Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Iraq Votes - An Enjoyable Look In The Mirror

Anytime someone tells you not to take something they didn't want to happen too seriously, it's big. When Senator John Kerry told us all "not to overhype" the Iraqi Elections, you know they were a major success. They were a major success for reasons the Washington Post describes surprisingly well in this editorial.

Yesterday, however, Americans finally got a good look at who they are fighting for: millions of average people who have suffered for years under dictatorship and who now desperately want to live in a free and peaceful country. Their votes were an act of courage and faith -- and an answer to the question of whether the mission in Iraq remains a just cause. -Wahington Post Editorial Board.

It's a shame Americans also didn't get a better look at who amongst them didn't support the Iraqi Elections. That self-annointed Democratic Wing of The Democratic Party that hates everything about America and wanted nothing positive to arise from Sunday's Election. This blurb here pretty much sums up about 400 or so of their online posts complaining about the Iraqi Election.

I can't believe the Iraqis are buying into this "democracy" bullshit. They have to know that the Americans don't want them to have power, because they know that Bush is in this for the oil, and now that he finally has it he's not going to let it go. This election is a charade. The fact is that the Iraqis have suffered during the past two years more than any people on earth at the hands of the American gestapo. - Democratic Underground.

The Iraqis weren't trying to, but they held up a big mirror for us to look into and see ourselves. Or at least see what we really and truely think about Democracy coupled with Universal Sufferage. For most of us, both Democrat and Republican, the view was not perfect, but pretty much rico and suave. We have our faults and mistakes, but enjoy our right to vote, participate and debate and wish the Iraqis well.

But for the HaterAid Drinkers, it couldn't be pretty. It was an episode of "The Biggest Loser", where no one gets a smaller waistline or a healthier lifestyle. It was, for them, seeing their two century old lie dying in the desert streets of Ancient Mosul and Venerable Baghdad. That lie that Democracy couldn't be imposed on different cultures until they developed it themselves.

A lie disproven in Japan, Korea, The Phillipines, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and about seventy or so other countries after Great Britain, where representative Democracy really got it's start. And it was an irrational lie, given that no one had ever told Assurbanipol, Attilla, or for that matter Hugo Chavez that their might didn't make right anytime they chose to flex a tyrannical bicep.

Or more importantly, because you don't have to impose Democracy on civilized people, because Democracy is the pinnacle of human civilization. It's the essence of cooperation and teamwork. The acceptance, toleration and peaceful resolution of our differences. Which basically is what our race has been striving for since our ancestors climbed down out of the trees, built their first cities and attempted to live in early city states located not too far from The Fertile Cresecent. Which not coincidentally, intersects modern Baghdad along the Euphrates River.

Perhaps, all along, we've owed a certain debt to this region for starting the very concept of civilization. Maybe, by giving them the opportunity to build a Mesopatamiam Democracy, we've repaid some of it. Tell Senator Kerry not to overhype that.

Update I: Wizbang agrees with Kofi? Yep, it's time to sheath the swords and help Iraq rebuild.

Update II: Sometimes I read Frank Martin over at Varifrank and can only comment "Yeah, what he said."

Update III: Yes, the Iraqi people have spoken. The Virginian agrees they have spoken powerfully.

Update IV: Sean Hackbarth reminds us that a lot of the details of a free Iraq still need to be worked out. Democracy is a means to that end.

Update V: Even hardened realists at Cold Hearted Truth take a step back and congratulate the Iraqi people on their courage.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

So Just What Have Religous People Done For Science Anyway?

When people discuss religion and science, they refer to the two has opposites that do not attract. More like oil and water than Yin and Yang. The opinion seems to prevail that the two should never mix. Since it often comes down to a big argument about where the universe came from, I thought it was only fair to provide a religious perspective. That of Belgian Priest Georges Lemaitre.

Lemaitre, like many religious figures, went against the prevailing science of his day. He argued, in accordance with the Book of Genesis, that the Universe was created from "a primeival atom" at a discreet moment and then rapidly expanded outwars.

Most scientists of the 1920's, including the eminent Albert Einstien, argued in favor of what would later be codified as the Steady State Theory, by Fred Hoyle. Hoyle, rather ironically, also gets credited with the term Big Bang Theory. It was his attempt to subject the work of Lemaitre to professional mockery.

Edwin Hubble formulated Hubbel's Law, in 1929, which provided backers of Lemaitre with mathematical, as well theological, ammunition to support Lemaitre's hypothesis. Hubble compared the distances to nearby galaxies to their redshift, found a linear relationship. (wikipedia) This allowed people to start making determinations of the age of heavanly bodies.

This lead to the inevitable efforts to start pinpointing the age of the universe as a whole. Once that became the categorical argument Lemaitre's theory held intellectual predominance.

In fairness to Lemaitre's detractors, other possible explanations are still given scientific credence as competing theories. One of the more talented protegies of Dr. Stephen Hawking proposed a theory that the universe expanded and contracted in a manner roughly analogous to a Simple Harmonic Oscillator. This would allow for a universal expansion in accordance with Hubbel's Law and would periodically bring all the matter in the universe to a gravitational singularity, just like the Big Bang.

This gravitational singularity would have no spatial dimensions. This prohibits examination of what happened while the matter was compacted into this single, geometric point. So we're left to do what is anathematic to the scientific community. We choose our theory on a faith-based criterion. We pays our nickle and we makes our choice.

In the meantime, we can categorically prove that a religious thinker can more than hold his own amongst the giants of theoretical science. During his lifetime, Lemaitre won numerous accolades from the scientific community. He believed what he believed and could still think critically. At least according to the following institutions who lauded his name.

  1. In 1936, he was elected member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He took an active role there, became the president in March 1960 and remaining so until his death. He was also named prelate in 1960.
  2. In 1941, he was elected member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Belgium.
  3. In 1946, he published his book on L'Hypothèse de l'Atome Primitif (The Primeval Atom Hypothesis), a book which would be translated into Spanish in the same year and into English in 1950.
  4. In 1953 he was given the very first Eddington Medal award of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Perhaps that challenges our modern philosophical disciples of David Hume. These people should continue to think in a critical manner, but in the end find something they can actually believe in.

The New "Show Me State", Arizona

If Congressman Tom Tancredo wants to jump start his border security coalition and succeed in his aim to make the US Government take patrolling our borders seriously, the State of Arizona has given him the marquee idea with which he should proceed. They have passed a law that requires potential voters to demonstrate their US citizenship before they cast their vote.

Of course this has singed the overly sensitive, who have reflexively described this law as a violation of The Civil Rights Act. In a way, this response just back-handed well over 1 million tax-paying, flag-waving, voting Arizona citizens who, by virtue of their parental ancestory, just happen to not be of caucasian ancestory.

