Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wisconsin promotes winter camping

I enjoy camping with my wife and friends, but I don't think Governor Jesus Christ could convince me to camp during a Wisconsin winter, even if my eternal salvation depended upon it:

James Bishop, DNR public affairs manager and avid winter camper, said “Winter camping, whether in a campground or remote wilderness at minus 20 below zero or 30 degrees above, can be fun, but only with the right preparation and gear.”

I have a sleeping bag rated to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and you know what? It is far more pleasant when slept in at 40 degrees than 0. I admire the state's efforts, but I'll take mosquitoes over freezing my rocks off any day.

Quote of the election

From Power Line:

In the business world, Mitt Romney is as successful as anyone can be. No one attains his level of achievement without enormous talents and an oversized ego. Yet, compared to John McCain, Romney is modest and self-effacing. As a businessman among politicians, he is a boy among men.

In my opinion, in order to be a successful pro athlete, you need the ego of a god. In order to be a successful businessman, you need the ego and the intelligence of a god. In order to be a successful politician, you need to think you are God. McCain clearly does have that mindset.

On the Presidential Election

Right now, I and probably 90% of my 7 regular readers are obsessing over the primaries. We represent the political geeks that are out there. We try to make the primaries into this life or death battle, and in a certain sense it is. But at the same time, a lot of people who will vote in the general election in November aren't even paying attention yet. Why do so many in this country allow others to set the field for them? Or should I be thankful that those who don't care enough to follow along allow others to make their choices for them?

Snow tracks thieves

Go to WQOW for the story, but since I'm pretty sure that the Eau Claire area TV station doesn't archive stories for a long period of time, I'm going to reproduce the mugshot here, because it is really my favorite part of the story:

You should have run farther away, dude.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Lovely Mrs. Jib Listens to Me On The Radio

My wife listened to my first appearance on the radio. She's happy she can still show her face in public. She had three reactions:

-She thinks my new catch phrase should be "Yep, yep, yep," which I uttered twice early on when I was particularly nervous. But before she told me that, she laughed. Hard.

-She caught the fact that I accidentally pitted social conservatives against social conservatives, which makes absolutely no sense.

-When host Jane Hampden quoted my "Gas guzzlin'" catch phrase above and then said that I was much more low key in studio, she translated "low key" to "boring."

The unquestioning support, folks. That's why I married her.

Illumination on the State of the Republican Party

If you want to get a feel for why McCain's momentum is rolling in the Republican party, a good place to look might be the comment section of this Ann Althouse post. It'll give you a chance to read the mindset of a few Republicans who have chosen to support McCain. It is a small sample so it is hardly a scientific representation, but I think they illuminate why McCain's head of steam is building. To summarize, I'd say part of it is a lack of understanding of why people oppose a number of McCain's past initiatives (more than just immigration). Part of it is not being all that bothered by some of those things. Another part would be perceived electability. Throw in a healthy dose of "lesser of two evils," sprinkle in a touch of backlash against perceived conservative ideologues, and you have McMentum.

If this McCain surge has done one thing for me, it is that I've begun to ponder how big a part of the Republican party conservatism really has been the last twenty years. It seems that the old Republican party has been there all along, but it just hitched its caboose to the heady Reagan conservatism that was pulling the party. Now that that engine has lost a little steam, it is starting to reassert itself. Unfortunately, that old Republican party has already amply proven itself to be a loser, particularly when it came to congressional politics.

There will be no McCain/Lieberman we've got that going for us. As much as McCain loves thumbing conservatives in the eye, though, I'm still cringing at who he would choose.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hear My Silky Voice On the Airwaves

Of course, I'm being dry and wry with the headline, but you can hear me on the radio tomorrow in the Milwaukee area. I did a short segment for WUWM's Wisconsin Bloggers series on their 10 am to 11 am show Lake Effect. It will also be available on their website. It was probably okay for my first time on the radio, but I wish I had been a touch more polished. I could have been more concise in some places and expanded my thoughts in others. The good news is that I wasn't nearly as nervous as I was when I did Aaron & Jenna's podcast in '06. The bad news is, unlike the podcast, there are no peanut butter jokes.

Random Presidential Politics Thoughts

-Do you ever get the feeling that the old Rockefeller Republicans snuck a giant, hollow wooden horse into the modern Republican party?

-I think we can all safely look back and say that Rudy Giuliani employed perhaps the dumbest strategy in recent presidential campaign history. Too bad for him there seemed to be a certain logic to it at one point.

-Maybe if Hillary sexually harassed and/or assaulted a few men, she too could be as popular as her husband used to be.

-If either nomination isn't settled by the time the primaries wrap up, I'd bet we still won't see the classic brokered convention. I'm sure deals would be struck long before a convention.

-If we do see a classic brokered convention, this is going to be one of the shortest and most brutal Republican-Democrat presidential slug fests we've ever seen. Can you imagine the hay makers that'll be thrown if one party can't decide on their candidate until the end of summer, just two plus months before the general election?

