Video Sunday….then off to pay bills. :-)

Yes, I know, the mail doesn’t go out tomorrow, but I may as well get the bill paying over with.

(hat tip to Peoria Pundit)

Note: this guy does NOT live in the United States.

Oh yes, the McCain attack ad:

and the real life rebuttals:

Gee, doesn’t McCain give you a sense of security??? 🙂

About McCain’s pick, here are some Palin videos:

(she comes across ok in this one)

Now she talks about Hillary Clinton whining:

Ironically I have no trouble with what she is saying but I wonder about how HRC supporters would react.

Some homemade video ads:

As far as the claims: here is the “mother in law” claim.

As for you, disgruntled HRC supporters, Palin got booed when she praised Hillary Clinton.

The phrase “more of the same” applies not only to McCain-Palin, but also to the rank and file Republicans. Are you sure that you want to join them? 🙂

August 31, 2008 Posted by | creationism, hillary clinton, mccain, politics, politics/social, religion, sarah palin | Leave a comment

Back to Politics

I am not good at altering photographs (e. g., “photoshoping”).

Someone who is ought to have fun with this photo:

Turn Governor Palin’s button upside down and you’ll have the 2008 election in a nutshell. 🙂

This photo was taken from this Daily Kos frontpage article, as was this one:

John Kerry: states what is going on

A funny line: Earlier in the interview Kerry also said Palin “is back with the Flat Earth Society, she “doesn’t believe climate change is man-made.”

He goes on to point out that McCain-Palin has made this race into one between Obama-Biden and Bush-Cheney.

My buddy Postsimian has had enough with non-virtual Republican pests.

That is really sad; after all, it was nearly 4 years ago that I had dinner with Dr. Andy in Chicago. It was the Saturday prior to the 2004 election disaster, and Dr. Andy is an outspoken Republican (who is for gay rights, the teaching of evolution, separation of church and state…….???).

Science Avenger: I like this blogger’s opinion pieces. Here is his latest:

One thing this election has really exposed, and to our national embarrassment, is our anti-intellectualism, and the nomination of Sarah Palin as VP is just the latest incarnation. Sadly, this has been going on for far longer.

Start off with the king of the anti-intellectuals, George W. Bush. He was elected because he was the guy everyone wanted to have a beer with. You know, I’ve drunk a lot of beers with a lot of guys, and there is no damned way I’d let most of them near the Oval Office. Yet that was the standard America used, and we got a president that didn’t know what the major religious factions of the country he invaded was, can’t say “nuclear”, and thinks “These people want to kill us” is a sophisticated argument. Everything that followed was inevitable. It was just a matter of time.

Now along comes an intelligent, Harvard-educated black man to run for president, and some of the major attacks on him concern his supposed elitism. He’s arrogant. He eats/drinks arugula (I confess to being insufficiently elitist to even know what that is). He’s not like us.

Let’s cut through the crap. What they really mean is that he’s not a dumb fuck like us, he’s not an idiot, he actually knows things. “Elitist” is just code language for “someone smarter than me”, and in America that’s bad, bad, bad. Only in America could a Harvard education work AGAINST you in an election. Only in America could the fact that you can draw far larger crowds than your opponent be used as a negative against you. It’s ignorance, and it’s envy, and it’s fucking absurd. Who needs to watch Idiocracy when we are living in it? […]

Later he mentions Joe Biden and points out that, while Biden is intelligent, he has the charm of making off the cuff remarks, some of which are, well, stupid. 🙂

But I’ll tell you why I find that “charming”: it isn’t that I value stupidity (if I valued stupidity, I’d be supporting McCain-Palin). It is because I think “well, this is one politician who isn’t a slave to focus groups and polls; on occasion he’ll just blurt out what he feels”. And there is another factor: many of us think that John Kerry and John Edwards were just too nice in 2004; they allowed themselves to be used as punching bags. Biden fights back.

Yes, I know that Hillary Clinton fights back and that is why I wanted her to be VP; sadly my women friends told me that having a black and a woman on the same ticket would be “too much” for the country to take.

This was after the Chicago Ultra were he ran a very impressive 50 miler (8:2X, if I remember correctly), whereas I walked the 50K in 6:20 (and this started 2 hours later…perfect timing!) I wore my Kerry-Edwards long sleeved t-shirt, and yes, he and I discussed the election over some good Chinese food.

Neither of us backed down from our views and yet we parted still liking each other (I think 🙂 )

August 31, 2008 Posted by | Biden, Friends, mccain, politics, politics/social, ranting, republicans, sarah palin | Leave a comment

Back to Social Issues: Irrational Thinking

Education One of the interesting issues in higher education today is how colleges market themselves to parents. Well, parents hear about shootings in Northern Illinois and in Virginia Tech and immediately wonder what programs there are to keep their offspring safe.

