Friday, February 29, 2008

KC-X Winner

Northrop/EADS has just won the Air Force tanker contract.

Boeing is, of course, expected to file a protest.

I doubt that the protest will be upheld--after the hash the USAF made of the last go-around, the procurement office no doubt dotted every i, crossed every t, and minded every last p and q.

A Prince of a Soldier...

Prince Harry's combat career has come to an end.

In this case,it was due to some leaks from foreign media. The statement from the MoD says volumes.

It is well worth keeping in mind when one discusses leaks. Not only did a leak put Prince Harry at risk, it also now places the troops he fought alongside at risk. His early departure will mess with his unit, no matter how many contingency plans were made by his superiors.

Just whose side is the press on?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

OK, Ryan goes back to third, then...

Bill Hall got hurt this morning fielding grounders.

He wants to play today. I like the spirit, but I'd sit Hall, move Braun back to third, and stick Gabe Gross or Joe Dillon in left for today.

The Brewers start Cactus League baseball today. May they treat Athletics pitching like a bunch of baby seals... CLUB `EM!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

LA micromanages pet owners,,,

It seems that Los Angeles has decided that they have time to micromanage pet owners.

I can accept the notion that a pet owner should be held responsible for the life, health, and happiness of the pet. But with that responsibility needs to come the right to make the decisions. Spaying/neutering is surgery, and surgery has risks.

I had a guinea pig who suffered an injured leg. To set said leg would have required that he be anesthetized. Only guinea pigs sometimes have adverse reactions to anesthesia, or at least they did back in the 1980s. That had to be taken into account.

But I had the right back then to make the calls. The City of Los Angeles clearly feels that they have the time and resources to boss pet owners around.

After all, it's not like Los Angeles didn't have bigger problems to deal with.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Barack McGovern Obama...

Does the title sound harsh?

Watch this clip and decide for yourself.

Prima facie evidence that Barack Obama is just another McGovern Democrat. Unilateral disarmament, pacifism, and all that comes with it.

Comparing him to Neville Chamberlain earlier today is probably charitable.

More questions about Obama...

Listening to Barack Obama's recent comment on friendship with Israel, I can't help but think that we are getting an American Neville Chamberlain should he be elected.

The reason is because of who his advisors are.

Noah Pollack asks the legitimate question:
Does anyone think that if the time comes that Power has President Obama’s ear, she will advise him to do anything other than repudiate America’s greatest ally in the Middle East in favor of appeasing its greatest enemy? And here’s an even better question: Does Barack Obama have a single adviser who would tell him to do anything else?
Let's add this to that delegation to Syria led by Obama advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was most famous as Jimmy Carter's national security advisor when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and the Iranians stormed our embassy (arguably the first overt signs of the danger we now face). Relying on Jimmy Carter's advisors should be a prima facie downcheck on national security.

This is not about Barack Obama's patriotism. As far as I know, he at least talks a good game, although methinks he doth protest too much. I certainly think it is fair to request that he explain why he accepted a contribution from a former member of Weather Underground, and that he be asked if he agreed with the comments of that supporter that were printed in the New York Times on 9/11.

He can complain about people raising this point, and can say he condemns their actions all he wants, but the fact remains that he took the money notwithstanding his objections to the Weather Underground's actions. So it seems that those actions of the Weather Underground bothered him, but not so much that he couldn't accept contributions from them. It's a lot like Michelle Malkin and some of the unacceptable rhetoric on immigration she looks the other way on.

I didn't give Malkin a pass on her questionable associations on immigration, and she's just a columnist. So why should I give Barack Obama a pass on his questionable associates when he wasn't to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW in Washington, DC?

Monday, February 25, 2008

The company you keep matters...

I admit it: I judge people by their associates.

In terms of the immigration hard-liners, I have explained how their associations render their position unsupportable.

Well, it seems Barack Obama got approved by one of the Weather Underground in his initial run for the Illinois state senate.

