January 31, 2007

One Campaign Over?

What is the expected fate of a Presidential Primary candidate who said:

In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian-Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7/11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.
What if he also said about candidate Barak Obama:
I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” I mean, that’s a storybook, man.
If he were a Republican, you would expect this clown to be going down in flames faster than the Hindenberg.

Imagine if Mitt Romney, or even media favorite John McCain, implied that an articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking black guy was some sort of fairy tale come true. They'd be crucified. (Granted they'd probably have mixed feelings about doing it to McCain).

But the clown who said these things is a Democrat. I expect this will pass with little media notice.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:52 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

January 27, 2007

Don't Wake Me

Stole this fun meme from Linda @ Autorific

The instructions:
1. Put your music player on shuffle.
2. Press forward for each question.
3. Use the song title as the answer to the question.

(I did cheat a little and used iTunes instead of the iPod just because Ecto will grab the currently playing song.)

Q: What does next year have in store for you?
(Don't Go Back To) Rockville from the album "Eponymous" by R.E.M.

Q: What does your love life look like next year?
Love Stinks by J Giles Band

I promise - this was completely random

Q: What do you say when life gets hard?
Can't Get There From Here from the album "Eponymous" by R.E.M.

Q: Song that reminds you of good times?
It Ends Tonight from the album "It Ends Tonight" by The All American Rejects

Q: What do you think when you get up in the morning?
Up Yours from the album "'Jed'" by Goo Goo Dolls

Q: What song will you dance to at your wedding?
Keep Yourself Alive by Queen

Q: Song that reminds you of your first kiss?
Come Monday from the album "Songs You Know By Heart" by Jimmy Buffett

Q: Your favourite saying?
Burning Down The House by Talking Heads

Q: Favourite place?
My Old School from the album "A Decade of Steely Dan" by Steely Dan

Q: Most Missed Memory?
No Way Out from the album "'Jed'" by Goo Goo Dolls

Q: What song describes your best friend?
Wild Mountain Honey from the album "Greatest Hits" by Steve Miller Band

Q: What song describes your ex?
Some Fantastic from the album "Stunt" by Barenaked Ladies

Q: Where would you go on a first date?
Lawyers, Guns and Money from the album "A Quiet Normal Life - The Best of Warren Zevon" by Warren Zevon

Q: Drug of choice?
C'mon C'mon from the album "Pawn Shoppe Heart" by The Von Bondies

Q: What song describes yourself?
Who Needs Sleep? from the album "Stunt" by Barenaked Ladies

Q: What is the thing you like doing most?
Barely Listening from the album "Barely Listening - Single" by Pilot Speed

Q: The song that best describes the president?
Babaji by Supertramp

Q: Where will you be in 10 years?
The Tide Is High from the album "The Best of Blondie" by Blondie

Q: Your love life right now?
Threshold from the album "Greatest Hits" by Steve Miller Band

Q: What is your state of mind like at the moment?
Stare It Cold from the album "Shake Your Money Maker (Remaster)" by The Black Crowes

Q: How will you die?
One Thing Leads To Another by Fixx

Q: The song you’ll put as the subject?
Don't Wake Me (Bonus Track) from the album "Shake Your Money Maker (Remaster)" by The Black Crowes

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:19 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

Chronic Altitude Sickness

It was exactly one year ago today, back when I was dabbling in Podcasts - which I will again some day soon - that I asked the following

With no offense to the people of Switzerland, what is it about the resort village of Davos that makes people stupid?
I briefly noted how Eason Jordan's stupid comments about the U.S. Military deliberately targeting journalists lead to his downfall, but the focus of the podcast was John Kerry's call for a filibuster of the the Supreme court nomination of Samuel Alito, from the World Economic Forum in Davos.

It seems to be becoming an annual event. The hold this big conference and someone shows up and says something really stupid. Well since Kerry isn't going to run to run for President again, I guess he felt he got have another year to provide us with a Davos moment.

