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Showing posts from February, 2008

Obama over McCain? Don't bet on it!

The MSM has been trying of late to paint Barack Obama as the inevitable winner of a Fall contest with John McCain.

But that isn't necessarily the way it's going to play out.

First, as many polls lately show McCain winning a contest between the two men as show Obama winning it. And while the media conveniently forget this fact, Barack Obama is largely an unknown quantity to the American people.

His numbers against McCain are those of a rock star running against a well-known politician. But however much the Democrats and the MSM might prefer it, Obama will not go unvetted forever. His record is not without vulnerabilities. And when all is said and done, he remains a third-year senator who has spent comparatively little time in Washington, instead focusing on traveling the nation and running for president on what is effectively the resume of a member of the Illinois General Assembly. It's tough to make the case that Obama is qualified for the White House.

Then, too, there is …

Democratic House votes to raise prices at the gas pump

The House has passed legislation which would grant tax breaks for energy conservation and renewable energy sources- but which would effectively raise taxes on oil companies.

How much of what we pay per gallon at the gas pump goes to pay taxes as it is? An expert I heard interviewed on the radio this morning suggested 36 cents.

So what will be the effect of the House vote for prices at the gas pump, if the Senate concurs and the President's inevitable veto is overridden? You figure it out.

Global warming goes under cover!

Global warming has proven to be not only evil, but even sneaky.

It's in disguise.

The British Newspaper The Telegraph reports that:

During January of this year, the average temperature of the global land surface was below that of the 20th Century mean- for the first time since 1982.

Temperatures were below average over large portions of the globe, and in parts of Asia snow fell for the first time in memory (anyone who lives here is well aware of the relative amount of snowfall we've experienced- though that, strictly speaking, is not a function of temperature, but of precipitation during a time when atmospheric temperatures are generally below freezing). Record snow and ice storms, in any case, were also experienced in Canada.

Australia has just experienced its coolest January on record- 3-4°C (5-7°F) above average over large parts of central and western Australia.

Surface temperatures last month were lower than average in the Atlantic, Indian, and northwest Pacific oceans.

In the c…

I have no idea what this means, but...

Your Score: Akkadian
You scored

You are Akkadian, a blend of the incomprehensible symbols of the Sumerians with the unwritable sounds of the early Semitic peoples. However, the writing just doesn't suit the words and doesn't represent everything needed, so you end up a schizoid mess. Invented in Babylon, you're probably to blame for that tower story. However, crazy as you are, you're much loved and appreciated, and remain actively in use by records keepers long after schools have switched to other languages. Link: The Which Ancient Language Are You Test written by imipak on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(imipak)

HT: Randomly Intolerant

Zell: Naming rights to Wrigley Field might be sold

CEO Sam Zell of the Chicago Tribune says that the Cubs and Wrigley Field might well be sold seperately- and that he won't hesitate to sell the naming rights to Wrigley Field.

If he does, nobody in the world will use the new name- and both the Trib and the new owners will be deluged with outrage the like of which they cannot imagine.

There are certain things that are simply unthinkable- and renaming Wrigley Field is one of them.

ADDENDUM: Rick Morrissey of the Trib agrees- and bids us fear not.

"Reducing population," Planned Parenthood style

In the alternate history series Harry Turtledove recently concluded, the South won the Civil War when- following an overwhelming Confederate victory in an analog to Antietam- France and England recognized the regime in Richmond, and forced Lincoln to give up the struggle.

From then on, France and England were the CSA's beloved friends- and the USA's despised enemies. Germany became the North's ally of choice- and when World War I broke out, the United States allied with the Central Powers, who are victorious over the Allies- France, England and the Confederacy.

In the humiliation and economic hardship that follows defeat, Jake Featherston- the Hitler figure in this alternate universe- and his "Freedom Party" came to power in Richmond, and began the systematic genocide of the Confederacy's African-Americans. "Reducing their population" was the euphemism employed for the death camps and the gas chambers.

