Republican Debate

I am listening to the Republicans debate in the Reagan library. This is hilarious. McCain has a chance to win the election, but I wonder if Romney relates to your typical “not super wealthy but rich enough to see war as something someone else has to do” that make up much of the rank and file.

My goodness, does Romney sound like a phony; McCain is taking him to school. McCain just slammed Romney on “people losing their jobs” on an economic question.

Paul is saying that “the government shouldn’t run the economy”. Always on message. Always on the margin. 🙂

Huckabee is getting his feelings hurt because he is being ignored. Poor Huckster. 🙂

He is going on about how he was a governor. Then he takes on Romney for making the poor invisible. Says that the Republicans are restricting attention to those who are well off.

Now Romney is saying why Reagan would endorse him.
McCain slams Romney for being a flip-flopper.
Paul: talks about the currency.
Huckabee: says it would be arrogant to claim that Reagan would endorse anyone; but he would endorse him.

This is hilarious.

But the funniest question: are we better off now than 8 years ago? Huckabee says “no”, but blame congress too. McCain says “yes”??? Romney tries to show how his Massachusetts constituents are better off; Paul says “no”.

Romney is having trouble with conservative support and Huckabee hanging around isn’t helping his campaign much.

Now Huckabee has his problems, but mostly with money and with modern science.

Speaking of evolution, who accepts and who doesn’t? Sandwalk weighs in.

Democrats Edwards says farewell to the campaign.

His concession speech here.

New York Now: what prompted this cartoon.

Non Political: Creative people: their brains do work differently than others.

January 31, 2008 Posted by | creationism, edwards, mccain, politics/social, religion, republicans, science | Leave a comment

Damn; Edwards is out

Workout Notes 2200 yard swim (500 warm up, 5 x (100 swim, 100 paddle, 100 fins)), 4 x (25 fly/25 back). Then 12.5 miles on the bike in 46 minutes, then 3+ mile run in 30 minutes (slow one today) on the track, 1 mile walk in 14:00 to cool down.

There was one spandex babe walker; tall lass with dark hair and bright royal blue spandex pants.


That’s right: HRC has the lead but can’t seem to shake us just yet. But the road just got tougher:

Edwards has dropped out and now it is Obama vs. Clinton. That is going to be rough sledding for us as Edwards was able to make inroads in the white “working class” demographic. Now Clinton will probably get most of that. That phone bank is going to be more important than ever!

On the Republican side, it looks as if it is going to be Romney vs. McCain. Giuliani is close to dropping out and Hucakbee is having money problems.

Oh yes, Chuck Norris is catching some flack from a former Thompson campaign official. 🙂

Dang: I guess I won’t be buying the Walker, Texas Ranger DVD set anytime soon. 🙂

Florida: Democrats. Hillary Clinton held a “victory” party for her “win” in the campaign-less Florida primary. A pundit was very impressed. Clinton managed to eke out a tie with Froggy for Florida Democratic delegates. Someone already is clamoring for a Obama/Froggy ticket.

January 30, 2008 Posted by | hillary clinton, obama, politics/social, running, swimming | 2 Comments

Florida: the votes being counted

And as expected, it is tight between McCain (who I picked to win) and Romney.

McCain 412,151 35%
Romney 373,956 32%
Giuliani 180,450 15%
Huckabee 157,293 14%

Keep in mind this is “winner take all”; no proportional distribution of delegates.

So, as far as Mr. 9/11 Giuliani:

Among the Democrats (no delegates at stake due to a DNC rules violation, and neither campaign campaigned by “gentle person’s agreement”, HRC is up 51-30-19, to the surprise of no one. But in terms of delegates: even Froggy gets as many delegates as any of the Democratic candidates.

January 30, 2008 Posted by | hillary clinton, huckabee, mccain, obama, politics/social | Leave a comment

Weather Tuesday, Florida Primary Prediction

Workout Notes 6.5 mile run (to Prospect and Forest Hill via the river tail and Glen Oak Park), 4+ mile walk. Then: yoga on my own.

The weather is just crazy here; it was in the 50’s this morning; now it is 18 F and dropping quickly.

Other notes
Florida Prediction John McCain in a narrow one, based on the large number of retired military living in that state.

That race has gotten rather nasty.

Meanwhile, we at the Kos are fighting over stupid things though some wrote diaries of substance such as this one.

Elsewhere people have wrote about other things.

If you think that I am harsh on the Clinton campaign at times, well here is one reason why.

Obama is also snubbing the millions of Democrats who vote in the state of Florida.

Barack Obama doesn’t care what Florida Democrats say on Jan. 29.

In a memo released Tuesday, he reiterated his long-standing view that their primary votes will be worthless.

Obama has not been on the national scene for long. Obama needs to learn that Florida has millions of voters. Obama needs to learn that in 2000 a Democrat did not become president because Florida votes were not fully counted. Snubbing Florida is not a winning strategy for Democrats. We suspect that today, Florida voters will snub Obama.

