Archive for August, 2008

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Satellite Images: Gustav vs. Katrina

August 31, 2008

Even though Gustav doesn’t appear to be quite as scary from space, the weather guys are predicting a similar strength and location to what happened 3 years ago (almost exactly 3 years, actually).  I tried to find two images for comparison that represented the same vantage point.

Katrina:


(source: NOAA)

Gustav:


(source: NOAA)

Maybe it isn’t the size that makes Katrina look worse, rather that tightly defined eye wall.  I hope everyone makes it out of there OK.

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McCain’s Pander Pick For VP

August 29, 2008

As the overdose of punditry over the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate overwhelms casual readers everywhere, I thought I might as well add my own take on the matter.  And if there is a single word that immediately comes to mind, it would be “pander”.

I mean, is there really any other way to look at it?   I’m no political scientist, but it seems to me that there are three rationales at work when a presidential candidate selects a running mate, and it would come down to a) who helps one’s chances getting elected, b) who would help one govern effectively, and c) who would be a logical successor to the presidency.   On the surface the selection of Sarah Palin would satisfy (a), and that’s about it.   

Why (a)? 

-Well, first, you’ve got a presidential candidate that, throughout the primaries, was derided by the Rush’s and Hannity’s of the world as not being conservative enough.  So, check the box for the conservative pander, since it would appear that Palin is solidly on that side of the fence. 

-Second, as I’ve pointed out with a few posts on the PUMA’s, there is a certain percentage of the female voting block that would be inclined to fill the feminist gap now that Hillary is out of the race, and/or is bitter, having viewed the campaign (or the media coverage thereof) as sexist, or whatever.  For voters out there who wanted to cast their vote for a woman, Palin picks up the baton from Clinton.  So, check the box for the female pander. 

-Third, in Palin you have something that is slightly less tangible, but possibly more powerful than the first two.  Much of political campaigning involves principles of marketing, and marketing 101 students learn about the principle of liking and attractiveness:

Liking. “People prefer to say yes to individuals they know and like,” Cialdini says. In negotiations and sales situations, one can influence the outcome by developing a kinship with prospective clients or being familiar to them. Being physically attractive is also a big advantage. Research shows that people attribute talent, kindness, honesty, and intelligence to people they find attractive. 

Palin, as a former runner-up in the Miss Alaska pageant, is still attractive at 44, and her “hockey mom” likability is likely what helped her win her own elections.  The McCain camp is probably counting on injecting this principle as an attempt to offset what Obama brings to the table in this regard.  So, I suppose one can say that they’re pandering to the emotional side of the electorate.

-Finally, there is something to be said about what Obama’s selection of Biden did to influence this pick.  We may be seeing a bit of political chess being played here, specifically with regard to the upcoming debates.  Someone in McCain’s circle probably figured that it won’t be hard for the fiery Biden to appear as a big bully when going one-on-one with the cute female Alaskan governor.  In the very least, this dynamic could serve to handcuff Biden in light of how the machine of spin and subsequent perception works.  A couple of 5 second clips could be all that is needed to cement this impression, and the opportunity to do so would be something that McCain’s people will be looking for.  If you expand on that theme and include treatment from the rest of the Obama camp, the punditry and the broader media, you can see where this might play into their hands.  It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out, but some are already urging their fellow detractors to tread carefully.

Also, its conceivable that McCain went out of his way to select someone that wasn’t an opponent in the primaries, thereby avoiding the threat of past criticism and appearances of hypocrisy being used against him as we head towards November.  Again, political chess.

But do you notice that none of those considerations actually has anything to do with effectively running the country?  Say what you want about Biden (I have), but with Obama’s pick, at least one can say that there was more attention placed on the aforementioned (b) and (c), that’s for sure. 

It’s been pointed out that, given McCain’s advanced age, reliance solely on this rationale is risky (both politically and otherwise).   New Republic columnist Peter Scoblic opines that the selection even reveals a certain level of arrogance on McCain’s part.  I think he makes a pretty good point.   Let’s hope that the rest of America sees it that way as well. 

