Sunday, August 31, 2008

Might the Gulf be Spared?

Am I the only one who is starting to sense that Gustav might not live up to its pre-landfall billing?

I'm getting way ahead of things here as even a category 2 or 3 storm is serious, but logically it would seem that this storm will not be a replay (or worse) of Katrina. That is good. What concerns me is that if it does come ashore as a weaker storm than expected, given the 'storm of the century' buzz it has been getting, a false sense of security will be re-instilled in New Orleans.

Overheard About Sarah Palin

I've had a busy weekend. I've been out and about, and whenever political conversations have started near me, my ears have perked up. I'll be honest, I've eavesdropped on every one of the conversations. I've listened in on conversations at a barber shop, a couple of bars, and a restaurant, and here's what I've learned. In each and every one of those conversations, there has been both universal disbelief at the choice of Palin, and some very serious concerns about her experience. But that's when something interesting happened in each conversation. The topic moved from her inexperience to Obama's. The people in all of the conversations I listened to began to compare Palin's, the Veep nominee, experience to that of Obama, the Presidential nominee. And the reason that is so interesting is that it negates one of the complaints that I've heard that this choice restrains McCain's ability to question Obama's experience. Frankly, if conversations like this are going on across America, he doesn't need to push the experience topic so much anymore. Her presence on the ticket pushes the topic all by itself, and in a a way that involves the voters via their own conversations.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Thoughts on the Republican National Convention

The Republican National Convention has a thorny issue on its hands. While Republicans get ready to celebrate the nomination of a new Veep and Presidential candidate, the gulf coast of the nation is staring down a very powerful hurricane. While the weather in St. Paul will be beautiful this week, it will be very much imprudent to be celebrating a national event like a convention while a sizable portion of the nation is in the throes of a national disaster.

Logistically, the Republican party has little choice but to go forward with the convention, unfortunately. With all of the planning and reservations that go into a huge event like this, it is just not possible to put it on pause and say, "come back next week, everyone." Not only will key venues not be available, hotel rooms would be impossible to come by, and many attendees may not be able to get the time off/travel accommodations to come back at another time.

So if it is a given that a time sensitive event like a convention cannot be postponed, you can fully expect that Democrats and the media will be heavily critical of the Republicans for soldiering on. If the criticism is going to come, then it is up to the leadership of the party to manage the event in such a way as to mute that criticism. If they do not make wholesale changes to the event, they risk sinking the McCain-Palin campaign before it even begins.

The modern convention is part party & celebration, part PR event to launch a campaign with as much excitement as possible. To throw a modern convention next week will display the complete tone-deafness of the party's leadership. Therefore, the only choice is dial back the convention. It must be about the business of the nomination, and it must be done so in rather stoic manner. Parties must be tamped down. Speech schedules should be cut back. The media profile of the event must be reduced. In essence, the event must be about business, not about celebrating.

If the Republican leadership goes ahead with this event as planned while a category 4 or 5 hurricane is blasting into the gulf coast, the election may be lost before it even begins. If the leadership adjusts plans and creates a respectful, happy, yet somber event that is focused on the business of the nation right now, then they may just be able to throw some dirt on the party's Katrina reputation. It won't be easy, but in this situation, expediency is a losing approach.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Palin for VP

Tactically speaking, I like McCain's choice of Sarah Palin.  She just needs to hold her own in the debates against Biden.  There is some risk to this choice as she may not be the most qualified VP candidate in the world, but that is something that the Obama camp will have difficulties taking advantage of without highlighting their own Presidential candidate's experience short comings.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Favorite Part of the Obama Acceptance Speech

During a portion of the speech when Obama was promising to cut taxes for a huge percentage of Americans while also promising to spend scads of money, the lovely Mrs. Jib said the following:

"Keep blowing that smoke up my ass. I'm still not voting for you."

