November 30, 2004
My comments section is being spammed. Usually I can use MT Blacklist to quickly stop new spam messages. However, this spam is different. Here is an example of a typical spam comment:
You are invited to visit some information in the field of... Thanks!!!
There is no URL for readers to click upon, so other than causing annoyance, I do not understand the reason for this spam. However, I have deleted too many of these messages to count and they keep coming. So I have turned off the ability to place anonymous comments - you must now enter a name and email address to comment. Feel free to enter a fake email (e.g., as I don't care if you post a real email address or not. I'm just hoping to defeat some of this spam without eliminating my comments altogether.

Fightin' Words
I recently was made aware of the poetry of Russ Vaughn. Russ is an interesting character. According to his website, Russ describes himself as a moderately conservative nut case. A Vietnam veteran, his poetry reflects his background. In his own words:

November 29, 2004
John Leo and a Dixie Chick
I am not a fan of Natalie Maines, one of the Dixie Chicks. While I support her free speech rights, protected by the military that she may disrespect, I also strongly support the rights of her (former) fans to quit supporting a singer that obviously does not represent their values.

However, today I am defending singer Natalie Maines, the one that "bravely" said she was ashamed of President Bush when she was overseas surrounded by those who wanted to keep Saddam in power.

God and Stem Cells
As a social conservative, I oppose researching embryonic stem cells. Since I am also very pro-science, most of my colleagues do not understand my perspective on this. I think science, which is simply testing what you think might be true in such a way that your tests can be easily replicated by others, is one of the best tools human beings have, but like any tool, it can be used for good or evil.

November 25, 2004
Happy Thanksgiving
I thought it appropriate on this day of Thanksgiving to lookup our first proclamation of Thanksgiving. On June 20, 1676, the religious colonists to the New World proclaimed their thanks to God. By a unanimous vote, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts appointed June 29 as a day of Thanksgiving. Note: This is the oldest surviving proclamation of Thanksgiving. Many historians hold that the first Thanksgiving was held in the fall of 1621 (the fall after the Mayflower pilgrims arrived). They are almost certainly correct, but unfortunately no one captured their words of thanks. At any rate, I hope you find this bit of American history interesting and appropriate on this special day. God has truly blessed this nation and we have much for which to be thankful.
The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present War with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgments he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:

The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being persuaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and souls as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2004
"Theft-Proof" DaimlerChrysler
Jurgen Schrempp is the head of DaimlerChrysler. He used to drive the pride of his fleet, a Mercedes S600. The £500,000 (~$935,000) limousine with 5cm-thick steel plating, a landmine-resistant petrol tank and bullet-proof windows could drive on, even accelerate, after the tyres had been shot out or lacerated with spikes. The finest German engineers spared no expense to make this thief-proof, bomb-proof Mercedes. The 3.5 ton vehicle included an extensive security system, a satellite receiver and tracking system.

Mr. Schrempp locked his car and left it for 20 minutes while he dashed into an evening business meeting in Stuttgart, the centre of DaimlerChrysler’s operations in Europe. He was travelling without a chauffeur or the customary bodyguard. By the time he returned, a gang had overcome all the security systems, rolled the car on to a transporter and made their getaway. They also blocked the satellite navigation and tracking systems.

Not a good advertisement for DaimlerChrysler. But maybe they could put a good spin on it. "Our security systems are so good, it takes a professional to steal a Mercedes."

More information is available from the Times Online

November 22, 2004
A Cowboy in Chile
Over the weekend, President Bush was in Chile to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. The Chilean police were not happy with their agreement to allow Bush's secret service to accompany Bush and had made secret plans to modify the agreement without the knowledge of President Bush and the secret service. Their mistake.

November 19, 2004
Government Efficiency
Today I was exposed to two completely different stories that had one thing in common. Neither helped my confidence in human government. Californians waste money by freezing stolen shopping carts instead of returning them to their rightful owners. Those in Massachusetts allowed a woman to get away with murder because no one asked simple questions. If someone I knew said their spouse had been killed in another state, I'd certainly ask where the funeral was just to be polite. Maybe I'm being a bit rough on the police and the neighbors, but I would have thought someone would have investigated a missing person or checked the woman's story. Her lie would have quickly been exposed by any investigation whatsoever.

November 17, 2004
Exit Poll Comments, Part II: Non-Representative Samples
One of the problems in discussing the exit polls is that there are so many mistakes being published all over the media and the blogosphere. I started discussing this topic last week and you should read that post before finishing this one. The point to keep in mind is that the exit polls overrepresented Kerry voters. In other words, it is very likely that more Democrats than Republicans were polled.

