Sunday, October 31, 2004

Returned as undeliverable

I used to think Republicans had a communication problem. But more and more I think the problem isn't that Republicans can't articulate their message, it's that their message is being filtered and stifled by the media at large.

The evidence for this is the conventions: John Kerry got no bounce out of his, but Bush got a huge bounce from his. Why? Because people have been able to hear Kerry's message all along; the media actively, reflexively promote it 24-7, so Kerry's convention was just another harmonic in the media chorus. But the convention was the first time anyone heard the Republican message without Dan Rather there to immediately contradict it, so Bush got a huge bounce out of his. That's also why the Swift Vets had a disproportionate impact in September when they started to advertise; they held news conferences in May but were ignored by the media. When they started to be heard, it was new.

Here's a question to ponder: if 254 of Bush's fellow Guard soldiers held a news conference to say he was unfit for duty based on their experience with him, do you think the media would have ignored it? (Hint: forged memos were enough for Dan Rather.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Election myths, truths and another prediction

The "independents break for challenger" assertion is a total red herring anyway. The concept is based on a VERY small sample of Presidential elections, and doesn't hold true in that many of the few there are. The concept has no valid predictive power. There is only one election that you can really compare this to: 2002. This is the second post-9/11 election, and like the first one Republicans will outperform the polls.

Bush will win 52-47.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Pretty much no one noticed

but astrophysicists reported they found proof for frame dragging. Frame dragging says that a spinning body "drags" the space around it, warping it. Gravity Probe B will shed more detailed insight into this question in a couple years.

Currently physics takes a long time to answer new questions, because new basic knowledge is pretty hard to come by given how much we already know and how much science has been done in the last couple hundred years. All the easy questions and a lot of the hard ones have already been answered. The next big events on my calendar are the refraction measurements that may either rule out or endorse quantum loop gravity or string/M theory (few years out), the Large Hadron Collider experiments that may yield a Higgs particle (hopefully a few years, but who knows), and serious talk about building a space elevator (maybe this year, the space elevator guys are starting to be taken seriously and a Nasa chief engineer is on board).

Seized by Election-Week Fever

Every time a I realize an hour or two has passed I find myself irresistibly drawn back to the computer to check whether Real Clear Politics has another poll out and whether the major news feeds are reporting anything that could affect the elections.

Well NM is now soldidly in Bush's corner according to latest polls, and Gallup has Bush up by 8 in FL. Big, big news. With leads in WI and IA, it's starting to look like Bush can lose Ohio and still win, although in addition to the gay marriage proposal which will drive voting to the right, The Governator is also turning out next weekend in Ohio to campaign for Bush. Schwarzenegger (also the author of "Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding," some great free weight routines in there; I highly recommend it) has sponsored a bodybuilding competition for some years there and is considered one of their own. And of course, he's Ahh-nold.

A few neighbors have remarked about the violence done to Bush/Cheney offices and signs. Being nonconfrontational types, many have decided in lieu of BC04 signs they'll put up American flags. Around here, everyone pretty much takes them to mean the same thing.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Rigged ballots in Ohio

Take a close look at this Democrat-designed ballot and tell me it’s not intended to deceive Bush voters.

Note that the arrows for Kerry and Peoutka line up to the correct box, while the arrows for Bush (surprise!) do not. Also, the correct # for Bush is "4" while the arrow points to "14", a small difference an unobservant voter might easily miss especially given that the first two arrows point to the correct numbers.

Sorry, I don't buy for a minute this is a coincidence. This looks more like a carefully-thought-out scheme drawing on the lessons of Florida in 2000 to deliberately disenfranchise Republican voters to the extent possible within what is legally permissible.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Victor Davis Hanson

is simply brilliant. Wow.

I wish I could mass email this essay to every European intellectual with a virus attachment that would cause their appliances to grab them by sensitive portions of their anatomy and not let them go till they read the whole essay.


Another prediction

OK, my first prediction (imminent successful military action to retake insurgent-held cities) worked out pretty well. I'm going to take another swing and say because Ohio has a gay marriage initiative on the ballot, we are going to see a repeat of Louisiana where conservative turnout was driven higher. Barring a major swing in the polls between now and Nov 2, I say Ohio goes to Bush by 5+ points.

INDCBill gets owned, pulls a Cartman

Bill and I had an amusing interchange (well, amusing to me, apparently very upsetting to Bill) on gay marriage. While I like Bill, have heaped effusive praise upon Bill, have donated to Bill's site, and still consider Bill an excellent journalist, sadly Bill's debating skills/decorum are a bit lacking.

Short summary:

Bill noted his support for gay marriage. I noted that as we are both center-right, it was interesting Bill supported gay marriage and I opposed it. I outlined my position, essentially based on two grounds:

1) Heterosexual couples face a special challenge: the consummation of their urges leads to pregnancy. Therefore, they deserve a special status.

2) There is no deterministic genetic basis for homosexuality (i.e., no set of genes that says someone will, with a probability > 50% be attracted to their own sex).

I was careful to note that I have gay family/friends, and that I cherish their friendship and would defend their right to have sex with whomever they want.