My absolute favorite part.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Above My Pay Grade"

I hope the McCain camp understands how powerful those words can be for them. Obama's "Above my pay grade" was a complete cop out, and it was one that opens up for questioning whether the presidency is above his pay grade. The McCain camp wants to show Obama unqualified for the presidency, and Obama gave them a gift with that answer. If they can't capitalize on it, we may be looking at an election where neither candidate deserves the office.

Of course, when Republican VP hopeful Tom Ridge is saying that a pro-abortion VP is acceptable to the Republican base, perhaps we are looking at an election where all common sense is turned on its head. If McCain were to go with Ridge, I'd instantly understand his strategy: Get all conservatives to stay home while trying to win as many Rockefeller Republicans and Democrats as possible. Unfortunately for the Original Maverick, that's a losing strategy.

May God Help Us

Because, apparently, Democrat politics are going Chicago-style:

2008 is the Year of Chicago.

The core of the Democratic Party is shifting to Chicago where our ruthlessly pragmatic style of politics and governing has produced the next presidential nominee. Only our unique political culture where the patronage-fueled organizations traditionally embrace intellectual reformers at the top of the ticket could have allowed a law professor and progressive legislator's campaign to beat the entrenched status quo of the Democratic Party and produce a stronger message to win in November.

The politics and culture of Houston that generated the current president and holds such a disproportionate impact over the nation's political culture is likely giving way to the politics and culture of Chicago.

I hear the zombie vote will be huge in November.

I must admit that I find it amusing that Johnson-Weinberger is so oblivious to the faults of politics in his city that he chose to flaunt it. I'm sure Obama, faced with the choice, will distance himself from Chicago politics as much as he can.

Be proud of your city, Dan. Just be more aware of its shortcomings.

San Francisco, American Bangkok

It seems that San Francisco will have a measure on the fall ballot that will decriminalize prostitution. I respect the fact that rational people can differ on the best means to control prostitution, but it seems this measure has a dangerous loophole for minors.

Yet the San Francisco ballot measure completely ignores the prostitution of children. The measure simply states, "Law enforcement agencies shall not allocate any resources for the investigation and prosecution of prostitutes for prostitution." Astonishingly, there's no exemption that encourages police to enforce the law for minors.

If the measure passes, the city is likely to become an international haven for pimps who peddle girls and boys, and perverts seeking sex with minors.

And where does that leave Bay Area youth? "They want new and young," Jasmine, a former teen prostitute from Oakland who now volunteers for the nonprofit SAGE Project, which fights sexual exploitation, explained to me.

On the one hand, I want to believe that there is no way that San Francisco will pass this measure. On the other hand, it is San Francisco. The city is the capital of unintended consequences. One can only hope that there are enough people in that city who still have a command of logic to defeat this measure.

Weak Criminals

It isn't everyday you hear about a robber armed with a rifle getting overpowered by a female clerk.
A female convenience store clerk wrestled away a robber's rifle Friday night and chased him into a nearby woods near Lake Wissota before police caught up with him a few miles away, according to Chippewa County Sheriff's Department reports.

The clerk told deputies a man entered the store with a rifle and was dressed in dark clothing and wearing a mask. He confronted her while she was stocking coolers near the rear of the store.

The suspect pointed the rifle at her and demanded money from the cash register. He then pointed the rifle toward a wall and fired a round into a display of soda.

The clerk went to the cash register at the front of the store where the suspect gave her a bag and demanded only paper money. She gave the suspect the bag with the money inside and he turned to leave the store.

As the robber began opening the door, the clerk came out from behind the counter and physically confronted the suspect, who had lowered the rifle to put another round in the gun's chamber.

During the struggle between the two, the clerk removed the man's mask. They continued fighting in the parking lot and the live round the suspect was attempting to put in the rifle fell to the ground.

As the struggle continued, the clerk wrestled the rifle and bag of money from the robber. He picked up the rifle and fled into woods behind the store. The clerk identified Larson with yearbook photos.

I love it. I've been at that convenience store a number of times, and I can envision his butt whupping in my head.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A plurality is not a minority

I hate stories like this because they are just plain stupid.

