Sean King

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San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Best Day

"The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift of life is yours; it is an amazing journey; and you alone are responsible for the quality of it"

--Dan Zadra

Cult of Personality

Look into my eyes, what do you see?
Cult of personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
Ive been everything you want to be
Im the cult of personality
Like mussolini and kennedy
Im the cult of personality
Cult of personality
Cult of personality

Neon lights, a nobel prize
The mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You dont have to follow me
Only you can set me free
I sell the things you need to be
Im the smiling face on your t.v.
Im the cult of personality
I exploit you still you love me

I tell you one and one makes three
Im the cult of personality
Like joseph stalin and gandi
Im the cult of personality
Cult of personality
Cult of personality

Neon lights a nobel prize
A leader speaks, that leader dies
You dont have to follow me
Only you can set you free

You gave me fortune
You gave me fame
You me power in your gods name
Im every person you need to be
Im the cult of personality
Look into my eyes, what do you see?
Cult of personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
Ive been everything you want to be
Im the cult of personality
Like mussolini and kennedy
Im the cult of personality
Cult of personality
Cult of personality

Neon lights, a nobel prize
The mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You dont have to follow me
Only you can set me free
I sell the things you need to be
Im the smiling face on your t.v.
Im the cult of personality
I exploit you still you love me

I tell you one and one makes three
Im the cult of personality
Like joseph stalin and gandi
Im the cult of personality
Cult of personality
Cult of personality

Neon lights a nobel prize
A leader speaks, that leader dies
You dont have to follow me
Only you can set you free

You gave me fortune
You gave me fame
You me power in your gods name
Im every person you need to be
Im the cult of personality

--Living Colour

Wanna Live Longer?

Then be conscientious:

Conscientious people live longer, according to a study by University of California, Riverside researchers that appears in the latest issue of Health Psychology (vol. 27, 2008), the journal of the American Psychological Association.

Howard S. Friedman, distinguished professor of psychology, and graduate student Margaret L. Kern analyzed data from 20 studies that focused on conscientiousness-related traits and longevity, and involved more than 8,900 participants from the United States, Canada, Germany, Norway, Japan and Sweden.

“The major finding is that this conscientiousness aspect of personality is indeed reliably predictive of mortality risk across studies,” Friedman said. “This seems to be as important as most commonly assessed medical risk factors, few of which are psychological.”

Financing Longevity

The Economic Times: With conventional savings method proving inadequate to meet post-retirement expenses, innovative forms of retirement financing are coming up, according to a Swiss Re report. The report calls for the development of a liquid longevity market where those who profit from increased longevity buy cover from those who lose in such a situation.

Scientific American Asks:

Is 100 the New 80?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How Expecting the Singularity is Likely to Change Society

Priya Ganapati: Whether the singularity occurs or not, just the expectation of it could significantly change human behavior, says James Miller, associate professor of economics at Smith College.

“Long before there is a singularity, people will come to expect it,” Smith told attendees at the Singularity Summit in San Jose. “And it is very likely that could happen within 20 years.”

The belief that a vastly different future is near could change how people make choices in life, education, investment and retirement, says Miller.

Indeed it could, and in my case it already has. For example, I alluded to this phenomenon in the last paragraph of this post.

It's Done Gone

Michael Graham: Did you see that amazing video obtained by the Los Angeles Times of Sen. Barack Obama toasting a prominent former PLO member at an Arab American Action Network meeting in 2003? The video in which Obama gives Yasser Arafat’s frontman a warm embrace, as Bill Ayers look on?

You haven’t seen it? Me, neither. The Los Angeles Times refuses to release it.

And so an incriminating video of Obama literally “palling around” with PLO supporters becomes one more nail in the coffin of “objective journalism.”

Well, This Sounds Promising:

Big Tech Companies Back Global Plan to Shield Online Speech

I wonder if this means they'll use their clout to oppose the so-called Fairness Doctrine, at least to the extent that it would regulate content online?


