Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bumper Sticker Alert

Michelle Malkin flags two bumper stickers that will be popular in places like my home state of Wyoming:
Vegetarian: An old Indian word for bad hunter.
and
PETA stands for People Eating Tasty Animals.

Hunting season starts soon.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Travel Blogging V

Today we drove up to Mammoth Hot Springs where the park headquarters has been since the beginning. It is the headquarters location because it is at a lower altitude, by 2-3000 feet, and that makes it somewhat less frigid in winter.

The park was run by the U.S. Cavalry for several decades before the National Park Service was set up. So...much of the headquarters area looks like the old-time military post that it was for many years.

Today we took a stroll down "officers' row," housing for the senior officers of the detachment and their families. Only the CO or commanding officer had a free-standing house. Other senior officers' families lived in duplexes. Junior officers lived in the BOQ or bachelor officers' quarters. Officer housing looks like that at the Presidio in San Francisco or any other old time military base.

The enlisted cavalry troopers lived in barracks that housed large groups. Their housing was no worse than that of their horses, the care of which took up a serious part of the work day.

Cavalry patrols throughout the park did preserve much of the natural wonder. The pony soldiers arrested poachers and vandals, built roads, and kept the peace.

When the National Park Service was finally established, they recruited a substantial number of cavalry troopers to be the first park rangers. You can still see echoes of the old cavalry uniforms in today's rangers' uniforms.

Quote II of the Day

Moe Lane writing for RedState.com, about the left wing netroots (the blogosphere's version of grassroots):
The netroots can't help themselves, of course: they've been well-conditioned by now to automatically hate all who oppose them, and they are woefully unaccustomed to having to be accountable for it. But don't get mad at them: they're just... unwell, really.
It was a real mistake closing the mental hospitals. They might even have been able to help Michael Moore, with sufficient Thorazine.

The OODA Loop

Take a look at this American Thinker article about a fighter pilot concept: the OODA Loop. How quickly can a pilot observe, orient, decide, and act? The author argues that the McCain organization is shooting down the Obama guys, particularly with the Palin nomination, by seeing faster, figuring out what it means faster, deciding how to react faster, and acting faster.

The article won't change your thinking forever, or anything so profound, but it is fun and maybe accurate too.

Quote I of the Day

Senator Hillary Clinton, on CNN Political Ticker online, speaking about the nomination of Governor Sarah Palin as the GOP vice presidential nominee:
We should all be proud of Governor Sarah Palin's historic nomination, and I congratulate her and Senator McCain.
And if they win, guess who won't be too sorry as long as she isn't blamed?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Travel Blogging IV

Today we took a drive up Dunraven Pass beyond the summit, and then up the Chittenden Road to the parking lot for the Mt. Washburn trail. The Chittenden Road is narrow, washboarded, unpaved and without guard rails over most of its length. That parking lot is very likely the highest point to which one can drive in the park, and the views are breathtaking.

You stand there in awe and as far as you can see in every direction there is nothing, except the road you drove up on, that reflects the hand of man. These vistas look as they did when the first Europeans hiked into this wilderness during the Jefferson administration 200 years ago.

We broke out the binoculars and scanned a vast space, larger than many nations, which the founders of the National Park System decided needed to be kept wild. As we noted the other day, they have succeeded.

Yellowstone was the world's first national park, and remains today one of the largest and most spectacular. It has the world's largest collection of thermal features, serves as an enormous outdoor zoo-without-fences where the animals do as they choose and the people need to protect themselves, and the scenery is amazing enough to warrant a park all by itself.

An interesting cultural aside: we shared a tour with a British couple who pronounced the thermal features that shoot steam and water into the air, geysers, as "gee.zers," whereas in the U.S. we pronounce them "guy.sers."

We told them that Fishing Bridge (a bridge over the Yellowstone River near its exit from Yellowstone Lake) used to be called "Fanny Bridge" because of all the tourists bent over looking in the water. They replied that the term "fanny" is quite off-color in the U.K. and we shouldn't use it there in polite society. I Googled it and found it refers to female genitalia. I guess that means the U.K. is no place to market fanny packs, that bag-on-a-belt, unless you rename them.

Political Humor Alert

Go see David Brooks' great satirical column in The New York Times where he imagines the perfect(ly awful) convention speech by one of the many party hacks who get to stand up and gas at us. One of my favorite bits is this section where his imaginary 'orator' refers to Obama's acceptance speech:
We were thrilled by his speech in front of the Greek columns, which were conscientiously recycled from the concert, “Yanni, Live at the Acropolis.” We were honored by his pledge, that if elected president, he will serve at least four months before running for higher office.

And I love this piece of faux political boilerplate:
We meet today to heal the divisions that have torn this country. For we are all one country and one American family, whether we are caring and thoughtful Democrats or hate-filled and war-crazed Republicans.

The whole thing is worth your time if you'd enjoy a laugh at the political clowns.

McCain Picks Palin

If John McCain's pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential nominee is any indication of his governing style, a McCain presidency will be a wild ride, more fun than we've seen in years. This is a guy who likes to roll the dice, take the chances, and count on his luck. So far, his luck has been phenomenal and we have been joint beneficiaries along with him.

Faced with a number of safe, boring choices, McCain reached instead for the brass ring and may have caught it. We'll know in just over two months. No question Palin helps him with the social conservative base, and with the famous Clinton-voting white working class, and she is a reformer with a record of tossing the bums out. How cool politically is having a husband who is a world class snowmobile racer and a part Yupik Eskimo and a certified blue collar oil field worker? And did I mention she likes to hunt and eats moose burgers?

If she is no Joe Biden, Obama is no McCain. Obama, having almost no experience, needed a veep with lots of experience and got one. McCain has lots of experience and needed other things, which I argue he may well have gotten. I guess the choice is now whether you want the person with almost no experience as the president or as the vice president, the latter makes more sense.

The real unknown in all of this is the extent to which liberal feminists who supported Clinton will be willing to vote for a woman who is not liberal. Is sisterhood more powerful than ideology? Perhaps liberal feminists will hold against Palin the fact that she is attractive. In about a week the daily tracking polls will give us a clue.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Travel Blogging III


Herewith we continue travel blogging. Late today we took a ride in one of these old "historic buses." Ours was a 1936 White that had been totally rebuilt with Ford running gear, engine and drive train. In Glacier National Park they call them "jammers" as they originally had non-synchromesh transmissions and the drivers would jam them into gear, probably with a good deal of grinding.