This looks as if it were written for junior high students.

Then check out New York’s NOW chapter hissy-fit over Ted Kennedy endorsing Obama. Note: this is just from supporters, not from the campaign.

But if you think that I am harsh, check this out! Woah!!! 🙂

Oh well, onward. Tomorrow, I phone bank for Obama for about 1-1.5 hours after work.

January 29, 2008 Posted by | hillary clinton, mccain, politics/social, republicans, running | 7 Comments

State of the Union Speech.

Pathetic; I’ve heard better from high school student body presidents. It was insulting.

John McCain was wise to skip it.

Obama has a nice response:

Tonight, for the seventh long year, the American people heard a State of the Union that didn’t reflect the America we see, and didn’t address the challenges we face. But what it did do was give us an urgent reminder of why it’s so important to turn the page on the failed politics and policies of the past, and change the status quo in Washington so we can finally start making progress for ordinary Americans.

Tonight’s State of the Union was full of the same empty rhetoric the American people have come to expect from this President. We heard President Bush say he’d do something to cut down on special interest earmarks, but we know these earmarks have skyrocketed under his administration.

We heard the President say he wants to make tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans permanent, when we know that at a time of war and economic hardship, the last thing we need is a permanent tax cut for Americans who don’t need them and weren’t even asking for them. What we need is a middle class tax cut, and that’s exactly what I will provide as President.

We heard the President say he has a stimulus plan to boost our economy, but we know his plan leaves out seniors and fails to expand unemployment insurance, and we know it was George Bush’s Washington that let the banks and financial institutions run amok, and take our economy down this dangerous road. What we need to do now is put more money in the pockets of workers and seniors, and expand unemployment insurance for more people and more time. And I have a plan that to do just that.

And finally, tonight we heard President Bush say that the surge in Iraq is working, when we know that’s just not true. Yes, our valiant soldiers have helped reduce the violence. Five soldiers gave their lives today in this cause, and we mourn their loss and pray for their families.

But let there be no doubt – the Iraqi government has failed to seize the moment to reach the compromises necessary for an enduring peace. That was what we were told the surge was all about. So the only way we’re finally going to pressure the Iraqis to reconcile and take responsibility for their future is to immediately begin the responsible withdrawal of our combat brigades so that we can bring all of our combat troops home.

But another reason we need to begin this withdrawal immediately is because this war has not made us safer. I opposed this war from the start in part because I was concerned that it would take our eye off al Qaeda and distract us from finishing the job in Afghanistan. Sadly, that’s what happened. It’s time to heed our military commanders by increasing our commitment to Afghanistan, and it’s time to protect the American people by taking the fight to al Qaeda.

Tonight was President Bush’s last State of the Union, and I do not believe history will judge his administration kindly. But I also believe the failures of the last seven years stem not just from any single policy, but from a broken politics in Washington. A politics that says it’s ok to demonize your political opponents when we should be coming together to solve problems. A politics that puts Wall Street ahead of Main Street, ignoring the reality that our fates are intertwined; a politics that accepts lobbyists as part of the system in Washington, instead of recognizing how much they’re a part of the problem. And a politics of fear and ideology instead of hope and common sense.

I believe a new kind of politics is possible, and I believe it is necessary. Because the American people can’t afford another four years without health care, decent wages, or an end to this war. The woman who’s going to college and working the night shift to pay her sister’s medical bills can’t afford to wait. The Maytag workers who are now competing with their teenagers for $7 an hour jobs at Wall Mart can’t afford to wait. And the woman who told me she hasn’t been able to breathe since her nephew left for Iraq can’t afford to wait.

Each year, as we watch the State of the Union, we see half the chamber rise to applaud the President and half the chamber stay in their seats. We see half the country tune in to watch, but know that much of the country has stopped even listening. Imagine if next year was different. Imagine if next year, the entire nation had a president they could believe in. A president who rallied all Americans around a common purpose. That’s the kind of President we need in this country. And with your help in the coming days and weeks, that’s the kind of President I will be.

January 29, 2008 Posted by | mccain, politics/social, republicans | Leave a comment

Quickie; first Monday Semester

Workout notes 2200 yard swim; 12.5 mile bike (46 minutes; 1 minute slower than normal). Today I noticed some folks on bikes who must have been pedaling at 45 rpm (way slow); I wonder if these are the types who whine about not being in shape even though they “work out” frequently. You know, intensity matters!

On the upside, I saw some cute sets of pantylines both today and yesterday. 🙂

Election Of course, the Clinton campaign is whining about the Florida voting not counting (due to its being stripped of its delegates). Don’t be fooled; there is nothing altruistic about this. Factually, HRC always polls well in states where there has been no campaigning; when people see Obama on the stump, things immediately improve for him.

But this leads me to the following: Super Tuesday is going to be a ton of states and not much time to campaign in each one. Hence Clinton has a huge advantage here; so aside from some southern states and Illinois, I look for her to do very well.