"When we walk away from global warming, Kyoto, when we are irresponsibly slow in moving toward AIDS in Africa, when we don't advance and live up to our own rhetoric and standards, we set a terrible message of duplicity and hypocrisy," Kerry said.
"So we have a crisis of confidence in the Middle East — in the world, really. I've never seen our country as isolated, as much as a sort of international pariah for a number of reasons as it is today."
Now when the President signed the Kyoto protocol, that would be President Clinton in case you've forgotten, the U.S. Senate passed a unanimous resolution saying that if the treaty were submitted for ratification, it would fail. If memory serves me correctly, John Kerry was a part of that Senate that voted to walk away from Kyoto. George Bush's decision to rescind the Presidential signature from the accord, was merely making official the policy that Kerry and the rest of the Senate endorsed. So when Kerry is talking about not living up to our rhetoric and sending a message of duplicity and hypocrisy and being an international pariah, maybe he's just talking about himself.

But all of that is just political trash talk. Standard misrepresentation of your opponents actions and positions. Purely run of the mill partisan sniping. That was just the appetizer. The main course of stupidity was still to be served. Kerry should be reminded of this statement every time he has the nerve to say he supports the troops.

"I don't care how many troops are put in — Iraq is not going to be pacified," Kerry said. "Now, we are partly responsible. The absence of legitimate significant diplomacy is a disgrace. Quick flights in by a secretary of state are not diplomacy."
"There should be a special envoy, maybe a joint bipartisan special envoy. Why not a President Clinton together with a Republican of high ability, and bring them together and really work the process?(emphasis added (probably))"
Yeah. He supports the troops. He just doesn't think they can get the job done that's all. They failed. They are failing. They are going to fail. What a fantastic message to send to our troops and our enemies - right before your photo op with the former president of Iran.

Kerry in an embarrassment. I wish I could say he was an embarrassment to his party and to the Senate, but they honor him. Kerry is an embarrassment to to the idea of being an American. Just so there is no misunderstanding, I am not questioning his patriotism. There is nothing there to question.

UPDATE: A comentor @ Powerline actually went to the trouble of looking up the Senate resolution on Kyoto and reports:

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 105th Congress - 1st Session
Vote Date: July 25, 1997, 11:37 AM
Question: On the Resolution (s.res.98 )
Declares that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto in December 1997 or thereafter which would: (1) mandate new commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Annex 1 Parties, unless the protocol or other agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for Developing Country Parties within the same compliance period; or (2) result in serious harm to the U.S. economy.
YEAs 95
NAYs 0
Not Voting 5
Kerry (D-MA), Yea

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:14 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

January 25, 2007

I Hate This Crap

I'm in the mood to rant - so here goes...

Is there any legitimate reason why a television show - particularly a lame "reality" show - gets regular coverage on the national news? I mean let's face it American Idol is Star Search, which was utter crap, merged with Jerry Springer, which is utter crap. It's a double high pile of steaming crap. And it gets covered on the damned news!

Today's hot Idol News Flash is about some freak who got on the show precisely because he sucks and the judges could humiliate him for people to watch. That's Entertainment. The twist is, this guy gave them some crap back and had to be escorted off the set by security. (Probably just a couple of actors hired to pretend to be security guards.) This is news! WTF?

And the freak who caused all the commotion - he's a real piece of work. Check out this quote:

"I think it's ridiculous that what happens on 'American Idol' overshadows the fact that we have soldiers in Iraq getting killed with no exit plan," he said.
News flash asshole - your part of the problem so shut the hell up.

And get this. The freak apparently was a close witness to two suicide attacks in Israel, and doesn't seem to like the war in Iraq. You know the war where we took down the dictator who was paying rewards to the families of suicide bombers likes the ones who tried to kill him.

What a moron.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:15 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

January 22, 2007

Oh no, Mr. Bond

I expect you to...