So what happens? We get overreactions like this one. Other places try to make faculty members keep their cell phones on during class (so they can receive cell phone text message in case of emergency)

The fact is that 37 students have been killed by the high publicity massacre events (32 at Virginia Tech, 5 at Northern Illinois); the likelihood of students getting injured or killed as the result of more mundane things like alcohol abuse or fires is far, far greater.

But, as usual, it is the more spectacular (but rare) event that gets more attention:

Everyone had a reaction to the horrific events of the Virginia Tech shootings. Some of those reactions were rational. Others were not.

A high school student was suspended for customizing a first-person shooter game with a map of his school. A contractor was fired from his government job for talking about a gun, and then visited by the FBI when he created a comic about the incident. A dean at Yale banned realistic stage weapons from the university theaters — a policy that was reversed within a day. And some teachers terrorized a sixth-grade class by staging a fake gunman attack, without telling them that it was a drill.

These things all happened, even though shootings like this are incredibly rare; even though — for all the press — less than one percent (.pdf) of homicides and suicides of children ages 5 to 19 occur in schools. In fact, these overreactions occurred, not despite these facts, but because of them.

The Virginia Tech massacre is precisely the sort of event we humans tend to overreact to. Our brains aren’t very good at probability and risk analysis, especially when it comes to rare occurrences. We tend to exaggerate spectacular, strange and rare events, and downplay ordinary, familiar and common ones. There’s a lot of research in the psychological community about how the brain responds to risk — some of it I have already written about — but the gist is this: Our brains are much better at processing the simple risks we’ve had to deal with throughout most of our species’ existence, and much poorer at evaluating the complex risks society forces us face today.

Novelty plus dread equals overreaction.

We can see the effects of this all the time. We fear being murdered, kidnapped, raped and assaulted by strangers, when it’s far more likely that the perpetrator of such offenses is a relative or a friend. We worry about airplane crashes and rampaging shooters instead of automobile crashes and domestic violence — both far more common.


I tell people that if it’s in the news, don’t worry about it. The very definition of “news” is “something that hardly ever happens.” It’s when something isn’t in the news, when it’s so common that it’s no longer news — car crashes, domestic violence — that you should start worrying.

But that’s not the way we think. Psychologist Scott Plous said it well in The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making: “In very general terms: (1) The more available an event is, the more frequent or probable it will seem; (2) the more vivid a piece of information is, the more easily recalled and convincing it will be; and (3) the more salient something is, the more likely it will be to appear causal.”

So, when faced with a very available and highly vivid event like 9/11 or the Virginia Tech shootings, we overreact. And when faced with all the salient related events, we assume causality. We pass the Patriot Act. We think if we give guns out to students, or maybe make it harder for students to get guns, we’ll have solved the problem. We don’t let our children go to playgrounds unsupervised. We stay out of the ocean because we read about a shark attack somewhere.

It’s our brains again. We need to “do something,” even if that something doesn’t make sense; even if it is ineffective.

In short, the monkeys really are controlling the zoo.

Speaking of Irrational Thinking: enjoy!

(from 3-quarks daily)

Who was Noah? The Bible tells us little. He was the flood hero of course, but what else? A drunken viniculturist who lived to the age of 950; who was 600 at the time of the flood and 500 when he fathered Shem, Ham and Japheth. His wrinkled bottom was ogled by his 100-year-old sons when he passed out from drunkeness in his tent one night. But was he not also an ‘upright man’ and a man who ‘walked with God’?

Each year hundreds of pilgrims, known as ‘Arkeologists’ make their way to Mount Ararat (where the Turkish, Armenian and Iranian borders meet) hoping to find clues and relics. Some return home with splints of wood, others only with soft memories of mystic vision. […]

It would be funny, but the Americans who take part in things like this actually vote.

August 31, 2008 Posted by | creationism, education, politics/social, ranting, religion | Leave a comment

I suck, even at 49 years old (no politics)

Well today, I “ran” our local version of the Nike Human Race 10K. Since the race was free and ran past my front door twice, how could I not? 🙂

I warmed up by walking to the start, doing some yoga, and then walk-jogging for 12 more minutes. I lined up way in the back and we were off.

I made a conscious effort to bend my knees when I ran; I understand that I was still very “bent forward from the waist” (wife’s observation).