The AP gives everyone another chance to play the "Name That Party" game with its latest story on Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

When Republicans are involved in scandals, their political party affiliation is highlighted, often in the opening sentence of the news article. But when Dems are involved, party affiliation is often overlooked.

Another example of the AP's ethics in action.

My Old Tennis Coach Has Passed Away

Former UT tennis great Mozur dies

I hadn't seen Tommy in 20 years or more, and we weren't particularly close, but news of his passing has shocked me in ways that I can't really explain.

Markets Work When We Let Them A new study released Monday by Knoxville-based, energy-focused advertising agency Shelton Group shows more consumers are citing saving money as a reason to conserve energy at home.

It is sad but true that cries of "do it for Gaia" just don't seem to motivate people to action like self-interest does. Gordon Gecko is proven right yet again: "Greed is good, greed is right, greed works." Well, at least when we allow it to.

Gordon Gekko's Famous Speech:

It's amazing how relevant this speech is, even twenty-one years after it was first given.

Something Vitamin E Can't Do:

Protect you from prostate cancer.

Prevention magazine offers...

14 Surprising Signs You'll Love Longer Than You Think.

I'm looking pretty good on most of them. Here's the ones that I found most interesting:

1. Your Mom Had You Young
4. You Skip Soda (Even Diet)
10. You Really Like Your Friends
13. You Don't Have a Housekeeper

Monday, October 27, 2008

The MSM is in the tank for Obama...

and their circulation numbers continue to drop.


More Good News About Statins

Reuters: Cholesterol-fighting drugs known as statins reduced the risk of dying from pneumonia or developing dangerous blood clots in the legs, adding to a growing list of benefits from the popular drugs, two research groups said on Monday.

"Dubious Donations"

Scott W. Johnson: [An enterprising citizen] went to the Obama campaign Web site and made a donation under the name "John Galt" (the hero of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged"). He provided the equally fictitious address "1957 Ayn Rand Lane, Galts Gulch, CO 99999."

He checked the box next to $15 and entered his actual credit-card number and expiration date. He was then taken to the next page and notified that his donation had been processed.

He then tried the same experiment on the McCain site, which rejected the transaction. He returned to the Obama site and made three more donations using the names Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Bill Ayers, all with different addresses but the same credit card. The transactions all went through. By Saturday, he'd reported that the transactions had all posted to his credit-card account.

Others repeated "John Galt's" experiment last week, giving to Obama under such fictitious names as Della Ware, Joe Plumber, Idiot Savant, Ima BadDonation (with a Canadian bank card) and Fake Donor.

What accounts for the Obama campaign's acceptance of these fraudulent donations? Most merchants selling goods and services use the basic Address Verification System that screens credit-card charges for matching names and addresses. (It can also screen cards issued by foreign banks.) The McCain campaign uses AVS and provides a searchable database of all donors, including those who fall below the $200 threshold. The Obama campaign apparently has chosen not to use the AVS system to screen donations.

Read the whole thing.

If the Obama campaign were at all serious about preventing illegal contributions to its campaign, it should, at a minimum, simply make sure that the zip code provided by the donor really exists (something credit card companies do everytime you purchase something online), and that the zip code matches the state, don't you think?

Something tells me we'd be hearing alot more about this if the shoe was on the other foot.

Bill Greener Explains...

why Obama must stay above 50% in the polls to win.

And right now, in several key swing states, he's not.

As Greener notes, the reason Obama must be above 50% in the polls to win is the so-called "Bradley Effect", which the left is already touting as evidence of racism. Now I'm not so naive as to believe that racism plays no role in the Bradley Effect, but I have repeatedly emphasized that racism is not its only explanation: Lying to a pollster about who you're going to vote for in this election, or saying that you're undecided when you're really not, doesn't necessarily mean you're a racist, it only means that you're (at least subconsciously) concerned about being labeled as one.