Here goes the So-Called Democratic Party's whine on this issue. You can decide if their all as bigoted as Senator Klansman of West Virginia.

A civil-rights group and Democratic legislators recently had urged the Department of Justice (news - web sites) to reject the law. They argued the changes will erect barriers that will hinder minorities' participation in elections and hamper grassroots voter registration drives.

I'd bet a solid chunk of pocket change that well over 90% of the minorities I've known throughout my life were US citizens. That's after I've lived in Central Texas for three and a half years of my life and in Los Angeles for a couple of more. I think that this slur against Hispanics by The So-Called Democratic Party is just as obnoxious as accusing all Mexicans of being lazy or just here for the welfare.

There really needs to be an end to the double standard of what public statements and policy actions get ascribed to racist beliefs. The So-Called Democratic Party should be called on the carpet for their incessant bigotry the same way Trent Lott got deservedly dogged out for his.

Update I: The bloggers at Right Voices also wonder why minorities are specifically effected by this law.

Update II: Michelle Malkin praises a protest at The University of North Texas over America's lax borders.

Update III: Sean Hackbarth introduces a rather painfully obtuse liberal response to Prop 200.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Saddam Insane's Tyrannical Understudy; Hugo Chavez

President Hugo Chavez, like the Ayatollah Khomeni in Iran, came to hold dictatorial power as a result of Former US President Jimmy Carter. However, his behavior since ascending has been more comparable to the Iranian Theocrat's mortal enemy, Former Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein. Like Hussein, Chavez's tyranny has been ideological and secular, rather than religious. Also like Hussein, Chavez has used an abundant supply of crude oil as a fulcrum to leverage his power and influence.

Chavez has busied himself using his petrochemical empire to engage in revolutionary destabilization throughout central and South America. He, like Saddam Hussein, has gained in stature amongst the leadership of the world's non-democratic nations by combining strong anti-American rhetoric with financial and military support for leftist revolutionaries. He, like Hussein, hopes that selling oil to Russia and supporting the efforts of Ghadaffi and Fidel Castro will grant him an increased level of power and influence.

Update I: Sue Bob thinks Chavez came up two Budweisers short of a case and also wonders what this idiot will do with his new power and influence.

Also like Hussein, he has left a trail of dead and tortured bodies in the wake of his acension to governance. Aleksander Boyd, of Cubanet, has comprised a list of missing or imprisoned political opponents since Chavez took office. Many were freed, once Carter had blessed off on Chavez's electoral 'landslide'. The following individuals were not as fortunate.

The obvious domestic repression, combined with the support for radical leftist guerrila outfits such as FARC and The Shining Path, and his manipulation of the global oil prices for political ends paint the picture of a dangerous man who means his neighbors and our nation nothing but ill. We've had to use force to deal with a very similar individual and are still dealing with the fallout of letting him sink his corrupt tenticles into an entire nation.

Hugo Chavez's obvious emulation of Saddam Hussein's behavior and ideology add one more piece of evidence to the argument that perhaps the wrong President Bush removed Saddam Hussein and that this dismissal occurred about 12 years too late. Another way to look at it is that anyone doubting the malignant threat posed by Venezualian Dictator Hugo Chavez is to quote Senator Lieberman. "Hiding in a spider-hole of denial."

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Unannounced Candidate

Few people doubted that Hillary Clinton harbored ambitions far beyond the Junior Senatorship of New York State. Her husband served as her co-President for two terms back in the 90's and she developed a taste for the power and the lifestyle the way bruised and muddy rugby players take to The Golden Beverage. Her activities yeaterday did nothing to change that assesment and in fact, reinforced it for several reasons.

She rose her national profile on The 25th Anniversary on The Roe v. Wade decision that had the practical effect of legalizing abortion throughout the United States. She acted officially on behalf of her party, but primarily, she acted on behalf of her ambitions.

Proposing new political language about abortion rights for an increasingly skittish Democratic Party, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that friends and foes on the issue should come together on "common ground" to reduce the number of "unwanted pregnancies" and ultimately abortions, which she called a "sad, even tragic choice to many, many women." Clinton, in a speech to about 1,000 abortion rights supporters at the state Capitol, firmly restated her support for Roe v. Wade. But then she offered warm words to opponents of abortion and said that faith and organized religion were the "primary" reasons teenagers abstained from sexual relations. -Drudgereport

Her words suggest that she seeks accomodation with, or at least some of the votes of, people who favor restrictions on abortion. Her record provides a different take on the events of her term as Senator. She bats 1.000 according to Planned Parenthood and uses disengenuous rhetoric to obscure that issue.

The New York Times described the speech as an effort to modify the current postion of the Democratic Party. This probably lacks accuracy. She spoke in hopes of changing the perceived position of The Democratic Party on abortion.

Even her primary concessions on the issue, while true, ultimately sidestep the issue of whether abortion should remain a legal practice.

"The fact is, the best way to reduce the number of abortions is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies in the first place," Mrs. Clinton said.

At one point, for instance, she drew gasps from some in the audience by mentioning that 7 percent of American women who do not use contraception account for 53 percent of all unintended pregnancies.

Hillary Clinton will say what she needs to say in order to mollify political activists that oppose abortion as a widespread, publically funded practice. She will then continue to legislate in a way that keeps abortion the number one profit center for Planned Parenthood. It's a classic example of Doublespeak and no one with intelligence or discernment should be buying.

Update I: Does Hillary's campaign have opposition already? Sue Bob's Diary suggests maybe yes, and from a source quite close to her.

Update II: This all reminds Vodkapundit of another Clinton's Sistah Soljah moment.

Update III: Rielly at RightVoices reminds Hillary that abortion is an issue where you can't have it both ways.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Publish The Tract And Let The Audience Decide

I'm all in favor of Doubleday Publishing publishing, selling and profiting off of The Al Queda Reader. I also don't think this will help Osauma's cause. However, there are some who fear that the publication of this book will humanize the enemy. Sort of a written verion of Tokyo Rose, if you will.

I have the opposite opinion. I believe anyone that sits down and reads Osauma's deepest thoughts will close the book convinced that this man is an utter whack-job. I may be wrong. He may have something special and profound to say that Marx, Hitler and Ted Krycinski did not. I think that historical evidence bears my point of view out and that based on past philosophical treatises from ideological mass murderers, people who have a strong enough stomach to care what Osauma believes will find him utterly repulsive.

Das Kapital stayed in print for over a century. In fact, it has outlived most of the Marxist governments that claimed it as an unofficial, secular tome of holiness. It made whatever points that could be made on behalf of Marxian governance with far greater elquence than Nikita Krushev's shoe-banging.

When I studied Marxian Economics in college, Kapital was the text. After suffering through all three volumes, I have yet to vote for anyone to the left of George W. Bush. Presenting and publishing Marx's ideals and even teaching them to young adults in a college classroom did not lead to Soviet victory in The Cold War.