Mile one felt easy and it should have been: 9:09. Mile two felt ok 9:03 and mile three was a bit of a strain 9:03 again. By then I was all but whipped (no, it wasn’t that warm) and so I started to walk. No, I wasn’t aerobically challenged; my legs just ran out of energy. And so I walked the next two miles: 11:28 and 11:16.

Dang, I can’t walk either. 🙂 So, I “ran” it in; by then my legs had recovered a bit and the last 1.2 miles took 10:38 (8:52 pace). I tried to catch those who had passed me during the walking phase but couldn’t.

Final time: 1:00:39, or just under 9:50 a mile.

I then walked it back home (another mile) to record 9 miles for the day.

But do you want to know what is crazy? Back in 2001, I ran 10K in 44 minutes. I also swam the Barton Springs 3 mile (5k’ish) course in 1:52. This year I swam the same course in 1:49…3 minutes FASTER.

In short, I am swimming faster now than I was when I was running my 10Ks 16 minutes faster; that means something but I am not sure as to what.


Well, the Big Ten took in on the chin this weekend: Oh yeah, there was a rout of Coastal Carolina here, and a stirring comeback win over Northern Illinois there, and blowouts of Akron, Youngstown State, and Maine. 🙂 But the scores that matter:

Utah 25, Michigan 23
California 38, Michigan State 31
Missouri 52, Illinois 42
Northwestern 30, Syracuse 10.

Let this sink in: NORTHWESTERN had the best Big Ten win of the week. 🙂
Oh don’t let the final score of Missouri-Illinois deceive you: it was Mizzou 31-13 at the half and they had built the lead to 45-20 in the third quarter.

As far as Illinois goes, be prepared for the following BS: they play two out of conference “directional schools”, then two overrated big name teams (Penn State, Michigan), then two conference doormats. After these games, look for screaming headlines on how the “Illini have “turned it around”, etc., etc. They go on to finish 9-3, thump their chests only to get blown out in another bowl game.

The dirty secret: the Big Ten sucks in football. Sure, the universities are top notch research universities, with world class scientists and mathematicians in their faculties. Scientific discoveries and cures for diseases abound!

But forget football. 🙂

August 31, 2008 Posted by | football, Illinois, ranting, running, swimming, time trial/ race, training, walking | 4 Comments

Obama, Biden 60 Minutes Interview: Obama Explains Biden Pick, Reacts To Palin (VIDEO)

Barack Obama and Joe Biden on 60 minutes: Obama discusses the Vice Presidential picks.

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August 31, 2008 Posted by | Biden, obama, politics, politics/social, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

John McCain: a Bush-Cheney Sockpuppet; nothing more

Folks, I am embarrassed to admit that I fell for the Sarah Palin diversion hook, line and sinker.

Despite what some might say, McCain’s pick of Palin was no maverick move. In fact, indications are that she isn’t even who he wanted. Think about it: McCain met Palin this February and only talked to her once after that.

John McCain first met Sarah Palin only six months ago and had just one conversation with the Alaska governor before offering her the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket, the Arizona senator’s campaign said Friday.

The move appears to be a marked departure for McCain — a man known for his tendency to surround himself with a close circle of advisers and politicians he has long felt comfortable with.

But according to the McCain campaign, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee first met Palin in Washington at a February 2008 National Governors Association meeting. He was immediately impressed with the 44-year-old rising GOP star, and decided to consider her for the vice presidential slot.

McCain campaign manager Rick Davis had several conversations with Palin throughout the vetting process, but McCain himself didn’t speak with the Alaska governor until last Sunday — one day after Barack Obama named Joe Biden to his ticket. It was then McCain reached Palin by phone while she was at the Alaska State Fair to discuss the possibility of joining the ticket.

Remember, this by the McCain campaign’s admission. Heck, most of us take more care when choosing a car.

McCain probably wanted Lieberman

ABC’s Jan Crawford Greenburg reports: It wasn’t until Sunday night that John McCain, after meeting with his four top advisers, finally decided he could not tap independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to be his running mate. One adviser, tasked with taking the temperature of the conservative base, had strongly made the case to McCain that it would be a disaster for the party and that the base would revolt. McCain concluded he could not go that route.

(emphasis mine).

In short, McCain caved in to the extreme right wing of his party, as Robert Reich pointed out:

McCain’s choice of vice president is termed “bold” in today’s headlines but it is not at all bold, if we understand boldness to be the equivalent of courageous and appropriate to the times. To the contrary, the choice suggests that McCain caved to the religious right within the Republican Party, using his pick as a political ploy to
stir their enthusiasm while perhaps attracting a few women who are attracted to a female on a ticket regardless of her views.

Or as John Kerry pointed out the day prior to the Obama speech, before Palin was picked: this was Candidate McCain, not Senator McCain.