We had a great driver/guide named Brooke; one of those not-rushing-into-adulthood folks who provide guiding and other services at the parks. I met a number of them as a professor, often very interesting folks.

We saw plenty of wildlife on this drive, including the large fellow above who was maybe 5 feet from our vehicle. If he appears to be taking a dim view of us, he nevertheless showed good sense enough not to charge a motor vehicle that outweighed him by a couple of tons. We saw hundreds of bison, several deer, and a herd of elk all relatively close, and what was either a wolf or a coyote (more likely) but seen at such a distance that we couldn't tell which, even with binoculars. We also saw clueless tourists standing 10-12 feet from a bison, which is really asking for a Darwin Award.

We lucked into a spectacular sunset over Lake Yellowstone, which can be seen on the other DrC's blog located at cruztalker.blogspot.com. She specializes in photos of pretty places and flowers, and interesting critters.

We chatted up several park employees in the course of the last two days, they are often very pleasant people from all over the world. That is part of the fun.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Travel Blogging II


Today we revisited the Old Faithful Inn, one of the architechural wonders of the National Park system. It is made of local wood and stone, and is over 100 years old. Above is a photo of the multistory lobby, taken by the other DrC who is a dab hand with a camera. The exterior is interesting too, with a very steeply pitched snow-shedding roof pierced by many dormer windows. You just have to see it for yourself to fully appreciate it.

We went out on the patio roof of the portico to watch the geyser erupt, which it did a little behind schedule. Then we had some ice cream from the creamery off the lobby, another of our traditions. Along the way home we spotted elk and bison, several quite close to the road. When we got back to West Yellowstone we filled the truck with diesel, and ran up a bill greater than $100. This may not be a first but it hasn't happened often and did get my attention.

Tomorrow's explorations will take us over to Canyon Village. Canyon is located at the north end of the Hayden Valley, summer home of the largest remaining wild bison herd in the world. Canyon gets its name from the nearby Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, which is pretty darn spectacular in its own way, though not in comparison to the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in Arizona.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Travel Blogging I

Southwestern Montana is sure some beautiful country. Today we drove north out of eastern Idaho into West Yellowstone, Montana, a very small town which sits just outside the park's western boundary. The road, U.S. 20, is excellent and the scenery around Henry's Fork (of the Snake River) and Island Park is pleasant. I particularly enjoyed the drive between there and West Yellowstone, through second (or third) growth conifer forests that have been logged off, replanted, and will be ready to log again in 20-30 years.

Tomorrow we will drive around Yellowstone National Park, as we have done for several decades. We marvel at how it looks just as it did when we first saw it together in the early 1970s. The 1988 fire damage is healing; fire causes lodgepole pinecones to pop open and reseed the land. The regrowth trees are maybe 6 feet tall, quite an accomplishment when you realize the growing season at 8000 ft. elevation is about 45 days a year. Lots more than half of the park didn't burn, and looks exactly as it did when I first saw it with my parents, staring out the windows of an old Chevrolet sedan full of camping gear.

Consumer Confidence Up

Considering how much doom and gloom the politicians are spreading around, you'd think the American consumer would be virtually suicidal. Nope. Not even close.

This Bloomberg News report says the Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose 5 points in August, after rising in July. This is nearly a 10% increase. They credit easing in gasoline prices and a lessening of home market problems. Go here to see the Conference Board's website.

I predict politicians, particularly Democrats, will continue to tell us that we are all going to hell in a handbasket. As is usual with politicians, if you can see their lips moving, they are lying.

Gallup: McCain Takes Lead

The Gallup Daily Tracking Poll shows that McCain now leads Obama 46% to 44%. When you realize that these numbers include the first day of the Democratic convention, the whole purpose of which is to help Obama be more popular, you begin to see the magnitude of his problem.

Meanwhile, Rasmussen Reports has the two candidates tied at 44% each. They note:
Obama’s support has declined in each of the last three individual nights of polling.
That leaky rowboat I mentioned the other day seems to keep taking on water.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Travel Blogging Alert

We will be traveling for the next 10 days and blogging will be intermittent, depending on internet availability. I hope to share some impressions of Yellowstone and the Tetons, places we've been going back to for over 30 years. I don't expect the conventions to produce much in the way of surprises, and don't plan to watch them. I'll let the paid journalists do that work for me.

Quote of the Day

Lou Dobbs, CNN talking head, commenting on media bias:
My colleagues in the national media are absolutely biased, in the tank supporting the Obama candidacy while claiming the mantle of objectivity. Whether they're in the front page of "The Washington Post," "The New York Times," whether it's any one of the news casts, I mean, it's ridiculous.

Source: Newsbusters.org transcript of Dobbs' Sunday evening show.

Russia Makes Lemonade

There is an old saying about making the best of a bad situation, if someone gives you a lemon, make lemonade. As a result of invading Georgia, the world has handed Russia a number of sour lemons in the form of diplomatic signals that things Russia wants won't be forthcoming. Things, for example, like membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

This article from Agence France-Presse says the Russians have announced that they no longer actively seek membership in the WTO, although low level negotiations may continue. It is always better to claim you don't want something you won't be allowed to obtain.

Make no mistake, Russia isn't happy making this announcement. It is a feeble attempt by the bear to save face.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Quote of the Day

Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Ed Rendell is a former Clinton backer who now supports Obama. His remarks about media coverage are reported in the blog of Politico.com's Michael Calderone:
Ladies and gentleman, the coverage of Barack Obama was embarrassing.

In particular he was not impressed with cable news coverage:
MSNBC was the official network of the Obama campaign.

When the media gets so biased that even Democrats comment on it, we may be beyond the point of no return.

Negative Bounce

Barack Hussein Obama named Joe Biden as his vice presidential nominee and got a negative bounce from that action. This CNN article reports a poll taken after the announcement that shows McCain and Obama tied up at 47% each. The article quotes CNN Polling Director Keating Holland:
This looks like a step backward for Obama, who had a 51 to 44 percent advantage last month. Even last week, just before his choice of Joe Biden as his running mate became known, most polls tended to show Obama with a single-digit advantage over McCain.

