Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Move On hits McCain on 100 years

They also make the first use of the BusHug in an attack ad that I've seen. Expect to see it frequently over the next 6 months.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sports towns I could live in

As a native New Yawker, I know that no other town is even close when it comes to sports. But if I had to choose, I'll offer my top 10 list of cities I could live with if I had to move.

My criteria: must have an MLB team, NL's a big plus. Must have an NFL team, AFC a slight plus. Certain NCAA MBB teams are a big plus. Certain NHL franchises can be a plus. And I'll be honest: there's not a lot of science to this, just gut feeling.

And with that, here's my list:

10. Phoenix

I have a weird affection for the Cards. Love their unis, and I'm a Jets fan, so I can't help but feel for loveable losers like this crew. The D'Backs are cool. Arizona State b-ball has one of my favorite coaches--Herb Sendek. And I always liked the Winnipeg Jets.

9. Minneapolis

Gotta love the Vikings. Norris Division at its best (coldest). Plus, even though its AL, I could get behind the Twins in a hey ho. Kirby Puckett casts a long shadow.

8. Kansas City

Chiefs. Hank Stram baby! And Herm Ed... er, nevermind. Plus, there's something that will always be old school, 70's variety, about the Royals.

7. San Francisco

Cross town baseball rivalries are always beautiful, though this one loses a little luster since the Giants main rival lies hundreds of miles to the South. Doesn't matter though. The Giants are the team I was suppossed to be able to root for, before that bastard Horace Stoneham stole my team and moved them to the left coast.
Plus, I've always liked the Silver and Black since the Plunkett/Allen era.

6. Chicago

On paper, I should like them more. Cubs. Bears. DePaul. And yet this one's still something of a paper tiger for me. My heart just doesn't engage.

5. Denver

Not a lot of tradition with the Rox, but I could still get on board with those guys. Coors Field is a great name, and apparently a great stadium. Broncos: c'mon, who doesn't like the Broncos?

4. Pittsburgh

Would've been my #1 15 years ago, before the Pirates organization fell into disrepair. Still, they've got a great tradition as a scrappy team for blue collar fans. Ditto the Steelers, except without the disrepair. Pitt bball and football is a nice fringe benefit.

3. Boston

Let's face it. By all right should be number 1. BoSox: tradition galore. BC would be great fun at the college level. Bruins are cool. The Pats are my stumbling block, obviously. If I wasn't a Jets fan, I'm sure Beantown would be my #1.

2. St. Louis

The Cards alone could carry this pick. Tradition-rich NL baseball (think Stan the Man) done with small ball, speed and fundamentals. The Whitey Way (I choose to ignore the LaRussa era, despite World Championship). Then you've got the Rams (wish it was still the Cards, but hey, the Rams are a bit better). Billikens basketball baby! And the Blues have always been a team an out-of-towner could root for. Plus, love the positive vibe St. Louis fans maintain in supporting all their teams.

1. Cincinnati

That's right. Home of the Red Stockings. The Big Red Machine. Every kid's favorite player--Johnny Bench (especially since I was a catcher growing up). Charlie Hustle. The Nasty Boys. Chris Sabo (hah!). Even Marge Schott made life interesting.

Then there's the Bengals. Hey, say what you want, but I've loved those guys ever since Kenny Anderson, Chris Collinsworth, and that big Fullback dude who failed to score on 4th-and-goal from the one in Super Bowl XVI. I was a little less a fan of the Ickey Woods-Boomer Esiason era squad, but rooted for them too.

Xavier basketball, also a big plus.

Honorable Mention:

Washington, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles, Raleigh/Durham

Military Tactical Hand Signals

For a while I've been interested in learning tactical hand signals. I finally found a good reference that I wanted to share here. Enjoy!
Sunday, April 27, 2008

Some more important news on global warmings and unintended consequences

We're learning an important fact about the mixture of government mandates, biofuels, and liberal self-righteousness: it's a toxic mixture that is taking lives.

