Friday, May 30, 2008

How Obama out-maneuvered Clinton

Obama used party rules to foil Clinton: "Obama's campaign mastered some of the most arcane rules in politics, and then used them to foil a front-runner who seemed to have every advantage—money, fame and a husband who had essentially run the Democratic Party for eight years as president."
He also got into the state Senate by challenging his opponents' petition signatures. When he ran for US Senate his chief rivals in both parties were run off by the Chicago Tribune. This is a guy who uses every angle.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Global Warming Skeptics Plot 'Carbon Belch Day' -- Global Warming -- InformationWeek

Global Warming Skeptics Plot 'Carbon Belch Day' -- Global Warming -- InformationWeek: "Conservative grassroots group wants people to waste as much energy as possible on June 12 by 'hosting a barbecue, going for a drive, watching television, leaving a few lights on, or even smoking a few cigars.'

The point: the group wants to 'help Americans break free from the 'carbon footprint guilt' being imposed by Climate Alarmists.'"

This is similar to the events at Dartmouth College where liberal students would hold a public fast to call attention to world hunger, and conservative students would hold a steak and lobster barbecue right next to it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Here's why people say Obama is getting a free ride from the national news media

Obama Talks of Family's Military Service - From The Road: "Obama also spoke about his uncle, who was part of the American brigade that helped to liberate Auschwitz. He said the family legend is that, upon returning from war, his uncle spent six months in an attic. “Now obviously, something had really affected him deeply, but at that time there just weren’t the kinds of facilities to help somebody work through that kind of pain,” Obama said. “That’s why this idea of making sure that every single veteran, when they are discharged, are screened for post-traumatic stress disorder and given the mental health services that they need – that’s why it’s so important.”"
That is a report from CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic. She unquestioningly reports what he said, but what he said is not true. His American uncle couldn't have been involved in liberating the Auschwitz concentration camp, because Auschwitz was in Poland and it was liberated by the Soviet Army. Here is what Wikipedia says: "On January 17, 1945 Nazi personnel started to evacuate the facility; most of the prisoners were forced on a death march to the camp toward Wodzisław Śląski (German: Loslau). Those too weak or sick to walk were left behind; about 7,500 prisoners were liberated by the 322nd Rifle Division of the Red Army on January 27 1945."

This gaffe is being widely reported on the web, but I will bet that you don't see it reported in the major media. Ask yourself what would happen if John McCain or Hillary Clinton had said this. Remember what happened to Clinton over the imagined Tuzla sniper fire?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hell considering secession

Needles casts an envious eye elsewhere - Los Angeles Times: "Needles is now considering leaving California to join Nevada or Arizona or to create its own independent county. 'This is not a publicity stunt. We are serious about secession,' said former Mayor and Councilman Roy Mills. 'Look at Nevada, they are booming. Look at Arizona, they are booming. We want to level the playing field. I was initially skeptical about splitting off, but the more I learn about it, the more doable it seems.'"

Saturday, May 24, 2008

About the Great Ape Project

About the Great Ape Project: "Anyone who indicates their endorsement of the Declaration on Great Apes can become a supporter of the organization, which takes the Anti-Slavery Society as its political model. The great ape project already has supporters in more than twenty nations. The great ape project will start operating at a national level in as many countries as possible. Activities range from public education, to campaigning, to the adoption of individual imprisoned non-human great apes. From small-scale, local interventions, the great ape project will work up towards an international level, so as to bring about a momentous but well-grounded change in the status of chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans.

Their long-term goal is a United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Great Apes. When this historic result has been achieved, the great ape project will advocate the setting up of guarded territories so that chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans can continue to live as free beings in their own ways."

This is what I was talking about in POLS 101 on Friday.

Trouble in (another) Utopia

BBC NEWS| Local concerns over Indian utopia: "Auroville sounds like a throwback to the 60s, advocating no rules and leaders and promising peace and harmony, but Rachel Wright hears claims of exploitation and abuse at the southern Indian community."
Utopia never turns out to be all that utopian.

