February 29, 2004

Confidential Senate Survey

I got another survey from the Republicans. This one is called the "Senate Majority Leader's Survey." According to the letter my "immediate attention is required on a confidential and time-sensitive matter." (emphasis original). I think you can probably guess what I felt about the "confidential" part. As for time sensitive, Mr. Frist wanted his survey back in seven days. I got it on Wednesday so I got that part right.

Just like the last time they sent me a survey, the letter says that I have been chosen to have my views represent all the Republicans registered in my district. Just like last time, I'm sure my Republican neighbors are going to be disappointed.

The letter also says, in bold type

The problem I have with that is that there is insufficient room on the survey form for thorough commentary (i.e. fisking). So if you should happen to see Bill Frist in the next couple of days, please let him know my survey answers are in the extended entry. more...

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:18 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 28, 2004

Blogathon for Beal

I thought maybe a blogathon to raise money ot find a cure for Beal would be a good thing. But I've got to much beal to do it.

No questions yet for the Macklin v Spork trivia battle.

CD Crushed me in the Penguin game that we found thanks to Pixy.





Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:55 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 26, 2004

The First Annual Fairfield County Munuvian Blogger Trivia Invitational

Yes, it's the First Annual Fairfield County Munuvian Blogger Trivia Invitational to be held in... er.. New Haven County, Connecticut... and everyone's invited!

Stephen Macklin and Tuning Spork will be meeting for lunch on Friday, March 5th -- the first time either of them will come face to face with a fellow Munuvian. But we can't let mutual respect and commeraderie come between them now can we? They must compete! This is where you come in!

They've decided to invite you, their beloved readers, to pose to them trivia questions in their 5 chosen categories of "expertise". (That doesn't mean that they are, in fact, experts in those categories, but merely that those are the categories in which they'd like to be asked challenging questions!)

Stephen's chosen categories are:
1) Sailboat racing
2) Mac OS
3) Lord of the Rings
4) Food
5) Objectivism

Spork's chosen categories are:
1) The Beatles
2) Watergate
3) Offset printing presses
4) General Relativity and/or Classical Mechanics (non-Quantum Physics)
5) The Simpsons

Your task -- should you decide to accept it -- is to provide to each of them trivia questions (including the answers!!!) in their chosen categories which shall be posed to them, respectively, during their feeding frenzy at Gusto's next Friday. Make them easier; make them harder; make them funner; make them retarded. Whatever!

One thing (not that we're askin' for anything unreasonable): As they'd like to have an equal number of questions posed to each: If you send two questions for Stephen to Spork, send two for Spork to Stephen.

Now, if there is a question that you have for either of them that you don't know the answer to, and are asking only because you'd like to know the answer, that'll be fine, too. We're flexible. Just write:
Q: [insert question]
A: You tell me, Smartypants.

Questions for Stephen Macklin should be emailed to Tuning Spork at robertwarrenjones@juno.com and questions for Spork should be emailed to Stephen at blogmail@optonline.net.

The deadline is, I suppose, in one week on Thursday, March 4th 11:00 pm EST.

Keep in mind that they will be posing your trivia questions to each other while they're busy chawing on pizza, pasta, meatball grinders and bread dipped in flavored olive oil, so make 'em pithy and direct!

A splendid time is guaranteed for all!!!

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:56 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

February 25, 2004

The Democrats Economic Spin

I recently threatened that when I come across the box that contains the faded clippings of the original Hold The Mayo, the weekly column I wrote for my college newspaper, that I would reprint some of them here. However after reading this from Hunter Williams I may not be looking too hard for that box.

Inexplicably, the Left seems to admire all things European as much as it criticizes all things American. Liberals want to see us follow Europe’s disastrous example of quasi-socialist economic policy that would leave millions more jobless.

I cannot take liberals’ complaints about the president’s spending seriously when by “fiscal responsibility” they really mean “higher taxes.” The immediate Democratic response to the president’s budget was to complain he wasn’t spending enough on everything except defense.

When liberals complain that the Republican Medicare reform and prescription drug package is projected to cost $530 billion over 10 years, are they forgetting that the Democrats’ proposal was $29 billion more expensive annually?

I may just be my own worst critic but I don't think anything in that box in the garage is as good. Writing and thinking such as this from a freshman is one of those little things that hint that the future is not yet lost. (original link from eTalkinghead)

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:04 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 24, 2004

What's The Meaning of This?

President Bush has come out in support of a Constitutional Amendment baring gay marriage.

Although Bush said he wanted the Constitution amended to preserve the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman, he said that states should be allowed to craft laws that recognize other types of relationships.
It all seems rather silly and pointless.

