Chas' Compilation

A compilation of information and links regarding assorted subjects: politics, religion, science, computers, health, movies, music... essentially whatever I'm reading about, working on or experiencing in life.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Will Turkey bring Islam into the 21st century?

For a long time, I had ambivalent feelings about Turkey. I felt the Bush administration was too soft on them, too cooperative, too accommodating. But as I have read more and more about Turkey, and come to understand more about the situation there, I've come to better understand our policies in dealing with them. Among Islamic countries, Turkey is a very special place. While there might be much to criticize, there is also a great deal to praise and admire. I've criticized them a lot in the past, but in this post, I can only praise them.

I have found the following article astounding in it's implications:

Turkey in radical revision of Islamic texts
Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam - and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.

The country's powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.

The Hadith is a collection of thousands of sayings reputed to come from the Prophet Muhammad.

As such, it is the principal guide for Muslims in interpreting the Koran and the source of the vast majority of Islamic law, or Sharia.

"This is kind of akin to the Christian Reformation. Not exactly the same, but... it's changing the theological foundations of [the] religion"
           Fadi Hakura, Turkey expert, Chatham House

But the Turkish state has come to see the Hadith as having an often negative influence on a society it is in a hurry to modernise, and believes it responsible for obscuring the original values of Islam.

It says that a significant number of the sayings were never uttered by Muhammad, and even some that were need now to be reinterpreted.

'Reformation'

Commentators say the very theology of Islam is being reinterpreted in order to effect a radical renewal of the religion. [...]

They are talking here about a very logical, educated, calm and rational look at the Hadiths, in context of all the history they were written in, and reinterpreting them for a modern world. This is practically unheard of in the Muslim world.

And in case you think this is just posturing on the part of the Turkish government, I would say look closer. Look at not just what they say, but what they are doing:

[...] As part of its aggressive programme of renewal, Turkey has given theological training to 450 women, and appointed them as senior imams called "vaizes".

They have been given the task of explaining the original spirit of Islam to remote communities in Turkey's vast interior.

One of the women, Hulya Koc, looked out over a sea of headscarves at a town meeting in central Turkey and told the women of the equality, justice and human rights guaranteed by an accurate interpretation of the Koran - one guided and confirmed by the revised Hadith.

She says that, at the moment, Islam is being widely used to justify the violent suppression of women.

"There are honour killings," she explains.

"We hear that some women are being killed when they marry the wrong person or run away with someone they love.

"There's also violence against women within families, including sexual harassment by uncles and others. This does not exist in Islam... we have to explain that to them."

'New Islam'

According to Fadi Hakura, an expert on Turkey from Chatham House in London, Turkey is doing nothing less than recreating Islam - changing it from a religion whose rules must be obeyed, to one designed to serve the needs of people in a modern secular democracy.

He says that to achieve it, the state is fashioning a new Islam.

[...]

Significantly, the "Ankara School" of theologians working on the new Hadith have been using Western critical techniques and philosophy.

They have also taken an even bolder step - rejecting a long-established rule of Muslim scholars that later (and often more conservative) texts override earlier ones.

"You have to see them as a whole," says Fadi Hakura.

"You can't say, for example, that the verses of violence override the verses of peace. This is used a lot in the Middle East, this kind of ideology.

"I cannot impress enough how fundamental [this change] is."

(bold emphasis mine) They aren't just talking the talk, they're walking the walk! They are taking this out to the people, even in rural areas. Reinterpreted Islam may still seem like a strict religion to people in the West, but it's not near as harsh as Islam as practiced in places like Saudi Arabia or Iran.

I'd love to go through the whole article point by point, just to emphasize what a big deal this really is, to emphasize the "how" and "why" of it, but then I'd have to republish the whole thing here, so instead I would just urge you to read the whole thing. It's not very long, but it is very important. It's an answer to one of my most fervent prayers!

I know that this does not solve all problems, but I also know we are not at war with the whole of Islam. We NEED friends in the Islamic world, and in Turkey we may have friends well worth supporting.

Here is a link to a page that has this and all my other posts about Turkey:

Compilation of posts about Turkey and Turkishness
     

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Cindy Sheehan defends the Muslim Brotherhood

She recently did an interview for Al Jazeera, while she was in Cairo:


Interview: Cindy Sheehan

She is in Egypt to protest the trial of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who she sees as "the moderate voice" for democracy. Yeah, that's what they're all about... NOT! They are the root cause of Muslim sponsored terrorism today:

The Nazi roots of the Muslim Brotherhood

The stupid bitch. Just when you think she couldn't be any more pathetic, she proves you wrong. Count on her to always support the worse of two evils.
     

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Obama & Democrats want American weakness

From Tammy Bruce:

Barack Hussein Obama--Believe Him
Do yourself a favor and believe every word he says. When I say this man is the most dangerous candidate for president we may have ever seen, I mean it. The disarmament agenda he spews in this video is classic George Soros theory aimed at knocking America into a second-world country, putting us at grave risk to tyrannical regimes around the world. It is craven self-loathing, aimed at ending the future of our country, capitalism and liberty. And imagine, Obama says these things with the world at war and as genocidal regimes continue to build their bombs despite 'promising' not to do so, or being 'banned' from doing so.



I believe him. The Democrats on the whole want to weaken America, and especially our military. They so no external dangers, they see US as the danger.

Since Jimmy Carter, the Democrats have weakened our military and our foreign policy. Bill Clinton not only failed to act against terrorists, he also believed America should "absorb" a nuclear first strike, before launching a retaliation strike. If we sustained a strike before launching a counter-strike, we would have nothing to retaliate with. By promising to not retaliate, we would actually be inviting a first strike. Duh. But you can't tell that to the Democrats, because they believe WE are the problem.




I must say, I prefer to support someone who is actually paying attention to events in the world:



Someone who believes in America and that it is actually worth protecting, not weakening.

McCain Mocks Obama
"Where is the audacity of hope when it comes to backing the success of our troops all the way to victory in Iraq? What we heard last night was the timidity of despair. Our allies deserve better, our soldiers deserve better, and so do the American people."
     

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley, Thank You...


William Buckley follows his wife Pat less than a year after her passing.

William Buckley dead at 82

William F. Buckley, R.I.P.

Buckley's magazine National Review was the first political publication that I really appreciated. It offered intelligent and rational analysis, debate and opinion. It broadened my horizons and increased my understanding of so many issues. It was and is a refuge from the stupidity of political correctness and the irrationality of emotional "thinking".

The following in John McCain's tribute at NRO's The Corner
Bill Was a Great American [John McCain]

I am very profoundly saddened to hear of the passing of William F. Buckley Jr. and offer my deepest condolences to the Buckley family. Bill had many friends, including my parents, who he even took time to visit when they were stationed at the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii. My father and mother very much admired him and so did their son. With Bill’s passing, freedom has lost one of its greatest defenders. Bill was a great American who helped change the course of history. When conservatism was a lonely cause, he bravely raised the standard of liberty and led the charge to renew the principles and values that are the foundation of our great country. A man of tremendous vision and big ideas, he founded the National Review in 1955 and through its pages and his other endeavors, as a lecturer, commentator, debater and author of dozens of books, inspired many and advanced an intellectual rigor that transformed American politics. Bill was an American giant who shall be missed.

02/27 03:52 PM
I think there are many of us who feel we owe this man great thanks for not only what he did, but what he left behind for us. Thank you Mr. Buckley, you'll be missed indeed.


