Friday, October 31, 2008


Hang Senator Obama in effigy, get rightfully arrested (scumbags):
"Police said they arrested Joe Fischer, 22, a senior at the university, and Hunter Bush 21, a former student at Bluegrass Community and Technical College."
Hang governor Palin in effigy, it's no big deal:
"People have First Amendment rights (to free speech)," Goss said. "I would speculate that if it's part of a Halloween display then its political satire."

Picture of the Day

Enceladus is one of Saturn's 60 moons - and more are being discovered as time goes on. Scientists aren't exactly sure why the planet has so many, possibly they are the result of another planet close by that was destroyed by gravity and ground into the rings and smaller satellites (ground smooth and round over time), possibly all planets had a lot of particulate matter around them and most fell to the surface, some scientists think that perhaps Saturn when it formed didn't pull in all of the matter around it and that formed into separate smaller bodies.

In any case, the NASA spacecraft Cassini swung by Enceladus recently and took a lot of pictures. Here's one of them:

That's a picture of the moon against the vast surface of Saturn's atmosphere, with shadows of the rings showing against the planet. If you want to see more pictures, has a huge gallery of awesome pictures, including a 12-stage animated gif showing Cassius rocketing up to the moon at over 32,000 miles an hour! I highly recommend a look, even if you aren't fascinated in space and exploration like I am.

Saturn is truly gigantic, 74,000 miles across (earth is about 7900 miles across) and 95 times the mass of earth. Enceladus, on the other hand, is small although it appears to have water on it. it is around 500 miles across and has an orbit inside the rings of Saturn. It is orbiting so rapidly around the planet that it takes just over a day (33 hours) to circle the planet.

Enceladus, by the way, was a titan: a Greek giant that ruled before the rise of the gods (Zeus, etc) and was killed by Athena. If you want to know more about the moon, the University Center for Astronomic Research (University of Michigan) has a helpful website.


You might have seen some of this, from an email that is going around. It consists of a list of tips and tricks you can use around the house, little interesting ideas to try with food and other things. Here's the food tips:
Peel your banana from the bottom (the side opposite the stem) to reduce the number of stringy bits that cling to it. That's a trick learned from monkeys.

Another banana trick: if they are separated, they ripen slower, in a bunch they ripen faster. I prefer my bananas less ripened, if they have black spots, they're getting too ripe for me.

Store your opened cheese in aluminum foil, this will help the cheese stay fresh longer and mold slower

To warm breads or pancakes, put a cup of water in the microwave with the bread, this helps it reheat faster and prevents the bread from dehydrating as much.

They say if you put a dryer sheet in your pocket you'll keep mosquitos away, but like garlic keeping vampires away it probably will work well on other people as well.

If your windows get fogged up, use a chalkboard eraser (sans chalk) to wipe them free. Not only does this prevent oils from your hands getting on the glass and smearing it up, but it will clean the condensation off better than a rag.

They say you should wash your clothes drier's lint collector once (with soapy water and a toothbrush) every six months because the waxy stuff on drier sheets collects on them and prevents air from moving through as effectively. This can damage your drier's motor and prevent proper lint removal.
I've not tried most of these, so maybe they're no good but a few I know for certain work, and the rest seem plausible at least. That's enough being domestic for today.


"But wherever would I buy my arugala?"

Unemployment has risen slightly the last quarter, which means there are more people out of work in the last few months than lately. After several years of unbelievably low unemployment it appears the pattern is finally breaking. Now, with the numbers more like a typical economic situation there are more people looking for a new job, and MSN has some suggestions on where and where not to look for work. The first thing to realize is that the cities are not your best bet:
Unemployment rates were higher in 338 of the 369 U.S. metropolitan areas surveyed, which means 92 percent of cities have seen an increase in their unemployment rates. Only 25 areas reported lower rates, while six areas had no change. The national unemployment rate in July, 6 percent, was up 1.1 percent from 4.9 percent last year.
In other words: look rural, not urban. That means not Los Angeles, not Chicago, no New York City, etc. You'll notice here that although the Unemployment rate is 6 out of 100 people nationally, some of these cities have astonishingly high rates (the voters there should consider what party is in power and why that's happening, if they can). Here are the top ten worst, the list is 25 at the MSNBC link:
El Centro, California
Unemployment Rate: 26.2
Rate last year: 20.7
Job Growth: nil

Yuma, Arizona
Unemployment Rate: 20
Rate last year: 19
Job Growth: .2
Flint, Michigan
Unemployment Rate: 12.3
Rate last year: 9.9
Job Growth: -5.9

Merced, California
Unemployment Rate: 11.9
Rate last year: 9.9
Job Growth: 1.2

Yuba City, California
Unemployment Rate: 11.9
Rate last year: 9
Job Growth: nil

Modesto, Calfornia
Unemployment Rate: 11.3
Rate last year: 8.8
Job Growth: -1.9

Visalia, California
Unemployment Rate: 11
Rate last year: 8.9
Job Growth: .3

Monroe, Michigan
Unemployment Rate: 10.8
Rate last year: 8.4
Job Growth: nil

Palm Coast, Florida
Unemployment Rate: 10.7
Rate last year: 7.1
Job Growth: -.8

Stockton, California
Unemployment Rate: 10.5
Rate last year: 8.4
Job Growth: .4
Here's the thing: if you don't live in one of these places (almost all California and Michigan) you probably haven't noticed much of a problem economically. Because for the country to have a 6% average, there's a lot of places with much lower unemployment to balance out these areas with such high unemployment. That means most of the country is doing rather well, and some urban pockets are doing rather poorly; and its those that Senator Obama speaks to when he talks about how miserable and awful and painful life is. And why there's such a disconnect for most of us when we hear it - for who? It's important to remember this: even in good economic times there are people who have it really rough. And even in bad ones, there are people for whom things aren't so bad - and not just the rich.

So those who have it bad need some perspective on the rest of the nation, and those for whom things are fine need to remember that it's hard on some folks.

Now for the good news, where do you move to get work? Hint: not California or Michigan. Not in big cities, either:

Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Unemployment Rate: 2.3
Rate last year: 2.3
Job Growth: 1.6

Idaho Falls, Idaho
Unemployment Rate: 2.4
Rate last year: 1.6
Job Growth: nil

Rapid City, South Dakota
Unemployment Rate: 2.5
Rate last year: 2.6
Job Growth: .8

Bismark, North Dakota
Unemployment Rate: 2.6
Rate last year: 2.5
Job Growth: 2.0

Houma, Louisiana
Unemployment Rate: 2/7
Rate last year: 2.9
Job Growth: 2.4

Morgantown, West Virginia
Unemployment Rate: 2.8
Rate last year: 3.4
Job Growth: nil

Fargo, North Dakota
Unemployment Rate: 2.9
Rate last year: 2.9
Job Growth: 1.3

Casper, Wyoming
Unemployment Rate: 3.0
Rate last year: 2.7
Job Growth: nil

Billings, Montana
Unemployment Rate: 3.0
Rate last year: 2.3
Job Growth: 1.7
As you can see, if you want a job go red, young man. The smaller populated and more rural states, the ones solid red in elections the last two presidential votes are doing much better economically. You'll note that states without the huge cities as a drain on their economy and left-leaning politics to dominate the policy tend to be doing much better, almost as if there's some sort of correlation between politics and business climate, between left and economic hardship and right and economic well being.

