Sunday, June 29, 2008

PETA defining your rights

As if PETA wasn't obnoxious enough with their stupid protests of circuses and general evangelizing, their language is becoming increasingly hostile to the majority of us, the meat eating folk.

Taking a swipe at Jessica Simpson's recent t-shirt reading "Real Girls Eat Meat", PETA spokesman Alistair Currie said:
"Jessica Simpson might have a right to wear what she wants, but she doesn't have a right to eat what she wants – eating meat is about suffering and death. Some people feel like they are standing up against a tide of political correctness when they make a statement like this – what she is really doing is standing up for the status quo."

"Doesn't have a right." Sure.

And the United Nations is getting in on the game too:
A recent pronouncement from the head of the UN climate change agency that the best thing people can do to halt global warming is to turn vegetarian has taken the debate a step further.
Good Lord, they're bringing global warming in too. Run for the hills!

In conclusion, and for your listening enjoyment, a Futurama audio clip: "You're vegetarians, who cares what you do?" (Includes the classic line, "... we taught a lion to eat tofu...")

(If the audio clip is blocked, go here and find clip 6.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Offshore oil in one year (!)

(Cross posted at TheNextRight)

One Democratic talking point about offshore oil is that it won't be brought to market for many years even if we start now. Eric Bolling, a trader writing for thestreet.com, gives us this interesting bit of information (emphasis added):

A Congressman followed my segment and suggested that drilling wouldn't help for 10 years or more. I know this is absolutely untrue, so I called Transocean, the biggest driller in the world. An officer of the company told me that depending on the location of the drilling, oil could be realized in as little as a year.

Ultra-deepwater fields might produce in 3-5 years. For the most remote locations, without any prior infrastructure support, that barrel may require a 4-6 year window. I suggested 8 years and he said that he could not envision a situation where it would require more than 6 years to bring a barrel out of the ocean floor.


This is a complete deal-breaker for one of the Democrats' favorite talking points.

This is huge.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Defining Swiftboating Down

Byron York at NRO is saying something I've thought for a long time. People, particularly Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself), are misusing the term "swiftboating".

The original swiftboating was an attack from people who knew Kerry and had served with him in Vietnam. Now the term is synonymous with any attack whatsoever regardless of the source (or truth of the matter) and is used as a term of dismissal.

I'll go a step further than York does. Not only did the Swiftboat Vets for Truth have personal and special knowledge of John Kerry's service in Vietnam, it was Kerry's story that had to be changed much more than the Swiftboat Vets'. Memories that were "seared" (seared!) into John Kerry's noggin were just not true.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hutchison for Veep (?)

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison was on This Week on a "roundtable" discussion of energy.

She gets it. Making bold commitments to future production will bring down prices now. Production must be part of a broader picture that includes renewables. She made the case, and Rep. Markey looked foolish, hastily retreating to his talking points even after they had been dismissed.

I'm not in love with Hutchison, but McCain could certainly do worse than to name her as the VP candidate.

If the Republicans are going to be the party of energy, Hutchison has passed the qualifying exam to carry McCain through on this issue.

Graham unprepared for MTP

Brian Williams did an admirable job on Meet the Press. He admittedly cribbed off the prep work left by the late Tim Russert, but it was still better than I had anticipated. At the end of the broadcast, Williams announced that Tom Brokaw will be the long term substitute through the November election. Great idea. Glad I thought of it. ("Ideally, I'd like to see Brokaw take over as a long term temporary host while they recruit somebody else.")

Williams was very hard on Obama’s reneging on his campaign finance pledge, and got Biden to admit that Barack Obama is just a politician. Heresy!

The second major topic was energy - an issue on which Republicans have the best chance of mitigating the coming November slaughter. But like McCain and so many of his surrogates, Senator Graham was unprepared on economic issues. Graham was unable to make the case that opening up offshore resources helps now even if the oil isn’t brought to market for several years. Biden brought that issue up several times and it would have been nice if Grahamnesty had been able to refute it at least once.

