Thursday, September 30, 2004


Debate wrapup thoughts

Bush had a few openings (Kerry dissing the allies, Kerry calling for an end to a weapons program) to win the debate, but never pushed them (Where's the Cheney phone a friend?).

Kerry never had an opening to win the debate.

Neither made any serious gaffes that would lost the debate.

I call it a draw.

But Kerry needed to win.


Drinking Game

Jody asked for drinking game contributions, and I missed his deadline; so here are the rules for the drinking game I am currently playing:

Each time George Bush answers a question, take a drink.
Each time John Kerry answers a question, take a drink.
Each time the moderator asks a question, take a drink.
Drinky drink drink.

Soon, I'll be happy with America's political process!


Liveblogging the Debate - Thason


"MY heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains my sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk..."

Well, actually, I just have a headache and the chills. Maybe it's debate fever! Hopefully it's not menigitis.

Once again, I cannot attest to how well my clock is synchronized with Jody's. We'll do the best we can.


They just asked Freddy "The Beetle" Barnes what he thought he might see. Here's what I'm looking for - but don't expect to get:

- A "There is no Soviet domination of Poland moment."
- Decisiveness on the part of my candidate.
- Kerry not to get buzzed.

Lowered expectations? I'm just joining the club.


Oh yeah, Jim Lehrer is my hero! Let's do it!


Come on, what's he going to say? "No, I suck."

John! You're losing time here!


It would be neat if Fox was showing the lights. Two minutes is a long time...or maybe it's just my headache.


It must be my headache. I didn't see the lights right there in front of my face.

George, you cocky, contrite, subtle, blunt bastard! Disarm the question and dig at the opponent's in"decisive"ness.


"You're indecisive" "Oh yeah, well you're dumb." Second-grade testosterone is flowing.


Jody just indicated that Kerry didn't answer the question. But when you can't answer the question, dig at the incumbent. And get in an "outsourcing jobs" prick as well.


It's the economy, stupid...I mean it's foreign policy.


Fox broke the rules! Too bad I was getting the pizza. I wonder what can or will be done with this.


A pre-September 10th mentality? Would that be a September 9th mentality?


And I'm back. I had an attack of "debate fever."


Alright, convince me John...What would you do?


I'm strangely iffy on these strays into domestic policy. I mean, you have to play to your strengths, but it sets Kerry up to ramble, which he is doing now.

Don't be conscious of the clock, John.

I give a point to the President for going out of his way to look more focused on the topic.


Wait, wait. What just happened. Why is the president speaking spontaneously on the clock?


Hammer at quotes, yes. Misquote and then hammer, no. John, please tell America what you really said.


Visit the "sins" of the Father onto the Son. But please stop saying that we don't have allies.


He likes hitting on that "Wrong War, Wrong Place, Wrong Time."


Now we're talking. That was a good response - admitting to speaking wrong, but pointing out how it's worse to be wrong.


I thought about putting the words "This president" on my drinking game list.


I was afraid of that. Here comes the coalition of the willing.


The president is keeping it simple, and is hitting at the same point. That's the way to bring down a big tree.


The president won't allow himself to be misquoted, and is spreading around the love. Except for the insurgents, who he just called nancy-boys.

Vote for me, I have a plan. That will get him elected in the absence of an alternative.


People get there hands cut off and executed in Saudi Arabia too. Are they next?

John, don't go there. He'd do it again the same way knowing what he knows now? You said that too! Pot, kettle, black...


How is he not telling the truth? Alright, how has he not been candid? Yellow cake? Coalition? United Nations? No planning? Last resort?

You know, I don't think most Americans know the difference, honestly.


Agree with your opponent - damn him with praise. I'm consistent, he's not. These are just body blows.

John, you didn't listen, and now you're just embarassing me here. The president said that you were right then, but that you're not now.

"The only thing consistent...is that he hasn't been consistent." Bush in a cakewalk.


Lehrer might kick himself later for that mis-speak.

Wow, the President is talking about Sally Muckinfuch. Stealing Kerry's thunder.


Bush shows himself making the tough decisions, and got flashed for his trouble. Too bad...


Is Iraq policy the extent of our foreign policy. I mean, yeah, sure...big thing. But it's not the whole world.

Not that I think broadening the debate will help.


Yeah, Jody. johnkerry.com should be good for a drink.

So should "Wrong war, wrong place, wrong time."


What has John been writing all this time?


Thank you for finally correcting that misquote.


A better question is "Were we overcharged?"

An even better question: "Will they actually buzz POTUS?"


Vote for me. My opponent is mean. And inconsistent.


Now I really wonder if POTUS will get buzzed. He is pushing Jim Lehrer around, though.


Damn good question - and a good answer in the making from the President. Oooooh, except for the "last resort" mention. Kerry better jump all over that.


Jody and I really do think that W could pull OBL out of his pocket, right now.

Or have him marched out in chains. That would be good drama.


Actually I'm glad that Fox is showing responses of the candidates. Bush's indignance is telling.


Well, George was thinking what I was thinking. If it has to pass a global test, then it's not really pre-emptive, is it?


I'm iffy on that one. If our people do wrong things, then they should be prosecuted. It shouldn't matter if they're "our people."


Out of Iraq...about time.


Bush stopped cold. And that answer didn't sound nearly complete. Do you think he's keeping count? Looks like it...


Again, it could be my debate fever. But I thought I saw in the latest split shot that Bush's podium was higher than Kerry's. Fox! Complicit in the vast-right wing conspiracy!


The first mention of the "d" word. And through the back door on top of that.


Yes, it is a loaded question George. That question is a double-edged stick of dynamite. And its bearing on foreign policy is oblique.

Good for you, John. Laugh when the audience can't.


They did it again! Look at those podiums! Fox is trying not to make the President look short!

Now, back to what I was going to say "Mixed Messages, or Strong Ones?" That will be the new Bush tagline.


Waver, flip-flop. Who's counting?


I think it's starting to show that it's past the President's bedtime. His advisors were actually worried about that. My debate fever is getting to me again as well.


Yeah, Jody. "Dick, are you there?"


Someone in the audience is alive. That's good.


Last chance to get in good. Emphasizes those differences.

In other words, let me look you in the eye and say "John Kerry, reporting for duty."


The president is keeping it simple and strong. Points on that.


Two Men Enter, One Two Men Leave: Liveblogging the Debate - Jody

Like we did for Badnarik's visit, Thason and I liveblogging the debate at my place. While vodkapundit drinks during the debate (a good idea), Thason and I are limited to pizza and wings. But if I didn't have a report to get out later tonight...

Also note Thason has a bit of a headache (though it's not a tumor!) so he might be joining late.

Hopefully, we'll get some moments like the ones in this clip.

Pizza's not here yet. Debate's going to begin in just a moment. I question the timing.

Chris Wallace just used the phrase "Let's get ready to rumble!"

Cici just said that she thinks Bush should downplay the testosterone to win swing voters. I thought "swing" voters liked testosterone.

Leher is laying out the ground rules. He said for each question, candidates will have only two minutes to respond. I think the field would be more tilted in Bush's favor if the limit was only one answer per question.

I hear Kerry thinks he's better.

Lights do come on. Cool.

Bush is doing a good job of subtly needling. America knows where I stand. I will say that Kerry's speaking was more polished in his first answer, but I liked Bush's answer better, but then again I'm partial.

Bush pushed the women in Afghanistan angle again. - smart.

Kerry calls Bush dumb. sorta. Anyways, both candidates seem to be repeating their stump arguments. Kerry's strictly not answering their questions. Kerry hit on "outsourcing" - smart.

Kerry just called the Bush alliance as not a true alliance. Not so smart. Saying we're pushing aside our allies. Bringing out the "why are we spending money on Iraq?" line.

Fox is showing Kerry's response. Whoa! Shame on you Fox (snicker). Bush is questioning Kerry's answers with Kerry's words. - smart. Doing a good job defending his decision to go to work.