Adolf Hitler wrote Mien Kampf to glorify his rise to power and convince people he was right. People read this book now and wonder how anyone in Wiemar Republic Germany could have voted for the monster. The book convinced no one that Hitler was a philosophical genius, but rather of the opposite.

The Unabomber created quite the stir when he refused to surrender to authorities until his manifesto was printed. What a stem-winder of a screed it was! It took a Harvard education to have written the thing. It doesn't take a room full of PhD pyschologists to figure out the man was in the woods too long. Evil Industrial Society found The Unabomber a comfortable padded cell. He's still waiting on the revolution.

When Doubleday introdues The World According To Wahabbi Whack-Jobs, it won't be pretty. It also won't win over any converts or make Osauma a host of new friends. I seriously doubt the youth of modern America will run out and emulate the youth of the 1960's over Osauma's Little Red Book.

If anything, after the disinformation campaign by Michael Moore, Goerge Soros and a legion of others, this book will be a refreshing reminder. A refreshing reminder of how creepy these people really are and why we fight The Global War On Terror.

Update I: The Libertarians at Brainwash want Osauma's ideas out there as well. Perhaps for a different motive, but still....

UNICEF Finds It Irrelevant

President Bush has done his part to combat world-wide racism. How? He's chosen a secretary for UNICEF that will shift the organization out of the business of mass produced third world abortion. Bush's appointee, Former Secretary of Agriculture, Ann Veneman has the unenviable task of changing a culture of death and racial condescention as she steps in as the new UNICEF Director.

For years, pro-life groups have fought a losing battle explaining the contradictory nature of a child welfare agency performing abortions to the intellectual elite at UNHQ. It's hard to convince these people that the world doesn't need a few million fewer babies that look like "them"; meaning anyone of a different race, culture or religion than the highly educated, European elites that handle most of the money and power in the current UN.

It's tough arguing logic with people who feel more abortions and sterilizations would serve as a form of humanity. Particularly in poorer parts of the world where people look considerably different than their adorable children. It's this fundamentally racist condescension that makes me really want to unload on the UN advocates of abortion that specialize in mass marketing the procedure to poor, underdeveloped nations.

Veneman steps in, with Kofi Annan's tacit acquiesence, to do the best she can to stop a moral tragedy. In this case, it's to quietly stop the practice and euphemistically call it "irrelevant". Accepting 1/2 a loaf and calling it gradual progress.

The logical part of my mind tells me to take it and be happy. The stratergery's working and the ball is incrementally moving towards the right set of goal posts here. Namely, as revolting as it sounds to call abortion "irrelevant" to a child's welfare, this will end up reducing the number of abortions being performed.

There's another part of me that really wishes someone would actually pay. Other than US taxpayers, that's never been the case with the UN. It's probably part of waging a peaceful struggle to forego vengeance in return for the cessation of a hostile wrong. However, "irrelevant" is just not the way that this should be described somehow.

Maureen Dowd - All Smarm, No Point.

Maureen Dowd, as many of you have probably surmised, is no real fan of President Bush or anyone in his administration. She really isn't a fan of very much, except for perhaps, Sam Cooke and surprisingly Lawrence Summers. At least she found Summers a convenient jumping off point into her attack on Condelizza Rice.

Maureen, while taking a sabatical from The Sandia Laboratory to pen a few columns for The New York Times, suggests that Condi brush up on her math skills. An amusing anecdote from a woman who thinks 32 years after the Roe v. Wade decision minus the 50 million abortions since is a positive contribution to society. If you took the square root of that figure, and that's ok, Maureen's a wiz at those imaginary numbers, it would still kind of suck.

According to the mighty Doctor Dowd,

She can't do simple equations. She doesn't even know that X times zero equals zero. If you multiply 1,370 dead soldiers times zero weapons of mass destruction, that equals zero achievement for Rice, who helped the president and vice president bamboozle America into war.

Ad then there's this piece of snarkdom...

Her geometry is skewed if she thinks she'll now be more powerful than Rummy and Dick Cheney. Doesn't she know that the Pentagon has more sides than her Texas triangle with George and Laura?

I can't help but wonder if there's anything at all about triangles that Maureen didn't learn from Catherine Zeta Jones. What an under-handed cheap shot. She not only questions Rice's qualifications (not at all untoward if Maureen had an intellectual graveman from whence to do so), but she also accuses Condi of sleeping her way to the top. Something Maureen would have done herself, but when it came down to it, a younger leading lady stole her part.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

What I Saw At The Reformation; Blogging Against The Machine

Hugh Hewitt offers an interesting theory of what happened to the MSM. He has theorized that an information monopoly has just fallen apart. He writes it in his new book Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That is Changing Your World, which I highly reccommend you buy and read if it didn't magically appear beneath your Christmas Tree this year.

Hewitt plants the axiom that the MSM had ingrown to the point where it no longer understood the regular world. They had no prolonged contact with anyone significantly different than themselves in philosophical orientation. It reminds me of a job I worked one summer where I met someone that lived in such a strongly liberal background that he was still surprised when I met him in 1991 that Ronald Reagan had beaten Jimmy Carter in 1980. This the sort of ideological and philosophical echo chamber that Hugh Hewitt describes the modern newsroom as.

Secondly, the MSM had no ethical compunction except to perpetuate their belief system. They had drifted out of the business of news reporting and now had taken to the evangelization of secular humanism and modern neoliberalism. Thus, belief and faith had become more important to them than legitimate evidence.

Like that forged National Guard Memorandum that felt just right to Dan Rather. It was in this environment where Jayson Blair was free to fabricate newsroom fiction, as long as Howell Raines could morally approve of the protagonist.

Finally, the MSM had grown used to demoninance and perogative. They didn't know competition when it took their audience. They had been raised to believe that the ideals of their opposition were ignorant and that they were enlightened.
The MSM did not respect the threat blogs posed to their information monopoly just by reinterpreting the news of the day without the spin or with a different flavor of sauce.

The LA Times called the blogsphere "the sizzle, but not the steak". Perhaps the LA Times could be described as the marble, but not the protien. Audience and market share were taken for granted, and the potential of the internet was never taken seriously by the print and TV media.

So was this event comparable to the invention of the printing press and the Protestant Reformation? I doubt it, but the rise of the blogs did matter. It mattered in the sense that traditional media firms now had external sources doing due diligence on their articles.

It mattered because a truth filter had been added to the mass information pipeline. It mattered because people of all backgrounds and walks of life were now transmitting information. This gave everyone greater courage to speak up and a better understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and agendas of our traditional media sources.

So yes, the monopoly has been broken. What happens now, remains up to the humble reader. If not of my blog, at least hopefully of Mr. Hewitt's timely and informative treatise on blogging against the machine.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

SpongeBob = GayBob!?!? (I see stupid people!!)