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:14 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

January 21, 2007

Slim Pickin's for Dems

The Clinton newsletter has waisted no time in painting Hillary Clinton's run for the Democrat nomination as a struggle in a news analysis piece titled Clinton’s Success in Presidential Race Is No Sure Thing.

The big problem for the Democrats if Patrick Healy's analysis is correct is that compared to the others who are running, Clinton is "the most battle tested."

What battle was that?

She barely has more experience in the Senate than either Barak Obama or John Edwards and has a legislative record that is equally bereft of any accomplishment. The fact that she was once First Lady does not count as a qualification to the presidency. The fact that her husband cheated on her and committed perjury while President does not qualify her to hold the office. Nor does the fact that she failed in her attempt to have the federal government nationalize health care.

If Hillary Clinton is the most qualified and battle tested candidate the Democrats have - they have some serious problems.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:51 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment

January 20, 2007

Learning the Lesson

Sometimes life teaches gentle, subtle lessons. Sometimes life teaches brutal, painful lessons. Today Barak Obama got one of those in the side of the head with 2 x 4 kind of lessons.

Today Obama found out what it means to be the flavor of the month when the month is over.

Today Hillary Clinton made her official entry into the campaign for the Democrat Party 2008 Nomination.

It's not like everyone on the planet didn't know it was coming, so I hope it didn't take Obama by surprise. Maybe he didn't expect her to officially announce so soon after he did, but he had to know his days in the spotlight were numbered.

Not that he wont still get plenty of press, even fawning press coverage. The media and rest of the party have an interest in making this seem like a contest, so "Obamentum" will likely continue at least through Iowa and New Hampshire. Just long enough so that Clinton's nomination seems less like a hereditary coronation.

It will be interesting to see how Hillary's campaign deals with the fact that her single biggest asset is also her largest liability. What will they do with Bill?

The silly season has now officially begun. With almost 2 years worth of presidential campaign politics - Hillary style - there is certainly going to be no shortage of blog material.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:26 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

January 13, 2007

Truth Or Consequneces

One of the trickier aspects of following grand scheme political ideas is to get past the high-minded noble rhetoric and take a look at the actual consequences. It is necessary, because the price of being blinded by the passion of the righteous can be extremely high. In Europe, it is becoming abundantly clear that the passion for Kyoto and carbon emission limits has consequences and costs that should have been looked at before they followed that "ideal." Consequences and costs that thankfully kept this country out of that environmentalist disaster.

Ayn Rand once wrote, don't examine the folly, examine the consequences. In Europe they are being forced to do so.

As far as the imminent future is concerned, one thing is patently clear: After years of inflated promises that the Kyoto process would not upset their economy, European governments are beginning to realize that the era of cost-free climate hype is coming to an end. In its place, concern is growing that key industries and entire countries will pay a devastating price for Europe's reckless Kyoto craze.
The stakes are particularly high for Germany. Despite its customary role as environmental cheerleader, it has been hit hardest. Brussels bureaucrats have slashed more than 30 million tonnes from its annual carbon permit. It faces up to ?3.5-billion in fines if it cannot bring down emissions by 2008.
Germany is extremely vulnerable to imposed energy caps. It is strongly opposed to plans for replacing its coal-fired power plants with gas-fired facilities, as such a move would only increase its already precarious dependency on Russian gas imports. Furthermore, successive governments have agreed to shut down all nuclear power plants, which account for a third of Germany's electricity generation. The Greens' anti-nuclear achievement has thus turned ideological triumph into an energy nightmare.
To make matters worse, Germany's industry bosses have warned that they will not proceed with billions in intended energy investments should the government lose the bitter dispute with the European Commission over slashed emission credits. The EU has made clear that it will not yield to German demands, as this would destabilize its fragile trading scheme. However, should German companies be forced to buy carbon credits at higher prices, it will simply remove funds and economic incentives that the government had hoped would be invested in alternative technologies.
As the price for electricity, goods and services continue to rise and Asian competitors catch up with Europe's lethargic economy, the public is beginning to question Brussel's unilateral climate policy. According to a recent EU poll, more than 60% of Europeans are unwilling to sacrifice their standard of living in the name of green causes. As long as advocates of Kyoto got away with claims that their policies would not inflict any significant costs, many people were tempted to believe in improbable promises. Now that the true cost of Kyoto is starting to hurt European pockets, the erstwhile green consensus is unravelling.
Anyone who took an honest look at Kyoto, and the rest of global warming alarmism, had to see that this is the inevitable result. Kyoto was never a scientific agreement to effect the climate. It's stated effect on the climate (even if you believe it) is minimal. Kyoto is a political, international egalitarian program. It was designed to let developing and emerging economies catch up with the west - not by helping them, but by slowing the rest us of down. It was designed to level the economic playing field not by raising up the lowest, but by crippling the best.

