Wynton Marsalis on Rap

I ran across this quote of Wynton Marsalis on Rap and Hip-Hop:

"I call it 'ghetto minstrelsy'," he says. "Old school minstrels used to say they were 'real darkies from the real plantation'. Hip-hop substitutes the plantation for the streets. Now you have to say that you're from the streets, you shot some brothers, you went to jail. Rappers have to display the correct pathology. Rap has become a safari for people who get their thrills from watching African-American people debase themselves, men dressing in gold, calling themselves stupid names like Ludacris or 50 Cent, spending money on expensive fluff, using language like 'bitch' and 'ho' and 'nigger'."

I couldn't agree more, and have often wondered why the current black leadership hasn't also pointed this out. Much of rap is a modern minstrel show. Before, black men were portrayed as was dim-witted lazy Step-n-Fetchit types. Now they are misogynist thugs and thieves. This is better? Why is it tolerated?

VDH on Obama

Victor Davis Hanson writes another great post at the Corner.

I think we are slowly (and things of course could change) beginning in retrospect to look back at the outline of one of most profound bait-and-switch campaigns in our political history, predicated on the mass appeal of a magnetic leader rather than any principles per se. He out-Clintoned Hillary and followed Bill's 1992 formula: A young Democrat runs on youth, popular appeal and charisma, claims the incumbent Bush caused another Great Depression and blew Iraq, and then went right down the middle with a showy leftist veneer.

Second, we will come, through the Obama prism, to see that Bush's sins were largely the absence of rhetorical skills...

Of course, I am hoping that Obama will turn out much more moderate than he appeared to be before and during the election. I think the Office will moderate him. I am keeping my fingers crossed, especially because I took a chance and voted for him.

However, although I agree that a moderate Barack Obama will make the policies of GW Bush look better than they have been represented in the media, I don't think many people will care or bother to re-evaluate their opinion of the Bush presidency. The past eight years of anti-Bush extremism have turned him into such a boogie-man caricature that his actual performance and policies are largely irrelevant to the opinions people have of him.

Life at Home?

Maybe my wife can relate...

Obama's Blackberry

They say Obama may be "legally required" to surrender his Blackberry and stop using email when he is President

Throughout the campaign, Obama was often seen communicating to staff members via his BlackBerry, a convenience the president-elect may legally have to forgo, and one which he indicated he was negotiating to keep. [emphasis added]

For national security purposes, a president is limited in his electronic correspondences for fear of hacking. Additionally, presidential communications are strictly monitored and archived for historical purposes.

"One of the things that I'm going to have to work through is how to break through the isolation -- the bubble that exists around the president. I'm in the process of negotiating with the Secret Service, with lawyers, with White House staff ... to figure out how can I get information from outside of the 10 or 12 people who surround my office in the White House," he said.

Pish-tosh, says I. Electronic encryption is not that difficult. Obama should be able to keep on using email and his Blackberry. He should tell those lawyers to get lost. By what Constitutional authority do these guys have the power to control the President to the extent he must "negotiate" with them?

The Presidential Records Law came about after Watergate. Its intent was to make the records of the President the property of the government, so that the President could not destroy them at will.

But it's clear to me that the law is now being used to hamstring the President, keeping him from effectively performing his duties. I find it hard to believe a manager these days can get his job done without email. It's at least as essential as the telephone. Obama's ability to get his job done depends on his access to modern communication technologies.

Can a former President and Congress require all future Presidents to conduct all official correspondence in cuneiform using styli and clay tablets? Of course not. It would be an unconstitutional infringement on the power of the President. Requiring all future Presidents to conduct business without using email and wireless communication technology is, in the same way, an unconstitutional power grab by Congress. Obama should stand up and defend the Office of the President. He should use whatever technology he needs to carry out his Constitutional obligations while in office. That means email and wireless.

Crackdown at Powder Puff

In reference to the post immediately below, there is this rather depressing story:

The headmaster announced earlier this month that teams of police officers and school administrators would be roaming Wednesday’s game to identify students who have been drinking. Anyone suspected of being intoxicated will be taken to a patrol car and given a Breathalyzer test.