Related Link: Buckley supported McCain
     

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

John McCain and the Daily Gallup: 02-25-08

McCain's support continues a slow but steady rise. The NYT's lame hit piece on McCain seems to have had no significant effect.


Gallup Daily: Tracking Election 2008
Based on polling conducted Feb. 23-25, 2008

[...] John McCain's support as the GOP nominee among Republican voters continues to be roughly triple that of his closest challenger, Mike Huckabee. The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking figures show McCain to be the choice of 64% of Republicans and Huckabee the preferred nominee of 20%. That level of Huckabee support matches his lowest since Mitt Romney exited the race. Huckabee's support rose as high as 29% after Romney suspended his campaign. -- Jeff Jones

You can follow the above link for a current graph and data on the Democrat race as well.


Related Link:

Democrats, Republicans: Obama Likely to Win Nomination
     

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"People Putty" Demo

Does anyone remember the image manipulation program called Kai's SuperGoo? It specialized in creating faces with composite parts, and also distortion and manipulation.

Now there is a new product (from a different company) that does something similar, only instead of manipulating still photos, you can create and manipulate 3 dimensional talking images. They have an online Demo that's easy to play with:

Haptek Player Gen 4

It's really weird... but also fun!
     

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Video Camcorders: Cheap or Pricey? A comparison of the Canon ZR800 and HV20

I want to buy a digital video camcorder, and I've narrowed it down to two. But I can't decide whether to go cheap or expensive. The cheap model is $154.95:

Canon ZR800 MiniDV Camcorder with 35x Optical Zoom
Manufacturer Description
Canon MiniDV digital camcorders offer the perfect blend of performance and features. With the flexibility and versatility of MiniDV, you will enjoy a wide variety of advanced, yet easy-to-use features in compact and lightweight style. Canon camcorders are perfect for capturing all of your life's most precious moments, for beginners and advanced users alike, and make it easy to share your video with family and friends.

ZR800 Highlights

Genuine Canon optics with 35x optical zoom/1000x digital zoom Genuine Canon optics ensures that video and photos are clear and rich with color and detail. Canon’s expertise in designing lenses for photography and broadcast television goes into every camcorder we make.

Image stabilizer Shoot rock-steady video -- even when you’re at maximum telephoto without a tripod. It is even effective while panning or zooming.

DIGIC DV image processor Video and photos require different image processing. Unlike other manufacturers’ camcorders which process video and photos the same way, DIGIC DV treats them differently. This results in video and photos with exceptional color and clarity.

2.7-inch widescreen LCD A widescreen LCD and the new .35-inch widescreen color viewfinder allows you to see exactly what your camcorder is recording, and what your TV will display later.

Widescreen HR recording The ZR800 records true widescreen for picture-perfect video. Canon’s image processing system uses the entire width of the image sensor, capturing a big picture in true 16:9 widescreen so no one and nothing is left unseen. And Canon camcorders take advantage of more pixels to give you amazing quality.

Joystick The joystick makes using the camcorder easier than ever. Extra buttons have been eliminated, allowing you to control playback, focusing, exposure, and menu options from one convenient place.

Smooth zoom control Want to shoot like the pros? Three fixed speeds allow you to produce smooth video that will be enjoyable for everyone to watch.

Built-in manual lens cover A built-in manual lens cover gives you the ability to protect your Canon video lens without ever having the inconvenience of a dangling lens cap that’s easily lost.

Level shot control Even if you are a first-time camcorder user, you’ll never have to worry about shooting crooked video. A horizontal marker and center indicator always keeps you on track.

Grid display Achieve picture perfect composition every time when using the convenient Grid Marker feature. You can choose between two colors, white or gray, to best match the background.

Product Description
680,000-pixel CCD (450K effective) * variable-speed 35X optical zoom lens (digital zoom to 1000X) * advanced DIGIC DV image processor * 2-11/16" widescreen LCD * 16:9 widescreen video mode *

It also has a jack for an external mike, something unheard of in a low-end camcorder.

Here is a sample of it's video footage:


Around my home from Eugenia Loli-Queru on Vimeo.

It's very nice. Good quality. Similar to the kind of footage my old analog VHS video camera used to do. Probably even a bit better. And it has a wide screen mode too, which the old camcorder never had.


Who could ask for anything more? Well, if I were to ask, I might want this more expensive model for $738.00:


Canon HV20 3MP High Definition MiniDV Camcorder with 10x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom
Manufacturer Description
To tech-savvy, sophisticated, and discerning videographers who demand a premium quality camcorder, the Canon's HV20 enables the ultimate in HD video and still photo quality. The HV20 offers an unparalled combination of a 10x optical zoom, a 2.96-megapixel CMOS sensor, and a stylish design. With HD and SD recording modes, you can make the move to HD while retaining compatibility standard-definition equipment. Capturing meticulous detail and superior color reproduction, the HV20 raises the bar for HD resolution quality.

HV20 Highlights

HDV format The HV20 records true 1080 high-definition resolution video, and is capable of recording and playing back HD images using MiniDV cassette tapes.

Canon True HD CMOS sensor The HV20 features a Canon-manufactured CMOS sensor. Similar to its use in Canon's EOS-series digital SLR cameras, CMOS reproduces high-resolution images with true HD information in movies. Canon's CMOS sensor acquires image information at 1920 x 1080. Canon's HD CMOS Sensor also features on-chip noise-reduction technology. The low noise technology feature means that even in dimly-lit scenes, the signals from each pixel are as pure as possible, with minimal "noise" or other aberrations.

RGB Primary Color Filter Whether you're shooting video or photos, you will appreciate the HV20's stunning, high-definition image production. For rich, accurate color, the HV20 uses an RGB Primary Color Filter. It separates light into red, green, and blue color components, resulting in vibrant images with natural-looking tones similar to what you'd obtain from 3CCD camcorders.

Genuine Canon 10x high-definition video lens The HV20 comes equipped with a Genuine Canon 10x HD video lens. An aspherical lens is used to help achieve low aberration and high resolution. The HV20 lens also features super-spectra coating technology, which lowers flare and ghosting. A new gradation ND system is used for better exposure in bright shooting situations. The lens design creates true HD image quality.

DIGIC DV II image processor DIGIC DV II is Canon's exclusive DIGIC DV signal processing technology designed specifically for HD. Even though video and still images have different color requirements, DIGIC DV II HD digital signal processing ensures optimal image quality for both HD video and still images. Thanks to DIGIC DV II image processing, the HV20 produces video with improved color reproduction -- especially in skin tones, and dark and light scenes. It also uses a hybrid noise reduction system that employs two types of noise reduction, for images that are crystal clear.

Super-Range Optical Image Stabilizer The HV20 features Super-Range Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). Utilizing a hybrid detection method (combining vector and gyro detection method), it corrects camera shake instantly for steady shots -- even when they're handheld at long focal lengths, or taken with the camera in motion. And unlike electronic stablization, which can cause a loss in image quality, the optical system corrects the shake while preserving the quality. It is even effective while taking photos.

24p Cinema Mode 24p Cinema Mode is a feature demanded by professional filmmakers and previously only available on pro-level camcorders. 24p Cinema Mode enables all aspiring moviemakers a professional "film look." This mode is actually two different features, which can be used independantly or together, depending on the user's preferences:

* The frame rate changed to 24p -- the same frame rate as movie film
* The HV20 changes the color and tonal characteristics to make you feel like you are watching a movie in the theatre.