The Terror of the Trees

It is an extremely windy night here in southern Wisconsin, and I absolutely hate nights like this. My house is bordered by a number of trees. Most of the time, I love my trees, but I get antsy when severe thunderstorms and extremely windy day/nights come along. The last thing I want is one of those trees to come down on my house or a neighbors' house. So about ten minutes ago when I heard the crack and crash during a wind gust, I jumped nearly as high out of my recliner as the cat did, and she's a leaper. It wasn't my house, so I did a quick perimeter check to make sure it wasn't one of my trees. Thankfully it wasn't, but by the sounds of it, somebody in the neighborhood just had their nice warm night of sleep ruined. Trees are dirty bastards that way. They just give, give, give, but the day that they decide to take, you're screwed.

The Return of Leinie's Northwoods

I am indescribably happy right now:

A legendary cold one returns with a timely dose of Northwoods flavor to lure taste buds out of hibernation. Specialty craft beer fans are in for a nice surprise with the return of Leinenkugel's Northwoods Lager this February. The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company will reintroduce Northwoods Lager to Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and select distributors in Michigan and Illinois beginning February 4th for a limited time. After a two-year hiatus, the award-winning brew will re-join the Leinenkugel's family of premium craft brews on retailer shelves.

The only thing that could make me happier is if they brought it back under its original black and gold label of Leinie's Limited. I've been considering starting a "beer fridge" and this just may be my inspiration to do so.

Gore as king maker?

I am a full throated critic of most of the idiots at the Huffington Post, but even I think that this scenario could conceivably come to pass:

Enter Al Gore. If he has a chance to make an influential endorsement, possibly even to nudge Obama to victory, does he have the willpower to refrain? I don't see how. It would be such sweet balance to his botched endorsement of Howard Dean in '04. Like Ted Kennedy, Gore would become a huge fish in the comparatively small(er) pond of Obama's powerful backers. He would enter 2009 with the full power of an historic new presidency at his back. Imagine what could be done with that power. Gore as climate envoy? Climate czar? Climate secretary?

In that event, Gore would have achieved a balance between the conflicting demands of his conscience. He would have the freedom to be a focused advocate and change public opinion, alongside the power of government to affect real change. Best of all, he could get there without the inanities and indignities of a political campaign.

If the Democratic primary reaches the point where Gore could become kingmaker, I suspect the temptation will be irresistible.

I agree, but I think that the author of this post is a little too focused on Obama. Al Gore is a politician first, and I have no doubt that in a close race, he'd throw his weight behind whichever candidate promised him more for his support, and in such a scenario you should never underestimated the Clintons.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Ethanol and E. Coli

Ethanol production might be contributing to the increased number of beef recalls because of E. coli:

Studies from two universities show evidence that feeding cattle a byproduct of ethanol production known as distillers grains can increase their levels of a deadly form of E. coli bacteria.

In direct response to the findings, the U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists recently put 300 cattle on a diet of distillers grains and plans to test the cows regularly for the bacteria. Results of the test won't be known until later this year.

If the studies do show a link between distillers grains and E. coli, it is going to prove problematic for both industries.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Elizabeth Kucinich drops out of 2008 First Lady race

Okay, now this is a funny bumper sticker. (Credit Fark commenter):

What the hell is up with HuffPo bloggers?

From a Huffpo post by Terri Cheney:

The truth is, Britney's done more to raise awareness of bipolar disorder than all the efforts of doctors, patients and drug companies combined. Whether or not she actually turns out to be one of us, I'm grateful for what she's accomplished. Everybody knows what bipolar is now. (Emphasis mine)

That's sick. People knew what bipolar was before. Don't be grateful for what Brit has accomplished-she's in all likelihood very sick. She's not accomplishing anything but destroying her life and making life more difficult for her children. Instead of wasting your time being grateful for Britney's mental illness, how about being concerned for her well being, as well as that of her children?

Heath Ledger died for Linda Keenan

Vapid. Absolutely vapid.

Thanks for the ad idea, HuffPo!

If you are Barack Obama, who needs enemies when your purported friends are giving the enemy ad ideas for the general election?

Random Thought, Obama-Reagan Edition

A lot of conservatives, myself included, took a certain amount of pleasure over the internecine warfare that broke out in the Democratic presidential race after Barack Obama praised Ronald Reagan. Enjoy it now, my fellow conservatives, because it will only be a matter of time before a Republican pays the same reverence to Bill Clinton. Learn from the Democrats' experience and tuck it away, because you'll need it in 4, 8, or 12 years. I guarantee it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Duncan Hunter endorses...(drum roll, please)

...Mike Huckabee?! (cue the dying duck on the trumpet)

California Rep. Duncan Hunter, a former presidential candidate, announced Wednesday he is endorsing Mike Huckabee’s White House bid.

“I got to know Governor Huckabee well on the campaign trail,” Huckabee said in a statement. “Of the remaining candidates I feel that he is strongly committed to strengthening national defense, constructing the border fence and meeting the challenge of China’s emergence as a military superpower that is taking large portions of America’s industrial base.