Proposal for the 28th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

It shall be true in all the states and territories of the United States of America that no legislative or judicial action may alter the definition of the word marriage beyond the following:
mar•riage: n. The legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife.
This should provide a useful reference for future generations, but I wonder if it goes far enough. The paperback dictionary on my desk has 780 pages of definitions in very small type. Surely there are other words crying out for constitutional definition.

Amendment 29 could give us definition of autonomy. Amendment 30 (XXX) would have to be reserved for constitutional definition of is.

If there are any other words you feel need to be defined via constitutional amendment feel free to leave them in the comments and I will email them all to bush@whitehouse.com.

UPDATE I wrote more about gay marriage at eTalkinghead. There's another great post there on the same topic from Darren Copeland.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:13 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

February 23, 2004

FOX News Headline Mix-up

There's a headline at Fox News that reads "Moron Takes It to a Whole New Level". Surprisingly, this headline is NOT for an article about John Kerry's letter to President Bush.

Kerry who has traveled the country throughout the Democratic Primaries touting his service record and almost always appearing with veterans at his side wrote

As you well know, Vietnam was a very difficult and painful period in our nation's history, and the struggle for our veterans continues. So, it has been hard to believe that you would choose to reopen these wounds for your personal political gain. But, that is what you have chosen to do.(emphasis mine)
Does Kerry think that average American's are just plain stupid? Has Kerry bought so deeply into the liberal mantra that Bush is an idiot that he thinks Bush will not see through this? The only people guilty of re-opening the wounds of Vietnam are John, I'm a war hero, Kerry and Terry, Bush was AWOL, McAuliffe.

I will give Kerry credit for one thing. It takes a pretty huge set of gonads to suggest that 4 months of combat can absolve a person from criticism for 32 years worth of Senate votes. I suppose Kerry felt he had to take a shot. He had to know that he would get the response that he did

George W. Bush's presidential campaign told John Kerry it "does not condone" any effort to impugn his patriotism but asserted that senator's voting record on national security and defense issues is a valid target of political scrutiny.
I generally find FOX News to be fairly accurate but clearly someone goofed and put the Kerry headline on the wrong story.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:03 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

Scary Questions

I needed to get some cash yesterday. Why does the drive-up ATM have intsructions in Braille?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:14 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

February 22, 2004

Munuvin On Up

To the top
To a deluxe new server in the sky

yah we're munuvin on up
to the top
And Pixy earned a big piece of Pie more...

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:32 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

Kerry's Questionalble Service Record

Another great link from Anika (I'm starting to notice a trend). This one speaks to a post I wrote questioning the almost universal genuflecting a the mere mention of John Kerry's military service.

I'll provide some clips, but you can read the whole thing here.

I was in the Delta shortly after John Kerry left. I know that area well. I know the operations he was involved in well. I know the tactics and the doctrine used, and I know the equipment. Although I was attached to CTF-116  (PBRs) I spent a fair amount of time with CTF-115 (swift boats), Kerry's command.

Here are my problems and suspicions:

(1) Kerry was in-country less than four months and collected a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and three Purple Hearts. I never heard of anybody with any outfit I worked with (including SEAL One, the Sea Wolves, Riverines and the River Patrol Force) collecting that much hardware that fast, and for such pedestrian actions.

2)  He collected three Purple Hearts but has no limp. All his injuries were so minor that he lost no time from duty. Amazing luck. (...) You didn't have minor wounds, at least not often. Not three times in a row. Then he used the three Purple Hearts to request a trip home eight months before the end of his tour. Fishy.

(3)  The details of the event for which he was given the Silver Star make no sense at all. Supposedly, a B-40 was fired at the boat and missed. Charlie jumps up with the launcher in his hand, the bow gunner knocks him down with the twin .50, Kerry beaches the boat, jumps off,  shoots Charlie, and retreives the launcher. If true, he did everything wrong

Kerry is now arguing that Republicans who did not serve in war have no right to question his Senate votes on military and defense issues. I think it high time everyone started questioning Kerry about not only his record in the Senate, but his record in the military as well.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:59 AM | Comments (17) | Add Comment

February 21, 2004

Nader's Gravitational Effect

Recently I speculated on whether the Dean vote would go to Edwards or Kerry. The news that Ralph Nader will be running for President as an independent makes the whole thing that much more interesting.

I don't think that Nader will have any great impact on the Democrat's nomination except maybe that some Dean voters might stay home having decided that Nader will get their vote in the general election.

