Not terribly good judgement when you put it into context is it?
Out of touch

"I strongly stand by my plan to end this war." Wake up, Barack, its over. We no longer need a "plan to end this war." Obama said, "To achieve that success, I will give our military a new mission on my first day in office: ending this war." The U.S. military has already developed, implemented, and succeeded with their plan to end this war. What would they send you next year, press clippings from this year?
Obama reiterated his commitment to remove American combat brigades within 16 months of taking office. But under current plans, there will be no American troops fighting in Iraq 16 months into the next presidential term.

The problem was illustrated when Obama, after one of his spring primary victories, declared, "We need to talk to our enemies, the way Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy did." Obama would do well to consider carefully Roosevelt's talks with our enemies: Japanese diplomats were in Washington for negotiations to resolve our differences peacefully on the very day that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

Ah, once again Obama's stunning ignorance of history rises up to bite him.

The interesting thing about Prime Minister Maliki's comments is not the various ways its been translated or if it helps Obama (it likely will), but how it underscores how little McCain and Obama differ in Iraq policy going forward.

Obviously, both campaigns will loathe the suggestion that there's not much difference between their stands on one of the biggest issues in the campaign. But if McCain says that most of 140,000 will be leaving over the next four years, and Obama says that after 16 months the U.S. will be down to 50,000 troops in Iraq... aren't we arguing about whether the U.S. should have about 50,000 troops in Iraq after 2010 or some number less than 70,000 by 2012?

Interesting how Iraq has gone from Republican kryponite to being a non-issue that the candidates seem to agree on, at least in the most gross terms. That Obama's plan becomes less of a disaster is not due to Obama's wisdom but the situation improving beyond even his most cynical netroots pleasing expectations.

Remember, what would have happened if Obama had gotten what he wanted.
Via Glen

If we had listened to Barack Obama in 2002, Saddam Hussein (or his murderous son Qusay) would still be brutally repressing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Shiites and Kurds, and some of the world's most accomplished terrorists (such as Abu Abbas, 1993 WTC bomber Abdul Rahman Yasin, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi) would still be calling Iraq home. I doubt Obama would be flying to Baghdad.

If we had listened to him in 2005-2006 when things were at their worst, then the nightmare scenario of an open Iraqi civil war fought with the backing of Saudi Arabia and Iran and verging on a wider regional war would possibly be playing out. I doubt Obama would be flying to Baghdad.

Obama can only visit Iraq now because the Surge worked. Something even now he doesn't support.

Knowing What He Knows Now, Obama... Still Would Have Opposed the Surge

Moran's close of the story: "And so, when pressed, Barack Obama says that he still would have opposed the surge but said he didn't anticipate what people here call the Iraqi surge uprising against Al Qaeda and Shi'ite extremists. He said he didn't anticipate that, but he is insisting that he is focusing forward on what needs to be done — setting that timetable for withdrawal."

So he didn't foresee the surge working, but as his adviser Susan Rice said, Obama "bows to nobody in his understanding of this world.

Stuborn Arrogance.

"I'm glad that they were all smiles on the helicopter tour of Baghdad. But lost in the photo ops is the pretty darn important point that Petraeus disagrees with Obama's withdrawal timeline."

"My opponent, Senator Obama, announced his strategy for Afghanistan and Iraq before departing on a fact-finding mission that will include visits to both those countries. Apparently, he's confident enough that he won't find any facts that might change his opinion or alter his strategy. Remarkable." Sen, McCain Link also has an overview of how Obama's handlers did everything in their power to keep him from making gaffes.

Victor Davis Hanson weighs in.
Yet, the more his handlers treat him like fossilized amber, the less experience he gains, guaranteeing that on almost every rare ex tempore moment he will suggest something that doesn't compute—that he might be president for 10 years, or that we need a civilian version of the Pentagon with the same $500 billion annual budget, or that someone like a Centcom commander like Petraeus doesn't have his strategic comprehensive view, or that the Anbar awakening and the Surge were not, at least in part, connected (as if the signal that we were not pulling out, [as Obama advocated] or that we were changing tactics to ensure the safety of those in the neighborhoods who would help us, did not reassure tired Sunnis to join with us in expelling al Qaeda.)

Media Trust

From Glen Reynolds
The belief that reporters are trying to help Barack Obama win the fall campaign has grown by five percentage points over the past month." Gee, do you think? Plus this: "A separate survey released this morning also found that 50% of voters believe most reporters want to make the economy seem worse than it is. A plurality believes that the media has also tried to make the war in Iraq appear worse that it really is

All the more reason to be skeptical of anything the media says.

Troops Angry At Media Bias and Laziness

What else is knew?

From StrategyPage

American troops in Afghanistan are not happy with how a July 13th battle with the Taliban was reported. In that action, some 200 Taliban attacked a U.S. "base" and killed or wounded more than half the 50 or so U.S. and Afghan troops found there. Actual U.S. casualties were nine dead and fifteen wounded (including walking wounded).
U.S. troops were irked that, once again, the mass media got lazy and didn't bother to report the action accurately. For one thing, there was no "base".

At least now the real story can get out.