I have known and been friends with John McCain for almost 22 years, but every day now I learn something new about Candidate McCain. To those who still believe in the myth of a maverick instead of the reality of a politician, I say let’s compare Senator McCain to Candidate McCain.

Candidate McCain now supports the very wartime tax cuts that Senator McCain once called irresponsible. Candidate McCain criticizes Senator McCain’s own climate change bill. Candidate McCain says he would vote against the immigration bill that Senator McCain wrote.

Are you kidding me, folks?

(Laughter, cheers, applause.)

Talk about being for it before you’re against it!

(Cheers, applause.)

Let me tell you, before he ever debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself.

(Laughter, applause.)

And what’s more, Senator McCain, who once railed against the smears of Karl Rove when he was the target has morphed into Candidate McCain, who is using the same Rove tactics, the same Rove staff, the same old politics of fear and smear.

Well, not this year; not this time. The Rove-McCain tactics are old and outworn, and America will reject them in 2008.

David Horsey got it right:

As did the Obama campaign, as they reacted so simply:

THIS IS NOTHING MORE THAN MORE OF THE SAME. Bush-Cheney and company are still calling the shots, period.

And I was ready to fall for it, hook, line and sinker.

August 31, 2008 Posted by | mccain, obama, politics, politics/social, sarah palin | 5 Comments

The gift that keeps on giving…

Yeah, I’ve put out a ton of blog posts today, but this is what I do when I watch football. I saw some of the Northwestern-Syracuse game: the Wildcats blew open a 16-10 game with an interception to win going away 30-10.

Now I am watching Michigan trying to rally from a 25-10 deficit to Utah; Michigan blocked a punt and then scored to cut it to 25-17. Currently the Utes have fumbled and the Wolverines recovered. We’ll see if Michigan can take advantage. They have the ball on the Ute 15 after a face mask penalty.

The Utes have outplayed the Wolverines most of the day (from the scrimmage line) but have kept them in the game with repeated mistakes.

Note: Michigan got a new lease on life because of a pass interference penalty; they scored a touchdown but missed the two pointer. It is 25-23 with 6 minutes left; it is anyone’s game at this point.

It is now down to 9 seconds and Utah is still up 25-23, but they have to punt.

Utah holds on to win.

(football photos from here)

Blog Trolls

So far, most of my readers have been responsible. I had some neo Nazis about a 13-14 months ago; they were the last ones who were truly ill behaved.

Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub has had some trolls though and this is what he told them. 🙂


The Obama campaign has returned detailed answers to a science questionnaire.

Here are a couple of the answers:

2. Climate Change. The Earth’s climate is changing and there is concern about the potentially adverse effects of these changes on life on the planet. What is your position on the following measures that have been proposed to address global climate change—a cap-and-trade system, a carbon tax, increased fuel-economy standards, or research? Are there other policies you would support?

There can no longer be any doubt that human activities are influencing the global climate and we must react quickly and effectively. First, the U.S. must get off the sidelines and take long-overdue action here at home to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions. We must also take a leadership role in designing technologies that allow us to enjoy a growing, prosperous economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. With the right incentives, I’m convinced that American ingenuity can do this, and in the process make American businesses more productive, create jobs, and make America’s buildings and vehicles safer and more attractive. This is a global problem. U.S. leadership is essential but solutions will require contributions from all parts of the world—particularly the rest of the world’s major emitters: China, Europe, and India.

Specifically, I will implement a market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary: 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. I will start reducing emissions immediately by establishing strong annual reduction targets with an intermediate goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. A cap- and-trade program draws on the power of the marketplace to reduce emissions in a cost- effective and flexible way. I will require all pollution credits to be auctioned.

I will restore U.S. leadership in strategies for combating climate change and work closely with the international community. We will re-engage with the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the main international forum dedicated to addressing the climate change problem. In addition I will create a Global Energy Forum—based on the G8+5, which includes all G-8 members plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa—comprising the largest energy consuming nations from both the developed and developing world. This forum would focus exclusively on global energy and environmental issues. I will also create a Technology Transfer Program dedicated to exporting climate-friendly technologies, including green buildings, clean coal and advanced automobiles, to developing countries to help them combat climate change.

3. Energy. Many policymakers and scientists say energy security and sustainability are major problems facing the United States this century. What policies would you support to meet demand for energy while ensuring an economically and environmentally sustainable future?

America’s challenges in providing secure, affordable energy while addressing climate change mean that we must make much more efficient use of energy and begin to rely on new energy sources that eliminate or greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. My programs focus both on a greatly expanded program of federally funded energy research and development and on policies designed to speed the adoption of innovative energy technologies and stimulate private innovation.