From "difficult" to "nonexistent"? Worldwide: "May 23 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is in formal talks with Senator Barack Obama's campaign about becoming his vice presidential running mate, CNN reported, without citing anyone specific.

The two Democratic campaigns are talking about ways for Clinton, from New York, to drop her bid for president that may include joining the Illinois senator's ticket, CNN reported. Talks are in a ``very preliminary'' stage and are described as ``difficult,'' the network said."

I imagine the tone of these VP talks changed for the worse when Hillary defended her refusal to drop out by citing the historical precedent of young, charismatic, Democratic presidential candidates getting assassinated in June.

Lucretia Borgia for VP?

Hillary Clinton's colossal blunder simply the last straw: "SICK. Disgusting. And yet revealing. Hillary Clinton is staying in the race in the event some nut kills Barack Obama.

It could happen, but what definitely has happened is that Clinton has killed her own chances of being vice president. She doesn't deserve to be elected dog catcher anywhere now."

So says one columnist. The more practical consideration for Obama has to be knowing that if he names her as his VP and wins, he will spend four years watching his back.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Damn dirty apes to get human rights in Europe?

European Court agrees to hear chimp's plea for human rights| News | This is London: "His name is Matthew, he is 26 years old, and his supporters hope to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights. But he won't be able to give evidence on his own behalf - since he is a chimpanzee. Animal rights activists led by British teacher Paula Stibbe are fighting to have Matthew legally declared a 'person' so she can be appointed as his guardian if the bankrupt animal sanctuary where he lives in Vienna is forced to close."
Animal rights advocates and a number of academics have been agitating to give human rights to what they call "the Great Apes." I side more with the late Charleton Heston, who famously said, "Take your filthy paws off me, you damn dirty ape!"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 | How will Barack Obama get to 270? | How will Barack Obama get to 270?: "If Obama wins the 255 votes in the states where he's favored, then to get to 270 he needs to choose from the following menu: 1) Win Ohio, which takes him to 275; 2) win in the West -- Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado, for 274; 3) win the three N's (Nevada, New Mexico, New Hampshire) for 269, plus one other state; or 4) win two of the three N's and either Colorado or Virginia."
This is from a Democratic pollster. You can ignore the national polls that show Obama ahead. We don't elect presidents that way. This is the nitty gritty. You have to win state by state and put together at least 270 out of the possible 538 electoral votes. And if you read this detailed piece, you will see that it won't be easy for Obama to reach 270. Certainly it is possible, but it won't be easy.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Will Al Qaeda claim that Obama is a Muslim apostate?

Barack Obama – Muslim apostate? | "According to Islamic jurisprudence, children of a Muslim father – even an apparently nonpracticing one, such as Obama's father, and irrespective of the mother's faith – are automatically Muslims. Most Muslims around the world agree: A child of a Muslim father is a Muslim. Period. Should Obama become US commander in chief, there is a strong likelihood that Al Qaeda's media arm, As-Sahab, will exploit his background to argue that an apostate is leading the global war on terror (read: attacks against fellow Muslims). This perception would be leveraged to galvanize sympathizers into action."
Note that this article is not from a right-wing website. It is an article in the Christian Science Monitor, and it is written by a political scientist who seems to know what she is talking about. The whole situation is bizarre. Obama has pretty clearly established that he was not brought up as a Muslim, nor has he ever practiced Islam. But now it seems that, to some in the Muslim world, that makes him an apostate because he is (in their eyes) a Muslim by birth anyway, so they think he is obligated to practice that faith. And the author of this piece says they will use this claim against him in the Muslim world to undermine his efforts to bridge the gap between our cultures.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Six ways the GOP can save itself - Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen -

Six ways the GOP can save itself - Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen - "Things are so ugly for the members of the GOP right now, it’s worth pondering their political mortality: Put bluntly, can this party be saved?

