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Saturday, November 20, 2004
 
Is This a Parody?

It's hard to believe anybody could be so completely non-compos as to write this tripe. When asked what the Democrats need to do, Diane Glass says:

Like Buddha and Shaunti advise, take the middle road, Democrats! Stop voting for the tree hugger with the most liberal record. We have to live with conservatives, so let’s pretend we care about them. It’s called a bait and switch strategy, which is a lot like what we’re about to experience over the next four years.

You want to run for president? Wear baseball caps and drink beer in an aluminum can. This imparts a quaint, guy-next-door persona. Voters will want to have a beer with you, talk to you and share a few laughs. You’ll be the kind of president everyone can understand, not the scary intellectual who can outsmart them.

Mispronounce a few words. Don’t strive for flawless oratory. This only challenges our collective intelligence. It makes us feel like we didn’t study enough before turning on the television. People don’t like to think while watching TV. When in doubt, look energetic.


Jeez, Diane, those are brilliant suggestions; so brilliant that Kerry used almost of them (he couldn't quite bring himself to drink beer out of a can). But he did wear baseball caps, and threw baseballs and footballs around the tarmac. He started mispronouncing words ("idear" for "idea" most notably). He did drink beer (or at least, he made sure to be photographed with beer bottles occasionally.

It is exactly this sort of atttitude that cost the Democrats this election; that they have to lie to people (bait and switch), that they have to pretend to be just folks, that they can win, in short, by being phony. Perhaps it's just natural given that they perceive Bush as this big phony themselves.
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Friday, November 19, 2004
 
Heroes of WWII

Graham Lester has two parts of what will be a continuing series over at his blog. Great stuff.

One of my favorite stories of WWII is that of Doris (Dorrie) Miller. Despite being born with a woman's first name, and despite a lack of combat training (as a black man he was limited to mess hall duty) he conducted himself with uncommon valor during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
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Lies, Damned Lies....--Updated!

And statistics. A group of students and professors at Cal-Berkeley are convinced that something's fishy in Florida.

The three counties where anomalies were most prevalent were Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade. In Broward, statistical analysis showed Bush should have received 13,000 fewer votes this year than in 2000. In fact, he received 59,000 more votes than expected, for a net gain of 72,000 votes.

In Palm Beach county, analysis showed that Bush should have gained only 17,000 votes. But instead he gained 57,000. In Miami-Dade county he was expected to gain votes, but by much less than he actually did. According to the researchers he should have received only 29,000 more votes, but he actually gained 44,000 votes.


The numbers cited make little sense at all. Let's look at Broward County, since that seems to be the one with the biggest reported "anomaly". First of all, a LOT more people voted for one of the two major party candidates in Broward in 2004 than voted in 2000; 682,000 compared to 564,000, an increase of over 20% in turnout. That's actually a little low; overall turnout was up about 28% in the Sunshine State.

And yet with 128,000 more people voting in Broward, they expect Bush's total number of votes to go down by 13,000? That doesn't make any sense unless you assume that all the new votes went to Kerry.

Look at it another way. Bush improved his share of the vote by about 2.5% in Florida. He improved his share of the vote by 3.5% in Broward County. If we say that he should only have improved it by 2.5% as elsewhere, you'd lop about 7,000 votes from Bush's total. If you say that he shouldn't have improved his share at all, you'd have to take 24,000 votes away from his actual total. But if you say that he should have gotten 13,000 fewer votes than in 2000, while leaving Kerry's vote total unchanged, you'd have Bush getting only 27% of the vote in Broward, a 4.4% decline compared to 2000. Bush's share of the vote did not decline by 4% in any county in Florida; his worst performance compared to 2000 was -3% in tiny Gadsden County.

(Update: The figures changed in a later version of the Wired Article, so I revised my calculations).
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The Greatest Rock Songs of All Time

Roger L. Simon put up a post about Rolling Stone Magazine's selection of the top 500 rock songs of all time. Here's the top 20:

Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, The Rolling Stones
Imagine, John Lennon
What's Going On, Marvin Gaye
Respect, Aretha Franklin
Good Vibrations, The Beach Boys
Johnny B Goode, Chuck Berry
Hey Jude, The Beatles
Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana
What'd I Say, Ray Charles
My Generation, The Who
A Change is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke
Yesterday, The Beatles
Blowin' in the Wind, Bob Dylan
London Calling, The Clash
I Want to Hold Your Hand, The Beatles
Purple Haze, The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Maybellene, Chuck Berry
Hound Dog, Elvis Presley
Let It Be, The Beatles

