Saturday, March 15, 2008

Dude, why are you so obsessed with Obama/Wright?

You sound like a R.L./L.I./Fox News/H&C/A.C. broken record. A few people may care - most don't. Barry.....blah blah blah.....Wright...blah blah blah. More are interested in Spitzer and his $4,300 hooker. I know I am.

And my vote on the poll is based upon the original Star Trek, not any of the sequels.

Barry not only heard Wright, he agreed [RETRACTED]

"Wright laced into America's establishment, blaming the 'white arrogance' of America's Caucasian majority for the woes of the world, especially the oppression suffered by blacks. To underscore the point he refers to the country as the 'United States of White America.' Many in the congregation, including Obama, nodded in apparent agreement as these statements were made. [Emphasis added]" Via Ace.

UPDATE AND RETRACTION: Ace's source, NewsMax, apparently can't stand by the story: "Um, that's not good enough. If something as simple as the date was wrong, why should anyone believe anything else in the story? Further, if the date's wrong, how do we match the content of the sermon to the 'nodding'"? For all we know Obama was caught nodding along to a statement like 'Jesus saves.'"

Someone on Barry

"Listening to this guy for 20 years and then saying you don't agree with what he says is like buying tickets and attending Lakers games for 20 years and then saying you're not really a fan."

Barry drops 8 points new Rasmussen poll. Now tied with Hill. Via Hot Air.

The Judy's

The Judy's are back.

Dan Riehl on Barry

So, what did this great agent of change do when confronted with the usual slime of Chicago politics? Did he stand up boldly and work for change? Or did he simply go along, playing the system for his own benefit like so many uninspiring and ultimately disappointing politicians before him? The answer should be obvious to any objective observer now.

And the same is true of his behavior when confronted with the far too old and wholly unproductive, if not dangerous, rhetoric of a Jeremiah Wright. There was no bold confrontation from Barack Obama, no real call for change, or a speaking of truth to the old and mostly unproductive, when not actuallly destructive, powers within the circles in which Obama ran.

No, there was just the typical hamster of a politician running the same well-greased wheels of corruption and race-baiting rhetoric that have been the big city liberals stock in trade and path to power and its retention for decades now.

Freak show from Austin nixed for St. Paul

"Lobster Girl and the Human Tripod aren't Minnesota Nice Enough"

VDH on Barry

"Instead, we have heard first “cherry-picking” and then that the reverend does not represent his own views, but not a hint of contrition for an association with such a demagogue and hate-monger. I think this will not go away, and ultimately damage Obama beyond repair, for it strikes at the heart of his very candidacy—that he was a healer who has transcended racial divides, and was introducing a new credo of transparent and painfully forthright politics. The Wright scandal and his reaction thus far belie both. This was precisely why Hillary stayed in the race, and mirabile dictu, perhaps what she imagined would eventually transpire."

New Poll ------>

Mary Anne beat Ginger 4-0.

Earmarks in perspective

It's easy to get exorcised about earmarks. But how big a deal are they, really?

2006 was a banner year historically for earmarks, in dollars and in relation to GDP. $29 billion of our hard-earned federal tax dollars were handed out in earmarks. Yet, $29 billion was less than one-one-hundreth (1/100th) of the federal expenditures in 2006 ($2.6 trillion).

Small potatoes.

Friday, March 14, 2008

There's more gold... [UPDATE]

Wright's statements have "pained and angered" Barry? Really? When? Just now?

But wait: Why did the campaign, today, say that Wright remains in his advisory position?

This is starting to look like a Clinton operation.

UPDATE: Wright's under the bus, sort of.

This is how Hill wins

Barry implodes, supers are relieved of the dilemma. Q: How much did Hill have with the implosion?


Much bigger problem than previously acknowledged.

Re: Obama: Judge me on my values, judgment, experience

Barry, here's how I view it:

Values: Attends a racist/separatist church; smokes (probably).

Judgment: Wright, Ayers, Rezco.

Experience: Some sort of poor person's coordinator; Ill. Leg; 1 yr. US Sen. (thanks, 7 of 9).

Verdict: Uh, no thanks.

Re: Obama on Wright

And I call bullshit. Not until normal people express their outrage does Barry "reject" Wright's incendiary comments. Why didn't he quit the church after the "chickens" sermon? After "God damn AmeriKKKa?" I would have have; wouldn't you?

Someone pointed out today: he took his children to listen to this filth. Shame on him and Michelle for letting this hate/race monger into their children's lives. Now I know where Michelle is coming from: she's not just a slightly loony spouse, she's a true hater; she either believed this crap before attending Trinity or became a believer.

I read today that Obama cozied up to Wright in the first place because he was concerned about his street cred in Chicago. Huh.

It's a con, it's always been a con, and I hope it's starting to fall apart.

Obama comments on Wright

Obama speaks out at HuffPo against Rev. Wright' statements:

He's drawn attention as the result of some inflammatory and appalling remarks he made about our country, our politics, and my political opponents.