We talked to some of the smartest minds in Republican politics, and their prognosis is pretty grim. They think it will take pretty big changes — and possibly many, many years — to repair a Republican brand sullied by excessive spending, an unpopular war and an even more unpopular president."

My own opinion is that Bush and the former Republican leadership in Congress did incalculable damage to the Republican party. I will not be surprised if the November election leaves the party reduced to 1970s size, pre-Reagan, stature in national and state government. I also am unimpressed with the analysis of conservatives who think that Obama is so far to the left that he can't be elected. This year, he can be. I don't know if he will or not--but he certainly can win. That's because (1) the country is ready to repudiate the Republicans, and because (2) most voters don't know what the left is all about, never having seen them in control of the country. Obama is disguising his real politics carefully and deliberately and successfully. Finally, (3) the press is running interference for him. For example, he said that we need to end the war in Iraq so we can send more Arabic translators to Afghanistan. Why? The people of Afghanistan don't speak Arabic. If McCain had said this (or called a reporter "Sweetie," as Obama did yesterday, or said that he had visited "57 states" as Obama did a while back) it would be a front page story. But when Obama says these things, they don't even get covered.

I often have students ask what the 1960s were like. Maybe people are about to find out.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

You think HIllary will quit just because the media bigwigs want her to?

The CNN Wire: Clinton supporter pressures Pelosi over White House battle «: "WASHINGTON — In a heated phone call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi late last month, Hillary Clinton supporter Harvey Weinstein threatened to cut off campaign money to congressional Democrats unless Pelosi embraced a new plan by the movie mogul to finance a revote of the Democratic presidential primaries in Florida and Michigan, according to three officials who were briefed on the contents of the conversation"
As Marcellus Wallace said in Pulp Fiction, "I ain't through with you by a damn sight. I'm gonna get medieval on your ass."

It may not work, but who knows?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I think they need separate tables...

Do you get the sense that these two are maybe just a bit too tired of each other's company to become running mates in the general election?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Mojo Jojo strikes again!

I finally figured out why the White Sox can't hit. The dreaded super-villain, Mojo Jojo, has infiltrated the dugout. He is impersonating somebody and putting drugs in the water cooler.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Irony of the Week Department

Darwin, Australia, men climb over protective fence in order to fall down cliff, live to impact gene pool : "A DARWIN man broke his leg and his mate got stuck in a tree when they both ended up over a cliff early yesterday. Police, fire and ambulance services spent two hours retrieving the first man, who fell over the cliff at Lameroo Beach, along Darwin's The Esplanade. Police said the second man climbed down to help his friend before coming to grief in the tree. 'Two of them ended up down there,'' Senior Sergeant Garry Smith, of Darwin Police said. 'One ended up getting stuck. Both males appeared to have climbed over the protective fencing above Lameroo Beach and were sitting on the cliff face when one slipped and fell. 'The other has gone down to rescue him and slipped, becoming lodged in a tree."
Darwin must be spinning like a top right now.

Tom Edsall: Clinton Camp Considering Nuclear Option To Overtake Delegate Lead - Politics on The Huffington Post

Clinton Camp Considering Nuclear Option To Overtake Delegate Lead - Politics on The Huffington Post: "With at least 50 percent of the Democratic Party's 30-member Rules and Bylaws Committee committed to Clinton, her backers could -- when the committee meets at the end of this month -- try to ram through a decision to seat the disputed 210-member Florida and 156-member Michigan delegations. Such a decision would give Clinton an estimated 55 or more delegates than Obama, according to Clinton campaign operatives. The Obama campaign has declined to give an estimate."
This would be a major power play. Edsall thinks she has to do very well on Tuesday in Indiana and North Carolina in order to pull this off.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I know how they feel

"Bring Back Global Warming!"
It is 35 degrees in May. Craigmont, Idaho, has had enough.

