Thursday, December 20, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust. Tancredo Cedes Race to Romney

There's one fewer Republican candidate to remember. Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo dropped out of the race, recognizing that he has no chance of winning, and that Romney has the best chance to push Tancredo's signature platform - illegal immigration reform.

As the article states, the endorsement comes at a time when Romney (considered the odds-on favorite to win by Pat Buchanan) is pushing to retain an edge in Iowa - and it's a welcome endorsement indeed.
Tancredo and Romney met for about an hour today prior to the announcements, Tancredo said. He opted to support Romney after he was reassured that he had clarified his position on immigration.

Bowing out was the only way to ensure the momentum behind the anti-illegal immigration movement wouldn't flame out, he said.
Seems that Romney has enjoyed slow but steady growth over the course of his marathon campaign, compared to his opponents, whose standings have been either anemic (John McCain, Fred Thompson), in decline (Giuliani), or wildly unpredictable (Huckabee). If recent history is any measure, Mitt is right on track to be the one who beats Hillary in the general election.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Global Cooling? Blame It On Global Warming

Supporting the idea that global warming is nothing more than a dogmatic pseudo-religious movement, the earth has experienced a year of global cooling. Just a few items of evidence from the Washington Times:
Antarctica is getting colder. Neither the intensity nor the frequency of hurricanes has increased. The 2007 season was the third-quietest since 1966. In 2006 not a single hurricane made landfall in the U.S.

South America this year experienced one of its coldest winters in decades..

Johannesburg, South Africa, had the first significant snowfall in 26 years. Australia experienced the coldest June ever. In northeastern Australia, the city of Townsville underwent the longest period of continuously cold weather since 1941. In New Zealand, the weather turned so cold that vineyards were endangered.

Recent weeks have seen the return of unusually cold conditions to the Northern Hemisphere. On Dec. 7, St. Cloud, Minn., set a new record low of minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit. On the same date, record low temperatures were also recorded in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The Canadian government warns that this winter is likely to be the coldest in 15 years.
Finally, David Deming, the writer, concludes quite concisely:
If you think any of the preceding facts can falsify global warming, you're hopelessly naive. Nothing creates cognitive dissonance in the mind of a true believer. In 2005, a Canadian Greenpeace representative explained “global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter.” In other words, all weather variations are evidence for global warming.
Meanwhile, the auto industry, reeling from economic downturn, face even greater obstacles ahead with the soon-to-be-passed energy bill, requiring 35 mpg by 2020. The power companies are investing billions into new "carbon-neutral" technology – which by then will be understood as money down the drain.

Global Warming has to be the only religion bent on the self-destruction of its adherents. In fact, sounds more like a cult to me.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Romney's Been Borked!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketNo, he wasn't denied an up-or-down vote on a Supreme Court appointment. Rather, Judge Robert Bork has endorsed Romney in his presidential bid:
Our next President may be called upon to make more than one Supreme Court nomination, and Governor Romney is committed to nominating judges who take their oath of office seriously and respect the rule of law in our nation. I also support Governor Romney because of his character, his integrity and his stands on the major issues facing the United States.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mona Charen for Mitt Romney

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketHere's a snippet from an excellent piece Mona Charen writes about Mitt. Looks like she's one of those who was definitively swayed by his "Faith in America" speech.
"It is difficult to find any significant weakness in Romney. He is refreshingly articulate, exceedingly well prepared and self-disciplined, clearly an excellent manager with both private and government experience, happily married with a large, supportive family, and well within the mainstream of conservatism on every major issue. His nomination would not divide the base.

"He is just the sort of candidate people complain that they never get."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Michael Novak - Another Powerful Romney Endorsement

Wow, there's nothing like heating up the political horse race to bring out the big, ringing endorsements. First the National Review, and now the widely respected philosopher and diplomat Michael Novak. Read the endorsement.

An excerpt:
"One of my favorite texts from the New Testament is "By their fruits you shall know them." That verse has taught me to look for persons who actually love God, not so much by the churches they attend or what they say they believe, but by how they and their families live their lives. Over two public generations now, the Romney family has given us examples of upright, decent, warm lives, given to public commitment even though they did not have to be.

"These days, though, it has become imperative for some Christians to come out publicly for Mitt, now that his religion has come under unfair attack. I am no expert on Mormon theology, but I do profoundly admire the good family life and good individuals it keeps sending forth into the world. Those are signs I read clearly."

Great Hard Rock Café Banner Ad

It's not often an Internet banner ad gets my attention. But Hard Rock Café is one of the 0.00001% that breaks through the clutter into my consciousness. Behold:

I'd like to see the rest of the series. Any idea where they can be found?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

National Review Endorses Romney

The bastion of conservative news, thought and commentary, the National Review, has endorsed my pick for president, Mitt Romney. Read the excellent endorsement. Here are some excerpts:
Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate. In our judgment, that candidate is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Unlike some other candidates in the race, Romney is a full-spectrum conservative: a supporter of free-market economics and limited government, moral causes such as the right to life and the preservation of marriage, and a foreign policy based on the national interest.

Romney is an intelligent, articulate, and accomplished former businessman and governor. At a time when voters yearn for competence and have soured on Washington because too often the Bush administration has not demonstrated it, Romney offers proven executive skill. He has demonstrated it in everything he has done in his professional life, and his tightly organized, disciplined campaign is no exception. He himself has shown impressive focus and energy.