William Ayers made a very damning comment in the New York Times in my book:
''I don't regret setting bombs,'' Bill Ayers said. ''I feel we didn't do enough.''
The date of that article was September 11, 2001. The day terrorists flew airplanes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and only failed to hit the White House or Capitol due to the heroism of the passengers.

Obama needs to explain this.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Which is it?

Barack Obama's comments in the Democratic debate last night warrant one question:

Is he stupid, or did he make this up?

Confederate Yankee has a good initial take-down on these comments. More at Strata-Sphere as well.

Why is this important?

Think of it this way: If he gets taken in by a story like this, how likely is it that he will get taken in when he negotiates with Iran?

Thursday, February 21, 2008


How can Ned Yost NOT have the heart of his order decided?

It's really simple:
Weeks leads off, Hardy bats second, Ryan Braun hits third, Prince Fielder bats cleanup, Corey Hart hats fifth, Bill Hall bats sixth.

It's not that hard... unless you want Hall to bat fifth and Hart sixth...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Yeah, sure...

Barack Obama tried to spin his wife's comments after some incoming fire.


Sorry, I know it sounds harsh, but it's a weak explanation.

If she meant the politics, why didn't she say so? She got a graduate degree from Princeton, for crying out loud!

Once again, Barack Obama is treating Americans like they are stupid, and that we didn't really hear what we heard.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thwarting Democracy...

Democrats sure do not act Democratic at times. The only reason gay marriage is the law in Massachusetts is because a court imposed it on that state.

Now, in order to thwart an intelligence program that they lack the votes to stop, they decide to let the trial lawyers handle it, as the Wall Street Journal explains:
We asked one phone company executive what he'd do, after Friday's expiration, in response to a government request for cooperation. His answer was blunt: "I'm not doing it. If I don't have compulsion, I can't get out of court [and those lawsuits]. . . . I'm not going to do something voluntarily." Having talked to telecom executives, we can tell you this view is well-nigh universal.

Mr. Reyes claims that existing wiretap orders can stay in place for a year. But that doesn't account for new targets, which may require new kinds of telecom cooperation and thus a new court order. Mr. Reyes can make all the assertions he wants about immunity, but they are no defense against a lawsuit. For that matter, without a statute in place, even a renewed order by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is likely to be challenged as illegitimate. A telecom CEO who cooperates without a court order is all but guaranteed to get not merely a wiretap lawsuit, but also a shareholder suit for putting the company at legal risk.
George W. Bush wins two presidential elections. He is the commander-in-chief, and as such, is responsible for this country's security. His approach was explicitly chosen in 2004, during the war.

Instead, trial lawyers and activist judges will subvert the will of the people.

The need for more planes...

If there is any doubt about the Air Force's need for more planes, this should remove it:
Officials at Air Force Special Operations Command say it will become increasingly hard to keep two key aircraft flying: The MC-130H Combat Talon II, used to drop commandos into hostile territory and then retrieve them, and the AC-130U, a hulking gunship that flies low to deliver firepower, are both in need of substantial overhauls.

"We are literally flying the wings off these two airplanes," said Brig. Gen. Brad Heithold, director of the command's plans, programs, requirements and assessments office at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

There are only 20 Combat Talons and 17 AC-130Us. This small fleet is in heavy demand by special operations forces around the globe. In 2001, the AC-130Us flew just over 5,200 hours. The gunships logged more than 9,000 hours in 2007. It's comparable, Heithold said, to putting 70,000 miles on a car in a single year instead of a more normal 12,000 miles.
In a word: Yikes.

Time to do some earmarking, if necessary. Yes, I know: The trendy thing is to decry earmarks. But those used to buy more planes for the Air Force are going to be useful. It is also crystal clear that they are needed.

This needs to be an issue.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A satisfying endorsement...

Mitt Romney's endorsement of John McCain was very satisfying, if only because it sticks it to Mike Huckabee.

