Friday, October 31, 2008

THE TOP HALF

This compilation was published by a UK-based site so there is some credence that they were filtering the history more objectively than by merely resorting to their own political inclinations. Their Euporeness seeps through with the elevated ranking of LBJ and FDR who did their best to turn us into Europe, and a love for JFK which belies his actual accomplishments. They published the list with a caveat that the top ten and bottom ten are more easily separated from the field than actually being able to accurately list each man. When in doubt, points were deducted for slave ownership and whatnot, so the bottom half is littered with men boasting beards and slaves. Here is the cream of the crop, listed in reverse order:

21. James Monroe 1817-25 (Democratic-Republican)
Monroe led a non-partisan domestic agenda and argued that unless the colonial powers entered conflicts in the Americas he should not intervene in their affairs. He oversaw the expansion of the United States to include Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, Maine and Missouri.
20. George H.W. Bush 1989-93 (Republican)
Reagan’s economic legacy left President Bush facing an enormous national debt and, with the country in recession, he was pressurised by Democrats in Congress to raise taxes. Success in Iraq, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the destruction of the Berlin Wall were not enough to restore his popularity.
19. Grover Cleveland 1885-89 and 1893-97 (Democratic)
Cleveland is the only man to have served two non-consecutive terms as President of the United States. He was also the only Democrat to be elected between the American Civil War and the 20th century. His pragmatic approach was seen as honest but his reputation suffered during a second term dominated by economic hardship and strikes.
18. Ulysses S. Grant 1869-77 (Republican)
Grant was a successful general who had led the Union to victory in the American Civil War. He was elected President to oversee the radical Reconstruction of the southern states and succeeded in restricting the violence of the Ku Klux Klan, granting Freedmen voting rights and establishing a public school system. His reputation was destroyed, however, by his administration’s failure to deal with a lengthy economic depression and a string of scandals that affected his officials.
17. William McKinley 1897-1901 (Republican)
McKinley’s period in office coincided with an upturn in the American economy, leaving the President free to pursue his energetic foreign policy. After a 100-day war with Spain, he was able to annex the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii and Puerto Rico as well as seizing temporary control of Cuba.
16. John Quincy Adams 1825-29 (Democratic-Republican)
Adams attempted an ambitious modernisation of the country despite an extremely slender victory in the race to be President. His plans included an expanded network of roads and canals, a national university and an astronomical observatory but many of the reforms were never realised because of an uncooperative Congress.
15. James Madison 1809-17 (Democratic-Republican)
Madison wrote key sections of the Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights, particularly the sections which laid out his theory of checks and balances, but as President he was a far more controversial figure. He led the US into the divisive and bloody War of 1812 against the British Empire. Despite very few material gains it has been argued that the war was a pivotal moment in the birth of a strong and independent America.
14. Andrew Jackson 1829-37 (Democratic)
A hero of the War of 1812, Jackson was a polarizing frontier President responsible for the shaping of the modern Democratic Party. His populist attacks on the national bank alienated rich supporters, but he was one of the first Presidents to actively and successfully court the public vote, strengthening the standing of popular democracy in the US.
13. John Adams 1797-1801 (Federalist)
After serving as Vice President throughout George Washington’s time in office, he lasted only one term as President. Adams succeeded in steering an outwardly peaceful course through the international conflict between Britain and France but his best-known domestic policies were the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts, which restricted the rights of government critics.
12. Lyndon Johnson 1963-69 (Democratic)
Johnson proved remarkably adept at harnessing the surge of public emotion following JFK’s assassination. He used it to convert his predecessor’s rhetoric into law, including the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, which outlawed segregation, and the Medicare and Medicaid bills that allowed millions access to healthcare for the first time. By the end of his presidency he was extremely unpopular, however, as he became bogged down in the Vietnam War, race riots convulsed urban centres and voters grew tired of his expensive “great society” program.
11. John F. Kennedy 1961-63 (Democratic)
Although Lyndon Johnson was the man to turn his words into law, JFK pipped him by a single place in our list. Kennedy had a troubling and not entirely successful foreign policy record that included the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the escalation of the Vietnam War. His radical domestic reputation was built on intervention in Alabama to uphold desegregation, his civil rights speeches and rhetorical support for the space program. He had actually passed very little in the way of funding or legislation when he was assassinated.
10. Woodrow Wilson 1913-21 (Democratic)
A radical first term included anti-trust legislation, tariff revision and the creation of the Federal Reserve. Wilson’s reputation, however, was built on his destruction of America’s cherished non-interventionist policy in his second term. He was reluctant to lead the US into the First World War, but was then instrumental in building a multi-lateral post-war consensus which included the League of Nations, even if Congress never allowed America to join it.
9. James Polk 1845-49 (Democratic)
Polk was one of the greatest presidential advocates of the idea that expanding the Union from the Atlantic to the Pacific was “manifest destiny”. Victory in the war with Mexico allowed the United States to acquire California, Nevada, and parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.
8. Ronald Reagan 1981-89 (Republican)
He was elected with a clear mandate for radical economic policy to tackle high inflation and unemployment rates. His tax cutting, budget slashing, laissez-faire strategy known as “Reaganomics” became extremely popular as the US economy recovered. Even though he was seen as a hawk when he took office, Reagan managed to grasp the historic opportunity brought about by Mikhail Gorbachev's rise to power in the Soviet Union to help bring an end to the Cold War.
7. Harry Truman 1945-53 (Democratic)
Truman entered the White House after just 82 days as Roosevelt’s Vice President and with very little foreign experience. He was soon called upon to make some of the most significant international policy decisions in American history. He sanctioned the use of atomic weapons over Japan, signed up to the United Nations and NATO as well as formulating the Truman Doctrine, which shaped America’s anti-Communist policy for decades to come.
6. Dwight Eisenhower 1953-61 (Republican)
The popular Second World War commander succeeded in bringing his military might to bear on US domestic reform. Eisenhower continued most of the existing “new deal” and “fair deal” policies and introduced some radical reforms of his own. In the face of huge Southern opposition, he sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce the desegregation of schools as well as ending segregation in the armed forces. He also created the interstate highway system.
5. Theodore Roosevelt 1901-09 (Republican)
The youngest ever President, Roosevelt, 42, was a progressive Republican and tried to move the GOP into more radical territory. His “square deal” policies included greater regulation to protect consumers, attacks on corporate monopolies and conservationism to safeguard wildlife and the American wilderness. In foreign policy, he oversaw a major expansion of the Navy, ordered the construction of the Panama Canal and won the Nobel Peace Prize for mediating the Russo-Japanese War.
4. Thomas Jefferson 1801-09 (Democratic-Republican)
A political philosopher and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence was narrowly elected as the third President in a disputed contest settled by the House of Representatives. A proponent of small government, Jefferson succeeded in reducing the national debt, as well as the size of the army and navy. However, he almost doubled the size of the United States after the Louisiana Purchase, which annexed land now encompassing part of 15 states.
3. Franklin D. Roosevelt 1933-45 (Democratic)
The longest-serving of all the presidents, Roosevelt was in office for more than a decade until his death. He was re-elected four times during one of the most tumultuous periods of the 20th century. His radical, big-government spending program designed to kick-start the US economy became global consensus after the Second World War, but it was widely mistrusted before the conflict. FDR also ended US isolationism by leading America into battle in Europe.
2. George Washington 1789-97 (No party)
Washington led the army that vanquished the British during the American Revolutionary War before presiding over the drafting of the Constitution. When it came to elect the first US President he was chosen unanimously by electors representing the 11 states of the Union. He was celebrated as the Father of the Nation after expanding the Union and overseeing the creation of a taxation system, a national bank and the first Supreme Court judges. His Farewell Address also became one of the cornerstones of American democracy.
1. Abraham Lincoln 1861-65 (Republican, National Union)
The first Republican President, Lincoln led the defeat of the Confederate states in the American Civil War and freed around four million slaves by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. The formal abolition of slavery in the US was ratified soon after his death. He succeeded in unifying the nation militarily as well as laying out a moral imperative for its governance in his Gettysburg address.
PHILS WIN

I would have preferred to watch it somewhere other than a hotel room in Huntsville, Alabama, but you can't have it all. I enjoyed their run. The better team won, and almost all of it will be back next year. The possible exceptions:

PAT BURRELL, 32, made $14m this year, .250, 33 HR, 86 RBI. He was Clubber Lang in the spring then cooled off considerably for the second half and was ice cold in the WS until leading off with a double that became the winning run. He is unbelievably slow and usually gets replaced in the late innings for defense. He failed to get to a shallow fly ball in the first inning of one of the WS games that I bet any other left fielder would have caught. I think the Phils will make him an offer designed for him to refuse. One thing I do really like about Burrell is that he has developed an excellent eye at the plate and takes a lot of walks. I remember listening to one game where Burrell and fellow slowpoke Ryan Howard both had triples in the same game. That I think was as big a statistical anomaly as you could find in baseball this year. Burrell, batting 5th, does provide a longball threat that makes managers pitch to Howard, batting 4th, but I think the Phillies will conclude, and I agree, that there are better ways to spend that money.

JAMIE MOYER, 45, made $5.5m and recorded 16 wins. He is a Philly area native and wants to finish his career with his hometown team. I think he will. He is also sort of a player-coach to the younger pitchers on their staff.