I'm forlorn and heartbroken. I haven't felt this used since Charlie Hustle gambled on baseball and cheated on his wife. In a cruel and heartless world, we should be allowed to keep our heroes. But no, another paragon of truth and justice has swam off into the polluted waters of debauchery. At least according to the highly attuned rocket scientists over at American Family Association.

The American Family Association claims Spongebob Squarepants undermines our morals. And here I thought he was fighting the good fight. I couldn't imagine anyone more square than SpongeBob Squarepants. But alas, he's been swimming with the suckerfish over at the pink end of the reef.

The Central Scrutinizers over at AFA have claimed the latest SpongeBob video glamorizes homosexuality. At this point, I was overwhelmed with curiosity at how a guy who was so deformed he wore square pants could pitch or catch much of anything. The sordid details follow below.... (If you really worry about masculinity issues, use the back button on your browser now!)

The video is a remake of the 1979 hit song "We Are Family" using the voices and images of SpongeBob, Barney, Winnie the Pooh, Bob the Builder, the Rugrats and other TV cartoon characters. It was made by a foundation set up by songwriter Nile Rodgers after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in an effort to promote healing.

Having read this about thrice now, I'm still ok. I think my fiance' is beautiful and won't be trading her in for a male hairdresser named Chauncey. As for James Dobson, he has issues and badly needs to lighten up. Here's what actually put the hairballs in his colon.

Christian groups however have taken exception to the tolerance pledge on the foundation's Web site, which asks people to respect the sexual identity of others along with their abilities, beliefs, culture and race.

"Their inclusion of the reference to 'sexual identity" within their 'tolerance pledge' is not only unnecessary, but it crosses a moral line," James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said in a statement released Thursday.

So it's their website, not their SpongeBob video that crosses a line. Phew! That was a close one. Sponge's agent really needs to do more research next time before he signs on the bottom line. I'd hate to see the modern day Savanrolas burn all the SpongeBob videos. They are the Berninis of our junk food culture.

Update I: I finally found the person to the far right of Michelle Malkin. Oh Barnicles!!

Update II: Ricky at The New Democrat has a laugh at The Christian Right's expense. Congratulations Mr. Dobson.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Barbara Boxer - She Has To Be A GOP Plant

I've run out of rational explanations for Barbara Boxer. She defies the term rationality. Her deracination eclipses the usual pompous, out of touch lunacy resplendant inside the Capital Beltway. She is unique and I personally hope Quality Control required the mold broken from which she was originally cast.

Somewhere in a confirmation hearing that occurred on Planet Barbara, Condelizza Rice described the Southeast Asian Tsunami as an opportunity while responding to questions posed by Senator Voinavich. A mere Earthling combs the transcript of Voinovich's questions for Dr. Rice and cannot find any refernece to the tsunami. The Senator never asked her about it in the first place.

A few days earlier, Condelizza Rice had said the following:

"I do agree that the tsunami was a wonderful opportunity to show not just the US government, but the heart of the American people, and I think it has paid great dividends for us," she said. - Agency France Presse.

This brings up two points. One, Condelizza Rice simply points out that the tsunami relief effort gives us an opportunity to do good and secondly, this was days before Senator Voinovich ever questioned her in a Senate confirmation hearing. And then there is the manner in which Senator Boxer interprets Dr. Rice's statement....

"And if you're going to become the voice of diplomacy, this is just a helpful point. When Senator Voinovich mentioned the issue of tsunami relief, you said -- your first words were The tsunami was a wonderful opportunity for us. Now, the tsunami was one of the worst tragedies of our lifetime, one of the worst, and it's going to have a 10-year impact on rebuilding that area. I was very disappointed in your statement. I think you blew the opportunity. You mentioned it as part of one sentence. And I would hope to work with you on this, because children are suffering; we're worried they're going to get in the sex trade. This thing is a disaster -- a true natural disaster and a human disaster of great proportions. And I hope that the State Department will take a huge lead under your leadership in helping those folks in the long range." -Barbara Boxer

My only theory of how Senator Boxer came to be prominent is the following. Years ago, Goerge Bush's father, Carl Rove, George Soros and several high ranking corporate officials met in secret at a Masonic Lodge in some undisclosed location. The corporate officials were all bankers and lawyers with coincidental ties to Bildenburg, Germany. They had to come up with a way to so thoroughly discredit The Democratic Party that these people could in no way threaten The New World Order.

Not even Michael Dukakis and Jimmy Carter had been disasterous enough to really stifle the opposition. They had to infiltrate the organization and place a mole so disasterous to The Democrats so that they would never be viewed in a favorable light again. So there you have it folks, Barbara Boxer is trained to be that stupid.

Carl Rove, the Energy traders at Enron and The Illuminati all got together and planned the ascendance of Barbara Boxer as a way to undermine any prestige and respect The Democratic Party may have still maintained. It's stratergery, and it's the only explanation I can come up with to logically justify Barbara Boxer's job performance. Unless, of course, she really is, to quote Ayn Clouter, an individual "for whom The Bell Curve tolls."

Update I: Boi From Troy admires both of Barbara Boxer's IQ points.

Update II: According to The New York Times, the rest of the Senate should be.... more like Barbara Boxer?!?!?!

Update III: LaShawn Barber knows a LOSER when she sees one.

Update IV: QandO stand bemused as Barbara Boxer explains to Condelizza Rice why George W. Bush went to war in Iraq.

Update V: If anyone really cares, Wizbang points out that Barbara Boxer's phone number is busy. That would seem contradictory, given that in her case, the lights are on, but nobody is usually home.

Friday, January 14, 2005

How Not To Reform The Tort System

Tort reform became an issue that the Maryland State Legislature could no longer duck. In a beautiful gesture of irony, a lobby of medical doctors served the legislature with an ultimatum. The language was no doubt the flowery pufffspeak of academia, but the message rang loud and clear: "Fix this broken system, or we walk off the job and you can take a break from your law offices and treat the sick, the halt and the lame yourselves."

The legal community didn't enjoy being served this notice anymore than the typical deadbeat father would enjoy being served with a summons for an alimony hearing. They even got their briefs in order and mounted a blistering counterattack. One talented personal injury attorney pointed out the fact that 3% of Maryland's Doctors were targeted with 50% of the litigation.

This clever argument tells a pointed partial truth that obscures vital information, relevant to the matter at hand. Attorney Irvin Kramer fails to point the specialization of the target doctors. This ignores the fact that practices such as OB/GYN are targeted far more often than others. This selective targeting denudes the health care system of certain vital specialties which some people quite literally could die without. Athwart Kramer's clever rebuttal, the fact that 3% of the doctors eat 50% of the pounding is the obvious truth that which 3% get annihilated matters greatly.