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Hmmmm…

August 29, 2008

I was perusing the political web in search of reactions to McCain’s VP pick (which I’ll post about later), and I stumbled upon one of those elusive open registration periods over at LGF:

Do I return to banished territory as some creatively named sockpuppet? 

Nah. 

I’ll go ahead and stroll right past special ed this time around.

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A Video Montage Of PUMA Craziness

August 27, 2008

With the Democrat National Convention going on in Denver this week, much has been made out of the effect that the disgruntled Hillary supporters will have on the event, presumably because the drama-loving cable news networks thrive on this kind of thing.  I’ve noticed that, sprinkled throughout the coverage, there have been interviews with a few of them, and with each one I can say that I can feel my own IQ level dip a bit.  So, to share my pain with the rest of the world, I’m putting together a little montage of the ones I’ve come across.

First, enter Elizabeth Joyce, the founder of justsaynodeal.com who was interviewed by Larry King last night:

My favorite parts are where she is visibly upset with King for basically being called out on her air-headedness, but then reminds herself to smile as to not appear rattled.  King tries to remind her that things like some vitriolic comments on blogs are outside the control of Obama himself and is a pretty weak reason to not vote for the guy, given the fact that Hillary shares the same position as Obama on virtually every issue and his trying her darnedest to convince people like Elizabeth that she needn’t worry.  But oh well.  Spite wins the day, I guess, and victimhood by association has a new poster girl.

Next, lets take a look at Chris Matthews mucking it up with the founder of “Clintons 4 McCain“. (h/t sensico)

Now, Cristi Adkins had me there for a second, since I think she was referring to this:

This registration document, made available on Jan. 24, 2007, by the Fransiskus Assisi school in Jakarta, Indonesia, shows the registration of Barack Obama under the name Barry Soetoro into the Catholic school made by his step-father, Lolo Soetoro. The document lists Barry Soetoro as a Indonesian citizen, born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, and shows his Muslim step-father listed the boy’s religion as Islam.(AP Photo/ Tatan Syuflana)

Of course, this has been brought up before, and the claim she’s making that the school itself is some sort of radical Islamic madrassa has been debunked.  Not to worry though, she moved the goal posts about three times there, so in the end I’m not quite sure what she was getting at.  A little too much TexasDarlin methinks (you might notice that the linked page discussing this document has been removed from Darlin’s site.  Why, oh why?)

Finally, we’ve got an actual delegate at the convention who is quite obviously overcome by emotion, interviewed by Suzanne Malveaux right after Hillary’s big speech.

So let me get this straight…oh nevermind.  I don’t even know where to begin with that one.  “Get a grip” comes to mind.  Another thought would be bewilderment on how a Dem delegate could rationalize sitting out the vote for the Dem candidate for president.   But there you have it, big ‘H’ t-shirt and everything.

Anyway, McCain hears you, brave PUMAs!  He has come to pander to you:

I’d like to say that most people would see right through that, but given the collective intellect of the few that I’ve just highlighted, I’m not sure if “Its OK” is all the whiners need to tip them over.

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Why Biden?

August 24, 2008

Like so many others who signed onto Obama’s “Be the first to know” text message gimmick with regards to who he was picking to be his running mate, I received my alert about 5 hrs after the media confirmed that Joe Biden was the guy (the message came via twitter and was timestamped 4:24 AM CST; the other text message I never received, so I’m not sure what I did wrong there).  I was pretty disappointed, and I think it had less to do with the fact that it was a waste of time, and more to do with how it reflects on how Obama was managing his campaign, and what that might mean about he would handle his presidency.  ‘Cause lets face it, “Be the first to know” was a bit of a broken promise.  And for the record, I don’t think that the middle-of-the-night message was designed as a jab at Hillary (as many have opined and discussed) or to imply anything, rather, I imagine that it was timed that way to save as much face as possible, in light of the fact that CNN and others had pretty much let the cat out of the bag (a text message received after it was all over cable news networks on Saturday morning would have seemed pretty silly, no?).