The fact remains that Romney's going to need more allies than he had in 2008. Endorsing McCain is one step in that direction. Now, he will have the support of a number of the Republican establishment. Regan was willing to show unity with Ford after 1976.

If Romney is to win in 2012, he also needs to make it very clear that he will not be pushed around, and that he will be able to stick it to folks who diss him. This he has done, and Huckabee knows it, which must be why he has to be the first high-profile case of Romney Derangement Syndrome.

All in all, the GOP will be Romney's after November 2008, no matter what. He's shown he is a team player, but he also is the best we're likely to get in 2012.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Does Obama think I'm stupid?

Barack Obama's speech last night really frosted me - the key part is below.
Obama noted that although George Bush and Dick Cheney won't be on the ballot this November--loud applause--"the Bush-Cheney war and the Bush-Cheney tax cuts for the wealthy, those will be on the ballot. If I am the nominee, John McCain won't be able to say that I ever supported this war in Iraq, because I opposed it from the start. Senator McCain said the other day that we might be mired for a hundred years in Iraq. A hundred years, which is reason enough not to give him four years in the White House."
Come to think of it, I have been bugged by his constant talk of "ending the war" - at least as it pertains to Iraq.

The argument we get from him is shockingly cynical. He seems to think that people who take the threat of Islamofacism seriously don't want the war to end.

His assumption, as reflected in his speeches and ads, couldn't be further from the truth.

I think everyone wants the war to be over. The real question is how the war ends. President Bush and John McCain want to win. A war that is won is a war that has, by definition, ended. Which, of course, Barack Obama doesn't see fit to acknowledge.

On the other hand, Obama says he wants to end the war. Yet he seems unwilling to win, and goes so far as to say we should not have fought:
We can't keep spending what we don't have in a war that shouldn't have been fought.
In other words, he wants to quit. This is where he thinks I am stupid or something. By quitting, America loses.

I don't like it when people treat me like an idiot. I do not care if it is Mike Huckabee playing his cynical Mormon-baiting games and then turning around to complain that ads about his record are negative, Michelle Malkin claiming that anything short of deportation is amnesty, environmentalists who claim that whales are more important than our sailors and the restrictions on ASW training they want are reasonable, or Barack Obama cynically claiming that those who want victory do not want to end the war. I tend to have a very visceral and negative reaction to that sort of thing.

That's why John McCain got my primary vote, and why he will probably get my vote in November.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My vote, and why it went as it did.

It's official. This morning, I cast my vote in Virginia's Republican primary election. It will be said that I cast my vote for John McCain, and that is how it will likely be tallied. But in reality, it was more a vote AGAINST Mike Huckabee.

In some ways, I guess I was naive. I thought that Americans had gotten over religion as a barrier to the Presidency. That was arguably a question settled by John F. Kennedy.

I was wrong.

The New Republic seems to have hit the nail on the head:
Southern states have GOP primary electorates dominated by evangelical Christians, specifically by Southern Baptists. And many of those Southern Baptists are committed to blocking the ascension of a Mormon to the presidency.
This is not to say all of them are. Nancy French at Evangelicals for Mitt and John Schroeder at Article 6 Blog backed Romney. So did MacRanger, who I had the pleasure of talking with in a number of shows (albeit after a flirtation with Fred Thompson).

But there is just too much evidence that they are a minority among evangelicals:
* James Dobson's maneuvering, discussed earlier in this blog.

* The admission from Huckabee's research director that many evangelicals would grab on to an issue like "flip flop", but would really be voting against Romney because he was Mormon.

* The Vanderbilt study contains statistical backup of the anecdotal evidence.

* The increase in anti-Mormon sermons in the run-up to the South Carolina primary.

* The comments on Huckabee's official campaign blog.

The preponderance of the evidence points to anti-Mormon bias among evangelicals as a primary factor in the failure of Mitt Romney's 2008 campaign.