"Imagine" is the obvious clunker on that list, ridiculously overrated at #3. The only song I'm not familiar with is the Sam Cooke tune. There are only two songs from after I graduated high school, and that was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. One obvious thing; all those songs are singles; there are no extended tunes in there, no "Stairway to Heaven" or "Layla" (neither of which is a particular favorite of mine, but they usually get thrown into these lists).
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Thursday, November 18, 2004
 
Remember the 1970s Answers

1. What TV game show featured a gigantic pinball machine? The Magnificent Marble Machine, hosted by Art James.

2. What sports franchise in the big four sports (baseball, football, basketball & hockey) won the most championships in the 1970s? The Montreal Canadiens won 5 Stanley Cups in the 1970s, beating out the Pittsburgh Steelers' four Super Bowl victories and the Oakland A's' three World Series wins.

3. When DC Comics brought back the 1940s-era Newsboy Legion in the 1970s, they redesigned Gabby's face to look a little less like what famous person? Gabby was made to look a little less like the President, Richard Nixon.

4. True or False: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won a playoff game during the 1970s. True. The Buccaneers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in a 1979 playoff game and actually hosted the NFC Championship that year (which they lost to the Los Angeles Rams).

5. Who revealed the existence of tapes of White House phone conversations and meetings to the Watergate Committee? Alexander Butterfield, a White House aide, revealed the taping system.

6. Who was the daytime host of Wheel of Fortune in the 1970s? Chuck Woolery was the host of Wheel of Fortune.

7. Who wrote the stories in National Lampoon that were adapted for the screenplay of Animal House? Chris Miller wrote many tales of Delta House for NatLamp.

8. What band was chosen to play the final show at the Fillmore East? The Allman Brothers' Band, which had recorded a highly successful live album at the Fillmore East, were chosen to close the venue in 1971.

9. Excluding the center, what four NFL players (arguably) touched the ball during the play that became known as "The Immaculate Reception"? Terry Bradshaw, Frenchy Fuqua, Jack Tatum (disputed) and Franco Harris all touched the ball during The Immaculate Reception.

10. Who quarterbacked the Miami Dolphins for most of their undefeated 1972 season? The Miami Dolphins' quarterback for most of the 1972 season was Earl Morrall. The starter, Bob Griese, suffered a broken ankle early in the season and did not return until the second half of the AFC Championship Game. Ironically, four years earlier Morrall had taken over for an injured Johnny Unitas and been the NFL's MVP for the 1968 Colts, another team regarded as among the greatest of all time.

11. True or false: No team won back to back NBA Championships in the 1970s. True. The Knicks, Celtics and Lakers were the only team to win two titles in that decade, but did not win in consecutive years.

12. Name the Chicago Cubs' outfielder whose mad dash rescued an American flag from a couple of intoxicated fans who intended to burn it in centerfield at Dodger Stadium. Rick Monday snatched the flag from the hands of the fumble-fingered fans before they could set it on fire.



13. Speaking of mad dashes, why did Astros' baserunner Bob Watson race at full speed around the bases on May 5, 1975 after a teammate's home run? Watson raced around the bases because he had the opportunity to score major league baseball's one-millionth run. Reportedly, Dave Concepcion also dashed around the bases after hitting a solo shot at almost the same time, and ended up scoring run #1,000,001.

14. Who was George McGovern's first announced selection for his running mate in 1972? Why was he replaced? McGovern's original running mate was Thomas Eagleton of Missouri, who was forced from the ticket when it was revealed that he had suffered from depression and had undergone electro-shock treatment for the condition.

15. True or false: The 1971 issues of Green Lantern where Green Arrow's sidekick Speedy became a junkie were distributed without the Comics Code Authority Seal on the front cover. False (although commonly reported as true). In early 1971 Marvel had decided to tackle the subject of drug abuse in their popular Amazing Spider-Man comic. Although drug abuse was portrayed in a strongly negative manner (with one kid falling off a roof under the influence) the CCA refused to certify the three issues in which the drug theme was mentioned. The world did not end, retailers did not refuse to stock the comic, and the CCA was in danger of being revealed as a paper tiger. As a result, when DC came up with a much more nuanced storyline a few months later with a major character addicted to heroin, the CCA buckled and sent it out with their imprimatur.
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I Predict the Democrats Will Embrace This Idea

Because it offers them the Democratic fantasy: Something for nothing. The article itself is about Florida politics, but it's revealing of the mindset of Democrats all over the country.