In any case, Biden is the guy, and as an Obama supporter, I must say that I have some mixed feelings about this pick.  I have stated here in the Chamber my feeling that the best choice would have been Bill Richardson, but I’ve never voiced my opinion on anyone else on the short list (although now I’m not sure if Richardson was even on the list), so now that the pick has been made, I thought I’d post something about my initial reaction.  From where I sit, the selection of Biden as VP has pros and cons for both the campaign and the eventual presidency, so I’ll break it down here.

Pro

First, the oft-mentioned experience factor.  I see this from two points of view, in that the experience that the long-time Democrat Senator from Delaware brings to the table can have an effect both perceived (in the sense that voters are more comfortable electing Obama with the resume gap filled) and real (in the sense that Obama’s presidency will be shaped by the actual advise or influence that Biden wields).  I guess the question is which one overshadows the other.  Either way, I view this as a plus.

Second, as a no-nonsense character who is unafraid to speak his mind, Biden is a good choice for a candidate that promised to pick a VP that would  “challenge my thinking and not simply be a yes person when it comes to policy-making”.  I must admit that this is pretty comforting, considering that we’ve just been subjected to 8 years of governance from people who placed loyalty above competence.

Con

I’ve long stated that I wasn’t going to favor a candidate that voted in favor of the 2002 Iraq AUMF.  Biden did, and later ran his own campaign for the presidency that included an Iraq policy that was more in line with what Republican Senator Sam Brownback was proposing, namely, partitioning Iraq into Sunni, Shia and Kurd regions.   This was a position that, as Allah at Hot Air reminds us, even the Iraqis are vehemently against.

Also, Biden has a history of saying some really stupid things, which explains why blog after blog on the right are overjoyed, as they’re anxious for the next opportunity to highlight his next gaffe.  In fact, the front page of the RNC’s website features a “gaffe clock“, counting down the time until his next one.  If Biden takes on the role of a loose cannon, it could really be a turnoff to those who might otherwise be inclined to support the ticket, and can be a major distraction when they’re trying to get the message out.

Up For Grabs

The role of “attack dog”.  Traditionally, one of the benefits of a VP was the ability to deflect partisan criticism away from the president and allow him to remain above the fray.  When Obama launched his campaign and announced his bid for the presidency, he promised a “new kind of politics”, and one could make the argument that the addition of a fire-in-the-belly persona like Biden would undermine that.  On the other hand, as this campaign slides into the sewer of attack ads and personality wars, Biden could be the perfect countermeasure (something that Richardson wouldn’t have been as effective at), and provide Obama the ability rise above it.   The deciding factor might come down to the aforementioned gaffes, and a nightmare scenario might be one where Obama is called upon to disavow something that Biden has said (and don’t be surprised to see those calls come early, often, and for just about anything).

Also, the Biden pick could be seen by those Clinton supporters as a slap in the face, further disrupt party unity, increase recruitment of the PUMA mindset, and eventually lead to disaster in November.  Indeed, the McCain camp sees a light at the end of this tunnel, and has already begun to exploit it with a recent ad painting Clinton as “passed over”.  Will people fall for this?  Does Biden represent the “risky” choice, and Clinton the “safe” one?  Just how fractured is the party?  Time will tell, I suppose.

This is going to be one heck of a home stretch.

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Update: It would appear that I was right about the text message: CNN forces Obama to release VP pick early

“Had a certain network not blown our cover at a certain time the text message would have gone out in the morning, 8 a.m. Eastern,” Robert Gibbs, a senior advisor, said with a grin on Sunday. “We told people they would find out from us. When we decided it was going to get out we decided to send the text out.”

Gibbs said he believes despite the fact that the rollout plan had to be altered, a “vast majority of the people” still learned by text message when they woke up in the morning.