Mark Steyn has captured the essence of the situation beautifully in his column, "Feed Your Prius, Starve a Peasant". First, on the questionable validity of the claims of our self-righteous ecoliberals and their parrots in the media:

For the past 10 years, we all have, in fact, been not warming but slightly cooling, which is why the ecowarriors have adopted the all-purpose bogeyman of "climate change." But let's take it that the editors of Time are referring not to the century we live in but the previous one, when there was a measurable rise of temperature of approximately 1 degree. That's the "war": 1 degree.

Still, since the media has branded all who doubt these ecoliberals as flat-earthers, the government had no choice but to act to "protect" us all. And act they did:

The EU decreed that 5.75 percent of petrol and diesel must come from "biofuels" by 2010, rising to 10 percent by 2020. The United States added to its 51 cent-per-gallon ethanol subsidy by mandating a fivefold increase in "biofuels" production by 2022.

The result is that big government accomplished at a stroke what the free market could never have done: They turned the food supply into a subsidiary of the energy industry.

All those "No Blood for Oil" types managed to convert horticulturalists into energy magnates. Ah, the irony.

Next comes the consequences. We always know that heavy handed government mandates create inefficiencies in the marketplace. We should have been able to guess the outcome here, and I'm sure some smart conservatives out there probably did. Mark Steyn gives us the cold hard facts about what our "eco-friendly" policies have done:

When you divert 28 percent of U.S. grain into fuel production, and when you artificially make its value as fuel higher than its value as food, why be surprised that you've suddenly got less to eat? Or, to be more precise, it's not "you" who's got less to eat but those starving peasants in distant lands you claim to care so much about.

Heigh-ho. In the greater scheme of things, a few dead natives keeled over with distended bellies is a small price to pay for saving the planet, right?

Think this is mere exaggeration? Maybe some pawn of Halliburton out to distort the truth of the situation? Well, even MSNBC managed some actual reporting on the food supply situation, and came up with this headline this morning: "The New Economics of Hunger":

...[as] hungry mobs and violent riots beset Port-au-Prince, Haitian Prime Minister Jacques-Édouard Alexis was forced to step down this month. At least 14 countries have been racked by food-related violence [my emphasis]...

...The crisis, [the UN World Food Program] fears, will plunge more than 100 million of the world's poorest people deeper into poverty, forced to spend more and more of their income on skyrocketing food bills...

Read the article if you'd like to see the rundown on the particulars each poor nation is facing. A few of the areas mentioned in the article: Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, North Korea and West Africa.

After getting in the required jab that global warming is the problem (in this case, via drought in Australia), they slip in some astounding facts:

...wheat prices are also rising because U.S. farmers have been planting less of it, or moving wheat to less fertile ground. That is partly because they are planting more corn to capitalize on the biofuel frenzy.

This year, at least a fifth and perhaps a quarter of the U.S. corn crop will be fed to ethanol plants. As food and fuel fuse, it has presented a boon to American farmers after years of stable prices. But it has also helped spark the broader food-price shock.

Steyn sums up the situation nicely:

The biofuels debacle is global warm-mongering in a nutshell: The first victims of poseur environmentalism will always be developing countries. In order for you to put biofuel in your Prius and feel good about yourself for no reason, real actual people in faraway places have to starve to death.
Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hackman hangs up his spurs

One of my all-time favorite actors is apparently calling it quits, if this UK paper has it right.

I can't add too much to the kudos being offered in the article. I will say that as a mere casual moviegoer, Hackman always impressed me as a guy who got totally lost in his characters. You never said to yourself, "gee, why does Hackman always play Hackman in his roles?" Unlike, say, Donald Sutherland, or, from a later generation, Tom Cruise, or, from an even later generation, Tobey Maguire.

Whether he was doing great comedy as Royal Tennenbaum or playing a cold-hearted thug like Sheriff Bill, he always seemed to fit the role. From this layman's perspective, that makes for one heck of an actor.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ponnuru takes down Sullivan...

with his typical panache. From the Corner:

Andrew Sullivan comes to the aid of John Derbyshire, with whom he is well-matched in argumentative style and malice. Sullivan, adducing, as is frequently the case, absolutely no evidence, intuits that I "basically want Vatican II undone." The accusation is false, baseless, presumptuous, and sort of insane, which is another way of saying that it does not stand out on Sullivan's blog.