Judgement to Lead Part XXI

And again, Obama shows he knows how to pick'em

Billionaire Penny Pritzker helped run Hinsdale, Ill.-based Superior, overseeing her family’s 50% ownership stake. She now serves as Barack Obama’s national campaign-finance chairwoman, which means her banking past could prove to be an embarrassment to her — and perhaps to the campaign.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

StrategyPage: World Terrorism Status

Wars Update: Fighting Goes Out of Fasion

If you want more of a historical and sensible view on current wars, you can do a lot worse than StrategyPage.

The War on Terror has morphed into the War Against Islamic Radicalism. This religious radicalism has always been around, for Islam was born as an aggressive movement, that used violence and terror to expand. Past periods of conquest are regarded fondly by Moslems. The current enthusiasm for violence in the name of God has been building for over half a century. Historically, periods of Islamic radicalism have flared up periodically in response to corrupt governments, as a vain attempt to impose a religious solution on some social or political problem. The current violence is international because of the availability of planet wide mass media (which needs a constant supply of headlines), and the fact that the Islamic world is awash in tyranny and economic backwardness. Islamic radicalism itself is incapable of mustering much military power, and the movement largely relies on terrorism to gain attention. Most of the victims are fellow Moslems, which is why the radicals eventually become so unpopular among their own people that they run out of new recruits and fade away. This is what is happening now. The American invasion of Iraq was a clever exploitation of this, forcing the Islamic radicals to fight in Iraq, where they killed many Moslems, especially women and children, thus causing the Islamic radicals to lose their popularity among Moslems.

The article also has summaries and links of many hotspots in the world.
A good primer to learn more about the status of the world, beyond the headlines.

Are there any Adults on Team Obama?

With his attempt to speak at the Brandenburg Gate, Obama picked a new location in Berlin to speak at.

One that further detailed his current pick: The Siegessäule — or Victory Column.

Ed Morrissey of Hotair has more.

Hitler didn’t just move the monument to its more central location. He had a taller column built for it as well, to emphasize its message of German military domination over Europe. He saw it as a message to Germans of their destiny — as well as to other Europeans as their destiny as well. It was never meant as a symbol of peaceful, multicultural co-existence.

Team Obama has outdone themselves on symbolism with this choice. They’ve managed to make their hosts uncomfortable for a second time with their choice of rallying point, and perhaps more so this time. If one wanted to talk peace, what worse location could one choose than Adolf Hitler’s favorite monument to militaristic domination? One has to wonder how France, Denmark, and Austria will feel about Obama rallying German masses under the Siegessäule. Deja vu?

Team Obama touts their superior diplomatic skills and knowledge of symbolism, but notice how events seem to show a drastic gap between their claims and reality.

Of course the Foreign Media won't be able to ask such questions.

Christoph von Marschall of Germany’s Der Tagesspiegel says the Barack Obama campaign has been making sure Obama doesn’t have to answer any real questions from the international media.


My take: his staff is desperately worried that the candidate will make a gaffe, as soon as he ventures into uncharted territory. Foreign reporters tend to ask questions about ... you know ... foreign stuff.

Does team Obama have any idea how this stuff looks? Refusing all but the most softball questions from the media. Refusing to debate McCain in a townhall (which Obama said he loved and would do anytime-anyplace). Lurching about so that no one has any idea what his positions actually are. And then showing a frightening lack of historical knowledge.

Do they even care?

It's not that hard to fix this stuff. All Obama needs is someone that actually knows history and knows strategy and how Obama's actions will look. Is the man with "Judgment to Lead" that incompetent at picking staff? Then again look at his VP vetter pick.

If elected he'd gonna have a wonderful cabinet.

Saturday, July 19, 2008



A short vid on the evolution of the eye.

Charles Johnson's note is very informative as well.

Belief in God does not preclude belief in evolution.
Belief in evolution does not preclude belief in God.
Do not trust those who insist otherwise.

This is very true. I always find it worrying when someone tries to use God to disprove science, or Science to disprove God.

Either way shows a profound lack of understanding on both.

Not a Joke

I though McCain's gas tax holiday was a silly populist idea. That wouldn't do anything.

But then Congress Dems came up with something worse.

They want to raise gas taxes.

Now, lawmakers quietly are talking about raising fuel taxes by a dime from the current 18.4 cents a gallon on gasoline and 24.3 cents on diesel fuel


It's like they're trying to get to zero approval ratings.

Guys, guys. You raise taxes after November. Not before it.

Also it's not good to say you want more money to fund progrmas when 12% of those very programs are pork and other waste.

I mean, you raise, RAISE, gas prices and call attention to your bloated porkish spending.... do you want to get elected?

The Dems are doing their best to try to lose.
Fortunatly for them the Republicans are stupid.

McCain & Conan

In an earlier post. I talked about Obama's relative humorlessness about himself.

One would think that someone even older than Obama would be even more humorless.

But that's not true.

Via Hot air here's some clips when McCain was on Conan's Late Night show.

My fave is when McCain's comments about what his VP would have to do.

The Japanese bomb of Pearl harbor.

You remember when Japan dropped the bomb, the big one. Right?

Obama does.

Throughout our history, America's confronted constantly evolving danger, from the oppression of an empire, to the lawlessness of the frontier, from the bomb that fell on Pearl Harbor, to the threat of nuclear annihilation. Americans have adapted to the threats posed by an ever-changing world.