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Great Moments In Irony

August 20, 2008

Chalk this one up for the ages.  The guy who was responsible for bringing the fuel-swilling Humvee to the civilian retail market has recently* come out and thrown his muscles behind something called “EcoDriving“.

What is EcoDriving, you ask?  Well, its basically what I’ve been talking about over many posts and a few months here in the Chamber, and a little of what the Flat Tirers have been deriding Obama for.  Things like shedding excess weight, keeping your vehicle tuned, and checking your tire pressure monthly:

The Department of Energy estimates that 1.2 billion gallons of fuel were wasted in 2005 as a result of driving on underinflated tires. Tires can deflate naturally, by as much as 1.5 PSI (pounds per square inch) a month. Experts estimate that 25% of automobiles are running on tires with lower than recommended pressure. Fuel efficiency is reduced by 1% for every 3 PSI that tires are under-inflated. So, keeping your tires properly inflated translates into a free tank of gas a year and reduces CO2 emissions too. Check tire pressure at least once a month. The correct tire pressure in PSI can be found on the tire label, as well as on the door frame, sill or edge. If all Californians properly inflated and aligned their tires, we’d save 300 million gallons of gas a year, according to the California Energy Commission.

*To be fair, Schwarzenegger has been actively going “green” on his Hummers for quite some time, but when I saw the video on the EcoDriving website featuring the Governator encouraging all Americans to try to better their MPG’s and lower emissions, I figured the irony had come full circle.

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In Search Of The Chamber

August 13, 2008

The good people at wordpress.com recently added some additional enhancements to the statistics that are available to those of us that use the service.  After doing some playing around with the new features, there was one statistic in particular that jumped out at me:


click to enlarge

Since the creation of this blog back in January ’07, a there has been a total of 1,280 hits from netizens entering the search term “chenzhen’s chamber”.

Now, I’m not quite sure what to make of that.  Either the Chamber’s fame has spread a bit and has slowly become a destination for an increasing amount of lurkers, or I’ve got one or two regular readers who haven’t figured out how to bookmark or add the blog to their favorites. (If its the latter, I’ll assume that you know who you are. I’d like to help, so go ahead and send me an email via the contact form.  There is no shame.)

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I Hereby Coin The Term “Flat Tirer”

August 12, 2008

Flat Tirer – A person who acts solely in the interest of partisanship and dishonestly mocks those who disseminate the provable concept that a nationwide push to maintain properly inflated tires on America’s vehicles would collectively save an incredible amount of oil, money, and emissions over time.

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Wild PUMA’s On The Prowl

August 11, 2008

I’ve come across some pretty bitter netizens during my travels through the political web, but some of the disgruntled Clinton supporters who have dubbed themselves PUMA’s (Party Unity, My Ass) have to win some sort of award for their high concentration of focused and unhinged spite.

Back in April, I first noticed that the hub of this rancor appeared to be centered around Hillary supporter Larry Johnson’s No Quarter blog, represented by a flurry of posts accusing Obama of slyly giving Hillary an obscene gesture at a speech (see Chamber entry Obligatory “Obama Flipped Hillary The Bird” Post).   The premise was silly, and the theory subsequently debunked, but little did I know that this was just the beginning.   After all, in June, I used some space here to comment on the still unseen Michelle Obama “whitey” video, which, last I heard, Johnson is still insisting exists. 

Now fast-forward to yesterday, when I followed a few links to land on No Quarter groupie TexasDarlin’s site, and found this little nugget: Obama’s Dual Citizenship Disaster: an Overview

Now, I’d like to expand this by offering up a little excerpt of the content, but in the transparently desperate attempt to be taken seriously, TexasDarlin has included about a half dozen paragraphs of “disclaimers” and “copyrights” attached to both the post and the blog itself, so I sit here hoping that I won’t be served with legal papers for simply providing the link.  Well, I guess there’s the copyright thing, and the fact that the ‘Darlin appears to have an extreme paranoia with regards to being “outed’ by “stalkers”, but since “mocking” is a far cry from “stalking”, I’ll continue.  In short, this latest volley of undoubtedly sleep-depriving attempts at spreading disinformation alleges that Obama’s birth certificate is fake, that his real name is Barry Soetoro, and that he’s not eligible to be running for president.