I’d like to thank Ms. Larson for making the Dinette Set characters Republicans! 🙂

January 28, 2008 Posted by | hillary clinton, obama, politics/social, swimming | Leave a comment

Various: walking, science, quackery, Obama, Clinton and the Peril of eary voting.

(Barbara, Olivia (behind me), Froggy (in my hand) and I in Austin, Thanksgiving 2007.

Obama’s victory speech after the victory in South Carolina. Yes, the crowd is chanting “race doesn’t matter” in the background during the first part of the speech. It takes 17 minutes to see.

Workout notes Only 14 miles instead of the planned 20; I woke up too late. I did 80 laps of lane 2 of the Riverplex track (77 laps is 10 miles; hit that in 2:09) and got dehydrated. I managed 4 more miles outside and saw lots of geese. The footing was reasonably good though part of the goose loop is still underwater.

Local, Personal Thoughts

Handicapped Parking Spots

My wife is still recovering from foot surgery; hence we have a handicapped parking sticker. Still, when she parks the car in a handicapped space, and I go to get the car to drive to her (she wanted to walk a bit), well, I feel very awkward getting into the car. Today, I got some not so nice looks when I did that; I can understand the looks given I was wearing a marathon long sleeved t-shirt and well worn hiking boots! Yes, Barbara was with me; she walked from the space to the store, and I went to the car to drive it to the front of the store.

Lesson to me: don’t give dirty looks to those who park in handicapped spots; I don’t know the whole story.

Mormons at my door Yesterday, a couple of LDS (Mormon) missionaries came to my door. These were a couple of very attractive young women; had I been single and lonely (and 25 years younger) I would have certainly invited them in! 🙂

But they were stunned when I told them that I was an atheist (and I mentioned that I shared an office with someone who did his LDS missionary work in Korea). I was polite, and shook their hands. But I did tell them that I saw their Book of Mormon in the way they would see the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Basically, I see it as a bad attempt to tell a story by trying to imitated Elizabethan English; they claim it was given to Joseph Smith on golden plates by an angel and that he decoded it by using seer stones.

Sure, I see this as utter nonsense, but no more nonsensical than stone tablets, a parted sea, walking on water, or resurrected human bodies.

But the point was that few people really understand atheists: they think that we are defying god, mad at god, or just want to live a rule-free life. What they don’t get is that we really, truly don’t see any credible evidence for any god, much less their simple anthropomorphic one.

The Perils of Early Voting: now I find out that a candidate I voted for has some serious ethical issues. First a misstatement about her graduating from college in a radio ad. Then a shoplifting conviction, as an adult. Then she paid the fine 8 years later, and now has a 3 year old moving violation that she has just paid. Oh boy. That sign is not staying up in our front yard. I am sorry that I voted the way that I did.

Going Door to Door. My experience has been good; I’ve blogged about that before. But there are perils as one blogger describes:

I was canvassing in Chciago’s 11th Ward (Northern-most edge of IL-3 Congressional District) as part of Northside DFA’s work on behalf of grassroots/netroots candidate Mark Pera today (Saturday). According to my “walk sheet” the house I was approaching had an elderly Democratic voter. As is often the case, this voter no longer lived there. I began to deliver my pitch to the new occupant, but the woman who answered the door stopped me when I talked about electing a Congressman with REAL Democratic values.

She told me she was a Republican because “I want the niggers to have to get up for work every morning just like I do.” […]

And yes, there are people like that out there. Sometimes, you get stuck sitting next to a-holes like this on airplanes, though sometimes the other passengers fight back. Hat tip to imported beer for this story:

What do you tell a man who tells you..”You are not Mexican? I guess that means you came here legally” and bursts into laughter, eagerly echoed by his buddy? What if the same man also claims that the upcoming general elections will be between an American Hero and a Lesbo nut cracker? Oh and what if he adds that a “Niggerlite” might be her VP? Oh and Edwards being the Queer Eye candidate? There have been diary after diary about how divided we are about our choices for candidates in the primary, but perhaps this diary will illustrate what it is to be a Democrat in a Red State, and why despite my support for a candidate, I’d never demean another. […]

I was seated between two men. They looked ordinary enough. Mike the guy to my left was short, stocky, blonde. Jake, the guy to my right was very thin, and fidgety. It was not like they were wearing white hoods, or brandishing Ann Coulter books. They seemed like ordinary guys. […]

Some choice excerpts from the conversation that followed:

“I like McCain.” Mike said. “I like a no nonsense approach to Iran. We can’t trust the UN to do anything.”
“Anyone of these guys can take the Democrats.”
“Except Huckabee. I don’t want some crazy wingnut running the party, scaring the moderates.”
“I’d love to see McCain take on the Bitch Queen of LESBOS.”
“Yes, and Hussein Mohammed her VP.”
“Nigger Lite”
“I prefer Halfrican American.”
“What about that other fag running? Edward”
“Edward? Queer Eye called. They’d like their beauty expert back”
“They have a nutcracker. And we have an American Hero.”
“Even her own husband prefered a fat jew over her.” […]

The men asked the guy across the aisle who he was going to vote for. The man was white and middle aged, had a cowboy hat and boots, a belt buckle the size of a dinner plate and a big mustache. I cringed, expecting more Democratic Hate.