The bomb? And he grew up in Hawaii. Stunning, stunning ignorance.
You'd think someone that wanted to be in politics his whole life would learn to cover his ass, and do some simple stuff like learn the basic history of states he's spent alot of time in.

Via LGF where Charles Johnson notes
I’ve written several times that I suspect Barack Obama of being almost completely ignorant of world history. Now it’s becoming clear that he’s even ignorant of the history of the state in which he grew up.

This reminds me of a line from Animal House
"Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! " Bluto

And to be fair, the Bluto character did grow up to be a Senator.

Of course that was Satire. This is reality, or a farce.

And if McCain had said it, well that's just proof that he's senile. I'm sure Obama was simply tired.

Wrong then Wrong Now

Via Gateway Pundit

"The same people that are saying we have to set dates for withdrawl, are the same people that said we would fail in Iraq. They were wrong then and they're wrong now."

It's good that McCain is hammering this in.
Because alot of people would prefer to pretend that they never said Iraq was unwinnable or that the Surge would not help.

Alternative Energy Versus Math.

In a break from his ammusing comentary on anime Steven Den Beste, he pulls out the greatest weakness to Alternative Energy: Math.

In order for "alternate energy" to become feasible, it has to satisfy all of the following criteria:

1. It has to be huge (in terms of both energy and power)
2. It has to be reliable (not intermittent or unschedulable)
3. It has to be concentrated (not diffuse)
4. It has to be possible to utilize it efficiently
5. The capital investment and operating cost to utilize it has to be comparable to existing energy sources (per gigawatt, and per terajoule).


My rule of thumb is that I'm not interested in any "alternate energy" until someone shows me how to scale it to produce at least 1% of our current energy usage. America right now uses about 3.6 terawatts average, so 1% of that is about 36 gigawatts average.


The way you can tell that a fan of "alternate energy" is a religious cultist is to ask them this question: If your preferred alternate source of energy is practical, why isn't it already in use?

These are very important questions and one should have them in mind.

Energy should be an Engineering problem not a religious one.

Better technology does allow for new energy methods. See Nuclear as an example, but one must look at Alternative Energy with a clear head and a basic idea of math.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Title 9ing of Science.

The NY Times, which actually does fairly good science reporting writes on the troubles ahead for Science and Engineering and Math education.

I've mentioned this before. Once again the real hideousness comes in the implementation.

How would a quota system to increase more women in science work? What if not enough women sign up? What if some drop out during their study? How does one tailor science for women? What would a "Woman's Physics" or "Female Calculus" actually mean?

But the institute found that women with physics degrees go on to doctorates, teaching jobs and tenure at the same rate that men do. The gender gap is a result of earlier decisions. While girls make up nearly half of high school physics students, they're less likely than boys to take Advanced Placement courses or go on to a college degree in physics.

Once you get an initial degree (IE a BS) then the *rate* to higher degrees and teaching roles are the same. What this shows is that if the desire is "equality" between men and women then changing the graduate curriculum and the process of becoming a Prof is rather balanced given the pool of BS students.

The imbalance comes in the number of women that enter the field (undergrad students) versus males. Once again there comes into problems of how to apply this.

A similar conclusion comes from a new study of the large gender gap in the computer industry by Joshua Rosenbloom and Ronald Ash of the University of Kansas. By administering vocational psychological tests, the researchers found that information technology workers especially enjoyed manipulating objects and machines, whereas workers in other occupations preferred dealing with people.

Once the researchers controlled for that personality variable, the gender gap shrank to statistical insignificance: women who preferred tinkering with inanimate objects were about as likely to go into computer careers as were men with similar personalities. There just happened to be fewer women than men with those preferences.

That's right. When you normalize by *interest* in the inorganic sciences men and women have very close results.

So the question remains, if a lack of women in science is a problem (what about the lack of men in the social sciences, medical, veterinary, literature...) then the method to get more women in the field has to be done with care.

Obama-Safe Humor?

From Glen Reynolds
Obama is humorless, and full of himself. That would make him a great target for satire, except that his followers take the position that any mockery or criticism is racist. The prospect of four years of that sort of thing is the best reason I can think of not to vote for him.

Personally, I found much of the mockery of George W Bush to be tasteless and unfunny. However there has been some great satire taht shows him as an unthinking, bumbling, nitwit. One example is the "In My World" series on

"Are you going to drill in ANWR?" a reporter asked [Bush].

"Why wouldn't we? Who would stop us? Moose? Eskimos? We can handle them. I'm thinking we'll also drill in Canada. I hear they have oil there and they don't have any use for it because they're not technologically advanced enough."

"Will we be drilling in Iraq?"

Bush looked confused. "There's oil there?"

"What about research into alternative fuels," another reporter asked.

"I have a clock that runs on a potato," Bush said. "It's pretty neat."

"I mean how about paying others to do research into alternative fuel?"

"Oh. Well, we're doing that. The drill we're using in Yellowstone runs on ethanol. With research like that, we'll be able to continue to drill for oil even if we run out of oil."

So my distaste for much the humor mocking Bush, is exactly that, a matter of taste. I don't think simple jokes of Bush's head on a moneky's body are clever, now having Bush ues a laser pointer to trick Hellan Tomas to jump out of a window...

