Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Election Probabilities

Chances of Republican Victory:
McCain v. Clinton: 50%
Romney v. Clinton: 30%
McCain v. Obama: 20%
Romney v. Obama: 5%

I think the chances of any Republican beating Obama are quite slim. The only chances Romney has are if Obama makes some big gaffe or if the Democratic primary process drags on considerably and leaves Obama damaged goods. (Bill Clinton is certainly doing his part in this regard.) McCain has a better shot against Obama, but it would still be a very difficult fight.

Both Republicans have a better shot against Clinton, but only McCain gives the party an even shot of holding the White House. McCain has a chance to pull in a number of independents that Romney likely wouldn't. Regardless of who the GOP candidate is, if Clinton is the opponent, the election would largely be a referendum on her.

What say you, Big Jim?

The Right Talk Express

The Corner is one of my favorite websites. But the vitriol displayed by some contributors to McCain has made it almost unreadable. In the last 24 hours, he's been compared to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Ted Kennedy, and Lord Voldemort.

I understand that Levin, Lopez, and some others don't care for McCain. But their insistence on looking at everything he does through a bad faith lens combined with their uncritical fawning over Romney are unbecoming and unhelpful. There are huge distinctions to be drawn between McCain and Clinton/Obama, and these "conservative leaders" are doing both the movement and the nation a disservice with their unwillingness to draw them.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Classic Family Guy Humor

Peter: Brian, I feel awful. Stewie and I were getting along so good, but now he hates me. How do I get him to like me again?

Brian: Well, that depends. Do you really want my advice or are you just asking random questions again?

Peter: What's a hypotenuse?

Poetic Interlude

Silky smoothness
I'll never again neglect to
Your blades regularly

Monday, January 28, 2008

Not Just America's Team

Video brought to my attention by a certain Cuban:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Election Hijinx, Shenanigans, and Tomfoolery

Start here. Lee Atwater was a Democratic bogeyman when Karl Rove was still wetting his political diapers. There's a reason people still talk about Willie Horton.


Conclusion of a decent Joe Klein column:
It may well be true that any Democrat is going to have to handle that sort of sewage in the general election, but I've now--belatedly!--figured out that the real audacity in Barack Obama's campaign--far more than his positions on the issues, which almost seem an afterthought--is his outrageous belief that the entire country, not just Democrats, wants to see a straight up election; that the entire country is tired of the pestilence of tactical tricks that the Clintons learned from their co-dynasts, the Bushes. (The latest example being their sudden, sociopathic emphasis on the importance of the Florida primary, a contest all three candidates had agreed to eschew at the behest of the Democatic National Committee.

It is a hell of a bet Obama has made. And nearly 40 years of political, uhm, experience tells me that it isn't a very wise one...but I must also say that it is truly sad to see Bill and Hillary Clinton on the wrong side of it.
What got me was the line about the Bushes. Just what did Bill learn from Papa Bush. I presume that Joe doesn't think that Karl Rove had already assumed the position of Prince of Darkness in 1992. Rico?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Being poor rules!

Actually, working for half a year while marrying a student and being a parent rules. Thanks to the federal government's largesse (specifically via the Earned Income and Additional Child credits), we are getting $2,968 in tax credits even though we didn't withhold a penny in 2007. If we add in the $79 from the state, we're getting over $3,000 for no reason. If we further add in the estimated $900 we're allegedly going to get to "stimulate the economy" this summer, that's nearly $4,000.

Maybe I should start voting Democrat...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A short list of awesome things

1. This story about robots evolving and learning how to lie. Awesome and troubling at the same time.

2. The video game Bully. It's a less homicidal version of Grand Theft Auto. It's the first video game I have bought in a while, and it's been a blast.

3. This dream I had last night (or was it two nights ago?) where I was running for president and got into a verbal fight with Mike Huckabee in a parking garage overlooking Notre Dame's spring football game. Awesome because it gives a deep insight into my psyche and the things that occupy my brain power.

4. Antonin Scalia. It's really fun to see ostensibly liberal law students persuaded by sheer force of his reasoning. It's equally fun to see other liberal students trash him because they think they are supposed to, without actually addressing his arguments.

5. Eli Manning and the New York Giants. Simply because I don't think I could have stomached two weeks of Packer hype and Favre news converage without harming myself or others.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Social Conservatives, Electability, and Mike Huckabee

Generally, voting based purely on "electability" is dumb. We saw that in 2004 when the democrats nominated John Kerry even though no one seemed to have any actual affinity for him. A collective groupthink set in where everyone seemed to convince everyone else that Kerry would be the most likely candidate to win in the general election. Maybe that was true and maybe it wasn't. But the fact remains that very few people were actually fired up or excited by Kerry. Had democrats nominated their true love, Howard Dean, who knows what would have happened?

Having said all that, electability needs to be a factor when deciding whom to support. I bring this up because social conservatives understandably love Mike Huckabee. It makes sense, given his outspoken views on issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Social conservatives view Huckabee as one of them. While I still think it's unlikely that Huckabee will be nominated (because he hasn't shown a real ability to pull in voters outside his base), if he were the nominee, it would be disastrous for the GOP in general and social conservatives in particular.

Were Huckabee the nominee, he would alienate most moderates and all liberals with his uncompromising far right social views. Further, he would alienate a large segment of the conservative base with his populist, leftist, protectionist economic rhetoric. Alienating voters across the political spectrum is generally a bad policy for winning elections. He would have virtually no chance in the general election. Simply put, nominating Huckabee would give the Democratic party two years of complete control over the federal government.