This is very important, yet I have not seen anyone comment on the implications of an overrepresentation of Democrats. I have seen some people dismiss the finding that moral issues were the most important issue for a plurality of voters (22%), of whom 80% voted for Bush, simply because if the exit polls were wrong about Kerry winning, they cannot be trusted at all. However, there is no reason to assume people lied in these polls as there is no motive in doing so. Therefore let us postulate two assumptions. First, Democrats were overrepresented in the exit polls. Second, people were honest in their answers. I believe both assumptions are reasonable and supported by the available evidence. What does this mean?

November 16, 2004
Leonids Tonight
If you are up after midnight (or want to set your alarm), you may be able to see part of the Leonid Meteor Shower.
And because the Leonids are moving along in their orbit around the Sun in a direction opposite to that of Earth, they slam into our atmosphere nearly head-on, resulting in the fastest meteor velocities possible: 45 miles per second (72 kilometers per second). Such speeds tend to produce bright meteors, which leave long-lasting streaks or trains in their wake.
For most of us, the weather looks good. During prime viewing hours (1:00 AM to 4:00 AM), astronomers are forecasting about a dozen meteors per hour.

November 12, 2004
Exit Poll Comments, Part I
As my regular readers know, my background is in marketing and I have some expertise in both creating and reading polls. Given the events of November 2, where the Democrats thought they were going to win based on exit polls and then were shocked when the actual results came in, I thought it useful to clarify a few things. I was motivated to write this post when I see people claiming the polls were right and Kerry was robbed. I have seen some bloggers, whom I will not embarrass with a link, dismiss the importance of the moral values response because they came from the "flawed" exit polls. These people are missing both the forest and the trees.

November 11, 2004
Free Real-Time Space Simulation
I have had a review of Celestia on my desk for weeks, if not months, and have yet to make time to download it and try it out. So, I am going to post about it before I test it. A online version of the review is available. If any of my readers want to go ahead and try it out (or have already done so), I would welcome any feedback. And even if no one tries it out, at least my desk is a bit neater...

Help Improve Google News
I have been using Google as a news source since about the time it came out. It is still a Beta release, but it works very well. They are a news aggregator, their computer algorithms sort through many news sources and constantly update their links to new information. However, lately it takes me more time to find sources for my news. I have a plan to fix this.

November 10, 2004
Happy 229th Birthday and Thanks

The Commandant of the Marine Corps' 2004 Birthday Message

Two hundred and twenty-nine years ago, the Second Continental Congress established a Corps of Marines to fight for a democratic people's independence. Since then countless Marines have raised their hand and sworn to defend our Nation's freedoms and preserve its liberties. This year's anniversary again finds Marines engaged throughout the globe for the same noble purposes. The bravery, heroism and selflessness of all Marines—wherever they are serving—have added significantly to our rich legacy and measured up to the high standards that have come to epitomize all who wear the eagle, globe and anchor.

French "Respect" Their Allies
The British have several holidays honoring their brave soliders that gave their lives for UK and its allies. One such holiday is coming up this Sunday. Remembrance Sunday was started after the first World War ended.

In The Battle of Loos many British soldiers lost their lives fighting alongside the French against the Germans. How do the French show their respect for British sacrifice on their behalf?

A BATTLEFIELD where soldiers from Norfolk died in one of the bloodiest episodes of the First World War is being turned into a rubbish dump.
Tip of the helm to Sir Dave, a friend of mine whose reserve unit has been activated and is currently in Europe.
This story may not be making headlines here, especially with France making headlines elsewhere, but the English are rightfully upset over this utter disrespect for their honorable dead.

November 09, 2004
USS Menagerie
Given the demands of life, I've taken an extended break from my wargaming, but I still keep up with some of the friends I made via this hobby. One of my old wargaming buddies has started writing science fiction that is loosely based on Star Trek.

His work to date is posted at his site. I just read his first story, the maiden voyage of the USS Menagerie, and enjoyed it. It is on par with many of the paperback novels that currently fill the science fiction aisles and you do not even need to pay for it.

November 08, 2004
It's the Condescension, Stupid

Why do the rest of us feel such revulsion towards the Liberal Elite? Towards the people who live in cities in the northeastern or far western US or Old Europe? Towards the people who read the Guardian, the Economist and the New York Times. The ones who now say they will move to Quebec or Novosibersk because they feel soiled living in a country where everyone doesn’t vote the same?