Another point that goes under the bridge and down the river involves how insurance companies operate. The insurance companies have two competing imperatives. They have to earn a reasonable profit and they have to set premiums that doctors can actually afford to pay. This means that if the cost of insuring the local Optimologist goes up by 300% because of repeated, beligerent litigation, the insurer would logically jack the premiums up 300% to keep his bottom line from drooping below cost level.

This is where logical runs into a cold brick wall. The one or two targeted specialties soon find themselves incapable of buying malpractice insurance and comtemplate taking up golfing as more than just a hobby. This kills the goose that lays the insurance company's golden egg, so Gieco et al. now face a dilemna. In order to solve this dilemna, they spread costs. All the dentists, podiatrists and neurologists in Maryland get an extra Christmas present in the mail, the next time a set of insurance bills arrive in the mail.

The attorney's, if they were nicer than most other human beings, would stop right here and say "Wow, this won't work. We'd better make sure our plaintiffs are bringing legitimate acts of malpractice to the table, before we represent them and negotiate renumeration." Of course, lawyers are normal human beings, like the rest of us. They see money on the table, they have what it takes to get that money; lot's of it. Hence they react like a pool of sharks aswim in a current of chummed-up water.

So that brings the situation to a tenuous head and throws the pass to the Maryland Legislature. The situation is exacerbated for the litigators and law makers by a governor who jumps in on the side of the medical doctors, both fists swinging. The populists with pitchforks, (Ok, so maybe these populists all drive Lexi) converge upon the statehouse and demand a solution.

The legislature consists of law makers. Talk to a typical law school candidate and he'll tell you that lawyers should make the laws because only they truly understand them. Of course, these lawyers than further convolute these laws so that even lawyers themselves no longer read them all 5 X 5, but that's a subject for another rant on another day.

The upshot of this is that a legislature full of attorneys becomes a fully owned subsidiary of the ATLA. When lawyers say "Boo!", legislatures get worried. Rather than brandishing up their resumes on USAJobs or, they pretty much do what they are told. The ATLA plays pimp, which fully overdetermines which part the law makers play.

This brings us to the medical malpractice reform legislation in The Great State of Maryland.

  • Maryland doctors are claiming loudly that they demand relief from malpractice costs or Judge Dreadwort had better have a good folk remedy for those troublesome kidney stones.
  • The ATLA and it's constituent lawyers have told the legislature in no uncertain terms that tort damages will not be capped under any circumstances.
  • The public does what the public always does according to the laws of economics. They demand total access to both legal and medical services and refuse to pay enough money to make both options possible.

The legislature does what Jimmy Carter did in the 1970's. They magically create more money so that the citizens get their Plantar's Warts healed and can dial 1-800-Bad-Back and sue if their foot itches afterward. The doctors get part of their insurance costs renumerated and the lawyers have enough money rolling in in damages to live like, well, rich legal attorneys. Everyone should go home and live happily eaver after.

Regretably, Santa Clause doesn't really exist and Governor Ehrlick is a mean old Republican who has no intention whatsoever of indulging such fantasies and seeing the world as the world is not. For starters, legislatures can't waive a magic wand and create more money. They have to tax somebody in order to expropriate those funds.

Even Robin Hood had to aim his trusty longbow at The Sheriff of Nottingham's head before he could go off and fund the widows and orphans. The legislatures used the dreaded HMOs as their archery target and imposed an insurance tax to rob Peter The Health Care Exec and pay Paul The Insurance Boss. This is where Governor Ehrlich had to become an inconvenience. He saw the bill as the buncomb scheme that it was and slapped his veto upon the bill with a flurish of press conferences filled with fulsome condemnation.

At this point the legislature had three options.

  • They could stiff the doctors an risk having them go elsewhere or try out new professions in large numbers. In essence, deny the public the maximum possible availability of private health care.
  • They could put a cap on liability damages. In essence not let the public and the attorneys ride the lawsuit lottery.
  • They could override the veto and stay out in never-never land where the votes are.

An elected legislature will tend to choose door number three, and this is what happened in Maryland. Governor Ehrlick has his veto overridden and the taxes went into effect. So what happens now that the money spiggots got opened?

  • Doctor's bills will go up. In all fairness, lawyers are not the only piglets oinking in Maryland. The doctors will hike their fees to get their share of the newly confiscated swag.
  • The lawyers will sue more often and go to great pains to remind jurors that the HMOs, not the physicians are the people paying.
  • The insurers will raise their rates whether the lawyers and doctors raise their rates or not. They see money on the table, just like everybody else.
  • The costs associated with health care in Maryland should skyrocket and three or so years from now, another intrest group will hit up the legislature for comprehensive tort reform.

The buck has successfully been passed.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Bluff Prince Hal Dresses For A Party

Prince Hal felt like playing the Young Bloke at his friend's dress up party. They all dolled up to the nines and he went in casual summer dress. A casual summer weight Nazi Desert Uniform. Prince Hal made sure to accessorize with a big swastika on the sleeve, in case someone didn't get the joke.

Mums was naturally mortified, but tried to play it down as best as possible. Being rather British about the whole affair, The Royals offered forth the following public understatement.

It read: "Prince Harry has apologised for any offence or embarrassment he has caused. He realises it was a poor choice of costume."

A really poor choice of costume indeed. Particularly since a fairly large elderly population in London still remembers what a lovely diversion The London Blitz provided. It was good of him to apologize. That takes care of everything.

Well, not everything. It seems The Royals are now under accusation of not caring enough that there was a holocaust. An outraged Dean of The Simon Weisenthal Center suggested a day trip for the amusement of Prince Hal.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles expressed outrage and urged Prince Harry to travel to Poland later this month to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. -ABC News.

Diverting, but it would require Winter Wehrmacht attire.

Meanwhile, the stupid stunt may have a personal cost to the prince as well. He's long attempted to get into Great Britain's military academy at Sandhurst. At least one MP has already sited the incident as evidence Prince Henry has no business serving under arms. Quite possibly accurate. I'd have no desire whatsoever to see one of the abnoxious twerps donning a Che Guevara shirt get commissioned into the US Army either.

The bigger issue stems from the appaling lack of concern on the part of Prince Henry, for what had happened before. Prince Hal may not try to be obnoxious, he just doesn't seem like the sharpest knife in the block. P. J. O'Rourke once remarked something to the effect that those who fail the lessons of history probably aren't racking it up in Algebra 2 Trigonometry either. However, he needs some training in empathy and decorum.

It's seems a shame, but even with proper eugenics, royal families all seem to go the route of The Spanish Hapsburgs. Perhaps this is because they are at least as insulated from consequence as the Kennedys are in the US. Whatever the reason, it's a sad thing to watch and a sign that nothing is permanent all will one day decay and fall into decadence. A decadence that won't play well on the brutal training grounds of Sandhurst.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Rattling Cages

The President has done it again. He's publically articulated exactly what he believes in and it will drive the people who intensely dislike him to public hyperbole and many expressions of modish angst. Nothing morally offends like an honest man who insists on seeing the world 180 degrees in aposition to a deeply held point of view. It removes all room for compromise and blurring.