The only other unrestricted free agents of note are LHP SCOTT EYRE and reserve outfielder SO TAGUCHI. Eyre was acquired mid-season from the Cubs. He contributed and will probably get a better offer somewhere else. Taguchi was useless and rarely saw an AB toward the end of the season. No offer forthcoming.
There are 10 players who will be eligible for arbitration, and many of them will get huge raises. Howard ($10 million), Hamels ($500,000), centre-fielder Shane Victorino ($480,000), right-fielder Jayson Werth ($1.7 million), starter Joe Blanton ($3.7 million) and relievers Ryan Madson ($1.4 million) and Chad Durbin ($900,000) should make a lot more money next year. The Phillies' payroll on opening day was $104.5 million. Keeping it close to that total for '09 will be a challenge.

The Phils sold out more than 60 home dates this year. Their bank account is bursting but they are well known for not overpaying players. They got some real bargains this year with Hamels, Victorino, Madson, Durbin and Werth.

I found myself under-excited about the Phillies championship celebration. I followed them this year and really liked the team and went to several games, but they are my adopted team, not my birth team, and I didn't get the burst of joy that is supposed to come when your guys jump all over each other on the mound. If I had to buy a ball cap today, it would be a Pirates cap.

They are expecting the largest-ever sports parade in the US today in Philly. The parade route stretches several miles from center city down Broad Street to one final revenuefest at Citizens Bank Park. My wife wanted to take the boys but thought better of it when I told her how many people are expected, how full the trains are, how much trouble she would have getting home, and that the route was already well lined with fans during my drive time this morning. (Parade starts at noon.) We also have the small problem that our younger son has a bad habit of wandering off in crowds like Curious George. She watched 2-1/2 hours of postgame celebration coverage after Game 5 while I was fast asleep. She is really into it. It's cute.

UPDATE: 12:30pm. Perfect day for a parade, sunny and cool. Start of parade is delayed due to mass of humanity in streets.

Perfect night for trick or treating as well.

12:47 pm. Pat Burrell is first out, riding with the Clydesdales. How awesome is that? (I heard earlier this hour that he has rejected the Phillies' contract offer on this first day of free agency.)

Here comes Charlie and the trophy.

Two parents here in the office told their teenage kids this morning to stop their silly talk about going to the parade and get their butts to school. That made my wife mad. One woman's son said he waited 4 hours to get a train into town. I pass a suburban metro station on my way in. This morning there were cars parked ALL OVER the place as people flooded the trains.

The Philadelphia Daily News usually prints 100,000 copies for point of purchase sale. Yesterday they printed 300,000 which sold out quickly. They printed another 350,000 which sold out, and today copies are selling for $20 on eBay.

Good times. I'd still buy a Pirates cap. Size 7-1/2 for any blood relatives that may be listening.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

POLITICAL MEME

Reason Magazine asked their writers these questions. Give it a go, Junto Boys. Here are my answers:

1. Who are you voting for in November? McCain/Palin. I was leaning Bob Barr all summer, but the Palin selection changed my mind. She's the only candidate in the race that thinks America exists somewhere outside the beltway.

2. Who did you vote for in 2004 and 2000? Bush Both times. I regret his expansion of government, but we did get two great Supreme Court justices after some prodding.

3. Is this the most important election in your lifetime? I think it may be among the least important. Bush losing in 2004 would have meant a leftist majority on the court and the great skedaddle from the Middle East. Reagan losing in 1980 would have meant a cut in cold war defense spending that could have let the Russians save their economy. Who knows, maybe the Berlin Wall would still be standing.

4. What will you miss about the Bush administration? The Tax Cuts

5. Leaving George W. Bush out of consideration, what former U.S. president would you most like to have waterboarded and why? Lyndon Johnson for making the government responsible for too much while solving nary a problem.
SIGN STEALING

I had my sign stolen over the weekend so this was fun to read.
After Shawn Turschak saw two sets of McCain-Palin signs disappear from his yard within hours of being planted, he took steps to protect the latest pair.

On Monday, he ran wires from his house and hooked the signs into a power source for an electric pet fence. Then he mounted a surveillance camera in a nearby tree and wired it to a digital recorder.

Tuesday afternoon, the camera saw this: A neighbor trotting up with an Obama-Biden sign, grabbing a handful of volts as he touched a McCain-Palin sign, then fleeing at top 9-year-old boy speed.

A few minutes later, the boy's father, Andrew Noble, was at Turschak's door, demanding an explanation from Turschak's 13-year-old daughter, who called her parents on the phone to say a man was yelling at her. Both families agree on one aspect of the exchange, that Noble chastised her for "electrocuting" his son, then left.

His son electrocuted himself. I wish I had thought of it.

Didn't parents use to get mad at their children for mischief? Now they seem to be behind it.
ECONOMY EXPLAINED USING BEER

Our old friend, Scott Johnson emailed this to me this morning. It's long, but explains the point better than any member of the media.
Suppose that everyday, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten
comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go
something like this:

The first four men
(the poorest) would pay nothing.

The fifth would pay $1.

The sixth would pay $3.

The seventh would pay $7.

The eighth would pay $12.

The ninth would pay $18.

The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the
arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are all
such good customers,' he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily
beer by $20.'Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the
first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what
about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the
$20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that
from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end
up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would
be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he
proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).

The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).

The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).

The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 ( 25% savings).

The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 ( 22% savings).

The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to
drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare
their savings.

'I only got a dollar out of the $20,'declared the sixth man. He pointed to
the tenth man,' but he got $10!'

'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too.
It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!'

'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I
got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!'

'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get
anything at all.

The system exploits the poor!'

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down
and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they
discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of
them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists, lawyers and college professors, is
how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the
most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being
wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start
drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.

Professor of Economics

University of
Georgia

For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.
THE BOTTOM HALF

42. James Buchanan 1857-61 (Democratic)
“Failed to prevent the near disintegration of the nation.”
41. Franklin Pierce 1853-57 (Democratic)
Pierce was one of the few presidents to be abandoned by his own party after a single term.
40. Martin Van Buren 1837-41 (Democratic)
"It is hard to place high up on the list those who sanctioned the slaughter of Native Americans."
39. William Harrison 1841 (Whig)
Harrison only lasted 32 days as President so our panel struggled to push him very far up the table.
37T Richard Nixon 1969-74 (Republican)
"Cynical manipulation, bringing the presidency into disrepute and changing the language to the extent that even a whiff of scandal merits the suffix '-gate'."
37T George W. Bush 2001-2009 (Republican)
"Bush Jr. invaded Iraq based on faulty intelligence and then catastrophically mismanaged the war, dragging America's name through the mud."
36 Herbert Hoover 1929-33 (Republican)
"Unwittingly turned the 1929 crash into a global depression which weakened democracies and prepared the ground for the Second World War."
34T Warren Harding 1921-23 (Republican)
"Headed one of the most corrupt administrations."
34T James Garfield 1881 (Republican)
The second shortest Presidency after William Harrison’s 32 days but the panel still prefers him to Nixon.
33. Millard Fillmore 1850-53 (Whig)
"Created a compromise on extending slavery that laid the ground for the US Civil War."
32. Jimmy Carter 1977-81 (Democratic)
"Carter got just about everything wrong."
31. John Tyler 1841-45 (Whig)
Tyler assumed the presidency after a brief constitutional crisis following the sudden death of William Harrison. He had been the Vice President and from this moment, all VPs were a heartbeat away from the White House. He struggled to assert his authority and his presidency was often referred to as “his accidency”.
29T William H. Taft 1909-13 (Republican)
Taft’s Presidency was overshadowed by the imposing figure of Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy had anointed his friend as his successor before changing his mind after Taft’s first term and making an acrimonious but failed challenge to his Republican nomination.
29T Benjamin Harrison 1889-93 (Republican)
For the first time outside of war, Congress was allowed to spend a billion dollars, which was not welcomed by the impoverished electorate.
28. Zachary Taylor 1849-50 (Whig)
Taylor is another man to languish in the rankings due, at least in part, to a brief presidency.
27. Rutherford B. Hayes 1877-81 (Republican)
Hayes’ election was the most controversial of all. He comfortably lost the popular vote but after months of bitter wrangling, he secured the electoral college by a single vote.
26. Calvin Coolidge 1923-29 (Republican)
"Probably the most modest man ever to hold the office. Disliked for his small-minded isolationist tendencies but on balance, it's a shame there were not more like him."
25. Gerald Ford 1974-77 (Republican)
His period in office coincided with a US recession and inflation rates of up to seven per cent, which left him with a large budgetary deficit and little room for maneuver.
24. Andrew Johnson 1865-69 (Democratic, National Union)
"Nearly blew Lincoln's success."
23. Bill Clinton 1993-2001 (Democratic)
"Promised so much, delivered so little and embarrassed everyone."
22. Chester Arthur 1881-85 (Republican)
"His four years in office saw him turn widespread cynicism into grudging respect - the opposite of the usual Presidential experience."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

SERIOUS QUESTION

Will they have a 7th-inning stretch tonight after six outs? I say yes. They will honor the tradition.
Rashid Khalidi

The LA Times refuses release the tape.

It seems increasingly true that Chicago style politics has morphed from being merely corrupt to being quite radically anti-American. Chicago is not Obama's hometown but a place he chose and feel's comfortable with. He wasn't a crusader for change there.

As measured as he is in discourse, his political roots are with one shady character after another. These people from his past do not fit the narrative the press has written about Obama and Obama's involvement with these people is treated as peripheral part of his rise. But who are the moderates in Chicago that were a bigger influence on him?