Let me say at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.

Because these particular statements by Rev. Wright are so contrary to my own life and beliefs, a number of people have legitimately raised questions about the nature of my relationship with Rev. Wright and my membership in the church. Let me therefore provide some context. . . And while Rev. Wright's statements have pained and angered me, I believe that Americans will judge me not on the basis of what someone else said, but on the basis of who I am and what I believe in; on my values, judgment and experience to be President of the United States. . .


A few items about earmarks:

1) Right-wing blogs are abuzz about Obama’s request for an earmark in 2007 for the University of Chicago Hospital, his wife’s employer, to build a new building that will increase patient capacity by one-third, and another $500,000 for The Children’s Health Fund which refers patients to the University of Chicago hospital. It does seem a little creepy at first glance. But I note that Obama requested earmarks for several other hospitals in 2006 and 2007 as well:
      $2 million for The Thorek Memorial Hospital
      $1 million for Alton Memorial Hospital
      $4 million for The Children’s Memorial Medical Center
      $1.56 million for the Swedish Covenant Hospital
      $2.5 million for The Children’s Hospital of Illinois
      $5 million for Northwester Memorial Hospital’s Prentice Woman’s Hospital
      $10 million for the The children’s Hospital of Illinois

Dick Durban, Illinois’ other senator, requested $500,000 for the University of Chicago Hospital, for research for better detection of breast cancer in African-American women, and $2.5 million for the University of Chicago Hospital for testing and evaluation of a particular MRI technology to diagnose and treat traumatic brain injuries.

You can see Obama's full list of earmark requests for FY 2006 and 2007.

2) Obama released the list of his earmark requests voluntarily; Clinton has not done so.

3) The Citizens Against Government Waste provides this graph of federal government earmark totals from 1995 to 2007. Earmark spending in 1999 was $12 billion. From 2000-2006, earmark spending rose from $17.7 billion to $29 billion, before it was constrained to $13.2 billion in 2007.

It occurs to me, though, that it would make sense to normalize the earmark spending for GDP to get a more apples-to-apples comparison across years. So I did that, using nominal GDP figures from here and got these figures:


Graphing the right column:

Draw your own conclusions.

4) McCain spearheaded a budget amendment to put a one-year moratorium on earmarks. Obama and Clinton backed McCain’s plan. The bill was soundly defeated 71-29 in the Senate yesterday.

Re: Foreign Debt

I love Niall and will look at the video tonight.

Pentagon: Saddam and AQ connections

Ed Morrissey concludes: "So we have Saddam supporting at least two AQ subsidiaries, one of which had open aspirations to attack American interests, and evidence from these captured materials that Saddam planned to use his terrorist capabilities to conduct war on the United States. Perhaps in the world of the mainstream media the big news from this would be “no smoking gun” connection to an actual attack, but for the rest of us, it shows that Saddam needed to go — and the sooner, the better."

Obama on Wright - January 2007

“What I value most about Pastor Wright is not his day-to-day political advice,” Obama said. “He’s much more of a sounding board for me to make sure that I am speaking as truthfully about what I believe as possible and that I’m not losing myself in some of the hype and hoopla and stress that’s involved in national politics.”

As Ed Morrissey points out, that's a far cry from the "old uncle" nonsense Barry employed recently in an attempt to distance himself from Wright.

Barry's budget

"Can we promise crap we have absolutely no intention of delivering?

Can we fool the weak-minded?

Can we replace the tired old Washington politics with Chicago-style politics?

A Republican Senator put Barry's budget in an amendment. It failed 97-0.

Via Ace.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hugh Hewitt on Barry and Wright

"[W]hen a candidate is discovered to belong to a club or organization that discriminates against women or minorities, he has to leave the club or the campaign. He doesn't get to say that he disagrees with this policy or that rule and stay in the membership. Senator Obama's church leadership has expressed very controversial positions, and he stayed a member through all those sermons on politics. Isn't that like remaining a member of a whites-only golf club?"

Guilt by association

A common refrain from at least one Barry supporter I know when I want to talk about Wright, Rezco, or the former Weatherman Ayers is that I'm just trying to establish guilt by association.

As Rick Moran notes, there comes a point at which "we can declare the candidate just plain 'guilty' of using horrendous judgment and question whether his connection to some of these characters actually goes beyond innocence of wrongdoing." Via Hot Air.

Foreign Debt

Niall Ferguson, Hoover senior fellow and Prof of History at Harvard, has a provocative suggestion: the U.S. may suffer the same sort of collapse as the Ottoman Empire because the U.S. is positioned to default on foreign debt like the OE was/did. He cites both the amount and the type of the debt held by foreign entities, describing that because our bonds are denominated by the dollar, the sliding value of the dollar could cause default. Here he is on BBC World Service Business Daily.

Is this a legitimate peril?