This Gallup Poll reports the two tied at 45% each, again there is no bounce.

Oh, my, what can the matter be?

Wall Street Journal Agrees

Yesterday we wrote in this blog that Biden was Cheney 2.0. Tomorrow's The Wall Street Journal carries an editorial entitled "Obama's Cheney." It makes many of the same points we made, and it is nice to have them agreeing with us. The Journal says:
As a vice presidential choice, in short, Mr. Biden is not unlike Governor George W. Bush's selection in 2000 of Dick Cheney as a reassuring counselor on national security. If the angry liberal Netroots don't like that analogy, so much the better for the country.

Thanks for the support, guys, welcome aboard.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Quote of the Day

Joe Biden, Democratic vice presidential nominee, speaking of his view of Barack Obama:
I think he can be ready but right now, I don't believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.

Source: CBS News

Biden = Cheney 2.0

The parallels are eerie. A relative outsider running for president picks an old Washington hand who knows the ropes. The old hand ends up being very influential.

That is a description of the George W. Bush selection of Dick Cheney in 2000. It could equally be a description of the Barack Hussein Obama selection of Joe Biden in 2008. I see history repeating itself.

I won't bore you with all the ways Biden's career looks like Cheney's, and I recognize there are minor differences. For example, Biden has no executive branch experience whereas Cheney had been Secretary of Defense. Also, Biden's experience has mostly been in the Senate while Cheney's was in the House. Still, to anybody but a nitpicker, these two look mightily alike as do their bosses - outsiders with relatively little experience. The similarities probably won't be in policy so much as in operating style, an important issue to this old management prof. As if to seal the deal, check out this CNN story line:
Barack Obama accidentally introduced his running mate Joe Biden as the next president of the United States Saturday.
Democrats have viewed my WY neighbor Dick Cheney and his boss as devils incarnate. Who would have thought they would select a nominee pair who resemble them in so many ways.

Is this weird, or what? You can't make this stuff up.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Biden Apparent Dem Veep Pick

Delaware Senator Joe Biden is the apparent Obama selection for the Democratic vice presidential nomination, according to this Wall Street Journal article. This Associated Press article concurs. The official announcement from Obama is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday.

Speaking on the PBS News Hour Friday, David Brooks, New York Times columnist and News Hour regular said Obama should pick Biden. Brooks claimed not to know who the actual nominee would be.

Biden is an old-line, north-eastern liberal, working class, pro-union Democrat with a decades-long voting record. The Biden choice, if he proves to be the actual nominee, reflects a do-no-harm decision model.

Biden tends to further dilute Obama's image as something new politically. If there is one thing Biden is not, it is new or cutting edge. All in all, a safe, boring choice that has almost nothing to do with "change." I predict the netroots, the active part of Obama's base, will not be amused.

You have to wonder how an old pro like Biden feels playing second fiddle on the ticket to a senatorial new-comer who has yet to chair a committee or sponsor any meaningful legislation. I wonder if he'd be a Vice President like Dick Cheney, so much more experienced in Washington than his boss that he ends up with undue influence?

You Can't Make It Up

Some reality is so strange you couldn't make it up because nobody would believe you. Here is an example of strange reality for your entertainment and bemusement.

Newsbusters' P.J. Gladnick reports a lawsuit filed by a former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Democratic Party county chairman and prominent Philadelphia area lawyer named Philip J. Berg. The lawsuit alleges that Barack Hussein Obama is ineligible to run for President of the United States because he was born in Kenya to a mother who was not, at the time, old enough to confer automatic U.S. citizenship or because he was adopted in Indonesia (or both, I guess).

I have no idea of whether this suit has merit or not. The plaintiff was a big Hillary Clinton supporter so he is hardly unbiased. With the exception of this tiny blurb (scroll down) in the Philadelphia Daily News, the mainstream media has so far ignored the suit.

I'd like to believe the WaPo, WSJ and NYT have demon investigative reporters digging into it as I write. I'd like to believe that, but I don't. Once again getting the truth will probably fall to the blogosphere and the likes of National Enquirer. Sad....

Quote II of the Day

Hugh Hewett, writing for Townhall.com, cataloging Obama's gaffes when not on teleprompter with scathing sarcasm:
Obama praises the "vastly superior" infrastructure of China. Again, off-prompter means over the cliff with Senator Empty Suit. Central planning and near-slave labor can accomplish such wonderful things!

"Senator Empty Suit," really Hugh, you shouldn't have....

Don't Get Your Hopes Up

Caspar Weinberger, Jr. writes in Human Events that Hillary or even Al Gore might end up with the Democratic nomination. He argues that Obama looks weak (true) and a shift of 40 superdelegates would do the job (also true).

Weinberger avoids dealing with the key issue, which is the crucial importance of African-American votes to any Democratic nominee. Suppose the convention decided to throw Obama under the bus, as a probable loser. It is likely that many African-American voters would stay home in protest, thus dooming whoever the convention nominated in Obama's place.

Many of the delegates to the Democratic Convention may well have concluded that Barack Obama is a loser. They have, at this point, the following ugly choice to make: lose with Obama or lose with another candidate. Since Obama has the most delegates, there is no reason for them to make the switch to another losing candidate and alienate a key constituency. Thus Weinberger is wrong, Obama will get the nomination.

Quote I of the Day

Tim Blair, writing in the Sydney, Australia, Daily Telegraph, about Obama's lost lead in the polls:
This is confusing to many pundits, who don't understand why a far-left, first-term Senator with dodgy mates, no policies, a profound humour deficit and a habit of committing astonishing gaffes isn't in front by 20 points.
Don't hold back, Tim, tell us what you really feel.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

2008 A Cold Year

This Reuters article reports that the World Meteorological Organization says that the first half of 2008 was the coldest January to June of the past eight years. Note these wise words:
Global temperatures vary annually according to natural cycles.

One thing we know for sure about climate: it changes. In times past, when humans had little or no impact, the world experienced warming spells, and cooling spells; tropical weather and ice ages. There is every reason to expect that the forces which brought about those earlier changes are still extant.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stereotype Wrong

This article from the Daily Telegraph (U.K.) describes a study done by MI5, Britain's equivalent of the FBI. The study finds that, in the U.K., the stereotypes of terrorists as immigrants, young unmarried males, and highly religious are incorrect. Apparently terrorists are more likely to be U.K. citizens, equally likely to be married with kids, and showing the entire range of religiosity, from highly to not much. Most were employed in low level jobs.