Ethnic and racial minorities will comprise a majority of the nation’s population in a little more than a generation, according to new Census Bureau projections, a transformation that is occurring faster than anticipated just a few years ago.

The census calculates that by 2042, Americans who identify themselves as Hispanic, black, Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander will together outnumber non-Hispanic whites. Four years ago, officials had projected the shift would come in 2050.

The main reason for the accelerating change is significantly higher birthrates among immigrants. Another factor is the influx of foreigners, rising from about 1.3 million annually today to more than 2 million a year by midcentury, according to projections based on current immigration policies.

“No other country has experienced such rapid racial and ethnic change,” said Mark Mather, a demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, a research organization in Washington.

This means nothing. Why? Well, because you'll never see all of America's "minorities" line up completely and uniformly against whites. And that kind of unity is the only way you can consider white America a minority. But hell, here's to the elites' dream of putting whitey in his place.

Trip Wires

From Austin Bay:

Moving Georgia’s Iraq force home in US air transports was a reminder of US strategic reach. That was a military option and it has been employed. WHo knows? It may have given Moscow some pause. We’ve already seen at least one quasi-military option employed. Using USAF cargo planes to bring humanitarian supplies is standard policy – but a C-17 is a US military plane. That is a message, a limited, careful, but calculated message, and constitutes a low-risk option that, well, the order has been given and the transports are flying. The presence of US military training forces in Georgia is a message — one Russia chose to ignore. Beefing up the training and support mission is a military option.

Georgia cannot be a member of NATO without significant U.S. presence. Why? Because it is impossible to defend without trip wires that, if tripped, Russia would know would trigger a major conflict. Prior to this event, the U.S. could not have begun to place these trip wires because it would have been castigated for its bellicosity and passive aggression towards Russia. Russia has now given us the cover for setting up those trip wires that will allow for Georgia's admission to NATO. I know that a lot of people are comparing this to the old USSR, but make no mistake, the USSR would have dealt Georgia a quick and fatal blow that would have prevented it from falling within the West's sphere of influence.

If You Are Going To The Democrats' National Convetion...

Watch your ass...

Police confirmed Wednesday that they found about a pound of sodium cyanide in a Denver hotel room where the body of a Canadian man was discovered earlier this week.

Police spokesman John White identified the white powder as sodium cyanide, the crystal form of cyanide. Fire officials say they found a bottle containing about a pound of the white powder, or between a pint and a quart by volume.

An expert told the Denver Post that the amount of cyanide is enough to kill hundreds of people.

I'm not trying to be an jackass here-after all, I passed on a food color joke. Seriously, watch your butts, guys. Same to those of you headed to St. Paul.

Thank you, unnamed campaign!

Dear Unnamed Campaign-

Thank you for inviting me to your conference call today. 15 minutes wasn't a lot of notice for a guy who works for a living, and unfortunately I don't get instant email updates. Perhaps that was what you wanted, who knows?


Monday, August 11, 2008

Georgia Left to the Whims of Russia

President Bush warns Russia:

President Bush on Monday demanded that Russia end a "dramatic and brutal escalation" of violence in Georgia, agree to an immediate cease-fire and accept international mediation to end the crisis in the former Soviet republic.

Almost immediately after his return from the Olympics in China, Bush warned Russia in his strongest comments since the fighting erupted over Georgia's separatist South Ossetia region last week to "reverse the course it appears to be on" and abandon any attempt it may have to topple Georgia's pro-western government.

"Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century," the president said in a televised statement from the White House, calling on Moscow to sign on to the outlines of a cease-fire as the Georgian government has done.

Unfortunately, there is little that can be done for Georgia outside of pressure on Russia. Russia can swallow Georgia before any outside defense could be made. Tactically, there is no good place to stage troops. But most importantly, going toe to toe with major, nuclear tipped power like Russia is a recipe for disaster.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Not Enough to be 99.5% Truthful, Either

John Edwards is being challenged to back up his claim that he did not father Rielle Hunter's baby:

The family of John Edwards' former mistress, Rielle Hunter, is challenging the former senator to take a DNA paternity test after his claim that he did not father Hunter's 6-months-old child.