Instant AF (Auto Focus) Instant AF is Canon's new and advanced autofocus system. Using a Hybrid Control system that combines an external sensor and a TVAF, Instant AF makes it easier to focus on previously difficult subjects. It dramatically decreases the time it takes to achieve proper focus and increases accuracy, especially in low-light and high-brightness situations.

HDMI terminal The HDMI terminal transports high-definition video signals (with audio in one cable) to your HD television.

Built-in electronic lens cover A built-in electronic lens cover automatically opens when the camcorder is turned on and closes when turned off. There is no dangling lens cover to lose.

Advanced accessory shoe terminal The advanced accessory shoe allows the use of additional accessories such as a video light and directional microphone.

Simultaneous photo shooting While shooting an HDV movie, you can simultaneously capture a 2-megapixel photo to a memory card by simply pressing the photo button. It's perfect for any time you don't want to miss a moment.

Histogram display Commonly used in Canon's line of digital SLR cameras, the HV20 features a histogram display. With just one push of a button, the brightness information of a still image is revealed. This allows you to monitor image quality so you can make adjustments for the next shot.

Program AE mode The HV20 gives you settings that automatically result in the best exposure settings for different conditions. Secen modes include: Portrait, Sports, Night, Snow, Beach, Sunset, Spotlight, and Fireworks. Each adjusts your camcorder's settings to compensate for different lighting conditions and different subjects.

9-Point Ai-AF mode Auto Intelligent Auto Focus ensures sharp images and creative flexibility. Even when your subject isn't in the center of the frame, the HV20's Ai-AF function will automatically select from 9 metering frames on the screen to help bring images into sharp focus.

Built-in flash Capture superb images in low light and indoor photography settings.

Built-in Ultra Video light Increase your low-light capabilities even further by shooting with the HV20. Featuring an Ultra Video light, the HV20 enables you to shoot subjects in color in low-light at distances up to 4.9 feet away.

Mic/headphone terminal The HV20 features a microphone terminal for attaching an external microphone. The audio/video terminal doubles as a headphone terminal for monitoring sound while recording. The HV20 also offers manual audio level adjustment, giving the user precise control.

Focus Assist function When shooting high definition, a properly focused subject is more critical than ever. With one push of the Focus Assist button (during manual focus setting), video zoom and peaking (for emphasizing image contours) are displayed. Not to worry, this is automatically cancelled when recording starts.

Level and grid markers It's easy to keep your D120 level for more professional-looking video. Simply press the Level Shot Control button, and a horizontal marker appears in your viewfinder. Line up any horizontal lines in your shot to the marker and you know your camcorder is level. Also, the grid marker is very convenient for setting up the special balance in your shots. Since background colors vary, you can select from two line colors to make the lines easily visible.

Variable zoom speed control with 5 presets With this innovative feature, you can always be sure of smooth, steady, professional-looking zoom shots. Simply select one of five pre-set zoom speeds.

3.1-megapixel photos Capture stunning 3.1-megapixel photos in 4:3 aspect ratio to a miniSD card, or 2-megapixel photos in 16:9 aspect ratio.

Capture 2-megapixel still images from tape While playing the recorded movie, you can capture 2-megapixel still images onto a miniSD card, simply by pressing the Photo button. If you prefer, you can even capture 2-megapixel photos while recording HD video to tape.

2.7-inch widescreen LCD and widescreen color viewfinder A widescreen LCD and widescreen viewfinder lets you see exactly what your camcorder is recording, and what your TV will display later.

Print/Share button For fast, easy, one-touch printing of your photos at home, simply press the camcorder's Print & Share button. The button can also be used for one-touch downloading of your images to a computer.


Product Description
You've heard of HDTV and expect to get one if you haven't already. Here's a camcorder that lets you record your own HDTV-compatible images. The stylish Canon HV20 gives you the ultimate in HD video and digital photo quality with advanced features. Its 10x optical zoom lens, 2.96 Megapixel CMOS image sensor and Canon's advanced DIGIC DVII image processor ensures meticulous detail and superior color reproduction. 24p Cinema Mode brings Film-Look options to the HV20 owner. And, with its HD and Standard Definition recording modes, you can make the move to HD without making your SD equipment obsolete. The HV20 is easy to use and delivers the high level of performance you've come to expect from Canon.

Focal Length - f=6.1-61mm Zoom Speed - Variable/3 Fixed Zoom Speeds Max. F/Stop - f/1.8-3.0mm Filter Size - 43mm 2.7-inch Widescreen LCD Screen (Approx. 211,000 pixels) and color viewfinder High Definition miniDV (recommended) (63 minutes) or miniDV Cassette Recording Media Microphone Terminal - 3.5 mm Stereo Mini Jack HDMI USB 2.0 Full Speed Terminal for fast transfer of photos Analog-Digital Converter lets you share the precious video memories you have stored on analog videotapes

Advanced Accessory Shoe Terminal - Attach extras such as a video light or directional microphone without additional wires or batteries to raise the production value of the video you shoot

Dimensions - Width 3.5 x Height 3.2 x Depth 5.4 inch Weight - 1.2 pounds without lens and battery pack

Canon 1 Year Parts And Labor Limited Warranty

It's a camcorder that offers much more than your average consumer video camera. People who've bought it mostly give it high marks, and rave about the high quality video output when seen on an HDTV.

Here's a sample of it's video footage:


Foster City from Eugenia Loli-Queru on Vimeo.

I think it's quite easy to say that the more expensive HV80 is the better camcorder. It was even selected as "Camcorder of the Year" for 2007 at the camcorder.com website. So the choice has to be made based on how much fancy camera features I want or need right now, and how much do I want to spend.

I actually NEED a Digital Video tape camera soon, because I want to convert a bunch of old 8mm and Super 8mm films to Digital Video (MiniDV), so I can use those masters to copy the footage to my computer's HD, edit it and burn copies to DVDs.

The company I want to use to do the conversion copies the films onto MiniDV master tapes, which I can make high quality copies from. For THAT purpose, I think the cheaper camera would do just fine.

The more expensive camera offers a lot of attractive features and extra options; it has long term advantages. Wide-screen High Definition video is the future, and it does it, AND it does standard Digital Video too, in standard size screen or wide screen.

I don't have a wide screen High Definition TV... yet. I expect I will one day, they keep getting cheaper all the time. So the more expensive camera could be more useful in the long run. Yet all this technology is changing so fast. If I get the cheap camera now, and buy a fancier one later, $800 dollars in the future will probably buy me an even better camera.

And I have to say, $800 cameras make me kind of nervous. When I was a teenager, I worked hard and saved up my money, and bought a really nice Chinon Super 8mm mover camera for $800. I loved that camera. I took to to college with me... and it was STOLEN.

If a cheap camera gets stolen, or gets sand in it at the beach or you drop it or have an accident with it, you say oh darn and you replace it. If you loose or break a really costly camera, well... OUCH! that REALLY hurts! You typically don't just rush out and buy a new one; replacing it is a purchase you will have to plan for. So at this point, I'm probably leaning towards the cheaper camcorder. The other may have to stay on my wish list for a while yet.

Anyone facing a similar decision might want to read this article by Eugenia Loli-Queru:

Advice on camcorder purchase
[...] Having researched the market, I think I can offer some useful advice regarding where the camcorder market is going and hopefully save you a few bucks.