Certainly the more rural states are able to absorb economic blows more easily; if you need food you grow it. You aren't relying on a city's corrupt and rotting infrastructure as much to maintain people who do not and cannot work. The greater the concentration of humanity, the more likely crime, corruption, and bureaucracy will arise to make matters worse. And the left tends to exacerbate these problems with well-meaning but idiotic ideas and social experiments.

Will you miss all those cultural benefits of the big city like Menstrua, the performance artist who pours blood over her leather-clad body and charges you $150 a ticket to watch? Yes. Then again, you'll get the beauty of watching the sun rise and seeing actual stars at night, for free. The choice is yours.

I remember the last time we had a president like Obama in office, the unemployment rate in Oregon was over 15% and I stood in line looking for jobs at every place I could find. When there was a real depression, we had lines like... well look at the picture illustrating this blog entry. A Democrat was in power then, too.


-zombie voter"

A record number of voter registrations have been handed in for the US presidential election. According to the 47 states who report the numbers before an election, 133 million Americans have signed up to vote - three out of four eligible voters. For people who long for greater participation and turnout, this sounds like a great thing. It also sounds like my prediction of a tiny voter turnout will be wrong (we'll see). You'll notice that the MSNBC link doesn't mention something significant; a problem with those registrations.

The problem is... how many of those registrations are real? ACORN has gone into overdrive this election to sign up as many registrations as possible, whether they're real or not. Hundreds of thousands of voter registrations in Ohio alone are suspect, counties in several states have signed up more registrations than eligible voters living in the area. A Democratic politician's own campaign adviser from New York was registered to vote in Ohio. Not that New York residents voting more than once is unusual; in 2000 and 2004 both it was found that thousands voted in both New York and Florida states. College students have long gotten a ballot at their college address and home address because states aren't very careful about cleaning up the voting rolls.

What's the point of this overregistration, of flooding the rolls with fake voters and bogus registration cards? Well the answer is threefold.

First, it makes it impossible for the states to properly check through all the cards and make sure real ones are the only ones to vote.

Second it makes it easier to sue for disenfranchisement and claim the Republicans stole the election (ACORN does not help Republicans - for example Senator Obama gave their closely guarded donor list to ACORN this year, according to testimony by a former worker) because they threw out x number of ballots, more than ever!

Third, it generally destabilizes the entire concept and system of voting. Democracy its self is under attack by the left, not symbolically, but intentionally. Far left academics are calling Democracy an illusion, a failed system to be thrown on the ash heap of history with monarchy. The more voting is distrusted and defamed, the less people will be inclined to trust the results and the election. If Obama doesn't win, clearly it was only because of trickery and the fact that elections do not work any more. Note: when Democrats win, this never seems to come up.

Fourth, it allows ACORN and organizations of that sort to cast many many ballots for these fake people, and defraud the election. Does anyone seriously think that these guys are backing dumptrucks of fake registrations up to the office simply out of some great prank? That they have no intention of actually voting with these lies? Of course they intend to, with as many as they can get away with.

And frankly, why not? It works - just ask Governor Gregoire in Washington state, who so blatantly stole the election that even the hyper-left Seattle Times called for a re-vote. There's almost never any consequence to voter fraud, and if it works - if the Democrats win a larger majority in both houses and the presidency - the investigations aren't exactly going to be vigorous. Unless it's to grill Republican state officials for throwing out fake registrations.

And if it works, Republican voters will grumble and point out the problems, complain about fraud and worry about the future of the nation... but will treat the winners as winners because working within the system is how the right prefers to function.

If it doesn't work, well we've seen how the left acts when they don't win. Secretary of State Brunner in Ohio already has succeeded in dragging out the process so far that going through the hundreds of thousands of suspect registrations is not possible at this point. She even refuses to follow federal election laws, claiming that just because federal law requires her to have a system for double-checking registrations doesn't mean she has to actually use that system or double check them. The attempt to rig this election is so blatant it is clear they have no shame.

So while Senator McCain should comfortably win for a variety of reasons, he might not. And unlike the left, the right won't riot or scream about "selected, not elected" for four years. We'll all know it was fake, we'll all know that the left cheated, but there's really nothing anyone will be able to do. The problem is that in this life, cheaters often do prosper.

And the saddest part is that there are actually some Republican outfits trying to fake registrations and defraud the election too - two wrongs don't make a right, and even if they did you're outnumbered 100:1 anyway boys. In the end I suspect that most of those people registered newly this year won't be voting - that the turnout will be very disappointing for the Democrats and those who see this news and feel cheered.

There is good news, though: the recent flood of fake registrations and over the top attempts to rig the election is making states like North Carolina examine their system and work on ways to prevent this from working next time. And if nothing else, it's shown what an incredibly corrupt hack Secretary of State Brunner is to the entire world.

*Hat tip Ace of Spades HQ for several points brought up here.

Fisked Quote of the Day

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
"Elect us, hold us accountable, and make a judgment and then go from there."

If the voters were going to hold you accountable, no Democrat would be elected this year.

"But I do tell you that if the Democrats win, and have substantial majorities, Congress of the United States will be more bipartisan"

Yeah, that makes sense. You'll be more bipartisan than when you're forced to be by a GOP presence. You won't take a larger majority as a mandate to leftist overspending and legislation, you'll start listening to Republican more! Just like this was going to be "the most ethical congress ever." But I guess lies are a politician's job, eh?
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Picture of the Day

Here's a promotional pic from the upcoming Star Wars reboot movie:

Star Trek Comparison
Let's hope they don't make Dawson's Trek. The sets look very futuristic and updated, which is good - the future should look higher tech and more impressive than we have now, even if it violates the feel of the old 60s Star Trek.

The actors have a youthful feel of the characters they play, but I'm not real happy with how much of a pretty boy Kirk has been cast. He's like a male model, it's hard to take them seriously or see them as being butt-whooping action heroes. He looks like he'd rather stare deep into his own eyes in the mirror than go out and save the universe.

For more look at the Star Trek reboot, check out the Movie Blog.


Is it the end of an era, or the beginning of a new one? Does this change signal the end of a medium or does it signal the beginning of a new trend? The Christian Science Monitor is dropping its printed newspaper and going online-only as of 2009:
This new, multiplatform strategy for the Monitor will "secure and enlarge the Monitor's role in its second century," said Mary Trammell, editor in chief of The Christian Science Publishing Society and a member of the Christian Science Board of Directors. Mrs. Trammell said that "journalism that seeks to bless humanity, not injure, and that shines light on the world's challenges in an effort to seek solutions, is at the center of Mary Baker Eddy's vision for the Monitor. The method of delivery and format are secondary" and need to be adjusted, given Mrs. Eddy's call to keep the Monitor "abreast of the times."

While the Monitor's print circulation, which is primarily delivered by US mail, has trended downward for nearly 40 years, "looking forward, the Monitor's Web readership clearly shows promise," said Judy Wolff, chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Christian Science Publishing Society. "We plan to take advantage of the Internet in order to deliver the Monitor's journalism more quickly, to improve the Monitor's timeliness and relevance, and to increase revenue and reduce costs. We can do this by changing the way the Monitor reaches its readers."