The tone of the article said that the authors were surprised about the trouble-makers not fitting the stereotype. They were surprised; I wasn't. Ever since September 11, 2001, I have held the view that it isn't particularly religious fervor that motivates Islamic terrorists. We learned this from post hoc analysis of the behaviors of the 9/11 perpetrators in the weeks and months leading up to the attack. Their behaviors in many cases were not at all those of devout Muslims.

If not "sexual frustration" as the article says, or religious fervor, then what? I suspect that it is the often inferior status of Islamic peoples in this globalized world, a low status that conflicts mightily with the exalted status to which their culture/religion tells them they are entitled. This view ties in with the "low-grade jobs" which the article reports almost all U.K. terror suspects held.

If your culture teaches you that you are one of nature's noblemen, fated to rule, whereas the world treats you like rubbish, this is likely to cause cognitive dissonance, anger, and possibly a predilection to suicidal violence, aka "going postal." Identifying a cause is not the same as identifying a solution, I'm fresh out of solutions to Islamic terrorism.

Poll: McCain Takes Lead

This Reuters release shares the results of a Reuters-Zogby poll which shows McCain leading Obama among likely voters by 46% to 41%. On the other hand, Rasmussen's daily tracking poll shows Obama ahead by 2%. Meanwhile an Agence France-Presse piece reports as follows:
McCain led Obama 47 percent to 46 percent in a nationwide matchup in the new George Washington University Battleground poll published on Wednesday.

Like the old carney says, "You pays your money and takes your choice." Today it appears to me that Obama is sinking slowly like a rowboat with a small leak.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2008 Like Eisenhower-Stevenson.

There have been a number of columns this year trying to say that this presidential cycle is like the Kennedy-Nixon contest or the Reagan-Carter battle. None of these has quite worked for me, so after some cogitation, here is my analogy. The Obama-McCain contest is like the Stevenson-Eisenhower contest.

Stevenson was an intellectual, very witty and well spoken. Eisenhower was a fine-looking man but not a great public speaker. Both were bald. Adlai Stevenson appealed to the same educated white audience that Obama appeals to; although obviously he did not have the same draw among African-Americans. Stevenson's dry wit was legendary:
A supporter told him that he was sure to "get the vote of every thinking man" in the U.S., to which Stevenson is said to have replied, "Thank you, but I need a majority to win."
On the other hand, Eisenhower was associated in people's minds with military success, as is McCain. Eisenhower beat Stevenson twice, handily. Stevenson never came close to that needed majority. We'll see whether my preferred model predicts November's outcome.

Voters Want Action

Jeffrey Lord, writing in The American Spectator, lets slip some wisdom:
We are a culture of action, of rebellion, of instinct. When Europeans or American liberals deride a George W. Bush or a Reagan as a "cowboy," they think they are hurling an insult. Yet most Americans see cowboys as heroes, so the insult effectively backfires.
Then he concludes with respect to the upcoming election:

What will Americans be voting for in 2008? The same thing they have been voting for routinely in every election since the beginning of American presidential elections. They want action. A willingness to risk. They want someone who doesn't give a damn what others think. They want Batman. They want Rush. So they will elect McCain.

You have to read the whole article to understand what he means by his references to Batman and Rush Limbaugh.

Quote of the Day

The Denver Post's David Harsanyi, writing for RealClearPolitics.com, has the following gem:

Americans, not long ago, rightly threw Republican bums out of Congress only to have them replaced by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, two of the most ineffective political leaders in the memory of the republic.

Truer words have seldom been spoken. His general point is that "politics as usual" is what we're seeing this year.
Ya think?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Quote of the Day

Winston Churchill, speaking of the actions of Neville Chamberlain dealing with Hitler:
You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war.
This is particularly relevant to our choices with respect to Russia in Georgia.

WaPo Admits Bias

Deborah Howell, the Ombudsman of The Washington Post, writes as follows:
Democrat Barack Obama has had about a 3 to 1 advantage over Republican John McCain in Post Page 1 stories since Obama became his party's presumptive nominee June 4. Obama has generated a lot of news by being the first African American nominee, and he is less well known than McCain -- and therefore there's more to report on. But the disparity is so wide that it doesn't look good.

Okay, guys, you've admitted the problem. Can you stomach correcting the deficiency and leveling the playing field? If not, you can no longer claim moral superiority over Fox News which you claim is biased.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

McCain Wins Saddleback

ABC News' Jake Tapper reports that John McCain did well at the Saddleback Church of Pastor Rick Warren. It was likely that he would, but it is good to hear that he did. Tapper starts out:

To hear the crowd at Saddleback Church tell it, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., definitely had a good night.
And Tapper concludes:

(I)t was one of the best -- if not the very best -- of McCain's speaking performances in this election cycle.

Meanwhile, Byron York, the National Review's White House correspondent opined

McCain was the clear winner of the night.

Newsbusters' summary of the left-wing blogosphere's reactions can be seen in the title of their piece:

Leftwing Blogosphere Disappointed in Obama Saddleback Forum Performance

Reading some of their negative gleanings from Daily Kos and Democratice Underground might be worth your time.

McCain certainly picked the correct venue at which to have a good night; conservative Christians are a key Republican constituency.

Global Cooling Redux

See this story in the Casper Star Tribune which reports that Cheyenne, the capital of Wyoming, had a record cold day recently. On Friday, August 15, the high temperature in Cheyenne was 49 F degrees, the previous low record for that date was 60 F degrees, set in 1888. In other words, the new record is eleven degrees colder.

Nearby, Denver hit record cold the next day, August 16, beating the previous low for the date set 118 years ago by five (5) degrees!

Brrr, we could use some of Al Gore's global warming, eh?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Advanced Weapons Revisited

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been negative about advanced military systems that do not have immediate application in the sort of low-intensity warfare in which the U.S. has been involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been pushing the military to emphasize immediately practical technology, like MRAP (mine resistant ambush protected) vehicles and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles).