The Liberal Elite think our revulsion is because of their opinions. It isn’t. There are lots of people who hold weird opinions. Trotskyites for example. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Where you live, all the Communists are probably either Maoists, Classical Marxists or (if you live in Europe) Big Labor Communists. In Berkeley we still have all those and we have Trotskyites too. And then there is the Far Right: David Duke, M. le Pen et al.. And the back-to-nature Greens. And those annoying people who go door to door on Sunday afternoon with pamphlets about their religion.

These people all have opinions I think are incorrect, dangerous, looney, or d) all of the above. But, although I dislike their opinions I don’t loathe those people. Well, not all of them, anyhow.

What is repellant about the Liberal Elite is not their opinions, but their attitude towards anyone who doesn’t share all their views. Every single view down to the latest, politically correct term for Fiji Islanders who have migrated to the US via Madagascar.

I am really tired of these people telling me that because I don’t think and vote in lockstep with them I am must therefore be old, fat, dirty, stupid and live in a house trailer. That I must have married my sister, be ignorant, uneducated and need them as a moral keeper to make sure everything from my car’s mileage to my recycling habits meets their expectations.

If there is any group on this planet who shouldn’t go around telling others they are unethical and stupid it is the crowd who believes in forged documents from Dan Rather and Andrew Gilligan, think Nixon was president in 1968, believe Al Gore invented the internet and look to Ted Kennedy and Jacques Chirac as moral paragons.

I don’t loathe the Massachusetts Supreme Court for being in favor of same-sex marriage. I am in favor of same sex marriage. I loathe them for saying that the 75% of the voters who disagree with me have no rights. I loathe them for instructing the Massachusetts State Legislature to vote not according to the will of that 75% of the voters but according to the will of the Court Justices “because those Justices know better.”

Their contempt for everyone else is the repellant part.

Social Security "Reform"

It looks like Social Security reform will be a Big Item in the coming congress. So what do you all want?

Do you want a social safety net (ie only payments to the poor. That is cheap and affordable but most people - 90% say - get nothing) or some money for everyone (which costs more)?

Do you, personally, want more in benefits (and in payments) or less in benefits (and less in payments)?

If the benefits decrease, what will you do with the money? Save it, I presume, but how? How much do you save now?

If you post your opinion, please also tell us a) are you in the US or elsewhere (US Social Security is in general less generous than European government pensions) and your age.

Discussion between Pro-Choice Catholic and Pro-Life Protestant
The following is from one of my readers and is posted with her blessing. While I disagree with most of her assumptions, I appreciate the opportunity to present an alternative view along with my comments. I want to encourage people with differing views to participate at our roundtable, so I am posting her entire message before I discuss my disagreements with it.
My name is Dina and I found your site very interesting and informative. I read about your views on abortion and while I admire and respect your consideration for the lives of the unborn, but would like to suggest a different point of view if I may. Given I am 18 and female and live in California my views will be different than your own.

Homosexual Terrorist or Islamic Martyr?
Last night Lady Quixote asked me if I knew Arafat was gay. "What!" I exclaimed as this was news to me.

Good Fortune From Mars
Remember the curse of Mars? The jinx on most of the probes various countries have attempted to send to Mars. Russians, Europeans, Japanese, and Americans have all had problems, although NASA has had better success than most. Well, now one of NASA's sturdy probes, the Opportunity, has received some unexpected and unexplained assistance.

November 03, 2004
The Future of the Democratic Party
Dean Esmay has an interesting view on this.
The Democrats, as I see it, now face a crisis of conscience. They can angrily dig in, continue to embrace the Michael Moore/Joe Trippi wing of the party as their hope for the future, or they can realize that the center in American politics has shifted and they can begin the process of remaking themselves, pushing the more extreme elements to the side and finding ways to win back the votes of people they've done so much to alienate the last few years.
In the House, so long as Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi remains as Minority Leader, the Democrats will continue to be the Angry Left. However, the Democrats in the Senate have the advantage of having to pick a new leader. If they pick Harry Reid, the current Senate Minority Whip, they will signal that they at least want to appear more centrist and may even be a real step toward cooperation. If the Democrats pick Christopher Dodd, it will clearly signal that they will remain on their Leftist crusade.

More Political Predictions
Scott Ott has just revealed Kerry's Master Plan.

This raises an interesting question. Who will be the new Senate Minority Leader now that Obstructionist Daschle has been fired by his constituents? Any predictions? Reid or Dodd seem the obvious picks, but we shall see.