“Along with these issues of national security, border enforcement and protecting the U.S. industrial base, I see another quality of Mike Huckabee’s candidacy that compels my endorsement,” he added. “Mike Huckabee is a man of outstanding character and integrity. I saw that character over the last year of campaigning and was greatly impressed. The other Republican candidates have many strengths and I wish them all well.”

2008 is shaping up to be one bizarro year in Republican politics. The respect I had for Hunter and his doomed campaign is pretty much in shambles right now. In practice, Hunter's endorsement will deliver between 8 to 12 total new votes to the Huckabee campaign, so what makes this so unusual is the odd fit between the two. Unless Hunter expounds on this, one has to assume he's been offered a cabinet position in a Huckabee presidency.

Former Hunter campaign consultant John Hawkins also endorses Huckabee. Sort of, in a very weak and unenthusiastic way.

Sell your AT&T stock

Why? Well, because AT&T is looking at potentially opening themselves up to a world of liability.
AT&T Inc. is still evaluating whether to examine traffic on its Internet lines to stop illegal sharing of copyright material, its chief executive said Wednesday.

CEO Randall Stephenson told a conference at the World Economic Forum that the company is looking at monitoring peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, one of the largest drivers of online traffic but also a common way to illegally exchange copyright files.

Here's why this will be troublesome for them:

They represent a break with the current practice of U.S. Internet service providers, who are shielded by law from liability if their subscribers trade copyright files like movies.

Once AT&T starts fiddling around with the content on their networks, they stand to lose that protection from liability. So not only would AT&T be opening itself up to a bevy of lawsuits, it would also face the likelihood of losing a lot of customers who don't like the idea of their ISP spying on their web traffic. For the life of me, I cannot understand why AT&T would want to open that Pandora's Box. Ostensibly, such a policy would reduce congestion on their networks, but their are much better ways to deal with that than this.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The stowaway kitty

The last time cat-owner Kelly Levy saw her tiger-striped feline was before she took her husband to the airport. The 24-year-old came back to her house late Friday to find the bottom step, where Gracie Mae would usually be waiting, empty.

Levy tore the house apart looking for the 10-month-old tabby who had been spayed just days before. She and her dad took out bathroom tiles and part of a cabinet to check a crawl space and papered the neighborhood with "lost cat" signs.

Then she got a phone call.

"Hi, you're not going to believe this, but I am calling from Fort Worth, Texas, and I accidentally picked up your husband's luggage. And when I opened the luggage, a cat jumped out," Levy recalled the caller saying.

Gracie Mae had crawled into Seth Levy's black suitcase undetected, been put through an X-ray machine, loaded onto an airplane, thrown onto a baggage claim conveyor belt and picked up by a stranger.

I'm surprised this has never happened with our cat. Every time I've traveled, she has curled up inside my suitcase while I've packed. I make a point of double checking it before I zip it up because I know she'd destroy the contents of the bag if she ever got trapped in there for a flight.

Pay per police call

You know, I could live with some form of this.
Anchorage police have begun sending bills to people if officers have to make more than eight trips per year to their homes.

The first homeowner to be billed under a law that allows police to charge people got a tab for $23,000 last week.

Police have been called to the home dozens of times since last summer and 10 times so far this year, they said.

An ordinance that took effect in 2002 calls for taxpayers to pay for the first eight police responses to a home in a year. After that, the homeowner may be charged $500 per visit, what police estimate it costs to pay officers and maintain equipment for a single call.

"We're trying to tell homeowners that if you're having an excessive amount of calls to your residence, you need to take responsibility for those calls," said Anchorage police Sgt. Denny Allen. "We're not encouraging people not to call the police for valid reasons."

Of course, the bleeding hearts out there are going to say that you don't want to give people a reason not to call the police after 8 visits in a year. While I'm a little sympathetic to that, it doesn't change the fact that if you have the police to your home 8 times in one year, you know you've got a problem. Rather than constantly expect the police to mediate your problems, you should do something about them. And here's one thing do gooders never take into consideration-it is those habitual cases that tie up police resources and seriously delay the police when others have emergencies.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Blog as Historical Record, Update

A couple of days ago I ruminated over the blog's place as a historical record. I received an email from Mike Schramm, Editor of, that pointed me to this governmental effort to preserve web content. I will say that I do appreciate such an effort on the part of governments. Having said that, as someone who appreciates the American Revolution and this nation's founders, I do not want the Federal government to be the arbiter of preserved internet content. If you've read 1984, you understand my skepticism. I would much prefer seeing redundant preservation efforts by libraries, societies, and archives (and even individuals), as these repositories would prove much more resistant to any future overpowering and overbearing government than the Library of Congress would. I am not being paranoid by saying this as I do not believe we are at risk of a government that changes the historical record in this country. As a student of history, though, I do believe in guarding against the worst case scenario, because the "worst case" is rarely anticipated.