President Bush recently interviewed with The Washington Times and according to Matt Drudge wielded Occam's Razor with his usual blunt tone-deafness to the sensitivities of the perpetually offended. He made two statements that drew pings from the sensationalization radar tower at Drudge Report Central Command.

  • 'I don't see how you can be president without a relationship with the Lord'
  • 'No women in combat'

Certainly, President Bush knows this will drive certain, highly vocal elements of the left to screaming fits. After a news spin cycle that was asi-asi at best, George W. Bush seems to be bating the ACLU to make stupid, ill-advised public statements for the rest of the week. Almost mocking them to say something stupid that can serve as a milestone demarking the extent to which the money and power of The Democratic Party have drifted into leftward deracination.

The first statement challenges the very premise of the secular state. Planting the axiom that no man can lead without practicing followership of the devine rebuts the central premise of the loudest cheerleaders for the secular state. A statement like the one made by George W. Bush undercuts the logic behind enforced secularism. It takes the moral bite out of our modern tolerance with teeth.

Like John Adams' statement that the US Constitution is only fit for a society governed by Christian morality, it takes away from the ability of those who think they are too 'modern' to believe in religion to stay on the fence. The President knows good and well that he just challenged Michael Newdow and his extremist followers to pick up the gauntlet.

The President's second statement wrong-foots a certain segment of the anti-war movement that uses legislative manuevers, as well as protest, to attempt to end the current war in Iraq. No one other than Patricia Schroeder actually wants to see women lock, load and don combat armor. The movement seeks to up the moral cost of a combat operation.

Artificially burdening the executive decision of whether or not the nation should go to war is not a new or original tactic. The Charles Rangel bill to reintroduce the draft had a list of cosponsors who wanted a real return of the draft like most people want three days of influenza symptoms. The entire purpose the bill served was to question the necessity of the Iraqi conflict.

The implicit accusation of measures like the draft bill and the women in combat movement states that if President Bush isn't willing to take the necessary steps to demonstrate that he is really serious. Almost as if he expends soldiers lives on a neoconservative lark. This can only serve the mischief makers to a point.

When run in to the bloody hilt, this win at all costs doctrine demands a certain level of thermonuclear annihilation. I mean if President Bush were really serious, what other choice would he have. Say that, and Congressman Rangel, Congressman Moran and the rest of the Greek Choir accussing George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld of being "chicken hawks" would recoil in horror the second they believed the suggestion was seriously tendered and based upon their suggested graveman.

The President has sat down with The Washington Times and with his characteristic, disarming simplicity, baited a duplicious trap for the ideologues of the left. Metering the extent to which The Democrats have learned from their discomfiture last November will be possible by what degree their leadership gets impelled to go forth and flail in response to two seemingly offhand comments from George W. Bush that wound up "flashed" atop the masthead over at The Drudge Report. The election may be over outside of Washington State, but in Washington DC, the stratergery never ends.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Pornucopia: Columbia House Cheeses Out Completely

It used to be impossible to get any cheesier than the old 12 CDs for 1 penny deal that Columbia House used to hook new members. The CDs tended to be turkeys bound for the discount rack and the artists one mediocre release away from being a Vegas lounge act that no one was quite willing book on a weekend night. The Columbia House program conveniently emptied the corporate warehouses of unwanted plasticware and wasted rolls of film and basically suckered chumps and losers into buying a bunch of stuff no one really considered entertaining.

Well now they've gone one step lower on the food chain. They've reached the level of coprophages. They mass-distribute has-been porno tapes. The ones the audiences just couldn't get up for. It must have been the shallow plot line or the really weak performance from the leading man. The genre somehow lacks room for character growth and human empathy.

This foray into the merchandise that teenage boys hide in between the mattress and the box springs would be laughable if the only likely consumers were puberty-stricken teens in search of relief. The laughter stops when any serious thought is given to what goes into one of these actions features and who some of the non-teenagers who use this service may be.

Pornography addiction can ruin the career and family of a man who lacks the moral certitude to shut the VCR or the computer off once the filth starts streaming. One of the first questions a potential sex addict gets asked by a therapist is probably the following.

Do you spend long hours on the computer downloading pornographic images or interacting in chat rooms while neglecting your job and family? -This Is War (an addiction treatment website)

The answer to that question is probably 'no' for the vast majority of people who have watched one or two stupid porno films. I'm sure most viewers find themselves getting naked, only if they found the movie's contents so disgusting they feel like taking a shower. However, if shown to the wrong person, these videos can be visual cues that lead to truly parasitic behavior.

Does anyone really like the idea of a convicted child molester getting his or her hands on 12 blue movies for just 1 penny? There's something about the 90% or higher recidivism rate that makes me think stimulating these people with a visual cattle prod isn't a very smart or decent thing to do.

Columbia House had its spinners out in force when asked about their new list of film offerings. The smarm was thick enough to stir with a stick and burn with mogas and diesel. I read the following and unfortunately didn't have the hip-waders on.

"This will be a separate subsidiary," said Jim Litwak, senior vice president of marketing at Columbia House. "It will be completely separate from Columbia House, and will not be marketed to current members. We are not using Columbia House at all, and are not talking to existing members; this is a separate business and deal." -A Columbia House Executive in The NY Post.

The real question here is not how and where the movies are sold and distributed. If Columbia House rakes in money off this and provides the motive power to make it happen, they are morally responsible. Some slickmiester press secretary can't deny the obvious truth. Columbia House cannot stoop any lower and remain in the same species as the rest of us. Do the children of America a favor and throw this company's cheesy add circular in the trash.

UNron - Auditing Not A Priority In Oil For Food Program

Paul Volcker has made common knowledge officially official. The UN did a really poor job of auditing it's accounts involved in the Oil For Food Program. This led to widespread abuse and allowed Saddam Hussein to pocket millions of Euros, Pounds and Dollars worth of kickbacks and bribes.

When describing the financial brigandage, Volcker's panel left us this chestnut of a summation.

"More comprehensive monitoring" of the contracts could have prevented the massive rip-off, the U.N.-appointed panel said.

That and one or two honest employees. It gets better. Volcker also found the following fraudulent payments in connection with the activities of UNron in Iraq.

  • A Dutch company managed to get away with several years of charging the United Nations for 31 days of work each June — a month that every schoolkid knows has 30 days.
  • The United Nations may have overpaid up to $5 billion in compensation to individuals, companies and Gulf states that suffered losses in Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
  • A housing program in northern Iraq paid $625,000 in salaries to people who were not employed by the United Nations. -NY POST

Someone put those crazy guys at Halliburton on a leash. We can't have corporations rebuild Iraq, they might embezzle money or something. The type of thing UNron would never dream of.