But the policy of "reducing the population&qu…

Folly, heresy and Christian politics on the Right

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

The occasion of William F. Buckley, Jr.'s death- one of whose signal contributions to the conservative movement back in the day was denouncing the John Birch Society and playing a key role in isolating that bunch of paranoid fanatics from mainstream conservatism- provides a helpful backdrop for discussing this phenomenon. Buckley- a devout Roman Catholic- subjected all things, including things political, to the test of his faith. He could not reconcile that faith- or, indeed, his genuinely c…

Pretty much

A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side."

Very quietly, the doctor said, "I don't know."

"You don't know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?"

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

"I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing.

"I know my Master is there- and that is enough."

HT: Rev. Richard Horn

Lyin' in winter

Remember the "Winter Soldier hearings?" They were a publicity stunt by various anti-war activists (John Kerry prominently among them) featuring "confessions" to war crimes supposedly committed by American soldiers in Vietnam.

Next month an Iraq/Afghanistan version will convene in Washington, D.C. That being the case, it's appropriate that Frontline Magazine has published some of the findings government agencies came up with when the bogus Vietnam "confessions" and accusations were made.

And they were, indeed, bogus.

Through the looking glass with Podesta, Takehy and Korb

This has got to be the at once the most chilling and the most silly thing I've read about Iraq for some time.

The three partisan Leftists who wrote the article- former Clinton advisor John Podesta, Council on Foreign Relations Fellow Ray Takehy, and Center for American Progress Fellow Laurence Korb- seem consumed with a lust for surrender that utterly blinds them to reality. The comparison of Iraq to Vietnam was silly back when it was first made; at the risk of repeating myself for the thousandth time, at the height of American casualties in Iraq we were on a pace to match our Vietnam casualties sometime in the next century. Furthermore- although the three authors of the article seem to have been marooned on a desert island for several months- there is an even greater difference between Vietnam and Iraq: we lost in Vietnam, but are currently winning in Iraq.

Yes, that's what I said. And it doesn't matter how many arbitrary benchmarks the government may or may not have met. N…

On why being a Democratic conservative Christian just doesn't work

TIME editor Amy Sullivan is both a political liberal and an evangelical Christian. She has some thoughts on that combination- what some might call that paradox- here.

While as a Lutheran I have enough differences with the "evangelical" movement that I'm not comfortable bearing that label, I, too, was once a pro-life liberal Democrat. I, too, believed (and still do) that social justice is as much a biblical mandate as the defense of unborn human life, and that the dignity of persons who are homosexual is as important as the upholding of heterosexual marriage as the only human sexual relationship having divine approval. Trouble is, I got sick of having to vote to keep abortion legal every time I voted for social justice. And at last, I realized that social justice at any level isn't finally possible if even the "the least of these" are not afforded the dignity due members of our species, and even the unborn weak are left exposed to the predations of the strong…

Announcing Lutheran Carnival LXX

Lutheran Carnival LXX has been published at the Carnival's home site.

The Socratic method at work in higher education

Hat tip to The Rev. Richard W. Horn for this one:

"Let me explain the problem science has with Jesus Christ." The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

"You're a Christian, aren't you, son?"

"Yes sir," the student says.

"So you believe in God?"


"Is God good?"

"Sure! God's good."

"Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?"


"Are you good or evil?"

"The Bible says I'm evil."

The professor grins knowingly. "Aha! The Bible!" He considers for a moment.

"Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?"

"Yes sir, I would."

"So you're good...!"

"I wouldn't say that."

"But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if y…

Leftie blog tries McCain Google bomb

Ok, ok. It's juvenile, but fun.

Google bombing, I mean.

I myself- on this very blog- once started a campaign to make Hillary Clinton's Senate webpage the highest-rated Google entry for "Wicked Witch of the East," and Nancy Pelosi's House page number one for "Wicked Witch of the West." And we all remember the highly successful Google bombing that made the number one Google entry for John Kerry the webpage for the Waffle House restaurant chain.