But the path back to power for Democrats lies in the drawing of legislative and congressional districts - the ability to stop the Republicans from continuing to do what Democrats did to them for more than 100 years. Having finally admitted to itself (after just 10 years) that Republican rule in the Florida Legislature wasn't just a distant ripple of the Gingrich revolution, the Democratic Party ought to campaign for constitutional amendments creating an independent commission to draw districts after the 2010 census.

It's a clean, good-government, nonpartisan issue, as American as the Fourth of July. Besides, people love taking power away from legislators, as we saw with the "Eight is Enough" term limits petition campaign in 1992.

Yep, something they can sell as goo-goo pu-pu (good government public policy) that just coincidentally happens to help Democrats? Hey, it's a lot easier than trying to "get" religion.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2004
 
Florida Democrat Counties Voting for Bush?

This notion has gotten a fair amount of play over the last few weeks from Democrats anxious to find some way that Kerry actually won. Consider this:

There were the reports of several counties in Florida, all using optical scanner machines, where Democratic precincts voted overwhelmingly for Bush.

Or this:

In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered voters, 69.3% of them Democrats and 24.3% of them Republicans, the vote was only 2,180 for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush, the opposite of what is seen everywhere else in the country where registered Democrats largely voted for Kerry.

In Dixie County, with 9,676 registered voters, 77.5% of them Democrats and a mere 15% registered as Republicans, only 1,959 people voted for Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush.

The pattern repeats over and over again - but only in the counties where optical scanners were used. Franklin County, 77.3% registered Democrats, went 58.5% for Bush. Holmes County, 72.7% registered Democrats, went 77.25% for Bush.


Now, let's leave the question of optical scanners out of it for a moment. Is there anything surprising about Bush winning those particular counties? Not at all. Bush won all those counties in 2000 as well; his percentage of the vote was 70.1% in Baker County, 59.6% in Dixie County, 54.5% in Franklin County, and 69.7% in Holmes County in 2000. It is quite apparent that registered Democrats or not, people in those counties tend to vote Republican for President.

And errors in those tiny (population) counties could not possibly have given President Bush the election. Bush won those four counties by a combined 13,704 votes in 2004. Give Kerry all his votes in those counties and Bush would still have carried Florida easily.

It appears obvious to me that there's nothing here. The optical scanner issue is just a red herring.
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1970s Movie Trivia

1. What business is Ned Beatty well-respected in during the movie "Deliverance"?
2. What advice is offered when playing a Wookie in a game?
3. What brand of chewing gum does Jack Nicholson offer to The Chief in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"?
4. (Jeopardy-style): Gene Hackman, Red Buttons, Roddy McDowell, Leslie Nielsen and Pamela Sue Martin.
5. This dark comedy featured Walter Matthau marrying a shy but wealthy botanist with the intent of murdering her to pay for his excessive lifestyle.
6. In this 1974 film Warren Beatty tries to track down the conspiracy behind the assassination of a US Senator at the Space Needle in Seattle.
7. What was Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould's second picture together, after M*A*S*H*?
8. What recommendation does Roy Scheider have about shark hunting?
9. What crime did Popeye Doyle claim to have a witness to a small-time criminal committing in the opening to "The French Connection"?
10. Name Steven Spielberg's first movie. It was made for TV and featured Dennis Weaver battling a huge Ford truck.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2004
 
Remember the 1970s?

I had so much fun filling in this quiz about the 1980s that I thought I would do the same for the 1970s. Not as many questions, but they may be a little tough. Feel free to put your answers in the comments, so don't check there until you've made your guesses.

1. What TV game show featured a gigantic pinball machine?

2. What sports franchise in the big four sports (baseball, football, basketball & hockey) won the most championships in the 1970s?

3. When DC Comics brought back the 1940s-era Newsboy Legion in the 1970s, they redesigned Gabby's face to look a little less like what famous person?

4. True or False: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won a playoff game during the 1970s.

5. Who revealed the existence of tapes of White House phone conversations and meetings to the Watergate Committee?

6. Who was the daytime host of Wheel of Fortune in the 1970s?

7. Who wrote the stories in National Lampoon that were adapted for the screenplay of Animal House?

8. What band was chosen to play the final show at the Fillmore East?

9. Excluding the center, what four NFL players (arguably) touched the ball during the play that became known as "The Immaculate Reception"?