Pizza just showed up. I question the timing. Thason is praying to the porcelin gods at the moment. But he'll be back blogging momentarily. A real trooper.

Bush apparently has a prepared statement on Kerry flip flopping and not being a good leader. Kerry also set himself up again on the allies. It's going be sweet when Bush calls him on it.

Kerry's still equating firehouses with Iraqi firehouses. Not good. Unsecured nuclear material - better.

Bush made the offense not defense argument again. It's a good point.

Tough question for Bush - under what criteria would troops come home? Dodged the question. Oh, came back to it. Wants to see Iraq take over. When Iraq says is ready to defend herself, has held elections.

Misquotes Kerry's six month quote. Was "start to bring them home in 6 months of being elected". Doesn't really change the point, but it isn't accurate.

Kerry got the "help is on the way" line correct (The nonsensical "hope is on the way" at the DNC)

Wow Bush is having fun with Kerry's lines. Kerry made his first good response to the $87 billion - I may have made a mistake when I spoke, but Bush made a mistake in his actions, which is worse?

Kerry's hitting allies again. other good points though (but I've heard the Mexico line before)

I think Bush is being wise by continuing to hit the "wrong war, wrong time, wrong place" so how would people. Bush finally called Kerry on dishonoring the allies on coerced and bribed. Kerry also mentioned that he would've transferred authority to the UN. I don't know if anyone caught that, but if that can be played on TV, Kerry has lost the election.

I think the debate has settled into a loggerhead. 30 minutes in.

Kerry just dissed Australia. Grrr.

Damn. Bush is up on Kerry's words and is crucifying Kerry with them.

Another planned statement - "The only thing consistent about my opponent's position is that he's been inconsistent."

Leher misspoke and said 10,000 deaths and then revised to 1,000. Helps Bush immensely as it puts 1,000 deaths into perspective.

Bush turned the "Was Iraq worth it even with the casualties?" into a soft ball. Hitting on the freedom line, personalizing his response. Very very good response. Uh OH!! First overlimit flash - and it goes to Bush!

Kerry's "want to make the outcome noble" is a good line. Constantly hitting on summit is a bad idea.

johnkerry.com DRINK!!!
Wrong war, wrong place wrong time!!! DRINK!!! Bush over again.

kerry went over. And I thought that if you broke something in pottery barn, you bought it, not you fix it. So by pottery barn rules, we now own Iraq? Was that what the $87 billion was for?

Kerry called Bush on the previously noted misquote. Mispronounced fallujah.

Bush is calling Kerry on Allawi. Highlighting Lockhart's puppet comment. Emphasizing consistency. Very important message for an incumbent to push. Bush flash number 3. Next time buzzer fun!!!

Bush is playing a little fast with the rules making it more of a debate than a joint press conference.

Very good question from Leher on whether or not we'll have to preemptively strike again. Says last resort again. Bad. Kerry will be all over that. Emphasizes Libya. Smart. Emphasizing consistency again. Smart.

Kerry is talking about Saddam not being the enemy. The 35 to 40 countries with more advanced nuvlear programs is stupid cause you have to count U.K., Russia, and so on to get that number. But Kerry won't be called on that.

The DeGaulle point (while not new) is a good one.

Kerry's Bushism - "I've been fighting for proliferation"

Bush is bringing out the ICC. Smart. Though I would've hammered on Kyoto. Not making this point well. Right idea on the response, but poorly executed.

Bush is doing a good job reminding of how we got to where we are in N.K. Kerry's going to come back with the bilateral if this site is anything to judge.

If Bush knows his stuff, he's going to smack Kerry on his N.K. and Iran response.

Leher's asked a good question on Darfur. Why aren't we doing something in Darfur. Used the phrase backdoor draft. I know that's a bad move on Kerry's part, but I doubt that the larger public does.

I should focus more on Darfur, but just can't. I wonder if the rest of the US feels the same.

Bush did a pretty good job with the character question (which could've gone very very badly) and then got back onto his consistency message.

Kerry's doing a good job on the character question. Kerry's responding to the consistency critiques with a certainty.

We've got 8 people on the site right now. That's a record for us! Wow.

Kerry just said he wanted to end another defense weapon program. What will Bush respond with?

I thought nuclear proliferation would be bad for Bush, but he's doing a reasonably good job. Bush is pushing missle defense.

Bush, why aren't you hitting Kerry on cutting defense programs? Where's Cheney when you need him?

Asking Bush on Putin. Good line of response from Bush. Emphasizing importance need for checks and balances. Highlighting Beslan is smart too. Calls Putin "Vladimir" good way to note personal relationship.

Kerry's making a good point on just because Bush says it can't be done, doesn't make it so.

Did Kerry just concede that Iraq was a threat?

Kerry's making a good closing statement. Emphasizing security. VIETNAM!!!!!

Bush got lucky to give the last word. Doing a very good job of describing what he'll do in his next term. And doing a very good job of delivering the closing. Maybe not past his bedtime.


They don't write TV theme songs like they used to...

And 100.7 FM (Supertalk, nee WFNR) is proving it. The last half hour has been nothing but classic TV themes, along with an exhortation to tune in Friday (presumably today) at 5:00 pm for "something different and new!"

Can you say "Format Change," Jody?

Gotta go, the "Diff'rent Strokes" theme is on!


Rather than truly misrepresent myself, perhaps this is just an extended programming change, rather than a wholesale format change.

Commercial coverage picked up at 9:00, which had suggested at first that it was only Imus had been pre-empted. After 10 minutes of commercials and no ABC news, it became clear that Beck was "taking the day off" as well. The theme from "Friends," and a double serving of "The Flintstones" theme has confirmed such.

In reality, I hadn't figured that the days of Demolition Man radio would be upon us so quickly...

Mid-Update Update:

They just announced that the talk had moved to 101.7. Perhaps I was the only person in the New River Valley who didn't know. Thanks guys.

Bonus Personally Humorous Story

Bringing the human touch to PolySciFi. Lord knows I'm having to pick up the slack in the wake of all the "Roving" that's been going on.

Thursday is trash day in the Jweatt household. And as the only bipedal member of the household with opposable thumbs, the responsibility falls to me.

So I delivered my trash can to the curbside, and happened to see a pizza box from some pizzeria in upstate New York. Prominently featured on the box were the words "We Deliver."

"You sure do!" I thought, and went back into the house.

Anyway, I'm going to see what's on talk, and then maybe go back to the TV theme songs. We'll have to see.


Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Not exhausted yet...

And much to my chagrin, in fact.

It's worth adding that if I'm not careful, I might end up a Savage listener quite in spite of myself.

Jody and I were having a discussion on Karl Rove's amorality versus his (possible) immorality. Of course, the discussion was the fruit of a debate on Rove's tactics, which you may read about in its various incarnations here and here. (And here and here, too! Whew!)

In reference to Jody's salient post, I made the point that I recognize clearly that Rove is a political operative whose job is to get his man elected. As our discussion continued, Jody added (and I agree) that it's Rove's job to keep his man clean. In that regard, he is not really better than any Democrat operative.

The main point of contention, if it could even be called one, is whether or not Rove is simply acting amorally, or whether his supposed detachment from the process and belief that he is acting "correctly" be some measure mitigates the fact that he is still acting immorally.

It may very well be besides the point. Enter Savage. Just now, he made the point that he can forgive hacks on both sides, because none of them are doing anything that anyone on either side shouldn't expect. The target of Savage's ire tonight is Jimmy Carter, who has been vocal in noting that irregularities are going to occur in Florida. (And perhaps that is a kind assessment.)

This "unilateral pre-emptive strike," as the Angry Conservative puts it, is to be despised not for its inherent content, but because in making it, Carter is playing the same sorts of partisan dirty-tricks (here, casting dispersions upon a result that isn't even a result yet, in order to tar the presumptive winner - Bush - after he wins, before he wins) that any other operative would play, while trying to set himself up as someone who is above that same sort of activity.