Advantage, McCain

I think this is the best thing I've read about the 2008 Republican race yet:

I'm not saying McCain is a "winner" in the Hail-to-the-Chief sense, I'm just saying right now he's most likely to wind up with the nomination. This is beginning to feel like a thriller with tons of wild plot twists but a disappointing finale. Imagine 1996 with exciting car chases round hairpin bends but you still wind up with Bob Dole.

Mark Steyn does an excellent job of summing up where we are at right now. McCain is by no means coronated yet, but this (South Carolina) is a big boost to his momentum. Disappointingly, Fred Thompson finished third behind Huckabee. It is going to take one hell of a Super Tuesday to keep him in it. I'll admit that I have been very leaning Thompson since he entered the race, but I wanted to see a Thompson campaign that grabbed voters by the shoulders and said, "you've got no reason not to vote for him." Without it, I never could see him winning a general election. Unfortunately, while he's shown a little fire, his campaign has never been up to par. Unless they have some secret strategy that they've been holding back, I'm not sure he'll even be a candidate by the time Wisconsin's primary rolls around.

As for McCain, I do vomit in my mouth a little when I think of him as the nominee. He is moderately conservative in that he is pro national security and marginally fiscally conservative, but this is a man who actually took some time to consider the Democratic Vice Presidency just 4 years ago. I'm not even going to take the time to enumerate his many non-conservative positions. Plus, given his age as a potential first term president, his VP choice would become all too crucial. If he were to become the nominee, he might have an outside chance against Hillary, but I fear he'll get crushed by the Carter-like Obama.

As an addendum to this post, Peter Robinson has perhaps the strangest analogy to the Thompson campaign that I have ever seen. Apparently even Robinson doesn't see Thompson getting the job done, despite the promise he shows.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

How cold is it?

It is so cold that my deck sounds like war torn Beirut. It is popping more than a pot full of Orville Redenbacher.

Officially at the Jiblog weather station, it is -6.6 degrees fahrenheit. Still, I'm thankful that I'm not up north. The forecast low in Chippewa Falls tonight: -22. That isn't including the wind chill.

The pup with nine lives

I love dogs, I really do, so I feel guilty that I laughed at what this poor pup has been through.

Mango's first near-death experience occurred on Thanksgiving. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time: in the path of a pot of stuffing accidentally knocked off the kitchen counter as Dr. Joe Stapleton, an anesthesiologist, prepared his family's holiday turkey.

Mango quit breathing and her heart stopped.

As his wife, Roxanne, drove to an emergency veterinary clinic, Stapleton gave mouth-to-snout resuscitation and administered chest compressions. His quick work saved the fluffy 1-year-old.

Mouth to snout? A pot of stuffing? How absurd. But it wasn't over for the little thing.

Stopped short by a new gate the family had installed to keep their dogs out of the kitchen, Mango jumped.

Up, up, up she went before gravity took charge and Mango landed. On her head.

She flopped onto her side, unconscious.

The Stapletons knew what to do. As Roxanne drove again toward the emergency veterinary clinic, Joe started CPR. About halfway there, Mango came to. But she spent the night at the clinic on intravenous fluids, medicine and oxygen.

More mouth to snout? Now Mango has to wear a helmet after two life threatening head injuries. Poor Mango now has to go through life like Mike Myers' hypoglycemic character on SNL. I hope for her sake Mango's owner buys a mini defibrillator. But as tough as life has been for her, at least she isn't in the custody of PETA.

Scientists boost vitamin A in corn

Commentary to follow the excerpt:

U.S. scientists have developed a way to breed corn that can boost the vitamin A it gives people who eat it -- a potentially important advance for regions of the world burdened by vitamin A deficiencies.

Vitamin A deficiency is an important cause of eye disease and other health problems in developing countries.

Corn, also known as maize, is the dominant subsistence crop in much of Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, where up to 30 percent of children under age 5 are vitamin A deficient.

Scientists want to come up with ways to increase -- or "bio-fortify" -- levels of specific nutrients in crops like corn. Corn has precursors to vitamin A -- compounds called "provitamins" including beta-carotene -- which the body uses to make vitamin A.

Really, why should we even bother with otherwise worthwhile efforts like this? In their pandering, federal and state elected officials seem obsessed with shoving more and more of the corn harvests towards fuel production. The scientists might as well focus their efforts on fortifying other crops that our elected officials aren't short sightedly trying to steal from hungry mouths in order to feed the ethanol industry while enriching corn farmers.

An American pineapple, LOC

I think this image is already my favorite from the Library of Congress images at Flickr.

Guide at Little Norway, Blue Mounds, Wis. (LOC)

The Library of Congress has added over 3,000 historic, copy right free photos to Flickr, and the collection is fascinating, and I've only scratched the surface of what they have over there. I highly recommend it to anyone who considers themselves a history buff.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Blog as Historical Record

One day, many years from now, historians will be looking back on this era in an attempt to conceptualize what we experienced and how we dealt with it. A good historian will peruse a wide variety of sources in their effort to put the pieces of the historic puzzle together. I'm quite sure that blogs, in whatever form they can be preserved, will be part of their research. Unfortunately, they are going to be an incredibly difficult source for historians to try to use.