Hill wins PA

With 96% in, it looks like her margin will be 9-10%, and she'll gain over 200,000 in popular vote margin.

She will go on. Oh yes, she will go on.

Floor fight, anyone?
Friday, April 18, 2008

Tonight on Letterman: Stupid Architect Tricks

Glad to see we learn from the past...
Thursday, April 17, 2008

Romney's Top 10

His top 10 reasons for dropping out. My favorite is #5.

10. There weren't as many Osmonds as I thought.
9. I got tired of corkscrew landings under sniper fire.
8. As a lifelong hunter, I didn't want to miss the start of the varmint season.
7. There wasn’t room for two Christian leaders.
6. I was upset that no one had bothered to search my passport files.
5. I needed an excuse to get fat, grow a beard and win the Nobel prize.
4. I took a bad fall at a campaign rally and broke my hair.
3. I wanted to finally take off that dark suit and tie, and kick back in a light-colored suit and tie.
2. Once my wife Ann realized I couldn't win, my fundraising dried up.
1. There was a miscalculation in our theory: "As Utah goes, so goes the nation.”

Dem debate

I watched most of the first hour of the Dem debate last night, and what I saw was...encouraging. Encouraging that McCain may have a good shot at winning. Neither candidate looked great, and both clearly bring a lot of baggage to the table that the RNC can have a field day with.

Obama made a statement at one point similar to my post a few days ago, that it's unfortunate that so much of campaigning these days is focused on gaffes or misstatements. This really is not a useful way to elect a president, and I agree with him there. Unfortunately for Obama, he then went on to make two mistakes (IMO).

First, when asked to clarify his recent "bitter" comments, he took the exact wrong tact. Instead of saying that he meant that some people are angry or bitter towards the current administration, he reinforced what is apparently his true belief that the only reason people have faith or guns is because they are unhappy and harbor some bitterness. So it in fact appears that his original statement was not misspoken; it is what he believes. On the other hand, Hillary mopped the floor with him in her follow up by saying it exactly correctly. People being bitter towards the current administration is a valid but completely separate issue from whether they are religious or have guns.

Second, Obama fails to directly address and answer legitimate questions. Specifically, he talked around the issue of why he won't wear a flag pin; he tries to downplay his 20 year association with Rev. Wright as so inconsequential that it couldn't possibly be legitimately used as a proxy for his own opinions; he downplayed an association with William Ayers and wouldn't more directly condemn both Ayers' actions and comments; and he never really came out and directly said he loves this country. He makes round-about statements such as "How could I not love this country?" instead of "Of course I love this country, with unquestionable passion. Even though I think we are the best nation in the world I want to strive to make us even better."

I think between his comments, personal associates, and his wife's comments and Princeton thesis he is going to have a hard time getting around the patriotism issue this fall. That, plus his flawed opinion about the driving force for religious convictions is going to be his downfall.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Making "bitter" sweet

Here's my crack at a McCain radio/TV spot to make hay off of Obama's "bitter" gaffe:

Do you believe in the right of Americans to keep and bear arms, as found in the Constitution?

If so, Barack Obama says you're just confused. With better job security, you wouldn't care about the right to defend yourself and your family.

Do you believe in God?

If so, Barack Obama thinks you're just desperate for something to make you feel better, since your pay isn't keeping up with the cost of living.

Do you believe in securing the border?

If so, it's because you're afraid for your economic well-being, and easily manipulated by hate mongers offering a scapegoat.

That's what Barack Obama says.

In John McCain's view, it's important to get the economy going so people can get back on their feet. But it's also important to remember the heritage we've been given as Americans: a legacy of freedom, faith, and the rule of law. That heritage is a gift that Americans should not, and are not, willing to sell off. Not for any politican's promises. Not at any price.

The MSM and the candidates

This bodes well. It's been said that the media likes McCain a lot because of the way he interacts with them. Well, apparently that's true as attested to by a recent event.

John McCain and Barack Obama both appeared before the nation's newspaper editors yesterday. The putative Republican presidential nominee was given a box of doughnuts and a standing ovation. The likely Democratic nominee was likened to a terrorist.