Again that's personal taste. I'm not against the *idea* of mocking
the president. The ability to critizie, saterize, mock, and deflate
our political leaders is a good thing. It shows that in this country
one can be critical or simply scathing of those in power.

That's why it's worrying when Obama supporters say "that any mockery
or criticism is racist."

Over at National Review's the corner are some "Obama friendly" jokes about "How many people it would take to change a lightbulb?"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Odds and Ends

A Bridge to the 7th Century

These bizarre, frightful incidents illustrate the bottomless depravity
of America's chief enemy in Iraq. This is a glimpse of how Iraq could
look if U.S. forces prematurely withdrew, and the bad guys returned.
This also is a cautionary tale of the insanity that likely would erupt
wherever al-Qaeda or any of its allies gained power.

Finally, al-Qaeda's chilling tenure in Mosul and elsewhere in Iraq
puts the lie to the notion that Islamofascists merely are defending
themselves against America's allegedly over-assertive foreign policy
and Israel's supposed anti-Muslim menace. Combating ice, cucumbers,
and wedding gowns has nothing to do with the policies of the Pentagon
or the Knesset. It's all about building a bridge to the 7th century.

Victor Davis Hanson as always has a very readable post.

More on a cynical Pol using the emotions of the masses to trick them
regardless of the actual facts.

"Editing History"
Obama's campaign has been editing his website. Removing, without explination, his remarks saying the Surge wouldn’t work.
"Yes, this will help dispel the recent "flip-flopper" talk."

From Glen Reynolds "I tried to check the Google Cache of his site,
but, interestingly, his site doesn't cache in Google. How
convenient.... It was the audacity of hopelessness, and it was a
miserable failure. He's counting on the press to make sure nobody

A couple days out of date, but still very interesting.

In a dramatic move yesterday President Bush removed the
executive-branch moratorium on offshore drilling. Today, at a news
conference, Bush repeated his new position, and slammed the Democratic
Congress for not removing the congressional moratorium on the Outer
Continental Shelf and elsewhere. Crude-oil futures for August delivery
plunged $9.26, or 6.3 percent, almost immediately as Bush was
speaking, bringing the barrel price down to $136.

Now isn't this interesting?

Democrats keep saying that it will take 10 years or longer to produce
oil from the offshore areas. And they say that oil prices won't
decline for at least that long. And they, along with Obama and McCain,
bash so-called oil speculators. And today we had a real-world example
as to why they are wrong. All of them. Reid, Pelosi, Obama, McCain —
all of them.

This shows a massive ignorance on how commodities are priced and how
their value fluctuates, and yet the democrats (and many republicans)
want *more* control over our economy.

Fun with Google Maps on Iranian sites. Its really amazing the power avaliable to an individual person now. This used to be just the domain of nation-states, but now anyone can do it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

And we get back to judgment

Rand Simberg has some comments on an article by Jennifer Rubin about some creative Resume Padding.
I was just listening to NPR in the car, and Terry Gross was interviewing Ryan Lizza on Fresh Air. He just had a long piece in the New Yorker about Obama's Chicago history. He was talking about the Rezko housing project problems, and he said that Obama didn't seem to be involved in the corruption, that the worst you could say about him was that exercised bad judgment.

Well, that in itself is saying something pretty bad, given that his claim to the presidency is that, while he may not have as much experience as his opponents, he has good judgment. But was his Rezko involvement good judgment? Was his attending a bigoted church for twenty years good judgment? Was it good judgment to pre-declare the surge a failure before it even began? So now it's hard to make a case for either his experience or his judgment.

Recent events have shown that Obama isn't a new politician as evidenced by his pandering and changing of opinions.

So take away the new politics, and the judgement... and what's left?

What does Senator Obama have?

Granted in this election not being a Republican will get him quite alot of votes.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Obama and the Far Left.

The Far Left isn't happy (Ed: What else is new? This time it's about Obama.)

Jeralyn Merritt of Talk Left
I see no transformational quality to either Obama or his candidacy. Obama said he was a new kind of politician. He sold an entire younger generation on the theory of change, a new kind of politics in Washington and he’s delivered the status quo. He’s shown us that on FISA, the death penalty, guns, religion, Iraq, Afghanistan and trade policy (so far) he’s all about preserving the status quo and not rocking the boat in his quest for votes. How much more “politics as usual” can you get? …
How does anyone know what Obama really believes or, even more problematic, what beliefs he’ll decide are worth expending political capital on once he’s elected?

Ed Morrissey of Hot air continues.
Jeralynn will still wind up voting for Obama, but the disillusionment with Obama has started in earnest with his votes on FISA reform, and that will matter. Obama gave up public financing — another source of disillusionment — and now needs to spend his time on fundraising more than he otherwise would. The lack of enthusiasm among Democrats from the former Greenies to Hillary Clinton supporters like Jeralynn will impact Obama’s ability to raise funds with the alacrity he enjoyed in February.

This is a good point right now it's not a lack of voters that troubles Obama over this. He made these changes for the pure purpose of attracting more votes, but there will be a cost to it.