The coming changes, over two years in the planning stage, occur at a time of fundamental transition in news publishing and turn the page on a remarkable chapter in American journalism. The Monitor, which celebrates its 100th anniversary on Nov. 25, was launched at the direction of church founder Eddy, who had been the subject of a searing legal and journalistic attack by Joseph Pulitzer's New York World. Officials of her church had a professional news organization up and running in just over 100 days.
In a time when the legacy media has done irreparable damage to its reputation as an objective reporting outlet, we are a week from a significant fork in the road. Will papers have a president and congress that will actively work to assist them and help silence other voices, or will they be shown as ineffective despite a no-holds-barred all-out credibility destroying effort to elect Democrats?

Time will tell. Maybe the CSM is prescient and ahead of the curve, and maybe they are just abandoning ship because they can't keep up in the business.

The World Is Not Worthy: 10/29/08

"How many have noticed that events like this - persecution of Christians - have grown not only more frequent, but also more acceptable to Western society in general?"

Iraqi Christians
One of the greatest horrors of the reconstruction Iraq was the treatment of Christians. Although Islam teaches that Christians are brothers, fellow worshipers of God and reverent to the Bible (if mistaken, by Islamic standards), many radical Muslims consider Christians the enemy. Particularly hated are Arabic Christians who are considered traitors to the faith. All Arabs, it is reasoned, are Muslim naturally and by birth, and any who are Christian must have abandoned Islam and thus must die.

Christians were murdered by the thousand and many fled areas, only returning recently. In some areas, the murders continue, although the Iraqi government has managed to crack down on the horrors. In Mosul this month, thousands of Christians fled the city as gangs began hunting down any who professed the faith to kill them.
One grey-haired woman understands more than most the fear that has gripped Iraq's beleaguered Christian community over the past month.

Her brother, Bashar al-Hazim, was among the first to be murdered in a wave of targeted killings that has forced more than 2,000 Christian families to flee the northern city of Mosul.

Masked gunmen walked up to Mr Hashim as he stood with his two children outside their house in the east-side of Mosul in late September.

They demanded to see his identity card, confirmed he was Christian and executed the 41-year-old on the spot.
Iraq still struggles with the hate-filled radical Muslims who although they have given up the fight to destroy the nation's government and kill the coalition soldiers, still seethe with rage and a need to turn the country into an Islamic dictatorship.

Iraq faces a difficult future, in which their neighboring countries want them to collapse and despise a non-Islamic government in place, and some living in the country long for a return of their tribe and religion's dominance of the land. Caught in the middle are religious minorities such as Jews and Christians.

India is another place where violence against Christians regularly flares up. Hindus, generally thought of as peaceful and gentle have as much blood in their past as any faith and radicals will strike out with death in their minds against any threat to their dominance.

The state of Orissa in India is cautiously hoping they are returning to peace: it has been six days since someone was killed by radical Hindus or a riot took place.
The violence erupted after the Aug 23 killing of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and four others at his ashram in Kandhamal.

Blaming Christians for the murders, thousands of rampaging Hindus burnt Christian homes and churches in the past month. Christian groups have repeatedly denied the charge.

The police this week arrested three people linked to Maoists who are reportedly behind the killing of Saraswati.

The biggest challenge at present before the administration is to ensure that the people in the relief camps return home. Some have gone back, Kumar said.

At least 23,000 people had taken shelter in the relief camps in the district. With many returning to their homes, the number has come down to 15,000, an official said.
Indian Church burningCommunists killed Hindus, and blamed Christians, and the Hindus went berserk. Here are a few examples of the horrors:
Last Thursday (Sept. 25), some 700 people armed with axes, swords, and iron bars attacked a Missionaries of Charity house in Sukananda village in Kandhamal, reported Asia News agency.

"There was no one at home, because when the violence erupted against the Christians, we took our few belongings and moved to our house in Bhubaneswar," Sister M. Suma told the agency. "We brought with us the tabernacle, the altar, and especially the Dalit and tribal girls whom we were sheltering."

Late on Wednesday (Sept. 24), mobs burned about 30 houses and two prayer houses in Simanjodi village and 50 houses in Batingia village, reported The Indian Express newspaper.

In Rakingia village, an Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) team that had gone to clear roadblocks was attacked, forcing the accompanying police to open fire, added the newspaper.

"Two tribal people have reportedly been killed," the daily reported. "Sources said tribals with bows and arrows launched an attack on the ODRAF."

According to the All India Christian Council (AICC), at least 57 people have been killed, more than 18,000 injured and over 4,300 houses, 150 churches and 13 educational institutions destroyed since the Aug. 24 outbreak of violence in Orissa. Two Christian women were also gang-raped.
The horrors continued for over two months, targeting Christians specifically out of old caste and religious hatreds given an excuse.

A mob of 300 attacked a Chrstian prayer hall, burning the contents for "demeaning Hindu gods and customs" by converting locals. Also particularly hated is the fact that Christians reject the caste system and reach out to all people regardless of their birth or social status.

Technically all India has religious freedom, Article 355 of the Indian Constitution requires state governments to function with due respect to constitutional provisions" but some states prefer not to intervene on behalf of non Muslims or non Hindus - or do so slowly and reluctantly.

Around the world, people who are Christians are being abused, hated, attacked, driven from their homes, beaten, tortured, and killed simply for their faith. Some can't figure this out; in the Times article, a commenter asked this question:
People who die for their faith are not to blame, but surely the church should tell them that life is more valuable than adhering strictly to one set of beliefs? Or does pro-life only apply to the unborn?
-Ben from York
The question displays an astonishing ignorance of religion and faith in general - and a basic lack of self examination. I mean no disrespect for Ben, he likely has never had his worldview seriously challenged nor has he likely had much learning and experience with religion.

The fact is, people cling to their faith not because they've been instructed to by the church, but because they love their faith and love Jesus Christ. For them, salvation is not a matter of whim but their entire being and meaning. It isn't a decision like what to eat for dinner or who you'll vote for, it is a soul-changing event that redefines your character and worldview. For Christians, dying sucks, but losing your soul is forever and far worse. Living is good, but living for Christ in love and gratitude for his sacrifice and love is forever and far better.
"For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain"
-Philippians 1:21
The Bible never tells people to die for Jesus, it tells people to live for Jesus and live in the world as a beacon of hope, truth, and faith. It tells people that death is a portal to the everlasting, that life here is of service and difficulty, weariness and sadness but an eternal reward awaits for the sake of what Christ has done. We all want to go home, we all serve here because we're called to. Sometimes that means dying; only someone who sees no future beyond this life would wonder why we'd rather die than abandon our Lord.
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Quote of the Day

"I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him."
-Galileo Galilei
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008


“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
-Benjamin Franklin

The blog Sweetness & Light has a roundup of quotes from the founding fathers about socialism and redistribution of wealth:
“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”
—Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

“A wise and frugal government… shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
—Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”
—Thomas Jefferson

“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.”
—John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787

“With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.”
—James Madison in a letter to James Robertson

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”
—James Madison, 4 Annals of Congress 179, 1794

“The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
—James Madison
This and much more by these men is probably why Senator Obama speaks of the Bill of Rights as "negative rights" and calls for a "positive bill of rights" which would include health care, food, employment and various other leftist causes. And why he thought the Warren court didn't go far enough ignoring the constitution.

