Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Boys Club?

It seems that there's a debate going on about whether our President is a so-called "good old boy". Betcha never thought that would happen, but it has.

Obama's golf pals are all men. So are his basketball pals. I wasn't paying attention to how it all first got started, but NBC's Savanah Gregory asked him in an interview if he thought he shouldn't be playing with a co-ed group (paraphrasing heavily here). To wit, he replied that idea was quote-unquote Bunk.

Well, many talking heads weighed in and people are generally all over the place on it but a slight majority so far have agreed that it is a faux-pas on his part. The idea is that women are once again being left out of the networking circle and out of the decision-making circle. The ladies of The View mostly thought so, except for Whoopie, who just thought it was silly. (Bunk, perhaps?)

Here's my take. I actually think that Whoopie made a good point when she noted that no other President has had to have a co-ed sporting cadre to prove he's a feminist. That is true. And, I really don't have an opinion on it one way or another. To me, it's kind of a non-issue, because I'm thinking that if Obama wants you in those circles, he'll call ya and you don't have to play golf to be wanted. Which is kind of the opposite of the way the Good Old Boys did it back in the day.

According to Fox Business anchor Cheryl Casone, who appeared to debate this on The Factor, all the financial deals are being done between Good Old Boys at the strip joint and the steakhouse. At least Obama isn't hanging out at those places.

Actually my apathy about this has a lot to do with my theory that Obama is hen-pecked. Maybe that's not quite the right word (down here in the South we say 'pussy-whipped'), but what I think is that Michelle wears the pants. Most definitely. And while I generally cheer on that kind of thing among the common folk like me, in my President it's not a comforting trait. In him or her.

But let's just assume that he is pecked or whipped. Now, wouldn't he want to just get away from all that occasionally and play with the boys? Just boys? I don't see that as unreasonable. After all, and let's keep assuming that Michelle calls all the shots she can, if there are women in the group, how's he gonna explain this to her? Remember a while back when that story came out that during the campaign women kept grabbing his ass? And that Michelle gave him the silent treatment? Lord knows what would have happened had he been asking for it! I thought giving him the silent treatment for being groped was a bit much. Our First Lady might be the Jealous Type. So, how does he escape all of that, especially since he's also saving the world and all that?

That's what I think. If he wants to get away from all the women who manage his life and his politics, then I'm not going to demand that he do that with more women. I think he's kind of a joke in the situation, but I don't think he's really being a "Good Old Boy". I don't even think he talks shop on his golf outings.

Friday, October 23, 2009

What I Read

The old adage says, you are what you eat. If that's true, then, because reading feeds your brain, you are what you read to a certain extent. At the least, I think it informs this blog's reader a bit as to my political mindset to know where I get some of my brain food on that subject.

So, I thought I'd blog tonight about what and who I read for political info on a daily or consistent basis. Let me just reiterate: I was a card-carrying Democrat my entire life until last year. I now call myself a moderate or centrist, not so much because I changed in my beliefs as much as my party left me, and I do mean LEFT me (literally).

The people I choose to read and the places I read from were not fed me by anyone's list or philosophical expectations. I've found my list by trial and error, meaning I have read a wide divurgence from left to right and quit reading where the intent seemed cubbyholed, stereotyped, too predictable or just plain boring and vapid. What remains isn't written by people ideologically identical to me; rather, be they left, right, middle or all over the place, they make me think and they win me over sometimes.

On any given day, my first trip is to USA Today. My reason: I've found they give the best snapshot of the pulse of America in general and overall. I peruse their top stories and move on.

Next, I usually check out my main Leftist literature: The Daily Beast. I like how they have created their summary pages, which are stories from the Big Box Lamestreamers (WaPo, NYTimes, Wall St Journal, LATimes) and I like reading Meghan McCain's blog which is published there, as well as occasional reads of other blogs. Reading the Beast enables me to avoid HuffPo and Daily Kos in order to get the Left-ish perspective.

Then, to get a bit of conservative with chutzpah, I surf to the NY Daily Post. I confess to a Page Six weakness, which is gossip, but I generally find their take on issues to be a good counterpoint to the Left without getting too far right.

The three sites above usually give me a broad view. My next stop is for a broad stroke of politics. For that, I first go to Drudge and read the headlines, then I go to Politico and surf around.

Then it is on to specific writers, columnists and essayists. Not all of these folks publish daily, but my list includes Charles Krauthammer, David Brooks, Camile Paglia, S.E. CuppMargaret Hoover, Peggy Noonan, and Craig Crawford.