“Well, my first choice is Obama, then pretty much any Democratic candidate including Ms. “Nutcracker”, then if I don’t have a Democrat choice, I’ll vote for a pile of dung, lung cancer, and a can of paint. If none of these choices are available, I am staying home.”

“Same here.” I echoed.

Jake rolled his eyes.

Mike turned to the window.

They were silent for the rest of the entire flight. The plane landed. As I removed my bag, Jake couldn’t resist a parting shot to the man across the aisle.

“No patriot will vote for Obama HUSSEIN” he snarked.

“I am.” a voice said. It was a young man in uniform. He nodded pleasantly to us and walked out of the plane.[…]

Science: can genes “act at a distance”? Evidently so.

Genes have the ability to recognise similarities in each other from a distance, without any proteins or other biological molecules aiding the process, according to new research. This discovery could explain how similar genes find each other and group together in order to perform key processes involved in the evolution of species.

This new study shows that genes — which are parts of double-stranded DNA with a double-helix structure containing a pattern of chemical bases – can recognise other genes with a similar pattern of chemical bases.

This ability to seek each other out could be the key to how genes identify one another and align with each other in order to begin the process of ‘homologous recombination’ — whereby two double-helix DNA molecules come together, break open, swap a section of genetic information, and then close themselves up again.

Recombination is an important process which plays a key role in evolution and natural selection, and is also central to the body’s ability to repair damaged DNA. Before now, scientists have not known exactly how suitable pairs of genes find each other in order for this process to begin.

The authors of the new study carried out a series of experiments in order to test the theory, first developed in 2001 by two members of this team, that long pieces of identical double-stranded DNA could identify each other merely as a result of complementary patterns of electrical charges which they both carry. They wanted to verify that this could indeed occur without physical contact between the two molecules, or the facilitating presence of proteins.

Previous studies have suggested that proteins are involved in the recognition process when it occurs between short strands of DNA which only have about 10 pairs of chemical bases. This new research shows that much longer strands of DNA with hundreds of pairs of chemical bases seem able to recognise each other as a whole without protein involvement. According to the theory, this recognition mechanism is stronger the longer the genes are.

The researchers observed the behaviour of fluorescently tagged DNA molecules in a pure solution. They found that DNA molecules with identical patterns of chemical bases were approximately twice as likely to gather together than DNA molecules with different sequences.

Professor Alexei Kornyshev from Imperial College London, one of the study’s authors, explains the significance of the team’s results: “Seeing these identical DNA molecules seeking each other out in a crowd, without any external help, is very exciting indeed. This could provide a driving force for similar genes to begin the complex process of recombination without the help of proteins or other biological factors. Our team’s experimental results seem to support these expectations.”[…]

Evolutionary Programming Science Avenger points us to a nice article about this; basically programs can be “evolved” to solve problems by a sort of a natural selection process:

First, check out this article on the astonishing progress and insights being made with robots fitted with evolutionary decision algorithms, and “bred” to simulate evolutionary processes. Surprisingly, many counter intuitive behavior patterns form, including cheater robots and altruism:

“By the 50th generation, the robots had learned to communicate—lighting up, in three out of four colonies, to alert the others when they’d found food or poison. The fourth colony sometimes evolved “cheater” robots instead, which would light up to tell the others that the poison was food, while they themselves rolled over to the food source and chowed down without emitting so much as a blink.

Some robots, though, were veritable heroes. They signaled danger and died to save other robots.”

This shouldn’t be all that surprising to those of us who were paying attention to what happened to Dawkins’ “tree” program in The Blind Watchmaker. Dawkins made a fairly simple program to evolve trees, but what he ended up with often looked nothing like trees (insects, furniture, etc.). It was clear then that a simple variation and selection can produce a very unanticipated result. Now we have solid evidence that they can produce many of the things the anti-evolution cranks have maintained were impossible: kin loyalty, altruism, cheating and self-sacrifice. [hat tip Panda’s Thumb]

Professor Moran (of the blog Sandwalk) discusses a talk about pseudoscience and quackery in academia. it is fun reading.

Democratic Primary
Read the notes from the votemaster for just about everything you want to know about the South Carolina Democratic primary. I’d add a couple of comments to what is there: first, Obama pulled 32% (just under 1/3) among white college educated voters; in other words, he was not rejected by white college graduates. Also, he pulled 50% of the white voters under 30. So, it would be inaccurate to say that he was rejected by white voters, though his total among them was 24%. Also note that Edwards won the “white vote”; it was African Americans that propelled Hillary Clinton into second place.