First, I have proposed programs that, taken together, will increase federal investment in the clean energy research, development, and deployment to $150 billion over ten years. This research will cover:

• Basic research to develop alternative fuels and chemicals;

• Equipment and designs that can greatly reduce energy use in residential and commercial buildings – both new and existing;

• New vehicle technologies capable of significantly reducing our oil consumption;

• Advanced energy storage and transmission that would greatly help the economics of new electric-generating technologies and plug-in hybrids;

• Technologies for capturing and sequestering greenhouse gases produced by coal plants; and

• A new generation of nuclear electric technologies that address cost, safety, waste disposal, and proliferation risks.

I will also work closely with utilities to introduce a digital smart grid that can optimize the overall efficiency of the nation’s electric utility system, by managing demand and making effective use of renewable energy and energy storage.

Second, it is essential that we create a strong, predictable market for energy innovations with concrete goals that speed introduction of innovative products and provide a strong incentive for private R&D investment in energy technologies. These concrete goals include:

• Increasing new building efficiency by 50 percent and existing building efficiency by 25 percent over the next decade, and taking other steps that will reduce the energy intensity of our economy 50 percent by 2030;

• Increasing fuel economy standards 4 percent per year and providing loan guarantees for domestic auto plants and parts manufacturers to build new fuel- efficient cars domestically;

• Extending the Production Tax Credit for five years and creating a federal Renewable Portfolio Standard that will require that 10 percent of American electricity be derived from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025; and

• Ensuring that regulations and incentives in all federal agencies support the national energy and environmental goals in ways that encourage innovation and ingenuity.

I will also encourage communities around the nation to design and build sustainable communities that cut energy use with walkable community designs and expanded investment in mass transit.

The McCain campaign has yet to respond; I look forward to some of their answers (given the creationist and global warming skeptic on their ticket 🙂 )

More Sarah Palin

Concern Trolls: Oh no, ridiculing the “beauty queen” thing is being “sexist.” Anyone who has had any experience in American politics knew that one was coming. 🙂

I call “nonsense” for a couple of reasons:

1. The Republicans have used the beauty queen meme to sell their candidate.

From Newsmax (a right wing publication)

Sarah Palin has emerged as John McCain’s vice-presidential running mate. Palin talked to Newsmax magazine for its upcoming September 2008 issue about Alaskan oil, global warming, and John McCain.)

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is a God-fearing, gun-toting former beauty queen who could just become America’s next vice president. […]

Do you really think that she would have picked had she looked like Helen Thomas?

2. She has clearly used this meme to sell herself and

3. This is a cynical play to attract HRC supporters. After all, who hasn’t heard the canard that “Hillary was passed over for a lesser qualified male”? Well, many women know about ill qualified women being given opportunities due to their looks.

Of course, being pretty doesn’t make one a bubble head; for example world class cosmologist Lisa Randall has that beauty queen look. Intellectually speaking, I have more in common with a cow than I do with this woman.

Of course, it isn’t as if Sarah Palin is sensitive to her fellow women anyway; she has no problem with women being labeled as “bitches”:

(hat tip to Scotty)

Robert Reich weighs in on the pick; he points out the difference between being bold and taking an unnecessary risk.

Barack Obama has laid out a bold plan for reforming the economy and redirecting foreign policy — a plan whose boldness is directly proportional to the scale of the problems we face. On Thursday night he restated it in detail. As someone who has had a very modest role in developing it, and who served as a cabinet officer under Bill Clinton and therefore knows something about public policy and about the challenges we face, I can attest to the appropriateness and boldness of Obama’s plan.

John McCain’s plan, on the other hand, is the reverse of boldness. Whatever you think of it, there is little disputing that McCain would continue Bush’s economic and foreign policies and even enlarge upon them – adding even more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, injecting even more belligerence into foreign policy.

McCain’s choice of vice president is termed “bold” in today’s headlines but it is not at all bold, if we understand boldness to be the equivalent of courageous and appropriate to the times. To the contrary, the choice suggests that McCain caved to the religious right within the Republican Party, using his pick as a political ploy to
stir their enthusiasm while perhaps attracting a few women who are attracted to a female on a ticket regardless of her views.

There is one unfair attack on Palin though: she is quoted as asking “what does the Vice President do anyway”? She did ask that question, but in context, I took it as a rhetorical answer to point out that being a governor was more important.

(I should note Bill Maher’s answer: “what a VP does is subvert the constitution, get rich, start wars and shoot their hunting partner in the face”. )

Palin’s impact on the race

Not much; as one commenter has pointed out the McCain strategy didn’t have the desired effect (as yet). Here is the analysis.