Let me illustrate part of the problem with a brief story. Tonight I was looking back on my archives from 2006. Occasionally a post would spark my interest, and I'd click on the link I had made to another story. Sometimes that story was still there, but sometimes it wasn't. Posts which contained dead links became a lot less valuable, and keep in mind, this is only from two years ago. The very thing that have made blogs a venerable force of public opinion, the link, also makes them poor historical records. As websites die, as companies scrub old material from their servers, blog posts lose context, and minus context that future researcher loses the value of the original post. Blogs that rely very heavily on the link like Instapundit will be useless to the future historian.

Part two of the problem is very similar to part one. Blogs themselves will only be temporary records. When I first started this blog, I had delusions of my opinion being part, if only a very small one, of the historical record of my era. The fact is it won't be. One day, this blog will disappear from the internet. Either blogging will fade and Google will kill Blogger, or I'll pass away and the blog will go dormant until such time that Google scours it from its servers and the domain will be made available to someone else who will put ad links up in the place of this blog. Either way, what I wrote and what other bloggers wrote will largely disappear from the historical record. And this applies to all of you who run your own domains, too. Eventually, you'll quit or you become incapacitated or even die, and once that bill for hosting and registration doesn't get paid, the evidence of your influence on this era will disappear as the URL is re-distributed to someone else. This is going to be hell on the future historian, too. They are going to read in an archived newspaper or magazine of some controversy in which blogs played a central part (see Rathergate). They are going to try to dig up that original blog material, but they are going to have to piece it together as best they can from secondary sources as the original blogs will be long gone.

A company like Google could conceivably end up being a repository of all of this electronic information, but I would be very, very nervous about relying on one or two companies holding an archive of all of this electronic information. They could easily choose at some point in the future to save money by reusing the massive amounts of storage they own, essentially recording over any archived information. Worse yet, e-warfare could wipe those records out. If I were at a leading historical library, say, The Wisconsion State Historical Society, I would begin my own small scale effort at preserving these electronic resources. It would not make sense for one of these libraries to try to preserve all of the electronic media out there, but it would make sense for them to focus on some specific areas of interest and store them either electronically or in hard copy form with appendices consisting of linked information. It could pay off in our lifetimes, much as the preservation of Ron Paul newsletters has, but it most definitely will pay off for historians beyond our lifetimes. Today we regret the loss of the Library of Alexandria. In the future, we may regret the loss of the blogosphere to the ether.

An S word on the horizon

I predict the most used term in the media in 2008 will be 'stagflation'. Frankly, I'm surprised they haven't started using it as a cudgel yet, what with the plethora of stories about recession and inflation, plus a presidential election process in full swing. When they do, ethanol is going to have to take a beating for the role it plays in the inflation of food prices.

If I were the Wisconsin legislature, I'd think twice about rolling out any new ethanol bills.

Wisconsin to allow heated walkways

Oddly, in the state which was on the cutting edge of heated football fields 40 years ago, you cannot have a heated walkway. But that is going to change.

Things are heating up in Wisconsin.

After the second snowiest December on record in the state capital, the legislature is abolishing a statewide ban on heated sidewalks, stairs, entrances and pedestrian walkways.

The bill overturns a law passed in the 1980s in response to the energy crisis of the 1970s.

Wisconsin is the only state with such a prohibition in the books.

I've been shoveling snow since I was about 8 years old or so, and I've always hated it. I've long fantasized about building a house with a heated driveway and heated sidewalks. I've mulled over a couple of problems with it in my head since I was 20, things like how do you do it without sending energy bills through the roof, and what materials to use to prevent cracking. Little did I know the biggest obstacle to my dream until now was the state government.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

PETA, The Highly Efficient Killing Machine


An official report from People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), submitted nine months after a Virginia government agency's deadline, shows that the animal rights group put to death more than 97 percent of the dogs, cats, and other pets it took in for adoption in 2006. During that year, the well-known animal rights group managed to find adoptive homes for just 12 pets. The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is calling on PETA to either end its hypocritical angel-of-death program, or stop its senseless condemnation of Americans who believe it's perfectly ethical to use animals for food, clothing, and critical medical research.

97%. Even the Texas prison system isn't that efficient. Congrats, PETA. You are now the grim reaper for pets in Virginia. And please stay away from my cat, okay?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fiery Fred Thompson

I've been waiting for two things from Fred Thompson. The first is some obvious fire in his belly. The second is for his campaign to sell me on him. Not personally sell me, mind you, but rather sell me in the way that successful campaigns convert large numbers of supporters, because that's how you win general elections. Neither had happened thus far, but if what I'm reading about tonight's debate is any indicator, the fire has finally showed up. I can say this-I'll be watching much more closely in the coming days.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Miscellaneous Thoughts

-I wish I would have started this blog 6 months earlier. If I had, I'd be an experienced primaries blogger right now instead of a rookie.