Presidential Election 2008

Well, now that the 2004 presidential election is history and Bill, Hillary and Terry McAuliffe have removed Kerry from the 2008 picture, it is time to start opinining on the 2008 election.

So, what do you think? Will the constitutional amendment pass quickly enough to let Arnie run? My opinion is that it will not pass within the next 4 years. But were it to pass, there is no one in either party that could defeat Schwarzenneger. The amendment will pass, but will it pass early enough to let Arnie run?

Once Rudy Giuliani beats Hillary (the results in 2008 being pretty much in the can for Rudy based on my early early pre-exit polling) Rudy will doubtless run for a second term. That takes us out to the 2016 election before Arnie has a chance to run.

How old will Arnie be in 2016? I think he is about 53 now. Is that right? in 12 years he is 65. How old was Reagan when he ran for the first time? Lesse . . . Died at 93 in 2004, is that right? ran in 1980, 93-24 = 69.

OK, here is my prediction: Arnie will win in 2016 and and be reelected in 2020.

But I am not going to make any firm predictions for the 2024 election yet.

I need more early pre-exit polling data first.

Greatest Presidential Victory Since 1988
Barring any last minute surprises, it appears that President George W. Bush has won the greatest political victory of any presidential nominee since 1988, where his father, George H.W. Bush also won the votes of the majority of Americans along with the majority of the electoral votes.

For all his charisma, Bill Clinton never managed this feat. While he won the important electoral votes necessary for election in both his campaigns, he only received a plurality of the popular vote. Neither Bush nor Gore won a majority of the popular vote in the 2000 election where Bush won enough electoral votes to be elected. America is a divided nation, and we may stay this way for a while, but we are more united today than we have been since the 1988 election.

November 02, 2004
Looking Mostly Good
Good news - Looks like Bush took Florida and that one of my least favorite politicians, Senator Daschle may lose to Thune in South Dakota, but this will not be settled for a while.

Bad news - Specter's seat is safe.

Ohio is leaning toward Bush - still too early to call - if Bush wins this one, Kerry has no hope.

So far, one trend. All states that voted for Gore in 2000 have voted for Kerry. Likewise, all states that voted for Bush in 2000 have voted for him again. I expect there will be one or two exceptions to this by morning, but the trend is clear. This has one very positive aspect - it means Americans paid little attention to bin Laden's pathetic attempt to scare us.

Well, calling it a night - more tomorrow.

Fox Follies & Live Election Thoughts
I'm watching the election results and one of the folks on Fox News called Arlen Specter the moderate senator from Pennsylvannia.

Specter is stereotypical northeastern liberal and moderate is not a word I would use in describing him. Frankly I hope he loses so long as the Republicans keep their majority. At least then the new senator will honestly be labeled as a Democrat.

I'm still optimistic that Bush will win the election tonight despite the discussions of some of the announcers (who don't appear to have any advance notice of the information that crosses the screen). Hopefully we'll know late tonight or early tomorrow morning. The lawyers will only be able to be a factor if the election comes down to a difference of 2% or less.

Small Town America - Voting Update
In our small town in "fly-over" country, there are less than 20,000 residents. According to the local election workers, at the last presidental election, there were just about 200 voters at our voting location (note: there are several locations in town, this was NOT just 200 voters per 20,000 residents).

Lady Quixote and I voted just before noon today. Approximately 300 people had already voted and the day was young. People are turning out in mass to vote this year, at least in our neck of the woods.

November 01, 2004
Pro-Life Voter Guides
I'm doing some last minute research on some of the smaller elections in my area. It is difficult to find quality information on some of these candidates. I have found this pro-life site helpful for some of the races, but I'm really having to search the internet for many small races.

Tomorrow shall be very interesting. I'm praying for a landslide so the lawyers will not get involved.

Bin Ladin "Only" Threatens Pro-Bush States
According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), terrorist leader Osama bin Laden is only threatening the Red States; that is any state that votes for George Bush. MEMRI, who entire existence is based upon their expertise in translating Farsi and Arabic into English, has release their translation of bin Laden's latest threat.
Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or Al-Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands, and any (US) state that does not belittle our security automatically guarantees its own security.
So bin Laden is specifically threatening states who support Bush. Of course, he failed to show this distinction in his previous attack on New York (which voted for Gore in 2000). However, it remains to be seen if this will work in favor of the terrorists (as their previous attacks on Spain are perceived to have been a terrorist victory) or if it will backfire in their face by motivating Americans to vote for Bush in defiance of the terrorist threat. We should know shortly.