Students who fail the test will be suspended from school, be denied from participation in the junior semi-formal dance or the prom, and after-the-prom party. Athletes and performing artists would face further punishment.

“We’re giving everybody a better reason not to drink by having a stronger consequence,” Weintraub said.

Capt. John O’Leary said the Brookline Police Department would send as many as 15 officers to patrol the game, an annual football match between female players from the junior and senior classes. In the past, he said the department has sent “one or two” officers.

“They’ll be constantly walking around the perimeter of the game, particularly looking for people who are intoxicated or drinking,” he said.
I find this sort of thing far too heavy-handed. Looks like I'm in the minority though, since the local parents group approves:

The Brookline High PTO released a statement saying its co-presidents “fully support the administration’s efforts to make this event safe and fun for all students.”
I don't like to see The State stepping in to do a job that should be handled by parents. If someone gave my kid a breathalyzer test, I would be pretty upset. Yes, I know teen drinking is a problem. At least once a year in it seems some kid in the area gets killed drunk driving. Still, do we have to insult every kid out there, treating them all like potential criminals? Do we need 15 police officers at the Powder Puff game? Has the whole "It takes a Village" thing gotten out of control? The Brookline Police shouldn't be in the parenting business. Nor should the officials at Brookline High.

Congratulations Seniors!

Congratulations to the Brookline High Senior girls. They beat the Juniors in the annual Brookline Powder Puff football game. How's that for a tradition? Pretty cool, says I.

They call it Powder Puff, but it looks pretty intense to me. These young ladies are playing to win! Photo by David Gordon. Nice work.

The Gobbler

James Lileks has a whole section of his website devoted to The Gobbler. It's been there a while, but it seems he has updated it.

"Ah!" I thought to myself, "but does he remember that Gobbler Jingle?"

Silly me.

Happy Thanksgiving 2008

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We had a nice quiet dinner at home. All our friends seemed to be out of town. We did pretty well though!

We had butternut squash, scalloped potatoes, quinoa salad, stuffing and green beans, all from scratch.

Since I'm the only carnivore in the family, we got a roasted chicken from the supermarket. It was a symbolic substitute for a turkey. The sides alone were more than enough, and I barely made a dent in the bird.

As you can see, we have much to be thankful for.

Especially me!

Mumbai Atrocity

From the office of the President:

President Bush offers his condolences to the Indian people and the families of the innocent civilians killed and injured in the attacks in Mumbai, India. The United States condemns this terrorist attack and we will continue to stand with the people of India in this time of tragedy.
It's been said before, but bears repeating. I'm tired of these terrorist massacres being referred to as "tragedies." If your quarterback slips on the stairs and breaks his leg the day before the Big Game, that's a tragedy. But terrorist attacks like this are not tragic, they are atrocious. This was no act of God, or chance misfortune. It was a deliberate act by despicable people. Those people must be tracked down and held accountable.

Bruce Lee Plays Ping Pong with Nunchuck

A word of warning

you can't believe everything you see on film these days. This can't be real, can it? Can it?!? Bruce was pretty amazing...

How's Obama Doing So Far?

President Elect Obama seems to be doing well, as far as I'm concerned. I don't mind Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. I think she'll be tough. It's on domestic issues that she's scary. And I like Larry Summers as head of the National Economic Council; he's a smart cookie.

There also seems to be a lot of backpedalling on Barack Obama's campaign pledges. My hope that President Obama will be moderated by the office seems to be coming true. When the Nut Roots starts to panic it's a good sign.

No regrets voting for The One yet.

This is just depressing

For decades, Claremont kindergartners have celebrated Thanksgiving by dressing up as pilgrims and Native Americans and sharing a feast. But on Tuesday, when the youngsters meet for their turkey and songs, they won't be wearing their hand-made bonnets, headdresses and fringed vests.

Parents in this quiet university town are sharply divided over what these construction-paper symbols represent: A simple child's depiction of the traditional (if not wholly accurate) tale of two factions setting aside their differences to give thanks over a shared meal? Or a cartoonish stereotype that would never be allowed of other racial, ethnic or religious groups?