Daily Show on Berkeley and Marines

This is days old, but I thought Michael may not have seen it. One of the "correspondents" for The Daily Show is Rob Riggle, a former Marine. He did this piece on Berkeley's misguided effort to close the Marine recruiting station there.

only because I've figured out the pics thing...

Gilligan's Island Theme Lyrics

The Ballad of Gilligan's Island by George Wyle and Sherwood Shwartz - Gilligan's Island Lyrics

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The skipper brave and sure.
Five passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The minnow would be lost, the minnow would be lost.

The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle
With Gilligan
The Skipper too,
The millionaire and his wife,
The movie star
The professor and Mary Ann,
Here on Gilligan's Isle.

So this is the tale of the castaways,
They're here for a long, long time,
They'll have to make the best of things,
It's an uphill climb.

The first mate and the Skipper too,
Will do their very best,
To make the others comfortable,
In the tropic island nest.

No phone, no lights no motor cars,
Not a single luxury,
Like Robinson Crusoe,
As privative as can be.

So join us here each week my freinds,
You're sure to get a smile,
From seven stranded castaways,
Here on "Gilligan's Isle."

And who remembers when “The professor and Mary Ann,” was just “and the rest”?

I've been extremely reluctant to link this...

But in honor of the Jeremiah Wright row, I have to link the pardon of one of my heroes, Dr. Walter E. Williams.

(If any of my fellow SSJrs think this should be blotted, feel free to blot.)

Spitzer's Super-delegate Status?

Does he lose it under Democrat rules since he'll no longer be a sitting governor at the time of the convention? Must be.

America's chickens have come home to roost???

God damn AmeriKKKa??? Barry's pastor. Any comments from the lefties?

Changing post date

Stephanie and I have experienced the tragedy of saving a draft of a brilliant post, then completing and posting it sometime later, only to have it buried because it carries the date and time of the draft.

The fix: At the bottom left of the composing window is a "Post Options" button. Click that and the date and time appear at the bottom right and can be adjusted.

Sccoter had an admirer some time ago who had several blogs, some of them in the future.


I read the book long ago and was intrigued by the codes and the fact that he hadn't been caught. I saw the video in Blockbuster and recalled that it had gotten some good reviews. The narrative is interesting but the reason I'm posting about it is the direction.

The long overhead shot in the hotel at the end of Taxi Driver is a one of my favorite scenes of all time. It was absolutely original*, riveting, and a cinematic slight of hand (how exactly do you pass over the hallway lights?).

David Fincher does something similar in Zodiac in a scene in which he follows a car in downtown San Francisco. It's mesmerizing and I have no idea how it was done.

There's also a wonderful CGI scene in which, to indicate the passage of time, the Transamerica building is shown be built in a time-lapse that would make Harryhausen proud.

After watching the movie, I looked up the book and the author, Robert Graysmith, on Amazon. Graysmith wrote a follow-up book in January 2007, Zodiac Unmasked, in which he identified Zodiac as Arthur Leigh Allen,** as does the movie. Graysmith had apparently suspected Allen when he wrote the original book but didn't name him.

Many comments on Amazon criticize Graysmith for sloppy detective work and even fabrication in concluding that Allen was Zodiac.

*Hitchcock did interior overheads in Dial M for Murder but they were not directly overhead.

**Played with goofy menace by my favorite duck stamp artist.

If you're not reading Nicholas Packwood, who invented footnotes in blog posts, you should.

Re: Free Market Understanding...Medicine

Two pretty good reads on the subject (but really still for wonks only):

The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care by Dr. David Gratzer

The Amazon Blurb:

Drawing on personal experience in both the Canadian and U.S. systems, Dr. Gratzer shows how paternalistic government involvement in the health care system has multiplied inefficiencies, discouraged innovation, and punished patients. The Cure offers a detailed and practical approach to putting individuals back in charge. With an introduction by Milton Friedman, The Cure will be required reading for anyone who wants to know what is really wrong with the modern health care system.


Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care by Arnold Kling

This second one is really short, maybe 100 pages or so.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Paul Greenberg on Apologies

Why genuine apologies are so important. From today's JWR:

"To let that statement stand would be an act of injustice," said the monsignor. "With apologies to Komen, to those fighting breast cancer and to the survivors, to the Catholic clergy and faithful who were embarrassed by the mistaken policy, I rescind the position statement in its entirety."
Now that's an apology. No excuses, no "explanations," no weasel words. Just a cleansing act. Result: Trust is restored.

Sherrye McBride of the Komen Foundation in Arkansas responded in kind, saying of the monsignor: "He realized he had made a mistake, and he was a big enough person and a fine enough man to say so." Which is how making a proper apology respects and reconciles all concerned. It's an old rule, mathematical in its elegance: Forgiveness is the reciprocal of repentance.

Re : A free-market understanding of the world

As a loony lefty, I was completely ignorant of economics. Scooter pointed me to Sowell, and National Review introduced me to Friedman. While I can't claim more than a very basic understanding of free market theory, I now see how modern liberalism is it's enemy.