A) People that would vote for a 3rd party candidate may go back to the Green, Independent, ect, after becoming disillusioned with Obama and looking for a candidate with "real change". This group is small in number, but in a very close election may be

B) The youth vote. New voters that were attracted by the Obama "new politics" rhetoric. Historically this has been a very hard segment to get to actually vote, and Obama showing that he's just another politician won't help get them to vote. One can expect this group to stay at home in larger number, feeling disillusioned and betrayed.

C) Moderates that were split between McCain and Obama. McCain is a moderate and in a vacuum much of his policy is appealing to democrats. This is a big problem for Obama as he moves to the center. It looks like Obama is copying McCain, which reduces the differences between them to charisma and experience.

D) Anti-Republicans. These are democrats that vote the party line and those that just want a Republican out of office. To them Obama could be a regrettable nominee, but there's no choice. I think this would be the largest portion.

E) People that are still Obamamaniacs. These are the hopeless nitwits that still think Obama is a different kind of politician. Doubt they'll change their views, but Obama's curious actions will dampen their enthusiasm a bit.

So it seems that the main problem for Obama in all this is a lack of enthusiasm. Which is going to affect his fundraising.

Morrissey also notices something else missing. Obama's June fundraising numbers.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Iran's Rocket Test: what does it mean?

It looks like Iran has done a clumsy forgery to cover up the failure of a missle to deploy.

The failure of the missile means less than the clumsy, embarrassing effort to hide it from the world. Now they don’t just look inept with missiles — they look positively childish about it, and even more inept with Photoshop.

Meanwhile Iran has some serious problems with their aircraft too.

So what's the problem? Simple. Iranian aircraft maintenance sucks. That's because a lousy economy and a really bothersome lifestyle police have caused many technically skilled people to flee the country. Plenty of competent Iranian aircraft mechanics and engineers in southern California, not so many in Iran.

To make matters worse, anything involving aviation in Iran, gets a lot of attention from the secret police. Anyone of questionable loyalty to the clerical theocracy (that runs the country) is not suitable for key jobs (be they technical or managerial.)

From Pajamasmedia. Is Tehran Bluffing?

Deficiencies can also be found among operational systems. Media reports on Wednesday’s launch are wildly inaccurate in one important element: characterizing many of the missiles tested as long-range systems. The Shahab-3 is actually classified as a medium-range system; the other missiles tested appear to be short-range systems, capable of reaching targets less than 150 miles away — and with only limited accuracy.

In fact, the three missiles that were launched simultaneously (and highlighted in press photos) are unsophisticated battlefield rockets, probably a Zelzal variant. Iran first introduced the Zelzal in the mid-1990s; it was based on the Russian Frog-7 design, which dates from the 1950s. Not exactly state-of-the-art. But the western press accepts Iranian military claims uncritically and often inflates the threat, much to Tehran’s delight.

Remember that advanced fighter that Iran built, supposedly equal to our own F/A-18? It’s actually a remanufactured U.S. F-5, with a second vertical stabilizer and marginally upgraded avionics. Or that high-speed torpedo? It is based on a Soviet design from World War II, requiring precise pre-launch calculations. If the target changes speed, zig-zags, or does anything to upset the firing solution, the torpedo misses its mark.

But with the media unwilling (or unable) to call Tehran’s military bluff, the exaggerated claims continue.

Emphasis added. Again one has to be very careful with the media. One would hope that the media would question the claims of a goverment about their military power, and not just accept what they say on the face of it, but checking the facts would require research and work.

And people in the media wonder why there's so little trust and respect for them

Still, it’s important to place events like the missile test in their proper context, at least from an operations perspective. Iran’s ballistic missile forces are improving, but they remain hindered by old technology and limited accuracy. It would be difficult (at least over the short term) for Tehran to build a nuclear weapon small enough to fit atop one of its existing missiles. Until that obstacle is overcome, Iran will lack a viable option for delivering a nuclear device, particularly against distant targets.

The bad news is that Iran has the cash, resolve, and technological access to overcome these obstacles. Liquid-fueled systems are being replaced by solid-fueled missiles and rockets (which can be launched in a matter of minutes) and left unchecked, Tehran will eventually get its hands on technology for smaller nuclear warheads, ideal for short and medium-range missile systems. Measures aimed at concealing missile and nuclear activity are also improving.

From a technical and military standpoint, Iran revealed nothing new in Wednesday’s test. Indeed, the event was (to some degree) an exercise in opportunism, allowing Tehran to grab some headlines, boost oil prices, and send messages to its adversaries at the end of a G-8 summit and in the middle of a U.S. presidential campaign. While preparations for the test began weeks or months ago, it is possible that Iran delayed the launch until the “right” political moment arrived.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Max Payne Movie

I really enjoyed the game.
One of my fav FPS (granted it was also the last one I played, sucky computer and work combined to limit gaming time).

I never played the sequel, again bad computer.

The trailer doesn't look that bad. Has some plot elements and style of the game. Looks better than I thought it would. It could be good. I don't know what the deal is with the angels though.

If it keeps with the spirit of the game it could be a very fun over the top hardboiled noir cop movie.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Third Time's a Charm?

Obama's tried his third general election ad.