Maybe even that's why he thinks the US is like Nazi Germany:
"There’s a lot of change going on outside of the Court, um, that, that judges essentially have to take judicial notice of. I mean you’ve got World War II, you’ve got uh, uh, uh, the doctrines of Nazism, that, that we are fighting against, that start looking uncomfortably similar to what we have going on, back here at home."
-Senator Obama about America
I think not, Senator. But with that worldview no wonder you admired and called a close friend and mentor the man who cried "God damn America" and whose wife is so very unhappy with the country she lives in.

It might even explain why he said this in his book Dreams of My Father":
"Black Nationalism provided that history. An unambiguous morality tale that was easily communicated and easily grasped: a steady attack on the White race, the constant recitation of black people's brutal experience in this country served as the ballast that could prevent the ideas of personal responsibility -- into an ocean of despair. "Yes," the nationalists would say, "Whites are responsible for your sorry state, not any inherent flaws in you."

"In fact," the nationalists would continue, "whites are so heartless and devious that we can no longer expect anything from them. The self-loathing you feel, what keeps you drinking or thieving, is planted by them. Rid them for your mind and find your true power liberated. Rise up, ye mighty race!"

All this was painful to consider. It's painful now as it had been years ago. It contradicted the morality my mother had taught me a morality of subtle distinctions between individuals of goodwill and those who wished me ill between active malice and ignorance or indifference. I had a personal stake in that moral framework. I discovered that I couldn't escape it if I tried.

As it turned out, though, it was questions of effectiveness and not sentiment that caused most of my quarrels with Rafiq.
Yeah. He didn't have problems with the sentiment of the black nationalists that formed his worldview. Just how they figured to achieve their goals.


"Only the U.S. Department of Agriculture could dream up a policy like this."
-Representative John Flake (R-AZ)

As I've pointed out several times in the past, ethanol subsidies - corn or grass or any other kind - are problematic because they pay farmers to farm things other than food. The corn and food product ethanol subsidies are particularly troubling because they pay farmers to burn food rather than produce it for eating, which is causing food shortages worldwide, but paying farmers to grow anything other than the food they were causes the same result: less food being grown.

Well, it turns out that the farmers who grow corn for Ethanol have noticed the bitter fruit of their efforts: it's costing them more and more to grow the stuff. They can't make as much money as before. The solution? Beg the federal government for more money. Hey, begging for a bailout worked for the mortgage industry, why not farmers?
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said the federal government is considering outlays of as much as $25 million to help ethanol plants, which have been hit by volatile commodity prices.
With the bank and wallstreet bailout pushing one TRILLION dollars (apparently the government can find more money if they choose to - or at least print it and pretend it's worth the same as before), a further bailout of $25 billion to auto makers, the farmers are just lining up with their hand out.

What happens to the future economy when the government starts printing huge stacks of money to make things seem okay to individuals? Ask the Germans, circa 1932.


A quick report: Senator Stevens of Alaska (R-AK) has been found guilty on all charges. Representative Jefferson (D-LA) is still in office and chairs a committee on homeland security. Somehow I suspect if Stevens was a Democrat the process would have taken longer and been less likely to conclude before the election, at the very least.

Colin Powell, who referred to Senator Stevens as a man of "sterling character" has had no comment on the events.

I say every one of these crooks needs to be removed from office as swiftly as possible and given a life sentence of hard time.


Hey, we won in Iraq. Just so you know, since there's been no big announcement from the president or any front page news, no parades, no parties. There have been no movies about success or victory, no TV shows celebrating the success of our attempts there. The entire story has been buried: we won, we succeeded, we did our job. The Iraqis are free and have a peaceful, safe country to build. They have a Republic, if they can keep it, just like the US started out. The coalition of the willing from more than 40 nations triumphed over the forces of terrorism, darkness, and death.

Maybe its time we all ask why that's not being talked about by anyone.


"I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
-Senator Obama

They told me if President Bush was elected then the government would illegally dig into the backgrounds of political opponents... and they were right!

Public records requested by The Dispatch disclose that information on Wurzelbacher's driver's license or his sport-utility vehicle was pulled from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles database three times shortly after the debate.

Information on Wurzelbacher was accessed by accounts assigned to the office of Ohio Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency and the Toledo Police Department.

It has not been determined who checked on Wurzelbacher, or why. Direct access to driver's license and vehicle registration information from BMV computers is restricted to legitimate law enforcement and government business.
They told me if President Bush was elected that bureaucrats would try to hunt up dirt on any political opponent and they were right!

Helen Jones-Kelly, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, confirmed today that she OK'd the check on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher following the Oct. 15 presidential debate.

She said there were no political reasons for the check on the sudden presidential campaign fixture though the Support Enforcement Tracking System.

Amid questions from the media and others about "Joe the Plumber," Jones-Kelley said she approved a check to determine if he was current on any ordered child-support payments.

Coincidentally, Jones-Kelly has donated the maximum amount of money that an individual can send to Senator Obama's election campaign. Her excuse? We always do that, it's not political at all, honest!

With all apologies to Glenn Reynolds, one of the more frustrating things about Obama fans is their willful blindness when it comes to how his campaign operates and how the Obama team and supporters act. I've written before about how intimidation, legal action, and government pressure is brought to bear against people that make Senator Obama look bad or ask questions they don't care to answer. He's not been elected and the pattern is pretty well established, I personally shudder to consider what action his justice department and IRS would take.

The most disturbing part of that frustration is that these are the same people who accused President Bush of the most outrageous and extreme violations of civil liberties and lawbreaking imaginable, without any factual or logical basis. But when Senator Obama's team and supporters do so... it's not even worthy of a shrug.

This doesn't even mention the press attention which instantly spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to find out everything they could to smear Joe the Plumber. He made The One look bad! He must pay! Too bad they're more interested in his taxes than they are in Obama's own team. If only they'd spend as much time investigating their choice for president as they do some citizen who has the temerity to question a politician eh?

I think Stanley Kurtz put it best:
"The Obama camp is still systematically trying to discredit legitimate political opposition, rather than engage in civil debate. I see no reason to believe the technique will be abandoned after the election. On the contrary, victory would convince Democrats that this tactic is the only way to win. So get ready, any conservative or Republican who gains some notice for criticizing Democrats. They won't debate you. They'll do their best to destroy you."
They don't want a discussion or a debate, they don't want to win based on their ideas and principles, they want to demonize and destroy their opposition. And why not? It worked in 2006.

incidentally, I tried to look up a picture of Joe for this article on Google's picture search. On the front page "Joe The Plumber" comes up with no pictures of him, not one. The only picture similar is a picture of Michael Chikliss from the hyper-left radical site Democratic Underground. That's what Google offers of someone who's name is familiar to nearly every American and most people in the west. Nothing.

Yahoo's image site had a full page of his images. I'm sure Google just has been too busy mapping your street and making friends with the Chinese goverment to get around to putting any of his images up.

Quote of the Day

"But the really big attack on women occurred when John McCain selected only the second woman in history to be on a major-party ticket. He chose a governor of a state critical to our energy crisis. She is a very popular governor with an 80-percent approval rate. She was elected on her own merit without previous political ties. She is her own political creation, not the wife, daughter, sister or mistress of a politician.

