Thursday, January 31, 2008

Long Memories Strike Again

According to reports from people closed to Ted Kennedy one of the things that pushed him over the edge into coming out against the Clintons was actually Hilary's comment about Martin Luther King and LBJ. Not for the obvious reasons that everyone else objected but because Ted took it as a devaluation of JFK's role in introducing the bill before his assisination. So undoubtably without meaning to, the Clinton's were taking a side in the feud between the Kennedy's and LBJ. Amazing.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mormon Bumpersticker

Mormonism: The Scientology of the Nineteenth Century.

Why Judaism Is So Popular

I was sitting around with my in-laws comparing Jewish views on the after-life with Christians. They asked me if we had Heaven and also Resurrection. I told them that the Orthodox believed that when the Messiah came that your body would rise up. That was the reason that cremation is an abomination to them. Not only would the body come up, as is, but the Jews would come together in Israel. Orthodox aspire to be buried in Israel, because otherwise they would have to burrow through the Earth to get there.

I had to assure Jeneva that I wasn't making this up. (So I had to find it online in the Jewish Encyclopedia " Those that are buried elsewhere will therefore be compelled to creep through cavities in the earth until they reach the Holy Land (Pesiḳ. R. l.c., with reference to Ezek. xxxvii. 13; Ket. 111a).")

So in short, the Jewish view of the after life is a whole bunch of naked old Jews crowded into Israel for all eternity. The Christians have heaven, the Muslims have the virgins for Martyrs and we have Miami nude Beach -- I now see why over the last 2,000 years we have had so much success getting converts -- who wouldn't want to join?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Vietnam Veterans Last Chance

John McCain represents the last chance for a Vietnam Veteran to be elected President. Every other war has had one or more veterans become president. The usual pattern was set with our first President, where the over-all commanding General succeeds to the Presidency, this seems to be especially true for our big wars -- Grant from the Civil War and Eisenhower from WWII. The war of 1812 gave us Andrew Jackson and the First Harrison. The Mexican American war gave us Zachary Taylor and Spanish American War gave us its one hero -- Teddy Roosevelt. WWI gave Truman as its vet that served (that's counting Ike as a WWI vet, although he was also WWI) Both the Civil War and the Second World War were long tail conflicts as far as vets becoming President -- from Grant to McKinley we were electing Civil War Vets and WWII vets were getting in until 1992 when Bush the first finished up his term.

Korea may or may not be an exception -- Carter was a Korean War era vet, but studying nuclear subs did not see action.

So McCain is the last hope for the Vietnam vets.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

No Comment

While I was growing up, my mom used to get MS. Magazine. It had a section called "No Comment" the simply reprinted the most amazing sexist documents or other things they found. It was the most interesting part of the magazine.

Here is something that I am just not going to comment on:

At one of the precinct caucus in Nevada they have break a tie in dividing up 5 delegates. So they drew cards. The Obama person drew the ten of Spades. He was beaten by the Clinton supporter who drew the Queen of Hearts.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Even I didn't think they could go lower

I really thought some kind of bottom had been hit in 2000 in the SC primary when McCain was attacked for having a "black" daughter -- he had adopted a girl from Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh.

But now a hit piece is circulating accusing him of cooperating with the North Vietnamese and being a bad pilot! I guess it is the ultimate blame the victim.

(I admit I had pledged to not blog on politics, but somethings just call for it).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Causation v. Correlation

Here are three of my favorites -- I think they have shaped how I view the world.

1. In the fifties a series of studies showed that children who grew up with nightlights in their rooms tended to need glasses when they got older. So parenting advice was to avoid putting nightlights into children's rooms. But later studies re-crunched the data and what they found was that parents with bad eyes had trouble seeing in the dark and had a greater tendency to put nightlights in their kid's rooms. So the kids needed glasses not because of the nightlights, but because of genetics.

2. I remember in my psych text book's discussion of suicide they had a long discussion of the symbolism of jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. It was the furthest point West, the end of the line, etc. Then the book noted the supreme irony that every one who jumped off the bridge jumped looking back at the city, not out towards the ocean.