I don't understand how dressing up this way is mocking or demeaning to Native Americans. I don't think it's mocking of the English to dress up in Pilgrim hats and buckle shoes either. Some comments in the linked post say that it is:

There's no outrage because the costumes aren't used to DENIGRATE the pilgrims, any more than the ahistorical use of kilts in Braveheart were used to diminish Scots.

So dressing up like an English Pilgrim is ok, dressing up like a 17th century Native American is not. What if a Native American kid dresses up like a Pilgrim?

People pushing this PC junk need to lighten up.

Gabriel Over the White House

"Gabriel Over the White House" was on Turner Classic Movies today. I wasn't able to see it. It's talked about in Jonah Goldberg's book Liberal Fascism. Read the jaw-dropping synopsis here. I'm sorry I missed it. Maybe it's on NetFlix.

Korean Paper Bombs

A nice story from Al-jazeera

I hope they keep this thing going as long as possible.

Gender gap

I was just posting about the gap between boys and girls on test scores in Maryland over on my ed-blog.

Here's the gist of it: in 8th grade, about 22% of girls are below grade level in reading--better than 1 in 4. For boys that number is about 32%, almost 1 in 3.

And the results show increasing separation between the boys and the girls as they pass through the grades.

Shelby Steele Interview

Very interesting discussion going on over at Peter Robinson's "Uncommon Knowledge" within NRO. Shelby Steele:

Everywhere I went on my book tour, young people would come up. “We’re beyond your generation,” they would tell me. “We grew up differently than you did.” No, I tell them, you didn’t. You did not. You are now obsessed with race. Race is the only thing that’s driving your interest in Barack Obama. You couldn’t even tell me what his policies are. You’re never critical of him in any way. If you were free of race you would not judge him culturally. You would judge him politically. You just—you are consumed by race.
Watch it all. Mr Steele makes some keen observations.

Here's a NASA pic from yesterday:

Today was the first time our asthmatic 6 year old needed his inhaler. He woke up coughing. I've needed it more than that. Even our 8 year old was coughing a bit this morning. Everyone sounds like they've been smoking.

In the eye, wreathed in flame

This morning around 8, I had my first encounter with the fires around the city. A friend called looking for help figuring out a way to get up north of the city, past the fires. Until then, I didn't realize there was a major fire east of Simi Valley in the Sylmar/Porter Ranch area. The fires are right on the highways leading through the Newhall Pass which leads to Bakersfield. In the end, my friend decided there was no way to make it up there without it taking better than 2.5 hours each way.

Later, around 9, I drove to a store with my nephew and lots of traffic lights were out along the way. Since the same street had lights out a couple weeks ago, I didn't think much of it, but later learned that the fires were near key electrical equipment and the city was ordering rolling blackouts to save electricity. Since then the electricity is flowing normally and the blackouts ended mid-morning.

While shopping the entire sky to the north and west were brown with the smoke. I was fine when we were in the car, but when I had to get out and walk around, I realized that the smoke was getting to me. I was coughing and short of breath--I developed some asthma since moving to L.A.--my guess that if I moved out of L.A., I'd be instantly cured. I had to take a few puffs on the inhaler when we got back.

I still didn't realize the extent of the fires until the afternoon. I thought it was just the Sylmar fire and the Santa Barbara fire. But the smoke had spread to the south--very heavy to the south--and surprisingly to the west. There isn't much to our west that could catch fire (Beverly Hills, Westwood, Santa Monica--none of which have a fire.) Since the smoke was now ringing the whole city, I finally turned on the TV to see what was going on.

There were fires in:

Santa Barbara to the northwest,
Symar/Porter Ranch to the north,
Brea to the north east,
Yorba Linda to the west-southwest,
Anaheim Hills to the southwest, and
Camp Pendleton to the south.

Short of the ocean being on fire, the fires pretty much surround the city.

The air outside has smelled heavily of smoke all afternoon. You can smell the brush burning all over town. Strangely, there is almost no wind where we are, but enough where the fires are to cause problems. The sky was overcast this afternoon, but I'm guessing it was actually a cloudless day. I think it was all smoke.