The idea is this: if you already have an old camcorder, hold on to it. If you just want “a” camcorder, get the lowest-end DV Canon one, which is usually selling at around $230. If you want to buy an HD camcorder wait 2-3 more years. The reason I am suggesting this is because the HD camcorder landscape is going to rapidly change in the next few years and so it’s wise to wait for this change to happen and then buy. We are currently living in a transitional stage.

The “tape”-based DV/HDV camcorders are going the way of the dodo. That much is a fact, no matter what the fanboys will tell you. The new standard is AVCHD and all major companies are going for it (including Canon which is keeping mum so far about it). It is a more convenient format for the user, as only SD or CF cards are needed instead of big, boring, last-century tapes. Additionally, because AVCHD uses USB 2.0, it will be the final strike against Firewire (main reason why Macs always come with firewire is video support). [...]

There's lots to consider. If I buy the cheaper ZR800, I can use the savings to have all my films tranfered to MiniDV. With camcorder technology in such a state of flux right now, I figure the longer I wait to buy the Camcorder of my Dreams, the Dreamier it might be by the time I get around to buying it.


Related Links:

The New School of Videographers

Canon HV20 HDV Camcorder Review

Death of a camcorder? Time to move on?
     

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Otters hold paws and wow the crowd



Two otters at the Vancouver Aquarium wow the crowd with cuteness as they float around holding hands (well, paws really). They separate briefly, then come to together and hold paws again. The video is one minute and forty seconds long.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Kosovo; opening the door for Aztlan?

By recognizing Kosovo as a new nation, are we setting a precedent that could come back to haunt us?

Why Belgium Loves Kosovo. And the Consequences for Southern California
[...] America, however, should fear other consequences, too. The Kosovo Albanians claimed Kosovo for two reasons: (a) because long, very long ago, before the province was Serbian, it used to be theirs and (b) because today they have become a majority in the province. America granted them their wish and forced Serbia out.

What if tomorrow Hispanics in California (or Texas) push for the independence of Southern California (or Southern Texas), arguing (a) that a long time ago, before these provinces became Anglo-American, they were Mexican and (b) that Hispanics have now become a majority there? Applying the Kosovo logic of Bill Clinton and George Bush, Washington should then be forced out of Southern California by an international army of European, Russian and Chinese troops who would establish an independent “nation” there. All this would be done in violation of the international rule that international borders can only be changed with the agreement of all parties. This is how Washington is treating Serbia today. If one day Washington were to be treated in a similar fashion it would only be getting its due.




Has a can of worms has been opened? It's not hard to see how these same arguments could be used for advocating the partitioning of our own country.
     

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

About Obama: asking questions the MSM won't

Obama's wife's remark about not being proud of America was no surprise to me. I would guess that in the circles they move in, that kind of remark is a built-in assumption that no one gives a second thought about. Socialists are discontented with America the way it is, and want to bring about "change". Drastic change. From Michael Schuyler at Blogs for McCain:

Is Barack Hussein Obama even on America’s Side?
[...] Obama is not just a ‘left wing liberal’ in the mode of Ted Kennedy. He’s way further left than that. He’s not just socialist-leaning, either. He’s way further left than that. He’s the kind of leftist who thinks Cuba, the USSR, North Korea, and China are good where the United States, England, France, and Singapore are bad. This is a guy who has in the past embraced the race-based politics of Chicago’s south side and come perilously close to embracing, and certainly was sympathetic to the Black Muslim politics of Elijah Muhammad. In short, Barack Obama is a very nice, refined, and appealing Malcolm X.

Barack Hussein Obama is a shadow of the sixties come back to haunt us. Most of us sixties leftovers got over it; he’s still getting into it. I don’t think the citizens of this country want to return to the upheavals and politics of the sixties. I don’t think most people want the United States of America to emulate the leftist socialist countries of the world. I don’t think the citizens of this country want to elect a man who will not pledge allegiance to the United States of America, and one who will not wear an American flag lapel pin in his suit, and one who is not proud to be an American. I don’t think that kind of attitude is going to fly. I would like the President of the United States of America to be on my country’s side, not against it. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) Most schools teach students to NOT be patriotic; that it's actually wrong to feel patriotism. I think the Obamas have been cultivated in that rarefied atmosphere of leftist academia, where such things are taken for granted. Many of the youth of our nation have been taught the same beliefs, and thus feel Obama is "correct" for feeling the same way. To them, it's all part of the wonderful wave of "change" that's supposed to sweep the nation.

Yet the concept of "change" is by itself very vague. It's not necessarily good; things can change for the worse as well as better, which is why it's important to be specific. Obama keeps saying we all need to make sacrifices. What exactly does that mean? The same old socialism that the Democrats try to push in every election would be "change" too. So what is he pushing for?




Making vague feel good speeches is a useful tool for a politician, but it isn't enough, or at least it shouldn't be. Bill Clinton made great speeches too, but in the long run the Clinton's horse and pony show was shown to be a superficial cover for a record-breaking corrupt presidency.

Barak Obama, like all the candidates, needs to be closely scrutinized. Questions need to be asked, and answers found. If the MSM won't do it, we need to. Here's a good question:

Is Obama a red diaper baby?

Don't know what a red diaper baby is? Follow the link and find out. Let the scrutiny begin.


Related Link:

Barack Be Daddy. Very, Very Strict Daddy!
     

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Democrat Eclipse?


Or is it something more permanent?

Hillary finished?

Ding dong! The wicked witch is dead


UPDATE 02-21-08:

OK, maybe she isn't dead yet...


But she's got to be, well... uncomfortable? She seems increasingly desperate. We'll see how she does in tonights CNN debate.
     

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There will be a Full Lunar Eclipse Tonight


It's supposed to be visable from all locations in North America, weather permitting. Here in Oregon though, the eclipse will begin just before the moon begins to rise above the horizon. By the time it rises above our tree-line, it will already be well into it. It also might be cloudy. Oh well. I'll be having a look anyway, since it's early our time.

Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight
By Robert Roy Britt, Senior Science Writer
posted: 20 February 2008 08:25 am ET

A total eclipse of the moon tonight is expected to delight skywatchers across the United States and much of the world.

It will be the last total lunar eclipse until 2010.

The easy-to-watch event will play out in several stages as Earth's shadow blocks sunlight from shining on the moon. Weather permitting, the eclipse will be visible from all locations in the United States, according to NASA. Along the Oregon and northern California coasts, the moon will rise during the early stages of the eclipse, however.

When to watch

Eclipses occur only at full moon when the sun, Earth and moon are in a perfect line. Because the moon's orbit around Earth is not perfectly aligned with the plane of Earth's orbit around the sun, eclipses do not occur at every full moon.

The moon will enter Earth's umbral shadow (the full shadow) at 8:43 p.m. ET (that's 7:43 p.m. Central, 6:43 p.m. Mountain and 5:43 p.m. Pacific) on Wednesday, Feb. 20. It will appear as though an ever-larger bite is being taken out of the moon.

Some 78 minutes later, the moon will slip into full eclipse. About 51 minutes later, a bright scallop will appear as the moon starts emerging. It will be completely out of the umbral shadow at 9:09 p.m. Pacific time, which is 12:09 a.m. ET on Thursday morning. [...]

Have you ever wondered why the moon looks red during an eclipse? It's our sunsets and sunrises on earth being projected onto the lunar surface:



[...] The redness occurs because while the moon is in total shadow, some light from the sun passes through Earth's atmosphere and is bent toward the moon. The effect is to cast all the planet's sunrises and sunsets on the moon.