Years later when I lived in San Francisco, I would walk across the bridge. I noticed that the walkway was only the city side -- so if you wanted to jump, as opposed to being hit by a car -- you had to jump facing the city.

3. There was a doctoral dissertation about the vast vast majority of American barns being painted red. It looked at the symbolism of the color red, it examined the barn colors in the various countries that emigrants came from. Finally, it concluded that barns were painted red because red paint is made from iron oxide -- in other words -- you can make it from rusty nails and it is the cheapest paint to make to cover large areas.

Here's a real stretch

While eating lunch, they had on MSNBC and they were talking about the politics of the recession we appear to be heading into. One commentator said the Republican strategy could be to say this actually a continuation of the Clinton recession, only with a hiatus because of Bush's wonderful tax cuts.

Just amazing that they would even think of trying to blame this on Clinton after 8 years of Bush.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Staying away from Politics

I think I will stay away from political posts for a little while -- until I can't resist it. After writing a very perceptive obit for Hilary Clinton's Presidential career right before NH, I should probably give it a rest.

Pregnant Women in Bars

In Slates Dear Prudence column, she gives advice to a woman who had asked an eight months pregnant woman to meet her at a bar -- the pregnant woman thought that was insensitive, even though her friend made clear that she was expected to only order soft drinks. Prudence said she could understand why an 8 months pregnant woman would not want to try to perch on a narrow bar stool.

I comment because this answer leaves out 2 more important and likely reasons she might not want to go to a bar. The first in most jurisdictions would be 2nd hand smoke. But even more uncomfortable is the high likelihood that just being in a bar while that visibly pregnant would generate a long loud lecture on fetal alcohol syndrome from a stranger. For some reason, the normal social constraints are not felt regarding the conduct of pregnant women -- their seems to be some societal proprietary interest in fetuses that over rules it. I think this must have something to do with the choice vs. right to life debate, but I am not sure what.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hell has offically frozen over

It snowed in Baghdad.

I'm not sure if that means we will now elect a woman or an African American President --- but surely this is a predicate for something.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My Hope for Hillary

Hillary may end up as the new Ted Kennedy. After his brother Robert's assicination, he was the heir apparent to the Presidency and spent the time from 1968 to 1980 either running or not-yet-running for the Presidency. But after his disatourous run in 1980 it was apparant that he would never be President.

But rather than sulk, he settled into what he has been for the last almost three decades -- one of the nation's truly great Senators.

Hillary has that potential. Imagine her, for the first time in her life free from running for the Presidency. She will also, like Kennedy, have a safe Senate seat. She can be free from being poll and advisor driven.

In her first few years in the Senate -- as part of establishing herself as a candidate independent and capable apart from her husband -- she made a tremendous effort to show what an adept Senator she could be. And showed a real talent for it. She was able to work effectively even with those who made their careers opposing her and her husband. She reveled in the detail work that many lesser Senators neglect.

So assuming she is not the nominee this time, check back here in 30 years to see if she has in fact become one of history's great Senators.

I do not want to contemplate her taking the other option that her loss would present to her -- thinking campaigns mistakes were tactical ones that she could correct the next time -- ending up running less successful race after race. So her choice would be between becoming Ted Kennedy or Harold Stassen.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Fun Obama Quote

"This feels good. It's just like I imagined it when I was talking to my kindergarten teacher."--

Sen. Barack Obama, quoted by the New York Observer, on his new status as Democratic frontrunner. Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign has claimed that Obama has been plotting a presidential run since he was in kindergarten.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Ron Paul Experiment Continues

Now it has generated hits from Texas (I've been expecting that) Canada and Qatar. Amazing.

Ron Paul

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Notes to New Parents

Anyone who has worked in Politics should understand parenting -- as soon as the baby is born -- remember they are the candidate and you are the staff. You should be used to unreasonable, self-centered demands at all hours of day or night --- catering to their every need, paying no attention to your own. And of course the sleep deprivation.

But remember that the election isn't going to be for another 18 years at least!

Ron Paul Experiment Update

The Ron Paul Experiment is working! So far it has generated random visits from Arizona, Massachusetts and Greece! So let's give it another try -- Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Ron Paul.

And if you have found this blog through looking for Ron Paul, let us know with a comment. Did you look at anything else?