I thought Americans would be proud of her nomination, whether we agreed or disagreed with her on the issues. Was I in for a shock."
-Helen McCaffrey
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Monday, October 27, 2008


"See, I'm not a monster... I'm just ahead of the curve. "
-The Joker, The Dark Knight

Joker Poster
The Oscars (the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences award show) is in trouble. Due to low quality movies, annoying political pontificating, self-important bloviating, greed and excessive displays of egotism, and generally being long, boring, and overwrought, the Oscars television broadcast has suffered for years. Last year was one of the lowest rated broadcasts in history. The few recent high points have been in 2004 when the Lord of the Rings trilogy swept the awards and 1997 when the greatly overrated Titanic did the same.

Lame hosts, overindulgent sets and productions, endless boring broadcasts and overproduced glitz have turned people off the show. And since the winners are often movies people haven't seen and don't care about, they don't bother tuning in. This year, some think a guy in a bat costume might save them.
Simply put, people care about the Oscars when they have a film to root for.

Which brings us back to The Dark Knight, now history's second-highest-grosser (after Titanic) and projected to earn about $520 million in North America alone, possibly cresting past the $1-billion mark globally. Those numbers will be near impossible for Oscar voters to ignore, especially since Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker was already generating Oscar buzz before the movie's release -- and because it proved a once-in-a-decade blockbuster that critics as well as a broad section of filmgoers responded to. Ledger certainly seems a lock for a best-supporting actor nomination. Should the late Australian win it would mark only the second posthumous Oscar ever awarded, following Peter Finch's victory for Network.

But given the Batman Begins sequel's across-the-stratosphere success, other nominations are probable too: Best picture, director, screenplay and editing among them.
Batman was an oddity: a great adventure movie with action based on a comic book that had great writing, acting and direction which appealed not just to action fans but movie fans, a film that reached out to all segments of filmgoers. I thought the first movie was actually stronger, but the ignoble death of Heath Ledger gave the movie an extra edge, and the film community wanted to memorialize him. I could easily see this happen - and it would interest moviegoers significantly more than previous shows.

I still won't watch it though.


Rush Limbaugh last Friday brought up a good point.

The folks I used to call RINOs - the Republicans who are moderates at best, who loathe conservatism and mock fiscal restraint - these guys all told us a moderate like McCain was our only hope. That the GOP couldn't win without bringing in the middle, without independents and moderates, that their brand of the Republican party was the only hope of victory.

Now folks like Kathleen Parker and other former right-leaning pundits are throwing in the towel and endorsing Senator Obama, even though he stands for nearly everything they allegedly oppose. If moderates like this were so hot on getting McCain for the nominee, Rush asks, why are they not supporting him now? He was their guy, he was their choice, and now they don't want him?

It was your idea to begin with, now it's not a good idea?


Packs of robots will hunt down uncooperative humans

That's the headline, I kid you not. Here's more of the story:
"What we have here are the beginnings of something designed to enable robots to hunt down humans like a pack of dogs. Once the software is perfected we can reasonably anticipate that they will become autonomous and become armed.

We can also expect such systems to be equipped with human detection and tracking devices including sensors which detect human breath and the radio waves associated with a human heart beat. These are technologies already developed."
Am I alone in being a little nervous about this? I mean, especially coming on the heels of REPLEE?


"And that was the CBS Evening News. I am Barack Obama and I approve of this message."

While a leftward tilt in the US news media is an accepted fact and well demonstrated over the years, this year's election has been astoundingly pronounced in bias. So much so that even the Russian government - who knows something about tilting and controlling the message - has written about it:
Russia's Central Elections Committee has also assigned its Centre for the Study of Election Technology to review the U. S. election campaign.

A preliminary report prepared by the group, after studying U. S. media coverage on the NBC, CBS and ABC television networks since September, has concluded Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, has a "hidden advantage."

A preliminary report obtained by the Russian daily online newspaper Kommersant concludes the U. S. television networks devoted more time to Republican candidate John McCain, but "the material that makes up that time difference can be assessed as negative."

The Russian study also said Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential pick, has been subjected to more criticism than her Democratic counterpart, Senator Joe Biden.

It adds that when the presidential candidates' platforms are described, Mr. Obama's is described last, to make it look better, and when platforms are compared, "Obama's is presented preferable."
The Russians are portraying this as proof that their blatant use of the media to protect the ruling party and people in power is nothing unusual: see, even the Americans do it! but then, Senator Obama isn't the president.

The pattern is very clear, even to people who swear up and down there's no bias in the media: any story that hurts Senator Obama is either ignored (usually) buried or downplayed to not seem like much. Anything that hurts Senator McCain is printed in a special first page report. Senator Biden's continous gaffes, embarrassing statements, and goofy slips are ignored or given slight mention with a warm, friendly spin. Anything at all negative about Governor Palin is given top mention, even if it is absurd rumor or crude mud slinging. The number of huge, important, and damaging stories about Senator Obama that are being totally ignored is staggering.

While it's true that in the primaries Senator Obama saw plenty of negative reports, they still were outnumbered by McCain negative reports, and any reporting that would harm Obama stopped once he was clearly going to be the nominee. The bias is absolutely clear - even their own polls show that the overwhleming number of Americans believe that the news media is absolutely in the tank for Obama.

The question isn't whether they are doing so, but instead why? Why such an all-out, no holds barred, reputation and circulation slaughtering self-destructive effort? Why give up everything in order to get Senator Obama in the white house?

The most obvious and easy reason that leaps out is the same reason they worked so hard for two decades in every election to make Republicans look bad and Democrats look good: most people who work and especially run legacy media outlets are Democrats. They want their guys to win and think that Republicans are not just wrong but bad, dangerous, and even evil - as far as they're willing to admit such a thing.

That's why the bias gets so pronounced every election year - it has actually worked a few times, such as 1996 and 2006. That's always a factor, even not during election years. The legacy media has a narrative and especially since around 2003, they've been pushing that as carefully managed as possible to help Democrats. Yet that's not the only reason.

Another major reason that the legacy media is trying so hard to get Senator Obama elected is because their circulation is plummeting. The New York Times saw a zenith in sales around 2000 and from that point on, they've been bleeding customers and advertisers. It's gotten bad enough now that the stockholders are looking at removing the bonus that the Shulzberger family gets every year. Newspapers, television news shows, news magazines, almost every single news outlet in the United States is showing losses of revenue, advertising, and circulation.

As the media demonstrates more and more their unwillingness to report news that could hurt Democrats and trumpet news that helps them, to play up bad things about Republicans and play down bad things about Democrats, to print only bad news about anything Republicans do and print the talking points of the Democratic Party leadership, people trust and rely on these news organizations less and less. And the growth of the internet has hurt even worse: why go watch a TV show about the news when you can read about it as it happens, from the location it happens? The internet gives you not just the news but dozens of viewpoints and personal statements about the news, it's the ultimate "man on the street" viewpoint, combined with analysis and opinions from all around the world. The legacy news outlets just aren't useful any more.

What's the solution to this? Well I've written of a few solutions - go local, stop the really insulting bias, get back to reporting and be the voice of the people against the powers that be, not just the ones you dislike. Yet there's another possible solution that these media outlets are hoping for. Michael S. Malone helps explain:
So why weren’t those legions of hungry reporters set loose on the Obama campaign? Who are the real villains in this story of mainstream media betrayal?