What will be interesting to see is the effect than Nader has on the election - not in terms of how many votes he can get, but in how he effects the Democrat's candidate. In astronomy, one of the common ways an object is detected is by observing it's gravitational effect on objects around it. Nader's roll in spoiling the 2000 election for the Democrats will give him the gravity to tug the nominee to the left or at least limit his move toward the center.

This is the roll Howard Dean played in the early part of the primaries. He staked out a position on the far left - the Democratic wing of the Democratic party. His early success in the polls forced the other candidates to move to the left. Howard's real problems started when he was unwilling/unable to move toward the center when it came time for actual votes that count.

The democrats cannot be happy that there will be a candidate running to the left of their guy. They cannot risk ignoring the Nader effect, and the gravity he gained in the 2000 election will pull the Dem nominee away from the center to avoid losing the far left of the party. This will make it easier for Bush to capture moderate swing votes without having to move so far to the center that he completely alienates the far right of the Republican party.

If Howard Dean truly want's to keep his message and his movement alive, and if he truly blames the Party establishment for his demise, endorsing Nader would be a smart move. At the very least, hinting at it might help him to have a voice at the convention.

I just don't think he should count on Al Gore going along with him.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:44 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

eTalkinghead Post

eTalkinghead has a new format. Take a look and leave any comments here and I will pass them along to the site's editor. While your there - check out my quick post on recess appointments.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:42 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 20, 2004

Message to Hillary

I was about to sit down and write a serious post about a serious issue for eTalkinghead but I was sidetracked. A coworker is going to be attending the Office Depot Success Strategies for Businesswomen conference. Held each year at a luxury hotel & resort in Boca Raton. This year's speakers include Today Show Co-anchor Katie Couric; Dawn Hudson, President, Pepsi-Cola North America; Mary Matalin, former Assistant to President Bush and Counselor to Vice President Cheney; and the junior Senator from New York Hillary Clinton. I was asked in passing if there was anything I wanted her say to Hillary for me.

I didn't know where to begin.

Hillary, you are the Courtney Love of the United States Senate. You've gotten where you are by trading on the fame and infamy of your husband. Your re-packaged socialism and authoritarianism are as offensive as the shrill tone of your shrieking rants on the floor of the Senate. The American people do not need you and your fellow travelers in the congress running our lives.

And exactly what advice do you have to offer women in business? How to capitalize on your husband's success and his infidelity to achieve your personal goals? Where not to hide your billing records?

On second thought, I don't want to get my friend in trouble with the Secret Service so just tell her "Rudy in '06."

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:00 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

February 19, 2004

Moonbat Lane

Power Line has an excellent compendium of comments from supporters of Howard Dean. Whither the Deaniacs?

Personally I think Dean probably wrote at least half of them himself, but if you like to take the occasional stroll down moonbat lane, they are worth reading.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:06 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

The Left Will Never Let Go

I got a comment from a guy named Mike to a post I wrote back in September that basically sums up why we will never stop hearing about George Bush's National Guard Service from some on the left:

Bush lied about his Guard time. No amout of meaningless paper work passed on by the White House can change that. While he was hiding out in the Guard, Kerry was winning medals in Viet Nam. After the war, Kerry expressed the outrage he and many Viet Nam vets felt about a war we should never have been involed in. Just like Iraq. By the way, I'm a 27 year retired Navy man.(emphasis mine)
The insistence that "no amount" of evidence will have any effect on Mike's belief in an unfounded and thoroughly debunked accusation typifies the attitude of the left.

And by the way Mike, your 27 years of Navy Service do not mean that when you think like moron, you cannot be called a moron. Moron.

UPDATE: Byron York in the National Review Online has put together one of the best evaluations of Bush's National Guard Service I have seen yet. (Link via Randy Barnett at Volokh) I would suggest Mike go read it, but I don't think it would matter.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:46 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

February 18, 2004

The Dean Vote

Just in case Hold The Mayo is your only source of news (in which case you definitely need counseling) Howard Dean Dropped out of the election. In doing so he has apparently decided not to formally endorse any of the remaining candidates.

Dean has been impressed with Democratic rival John Edwards and suggested on the campaign trail that he would make a better nominee than opponent John Kerry, but the governor has decided to stay out of the Kerry-Edwards contest, a Dean aide said.
It will be interesting to see how the Dean departure will effect upcoming primaries and the positions of the candidates. Who will work the hardest and contort their positions the furthest to win over the small percentage of voters who would voted for Dean.