The war now in Georgia, prominently featuring Russian tanks and attack jet aircraft, has started a change in defense thinking. An article in today's Wall Street Journal (Aug. 16, 2008, p. A6) makes the point that cutting edge systems like the F-22 Raptor fighter jet and the Zumwalt class advanced destroyer are gaining new attention. It makes sense. If we have to be ready to fight the Russians or Chinese, MRAPs won't help much and F-22s will help a lot.

As long as the U.S. insists on being the world's policeman, we need to have both capabilities: low-intensity anti-insurgency warfare and high-intensity high tech modern battlefield warfare. To continue with the police analogy, we need the traffic cop as well as the SWAT team.

Postscript: It might make sense to have military units specialized in, and equipped for, one or the other of the two types of warfare, if we can justify having that many in uniform.

Word-Play Alert

The title of Jerome R. Corsi's new book about Barack Obama is The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality. "Obama Nation" is a marvelous play on "Abomination," the words don't look alike but are pronounced very nearly the same.

Many have panned the book, while few have praised it; however the book is at the top of several best seller lists for whatever that's worth. I haven't read the book so I have no opinion of its content, but I give props to Corsi for a clever title.

Cavuto: Dismal Dems

Neil Cavuto, of Fox Business News, says this was the week it became apparent that Democrats would lose the presidential race. Here is his (rather visceral) conclusion:
It shouldn't be this way...with the slowing economy, Democrats should be running away.
But they look weak on a military crisis.
Inconsistent on an economic crisis.
And impotent on their own brewing political convention crisis.
Things change. Tides ebb and flow.
But I think we will look back to this week in August as the time the party that had it all in the bag...just puked in it.

Earlier in the opinion piece he explains why he makes each of these allegations. At the very least, you'd have to agree that the Dems had a terrible week.

Friday, August 15, 2008

If Only....

The Telegraph (U.K.) online reports the work of two scientists, appearing in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, which argues that a warp drive powered by so-called "dark energy" is possible. If only....

Such a drive would make faster-than-light travel possible and space travel practical. It would also make equally credible that ETs have visited here. Logically, if we can travel there, they can travel here. Maybe some UFOs are really alien spacecraft.

At this point we are talking "pie in the sky." I don't believe I'll see this developed in my lifetime, but I hope I'm wrong.

Somewhere the ghosts of Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein are having a good chuckle.

Scrutable China

Whatever happened to that Asian impenetrability celebrated in the colonial-era sobriquet "inscrutable Chinese?" Like how did the Chinese think they'd get away with lip-syncing the national anthem, or using Han children to portray ethnic minorities, or palm off 13 and 14 year old girls as 16 year old gymnasts? Inscrutable? I don't think so.

A Winning Strategy for Georgia

Stuart Koehl, writing in The Weekly Standard online, does a very nice piece of military analysis and forward planning vis-a-vis the Russian-Georgian conflict.

What he prescribes for the Georgian army is essentially what the Afghans did to stymie the Soviet army: missiles to harass Russian air power, and mines (think non-improvised explosive devices) to take out their armor. The terrain is somewhat similar and armor is (mostly) road-based in mountainous country like Ossetia.

Ice Is Nice (and Plentiful)

The Register (U.K.) reports that, contrary to panicked expectations, there is plenty of ice in the Arctic this summer. They cite NASA Marshall Space Flight Center data and findings at the University of Illinois as their sources. They also report that there is substantially more ice in Antarctica than last year.

Once again, the climate change extremists seem to be emulating Chicken Little.

Gallup: McCain, Obama Tied

The Gallup polling organization, whose polls have been relatively positive for Obama while those of Rasmussen have been more neutral, now shows McCain and Obama tied at 44% each among registered voters. As Gallup notes, this represents a change:
Since early June when Obama clinched the nomination, he has averaged a three percentage point advantage over McCain in Gallup Poll Daily tracking.

Pretty clearly, Russia invading Georgia has surfaced the "3 a.m. phone call" national security issue for voters, an issue that favors McCain. Do you suppose those Democratic super delegates are having second thoughts about Obama? Hillary hopes so.

Harry Potter Film News

Entertainment Weekly reports Warner Brothers has announced that the sixth Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, will not be released in November of 2008 as previously planned. The new release date is July 17, 2009. The motivation for the delay is simple: money. Summer releases of family-oriented films make more money. Elsewhere it is reported that the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be split and made into two films.

Incidentally, if you like Harry Potter and have not tried the Harry Potter CDs narrated by actor Jim Dale, you really should. Dale is a marvelous voice actor; he has developed a distinctive sound for each major character, male or female. The other DrC and I own all seven CD sets and listen to them in the car or RV as we travel.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Quote of the Day

Investors' Business Daily, writing in an editorial, offers the following definition:
A racist: Someone who's losing an argument with a liberal.

Pew: Mommy, Daddy Split Continues

The Bloomberg website reports the latest poll by the non-partisan Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, the results show Obama and McCain essentially tied. I see no surprises there.

What is interesting is the gender divide between the two presidential candidates. Men prefer McCain by 8 points and women prefer Obama by 13 points. This difference really underscores an idea that has been attributed to political economist Jude Wanniski: The Republicans are the Daddy Party and the Democrats are the Mommy Party. If you play with the implications of this generalization, I think you'll find them interesting and helpful.

Also of interest, 88% of blacks prefer Obama whereas 56% of whites prefer McCain. Obama scores with younger voters, McCain with older voters. A point to note, older folks are much more likely to vote than younger folks.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Krauthammer on Georgia

The always interesting Charles Krauthammer, writing for The Washington Post, really nails the Georgia situation. His recommendations for U.S. responses to an intransigent Russia look a lot like those we proposed here on Tuesday, August 12th. Included in his list of possible U.S. actions are barring Russian entry to the World Trade Organization and boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, just 15 miles up the Black Sea coast from Abkhazia. I would echo his conclusion:
We have cards. We should play them. Much is at stake.

Global Cooling Continues

The Chicago Tribune reports that, in the first nine years of the 21st Century, Chicago has had the fewest hot days (90 degrees and above) since the 1930s. In the most recent nine years there have only been 162 days that hot, an average of only 18 days per year.

In other words, this has been the coolest decade in the last 70 years. Poor Al Gore is even less successful as a weather prophet than he was as a politician. The Nobel Peace Prize committee blew it again.