And if Obama was not an agent for change in Chicago, isn't it possible that the Chicago model is what he wants to bring to America?

The media doesn't seem the least bit interested in how Obama might actually govern outside of the flowery talk we get on the campaign trail. This latest example of his anti-American associates brings nothing but a yawn to the media who wants to pin Ted Stevens to Sarah Palin.
Palin's name is listed on 2003 incorporation papers of the "Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.," a 527 group that could raise unlimited funds from corporate donors.

Palin's relationship with Alaska's senior senator may be one of the more complicated aspects of her new position as Sen. John McCain's running mate; Stevens was indicted in July 2008 on seven counts of corruption.

Palin, an anti-corruption crusader in Alaska, had called on Stevens to be open about the issues behind the investigation. But she also held a joint news conference with him in July, before he was indicted, to make clear she had not abandoned him politically.

Stevens had been helpful to Palin during her run for governor, swooping in with a last moment endorsement. And the two filmed a campaign commercial together to highlight Stevens's endorsement of Palin during the 2006 race.

But Stevens is exactly like Old Man Daley from Chicago, merely corrupt without being anti-American. Why is he such a big story? And between Palin and Obama who has stood up to that kind of corruption. Palin has not been shown to have gained personally from Stevens corruption, but their relationship remains complicated to the press.

Take Tony Rezko, the least anti-American of Obama's shady associations. The Chicago Sun Times goes to pains to let Obama off the hook in the relationship.
A few months after Obama became a U.S. senator, he and Rezko's wife, Rita, bought adjacent pieces of property from a doctor in Chicago's Kenwood neighborhood -- a deal that has dogged Obama the last two years. The doctor sold the mansion to Obama for $1.65 million -- $300,000 below the asking price. Rezko's wife paid full price -- $625,000 -- for the adjacent vacant lot. The deals closed in June 2005. Six months later, Obama paid Rezko's wife $104,500 for a strip of her land, so he could have a bigger yard. At the time, it had been widely reported that Tony Rezko was under federal investigation. Questioned later about the timing of the Rezko deal, Obama called it "boneheaded" because people might think the Rezkos had done him a favor.

The Times just lets it lie there without comment. It's not even complicated just boneheaded. Obama is just an idiot like GW Bush, so naive to the money men and terrorists in his circle, but so brilliant and nuanced at all other times.

Gee, Wally, I didn't realize that Rezko and his wife saving me $300,000 on the house was such a problem. Well, Beav, don't do it again or I'll have to slug ya, you bonehead.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

7 REASONS WHY McCAIN/PALIN WILL WIN

Paraphrased from the redstate.com post:

1. The media's harping and yelping for Senator Obama created massive Obama over-exposure, anger and resentment that will be expressed in the voting booth on November 4th. People see what the media is doing.

2. The Gallup poll after Labor Day has historically predicted the winner. The Gallup poll a week after the GOP convention had McCain up.

3. Support is drying up among Jews the more they learn about his past policy statements regarding Israel.

4. Young people are easily distracted from voting on Election Day. Older female Clinton voters will go vote, and not for Obama.

5. In an unstable world, people vote for the stronger leader. It isn't Obama.

6. McCain is likely to win the six states that since 1972 have voted for the winning candidate: AK, KY, LA, MO, OH and TN.

7. Asians, Whites and Hispanics have been lying to pollsters in significant numbers and will not vote for Obama. The Bradley Effect is real.

Just trying to lift my own spirits, more than anything.
MEDIA BIAS

Slate polled its staff regarding who they will vote for. (So much for secret ballot, but liberals don't care much for such old-fashioned traditions.) The results:

Obama - 56
Non-citizen but would vote for Obama - 3
McCain - 1
Barr - 1
Non-citizen and not compelled to declare a preference - 1

That sounds about right. And I'm okay with that. If you disclose openly that you are in the tank for Obama, then it's not unfair media bias. The scandal is that CBS and NBC and the New York Times' results would look about the same.
QUICK HITS ON THE WORLD SERIES

Replay

Is there any argument left for not having replay available in the WS to fix obviously blown calls? All you need is a replay official in the booth to indicate that the play will be reviewed, and you'll have the right call in less time than it takes to argue it. Jimmy Rollins, for example, was clearly tagged out in the first inning of last night's Game 5. Jamie Moyer clearly made a super play for the out at first in Game 3. I feel bad for Moyer: 22 years and he finally gets to pitch a WS game, and instead of getting the win and an all-time highlight reel play, he gets neither. The ump put himself in the worst possible position to make the call, with Ryan Howard's 245 pounds blocking his view of the base and the ball.

Lord Selig

Bud Selig appears to have adopted McCain's communications strategy of never fully explaining himself, and not letting his inflection give any hints as to his thinking or his motivations. His explanation, after the fact, that he was not going to let the WS end with a rain-shortened game and that "common sense will always prevail" left open the question of what he would have decided had the Rays taken the lead in top 6. Declare them the winner according to the rules, stick to the schedule and head back to St. Pete? I read and watched the news this morning and listened to XM's Baseball This Morning show for an hour with no answer on that, before calling the show and talking to the screener, and also emailing host Mark Patrick, who replied thusly:

They said they were going to play the full game no matter what...tied or otherwise in the 6th.

If they said that during the telecast, I missed it. (I was listening to both the Fox TV and local radio broadcasts and missed parts of each.) And the quote from Selig says that he is going to make good common-sense decisions in real time.

Weather report

It rained all night. It has been raining all day. I drove to work today in a steady rain, 38 degrees. I see now that the suspended game has been postponed from tonight to tomorrow. That's the right call. It is miserable today. You are at the mercy of Mother Nature when you stretch the postseason into the last week of October. The unfortunate thing is that this weather is bad P.R. for Philly, where the weather was beautiful last week and is supposed to be good again next week. Oh well. Watching that game last night, I would rather have been anywhere else. I went to a game in April where it was 48 and windy, and that was bad enough. 38 and rainy and windy is just horrendous weather for a ballgame.

Why the 6th?

Why start the 6th inning last night? The weather was not going to improve, and the game was already past the necessary 4-1/2, and water was pooling on the infield, and the wind was so bad that the infield fly rule was not in effect, and Hamels went 30 minutes between pitches while the crew worked on the mound. Why not call it after 5? Under the conditions, there was no way to throw out B.J. Upton in top 6 after his single, which led to a very important run. There should not have been baseball in those conditions.

Late play

I was 12 when the Pirates won the 1979 WS. At that age I used to lie on my bed and listen to the games at night on a scratchy station out of Linesville, PA. (Then-broadcaster Lanny Frattare just retired after thirtysome seasons.) I can tell you most or all of their starting lineup that year. Now I have a 9 yr old who has followed the Phils all year and is wearing his Phillies jersey at every opportunity this month. We are making some exceptions to bedtime so that he can watch some innings, but we can't let him stay up till midnight to watch the end of these games. I understand maximizing your revenue, but aren't we concerned about the future of the game and engaging today's young fans? Heck, these games are ending well past my own bedtime. Likewise, the other parents of 9 year olds in the neighborhood are not appreciative of late night ball.


Phils win

This is how the Phillies have been winning all year. Part of their lineup goes cold and another part does enough to win ballgames. All Fox can talk about is how the Phils aren't hitting with RISP, even as the Phils ride a 3-1 edge in the Series. That's how it was all year. No respect. Like I tell my liberal friends about presidential elections, "all we do is win." I hope to be able to say that again next week, on behalf of both the Phils and the GOP.

Monday, October 27, 2008

POLITICAL THOUGHTS FROM THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY

A Note on Anarchy
by Donovan (Honorary Junto Boy)


Anarchy. The word is defined as the complete absence of government and authority, allowing YOU the commoner to do literally anything you wish to do. When people think of Anarchy, thoughts of war, terror, and chaos are the first things to come to mind. I strongly disagree.

For a long while I had the thought and support of the anarchist state in the back of my mind, seeing it in a very different way, though I never openly professed it, mostly for fear of retribution. After all, the modern day anarchist is a feared and avoided individual.

If you were to line up my vision of anarchy in comparison to modern day society, it would actually not be much different. The only differences, really, is that we would no longer have to pay taxes, we would fend for ourselves, and whatever we needed we fetched with our own two hands, or with the help of our own city-state.

Let me give you a picture of what I see as anarchy in the United States. Anarchy would be declared, officially or unofficially, the government would be dissolved, and the political borders of the states would no longer exist. Rather, they would exist only in the mind sets of the average American as a region. For the first several weeks to the first month, looting bands of gangsters and would-be criminals would roam the streets, attempting to prey upon the weak and do as they please. This is the vision of anarchy, yes, but morally it is not right. Because of this, order would return without the government returning.

People would turn their eyes to their family, friends, churches, community, or what have you for guidance instead of the federal government. Families, neighborhoods, and towns would band together to form modern day city-states. When one of these roving gangs would try to attack a city state or loot a building, they would be met with angry townspeople armed with guns. Because the majority of Americans today own at least one weapon, these gangs would quickly be put down.

As the violence subsides, natural selection would take place. Now, I realize I will get a lot of flak for this, but you must face the inevitable truth of an anarchist society. Natural selection is the process of nature choosing the strongest individuals to survive. Because of this, a New York business man would not survive long indeed in an anarchist society, unless he can quickly learn the necessary skills to survive. These skills are hunting, building, crafting, etc... Those with weapons and those skilled in these crafts will become the leaders of these city-states, not corrupt politicians.