Having been raked over the coals for half-truths in his first two ads, Obama tries to avoid too many specifics in his third. But he still runs afoul of those inconvenient truths, hitting McCain for supporting a bill that Obama voted for. For those keeping score, Obama has now touted his support of a bill he didn't vote for, and criticized a bill he did vote for.


Obama's ad begins, "On gas prices, John McCain is part of the problem. On McCain and Bush support a drilling plan that won't produce a drop of oil for seven years."

That production schedule does seem slow, until one remembers Obama opposes opening any areas to new drilling, which means his plan won't produce a single drop of oil... ever. "Better never than late" seems to be the slogan.

You'd think Obama's team wouldn't be so... sloppy. He's in the lead. He has the charisma. Why make such stupid, obvious mistakes?

I mean is it that hard to find a bill that Obama supports that he voted for, or even something he was against that he voted to stop?

I know his record is thin but really?
Once again we're left with an unflattering choice of options.
A) This was the best job they could do on the ad and his record is so thin that there's nothing better.
B) The people making his ads are lazy idiots.

Rubes on the Right.

It's actually a bit reassuring that the "Discovery Institute" is just in it for the money.

Some local school board will take the Act as a permit to bring religious instruction into their science classes. That will irk some parents. Those parents will sue. There will be a noisy and expensive federal lawsuit, possibly followed by further noisy and expensive appeals. The school board will inevitably lose. The property owners of that school district will take the financial hit.

Where will the Discovery Institute be when these legal expenses come due? Just where they were in the Dover case — nowhere! What, you were thinking that those bold warriors for truth at the Discovery Institute will help to fund the defense in these no-hope lawsuits? Ha ha ha ha ha!

Helping to defend creationist school boards in federal courts is not the Discovery Institute's game. Their game is to (a) make money from those spurious "textbooks" they put out, and (b) keep creationism in the news so that they don't run out of lecture gigs and wealthy funders. So far as those legal bills are concerned, Discovery Institute policy is: Let the dumb rubes fund their own stupid lawsuits.


Of course they could still actually believe in the insanity that a religious idea of how organisms change is on par with a scientific one.

As they love to point out, yes, Evolution is a theory. That's because it's an idea that can be tested and refined. It's like how gravity is a theory.

How do you test to find that there's some grand supernatural intelligence behind life's existence? Religion requires faith beyond rationality and physical evidence. That's the whole point.

So what if science shows that the earth is millions of years older (or younger) than your Holy book says it is. As long as your God is all powerful no amount of scientific evidence could refute what you believe.

IE: God just made the earth look older than it really is.

But when you have people with blind faith in something. Charlatans and conmen can take advantage of their desires that overpower any caution or logic.

That's how cults, conspiracy theories, and certain political groups work.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Worst. Congress. Ever.

Remember when only 14% approved of the job Congress is doing? A year later, only 9% do.

And even better, the approval rating among independents is within the margin of error.

Amazing, despite how bad Bush's ratings are Congress still manages to get worse.

This should clear things up.

And IowaHawk comes in and brings a moment of clarity.

See what I mean? That previous paragraph should be a signal to all of you in the progressive community just how committed I am to an immediate troop withdrawal. If that's the kind of shameless bellicose jingoism it takes to temporarily fool the neocons and extra-chromosome Jebus tards, I will do it. Just as I was willing to wear the stupid flag lapel pin to satisfy their lust for empty "patriotic" symbolism. But deep in your heart you know my real goal: to end this war, and atone to the world for the 28 nightmare years of Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush fascism. Imagine the looks on the multinational plutocrats' faces when I sign the bill that nationalizes their stupid oil industry!

And that there is exactly the kind of transparent commie crap that left wing lunatics eat up. It's unfortunate that I had to participate in it during the primary season, but just look at all of the comsymps and pinkos I've thrown under the bus in the last 6 weeks - Jeremiah Wright, Michael Pfleger, Samantha Power, Jim Johnson, the list goes on. And you know what? I enjoyed it. Ask yourself this: when was the last time John McCain stabbed a lefty asshole in the back? Then ask yourself: who's the real conservative in this race?

There's two sides to every issue, and Obama is on both of them.

If Obama won't have a townhall debate with McCain maybe Center-Obama could debate Left-wing-Obama.

It'd be interesting and I do prefer Obama's policies when he's being more of a centrist (gee maybe that's because it's textbook pandering. Hush we're not allowed to be cynical anymore, the future first lady made sure of that.)

Via Rand

Obama Troops?

“We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set,” he said Wednesday. “We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded.” Obama.

Huh... first a new seal and now this... What exactly does he mean by a new "National Security Force"? There are various civilian agencies that deal with security issues, but by comparing them to the military in terms of power, strength, and funding?

As Charles Johnson points out the DoD base budget is $500 billion. Where does he plan to get that much money? His own budged plans are already creaking from the strain of new programs exceeding new taxes.

One hopes he's just exaggerating or ignorant of the scale of what he proposes. Otherwise it's a giant and... creepy boondogle.

Just imagine the worry, rightfully so, if a Republican proposed a massive new organization to exist on the same scale of the current military. One would ask: What does he want it for? What powers will it have? Why make another government agency?

As is becoming increasingly common with Obama's statements, one is left wondering what he meant and plans to do. Does he even know?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Baby Racists

One hopes this is Satire... but if it's not, then the joke is on the nitwits that seriously think three year olds should be watched for being racist.