Political Humor Alert

Mike Allen's Playbook 24/7 for Politico.com has the following aside from Craig Ferguson:
According to rumors, John McCain and Barack Obama are trying to get Angelina Jolie's endorsement for the campaign. And John Edwards is just trying to get her number.

That wisecrack calls for a rimshot.

Quote of the Day

The Weekly Standard's The Blog has John McCain, speaking of his conversation with embattled Georgia's President Misha Saakashvili:
And I told him that I know I speak for every American when I say to him, today, we are all Georgians.

Way to go, John.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Peters on the Georgian War

Ralph Peters is one of our best military commentators. See his New York Post article on the Russian invasion of Georgia. He points out the obvious:

Any soldier above the grade of private can tell you that there's absolutely no way Moscow could've launched this huge ground, air and sea offensive in an instantaneous "response" to alleged Georgian actions.

Clearly, Russia was sitting there waiting for a pretext to strike, and unfortunately, Georgia's President allowed himself to be goaded into providing one. Read the whole article if you would gain insight into what is involved in an invasion.

Peters isn't very impressed with Russian military tactics, but you see here why boxers fight in weight classes. Russia may not be very good but they are 'way bigger than Georgia and in war size matters.

Quote II of the Day

George Will, writing in the RealClearPolitics website:
Russian tanks, heavy artillery, strategic bombers, ballistic missiles and a naval blockade batter a European nation. We are not past such things after all. The end of history will be postponed, again.

Poor Francis Fukuyama will forever be famous for being spectacularly wrong, when he wrote in 1989, an essay entitled "The End of History."

Quote I of the Day

Ambrose Bierce, cited by brainyquote.com:
War is God's way of teaching Americans geography.

If you didn't know it before, you now know there are two places named "Georgia," both southern.

Cold War 2.0

The West's confrontation with Soviet Communism and its proxies, aka the Cold War, lasted from the end of World War II until the late 1980s. We have had a twenty year respite from that grinding slow-motion confrontation. Now the respite is over.

The invasion of democratic Georgia by Russia, the neo-imperialist successor state to the Soviet Union, signals the rekindling of the Cold War and of our conflict with Russia. Clearly, President Bush's 'rapport' with Putin has been seriously overrated.

The United Nations is useless as the Russians will veto whatever we propose in the Security Council. I believe we owe it to the Georgians, and to ourselves, to infiltrate weapons and explosives into Georgia so the Georgians can carry on asymmetrical warfare against the invading Russians. One thing we learned from the Soviet experience in Afghanistan, Russia doesn't have the stomach for a drawn out asymmetrical conflict.

Other things we can do by way of reprisal include expediting the NATO membership application of the Ukraine and vetoing the World Trade Organization membership application of Russia. Announcing that we may have to boycott the Winter Olympics scheduled for Sochi, Russia, in 2014 is also useful.

What we must not do is shrug and ignore the situation.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I Cry for Thee, California

The San Diego Union-Tribune echoes something we've been saying here:
A new survey of corporate executives considering relocating their firms provides fresh reasons to worry about California's economy. The Development Counsellors International survey found CEOs ranked California dead-last in attractiveness among the 50 states because of its high taxes and business-hobbling regulations.

I feel sad for my native state. It seems to be headed for the same fate as Argentina, a marvelous place crippled by bad politics.

Maybe it is time to post anew that famous sign (earlier version above) on the freeways headed out of state:
Will the last employer leaving CALIFORNIA turn out the lights?
If the CA legislature doesn't wake up, they'll have 32 million people for whom to care and next-to-no private sector jobs to tax to raise the needed money.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Quote of the Day

Mike Allen of Politico reports candidate John McCain cracking wise concerning opponent Obama's rhetorical skills:
Taking in my opponent's performances is a little like watching a big summer blockbuster, and an hour in, realizing that all the best scenes were in the trailer you saw last fall.

I hate that. Surely you don't mean everything Obama says is a paraphrase of his eloquent 2004 convention speech?

Yeah, I know, don't call you "Shirley."

Requiescat in Pace

Tim Rutten, in a column in The Los Angeles Times, has written the obituary of the mainstream media. It is rare to report on one's own demise.

Rutten begins with the John Edwards' mistress/love child story, the mainstream media's refusal to report it until forced by "the alternative and new media," and the MSM's unequal treatment of stories of salacious behavior by Democrats and Republicans. He observes:
The (National) Enquirer went with the story, and when no major newspaper or broadcast outlet even reported the existence of the tabloid story, bloggers and online commentators redoubled their demands that the mainstream media explain their silence.

Rutten finally concludes:
With that (Edwards) admission, the illusion that traditional print and broadcast news organizations can establish the limits of acceptable political journalism joined the passenger pigeon on the roster of extinct Americana.

....Rest in peace....

Friday, August 8, 2008

Political Humor Alert

Mike Allen's Playbook 24/7 reports Obama humor:
Jon Stewart of ‘The Daily Show’ recently joked that on his trip to Israel, the Democratic presidential aspirant ‘made a quick stop at the manger in Bethlehem where he was born.’

Hewitt: Obama Plans Radical Change

Hugh Hewitt, writing for Townhall.com, reports an interaction between Democratic presidential aspirant Barack Obama and a 7 year old child who asked him why he was running for President. Obama replied:

America is, uh, is no longer, uh, what it could be, what it once was. And I say to myself, 'I don’t want that future for my children.'

Viewing this comment as a major gaffe, Hewitt parses Obama's response as follows:

Obama's verdict -- delivered in a few words to a very young American -- is that America has gone radically wrong. And that it will require radical change.

Hewitt concludes:

Let's take Obama at his word to a child: If he is elected, Obama sees his job as reshaping America in a fundamental way. In a radical way.
Politicians say a lot of things, many off the cuff as this was. I suspect Hewitt has read too much into this comment, what do you think?

Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh is reported to have commented about this gaffe:
It’s a 7-year-old, senator. Ya tell her, ‘because you love the country.’ You tell her because this is the greatest place on Earth -- that we’ve got challenges, but you want to help the country through it. You don’t tell a seven-year-old that her country isn’t what it once was. You do not lie to 7-year-olds and tell them that your country sucks. You just don’t do it, Senator

Edwards Admits Affair

ABC News reports that John Edwards, former Democratic vice presidential nominee (2004) and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination (2008) has admitted having an affair with film maker Rielle Hunter. He claims, however, that he is not the father of her child.