We believe that Romney is a natural ally of social conservatives. He speaks often about the toll of fatherlessness in this country. He may not have thought deeply about the political dimensions of social issues until, as governor, he was confronted with the cutting edge of social liberalism. No other Republican governor had to deal with both human cloning and court-imposed same-sex marriage. He was on the right side of both issues, and those battles seem to have made him see the stakes of a broad range of public-policy issues more clearly. He will work to put abortion on a path to extinction. Whatever the process by which he got to where he is on marriage, judges, and life, we’re glad he is now on our side — and we trust him to stay there.

For some people, Romney’s Mormonism is still a barrier. But we are not electing a pastor...He deserves to be judged on his considerable merits as a potential president...Romney is an exemplary family man and a patriot whose character matches the high office to which he aspires.

In this most fluid and unpredictable Republican field, we vote for Mitt Romney.
National Review and NRO are America's most widely read and influential magazine and web site for Republican/conservative news, commentary, and opinion. Both magazine and web site are the benchmark vehicles for reaching those Republicans/conservatives who shape opinion on the important issues, and both reach an affluent, educated, and highly responsive audience of corporate and government leaders, the financial elite, educators, journalists, community and association leaders, as well as engaged activists all across America.

Mitt Romney: Most Targeted by the Democrats

These figures from Drudge are rather telling. It's a summary of the press release attacks from the Democratic National Committee. Here's the breakdown:

Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) – 37% (99 press releases)
Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) – 28% (74)
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) – 24% (64)
Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) – 8% (20)
Governor Mike Huckabee – 2% (4)]

Mitt Romney is far and away the biggest target for the DNC. They obviously see him as the greatest threat, with the best chance of defeating Hillary or whomever else they nominate.

Compare that to Mike Huckabee, who has been on the business end of a total of four negative attack releases – even though he has proposed putting all AIDS victims under quarantine.

The DNC had better pray the anti-Mormons have their way. there's a strange pair of bedfellows.

Awesome Quote of the Day

"Climate change is a non problem. The right answer to a non problem is to have the courage to do nothing. The UN conference is a complete waste of our time and your money and we should no longer pay the slightest attention to the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.]"
From Lord Christopher Monckton, a UK climate researcher attending the UN climate conference at a posh resort in Bali, Indonesia.

His colleague, Australian scientist Dr. David Evans, noted that,
"This is the most lavish conference I have ever been to, but I am only a scientist and I actually only go to the science conferences.

Most of the people here have jobs that are very well paid and they depend on the idea that carbon emissions cause global warming. They are not going to be very receptive to the idea that well actually the science has gone off in a different direction."

Friday, December 07, 2007

Watch "Faith in America"

I finally got around to embedding Mitt Romney's defining moment thus far in his campaign. Take a few minutes to give it a watch or listen. There are at least a half-dozen AOL (agree-out-loud) moments in it.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Webcast: Catch Romney's Religion Speech

Don't miss one of the cornerstone speeches of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign! Airing 10:30am EST. Watch it at

Dear President Bush: No More Bailouts

Don't you just love it when people about to reap the rewards of poor judgment get bailed out by politicians at the cost of those who act more responsibly? Of course, that's the essence of the game in Washington, and it's no different with Bush's proposed interest rate freeze for the two million idiots who took out an adjustable rate mortgage that will be beyond their means to pay after it "adjusts."

Talk about rewarding stupidity! "Oh, I can afford a $300,000 home because the interest rate is only 3%! Because I can always refinance later." That's like building your home on a flood plain, and then expecting the insurance company to cover the cost of your bad judgment. It won't happen.

So Bush freezes the interest rate to save their homes. At whose cost? The investors in the lending companies. More simply, Bush proposes to transfer wealth from the business owners to the homeowners, just so families don't have to move into an apartment due to their own moronic decisions. Yeah, that sounds fair.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Detroit from a Distance

looming detroit
Originally uploaded by Senor Velasco
Fiddling around with my new camera from the 8th floor of my workplace. I have to learn how to use this thing before I take Christmas photos!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Congrats, Helio & Julianne

So it's old news by now that Helio and Julianee are the DWTS winners. I was behind them from the very beginning, though several other stars were better dancers. It definitely illustrates that the winning the competition is one part talent, one part effort and at least one part popularity.

The judges have said that this season holds the most talent. I disagree. I feel that any of the top three finalists from season three (Joey McIntyre, Mario Lopez and Emmit Smith) were better dancers than either Mel B or Helio. Though there was a lot of discarded talent early on in this competition (Sabrina Bryan, Albert Reed). Again, it's at least as much about popularity as it is about technique. How else could Marie Osmond have made it to the finals?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Chase Bank Down!

Okay, I never even knew is was possible for an entire bank to be "down." But it is.

I tried checking my balance online, and got a message saying the system is down. Okay, fine--I'll call customer service for the balance.

When the representative picked up, she simply said, "I'm sorry, our systems are down and we cannot provide you any information."

So even the bank can't access the account info? Bad news.

Act of terrorism? Massive hardware failure? Global warming? It must be pretty big, whatever it is. I'm wondering if there will be a news story out there soon about this...

Anyone else have any updates? Sound off!



Looks like everything is back online--and there's finally a story about it in the news. At least now I know I'm not broke.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I Hope the Writers' Strike Lasts

The Internet is simply abuzz with sympathy for the poor underserved, underappreciated Writers Guild. In fact, today many blogs will "go dark" as a show of support--replacing their regular content with WGA solidarity statements.

As I'm not part of the Writers Guild, I really don't care what happens to them. There's no TV show or movie I can't do without. I felt much the same way about last month's impending Michigan government shutdown. It's not like I get much from it anyway.