The worst thing to happen today was the Curse of the Trailer Park. Apparently, mother nature is not content to throw tornadoes at trailer parks, today she decided to send fire at one. A 500-600 home trailer park burned to the ground near Sylmar. Right now, everyone is worried that the fire hit so quickly, that more than a few people might have been caught in the blaze there. The fire department is worried by the number of cars left in driveways.

The other fires tend to be in areas with fewer homes, more spread out. The same size fire just can't devastate so many houses.

Stupidly, my niece had a soccer game at 4pm, and pretty much everyone thought it should have been called because of the smoke. You shouldn't have kids running around for an hour in air like we had today. I remember them canceling games in previous years because of smoke, but this one might have happened so quickly, they had no way to organize the cancellation. This is the thickest smoke I've seen in our neighborhood since moving here--despite all the fires being many, many miles away.

Tonight, I plan to sleep with the inhaler close by. I think I'm gonna need it. Did I mention my eyes burn when I walk outside?

Missing men

(Cross posted from my ed blog "Square Dots".)

One of my favorite blogs--mostly because Mark Perry manages to find the data I try to search for and can never quite find--has a couple graphs on the missing men in higher education. It is stark and long-term scary:

His data source is the Department of Education.

Update: Some people commenting on Perry's post asked about breakdown by field of study. I found the data and graphed it here.

Update #2: I noticed these graphs have different y-axis ranges, which makes them difficult to compare to one another. I won't repost with a constant axis, but I will give the slope for the increase in women's percentage per year. This is how much the percentage of degrees going to women increases per year.
     Bachelors:     0.36%     Masters:       0.46%     PhD's:         0.82%

It looks like women had more ground to catch up in the PhD field, but they are doing so faster than for the other two degrees. Their slowest percentage gain per year is for bachelors.

Chump of the Year

A while back I worried that I would have to name myself "Chump of the Year" for voting for Obama. Fortunately, John McCain may have the title wrapped up.

The Federal Election Commission is unlikely to conduct a potentially embarrassing audit of how Barack Obama raised and spent his presidential campaign’s record-shattering windfall, despite allegations of questionable donations and accounting that had the McCain campaign crying foul.

Adding insult to injury for Republicans: The FEC is obligated to complete a rigorous audit of McCain’s campaign coffers, which will take months, if not years, and cost McCain millions of dollars to defend.

...

McCain, on the other hand, accepted the \$84 million in taxpayer money, which not only barred him from raising or spending more – allowing Obama to fund many times more ads and ground operations – but also will keep his lawyers busy for a couple years explaining how every penny was spent.
How's sticking to your principles working for you now Senator McCain? How's your old pal campaign finance reform treating you? Poetic Justice? Hoisted on your own petard? You bet.

One for My Sister

Someone else noticed this little bit in Obama's victory speech:
He revealed that, despite having edited the Harvard Law Review, he doesn’t know what ‘enormity’ means.

Read the whole thing. With a title like "The night we waved goodbye to America," how can you resist? This was the line from Obama's speech referred to above:
I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead.
I winced at the time, and thought of my sister and co-blogger. It's one of her pet peeves, as I recall, though it seems it's not universal.

If you believe in fairies, clap your hands

I like fairies. Not real ones, of course. Just the tooth fairy variety.

My nephew has never had good tooth-brushing habits. We couldn't get his teeth brushed at all until he broke an upper front when he was 3 years old. After that, sometimes we literally had to hold him down and force the brush into his mouth to get them brushed. He's been doing the brushing himself for less than a year, and even then, it was always a big fight to get him to do it. Fighting became part of the settled routine. One major problem is that he hates mint, and it is hard to find good-tasting non-mint toothpaste (Tom's Strawberry is what we settled on). We got him to brush every night with toothpaste; though, I had to put it on his brush, he would never do it if left to himself--and then some mornings he'd brush just with water. Not ideal, but getting better.

Then came his first lost tooth (on my brother's birthday a couple weeks ago). The tooth fairy was quite explicit: "Brush two times a day--with toothpaste! I mean it--with toothpaste!" she said.