Note to the rabid PUMA’s:  No one is taking you seriously*.  You can add all the disclaimers and copyright notices that you want, but that credibility check has been cashed months ago, and it’s been stamped NSF.  Forget the claims of being backed up by mysterious sources and anonymous “computer forensic experts”, at this point you’re just being laughed at.  Hillary lost, and concocting wild theories about Obama isn’t going to change that. 

Exit question for the PUMA’s:  If you asked Clinton to comment on all this, do you really think that the response would be anything other than a disapproving shake of her head?  I mean, really.

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conspiracy.gifNote to Chamber readers:  Don’t bother commenting over at TexasDarlin’s blog if you plan on challenging any of that.  It won’t make it past her moderation.  You see, it’s much better for the propaganda if it appears that everyone agrees with you. 

For more fisking and play-by-play of TD’s antics, check out this site.

*I did wonder to myself for a moment why I should give any attention to this, as it would serve to add some sort of legitimacy based on perceived worthiness of comment, but the stupid assertions appear to have gone viral.

Update: More background on the origin and major players in the BO birth certificate myth by Patrick McKinnon at Taylor Marsh’s blog.

There seem to be a couple main sources for this constant myth. The biggest are the formerly sane “NoQuarter”, and the blog of PUMA “TexasDarlin”. “TexasDarlin” is the one who cross-posts the latest round of myths to “NoQuarter” as the old ones get busted. However, the Conservative blog “Atlas Shrugs” is another source, as well as the right-wing “Israel Insider” and one of the supposed “experts” that “TexasDarlin” uses is on Townhall.com

On the debunking side, you have “Koyaan” of Koyann’s Weblog, Dr. Neal Krawetz of “HackerFactor”, (and a widely recognized computer forensics and security expert). PUMA Joseph Cannon of “Cannonfire” has become a vocal critic of the people promoting this myth, (and feels they’re damaging PUMA’s cause). “AJ Strata” of the right-wing blog “Strata-Sphere” is where I got the term “Cult of the COLB” to start with.

So in a nutshell, you have a mix of some PUMA sites and some right-wing sites promoting the myth, and a mix of anti-PUMA, pro-PUMA, left-wing, and right-wing sites debunking it.

All I have to say is, when you’re a Hillary supporter looking for back-up from Atlas Shrugs, you might have issues.

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For Those Who Missed It- Obama’s Point On “Tire Inflation” And “Tune Ups”

August 8, 2008

As a follow-up to the last thread on Obama’s “tire inflation” and Rush’s ignorance, I thought I’d point something out.

The concerned drivers (which would include myself) over at CleanMPG have recently passed a little milestone.  According to the site’s mileage logs, members have saved over 200,000 gallons of gas:

Andrew McGuckin – CleanMPG – Aug. 6, 2008

Since the website’s beginnings in February 2006, the ever-growing population of hypermilers has saved over 200,000 gallons of gas. At the time of this writing there were 7,550 registered CleanMPG members.

Over 1,800 vehicles have tanks logged on the site’s mileage database. Included are hybrids, diesels, bikes, electric vehicles and conventional gas vehicles. SUV’s, sedans, hatchbacks, wagons, and trucks are all being hypermiled. Cars right off the dealer lots, and cars dating back to 1967. Manual transmissions and automatics. Drivers from all over the world are Hypermiling : Ireland, England, Norway, Spain, Germany, Poland, France, Portugal, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, the United States, and other countries.

Site founder Wayne Gerdes and many others have done countless news segments in print, online and on TV to spread the word. High-profile evening news events, televised gatherings, and informal friendly demonstrations are all helping. Word-of-mouth is a powerful force for change.