When I have the time or need, I also check out the Times of London and the Daily Telegraph, The Weekly Standard, Michelle Malkin, and Breitbart .

Krauthammer's my go-to guy, my favorite of the columnists. I always enjoy Paglia and she doesn't write frequently enough for my taste. And I like the young women columnists Hoover (Herbert's granddaughter) and S.E. Cupp for their fresh perspectives.

Well, there you have it. No matter your beliefs, I encourage everyone to develop their own lists in order to stay informed and help develop where you stand on the issues that affect us all.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Repeat Play-ah

I'm sorry (not really, but it sounds good) for not having blogged here in 6 days, but every damn day I sit down to type and the beef's the same.

It's always something to rag on Obama for.

Now, he may totally deserve it, I usually think he does or I wouldn't feel the need, but that's not the point. Point is, I get so tired of it. How much longer again?

THREE YEARS!?!?!?!?!? WTF?

Oh, jeez, I'm either gonna have to lower my standards to where I like play-ahs and posers...or, I'm going to have to learn to like disliking them  and not worry about seeing America sink into economic ruin due to their policies.

I think either option is an extreme injustice, yet, such is life. Right now, I'm ticked off over a few things, but I'll just mention one now. President Thin-skinned would rather issue Executive Order # We-Don't-Need-No-Stinkin-Freedom-of -the-Press than just suck it up (criticism of him on Fox News). Don't ever believe this guy does not believe his own press. I really don't know any women that vain. Wow.

Let's see, why is he doing this? The excuse is that Fox is just one long conservative GOP talk show, and nothing could be futher from the truth. Anybody who is not a weenie knows the way to beat any negative press is to engage, engage, engage. Put in so many requests to appear on Fox that Dizzy wouldn't see Dean in front of him with his eyes open.

Why won't they just do that? Gosh! Oh, okay, because then they'd have to admit...well, they in fact did admit this yesterday...that it's just the 5pm and 9pm time slots that swing that way. Beck and Hannity. Still, they're not gonna get on there and engage.

Lazy whiners.

Oh, yeah, okay, we took a shot at destroying Freedom of the Press because we don't like being criticized because it's making sense and we're losing support. But it didn't work because it was a cheap shot, but oh well. NEXT campaign-mode dirty trick !

 You know what irks me more than anything? It so reminds me of two little brats in the back seat of the car hitting each other. And as the Mom, I have to referee, and all I hear is, "He hit me first!"..."No, he hit me first!"

And once again I find myself plaintively wailing, "Where are the grown-ups?"

Oh, that's right. We told them to go home last Nov. 8th.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I dunno I dunno I dunno

I really like Meghan McCain, even still after her latest misstep, but I still haveta chuckle about it because she completely stepped in it and frankly it stinks. It was a totally "Oh No U Di-in't" moment. First, she posted this photo on Twitter:

Now, I look at that and see very nice but frankly generic boob cleavage (like I can't see the same or worse after 15 minutes of watching tv or going to my local gas station or mall). I look a little longer and it hits me that maybe she is making a sarcastic statement about her cleavage and Warholian 15 minutes of fame? Or maybe I'm hot for Andy?

But, my reactions were obviously in the minority. Meghie's photo caused so much of a stir on the Nets that CNN's Jeannie Moos even had a go at it and her and Miley, to wit:

One thing I wanted to add was that I say you go, Meghie and Miley. Both of ya. I personally liked Miley's rap message, paraphrased, that she was tweeting about pimples, living her life for people and not moments. This is pretty much why I've so far avoid Twitter like the plague and closed my Facebook account. Heck, I have enough trouble being bossed around by blogging! It's reassuring to know that others find this troubling as well.


In other weird news, this whole Ban Rush from NFL football ownership kinda just drips with hypocracy, if you ask me. And I'm far from alone here. The double (triple? quad? quint? hex?) standards prompted one witty commenter to poetize:

The NFL and the media doesn't mind--
people who rape or sexual assault women
people who torture and muder dogs
people who are drug dealers
people who are pimps
people who beat their wives
people who commit dui manslaughter
people who owe millions in child support
Yet Rush Limbaugh is just sooooooo horrible.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Climate Change Contrarian, Part 2

The late Michael Crichton's 2005 speech "The Case For Skepticism on Global Warming" to the National Press Club in Washington D.C. (see my 10/14 blog entry) is closely aligned to everything I believe on the topic of global warming and the way the activists approach solving it. Specifically, Crichton says:

~ the summary of this speech is as follows:   Michael's detailed explanation of why he criticizes global warming scenarios. Using published UN data, he reviews why claims for catastrophic warming arouse doubt; why reducing CO2 is vastly more difficult than we are being told; and why we are morally unjustified to spend vast sums on this speculative issue when around the world people are dying of starvation and disease.