10. Who quarterbacked the Miami Dolphins for most of their undefeated 1972 season?

11. True or false: No team won back to back NBA Championships in the 1970s.

12. Name the Chicago Cubs' outfielder whose mad dash rescued an American flag from a couple of intoxicated fans who intended to burn it in centerfield at Dodger Stadium.

13. Speaking of mad dashes, why did Astros' baserunner Bob Watson race at full speed around the bases on May 5, 1975 after a teammate's home run?

14. Who was George McGovern's first announced selection for his running mate in 1972? Why was he replaced?

15. True or false: The 1971 issues of Green Lantern where Green Arrow's sidekick Speedy became a junkie were distributed without the Comics Code Authority Seal on the front cover.
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British Baseball?

Graham Lester remarks on the similarities between the National Pastime and Rounders, a British game that he played in his youth. Most historians today agree that the notion that Abner Doubleday invented the game in a field near Cooperstown was just a convenient myth, invented to give the game a uniquely American origin.

I took a look at the rules of Rounders. As you can see there are many similarities, including the concept of bases (called sanctuaries, which indeed are what bases represent). There are some dissimilarities, but some of these are due to the evolution of baseball. For example, batters are out if the ball is caught on one bounce, and runners can be thrown out by being hit with the ball. Both these rules were a part of baseball in the 1800s, but have since been changed. Other rules are quite different from baseball, such as the convention that bases are run in clockwise order.
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Power Ratings After Week 10

Comments: You may have seen the stat tonight on MNF that there are eight teams with a 6-3 or better record in the AFC and only two such teams in the NFC. Actually that may understate things. The top nine teams in Power Rating are all AFC teams except for the Eagles, the second best team in the league.

The AFC is currently eight games over .500 against the NFC. Last year the AFC was only four games over .500, and one 10-6 team did not make the playoffs. This year the odds look high that two teams might achieve that distinction. Last year the NFC had all its 10-6 teams make the playoffs; this year it might be a 9-7 team that slips in. Lest you think this overstates things, consider this: the Bears are only one game out of the playoffs right now.

Can you name the three teams not to make the playoffs with 11 wins? Answer after the Power Rankings:

NE 111.0
Phi 108.7
Ind 107.6
Pit 107.6
SD 107.4
Bal 107.3
NYJ 104.0
Den 103.0
KC 102.8
Sea 102.2
Atl 102.0
NYG 102.0
Min 101.5
Jax 100.8
Cle 100.8
GB 100.4
Cin 99.2
Chi 98.9
Buf 98.9
Ten 98.2
Hou 98.2
StL 97.3
Det 96.8
TB 96.7
Was 96.3
AZ 96.1
Car 94.9
Mia 93.2
Oak 92.9
Dal 92.3
NO 92.1
SF 89.2

The 1985 Denver Broncos came up a day late and a game short with an 11-5 record which left them home for the holidays. Oddly enough (or perhaps not, given the wild cards) they are the only 11-5 team ever to miss the postseason.

The 1967 Baltimore Colts have to be history's all-time hard luck team in terms of missing the playoffs. They were undefeated going into the final game of the season at 11-0-2 (back then the NFL didn't have overtime, so tied games were more common), and in a moment of incredible scheduling and irony they traveled to the 10-1-2 Los Angeles Rams for the NFL's Coastal Division Title. The Rams won, making both teams 11-1-2, but LA was awarded the championship on the basis of best net points in games between the two teams.

The other team not to make the playoffs with 11 wins were the 1963 Green Bay Packers. Going for their third NFL title in a row, they went 11-2-1, and lost to the only team to beat them that year (twice), the Chicago Bears.
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Monday, November 15, 2004
 
Gay Purge at the Democrats?

The talk about how gay marriage cost the Democrats this election may lead some to wonder if they will pursue a policy of chasing the gays out of the party. I'm not saying that's what's going on, but here's a weird pair of posts that seem mildly homophobic to my hetero ears. And yes, I know the first guy's gay. This is, to me at least, as disgusting as Kerry & Edwards' gratuitous references to Mary Cheney's lesbianism in the debates. I don't have a clue as to Mehlman's sexual preferences. If President Bush wants him in the job, I want him in the job.
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Why Kerry Lost

John Hawkins lists 11 reasons.