In the face of rising gas prices, there IS something that can be done. CleanMPG is showing the way. Congratulations to everyone involved in reaching this milestone.

That’s a lot of gasoline saved for a few people who do little more than check their tire pressure, maintain clean air and fuel filters, shed excess weight, and do crazy things like driving the speed limit and not flooring it onto the highway.

And in case you’re curious as to how one would calculate gas “savings”,  I’ll explain it here.  The “savings” are realized as the difference between the fuel consumption when the vehicle is operating at the EPA’s published ratings and the actual fuel used by the vehicle. 

To provide an example (and to see how much I’ve contributed to the cause) we’ll use my 2000 Cougar

Since I began taking an interest in what is possible with some of these simple techniques and entering my fill up stats into the database back in May, I’ve driven a total of 3,212 miles and pumped 105 gallons of gas.  So 3212/105 = 30.5 MPG. 

Now, according to the EPA, the original window sticker for the Cougar read 20 MPG city, 28 hwy, for an average of 23.  So, just do some simple math.  If I had driven 3212 miles at 23 MPG, I would have pumped about 140 gallons of gas.  140 – 105 = 35 gallons saved. 

Its a small contribution to be sure, but so far this summer I’ve saved myself 2.5 tanks, and around $133 (using a rough average of $3.80/gal).  Not too shabby.

So, Obama’s point should be pretty clear (at least it is to me).  Every vehicle on the road today has some room for improvement.  Certainly, there are plenty of poorly maintained vehicles out there that have a lot of room to improve, and are getting well below the EPA’s ratings.  And there are plenty of drivers with well maintained vehicles who aren’t taking it quite as seriously as I am (like yanking out my passenger seat), but could probably see some improvement by altering their driving habits or simply removing the dusty golf clubs from their trunk.  But the aggregate fuel savings that would be realized if everyone did at least something easy and painless to improve their efficiency would be…mind boggling.  

To put it into some perspective, in 2004, the U.S. consumed about 140 billion gallons of gasoline.   A mere 2% reduction would result in consuming 2.8 billion gallons less (~140 million barrels of oil) per year. 

Can we hit a goal of a 2% reduction?  Is it realistic?  As far as I’m concerned, all we need is someone to spread the word.  If this really is a supply and demand issue, one can join the “drill here, drill now” crowd, and hope that in 5 years that we’ve put enough extra oil on the international market to more than offset the increasing fuel consumption in places like China and India, and actually lower the price…eventually.  Attacking the demand, on the other hand, will not only lower the price in the curve a lot faster, but you’re also buying less of it.  Assuming that most people don’t like to buy gas, why is anyone mocking this idea? 

Is it the messenger?

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Choice Snippets Of The Day

August 4, 2008

You know, I’ve never really done a thread where I simply pull a few choice excerpts of posts and/or comments I’ve stumbled upon on any given day, but I figured that it might be interesting, and today is as good as any.  And since memeorandum is buzzing about Obama’s “tire inflation” comments, and because I’ve taken a keen interest in maximizing fuel efficiency personally, I thought it’d make a good subject.  Plus, maybe it’d be neat to add links to Chamber entries that are closely related.  Perhaps I could make it a recurring theme.  Anyway, here I go…

First, I came across a great graph penned by Jazz over at the Moderate Voice:

In past, darker times, Americans grew victory gardens, did without meat in their meals, melted down pots and pans for the war effort and tolerated fuel rationing. They were not regulated or legislated into such action – they were inspired and led to it by their governmental leaders who showed them the value of sacrifice in the face of a national crisis. Yet today, with a new crisis looming, when a candidate for office so much as suggests that we could consume a bit less energy by the simple act of monitoring our tire pressure (an action hardly amounting to any real “sacrifice”) he is not only ignored, but made a subject of derision for broaching the subject.

Exactly.  Heaven forbid a presidential candidate come forward, assume a leadership role, and suggest that all Americans do something that would help everyone (almost immediately, it should be noted) and would in 99% of the cases involve almost no sacrifice.  Yes, better to mock him, certainly. 