In the first reaction from Hunter's family, her younger sister Melissa told ABC News that Edwards should immediately follow through on his pledge to take a paternity test.

"I would challenge him to do so," the sister said.

"Somebody must stand up and defend my sister," she said. "I wish that those involved would refrain from bad-mouthing my sister."

I see a bidding war between Montel and Maury for the right to televise this one. If it does turn out that Edwards is the father, he'll become more politically radioactive than Gary Hart immediately after "Monkey Business," and if there had been a cabinet position waiting for him in an Obama White House, there won't be any longer.

Things that make you go...W...T...F?

Bizarre, bizarre, bizarre.
A woman who made news around the world when she had five pups cloned from her beloved pit bull Booger looked very familiar to some who saw her picture: She may be the same woman who 31 years earlier was accused of abducting a Mormon missionary in England, handcuffing him to a bed and making him her sex slave.

A paper trail of court documents and jail booking information uncovered by The Associated Press suggests 57-year-old dog-lover Bernann McKinney is Joyce McKinney, who in 1977 faced charges of unlawful imprisonment in the missionary case. She jumped bail and was never brought to justice.

What isn't crazy about this story? The dog's name of Booger was certainly weird. The cloning was strange. The fact that she was so easily recognized after 31 years is unusual. But I think the fact that a woman made a man her sex slave against his will puts this story over the top. The very possibility in the days before Viagra seems beyond logic.

Looking Back on the 4 War

I'm torn. On the one hand, I'm tired of the Brett Favre v. Green Bay Packers '4 War'. Virtually everyone's opinion is set, and nobody seems interested in making adjustments to their opinions. Every conversation on the topic devolves into the same people saying the same things, and I find that tiresome, boring, and tedious (Jiblog, your thesaurus for all things dull).

Still, I do want to look back on some items that I think have escaped attention during all of this. I've narrowed it down to three topics, and I really should do a separate post on each, but I just want to get this over and done with in one post. So bear with the slightly disjointed nature of this post as I look at the fans, the sports media, and the fact that this entire mess was destined to happen.

Okay, first the fans. Overall, I think all Packer fans have the best interests of the team at heart, even though there is a wide variety of opinions as to what those best interests are. I can respect those differences in opinion even in disagreement. Generally speaking, one class of those opinions fall into the area of "Brett was the best thing for this team this season." Of that class, a subgroup has formed. That subgroup is the "Love Favre/Hate Thompson More Than the Franchise" group.

I've come to find that subgroup very disturbing. If the Dan Devine dog murder story had been true (it wasn't), these individuals would have been the ones defending the dog killer. They have lost any grip on rationality, if they ever had one. They seem to enjoy being miserable, angry, and hate-filled more than anything else. In fact, they seem to stew in their own miserable attitudes towards Ted Thompson, Aaron Rodgers, Mike McCarthy, Mark Murphy, and the organization.

What really bothers me is how prevalent and large this subgroup of Packers fans is. Read the comments section to a Packer article, and they are there. Go to your favorite blogs, and they are either the bloggers or the commenters. Your favorite watering hole and water cooler? They are there, too. Packers training camp? They are certainly there. They see nothing wrong with going around puking their putrid attitudes out on anyone and everyone in the organization that they've pinned blame on in their own minds. As a Packer fan, I find myself extremely disappointed by this sizeable and idiotic subset of fans. If I were Ted Thompson, I'd send my dogs out of state, just in case.


Next, the sports media. I now have a much clearer understanding of the contempt that news journalists have for sports journalists. The last month has been filled with some of the worst reporting I have ever seen. Some sports journalists played this entire thing straight up the middle, and I'll give them credit for that. Most, however, took a side early on, and their reporting showed it. I can't count the number of times I read, watched, or heard something reported and then thought, "wait, that wasn't what was said/done at all." The reporters who not-so-subtly took sides molded many things to fit their views of what was going on in this mess. They read between the lines of things Brett and the Packers said and created stories out of whole cloth. And when they weren't doing that, they were just plain getting things wrong and also accepting what they were told by their side with blind faith. The communication between Favre and the organization was a mess, but the sports media amplified the issue and made it worse for player, team, and fans.