The editors. The men and women you don’t see; the people who not only decide what goes in the paper, but what doesn’t; the managers who give the reporters their assignments and lay-out the editorial pages. They are the real culprits.

Why? I think I know, because had my life taken a different path, I could have been one: Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you’ve spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power . . . only to discover that you’re presiding over a dying industry. The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent. Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared. Your job doesn’t have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb. The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance you’ll lose your job before you cross that finish line, ten years hence, of retirement and a pension.

In other words, you are facing career catastrophe -and desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play. Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here. After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway - all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.

And then the opportunity presents itself: an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career. With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived Fairness Doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe, be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.

And besides, you tell yourself, it’s all for the good of the country...
One of the biggest problems the legacy media faces is the lack of monopoly. In the golden ages of news reporting there were three network news channels and the local newspaper, led by the Grey Lady - the New York Times. They controlled the horizontal, they controlled the vertical. Now there's radio shows and internet news sites and blogs and they don't control anything any more. They aren't the only game in town any more. Democrats can fix this, Democrats in every branch of government, led by a very hard leftist who is a friend of the media - even if he's a bit arrogant in how he deals with them. A new version of the fairness doctrine is a good start, it can control the opposition voices, control the blogs, make sure only real experts and professionals work at news reporting. Maybe some kind of licensing program, maybe even putting radicals like Limbaugh off the air!

Whether this is reasonable or even possible, that is part of the zeal behind pushing for Democrats, particularly Senator Obama, this election cycle. Might he save the media from its self? Certainly he's more likely to attempt it and sign such a bill than Senator McCain - at least slightly so. And for a dying industry with a high degree of arrogance and self-importance, it looks like a chance worth fighting for.

For many on the left, their worldview is so dominated by identity groups - black, lesbian, handicapped, etc - that they tend to see people primarily by what niche they fit into rather than who they are individually. Added to this is the "white guilt" phenomenon in which someone is so inculcated with the pernicity of white people in the past (without any mention of the evils of people who look different, or blaming all those on white people) that the very idea of a black man running for president is the apotheosis of all their presumed crimes and the sins of their fathers. Vote for Senator Obama and its like a plenary indulgence! You will absolve yourself of all evils and racism in your past and that of your ancestors!

Granted, if Senator Obama were a Republican this wouldn't count - Republicans aren't really black or female or in any identity group, because these groups while being ostensibly about appearance and culture are actually about ideology, but since Senator Obama is a Democrat and holds the Correct Notions© then he's an authentic black. That mere fact for many is so exciting and cause for an extra effort.

Despite the fact that constitutionally he may not run and he does not want to run for another term, President Bush is still the guy that is being fought in the minds of many on the left. For eight years, they've been spreading rumors, attacking the man, making outrageous claims, screaming slogans, and claiming things that were unsubstantiated and baseless, but emotionally compelling. If you believed even half of what was alleged about President Bush, you'd think he was Hiter, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, and Causcescu all balled up in one horrific demonic package.

Most rational people know that is not true, but if you repeat a lie and are surrounded by people who repeat and never question it long enough, some of that is going to seep into your worldview and you'll start believing it at least on some level. Those moonbat extremists you see posting their vomit on comment boards and forums? Some of them are working in the media. And they see President Bush not just as a guy they disagree with, but a horrible monster who destroyed America, the constitution, and our reputation worldwide, particularly with that critical elite European intellectual segment. And before him, the victories of Reagan and Bush in the 80s were disasters for America, pushing it hideously away from the leftist efforts of more than 30 years of continuous effort.

So Senator Obama means a repudiation of Republicans and all the evil for which they stand, a rejection of President Bush: a final, complete crushing of his legacy and presidency. If they can engineer a landslide victory for Senator Obama, the Reagan revolution will be dead and they will have reversed the Clinton legacy: every step along the way, they'll have countered from the Newt Gingrich congress to the 2001 Bush victory (which was stolen anyway, they mutter).

And speaking of the Reagan Revolution, in the last forty years, there have been four Democratic Presidents. Since 1970, there have been two. Republicans have dominated the presidency and in the last twenty years or so dominated congress most of the time. President Clinton only won his first election because the GOP was split, he didn't even get a majority of the popular vote or electoral college, it's just that no other candidate got more than he.

During the early naughties, stories of leftists being miserable, of special counselors for people who were depressed by how their country just didn't seem to agree with them, special syndromes named for their malaise were all reported on. Every election that went by another crushing defeat was in store for Democrats. They lost governors, they lost state legislators, they lost congress, they lost the presidency. All that careful work over the years of putting judges in place who'd rule the way they wanted regardless of the rule of law, jurisprudce, of the constitution was going down the drain. For someone on the left, it's been a tough time.

In 2006, finally, with a triumphant effort by the media to cover up Democratic corruption, hypocrisy, and misdeeds, finally the left had a victory, finally they could gloat. Now they'd see things go their way. Yet the Republicans in the Senate managed to stop many efforts and President Bush finally pulled out his dusty, cobwebbed veto stamp and went to work to block their bills. For someone in the legacy media, a majority in the Senate so big they cannot be filibustered and a president who sees things their way (the right way!) will finally see this nightmare come to an end.

Then we'll see those freaks on the right suffer, some think. Then we'll see them depressed and worrying about America. Then they'll pay for all those years they took power - usually by voter suppression and the supreme court! It's a payback, a powerful sense of victory, to finally be on top, where they feel they belong. They could see decades of incremental work in society, the law, and, goverment all going away. All those years of work being reversed by people too stupid and unenlightened to vote.

And the final cause of such an overpowering bias and effort to elect Democrats this time is the old, sad story that Bernard Goldberg wrote about in Bias and Arrogance. The majority of people who work in the large legacy media outlets live in, work with, are friends with, talk to, and are surrounded by like-thinking people. Almost never exposed to a variance of worldview and political opinion, they see diversity in physical appearance and within certain boundaries of behavior. Too much of this can lead one to believe that the whole world thinks like you do - except for a few freaks in small towns and those radical extremist Republicans like Rush Limbaugh.

When you think this is just how the world is and everyone agrees with you, it stops seeming like bias and begins to just seem like the proper way to view the world. Combine that with an arrogance and a belief not in a higher authority, but one's own innate superiority as a human and you get a sense that you'd be wrong to report things any other way. Sure, Obama has incredibly radical leftist friends, that's not so wierd, so do I. And besides, it was the seventies, everone was doing it then, why I remember the time...

This disconnect from the rest of America can lead someone to be utterly unaware of the actual reasons people hold certain viewpoints. Hotbutton issues like higher taxes, socialism, and slashing the miliary budget during war don't seem so odd at all. That's just reasonable, proper activity, that's how real people behave. You can get to the point you believe not that you have one of several viewpoints, but that you have the real, true viewpoint - even if it isn't technically true it has a deeper truth - and anyone who disagrees is just bizarre, like someone who says the moon is made of crumbled gouda.

Why, some people in Middle America think that God created the world still, can you believe it?

All this adds up to a sad result: the total sellout of the organ that is supposed to inform voters and keep leaders accountable. The abdication of responsibility to keep one party on its toes, to report the facts regardless of who it hurts, and to pursue a story to the end no matter what the results are politically.