According to fresh data from Rasmussen Reports, Sarah Palin’s selection is a mixed bag. Voters have a favorable impression of her by a 53/26 margin; however, by a 29/44 margin, they do not believe that she is ready to be President. Needless to say, the PR battle over the next couple of weeks will involve the McCain campaign playing up her biography, and the Obama campaign playing down her readiness. […]

What’s interesting, however, is that while there is a gender gap in these numbers, it’s not the one many observers were anticipating. Rather, along a variety of metrics, men like the Palin choice better than women: […]

These numbers pretty much speak for themselves, but men have a favorable imperssion of Palin by a 35-point margin, whereas women have a favorable impression of her by an 18-point margin. Conversely, by a 23-point margin, women do not think Palin is ready to be President, whereas Palin lost this question among men by a considerably smaller 6-point margin.

Go to the link to see the data.

August 30, 2008 Posted by | football, humor, mccain, obama, politics, politics/social, ranting, religion, republicans, sarah palin, science | 3 Comments

I don’t know how to win elections….

Cross posted at the Daily Kos:

I’ve always followed politics to some degree; I remember staying awake to check out the Nixon-Humphrey election.

My parents voted for Humphrey and I remember the election being a real heart breaker.

My direct involvement was limited; my only “official” volunteer job came in 1992 when I was a poll watcher for the Democratic party.

In 2004 that changed; that was the year I volunteered to help out Kerry and some local Democrats. That ended unhappily but I’ve been involved every since…

And so I read the blogs, hang out here, scarf up the debates and the news and educate myself on the issues.

In turn, I write blog posts (I get lots of hits on this one) phone bank and go door to door when the occasion arises. Yes, I also donate money. 🙂

So, you’d think that I’d know something about politics and how to win elections, right? Wrong.

Here is some of the evidence that I don’t know anything.

1. Remember Obama’s big speech? Ok, there are lots of them, but I mean the acceptance speech:

I thought it was a good speech and I am glad that he took on John McCain.

But notice how he took him on: he tied him to the failed policies of the past. What he didn’t address about McCain is the issue that bothers me the most: John McCain simply doesn’t know what the hell he is doing!

This is basic stuff and McCain is supposed to be a national security expert!

But notice that Obama never attacks McCain’s competence or capacity!

Seriously: would you want to be operated on by someone who doesn’t know basic anatomy? Would you want an airline pilot who doesn’t know the basics of aerodynamics?

But instead he goes after McCain on things like the number of houses that he owns (and frankly, I don’t care about that)

But, Obama’s attacks have proven to be effective, and yes, some of my friends WERE outraged at McCain’s “I’ll have to have my staff get back to you on that” answer to the “how many houses do you own question.

I don’t get it at all.

2. McCain now picks as his running mate the Governor of state with a small population (680,000 people) whose only prior experience was being a small town mayor.

She is also a rabid right winger (anti-choice, anti-environment, and a creationist).

Yes, I’ve gotten letters from, Barbara Boxer and Planned Parenthood denouncing this pick. But I’ve gotten nothing from the Obama campaign; not even a “they are so scary, so now send us more money” letter.

This is their ad:

There is nothing saying: “look at the rabid right wing idiot that this jackass picked”.

I don’t get it.

Nevertheless, others said that Obama’s repsonse works for them!

3. I see the two tickets (McCain-Palin vs. Obama-Biden) has having a HUGE IQ discrepancy. You have a bumbler who graduated almost dead last in his class versus a Harvard Law Review type at the top; a wealth of knowledge versus not knowing much at all in the no. 2 spot.

Again, I see nothing from the campaigns stressing this. To me, this is a huge issue.

So, what is boils down to is this: I really don’t understand what makes the typical voter tick. And, the longer I stay involved, the more I realize that I don’t know squat.

August 30, 2008 Posted by | Biden, mccain, obama, politics, politics/social, religion, republicans, sarah palin | 2 Comments

One Positive about Sarah Palin, and lots negative. :-)

From here

Humpy’s Classic Marathon

PENNY PALUMBO (F37) 3:19:24 13 1
DEBBIE CROPPER (F44) 3:20:54 14 2
JILL WATSON (F23) 3:29:38 25 3
LARISSA POLISCHUK (F27) 3:37:56 33 4
MARY ROWEN (F38) 3:38:21 34 5
BETHANY PRIBILA (F30) 3:39:43 36 6
JANICE ANDERSON (F39) 3:47:02 41 7
LORETTA ULIBARRI (F50) 3:47:03 42 8
VERONICA BEAGAN (F45) 3:48:46 45 9
Donna Thackwray (F46) 3:51:26 47 10
DANELLE VANHOLSTYN (F38) 3:53:55 54 11
CHRISTIE BRONDER (F35) 3:56:13 55 12
JILL FLOYD (F42) 3:58:39 60 13
KIMBERLY HONE (F26) 3:59:05 61 14
SARAH PALIN (F41) 3:59:36 63 15