This, of course, brings us to ponder another question. Do the victims of the recent tsunami in SE Asia really deserve this type of help? The way in which UNron helped out in Rawanda and Iraq would make the censors who condemn George W. Bush cry racism if Kofi Annan were not dark of hue.

This, in turn, brings us to the final question atop the $64,000 Pyramid. The US Congress gives the UN money and lets them infest New York City in order to make the world a better place. The member states of UNron then do the following things,

  • Embezzle this funding right and left.
  • Use it to give a megaphone to people who would like nothing better than to wipe their rears with Old Glory after amorning bowel movement.
  • Stand there like ineffectual potted plants in the face of tragedies like ethnic cleansing in the flotsam and jetsom of what was once Yugoslavia or the open tribal butchery in Rawanda.

Why again do we continue to fund this sickening, disingenuous charade of a world organization?

Update I: The forgiving folks at ColdHeartedTruth chalked it all up to Kofi needing some new shoes...

Update II: Michelle Malkin describes UNron's travesty of a relief effort in The Congo. Another reason India was smart enough to tell UNron to stuff their aid package.

Update III: Mypetjawa chronicles Kofi Annan's mastery of the art of the illicit deal.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Opportunity Knocks At The Boxer Rebellion

Barbara Boxer should know better. Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid all three had better political instincts. The latter three have stayed out of the blast radius during the So-Called Democratic Party's latest self-immolation fest. It's not that Senator Boxer will face a difficult election challange in the forseeable future, but she should have the desire and acumen to inspire respect once she gets into office.

Instead she's chosen to grandstand. She has officially challanged the electoral college votes cast from The Great State of Ohio. She and an unwashed bevy of DU spambots have declarde George W. Bush redefeated in a display of puerility that only gets matched in Washington by the Sports Page of The Washington Post after the Redskins lose another one to the hated Dallas Cowboys. It seems that folks inside The Capital Beltway don't take kindly to geting thumped by Texans.

So this display of denial and whining presents the GOP a gift-wrapped oportunity. It seems that another election race in November went far closer to the wire than the Presidential one and the voting procedures bear far greater scrutiny. This was the Governor's Race in The State of Washington and prior to the display of purblind myopia by Senator Boxer and a host of non-entities in The House of Misrepresentation, it was basically off limits to reasoned congressional debate. This was a state affair, not a national one.

Now that Ohio has been dragged unfairly into the national spotlight, the issue could be much better explored if we had a few data points to compare to it. If, for example, a major urban area ends up with more ballots cast than it has registered voters, maybe that should be a standard for whether or not vote fraud has taken place. And yet, when the GOP complains about the unfairness of it all, the Washington State Democratic Party calls it another example of the GOP attack machine.

It seems Senator Boxer wants a recount done in Ohio. Perhaps the recount done in Washington, where only certain counties were recounted, but others were not, should be held up as an example of how not to properly organize these audits of popular preference.

Also, there is the issue of exactly how many recounts should be authorized. Should the votes be recounted once, or until the party currently holding the governor's mansion gets the result it wants. These issues should all be resolved before The State of Washington inaugurates its next governor elect.

Today's exercise in Senatorial naval-circumspection gives the GOP an excellent opportunity to make these points over and over and over again. We should all thank Barbara Boxer for presenting this opportunity. Should Senator Frist use it to the hilt, I'm sure Christine Gregoire won't be penning Senator Boxer a thank you note.

Update I: Cold-Hearted Truth points out the obvious paradox between the sancrosanct 218 vote margin they enjoy in Washington State and the suspect 110,000 vote margin George W. Bush racked up in OHIO. Somewhere Niel Young must be toning up his whining vocal chords for another rendition.

Update II: Right Voices carries a list of other idiots who also have protested Ohio's vote count. Notice the conspicuous absence of John F. Kerry from that list.

Update III: Wizbang notices that not even The Daily Kos reaches the level of deracination of Barbara Boxer's latest fumble in the shadow of her own goalposts.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Two Birds With One Stone

When the Senate confirmation hearing opens for Alberto Gonzalez tommorrow a lot will be taking place. A discussion of Judge Gonzalez's qualifications for the national Attorney Generalship will also take place, but only as an aside; or rather as a pretense. If the issue were competence, not ideology, Gonzalez would assume the job prior to 10 January, and the newspapers would care a lot more about the coming inaugural balls.

The issue here is not Gonzalez, it's the partisan theatre that Senate confirmation hearings have turned into. These hearings provide an ideal soapbox to a group of people that love the sonorous drone of their own vocal chords. The fact that these senators are putting the function of the federal government and the life of the appointee on hold is a nonsequitor. As William Shakespeare pointed out, "The play's the thing!"

This January's performance will be staged to accomplish three goals. It will give opponents of the US military's aggressive role in the Middle East to use the trumped up exaggerations of The Syros Declaration and other preoccupations of their star witness Douglas A. Johnson, to smear the ongoing efforts of the current administration. To many on the far left of the Democratic Party, the War on Terror has been a war on their agenda by other means.

Their accusations that Judge Gonzalez greenlighted the torture of POWs from Iraq and Afghanistan held by US forces, gives them an opportunity to hold up all their recycled Abu Gharaib photographs and get them on page one of The New York TImes again. It has everything to do with getting a megaphone to blast the current war with and nothing to do with how Gonzalez's resume happens to read.

The second goal of the Senate obstructionists is to put a lot of bad publicity about George W. Bush in the newspapers a couple of weeks before the inauguration. This gives them the chance to throw sand in his political gearbox before he even begins championing issues they don't like his positions on such as tort reform and social security privatization.

Finally, there is the ongoing committment by Senators, such as Charles Schumer, to the ideological extremes that fund his political career. He is expected to administer litmus tests to any judicial nominee on issues such as abortion and prayer in school. If they fail these litmus tests, he is payed by his contributors to vote that nominee down.

Recently, the Democrats lost an election that many owithin their own ranks feel turned heavily on such "values" issues as abortion and the role of religion in society. This puts the litmus testers in a position where they still have to kill any nominee for disagreeing with them on certain core issues. They, however need a pretense for the no vote that obscures their true motivations.

Thus, Douglas A. Johnson plays the perfect Anita Hill roll for Democrats looking to change the real subject and kill the nominee at the same time. Johnson's ludicrous charges have been summarily dismantled both here, and here. Yet it is the convenience, not the veracity of Johnson's Cynthia McKinneyesque conspiracy charges that lead some Democrats to believe that he can help them kill tow birds with one stone.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Exit Left: The 2004 Exit Poll Failure

Mickey Kaus continues to cement his reputation as a Democrat with an actual brain. Today he links to an excellent takedown of Edison/Mitofsky, the firm that conducted the Exit Polls for the 2004 Presidential Elections, by the blogger Mystery Pollster. Kaus points out the following:

As late as 7:33 P.M. on Election Day, Mitofsky and Lenski were apparently telling their clients (NBC, CBS, CNN, AP, etc.) that after "weighting" Kerry was beating Bush by 9 points among women and losing by only 4 among men.

He backs his claim with this Edison/Mitofsky actual report that was forwarded to the National Pool on election Night. The real results, contained in the Edison/Mitofsky "revised report", nearly mirror the final actual election totals.

On the surface, this just appears to be another example of gullible wishful thinking by liberal members of the media. They all got "pantsed" as badly as Dan Rather got it from Bill Burkett. They bought from a snake oil merchant who sold them the lie they wished was true. Another day, another line of media Bravo Sierra, so what?

Well actually exit polls serve an important and worthwhile purpose when dome properly. They can also serve the cause of mayhem when they are conducted the way Arthur Anderson used to audit Enron. An honest broker conducting an exit poll is Democracy's best check and balance for fraud on election day. If done fairly and competantly, exit polls are the insurance policy that guarantees a fair counting of the votes.

The recent overturn of a fraudulent election in the Ukraine has been partially credit to the work of exit polsters who smelled a rat. Perhaps no one would have known the real outcome if the exit polls had not been taken. The international pressure that led to a revote would never have been applied absent solid data from the polls.

The exit polls in Venezualia showed Hugo Chavez getting metaphorically treated the same way he physically treated leaders of his country's opposition parties. It took hours of careful "inspection and certification" by Former US Preseident Jimmy Carter to turn that election into a mandate for Chavez. It's a wonder Carter hasn't called for a recount of the results from all 50 states in 1980. So a set of exit polls can't always guarantee the correct outcome, but they do make it harder to explain away a broken process.

But what happens when the exit poll process itself fails to effectively work. We saw this in 2002, when the computers crashed and the networks got no data. We saw the process break in a different way in 2004. Mystery Pollster suggests things were not done in accordance with good polling ettiquete. His description of the polling process follows below:

This year's NEP exit poll interviewers were trained via telephone and most worked for just one day without supervision.

This slipshod methodology leads to doubts concerning the ultimate validity of the 2004 election. The academic papers concerning the supposed miscounting of the votes in 2004 are already amounting to mathematical propaganda. The sentence below is undoubtably true:

To carry our analysis further, we can employ a normal distribution curve (see
Figure 1) to determine—again assuming proper poll methodology, no discriminatory voter
suppression 24, and an accurate and honest popular vote count—that the probability that
Kerry would have received his reported popular vote total of 48.1%, or less is one in959,000—a virtual statistical impossibility.

If you doubt me, run the numbers on SAS or SPSS. These guys appear to be talking the talk only after they've walked the walk. The numbers run; just like they tell you. Just looking at those numbers would make the theoretical 50/50 undecided voter mad as all get-out that Bush got all those electoral votes. This is the rather obvious intent the authors had in mind before they ever put finger to keyboard.

Here's where they perhaps accidently mislead. They assume apriori that the exit polls are gospel. They totally ignore the evidence idicting the exit polls and focus instead on the prior resumes of the lead data managers. It's only when you overwhelmingly assume proper poll methodology that the result of the current election falls into doubt.

This is why the exit polling messup is more than just a minor problem. The exit poll results become an historical document that can be innacurately or dishonestly interpreted the same way Michael Bellesiles incorrectly read historical documents to present false history when writing The Arming Of America.

Update I: Ace Of Spades discusses Kaus' post as an exoneration of bloggers who were duped by the false exit polling data.

Update II: It seems the exit polling results from the Presidential race aren't the only funny results floating around. Cold Hearted Truth claims Seattle, WA had more ballots than voters. At least the exit pollsters can quite manage to pull of that one.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Beavis and Butthead Play Laser Tag With Airplanes

It’s not very hard to twist the knickers of people working for the TSA. They operate in a zero-defect environment where they can’t really look like heroes, but they sure look like idiots if they ever drop the ball. It could be said that the TSA plays a zero max game. The best anyone there can do is not miss something. Thus, it’s no surprise that when pranksters started flashing lasers onto a couple of planes, they didn’t get the joke.

The people who administer the TSA and the entire rest of the Department of Homeland Security operation have got to be careful not only of how well they patrol our domain, but how professional they look while they do it. It requires diligence and patience to catch that one individual in ten million who actually plans to strike a match to his own Reeboks and scupper a passenger jet.

It also requires a certain level of judgment not to look like a caricature to the other 9,999,999 people who just want to get on the plane and finish their trips. If the TSA, or any other uniformed authority, takes itself so seriously that people think they have a G-d complex, they lose the respect of the people they seek to protect and are rendered totally ineffective.

The more rebellious people out there start treating them the way Beavis and Butthead treated Principle Vickers. Soon their authorite’ gets about as much respect as Cartman’s does on the South Park Cartoons.

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security got a memo terrorists were trying to use lasers as a possible weapon. This is not totally without precedent. Internet conspiracy theorists still believe to this day that the Russian Navy blinded a US Navy Pilot who flew too close to a Russian Frigate by shining a laser into the cockpit of his jet. In the imaginations of fear-mongers, laser weapon systems make the black helicopters take flight.

So the DHS goes on alert for lasers.
Then a guy from Parsippany, NJ gets a laser thingy and decides to play around with his daughter in the back yard of his house. He shoots a few planes with it, and his daughter probably thinks he’s a goofball. Not surprisingly, the DHS radar screen pings and the alert is sounded

Having the cops show up ten minutes later and question him doesn’t look good. It’s understandable, given the alert memo and given that a plane flying only a few miles from where The Twin Towers were struck just got lased. However, it just looks like something Mike Judge or Trey Parker would put into a cartoon short to ridicule overzealous authoritarianism.

Thankfully, the FBI and Jersey Police have given this guy his due process and hopefully an apology for the misunderstanding. The Jersey Laser Man will probably play with his daughter more carefully next time. If everyone is lucky, the incident will be a one-off and can everyone involved can forget about it.

The incident has spawned a copycat in Nashville, Tennessee. These imitators don’t do this to be malicious or even seriously insubordinate. However, they do issue the authorities a good, timely reminder. Uniformed authority is necessarily put on a short leash in America.

We respect the people who wield it, but we expect them to use judgment and intelligence. That respect can turn to resentment, anger or maybe even hatred if the majority of the people see the authority being misused. The DHS has a thankless job. They don’t need to complicate it further by eroding the confidence that is placed in them by those who they protect.

Update I: The New Jersey incident gets taken much more seriously by posters on Right Voices.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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