Obama on Redistribution of Wealth and the Role of the Supreme Court:

To be fair, I think the video misrepresents Obama's argument in places, which is a shame because Obama's comments are controversial enough without exaggerating them.

UPDATE:> This post pretty much sums up my view on the above.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

If you think the US has problems...

take a look at Europe.

Losing Liberty

John Kass: On those nights when they were young, they smoked pot in the streets and listened to Dylan in the car and dreamed of the risks they'd take.

But now, as Baby Boomers grow old, they welcome those police surveillance cameras on the light poles outside their homes, thinking the cameras make them safe. And they rush toward the warm embrace of big government and promised security.

What happened?

Ya got me, John, but it ain't good.

Reporter Michael Malone Takes the Mainstream Media to Task

ABCNews: [N]othing I've seen has matched the media bias on display in the current presidential campaign.

Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates. But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass -- no, make that shameless support -- they've gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don't have a free and fair press.

I was one of the first people in the traditional media to call for the firing of Dan Rather -- not because of his phony story, but because he refused to admit his mistake -- but, bless him, even Gunga Dan thinks the media is one-sided in this election.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those people who think the media has been too hard on, say, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to her home state of Alaska to rifle through her garbage. This is the big leagues, and if she wants to suit up and take the field, then Gov. Palin better be ready to play.

The few instances where I think the press has gone too far -- such as the Times reporter talking to prospective first lady Cindy McCain's daughter's MySpace friends -- can easily be solved with a few newsroom smackdowns and temporary repostings to the Omaha bureau.

No, what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side -- or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del.

If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as president of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography.

That isn't Sen. Obama's fault: His job is to put his best face forward. No, it is the traditional media's fault, for it alone (unlike the alternative media) has had the resources to cover this story properly, and has systematically refused to do so.

Why, for example to quote the lawyer for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., haven't we seen an interview with Sen. Obama's grad school drug dealer -- when we know all about Mrs. McCain's addiction? Are Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko that hard to interview? All those phony voter registrations that hard to scrutinize? And why are Sen. Biden's endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?

I ask again, are the Dems really serious about reinstating the Fairness Doctrine? Under the circumstances, that tactic is likely to backfire.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Why So Many Billionaires are Leftist

Richard Rahn: The answer quite simply is that the tax increases are most often put on people trying to become rich, not those already rich. Hence, the rich, big government advocates can gain far more by "buying" the politicians. The "bought" politicians then provide them with confidential information about administrative decisions, which these donors then use to place big bets in the market, making themselves much richer. If you have deep financial pockets and inside information, you can make huge amounts of money when markets drop.

Mr. Soros, the Democrats' financial angel, is often referred to as the "man who broke the bank of England" in the 1992 Sterling crisis. During that episode, he made $1 billion in one day at the expense of British taxpayers. The relevant question is, did Mr. Soros bet a couple of billion dollars on mere guesses of what the German, French and British officials would do, or did he have inside information?

A member of the British Parliament, who was a close adviser to the British chancellor at the time, told me he believes "Soros was acting on insider information obtained from the French central bank and the German Bundesbank." The insider information was that they would not support the British pound, despite a pre-existing arrangement to do so. Others familiar with the situation have made similar charges.

Given that Mr. Soros is no fool, the British believe it is highly doubtful he would have made such a colossal bet without knowing with great certainty that the Germans would not reduce their interest rate.

It makes perfect sense: The more powerful government is, the more useful are the politicians you've bought.

Taking Note of Double Standards

I'm no fan of Pat Buchanan. In fact, I dislike much of what he stands for immensely. But, when he's right, he's right:

Saturday, the New York Times did a takeout on Cindy McCain that delved back into her problem with prescription pills. Yet when Hillary's campaign manager, Mark Penn, brought up Obama's cocaine use on "Hardball," he was savaged by folks for whom the Times is the gold standard.

The people apparently had a "right to know" of Bush's old DUI arrest a week before the 2000 election, but no right to know about how and when Obama was engaged in the criminal use of cocaine.

