Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley, Jr.

Many of the conservative blogs and publications are discussing the passing of William F. Buckley, Jr. today. Certainly, he was a great man, his National Review magazine is a fantastic publication, and I will miss him. Without repeating a lot of what everyone else has said, he was a great intellectual force who unified a lot of us behind principles by showing how conservative ideas bring better solutions to the challenges facing us, and by showing how the ideas from the left are often destructive.

The best memories I have of Buckley are of his mastery of the English language. Yeah, sure, I’m a dumb engineer, but his attention to language is what has fascinated and inspired me. No matter what profession any of us may enter, knowledge of English, and I mean good English, will always be helpful. One particular memory I have is of a letter writer (and this may have been to the old Washington Star newspaper back in the 1970s). The person wrote in response to a Buckley column, and included the phrase “pleonastic to the point of being catachrestic.” Now don’t you love stuff like that? (He must have had a profound influence on society – the Microsoft Word spell checker did not flag any of that as unknown words!)

Well, a proper eulogy for Bill Buckley should include some sesquipedalian grandiloquent verbosity, but I will keep my farewell simple. So may he rest in peace (in pace requiescat?), and let us all build a better world, both with language and ideas, in his memory.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ralphie Runs Again

Cross Country in a Corvair

Perennial independent candidate Ralph Nader today announced yet another bid for the White House. Nader, who turns 74 on February 27, cited "the youth and inexperience of his major party opponents " as the main reason for yet another quixotic run. "While Ronald Reagan said in 1984 that he refused to make an issue of the age difference between himself and his opponent, I see the issue differently," said Nader. He also dismissed allegations that he has made millions from the stock of the large corporations he publicly deplores, saying, "I can teach those young whippersnappers [Obama and McCain] a thing or two about money and politics."

Ralph Nader also deplored the outsourcing of automotive parts to multiple countries. "I can show that we can tour the country in a small, fuel-efficient, domestically-made vehicle," he said. Unfortunately, all I have to work with right now is a General Motors product from 1965. From what I have read, though, the car is pretty safe."

Democrats, worried about a repeat of Ralph Nader's alleged "spoiler" effect from the 2000 Presidential election, faced the situation with bravado. "He's just a deflated old airbag," said a Democratic National Committee source who asked not to be named. Republicans appeared not to be worried, but were "disappointed in Nader's lack of gratitude for the growth in his portfolio due to President Bush's tax cuts."

And Now, a Musical Interlude

With a little military victory thrown in!

Hat tip: Zelda




A couple of cool quotes from the comments (in which My Pet Jawa wants to know what the music is):

"For such noble soldiers unafraid to be martyred for Allah, they sure do run fast when The Great Satan comes knockin.'"

"It's Wagner, 'Requiem fur Scheisskopfen.'"

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Obama’s Military Source Discovered

Hope Floats?

During Thursday’s Democratic debate Presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) claimed that American troops rode in open Humvees and had to resort to stealing Taliban weapons in Afghanistan due to their own weapons and equipment shortages. Since then, Obama has been challenged, particularly by Republicans, to produce his mysterious military source of information.

Today, the junior Senator from Massachusetts came to Obama’s aid. John Kerry said that the source was the same man who conveyed to him President Nixon’s orders to go to Cambodia in 1968. Kerry was quoted as saying that this individual would be of great help to Obama as he was “seared, seared in my memory!” Many Republicans wondered aloud if Obama would also receive a souvenir hat, possibly of the stannous variety.

The campaign of Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) reacted derisively. Top campaign aide Howard Wolfson was heard to say “Obama thinks that he’s on a swift boat to the nomination, but we’re going to give him some white water, that’s for sure!”

Friday, February 22, 2008

Life in a Northern Town

No, silly, that does not mean Fairfax!

Here is a remake of the mid-80s song as performed by Sugarland, Little Big Town, and Jake Owen.

For historical reference, here is a video with the original group, The Dream Academy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obama’s Radical Leftist Supporters

Hat Tips: Zelda and Powerline

Over the past couple of days, I have seen some disturbing news reports about the kinds of people Senator Barack Obama has attracted to his campaign. Most disturbing are his “advisors.” Powerline has featured reports about his terrorist-apologist supporter Samantha Power, for whom groups like Hamas can do no wrong. Can you imagine in an Obama Administration someone like that being trusted with a high profile position at the State Department? Powerline also reminds us that Obama has brought on one Susan Rice, the person who persuaded the Clinton Administration not to make Sudan turn over Osama bin Laden. Maybe confusing Obama with Osama is more than Freudian, eh? We don’t have to remind you that Obama’s church minister is known for having made Jew-hating remarks as well.