Tom Coburn was on Medved's show yesterday proposing a simple free market solution to the health care "crisis." He posed this question: Why do Americans trust markets in almost everything except health care and education?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Re: Re: Mamet

I'll try to make this my last post but couldn't resist this last quote as an homage to my favorite economist/philosopher):

"Aha," you will say, and you are right. I began reading not only the economics of Thomas Sowell (our greatest contemporary philosopher) but Milton Friedman, Paul Johnson, and Shelby Steele, and a host of conservative writers, and found that I agreed with them: a free-market understanding of the world meshes more perfectly with my experience than that idealistic vision I called liberalism.

Re: David Mamet

I can’t tell if I published first or not but the Elkhart Review makes a similar point regarding David Mamet’s transformation.

Re: Roger Waters

In 1984, he produced one of the favorite songs (love the opening guitar and poetry to a 24 year old) of my misspent youth, album by the same name (Lyrics provided by Lyrics007)--The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking:

An angel on a Harley
Pulls across to greet a fellow rolling stone
Puts his bike up on it's stand
Leans back and then extends
A scarred and greasy hand...he said
He said, how ya doin bro?
Where ya been?
Where ya goin'?
Then he takes your hand
In some strange Californian handshake
And breaks the bone
[Whiny person:] "Have a nice day, hehe"

A housewife from Encino
Whose husband's on the golf course
With his book of rules
Breaks and makes a 'U' and idles back
To take a second look at you
You flex your rod
Fish takes the hook
Sweet vodka and tobacco in her breath
Another number in your little black book

These are the pros and cons of hitchhiking
These are the pros and cons of hitchhiking
Oh babe, I must be dreaming

I'm standing on the leading edge
The Eastern seaboard spread before my eyes
Jump, says Yoko Ono
I'm too scared and too good looking, I cried
Go on, she says
Why don't you give it a try?
Why prolong the agony all men must die
Do you remember Dick Tracy?
Do you remember Shane?
[Child:] "And mother wants you."
Could you see him selling tickets
Where the buzzard circles over
[Child:] "Shane."
The body on the plain
Did you understand the music Yoko
Or was it all in vain?
[Child:] "Shane..."
The bitch said something mystical
So I stepped back on the kerb again

These are the pros and cons of hitchhiking
These are the pros and cons of hitchhiking
Oh babe, I must be dreaming again
These are the pros and cons of hitchhiking
These are the pros and cons of hitchhiking
These are the pros and cons of hitchhiking
These are the pros and cons of hitchhiking


This place is starting to look like something.

David Mamet turns right at Village Voice

My favorite playwright has seen the light. One of his thoughts from the Village Voice (h/t RCP):

The Constitution, written by men with some experience of actual government, assumes that the chief executive will work to be king, the Parliament will scheme to sell off the silverware, and the judiciary will consider itself Olympian and do everything it can to much improve (destroy) the work of the other two branches. So the Constitution pits them against each other, in the attempt not to achieve stasis, but rather to allow for the constant corrections necessary to prevent one branch from getting too much power for too long.

Rather brilliant. For, in the abstract, we may envision an Olympian perfection of perfect beings in Washington doing the business of their employers, the people, but any of us who has ever been at a zoning [or homeowners association] meeting with our property at stake is aware of the urge to cut through all the pernicious bullshit and go straight to firearms.

The trip with aloha

OK, I've finally gotten around to talking about our recent trip to the islands. Just some general impressions and then a few pictures:

* Aloha is a word you often in Hawaii. It means "hello", it means "goodbye" and it means "love". Everything was "... with aloha". You would see an ad for "the car dealership with aloha". You would eat at a place that had "food with aloha". A radio station that played "music with aloha". It became almost comical to see or hear all the things "...with aloha".

* It is beautiful and it is expensive. And each of the islands, we went to 3, were different. The Big Island (Hawai'i) was the strangest. You had torrential rains and flooding; you had winter storm warnings (2 peaks have snow on them year-round and you can ski Hawaii!!), you had endless views of lava, you had rain-forests, you had desert. You have to get over the fact of how much everything is. And that the pace is slower, places close very early, and while Hawaii has a reputation of having friendly people, in Honolulu, not so much.

* Many of the radio stations play island music, but not necessarily Hawaiian island music. Jamaican reggae is very popular. I saw lots of rasta-men. Lots of rasta-women.

* The Hawaiian primaries (or perhaps they do caucuses, I don't remember) were just a few days away, so the newspapers had stories about Hillary, Obama, etc. But driving around, I never saw a sign or bumper-sticker for anyone other than for....Ron Paul. Not that there were tons around for him, but of the ones we saw, they were ALL for him. I should have checked when we got back to see how he did.

