Thursday, July 31, 2008

Not Buying That One

What does Obama say he was referring to with his "presidents on the dollar bills" quip?
"What Barack Obama was talking about was that he didn't get here after spending decades in Washington," Gibbs said. "There is nothing more to this than the fact that he was describing that he was new to the political scene. He was referring to the fact that he didn't come into the race with the history of others. It is not about race."

Uh huh. Right. Sure. That's certainly what I think about when I think of Washington, Lincoln, Jackson and Grant. All of them were long-time Washington operators.

Assuming for a second that he's right, that's the most obscure way of saying what he claims to have said I've ever heard. I NEVER would have gotten that from what he said. So much for the Great Communicator. But let's look at this more deeply.

George Washington: There was no "Washington D.C." or White House. He served in the Contintental Congress for perhaps over a year before taking military command until 1783. Became president of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, then served eight years as President of the United States. So his "Senate" record is about as short as Obama's.

Abraham Lincoln: Served one term in the House of Representatives. Served as president for just over one term. Very active in politics, it's true. But his "Congress" record is about as short as Obama's.

Andrew Jackson: Served less than a year in the House. Served less than a year in the Senate. Elected senator again for three years. Lost the election for President in 1824. Served two terms as president. Somewhat longer record, but not by much.

Ulysses S. Grant: No prior political office at any level. Elected president for two terms.

So yes, I guess Obama has very little in common with these men--they were all elected president, and the majority had military experience.

Pardon me if I'm not buying his explanation. He dropped the bait out there and is now trying to weasle out of it. He played the Race Card. McCain called him on it. There is no other logical interpretation.

EDIT: DOHT! I missed the most obvious point of all. If Obama is trying to imply that he's not a Washington Insider, a career politician, etc., then why does he think we would be SCARED of that? Wouldn't he WANT McCain and Bush to attack him in that manner? Wouldn't it be a GOOD thing to be different?

Nope, definitely not buying it.

What Is He Talking About?

"Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face. So what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me," Obama said. "You know, he's not patriotic enough, he's got a funny name, you know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

Is that so? Can he cite some instances, or is HE just trying to scare people first?

I don't care if he wears a flag pin. I do care that it's so important to him to be liked in Europe.

I don't care that he has a funny name. I've heard it so many times it's not that unusual any more--and never WAS funny. At this point I wouldn't care if his name was Chimpy McBushitler. And I find it a bit insulting that he thinks I'm weak-minded enough to let anyone scare me about his name.

What?! Obama doesn't wear a wig?! He doesn't wear antiquated clothing?! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!!!! Since when in the last 50 years have we had ANY president that looked like "those other presidents on the dollar bills"? That's a pretty lame charge, and it's just Obama obliquely calling McCain a racist without actually saying it.

Why is it the Obama campaign that keeps playing the race card, while continually and pre-emptively accusing the other campaigns? In assuming that the "White Candidates" will attempt to smear him based on race, isn't that in itself racist?

Do we need a president who will continually try to deflect all criticism beforehand by saying "They're just racist"? I don't think that'll fly in international diplomacy, frankly.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Speaking of which...

I got to see "Batman Begins" over the weekend. I'm still digesting it, but it doesn't hold up as well in post-viewing contemplation as I might have thought. I've decided that it was a poor choice to have most of the fight scenes be between people dressed in black. I'm sure the choreography was great, but I could never see any of it. It was just a big blur of black, with people falling on the ground, and then Batman would walk away.

I did think the acting was pretty good, though. I usually enjoy Michael Caine, of course, and I do think Christian Bale brings something to the part that Keaton, Kilmer, and Clooney lacked. And I rather enjoyed seeing Gary Oldman get to be a good guy for a change. Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson are perpetual pleasers, too.

I love the cityscapes. They did that well, especially The Narrows.

Anyway, it was fun, but I'm glad I saw it for free. I'd still like to see "The Dark Knight" someday, but probably not anytime soon. Not until I can rent it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Does That Make Cheney "The Boy Wonder"?