-I am pleased that this site was around for the general election, though. That experience will hopefully add insight to posts later in the year.

-The Republican convention in Minnesota is either going to be terribly dull or the most compelling convention since 1968.

-I'm glad that I don't base my self opinion on the opinion of others, because if I did, I wouldn't know if I was a oppressive Christian, a near secular opponent of the Christian right, a free market freak, a RINO conservative who isn't anywhere close to a free market Republican, a part of "Establishment Conservatism", or an outsider to the conservative movement. Directly or indirectly, I've been lumped into all those categories in the last month by people who think I don't fit in their group. Finding a lunch table in high school was easier than dealing with all these cliques.

-Fraley writes an excellent piece on the presidential nominations not being reality shows, but unfortunately, that's how we treat them, and this actually pre-dates the advent of reality shows.

-A little known fact about me-one my wife probably doesn't even know: I make a habit of keeping my mouth closed when on roller coasters. Why? It keeps out bugs, but more importantly, it keeps out the vomit of any weak stomached riders in front of you.

-I made the above rule after watching workers at Six Flags disinfect the Batman ride after someone in the front seats puked during a ride. They left the contents of their stomach all over the rows behind them.

-Speaking of Six Flags, the lovely Mrs. Jib says you haven't lived until you've ridden a roller coaster backwards.

-I'm going to miss incandescent light bulbs in the winter time. It is often said that they waste a lot of energy through heat loss, but in the cold Wisconsin winters, that heat is anything but lost. In fact, if I were smarter and loved math the way I did when I was ten, I'd work up an experiment to show how much less my furnace runs when I have my living room lights on.

Wisconsin DNR backs BETA

Well, not really, but to the uninformed it might seem that way with headlines like this:

DNR Asks Anglers To Help Prevent Spread of VHS

VHS is obviously a fish disease. If the Wisconsin DNR begins to push anglers to prevent Blu-Ray, however, they might be over stepping their bounds.

The poo on the shoe does in man in hit and run

Here's a good reason to procrastinate about cleaning your dog's poo in your backyard.

Dog isn't this man's best friend. Josue Herrios-Coronilla, 18, drove his black Camaro on the wrong side of the road Wednesday and crashed into the yard of man who owns four dogs, police said.

Police found crushed bushes, a damaged fence, an inoperable car - and a fresh shoe print in a pile of dog feces.

Following an odoriferous trail down the street, Sgt. Dale Gunter noticed a white van driving toward him. When he asked the passenger to step out, he noticed the smell of alcohol on the man's breath and evidence all over his shoes.

Do you think they had to do tests to prove it was poo from the same dog?

Evidence that some Canadians are soft, judgemental pansies


(Headline softened after realizing I've known a few Canadian born individuals who aren't)

Is it just me...

...or has the online world of politics gotten nuttier than a squirrel turd in the last couple of months?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

An observation from the past couple of weeks

The number of my friends on the right whose skin I've gotten under in the past few weeks is a good indicatorto me of how fractured the right is currently. I haven't even come close to deciding who I think is the best of this very imperfect class of presidential candidates, yet I've managed to irritate more than a few people who have strong feelings about some candidates. I have to say, as an undecided, it makes this field look even less attractive than it already looked. If disunity and hard feelings last into the general election, I think it becomes reasonable to wonder whether this party needs to be out of the presidency for four years in order to get its act together. I know the negatives involved with a Democratic presidency, but I've also watched this party get weaker and weaker the past 8 years. As the opposition, the right will be faced with the prospect of getting its act together or dying.

Our Nomination Process: A Plus, A Minus

On the one hand, I love that our presidential nomination process is settled incrementally on a state by state basis. It puts the candidates through a much more rigorous test and forces them to address more issues head on in the states than a national primary day would.

On the other hand, the current process puts so much weight on early, less than representative states that the entire nomination process becomes a race of perception. In that race of perception, it can become impossible for a candidate to win a state they otherwise would have because it is perceived that they are going nowhere.

The New Republic Does What the Right Fails to Do

Namely, expose Ron Paul. I've been disappointed that so many swallow the bait of Paul positions that make sense while ignoring some repugnant Paul characteristics. It'll be interesting to see how many maintain their attachment and how many wisely back away from him.

Rumors of the Obama Campaign's Demise are Greatly Exagerated

Tonight's Clinton Comeback is stunning. I'll admit that I was one of those who thought Obama had delivered a knockout blow against her in Iowa. Based on her and Bill's actions in New Hampshire, I can't help but believe that they thought so as well. But those contrarian, cantankerous citizens of New Hampshire gave new life to the Clinton campaign tonight with a big victory over Obama. The storyline has already developed that this the end of the Big Mo' for Big O'. I wouldn't get to excited about that storyline. Obama's appeal to quote-unquote 'independents' will make his path a little rockier because of closed primaries, but I am convinced that we'll see the Democratic nomination see-saw back and forth between the two of them. I don't think Obama's momentum is gone, but it will be blunted in some states.