The best part is how "scientific" they determine the kids being racist. Truely an iron-clad test there.

If you don't like hot food then you must be a racist.

Change... but what kind of Change?

From Jim Gerghty.

So, the recent news out of the Obama camp is that they're planning a huge rally with thousands of people in a stadium, want to create a mandatory youth corps for national service, and are thinking about a big dramatic speech in Berlin.

It's like they're trying to sell copies of Jonah's book or something.

Gerghty has links in his post.

Let's not forget the media that's practically entranced by him, Obama's ill-fated presidential campaign seal, and the legions of cultish fans that love him on a deep emotional level.

I do recommend Jonah Goldberg's book. It's a fair history primer that actually defines what Fascism is. For someone that actually wants more insight into a horrible, totalitarian ideology than using it as an expletive to mock people you don't like.

Personally, I don't think Obama is using Fascist rhetoric, just populist emotional tripe layered with the idea that the state is the beginning and end of all solutions, an that politics is everything.

Let's be totally fair, we don't know what an Obama presidency will be like. That's the magic of Hope-Change. It can be anything you want it to be. Chances are it won't, but it could have been.

So, there is a difference, but the idea of a stadium full of people chanting his name...

If McCain were doing stuff like that, I'd be ill-at ease too.

I wouldn't really get worried until Obama proposes repealing the Twenty-Second Amendment.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Obama needs Hillary? Uh oh.

Why Barack Needs Hillary?

Hmm... If I were Obama I'd worry about taking Hillary as my VP. Sure it would help get more votes, but having her be the #2 spot... Now obviously Hillary didn't have any dirt on Obama that she could use to knock him out of the primary, but say he's in office and he makes a blunder, she could be there to have it get out, maybe get exaggerated, if he has to resign...

Does anyone think that Hillary would let something like loyalty interfere with an opportunity for her to become president before waiting 8 years?

What are the odds that Obama wouldn't have a slip up while in office that she could exploit? If they're above zero then Hillary has a chance to get in early.

Then Obama would have something in common with Nixon.

Convention Woes.

Stumbling Convention in Denver?

As for the rest, who could have hoped for a better demonstration of Democratic mismanagement? First, the host committee overspends while at the same time struggled to raise money for the convention. For a party that rails about deficit spending, they certainly don’t have a problem running up bills they cannot pay. Next, they let the nanny-state extremists in the party dictate the available food, rather than let the delegates and the guests make their own decisions on their diet, driving off private enterprise. They failed to reckon with the states when dictating environmental requirements, which sounds quite familiar indeed for those opposed to federalist principles. Most notoriously, they issued eco-friendly specs for fanny packs that demanded a product that didn’t exist.

Meanwhile the RNC has an ad showing the real bipartisan candidate.

One has a 97% record of toting the party line, the other had a long history of annoying his own party. One wants the status quo on energy, the other wants to try a wide spectrum of near, mid, and long term plans to solve things.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Who are the rubes?

There is a logic to it. I mean it's not like the Bush haters, Obama nuts, and other collected weirdos will vote for McCain, but they might stay home or even worse not donate to a fiscally wobbly campaign.

And even more change.

As Obama assiduously obliterates all differences with McCain on national security and social issues, he remains rightly confident that Bush fatigue, the lousy economy and his own charisma -- he is easily the most dazzling political personality since John Kennedy -- will carry him to the White House.

Of course, once he gets there he will have to figure out what he really believes. The conventional liberal/populist stuff he campaigned on during the primaries? Or the reversals he is so artfully offering up now?

I have no idea. Do you? Does he?

Charles Krauthammer is right. Obama's policy changes are in the saner direction and make him seem less of a naive fringe nutball. That is if we beleive his new stance is his acutal stance.

As Krauthammer says, Obama may not have any actual plan (other than getting elected). Supremely ironic given he's campaigned as a principaled new politics guy. But it does raise serious questions... what will Obama do if in the Whitehouse?

And to show that you can't assign such mortal things as policies to Obama...
Obama may be rereconsidering his stance on Iraq.

More damage to FARC

FARC Is Burnign at Both Ends

Interesting on the continued decay of FARC.

Also a very impressive commando OP.

July 2, 2008: The army pulled off a spectacular commando operation that resulted in the release of fifteen prominent hostages (including three Americans and former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt) and capture of several mid-level FARC leaders. The operation was based on using captured documents, and interrogations of recently captured or surrendered FARC members, to successfully send a false order, allegedly from the new FARC commander, for the FARC unit holding the fifteen hostages, to march them to a nearby NGO (non-governmental organization) operation, and board helicopters that would carry the hostages to the new location. Once in the air, the FARC guards were disarmed by the commandos (posing as FARC operatives) and arrested. The shocked hostages were then told that they had been rescued. This will become one of the textbook examples of how to carry out a high-risk, big payoff type operations.

Really shows how important secure communications are.

Oh wow... It's amazing what the commandos wore to trick FARC

“Absolutely surreal,” [one of the former hostages] said, noting that some of the men who got off the helicopter wore T-shirts emblazoned with the iconic image of the Argentine revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara. “I thought this was the FARC,” she said.