Nice shot, but could have been better


While my approval meter dropped right back down to zero, it twitched up ever so slightly when I saw the video of Hilary downing a shot of Crown Royal. You can read more about it here. Don't get me wrong, Crown Royal is fine. But why not an American spirit? ... and that concludes my cheeky comment for the day.
Sunday, April 13, 2008

Campaigns

It's really amazing to watch the dynamics of the press coverage of Clinton-Obama over the past few months. It's unbelievable that they literally alternate coverage of stupid comments week to week. This week it's Obama saying that people are bitter and that's why they "cling" to guns and religion; the week before that it was Bill and Hillary's lies about Bosnia; the week before that it was Rev. Wright; before that it was Hillary on NAFTA; Obama on NAFTA; ...

While I enjoy watching the Dems destroy themselves, I can't help but also be disappointed at the lowest common denominator that politics and political coverage has become. While it is certainly true that 200+ years ago American politics was a dirty business with devastating accusations, it is also true that politicians had to present more detailed positions on key topics and the average voter spent more time getting informed. Today, instead of deep press coverage about McCain v. Obama v. Hillary on issues such as Iraq, containment of Iran, broader Middle East, rising role of China in the world, implications of economic policy avoiding tight credit and rising trade imbalances but resulting in a weaker US dollar, Medicare/Social Security, etc., we have never ending back and forth magnification of individual sentences or words.

Don't get me wrong, words certainly matter and when you put enough of them together to see a pattern (e.g., Clintons are prolific liars or the Obamas having unpatriotic sentiments) it's very important. And it's certainly mind-boggling that these candidates can't go one week without saying something stupid or indefensible. Character is critical not just to me, but to a majority of Americans. But at some point so too are policies, and it seems that the press focuses too much on the minutia at times. The statement 'not seeing the forest for the trees' comes to mind.
Thursday, April 10, 2008

Occ Obs Solid Citizenship Award


The once-in-a-blue moon OOSC trophy makes an appearance.

This time, for Eli Estrada:

It was a tempting sight for struggling landscaper Eli Estrada: a bag filled with $140,000 on a Cerritos street.

There was his credit card debt, upcoming wedding and making ends meet with his artificial grass and landscaping business.

But turning it over to Long Beach police last month was the right thing to do, he said.

The 40-year-old Estrada admits that some days "I think I was nuts," but he adds, "I know in my gut that to keep that money would be wrong."

The Bank of America money bag was lost March 11 by Brinks Armored truck drivers. The unmarked $20 bills were bundled into wads of $20,000 and bound for ATMs.

Long Beach police Sgt. Dina Zapalski said Estrada handed over the money bag to an officer who took a report at one of the landscaper's job sites.

Just one request, Eli: lose the soul patch. Ah, heck, I guess you can keep it.

Wow

Here's how short-lived American's memories are: Obama is already back ahead of McCain in the Rasmussen poll, and tied with him on favorable/unfavorable ratings. For a while McCain was the only candidate with >50% favorable, but now Obama is right next to him with 53%. I am amazed that he has already recovered and buried the Wright story. It's like PC has gotten such a hold on everyone that even when someone speaks with as much anger and hatred and racism as "Rev." "Wright", somehow you're the bad guy if you don't overlook it.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008

McCain VP

Brief analysis by RCP here. In many ways similar to comments we've made, although he is more forceful in saying McCain should avoid anyone with Bush ties at all costs.

Are you kidding me???

This has to be the shoddiest piece of reporting and most blatant example of media bias I've yet seen.

Let's pretend for a moment that none of the soldiers they interviewed intended to vote for McCain; they were all for Hillary or Obama. In this scenario, how could an honest article not mention McCain's name, even if only to raise the point that none of soldiers intended to vote for the only veteran? If you were an honest journalist wouldn't you find a lack of overwhelming support for McCain to be odd, and therefore pointedly ask this question to troops? Perhaps the limited cross-section of troops they interviewed indeed were primarily for Obama or Hillary, but again, to not even mention McCain in this context is outrageously poor reporting.
Monday, April 07, 2008

No, Bob, No!