* Pearl Harbor is a sobering experience. The parks service does a great job getting folks in and out. Before you ride on a boat over to the Arizona Memorial, you watch a 20 minute films about the lead-up to WWII. I was wondering how the film was going to present Japan and their actions. Hawaii caters to the Japanese tourist. Signs, menus, radio and tv stations. You see them everywhere. I would say that 25% of the people on my boat were either Japanese or of Japanese decent. The film was factual, straight-forward and mentioned all the causalities at Pearl Harbor. Mentioned, but didn't go into detail, Japan's behaviour in China and Korea. No mention of the Bataan death march. Did mention the A-bombs and causalities, but just as facts, not justifications. Same for the attack on Pearl Harbor, the military reasons behind it. I thought it was well done and struck the right cords for what you were about to see. You don't get to spend much time on the Memorial - if I recall it's 17 minutes. It's smaller than I expected and weird looking down and seeing parts of the ship, with the oil leaking.

* We stayed at a B&B on the Big Island that was owned by a former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. She was also a flight attendant for Warner Brothers on their private jet. Heard many interesting stories about P. Diddy, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Michael Jackson, etc.

* Getting around by car is hard work. Since the Hawaiian alphabet only has like 13 letter, all the street and highway names look alike. And forget trying to pronounce them. Trying to follow directions is tedious. And on the smaller islands, the traffic is awful. They might only have 2 or 3 roads on the island and with all the tourists, traffic can get like the Southwest Freeway around the Galleria on a Friday afternoon. Most roads are 2-laners and on Kauai, they have 1-lane bridges.

Ok, on to some pictures:

This is looking down from the Memorial. You can easily see parts of the Arizona and the white-ish reflection is oil coming up from the ship.

This is from our whale-watching trip. We were out for about 3 hours (and yes, I was making Gilligan's Island jokes with the folks sitting around me) and tails were about all we saw. No breaches, one fin, many tails. At one point we thought a whale was going to come under the boat, but no luck. We were close enough at times to hear them when they would blow. A definite thing we would do again.

A view of Honolulu from the top of Diamond Head crater. It was a 45 minute hike, parts of it very steep and very narrow, to the top. The structure in the foreground is a bunker built before WWII. You had to climb through one to get to the observation point. There are military bases and installations everywhere on all the islands, but especially O'ahu.

This is a black sand beach. It's not really sand, but lava. The people on the right are taking pictures of sea turtles that come to this beach. While there are a few black sand beaches on the islands, this was the easiest one to get to. There is also a green sand beach, but you can't actually get to it, you can just see it from a trail.

This is the Na Pali coast, which is on the north end of Kaua'i. We hiked about an hour on a trail (it was technically closed due to rain/mud, but we weren't the only ones hiking it) to this point. About another 2-3 hours is where the green sand beach is. This area is where parts of "Jurassic Park" were filmed. It was beautiful and lush, but with all the fog and low clouds, it was hard to get a decent picture. The trail went through a very dense rain-forest. We were staying at a B&B that was almost literally at the end of the road, perhaps 5 minutes from the trail head.

I've got my earplugs ready

In a couple of months, I am going to do something that I haven't done in many, many years. As Michael well knows, and as has been documented here on SSJ, I have been (and still am) on the cutting edge musically. Some might say that I don't follow trends, I START them. So I had to jump at the opportunity to catch Radiohead live when they roll into Dallas in May. This will be the first concert that I have attended in I don't know how long. I am not counting club shows (such as Alseep at the Wheel at Billy Bob's in Ft. Worth) or watching bands at SummerFest in Milwaukee or various spring/summer art festivals here in DFW.

The last concert I can recall was seeing R.E.M. at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion in The Woodlands (north of Houston). Interestingly, Radiohead opened for R.E.M. that night. They were unknowns and I saw, and predicted, their greatness that night. I have followed them since and have all their cd's. For those of you who don't know, they split from their record company and issued their latest cd, In Rainbows, over the internet through their website. It was a "pay what you want" deal. You could download the whole thing for nothing, if you wished. (FYI, I did pay, about $10). I'm very excited about seeing them and I'm hoping they play my favorite song of theirs, The National Anthem.

But that is not the only concert we're going to. Earlier in May, C and I are going to see Roger Waters (ex-bassist of Pink Floyd). He will be performing not only some of his solo stuff and PF songs, but the 2nd half of the show will be the entire "Dark Side of the Moon" album. I've seen PF once, in the Astrodome, but it was after Waters left the band. That night, the set was new PF in the first half (which was received warmly, yet not enthusiastically0. The 2nd half was old PF, with all the props (the flying pig, the lasers, etc). That is what the crowd, and myself, wanted to hear. I'm excited about this show as well, but for different reasons. A few hours to relive my past, to transport myself back to my 20's.....

Both concerts are at an outdoor venue. We have seats (pretty good ones) for Roger Waters; lawn tickets for Radiohead. THAT should be an experience....C and I surrounded by todays youth and all that that implies.

How can one explain the unexplainable?