The Edge of the American West argues that the Clintons are best when they are confronted directly by unreasonable right wing opponents; going toe to toe with Obama is a completely different matter.

[…]Looking back at the 90s, I remember Bill Clinton being at his best when he was on the defensive. And, more important than that, I think he was blessed with excellent enemies, a rogue’s gallery of rabid idealogues that included Newt Gingrich, Henry Hyde, Ken Starr, and a cast of thousands of wingnut extremists. Nearly every time one of them attacked, I recall Clinton getting the better of the exchange. Usually not with a knockout, but on points. He’d outlast his foe, who always ended up looking like a nutjob, a jerk, a buffoon, or some combination of the three.

Because they were. They were so obviously engaged in partisan witch-hunts that fair-minded observers couldn’t help but side with Clinton. Sure, he was an incorrigible cad and a serial liar. But he was also very good at running the country. And, compared to the ridiculous clowns trying to take him down, he was fantastic. […]

Coming out of Iowa, the same was true for Hillary. With Chris Matthews bullying her, and John Edwards getting in touch with his inner misogynist, their attacks transformed Hillary into a sympathetic wonk, a technocrat with a heart of gold. She could play defense because the right enemies had made her look relatively good.

For the past two weeks, though, the Clintons have been going for the jugular. And it hasn’t been pretty. I’ve already explained repeatedly why I think they’re making a mistake. But now it seems like the voters in South Carolina shared my concerns. At the same time, the basic rationale for Obama’s campaign — he’s a transformative candidate, who’ll bring thousands of new voters to the polls — has been borne out in the results. And, there no longer seems to be any rationale for Hillary’s candidacy, which used to be predicated on her inevitability.[…]

I see it that way too, but like the author of this piece, I think that HRC remains the favorite. Obama has a huge uphill battle ahead of him.

The battle has gotten just a bit easier though as Senator Kennedy has endorsed Obama as has Governor Kathleen Sebelius (of Kansas). Currently Obama is closing a narrow gap in Kansas, but has more ground to cover in Massachusetts (where he has the endorsement of both Senators).

My thoughts about Clinton-Obama. Really, my negativity towards Hillary Clinton is based on this (I’ve already linked to this before):

But no candidate is perfect. So why was I so angry with her? Answer: because of Bill Clinton’s antics. Now one could argue that they are playing “good cop/bad cop” with us, but mostly I see Bill as being unable to stay out of the limelight. Frankly, I like her better when Bill just points out the good things that she did in his administration (such as helping to pick good people for the government; there were no “Brownies”, “Harriet Miers”, etc. and Hillary did help in that area).

So please Mr. President: let your wife run her campaign and be supportive of her. You’ve almost turned me totally against her. I don’t want to be that way!

So, if she wins (as expected) I’ll help out (phone banking, etc.), as I am not going to hold Bill’s antics against her.

But this is a danger: (hat tip to Dus 7)

Obama’s victory Speech after South Carolina (17 minutes)

January 27, 2008 Posted by | creationism, edwards, hillary clinton, obama, Peoria/local, politics/social, religion, science, walking | 2 Comments

Obama Cruises in South Carolina

Like many on the Daily Kos, I am enjoying watching the election results come in. Obama is up by 21 points (53-28-19) with 13 percent in; a 20 point spread sounds about right.

Note: it is now 55-27-18 with a huge turn-out. 🙂

Source: CNN.

The race was bitter and some thought that Bill Clinton unfairly used race to attack Obama, and it wasn’t just African Americans who thought so.

The South Carolina Democratic primary has been a bitter, hard-fought contest with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama taking jabs at each other in Monday’s televised debate. In the exit polls, we asked voters in this primary if the candidates were attacking each other unfairly. Fifty-six percent of those voting so far think Obama attacked Clinton unfairly, and while that is a high number, more people thought Clinton unfairly attacked Obama — 70%.

The Clintons have been accused of playing the race card in this contest. We do see some potential fallout for the Clintons in the African-American community: 74% of African-American voters think that Clinton unfairly attacked Obama. But when we look at the same question among white voters, a comparable number thought Clinton unfairly attacked Obama — 68%.

Here are some interesting break-downs by race and sex:

African-Americans: Obama 81%, Clinton 17%, Edwards 1%

African-American women: Obama 82%, Clinton 17%, Edwards 0%

Whites: Edwards 39%, Clinton 36%, Obama 24%

Interestingly enough, African Americans are keeping Clinton in second.