So Savage says to be a hack. You're not fooling anyone, especially if you go out of your way to fool anyone.

The indignance about Rove then, is misplaced. It's like being surprised about recidivism, or the content of the Jerry Springer Show. Or something like that.

Just take it for what it is - masterful lies, a perspective that needs to be voiced, total crap, or what have you - and use those energies in a way that's constructive and useful.

Like trying to figure out what the Italians were smoking when they came up with this...


In my haste, I forgot to give a good example - one that is more innocuous than suggesting that someone is a pedophile, but needling to the other side nonetheless. Visit www.michaelsavage.org or www.michaelsavage.net.
Go ahead. Try it.


Common Comment Switches

In this comment, Thason asks how to insert hyperlinks into comment text. As I figure my answer will be useful to more people than just Thason, I'm posting it here.

In general, most html swtiches used to create a post can be used in haloscan comments (well at least comments on polyscifi). Major exceptions that I know of include images and block quotes. However, for those not familiar with the html code used to create a post, I'll list them in the following.

Common html switches
(Note in the following, rather than using the symbols "<" and ">" I'm using "[" and "]" so your browser won't interpret and thus hide the switches. To use the switches, replace each instance of "[" with a "<" and each "]" with a ">")

Hyperlinks [a href="your link here"]text to display[/a]

Bold Faced [b] your text [/b]

Italics [i]your text[/i]

Underlined [u]your text[/u]


Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Rove the political operative

In this post, Matt continues to hammer on Rove and wants to know what I think of Rove's morals. While Thason expresses exhaustion and annoyance with the whole thing which makes me somewhat inclined to skip the subject, I was asked a direct question, so I'll answer.

First, let me say that I think Rove's a pure political hack. Viewing Rove as a political hack, I have the same opinion of Rove's morals that I have of James Carville's and Terry McAuliffe's morals, i.e., they all have no morals. But that's what I expect of political hacks - they'll do/say anything to get their candidate elected.

Recall that this will be the first Presidential election that I'm not voting for the Libertarian candidate and thus only loosely associate myself with the Republican party (I am, however, on the CR mailing list at VT). So I have no dog in any fight in defending Rove and thus I did not defend him here and am rather perplexed as to why Matt's trying to get me to do so.

However, I believe that Rove is no worse than his Democratic counterparts. If pushed to justify this "no worse" assertion, we can kick it Roxanne style and someone can throw a dart at a dart board to pick a number, and I'll list that number of amoral things done by Carville and McAuliffe. While this is a bit of a tu quoque response (only a bit as I'm conceding the assertion - Rove's not a moral man - rather than merely changing the subject), it does, to me, neutralize any comparative advantage that either major candidate may have with respect to the morality of their campaign managers.

Plus it accurately reflects my sentiments about people I consider to be political hacks (which I wish to point out I view differently from partisans).


Fake Talk

I listen to talk radio. A lot. I never thought I'd get into that sort of thing, but it's very engrossing.

And I suppose that it's that reason that has me disappointed in the local FM talk radio station, WFNR - now apparently called "Supertalk" or some such.

The station does news, sports, and talk on weekdays, and sports talk on the weekends. Highlights for me include - I should say included - Jim Rome at midday, and Tom Leykis during the late night.

Well, change has come. Rome got dumped for some show on finances and debt-freedom. Leykis lost his last two hours to Phil Hendrie (who had lost his air time to Leykis, incidentally) and more recently, his first two hours to Michael Savage. Now I can't put my finger on what scares me about Savage. Maybe it was his advocacy of dropping atomic bombs on Fallujah and Sadr City. Although the (paraphrased) line "If the President goes on the air and makes the announcement 'The temperature over Fallujah is 2700 degrees, with cloudy skies,' he wins the election by 10 points" had me laughing so hard that I almost drove the car off the road. That he calls himself a "conservative" should give conservatives reason to object.

As for Phil Hendrie, I'm torn. It's funny stuff, really. But it's a talk radio show the same way that Night Stand with Dick Dietrick was a TV talk show. Don't get me wrong there either. Timothy Stack's writing and comedic timing on that show was pure genius. El Guapo-2 here has it absolutely correct.

As for Phil, I listen to the show and laugh, but it's with the knowledge that I'm listening to pseudo-talk radio, or perhaps meta-talk radio. It pays to compare my perspective on Hendrie to my perspective on Leykis. Both shows have elements of farce. Both hosts have spoken in varying amounts of detail about the differences between the caller-as-performer and the listener-as-audience, to great entertainment effect. But with Hendrie, the (intelligent) listener tunes in with the full knowledge that the show is drama, and not really open to discussion. At least on Leykis, I could listen to (farcically) real perspectives on atheism, the relationships between men and women, the meaning of fairness, and any number of other philosophically profound topics. Sure, we were getting the lowest common denominator calling in with their (generally unwanted) opinions, but hey, this is America.

The bottom line is that I'm largely disappointed. Perhaps I'll start a letter writing campaign.


Breaking the Monotony

Earlier today, I was voicing displeasure that Glenn Beck was disparaging those Americans who were still undecided in their choice for who would be the next President of the United States.

Now I'm on board. It's because of those people that the longest political campaign in the history of the universe gets to go on day after day after day. And it's that information overload that has the more intelligent and partisan among us talking about this and this and this.

Oh my god. Everyone shut up already. Karl Rove is a bastard and a genius. George W. Bush probably shouldn't have been elected POTUS in the first place. John Kerry gives me the willies sometimes, and I'm planning on voting for him.

Dear Lord. Can't we talk about something important?

Like Olympic mascots?

You heard it here first, dear readers - I definitely see another Izzy in the cards. Have a look.

Don't look now, but I think Gliz there needs some dental work.


Swift Boat Veterans for Rove

Ok, so in his latest post Jody raises a whole lot of factual questions about the Swift Boat veterans--I'll address these in my next post. But he says nothing about Karl Rove. So some direct questions: do you think Rove is an honorable man? Do you think he runs honest campaigns? Do you think he's ever spread rumors he knew to be untrue? Do you support the smear campaign against McCain in South Carolina? Against Ann Richards in Texas? Both are undeniably the work of Rove, and both helped Bush get where he is today. Do you think that allowing Rove to run your campaign is honorable? Honest? The sort of thing that an "essentially decent" man would do? You can say that these questions are the equivalent of a push poll, but at least I'm not suggesting Rove's a pedophile. Seriously, though, I'd like to know what you think of Karl Rove's morals.

Comments(62) |

Defending the Swift Vets

In this post, Matt (in effect) calls the Swift Boat Vets a pack of liars (and also effectively suggests that Bush was behind the swifties, sorta like the connections that Bush has to the two guys in this post).

However, I don't know of any lies told by the Swift Vets, and I thought I was insanely well read on the subject. So by all means, educate me. And in the process make a few hundred off the commentors at BeldarBlog.

Tell me how Kerry really was in Cambodia on Christmas.

Tell me how Kerry didn't offer aid and comfort to the Vietcong, didn't secretly meet with the Vietcong in Paris while still in the Navy and then come back and push for the US to concede to their demands.

Tell me how Kerry got his first purple heart before he had even seen combat.

Tell me how Kerry earned a silver star with a V when the the designation doesn't exist.

Tell me how all of Kerry's stories on throwing his medals over the wall can be true (his medals, just his ribbons, someone else's medals).

Tell me how Kerry magically became Tedd Peck on Jan 29 (discussed at bottom) in order to have commanded PCF-94 while Alston was on the boat.

Tell me how Kerry didn't falsely accuse every Vietnam veteran (including himself) of commiting atrocities.

And tell me how Kerry signed the 180 so the various disputes with his military record could be resolved.


Karl Rove, an essentially decent man working for an essentially decent man.