Come to think of it, maybe a decline in quality TV programming will compel more families to spend evenings together away from the tube. So to that end, I too fully support the writers in their strike. If we're lucky, it will last long enough to trim some of the Hollywood fat, and force people like Julia Roberts to settle for less than a $40 million take from a money-losing movie.

At the very least it may distract them from their environmental and political wacktivism.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Weather Channel Founder Disagrees with Global Warming Elite

Can the founder of the Weather Channel be blackballed by global warming elitists?

Yes, I believe they can.

Here's what that guy, John Coleman, said:
It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create in allusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the “research” to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.

Environmental extremists, notable politicians among them, then teamed up with movie, media and other liberal, environmentalist journalists to create this wild “scientific” scenario of the civilization threatening environmental consequences from Global Warming unless we adhere to their radical agenda. Now their ridiculous manipulated science has been accepted as fact and become a cornerstone issue for CNN, CBS, NBC, the Democratic Political Party, the Governor of California, school teachers and, in many cases, well informed but very gullible environmental conscientious citizens. Only one reporter at ABC has been allowed to counter the Global Warming frenzy with one 15 minutes documentary segment.

I do not oppose environmentalism. I do not oppose the political positions of either party. However, Global Warming, ie Climate Change, is not about environmentalism or politics. It is not a religion. It is not something you “believe in.” It is science; the science of meteorology. This is my field of life-long expertise. And I am telling you Global Warming is a non-event, a manufactured crisis and a total scam. I say this knowing you probably won’t believe a me, a mere TV weatherman, challenging a Nobel Prize, Academy Award and Emmy Award winning former Vice President of United States. So be it.

I have read dozens of scientific papers. I have talked with numerous scientists. I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct. There is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril. I am incensed by the incredible media glamour, the politically correct silliness and rude dismissal of counter arguments by the high priest of Global Warming.

Yeah, this guy's pretty much toast. He dares to contradict the "high priest of Global Warming." Personally, I think it's too late to change our societal bent toward this ridiculous notion. Too many companies have invested in appearing "green." Too many egos will be hurt to accept that they have been duped into espousing global warming. And too many elitists have too much power at stake to watch it evaporate in the face of sound reasoning that has a voice.

Only after a decade or two will society accept its folly--long after it has paid a heavy price for its beliefs.

By the way, here's an excellent (and rare) contrarian piece from 20/20.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sabrina Bryan Was Robbed - by the Baby Boomers

I'm not what you would call a rabid fan of Dancing with the Stars, but I do watch it with some interest.

Sabrina Bryan, a member of Disney girl-band The Cheetah Girls, is far and away the best celebrity dancer of the season. She seriously blows everyone else out of the water.

So it was a shock tonight to see her eliminated.

She's not even my favorite dancer (I'm rooting for Helio the race car driver), and I'm still shocked. The judges were dumbfounded.

I think we know the most significant demographic of public viewers and voters: the baby boomers. Who else would cast a vote for Marie Osmond and Jane Seymour, whose performances are a dismal shadow of Sabrina's talent. That's the reason people such as Jerry Springer and Wayne Newton last so long on the show.

Unfortunately, it shows that Dancing With the Stars is truly more of a popularity contest than anything. But hey--it's good news for my man Helio.

Apple Soundly Slams Third-Grader

I'm no fan of Apple. Particularly the brand; I think their machines are just fine, for the most part. But it makes me laugh to relay this article about how a third-grade iPod fan wrote Steve Jobs with some suggestions for making the iPod even better. Apple's response? Cease and desist.
The letter was not from Steve Jobs, it was signed the senior counsel, Apple Law Department.

That's right, apple's legal department, telling a nine year old that apple does not accept unsolicited ideas. Apple's legal department told her not send them her suggestions, and if she wants to know why, she could read their legal policy on the Internet.
Take that, young innovator! And don't bother with the concept that writing letters can make a difference. Or that any of your ideas are worth expressing. Just go back and buy another iPod when your battery dies. You're not worthy to contact us.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pro-Life Founder Backs Romney

Yet another of social conservativism's leaders has thrown his support Mitt Romney's way. Dr. John Willke, known as the founder of the pro-life movement, was a former supporter of Sam Brownback before the Senator dropped out of the race.

Says Willke,
"Unlike other candidates who only speak to the importance of confronting the major social issues of the day, Governor Romney has a record of action in defending life. Every decision he made as governor was on the side of life. I know he will be the strong pro-life president we need in the White House, Governor Romney is the only candidate who can lead our pro-life and pro-family conservative movement to victory in 2008."
Increasingly it seems that Mitt's conversion on social issues is being viewed as genuine, and we can only hope that even more conservative leaders will lean his way.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bob Jones III Gets Behind Romney

Here's another significant win for Mitt Romney: the support of Christian leader and chancellor of the fundamentalist Christian Bob Jones University.

Says Bob,
"This is all about beating Hillary," Jones said. "And I just believe that this man has the credentials both personally and ideologically in terms of his view about what American government should be to best represent the rank and file of conservative Americans.
As Mitt maintains his momentum in the crucial early voting states, he's also maintaining his momentum convincing mainstream Christian leaders that he's running for Commander-in-Chief, not Pastor-in-Chief.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Teeth: Another Casualty of Socialized Medicine

I stumbled upon this article about the dreadful state of dentistry in the U.K. It's no secret that Brits are stereotyped with nightmarish choppers - and it's likely due to a shortage of qualified dentists and exorbitant costs for the who aren't poor enough to be covered. The result?

Almost a fifth (19%) of those questioned said they had missed out on dental work because of the cost.

The research found 6% had even resorted to treating themselves because they could not find a dentist.