The way it works is that you put a link on a blog or other webpate with the appropriate label that connects you to the target- and encourage people to click it over and over and over again. The idea is that eventually, if a "Google bombing" campaign is successful, the target will be listed by Google as the number one site visited by those searching for "Wicked Witch of the East," "John Kerry," or whatever.

In any case, moonbat blog MyDD posted instructions for a Google bombing campaign aga…

Obama's captain disagrees with him

Barack Obama told a story during the debate the other night about a captain whose command in Afghanistan was supposedly sent into battle short-handed and under-equipped because the rest of the troops and equipment he was supposed to have were in Iraq.

Well, the captain tells a different story.

Columnist Jack Kelly explains why he finds Obama's story less than credible here. Seldom does a unit go into battle at its theoretical full strength- and transfers between units happen all the time as needs develop.

The Pentagon finds the story unlikely.

Nice try, Barack.

McCain 1, New York Times 0

There doesn't seem to be any doubt about it now: in the controversy the New York Times initiated by printing what amounted to an unsubstantiated piece of gossip about John McCain's relationship with a lobbyist, McCain has emerged as the clear winner.

Here's Dan Rather's take:

We've said McCain has a good record; we've all said this is a good man with a good record. Jim Rutenberg, who is the lead reporter on this; Bill Keller, the editor who made the decision: these are not ordinary journalists. These are outstanding journalists and that probably needs to be said. Now, if they can't back it up any further than they have it, then they're in a heap of trouble. But on the record, it deserves to be said: These are very smart journalists

And here is the text of what amounts to the Times' Bill Keller's surrender:

Personally, I was surprised by the volume of the reaction (including more than 2,400 reader comments posted on our Web site). I was surprised by …

Pressured into aborting twins, British artist hangs herself

Not long ago, disbarred lawyer Bill Clinton claimed (falsely) that since pro-lifers consider abortion to be murder, they must favor jailing women who have abortions and doctors who perform them.

In fact, the pro-life movement has been quite consistent in making clear that it does not favor legal penalties of any kind for women who have abortions. Women who have abortions are the second victims; they are often pressured and manipulated into getting them, with tragic psychological consequences later. Far from wanting to jail women who have abortions, pro-lifers want to spare them the trauma of realizing later just what they've done.

The tragic case of English artist Emma Beck is a case in point.

HT: Drudge

Brit journalist: 'Obama is a dangerous left winger'

Kudos to Rush Limbaugh for calling attention to this remarkable piece by Gerard Baker of The Times of London.

Baker begins by considering Michelle Obama's revealing statement last week that only since the positive response of Democratic voters to her husband's candidacy has she ever been proud to be an American. Such a shallow, ungrateful and clueless view on the part of a potential First Lady is quite properly a humiliation and an embarassment to any presidential candidate, and Mrs. Obama- doubtless with the encouragement of others- has tried rather lamely to back off from it.

But the problem is deeper than Mrs. Obama's incredible ingratitude and lack of perceptiveness about her own country. The worldview her amazing remark reflects is also reflected in the Far Left rhetoric of her husband. Baker's headline pretty much says it all: "Obama: is America ready for this dangerous leftwinger?" Listen to Obama's rhetoric, Baker invites us:

While he speaks of the n…

A good question, nicht wahr?

Our Polk County Republican Chairman, Ted Sporer, reports that Bill O'Reilly has asked a rather pointed question of the New York Times: if the editorial staff of the Democratic Campaign Pamphlet of Record believed the charges about McCain in that recent hit piece, why did the Times endorse McCain in the recent primary?

The New York Times is looking really, really bad right now

Micheal Gerson joins the chorus pointing out just how pathetically thin that New York Times hit piece on John McCain really is- and how patently political in its motivation.

Look for McCain to come out of this affair smelling like a rose- and the Democratic Campaign Pamphlet of Record to take a major hit on its long-tenuous claim to journalistic integrity and political objectivity in the news columns.