It was 45 degrees this afternoon in McHenry, Illinois. And raining. And windy. And my son was playing soccer while all the parents shivered on the sidelines. They won, 5-2, but we were numb by the end.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Elites go to Obama, starving masses to Clinton

Polls Show Clinton Gaining Strength but Obama Picking Up Superdelegates - America’s Election HQ: "WASHINGTON — Polls showed voters drifting toward Hillary Rodham Clinton ahead of crucial Democratic primary votes next week, but the all-important party superdelegates — whose backing is now essential for the nomination — were falling increasingly in line behind Barack Obama. Despite the momentum building behind Clinton after her win in Pennsylvania, it still appeared mathematically impossible for her to overcome Obama’s delegate lead for the party nomination."
Fascinating. This is the exact reverse of the situation three or four months ago, when the supers were all gaga over Hillary and the voters surprised everybody by gravitating to Obama.

What the gun industry can learn from scuba divers |

What the gun industry can learn from scuba divers | "Dallas - The Supreme Court will issue a major interpretation of the Second Amendment in coming weeks. But even as both sides in the gun debate await the D.C. v. Heller ruling, the gun industry should set its sights on a different target: certification.

It should develop and adopt a private licensing and certification program fashioned on the highly successful scuba diving industry model to provide safety, legal, and marksmanship training to all gun owners and users. Such a private mandate will ensure a base of safer and more knowledgeable gun users and develop a fresh and lucrative revenue source for the whole industry."

This is an intriguing idea.

Here's why the debate is not over, Mr. Gore.

Is the earth getting warmer, or cooler? | The Register: "A paper published in scientific journal Nature this week has reignited the debate about Global Warming, by predicting that the earth won't be getting any warmer until 2015. Researchers at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences have factored in cyclical oceanic into their climate model, and produced a different forecast to the 'consensus' models which don't.

But how will we know whether the earth is warming or cooling? Today, it all depends on the data source."

I have been skeptical of environmentalist doom-saying since I had to read whack nut Paul Ehrlich's "The Population Bomb" in my college biology class. We were all brainwashed into thinking the world was ending, but it was all a crock. Now today's young people are hearing the same sort of thing. I don't know. Take a look at this piece and the accompanying charts. And note that the NASA projections are the most pessimistic. Why? It seems that they have monkeyed with the data to make things look worse. What could explain such a thing? Well..."Looking at the NASA website, we can see that the person in charge of the temperature data is the eminent Dr. James Hansen - Al Gore's science advisor and the world's leading long-term advocate of global warming."

Is this conventional wisdom true?

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 05/01/2008 | Will black voters stay home if Obama loses nomination?: "If Obama isn't the nominee, 'there would be a significant number of African-Americans who would stay home. They're not voting for (presumptive Republican nominee) John McCain,' predicted David Bositis, a senior analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which researches black voting trends."
I can see how this could happen. But on the other hand, is it possible that Clinton could mend fences with black voters in time for the election? I don't know.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sounds like Fahrenheit 451 - State Legislators Seek Bills to Allow Questioning of Evolution Theory in Schools - Politics | Republican Party | Democratic Party | Political Spectrum: "MIAMI, Fla. — The debate over evolution is evolving. Although federal courts have banned teaching 'creation theory' or 'intelligent design theory' in public schools, legislators in several states are seeking new ways to allow teachers to cast doubt on the theory of evolution. The Florida House of Representatives passed a bill this week that will require schools to teach 'critical analysis' of evolution. On Tuesday Michigan introduced a similar 'academic freedom' bill. Louisiana, Alabama and Missouri also have legislation under debate, although no state has adopted a law yet. Opponents say these bills that allow the questioning of evolution are a smokescreen for teaching creationism or intelligent design."
I'm don't think the book of Genesis is a science text. I sure don't want my kids taught religion in science class. But there is a name for scientists who say that the law should prohibit teachers from questioning whether a theory is right or not: fascists.

Amazing story about John McCain

Dr. John?