There were 62 women in the race and a 3:59 is very respectable. Sure, when I was 41, I finished two of them a bit faster than that (3:38 and 3:40) but hey, that ain’t bad, especially for someone who thinks that hunting animals from a plane is ok. 🙂

What Sarah Palin has to do with this:

Also, Alaska has for some time been exploiting a loophole in the Federal Airborne Hunting Act of 1972 to allow the barbaric and unsporting practice of aerial hunting. This involves chasing an animal via helicopter or airplane until they are too exhausted to go any further, then shooting them point blank. Trophy hunters pay big money for this “thrill.” Real sporting, huh?? Twice Alaskans have voted to end this horrible practice, but Alaskan government has continued to support it. Unfortunately, just a few days ago a ballot initiative that would have ended it was defeated – why? According to Defenders

“We faced an approximately $750,000 campaign from our opponents — including Safari Club International and a $400,000 state-funded campaign approved by Governor Sarah Palin and the Alaska legislature. They used deceptive propaganda and the authority of the Alaska government to defeat the ballot initiative.”

As many of you may know, wolves were recently delisted for a brief time, only to be placed again on the list because Idaho and Wyoming both submitted plans that were not based on science.(in fact they were pretty much based on the desire to just kill all the wolves.) A very real danger here is that this disgusting practice could expand to Idaho and Wyoming, and to use hunting animals other than wolves.

Gee, someone who is for this kind of killing? This reminds me of someone else.

What Are Canned Hunts?

Canned hunting operations, also referred to as “shooting preserves” or “game ranches,” are private trophy hunting facilities that offer their customers the opportunity to kill exotic and native animals that are trapped within enclosures. Some facilities even allow their clients to kill animals remotely via the Internet. […]

And guess which political figure enjoys these?

Cheney’s Canned Kill, and Other Hunting Excesses of the Bush Administration

By Wayne Pacelle

Vice President Dick Cheney went pheasant shooting in Pennsylvania in December 2003, but unlike most of his fellow hunters across America, he didn’t have to spend hours or even days tramping the fields and hedgerows in hopes of bagging a brace of birds for the dinner table.

Upon his arrival at the exclusive Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier Township, gamekeepers released 500 pen-raised pheasants from nets for the benefit of him and his party. In a blaze of gunfire, the group—which included legendary Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), along with major fundraisers for Republican candidates—killed at least 417 of the birds. According to one gamekeeper who spoke to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cheney was credited with shooting more than 70 of the pen-reared fowl. […]

More of the Same Indeed

NOTE: the Obama campaign had sent NOTHING to me about Palin. I’ve heard from Barbara Boxer, Planned Parenthood and now But I’ve gotten absolutely NOTHING from the Obama campaign.

I know that there is a reason for this; I am finding out that I don’t know diddly-squat about political strategy.

Here is MoveOn’s letter:

So, what does have to say? They sent out this e-mail message:

Dear MoveOn member,

Yesterday was John McCain’s 72nd birthday. If elected, he’d be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for “inexperience,” here’s who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.


Who is Sarah Palin? Here’s some basic background:

* She was elected Alaska’s governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
* Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
* She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
* Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
* She’s doesn’t think humans are the cause of climate change.5
* She’s solidly in line with John McCain’s “Big Oil first” energy policy. She’s pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won’t be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
* How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7

This is information the American people need to see. Please take a moment to forward this email to your friends and family.

We also asked Alaska MoveOn members what the rest of us should know about their governor. The response was striking. Here’s a sample:

She is really just a mayor from a small town outside Anchorage who has been a governor for only 1.5 years, and has ZERO national and international experience. I shudder to think that she could be the person taking that 3AM call on the White House hotline, and the one who could potentially be charged with leading the US in the volatile international scene that exists today. —Rose M., Fairbanks, AK

She is VERY, VERY conservative, and far from perfect. She’s a hunter and fisherwoman, but votes against the environment again and again. She ran on ethics reform, but is currently under investigation for several charges involving hiring and firing of state officials. She has NO experience beyond Alaska. —Christine B., Denali Park, AK