The 5,000-plus patients who were interviewed also spoke of taking out their own teeth or fixing broken crowns with glue.

The dentists say it's the fault of a faulty system:

Almost three fifths (58%) of dentists blamed new contracts brought in by the Government last year.

Four out of 10 (41%) felt they had an "excessive" workload with 29% saying they had problems recruiting or retaining dentists.

Welcome to the world of U.S. healthcare should we elect a Democrat to the presidency.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Saved By Zamzar

I'm happy with Microsoft Office 2007. Except for the fact that its file formats aren't backwards compatible.

Unfortunately, I brought some work home last night, then saved it Word 2007 format, docx. So when I brought it to work this morning, I realized I'm screwed.

A quick google search yielded me what I think is one of the greatest online utilities I've ever come across: Zamzar.

It's an online service that basically converts files between almost any conceivable format. I'm not kidding--the list is HUGE. Word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, charts, audio, video, everything. Thankfully, it converted my docx file to work on my stupid Mac at the office.

Thanks, Zamzar!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Google Trends & Mitt Romney

Just for kicks, I ran the three major contenders for the Republican nomination through Google Trends. Turns out that Mitt is solidly second behind Fred Thompson in overall searches over the past 30 days.

But let's put things in perspective, here. Britney Spears demolishes EVERYONE. It's simultaneously sad and hilarious.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

You've Got To Hear Happy Rhodes

In 2000 my brother introduced me to a musician/singer/songwriter who just blew me away. Her name was Happy Rhodes, and my brother had given me her last album, Many Worlds Are Born Tonight (1998). It was her tenth, and, in my opinion, her crowning achievement. Her dumbfounding vocals, emotive delivery and complex, electronically organic music easily placed her in my top five favorite artists of the 90s. I since came to own nearly all of her works.

It's been nine years since the release of that album. Finally, album number eleven is complete. Entitled Find Me, it's one of the releases I've been anticipating the most. I even bought the Find Me MP3 sampler a couple years ago, which contained early working versions of seven tracks from the upcoming album. As a completely independent artist, this is one of the ways Happy funded the project. The songs were great--and I can't wait to hear what they sound like after two more years of work.

If you want a small taste of Happy's music and incredible vocal talent, head to YouTube and check her out. It's not the same as her studio stuff, but still a good showcase. Head to her website for the latest news.

Here's a sample from Many Worlds Are Born Tonight.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Quit Your Griping, the World is Fine

I just ran across an article that hasn't made any headlines, nor been played on the evening news. No, of course not--it's hard to point fingers at a villain there's no villainy to report.

From the WSJ opinion article:
But here they are: World-wide illiteracy rates have fallen by half since 1970 and now stand at an all-time low of 18%. More people live in free countries than ever before. The average human being today will live 50% longer in 2025 than one born in 1955.

To what do we owe this improvement? Capitalism, according to the U.N. Free trade is rightly recognized as the engine of global prosperity in recent years. In 1981, 40% of the world's population lived on less than $1 a day. Now that percentage is only 25%, adjusted for inflation. And at current rates of growth, "world poverty will be cut in half between 2000 and 2015"--which is arguably one of the greatest triumphs in human history. Trade and technology are closing the global "digital divide," and the report notes hopefully that soon laptop computers will cost $100 and almost every schoolchild will be a mouse click away from the Internet (and, regrettably, those interminable computer games).
So the next time you hear someone's anti-capitalist, anti-corporate rant, recall that it is the corporations, supported by free trade and capitalism, that are the ones making the world a better place for everyone. And you can tell them to shut their yaps.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Let the Recall Begin

Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm's disastrous solution to the states abysmal budget deficit is to raise taxes to cover most of the shortfall. Consequently, businesses are set to exit the state for a more tax-friendly environment. We can look forward to a deeper state recession as a result. Unsurprisingly, there is now a movement to recall some key legislators and the governor herself.

Enter the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, which will initiate recall proceedings in the wake of the malfeasance. The site's blog addresses the reasons behind the budget disaster:
When I served in Lansing, I frequently asked colleagues if they thought reforms, like eliminating the state's prevailing wage laws or becoming a right-to-work state, would help Michigan. Nearly every Republican and a few Democrats told me that they knew such reforms would help the economy, but they could not vote for them because the unions would harshly punish them in an election. Privately, legislators support education reform BUT fear the teacher union would punish them. Shrinking government spending is also supported BUT government employees would target legislators caught enacting such cuts.
Oh, thank goodness for unions!

Recalling the governor appears to be a longshot, but she's the most public face behind the fiasco, and so her name will likely appear at the top of any petition.

I just wonder what morons voted her into office in the first place. Oh, right. Union members.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Hastert for Romney? Cool.

From the article,
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert heads a full slate of 57 candidates seeking election as convention delegates pledged to Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney in the state's Feb. 5 primary, the campaign said Tuesday.

Brief Thoughts from a Theoretical Physicist

I stumbled across this article featuring an interview with Brian Greene, a physicist grappling with string theory, which I found simultaneously fascinating and incomprehensible.

Anyway, he had a couple good things to say:
What issues are most woefully ignored in public discourse?

I think the general role of science is not as appreciated as it should be. There’s still a great sense that science is what takes place in laboratories, by scientists, without a recognition of how it so fully informs almost every aspect of everyday life — from cell phones to the iPods you were mentioning to personal computers to all manner of technology, medical and otherwise. A computer chip owes its existence to quantum physics. This esoteric sounding subject developed in the 1920s and ’30s is what allows these things to exist. Moreover, what’s ignored in conversations [currently preoccupying the world] — climate changes, global pandemics, stem cells — is often the underlying science, which can really inform the conversation and help it to go down very different directions. What’s missing in the public discourse is for science to be tightly woven into the cultural tapestry, so that it’s not viewed as something separate, but something fully integrated into the way we think.