Got an advance link to the Atlantic Monthly's upcoming profile of Karl Rove. Jody, you couldn't convince me of Bush's essential decency, but this factoid about Rove's exemplary behavior during an Alabama judicial race did:

Kennedy had spent years on the bench as a juvenile and family-court judge, during which time he had developed a strong interest in aiding abused children. In the early 1980s he had helped to start the Children's Trust Fund of Alabama, and he later established the Corporate Foundation for Children, a private, nonprofit organization. At the time of the race he had just served a term as president of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect. One of Rove's signature tactics is to attack an opponent on the very front that seems unassailable. Kennedy was no exception.

Some of Kennedy's campaign commercials touted his volunteer work, including one that showed him holding hands with children. "We were trying to counter the positives from that ad," a former Rove staffer told me, explaining that some within the See camp initiated a whisper campaign that Kennedy was a pedophile. "It was our standard practice to use the University of Alabama Law School to disseminate whisper-campaign information," the staffer went on. "That was a major device we used for the transmission of this stuff. The students at the law school are from all over the state, and that's one of the ways that Karl got the information out—he knew the law students would take it back to their home towns and it would get out." This would create the impression that the lie was in fact common knowledge across the state. "What Rove does," says Joe Perkins, "is try to make something so bad for a family that the candidate will not subject the family to the hardship. Mark is not your typical Alabama macho, beer-drinkin', tobacco-chewin', pickup-drivin' kind of guy. He is a small, well-groomed, well-educated family man, and what they tried to do was make him look like a homosexual pedophile. That was really, really hard to take."

You gotta admit, Bush is running a stand-up campaign in 2004, though. No smear campaigns spreading lies this time around--Bush is running on his record.

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NY Times cover girl Ana Marie Cox is too hot for words.


Ethiopian Cuisine

Over on nanothoughts, heatkernel describes his(?) recent experience dining on Eritrean food and notes that it's supposed to be like Ethiopian cuisine.

He makes it sound pretty good, but I'm just surprised by the revelation that Ethiopia has food, much less a cuisine.


Liveblogging the debate

Thason and I are planning on liveblogging the debate on Thursday like we did for Badnarik's speech on the Tech campus.

But for those of you who can't wait for the debate to begin, the folks at MadTV have conducted their own debate and the Daily Recycler has the clip. (h/t polipundit)

Go watch it. It's incredibly funny. Plus I think the Bush caricature beats the Kerry caricature in the debate.

Some choice lines from Bush:
"America is the new Texas, we'll kick your ass!"
"Swaddle me, teach me anything you want. I am your retarded baby..."

Some choice lines from Kerry:
Responding to are you a flip-flopper? "I disagree..... And I agree. Did you know that the Vietnamese word for agree is tIIING Tao?"
"I'm for the expansion of health care. Lord knows the government does so well with the DMV, it'll be great if they run the hospitals too."


Monday, September 27, 2004


The Everyman Candidate

I listened to this ultimate John Kerry ad.

Then I laughed. Then I cried.

And somehow, I know that if he hears it, John Kerry will laugh and cry too cause no matter what side I'm on, John Kerry's on my side. (h/t polipundit)


USA Today and the Broken Window Fallacy

Over on Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen notes this USA Today article by Barbara Hagenbaugh that discusses the economic impact of the hurricanes on Florida. The article in the money section of the paper includes this stunning passage that apparently brought Tyler to the verge of tears.

Although natural disasters spread destruction and economic pain to a wide variety of businesses, for some, it can mean a burst in activity and revenue.

For that reason, economists tallying the numbers expect the hurricanes will be neutral in their effect on the U.S. economy, or may even give it a slight boost, particularly because of an expected reconstruction boom in the already red-hot construction industry.

I'm not crying. I'm merely contemplating sending Hagenbaugh a copy of Frederic Bastiat's That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen.


Friday, September 24, 2004


New Kerry Support

Some really foreign leaders have come out in support for Kerry. As reported in willamette week online, Klingons are overwhelmingly supporting Kerry. 75% of polled Klingons will vote for Kerry, while 25% plan on writing in Satan. [ed - I don't think Satan is eligible for President, not being a natural born citizen of the US]. (h/t Glenn Beck radio show)

Klingons for Kerry
(pic from willamette week online)

Also, in a surprise move God has cast his ballot in support of Kerry and is in the process of smiting Bush voters in Florida. However, the folks at Snopes seems to think it's a load of hooey. Atheists. ;)

God's non-partisan after all. When you overlay the actual tracks you get this map.


Thursday, September 23, 2004


More Flies with Honey

In this post, Matt responds to my response to the Kerry NYU speech. I'll respond to the substantive portions of the post in the following.

On the surreal pairs, I didn't explain why I found the pairings of statements to be surreal. Perhaps, stating why I believe so will clarify why the pairings are surreal (or more specifically logically untenable).

Surreal Pair 1 - War Rationales

  1. "He failed to tell the truth about the rationale for going to war"
  2. "By one count, the President offered 23 different rationales for this war."
The common criticism from Kerry is that Bush has done a bait and switch on why we went to war. Previously lesser emphasized rationales were given greater emphasis when the slamdunk WMD rationale (an easy to understand, easy to sell rationale with supposedly impeccable vacking) fell through. Kerry and others have seized on this to claim that Bush failed to give the true rationale when the Bush team changed its emphasis on rationales.

To make this criticism hold up, you have to assert that because of the emphasis placed on the WMD argument, the other rationales were so crowded out that they were effectively not made at all and bringing up the other rationales now is disingenuous. (Thason has taken this line in real world conversations.). However, acknowledging the other rationales, indeed criticizing the Bush team for giving too many rationales - "If his purpose was to confuse and mislead the American people, he succeeded" - means that a bait and switch has not occurred and is not disingenuous. Rather there were so many rationales heard by the public that it was confusing.

If A then not B. If B then not A.

Surreal Pair 2 - Importance of Combatting Growing Threats
  1. "Now the president, in looking for a new reason, tries to hang his hat on the “capability” to acquire weapons. But that was not the reason given to the nation; it was not the reason Congress voted on; it’s not a reason, it’s an excuse." (emphasis not in original post)
  2. The President’s policy in Iraq took our attention and resources away from other, more serious threats to America. Threats like North Korea, which actually has weapons of mass destruction, including a nuclear arsenal, and is building more under this President’s watch…The emerging nuclear danger from Iran…" (ellipses in the original)
To be explicit, if it's ok to pursue action against Iran because of an emerging nuclear threat, in what sense would citing growing nuclear capabilities of Iraq not be a credible reason for war (calling it an excuse)? The rhetoric of the two criticisms don't play well together.

On the bizarre lines, Matt responds to specific points I made justifying why I thought the lines were bizarre, so I'll respond to those rather than giving a further expansion.

Bizarre Line 1 - Value of Allies
"Instead of using U.S. forces, we relied on the warlords to capture Osama bin Laden when he was cornered in the mountains."

Some allies are more equal than others and unilateralism is ok when Kerry says it is.

Matt - Um, do you really think that Afghani warlords are valuable allies of the U.S. who should be trusted to handle, alone, vital missions like OBL's capture? Hey, I'm happy Tonga joined our coalition, but I wouldn't send them to capture Jeff Foxworthy, much less a wily, wily terrorist.

It appears that Matt (and Kerry) is belittling the Afghan warlords who did the bulk of the ground fighting to defeat the Taliban. - the warlords who contributed more to the war on terror than any other ally except for the U.K. But surely this can't be right. Can it?

Bizarre Line 3 - Nuclear Club
Thirty-five to forty countries have greater capability to build a nuclear bomb than Iraq did in 2003. Is President Bush saying we should invade them?

Are Israel, India, UK, Russia, Japan, Korea, France, Pakistan, Germany, Israel, China, training terrorists in how to use WMD (Senate Intelligence Report)? Iran and N.K. may be, but we're not exactly playing patty cakes with them, either.

Matt - Would you deny that we'd have more resources for those two more serious threats if we'd handled Iraq differently?