Now for the side show: Bill Clinton is continuing to make an ass out of himself. He is saying that Jesse Jackson also won South Carolina twice (true); this is a clear attempt to paint Obama as a Jackson type candidate.

following in the footsteps of the worst race-baiting politicians of the old South, he explicitly played the race card. He didn’t even answer the question, ignoring it to make his REAL point — that Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice. They didn’t show the other part of the interview (which may not even have been the same interview), but they also quoted him as saying that Hillary “couldn’t win” in South Carolina because of her race and her sex. […]

MSNBC officially called it for Obama immediately after the polls closed, and it looks like he’s going to have an overwhelming victory. The best thing is that Obama not only won the black vote, he won overwhelmingly among white South Carolinians under age 30. And he also apparently won among white college-educated South Carolinians, if I understood what they were saying about the exit polls. The verdict is clear: The Southerners who grew up in the segregated South are unwilling to elect a black man, but the people who hold the future of the South in their hands, white and black alike, are anxious to put the past behind them. And thank God for that!

Note: just watching CNN: Obama is winning big in affluent counties, poor ones, and mostly Black ones. He is also winning among young white voters and white college educated voters. Of course, turnout among Blacks and women was high.

Update We beat the Republicans in turn out, and this is South Carolina!

Barack Obama 280,836 55%
Hillary Clinton 134,536 27%
John Edwards 90,486 18%
Dennis Kucinich 524 0%

Total Turnout:
Democrats 506,382
Republicans 442,918

Actually, this is good news even to HRC supporters, should she win the nomination (as I still expect). South Carolina is a blood red state that might well be in play!

January 27, 2008 Posted by | edwards, hillary clinton, obama | 1 Comment

Walking for Obama II; Flying Spaghetti Monster in Peoria

Workout notes 8 miles on the home treadmill; first 5 were horribly slow; next two were ok and last one easy. This manual treadmill is hard to use; if you let your mind wander you’ll end up plodding in place.

Flying Spaghetti Monster Notes His Noodleness was talked about in today’s Peoria Journal Star.

There are many reasons why science and faith conflict, as well as creationism and evolution. Dissenters often have few places to share their beliefs, which is why many go to the Internet.

The Internet has provided a free forum to many who might not have otherwise found an outlet to voice their alternative ideas within their own communities.

“The magic of this medium is that it is relatively inexpensive, and it’s expansive in the sense that you create a Web site and people will find it anywhere in the world,” said Manjunath Pendakur, dean of the Mass Communication department at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. “There have been many instances in the history of the modern civilization who have come up with revolutionary ideas to challenge conventional wisdom and orthodoxy, for instance the entire revolution of Martin Luther occurred in the age of print.”

Jeremy Monigold, programming instructor at Highland Community College in Freeport, said anybody with access to the Internet is able to publish his or her ideas.

“What it comes down to is the individual’s ability to judge right from wrong,” Monigold said.

Bobby Henderson is from the state of Oregon and is creator of The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He views his Web site as a legitimate organization. Henderson graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics and has recently been traveling in Cambodia and Thailand.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), according to Henderson, came to him as a vision. Although Henderson said he doesn’t like pasta, his vision was of a large creature made up of noodles with two large meatballs under his eyes. The FSM is male, can be invisible and can fly.

Members of the FSM are referred to as Pastafarians, although Henderson said they are not related or linked to Rastafarians. According to their beliefs, pirates are saints from whom we evolved, and every Friday is a holiday.

He said some take it as a parody on creationism or a spoof, a joke, a grassroots cause, while some truly believe in a literal Flying Spaghetti Monster.

“No one asks them (Christians) if their religion is meant to be a spoof. People get what they want out of it; it doesn’t make sense to tell people how to worship,” Henderson said.

The beginning

Henderson’s Web site for The Church of the FSM stemmed from a letter to the Kansas Board of Education in 2005 opposing Intelligent Design being taught in science classrooms. The Kansas board at the time was in the process of changing the science curriculum.

“FSM started as a response to the Intelligent Design movement – creationism posing as science. The issue was the posing as science, not the creationism beliefs,” Henderson said.

Although Henderson personally doesn’t believe in creationism, he said he would have no problem if it were taught in a religion or theology class along with other religious beliefs.

“Provided none is taught as the ‘correct’ choice. That’s the kicker, though. Christians sometimes forget that last clause,” Henderson said.

Henderson said that many Christians don’t take the Bible literally, and many members of FSM do not take it literally.

“Pastafarianism is a sensible alternative religion for some people. We offer spirituality and community, without the traps of dogma; no one has ever killed in the name of Pastafarianism, for instance,” Henderson said. […]


Obama Kathy T and I walked a couple of hours for Obama. We mostly went to homes identified as those where Democratic primary voters live. The idea is to get enough Obama supporters out there so as to sweep all 4 delegates in the Illinois 18’th district; to do this we need to keep HRC’s support to under 15%.

The day was in the mid to high 30’s and I wore my Obama sweatshirt; a jacket was unnecessary.

Obama is poised to win the South Carolina primary, but HRC is attacking Edward in an effort to bolster support.

Local politics

Local Democrats are planning on drafting a candidate to run for the IL-18’th U. S. House seat. The story:

Colleen Callahan, a former agriculture reporter for local radio and television stations, is asking the Democratic Party to be its nominee this fall for the 18th Congressional District.