The average man wold look not to his company position, but instead to his own survival. He or she would begin to band with other people and join a city-state to survive. The skills he already has could be put to good use within the new civilization. For example, take my own father, a very accomplished and experienced psychologist, as well as having survival, hunting, and woodsman skills. His natural survival skills will allow him to survive and take care of his family, but his skills in psychology make him a great asset. In times of anarchy, he can be responsible for keeping morale high, thus making him a valuable member of society.

Technology would still survive, so long as it is maintained by the city-states. Telephone service could be maintained within a short distance if the city state learns how to operate the necessary equipment to keep phone lines running, etc... The same goes for computers and modern appliances. Electricity could easily be compensated for by attaining a generator. Perhaps even modern conveniences such as radio and television could still exist in the later years of anarchy, provided local programming.

The United States would still exist in the minds of every American in the new Anarchist society as an abstract ideal that inspires Americans. For this reason, people would still fly the American flag, call themselves Americans, and even band together to defend the country if need be. If the anarchist USA were to be attacked by a foreign nation seeking to take over the supposedly weak US, the people would band together and reactivate the old government war machines. Those skilled in using them would form the military to combat this danger, and though warfare would be waged differently, it would be waged in defense of our absolute, perfect freedom.

The economy of an anarchy would be very different. Instead of a common currency, bartering would be the main form of trade. There would be no organized market or prices... Supply and demand would still exist yes, but anyone is free to set their own prices. Joe could say he wants 300 logs for his herd of oxen, and Bob could decide to take it or not. This results in a traditional type of economy, one where people take care of each other and do what is necessary for their own survival and that of those around them.

The justification of anarchy is the ultimate American ideal of freedom. Freedom is this idea of being able to do as your own good morality dictates it, whether your morality be that of a crazed war monger, a gospel preaching witness, or what have you. The reason anarchy cannot exist at the present here-and-now is because too many people depend on the government... they literally do not make decisions for them selves, and instead look to the government for life support. Too many people would not know what to do with their new found absolute freedom, and would instead head north or south to socialist Canada and Mexico.

The ideology of a true anarchist is not that of a futuristic, war torn land scape...Why, even the Anarchist Cookbook is laughed upon by true freedom loving anarchists. The true goal of a true anarchist is having a society where there is no Man to bring you down, no government to pay tribute to, and the ability to live by YOUR rules, the way YOU want.

While anarchy is usually thought to be a radical left-wing ideal, I propose it is exactly the opposite. The right wing, lead by the Republican Party, is all about less government, capitalism, and lower taxes. Why not take it all the way?

There are many schools of thought on anarchy, and while it is true that many anarchists are radical communists or left wingers, true anarchy is absolute freedom. Individual anarchy is what I personally believe in. Individual anarchy promulgates the idea of private ownership; in essence, this is capitalism to the max, unlike the socialist anarchy screamed by Karl Marx and Peter Kropotkin. Socialist anarchy is basically anarchy where everything is publicly owned; this is not true anarchy in that you are required to share with others. If you so desire to not share, and you cannot, that defeats the ideology of the anarchist state.

The extreme and radical forms of anarchy include Anarcho-Feminism, which asserts that women should have absolute freedom over men, Green Anarchy, which states that all technology should be abolished in the name of “Mother Earth”, and Chaotic-Anarchy, which is basically the idea of an absolute war torn hell. Note that these all restrict liberty in some form or another, which defeats the true anarchist cause.

Modern day Anarchist promulgations include the Libertarian Party. While not truly anarchist, their basic ideas constitute getting as close to anarchy as possible without actually having the absence of government.

All in all, however, anarchy truly is the way of absolute, individual freedom. It allows you to think, feel, and do however you choose, whether that be a socialist or conservative mindset. Truly, should we all not wish for anarchy?

TOP 25 HUMAN INNOVATIONS

Hints: If you reinvent the wheel, you'll be at #15, and I am engaging in #1 right now.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

THE QUESTIONS BROKAW WON'T ASK

Watch the video here.

I don't watch local news(maybe I should), but Barbara West of Orlando's ABC affiliate asks Biden the kind of questions we've been waiting for from the national media.
The Obama spokesperson issued this statement about the interview:

"There's nothing wrong with tough questions, but reporters have the very important job of sharing the truth with the public -- not misleading the American people with false information.

What part of the interview was misleading and false information? If spreading the wealth around is not Marxist who was the first to suggest it?

This is what Biden said to the Marx query?
He's not spreading the wealth around but giving the middle class a chance to get back the tax breaks they use to have?

What?!?!?!?! Obama is on record saying "Spread the wealth around." Biden is pretending it never happened thus acknowledging the political damage. What tax breaks did the middle class ever have that weren't the gift of Republicans?
People making $1.4 million dollars, good decent people, are going to get a new $87 billion tax cut, a new one on top of last year.

How could they get a new one with a Democrat Congress?
We think the people (millionaires aren't people) should be getting that tax break. Not continue to distribute that wealth up. We think middle class tax payers should get a tax break. That's what we think. It's a ridiculous comparison in all due respect.

Biden laughed off the Marxist quote and then went on to become a character in Orwell's 1984 explaining that redistribution is the act of letting people keep their own money.

Also his quote implies the logical fallacy that anything the wealthy keep prevents the middle class from keeping theirs. Why can't everyone keep what they make, Biden?

Here's the Obama Capaign weighing in:
Senator Biden handled the interview well; however, the anchor was completely unprofessional. Senator Biden's wife is not running for elected office, and there are many other stations in the Orlando television market that would gladly conduct a respectful and factual interview with her."

"This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best for the duration of the remaining days until the election."

This refers to their losing an upcoming interview with Mrs. Biden as punishment implying that their interview would be disrespectful with her. Did they disrespect Biden?

The reaction demonstrates their expectations of the Main Stream Media and how one little interview makes it all unravel.
PREDICTIONS for the unintended consequences of a Barack Obama Presidency

1. IRAN STRENGTHENED: With the certainty of U.S. intervention being limited to Diplomacy in an Obama Presidency, Iran will become emboldened. This is likely why their President has suddenly "taken ill." I imagine the CIA were given the "go" to take this fellow out as a warning to the clerics not to play puppet master with it's neighbors. Perhaps Bush has installed enough Pro-American elements within the intelligence and defense departments to curb radically left policies.

2. BLACK COMEDIANS SUDDENLY LESS FUNNY: This happened to poor Yackoff Smirnoff after the fall of the USSR. What made "Black Comedy" (ala Chris Rock or Dave Chappell) funny was that, even if you weren't Black, you could identify with the attack on the "man." You felt for the plight of the oppressed class and most all of those jokes arise out of the field of oppression. We all want to attack the "man." Now that the "man" is an intelligent, well-spoken, articulate Black man, well it's not so funny any more.

3. RACISM IS CHANGED FOREVER. The first Black President will give perceptual evidence to whites that the era of racism is over. Forever there after, once conservative politicians are back in power and they begin dismantling the Affirmative Action and scholarship programs based on race, they will simply point to Obama as proof that instutionalized and cultural Racism is over. The left will no longer have the moral high-ground on this issue. Further, any efforts Obama makes to allot "special" privileges or create a new "civil rights" legislation will backfire as being disingenious or out of touch.

4. CRAZED ULTRA LEFT NUT CASES WILL THINK THEY ARE "MAINSTREAM." Just like what happened in the Clinton Administration with the likes of Joscelin Elders as Surgeon General, the ultra left will think America has gone left and will start advocating crack-pot schemes that will make Clinton's policies seem quaint by comparison. Remember when Joscelin suggested the school system teach pre-teens and teens masturbation as a way to curb teen pregnancy? I think she had to resign after that.

5. PUTTING FORTH "FAIRNESS DOCTRINE" WILL ONLY BACKFIRE. The fairness doctrine will be successfully challenged and overturned by the Supreme Court in a case titled, Clear Channel/Fox News vs. U.S.A. This will have the effect of placing President Obama in the corner of suppressing Free speech which will drive down his poll numbers to an abysmal level.

6. RACISM WILL LIKELY BE USED BY THE WHITEHOUSE AS REASON FOR ANY DECENT. This will only fail and will paint Obama as fear mongering and lying about his desire to be the "Post-Racial" President. See point 3.

7. RADICAL CONGRESS MEMBERS IN SPOTLIGHT DAILY: There is only so many ways to protray the likes of Barney Frank. The more he's on TV the more I like it because at least he speaks from the truly ultra-left wing and not in glossed over platitudes like Obama. People will hear this sort of talk over and over and get disgusted with it.

8. BACKLASH: The coming Backlash of 2010 and 2012 will make the Reagan revolution look like a blip on the screen by comparison. I plan on running in the 2010 cycle to ride the wave in. Then running for President in 2012. Currently I am working as a Leesburg, FL Community Activist.
EASTWOOD LIVES

He won't live forever, but he's already been with us for longer than we could have expected. These last few years he's given us interesting and sometimes flawed movies, but this film coming out in December might be the last pure Eastwood pic. A film where we see Clint as we remember his legend, the equivalent of John Wayne in the Shootist.



(Via Dirty Harry)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

WHY DO I CARE?