Andrew Klavan, in the Wall Stree Journal, opines that The Dark Knight is really veiled homage to George W. Bush.
And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society -- in which people sometimes make the wrong choices -- and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.

He also slams Hollywood for churning out bomb after moral-equivalance bomb castigating the War on Terror while relegating all the true depictions of heroism to the fantasy/superhero category--which then set box office records.

Read the whole thing.

They Like Me!

Someone else--in actual media--has seen the same thing I did:

Another irony is that while Obama downplays the effectiveness of the surge in Iraq, he is urging a similar tactic now in Afghanistan.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Speaking of Celebrities...

Here's a bit of trivia. Christopher Lee (Count Dooku, Saruman) volunteered to fight for Finland during the Winter War with Russia in 1939. He was only there a couple of weeks, though, and never saw action. He did, however, join the RAF later and was involved in military intelligence--including some stuff that is still classified to this day.

He was the only memeber of the Lord of the Rings cast to have personally met J.R.R. Tolkien.

(For an interesting interview with Lee, go here)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's the Afghanistan, Stupid!

I remember not that long ago the presidential campaign was all about Iraq. Afghanistan scarcely got a mention. Obama made it clear time and time again that he thought Iraq was, is, and will be a bad idea. I don't recall him ever saying it was a bad idea because we should be focusing on Afghanistan.

Now Afghanistan is all the rage. The war in Iraq is taking resources away from the war in Afghanistan. No really, I've been saying this all along!

Yeah, right. What's he been saying?

- Iraq was a bad idea. It's not made us safer.
- We need to bring our troops home
- The Surge would not work, and hasn't really worked. It's the political changes that have brought about the progress in Iraq.
- We need to fight Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan
- We need The Surge in Afghanistan

So let me get this straight. We need to bring our troops home--but not until after we've sent them to Afghanistan to defeat Al Qaeda there, even though it's the Taliban in Afghanistan, not Al Qaeda. If Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan, it's because they've fled from Iraq to there. So if we hadn't gone to war in Iraq we'd have to go there to get to Al Qaeda. But that would have been Obama's choice, so it would be okay.

Furthermore, we need a Surge in Afghanistan, even though The Surge hasn't produced the success we're seeing. It's the political progress that's produced results. So why are we moving troops to Afghanistan? Just implement that political solution that works so dang well? And by the way, we do not have Pakistan's permission to operate within their country. Are we planning to invade them to get at Al Qaeda? Isn't that the same reason we went into Iraq?

So vote for Obama! He'll move our troops somewhere else to fight a war that won't do any good pursuing people who are not there, but are hiding in a separate country we'd have to invade. But a political solution would do the job better anyway.

Pardon me, but that seems like his plan is screwier than he accuses Bush's plan of being.

The good news is, though, that if he's elected Susan Sarandon will not move to Italy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Speed Reading

I've finished Michael Crichton's "Next". It was an odd book. It was over rather quickly, and a lot of characters seemed like throw-aways. I wasn't even sure why they were in the book, really. A lot of plot lines were left hanging.

And then I realized that I'd only listened to half the book. The second half. The books I download come in two parts, and for some reason I got Part 2 instead of Part 1. The really weird thing is that, the way Crichton writes, I couldn't tell. He always writes as if he's starting in the middle of things, and even half-way through the book he still repeats enough detail about characters that for all you know it could be the first time. It was only at the very end of the book that I even began to suspect that I'd missed something.

Well, now that I know, I don't think I'll bother going back. It wasn't that exciting a book. I'm kinda glad I managed to get through it in half the time.

Now I'm re-listening to David McCullough's "John Adams". I could do with a little inspiration.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Thought for the day:

I've been to Europe four times now, for a combined duration of about three months.