What is on your iPod?

I don’t have an iPod.
This guy and I are so similar, it's like we're separated at birth. He digs science, I dig science. He doesn't own an iPod, I don't own an iPod. Wow, that's really eerie when you think about it.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Michigan's New Budget Deal

Here's my 1,000-word take on Michigan's new budget, which includes both a service tax hike and an income tax hike.

Michigan Budget Deal

Republicans didn't have the fortitude to force a government shutdown and demand more cuts. Democrats couldn't bear to abandon their pandering to entrenched economic parasites. Way to go, Michigan. At least Louisiana had a hurricane to blame. You have only your own stupidity.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Ugh. Macs.

Greyed Screen of DeathOkay, so I can't say I've ever had the Blue Screen of Death on my Mac at work. No, I get the shinier, slicker, more user-friendly "Greyed Screen of Death." I feel so much better now. I hate Macs.

By the way, my Vista machine at home has NEVER crashed. Ever.

I think I'll read Clarence Thomas

ABC News offers a review of memoirs by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas--and it looks like a great read. I've wondered about where he came from, where he developed his opinions and how he has handled the abuses he's seen since becoming one of the most conservative voices on the Supreme Court. A couple interesting bits from the review:
Thomas's most deeply felt opinions are about race, and he pulls no punches. For Thomas, the menacing racists who donned white sheets in the segregated South of his childhood [aren't] as bad or worse than the northern liberal zealots in suits and ties.

"These people who claim to be progressive … have been far more vicious to me than any southerner," Thomas says, "and it is purely ideological."

"People get bent out of shape about the fact that when I was a kid, you could not drink out of certain water fountains. Well, the water was the same. My grandfather always said that, 'The water's exactly the same.' But those same people are extremely comfortable saying I can't drink from this fountain of knowledge," Thomas says. "They certainly don't see themselves as being like the bigots in the South. Well, I've lived both experiences. And I really don't see that they're any different from them."

He says his critics — the people who question whether he is smart or qualified to be on the Court or who suggest he merely does what a white Supreme Court colleague dictates — are as also as bigoted as the whites of his childhood in the deep South.
I think I'll pick it up.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Is Socialized Medicine Without Morals?

The economic and political pitfalls of socialized medicine have been examined at great length for decades. But what about the moral implications? In an increasingly secular country, will government-run healthcare erode accepted moral standards in the medical community? That appears to be the case.

In Great Britain, for instance, the General Medical Council has adopted new guidelines that forbid doctors from telling the parents of minors as young as 13 about their sexual activity, birth control and even impending abortions.

This goes far beyond the issue of children's rights to make their own decisions. It amounts to state-sponsored dispatching of families' right to adopt moral and ethical standards according to their own beliefs.

Conclusion: Socialized medicine is another contributor to the disintegration of the nuclear family--the building block of civilization.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Heroes Review

So all summer I've been excited about the season premiere of Heroes. After watching it last night, now I'm only mildly enthused. Let's divide the episode into the Yeah!, Stupid, and Meh.


Okay, there ARE some very cool parts about the upcoming season, based on what we saw last night. It looks like the key villain is going to be very cool, which is a relief. The little girl Molly sees--and is seen by--this monster in her dreams, who is apparently much worse than last season's psychotic Sylar. It will be neat to watch as they unveil just how horrendous this villain will be.

The other very cool part is the mysterious plan to eliminate the original founders of the "company." Who's behind it? And why now? Is it because they failed in their mission to blow up New York? It looks like Hiro's father Kaito is dead, having been pushed off a building. Which begs the question, what was his power, anyway? And Angela Petrelli's?


Last season, Hiro was cool. His antics and naivete made him an enjoyable diversion from the heavy themes that abounded, and his search for mastery of his own powers was an excellent sub-plot.

This season, Hiro becomes a caricature of himself. Having just escaped death at the hands of Sylar, and having seen the horrific consequences of messing with events in the timeline, what's the first thing he does? Saves some dude's life in an historic battle in 17th century Japan, thereby altering the achievements of his personal ancient hero, Takezo Kensai. Obviously his new mission is to help Kensai get back on course and achieve the historical and cultural status that Hiro has ruined. This is a storyline that has been beaten to death. I hope they don't dwell on it too much.

More stupidity comes from the Claire Bennet front. Again, we've seen this played out before. She has a new life in California, and keeping her true identity a secret from the Company is of utmost importance. But she can't stand denying who she is, or what she can do. And she has a new boy who will undoubtedly learn her secret, and somehow her identity will be revealed to the Company. Boring.


Parkman finally gets his badge. Yay. The guy can read other people's minds, and it took him this long. He's definitely one of the more annoying characters, and it seems the only way they could make him relevant was to make him Molly's guardian.

Nathan Petrelli has had a change of heart, and has blown off his political career. And grown a beard. Whoopee.

Mr. Bennet hates his job at the copy shop. Super duper.

Nathan Petrelli is alive. Big surprise there. Has amnesia--it was bound to happen. Gotta have the most powerful character lose something, otherwise everyone else would be pretty much moot. Peter could just take care of everything. This storyline does have potential, though. Like it would be really cool if he was captured and re-oriented as an evil dude.