John Edwards is an admitted serial liar, trial lawyer (forgive the tautology), and womanizer. He is in the fine Democratic tradition of William Jefferson Clinton, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, all serial liars and womanizers. Unlike those three worthies, John Edwards hasn't accomplished much to balance his marital infidelities.

Although he claims their affair ended before that child was conceived, his recent late night visit to Hunter and child in a Beverly Hills hotel has been documented. It appears to be almost impossible for serial liars (or womanizers) to break the habit.

Russia, Georgia in Conflict

Conflict between Russia and Georgia has turned violent as first Georgian troops try to pacify the breakaway province of South Ossetia and then Russian troops move in to support the South Ossetian rebels. This article in the London Times Online lays out the details.

Apparently an underlying issue is an oil pipeline which runs just south of the disputed region and which transports something like 1% of the world's oil supplies. Another underlying issue is Georgia's desire to join NATO, as a way of getting some allies against the Russian bear at their door.

The article reports that Russia has issued Russian passports to a majority of the people who reside in Georgian South Ossetia. It is likely that many of the residents of South Ossetia would choose to secede from Georgia and join Russia.

Geographically, the region of Ossetia is bisected by the Russia-Georgia border. North Ossetia is a Russian province, South Ossetia is a Georgian province. Reuters reports:
The majority of the roughly 70,000 people living in South Ossetia are ethnically distinct from Georgians. They say they were forcibly absorbed into Georgia under Soviet rule and now want to exercise their right to self-determination.

Pay attention, world affairs fans, this could turn into something ugly and it may spread.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Our 200 Year War with Islam

Check out this column by Michael Medved writing for Townhall.com. He harks back to our two wars with the Barbary pirates in the early 1800s. Medved makes the point that our current conflict is a natural extension of those conflicts which were reactions to state-sponsored terrorism, taking the form of piracy and slave-trading.

Here are two of Medved's seven key points:
  • Islamic enmity toward the US is rooted in the Muslim religion, not recent American policy.
  • Cruel treatment of enemies by Muslim extremists is a long-standing tradition.

By comparison, the facility at Guantanamo Bay is a beach resort.

TV and Political Choices Related

Rasmussen Reports finds that Fox News viewers prefer McCain; CNN, MSNBC, and network news viewers prefer Obama. Specifically, 87% of Fox viewers say they will vote for McCain, while two thirds of CNN, MSNBC viewers say they will vote for Obama.

The chicken and egg issue comes up here - does favoring McCain cause you to prefer Fox, or vice versa? Does favoring Obama cause you to watch CNN, MSNBC, and the networks, or does watching their biased coverage cause you to prefer Obama?

Warning, science content: this is what we social scientists call a "correlational study." That is, Rasmussen found that folks who like Fox also like McCain while those who dislike Fox also dislike McCain. The problem for all such studies is that they do not answer the causation question, does liking Fox cause liking McCain? In our example above, liking Fox might cause liking McCain, liking McCain might cause liking Fox, or some third factor might cause liking both? In a correlational study there is no way to infer causality. Relatedness, yes, causality, no.

So...we can say that liking McCain is related to watching Fox, and that liking Obama is related to watching CNN, MSNBC, and the nets. My guess: folks watch news programs whose "world view" or Weltanschauung is congruent with their own. The MSM's world view is liberal; many studies have demonstrated that reporters are overwhelmingly registered Democrats.

Fox has carved out a very large cable news viewership catering consciously to folks with a conservative world view. Talk radio mostly serves this same conservative audience. Of the national newspapers, only The Wall Street Journal leans right and it sometimes offends conservatives as with its stance in favor of open borders and the consequence: cheap labor.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Quote of the Day

Jay Leno, quoted in Mike Allen's Playbook 24/7 from Politico.com, about Obama's recent birthday:
Obama's supporters got him his usual birthday gift of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Did anybody look to see if there is a star in the east?

Peaked Too Soon

The often left-leaning Associated Press reports that people are getting tired of reading and hearing about B. Hussein Obama in the media.
With Election Day still three months away, 48 percent said they’re hearing too much about the Democratic candidate, according to a poll released Wednesday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. Just 26 percent said the same about his Republican rival, John McCain.

Contrast that with this finding:
At the same time, nearly four in 10 said they’ve been hearing too little about McCain — about four times the number who said so about Obama.

Does this poll data tell you anything about media bias? Only if you are sentient....

Political Humor Alert

Peter Kirsanow, writing in the National Review Online, has a funny piece concerning 25 reasons you might be a racist, done in the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy's "you may be a redneck." Here are three samples, all 25 are good:
4. If you're in favor of drilling for oil and building nuclear power plants you...may be a racist.
7. If your pastor is nothing like Rev. Wright or Father Pfleger you... may be a racist
21. If your grandmother isn't a "typical white person" you...may be a racist.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bolivian Referendum Scheduled

We posted earlier about separatist movements in Bolivia's lowland eastern regions. Here in the Washington Post is an update on that situation, a situation that has economic, social, racial, and political components. See also this Agence France-Presse article about the same topic, which is even more pessimistic about Morales' future.

It would appear that the Bolivians are in for interesting times. President Morales, no friend of the U.S., is under considerable pressure to win a referendum on his stewardship:
On Sunday, the nation is scheduled to vote on a referendum on whether to recall Morales, his vice president and nearly all of the regional leaders, known as prefects.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Angst in Bilingual Belgium

The Dutch-speaking Flemish and the French-speaking Walloons continue to not get along in bilingual Belgium. This International Herald Tribune article lays it out:
It's about culture in the end. In its escalating dysfunction Belgium demonstrates the inextricable link between culture and nationhood.

The article quotes Belgian historian Els Witte:
A language is a culture. In Belgium the two cultures know very little about each other because they speak different languages. There are singers known in one part, not in the other. Television is different, newspapers, books.

How serious is the problem in Belgium?
Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme offered to resign last month, saying that the "federal consensus model has reached its limits," and that he couldn't bring harmony to the country's Flemish and French-speaking regions, raising the specter that this nation of 10.4 million might split up for good.