Christopher Columbus famously used a blood-red eclipse in 1504 to frighten natives on Jamaica into feeding his crew. [...]

Is that cool, or what? Check out the link to the www.livescience.com website for more information and diagrams about Lunar eclipses. This will be the last total lunar eclipse until 2010, so make the most of it if you can.
     

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Will Angry White Men decide the election?

Here is an article that suggests they might, if by "angry" you mean the following detailed description. Sounds like a lot of guys I've known.

From Gary Hubbell of the Aspen Times Weekly:
In election 2008, don’t forget Angry White Man
[...] Each candidate is carefully pandering to a smorgasbord of special-interest groups, ranging from gay, lesbian and transgender people to children of illegal immigrants to working mothers to evangelical Christians.

There is one group no one has recognized, and it is the group that will decide the election: the Angry White Man. The Angry White Man comes from all economic backgrounds, from dirt-poor to filthy rich. He represents all geographic areas in America, from urban sophisticate to rural redneck, deep South to mountain West, left Coast to Eastern Seaboard.

His common traits are that he isn’t looking for anything from anyone — just the promise to be able to make his own way on a level playing field. In many cases, he is an independent businessman and employs several people. He pays more than his share of taxes and works hard.

The victimhood syndrome buzzwords — “disenfranchised,” “marginalized” and “voiceless” — don’t resonate with him. “Press ‘one’ for English” is a curse-word to him. He’s used to picking up the tab, whether it’s the company Christmas party, three sets of braces, three college educations or a beautiful wedding.

He believes the Constitution is to be interpreted literally, not as a “living document” open to the whims and vagaries of a panel of judges who have never worked an honest day in their lives. [...]

This goes on to give a great description of guys like many men I've known. But there's one part of the description that worries me a little:

[...] He might be a Republican and he might be a Democrat; he might be a Libertarian or a Green. He knows that his wife is more emotional than rational, and he guides the family in a rational manner. [...]

Is Mrs. Angry White Man a Democrat who always votes Democrat? When I lived in California, it seems like almost every Republican guy you met had a Democrat wife... just like California's governor! ;-)

Read the whole thing, it's good.
     

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Sony's Blu-Ray HD DVD format wins the battle

It's a relief to have it sorted out. Now the industry can at last move forward, supporting one high-definition DVD format. Fox News reports:

Toshiba Ditches HD DVD Format, Hands Victory to Sony

TOKYO — Toshiba said Tuesday it will no longer develop, make or market HD DVD players and recorders, handing a victory to rival Blu-ray Disc technology in the format battle for next-generation video.

[...]

Both HD DVD and Blu-ray deliver crisp, clear high-definition pictures and sound, which are more detailed and vivid than existing video technology. They are incompatible with each other, and neither plays on older DVD players. But both formats play on high-definition TVs.

HD DVD was touted as being cheaper because it was more similar to previous video technology, while Blu-ray boasted bigger recording capacity.

Only one video format has been expected to emerge as the victor, much like VHS trumped Sony's Betamax in the video format battle of the 1980s.

Nishida said it was still uncertain what will happen with the Hollywood studios that signed to produce HD DVD movies, including Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation.

Toshiba's pulling the plug on the technology is expected to reduce the number of new high-definition movies that people will be able to watch on HD DVD machines.

Toshiba Corp. said shipments of HD DVD machines to retailers will be reduced and will stop by end of March.

Sales in Blu-ray gadgets are now likely to pick up as consumers had held off in investing in the latest recorders and players because they didn't know which format would emerge dominant.

Despite being a possible blow to Toshiba's pride, the exit will probably lessen the potential damage in losses in HD DVD operations. Goldman Sachs has said pulling out would improve Toshiba's profitability between 40 billion yen and 50 billion yen ($370 million-$460 million) a year.

The reasons behind Blu-ray's triumph over HD DVD are complex, as marketing, management maneuvers and other factors are believed to have played into the shift to Blu-ray's favor that became more decisive during the critical holiday shopping season.

Once the balance starts tilting in favor of one in a format battle, then the domination tends to grow and become final, said Kazuharu Miura, an analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research in Tokyo.

"The trend became decisive I think this year," he said. "When Warner made its decision, it was basically over."

With movie studios increasingly lining up behind Blu-ray, retailers also began to stock more Blu-ray products.

Friday's decision by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the largest U.S. retailer, to sell only Blu-ray DVDs and hardware appeared to deal a final blow to the Toshiba format.

Just five days earlier, Netflix Inc. said it will cease carrying rentals in HD DVD.

Several major American retailers had already made similar decisions, including Target Corp. and Blockbuster Inc. [...]

I don't know which technology is superior, all things considered. Blu-ray has more storage capacity. Perhaps the High Definition quality is equally good, I hope so. I know there had been a lot of talk about how the porn industry was going in be a big deciding factor as to which format would win, in the same way they were in the 1980's when they favored VHS over Beta-Max.

More on that from MacWorld:
Porn industry may be decider in Blu-ray, HD-DVD battle
[...] “If you look at the VHS vs. Beta standards, you see the much higher-quality standard dying because of [the porn industry’s support of VHS],” he said. “The mass volume of tapes in the porn market at the time went out on VHS.”

E! Entertainment is using Blu-Ray discs primarily for Sony’s XDCam applications for acquisition of television programming materials. The television network, which has more than 85 million subscribers to its celebrity gossip and entertainment news, said it is not considering optical formats for long-term data archiving, but will stick with magnetic tape for now.

The pornography industry, which generates an estimated US$57 billion in annual revenue worldwide, has always been a fast leader when it comes to the use of new technology, according to analysts.

Porn studio Digital Playground, which claims to have produced the largest number of high definition movies in the industry over the past three years, said it is choosing Blu-ray Disc for all of its “interactive” films because of its greater capacity. It also selected Blue-ray because Sony chose the format for its PlayStation 3 (PS3) box, due out in November.

The co-founder of Los Angeles-based Digital Playground, who goes by the one-word name “Joone,” said the fact that Sony chose Blu-ray guarantees his studio an instant home audience.

“PlayStation 3 is going to be the Trojan horse that will get a lot of numbers into the home theater systems — the living rooms,” said Joone, who is also a movie director. “Technology-wise we’ve chosen Blu-ray, which doesn’t mean we won’t support both formats … but as far as having really cool technology and a lot of storage for future proof, Blu-ray is a good format.”

Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD are the new optical-disc formats that are positioned as replacements for DVDs with high-definition content.

Blu-ray is not only backed by entertainment giant Sony, but Panasonic, LG Electronics, Philips Electronics and movie studios Disney and Fox. Blu-ray offers storage up to 50GB capacity, or up to nine hours of high-definition content. In contrast, HD-DVD has 30GB capacity and is supported by companies like Toshiba, NEC and Warner Home Video.

Paul O’Donovan, an analyst with Gartner Inc., said pornography’s support of either DVD format will be a “strong factor” to the uptake of the technology by the general marketplace, but even more critical is Sony’s adoption of the technology.

O’Donovan said even though initially the Blu-ray format will be more expensive and will come after that of HD-DVD, the sheer support it is receiving from the entertainment industry, including pornography studios, will catapult it to a victory within a range of 18 months to five years. [...]

This article was published in May of 2006. 21 months later, Blue-Ray wins. Quite a good guess on their part.