The media cannot get enough of the "Saturday Night Live" impersonations of Palin as a bubblehead. News shows pick up the Tina Fey clips and run them and run them to the merriment of all. Can one imagine "Saturday Night Live" doing weekly send-ups of Michelle Obama and her "I've never been proud" of my country, this "just downright mean" America, using a black comedienne to mimic and mock her voice and accent?

"Saturday Night Live" would be facing hate crime charges.

Read the whole thing.

What's Up With Europeans and Jews?

SpeigelOnline: A number of studies in recent years have reached the conclusion that anti-Semitism is not just a fringe problem in Germany. A September study released by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. came to the conclusion that fully 25 percent of Germans had unfavorable views of Jews. While that is far less than the 46 percent result in Spain or the 36 percent in Poland, it is up from the 20 percent result found in Germany in 2004.

And I thought modern Europeans were supposed to be the cosmopolitan, enlightend ones?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Wonder if Ms. Jacoby "Trembles for Her Country" At These Stories:

Richard said the robber took $60 from the woman, then became angry when he saw a McCain bumper sticker on the victim's car. The attacker then punched and kicked the victim, before using the knife to scratch the letter "B" into her face, Richard said.

The home of a Central Florida Republican headquarters manager was shot up and damaged over his support of Sen. John McCain, the man told police.

UPDATE:> Turns our the first story above is bogus. The victim made up the whole story, which means the lefty press is free to cover it. Something tells me this will get a lot more coverage now that it's been proven false than it ever would have gotten had it been true.

And The Dems Want to Pass The Fairness Doctrine?!

Washington Post: Media coverage of John McCain has been heavily unfavorable since the political conventions, more than three times as negative as the portrayal of Barack Obama, a new study says.

Fifty-seven percent of the print and broadcast stories about the Republican nominee were decidedly negative, the Project for Excellence in Journalism says in a report out today, while 14 percent were positive.

Under the circumstances, passing the Fairness Doctrine seems pretty short-sighted if you're a Dem.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Looking for Practical Ways to Save Money and Energy

Google has some simple ideas for you.

Imagine the conspiracy theories...

if a Republican said what Joe the Senator said.

On a related note, I thought the world only hated America because of Bush. Once Obama's elected, I was told to expect world peace.

Man, do I feel conned.

Who Knew?

"Socialist" is code for "black." (via Drudge)

Silly me. I thought socialist just meant...socialist.

Everything you always wanted to know about...

exit polls.

Lighting candles...

in veneration of St. Obama.

This kind of stuff really creeps me out. And besides that, it's terribly frustrating to see people invest someone else with so much influence over their lives. I just want to shake them and remind them of these words from Dan Zadra:

"The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift of life is yours; it is an amazing journey; and you alone are responsible for the quality of it"

If your unhappy, Obama's not going to make it any better. And if you're happy, he won't make it any worse.

Shots Fired at McCain's Bus?

Mark Williams says so.

So, why aren't we hearing more about this? Did it really happen?

I don't know, but if the same thing were said about Obama's bus, it wouldn't matter. We'd have non-stop news coverage followed with editorials by the likes of Susan Jacoby describing how she "trembles for our country."

The Latest on Obama's Past

Stanley Kurtz finds "Something New Here":

During his first campaign for the Illinois state senate in 1995-96, Barack Obama was a member of, and was endorsed by, the far-left New Party. Obama’s New Party ties give the lie to his claim to be a post-partisan, post-ideological pragmatist. Particularly in Chicago, the New Party functioned as the electoral arm of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). So despite repeated attempts to distance himself from ACORN, Obama’s New Party ties raise disturbing questions about his links to those proudly militant leftists. The media’s near-total silence on this critical element of Obama’s past is deeply irresponsible.

Hmmm, ya think!? This is especially true given the media scrutiny of Sarah Palin's much more tenuous connections with the Alaska Independence Party.

It's almost enough to make one think that there's a double standard or something.