Biden alleged that currently leased offshore areas are unutilized and that opening up more area is unnecessary. Graham had no response. Perhaps the McCain camp mistakenly thinks they can skate through on this issue without any effort. I suspect that Biden has something very wrong (this is the first I’ve heard this particular formulation), but the McCain camp needs a response to this. Do the leases expire too soon for meaningful exploration? Did Biden overstate the proven reserves? Probably, but the public wasn’t given this information. And of course, Graham let slide the dig at greedy oil companies who aren’t drilling so they can keep the price up, I suspect probably because he believes it too.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fake Home Made Obama Signs

The 'turf will set you free.

Video of an Obama campaign worker handing out pre-made "home made" signs at a BO campaign event. Via LGF.

I thought all the talk of Obama's campaign being really effective was overblown. Now it looks to me like they really have thought of everything.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Epidemic of Propaganda

Brace yourselves for an epidemic of pro-Obama magical thinking propaganda. It’s already upon us from what I can see.

Any good political campaign will include efforts to have supporters write letters to the editorial pages of just about every newspaper on the planet. Normally an individual is directed towards newspapers in his own area, but in the last week I’ve seen two Obama support letters from people who almost certainly are not readers of my local paper.

The audience of my small town newspaper is probably 99% contained within a 40 mile radius. To get two letters from “online readers” about Barack Obama, one of which was in West Virginia, is no accident. It is also no coincidence that both letters were filled not just with standard leftist boilerplate, but naked lies.

The first sentence of the first letter is such an example:
As everyone knows, the first quarter (January-March 2008) was a “negative” growth quarter for the U.S. Economy.

Well, no. The first quarter was positive, and there hasn’t been a negative quarter since 2001. Try again.

Well, guess what, the second quarter (April-June 2008) results are in, and we had a “slightly positive” second quarter, so “slight” it is not worth mentioning the number. Well a “RECESSION” is defined as TWO “CONSECUTIVE” negative quarters, so guess what, we now start counting all over again.

Where to begin! The second quarter hasn’t even ended yet, so any statements about the second quarter are inherently wrong. Also, a recession is not two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.

The writer of this letter used “RECESSION” (all caps, with quotation marks) three times in his brief letter. There was a general overuse of “quotation marks”.

Only by curtailing the “unregulated speculative commodity trading” of crude oil, eliminating the oil company’s excess unwarranted profits, boosting the value of the U.S. dollar and increasing production both domestically and abroad, will the price of crude oil and gasoline return to the normal levels and a normal U.S. economy be achieved in the process. (emphasis added)

If you think Obama is going to increase domestic production, then you’ve got another thing coming pal.

The second out-of-towner letter bemoaned the abridgement of our freedoms. We can expect criticism of the PATRIOT Act, but this moonbat is really stretching to blame all of her complaints on Republicans (emphasis added):

My biggest fear is where this will all end. Now that the government is monitoring what we read from the public library, dictating what we consume, making us wear seat belts, and disenfranchising private business owners from deciding whether their patrons should be permitted to smoke tobacco in their own establishments, which group of American citizens will be the next target of our government lawmakers?

Will American farmers be forced to grow organically and prohibited from supplementing livestock with hormones in order to avoid carcinogenic additives?

Will we be forced to abandon our vehicles when the government recognizes the truth about global warming?

Will millions of Americans be forced out of jobs when our factories are forced to shut down because they, too, are held responsible for emitting pollutants that are deemed to be cancer causing?

The writer’s logic is perplexing, to say the least. Seat belt laws, smoking restrictions, farm fascism, vehicle efficiency regulation, and enviro-industrial extremism are all primarily products of left-leaning thought.

But apparently Barack Obama is going to protect her freedoms. Sure. What are you smoking and where can I get some?

How Drilling in the Future Helps Now

(Cross posted at TheNextRight)

Democrats are almost uniformly lockstep in their opposition to increased domestic oil and gas production. "We can’t drill our way out of this," they say. "Those projects won’t bring any oil to the market for years," they say. But if all the complaints about rampant speculation are true, then approving increased production will help prices now even if the oil takes years to come to market.

How? The price of oil now has increased in response not only to current supply and demand, but to the idea of peak oil theory - that we are nearing the maximum amount of daily oil production. Prices are responding to the idea that there isn’t much, if any, incremental supply to add to the market, and that oil will get increasingly scarce starting right now.