And what do you know? He did it! Occasional reminders of what the Tooth Fairy said, and he's off to brush his own teeth.

Quite remarkable, really.

Tonight the tooth fairy comes again for his second lost tooth. She has praise for his new tooth-brushing habit.

"Science"

The corruption and degradation of science is a big problem in the world. Whether it is the skewing of observations to meet pre-determined theories, whether it is theories proposed with no observations to back them up, whether it is corruption of the peer review system to establish and enforce orthodoxy, it's all a problem.

Here's one view of the corruption of the "science" of global warming, and the reasons for it. They hit home:
[ Watts up With That ] This question was addressed in September in a paper by Professor Richard Lindzen, of the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lindzen, [...] suggested that a number of changes in the way science is conducted have contributed to the rise of climate alarmism among American scientists.

Central to this is the importance of government funding to science. Much of that funding since World War II has occurred because scientists build up public fears (examples include fear of the USSR’s superiority in weapons or space travel, of health problems, of environmental degradation) and offer themselves as the solution to those fears. The administrators who work with the scientists join in with enthusiasm: much of their own funding is attached to the scientific grants. Lindzen says this state of affairs favours science involving fear, and also science that involves expensive activities such as computer modelling. He notes we have seen “the de-emphasis of theory because of its difficulty and small scale, the encouragement of simulation instead (with its call for large capital investment in computation), and the encouragement of large programs unconstrained by specific goals.

[...] “In brief, we have the new paradigm where simulation and [computer] programs have replaced theory and observation, where government largely determines the nature of scientific activity, and where the primary role of professional societies is the lobbying of the government for special advantage.”

They canceled my vote

I thought this piece in the Onion was brilliant when I first read it weeks ago. I thought I linked to it, but apparently not:
[ 60 Million People You'd Never Talk To Voting For Other Guy ] "While you are 100 percent certain that your preferred candidate's stance on issues such as foreign policy and the economy would appeal to any human being with half a brain, there is, in this very same country, an equally large voting bloc which believes that you and your candidate of choice are absolutely insane," the report's co-author Dr. Mark Grier said during a press conference.

Obama Apologizes

Obama apologizes to Nancy Reagan

President-elect Barack Obama called Nancy Reagan on Friday to apologize for a remark about seances he made during his first news conference earlier in the day.

President-elect Barack Obama's spokeswoman syas he apologized to Nancy Reagan for "offhanded remark."

When a reporter asked Obama if he had spoken with any ex-presidents since his election on Tuesday, he responded that he had spoken to all former presidents "that are living."

"I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances," he said.
I'm glad to hear he did this. It was the Presidential gentlemanly thing to do.

Media Still in the Tank for Obama

Seriously, is there no limit to the bias?

Perhaps Obama diverged from a Chicago designer as a way of reinforcing her husband's national leadership.Or maybe Obama, whose taste spans the price spectrum from White House/Black Market and J. Crew to Pinto and Rodriguez, just liked this dress.Clearly, this is a woman who does not submit to the directives of a stylist. Whether you liked the dress or not, that's refreshing.
Oh please. The dress was unflattering, and an unfortunate choice. Let's just state the truth and move on.

There is an amusing TV ad for a law firm running here in Boston. The firm specializes in asbestos lawsuits. If you are a friend of someone who once sat next to a fellow who was the younger brother of a guy born in a house with an asbestos-filled oven mitt in it's kitchen, that firm would like to talk to you!

Anyway, in the ad, a winning plaintiff represented by the firm turns to the camera and says, in all seriousness,
"They were more than attorneys. They were human beings!"
Cracks me up every time.

A Direction for Republican Party?

Greg Mankiw gets feedback from some Harvard students, who overwhelmingly went for Obama:

So what does the Republican Party need to do to get the youth vote back? If the Harvard students are typical (and perhaps they are not, as Harvard students are hardly a random sample), the party needs to scale back its social conservatism. Put simply, it needs to become a party for moderate and mainstream libertarians. The actual Libertarian Party is far too extreme in its views to attract these students. And it is too much of a strange fringe group. These students are, after all, part of the establishment. But a reformed Republican Party could, I think, win them back.
Very interesting. It's also the direction I'd like to see the party go. I hope someone high up in the GOP is listening.