In those two years, the democratic majority would roll back protections against the unborn, put gay marriage on the table, and most importantly, replace John Paul Stevens (and possibly Ruth Bader Ginsburg) with young liberal Justices. These moves would render the efforts of the last 20 years to develop a culture of life in America and overturn Roe entirely meaningless. If you're a social conservative, the worst thing you can do for your cause is nominate Mike Huckabee.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What Else Floats on Water?

A friend and commenter sent me this little tidbit from the Smithsonian Magazine:
Think of this. The most distinguished graduate college at Oxford is All Souls, founded in 1438 and popularly alleged to number among its Fellows the cleverest men and women in England. Once in every hundred years this eminent company celebrates something called the ceremony of the mallard, when it commemorates the fable of a wild duck supposed to have flown out of the foundations when the college was being built. After a good and vinous dinner those academics perambulate the premises looking for the shade of that bird, carrying sticks and staves, led by a Lord Mallard in a sedan chair with a dead duck on a pole, climbing to the roof and singing a gibberish song—Ho, the blood of King Edward, by the blood of King Edward, it was a swapping,
swapping mallard.

When in 2001 they celebrated the ceremony of the mallard for the umpteenth time, they printed a booklet about the occasion. On its cover they quoted a contemporary commentator (me, as it happened!) to the effect that no event in Europe could be sillier, "not the most footling country frolic or pointless Anatolian orgy."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Quote of the Day

I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass . . . and I'm all out of bubblegum.
Apparently it's from some movie called They Live.

Catholicism Is Awesome

Pretty amazing post over at the New Liturgical Movement.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Reason #941,408 I love The Onion

Stories that hit close to home:
"It takes Mr. Jenkins 4.33 milliseconds to retrieve the memory of holding his newborn sister for the first time, but just 1.09 milliseconds to retrieve the memory of knocking Pikachu off the Sector Z platform with Donkey Kong's 'ground pound' maneuver in Super Smash Bros.," McCarroll said. "In fact, the only school-related memory he is able to review as vividly as the underwater-bomb-defusing level of Nintendo Entertainment System's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is his first day of college, which was spent playing multiplayer GoldenEye 007 with his roommates."
Whatever. Everybody knows that the ground pound move sucks and no competent Donkey Konger would use it.

Er. Not that I've spent countless hours dissecting the strategy and physics underlying Smash Bros.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Tonight on Walker, Texas Ranger

Walker missed with a roundhouse kick to a villain's head. The villain asked, "What the hell was that?" To which Walker responded, "This," and proceeded to knock the bad guy out with a second roundhouse kick.

In fact, I am watching Walker on a Friday night. Thanks for asking. I think I might follow it up with a little Not Another Teen Movie.

So . . . Do You Like Comic Books?

Thought Rico might like this for the Wolverine bit. Kind of frightening though. Thankfully a fair amount of it is over my head. Conan is almost completely foreign to me. Never read any of the books and seen parts of two very, very bad movies. Red Sonja? Crom? Come to think of it, I don't know anyone except for Conan. The X-Men stuff, on the other hand, basically makes sense. Except for the Super Skrull. I think he's more Fantastic Four or Iron Man than X-Men though. I think we'll be fine without a Comic Books tab.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Watching "Sports," Eh?

I think we all know what Rico means by that:

Monday, January 7, 2008

Gladiator ready?

When I heard NBC was bringing back American Gladiators on the strength of good ratings for the reruns, I was both excited and apprehensive. Excited because a staple of my youth was returning to TV and apprehensive because I thought NBC would go ahead and ruin it. So it was with great anxiety that I watched the premier last night.

Unfortunately, some of my fears were well grounded. The original version of the show was over the top, but ultimately it was about athletic competition. The current incarnation was so slickly produced and entertainment-centric that you almost forgot that there was an actual sporting event going on. As someone who watches virtually any televised sport*, the focus on the theatrical aspects was frustrating. Hiring Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali to host certainly didn't help.

Having said all that, the show partially redeemed itself with the sheer awesomeness of the eliminator. One of the few problems with the original show was that the eliminator was usually anticlimactic, with one contender grabbing a lead and cruising to victory. Now, however, the course is so draining that just about anything could happen. It really made for compelling television.

* Seriously, I'll watch just about anything remotely athletic as long as it's competitive. Come Winter Olympics, I'm watching curling. When ESPN used to show putt-putt in the afternoon, I was all over that. Golf, tennis, bowling, ping pong, I'm there. My only exception is women's basketball. No one should ever be forced to watch that.

As a proud heterosexual man,

all I can say is I told you so.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Words fail

This is one of the saddest - and yet most touching and powerful - things I've ever read. It's the final post of the blog of Major Andrew Olmsted. He had it prepared in the event that he was killed in Iraq.

I rarely ask others to read specific things, but please follow the link and read what Major Olmsted wrote. Though woefully inadequate, taking the time to read it is still a way to honor the life and remember the death of a great American.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Last minute impressions

With the Iowa caucuses upon us, I've been watching a lot of news coverage. The more I watch, the more I like Romney and dislike Huckabee. Huckabee is just extremely disingenuous in trying to run a "positive" campaign while constantly bashing Romney. Here's a note to Mike: Just because you don't mention your opponent by name, it doesn't make your insults any less negative.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

So begins my life as a corporate sellout

I just shaved for the first time in more than six months in preparation for lunch with an attorney for Milwaukee's largest law firm.

If I'm going to be a corporate sellout, I'd at least like to be paid like one.