A recent column by Kevin Hassett on Bloomberg described how Milton Friedman saw speculation as a good thing. Price speculators are smoothing the price curve and giving the market a signal about future supply. Consumers should conserve and producers should increase supply. Hassett writes, "Friedman's logic is irrefutable. If speculators are, as is popularly believed, brilliant tacticians who are making a killing, then their activities are stabilizing. Speculation is good."

If Congress approves increased domestic production, then the fears about peak oil will be delayed as the expectation of future supply works its way into the futures markets, and the parabolic price moves in energy will retreat. It isn't a permanent solution, but it does help right now.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Geekery - Firefox 3.0

Not loving it. Stupid me, I forgot to back up my bookmarks. And somehow the installer neglected to use my current bookmarks but found an old bookmark file, which I seem to be stuck with. Word to the wise - back up your profile and/or bookmarks.

Also, I'm not thrilled with the memory usage and I'm underwhelmed with the performance. It's been running for a few hours (not with particularly intense usage) and with two tabs currently open it's using 108 megs of RAM. Really? A web browser? Page rendering and javascript may or may not be faster, but the UI is definitely slower, no doubt due to the bookmarking features I'm not sold on yet and Mozilla's need to fiddle with the chrome.

Edit (06/19): It's worse than I thought. The bookmark manager is slower than a vote recount in Florida. Also, drag and drop bookmarking doesn't work too well for folders on the bookmarks toolbar. Your bookmark will get to the right folder, but won't go in the precise place you want it.

Unless I'm remembering incorrectly, they flipped the direction of the scroll wheel for changing the font size within a page. Hella annoying, with no apparent about:config setting to change it.

It's possible that they have the memory thing worked out since I haven't seen a spike much above 150 megs even with heavy use, though I did alter the number of tab-close-undos to six from the default ten.

The only saving grace at this point is the ability for nearly infinite customization. People will figure out how to disable most of the annoying features in about:config or they will write extensions to disable them.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How desperate is NBC to fill Russert's slot?

The list of bench-warmers at NBC News is thin. So thin that one US News columnist thinks they should hand off Meet the Press to Tim's son Luke. (H/T HotAir)

The sad thing is that it almost sounds plausible given the rest of the choices. Matthews and Olberman are not going to be taken seriously as impartial journalists. Andrea Mitchell and David Gregory at least have jobs that give some facade of objectivity, though neither seems to realize it. Brian Williams could be replaced by a robot, in my opinion. Chuck Todd is a weenie. Brokaw has the gravitas, but I don't think he's looking for a full time job at this stage of his life.

Sticking within the NBC family I can rationalize giving it to David Gregory on a semi-permanent basis even though I have some serious beef with DG. Ideally, I'd like to see Brokaw take over as a long term temporary host while they recruit somebody else.

Going outside NBC, the best name I've seen is Gwen Ifill. (Actually, Ifill has been an NBC reporter before, and frequent guest on MTP, but she's still best known for PBS's Washington Week.) Katie Couric is a no go. (Have they seen her ratings? Or watched any of her interviews?)

If I turn on my TV Sunday and see somebody other than Brokaw or Ifill I am going to be disappointed. If it's not either of those two I think MTP may be destined for the dustbin of history. If the only option is screwing it up, they should just cancel it as a tribute to Tim Russert.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Nightmare - VP Huck

Not a proverbial nightmare, but a real one. I awoke anxious and disoriented at 4:30am today after having a dream - a nightmare - that Huckabee had been chosen to be McCain's Vice Presidential pick.

I've been conflicted about this possible choice for a long time. I've never been wild about McCain, but I'm ultimately presented with a choice - the relatively minor damage that McCain could inflict on our nation, or the massive and irreversible great leap forward into American socialism coupled with embarrassing defeats in Iraq and elsewhere in the GWOT that Barack Obama could administer with a pliant Democratic Congress.

The Veep pick doesn't change the structure of this choice. I will probably still feel compelled to hold my nose and vote for McCain even if he again pokes conservatives in the eye with an insulting VP pick like Huckabee.

What I think I can commit to, however, is to go the Pat Buchanan route. Buchanan describes himself as an independent conservative who votes Republican. I think I would have to change my party to "unaffiliated", and I would have to resign as a member of my county's Republican committee.