Yet while some of the national governments, and a significant portion of the European population, begin to question the wisdom and the cost of Kyoto, the government of the European clings to the dream. As it seems unlikely that Brussels will abandon its economically disastrous carbon policies the future will either be that the nations of Europe will follow the Union over the precipice into economic ruin or the Union will fracture under the strain of nations and populations who want no part of the Kyoto nightmare.

Hat Tip: Greenie Watch.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:45 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

January 08, 2007

Curses and Explitives

Do you know the worst "feature" of Adobe Illustrator?

If your closing a file and saving the changes and you realize you neglected to fix something, instinct tells you tot hit the cancel button. The problem is, Illustrator dutifully stops saving the file, but does not stop closing the file. You loose everything you already did. Next time that happens to you, remember let it save and close the file.

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

January 07, 2007

Forests and Trees

I feel as though I have been ignoring the forest lately. That is to say my focus has become so narrow that I only see the trees in my very immediate vicinity. Many of those individual trees have needed attention, and I have lacked the energy to do any large scale forestry. I could continue to torture this already tortured metaphor further, but torture is not particularly popular these days so I'll just jump right in to giving my two cents worth on the state of the world.

First up, the weather. Every year at about this time, a large stationery front parks off the east coast. This creates a pattern that draws cold Arctic air down from Canada along the Eastern Seaboard. The result is that we have several weeks of painfully bitter cold. Home heating oil, and natural gas prices spike. People scream for investigations of price gouging. The news is full of stories about the poor and downtrodden forced to choose between eating cat food for dinner and heating their home. The front eventually moves on and temperatures moderate and things get back to normal.

This year that front seems to have parked inland. Probably related to the same ocean current and wind patterns that gave us our non-event hurricane season. The result is that all of that cold air is getting dumped on the western states and burying them in huge snows. Meanwhile here in the northeast when we would expect to be dealing with a frostbite inducing two degrees, yesterday was sunny and 70°. Today is forecast to top out at 54°. The coldest forecast high for the next five days is 41°.

When I called my mother in Maine on Christmas day she joked that she was celebrating Hanukah. One day's worth of home heating oil had lasted eight days.

But there are two things people must remember. Eventually, the stationery from will move on. Temperatures will moderate and things will be back to normal. Weather is not climate. Weather is variable based on an almost infinite number of factors. Just because it's warm today - doesn't mean the sky is falling. So don't talk to me about Global Warming - I'm not joining that religion.

Armchair generals are all busily trying to decide what our military strategy should be in Iraq. While the actual generals are being shuffled around and different strategies are being debated. First let me say that I find the public debate of military strategy, and the expected presidential announcement of the eventual strategy rather odd. This seems to me to be one of those things you might want to keep close to the vest. It's one thing for a bunch of average and even above average Joe's to weigh in on blogs about what they think we should be doing, but quite another for the government and the military to be determining strategy in public debate.