If the Dean votes go to Kerry this will eliminate whatever southern advantage Edwards might have held. If Edwards gets the Deaniac vote it could put him over the top in states that might have gone to Kerry in close contests similar to Wisconsin.

However fawningly the media trumpets Kerry as the inevitable nominee, he doesn't have a lock on it. If Edwards can draw the Dean vote, he still has a chance.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:59 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 17, 2004

Ode to Howard Dean

Anika provided a link to Black Five's A Candle in the Wind - Goodbye Howard Dean. If you don't mind spending the next 24 hours with an Elton John song stuck in your head, check it out. Your humble host went so far as to offer a verse in the comments as well.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:17 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

Rearranging the Furniture

I don't blog about work, I get enough of it all day, but it looks like I'm going to have to re-arrange the furniture in my cubicle again. I just did it over the holidays too. The problem is, I had to make some compromises in order to accommodate both monitors and still have the network cable reach the port on the wall. (It's important to not ask IT for a new cable because then re-doing your office becomes and official thing and involves 3 guys who's job it is to move stuff).

But now I'm getting rid of the dual 1 gig G4 tower. I'm getting rid of the 17 inch flat panel monitor. I'm getting rid of the 20 inch crt monitor hooked into a video card I salvaged from a retiring machine. I'm replacing it all with this. The 17 inch G4 PowerBook. 1.6 gig G4, auto-adjusting backlit keyboard, built in wireless networking. What I am giving up in raw processing power I am more than getting back in mobility and just outright F'n cool.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:14 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

February 16, 2004

Getting Kerried Away

I didn't watch the Democrat's debate last night for a number of reasons.

Is there really any point in them debating any more? About the only thing left to determine is when Howard Dean will finally get the message that he doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning.

All the debate really does is give Edwards a chance to score points with Kerry for the VP slot.

Kucinich and Sharpton matter less now than they did in January - if that's even possible.

The kids went to be early and I didn't want to wake them up screaming at the television.

I did read a number of news stories and blog reports this morning- including this Semi-Intellligent running commentary.

I did spend some amount of time thinking about the debate. Specifically about John Kerry and this one quote I came across and commented on at Annika's Journal

There's only one thing wrong with the Patriot Act. Two words: John Ashcroft.

Annika wondered

Well, I wonder how Mr. Kerry can explain why he voted for it then, since John Ashcroft was Attorney General at the time.
I commented
So if Kerry is elected and appoints a new attorney general who proceeds to use the powers of the Patriot Act In the exact manner as the current administration, that would be O.K.?

So the widespread (alleged) trampling of individual rights would be OK if done by anyone other than Ashcroft? Or would it only be O.K. if done by a Democrat?

I find myself really hoping that there is nothing to the intern story and that Kerry wins the nomination. I want him on the campaign trail facing off against the George Bush - Carl Rove campaign machine. I hope they hammer him brutally and relentlessly with every obscenely hypocritical statement he has ever made. I want to see the Republicans expose him for what he is. I want to see Kerry reduced to a stuttering whimpering blob of moral equivalence and political expedience. I want to see his political career go down in flames to a degree that even the voters of Massachusetts will not lift him out the smoldering ruin for another term in the senate. They say we get the government we deserve, but no one - not even John Kerry - deserves a government with John Kerry as president.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:22 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 15, 2004

What's Wrong With Howard Dean?

In his continued quest to avoid any hint of reason in the running of his campaign, Howard Dean insists that he will not drop out of the race despite the urging of many in his organization.

I think I figured out the problem. Dean suffers from a lack of sufficient blood flow to the brain. His problem is not necessarily that the blood is flowing to a different organ, it just that he spent so much of his campaign money on TV spots he couldn't afford to get a shirt that fits. See the AP photo in the extended entry. more...

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:30 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 14, 2004

The Party's Court

Watching the behavior of the Democrats who will accept no amount of evidence contrary to their accusation that George Bush somehow did not fulfill his obligations to the National Guard, I have to say that I would much rather be tried in a court of law, than the court of public opinion.

In a court of law you have the presumption of innocence. The burden of proof is on the accuser. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you actually did that you are accused of doing.

In the court of Democrat Party opinion, accusation is enough to establish guilt. It is the burden of the accused to prove their innocence beyond all unreasonable spin. Your statement of innocence is irrelevant. The first proof you present will be dismissed as inadequate. The second will be dismissed out of hand. Even if you present every piece of evidence of your innocence that could possibly exist, they will still question.

I think that if the heavens parted and God Almighty spoke unto them to them, and told them of Bush's innocence, they would wonder if the Conservative Christians of the RNC put him up to it.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:50 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

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