Canada's Kangaroo Courts

For months, Glenn Reynolds has been documenting numerous abuses against freedom of speech perpetrated by Canada's Human Rights Commission ("CHRC"), an Orwellian name if there ever was one. Here's his latest post on the subject. Be sure to follow his link as the story there is truly unbelievable.

As the link suggests, the CHRC considers banning so-called "hate speach" to be one of it's primary mandates. What is hate speach? Well, whatever the CHRC says it is, silly! And, as Glenn's other posts on this subject demonstrate (just search his site for the word "kangaroo" and you'll find most of them), the CHRC defines "hate" very liberally--basically, any speach that potentially offends another person, especially a minority or special interest group beloved by the Left, is deemed hateful and may be banned.

Prior decisions of the CHRC are jaw-dropping in their scope and intrusiveness. So much so that one may be tempted to think that such a thing couldn't happen here in the US. I mean, there's no way that we'd ever allow courts to decide what we can say on issues of political or religious importance, right?


Is it any wonder that Canadian bloggers are showing much interest in this?

Most of Us Don't Even Read Books Written by Unrepentent Terrorists

But in 1997, Obama gave Ayers' book a rave review.

Jonah Goldberg:

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.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Technology Brings Families Together

Technology is helping families stay connected, despite fears of it bringing in a corrupting influence or driving people apart. It's the pace of modern life that makes technology a necessity in order to remain up-to-date, researchers say.

A Prediction

Should Obama win the White House, he will initially be hailed by the Left as the "first black" to hold the oval office.

But, if that's true, then Obama's ascension severely undermines many of the most sacred tenants of leftist orthodoxy--e.g., that the United States is a racist nation, that the system is rigged to advance the interests of wealthy WASPs over others, and that programs like affirmative action are necessary to remedy the inherent unfairness of the system. In other words, Obama's election will be subversive to traditional Democrat constituencies in a manner that few on the Left have yet contemplated. And, I don't expect these constituencies to easily forfeit their long-held notions about America, notions which now form a part of their very identity and by which they have gained power and influence, just because we have a "black" president.

So, not long after Obama is inaugurated (if he is inaugurated), I expect to be told by those who determine such things that Obama is not the first black president after all. Among other things, we'll be reminded that his mother was white, and that he went to a whitey school. In short, his black bona fides will be questioned by those on the Left who stand to lose far more from Obama's ascension than any of us libertarians or conservatives will.

Dumb Question of the Day

Christopher Beams asks why we tax corporations rather than just individuals.

Simple answer: We DON'T tax corprations, and we already do tax JUST individuals!

To imply that corporations (rather than the people who own them or work for them) somehow bear the cost of the taxes they remit is sophistry. It's like saying that Joe the Plumber doesn't pay any federal income taxes because he doesn't write a check to the government each year (instead, his employer withholds the money and remits the check for him). Even so, the money comes from Joe.

The same is true with corporate income taxes. A corporation may remit a tax to the government, but let's be clear: All taxes are ultimatley borne by individual employees and/or shareholders.

Megan McArdle Finds Yet Another Use For Tivo:

Detecting media bias.

Yes, critical listening and viewing are more important than ever, and credibility is the currency of the future. CNN's account is getting kind of low.

AP's Values in Action

Megan McArdle wants to know how the hell this got published by the AP.

I'm perplexed as well, I mean given the AP's values statement and all.

UPDATE:> Apparently Megan and I aren't the only ones who are perplexed by the AP:

ANOTHER PAPER dropping the Associated Press.

UK Subjects: Big Brother Will Be Listening

TimesOnline: Everyone who buys a mobile telephone will be forced to register their identity on a national database under government plans to extend massively the powers of state surveillance.

Phone buyers would have to present a passport or other official form of identification at the point of purchase. Privacy campaigners fear it marks the latest government move to create a surveillance society.