McCain, as our Presidential nominee, is the leader of our party. The VP gets preferential treatment in future Presidential nominations. Huckabee in particular, and McCain also, have disparaged economic conservatives in harsh terms usually used as a Democratic bludgeon of classism. I don't think I could be part of a party that so openly insults my beliefs.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

PA-2 a pathetic situation

(via GrassrootsPA)

So the Republican candidate for PA-2 dropped out, claiming that the party didn't give him any support. The comments at GrassrootsPA suggest that he wasn't campaigning very hard , and of course that district is about 10% Republican anyway, but being snubbed for event invitations is just poor form.

It sort of reminded me of the time I, a county committee member, found out about a candidate appearance by reading it in the local paper. I would have gone had I just known about it.

It's pretty much at the point where the party officials in PA have given up on trying to win races and are more interested in hoarding the "glory" of getting their pictures taken with our (often losing) candidates.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Obama's a geek, you say?

The Big O got some flak for his geekly bike action:
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It seems worse than we realized:

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McCain needs to Walk and Chew Gum

(cross posted at TheNextRight)

Many of the problems facing America are complicated. We want oil and gasoline to cost less, but we also want to “get off oil”. We want food prices to come down, but we also want to preserve family farms without handing out truckloads corporate welfare to agribusiness. We would like to see Iraq stabilize, but we want to bring our troops out of harm’s way. We want to secure our border without sending a message that America is not welcoming of immigrants.

If we adopt a “walk and chew gum at the same time” campaign, we can offer paired policy choices that address these issues on the short term and the long term. The “walk and chew gum” message also carries the connotation that a McCain administration would be more competent that the Bush administration without explicitly bringing it up.

Lower Energy Costs while Planing for the Future

Conservatives want to increase domestic production of oil and natural gas to bring down the costs of these fuels. This, however, does not address the fundamental problem of our dependence on oil, particularly since so much of the world’s oil production comes from unsavory regimes. Fuel prices will stabilize in the short to medium term, but this will only delay the consequences of “peak oil” theory.

McCain can link increased domestic production to the elimination of subsidies for oil companies and dramatic government investments in setting the stage for alternatives, notably electric capacity and cellulosic ethanol. We must build nuclear infrastructure including the reprocessing of nuclear fuel in order to minimize waste, we must vastly expand our research into nuclear fission technology, and we must increase research into cellulosic ethanol technology that will ease the tension between biofuels and food costs. Funding research may not be the preferred policy of some economic conservatives, but funding research can potentially change the fundamental structure of energy markets, whereas our current tax-and-subsidize policies only mask underlying problems and create inefficiencies.

Lower Food Costs while Helping Small Farmers
Ethanol mandates must be phased out. Any subsidies we decide to keep must be capped such that family farms qualify but large corporate producers do not benefit beyond the cap. Tariffs on sugar and ethanol imports must be eliminated.

Win in Iraq while Bringing the Troops Home
This is the classic “return on victory” plan. With any luck, this will be an easier sell going into the fall if Gen. Petraeus recommends further troop reductions.

Secure the Border while Normalizing Illegal Immigrants
The GOP faces a serious problem with illegal immigration. If we reject anything that might be construed as “amnesty” and focus on completing the border fence not only will we fail to enact those policies but we will be irritating an enormous voting block. “Comprehensive immigration reform” has been a poorly disguised push for a Reagan style amnesty. Control the border, fund additional English language classes to aid assimilation, and create some way to normalize those already in the country. It’s not ideal, but it may be the best we can do. “Comprehensive” must mean actually being serious about being comprehensive.

The one-two-punch approach strikes a balance between having a concise and complex message. Selling it as being able to walk and chew gum at the same time shows confidence in the competence of a McCain administration. Having two messages in one policy proposal may also allow targeted language to appeal to more than one demographic group at the same time. This approach should be replicated for healthcare, job creation, and other issues that arise as the campaign progresses.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

McCain for domestic drilling?

Sen. Lindsay Graham was on This Week as a surrogate for McCain. I was surprised to hear Graham say that McCain was for increased domestic oil and natural gas production, as McCain so far seems to be channeling his inner Al "Ozone Man" Gore on environmental issues.