Sorry, but I feel like I've been given the finger by values voters. Never mind that I have a lot of agreement with them on a number of issues, they simply have decided that a Mormon should not be president, and have made it clear that any Mormon who is too uppity will be taken down.

To quote Mase from "Will They Die 4 You" on the South Park Chef Aid soundtrack:
[Someone] smack me, I'ma smack 'em back
If it lead to the guns, then that be that
So, I sent them a finger and a hearty "fuck you" in return. Spiteful? Yeah, to a degree, it was. And I think, given the evidence, I'm entitled to take a shot or two. But there's also a cold, rational way of thinking about this situation.

Quite frankly, I trust religious conservatives about as far as I can throw a Nimitz-class carrier. I'd rather have a moderate like McCain than a religious bigot like Huckabee. In the future, an endorsement from James Dobson and others of his stripe will be a negative in the primary - and I will keep options open, including sitting out a general election if I do not like the choices.

That's pretty much where I am now.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Noted, Dr. Dobson...

James Dobson certainly played things cagey prior to Super Tuesday.

He told people to vote against McCain on Monday. But he didn't bother to actually endorse anyone until after Mitt Romney withdrew from the race.

Never mind what Romney did in Massachusetts after gay marriage was imposed on that state. Never mind the way Romney had lived his life. Never mind that in his time as an ecclesiastical leader, he never took a penny (and probably made financial sacrifices in that role, unlike Mike Huckabee).

But it seems his wife worked to exclude Mormons from the National Day of Prayer events in 2004.

If it looks like anti-Mormon bias and sounds like anti-Mormon bias... then you ain't likely to go broke betting on anti-Mormon bias.

Yob tvoyu maht, Dr. Dobson. I ought to vote for McCain on Tuesday to spite your religiously bigoted ass.

Life's little frustrations...

Am I the only person who is utterly unhappy with the way that some of these variations on candy bars and sodas aren't around all the time?

For instance, the new Snickers Charged is a great candy bar. I'd like to be able to pick it up more often. But it is a "Limited Edition", meaning in a few months it's gone. The same fate befell several varieties of Mountain Dew: Live Wire (an orange-flavored Dew), Pitch Black (a very good grape-flavored Dew), and Game Fuel (which was quite cool as well).

I mean, c'mon, I'd like to be the "cool" uncle who provides these goodies for my nephews (when I am not teaching them how to throw a slurve and/or slider). Get them loaded up with the Snickers Charged and Dew... and then handing them back to my sisters.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Regain my trust, conservatives...

MacRanger is ready to sit out 2008. If he thinks this is going to get me to address his concerns, he is sadly mistaken.

So, I am going to set him straight here.

I was supporting Mitt Romney for the nomination - at least up until earlier this week when both the election results and the conduct of one of his supporters combined to make sitting out the GOP primary my only real option. I do not view the apparent nomination of John McCain with dread, and much of this is due to how conservatives have acted over the past two and a half years.

I am pro-life, and think abortion should only be allowed in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother faces imminent and unavoidable risk of death or grave bodily harm should the pregnancy continue. I generally support a flat-rate income tax. I'm in favor of a string national defense, and carrying the war on terror to victory. I think the federal government spends too much for too little return on social programs, and if they cannot show results (or improvement), then the funding needs to stop. I want something done about the future of Social Security and Medicare, which combine for about 15% of any given paycheck. I want the borders secure - and illegal immigration effectively controlled, but I recognize a big part of that is a guest worker program, and I do not think a 21st Century version of the Maginot line is the answer. I think judges should not make the law, nor should they lightly overturn decisions of the state legislature or Congress - this forms the crux of my support for various amendments to define marriage as one man and one woman. I also believe in live and let live.

I should fit in with conservatives. But recently, I cannot stand them. They have set litmus tests: To be a "true" conservative, you needed to toe certain lines on immigration and other social issues.