Thomas Jefferson in 1781:

A change in our climate however is taking place very sensibly. Both heats and colds are become much more moderate within the memory even of the middle-aged. Snows are less frequent and less deep. They do not often lie, below the mountains, more than one, two, or three days, and very rarely a week. They are remembered to have been formerly frequent, deep, and of long continuance. The elderly inform me the earth used to be covered with snow about three months in every year. The rivers, which then seldom failed to freeze over in the course of the winter, scarcely ever do so now. This change has produced an unfortunate fluctuation between heat and cold, in the spring of the year, which is very fatal to fruits. From the year 1741 to 1769, an interval of twenty-eight years, there was no instance of fruit killed by the frost in the neighbourhood of Monticello. An intense cold, produced by constant snows, kept the buds locked up till the sun could obtain, in the spring of the year, so fixed an ascendency as to dissolve those snows, and protect the buds, during their developement, from every danger of returning cold. The accumulated snows of the winter remaining to be dissolved all together in the spring, produced those overflowings of our rivers, so frequent then, and so rare now.

(via Planet Gore)

Bjorn Lomborg:

The most obvious point about global warming is that the planet is heating up. It has warmed about 1C (1.8F) over the past century, and is predicted by the United Nations' climate panel (IPCC) to warm between 1.6-3.8C (2.9-6.8F) during this century, mainly owing to increased CO2. An average of all 38 available standard runs from the IPCC shows that models expect a temperature increase in this decade of about 0.2C.

But this is not at all what we have seen. And this is true for all surface temperature measures, and even more so for both satellite measures. Temperatures in this decade have not been worse than expected; in fact, they have not even been increasing. They have actually decreased by between 0.01 and 0.1C per decade. On the most important indicator of global warming, temperature development, we ought to hear that the data are actually much better than expected.

Yes, we should, but we don't.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Internet's Transformation of Society

Warren Bonesteel: The media, our cultural and social institutions, the powerbrokers and politicians no longer control the memes and narratives of our society. The changes that we are going to see will be deep and profound. I have had a very positive feeling about the future since I — finally — understood what I was seeing. What is happening won't end in Xanadu or Utopia, but, in time, it should result in much better scenarios than we presently face as a world culture and society.

One point one billion People around the world are on the internet, with another one billion people projected to join them in less than five years. For our traditional information and educational Gatekeepers and for traditional bureaucrats, politicians and power mongers, this is fearsome news, indeed. For the rest of us, this is empowerment of a type and kind never before seen or imagined. This is true Democracy.

Two hundred and eleven million Americans are presently online. More than 70% of us get some or all of our news and info from the internet.. (And not all of us use Google or Yahoo.) Conservative talk radio, at its very best, reaches ten per cent of that number. Fox News reaches a million or two viewers during the best of times? Maybe fifteen million per twenty-four hours? The newspapers are losing readers and revenues on a daily basis. The traditional TV news gatekeepers are now below a nightly audience of 15 million viewers.

Future currency for everyone will be credibility and transparency. Indeed, that is even now becoming the 'currency' for us all. That credibility is predicated upon accountability. If we do not tell the truth, if we do not strive for accuracy in our spoken and written words, we will be held accountable. If we are not willing to accept correction or admit to our mistakes and immediately correct them, we lose credibility.

The future will not be about ideology, ambition or agenda. It will be credibility.

(via Instapundit)

Women Take Note

Alcohol contributes to breast cancer:

Women who drink one large glass of wine a day, which means 21 units of alcohol a week compared with the recommended 15, increase this by a fifth.

Drinking two glasses a night boosts it by a third, while three big glasses mean more than a 50% increase.

So, if you're going to drink, make sure to get regular mammograms.

Yoga Freaks and Others in the Anti-Caffeine Crowd Take Note

Coffee , Chocolate and Tea are considered "lifespan essential" foods.


Obama's Lead Slips to 3

That's likely not enough for him to win, unless his ground game is far superior to McCain's. And, it might be.