As an Alaskan and a feminist, I am beyond words at this announcement. Palin is not a feminist, and she is not the reformer she claims to be. —Karen L., Anchorage, AK

Alaskans, collectively, are just as stunned as the rest of the nation. She is doing well running our State, but is totally inexperienced on the national level, and very much unequipped to run the nation, if it came to that. She is as far right as one can get, which has already been communicated on the news. In our office of thirty employees (dems, republicans, and nonpartisans), not one person feels she is ready for the V.P. position.—Sherry C., Anchorage, AK

She’s vehemently anti-choice and doesn’t care about protecting our natural resources, even though she has worked as a fisherman. McCain chose her to pick up the Hillary voters, but Palin is no Hillary. —Marina L., Juneau, AK

I think she’s far too inexperienced to be in this position. I’m all for a woman in the White House, but not one who hasn’t done anything to deserve it. There are far many other women who have worked their way up and have much more experience that would have been better choices. This is a patronizing decision on John McCain’s part- and insulting to females everywhere that he would assume he’ll get our vote by putting “A Woman” in that position.—Jennifer M., Anchorage, AK

So Governor Palin is a staunch anti-choice religious conservative. She’s a global warming denier who shares John McCain’s commitment to Big Oil. And she’s dramatically inexperienced.

In picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has made the religious right very happy. And he’s made a very dangerous decision for our country.

In the next few days, many Americans will be wondering what McCain’s vice-presidential choice means. Please pass this information along to your friends and family.

Thanks for all you do.

–Ilyse, Noah, Justin, Karin and the rest of the team


1. “Sarah Palin,” Wikipedia, Accessed August 29, 2008

2. “McCain Selects Anti-Choice Sarah Palin as Running Mate,” NARAL Pro-Choice America, August 29, 2008

3. “Sarah Palin, Buchananite,” The Nation, August 29, 2008

4. “‘Creation science’ enters the race,” Anchorage Daily News, October 27, 2006

5. “Palin buys climate denial PR spin—ignores science,” Huffington Post, August 29, 2008

6. “McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy,” Sierra Club, August 29, 2008

“Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past,” League of Conservation Voters, August 29, 2008

“Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor,” The Times of London, May 23, 2008

7 “McCain met Palin once before yesterday,” MSNBC, August 29, 2008

August 30, 2008 Posted by | mathematics, politics, politics/social, sarah palin, science | 13 Comments

30 August 1959

Ok, I was born on August 30, 1959, at about 1150 am in Fukeoka, Japan (on an Air Force Base). That means that my US (or Canal Zone) birthday would be August 29, which is…..guess? 🙂

Workout notes 1.5 mile walk to warm up, yoga, 5.5 afterward at a high-12 pace.
I worked up a light sweat; that’s about it.

Social: in some little league games, you can’t pitch if you are too good.

(banging head against the wall….)


How the Obama campaign is playing it:

Yesterday, I posted my top 10 reasons McCain chose Palis. Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub posts his. Mr. Fillmore (or is it Mr. Bathtub? 🙂 ) believes that science ought to be taught in science classrooms, so his reaction to having a creationist on the ticket of a major party should be interesting.

Edge of the American West: talks about the continuing saga of Republicans demanding blind loyalty. That has not changed in this election:

One of the most amusing storylines being floated by Republicans is the idea that Sarah Palin is a maverick. Certainly, she appears less corrupt than her peers, no hard feat in the nation’s most crooked state. And she has diverged from party orthodoxy on a few issues.

The most obvious theme, however, that emerges from Palin’s bio is a Bush-esque obsession with loyalty. We all now know about her alleged attempts to pressure the state police to fire her former brother in-law. Less well known are her actions as mayor of the city of Wasilla.

Shortly after her election in October 1996, she asked the police chief, librarian, public works director, and finance director to resign. In addition, she eliminated the position of city historian. Her critics charged the directors were dismissed for supporting her opponent, John Stein, in the preceding election. Palin further rankled city employees by issuing a gag order, forbidding them to speak to the media without her permission. Her controversial behavior led to demands for her recall. […]

Continue to the link to read the rest of the article…

Low Information Voters: does their ignorance really affect the outcome of the election?

Actually, read the linked article by Larry Bartels. In fact, the answer is yes; in fact, the change is enough to change the course of a close election. No, this is not a partisan rant; for example it was pointed out that many educated Democrats didn’t know that Reagan’s administration actually tamed inflation (though Paul Volcker, that famed inflation fighter who got credit for this, was appointed by President Carter and has endorsed Barack Obama...)

August 30, 2008 Posted by | mccain, obama, politics, politics/social, ranting, republicans, sarah palin, walking | 4 Comments