Zelda brings up another Obama contributor, Robert Ayers. Ayers was a 1960s Weatherman radical who participated in various bombings during the early 1970s. The New York Times picked a great day to print a flattering article about Ayers – September 11, 2001 (in which Ayers is quoted as saying “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”) Ayers is now a professor in -- are you ready for this? -- Chicago!

Ron Paul was (rightfully) called to account concerning a contribution from a white supremacist leader. Why isn’t the same happening with Barack Obama?

Why does Obama insist on bringing people like this close to him and/or taking their contributions? What is his underlying foreign policy? Disturbingly, it is (to put it kindly) a very na├»ve approach to terrorist groups like Hamas or sponsoring countries like Iran and Syria. At worst, it is hostility to American allies and values. We don’t need this in the White House, that’s for sure!

By the way, Sen. Hillary Clinton has also sent advisors to meet with Syrian authorities, right after the car bomb death of terrorist leader Imad Mughniyeh. Condolence call, maybe?

I can’t wait for Snapped Shot to feature a picture of Islamic Rage Boy on the Obama campaign trail!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Castro to Become Democratic Convention Delegate

Resigns Cuban Presidency for “More Rewarding Job”

Cuban President Fidel Castro resigned from the Cuban Presidency after close to 49 years in order to become a “super” delegate to the Democratic National Convention. According to sources, Castro has reached an agreement with the Democratic National Committee to become “El Jefe” of a Cuban delegation that will replace the disqualified Florida one.

“We can have a primary, no trouble” said a spokesman for the ailing Cuban leader. “Any number of delegates you want, we bring.”

The move is widely seen as a big boost to Senator Hillary Clinton’s lagging campaign. “This primary is certainly full of tough decisions,” said Castro through written statement. “The Clinton health care plan is certainly more restrictive than what I would like. However, her views on government and civil liberties are very close to my own. Besides, Barack Obama is just too left wing for me.”

It is believed that former President Bill Clinton is also excited by Castro’s arrival to the convention. “I’ve always wanted to try some Cuban sugar,” said the former President. “Maybe Castro will bring some real Cuban cigars with him. I can show everyone all the great things we can do with them. Maybe one of the young women in his delegation would want to intern for me?”

Governors along several East Coast States are competing to give Fidel Castro a driver’s license. While New York Governor Elliot Spitzer and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley were thought to have the best chance, it appears that New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine will win out. Corzine had made a secret promise to name a rest stop along the Garden State Parkway after Castro.

Also an issue is whether or not Castro is really alive. “Nothing in the Democratic National Committee rules prevent the deceased from casting votes at the convention,” said top Clinton aide Howard Wolfson. Pennsylvania Governor “Fast Eddie” Rendell added, “Dead or not, we expect Castro to be able to cast votes in Philadelphia like so many other necro-Americans like him do. Castro should know that he does have a friend in Pennsylvania!”

Monday, February 18, 2008

McCain Accused of Plagiarism

The campaign of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner today accused Republican Senator John McCain of plagiarism after McCain promised not to raise taxes. “This is the exact same line I used in my 2001 gubernatorial campaign!” complained Warner. It is believed that Warner’s campaign was planning to use Democrat-leaning blogs as a means of disseminating this point of view.

Republican sources point out that promising to lower taxes isn’t exactly plagiarism. A McCain campaign source said, “Unlike Warner, McCain actually means what he says. Besides, we all know that anyone who sends information through Bipolar Ben isn’t exactly engaging in straight talk!”

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Chinese New Year and Presidential Elections

Originally calculated for the mini-AIR

Here is a table of who was elected and what “Chinese year” it was when the president was elected. Note that the Chinese calendar runs in a 12 year cycle, so U.S. presidents can only be elected in the years of the rat, the dragon, or the monkey. Until the time of F. D. Roosevelt, inaugurations were held on March 4, in the next "Chinese year" (ox, snake, and rooster, respectively). During FDR's term in office, inaugurations were changed to January 20, which was always in the same Chinese year" as the presidential election (since Chinese New Year never seems to occur before January 21).

The reader may decide what is the significance of the table on a particular president's administration. For example, several wars (War of 1812, Mexican War, WWI, WWII, Vietnam, and both Gulf Wars) broke out after a president was elected in the year of the dragon. Additionally, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, and Teddy Roosevelt, who all had a "dragon" election, were famous for saber rattling. Some presidents elected in the year of the monkey (Grant, Harding, Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton) have experienced major scandals in their administrations.

(Pardon the formatting, but I was having a hard time figuring out how to do tables in Blogger.)