As for the Republicans. If you don't already have plans to go to the convention in St. Paul, make 'em now. This could be a once or twice in a lifetime convention. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see one mess of a brokered convention, and I suspect a name we all dismissed long ago is counting on just that.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I was wrong

New Hampshire, at least, is a sucker for Clinton crocodile tears.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Crib Notes

If you haven't been a reader of this blog from the beginning, then you are probably unfamiliar with my 'Crib Notes' feature, so I'd like to briefly re-introduce it. When I don't have the time to write several in depth posts on topics that are on my mind, I like to do one of these brief posts with quick hitters on those topics. Below are some of the things that are on my mind today.

-Fog lead to a 100 car pile up on I-90 in my area on Sunday. Some make the point that it wasn't the fog but the people who were driving too fast for conditions that led to the accident. I agree that those who were driving to fast played a big part. Let's not let the other bad drivers off the hook, however. I drove in fog that was worse the previous night in Madison. The biggest concern I had was less the speeders and more the people who slammed on their breaks hard whenever the drove into thicker fog. Drivers like that are usually let off the hook because they are deemed cautious, but their habit of abruptly slowing rather than gradually slowing are what triggers messes like this.

-A few readers wonder who I support for the Republican presidential nomination. Truth be told, I haven't made up my mind yet, and when I do I'm not sure I'm going to stump for them via this blog until the general election. I can say one thing. The first test I put a candidate through in my mind, before I get to any ideology, is, "is there a better than average likelihood that this person could be a good president?" Giuliani, Romney, Thompson, McCain, and Duncan Hunter have passed that test in my mind. Paul and Huckabee have not, and neither will get my vote under any circumstances.

-As for those candidates that past that first test, what I am left to grapple with is what I'm willing to give on in order to get other characteristics that I want in a president.

-Hillary Clinton's crocodile tears today were, in my opinion, very calculated and intentional. They'll also backfire on her.

-I think I'm the last person in the world to get a Razr, so that fad is obviously over. To all you trend setters with Razrs, time to get a new phone.

-With Wisconsinites in shorts as temperatures rise into the un-January like 50's, it is clear that global warming is back with a vengeance after taking a month long vacation in Bermuda. Grab your ankles.

Huckabee the anti-Reagan?

GOP Bloggers has a post up right now titled "Is Huckabee Destroying The Reagan Coalition?" The post brings up some points that are of great significance right now. I do think there is something there. While Giuliani is at least trying to make nice with social conservatives, Huckabee seems to take pleasure in lobbing fire bombs at fiscal and national defense conservatives. In doing so, I can envision a scenario where he peels a portion of the Reagan Democrats off of the conservative Republican party for at least two presidential cycles.

Christmas is only the beginning

Am I the only one that has found that Christmas gifts lead to an all new list of things you need to buy for them? Before Christmas, I had people pulling their hair out because I didn't really need or want anything. Now I need another Christmas.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Male monkeys buy sex with grooming

Male macaque monkeys pay for sex by grooming females, according to a recent study that suggests the primates may treat sex as a commodity.

"In primate societies, grooming is the underlying fabric of it all," Dr. Michael Gumert, a primatologist at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said in a telephone interview Saturday.

"It's a sign of friendship and family, and it's also something that can be exchanged for sexual services," Gumert said.

I only have one question. How is this different than a husband agreeing to clean the house?

Oh, and I have one comment, too. It is kind of amusing to see the story presented as a free market of monkey love.

Thankful to be in Wisconsin

I might be the most person most thankful to be in Wisconsin of anyone in this state. You see, the last time California had weather this bad, I was there. It was the most miserable business trip of my life. It was a 9 or 10 day trip, and the weather was so bad that I didn't see a southern California mountain until day 5 or 6. Mudslides and flooding made the SoCal driving even worse and led to appointment cancellation after appointment cancellation. To make matters worse, when I flew back into Chicago, my car was buried in 10 inches of snow, it was about ten below zero, and I was lucky to get my car to turn over. Right now, I feel for my cousin who lives out there, but I'm happier than hell to be here.

Carter vs. Carter

Iowa a presidential nomination does not make. For S&Gs, let's pretend for a moment that Obama and Huckabee become the nominees of their respective parties. It will be as though we will be choosing between two variants of Jimmy Carter. I made the case for Obama as Carter in July. With Huckabee the parallels are even more significant. Are the American people really ready to make that mistake again?

I still view Iowa as an aberration on the Republican side of things. The corn state seems to have a fetish for the Carter types. Unfortunately, the results leave me extremely wary. What if, after another era of trials and tribulations for this nation, we make the mistake of electing another Jimmy Carter, another person who is totally unqualified for the presidency?