I am highly exercised that Obama and liberal Congressional leaders are going to control the agenda and the purse strings of this great nation. I never warmed that much to McCain but I feel strongly about casting my vote against Obama. I know that all I can do is cast my one vote (and take a son into the booth to pull the lever) and do my best to enjoy unilateral disarmament, but still it irks me that a fraud like Obama might well take the throne. It irks me. Talk me down.
THE ONE ON WHOM NO INVESTIGATION MUST BE DONE

What is more discouraging to me than the likely outcome of this election is the way in which most of the media has scrupulously avoided giving play to any of the many real and imagined "curiosities" about Obama's past. And not wanting to give credence to potentially false -- or worse, silly -- insinuations, I have not posted on the legal challenges of Philip Berg in Pennsylvania and Andy Martin (of New York) in Hawai'i to achieve the release of Obama's birth certificate (certificate of live birth, or COLB).

The issue of why Obama won't release his birth certificate was raised months ago and faded when his fightthesmears website posted an image of it. Document experts say the image was clearly a forgery. Berg says Obama was born in Kenya and is a citizen of Indonesia. Martin goes further to claim that Barack Obama is not Barack Obama II's father.

Martin is a radio personality who is hawking his book about Obama, but even if that calls his motives into question, I'd still like to know the facts behind Obama's mysterious lineage. If Obama was not born in the USA, he is not a naturalized citizen and is not eligible to be POTUS. You'll recall the strange New York Times story suggesting (knowingly wrongly) that McCain might not be eligible, and the media line about Sarah Palin not having been vetted, and the highly publicized suggestions that Trig is not Sarah's son. Those plainly fabricated stories make more sense if the real deal is that Obama is not eligible, Obama has not been vetted, and Obama's paternity is a sham. Seriously, should it be so hard, or really any issue at all, for a presidential candidate to produce valid documentation of US citizenship? Are we allowed to ask anything of this guy at all?

You can read about Berg at newsmax.com and elsewhere. Martin gives a thorough accounting at his blog. The courts have not been accommodating, dismissing Berg's case in a ruling handed down at Friday 6:15pm (he is appealing), and giving Martin a hearing on November 7th, should he be willing to fly back to Hawai'i once the news value of his challenge has passed.

A federal judge has tossed out a complaint that Barack Obama's name should be taken off the ballot because he is ineligible to be president because he is a citizen of Indonesia rather than the United States.

Former Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General Philip J. Berg claimed in a complaint filed in federal district court that Obama was born in Mombasa, Kenya, rather than Hawaii, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. The complaing demanded that Obama’s lawyers produce a copy of his original birth certificate to prove that he is a natural-born U.S. citizen.

The Constitution provides that any U.S. citizen is eligible to become president if the person is 35 years of age or older and is a natural-born citizen; that is, born in the territorial United States.

On Friday night, U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick sided with the Democratic National Committee, which had asked Surrick to dismiss Berg's complaint.

Surrick issued a 34-page memorandum and opinion that said the claims were "ridiculous" and "patently false." He also said Berg's effort to pursue his claim regarding Obama's citizenship were "frivolous and not worthy of discussion."

Allegations surrounding Obama’s place of birth have been swirling for months. Earlier this year, the Obama campaign sought to put down the rumors by making available a computer-generated Certification of Live Birth, issued in 2007 by the State of Hawaii. [See the Certification of Live Birth — Click Here.]

However, the 2007 document produced by the Obama campaign omits key information that normally appears on birth certificates in the United States, including the name of the hospital where he was born, the size and weight of the baby, and sometimes the name of the doctor who delivered him.

In addition, the critics of the 2007 document note that Obama's father is described as “African,” a term used today. The formal language in official documents at the time — 1961 — would have identified his race as “Negro” or “Colored.”

The Web site snarkybytes.com has produced a vault copy of a Hawaii Certificate of Live Birth from 1963, issued by the Hawaii Department of Health. [See the vault copy — Click Here.]

In addition to naming the hospital and more details about the baby, the 1963 vault copy also includes the “usual residence of the mother,” and the “usual occupation” of the father. None of this information appears on the 2007 Live Birth certificate produced by the Obama campaign.

I don't get how a District Judge can throw out the challenge as "frivolous," "ridiculous," "patently false" and "not worthy of discussion" without reference to a valid COLB as required by the Constitution?

Martin argues that by posting a version of his birth certificate on the Web, Obama has waived any privacy claims. It is odd, to say the least, that Obama claims to have posted the COLB and settled the matter, yet claims that no one should be able to obtain an official copy of the same document from the State of Hawai'i or review the source information for the certificate.

Obama claims he was born in a Honolulu hospital but there is no verifiable evidence to sustain the claim. Berg claims to have video evidence of Obama's paternal grandmother and another Kenyan relative saying that they were present at his birth in Kenya.

Why do I find this suspicious and why does it grate me so? Because in 2004, around May I think, I was flipping channels and came across the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth doing a press conference at the National Press Club in D.C. It was extremely compelling testimony by decorated veterans and obviously very damaging to John Kerry if true. It was quite a lineup of Kerry's contemporaries, people who served with him directly, making very serious charges against him, charges that went to his character and integrity and honesty and motives, charges that, if not true, would stain their own characters forever. The next morning I hit the news websites and cable news channels for coverage of these explosive accusations and . . . crickets. Nothing. All day, nothing, next day, nothing. The AP, which had had a reporter in the room, said in a statement that the press conference had had "no news value."

Eventually (weeks or months later) the Swift Boat Vets got some private funding and got their message out and Fox News picked it up and hammered it until other media outlets finally had to bite. But in this election, the potentially explosive accusations against Obama have gained no traction at all. The Democrats I know either don't know about them or they laugh them off. I don't claim to have a lock on the truth but I do expect a fair debate and I have been consistently disappointed.

Friday, October 24, 2008

FRED

Fred Thompson speaks. He is the straight talker McCain pretends to be. No wonder Obama is pressing his supporters to vote early.

Obama and the Democrats believe that Americans in a time of crisis will be willing to sacrifice their freedoms, abandon their founding principles and common sense and ease into the mediocrity of the warm embrace of the Washington papa bear who will take care of all of our problems for us.

These are not the ideals of the America that drew brave men and women from all over the world to our shores. In most cases, they were fleeing nations with the heavy hand of government, intolerance and class warfare. They risked everything to experience our Founding Fathers’ notion of a limited government with powers that were delineated, checked and balanced, in a land where they could live and prosper in a free, dynamic, upwardly mobile society – the kind that existed no where else in the world.

But Obama and his liberal friends don’t see things that way. The liberal agenda is based upon the belief that there are elites among us who know more and know better than the rest of us. And that with the application of their intellect and power … and our money … they can impose regulations and establish programs, bureaus and agencies that will solve all the problems of the masses.

I'd point you to the link but FredPAC.com is really, really slow to load. I have the same problem (chronically) at JohnMcCain.com/tvads. It's as if someone doesn't want me to see those pages. I have a number of conspiracy theories to post when I get the time. . . .

Thursday, October 23, 2008

THE POLLS

I don't get any pollsters calling the house since I am a cellphone only person. Tricia's mom got a poll call the other night asking to talk to the youngest female voter in the house. Tonight she got a call from a pollster who asked for 5 minutes of her time. First Question: What year were you born? Answer: 1952 -- Click. . . end of call.

After the game I checked out Drudge who had this poll:



Considering both pieces of evidence I think it must have been some sort of push poll to drive the young female vote to Obama. I can't imagine any reason why the McCain camp would target young females. What were they going to ask her? Here's a theory:

Q. John McCain wants women to return to the days of back alley abortions. A. What's a back alley abortion?

Q. John McCain wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. A. Who is Rovie Wade?

Q. Listen missy, do you want to get an abortion or not? A. Are you a friend of my parents?
PHILS WIN

Hamels, Madson and Lidge are unhittable right now. Good pitching beats good hitting.

Think about this for a minute as if you were an opposing hitter against the Phillies: If you drew up a list of the 10 nastiest pitches in baseball -- maybe even the top five -- you might have Hamels' changeup and Brad Lidge's slider on it. Both pitches are so filthy that they can throw it when you know it's coming and you still can't hit it. Hamels threw 27 of his 39 changeups for strikes -- a ridiculous number -- and Lidge threw sliders on 13 of his 15 pitches. Poor Evan Longoria. The Rays third baseman was completely befuddled by Hamels' changeup, then looked equally lost when Lidge threw him four straight sliders in the ninth. It's hard enough to hit those guys with a history against them. It's extremely difficult to do so when seeing those unique pitches for the first time.

Hope the Phils get this series over with quickly so I can get some sleep. Too many 3-1/2 hour games that start at 8:40 can be tough on a guy, not to mention too much Tim McCarver.
THIS YOU SHOULD SEE. (2:39)

If you are as easily entertained as I am.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

PALMER / PALIN '08


Obama is the indecisive President Logan on 24 Season Five. What we need is David Palmer. McCain is neither.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

JONAH GOLDBERG ON JOE THE PLUMBER

Joe the Plumber is making the rounds. He is living out the American Dream, taking advantage of the opportunity that was afforded him. He is a hero. And he is exposing the media for what they are.

He is a regular guy, a working class Republican, with coherent views spoken simply and plainly and with conviction. He is not afraid of anybody. He's non-union. He's divorced but loves his kid and makes real sacrifices to be with him. He is totally non-victim. I heard him yesterday on three different talk shows. He is the Democrats' worst nightmare.

It would be nice if the media at least tried to understand this point. (that most Americans don't begrudge the wealthy their wealth; they only ask to be given the same opportunities)

Instead, they attacked and belittled a citizen who asked a candidate a question. They think he's stupid or a liar for not understanding that a promised check from a President Obama is more valuable than some pipe dream about future success.