For better or worse, it's Blue-Ray now. At least the format war is settled, and there is now a format that everyone can build around, which should also bring prices down eventually. It's probably all for the best.
     

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Voice Recognition Software; is it there yet?

Ten years ago I tried using Dragon Naturaly Speaking and Via Voice software, and was not greatly impressed. You had to do all this work training the program, and there would still be errors you would have to correct. It seemed easier just to type.

But many years later, the accuracy of Dragon Naturally Speaking is supposed to be much better. Could it really be as good as it looks in this demo?

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 Demo

I've been told by one person that he saves up to two hours a day since giving up typing and using voice recognition software instead. I must say, it sounds pretty good.
     

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McCain and Republican Party Struggles

Just some quick links here to articles I found interesting:

McCain detractors decreasing
A report on the status of McCain’s conservative buzz in Wonkosphere.

Quelling the McCain Mutiny
A call for patience to give conservatives time to warm up to McCain, and a plea to not call them stupid. Fine... but how about if they stop calling us RINOs?

McCain supporters urge Republicans to unite
In Michigan, the Republican Party tries to rally support around McCain with the help of Mitt Romney. But Huckabee's wife Janet is there to grab as many delegates from McCain as she can for her Husband.
     

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Republicans, Dinosaurs and Tent Sizes

I didn't particularly want to vote for George Bush in 2004. But he was the candidate for the party, and I voted for him. The alternative was unacceptable.

We are now facing a similar situation with John McCain. I will vote for him also, despite some misgivings about some things, because the alternative is still unacceptable. Yet I keep hearing conservative "purists" focusing only on what they don't like about him, completely ignoring his conservative voting record or any of the clearly good and conservative things he has done and promises to do, and generally having a hissy fit.

The Republican party is floundering. The people who are lining up to support McCain aren't doing it "just to gain money and attention"; that's patronizing. Could it actually be that they want the Republican party to WIN in November? Could it actually be that even if McCain doesn't represent their own beliefs 100 percent, they still understand that politics is about compromise? Could it be that they understand that if the Democrats get in, the damage they can do may be irreversible? That they will appoint many Supreme Court Justices? That NOTHING will be done to secure our border?

With a Democrat President and Congress, a massive amnesty will be granted to millions of illegals, solely on the Democrats terms. Illegal aliens may even eventually be allowed to vote in our elections... and it may be a long, long time before a Republican President or Congress is ever elected again. And if and when it does happen, the party could be completely unrecognizable from what it is now.

If the conservative purists continue to harangue and malign the Republican party because of McCain, he will at some point be compelled to take them at their word that they will never vote for him, and he will be forced to seek and rely on support from elsewhere; from further left in the party, from the Huckabee supporters, from independents and conservative Democrats. If he succeeds and wins, the purists may find themselves marginalized in the party, without a voice. Perhaps permanently.

If the purists succeed in sandbagging their own party and we lose in November, the Republican party becomes marginalized. Perhaps permanently.

I hear the anti-McCainites saying "Forget the top of the ticket, just work to get conservatives elected in Congress". That sounds good in theory, but is it realistic? According to a recent USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted Feb. 8-10, 2008, only 41% of adults likely to vote this November say they would support the Republican candidate running in their congressional district. 55% say they would vote for the Democratic candidate.

Combine that with the fact the many Republican seats are becoming available as current members retire, and there aren't enough Republican candidates running to fill them all. Of course we must try to retake Congress, but realistically, the math is not on our side. You'd better believe the Democrats are doing the math. Shouldn't we? What do you think will happen if the Republican party is marginalized?

When I was a waiter in San Francisco, I used to overhear conversations of Democrats who had just come back from vacations to Cuba or Vietnam or some other commie worker's paradise. They would lament to their friends over dinner that America's biggest problem was it's two party system; in their "educated" opinion, only ONE party was needed. "If only the Republican's could be done away with, and sent to re-education camps like they have in Cuba".

They would all have a good laugh about that. But then more seriously, they would say that the next best thing to that would be to have the Republican party become marginalized and ineffective. And they believed the best way to do that was to hope for and encourage the most inflexible and ideological people in the Republican party, the purists, to take control of it. The benefits of that scenario would be twofold, because it would:

1.) Drive away moderates and independents, keeping it a small tent and thus making the party smaller.

2.) By letting the extreme right dominate the party, it gives the Democrats something to rail against, something to use to whip up THEIR base and get them out to vote.

They believed that with the Hard Right firmly in charge, the Republican party would continue to shrink in power and influence, until it could eventually be abolished as "unnecessary". Extinct, like the dinosaurs. The key was to just make sure the Republicans did not enjoy popular support. No big tents. No reaching out. Just inflexibility and intolerance in the name of ideological purity.

It looks to me like we are seeing the Democrats dream-come-true. The Republican party fractured and splintering. Purists calling everyone who disagrees with them RINOs. Huckubee supporters taking perhaps as much as 1/4 of the Republican vote, while the party's lead candidate, who has a realistic chance of winning in November, is not only not receiving sufficient support, but is actually being attacked by a significant portion of his own party. All to the great joy of Democrats.

Ideological purity and inflexibility is a losing strategy. We NEED a bigger tent. We can all agree to disagree about some things. We can respect our differences without kicking each other. We can form a coalition of the willing. Lets do it. Let's make a difference while we still can. We need to adapt to reality... or die. You can argue with reality, but you can't win against it. The choice isn't a hard one for me to make.


Related Links:

GOP Yet to Rally Around McCain

Politics and war - getting things in proportion

Democratic Party's Image More Positive Than GOP’s

GOP Identification in 2007 Lowest in Last Two Decades
     

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Can McCain win where other Republicans can't?

There are compelling reasons to believe that John McCain could be uniquely suited for this race. From the WSJ:
Getting to 270
Can John McCain win in November?

The conventional wisdom is that Republicans start at a serious disadvantage in trying to hold the White House. A still-unpopular war and a softening economy certainly represent challenges. So far, most of the enthusiasm in the primaries has been on the Democratic side, with some 13 million voters casting Democratic ballots and fewer than 9 million picking a GOP one.

But despite these obstacles, John McCain will now begin to assemble his fall election team with surprisingly good poll results. The average of all the recent national polls summarized by RealClearPolitics.com show the Arizona senator leading Hillary Clinton by 47% to 45% and trailing Barack Obama by only 44% to 47%. Both results are within the statistical margin of error for national polls, so it's fair to say Mr. McCain starts out with an even chance of winning.

How could that be? The answer is that the same maverick streak and occasional departures from conservative orthodoxy that make conservatives queasy have the opposite effect on independents and even some Democrats. Mr. McCain's favorable numbers with independents exceed those of Barack Obama, who has emphasized his desire to work across party lines.

[...]

In some ways Mr. McCain resembles Nicolas Sarkozy, the French conservative who won last year's presidential election even though the retiring president, Jacques Chirac, was unpopular and a member of his own party. "Like Sarko, who was of Chirac's party but not of Chirac, America's swing voters have intuited over the years that there is little love lost between McCain and George Bush," says the blog Race42008.

Mr. Sarkozy was able to convince a majority of French voters that he represented real change that would improve conditions, while his socialist rival, Segolene Royal, represented risky change that could make matters worse. That is precisely the challenge Mr. McCain faces this year against Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

When you hear that the demise of the Republicans is a foregone conclusion, remember that when the campaign is joined this fall and voters will have to make real choices about the direction of the country, the result is likely to be close. Recall that pundits were ready to crown Michael Dukakis the winner of the 1988 election after he opened up a 17-point edge over George H.W. Bush. In 2000, they declared the race over around Labor Day after Al Gore opened up a clear lead over George W. Bush. [...]