In support of the second argument, I noted virtually all studies of human sexuality find that deviant sexual behavior (in the strictly statistical sense of deviating from the norms of reproductive behavior) is much more influenced by environment than genetics (Bill said homosexuality is somehow "special" and not comparable to other sexual behaviors, but offered no real support for his claim). I noted several real-world examples in which allegedly heterosexual men become homosexual due to environment (prison, seagoing vessels). I further opined that people claiming a genetic basis do so either disingenuously for political reasons or out of ignorance. I cited links. I noted if such a genetic basis existed, the overwhelming likelihood was that it would have been found by now. Many posters in the thread agreed with my points.

I further noted my belief that all preferential behaviors are controllable because we have free will, and that to argue otherwise demeans us as humans by limiting our perceived freedom. No one should be considered "genetically straight" or "genetically gay" with no hope of ever changing to the other, both because it limits our perceived freedon AND because such a view is demonstrably wrong (spend ten years stranded on a desert island with only "genetically straight" men and see how genetically straight they all are by the time you leave). This is not to say homosexual preference is always a choice, or that homosexuals should in any way be pressured to "choose" not to be gay. My argument is just that environmental factors play a much larger part than genetics. Since it is NOT hardcoded in our genes, someone who is gay who decided to be straight could do so, and that straight people can also decide to be gay.

Bill challenged some of these points, mostly on the basis of "2-D!" (which seemed to mean there were other arguments he just couldn't be bothered to make right now) or "You're out of your depth!" He made a couple ridiculous points, like citing higher rates of homosexuality among 2nd and 3rd children, apparently not knowing there are no genetic differences dependent on siblings' order of birth. I effectively but politely demolished his arguments. Over the course of the discussion he made several ad hominem attacks, which I ignored without retaliating in kind, even saying such attacks were beneath him. Nevertheless, Bill still became more and more upset and eventually had a petulant fit of namecalling, and finally said "Screw you guys, I'm going home" by booting me. Sad. Ironically, while being generally abusive and dsimissive, he cited my style of debate as the reason for booting me.

So what's the lesson in all this? I'm not sure. But I had a talk with a gay friend over some drinks later that night. I told him my arguments and asked what he thought. He said he wasn't 100% sure whether he'd been born that way, but a lot of his gay friends did think so and were VERY adamant on this issue. He said it didn't really matter that much to him personally, he and Jeff were in love and that was the important thing. I agreed that was the important thing, and told him about Bill's reaction, and he didn't seem surprised, saying "Yeah, a lot of us would get upset about that, you know there has been discrimination against by the Church and stuff." I agreed it was certainly true gays had been unfairly stigmatized, but noted Bill was not gay. My friend almost fell off his chair laughing (we were both a few sheets to the wind by then) and said in that case we were "both idiots" to take it that seriously when neither of is even gay.

Touche.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Ohio, or a mixed bag

I'm going to assume the states for Bush right now are pretty much going to stay that way, and the same for Kerry. Assuming Florida stays in Bush's column and Pennsylvania in Kerry's, Ohio is now the big cheese. If Bush wins Ohio, he wins the election. Without Ohio, assuming Bush gets Wisconsin he can them take any of Iowa, New Mexico, or ME/CD2 + New Hampshire to get to at least 269, where the House breaks a tie in Bush's favor.

4296 days, 5 hours, 2 minutes, and 47 seconds...

Till the first space elevator hauls cargo into orbit!

Keep an eye on this technology, it sounds crazy but NASA engineers are saying it has become do-able in the last five years thanks to innovations in carbon nanotube production. And the financials seem to make a lot of sense. It will be the most momentous engineering project in history if it happens.


Monday, October 11, 2004

Oil-for-Kerry?

Am I nuts to suggest that $53 oil (an all-time record high) less than one month before the U.S. Presidential election has something to do with the fact that OPEC countries are trying to influence the outcome?

Venezuela's fraudulently elected (that's according to MIT mathematicians) leader is certainly not Bush-friendly (though poor, gullible Carter will always have a special place in his heart). Then there's Iran (what is it with Carter and putting our enemies in charge of strategically important oil-producing countries?). The other OPEC countries aren't much better. And I think all this talk of "democracy in the Mideast" may even have made the Saudis nervous enough to secretly stab Bush in the back. Hey, they aren't exactly pro-Israel you know.

Monday, October 04, 2004

It's official: Dan Rather is more biased and less credible than Michael Moore

Believe it or not.

From Ratherbiased.com:

October 04, 2004 | 19:08:06 EDT
Michael Moore, director of the movie Farenheit 9/11, said Sunday that he was given the same phony documents used by CBS News in its infamous Sept. 8 "60 Minutes" story but that he rejected them for inclusion in his film because his staff did not believe they were authentic.

Elections in Fallujah

The people want it to happen.

If elections can be held in Fallujah, they can be held anywhere.

To the skeptics I say: Who in 1985 would have guessed that today the Soviet Union would be a bunch of ten-year-old democracies?

Every human being deserves freedom and a representative gov't. This truth I hold to be self-evident.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

October: Moonbat Fever Awareness Month

I think October should be officially declared Moonbat Fever Awareness Month. It also coincides nicely with Halloween, which from Bill's research we can see is fitting.

Help these poor delusional souls today. With your donation, we will send the afflicted various texts by Ann Coulter, Hugh Hewitt, and Bill O'Reilly which may serve to ease their symptoms or possibly (in rare cases) even cure them.