My own reason? Because Kerry was a transparent phony from the word go. Over at Kerry Haters we covered this almost endlessly, because there were endless opportunities. All the photo ops of Kerry throwing a baseball or a football on the tarmac were ridiculous, as were his claims that he was opposed to gay marriage (most left-wing observers (and even some right wing Kerry supporters like Andrew Sullivan) assume he was lying on this point), and that he opposed abortion personally but was not about to foist his religious beliefs on anybody else. These were all, like the goose hunting outfit he wore, camouflage and nothing more.
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The Reality-Based Community?

Helen Caldicott, grand dame of the no-nukes kooks:

"They [the Bush administration] have been able to con the American people with their extremely brilliant propaganda and brainwashing, with the help of the media ... they consistently lie. On the whole the American people don't really understand the dynamics of the right at all. They don't know that Bush et al want to go into Iran next and that they want to dominate the world militarily and that they want to put weapons in space.

With the help of the media? Oh, yeah, we want to thank all the media for helping to reelect President Bush.
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Why Bush Won: It Wasn't Gay Marriage

Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics says the media and the Democrats want you to believe that, but it's probably not true.

If I had to characterize this election in a single phrase, I'd say it was an election about maturity, not morality. It was a referendum on serious issues and ultimately George Bush won because he was more serious about them than his opponent.

Exactly! The Democrats, just as they had in 2002, showed they were only interested in winning elections, not governing the country, and the voters, just as they had in 2002, made them pay for it.
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Sunday, November 14, 2004
 
Egg On His Face

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Kerry Rerun? Don't Count on It

The last Democrat to be nominated again despite losing a Presidential election was Adlai Stevenson back in 1956. He had lost to Eisenhower in 1952, who was widely perceived as unbeatable; both parties had courted him to run for the White House under their banner. And of course in 1956, the Democratic nominee had to be another sacrificial lamb against Ike, so the "A" list Democrats were sitting on the sidelines. The Democrats did not go with Stevenson again in 1960, although he made an attempt.

There is something sensible about renominating a candidate who has lost in a race against someone seen as unbeatable. However, this time around, Democrats certainly did not view Bush as unbeatable (although with over 60 million votes he may well have been). They thought they should win this race easily.

Since Stevenson, losing Democrats have been Humphrey, McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore and Kerry. Humphrey was the only one of Kerry's predecessors to run again, so far, although Gore looks to be angling for the position of spokesman for the angry left next time around.

Hillary's running, that's almost certain. Gore will be in. Bayh? Dean? Edwards is a certainty. Another way to look at it is what constituency in the party will Kerry command? In 2004, he appealed to the ABB group, which will not be around next time. Dean or Gore will be marshalling the troops of the left. Hillary will control the feminists, the minorities and the teachers. Edwards will command the trial lawyers. About the only group really up for grabs are the unions and we saw how well they delivered in the primaries for Dick Gephardt.
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Mid-Season Awards

Best Team: New England. Pittsburgh is certainly looking impressive, coming off back to back wins over the Pats & the Eagles.

MVP: Peyton Manning. An easy pick despite his team's somewhat disappointing 5-3 record; with 26 TDs and four interceptions, Manning is having a career year. One problem with the no-huddle offense is that it tends to skew time of possession to the other team, which puts extra pressure on an obviously shaky Colts defense. The Colts show this in their statistics, with an average TOP of 28:23 versus their opponents' 31:37. This was also evident in the statistics for the most famous no-huddle team, the Buffalo Bills of the late 1980s-early 1990s who rode the offense to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances, and four consecutive defeats.

Rookie of the Year: Ben Roethlisberger. Another easy pick.

Defensive Player of the Year: Ray Lewis. His team has the best defense in the league, and he's the best player on that defense.

Coach of the Year: Cowher & Schottenheimer are getting most of the attention so far. I'm going with Belichick. His team has had a bullseye on it since they won the Super Bowl, and has only stumbled once. They're still the team to beat in the postseason.
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Cited for Breaking the Christmas in Cambodia story (at Kerry Haters):

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What If the Rest of the Fantastic Four Were Peaceniks?

Lefty Bloggers on Gay Witchhunt (linked by 16 blogs including Instapundit)

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Brainster Shows Brinkley Says No Christmas in Cambodia

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