Growing InternetAnd in the end, the Republic suffers. There is hope, though: the internet is killing the legacy media. It is more powerful and more free than goverments can hope to stop. It is too big and too much a part of the culture to be silenced. And while the legacy media cuts its throat with bias so offensive and so arrogant that even their allies are becoming disgusted and disturbed, the information is out there.

Senator Obama might win, but he's up against far more than any president used to be. The new media is here to stay, only a complete totalitarian takeover of the nation could hinder it now, and never stop it.

It's just sad to watch the careers and institutions of news be crumbled and corroded from within by such stupidity and political ambition.
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Quote of the Day

"I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth."
-Senator Obama
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Picture of the Day

I don't really know anything about this movie, but the poster looks great. Classic Eastwood, it evokes the original Walking Tall sort of movies. Just one quibble: Eastwood has old man pants, look how far they're hiked up!


“The less reasonable a cult is, the more men seek to establish it by force”
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

It is one of the most spectacularly gruesome and horrific crime stories in years: mom in cannibal cult. Part of the Grail Movement cult, based on the writings of Austrian Oskar Ernst Bernhart (also called Abd-ru-shin), a woman and her friend were recently jailed in the Czech Republic.

Berhart's writings were derivative of Christianity in a manner that emphasized spirituality as opposed to rationality, specific rituals at regular intervals, and gnosticism (the system of belief that teaches that physical is bad and spiritual is good - the body is the source of sin, the soul is pure - and that special, personal knowledge of truth can be attained by spirituality directly from god). The book teaches that man is a being whose spirit can return to its source in heaven by performing good deeds on Earth.

Some have taken this gnosticism to extremes, such as in the case of Klara Mauerova and Barbora Skrlova who created a living hell for Mauerova's children:
A court in Brno in Czech Republic heard how relatives partially skinned Ondrej and forced him to eat his own flesh.
The two boys had told judges how their mother and relatives had stubbed cigarettes out on their bare skin, whipped them with belts, and tried to drown them. They were also sexually abused and forced to cut themselves with knives.

The terrified youngsters said they were kept in cages or handcuffed to tables and made to stand in their own urine for days.
The court in the Czech Republic struck terror in the hearts of all who would consider such a deed and comforted the children with a sentence of... nine years for the mother and ten for her friend.

Nine. Years.

When she gets out of prison, her skinned and terrorized son Ondrej will be seventeen years old. This is the problem with European courts; the death penalty is utterly rejected as barbaric and horrible, and life sentences are never carried out. People are given such a sentence, but inevitably are released long before their death. For torturing and force feeding a child in hideous cult rituals, a woman gets less than a single decade of jail time.

Sure I'd rather not spend that much time in jail, but that's not the point. Jail is supposed to be unpleasant. That's sort of the point. To punish the guilty, to protect society from such evil, and to prevent them from exercising their right to liberty because they have plainly demonstrated they are incapable of doing so responsibly and safely. What, exactly, would it take to get a longer sentence?

The courts only found out about the ghastly events when a neighbor installed a video baby monitor to watch their new daughter. Instead, the monitor picked up a signal from a similar model in the house of hell next door, showing scenes of torture and misery that Mauerova used to watch her children.

The purpose of this horror was to force the children to recognize the evil of their bodies and to break down their will so they would serve the religion without thought or swerving. True Christianity embraces thought and reason, with Biblical passages calling people to think and examine and praising those who tested and considered teachings of great apostles.

Christianity abjectly rejects gnosticism without reservation, although cults and splinter groups have always appeared along side the faith who embraced it. God created all things and called them good - physical and spiritual and mental.

Quote of the Day

"It's not that I want to punish your success. I want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance for success, too... I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
-Senator Obama, admitting he is a socialist
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*UPDATE: For a look at Senator Obama when he was being even more honest, check out the video of a speech from the man in 1995 about redistribution of wealth and attacking whites in this video, courtesy Gateway Pundit. Like the man said in his own book, you can get away with this stuff if you say it the right way and fool the dumb white folks.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Picture of the Day

Remember when General Patraeus came to testify before congress about progress in Iraq, when he was called "General Betray-us" by in a sweetheart cheap deal ad in the New York Times and attacked as a liar and a stooge of the Bush administration by Democrats? Remember how some even attacked him for wearing all those medals, how very gauche of him? Well wearing all those medals is how military dress up: he was in effect wearing his "Sunday best" out of respect for congress and the import of the work he was doing. It was a sign of respect, not arrogance.

And he earned all those medals. Each medal represents an achievement, an act of honor and duty, or a participation in some enterprise of the military. Ever wonder what all those medals were? I found a nifty graphic online that gives each and every medal that General Patraeus wore - he's got more now - at the testimony.

Just for your consideration and to compare this with the treatment he got at the hands of the left.

Oh, and he was right about Iraq, and they were wrong. Again.


"One small step for man..."

Yesterday I pointed out this incredibly British fellow, Sir Patrick Moore, rawther. He's hosted a show on space for decades called The Sky At Night, and you can watch some of the shows online courtesy the BBC4 site. The show is irregular now, with specials rather than a weekly programme (British spelling because of the occasion), and is worth the time to catch online if you can't find it locally.

I watched one episode called Sputnik's Children (opens media window) which was fascinating for several reasons. The first and foremost was that apparently the British have a thriving space technology industry. I knew China was sending rockets up, I knew India just launched a lunar probe, I knew America had a long-established space program along with Russia, but Britain? The UK has had a space program for a while now, they send up materials and work on the International Space station, but I didn't know they were making satellites.

Apparently there are at least two companies in England making satellites: the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (who worked on the first collaborative satellite launch 40 years ago with the Americans and who are building the Herschel space telescope), Surrey Satellite Technology, and Astrium (part of the European Union space program) who builds much of the British technology that is designed in other labs such as MSSL.

One of the breakthroughs that I was glad to see is the use of smaller satellites. Old satellites are bus-sized or more, gargantuan beasts with huge solar panels and such. These little satellites can be as small as a beachball, more like Sputnik's size - and all it did was beep and send a signal. Because of microtechnology and the miniaturization of computers and components the size of these things is smaller and smaller. Because at present it costs tens of thousands of dollars to launch something into orbit, the lighter and smaller the object, the cheaper it is. Work is being done to produce ones as small as a soda can - and smaller, some day.

Another surprise was that these clever entrepreneurs are using decommissioned old Soviet ICBMs to launch these small satellites by altering their trajectory to not come down to earth again. This is not just cheap (the missiles are already built) but a good use of these old rockets rather than simply destroying them. This brings the cost down even more, and makes the work of space exploration, scientific discovery, and commercial endeavors (such as telephones and media broadcasts). The size of the satellites and cost of these rockets allows launch of "constellation" satellites: multiple linked satellites who work together and move in concert.

The future of space exploration and technology is bright because of how cheap and powerful the tech is getting, now we just have to work on getting people out there, on other planets, and our own moon. President Bush set up a huge prize for a private company to get men into space, so hopefully that will encourage the process along. The future can be bright, if we'll only keep working on it and not let setbacks discourage us.