Then Graham thew open the escape hatch that offshore drilling would only be done with the consent of the relevant states. Which means that it probably won't get done.

Attention McCain camp: If you want to be taken seriously on the issue of domestic production act like it.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Drive-Through equals Express Lane

A bit off topic, but I've got a new pet peeve: waiting at a fast food drive-through while multiple minivans full of screaming hellspawn order five or six meals at a time. I mean, the drive through window at the bank will ask you to go inside if you're doing more than two things. And virtually every supermarket and mega-retailer has a 10-items-or-less line.

If it takes you more than seven seconds to yell your order at the clown's face then you're taking too long.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

NYT - Did we mention Jindal's Christianity?

The New York Times ran a profile of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in reaction to speculation that he might be McCain's Veep pick. In calling Jindal a "New (True) Champion of the Right", the NYT was none too subtle in calling attention to Jindal's faith.

The Times has approached Jindal and Louisiana as anthropological oddities, and took every opportunity to draw attention to "religion", the "Louisiana Family Forum", "creationism", and "stem-cell restrictions" (which was just zero funding, not a ban, by the way).

And that's just in the first two sentences.

But they also needed to mention Jindal's Catholic view that he should "give 100 percent of yourself to God"; that the school voucher program (gasp!) might be used to send kids to parochial schools; Louisiana Family Forum's "faith-oriented, anti-abortion" nature and its association with James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Tony Perkins; and so on and so forth.

Some proposed legislation "favored by Christian conservatives that opponents say is a stalking horse for teaching creationism" isn't quite as heavy handed as initially implied. Several paragraphs later the Times acknowledges "there was no mention of creationism or intelligent design in the bill." But not before pointing out that "Barbara Forrest, a philosophy professor at Southeastern Louisiana University and a critic of the bill, testified that it was 'designed to permit teaching intelligent design creationism in Louisiana public schools' ".

The bill's purpose (as per the text of the bill) is to "[promote] critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning." To this end, teachers "shall teach the material presented in the standard textbook supplied by the school system and thereafter may use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner, as permitted by the city, parish, or other local public school board." (emphasis added)

A reasonable compromise in my mind. In a climate of social conservatism, forbidding the teacher from discussing criticisms of evolution is an invitation for the students to ignore what the teacher is attempting to teach. Giving local officials the discretion of allowing some degree of dissent after the standard curriculum has been taught might be the only way to actually get the standard curriculum taught. And isn't that the most important thing?

The Times doesn't understand that in a rural middle school science class there might be a half-dozen kids trying to challenge the teacher's authority on evolution. Wouldn't it be easier to get the point across if the teacher could say, "That's an interesting point, Johnny, and if we have time after this unit we might discuss it, but right now we're learning about the standard scientific view"?

The profile of Jindal is couched in an objective tone, but the subtext to the NYT's core audience screams "This guy is a religious nut job". Rest assured that if Jindal is tapped for VP the Times will paint Jindal's political philosophy as something to be feared, well out of the mainstream.

Christian conservatives are a welcome part of the conservative Republican family, but to read this NY Times piece one would think that promoting the establishment of an oppressive Christian theocracy was a necessary and sufficient condition for being a conservative.

By the way, it isn't.

Monday, June 02, 2008

HRC's Campaign Similar to Iraq

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign shares many narrative elements with the execution of the Iraq war. There is, however, a key difference.

It was supposed to be a cake walk. What we offered the population was light years better than the status quo. We should have been welcomed with open arms. And for a few moments it seemed like we might have been. Our strong initial efforts should have overwhelmed any opposition, and we shouldn't have had the need to plan much past the opening salvo.

But that's not what happened. Much of the population was more interested in following the opposition. The enemy captured key regions and social groups. Things were not looking good.

And then we re-tooled our efforts, deploying additional resources. Our efforts, and the arrogant over-reaching of our enemy, has brought many people back to our side. There remains much work to be done, but the momentum is going in our direction.

The difference? Hillary's time has run out. There was a hard deadline. The exact sort of deadline the Democrats have wanted to impose on our efforts in Iraq, and with much more at stake than which socialist candidate to run for President.