In theory, yes. In practice, no (unless you care to define "differently" in a manner that Kerry has not yet defined to date) cause we ain't invading N.K. until we can shoot artillery shells out of the skyat a rate of thousands a minute (5-10 years from now) and I think we're just about in the best spot we could be in to put pressure on Iran (here's a hint, we weren't going to be invading from Afghanistan).

Bizarre Line 4 - Nuclear Club (focusing on imminent threat response)
"Yet today, President Bush tells us that he would do everything all over again, the same way. How can he possibly be serious? Is he really saying that if we knew there were no imminent threat, no weapons of mass destruction, no ties to Al Qaeda, the United States should have invaded Iraq?"

a) Umm, no imminent threat was ever claimed (except by Edwards). Indeed the rationale was the exact opposite (SOTU 2003)- " Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?"

Matt - A. "Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints...Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. "

That's President Bush, October 2, 2002. Would you say that he's characterizing Iraq as an "imminent threat?" Or a "possibly the capability to someday pose a threat if we leave them alone long enough?"

What about this: "We are united in our determination to confront this urgent threat to America. " Is an "urgent" threat imminent? That's Bush, too. Cheney called it a "mortal" threat. Ari Fleischer called it imminent several times.

On whether or not the Bush administration called Iraq an imminent threat, I'll make the resolution of this situation real simple. If Matt convinces the guys at Spinsanity (a slightly left of center site that generally strives for accuracy in political rhetoric) that the Bush admin called Iraq an imminent threat, I'll go along and agree that Bush called Iraq an imminent threat.

Here's their lengthy and well-documented post on the subject in which they address the arguments Matt raises and determine that no statement of imminence was ever made and there are "extremely few instances in which any member of the Bush administration even suggested that Iraq posed an 'imminent threat.'"

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Lies, Damned Lies, and Blog Posts.

Dear Mr. Neel:

Please come back! I miss you so!


Jody, come on, man:

Surreal Pair 1 - War Rationales

  1. "He failed to tell the truth about the rationale for going to war"
  2. "By one count, the President offered 23 different rationales for this war."

I suppose this means that if I rob a bank and provide 23 reasons why I did so, one of which is accurate, then I'm telling the truth?

Surreal Pair 2 - Importance of Combatting Growing Threats

So, um, is either thing Kerry said here inaccurate? I think it is generally agreed that Iran is much closer to acquiring nuclear capabilities than Iraq was. And that's "nuclear capabilities," not "the capability to one day develop nuclear weapons." Iran already has that. It's not surreal to say that Bush isn't following his own stated doctrine when it comes to Iran or North Korea. Put it this way, as Kerry did:

The President often says that in a post 9-11 world, we can’t hesitate to act. I agree. But we should not act just for the sake of acting. I believe we have to act wisely and responsibly.
George Bush has no strategy for Iraq. I do.

Bizarre Line 1 - Value of Allies:

Um, do you really think that Afghani warlords are valuable allies of the U.S. who should be trusted to handle, alone, vital missions like OBL's capture? Hey, I'm happy Tonga joined our coalition, but I wouldn't send them to capture Jeff Foxworthy, much less a wily, wily terrorist.

Bizarre Line 2 - Exploiting 9/11:

Eh. Ok, sure. Though I think Bush was a hell of a lot more shameless at the convention.

Bizarre Line 3 - Nuclear Club:

We're not exactly doing everything we could be to stop NK and Iran, either. Would you deny that we'd have more resources for those two more serious threats if we'd handled Iraq differently?

Bizarre Line 4:

A. "Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints...Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. "

That's President Bush, October 2, 2002. Would you say that he's characterizing Iraq as an "imminent threat?" Or a "possibly the capability to someday pose a threat if we leave them alone long enough?"

What about this: "We are united in our determination to confront this urgent threat to America. " Is an "urgent" threat imminent? That's Bush, too. Cheney called it a "mortal" threat. Ari Fleischer called it imminent several times.


Speed Racer

Over on nanothoughts, Solid Neon sings the praises of Burnout 3, a new racing game for the Xbox.

My question is, who needs a racing game when you can do it in real life? Heck, if you try hard enough, you can even hit 205 mph on the interstate. (link)


On Kerry's speech

Matt notes Kerry's speech at NYU and identifies a few key excerpts. Probably his best speech to date though it pales in comparison to Bush's speech to the UN yesterday (warning transcript from CBS).

However, I found a number of lines in Kerry's speech to be surreal particularly when paired with other statements in the same speech. I also found a number of lines to be bizarre because of the man making the criticisms (I'll address the suggestions in a later post).

Surreal Pair 1 - War Rationales
  1. "He failed to tell the truth about the rationale for going to war"
  2. "By one count, the President offered 23 different rationales for this war."
Surreal Pair 2 - Importance of Combatting Growing Threats
  1. "Now the president, in looking for a new reason, tries to hang his hat on the “capability” to acquire weapons. But that was not the reason given to the nation; it was not the reason Congress voted on; it’s not a reason, it’s an excuse."
  2. The President’s policy in Iraq took our attention and resources away from other, more serious threats to America. Threats like North Korea, which actually has weapons of mass destruction, including a nuclear arsenal, and is building more under this President’s watch…The emerging nuclear danger from Iran…" (ellipses in the original)
Bizarre Line 1 - Value of Allies
"Instead of using U.S. forces, we relied on the warlords to capture Osama bin Laden when he was cornered in the mountains."

Some allies are more equal than others and unilateralism is ok when Kerry says it is.

Bizarre Line 2 - Exploiting 9/11
"With us today is a remarkable group of women who lost loved ones on September 11th … and whose support I am honored to have."

So we won't be hearing any more from the Kerry campaign about Bush exploiting 9/11?

Bizarre Line 3 - Nuclear Club
Thirty-five to forty countries have greater capability to build a nuclear bomb than Iraq did in 2003. Is President Bush saying we should invade them?

Are Israel, India, UK, Russia, Japan, Korea, France, Pakistan, Germany, Israel, China, training terrorists in how to use WMD (Senate Intelligence Report)? Iran and N.K. may be, but we're not exactly playing patty cakes with them, either.

Bizzare Line 4 - Doing it Again
"Yet today, President Bush tells us that he would do everything all over again, the same way. How can he possibly be serious? Is he really saying that if we knew there were no imminent threat, no weapons of mass destruction, no ties to Al Qaeda, the United States should have invaded Iraq?"

a) Umm, no imminent threat was ever claimed (except by Edwards). Indeed the rationale was the exact opposite (SOTU 2003)- " Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?"

b) No stockpiles of WMD, but WMD have been found. Also extensive evidence indicating that Iraq was planning on ramping back up their programs once the US left Iraq alone has been cited in the Kay report and the Duelfer report. (also check out Mens News Daily)

c) Ties were found to Al Qaeda (rather extensive ties at that), just not to the 9/11 attacks (which Bush never claimed). Senate Intelligence Report, a comment I left on winning argument

Bizzare Line 5 - Doing it Again
"After the successful entry into Baghdad, George Bush was offered help from the UN -- and he rejected it."

The UN that just called the war illegal? The UN that turned tail after being attacked once?

Bizzare Line 6 - Insulting Allies
"After insulting allies and shredding alliances, this President may not have the trust and confidence to bring others to our side in Iraq."

Does Kerry mean insulting like calling it a our Iraq alliance a coalition of the bribed and coerced or a fraudulent coalition? How about not showing up for Allawi's speech today and then bashing Allawi (in effect calling Allawi a liar)?

Or perhaps he was planning on gaining the confidence of allies when his campaign "warned Australians that the Howard Government's support for the US in Iraq has made them a bigger target for international terrorists." (link)



Jody points out in the comments that my last post quotes a Bush flack as saying that the President hasn't made a mistake in Iraq, and that this doesn't square with Kerry's "constant harping on Bush saying that even Bush has admitted to making miscalculations."