The article has quite a few details on how and why McCain could do very well in various states, precisely because he is John McCain... very interesting stuff.
     

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Why we NEED to FIGHT, not turn and RUN

This is one of the sickest videos I have seen. From The Jawa Report, A Taliban video, in which a 12 year old boy beheads a man, while other children watch and cheer:

Most Shocking Video Ever: 12 Year Old Taliban Boy Beheads Man (Uncensored Version)
[...] It's so bad that there was some debate amongst ourselves whether to show it or not. Yesterday we put up a link to a video showing al Qaeda in Iraq burning hostages alive. Allahpundit, speaking of that same video says:

Not for those with weak stomachs; not really for those with strong stomachs, either. But force yourself, as none of Cordesman’s charts, as impressive as they are, will drive home to you like this will what it means in practical terms that far fewer of these subhumans are walking around Iraq today than last year. They deserve every misery inflicted upon them.
Indeed. No, the Taliban aren't the "Iraqi resistance" which some on the fringes of the left seem to love so much, but they're just as bad.

Strongest possible content warning: You are about to see the true face of our enemies. This is not an American propaganda video, it was made by the Taliban themselves. This is why we fight. This is why we must win.


The boy slits the man's throat as he begins cutting, sawing through the neck with great difficulty, while the other children cheer him on; the neck bones are especially difficult, but he eventually severs the man's head completely, and holds it up proudly for the camera and cheering children.




I'm pretty sure the man was dead already, as the blood didn't splurt out, and there was no blood coming from his nose or mouth, which would have happened if he were breathing. Some might argue that it's not so bad then. I would say, practicing on cadavers is preparation for a real live execution. Desensitizing children at an early age is essential, and a stepping stone for worse things still.

If you can't see the video, you can see sequential photos from it here (scroll down when you get to the page).

The savages who made this video want us to see it. They make these videos for two purposes; to encourage each other in their insanity, and to strike fear into the hearts of anyone who would resist. They want people to be afraid, and SUBMIT.

And it's not just the savages in the Taliban. Al Qaeda in Iraq are just as savage:

Al Qaeda in Iraq BURNS Hostages ALIVE!

Warning extremely graphic




Hillery Clinton has said that she would withdraw our troops from Iraq within 60 days. Barack Obama also believes in setting a withdrawal date. The Democrats as a whole want to see us fail in this war, and will insure that it happens as quickly as possible.

Islamo-fascism is spreading like a cancer, and with every retreat it grows stronger. If we leave Iraq too soon there would be a bloodbath worse than anything we've seen thus far, and it wouldn't stop there.

I believe John McCain would fight with resolve, and fight to win. He advocated the surge years ago. Soldiers don't like protracted wars, because they don't like to see their fellow soldiers killed. They do what's needed to get the job done and WIN.

I'm fed up with conservatives complaining how they won't support McCain, because he's not conservative enough. Has nearly everyone gone insane?

The Democrats want to ignore Islamo-fascism in favor of "free" health care and more government, a Nanny state to change their diapers. Conservatives are saying they want to "sit this one out" while they worry about gay marriage and Mormon underwear, and wait for a Presidential candidate in some imagined future election that's more like themselves.

If such conservatives cannot see and appreciate the gravity of the dangers facing us, then they are no better than the Democrats, and I cannot support them anymore than I can support the Democrats. Why? Because supporting either of them will have the same ending; Clinton or Obama in the White House, with all their WEAKNESS, and all the horrors that will follow on that.

I don't enjoy watching these videos, or posting them. It makes me sick, but I forced myself to watch them. It's ugly and horrific, but it's not going to go away by ignoring it; ignoring it is exactly how it's gotten as bad as it has. Continuing to ignore it will insure it grows worse still. Let's put someone in the White House who is up to the task of dealing with it. Let's insure we have a future that is bright, and not a Sharia based-nightmare.

Let's insure we HAVE a future.


Hat tip to Pat, who told me about the links this morning. Here's a link to his post:

Video: Taliban boy beheads hostage
     

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Artificial Intelligence bots simulate candidates


Ask the Candidates 2008
Welcome to "Ask the Candidates 2008" where you can ask any question of the 2008 US Presidential candidates and get an instant response. How does this work? We have loaded transcripts of all the presidential debates thus far into artificial intelligence (AI) software based on Zabaware's award winning Ultra Hal engine. When you ask a question, the AI bot version of each candidate will attempt to answer using a real quote from their human counterpart. In addition you have the power to rate each candidate based on the quality of the response and see how the candidates rank up against each other in this system.

An interesting idea, since it draws on actual transcripts from the debates. Ron Paul seems to have the highest rating given by users. Does that mean Ron Paul supporters are more likely to converse with the Artificial Intelligence candidates than anyone else? Just wondering.
     

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Friday, February 15, 2008

McCain and Gallup polls as of Feb. 12-14

Here is the latest from Gallup.com:

Gallup Daily: Tracking Election 2008
Based on polling conducted Feb. 12-14, 2008

[...] John McCain's GOP nomination is all but assured now as former rival Mitt Romney endorsed him Thursday and asked his delegates to support McCain at the GOP convention. Mike Huckabee continues to campaign, though McCain is now just a few delegates short of clinching the nomination. The latest Gallup Poll Daily update shows McCain as the choice of 53% of nationwide Republican and Republican-leaning voters and Huckabee the preferred candidate of 28%.


Support for both Republican candidates has been fairly steady the last four days. -- Jeff Jones

How Does McCain’s Support Compare Historically?
by Frank Newport

PRINCETON, NJ -- Most observers now say that with Sen. John McCain's victories in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia on Tuesday, he is all but certain to be the Republican nominee this year, based on mathematical calculations of the number of GOP delegates necessary to gain the nomination.

But Mike Huckabee continues to campaign vigorously against McCain, and the news media spend a substantial amount of time highlighting the alleged rifts within the Republican Party in terms of conservative unwillingness to support McCain as their party's nominee.

Gallup Poll Daily election tracking makes it possible to place McCain's current status as his party's presumptive nominee in historical perspective by providing the basis for a comparison to the support other front-runners have enjoyed in previous elections.

[...]

These data show that at 51%, McCain's current support level is relatively low compared with the support that presumptive nominees in either party have enjoyed since 1980 at the time Gallup finished its primary polling. In fact, only Mondale in 1984 had a lower level of support in the final Gallup survey.

Surveying over the next several days will show whether McCain's support picks up after news of his three wins on Tuesday -- or whether it drops, given the news that Huckabee did well in Virginia among religious, conservative Republicans. If McCain's support climbs to at least 55%, then he will at least be able to say that his support is where Ronald Reagan's was in 1980 at the point when he was assumed to have won his party's nomination. [...]

For detailed comparison with Republicans and Democrats in past Primaries, follow the link.

Also from Gallup:

McCain Holds His Own Against Obama, Clinton
     

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow... in Baghdad?



From the GOP Vixen blog: Snow in Baghdad!
For the first time since anyone there can remember, according to AccuWeather! Which makes for a perfect Feel-Good Photo Friday...

Posted by Bridget on January 11, 2008 at 04:14 PM |

Must be that darn global warming making snow again...