~ he admired the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and he is so correct. You should read the entire entry on Moynihan here. Moynihan was so prescient. Among his firsts was promoting both the concepts and dangers of acid rain and the greenhouse effect while in Nixon's cabinet. He also identified the dumbing down of the American public school student (remember "Why Johnny Can't Read?") and also that the Welfare system encouraged single-parent households. That Crichton calls him a hero and approaches his intellectual logic towards public policy as Moynihan would should tell you that Crichton is someone to be listened to intently.

~ he was deeply committed to the environment, considering it our shared life support, but he recognized as I have that our scientists are basing their findings on speculation. In other words, they have left the Scientific Method behind once they continue on to speculation of their findings and then regard them as conclusions. I myself became aware more and more at least a decade ago that statistical analysis and the rigor of statistical testing was being abandoned in polls. This made me very nervous, because science is nothing without these principles and processes. Crichton said that adding the additional subjectiveness of politics has corrupted much of these findings. Were he alive today, I've no doubt he'd be doing 2 things: speaking out boldly about it, and writing a new bestseller about it. He'd do both to alert us and hopefully educate us.

~ I love it that he brought up how everyone in the 1970's just KNEW another Ice Age was upon us...like in the next 10-20 years. Seriously, scientists everywhere were alarming us all, we had to DO something. Well, it's been almost 40 years now and where is the Ice Age? Crichton's point: in 2030, people are gonna be asking, well, where's the Heat?

~ In his speech, he lays out several examples of where so-called scientific results have been skewered by speculation by the scientists or, worse, by journalists writing about the science. It boils down to applying logic, stepping back and looking at the big picture by people who know about the subject. This is coincidentally the main arguments of the many scientists you and I never seem to hear from who think we are overdoing the warming threat.

~ he alludes to several ideas that people seem to be forgetting, like can we now do what's necessary to impact life 100 years from now? His example of Teddy Roosevelt in 1900 not being able to speculate in detail a solution to today's problems is right-on. This means therefore that WE do not have the right tools right now to impact stuff we don't even know will exist 100 years from now, much less 400 years from now (the global warming damage is a 400-year trend).

I've posted here before about, that even if the science was conclusive beyond doubt that the warming was here, was doing damage and would be even worse than Al Gore wants you to believe, who has proved that we can actually reverse it or even materially affect it? We are just urged to DO things, and those things are remarkably close to a political agenda. Hmmm.... This is what Crichton meant by complexity theory in nature, and the problem with applying a linear-based solution to climate when it follows a nonlinear complex function.

~ Crichton also made a wonderful point about, if we don't let the drug companies government-test the drugs they invent in order to pass FDA approval, then why are we letting the very scientists who came up with the current global warming scenarios and speculative solutions test them for scientific rigor? Are you willing to start letting Bayer tests its own drugs? I didn't think so. Why are we just blindly believing all this?

~ I love his section on there being no balance in nature and the role of mankind in it. I watched a very good piece on The History Channel about Niagra Falls' geography and changing forms, and how it is speculated to change so drastically, all because of nature only. Nothing we did. We often lose our smarts believing that nature doesn't change, but nothing could be further from the truth. What if this is the natural way it's wanting to change by raising the temps almost a degree overall? And are we gonna try to change the sun's effect on us while we are at it? Because listen, the sun plays a huge role in all this and last time I checked, it was powerful enough to do its own thing and that thing changes. Yes, even the sun.

Most of what Crichton reminded his listeners in this speech was not very comforting. Remember how Jurassic Park wasn't very comforting either? Science -- pure D science -- doesn't comfort, or alarm, it only records and most of the time does not predict, especially when non-linear complexities must be dealt with. The original 1995 IPCC report conclusively said that no conclusions long term could be drawn. Then it was corrected by one scientist to make it more of a solutions-based report, even when those solutions had not been proven. And that brings us to today. Crichton died only a year ago, so he hasn't missed much so far. This is another reason I trust him. Still another, I think like he did. I'm famous for "Wait, not so fast" or "Let me ask a dumb question" that sometimes turns out to be the disproving point. Something inside my brain sees inaccuracies in logic every day.