First, you've misunderstood and misunderestimated Kerry. I think the quote you're referring to is this:

"The President now admits to 'miscalculations' in Iraq.

That is one of the greatest understatements in recent American history. His were not the equivalent of accounting errors. They were colossal failures of judgment--and judgment is what we look for in a president."

Kerry isn't saying, "Look! Even Bush says he screwed up!" In context, Kerry's saying, "Bush will not speak frankly about his mistakes, instead using euphemism and understatement. This lack of candor and blinkered perception makes him a bad leader."

I couldn't agree more.

And adding to this--Jeremy also posted a comment; he seems to imply that staying the course "if facts change" is a good thing, or at the very least, that changing one's mind "if facts change" is a luxury that presidents can't afford, because their decisions have such weighty consequences. I'd much rather have a president who at least admits "if facts change" and reasseses the situation. But Bush has never let facts get in his way.

Recently, the president implied that because the CIA offered him more than one possible scenario for Iraq's future, he could blithely dismiss their entire analysis and say, "The Iraqi citizens are defying the pessimistic predictions." Well, guess what. They're also defying the American armed forces. And to quote one of the few things the administration has said that I think is accurate, "Hope is not a plan."

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"If the war was the only issue--and the fiscal lunacy, social intolerance and institutional arrogance were not also in play, I might have to swallow hard and go for Bush. But a vote for wimping out in Fallujah, bigger government and the social policy of James Dobson? Please."
[Andrew Sullivan, 9/21/04]

What institutional arrogance?

“The simple answer is that the president hasn't made a mistake in Iraq.”
[Terry Holt, Crossfire, 9/22/04]

“Presidents don't get to change their mind when things go badly.”
[Nicolle Devenish, CNN Inside Politics, 9/22/04]

Oh, that institutional arrogance.


Earth Share's Pop Philosophy

"There is really just one boy, one girl, one tree, one forest, one ocean, one mountain, one sky, one environment and now's there one way to care for it all..."

That's the beginning of an ad from earthshare.org. While the idea of combining various charitable environmental groups under a single umbrella is a good idea (in theory it decreases administrative overhead), the ad is just begging to be mocked.

"There is really just one boy, one girl..."
Well they better start getting it on if the species is to survive...
So we've returned to a state of Eden?
The rest are simulacra which aliens placed here to provide a carefully controlled environment to study you.

"one tree, one forest..."
Sometimes you just can't see the forest for the tree
That's a pretty crappy forest

In a degree of fairness, the one ocean and one sky are valid ideas, but those others are just silly.

Of course maybe earthshare has insights into physics that I'm unfamiliar with. Perhaps there is a single boy wave function which is probabilistically realized in the 3.5 billion or so people around the world we traditionally call "boys" and we are all "Being John Malkovich" at this very moment.

Or perhaps the ad is just silly.



No not the Bob Dole E.D. - I'm talking about Emiment Domain.

While some may heckle the libertarian stance on emiment domain, in this article, George Will comes pretty close to supporting it. (As I mentioned long back, the emiment domain plank of the 2004 Libertarian platform is the one prominent issue on which I agree with them)

Will discusses New London's seizure of property for the purposes of increasing tax revenue.
To enhance the Pfizer pharmaceutical company's $270 million research facility, [New London] empowered a private entity, the New London Development Corp., to exercise the power of eminent domain to condemn most of the Fort Trumbull neighborhood along the Thames River. The aim: to make space for upscale condominiums, a luxury hotel and private offices that would yield the city more tax revenues than can be extracted from the area's middle-class homeowners.
The Connecticut Supreme Court has already ruled in New London's favor ruling that increases in tax revenues is a justifiable public use, but Will notes that there may be an appeal to the US Supreme Court. Hopefully, that'll sort things out. However, in light of other recent rulings (cough... McCain Feingold cough...), I'm not exactly holding my breath waiting for SCOTUS to do the right thing.


The Stupidest Idea for a Law... Ever

No really, this is the stupidest idea for a law I've heard (or read as the case may be).
A new crime of “reckless sexual conduct” should target unprotected first encounters. To convict, prosecutors would need to show beyond a reasonable doubt (i) a first-time sexual encounter between the defendant and the victim; and (ii) no use of a condom. The defendant would then have the opportunity to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the victim consented to the unprotected sex.
Here's the actual statute from their paper on the subject.
Reckless Sexual Conduct
(1). A person is guilty of reckless sexual conduct when the person intentionally engages in unprotected sexual activity with another person who is not his or her spouse and these two people had not on an occasion previous to the occasion of the crime engaged in sexual activity.

(2). Affirmative Defense: Notwithstanding Subsection (1), it shall be an affirmative defense to any action brought under this article that the person, with whom the defendant had unprotected sex, expressly asked to engage in unprotected sexual activity or otherwise gave unequivocal indications of affirmatively consenting to engage in sexual activity that is specifically unprotected.

(3). Definitions:
(a) “Sexual activity” means vaginal or anal penetration accomplished with a male or female.
(b) “Unprotected sexual activity” means sexual activity without the use of a condom.
(c) “Occasion of the crime” includes the 12 hour period after the two people engage in sexual activity for the first time.

(4) Sanctions:
(a) Sentence: The crime of reckless sexual conduct is punishable by imprisonment
in the state prison for three months, or a fine.
(b) Sexual Offender Status: The court shall not register a person as a sexual
offender because the person was found guilty of reckless sexual conduct.
Several commentors on that site have already noted immediate problems with the proposed statute: unconstitutional violation of privacy in light of Lawerence v Texas, apparent reversal of innocent until proven guilty principle, creation of a horrible he said/she said dilemma...

As a libertarian who strongly believes in the efficacy of public shaming1, I encourage you to go leave a comment. (h/t Instapundit)

1. My public shaming libertarian position can be neatly summarized as "I'll support your right to do anything you want to do as long as it only affects you, no matter how stupid, but in the process I'm probably going to call you a dumbass and tell you why in no uncertain terms why you're a dumbass."

Call it the Red approach to good libertarian public citizenry.


Wednesday, September 22, 2004


Caption Contest Results

I've had lots o' work, so my apologies for the sporadic postings. Fortunately, my co-bloggers have been keeping the site full of bloggy goodness.

So a few days late, here's the results from this completely biased and unfair caption contest.

In last place (cause it just ain't cool to enter your own contest):
It's a monumental erection. - me
In fourth place:
The world will little note nor long remember what we caption here, but it can never forget what Jody did there. - Roger
In third place:
And then...I woke up. - Thason
In second place:
Pinocchio, the adult version. - Spak
And the winner of our caption contest and soon to be recepient of the only shwag we have:
Rock hard in a funky place. - Roger


Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Real Deal

You're probably going to want to read this.

Key grafs:

This President was in denial. He hitched his wagon to the ideologues who surround him, filtering out those who disagreed, including leaders of his own party and the uniformed military. The result is a long litany of misjudgments with terrible consequences.

The administration told us we’d be greeted as liberators. They were wrong.

They told us not to worry about looting or the sorry state of Iraq’s infrastructure. They were wrong.

They told us we had enough troops to provide security and stability, defeat the insurgents, guard the borders and secure the arms depots. They were wrong.

They told us we could rely on exiles like Ahmed Chalabi to build political legitimacy. They were wrong.

They told us we would quickly restore an Iraqi civil service to run the country and a police force and army to secure it. They were wrong.

In Iraq, this administration has consistently over-promised and under-performed. This policy has been plagued by a lack of planning, an absence of candor, arrogance and outright incompetence. And the President has held no one accountable, including himself.

Also, Kerry gives four specific goals for the current administration; all are fleshed out pretty specifically, but here are the goals themselves (and if they sound vague, read the speech itself--there's a lot of substance there):
  • First, the President has to get the promised international support so our men and women in uniform don’t have to go it alone.
  • Second, the President must get serious about training Iraqi security forces.
  • Third, the President must carry out a reconstruction plan that finally brings tangible benefits to the Iraqi people.
  • Fourth, the President must take immediate, urgent, essential steps to guarantee the promised elections can be held next year.