HT: Real Clear Politics

The Democrats are losing their bet on an American defeat in Iraq

Good old Charles Krauthammer has an interesting article at Real Clear Politics on the emotional and political investment the Demog- er, Democrats have in an American defeat in Iraq.

Krauthammer quotes previously vehement occupation critic Anthony Cordesman: "No one can spend some 10 days visiting the battlefields in Iraq without seeing major progress in every area. ... If the U.S. provides sustained support to the Iraqi government -- in security, governance, and development -- there is now a very real chance that Iraq will emerge as a secure and stable state."

If even Cordesman notices that, why is it that Nancy Pelosi and Barak Obama and the rest of the Democratic Far Left don't? The answer is simple: they badly want the United States to lose in Iraq, and they are politically committed to that outcome.

Any prospect to the contrary challenges their entire foreign policy argument going into the Fall campaign.

The Democrats are playing right into John McCain's hands with t…

The Lunar Eclipse of 2008

Last night's lunar eclipse was a dark one; I'd say an L=1 on the Danjon Scale, though it was pretty cloudy here in Des Moines.

No obstruction to lunar viewing in Kosovo, however.

Next chance to see a total lunar eclipse: December 21, 2010.

ADDENDUM: Here is a gallery of images from the eclipse.

This looks like an L=3. Maybe the clouds darkened it here in Des Moines.

NYT anti-McCain hit piece is the Left's first cheap shot of the Fall campaign

Well it seems that the New York Times, in this article, has declared war on John McCain.

Can't have good press for the likely Republican nominee, now, can we? Though the attack is pretty lame.

In fact, very lame.

And the McCain camp isn't taking it lying down.

And even Rush Limbaugh is coming to McCain's defense.

Consider it merely the opening salvo of the Fall campaign for the Democratic Campaign Pamphlet of Record.

Will Denver in '08 make Chicago in '68 look tame?

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is charging that Barak Obama's totals in the New York Democratic primary were fraudulently suppressed.

Bloomberg, of course, is an independent- and ever since they were caught trying to steal Florida and the presidency in 2000, Democrats have been obsessed with imaginary vote fraud (they actually alleged it, on the basis of no particular evidence, in 2004's Ohio result as well!). But the story is still newsworthy. The ill-will building up between the Clinton and Obama camps is becoming uglier and uglier, and if Hillary somehow still manages to win the nomination, the reaction among Obama's supporters is likely to be cataclysmic.

Denver in 2008 may make Chicago in 1968 look tame by comparison.

With two candidates with followings much of which are far out in Left field as Obama's and Hillary's, the potential for self-destructive paranoia is extreme.

And they said the Republicans had a problem with unity! Don't be surprised, my fri…

Make no mistake: El Jefe is still in charge

Reports of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's retirement are very premature.

Dictators- especially those as soaked in blood as el Jefe- don't just "retire." And they don't just fade away. Fidel will continue to pull many of the strings, even at 81, on his 76 year-old brother and "successor," Raul- and nothing much will change.

Until the day- God speed it!- when their vicious regime crumbles, and Cuba is free again.

And neither of them will survive that day by much. Dictators tend not to survive when oppressed people reclaim their freedom.

HT: Drudge

Total eclipse of the moon Wednesday night

Look out for a total eclipse of the moon Wednesday night.

The eclipse begins at 7:43 Central Standard Time. Totality begins at 9:01, and ends at 9:51. The midpoint of the eclipse will be at 9:26, and the whole thing will be over at 11:09.

Lunar eclipses are comparatively frequent, and are visible over a goodly chunk of the globe. In essence, Earth comes between the moon and the sun, enveloping the moon in its own shadow.