The big news this morning in the Metroplex is the HUGE traffic problem in todays morning rush hour. The cause: a mother, who threw her 2 babies from an overpass onto I30. She then jumped over herself. The miracle, if one can call it that, is that all 3 survived (as of 8am they were still alive). And while the tv and radio pundits debate how a mother can try to kill her children, my question is: why choose that method to kill your yourself and/or your children? The miracle is that no drivers were killed in the chaos. IF she survives and IF she stands trial, how could one not come to the conclusion that she is/was insane?

I'm sure the details of her life will come out in the next 24/48 hours. Hopefully that can try to explain the events of today. But can they, really?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Investing in Superdelegates (Not that they can be bought)

Lots of the Superdelegates are elected officials who benefit from campaign contributions. Obama and Clinton each have donated, through their PACs, to many Supers. Capital Eye has compared PAC contribution lists with Super endorsements lists (and drawn conclusions 1 and 2 below). I'm shocked, shocked to learned there are significant correlations. But what's really interesting is how much more effectively Obama has been playing the game. I give him props.

1. Obama invested a lot more in Supers than Clinton did: $710,926 vs. $236,080 (2005-2008)

2. Obama is getting a higher return on investment than Clinton is: 85% vs. 75% amongst Supers. (More specifically, “[I]n cases where Obama had made a contribution since 2005 but Clinton had given the superdelegate nothing, Obama got the Supers' support 85 percent of the time. And Clinton got the support of 75 percent of Supers who got money from her but not from Obama.")

3. Hillary has liquidated her assets, but Obama still has more to cash in. Because Capital Eye was generous enough to publish a table of their underlying data, we can play with it. I notice that of those Supers who have not yet declared allegiance, there are 34 Supers who have received contributions from Obama while getting $0 from Clinton. There are only 3 Supers who received contributions from Clinton while getting $0 from Obama. In addition, there are 7 who have received more cash from Obama than Clinton, while there is only 1 who has received more cash from Clinton than from Obama. If we project where these Supers will go based on past ROI, Obama can expect to collect 29+ from these folks, while Clinton can expect 3 or 4.

We've heard how Clinton has picked the “low-hanging” fruit amongst Supers; the Capital Eye table is a crystal clear picture of the fruit tree. Of course, there are other fruit trees in the orchard. There's the you-pardoned-my-friend tree, the night-in-the-Lincoln-bedroom tree, the you-voted-for-earmark-for-my-state tree...

But I'm not actually that cynical about what's going to happen with the Supers. I do believe that Obama will win the pledged vote and the popular vote and the most states and the Supers will validate the will of the voters. Big/small states won't matter. There. I'm on record. I'll keep a sandwich at the ready.

Charles Lane

He played a doctor in Sybil. You've seen him in lots of things. How many movie/TV appearances do you think he made?

If you guessed less than 340, you'd be wrong.

You can see him Saturday in The Beverly Hillbillies and Sunday in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.

Interesting multi-personality film fact

The lovely and very talented Joanne Woodward was Eve, and the doctor in Sybil.

Plan 9

from Outer Space. "Unspeakable Horrors From Outer Space Paralyze The Living And Resurrect The Dead!"

Sex or gender?

It's not "begs the question" territory, but I've always subscribed to the notion that "sex" is a biological descriptor, and "gender" is a grammatical one. The traditional idea is set out here. Wikipedia takes a different, and in my mind, heretical view.

Of course when you start talking about someone having a different "gender" from their "sex," you're going to need two words.

Poll in the sidebar ---->

I just realized we can do polls and since Mary Anne is in the news I thought I'd throw up a classic.

Latitude and Longitude

Go to Mapquest and look for the button for "lat and long." Don't forget the minus sign in front of longitude (otherwise you'll end up in China). Looks like rural Wisconsin.

Defending the indefensible

I'm not suggesting anyone try to defend lib nonsense.

Re: Re: Hill's 3 am phone ad


Please don't think you have to defend (or even comment on) everything an opposing blogger (whether posted by one of us or otherwise) might attack. I certainly don't feel obligated to defend everything that is said from the right or appears to be from the right, especially the more ridiculous ones.

Those billable hours will suffer otherwise.


I’ve been hearing more and more complaints about the undemocratic nature of the "superdelegates" in the Democrat Primary. I think it was Gov. Rendell most recently. I had assumed that the whole process must have been a result of Chicago in 1968. Nope.

It was Kennedy/Carter in 1980. Granted that Geraldine A. Ferraro has a bias here as she admits but for the history of the superdelegates in brief, I haven’t seen anything better than this NYT piece.

LJ - real estate tycoon?

I bring this up because C and I have been discussing for the past year or so buying property. The ultimate goal would to build a 2nd(smaller) home and live there part-time in our rapidly approaching retirement years. Several locations have been bandied about and we've talked to a real estate guy in the area we're interested in a few times. Within the next month or so, there is a possibility that we'll be making a trip to look the land over. In case anyone is interested, it's a few miles due west of latitude 45.307 N, longitude 89.94 W.