Mohinder Suresh is a ridiculed academic. Nothing new there. And he's recruited to work for the company--by Ned Ryerson (Groundhog Day), no less! No biggie, he's worked with them before. Oh, but he's actually on a SECRET OPERATION to bring down the company. I'm glad they blew that secret in the first episode of the season. No reason to bring any more intrigue to that fascinating storyline. Maybe he'll at least get a chance to snatch up some cheap life insurance.

Overall, I give this episode a 6.5, maybe 7.0. That's a far cry from the 8.5 or 9.0 I would normally award the series. I still have hopes that Heroes will redeem itself, but at this rate it looks like it's already past its prime.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mormon Prophet Honored; Distinguished Author/Historian Pays Tribute

This item is newsworthy not just for the bestowal of the Municipal Citizen of the Century upon Gordon B. Hinkley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but also for words of wisdom from noted historian and author David McCullough. From the article:

Delivering the luncheon's keynote address, McCullough fretted that more and more Americans are historically illiterate and no longer write, or can think, the way John Adams and Abigail Adams did.

"To write well is to think clearly. To write very well is to think very clearly," McCullough said. "And we don't do much thinking on paper any more."

McCullough urged increased emphasis on history, wherein he said lie lessons of humanity. "History is about consequences, the consequences of actions. It's about faith, about human nature."

He added, "We are up against a force today that believes in enforced ignorance. We do not."

"How often today," McCullough said, "do we hear people say, 'Now, are you comfortable with that?' She is saying exactly the opposite of that. 'Comfort, schmomfort.' 'Great necessities call out great virtues.' If you want words of inspiration to print on a banner that would explain how it could be that we could have achieved what we did in that founding time against such odds, there it is, 'Great necessities call out great virtues.'"

It's a short, inspiring read. So hop to it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Romney Spot

Romney Wisdom

Has anyone more succinctly summarized the issue of outsourcing jobs to foreign competitors?
"I'm not happy exporting jobs but we must move ahead in technology and patents. I don't like losing any jobs but we'll see new opportunities created selling products there. We'll have a net net increase in economic activity, just as we did with free trade," Romney said. "It's tempting to want to protect our markets and stay closed. But at some point it all comes crashing down and you're hopelessly left behind. Then you are Russia."

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Rise of the Gibble-Fists!

Finally there's scientific evidence suggesting that left-handers are rebounding from the brink of extinction. 100 years ago, thanks to over-hunting and destruction of habitat, lefties numbered only 3% of the population. Today, that number has rebounded to a healthy 11%, due in large part to extensive federal protections as well as global warming.

What's more important is that I learned that I can call my self a gibble-fist. Isn't that cool?

A couple other lefty facts from the article:
"Left-handedness is partly hereditary and it had been thought that left-handers were more likely to die before reproducing."

"Swedish researchers found that if a pregnant woman had an ultrasound scan, her chances of giving birth to a left-handed child were raised by 30%."

"While some researchers have linked left-handedness to talents such as creativity with art and languages, others have suggested its effects may be less benign. Recent Dutch research indicated that left-handed women may be twice as likely to die from breast cancer."
With additional federal funding and legislation to level the playing field in a society that inherently favors the right-handed, we lefties can eventually achieve socioeconomic parity with our lesser, but more bountiful, brethren.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Want To Grow Up? All You Need is Sex

That's the message we're hearing from the intellectuals and experts these days, as evidenced by this Reuters story about the relaxation of social standards as it relates to nudity.
"I do think that general attitudes about nudity are becoming more relaxed, but these changes take time, which is why there's still mixed responses," said Paul Levinson, communication and media professor at Fordham University.

"We as a society are finally growing up and it's a healthy thing," he said.

Oh, thank you, Professor Levinson! What a relief to know that I'm expressing my maturity by clicking on pictures of nude celebrities! And it's such a good thing when porn stars are regularly dignified as true entertainment professionals on nearly every talk show and reality show. It shows how there's still hope for our generation. If we can just continue to lower our standards over time, there's no limit to how healthy we can be.

I actually agree with Levinson on one point, though:
"There's no doubt about it. The Web for the last 10 years, has made more nudity available," Levinson said. "I predict in the next few years, the FCC will be put in its proper place and nudity will be the norm," he said.
Nudity will be the norm. And families wishing to avoid the filth will have to actively opt out of it. Isn't technology great? Hmm, maybe the Amish have a point.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Is It Any Wonder Detroit is a Mess?

In Michigan, every night the evening news gives you a good dose of the repeated hijinks, bunglings and corruptions of Detroit city officials. Why are these people voted into office? The latest sideshow involves Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick utilizing city resources to facilitate late-night liaisons and extra-marital macking.

Apparently, the Mayor used his security guards/police escort to take him to meet his lady a-la-carte, and then stand watch. When two of those individuals raised an issue about misappropriation of city resources, they got demoted or fired. Yesterday a jury awarded them almost $7 million, to be paid by the city. As if the city isn't already financially strapped. Way to go, Mayor.

Also significant is the mayor's reaction to the verdict:
"I think my reputation rests with the city of Detroit," Kilpatrick said. "Being that there was only one (juror from Detroit), I guess I will have to talk to her. But everybody else needs to understand, this city understands who I am. They understand why I ran. They understand what I'm doing.