It sounds like Canada. We need to have all U.S. residents speak English in order to avoid this separatism.

Jihad in China

A little over a week ago (on July 26) we indicated that an indigenous Muslim group had declared jihad on the Peoples Republic of China. Now here is an indication of violent action taken upon that threat.

Reuters reports a vehicle and grenade attack on a border police station near Kashgar in Xinjiang province. The attack killed 16 and wounded 12. This areas is home to the Turkic-speaking Uighur people who are Muslim and seek greater independence from China.

China is but the latest in a long list of countries with seemingly unassimilable, violent Muslim minorities. It will be instructive to observe how China deals with the issue, after the Olympics conclude.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Rasmussen: Dems Losing Strength

Rasmussen Reports says their telephone polling of roughly 15,000 adult Americans per month shows that the number of individuals who call themselves Democrats has been declining while the number reporting Republican has remained unchanged:
The Democrats now have a 7.6 percentage point advantage over the Republicans, down from a 9.5 percentage point advantage in June and 10.1 percentage points in May.

Perhaps Obama has negative coattails. If self-identification with the Democrats keeps falling at the same rate, a lot of Congressional races thought to be "in play" will turn out not to be so.

Rasmussen: McCain Wins Perception Tussle

Rasmussen Reports finds that few people (22%) thought McCain's ad comparing Obama with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton was racist, most (63%) said "no." On the other hand, 53% said Obama's comments about McCain trying to get people to fear him as "not looking like the guys on the one and five dollar bills" were racist, some 38% disagreed.

Advantage: McCain.

Insidious Propaganda Vehicles

This Washington Post article about how a Turkish soap opera is causing turmoil within Saudi Arabian society makes an interesting point. That is, the best way to infiltrate subversive ideas into closed societies is via entertainment media to which the local people can relate.

Instead of spending money on USIA and other obviously government-sponsored news channels, how about spending the money creating tacky soap operas in the local language and selling them to local broadcasters cheap? I'll bet the soap Dallas created more desire to emulate the U.S. than any five talking head programs.

Spend the money to dub Desperate Housewives into Farsi or Sex and the City into Urdu, and watch old line patriarchies fall apart. Programs about people in the target society would work even better.

Thin = Arrogant

Here is an article in the Sunday Times of London which argues that perhaps Obama is too thin to be elected. The article makes the following assertion about U.S. voters:
Government statistics indicate that two-thirds of the overall voting population is overweight and almost a third is obese.

If this is true, then being thin can be viewed as a way of being elitist. Somewhere the ghost of Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, that epitome of elitism, can be heard saying:
One can never be too thin or too rich.

If to be slender is to be elitist in the land of the comfortably upholstered, that might be one more obstacle for B. Hussein Obama. At the very least it is one more way in which voters may not relate to him.

On the other hand, George W. Bush is very fit too. What do you think, gentle readers?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dubious Welcome

This article from The Wall Street Journal Asia reports that the Japanese are providing peace-keeping troops to the Solomon Islands, including famous Guadalcanal. I wonder how this is going to work out?

The other DrC and I spent a year as visiting faculty, living out in Micronesia. We chatted with a lot of local people: students, colleagues and neighbors. When finally driven out by the allies at the end of World War II, the Japanese didn't leave behind a lot of friends in that part of the world.

Japanese occupiers tended to view and treat the islanders as losers, as nearly subhuman. I remember hearing local folks tell of a cousin who was beheaded with a samurai sword. Needless to say, this didn't win Japan a lot of admirers. Locals still celebrate the day the GIs came back as Liberation Day.

I know the Japanese don't win popularity contests in Micronesia, maybe the situation will be different in the Solomon Islands where outsiders are truly needed to keep the peace.

Trust Them to Grow Up

I see a lot to like in The Wall Street Journal; every now and then I see something that makes no sense. Mark W. Davis writes in today's Journal that the GOP is doing a poor job of reaching the young: Generations X and Y and the Millennials. Suppose he is correct; why is it something to worry about?

Do you know this famous quotation? I love it because I've lived it.

He who is not a Socialist at 19, has no heart. He who is still a Socialist at 30, has no brain.

It is variously attributed to Winston Churchill, Otto von Bismarck, Woodrow Wilson, George Bernard Shaw, Georges Clemenceau, and Aristide Briand. The earliest citation I can find for it is Fran├žois Guisot (1787-1874). So many people have observed the wisdom in this statement, and endorsed or borrowed it, that the statement has become axiomatic.

Certainly the young are Democrats. Is that any reason to expect these same individuals to still be Democrats 10-15 years from now? Of course not; there is every reason to expect them to mature into conservatives, as so many of us have done.

When We Lie

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article about when people lie to pollsters or about how they voted. It deals with race, but also with age, and suggests that the research data show there is substantial bias against African-Americans and against the elderly. In other words, these issues could cut against both candidates in the presidential race. The article is quite detailed, and deals with areas of bias beyond the two mentioned above.

Short Attention Spans

Michael Barone, writing for Townhall.com, analyzes a variety of polls and events and concludes that Obama peaked awhile back and now is on the decline. To be sure, he understands that such things can turn around but the trend now for Obama is down, and for McCain is up.

Barone findings agree with our contention that the young have too short an attention span to stay involved with an election season that lasts over a year. Polls suggest that as many as a third of them have already lost interest, moved on to other things.

Triumph of the (George) Will

George Will, writing in the Investors' Business Daily, has a column worth your time. He succinctly observes the obvious about Obama:
Measured against his party's surging strength in every region and at every level, he is dramatically underperforming.

Noting that Obama's high-flown "change" rhetoric is silly, Will says:
Swift and sweeping changes are almost always calamitous consequences of calamities — often of wars, sometimes of people determined to "remake the world."

Which leads to Will's conclusion:
Wise voters...hanker for candidates whose principal promise is that they will do their best to muddle through without breaking too much crockery.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Gallup Trend Continues

Here is a link to the latest Gallup daily tracking poll on the presidential race, showing McCain and Obama now tied at 44% each. McCain is not up, Obama is down. Gallup concludes:
This suggests that the recent surge in voter support for Obama has truly subsided.

Could it be neither of these guys is all that impressive?