Archive for February, 2008

Matt is Back

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Matt Dattilo has resumed his Matt’s Today in History, one of the best podcasts you’ll find anywhere, after a brief hiatus. If you haven’t heard him before, I strongly recommend clicking on the link above or looking it up on iTunes. You won’t be disappointed.

Leap Day

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Yep, it’s the rarest day on the calendar! Shouldn’t there be some sort of holiday today? And mustn’t it be cool to have been born on this day? Someone born on February 29, 1916 would only be turning 23 this year!

Gatlinburg From Above

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Cross posted at Hillbilly Savants

Garfield Minus Garfield

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

This is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in quite some time.

Via Steven Taylor

“Gutter Politics”

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

That’s how I’d describe the whole TNGOP Barack Hussein Obama controversy. I would never support Obama because he’s an empty suit with whom I have almost no policy agreements. But to claim this?

That’s no different than saying “Hillary Rodham Clinton” or “Richard Milhouse Nixon,” [State GOP Chairman Robin Smith] said.

That’s just disingenuous. I would have more respect for her if she’d just given an honest answer, something along the lines of, “Emphasizing that ‘Hussein’ is Barack Obama’s middle name implies that he is a Muslim and is therefore a great tool for appealing to the racist and xenophobic tendencies among some voters. Therefore, we believe that utilizing a campaign such as this can suppress Obama support and help our candidates win.”

Yeah, it would have been sleazy, but at least it would have been honest.

Meanwhile, Music City Oracle argues that strategies like this could end up costing the GOP (and I agree).

UPDATE: Bill Hobbs complains that the media is focusing on the press release’s use of Obama’s middle name instead of the actual policy criticisms it contained. Unfortunately, the media’s preoccupation with this is a direct result of the TNGOP’s decision to use ‘Hussein’. The TNGOP is savvy enough to know this would happen (and may have even wanted it). They have no one to blame but themselves.

UPDATE II: Bob Krumm has some thoughts, and Brendan Loy is evidence of MCO’s point.

UPDATE III: Lamar Alexander puts a stop to the fun.

Obama Unites America

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

One of Barack Obama’s top selling points is that he can unite Americans of all political stripes.

We now have evidence that this is true. It seems both Louis Farrakhan and David Duke are offering him their support (although, in fairness, these two agreed on a lot to begin with).

Cross posted at Tennesseefree

McCain in the Lead

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

A new LA Times/Bloomberg poll shows John McCain with a narrow lead over both Democratic candidates:

McCain is statistically tied with Sen. Barack Obama, 44 percent to 42 percent, and ahead of Sen. Hillary Clinton by 6 points, 46 percent to 40 percent. The poll’s margin of error was plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.

The poll also showed McCain with a 61 percent approval rating, a number higher than both Clinton’s and Obama’s in past polls. (A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll earlier this month measured Clinton’s approval rating at 52 percent and Obama’s at 58 percent.)

I’ll admit I was a little surprised by this. I expected McCain to be leading Clinton, but with all the positive press Obama has been getting I figured he would be on top of McCain.

I should not have been surprised, however. A Rasmussen poll from last week indicates Obama might not be quite as popular as conventional wisdom suggests:

Barack Obama has the same number who will definitely vote for him–34%. But, more people are committed to voting against him than McCain. Forty-three percent (43%) say they will definitely reject him at the ballot box. For 18%, their support depends on his opponent.

Given McCain’s independent streak, one would assume he could cut into that 18% as well. It’s also worth noting that much of Obama’s support comes from folks like myself–voters under 30 who are notorious for low turnout. Now perhaps Obama is the candidate who can get them to the polls, but he’d be crazy to count on it.

These polls are very early, but they do suggest that Saint Obama is not the unstoppable force many pundits seem to think. A quick look at the Electoral College map indicates we’re in for another tight election.

Cross posted at Tennesseefree

William F. Buckley, 1925-2008

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

I’m saddened to learn that William F. Buckley, one of the intellectual fathers of modern conservatism, has passed away at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. He was 82.

Buckley hosted Firing Line from 1966-1999 and founded National Review, and was also the author of several spy novels. Buckley was also a fusionist who sought to unite conservatives and libertarians which helped lay the groundwork for the Reagan presidency. His brand of conservatism was intellectual, not the emotion-based partisanship of most of today’s conservative pundits on cable news and talk radio, and conservatives of today would be well served to read some of his writings.

A great man has passed. RIP.

Robot Wars

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

The headline of this article made be chuckle at first glance, but the article itself makes a lot of sense:

Killer robots could become the weapon of choice for militants, a British expert said on Wednesday.

Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield said he believed falling costs would soon make robots a realistic option for extremist groups.

Several countries and companies are developing the technology for robot weapons, with the U.S. Department of Defense leading the way. More than 4,000 robots are deployed in Iraq.

I’m no expert in robotics, but it does make sense to use robots in battle since the could be programmed with superhuman abilities and would keep human casualties at a minimum. Of course, with very advancement in technology we come closer to the day of robot rights, another concept that sounds crazy today but may not in the future.

Dems Continue to Jump to Obama

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Barack Obama has snagged another endorsement:

With a silver head of hair, a DNC chairmanship under his belt and 30 years in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Chris Dodd endorsed his one-time rival for the presidency with the air of a senior statesman anointing the next nominee.

“I believe that Barack Obama has the experience, the ability the vision to lead this country, to make a difference both at home and abroad,” Dodd said, adding later, “The hour is getting late. That opportunity is not going to last forever. I believe the world wants to see [the U.S.] get back on [its] feet again. And I believe that Barack Obama gives us the opportunity to do that.”

Dodd’s endorsement won’t make much difference in the race; as a presidential candidate his support hovered in the Dennis Kucinich range. But his decision to support Obama is another signal that national Democrats are increasingly seeing Obama as their likely nominee. As the superdelegates continue to pour in, Obama has to be feeling pretty confident.

Unlike a lot of observers, I don’t think Hillary Clinton is finished. She will make her stand in Ohio and Texas; if she wins both, she has a decent chance to rise from the ashes. But if she loses even one of these states–and it’s looking increasingly like she will–her campaign is finished and John McCain better start digging in for what will be a long and difficult campaign against a young and charismatic challenger.

Cross posted at Tennesseefree