Anyway, read it. It's more interesting than typewriters from the 70s...

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Monday, September 20, 2004


Jody, you're fired!

Of course, I'm not the boss here at this blog, and I have no real clue about the politics of the people at MPRG. But be careful, lest this happen to you because of this. (I never miss a chance to show off the PolySciFi swag.)

In any event, yes, it's un-American. Hopefully people who don't agree with my politics can still agree with my assessment.


Sunday, September 19, 2004


If I haven't my feelings about France clear before...

Remember those forged Niger documents? The ones that got Bush in hot water (though there was a larger case supporting the SOTU assertion which Joe Wilson - yes that Joe Wilson - had confirmed)? The ones that we got from Italy?

Well Italy also got burned by it too and have been looking into where the document came from. And guess what? As asserted in a Telegraph article, France forged the documents in an attempt to derail the Iraq war. (link) (h/t NRO)

To make things perfectly clear on how I feel, France is not our ally nor our friend and might as well be a declared enemy.

In light of this revelation and the polled French preferences in the election (64%Kerry-5%Bush), I'm even happier to be displaying this bumper sticker on my car.


Extra points

In light of Thason's post on missed XPs, I'll add this little point...

Phat Phil is a lot more aggressive in his coaching style this year than in years past. In last night's game, Phil went for it on fourth down on his own 30 (4th and an inch, but hey, you miss it and best case you gave up a field goal), then later in the game he went for it on 4th and 6 at midfield.

This is a dramatic change from past years when Phil played it close to the vest (if not under the vest). And then there's the fact that Phil is starting two true freshmen, something that Tennessee just hasn't done (that's soooo Florida).

Why all the risk taking? Phil, if he went 0 for the season, would still be brought back next year. That's what a winning record better than .800 and a national championship will do for you. (Just as Joe Pa). It could be that pundits were talking about Phil being on the hot seat. However, I think it's the fact that NCAA 2005 lists Phil's job security as C+.

No one wants to be a digital scrub.


Whatt's up with all these missed extra points?

Besides the fact that the kicking game in the college ranks is woefully underemphasized.

I don't have the answer; I just thought I'd ask...


Saturday, September 18, 2004


The absence of parental guidance

When I saw this, a part of me wept, and a part of me laughed.

Well, mostly I laughed. But still, it does show the end result of irresponsible parenting.


Friday, September 17, 2004


Somewhere John Woo just got a hard on

presuming he read this article. (h/t drudge)


Thursday, September 16, 2004


Liveblogging Badnarik - Tha

[Ed. Jody's computer clock and mine are not synchronized. Also, it's dark, and I don't type well in the dark.]


We're both ready to roll in our inconspicuous seats. I've admonished Jody not to embarass me, but we'll have to see how that turns out. This should be...interesting.


It looks like we're ready to roll.


They just said they'd answer any question. Carte blanche for my esteemed colleague.


The candidate appears to have been well-received, but then, consider the venue.


Extended metaphor appears to be the order of the opening - Libertarians as people who move out of their parents homes. To an extent, the metaphor being made is one that has a personal attraction, since it really did happen to me.


Telling a story about free-speech zones, first at a college where he spoke, and then at the DNC - barbed wire, fenced off, and so forth. Makes a good point that pricks at my Democratic leanings.


Ironically perhaps, points off for making references to the Declaration of Independence as a foundation for exercising "rights" since it carries no legal weight.


Okay, he just sounded like a gun nut there for a moment, but he's trying to recover.


Obviously, Badnarik doesn't like the Patriot Act.


Okay, that's just bad law. Sure, we could point to these jurisdictions that have "resolved" against the Patriot Act But we settled this whole nullification thing, oh, say 140 years ago.


In talking about just how bad Social Security, I wonder what his position on the "safety net" is. Maybe I'll ask.


That was a good line: "Even if you're not interested in politics, politics is interested in you." A nice appeal to an otherwise apathetic voting bloc.


I've actually heard the assessment made before, but it is cute: "Democrats want to be your mommy...Republicans want to be your daddy."


Good gambit: don't ask college students for their money - ask them for energy and enthusiasm that they supposedly have. He's never been in my lecture section on Monday morning.


Question asked and answered - No United Nations. Jody was just pointing out that he made no WOT mentions, but the stance of not requiring anyone's permission to "protect our people," that kind of laid it bare.


No gun laws...abolish the IRS.


Creativity at Virginia Tech: Bush and Kerry are Coke and Pepsi. Badnarik is Mountain Dew.


The candidate mentions that he has never raised taxes, or made backroom deals. I've never done those things either. Maybe I should run for president.


That one was a head scratcher on the Gold Standard. Badnarik doesn't own stocks, apparently. It's all gold, silver, and lead (?)


Badnarik doesn't respect Bush or Kerry, and couldn't respect himself if he were to vote for either. That's not a reason to run for president, though. Still, there is something to be said for principle, I guess.


Badnarik just admitted to not being a politician. Stones.

"Welfare is theft." More stones.

"Businesses will spring up like dandelions." Dandelions are weeds. I'd have said that differently.


Well, that answers my question. The Badnarik safety net is economic growth and charity.


I wouldn't call these questions softballs, but they're beauty pageant questions: "Explain this particular facet of Libertarian policy." "Okay, now this one."


I've never been to England, but a head shake and that patented look tells me that England does not have the cleanest air and water on Earth.


More get the government out of everything: hang the Department of Education on the mantle with the IRS and the EPA.


"It was a mistake to be in Iraq." I think that the math is fuzzy on American and Iraqi support for the American presence, and so is the slippery-slope of quotations that was just followed on Bush's quotes on winning the war.


Was that a heckler on the issue of eminent domain? Have those words ever been typed in the same sentence before?


Was just asked about Libertarian electoral success. Hasn't even advertised the fact that John Hospers and Theodora Nathan received one of Ford's electoral votes.


Glenn Beck says I can't vote for Badnarik, because I'd be voting against Bush or Kerry.


"Spaceship One - Government zero" The candidate has a lot of good lines. I'll give him that. Put NASA and the government presence in science research on the mantle.


Give everyone guns, and we'll all be safer. I heard Beck make the same point once. Must be one of Glenn's old Libertarian leanings. It might have been more amusing tonight.


Jody just submitted a question, and a good one. Let's see what happens.


I'm more of a tease than Jody, and the candidate is a bit of a tease as well. No nuclear weapons for private citizens. Damn.


Well, there goes the fundamentalist vote. Badnarik refused to state his religious faith, and is now saying that gays should be allowed to marry through a comparison to miscegenation. Considerng the lack of general support for gay marriage among "conservatively" and religiously-minded African Americans, I'm as intrigued by the comparison as ever.


The candidate is apparently against racial profiling. The story reminds me of a joke about making terrorists being forced to fly on a terrorist airline. The last comment was a bit fuzzy for me, as Badnarik wants to protect Americans...but from what?


Badnarik knows a lot about logic, and knows a lot about the Constitution. But apparently tautology escapes him, as everything in the Constitution is not constitutional.

Not everything in the Constitution is good, but unfortunately sometimes, the fact that it's there makes it constitutional.


Last question - "Are you an anarchist?" Jody was just about to send down another question, but oh well. The candidate knows well the difference between anarchy and anomie.

Government is fire, and needs to be kept in its place. Jody raises the point that free speech could fall under the same description, but I think his position is flawed.


Liveblogging Badnarik - Jody

Just sat down. Pulling power from the camera crew filming Badnarik. Apparently they'll be taking questions. Fun.

Still haven't started (I hear that's typical for most appearances). I guess there's a shade under 200 in the theater to hear Badnarik.

Format is the following. Badnarik will talk for 20 minutes. Then Badnarik will field questions for an hour. Questions are submitted via note cards.