My Reading List

Actually, I'm not reading anything at the moment. The ones listed are just the last 3 books I've read. You all had to know that I would be all over the new 9/11 book. It was a great read and it just reinforced my opinion (that I have held for many years now) that Condi, not GWB, is the person in the administration that is in WAY over their head. And while I've never seen "The 3 Faces of Eve" or any other movie about multiple personalities, I am fascinated by the subject. "Switching Time" is a true story and I don't know what part made me cringe more - that the women had so many or all the events/persons that "created" them.

Re: Hill's 3 am phone ad

Saw the piece and it made no sense to me, so I can't defend it.

Red Gold

Set in France in 1941-42, Red Gold is a story of the early resistance. Interestingly, French Communists, controlled by Moscow, were the vanguard of the resistance since they were well organized and had some experience at mayhem. The protagonist is a former film producer on the run from the Gestapo who is recruited by the De Gaulle government to make contact with and assist the Communists. The cover blurb (from a review in Time) says: "Nothing can be like watching Casablanca for the first time, but Furst comes closer than anyone has in years." That's a little much but it's a good read nonetheless.

Hill's 3 am phone ad

According to this genius, the ad is racist. Why? Because the children are white or "vaguely Latino" and Obama is black. You libs crack me up.

Revolution 9

"Client-9" put me in the mind of the Beatle's "Revolution 9" and I wondered if there might be something clever to quote from the lyrics. There's not.

LJ used to walk around intoning "number 9, number 9" under his breath to bother people.

Site stuff

1. Our "Contributors" list used to link to profiles but I couldn't get it to do so when I added Stephanie. If anybody wants to fix go ahead.

2. Our links disappeared last week. Scooter and I have recreated some that we want. LJ and Stephanie, have at it. We could do some sort of right/left or rational/irrational order but for now let's keep them alphabetical. That way ACE stays on top.

3. LJ, I know you're reading something.


2008 Democratic Convention Watch has a cool graph that depicts the erosion since Feb. 10 in Clinton's lead amongst superdelegates who have publicly declared their allegiance. On Feb. 10, she led by 97 delegates. In amazingly linear fashion, she has steadily lost that lead and now has a lead of just 39. If this rate of loss continues (i.e. 58 per month), her lead will be gone before Pennsylvania votes.

Senator Franken

It's looking more likely that Al Franken will be the nominee of the Democratic party for Minnesota's U.S. Senate seat in the '08 race. The Democratic nominee will run against incumbent Norm Coleman who has held the seat since 2003. Coleman is a Republican now, but was a Democrat until 1996.

Franken had been competing with Mike Ciresi and Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, but Ciresi pulled out yesterday, following district conventions that took place over the weekend. Until recently, Ciresi was polling in 2nd place, but recently dropped to third. Franken is apparently in the lead. I was a Ciresi fan, so I'm disappointed.

Ciresi is a lawyer with Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi and is locally famous for suing tobacco companies on behalf of Minnesota and Blue Cross Blue Shield resulting in a settlement of $6.1 billion settlement for the state and $469 million for Blue Cross. He didn't have sufficient grass roots party experience so he had trouble getting support of party activists.

In recent history, Minnesota has elected to high office a celebrity with no experience in government: we let pro wrestler Jesse The Body Ventura be our governor from 1999 to 2003. So we've got it in us to send Franken to Washington.

Re: Stephanie

LJ, I once was a Republican. I voted for Reagan and Bush I. I even had a job with the Republican Party in North Dakota for a brief spell in the early '80s. But sometime during law school the scales fell away and I walked into the light.

Monday, March 10, 2008

More on that VDH toadie

From the Corner.

Liberal Fascism

As I've mentioned earlier, I've always wondered why fascism was considered of the right. For reasons not related to the book, I'm only on page 145 of Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism.

The best, most concise thought (so far) why the term "fascism" should be associated with the left comes from no less than Benito himself, "Everything in the State, nothing outside the State (page 80)." There is no individual liberty under fascism which is not to say everybody on the left does not support individual liberty, but the hard left certainly favors the us over the I.

I've been out of the loop today...

but isn't Spitzer a committed super-delegate? Committed to the junior senator from New York?

Who will sit next to him at the convention?

On the other hand, if one has a wide enough stance, one can brass these things out.

Re: Stephanie

I'd be scared to go hunting with me, too. I fish occasionally with my brother but more to spend time with him than to enjoy fishing though when they are really biting I do enjoy it. Once I almost, almost nabbed a sailfish while deep sea fishing...between heaves over the side of the boat. I think I was fifteen that last time (and second) I hunted. Never got close to hitting anything. Dad left me a shotgun and a rifle but don't look for me on the "lease" or in the "blind" any time soon.