It's funny. When PBS' Gwen Ifill had a straightforward conflict of interest -- her forthcoming book hinges on an Obama presidency -- that should have prevented her from moderating the VP debate, she and her fellow journalists tittered at the critics. All that matters, Ifill and company insisted, are the answers, not the questioner.

That's apparently the standard for people like Gwen the Journalist. But if Joe the Plumber gets revealing but embarrassing answers out of the media's preferred candidate, suddenly the questioner matters more than the answer. And he must be punished.
THE COMPREHENSIVE CASE AGAINST BARACK OBAMA

Wish I had read theirs before posting mine, and wish everyone else would too.
WHY McCAIN CAN STILL WIN

I am no fan of McCain, and the more I see of him the less enamored I become, but I want him to win. I am not one who believes that a few years of liberal rule will cause a massive correction and therefore we should endure it. I think there will be much to regret from an Obama presidency and it is to be avoided. Nor am I one who thinks that McCain winning will kill conservatism, which can and should stand or fall on its own merits. There will be plenty for conservatives to oppose in President McCain.

I see a number of indicators that suggest that McCain is still in this thing. (Also some very important indicators that Obama will win, such as a lead in the polls, the media's refusal to do any real reporting on him, a highly effective and disciplined campaign, a billion dollars to spend, and a willfully ignorant electorate, but that would kill the mood for the purposes of this post.)

Obama hasn't closed the sale.
There are still a lot of undecideds despite the overlong campaign and Obama's prominence in it. A lot of people (about half of those polled) continue to have doubts about him. McCain started running an ad last week that said "Just as you supposed," Obama isn't being truthful about taxes. Those are great lines to keep repeating: "Just as you supposed". . . "Who is Barack Obama?". . . "Not ready to lead". . . "Dangerous."

Obama has become the typical politician he always was.
Mr. Post-Partisan, Post-Racial is practicing the same "dirty tricks" he promised to eschew. If anyone would bother to report his rise to power in Chicago, it was marked by political dirty tricks. As for race, I don't see how you get 96% of the black vote and call yourself post-racial. I don't see how you adopt Black Liberation Theology and get away with post-racial.

Yeah, about that post-racial thing.
Voters should be reminded about Rev. Wright and how the Obamas selected Black Liberation Theology as the filter through which they see the world. Whitey should ask himself whether that is post-racial or racial. McCain still has time to haul this back out, and his campaign manager signalled yesterday that he might. It is highly relevant, although highly dangerous in an environment where just about anything you say about the black candidate is going to be portrayed as racist. The interview with Rev. Wright that I heard on XM in Feb 2007 is all anyone needs to know about Barack Obama. TWENTY YEARS OF THAT, BY CHOICE. Think about that, America. A President of the United States who thinks that "white European Christianity" is the source of all evil. Think about that.

Sarah Palin is hot.
And not just in the babely sense. She is drawing gigantic crowds with her genuine appeal, common sense, and dare I say wit. Her appeal demonstrates that conservatism is alive and well and that a lot of people won't be told by the media what to think. She will bring conservatives to the polls who are voting for her, not McCain.

Joe the Plumber struck a chord.
Joe embodies and articulates the American Dream, that if you work hard, you can make it big. It's the land of opportunity, but you have to earn it, and you can. Obama has spoken on the stump of the "American Promise," which is not just a semantic difference. If you don't work hard, or can't earn it, you deserve your fair share anyway. Joe the Plumber made manifest the key difference (not new, but not lately spoken) between conservative ideology and liberal, and indeed speaks to the core tradition of this great nation. Joe makes it okay to wave the flag again. It is never wrong for a politician to speak in terms of the American Dream. It's the correct backdrop for talking about the economy, foreign policy, education, even health care, since if doctors can't make doctor money, or if they have to pay huge malpractice premiums, expect fewer doctors, higher prices, and worse care.

Obama speaks.
What I hope people are taking away from the Joe the Plumber phenomenon is how insulated Obama has been from answering tough questions, and that in an unguarded moment he shared the horrible truth that dared not be spoken, that he is who he is, the product of all his choices and influences, not who his campaign has packaged for sale.

Biden speaks.
Biden, in an all-time knuckleheaded move, spoke the truth as well, and at length, that anti-American powers will test the anti-American president immediately upon inauguration, and that said president will not be up to the challenge(s). That is true, and important. The gaffe-o-meter was jumping yesterday. McCain caught some great breaks these past few days, as his opponents told on themselves.

The polls are tightening.
Gee, what a surprise. The polls had Kerry up comfortably at this point in the cycle. Rush and others think the polls never were accurate in the first place, that they carry Democratic bias in their methodology. Some go further to suggest that the polls are designed to sway public opinion or serve the pollsters' own ends (hard to argue in the case of the outlying Newsweek polls), and then tighten as Election Day nears, because the pollsters have their own credibility to worry about. In any event, expect to see continued tightening of the polls over the next few days. The latest Rasmussen poll thru 10/20 has Obama +4, with n=3000 likely voters, a signficantly larger sample than most and therefore more valid. I said a couple months ago that I thought Obama had peaked and could only fall in the polls. I hope to be right eventually.

The internal polling must tell a different story.
Campaign veterans say to trust your own polling. McCain's campaign has been sending the candidates to places like Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania -- states the polls and the pundits have placed in Obama's column. McCain is running ads aplenty in PA. They must have their reasons.

Lots of people don't pay attention till now, or next week, or the weekend before Election Day.
The big stories right now favor McCain. Never mind that Colin Powell was hauled out to mitigate the damage, that only confirms that McCain has the momentum presently. Powell has been on standby, waiting for a time when the Obama campaign needed to redirect the news that day.

Obama's supporters can't point to why they support him.
Because he's not Bush and because he is intelligent and well-spoken, that's all I can get out of even the most intelligent, most informed Obama supporters. His support doesn't seem to be based on anything more than his personal mystique. People who support him cannot articulate why, especially if you prohibit them from using the word Bush in their argument. A plumber called into Rusty Humphries' show last night. He said he avoids talking politics and religion with customers, but yesterday he visited four customers with Obama yard signs, and after presenting them with their bills, asked them what they like about Obama, and all they could say was hope and change. He got so exasperated that he offered to eat the fourth customer's $200 invoice if he could articulate one substantive reason why he supported Obama. The customer stared into space for several minutes and could not come up with a single cogent reason with $200 on the line. If people will think about it for more than zero seconds, won't they want more in a President than an ability to look and sound presidential? I do hope so.

Obama has always been a weak candidate.
Despite McCain's bumblings, this is the main reason I have always had a glimmer of hope: Obama is totally unqualified to be President of the United States. He has no record of accomplishment other than an ability to get elected. His character and record run afoul of American values and traditions. He has not shown leadership ability in his professional career and has not shown leadership instincts when challenged during the campaign (e.g., Georgia, the economic crisis, Saddleback). His words constantly contradict logic and his own previous words. He lacks seasoning. He lacks humor. He lacks the kind of humility than Jim Collins (Good To Great) observed in Level 5 leaders. And yet here he is. He is not a good candidate. Hillary clobbered him repeatedly, and she wasn't a good candidate either. I wish McCain were any good, and maybe he is better than I think.

Monday, October 20, 2008

LESSONS FROM 2008

This is the first election I can remember when the media didn't complain that there is too much money in politics although Obama has more money than Bush and Kerry had combined in 2004. All the while McCain sticks to the campaign finance reform standards that the media demanded. I guess we don't need those laws. Let's repeal them.

How McCain could benefit from those third party ads that he outlawed.

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Republicans in 2012 should refuse to recognize delegates from states with open primaries or same-day registration. McCain was the result of crossovers in New Hampshire. He was nominated by people who don't care if a Republican gets elected and may even be against such an idea. Either New Hampshire and others change or they shouldn't be recognized at future conventions.

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Democrats are moderate if they sound moderate. Ideas are passe. It's the same theory used by guys who go to the track, ignore past performances, and bet on races by looking at the horses in the paddock.

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People at work often talk about how they can only work so much overtime before their withholding tax increases and it's no longer worth it. Some of these people are voting for Obama and none of them see the contradiction.

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During every election the media criticizes Republicans for getting few black votes. It's always supposed that Republicans are doing something wrong and they need to try some sort of outreach. The best response to this has been calls to campaign in the inner cities and explain why conservative philosophy is superior. Those calls are never heeded by actual politicians. Instead, Republicans try to sound like Democrats promising more programs. According to a number of polls, black Americans are more conservative than white Democrats. Find common ground based on those conservative principles and you'll win enough people over to change politics. Follow the pandering principle and you don't even get loyalty from the first black secretary of state.

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The most important lesson is that nominating moderate "maverick" Republicans is not worth a flip despite the media insisting. The media wants a moderate so that the liberal doesn't seem so extreme. McCain's reaching across the aisle has only served to brand those ideas as conservative when they are anything but. Moderate pragmatic Republicans only move the bar to the left and receive no less media criticism for doing so. The govt. bailout, amnesty, and an expansion of medicare are now branded as much Republican as Democrat so the debates are not about philosophy anymore but degree, therefore the election can only be decided on personality. All things equal going in, an effective conservative leader trumps an effective liberal one. We just need politicians tough enough to endure the press.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

WHEN BENNETT WANTED POWELL

I met Bill Bennett in November of 1995 at a book signing in New Orleans. It was actually a convention but I snuck in because I learned that Bennett was there. He was nice and posed for pictures that I no longer have. I asked him why he wasn’t running for President and he said that General Powell was the man. I shook my head and said no you are. He and Jack Kemp of Empower America were behind that draft Powell movement that went nowhere. I was a big fan of Bennett back then. He was a fixture on pundit shows and he called into Rush all the time. Less than a year later I would sour on him when he got behind Lamar Alexander, a Republican that has always annoyed me.