Here’s what Obama said in Springfield that’s gotten so much attention:

There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy. Making sure your tires are properly inflated — simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling — if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You’d actually save just as much!

Obama made the mistake of not using the word “like”, and providing more examples (of simple things).   If he had, he probably wouldn’t have to deal with all the mockery and calculator-wielding analysts.  He still has time to nip it in the bud and elaborate, but risks more mockery for simply revisiting the position (after everyone has it in their head that he deserved to be mocked).  Funny, the art of politics is. 

See Chamber thread: Is Conserving Gas An Act Of Patriotism?

Next, I’m going to pick on good ol’ Rush, and post the exchange between him and the last caller on today’s show.:

RUSH: John in Libertyville, Illinois. Hello, sir. We have one minute, but I wanted to get to you.

CALLER: Hi. You’ve always been a big proponent of the inefficient vehicle, the gas guzzler, the SUV, what have you, and you’ve steadfastly maintained that the only thing at work in the high gas prices is supply and demand. But if fuel-inefficient vehicles demand more fuel and therefore reduce the supply, isn’t the supply-demand argument roughly analogous to saying we’re all paying more at the pump because of the preponderance of inefficient vehicles?

RUSH: So, because I have a gas hog, and I use a lot more gas than you do, I am affecting supply and demand; therefore, supply would be much greater if I would join you in getting an efficient car and the price would come down? Is that your theory?

CALLER: Sure. I think we’re all paying more at the pump because of the preponderance –

RUSH: But then you don’t have a free market because somebody’s gotta apply pressure on me to get me to drive something I don’t want to drive. Besides, when that happens, sir, your gasoline taxes, state gasoline taxes, are going to go up, because they’re not going to be receiving as much revenue. There’s no win here, sir.

It’s really too bad that Rush didn’t reflect on the reason why he is so proud of his gas guzzlers (he thinks he’s “sticking it” to environmentalists), but it could be that Rush got saved by the proverbial bell here, because the caller didn’t get the chance to skewer him with it either (although he could have brought it up right away).  In any case, does Rush’s response even make any sense?  I mean, if we’re paying less at the pump, it means that we have more money to spend on discretionary things (that have sales taxes attached), so there may not be a real drop in revenue.  And even if gasoline taxes were to rise, there is no reason to believe that we still can’t “win” with a drop in the end price.  And even if the end price is stagnant, at least more of the revenue would go to your state and not to line some prince’s pockets abroad.  It really looks like Rush was heading for the ropes here, ’cause he was whipping out the “sir” in a very defensive manner.  Like I said, too bad.

See Chamber thread: Rush Limbaugh, “Sticking It” To All Of Us 

(I almost got the impression that John in Libertyville had read that post when I heard him live, but maybe its just obvious to a lot more people than just myself)

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Flame Warrior Profile: JammieWearingFool

August 2, 2008

I know its been a little while since my last FWP post, but I’m going to assure my readers that this one isn’t borne out of some need to include a token entry or create some drama out of nothing.   You see, after years of commenting on blogs and message boards and perusing the political web, I’ve posted thousands of comments on literally hundreds of sites.  And in all my travels, I’d only been banned from one site (LGF).  Well, now, that tally has risen to two, as last night I was apparently deemed unworthy of commenting on JammieWearingFool’s blog (a netizen, as it should be noted in the interest of full disclosure, who is also an active member of LGF). 

So, if I had to choose the Flame Warrior variant that best represents Mr. Fool (or JWF, as is commonly seen), it would probably be Xenophobe:

Xenophobe is usually a long-term discussion forum participant and he thinks of the forum as his private compound. Xenophobe regards new forum arrivals as mentally deficient and perhaps even having criminal tendencies, and they are invariably approached with suspicion and condescension. Xenophobe will mount a furious attack if a Newbie has the temerity to make critical observations about the forum’s social dynamics, or questions its prevailing opinions.