"But it's impossible if you can't get a trial where people look at the facts, the significant facts in this case, and render a decision."
Here's Detroit Free Press columnist Stephen Henderson's take on that:
OK, so he didn't come right out and say "Whitey stuck it to me." But public figures around here rarely talk like that; it's almost always subtle, and understood. But the implication's clear, and for Kilpatrick in this case, it's just counterproductive."
The sad thing is that this type of news is par for the course in these parts. Whether it's the Detroit teacher's union going on strike every other year in spite of bloated benefits and a rapidly declining student population, or an "education activist" pelting school board members with grapes, the nightly news reads like a David E. Kelley dramedy. Sprinkle that with frequent and senseless Detroit violence, and it ends up more like a Tarantino flick.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Here's To Inescapeably Annoying Music

I have a coworker who sits in an office behind my cube. I don't know if he thinks his music is so awesome that everyone wants to hear it, or if he assumes he can just play it loudly because he has the right by virtue of sitting in an office with a door (which he never closes). Either way, I think I've heard maybe one song of his in the past week that didn't grate on my nerves.

I could walk over and ask him to turn it down. But then that wouldn't be cool, would it?

Thank goodness for my silicone-enhanced Bose Triport™ earbuds.

Can Your Printer Do 100,000 DPI?

Apparently they've figured it out at IBM.

Researchers there have demonstrated a new technique for printing on a nanoscale. According to the press release,
“This method opens up new ways to precisely and efficiently position various kinds of nanoparticles on different surfaces, a prerequisite for exploiting the unique properties of such nanoparticles and for making their use economically feasible,” explains Heiko Wolf, researcher in nanopatterning at IBM’s Zurich Research lab.
The process involved arranging gold particles, each measuring only 60 nanometers across. That's "roughly 100 times smaller than a human red blood cell." This achieves a resolution of 100,000 dpi, whereas your printer probably doesn't do much better than 300.

Pretty neat--especially if you're into super-mega-ultra hi-def.

Via The Raw Feed.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Honeybee Update - Virus Could Be The Cause

Scientists may have isolated a factor that causes Colony Collapse Disorder, which is causing huge numbers of honeybees to simply vanish. It's a virus, called Israeli acute paralysis virus. From the article,
Researchers performed a sophisticated genetic comparison of healthy and diseased U.S. colonies that revealed the presence of Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV), an obscure but lethal bee bug, in almost all beekeeping operations affected by "colony collapse disorder" (CCD), but in only a single healthy one they examined.
This is good news, if true. Now we can breed bees resistant to the virus, which means our crops will still get pollinated and we won't starve.

Here's to the scientists who quietly solve real problems in the background while buffoons parade around droning on about global warming.

Stream of Conciousness - A Long Post for the Sake of Long

This is an experiment. Seeing as I have a few minutes to kill between meetings, I thought I'd post something that has no relevance to any reader out there (not that there are any at all). Basically I'm going to type until my meeting. Whatever spews forth from my fingers. Isn't that great. It should end up being the longest post I've written so far. But with far less thought.

It isn't very often that one's fingers have an opportunity to spew. Literally, I mean. I suppose if you hit a finger very hard with a sledgehammer, it could spew blood. I can't think of much else that a finger can spew. Figuratively, my fingers spew all day. Writing headlines, taglines, witty phrases and long-winded rationales for whatever copy I've come up with for a recent project.

Come to think of it, I think my fingers spew much more each day than my mouth does. Figuratively, I mean. Now a mouth is much more capable of physically spewing than any of the 20 digits. But then we get into the realm of bodily fluids, etc., which means it's time to change topic.

I've been moved to a new office location, which has increased my commute from about 40 minutes to about 60. Or even more during rush hour. My remedy? Get to work at 7am. That's right. This morning I left the house at 6:15am, and got to work roughly 45 minutes later. I figure I can use that extra 40-plus at home with the family, rather than moving along at 2 miles per hour during rush hour. Good for me!

So the Republican debates in New Hampshire were the most watched so far--squarely surpassing Bill Clinton on Larry King, who had roughly have as many viewers. I didn't watch either. Instead I finished up a freelance project and played a little Civilization 3. Who needs to watch the debates when you can see the highlights on the Internet the next day.

Unfortunately, it seems the media consensus was that Mitt Romney didn't have his best night. Not that he floundered or gaffed, but that he didn't really stand out from the crowd. Which is important in such a crowded field. I'm not worried about it, though. Romney's polling has been consistently on the rise for the past few months--and as you know, slow and steady wins the race.

Fred Thompson? I think he'll be more of a flash in the pan in this race. Historically, former senators very rarely win presidencies, and former governors do so quite frequently. As for former mayors, that's anyone's guess. I think that by Super Tuesday (or is it Super Duper Tuesday now?) it will be basically be between Giuliani and Romney.

Should I add images to this post? That might be interesting--and I've just decided that I will. I've been looking for an excuse to find and post a picture of a bloody finger, and now I have the perfect opportunity.

What should I have for lunch today? I'm quite hungry. For breakfast I had my TV dinner of turkey, dressing and potatoes. Nothing beats that for breakfast, except maybe cold pizza. Or waffles. I could eat waffles for every meal. I miss being able to zip home and make waffles for lunch. Now the entire endeavor would take over two hours. Not that I ever did make waffles for lunch before. It was usually spaghetti or something.

My new office has no stash of silverware. I've had to eat my lunches a couple times without using utensils. I'm glad nobody popped in on me while I was slurping up chicken and rice.

So my coworker got himself an iPhone the day after they came down in price. Hey, if he's willing to shell out for something that makes him happy, more power to him. I couldn't justify buying it, if only because its trendiness is off-putting. Besides, the only functions I would really use I already have with my basic cellphone. Thanks, but no thanks, Apple.

Okay, I'm getting too hungry to continue typing. It's so hard to spew on an empty stomach. And that is the truth on so many levels.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Romney Surges in Michigan

Interesting news from the Detroit Free Press. Mitt Romney is far and away the Republican frontrunner in my current state of residence, Michigan. He's polling at a whopping 39%, compared to Rudy Giuliani's 13%.