Here is a 3rd party challenge that would pose a far greater threat to the GOP than Nader poses to the Dems. And it seems to be gathering momentum.

Absolut Genius: Photoshop Edition



ht: Malkin / Ed

Don't Drink Vodka

...well Absolut Vodka anyway. Now you're asking yourself "why is MB advocating against having a drink?" Take a look at this advertisement and you'll see why.


Condi gunning for VP

Supposedly she's interested in pursuing the nomination, according to this.

My biggest question is whether her association with the Bush regime is a pro or con. How many conservative voters who otherwise would have sat this election out would now vote for the ticket if she is on it, compared to how many more voters will the Dem nominee receive as a protest vote against "4 more years" of Bush? My guess is the latter group is much larger, so association with Bush seems like it has to be a negative in this election. In addition, the fact that she is intelligent, well-spoken, and good on camera won't matter if people have already made up their minds and don't listen to the debates (which is most people); she can't change the minds of people who don't pay attention.

I'm on the fence with this one. I think she has great foreign policy insight that would be very beneficial, and I think she carries herself extremely well. As much as I would love to see her on the ticket, my best guess is that all Bush-associated personnel are tainted this election and it's best to stay away.

[Here's a prior OccObs post on Rice as Veep]
Thursday, April 03, 2008

Hmmm.....

Male Rock Fans likely to vote for McCain:

If you are male and a Led Zeppelin fan, chances are you may be leaning toward voting Republican in the U.S. presidential election, according to a survey of rock radio fans released on Wednesday.

The Jacobs Media’s Media/Technology Web Poll IV of more than 27,000 respondents cited stronger than expected interest in the November 2008 election among fans of rock, classic rock, and alternative radio stations.

It also found that John McCain, the Republican candidate for U.S. president, was the top pick for the Oval Office for men and classic rock partisans — those people who tune in to stations playing music from the “original classic rock era” of 1964 to 1975, comprised of bands like Led Zeppelin, The Who and Pink Floyd.

Jacobs Media said the survey, conducted among 69 U.S. rock-formatted stations in markets as diverse as Los Angeles and Knoxville to Buffalo, found 84 percent of the respondents planned to vote in the November election.

ht: Kavon

Super delegates

There's been a lot of talk lately about whether Dem super delegates should "respect the wishes of the people" and simply cast their vote for whichever candidate garners the highest popular vote. We can apply this same reasoning to the electoral college: should its members automatically vote for whoever wins the popular vote?

To me, the answer is no, otherwise why do they exist? If superdelegates should simply cast an automatic vote aligned with the popular vote, then why have them? Why not just have the popular vote and be done with it? The answer is that just like with electoral voters, they should be free to cast whatever vote they want. The founders put the electoral system in place for a reason, since many of them didn't trust the masses. Likewise, the superdelegates should be allowed to vote for whoever they think makes the strongest Dem nominee, regardless of the popular vote. Otherwise, they serve no purpose, in which case get rid of them.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008

McCain VP

Apparently McCain has begun the process of compiling the long list of VP candidates.

It is really hard to figure how his thought process goes. Does he go with loyalty and pick someone he knows well and owes something to, or does he make a pragmatic choice that is likely to help him the most? Also, is it better to have someone who is in some way tied to Bush (e.g., Portman) since that would appease conservatives and make it far easier for him to tap into the Bush fundraising $ he has thus far been unable to, or does that alienate too many voters in '08 and make it easier for Dems to say McCain=4 more years of Bush?
Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Interesting demographic/geographic observations on the Dem primary battle

Sean Oxendine at Race 4 2008 layers the county-by-county primary results over the map of the mountainous "Appalachia" region, as defined by the US Gov. As he says, "almost perfect correlation" to the strongest Clinton areas:



His conclusion is that, based on how most of the population left to vote is squarely within Appalachia, that Hillary has a good shot at winning the national Popular Vote. You can go through his numerous predictions and calculations if you want to double check him. I'll just take his word for it.

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Always sniffing for the truth

Always sniffing for the truth

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