Not all lunar eclipses look the same. The Danjon Scale is used to describe the appearance of the moon at totality:

L=0: Very dark eclipse. Moon almost invisible, especially at mid-totality.
L=1: Dark Eclipse, gray or brownish in colouration. Details distinguishable only with difficulty.
L=2: Deep red or rust-colored eclipse. Very dark central shadow, while outer edge of umbra is relatively bright.
L=3: Brick-red eclipse. Umbral shadow usually has a bright or yellow rim.
L=4: Very bright copper-red or orange eclipse. Umbral shadow has a bluish, very bright rim.
Though not…

Bill Clinton just can't stop lying

The thing is, nobody- nobody- suggests sending women who get abortions or doctors who perform them to prison. Moreover, Clinton knows that; he admits as much in so many words! Why, then, does he insist that that's what pro-lifers secretly want?

Interesting, too, that he admits that whatever policies he implemented which cut the number of abortions performed saved lives in doing so. But for the moment, let's focus on the fact that in this video, the most famous of all presidential liars in effect admits to lying about what pro-lifers want while in the very act of telling the lie!

I have a theory. Clinton, after all, was impeached for lying under oath- and then acquitted and had his perjury excused by his supporters because the subject matter of his lie was sex. Well, in order to have an abortion, a woman has to have sex first. Perhaps the message Clinton got from that previous adventure in deceit is that because of that, it's OK for him to lie about abortion, too. Or at least…

A question for Mike Huckabee

Governor, what in the world do you think you're doing?

Other than hurting your party and helping the Democrats by delaying Republican unification around the man who is indisputably going to be our nominee, that is.

If Gov. Huckabee thinks he's boosting his chances to become the vice-presidential nominee by allowing himself to become the de facto symbol of futile anti-McCain sentiment among Republicans, he's got another thing coming.

Why McCain is Obama's worst nightmare

Why would anybody support Barack Obama for president?

True, he's a bright man, a charismatic man, and an eloquent man. He embodies the hopes of African Americans, for obvious reasons, in a way no other candidate ever has. He plays an audience like a violin. Yet, as I've observed before, he's also a man who not only is in the fourth year of his single term in the U.S. Senate, but has spent so much time running around the country playing rock star and such little time tending to business that he is probably the least experienced freshman senator currently in Washington. Barak Obama is essentially running for the most powerful office in the world on the basis of his experience as a member of the Illinois General Assembly.

On one level, "Obamamania" is perfectly understandable; the has loads of charisma and seemingly no end of eloquence. But form will only take a presidential candidate so far in the absence of substance. And as Marie Cocco points out here, the American…

And no- Lauren Richardson isn't brain-dead, either

Have you ever heard of Lauren Richardson? Didn't think so.

In 2006, she was in an automobile accident which left her profoundly brain-injured. She is not brain-dead, any more than- the lies of the media to the contrary- there was ever any real question of Terri Schaivo having been brain-dead. She is not on artificial life support. She is not comatose. And she is most emphatically not dying.

But based on hearsay evidence to the effect that, if she had the choice, she would commit suicide by starvation and dehydration (an act which would not, in fact be legal in most circumstances) if she found herself in such a state, a judge has ordered her killed- not allowed to die- by being starved to death and deprived of water.

Like Nancy Cruzan and Terri Schaivo, Lauren is being killed under circumstances which would not be legal in the United States were it not for Cruzan v. Director, a poorly-reasoned Supreme Court decision which ignored both logic and precedent regarding assisted suicide, an…

Kissinger defines geopolitical reality for Der Spiegel, the American electorate, and the world

Herein Henry Kissinger- the premier American geopolitician of the post-World War II era, and arguably the greatest geopolitician of my lifetime, regardless of nation- explains to the anti-American German magazine Der Speigel why the European attitude toward the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a cop-out.

It is also an outstanding example of what happens when a principled conservatism confronts reality as it exists, as opposed to as we would like it to be.

I don't think it would be going too far to say that, just as ideological rigidity is a form of mental illness, Dr. Kissinger's take on the world we live in is about as pure a dose of sanity as we're likely to come across.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Is ideology- as opposed to philosophy- a form of mental illness?

Two interesting articles, it seems to me, provide a cogent counterpoint to conservative kvetching about John McCain's pragmatism.