I mean do you really want to let the enemy know well in advance that we're going to "surge" troop levels, and what those troops are going to do, when they are coming and when they are leaving? This gives enemy time to plan one of two things. One, they prepare for a counter offensive so that the American media and the Democrats in Congress can point to the strategy as the cause of further problems and another Bush administration failure. Or two, they lay low and minimize their activity then come on strong after the "surge" is over so the American Media and the Democrats in Congress can point to the strategy as the cause of further problems and another Bush administration failure.

At least they wont get to blame much of this on Rumsfeld.

The Democrats have officially taken control of congress - they do not however have sufficient majorities to override presidential vetoes. It remains to be seen if Bush will use the veto at all, let alone effectively. I will not be surprised if he spends the next two years kissing Democrat Congressional posteriors in the name of bipartisanship. The GOP had some success complaining about Democrat obstructionism that I wonder if they will be hypocritical enough to make aggressive use of the filibuster in the Senate. Given that there is apparently no limit to the level of hypocrisy to which a politician will sink - I expect we will see this tactic used by the GOP.

In the end the best we can hope for is a government incapable of accomplishing anything. In other words a government that does less to us.

Speaking of Congressional Democrats, Nancy Pelosi's boast that she would run the most ethical house ever is certainly proving to be problematic. It may well go down as one of the dumbest boasts in political history - right next to "Read. My. Lips." and "Mission Accomplished."

Apparently a bunch of leftist, bleeding-heart, ACLU types (aka the Mainstream Media) are upset not just over the fact that Saddam was executed, but the manner in which it was done. It seems one or more of the guards or executioners was not nice to the Butcher of Bagdad as they put him to death. Apparently they taunted and teased him. Boo Fricken Hoo. They could have done a full blown Abu Ghraib on the S.O.B. and it wouldn't have bothered me. Taken in the context of Hussein's decades of brutality, I would think it would be difficult to come with anything that would qualify as cruel and unusual.

It's been all over the internet and the news that Israel is drawing up plans to take out Iran's nuclear facilities using tactical nukes. No real shock there. I bet they are also planning to take them out using conventional weapons too. I bet somewhere in the Pentagon there are people who have planned, reviewed and refined plans for taking out Iran's nuclear facilities in any number of ways. That is what they are supposed to do. Make plans. Study the plans. Refine the plans. So that if the day comes they need a plan, they have one ready. I believe it's called planning ahead.

I was listening to Larry Kudlow on the Radio the other day. He was talking about the recent jobs report that shows how strong the U.S. economy continues to be. He broke down the raw unemployment numbers by education - and I can't remember the figures exactly (and I'm too lazy to go look for them) but among the population with a Bachelors degree, the unemployment rate is about 1.5% If you have less than a high school diploma, the unemployment rate is 4.6%. Kudlow's take on this is that it demonstrates the importance of education, and he's right. He seemed to ignore the fact that it also demonstrates the importance of immigration reform.

If you are among the portion of the population with 4.6% unemployment, chances are the job that you could be doing - the one that you are qualified for - is being done by an illegal immigrant. Because if you didn't finish high school, chances are you are only qualified for one of those "jobs Americans don't want to do." But don't worry, that illegal who has your job is going to get amnesty and some sort of "path to citizenship." Once he becomes "legal" he'll be paid the same about to be increased minimum wage as you, and he'll be out a job too.

Now, back to the trees.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:40 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment

January 02, 2007

That's Just Mean

I described in O.K. That Hurts and That's Gonna Leave A Mark how a simple cosmetic upgrade to a bathroom turned into gutting the room down to the framing and starting over. By the time we got to the damaged plaster walls behind the tile, I wasn't shocked or surprised. I had made peace with the expenditure. Yesterday the refrigerator died.

Several hundred dollars worth of food gone. This is the second time in four years this piece of crap from GE has done this. It will not be repaired - it will be replaced. With a different brand.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:48 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

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