Finally, the ultimate problem in all of this comes down to two things: the Packers brass didn't want to look like asses even though they could look no other way, and they were squishy the entire month because of it; Brett Favre is about the most indecisive man there is off of the football field and that indecision put more roadblocks in his way than anything else. Both sides' biggest enemy in this mess was themselves, and the 4 War was destined to happen because of it. Because of that, demonizing either side is completely pointless.

Friday, August 08, 2008

But the kid is not my son...

I'm guessing John Edwards has been offered a cabinet position in an Obama presidency and is trying to clear his affair from the news well in advance. That baby is going to follow him for quite a while unless they clear up the paternity.

They see a salute...

...I see a hand signal calling Obama a giant a-hole.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

On Brett

I was a homer for Packer quarterbacks for most of my first 14 years. By the time I got my temps, I had finally swore off my blind allegiance to Packer QBs. I bought several Packer jerseys since 1992, but I always refused to buy a Favre jersey. And I'm glad I did, despite the temptation over the past sixteen years. I am abundantly thankful for Brett Favre's career in Green Bay, and I have stories from that period that I will eventually annoy the hell out of my grandchildren with. But while Brett performed at a level his predecessors never did, he also ended up harboring a vindictiveness (his adjective) that none of his predecessors ever rose to, either. And I'm glad I never owned his jersey.

I am honest when I say that I wish Brett the best. I can't not offer him good wishes because he brought too much pleasure to me during my early adulthood years. Just the same, I really don't think the Jets are getting the player they think they are, and I think a lot of people are going to have to taste their own feet when it comes to Ted Thompson's decision making.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Thanks for the Memories, Brett (Again)

I've been very displeased with the way Brett Favre has handled himself this off season, but I do wish him the best. I've been confident since this mess began in July that Brett was due for a big drop in his numbers this year because of his motivation for coming back (sticking it to the Packers management), his unwillingness to put in the off season and Mon-Sat work necessary, and the effect of nature on an aging athlete. Having said that, I hope he has a decent season, after all. His days of free passes in Wisconsin are gone. He's a New Yorker now, and that media isn't as friendly as the Wisconsin press.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sunday, August 03, 2008

What will be considered a success for the '09 Packers?

So Brett's back with the Packers. While they are saying there will be a competition for the job, the fact is that it will be the future Hall of Famer's job to lose. Given that, let's look five months into the future. Let us say that the Packers do not win the Super Bowl. If that occurs, was all of this worth putting the future off a year? In other words, is a good season with Brett at the helm enough for you, or does he have to lead this team to the promised land one more time?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

If You Use IE 7.0, Sit On It

What do I have to lose, 4 readers? If you use 7.0, you obviously can't read this, but when you can again, do yourself a favor: Drop IE.

In all seriousness, I suspect that Sitemeter will fix whatever the problem is...after all, they are the ones losing as people drop their counters. And since I've afforded myself the luxury of barely ever checking my traffic anymore, I'm going to save myself the trouble of removing the re-adding the code for Sitemeter.

"The Guerilla Congress"

The Republicans who continued the conversation on energy in the House were in the sweet spot of governing. They were doing the right thing, they were being justifiably defiant, and their actions had resonance with the public. I just wish they would have kept it up, because, as is, all too many Americans will remain ignorant of this impromptu "Gorilla Congress."

Friday, August 01, 2008

Wisconsin Sausages Too Big for Japan

For the record, I'm not the one who said that, I'm just passing it along to you, my one remaining reader.

The Post That Will Go Unwritten

After reading this comment at the WSB, I thought up what was a pretty funny scenario for a Brett Favre induced civil war in Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan. So I cued up blogger to post it, but then I remembered this and decided that right now, it just wouldn't be very funny.