Sometimes all you need is the headline:
Deer molester back behind bars

Friday, January 04, 2008

Has conservatism really neglected Evangelicals?

I've done a lot of reading lately on the presidential race. One thing that I've read several times is that Evangelicals are tired of being neglected in the conservative Republican party, and that is part of the reason for the rise of Huckabee. The problem with this line of thought is that I haven't actually seen an Evangelical use it-only pundits. Because of that, I'm not really sure about its validity. After all, what the hell do people consider George W. Bush to be, an agnostic? Bush is the most religious president since Jimmy Carter. I hardly think that Evangelicals can complain after 8 years of the "compassionate" conservatism of George W. Bush. Just because Bush was terrible at pushing through domestic agenda doesn't mean that the Republican party has used and abused the Evangelicals of the religious right. If that is the case, maybe they should sit this election out and remember what a Democrat presidency is like for the next four years.

Romney scandal on the horizon?

Maybe. In an almost stream of consciousness sort of way, Right Wing News breaks the story.

Update #2: Another source of mine, which is not with the Huckabee campaign or the same campaign as my previous source, told me that they are hearing that the story is going to be that Romney was behind the "anti-Mormon" push polling that got so much attention in Iowa.

Intriguingly, these allegations were made previously and the Romney campaign strongly denied that they had anything to do with the polling.

Anything is possible in politics, and sometimes stories unexpectedly find a way to develop legs. My gut tells me that this one won't, though.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Really, Iowa?

I'm not going to speak for Democrats, so this is about Mike Huckabee and, more importantly, Iowa. Iowa has done a marvelous job tonight of proving why the rest of the nation has been getting so incensed about the influence that state has over presidential politics. Really, Iowa? Mike Huckabee? I'm still undecided in this race, but I just don't get the appeal of Mike Huckabee, and I probably never will. He may appeal to a certain slice of Protestants (not this Lutheran), but he is in no way ready for prime time. I'm fairly certain that the remainder of the primaries and caucuses will show that the rest of America doesn't understand why Huckabee appealed to Iowa, either.

On the topic of late night TV

Last night I watched The Tonight Show and Late Night with Conan O'Brien because I was curious how they'd do without their writers. Both looked very uncomfortable, but I thought Leno was okay while O'Brien was just plain bad. I found that more than a little disappointing because I'm a big Conan fan and I've been looking forward to the day he takes over the Tonight Show. I'll be interested to see how both progress without their writers. Already tonight it looks like Leno is more comfortable and his monologue was actually funny-something I rarely thought of his with-writers monologues. If Conan cannot up his game without writers, I might rethink who I'd rather see host the Tonight Show.

The Check That Bought Alaska

This is pretty cool. Today that check could pay A-Rod for a quarter of a baseball season.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The hidden racist history of the Democratic Party

Bruce Bartlett has a new book coming out called "Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party's Buried Past." Last week at Opinion Journal he culled a number of quotes from the book to show that Democrats have displayed antipathy towards minorities since the party's founding. I bring this up because it is of much interest to me. I don't think that his examples prove that Democrats have cornered the market on racism over this country's history-quite the contrary in fact. I'm fairly certain that a similar list could be made about Republicans. I do think that Bartlett's piece is important, though, because Democrats have done a masterful job of propagandizing and painting themselves the party of the little guy, the poor, and minorities when they are no such thing. In fact, the original Democrat, the man who they based this off of, Andrew Jackson, was perhaps the most strident enemy of American Indians of any president. Unfortunately, all too many people swallow the marketing of political parties hook, line, and sinker. This is more true right now on the left because the Democrats have won the battle of 'hero of the little guy,' something that is very appealing to Americans.

Up to my last year of college, I bought into the Democratic party's marketing and PR. It wasn't until I wrote a 30 page paper on the spear fishing issue in Wisconsin that it became apparent to me that maybe the Democrats' mirage wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I expected nice black and white lines between the two parties, and Tommy Thompson certainly fit what I expected from Republicans. Democrat Dave Obey, however, did not. Going through my research, I learned that Democrat Dave was no friend of the Chippewa that were fighting for their treaty rights in his district. That's what snapped me to attention. That's what got me questioning all of the political assumptions that I had to that point in my life.

During that period of my life, I developed a personal working theory on politics. Party politics is how things get done in this country, like it or not. Therefore, if you actually want to be part of the process, you'll get farther as part of a party. So you select the party that aligns most closely with your personal philosophies and values. For me, that was the conservative portion of the Republican party, hands down. That does not mean that the party is your friend, nor does it mean that everyone in the party is going to agree with you because you identify with it. This is especially true for minorities. Minorities throw their lot in with the Democrats, and for that the Democratic party neglects them and takes their votes for granted. They would be much better off if they asked the individual candidates questions that help them determine if that individual will represent their interests best. If they did, they'd find that a straight Democratic ticket is rarely in their best interests. Why? Because the Democratic party is not the utopia of multiculturalism, diversity, and tolerance that it so effectively portrays itself to be.