She said numerous people have asked her to run, and after discussing it with family and friends, she is now actively seeking the support of the party’s 20 county chairmen. She approached them at a meeting last week and says she’s in the early stages of testing the waters with Democratic voters.

“I’m excited about this prospect,” Callahan, 56, said in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon. “I have been overwhelmed by the support.”

This would be her first foray into politics, though she said her professional experience with business and agriculture will make her a worthy candidate.

The Democratic chairmen in the 20 counties comprising the 18th District have 60 days after the Feb. 5 primary election to choose their candidate. […]

Democrats in the 18th District have been without a candidate after Dick Versace, a former Bradley University and NBA basketball coach, announced in early December he was dropping out of the race for “unforeseen personal circumstances.”

Peoria County Circuit Judge Richard Grawey, who initially considered running to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, said Thursday although he’s not actively campaigning for the spot, he thinks “I’m one of the people the chairmen are considering.”

The vacancy left many to wonder if the lack of a clear candidate would hamper Democrats in what will likely be an already difficult race. The 18th District hasn’t had a Democratic congressman since 1917. […]

Trouble: the candidate I voted for in the 92n’d State House race
1. Had a false statement in her campaign radio ad (about her having a college degree) I don’t say “lied” because she did NOT claim to have the degree on her campaign website nor does she make this claim in the campaign literature that I’ve seen. This could have been sloppiness on her part.
2. Has a shoplifting conviction from 8 years ago.


Jehan Gordon, a Democratic candidate for the 92nd District House seat, announced today she was convicted of shoplifting about eight years ago when she was 18.

Gordon, now 26, said she considers herself an open book because she is running for office and wanted to be up front with voters. She held a news conference this morning to announce the Champaign County conviction.

“As a teen I was charged with a misdemeanor for attempting to take a bracelet from a store,” Gordon said. “This life experience taught me a lot. It is one of the reasons why I work so diligently with young people today because I know what it’s like to be young and impressionable.” […]

Oh boy; such is the perils of voting early (as I did).


I used to like Mike Huckabee. Check out this spoof website (which some don’t see as being a spoof). He has videos there such as these: (first three are very short; last one is about 3 minutes)

January 26, 2008 Posted by | hillary clinton, huckabee, obama, Peoria/local, politics/social, religion, republicans, running | 4 Comments

Bill Moyers Night

Blogging at home on Friday; Friday night is usually PBS night: Washington Week, NOW and Bill Moyers. Ok, sometime a boxing match (not the political debates) 🙂

Evolution: This short video sets us straight.

Health Care Why is reforming it so difficult? Answer: the sturdiness of the bottom rug of the saftey-net seems to keep hanging in; so many get screwed but the national agony isn’t quite enough to produce a will to do the work to truly reform it.

DemFromCT has a nice article which is based on an article in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The diagnosis of imminent collapse rests on three symptoms. First, without affordable universal coverage, the system leaves 47 million Americans uninsured. Second, health care costs are extraordinarily high: the United States spends about 16% of its annual gross domestic product (GDP), or $6,400 per capita, on health care, whereas France, for example, covers virtually its entire population reasonably well at 11% of GDP and half the per capita spending. Third, the U.S. system is in fact a nonsystem, an incoherent pastiche that has long repulsed reforms sought by private and public stakeholders. Yet this diagnosis misses as much as it reveals.

Indeed, what makes this article interesting is the analysis of why the collapse hasn’t happened.

The problem with this analysis is that the U.S. health care system consists not of two sectors (private and public) but three, one of which, the safety net, rarely gets proper attention and is poorly understood. The safety net encompasses public and voluntary hospitals, community health centers, public health clinics, free clinics, and services donated by private physicians. Configurations of safety-net providers vary markedly among communities, as does their financing, a shifting patchwork of funds from Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the federal disproportionate share program, tax levies, foundation grants, state appropriations, commercial payers, and other sources. These institutions often live on the financial edge, but with 11th-hour infusions, they mostly manage to stay afloat. This fact is of paramount importance, for these providers also extend a safety net for the political legitimacy of the health care system as a whole. That Americans who lack coverage can “still get care,” as President Bush recently declared, drains moral urgency from the health care reform enterprise.

Some political stuff I found interesting

You’ve heard about delegates, super delegates, pledged delegates and things like that. This short article explains it all very clearly.

Read; it will clear up confusion, if you have any to begin with.

Obama responds to smears and attacks, and keeps his cool. Ok, he talks about praying to Jesus with his Bible…groan….oh well. No one is perfect. 🙂

John Kerry: Bill Clinton should stop abusing the truth.

Article source

[…]Over here Kerry points out the inaccuracies leveled by the Clinton, and points out that Obama has red state appeal:

Q: So, senator, you have endorsed Barack Obama, and this week, of course, the campaign was absolutely consumed with these charges and counter-charges, and it seemed to many of us that Obama’s message about hope and change was pretty much drowned out. What happened, here?