Crichton referenced Mark Twain, who said " Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." This is great advice when dealing with any issue, but especially good advice for scientists. I wish more of them thought like Crichton did.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Climate Change Contrarian

Thursday, October 15th is Blog Action Day and this year's theme is Climate Change. I plan to take part in that, but I will be blogging to remain skeptical about our ability to contain CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases in material enough ways as to offset climate change effects. I'll be taking that viewpoint, as the other 99% of participants will be posting to believe and take action. This is why I'll be the Climate Change Contrarian.

I thought I would post a few pre-event pieces and thereby avoid one humongous blog entry. I'll start by explaining basically where I stand after doing a lot of reading and a fair amount of research on it. I've also previously stated that what has happened in our atmosphere and what is being reported about our current atmospheric conditions is absolutely true. Where I differ is in the logic of the predictions of what it all means. And, when I compare what I believe with others who have written about it, I find that my beliefs are very closely aligned with those of the late scientist and author Michael Crichton.

You may be saying, wait. You mean the guy who wrote ER, The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park? Yes, that'd be him.

If you think Crichton was just a writer, you need some edumacation. Checking out his official website would be helpful. While you are there, be sure to read his biography. You will see he was a medical doctor and additionally, had expertise in public policy of medicine, computer modeling, anthropology and human endocrine and immune systems. He understood thoroughly how to assess good research and he knew the perils of predictions based on statistics interpreted by political idealogues.

Also on his website are copies of his various white papers and speeches. One in particular is germaine to our conversation here. I highly recommend it to everyone, especially those of you who fervently believe we must act drastically and comprehensively to save the planet from greenhouse gases, and we should have started yesterday. I grew up being taught that to really know your subject you must know the opposition's best argument, so here it is:

The Case For Skepticism on Global Warning

Read it and come back for a discussion on Thursday...

Monday, October 12, 2009


Lots of stuff happening this past week...

First, the Nobel Peace Prize. It was over the top and I can't complain because it was a great chuckle. They are within the rules for awarding it to Obama, and he didn't ask for it that we know of. I'd be really harsh expecting him to give it back. He totally does not deserve it, but geez, what else is new. Seriously?

Second, I have finally made some progress in what I can stomach viewing on MSNBC. I now watch Morning Joe, Dylan Rattigan and Doctor Nancy, and then it is noon. Andrea Mitchell is on next and she makes me ill, so that's when I turn it to Fox FNC.  Martha and Chase, Shep, Neil Cavuto and then Beck. That's my new weekday background noise on the TV.

David Letterman's scandal: I think he should be fired for it, but knowing him, he probably has a contract clause exempting him from enforced good behavior. Criminal charges like were attempted against Clinton? If the shoe fits, but as he and Katie Couric are generally credited with carrying water for Obama during the election (remember their one-two punch hit on McCain?), so they both get light treatment.

I know he's a very bad boy, but Rush Limbaugh's comment about Obama's Nobel - "the  Ego has landed" - was too dang funny. Just sayin... and bad boys are bad, and bad. Roman Polanski bad? No, not that bad.

This whole Leftist defense of Polanski is another over-the-top oddity. Loved Mark Steyn's reply to when Whoopie said it's not rape-rape. Steyn said, no Whoopie, it isn't rape-rape. It's rape-rape-rape-rape. Priceless. Even Bill Mahr actually sense in his firm rejection of apology for Polanski.

I watched the most fascinating debate this past week between Sean Hannity and Michael Moore on Hannity. First off, Moore was utterly charming at best, disarming at worse. I was almost shocked, and wondered why...have I been led to believe worse of him all these years? Because either that is true, or he has the talented ability to morph into different temperments and personalities. I saw tremendous campassion about many different topics, but one issue still puzzles me. Hannity continually hammered him about his millionaire status whilst defaming capitalism in his new movie. And every time he flumbled a response into a nonresponse. He had nothing. It's a very convincing argument for hypocracy. All in all though, great debate.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Song lyric prophesies...

I dare you to read these songs lyrics like you would a poem, and not feel like they were written about our national politics today:

Well I don't know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain't right,
I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I'm wondering how I'll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.

Yes I'm stuck in the middle with you,
And I'm wondering what it is I should do,
It's so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losing control, yeah, I'm all over the place,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Well you started out with nothing,
And you're proud that you're a self made man,
And your friends, they all come crawlin,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please.... Please.....

Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see that it makes no sense at all,
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor,
'Cause I don't think that I can take anymore
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Well you started out with nothing,
And you're proud that you're a self made man,
And your friends, they all come crawlin,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please.... Please.....

Well I don't know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain't right,
I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I'm wondering how I'll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you,

Yes I'm stuck in the middle with you,
Stuck in the middle with you.

~ music and lyrics by Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty aka Stealer's Wheel band, 1972.