UPDATE:> The Chicago Tribune notes that "[a]bout a fifth of voters remain undecided or willing to switch allegiances, the latest Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll suggests. Those voters tend to be older, white, independent, Catholic men who lean moderate-to-conservative—a group Obama often struggled to attract in his primary battle with Sen. Hillary Clinton."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oh Please! Spare Me The Drama

Susan Jacoby: Like everyone else, I am worried about the economy and the financial panic I sense around me. But I am absolutely terrified--I tremble for my country--by the rage that has been expressed at Republican campaign rallies during the past two weeks. It is a rage that partakes of the worst forces in American history--xenophobia, racism, anti-intellectualism, religious fanaticism, envy, and utter contempt for truth and reason. Lest anyone suggest that this is a bipartisan phenomenon, I should point out that no one at Obama rallies is calling out for anyone to kill the other candidate.

Give me a break! Apparently Ms. Jacoby trembles not at the likes of this or this or this or this.

Shall I continue?

There are nuts on both sides, but to suggest that McCain is somehow attracting more than his fair share is silly at best and disingenuous at worst.

UPDATE: Secret Service says "Kill him" allegation unfounded. Perhaps Ms. Jacoby will stop trembling now.

Good News, Bad News

The good news is that moderate drinking is apparently good for your heart. The bad news is that it's apparently bad for your brain.

More Vitamin D News Kids from newborns to teenagers should take twice as much Vitamin D as previously recommended because it may help prevent serious disease, a leading medical group said yesterday.

The new recommendation came from the American Academy of Pediatrics. A pediatrician is a doctor who takes care of kids.

On a side note, was it really necessary for the author to define "pediatrician" for us? Perhaps so, but I find that sad.

Open Office 3 Released

Here's an initial review.

I didn't want to pay $300 plus to put Microsoft Office on my son's new computer, so we gave Open Office a shot a few weeks ago. It's not perfect, but it's well worth the price (free) for those who just need basic word processing, spreadsheets, etc., and the new version 3.0 may even be suitable for more heavy duty commercial use.

You can download the new release of Open Office here.

Alaska's Glaciers Gain Over Last Year

Anchorage Daily News: Two hundred years of glacial shrinkage in Alaska, and then came the winter and summer of 2007-2008.Unusually large amounts of winter snow were followed by unusually chill temperatures in June, July and August.

“In mid-June, I was surprised to see snow still at sea level in Prince William Sound,” said U.S. Geological Survey glaciologist Bruce Molnia. “On the Juneau Icefield, there was still 20 feet of new snow on the surface of the Taku Glacier in late July. At Bering Glacier, a landslide I am studying, located at about 1,500 feet elevation, did not become snow free until early August.

“In general, the weather this summer was the worst I have seen in at least 20 years.”

Never before in the history of a research project dating back to 1946 had the Juneau Icefield witnessed the kind of snow buildup that came this year. It was similar on a lot of other glaciers too.

When I visited Taku Glacier several years ago, there was certainly no surface snow to speak of--only ice.

In related news, Arctic sea ice continues it's speedy recovery.


[I]t's amazing what you can get away with when the press is totally in the tank.

Obama's Ties to ACORN

Wall Street Journal: In 1992 [Obama] led voter registration efforts as the director of Project Vote, which included Acorn. This past November, he lauded Acorn's leaders for being "smack dab in the middle" of that effort. Mr. Obama also served as a lawyer for Acorn in 1995, in a case against Illinois to increase access to the polls.

During his tenure on the board of Chicago's Woods Fund, that body funneled more than $200,000 to Acorn. More recently, the Obama campaign paid $832,000 to an Acorn affiliate. The campaign initially told the Federal Election Commission this money was for "staging, sound, lighting." It later admitted the cash was to get out the vote.

The Obama campaign is now distancing itself from Acorn, claiming Mr. Obama never organized with it and has nothing to do with illegal voter registration. Yet it's disingenuous to channel cash into an operation with a history of fraud and then claim you're shocked to discover reports of fraud. As with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, Mr. Obama was happy to associate with Acorn when it suited his purposes. But now that he's on the brink of the Presidency, he wants to disavow his ties.