Badnarik up and talking. Emphasizing the phrase "Lighting te fires of liberty, one heart at a time." Talking about Libertarians being neither conservative nor liberal.

Emphasizing everyone's love of liberty by drawing a parallel to moving out of the house. Drawing a parallel to government and your parents. Did emphasize the importance of responsibilties.

Says that liberty is being decreased. Mocking "free speech zones" by talking about a previous campaign stop. Particularly mocking the DNC free speech zones. Made first WWII parallel to concentration camps. Then brings up free speech zones at Bush campaign stops. All good points.

Questions need for permit to for conceal-carry. Says that if "I can get my fingers on the trigger, the government will never make me get a permit"

Compares Patriot act to Alien and Sedition Act. Says blatantly violates 4th ammendment. (Doesn't like delayed warrant). Doesn't like labeling someone a terrorist. Likes to try people for terrorism. Compares terrorist trials to Star Chambers.

Issues - Bill restore the draft. Hitting on the draft. Repeats Lib line that all human interactions should be voluntary. Calls the draft involuntary servitude.

Social Security - Calls SS a "pay as they go system" claims SS $7 trillion underfunded. Seems to think that SS is supposed to replace personal planning. Suggests that we should follow the Chile model- privatized. Says the 98% switched over. Cutting on AARP (notes the fact that they have a turnout advantage).

Seems to be encouraging the youth to get out and vote. Nice line - "Even if you're not interested in politics, politics is interested in you."

Calls Dems the mommy party and the Reps the daddy party (little titilation at an implied "Who;s your daddy joke?)

Doesn't seem to like foreign wars, but hasn't yet said anything explicit.

Shilling for the Viewpoint and encouraging the audience to join the Libertarian party. Speech over. Did not once say what he would do in the war on terror.

Taking Questions
Would get the US out of UN immediately. Says "does not need permission to protect our lives, our liberty, our property."

First change - undo the gun control laws. Second - abolish the IRS.

Of noninterventionism - claiming not an isolationist. Economic ties with all countries, entangling alliances with none. Would bring home all foreign troops immediately (presumably in Iraq)

State of the Union address each time Congress tries to pass an unconstitutional law.

Gold Standard WTF? - Wants the US back on the gold standard. Holy shit. Claims that gold and silver do not inflate. Is invested in gold, silver and lead. Conflict of interest?

On the ballot in 48 states. (problems in OK and NH)

Says he's running because he cannot vote for Bush or Kerry and respect himself in the morning.
Says that he's running because it's the right thing to do.

Welfare - Calls welfare theft. Really really doesn't like wealth redistribution. Says that charity will take care of any people left at the bottom. Says that the best way to take care of the poor is to improve the economy so we have more money to be generous with?

Keeps saying we were the most prosperous nation on earth until 1913 (it's been all downhill since then? What about the post WWII expansion?) Are we not now? What about Britain before WWI, weren't they more prosperous? Nitpicking, but hey.

Doesn't like EPA. Believes that it's corrupt. Doesn't like grandfathering. Says that US government is the largest polluter in the country. Wants to follow England, wants to encourage lawsuits to protect the environment. Claims England has cleanest air and water in the world.

Education and the middle class. Says that money has nothing to do with education. Says 1953 we were number 1 in math and science and says we are now 29th in math and science. Wants to privatize education. Says that he will not support subsidized education.

How would handle Iraq - Calls it a mistake to go to Iraq. Misquotes on Bush - claims Bush said we couldn't win the war in his acceptance speech. Says that we have an obligation to bring the troops home, any rebuilding would be done privately.

Eminent domain - calls it unconstitutional. Says constitution does not have power to take property away from people. Really keeps harping on the idea that people don't know what's in the Constitution.

Wants the government out of science research. Says it biases the research. Wants NASA privatized. Notes a sign from the landing of Spaceship 1: Spaceship 1 Government 0.

Claims that prohibitions don't work to answer a question on concealed permits. References drugs and 18th ammendment.

Says that determining which weapons should be used is determined by clear and present danger. Which isn't very clear. No to nuclear warhead. But ok to tanks.

Just submitted my question: If elected, what would you do about the Iranian nuclear program - a clear and present danger?

Are you a man of faith? Refuses to answer.

Gay marriage- supports gay marriage. Compares gay marriage to miscegenation. Claims that marriage licenses started for blacks to marry whites... Calls DOMA embarrassing.

Ok for anyone to purchase guns - even violent? Says ok as long as you've paid your debt to society. "You are ultimately responsible for protecting yourself"

Is against racial profiling for terrorists. Claims that terrorist do not have a particular look. Umm young, male, hairless, and Arab?

Rebuts a question about ammending the 2nd ammendment in light of abolishing slavery. Says "that just because something is written in the Constitution does not make it Constititional" WTF?!!?? Apparently confuses what is constitutional with what is good.

Keeps going Lockesian and claiming DOI is life liberty and property (it's pursuit of happiness).

Ending. never got to my question. Nor my second question - What is your position on abortion, do the unborn have a right to life?


Live blogging Badnarik

As previously mentioned, Badnarik is speaking at Tech tonight in the Haymarket Theater. So in our attempt to appear to be serious bloggers, Thason and I are attending tonight and we'll attempt to liveblog his speech.


Legacy Admit Update

Bush had also called for an end to legacy admissions (link) and here's the text of the speech where he made that call (link). (h/t press think)


Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Light posting

I have a bit of work to get done today, so I won't be posting much (if anything today). However, over the next couple days (depending on when it goes up), I should be able to provide a link to an article I wrote with my advisor for the EE Times.

Slate is peering into my mind. One of the points in my article is kinda made here.


Rantings of a Space Cadet

Robin Ripley, another former VTACO player, has started a new blog - Rantings of a Space Cadet. Go check it out.


Now we're into it.

Ok, I think we're getting somewhere with this back and forth. As long as we're doing this Fisking style, I'm going to put Jody's words in a kind-of-fruity purple:

However, there were several good reasons for selling the Iraq war on the secondary purposes instead of the primary purpose.

See, this kind of gets down to the roots of what I loathe about this administration. They do a lot of things on a "wink-wink-nudge-nudge" basis. I'd rather have a leader who tried to actually inspire people; I think America can rise to that kind of challenge. An example would be Bush's absolute refusal to admit that the war doesn't have broad international support, and that suggesting that it's an unpopular war internationally is tantamount to insulting England and Australia. You can't talk to those people.

More later. Also, read a great script today, "The Wedding Crashers." Watch for it, it's going to be hilarious.


Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Two good posts on mackenab.com

Allen (whose thoughts on the evangelical vote I mocked yesterday) had two good posts on NYT op-eds today (emphasizing the fact that it's the idea and not the man who should be criticized).

Allen's first post addresses this op-ed (registration required) on legacy admissions. Legacy admits are inherently unmeritorious and something which I (and Allen and the op-ed writer) feel that the public at large would not prefer. While I don't think legacy admits should be outlawed (a private school should be free to do as it wishes though public schools would be a different matter), knowing which schools perform legacy admissions would be valuable for the public to know in estimating the quality of a graduate from that school. And that's the point of legislation being introduced by Teddy K.

Allen's second post focuses on what should be the appropriate drinking age based off of the comments in this op-ed (registration required). A point that Allen brings up jives with my own thoughts on the matter - If at 18 you're considered responsible for your own actions (i.e., you can vote, you can enlist in the army, you can buy a gun, and you can be put to death for crimes you commit), why aren't you considered responsible enough to buy a beer?

Should we really believe that a beer is more dangerous than a gun? More dangerous than a car? Tying all of that together, I once saw a convenience store near Ewing VA that proudly displayed a sign that said "Beer Gas Guns." (That doesn't really advance my point, but I've been looking for a way to fit it that phrase since I've been blogging.)

The op-ed covers some other good stuff, particularly if you're in academia.


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