My Kind of Town?

Brookline is...
• For Barack Obama: 80.7%

• For John Kerry: 81.2%

• For Barney Frank: 79.9%

• For keeping the state income tax: 78.6%

• For decriminalizing pot: 76.1%
• For banning dog racing: 69.7%

Yipe!!

I put up a McCain lawn sign about 3-4 weeks ago, mostly to see if it would get trashed. Here are the final results:
• Pushed down: 11 times (3 times by my six-year-old nephew who "was using it as a flag")
• Completely disappeared: 1 time (that's why I bought 3 of them)
• This morning:
• Found both remaining signs picked up and pushed over
• Found dog poo smeared on walkway to the house
• Found a bag of dog poo left on top of our 1965 Corvette
As a side note, the 4th grader we carpool with is heavily brainwashed against Republicans. When he found out I was one, he was a bit shocked, immediately asked about the gay rights proposition, when I told him I was voting the "correct" way, he was shocked again: "But you're a republican!" I gently chewed him out about the ignorant view liberals have of Republicans.

He said when I told him I was supporting McCain: But isn't he a big liar?

"So is Obama," says I. "All politicians lie. They do it to get elected, then do what they really want once they get in. That's why you don't listen to politicians, but look at their record. Words are easy, votes are hard."

I also told him I didn't understand why any Jewish person would vote for Obama. Since they had obviously discussed the election at his temple, he was surprised again. I told him that Obama has spent his life in the company of people who are strongly anti-Israel and who want to see the Palestinians get Israel. If you supported Israel, I said, would you hang out with people like that?

If I made him think for a couple minutes, my job was done.

Victory Speech

I went to bed right after Obama's victory speech. I was too tired to comment then.

I thought it was a great speech. It sounded all the right notes, thanking his supporters, reaching out to those who didn't vote for him, and stating his admiration for John McCain. It was inspiring and moving.

Mr Obama has a hard job ahead of him. For now, he deserves to sit back and enjoy a short breather. This is a honeymoon period, but it won't last long.

Go Coleman

Oh Lord, please let this result stand!

"With 99 percent of the 4,130 precincts reporting, Coleman maintains an unofficial margin of less than 800 votes out of nearly 2.9 million cast, almost assuring that there will be a recount. Required in races with a winning margin of less than one half of 1 percent, the recount could delay a final result for days while ballots are retabulated across the state."

My sister recalls the Al Franken decade. Whatever happened to Tom Davis?

Yeah, right

This comment posted on Instapundit by Bill Daly is a bit silly:
Anyway, I'll go on record as predicting that Obama will be almost totally ineffectual as President. He appeared to think during the campaign that the office of President held absolute power in the US, but that is not the case. The big winner, unfortunately, was Congress. I doubt that even a majority of Democrats in Congress are actually socialist, and while they will support tax increasses big time, there's very little else of Obama's agenda that they're likely to back.
Let's see...
1. Kyoto-style environmental regulations? Check!

2. Card-check union rules? Check!

3. Complete withdrawal from Iraq? Check!

4. Bowing before the "international community" on such issues as:

• International Criminal Court? Check!
• Law of the Sea (though Bush was for this awful thing too)? Check!
• Increased "tax" on first world countries given over to the UN? Check!
• Internet reform to allow greater censorship worldwide (including Australia)? Check!
• Telling Israel to F-Off! Check!

5. Fairness Doctrine? Check!

6. Supreme Court Justices who use empathy, or international opinion, instead of the Constitution? Check!
Nope. Obama won't get much of the liberal agenda through. No siree!

Prop 8

Being a regular denizen of The Corner, I naturally see a lot of talk in opposition to gay marriage. The death of marriage!!! seems to be the consensus over there. I've read most of their pieces on the subject, generally looking for anything that might be a teensy weensy bit convincing. They've never managed to sway me a bit.