Why the B2 crashed

Here's a ver good article more details on why that B2 crashed.

All around info on communication, systems manegment, & compunding errors.

This shows, it's important to know what your inputs are and how they are used.
A powerful computer isn't worth much if the data you're feeding into it is incorrect.

Happy Independance Day.

More good news from Iraq. Interestingly one has to go there to see more news of Americans doing exemplary things. Things that show some people really care about America and the values of this nation.

How did you spend Independance Day?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Old Soviet Union Jokes

A bunch of links to some old jokes by and from the USSR

What do you call a Soviet quartet that goes abroad? A trio.

A Frenchman, a Brit, and a Russian are admiring a painting of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. The Frenchman says, "they must be French, they're naked and they're eating fruit." The Englishman says, "clearly they're English. Observe how politely the man is offering the woman the fruit." The Russian notes, "they are Russian of course. They have nothing to wear, nothing to eat, and they think they are in paradise."

Stalin was having a meeting in his office with the Central Committee one afternoon. After they all left, he realized that his pipe was missing. He called Beria and told him to question every member of the Committee about his pipe. The next day, Stalin found his pipe and called Beria to tell him to stop the questioning. Upon hearing this, Beria answered, "I am sorry Comrade Stalin but half of the Committee already admitted to taking the pipe, and the other half died during questioning."

Why is communism superior to capitalism? Because it heroically overcomes problems that do not exist in any other system.

Specifically the batch from Andrew Pavelyev, who grew up in the old Soviet Union, is quite funny.
They require a bit more knowledge of Soviet politics and are more inward sensing.

I heard this one shortly after Brezhnev's death (which was a joyous occasion for us because it meant three days off school for official mourning):
Andropov is asked "Yuri Vladimirovich, what if people don't follow you?" He replies "Then they'll follow Brezhnev."

Back in the late 70's my mother told me one from the early 60's, on how Soviet media covers events:
At a summit JFK offered to race Khrushchev and, being much younger and fitter, outran him. The next day the Soviet newspapers reported: "There was a racing competition yesterday which included participation by preeminent world leaders Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy. Khrushchev came in second. Kennedy was next to last."

Finally, one from the late 80's:
Gorbachev is desperate about the condition of the Soviet Union and begs Stalin for advice. Stalin offers a plan: "Shoot all dissenters, deport a couple of small nations to Siberia and paint the Kazan rail station in Moscow blue." Gorbachev asks "Why repaint the station building?!" Stalin smiles "I'm glad that you have no questions about the other items."

I prefer this style as they're from inside the USSR and use the black and dry Russian humor, what one would expect from living under such a sytem.

The Pivot

Reynolds and others have been waiting for Obama's shift his stance on Iraq.

And it looks like it's about to happen.

As Reynolds says
You could see this one coming. Hmm. With all these changes, Obama's morphing into a candidate I could support!

If we can trust Obama's new stances, sure he is getting better, but given how far he's shifted can we be sure he'll stay with his new stances?

Does he have any stances at all? Or is he just saying what'll get him elected.

Again "Obama: More of the same!"

And here's the huge downside of all these shifts of Obama

From Ed Morrissey: Does anyone know what Obama thinks anymore?

What does it say about the candidate when even his closest advisers have no consistent idea what he represents? Barack Obama has now committed so many reversals, obfuscations, and rhetorical parsings that he now stands for nothing — only himself. Even his surrogates can’t get his story straight; how are voters supposed to decide what he believes?

Obama's becoming even more of an empty suit than thought.

"Who do you trust less? Viacom, or the CIA?"

Glen Reynolds asks the tough question

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Older TV

"TV viewers' average age hits 50"

Using 2000 census data the us population's median age is 35.3 years (up from 32.9 in 1900) This is rather close to the Variety cited data for US median age of 38 years. Presumably using more recent data.

So comparing median ages we can see that TV live viewers (the list doesn't count people that just DVR their shows and watch when they want and a study on those numbers would be interesting too) are 12 years older than the general public on average.

What does this mean? Young people are less attached to the TV.

Granted this is mostly due to computers and videogames supplanting TV, but at least those activities are slightly more interactive than TV.

The real importance are what the declining viewership and changing demographics mean for the TV companies.

Pretty interesting.

Barack Obama: More of the Same!

That's a slogan Glen Reynolds came up with.

Obama didn't do anything uniquely wrong. Plenty of politicians get great rates on their Home Loans. It's part of greasing the right wheels.

As Bob Owens notes "Barack Obama did precisely what every other politician does, and nothing more. The only reason this story merits any attention is that Obama's campaign has created a mythology around him that casts him as a reformer."

You'd think Obama, a man who has been politically ambitious for a long time would realize that deals like this would tarnish his reformer rep.

Heck he could have refused a sweetheart rate, insisted that he get the normal rate, and then have a great story to tell later on, but he didn't.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Difference 4 years make.

It's amazing how politicians can change their minds on the importance of military experience for someone running for Commander in Chief.

Ed Driscoll has a report he made contrasting what various politicians said then and now.
It's very informative.

It's a shame there's been such large amount of divisiveness and hate in this election.

Well James Kirchick of the New Republic finds the source...
(Via Hotair's Ed Morrissey.)