I don't. And for that, I've been called "traitor" based on the immigration debate, including just this past May by Paul J Cella of Redstate. That site has also at times hosted others who proclaimed those who disagreed on the Miers nomination party hacks who had "sold their souls" - all because they didn't join the neo-Borking.

As I said in my open letter to that site in October, I have better things to do than to politically empower those who view me as a "party hack" who has sold his soul and/or a traitor to this country. And those who do engage in such conduct, who decide to claim that those who disagree with them within the GOP have "sold out" or worse, should not be surprised when the recipients of such comments decline to support them in primary campaigns - or hold it against the candidates who the name-callers support (which may have cost Mitt Romney support in California).

This was even before the conduct of the latest primary. Between anecdotal evidence from, the admission of Huckabee's own research director (in an interview with Article6Blog), and a Vanderbilt University study make it very clear that a significant chunk of conservatives decided to disqualify arguably the best-qualified candidate for the nomination on the basis of his religion.

Of course, the denials of religious bigotry will come hard and fast. But they need to address the evidence. Which now leads me to ask a tough question: Can I trust the social conservatives - specifically the religious right - at this point in time?

Between their conduct on immigration and the treatment Mitt Romney got in the primary, the answer, at least in my mind, is a big NO. Trust, once gone, is going to be hard to restore.

The last straw in terms of the loss of trust is the fact that right now, if my three nephews were to ask, I would have to tell them that I do not think they can be President, despite what good they do in their lives. Furthermore, I would have to tell them that the reason is because of the church they belong to - one they have been raised in (and which several generations of my family have belonged to). One of these nephews has a father who is going to serve this country in the Global War on Terror (and there have been Mormons who have served our country in time of war since the Mormon Battalion was formed during the Mexican War, and which includes Medal of Honor winners like Bernard Fisher and Mervyn S. Bennion, as well as Lyman Swenson, commanding officer of USS Juneau during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal).

I cannot work to politically empower people who seem to hold my faith in contempt. And, after the way the 2008 Republican primaries have evolved, it seems that the social conservatives largely hold Mormons in contempt. The Vanderbilt study reported that half of evangelicals would vote for a more moderate candidate if the conservative was Mormon.

Anti-Mormon bigotry was not the only reason Romney failed to win the nomination. But it was one of the primary reasons (the other was that talk show hosts like Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Rick Roberts, and even Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh have manged to be bigger Bush-bashers than John McCain has ever been accused of being), and I think a lot of Bush loyalists who would otherwise have voted for him instead went with McCain.

How can conservatives regain my trust? They need to start by showing they can be team players. None of this stay home in 2008 nonsense. Otherwise, I will be more than willing to reciprocate for their lack of support. I don't like taking those measures, but it's what has to be done, I suppose - it seems to be the only thing they will understand.

Second, they need to make it clear that they understand that the Mormon-baiting used by Huckabee's supporters was wrong, and they need to make amends. This sort of thing is a two-way street, and if they want folks like me to back their preferred candidates, they need to be willing to do the same.

When Mark Levin and others are willing to tank an election, they are playing the worst form of "gun to the head" politics. To hold our troops hostage is despicable, and needs to stop. If anyone would deserve the label of "traitor", is it Levin and these others.

Third, accept the fact that people might be willing to disagree with you on principle and respect them for having principles, and guiding themselves by said principles. If you cannot prove pandering, don't make the charge.

That is how conservatives can start to regain my trust. It's up to them. But believe me, I will go independent after November 4 if I do not see progress on this. There is a price for things like failure and distrust - and I will impose it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Call it...

The GOP has apparently made its decision for the nomination.

In one sense, it is nice to see the talk-radio hosts and pundits ignored by the Republican primary electorate. But the problem is that a large chunk of the social conservatives, specifically the religious right, have now been outed as religious bigots.

Harsh? Just the harsh truth.

Just look at the stuff Article6Blog has unearthed in months of coverage. And while the anecdotes are not proof in and of themselves, they are backed up by the Vanderbilt study. So, fundamentally, there was a large portion of the conservative movement that decided to disqualify Mitt Romney due to where he went for church.