As a Michigan native, Romney has a home court advantage here. But is that enough to explain his huge lead? Perhaps there's something in his platform that resonates with people here. He's still not number one nationally, but
Romney's move in the polls show a campaign that "has come the farthest in the shortest amount of time."
He's also raised the most cash. If trends continue, we'll be looking at Romney on the ballot in November 2008.

Coincidentally, Michigan is one of those states trying to move up its primaries to January. This would be great for Romney, who could use the early momentum from a solid performance in one of the bellwether states leading up to the nomination.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Transformers are Cool

And Predacons are among the coolest of them. Unfortunately, we must part ways. I'm selling my nearly complete Predacons set on Ebay. Check it out!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Did you enjoy National Treasure a couple years back? Yeah, it was okay for me, too. But only because Sean Bean is a great villain.

The sequel is coming out this December. The only reason I mention it is that it shines a spotlight on the Black Hills, South Dakota, where I spent an enjoyable week gawking at giant granite carvings and toting an infant around. The movies lets you take a gander not only at Mount Rushmore, but also Needles Highway and Sylvan Lake - a picturesque little lake that we visited.

Here is Sylvan Lake in the movie:

And here's Sylvan Lake as captured by my far superior video camera.

And finally, me standing on one of the rock outcroppings.


Take that, Nicholas Cage!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Romney Radio Spot on Immigration

Check out Mitt's latest radio spot.

Not bad, eh?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Romney: Another Day, Another Winning Poll

Mitt Romney is winning enough straw polls to make himself a nice hat. And while that may be one of the lamest things I've ever written, it's still significant that by dominating this latest poll, Romney continues to gain traction in the Midwest. Illinois, in this case.

Here's the breakdown.

1. Mitt Romney – 40.35%
2. Fred Thompson – 19.96%
3. Ron Paul – 18.87%
4. Rudy Giuliani – 11.61%
5. John McCain – 4.12%
6. Mike Huckabee – 3.04%
7. Sam Brownback – 1.08%
8. Duncan Hunter - .65%
9. Tom Tancredo - .33%

Barely three-tenths of one percent? C'mon, Tom--you can do better than that.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

You can get the grades out of the ghetto, but... can't get the ghetto out of the grades.

Yeah. That whole thing about "school of choice" and putting inner-city students in nicer schools and neighborhoods to help boost grades and make better citizens? It's been officially debunked.

Unfortunately, the Washington Post article is mostly full of quotes from people trying to dream up ways to save the politically correct theory, who basically say that the students didn't move to good enough neighborhoods.

I do agree with this snippet, however:
...Many of the parents had little faith that better teaching in better schools would help their children. They felt it was up to their children to make education work.
My opinion? It's not a child's environment that affects his or her achievements. It's the culture of the home. Does the child's family value studying, hard work and independence? If not, that family is only awarding the child all the benefits of ghetto living. And not all cultures are created equal.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Recognition for the Left

Left hand, by hugovkThere's a big difference between leftist and lefty. I proudly eschew the former, and applaud the latter. And what better day to do it than today: Left-handers Day!

So find your favorite lefty. Give him or her a big hug, and maybe a candy bar. And stop criticizing the handwriting!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ames Chooses Romney

The much ballyhooed Ames, Iowa straw poll, which is seen as a bellwether for the success of Republican presidential candidates, has given another solid and significant victory to Mitt Romney, who has maintained his upward momentum over the grueling past 12 months or so.

This result should narrow the field of Republican contenders significantly--particularly those who were hoping to slide into a close second place behind Romney and knock him off balance. In fact, Tommy Thompson had stated that he would drop out if he didn't achieve first or second place. I think others will probably follow suit. Bye bye.

Here are the results:

1. Gov. Mitt Romney with 4516 votes and 31%
2. Gov. Mike Huckabee with 2587 votes at 18.1%
3. Sen. Sam Brownback with 2192 votes and 15.3%
4. Tom Tancredo with 1961 votes, 13.7%.
5. Ron Paul with 1305 votes, and 9.1%
6. Tommy Thompson, 1,039 votes, 7.3%
7. Fred Thomson with 203 votes.
8. Rudy Giuliani with 183 votes.
9. Duncan Hunter with 174 votes.
10. John McCain with 101 votes.
11. John Cox with 41 votes.

Farewell, Faust.

James E. Faust 1920-2007

James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS church (Mormons), passed quietly away early yesterday morning. This is significant to me as there was never a time in my life that he wasn't a high-ranking leader in my church. His conference talks were always gentle yet firm, and sparkled with the luster of truth.

From the article,
"Jim Faust was a great warrior for truth and goodness, who knew no shortcuts," said LDS Apostle M. Russell Ballard on Friday. "He was a great example to us all."
Faust's life was best understood by "his adherence to principles and the priority assigned to his family that permeated his being," wrote the late Apostle Neal A. Maxwell in a 1995 biographical essay in the church's monthly magazine, The Ensign, after Faust's call to the church's governing First Presidency.

Maxwell related how Faust and his family had a special family home evening in 1972 when he was first called as a general authority in which he told his children that he could not succeed as a general authority unless he was a good father.

A similar family meeting took place in the Faust home in 1995 when he was called to the First Presidency, although this one involved 22 grandchildren, too.

"Accompanying his fixed priorities is immense integrity," Maxwell wrote. "Those who know him understand that President Faust will not yield to mere pressure, but he can be persuaded by principles."