Year. . . . Chinese year . . . . President elected . . . . Inaugural year
1788 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . Washington . . . . . . . . . Rooster
1792 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . Washington . . . . . . . . . Ox
1796 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . . John Adams . . . . . . . . Snake
1800 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . .Jefferson . . . . . . . . . . . Rooster
1804 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . Jefferson . . . . . . . . . . . .Ox
1808 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . .Madison . . . . . . . . . . . . Snake
1812 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . .Madison . . . . . . . . . . . . Rooster
1816 . . . . .Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . Monroe . . . . . . . . . . . . .Ox
1820 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . .Monroe . . . . . . . . . . . . .Snake
1824 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . John Q. Adams . . . . . . Rooster
1828 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . . Ox
1832 . . . .Dragon . . . . . . . . . Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . . Snake
1836 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . Van Buren . . . . . . . . . . Rooster
1840 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . W H Harrison (1) . . . . Ox
1844 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . Polk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Snake
1848 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . Taylor (1) . . . . . . . . . . Rooster
1852 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . .Pierce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ox
1856 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . . Buchanan . . . . . . . . . . . Snake
1860 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . Lincoln . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rooster
1864 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . Lincoln (1) . . . . . . . . . . Ox
1868 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . . Grant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Snake
1872 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . Grant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rooster
1876 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . Hayes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ox
1880 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . . Garfield (1) . . . . . . . . . Snake
1884 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . Cleveland . . . . . . . . . . . Rooster
1888 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . B. Harrison . . . . . . . . . . Ox
1892 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . . Cleveland . . . . . . . . . . . Snake
1896 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . McKinley . . . . . . . . . . . Rooster
1900 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . McKinley (1) . . . . . . . . Ox
1904 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . . T Roosevelt . . . . . . . . . Snake
1908 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . Taft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rooster
1912 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . Wilson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ox
1916 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . . Wilson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Snake
1920 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . Harding (1) . . . . . . . . . Rooster
1924 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . Coolidge . . . . . . . . . . . . Ox
1928 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . . Hoover . . . . . . . . . . . . . Snake
1932 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . F D Roosevelt . . . . . . . Rooster
1936 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . F D Roosevelt. . . . . . . . Rat
1940 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . . F D Roosevelt . . . . . . . Dragon
1944 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . F D Roosevelt (1) . . . . Monkey
1948 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . Truman . . . . . . . . . . . . Rat
1952 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . . Eisenhower . . . . . . . . . Dragon
1956 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . Eisenhower . . . . . . . . . Monkey
1960 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . Kennedy (1) . . . . . . . . . Rat
1964 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . . L B Johnson . . . . . . . . . Dragon
1968 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . Nixon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Monkey
1972 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . Nixon (1) . . . . . . . . . . . . Rat
1976 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . . Carter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dragon
1980 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . Reagan . . . . . . . . . . . . . Monkey
1984 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . Reagan . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rat
1988 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . . G H W. Bush . . . . . . . . .Dragon
1992 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . .Clinton . . . . . . . . . . . . . Monkey
1996 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . . Clinton . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rat
2000 . . . . Dragon . . . . . . . . . G W Bush . . . . . . . . . . . Dragon
2004 . . . . Monkey . . . . . . . . G W Bush . . . . . . . . . . . Monkey
2008 . . . . Rat . . . . . . . . . . . . ????? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rat

Note:

(1) President did not serve full term due to death or resignation.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

More Pre-K Silliness

Overpriced and Oversold

Tennessee blogger Bill Hobbs has an excellent summary of a report concerning the effectiveness of pre-kindergarten programs being pushed by Phil Bredesen, the Democrat Governor there. Gov. Bredesen wants to add $25 million to the program, and, as Bill Hobbs has helpfully pointed out, this is on top of the $55 million the State of Tennessee has already spent on some 17,000 students. (See the comments section.) In other words, that’s over $3,200 per student, more than the average in affluent areas of Nashville or, for that matter, Fairfax County, Virginia.

Here is Bill’s money quote:

The study, funded by the Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee State Comptroller's Office of Education Accountability, shows that pre-K education does not help white girls and actually hurts white and minority boys. It helps only minority girls.

Tell you what: How about establishing a voucher program so parents can decide what is best for their children? Heck, let’s do that for all school-aged kids!

Now various bloggers (particularly Jerry) have pointed to the large amounts of money Virginia’s own Gov. Tim Kaine wants to spent on pre-K programs, on the order of $75 million (and more than $5,000 per child). Maybe he should take heed of what already hasn’t worked effectively next door!

Excessive spending for ineffective (or even harmful) government social programs. No wonder these clowns get mentioned as potential running mates for Senators Clinton and Obama!

Saturday, February 02, 2008