Stossel- GMAB - Al Gore Global Warming Myth
     

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Have a Happy Muslim Heartburn Day...


Fight sharia: Celebrate Valentine’s Day; Update: Burn, baby, burn
[...] Well, it’s Valentine’s Day once more–and the Religion of Perpetual Outrage is at it again. Around the world, Muslim leaders are working hard to stamp out deadly “Western values” spread by the holiday. Such as men and women hugging each other. This terrorism must be stopped! [...]


Cupid gets the point...




So much for multicultural tolerance.




Yes, we all know that terrorism is what Valentine's Day is all about.
In reality, Muslim holidays like Ashoura are so much nicer...




A loving tradition to pass on to your children...




Gotta start'em young, so the grow up thinking it's normal...




Yes, it IS real blood. Follow the link for more photos and information.

     

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Is this Obama's Che Guevara Moonbat?


From the Lone Star Times.com:
LST identifies Obama’s Che Moonbat
Our Monday post highlighting a Cuban flag with the super-imposed face of psychotic Marxist Che Guevara hanging in Barack Obama’s Houston HQ’s has caused quite a kerfuffle, which we are happy to inflame further with today’s update.

Of all the headlines written in response to our post, our favorite is from Sean Lovett of Portland, Oregon–
Someone’s A Dumbass
So true, Sean… and a LoneStarTimes.com investigation has determined that the dumbass who hung a flag of psychotic Marxist Che Guevara in Barack Obama’s Houston headquarters is almost certainly a Ms. Maria Isabel.

How do we know this? First a bit of video triangulation. [...]

Be sure and see the video clip at the end. Does she mean that private property rights are OK for her, just not everyone else? So typical. And I can only guess if she is a typical Obama supporter. If she is, that tells us more about Obama's intentions than his speeches do.
     

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

McCain too liberal? Try Republicans for Obama!

Many conservatives seem upset with John McCain, who they percieve as being too liberal. Yet I have to wonder just how much influence such conservatives have in the Republican party anymore.

Conservative Talk Radio endorsed Romney, but the voters didn't follow their advice in sufficient numbers for Romney to succeed. Gallop polls suggest that as many as 1/4 of Republican's nationally are voting for Huckabee, who may be conservative on social issues like abortion, but is more like a big government Democrat on everything else.

John McCain has won the lead in the primaries, because many Republican voters put him there. Changes are happening in the Republican party. Instead of worrying about John McCain, perhaps conservatives should be more concerned about the Huckabees, or even worse...

Obama Republicans?
[...] If one great communicator -- the eloquent Ronald Reagan -- could build a coalition of disaffected Democrats that swung both of his presidential elections his way, can an almost-great communicator -- the fiery Barack Obama -- build a coalition of disaffected Republicans to swing the Democrat primary election his way?

It's possible, says Brian F. Schaffner, an assistant professor of political science at American University in Washington, D.C. "Obama definitely has the potential to win over some Republicans in the same way that Reagan won over some Democrats," says Brian F. Schaffner, an assistant professor of political science at American University in Washington, D.C.

Even though Obama probably takes more liberal positions on many issues than does Hillary Clinton, Schaffner says the perception among Republicans is that he is more moderate.

"This is a matter of style over substance," Schaffner notes. "Obama speaks so often of bringing the parties together and working with Republicans, he seems less polarizing to Republicans than Clinton, who has long been demonized by that party."

The Pew Research Center corroborates Schaffner's inkling. It recently produced a report showing that Obama is perceived as more liberal than Clinton among Democrats, yet is seen as more moderate than Clinton among Republicans.

One Republican who isn't afraid of Obama's liberalism is John Martin, who directs the grassroots Web organization "Republicans for Obama."

A Bronx, N.Y., native who was very active in the Young Republicans in college, Martin, 29, is in law school but serving on active duty in Afghanistan as a U.S. Navy reservist. E-mailing from Afghanistan, Martin said his group has more than 400 members since he last checked and that the Web site's server received so many clicks the day Obama won Iowa that it crashed.

Lisa Kinzer, 30, is another rock-ribbed Republican who's gone Obama. The Norman, Okla., native has been a registered Republican for 12 years. She has nothing against President Bush. But she does have a problem with the GOP's 2008 candidates. [...]

So while Republicans are busy shooting themselves in the foot, arguing about who is a "real" conservative or who is a "RHINO", and generally trashing their own party and tearing it apart, swing voters, conservative Democrats and even some Republican's may be looking elsewhere to cast their vote in November.

I find it incredible that Republicans would actually believe that Obama is more conservative than Clinton, when Democrats believe exactly the opposite. In fact, his record shows he was the most liberal senator in 2007. The most liberal, out of 100 senators.

One could simply dismiss it by claiming that Republican's have "air heads" in their party too. I don't doubt it, but that might be too easy a way out. It ignores the simple fact that voters don't find a split and quarreling party attractive to vote for. Obama is an excellent speaker, and people who follow their emotions more than facts are easily swayed. But I think it also points to the fact that many Republicans, and people who are tempted to vote Republican, are more liberal, more flexible, than the Hard Right.

If the party is going to have a Big Tent and win elections, it can't be totally ideologically rigid. It will have to encompass more diverse views within the party. That is in fact what a coalition does; and it is with coalitions that Republicans win elections. Where is our coalition?

If Republicans don't unite soon and get their act together, they may find they no longer even have a place on the stage. A new coalition needs to be formed, and those who cannot or will not compromise with their fellow party members may find themselves left out all together.


Related Links:

You Gotta Hand It To Obama

A riff on "redefining conservatism"

The GOP is not the "Conservative Party"
     

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Pending legislation by Clinton and Obama

If conservatives reject McCain in November, and we get Clinton and/or Obama instead, just what might we excpect? A look at current pending legislation sponsored by Clinton and Obama provides some clues, and it's not pretty:

Equal Rights Nonsense
Now that the excitement of Super Tuesday has passed, we should remember the kinds of policies and principles at stake. Exhibit A: three pieces of legislation pending in Congress that would dramatically increase the liability of private companies for alleged acts of employment discrimination.

The first would resurrect the discredited idea of "comparable worth." The second would add various sexual orientations to the classifications protected from employment discrimination. The third is a plaintiffs' bar wish list, aimed mostly at overturning cases it lost in the Supreme Court.

There are actually two versions of comparable worth legislation, the Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act. The former is co-sponsored by Sen. Barack Obama; the principal sponsor of the latter is Sen. Hillary Clinton (Mr. Obama is a co-sponsor). Both would push companies to set wages based not on supply and demand -- that is the free market -- but on some notion of social utility. The goal is to ensure that jobs performed mostly by men (say, truck drivers) are not paid more than those performed mostly by women (paralegals, perhaps).

President Ronald Reagan correctly called comparable worth "a cockamamie idea." A great lesson of economic theory, not to mention historical experience, is that government-set wages and prices not only curtail freedom, but lead to shortages, surpluses and market disruptions. [...]

Read the whole thing for all the horrific details. These are the same old and tired commie ideas that the Dems have pushed for in the past. Great for crippling employers, driving up costs, sending more jobs out of the country and damaging our economy, all in the name of social engineering and feel-goodism. Reality be damned.

They will bring "change" alright... the same way Jimmy Carter did, but probably even worse. If conservatives don't support McCain in November and we end up with all this crap forced on us, I will blame the anti-McCain conservatives as much as the Democrats; allowing it to happen is just as bad as legislating it.
     

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