As I I take a few seconds to ponder further, however, I come to the conclusion that perhaps Xenophobe doesn’t accurately encapsulate JWF’s persona.   In fact, its more likely that Mr. Fool is just simply an absolute wuss, and unable to handle someone dissecting their logic.   Or, it could be that JWF felt predisposed to ban me all along (as a loyal LGF sycophant, which of course is also indicative of wussitude), and I had reached a last straw.  In any case, I’m banned, and it happened on this thread:

As you can see from the screencap, I’m no longer able to post on the site.  What the screencap doesn’t capture, however, is the fact that I had responded to Mr. Fool’s comment.   In other words, as far as any visitor to the site is concerned, JWF had the last word and there’s no indication that anything has been deleted.  But unfortunately for Mr. Fool, I use coComment, and it remembers everything:

Lost a battle of wits?  No problem!  Just ban and delete! 

No wonder the JWF site averages < 1 comment per thread.

Oh well, I’m going to take the banishment as a badge of honor and JWF’s concession of weakness and defeat, and take the liberty of awarding myself the Wonder Palm:

I pity the Fool.

(and BTW, if JWF feels the need to comment on this thread, you have my personal assurance that no bans will be handed down.   Not my style.)

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Imminent Suicide Watch For Everyone In Wisconsin?

August 1, 2008

I’m sure I’m not alone out there when it comes to people who are sports junkies or even casual news observers and are to the point of suffering from a bit of Brett Favre overload.  The guy has been in the news almost daily with America sitting on the edge of her seat, waiting to see what the Green Bay Packer legend’s next career move might be.   I’ve reached the conclusion at this point that the guy might be a bona fide drama queen, and is secretly relishing all the attention.  I mean, how long ago was it that he actually cried in front of the cameras?  March?


“I know I can play, but I don’t think I want to,” the quarterback said at an emotional news conference at Lambeau Field. “It’s been a great career for me, but it’s over.”

Yea m’kay.  There’s got to be some sort of man law drawn up somewhere that says that when you announce your retirement and get up in front of everyone and actually break down crying, there’s no coming out.  That’s it, you’re done.  But no.

Anyway, for a guy like me living across the boarder here in Minnesota, I could imagine at the time the legions of “cheese heads” glued to their TV’s, hanging on every word, tears dripping down in unison.  You see, Packer fans aren’t ordinary fans.  They actually exemplify the root wood, and they’re everywhere in Wisconsin.  Heck, they are Wisconsin, and they’re positively obnoxious.  Indoctrinated at birth, too:

And Favre isn’t any ordinary Packer.  Fill in the blank for which God-like figure you want used as a similie. 

In fact, if I was asked why people in Minnesota hate the Packers so much (and vise versa), I’d say that it’s not the Packers themselves.  It’s the crazy cheese heads.

So imagine what might go through the Dairy Staters noggins when they see a headline like this: Vikings could be back in the Favre picture

GREEN BAY, WIS. – The Green Bay Packers, driven to the brink of desperation in their ongoing spat with Brett Favre, have discussed internally the possibility of trading the quarterback within the NFC North Division.

A source close to the situation told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday that the Packers were considering seeking a deal with one of their division rivals, most likely the Vikings or Chicago Bears, if backed into a corner by the NFL and public sentiment.

Now, obviously nothing’s been decided yet, but if on Sept. 8, Brett Favre marches in to Lambeau Field on the Monday night opener wearing Viking purple…watch out.  While such a scenario would ultimately be a boon for TV ratings and revenue, it’d be bad news for Wisconsin.  We might just see quite a bit more than just a never-ending flow of angry phone calls into talk radio shows coming form over there.  I’d look for death threats, an increase in domestic violence, suicide notes, burning cars, rampant unemployment and people lying passed-out drunk in alleys all across the state.

Update:  Crisis averted?  Favre heads to Green Bay as NFL announces reinstatement

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