Although I have tried, I have never been able to get through one of his books. He’s much better in an electronic format and he’s certainly good on his daily talk show. I’m tempted to call into the show on Monday morning and ask how he feels about Powell now. But I don’t think I want to call so badly that I’ll be up at 6am.

Remember back when liberals hated Powell the warmonger? I use to read stories about how he was elevated to NSC and to the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs simply to be a token black Republican. I think one article said he was promoted ahead of 17 more qualified people. It didn't work to have the most powerful black leader be a Republican. He didn't become admired on the Left until Bob Woodward made him the voice of reason in the Bush White House. Now the media can love him fully.

It seems pretty obvious that Powell wants to rehabilitate his reputation post Iraq War. What other reason is there to endorse Obama besides the obvious identity politics part of it? Maybe it’s a combination of the two, but the reputation part is certainly a factor.

I know a guy who was his tour guide for a few days during an event and he said that Powell was more arrogant than any of the famous actors he has toured, not at all personable with anyone. When he told me the story I started looking for it when I saw Powell on television and he does seem all business. I wonder if that is the real reason he never ran for President. He couldn't take the glad handling and pancake breakfasts. It's hard to imagine the country electing a president who took himself too seriously. Rumsfeld has taken all the real hits in the war and he doesn't seem to care. A guy as deadly serious as Powell minds a great deal.

Powell insisted on being Secretary of State. He didn’t want any other cabinet post although he would have seemed to make a natural Secretary of Defense. Dan Coats lost the Defense job because he was wary that Powell would try to control the Pentagon from the State Department. Rummy was the result of needing someone who could stand toe to toe with Powell. So you could certainly argue that the Iraq War or at least the way it was run would have been different if Powell had taken the job. And you could further argue that anything that Powell finds distasteful about the Iraq War is the result of his demanding the other job.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A-HA! SO THAT'S WHAT IT'S ABOUT

This has nothing to do with anything except it is amusing and well-done.

Friday, October 17, 2008

AS TRUE TODAY AS IT WAS IN 1991

Why God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat
Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts To Explain The Entire U. S. Government | 1991 | P. J. O'Rourke

Posted on Saturday, December 08, 2001 4:22:36 PM by EveningStar

I have only one firm belief about the American political system, and that is this: God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat.

God is an elderly or, at any rate, middle aged male, a stern fellow, patriarchal rather than paternal and a great believer in rules and regulations. He holds men accountable for their actions. He has little apparent concern for the material well being of the disadvantaged. He is politically connected, socially powerful and holds the mortgage on literally everything in the world. God is difficult. God is unsentimental. It is very hard to get into God's heavenly country club.

Santa Claus is another matter. He's cute. He's nonthreatening. He's always cheerful. And he loves animals. He may know who's been naughty and who's been nice, but he never does anything about it. He gives everyone everything they want without the thought of quid pro quo. He works hard for charities, and he's famously generous to the poor. Santa Claus is preferable to God in every way but one: There is no such thing as Santa Claus.
AMERICA UNDER LIBERAL RULE

Good WSJ article today. Here's where we are heading, folks, if the polls hold.

- Unchecked leftist policy making.
- Media support for same.
- Medicare for all.
- Huge health care entitlements, impossible to repeal.
- Windfall profit taxes on Big Oil and other scapegoat industries.
- Regulatory overkill a la Sarbanes-Oxley.
- Strongarm labor tactics.
- Redistribution of wealth via taxation.
- Taxes and regulation, cap and trade, in the name of global warming.
- Same day register-and-vote which favors Democrats and enables fraud.
- Legalization of voting rights for felons and immigrants to increase Democratic vote totals. Long-awaited legislation designed to keep Democrats in power.
- The Fairness Doctrine to shut down opposition voices.
- Lawsuits and threats of lawsuits, to do the same. This has been a tactic of the Obama campaign.
- Dilution of No Child Left Behind as a favor to the NEA.
- Repeals of tort reform laws as a favor to the trial lawyers.
- Expansion of abortion "rights."
- Massive shift to the left in the federal courts and SCOTUS.

You think not? I commend to you the book THE FIRST MEASURED CENTURY: An Illustrated Guide to Trends in America, 1900-2000, which tells the tale of America in words and charts. The data do not lie. The New Deal policy shifts showed up as major changes, mostly not for the good, in the areas of Population, Work, Education, Family, Living Arrangements, Religion, Active Leisure, Health, Money, Politics, Government, Crime, Transportation, Business and Communication. Sir, many potential teaching aids in here. Leftist policies have worked so poorly, and have had so many unintended consequences, that we need more leftist policies to right the ship.
JUNTO BOYS READERSHIP UP 33%

Note: the long Anonymous comment to my DEBATE NOTES (10/13) was posted by a friend of mine, not just some crank. I meet with him monthly to talk politics over some beef. He called me after the debate and I told him I had taken notes that I would post that night on the blog. So there are at least 4 readers of this blog, three of them regulars.

BOSOX

The Red Sox have come back from big holes twice in recent history. That does not make it likely that they will do so again. I like the way the Rays are playing. They are scoring in lots of innings. They handed the Sox two drubbings at Fenway, and very nearly three, which no one predicted. As for momentum swinging to the Sox on the strength of three good innings, I like the baseball cliche that says momentum is only as strong as the next day's starting pitcher. Don't bet against the Rays, people (like me) kept writing them off all year and they only got stronger.

STEELERS

All year I look forward to our fall tradition of getting (or making) pizza and watching the Steelers on Sunday afternoon as a family. So I was dismayed when the schedule came out to see how many Monday night, Sunday night, Thursday night, and Sunday late afternoon games they are playing this year. And last week the bye. So I will enjoy the 1 pm drubbing of the Bungles this Sunday with a pizza and my family. They play Sunday 1:00 games only twice in their first 13 games this year. So much for tradition.

MEDIA BIAS

I watched the McCain and Obama comedic remarks again over lunch. On second viewing, McCain's were funnier and Obama's not as funny.

COACH E

Our boys have had too many bad coaches, and it makes for a long season for everybody. I had to take matters into my own hands. I am assistant coaching flag football now. Nancy and I will coach their basketball teams over the winter. And in spring I begin my Little League manager career. I will enjoy this chapter, I know.

BEVERAGE OF CHOICE

Propel, berry flavor. I have tried many brands of flavored water and always return to this one. It has just the right sweetness and no aftertaste. It encourages me to drink more fluids, and I choose to ignore that it probably has ingredients that cause cancer in lab rats.

TBS BROADCAST TEAM

Is it just me, or does Ron Darling sound just like James Woods?
HILARITY ENSUED

If you didn't see McCain and Obama's comedy routines at the 63rd Annual Al Smith Dinner last night, Drudge has the links today. They are worth watching for the laughs, but a 28 minute investment. Watch McCain if you don't watch both. McCain's remarks were pitch perfect as well as very funny, and they pointed to legitimate differences between the two candidates. McCain jabbed at Obama then Obama jabbed at himself, so do the math, Obama took a double dose of ribbing. As comedy, it was good entertainment. As politics, it was McCain's finest moment to date.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A FEW THOUGHTS

You know what I haven't seen this year? That HBO documentary about how voting machines are ripe for voter fraud. It played endlessly before the 2006 election and it stopped the moment they got the results they wanted. I have like 10 HBOs and the only political movie on is that RECOUNT that I reviewed over the summer. If Obama were to somehow lose the documentary would probably crop up in late November/Early December.


If nothing else can we finally put to rest the silly notion that Republican centrism wins elections? Obama is practically running to McCain's right on the govt. bailout and sounds like a conservative in his ads. Nowhere is he talking up his first 100 days of action, because they will be full of boilerplate liberal schemes that he can't defend now. Republicans can have any conservative they want as long as he sounds measured and reasonable in a debate or 30 second spot. If GD America and bombing the Pentagon is mainstream then I don't think the Right has to worry about shutting down the Department of Labor.


I'm with E in how fun it is to watch the Red Sox lose (Down 5-0 on elimination day as I write this). If nothing else, they are co-owned by the NEW YORK TIMES. A traitor in world affairs and a traitor in baseball. And do you think the Sox miss Manny Ramirez?
GROWING UP SEEGER

Last Saturday, Cadence slept over at Christina's house. Christina lives with her grandparents with no other siblings. She's a decent kid but she lies about things that don't matter, such as having seen movies that she hasn't really seen, so I don't fully trust her and I'm always hopeful that Cadence will find a better BFF. When they're together, their prime directive under Christina's leadership is to apply makeup and sneak candy. Anyways, I trust Cadence's judgment so I don't worry too much when they're out of my sight.

So, Sunday around noon, I called Cadence on her cell phone and asked her when she was coming home. She said they were going to a movie first and she'd be home after. "Okay. What are you going to see?" I ask. "We don't know yet," she tells me.