I have more "Foreign Policy Experience" than Barak Obama, even after he completes his "Foreign Policy Tour" vacation. I need to write a book and run for president.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Moral High Ground

Peter Schweizer has a new book out looking at tendencies between liberals and conservatives. Right Wing News (hat tip Dr. Helen) has an interview with Schweizer to discuss some of the points in the book. One more telling quote:
I think that modern liberalism, since the 1960s in particular, has been all about outsourcing your responsibilities -- meaning that the government is supposed to take care of you and other people -- so I think this encourages that sort of mindset. They (feel) that they gave at the office, they voted for the right political candidate, they believe in the right political causes -- so they've done their bit for poverty and they'll leave it to government to spend money on people that have needs.

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Michael Totten in Kosovo

“We are more pro-American than you are,” one young Kosovar told me.

“Thank you,” I said. “We appreciate that. Some people don’t like us.”

“Bad people,” he said.

Boy, if that doesn't say a lot; both about Kosovo and the US.

Read the whole thing.

Monday, July 14, 2008

It's A Birthday...It's A Birthday!

We've lived in this area for nine years now. In all that time we've never been to the reservoir just up the river from town. After our trip to Finland when it was never warm enough or stopped raining long enough to take the kids to the beaches there, we decided we should make up for it and visit our local reservoir.

What's taken us so long? It's actually three separate areas, two of which are state parks. Above the dam is where all the boating happens. Below the dam is a man-made beach area where no motorized boats are allowed. Further down river is a more natural park area where dogs are allowed and kayakers and canoers can launch into the river.

We didn't know any of this, of course, because we'd never been before. We chose the area below the dam. They've built a large picnic area on a point of land with the water wrapping around it on three sides. Water is fed into the "lagoon" via a pipe that sprays a big cloud of spray about 50 fee in the air. I imagine it's nice to stand under it on a hot day.

We chose the beach around the back side where there weren't many people. In fact there were hardly any people there all morning, even though the other side was getting fairly busy. Not that we minded.

The kids had a great time splashing in the water, making sand castles, dredging out the moats made by previous visitors, wading after the minnows, and generally playing. It was an unusual experience for Terhi and I. The kids entertained themselves and left us mostly alone. We weren't prepared for it. We usually have to keep them entertained. We weren't prepared to entertain ourselves. Not a bad problem to have, though.

We wrapped it up around noon and had a picnic before heading back home. On the way back out we stopped at the ranger station to see about paying, as no one had been around when we arrived. It turns out we picked the state park system's birthday to come. Entrance was free for the day. Boy, what timing!

We did come away with some brochures. I've lived in this state all my life, but there's a lot I didn't know about our state park system. There's a lot of cool parks in the state. Since the summer is rapidly coming to a close we're going to visit another one this next weekend. It's even closer to our house in the opposite direction.

Either one is perfect. We can have a fun morning before it gets too hot or too busy, and still be home in time to get some things done around the house in the afternoon. What a country!

Friday, July 11, 2008

What's Next?

I've begun listening to Michael Crichton's "Next". I'm not sure why I've been putting it off, but I wouldn't be listening to it now if I hadn't forgotten to download "John Adams" and I had to load something before I headed out the door this morning.

In other news, I went jogging again last night. I hope to go three times per week, and perhaps if I make myself answerable here I'll stick with it better?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Sound of Summer Running

I bought my own pair of Cream-sponge Para Lightfoots the other night. Okay, they're actually $70 Asics, but dang if they don't feel good. My feet actually felt lighter with them on. Good enough to make me go jog once around the cemetary that very night.

I need to get in better shape. I suspect that if I did my allergies and asthma would at least diminish, perhaps significantly. I'm sure I'd be less tired (eventually). I've decided it's worth half an hour every other day.

If I stick with it the shoes will be a bargain.

Antelopes. Gazelles.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

They Don't All Hate Us

Here's some unusually strong praise for Bush...from England!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I Could Sharpen Knives With His Teeth

James Lileks skewers Garrison Keillor again today. I don't read Keillor's columns. I'm not even sure where to find them. So I don't know if the pieces Lileks criticizes are indicative of the majority of his pieces. But considering the topic, and how it's addressed, I rather suspect so.