Gallup Poll: French Favor Obama Over McCain 16 to 1

Can't you spare just ten dollars for Senator Obama? That's all he asks in his desire to be president, just ten dollars, from each and every American in the country. Just ten dollars and you'll be sent a nifty Obama-biden car magnet! Senator Obama has raked in a stunning amount of cash, more money than any previous candidate for president. Soon after abandoning the pledge he made to spend only private funds, Obama started taking government money to run and private funds. The LA Times helps put this in perspective:
Having hauled in a record $208,333 every hour of every day last month -- $150 million in all -- plus a few more unreported millions so far this month, Barack Obama is worried that he might come up short in the political money war with the John McCain-Sarah Palin ticket.

Just to relieve himself of that $150 million before the polls open, Obama will have to spend $12.5 million a day.
Both candidates are running with claims of fiscal responsibility, of slimming the bloated government, and of controlling runaway spending. Yet both are spending gigantic sums of money to get that job - and Senator Obama is doing so with gleeful abandon and a total lack of concern over not just how he spends the money, but how he gets it.

Senator Obama buys a jumbo jet, repaints it with his donuts and bacon logo, then flies all over Europe during the campaign to attempt to seem presidential and signficant. He spends his money on extravagant ads and blanketing states with advertising, he spends the money like there's no end to it, throwing fistfuls around.

If you've ever wondered how on earth Senator Obama could possibly be raising this kind of cash, well there's a story behind that, too. This is an even more serious concern. Already Senator Obama has had to send money back to terrorist groups in the middle east, money sent, accepted, and spent by the Obama for president team without concern over whence it came - possibly even knowing.

The New York Times even reported that among Obama's donors there were ficticious names, fake people sending money: names so obvious as "test person" and places such as "some place Utah." The article notes that with their cursory examination, the times found more than 3000 donations from blatantly fake names. And small wonder, Pamela Gellar at Atlas Shrugs tells the tale:
I run a small internet business and when I process credit cards I’m required to make sure the name on the card exactly matches the name of the customer making the purchase. Also, the purchasers address must match that of the cardholders. If these don’t match, then the payment isn’t approved. Period. So how is it possible that the Obama campaign could receive donations from fictional people and places? Well, I decided to do a little experiment. I went to the Obama campaign website and entered the following:

Name: John Galt

Address: 1957 Ayn Rand Lane

City: Galts Gulch

State: CO

Zip: 99999

Then I checked the box next to $15 and entered my actual credit card number and expiration date (it didn’t ask for the 3-didgit code on the back of the card) and it took me to the next page and… “Your donation has been processed. Thank you for your generous gift.”
Anyone can claim to donate any sum of money to the campaign. They aren't even checking to compare names with credit card numbers, they don't even want the security code. It doesn't matter if the money is real or not - just so they have it on paper and can claim the cash is there. If he wins, what is anyone going to do? It would be racist to demand he pay his debts - just ask the Democrats who claim making people pay their mortgages is racist.

Of course, if you have a paper trail showing these donations with such a system and get money from other sources you don't care to give the origin of - say, Kenya, palestinians in Israel, etc - this is a good way to launder them too. And if you can't get enough from this sort of open system of accepting fraudulent donations, well hey, just pick numbers and charge them such as this story points out:
At least four credit card holders in Missouri have recently opened their statements and found unauthorized transactions, which charged $2,300 to the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama.

It happened to Tom Brown and his wife a couple weeks ago. They became aware of it after Discover sent them an e-mail about an unusually large purchase.

"My wife said, 'Oh my God!' Right away, she called Discover to cancel the card," Brown said. "I talked to Discover about it, and they said it looks like it was keyed in from Chicago."

"It was under his name. Under 'merchant,' it read 'Obama for America.' And we basically would not give a politician $2,300 dollars. We would not give any politician, probably, a dollar. And I really, basically, don't know who's at fault, for this, or who did what," Brown said. "But someone out there is trying to hit people's charges and collect money. We were just interested in letting other people know that this could happen to them."
The charges are refunded, but the paper trail looks secure, at least at first glance: it was from this card that I got that money. The Browns should be happy, another woman found a charge of $175,000 for Obama on her credit card statement.

The foreign donations are stacking up rather rapidly for Senator Obama - which for non Americans might not seem so bad, but it is actually illegal for a candidate to take and spend money from donors outside the United States; the US isn't fond of having non-citizens help decide their leaders, oddly enough. Pam Gellar has more:
Obama's overseas (foreign) contributors are making multiple small donations, ostensibly in their own names, over a period of a few days, some under maximum donation allowances, but others are aggregating in excess of the maximums when all added up. The countries and major cities from which contributions have been received France, Virgin Islands, Planegg, Vienna, Hague, Madrid, London, AE, IR, Geneva,Tokyo, Bangkok, Turin, Paris, Munich, Madrid, Roma, Zurich, Netherlands, Moscow, Ireland, Milan, Singapore, Bejing, Switzerland, Toronto, Vancouver, La Creche, Pak Chong, Dublin, Panama, Krabi, Berlin, Geneva, Buenos Aires, Prague, Nagoya, Budapest, Barcelona, Sweden, Taipei, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Zurich, Ragusa, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Uganda, Mumbia, Nagoya, Tunis, Zacatecas, St, Croix, Mississauga, Laval, Nadi, Behchoko, Ragusa, DUBIA, Lima, Copenhagen, Quaama, Jeddah, Kabul, Cairo, Nassau(not the county on Long Island,lol), Luxembourg (Auchi's stomping grounds), etc,etc,etc,

Half a million dollars had been donated from overseas by unidentified people "not employed".

Digging deeper, all sorts of very bizarre activity jumped at us. Dr and JJ continued to break it down and pull data from various sources. We found Rebecca Kurth contributed $3,137.38 to the Obama Campaign in 112 donations, including 34 separate donations recorded in one day,

How about this gibberish donor on the 30th of April in 2008.

A donor named Hbkjb, jkbkj

City: Jkbjnj Works for: Kuman Bank (doesn't exist)

Occupation: Balanon Jalalan Amount: $1,077.23

or the donor Doodad, The # of transactions = 1,044

The $ contributed = $10,780.00
This, strangely enough, isn't making it into the legacy media. Sure, the Washington Post printed a story about Senator McCain getting foreign donations... which turned out to be false and was retracted, but Obama? Not so much so.

And consider this astonishing line from the LA Times in a moment of breathtaking honesty:
Having now collected more than $605 million altogether, the freshman senator shows no concern over the appearance of buying the presidency. Imagine for a moment the national political conversation that could be going on now if rich Republicans had raked in that much loot for one campaign.
Indeed, how many times would "buying the presidency" come from the mouths of pundits and ink of newspapers if a Republican was outspending his opponent to this degree? That the LA Times would print something admitting this is amazing enough, but that they needed to is even more so.

Senator McCain has raised about an eighth as much money, but I get emails from the Obama team every day telling me they need more, more, more money. This is a disturbing specter of an Obama presidency: requiring ever more money and spending it poorly. After all, with a possible supermajority in the Senate and a democratic president, there will be no restraint of the spending impulses of the Democratic Party, a party not known for its fiscal restraint.

You want to know what an Obama presidency would be like? Watch how he campaigns, and how he spends money. Watch how the corrupt Daley Chicago political machine works; that's how he'd govern as a president. As much as I dislike Senator McCain and think he'd be bad for America, Senator Obama would be even worse.

*UPDATE: The Obama website has turned on all the security measures, now that it's been noticed and reported on by blogs (not the news).
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