Another pro-McCain blog, Born Again Redneck, is the source of the first. The author cites the argument of Dr. Lyle Rossiter, already discussed below, that liberalism is essentially a form of mental illness. But The Redneck, to his credit, takes the point a step further, arguing that all ideology, by definition, is in effect a neurotic defense mechanism designed to filter reality through a pre-chosen matrix defining what is arbitrarily permitted or not permitted to be true.

Ideology is ossified philosophy; it's what happens when social compassion becomes socialism, or economic freedom becomes capitalism. Beware of "isms," The Redneck seems sensibly to argue; when values cease to be ethical standpoints from which to observe and react to reality, and become neurotic defense mechanisms through which we determine what reality should or should n…

Stein on the Obama smoke and mirrors show

Mark Stein of the National Reviewtakes the measure of Obamamania- one of the least substantial American political phenomena of modern times.

The guy may be an inspiring- if insubstantial- speaker. But he's also a former Illinois state legislator who not only has not yet completed his first term in the U.S. Senate, but has been AWOL from the job campaigning enough to raise questions about whether he has any experience that might conceivably qualify him for the presidency at all.

He's a very eloquent and very bright guy. He just has no business thinking anybody ought to think of him in terms of an office he can't even pretend to the slightest qualification for.

Top shrink explains liberals... er, progressives: They're nuts!

Psychiatrist Dr. Lyle Rossiter has written a new book which explains a great deal about American politics.

His conclusion: Liberals are nuts.

"Based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded," Dr. writes."Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave."

This insight raises an interesting question. Could the status of liberalism as a form of mental illness be one reason why so many on the Left- anxious to avoid the stigma mental illness regrettably still carries in our society- insist so loudly that they are not, in fact, liberals at all, but rather "progressives?" I've always wondered about their need to hide behind that euphemism. Perhaps Dr. Rossiter has the answer.

Dr. Rossiter, who lacks any particular links to the political Ri…

This is what Obama and company want us to surrender to

WARNING: This video is extremely graphic. After considerable pondering, I've decided not to exhibit the video itself here, but only to publish the link.

It's part of an Al Quaeda film showing prisoners in Iraq being doused with gasoline and burned to death. I am not even going to link to the full version, which shows a number of other executions- including parts of two beheadings, one carried out by a boy apparently about nine or ten years old.

I am linking to even this much only because it so clearly shows just who the other side in Iraq really is- and what it is that so many in the anti-war movement both foreign and domestic want us to permit to be victorious.

I wonder whether those in Congress, in the Islamic world, and elsewhere who were so (properly) upset about Abu Gharib, who go out of their way to be outraged by the luxurious conditions at Gitmo, and who simply can't pass up an opportunity to condemn every rumored ethical and humanitarian faux pas by an American so…

Vlad slams Hillary upside the... oh, wait. He says she doesn't have one!

Several weeks ago, while campaigning in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton said that Russian President Vladimir ("Vlad the Inhaler") Putin "doesn't have a soul."

When informed of her remark, Putin replied, "At a minimum, a head of state should have a head."

So much for Sen. Clinton's alleged capacity to improve our nation's standing with world leaders.

My prayers are with the NIU community

It seems a lifetime ago that I was accepted by Northern Illinois University as a prospective journalism student. For a while back then, my life was very much oriented toward DeKalb. My girlfriend had graduated from there. I vastly enjoyed my time spent on campus as a prospective student, visited friends who attended there as often as I could, and enjoyed a feeling of belonging at a place circumstances had led me to as a launching pad for the career path which, after years of wondering, I had concluded I was called to follow.

Financial problems intervened (though to be honest, if I'd known then what I know now about student finance they wouldn't have turned out to be real problems at all). And during my internship at a community newspaper, I became uncomfortably aware of the chaotic state of my stomach chemistry as I operated under the inevitable pressures of journalistic deadlines. My mother was killed in an automobile accident; various things happened in my internal spiritual …