At this point, I will sit out the Virginia primary. The attack on McCain's service as a POW was way below the belt. In November, I expect McCain will be the GOP nominee I vote for. After then, it's about 90% likely that I will probably re-affiliate as an independent, joining AJ-Strata and The Anchoress, among others. I may be talked out of this, but it will take a LOT of doing by McCain's people.

That's just how it will be. I have things that I am very satisfied doing, and the time I will now have for them will be well-spent. Because, quite frankly, conservatives pushed me too far.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Illegal immigration issue a loser on the campaign trail...

From the Weekly Standard's CampaignStandard:

Lots of talk in the media about McCain vs. The Mighty Wombats of Talk Radio. Ask President Tancredo about that one. The talkers can raise an issue to prominence, they can entertain, but they do not really deliver actual votes. Sorry Rush.

Defeated Senate schemer Rick Santorum now campaigning for Mitt with a way-over-the-top robocall calling McCain nuts. A cheap shot from a prickly guy; a lot of people in GOP politics miss Santorum's voting record in DC, but very few miss him.

Which leads to the illegal immigration issue. From an election results perspective it appears hanging out with the anti-immigrant Bund seems to be a kiss of death. Tancredo: fizzled. Fred Thompson, endorsed by Iowa nativist Steve King; Kaput. Now Romney; on the ropes. I've never seen an issue with so much perceived heat, yet such short legs on Election Day.

Gee, why could that be?

Perhaps the Republican primary electorate has different views than the conservative intelligentsia?

Blown calls...

This last Super Bowl is a classic case of how bad calls can put you in a hole.

On 4th and 13, rather than risk a long field goal that was within his kicker's range, Bill Belichek decided to go for it, and failed. It manages to top "kick to Devin Hester" in terms of poor judgment (I suppose the special teams coordinator for the Broncos will feel better). The result: No margin for error late in the 4th quarter, when the Patriots surely needed it. As a result, they emulated the 1942 Bears, rather than at least forcing the Giants into overtime.

Today, some very bad calls by the right have put the GOP in a hole. For the GOP, the problem was they allowed certain people to set the bar to a well-nigh unreachable level for any electable candidate. Jeff Jacoby has a good column about that matter.

Patrick Ruffini explains the fallout. Short version: The purity wars left conservatives split several ways. The alleged heretics who disagreed on one or two issues (Miers and immigration were two biggies) who got pissed off enough at the hard-liners decided to back McCain - along with his natural base of military voters, moderate Republicans, and independents. The rest divided between Romney and Huckabee.

Huckabee's attack on Sean Hannity is a classic case of the purity war gone out of control. Since this is Mark Levin, it's more a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

But the price has been clear: People like AJ-Strata and The Anchoress had been reliably Republican voters during the Bush Administration. When the Congressional GOP decided to let Ingraham, Levin, Malkin, and Noonan do their thinking for them, they began to say, "What the hell?"

Even McCain's win is going to have some fallout - and largely because of Huckabee. Huckabee's staying in for one reason, and one reason only: Stopping Romney. Article 6 Blog has some good analysis, and more fallout.

The right has gone non-linear, and that means that the GOP is in a hole. Worse, the result could be a Democrat in the White House, possibly one who will owe his nomination to the organization who gave us the "General Betray Us" ad, or his primary opponent, who voted against condemning the ad.

Conservatives blew the calls in 2005 and 2006. The price for that remains to be seen. If they do end up benched (which a McCain nomination would be), it is a benching that they have earned. When people with you 80% of the time aren't willing to support your preferred candidates, you have problem. People in the center just are not comfortable voting for the GOP as a party, but will support specific candidates.

The right screwed up, and needs to own up.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Blade mostly beats the rap...

Wesley Snipes has largely beaten the rap.

Guess Blade proved he could handle those blood-suckers after all.