8th Grade Textbook Has 15 Pages Devoted to "The One"

And none to McCain.

ACORN Plans Massive Voter Fraud in November

ACORN attempts to register Mickey Mouse in Florida.

ACORN bribes teenager to register 73 times in Ohio.

Bogus voter caught in Ohio's ACORN probe.

Michelle Malkin has a comprehensive chronicle of ACORN's systematic attempts at fraud here.

It's interesting how so much of ACORN's "work" is concentrated in swing states where a few thousand (or maybe even a few hundred) bogus votes may make all the difference.

Where's the outrage? And as Glenn Reynolds keeps asking, where's the Department of Justice?

UPDATE: This year alone ACORN has registered 1,315,037 voters. I'm sure that some of them are legitimate.

Or, er, maybe not.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why Did the Great Depression Last So Long?

Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach....

From Whence We Came

Robert Novak: I am frequently asked, by mail and on the lecture circuit, how it is that our country has fallen so low in recent years from the heights of our noble past into a dismal swamp of bitter partisanship. I reply that bitter partisanship is very much in the American tradition, and that perhaps today's politicians are more courteous than their predecessors. I well remember my first Washington summer in 1957 when I heard Sen. Robert Kerr, on the Senate floor, call Sen. Homer Capehart "a rancid tub of ignorance" to his face. It was a little extreme but not so much out of character that anyone created the kind of fuss it would stir today.

And our Founding Fathers were even worse!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Top 12 Aviation Innovations

As compiled by Wired.

I would add one more major one--GPS. It completely revolutionized navigation.


Anti-obesity drug bites the dust

Instapundit on the Financial Mess:

The government's role in this stuff reminds me...of Milton: "Chaos Umpire sits, And by decision more imbroils the fray. By which he Reigns."


And You Thought Things Were Tough in the US

Telegraph: It took a weekend to shatter the complacency of German finance minister Peer Steinbr├╝ck. Last Thursday he told us that the financial crisis was an "American problem", the fruit of Anglo-Saxon greed and inept regulation that would cost the United States its "superpower status". Pleas from US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson for a joint US-European rescue plan to halt the downward spiral were rebuffed as unnecessary.
By Monday, Mr Steinbr├╝ck was having to orchestrate Germany's biggest bank bail-out, putting together a €35 billion loan package to save Hypo Real Estate. By then Europe was "staring into the abyss," he admitted. Belgium faced worse. It had to nationalise Fortis (with Dutch help), a 300-year-old bastion of Flemish finance, followed a day later by a bail-out for Dexia (with French help).
It turns out that European regulators have allowed even greater use of "off-books" chicanery than the Americans. Mr Paulson may have saved Europe.

Glenn Reynolds on the Media's Response to the VP Debate:

THIS DEBATE "FACT CHECK" from ABC News notes that Sarah Palin fluffed the name of a general in Afghanistan but -- as I predicted last night -- ignores Joe Biden's multiple Constitutional mistakes. Putting the President in Article I, and claiming that the VP only presides over the Senate in case of a tie would seem to be at least as significant, especially given that Biden has been in the Senate since before I hit puberty, and is, you know, running for Vice President. Perhaps he should study up on what the job involves -- remember, the rap on Sarah Palin was that she didn't know. And perhaps the press should try reporting on what he says more . . . .

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Root Cause of the Collapse

Exactly 9 years ago yesterday, on September 30, 1999, here's what the New York Times had to say about Fannie Mae:

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.
Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.

''Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990's by reducing down payment requirements,'' said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae's chairman and chief executive officer. ''Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.''

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.

''From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,'' said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''
In July, the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed that by the year 2001, 50 percent of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's portfolio be made up of loans to low and moderate-income borrowers. Last year, 44 percent of the loans Fannie Mae purchased were from these groups.

UPDATE: Okay, after reading the above, you just HAVE to watch this: