Friday, August 29, 2008

Barak Hussain Obama, DNC 2008

"That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.

Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the startups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes — cut taxes for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: In ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stopgap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies retool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy; wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced."

After all the rhetorical flourishes and verbal stabs across the isle, Obama lays down his issues.

Tax Code. We're going to re-write it so it's not for lobbyists.
- How do we do that? I vote flat tax. But can't be the answer, can it?
- Am I the only one who finds promising tax cuts to be odd? He's a democrat. Bush did this.

-Can't drill.
-Pay more for failing systems.

Health care for all.
How? The companies will pay for it. Where do companies get money? The customers. Who pays for government mandates upon corporations? We do.
Freakin brilliant. Why wait, inaugurate this communist right now.

If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next commander in chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have."

Because those 6 town hall meetings John asked Barak to attend just weren't enough of a challenge.

War on Terror...
There is none.

We're fortunate this woefully inept policy maker is the democrat candidate, because McCain's group is going to have a field day before he even puts foot on the debate floor.

I'm looking forward to those, because ol' John knows what he's talking about, and I think will be able to mop the floor over the course of the debates.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bud Selig, may you never enjoy baseball again

...that assumes of course, that he enjoys it now. I think the Commisener of Basball has a long string of terrible descions, the last one being the most egregious error, a foul of Ted Kennedy proportions.

It was calling the all-star game a tie.
It was ignoring the steroids.
It was grandstanding on an issue he helped foster.

It's baseball using Instant Replay.

"For now, video will be used only on so-called "boundary calls," such as determining whether fly balls went over the fence, whether potential home runs were fair or foul and whether there was fan interference on potential home runs." - AP

Did Cy Young, Nolan Ryan, 'Fingers, or John Wetland have instant replay?
Did Mickey Mantel, Lou Brock, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Roger Marris, Ozzie Smith, Barry Bonds, Ted Wiliams or Cal Ripiken Jr have instant replay?


Mr. Selig, you are changing the very foundation of the game, and attempting to alter something that is the very fiber of the American being of the past century.
Baseball is a game of men. A man standing on the mound, a man standing with a piece of lumber, a man calling what he sees, when he sees it. A man catching the ball, throwing the ball, and sometimes jacking the ball over the fence.
It's a game meant to be called by men, not by a machine or with review and second guessing.

August 29, 2008: The day the game changed forever.

I hope you're happy ESPN.

Hilary Clinton, DNC 2008

AP: "And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he'll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global challenges of our time. Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, President Clinton and the Democrats did it before. And President Obama and the Democrats will do it again.

He'll transform our energy agenda by creating millions of green jobs and building a new, clean energy future. He'll make sure that middle class families get the tax relief they deserve. And I can't wait to watch Barack Obama sign a health care plan into law that covers every single American.

Barack Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly and bring our troops home, a first step to repairing our alliances around the world."

This is another example of the stark chasam that exists between the right and the left.
The Left has another messiah of government for the ills of this nation.
The Right sees people of this country, and the wonders they perform for themselves, and enables them to pick themselves back up if they're down.

And as the economy?
It grows. America gets stronger.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Michelle Obama, DNC 2008

Yahoo! News: "Barack stood up that day, and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about "The world as it is" and "The world as it should be." And he said that all too often, we accept the distance between the two, and settle for the world as it is — even when it doesn't reflect our values and aspirations.
But he reminded us that we know what our world should look like. We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves — to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn't that the great American story?

It's the story of men and women gathered in churches and union halls, in town squares and high school gyms — people who stood up and marched and risked everything they had — refusing to settle, determined to mold our future into the shape of our ideals.

It is because of their will and determination that this week, we celebrate two anniversaries: the 88th anniversary of women winning the right to vote, and the 45th anniversary of that hot summer day when Dr. King lifted our sights and our hearts with his dream for our nation.
People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters — and sons — can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher.

People like Joe Biden, who's never forgotten where he came from, and never stopped fighting for folks who work long hours and face long odds and need someone on their side again.

All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won't do — that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.

That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack's journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope. "

I think the main difference between the Right and the Left is outlined here.
The Left looks for what is wrong, and how can I use my power to fix that? Thats fine and dandy, until they begin stealing from other people to do it.
The Right looks for what is right, why it's right, and how to copy that in the rest of life.

Well written speach, but lousy material.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Coburn's Report on Government employees

Coburn's Report: "Since 2001, federal employees at 18 departments and agencies were Absent Without Leave (AWOL) at least 19.6 million hours.

Annual AWOL hours in 2007 were 45% higher than in 2001.

Since 2001, nearly 300,000 federal employees have been AWOL for some period of time.

Since 2001, the government has lost at least 9,410 years of work from AWOL employees.

Employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs had 19 times more AWOL hours than
employees at the Department of Defense to be AWOL, despite being outnumbered four to
The Departments of Veterans Affairs and the Treasury accounted for 61% of all AWOL hours
between 2001-2007.

Between 2001-2007, 13 of the 18 agencies either saw an increase in annual AWOL totals
or remained at approximately the same level as before, despite overall decreases in the
aggregate number of employees.

The number of hours that federal employees were AWOL in 2007 is equivalent to the time
it would take TSA to screen 1.7 billion checked bags, based on an average of 500 bags screened per hour."

Departments consider AWOL to be an absence without legit excuse. Not sick days, not vacation, not family emergencies.

Mr. President, this is the monster you have helped create.
Enjoy your turkey, but please don't make us share it with you.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's a busy busy world

The Aftermath Begins while occupation continues

AP: "Although Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has promised that his forces would pull back by Friday, Russian troops appear to be digging in, raising concern about whether Moscow is aiming for a lengthy occupation of its small, pro-Western neighbor.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili told The Associated Press that Russia was thinning out its presence in some occupied towns but was seizing other strategic spots. He called the Russian moves "some kind of deception game."

"(The Russians) are making fun of the world," he declared.

Nonetheless, a top Russian general troops were moving out in accordance with an EU-sponsored cease-fire.

"The pullback of Russian forces is taking place at such a tempo that by the end of August 22 they will be in the zones of responsibility of Russian peacekeepers," Col.-Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the deputy head of the general staff, said at a briefing."

This is pretty ridiculous. It took 3 days for Russian Armor to bully through Georgia, it shouldn't take 7 days to leave.
Presuming these are exiting moves, anyways. Occupying strategic trade routes is a pretty lousy way to do it.

I've maintained for a while this isn't an invasion for Georgia's direct benefit, but just to show the rest of the Caucus and Eastern Bloc that the Bear is no longer hibernating. So what results are coming back in from those surrounding countries?

- Poland signs the US deal to place missile defense units on Polish soil.
- Ukraine is feuding at the highest levels, with President Yushchenko has accused his Prime Minister Tymoshenko of being a traitor for Russia. Yushchenko has been as great a supporter of Georgia as will be found on this earth, even offering his home to Georgian President Saakashvili. The internal turmoil has clouded the situation, and Ukraine seems to be a nation divided by this world.
-Syria continues to ally itself with Russia.

Questions yet remains. Georgia is a close ally of the United States, and frequently relies on US military advice and intel. They're units are US trained as well. So why did this chain of events occour?
Why did Georgia, presumably with US consent, or perhaps even US encouragement, drastically escalate the conflict on the eve of the Olympics, with full knowledge the Russians would not take kindly to it?
Was it US encouragement that lead to the invasion of this nation?
Was it the US using Georgia, and the lives and livelihood of it's citizens to accelerate the NATO expansion?
Or, equally troubling, was our intel so bad we didn't know the strength and the fury with which Russia would strike?

It doesn't all fit together as neatly as we've been told, not by either side.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Review: Star Wars The Clone Wars

Let me preface this by informing you of my star wars history.

I love it.
The greatest saga ever spun by man onto the silverscreen, with great games to immerse for hundreds of hours on end, and numerous books to enjoy for thousands of hours on end.
I took 9 people to the midnight show last night, and yes, we played with lightsabers. A lot.

So with that, I was still fully prepared for this movie to be an attrotious abomination of all things Star Wars. It's animated, it's the prequel trilogy, it's sorta strange looking, John Wiliams had little hand in the score, and the voice acting is usually by different characters.

With that said, I was pleasantly surprised about this movie. I enjoyed it, and I felt like a kid again, with all the wonder and excitement that the sound and fury of a galaxy far, far away can bring to bear.
While the dialogue was clunky, I didn't really care. This movie is almost a 60/40 split between action and talking, and the action is where it shines. Immensely.
Brilliant animation style throughout the battles, in and out of enemy lines, odd angles, and terrific action shots. It is truly something to enjoy.

What I didn't like was the story telling format. This movie is actually a combination of 4 TV episodes, kicking off a TV season of the same style this fall. (Which has me excited). There's basically 4 acts, and while they are not specifically delineated, it is a subtle presence throughout the film. Sorta irritating.
Anikins new padawan apprentice is somewhat annoying herself, but also has flashes of good dialogue.
In the end, a plot that is somewhat lacking in any logical sense is what hampers this movie. But a good suspension of disbelief does wonders for that. :D

I'm giving this essentially a 4/10. I enjoyed it, and it felt like star wars at times, but not all the time, and the plot really is shaky.
I might take my younger cousins to see it again this weekend, as it really is targeted at the 12 and under crowd.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Russia continues into Georgia, Diplomatic Ceasefire notwithstanding

AP: "Defying a cease-fire agreement, a Russian military convoy rolled through a strategically important Georgia city Wednesday and Georgian officials claimed there was looting and bombing by Russians and their allies.
An Associated Press reporter saw dozens of Russian trucks and armored vehicles leaving the city of Gori, some 20 miles south of the separatist region of South Ossetia and home of a key highway that divides Georgia in two, and moving deeper into Georgia."

The historical trend of military force overpowering diplomatic intrigue continues.

The US is getting in the act now, with a good dose of humanitarian aide. Yippie Ki Yay.

The Georgian President is one of heck of a public relations man too, more interviews with networks, papers, and websites then I care to count today. Some of it's been a little strange, but his point remains the same: This isn't about Georgia, its about the Russian reestablishment of the empire.

EDIT: As much as I dislike The Sun in general, they have a good article on the status at the moment.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Russian Offensive continues into Georgia, US does little more then Idle

Telegraph UK: "But the conflict was meanwhile increasing in scope. Russian aircraft have already bombed a number of targets inside Georgia including a strike, said the Georgians, on the civilian airport of Tbilisi, the capital. Abkhazia, a larger breakaway Georgian republic, is now a second front in the battle. Russian troops were reported to be advancing on the Kodori Gorge, a foothold of ethnic Georgians in the region."

The strength, the speed, and the fury with which Russia has initiated this incursion indicates a premeditated invasion, with 800-1200 tanks streaming across the border in less then 2 days? That many tanks don't just sit around the border waiting, at least not in a nation interested in peace.

The response of the US and the world?
Times Online:

"The U.S. military began flying 2,000 Georgian troops home from Iraq after Georgia recalled the soldiers following the outbreak of fighting with Russia. The decision was a timely payback for the former Soviet republic, which was the third-largest contributor of coalition forces in Iraq after the U.S. and Britain.

The risk of the conflict setting off a wider war increased when Russian-supported separatists in another breakaway region of Georgia, Abkhazia, launched air and artillery strikes on Georgian troops to drive them out of a small part of the province they control.

Also, Ukraine warned Russia it could bar Russian navy ships from returning to their base in the Crimea because of their deployment to Georgia's coast.

Asked about the possibility of sending the U.S. military or other aid to Georgia, Jeffrey said, "Right now our focus is on working with both sides, with the Europeans and with a whole variety of international institutions and organizations to get the fighting to stop.""

I think this person says it best:
"We have no good options," a US National Security Council official told The Daily Telegraph. "We need Russia's co-operation over Iran and derailing that over a localised conflict in Georgia makes no sense. We just have to hope that diplomacy prevails. The next necessary step is for Russia to respond positively to Georgia's ceasefire declaration.""

...which at the time of this writing, has been shattered and rent impotent.

It is appaling how weak the west is in the face of such obvious evil.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Russia, Georgia initate war, rest of the world is distracted

Times Online: "One hundred and fifty Russian tanks, armored personnel carriers and other vehicles have entered South Ossetia," President Saakashvili of Georgia told reporters in Tbilisi. "This is a clear intrusion on another country’s territory. We have Russian tanks on our territory, jets on our territory in broad daylight."

Mr Saakashvili added that Georgian forces had downed two Russian jet fighters over Georgian territory.

Georgia mobilised its reservists yesterday and launched a massive offensive overnight. Fighting raged today around the city of Tskhinvali, the regional capital, as Georgian troops backed by tanks and warplanes pounded separatist forces,

South Ossetian officials said that much of Tskhinvali had been destroyed in the Georgian offensive. A Reuters correspondent some two miles from the city said that the roar of warplanes and the explosions of heavy shells was deafening and many houses were ablaze.

The area is of strategic importance, largely because of the BTC oil pipeline, which runs through central Georgia just south of the breakaway region.

Georgia, a staunch U.S. ally, has about 2,000 troops in Iraq, making it the third-largest contributor to coalition forces after the U.S. and Britain. But Saakashvili told CNN that the troops would be called home Saturday in the face of the South Ossetia fighting.

More than 1,000 U.S. Marines and soldiers were at the base last month to teach combat skills to Georgian troops. Georgia has about 2,000 troops in Iraq, making it the third-largest contributor to coalition forces after the U.S. and Britain.

South Ossetia officials said Georgia attacked with aircraft, armor and heavy artillery. Georgian troops"

A small regional scrap this is not. Georgia has been pushing to join NATO and is leading the charge of the former Soviet Bloc to ally with the US. Russia, seeking to regain its status as a world power, cannot allow this to continue.

This is a good excuse to do a beat down on a much, much smaller country, and demonstrate to the rest of the nations in the region that when the Russian bear chooses to flex it’s muscle, even militarily in the most blatant of forms, no one can stop them. If nation that has backed the US at every turn is subject to it’s control, then no one is exempt from Russian domination.

Alternately, the US trained Georgian army punks the reds on the open field, maybe with US assistance. That would alter the situation here considerably, and shift the field for the other countries as well. If the bear is indeed toothless, then what have we to fear?

Either way, I think this will be a pivotal moment in the coming years for the Caucus, and we’re going to follow this story to its relative conclusion. The real imporant stuff will happen in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Balts, not the NATO Nations.

The immediate effect? A full 1% of the worlds oil flows through here, so fill up on gas before it spikes over the weekend.

The rest of the world now turns its attention to the Olympic games in the Peoples Republic of China, a farce of epic proportions.
A series of games to celebrate the undying flame of the human spirit, hosted in a tyrannical regime who's only accomplishment to date is the slaughter of untold millions, stripping billions of their basic rights, destruction of freedom, dismantling of liberty, and the theft of US military equipment.

Where the Olympics are to represent the finest of humanity, we sink to the lowest depths of the communist pit, where the largest collective number of people on earth are repressed and denied the right to life.

Where the Olympics are to celebrate life, we swim in the morass of a one child per family state.
Where the Olympics are to celebrate competition, we visit the worlds shinning example of a mercantile system, where corruption is destined to control the path of commerce.

As I sit and watch this opening ceremony, there is little I can celebrate. This spectacle of unparalleled scope was built off the backs of millions of laborers, wreaked the lives of thousands, and only enriched the wealthy caste of china.

The Olympics have lost their luster once again, and for what?
The chance to enjoy some Moo Goo Guy Pan?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

How the Mighty have Fallen

Yahoo Sports:
"The Green Bay Packers reached an agreement Wednesday night to trade their three-time MVP and Super Bowl-winning quarterback to the New York Jets, ending an emotionally grinding month of indecision over Favre’s future."

Aaah... the saga of Favre that I've avoided for so long has come to a conclusion. The Mighty Man of Mississippi, the Legend of Lambeau, and the greatest quarterback the world has ever known, is no longer a Green Bay Packer.

He's a New York Jet.

Mercifully, this isn't the Bears. This isn't the Vikings.

He's a Jet. I'm a Packers fan, but also a Favre Fan. So I'll track the jets much closer.
Tom Brady vs. Brett Favre? Twice???
Brett Favre the small town boy going to the bright lights of the big apple?

Aaron Rodgers had better be worth all this trouble and pain.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Republicans Show Spine, Mr. Smith back in washington?

Compiled from Politico Sources :
"Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democrats adjourned the House, turned off the lights and killed the microphones, but Republicans are still on the floor talking gas prices.

Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders opposed the motion to adjourn the House, arguing that Pelosi's refusal to schedule a vote allowing offshore drilling is hurting the American economy. They have refused to leave the floor after the adjournment motion passed at 11:23 a.m., and they are busy bashing Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for leaving town for the August recess.

At one point, the lights went off in the House and the microphones were turned off in the chamber, meaning Republicans were talking in the dark. But as Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz..) was speaking, the lights went back on and the microphones were turned on shortly afterward.

"This is the people's House," said Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.). "This is not Pelosi's politiburo."

Update 2: This message was sent out by Blunt's office:

"Although this Democrat majority just adjourned for the Democrat 5-week vacation, House Republicans are continuing to fight on the House floor. Although the lights, mics and C-SPAN cameras have been turned off, House Republicans are on the floor speaking to the taxpayers in the gallery who, not surprisingly, agree with Republican energy proposals.

"All Republicans who are in town are encouraged to come to the House floor."

Update 3: Democrats just turned out the lights again. Republicans cheered.
"I love this," Shadegg told reporters up in the press gallery afterward. "Congress can be so boring. ... This is a kick."
Update 7: Rep Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) just pretended to be a Democrat. He stood on the other side of the chamber and listed all of the GOP bills that the Dems killed.

He then said, "I am a Democrat, and here is my energy plan" and he held up a picture of an old VW Bug with a sail attached to it. He paraded around the House floor with the sign while the crowd cheered.
They have brought in dozens of their members, who are walking up and down the aisles making speeches. They have packed the floors and galleries with staffers. When Capitol Police tried to remove reporters from the gallery, Republicans stopped it from happening. The crowd has repeatedly broken out in chants of "Vote, vote, vote!" There are several dozen Cub Scouts sitting on the House floor in seats normally occupied by members.
Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the dimly lit chamber is a "vision of the future by the Democrat Party: The lights are out, there's no power, and the air conditioning is gonna go off soon.""

I love our republic. This won't have much effect, because most people won't know about it. But I do, you do, and the ones in the positions of power know it. We may yet have some action on this issue, once they come back from their 5 week vacation.
Thats another thing, 5 weeks of vacation with no action on the most pressing political issue of the day? Bad form, bad form. This is only going to get worse, and the republicans had better strike while the iron is hot this season, because the democrats have no solutions.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Review: Batman: The Dark Knight

This is yet another summer movie I went to the midnight opening of, and unlike various other movies, (*cough*walle*cough*caspian*cough*) I left with a sense of satisfaction and contentment.
Where Ironman left me with wonder and anticipation for what is yet to come, the Dark Knight is likely the pinnacle of the DC comic movies, and will remain that way for years to come.

The easiest way to sum up TDK is that it is as good as a movie can be without being great. The story is riveting, entertaining to the nines, and dark as the night itself. Little develops in the life of Bruce Wayne, and even less in the life of Batman. This is partly due to the superb work of Batman Begins, and the story has already been told. (Batman's voice? The Batcave? Hong Kong? ... but thats a topic for another time)

The real work of the film is done by Heath Ledger as the joker. I went into this film ready to mock him and his character, but it's an entirely convincing performance and nails the inane anarchy of the Joker like a 40 year roofer.

Even when other parts of the movie fail, ie Rachel Daws, Batman's characterizations, and stupid tech, the Joker is always there to pull it out. The climax of the third act is particularly potent because of the way the movie has played to this point. But I'll let you see that for yourself.

I say see this while its in theaters, and I'm getting the DVD when it's released to watch again. and again.