Kerry: Well, I think you had an abuse of the truth, is what happened. I mean, being an ex-president does not give you license to abuse the truth, and I think that over the last days it’s been over the top. Things have been said about Barack Obama’s positions that are just plain untrue. It was said in Nevada, it’s been said about Social Security, it’s been said about Yucca Mountain, and it’s been said in South Carolina. I think it’s very unfortunate, but I think the voters can see through that. When somebody’s coming on strong and they are growing, people get a little frantic, and I think people have seen this sort of franticness in the air, if you will.
My sense is, Barack Obama offers a better opportunity to pull America together than any other candidate in the race. If you look at the fact that the governor of Arizona, a red state, Gov. Janet Napolitano, has endorsed Barack Obama, former governor and now senator, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, red state, has endorsed Barack Obama. The two senators from North Dakota and South Dakota, the Democratic senators, have endorsed Barack Obama. Claire McCaskill, the senator from Missouri, Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia, was asked the question, “Can a Democrat carry Virginia?” And his answer was, “the right Democrat,” and then he endorsed Barack Obama. […]

If Bill and Hillary abuse the truth a bit, well, check out the other side.

Check out the whoppers they told in their debate right here.

Here is just a sample of Romney’s whoppers:

[…]Mitt Romney’s latest rhetorical contortion came in response to a devastating New York Times story about the GOP field’s shared disdain for him. Asked by NBC co-moderator Brian Williams if his opponents’ disregard was fueled by his money, his attacks ads and his tendency to “changes positions with the wind” on social issues like abortion, Romney was more than a little disingenuous in response:

“And when people come after me and say, where do you stand on this or where do you stand on that, I can point to a very simple way to find out exactly where I stand, and that is look at my record as governor.

Every issue that we’re talking about in this race that’s of a domestic nature, I dealt with as the governor of Massachusetts. And so on the issue of abortion, for instance, I came down on the side of life consistently as governor in every way I knew how I could do that.”

As it turns out, not so much. Romney’s abortion flip-flop, of course, is the stuff of legend. But one statement he made during his 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign is particularly telling:

“I promised that if elected, I’d call a truce – a moratorium, if you will…I vowed to veto any legislation that sought to change the existing rules…I fully respect and will fully protect a woman’s right to choose.”

When his close adviser Michael Murphy in 2005 famously said of Romney, “he’s been a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly,” the Massachusetts Governor again took a position at odds with anti-abortion forces:

”While I’ve said time and again that I oppose abortion, I’ve also indicated that I would not change in any way the abortion laws of Massachusetts, and I’ve honored my promises.”

Hat tip to Avenging Angel at the Daily Kos.

Giuliani and Huckabee are no longer worth talking about.

McCain’s whoppers merits its own front page article

Last night in the Republican debate Tim Russert asked John McCain about a statement he’d made:

“I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated.”

McCain pretended he’d never said any such thing:

“I don’t know where you got that quote from, I’m very well versed in economics.”
Except that he had said it. Russert plucked the statement from this 2005 puff piece on McCain in the WSJ:

On a broader range of economic issues, though, Mr. McCain readily departs from Reaganomics. His philosophy is best described as a work in progress. He is refreshingly blunt when he tell me: “I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated.” OK, so who does he turn to for advice? His answer is reassuring. His foremost economic guru is former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm (who would almost certainly be Treasury secretary in a McCain administration). He’s also friendly with the godfather of supply-side economics, Arthur Laffer.

You’ll probably find that information about McCain’s economic advisors less reassuring than reporter Stephen Moore did. In any case, McCain has said similar things about his economic ignorance several times over several years…and as recently as last month. His admissions of ignorance are well known and sometimes quite spectacular.

So, just another case of McCain the liar.[…]

Read on to see that this isn’t an isolated incident.

Back to the debate: go to factcheck:

In last night’s debate, held days before Tuesday’s Republican primary in the Sunshine State, the remaining GOP candidates came up with a few new factual distortions and repeated several old ones. Among them:

* McCain said he had won the Republican vote in both the South Carolina and New Hampshire primaries, where independent voters also participate. One exit poll showed him narrowly prevailing with Republicans in New Hampshire, while another didn’t. And the same poll that favored him in that state had him losing the GOP vote to Huckabee in South Carolina.

* McCain all but denied that he had said he didn’t know much about economics. In fact, he did say that he needed “to be educated” on the subject.

* McCain also said he voted twice to make Bush’s tax cuts permanent – but doesn’t mention that he initially opposed them.

* Romney falsely portrayed Hillary Clinton’s proposed health care plan as an all-government program. It’s not.

* Huckabee once again claimed the FairTax would benefit everyone. That’s not possible.

Go to the link to see the details.

Speaking of Republican lies: Bush made over 900 false statements about National Security and Iraq.

January 26, 2008 Posted by | creationism, hillary clinton, huckabee, mccain, obama, politics/social, religion, republicans, science | 1 Comment