So, a few hours later, she is dropped off at home, and I ask her what she saw, and she tells me Beverly Hills Chihuahua. "Did you like it?" "Yeah." End of conversation. They are 11 and it seemed a reasonable choice in a limited field of new releases. Besides, I can barely get Cadence to watch the Thriller video on YouTube, so I know she's not sneaking into slasher movies with her friends.

Cut to Monday night at the dinner table, Marci is expressing her concern for the lack of grandparental oversight during the drop-off at the movie theater. We went over the timeline and established that grandpa dropped off the girls, who bought their own tickets, then waited outside the theater afterwards for grandpa to pick them up. I backed my daughter that this was an acceptable amount of independence for her age and maturity level. I mainly want to confirm that grandpa didn't drive away until the girls had tickets in hand and he didn't leave them waiting too long afterward. I know that it is their dream to see movies alone because when Marci took them to see The Traveling Pants, they ditched her at the candy counter and secured seating for two in a different row from where Marci wound up sitting. Cadence shrugged it off at the time as if she was just following orders but later apologized.

Now, cut to Wednesday night. We kissed Cadence good night around 9PM, then settled in for a movie. Our first visitor was Mason, which is his standard play ever since he saw Monster House and is convinced the noise the gate makes when the wind blows is some sort of death threat. His story makes an interesting tangent: he had a pacemaker installed eight years ago and it's battery life recently came to an end. We visited his cardiologist, expecting to set a date for surgery, but instead, the doctor surprised us with the news that Mason doesn't really need the device any longer, so once the battery drains, it can be regarded as shrapnel. He warned us that something we may notice is an increase in sleeplessness, because if Mason's heartbeat falls below a certain rate, he will get a shot of adrenaline which will wake him up. True to his word, we now get regular visits from Mason at three in the morning at our bedside, giving us the shot of adrenaline as we determine whether it is friend or foe silhouetted in the moonlight.

So, moments after Mason got retucked, we were surprised that our next visitor was Cadence, crying and holding a shoebox. She had come to confess and offer gifts. It turns out that she had actually seen Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist that day and Christina had convinced her to just tell her parents that they had seen the Chihuahua movie. Ever since she told that harmless fib, it kept coming up in casual conversation, and she can no longer live with the lie and wants the world to know what movie she really saw that day. She was so sorry and so racked with guilt for lying to us that she opened the shoebox and showed us her secret stash of candy and offered us Mike & Ikes as an apology.

How sweet is that? I know all of your kids and they are all great little people that fill us with pride. We are all very lucky.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

E's DEBATE NOTES

[My notes as I took them.]

First impressions. McCain looks weird -- eyebrows jumping, eyes wide, and blinking a hundred times a minute. Where's a body language expert when you need one.

McCain begins the bumbling immediately, speaking of Freddie Mae (sic) and the decline in home ownership (he meant home prices or values; the rise in home ownership is the problem).

Obama promises a tax cut for 95% of Americans, and him saying it makes it true. Never mind that less than 95% of Americans pay taxes in the first place. I don't understand why McCain never points this out, since it makes the claim mathematically impossible.

McCain is the worst speaker of all time.

As poorly as McCain made the point about Joe the Plumber, Obama's argument that the wealthy "can afford to pay a little more" is thoroughly unAmerican and ought to scare more people than it seems to, but 95% of Americans might prefer to stick it to the Man.

On the deficit. . . What are you going to cut back on?

(McCain should say: We know from previous comments that Obama will cut back on defense.)

Obama: Americans are going to have to curtail their spending. (It's not my problem, it's your problem. So I can't be blamed when you fail.)

Obama: artful dodge.

Follow up: Which programs will you cut?

Obama: The ones that should be cut. More artful dodge.

(McCain should point out that Obama didn't answer the question tonight but has answered it before.)

McCain: Spending freeze.

Follow up: What will you cut?

McCain: Marketing assistance program. (Whatever that is.) Subsidies for ethanol. Tariff on imported sugar based ethanol from Brazil. Sweetheart deals. Line item veto. Earmarks and pork barrel bills.

Obama: No across the board spending freeze. Gotta have a lengthy partisan review first. Which will begin after I get all those government worker votes.

McCain: "I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run 4 years ago." (Should have added, "when Sen. Kerry got beat by proposing all the same liberal policies that you are proposing now.")

McCain: When have you ever stood for something?

Bob: The campaign has turned nasty. Will you say those things to his face?

(McCain should say: The truth must prevail.)

McCain: Obama ducked my request for a dozen town hall meetings. Had he accepted, the tone could be different.

(Should say: It's not whether the statements are negative but whether they are true. And then repeat the litany.)

Second mention of Joe the Plumber, to good effect.

McCain: Note that Obama did not repudiate John Lewis' comments.

Obama is a smooth talking dodger. On Fox the Dodgers will lose. Everywhere else this dodger will win. Like Clinton, he is admired for his ability to not answer a question.

McCain sticks up for the "great Americans" at his rallies, and points out that his supporters are far more civil in general than the rabid lefties at Obama's rallies.

Obama calls to end the character smears. (Because he has the most to lose.)

McCain responds with mentions of Ayers and ACORN.

Obama has a tell. Every time McCain hits him squarely with accurate barbs, Obama smiles broadly and looks down. It says "you are correct and I know it."

Obama responds to his relationship with "Mr. Ayers" (that was a long time ago, there is no formal relationship today) and ACORN (they have nothing to do with us). Bob, to his credit, lets this go on a bit. McCain asks the press for full disclosure. Yeah, good luck with that. Obama resents the implication that "my associations are troubling." Thank you, that is a good way to put it, and yes, they are. And by the amount of time you just spend recasting them, you clearly know that they are damaging if reported honestly.

Who will you bring into government?

Obama begins touting the merits of Joe Biden. Good opportunity to check the game.

McCain is proud of Sarah Palin. (Should say: She's actually done stuff. What has Sen. Obama ever done? All he does is talk.)

Is she qualified?

(Should say: More qualified than he is.)

McCain finally gives examples of Biden's poor judgmetn in the Senate on major policy issues. He points out that Obama answer to everything is to spend more. Good points.

Energy. By how much can we reduce foreign oil imports?

Obama: You can't drill your way out of the problem. (Code for "I don't dare upset the environmentalists.")

(Should say, "But we can try.")

Bob is doing a good job of letting them talk and staying out of the way.

E6, 4-0 Phils, second and third, one out.

McCain wants to increase production. Obama wants to decrease consumption.

Health care.

Maybe I am the only American who doesn't care about this issue. Ballgame. . .

Three errors on Furcal in one inning. 5-0 Phils. I've been listening to the Phillies broadcast because McCarver went on about Furcal's terrific arm in Game 1 or 2 when he made a throwing error on a routine play. McCarver is useless. The Phillies broadcast team, meanwhile, was actually sharing valid insight by discussing how Furcal has a tendency to make the hard plays and blow the easy ones, as he went on to do again tonight, sending his team down the tubes.

Obama: Large businesses "can afford" fines for not complying with his health care mandates. The "average family" wins, and only the big evil corporations pay, as they should, for they are big evil corporations.

Lots of references to Joe the Plumber. I heard him on the radio today and am glad to let him speak for me tomorrow on every station that will have him.

McCain: Obama wants government to decide. I want Joe the Plumber to decide.

Bob: What of abortion and the Supreme Court?

McCain: Let the states decide. I'm a federalist.

McCain: Elections have consequences. I've voted on competence and qualifications. He has voted (no) on ideology. I'll have no litmus test.

Obama: Abortion is a moral issue, so let the courts decide it. My judges will need to be sensitive to the real life issues of average people.

McCain hasn't said "my friends" all night. You CAN teach an old sea dog new tricks!

Education. We spend more and more for ever worse results.

Obama: This has more to do with our economy than anything else. (Except energy, which he said earlier had more to do with our economy than anything else.)

Obama: Early childhood education. (A terrible, terrible idea if you ask me. Kids don't need to be in school at age 3 and 4.)

Obama: Bad results are the parents' fault. (Because it can't be the teachers' fault, they vote for me.)

(Should say: Apply free market principles to education. Tax credits for private tuition.)

McCain: Choice and competition. This is working in New Orleans. (Which is true. Katrina closed all the schools and they are recreating the school system for the better.) Fire sucky teachers. Reward good teachers. Promote Teach for America. (Yes! This is a good program that asks young teachers to give two years out of college to teaching disadvantaged kids.)

Should more federal dollars be directed to the schools?

Obama: Yes. Much more. Bush sucks.

McCain: No. Just spending more money removes the opportunity for creative solutions. We have the most expensive education system in the world and it's not working. It cries out for reform. (And by the way, I'm a reformer. Note I haven't said maverick all night.)

Closing statements.

McCain: These are difficult times. America needs change. No more Bush. I'm a reformer and have broken repeatedly with the GOP. (Not with "my party.") Health care. Education. Government spending. Can you TRUST US as stewards of your money? Examine my record. I've always put Country First, like my daddy and my granddaddy. Vote for me.

Obama: These are tough times. Bush is a big loser. Failed policies of George W. Bush. We need change. You know you can trust me. We need to cut taxes, give health care and college to everyone. Energy. Higher wages for the middle class. It requires everyone to sacrifice and serve. Vote for me, I'm on your side. It's about the children.

McCain left a lot unsaid, as he always does, but he was pretty good tonight. He needed to land some blows without looking desperate and I think he achieved that.

There's your debate in short form.

The big winner was Nike. Joe the Plumber was wearing a Nike t-shirt when he spoke to Obama. Nike somehow manages to be everywhere.