Keillor is in Massachussetts, and goes for a walk in a picturesque town. He stops to watch a baseball game and gets to talking with a parent of one of the players. This all leads Keillor, of course, to contemplate how terrible the future is for that girl, thanks to our current administration.

Everything makes Keillor think of the current administration and how loathesome it is. I suspect he could make an Anti-Bush column out of tripping over the sidewalk:

"I was walking, as I am prone to do, down main street the other day, contemplating the vagaries of life on the northern prairie and noting how the incessant sunshine draws us somehow closer to one another, as we sweat our summers away in our separate houses, gathered around our air conditioners the way folks early in the last century used to gather around the radio. It's our new shared experience. Suddenly I found my body propelled forward at an alarming rate. I caught myself, but not before experiencing that primal surge of blood and adrenaline so strong you can smell it that usually accompanies unexpected hurtlings of the body.

Looking back to ascertain the cause of my narrowly-avoided plummeting toward Mother Earth I espied that a section of sidewalk had been pushed up, like a great tectonic plate, above the pedestrial plane. As I considered this offensive block of concrete I couldn't help but compare it with the Current Occupant, who has in his infinite blundering managed to force eight years of our National Experience out of alignment with the otherwise smooth plane of American History, and I thought of all the others besides myself who had stubbed their toes there, wondering if any of them had required medical attention and been unable to afford it because of the Current Occupant's utter failure to provide health care for those below the line of undue affluence and power."

You know, I wish I could make Keillor's salary to write the same column over and over. Perhaps it's just a mental exercise for him, to see how many different ways he can say "I hate Bush" without actually saying it or repeating himself.

I hope we never see the day when it becomes obvious that Bush was right. I hope Keillor never has to write a column someday about how sad he is that the little girl he once watched play baseball on a boys' team now isn't even allowed out of the house, let alone play sports of any kind on any team, because Sharia law forbids it. But if he does, I suspect he'll find a way to blame that on Bush, too.

Because of course it's never Keillor's fault. He's just a Passive Observer, doing nothing more than reporting on the world he sees around him. Each column is an impartial sounding of the depths for all to hear: "Life still sucks! Bush is still in office! Tune in again next week!"

I have no use for such people. If, as his columns seem to indicate, everything he experiences reminds him of how aweful Bush is, then he has developed a psychosis. He is not alone in this. I know people on both sides of the political fence (or is it barricade, these days?) who are pretty much the same way. They can't pull their heads out of the political quicksand long enough to notice that the world is still going on around them. They can't do something as simple as watch a baseball game without getting into a stew over politics.

I can't live that way. I refuse to live that way. This morning there was a light mist (or perhaps smoke) in the foothills above town that caught the morning sun and transformed the scene into an impressionistic painting. Oddly enough, I found myself enjoying that brief glimpse for what it was, and managed quite easily not to draw any comparisions to Bush, Obama, McCain, Pelosi, Putin, Sarkozy, or Mugabe, et al.

I'm just arrogant enough to believe that mine was the proper way to enjoy it.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Is Mass Transit The Answer?

After reading this article on, I'd have to say no. Just another corner we've painted ourselves into.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Ecuador to the Rescue!

At last some perspective! Frank J at IMAO provides some in his warning against asteroids. He even solves the two problems (election, economy) distracting everyone from the real danger!

Funny stuff, which we could all use right now, I think.
(Hat-tip: Instapundit)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Volcanos and Polar Bears

At least one study is suggesting that undersea volcanos may be melting the arctic ice.

The earth is a vast, complex, poorly-understood place. I'm just sayin'.

Worms. Why Did It Have To Be Worms...

While very interesting, I'm not currently encouraged by this latest development in allergy relief:

Using hookworms to protect against allergies

Just ten worms can significantly reduce symptoms while not producing any noticeable problems. Well, I still think I'll pass for now.