Likewise, the whole gun thing was to have something to talk about with Dad. Now I'm hooked. I'm just fascinated by the ballistics and the construction of pistols. Even more fun than actually shooting is being able to disassemble and clean them and put them back together. A mechanism that can do what this does and be so simply operated amazes me.

Scrabble. I hate scrabble. I love words but hate that game. I just am not wired for it and also being somewhat competitive, that failure makes me hate it even more. Great topic though, I'm sure I've loved something to death.

My insane client

First, welcome Stephanie. I’ve enjoyed our “correspondence” and look forward to your posts.

Next, I have a client ("Client") who is driving me nuts. It is 4:00 p.m. local time and I’ve received no less that 11 emails from Client today. When I tried to call Client (about 5 emails ago) to try to cut to the chase, I found Client's number to be disconnected. When I emailed Client about the phone number issue, Client wrote back that Client didn’t want Client's number to go through cyber-space. Uh, ok, then pick up the d—n phone and call me.

I have to think of a way to relate this story without divulging anything about Client. Or, I have I already gone too far?

Re: Stephanie

Welcome. I must say that I was surprised when I saw that Mike labeled you as a "lefty". For some reason, I had the idea that you leaned more towards the right. Regardless, glad to have you aboard.

I know I've not posted anything as of late. I can't use the excuse that I'm too busy, but I'll be honest and say I'm too lazy. I promise to recap my trip to Hawaii this week. I have some other ideas for topics and once I get them fleshed out, I'll try to be a bit more diligent.

Not So Scrabulous

Thanks so much for the invitation to join your blog. My feminine perspective for today is that I’d be scared to go hunting with Scooter.

Now, how about a story of love lost?

I loved playing Scrabble as a child with Michael’s and my grandmother. Last fall, Michael and I discovered that we could play Scrabble online against each other via Scrabulous and ISC's Wordbiz. We’re a tad competitive with tendencies toward obsessiveness, so in short order we got serious. We read Scrabble books and bought Scrabble dictionaries; watched Scrabble documentaries (Word Wars and Scrabylon) and joined the National Scrabble Association (NSA); bought study guides and started memorizing lists of words: the 101 two-letter words, the 1,015 three-letter words, short words with J, Q, X, or Z, and words laden with vowels. We found creative ways to memorize words, like tag-team-composing a limerick daily that ended in an acceptable Scrabble word, like this:

Michael:         There once was a blue fish named Dory
Me:               Who mistakenly ate something gory
Michael:         It made her quite ill
Me:               All green in the gill
Michael:         And suffered the most hideous AURAE.


Michael:         There once was a goddess name Luna
Me:               Who liked to eat nothing but tuna
Michael:         She had quite a fright
Me:               After dinner one night
Michael:         When she found herself next to a UNAI

I quit my favorite yoga class to attend Scrabble club meetings. I studied word lists instead of reading regular books. I bought a new faster computer and signed up for cable internet service to reduce technical difficulties with playing online. Michael and I committed to play in an NSA-sponsored tournament and got ready for it by playing every morning from 5:00-7:00 AM for several weeks.

The tournament was an interesting, humbling experience. We played in the bottom division and lost more than we won. We both lost to a 14 year old. Michael did manage to beat an elderly gentleman who declared that no computer had yet been built that was big enough to hold all the acceptable Scrabble words.

I intended to work hard to be do better in the next tournament, but when I faced the task of memorizing 4,030 four-letter words, I just couldn’t do it. Memorizing a 4,000-word list was more than four times as hard as memorizing a 1,000-word list. As I started the process, I began to forget the three-letter words I’d already learned. It stopped being fun; it wasn’t an adventure anymore; it was just another chore. Besides, I was missing yoga and reading. So I neglected my word studies and felt guilty about it for weeks that stretched into months. Michael eventually admitted that he’d given up Scrabble, citing too much work for too little reward. Relieved, though a bit disappointed, I admitted to myself that I’d already quit too.

So where did this flirtation with competitive Scrabble leave me? It left me in Scrabble purgatory. Now that I know words like QI, AALII, XYST, and CWM, I can’t play with the neighbors. And because I don’t know all 4,030 of the four-letter words, I can’t compete with serious Scrabble players. Now I’m condemned to live a Scrabble-less life.

Anyone else have a story of losing something you loved by taking it too seriously or through overindulgence?

By the way, Michael and I were on the cutting edge of a Scrabble fad, although we were unaware of it. In July 2007, Facebook made Scrabulous easily accessible to its members, and now online Scrabble is all the rage (NYTimes and Washington Post).


We welcome today a new contributor to SSJ, Stephanie from Minneapolis. Like Scooter and me, she's a lawyer. Unlike us, but like love johnson, she's a lefty. While she's posted some decent analytical stuff in the comments previously, we're really hoping she'll add a much-needed feminine perspective to the blog: cat stories, knitting pointers, that kind of thing.

And maybe having a fellow traveler on SSJ will get LJ off his butt and back to the keyboard.

Welcome Stephanie.