They'll never be able to convince me that someone else's marriage is going to effect mine, nor the future generations'. Pointing to the coincidental decline of marriage in Europe and the introduction of gay marriage there is completely unconvincing to me; though, it is the strongest point they use at NRO. There are so many other reasons why marriage is in decline, that pointing to gay marriage as the culprit is just absurd.

So, I've been watching California's Proposition 8 compulsively all night as well. (Kudos to the Minnesota Sec of State, by the way--their page reloads in seconds, while the CA page takes minutes to load.)

The basic outline of the cause of the proposition is familiar: the courts decided that gays have a constitutional right to marry. In so doing, they echoed the Supreme Court's abortion decisions, and took the issue outside of normal democratic debate. The backlash is Proposition 8. If the courts found a constitutional rationale, then people would take that away with a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

I expected the proposition/amendment to crash and burn.

Much to my surprise, the amendment is currently up by about 280,000 votes with 22.4% of the votes counted.

However, I remember the last time I was compulsively checking on my state's voting was for an anti-Kelo proposition--one that would make it harder for the state to use "eminent domain". When I finally gave up and went to bed, the anti-Kelo side was comfortably in the lead. When I awoke the next morning I was shocked to find out that my idiot state voted the proposition down.

So, though the thing is passing at the moment, I still expect it to properly crash and burn.

Update (10pm PT): Looks like the lead for the yes side is already starting to back down. It's down to 234k now.

Update (10:15 PT): Dropping like a stone at the moment: 163k now.

Update (Wed AM): Shockingly this thing looks like it will pass by a couple hundred thousand votes. Apparently, whites were against it while blacks and Latinos for it by enough of a margin to pass it.

I've been reloading the Minnesota Secretary of State's Senate results compulsively every minute or so (even though they are updating roughly every 15 minutes.)

For a while there, Coleman was up by just 195 votes, or 0.01%

Its back up into the 12k range, but it looks like it will swing wildly before this is settled. Maybe even ending up with the absentee ballots.

Election - Initial Reactions

I thought McCain gave a fine, gracious concession speech. I also think he ran an honorable campaign and has a right to be proud of that.

Looking around the Right side of the Blogosphere, there is disappointment, of course. But there is also pride in our country for having elected its first Black President. It does seem like a historic moment! We Rock!

I also see a real effort on the right to welcome our new President. Allahpundit, for example, writes:

I’ll never be a fan, but I swear I’ll never take a nutroots posture either in relishing his failures because it helps my party. Like it or not, he’s my president. As a great man once said, country first.
See that loony Lefties? That's called Patriotism.

Sorry Sarah.

See you in 2012!

President Obama

Well, it's pretty much over. Ohio looks like it's going for Obama. My candidate of choice has won the election! I'll let you know if and when I regret it. I am very nervous about it.

Indeed, I remember that William Safire backed Bill Clinton in 1992. (Wow. Can it really be 16 years ago?) I also remember laughing and referring to Mr Safire as "Chump of the Decade" when he became disillusioned shortly thereafter. I hope I won't be declaring myself "Chump of the Decade" any time soon.

In any case, congratulations Comrade Obama! May you rise to the occasion with the wisdom and modesty you have never shown before.

Thanks Mr President

Andrew Breitbart writes a note of thanks to President Bush.

I have a dark secret to tell before the election so that it's on the record. It's something that is difficult to say to certain friends, peers, family and, lately, many fellow conservatives.

I still like George W. Bush. A lot.

For starters, I am convinced he is a fundamentally decent man, even though I have read otherwise at the Huffington Post.

President Bush is far smarter, more articulate and less ideological than his plentiful detractors scream, and, ultimately, he will be judged by history - not by vengeful Democrats, hate-filled Hollywood, corrupt foreign governments, an imploding mainstream media or fleeting approval ratings.
Thank you Andrew. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Brave New Media

The technology is cool, but the whole concept is weird:

...instead of the split screen or window TV viewers might typically see during live remote interviews, the Obama spokesperson will be projected as a three-dimensional hologram, making it appear as if he or she is in the Manhattan studio with Blitzer. The network plans to conduct similar holographic interviews with representatives from the McCain campaign in Phoenix.

I can see some applications for this, but is this something that CNN is smart to be doing? Is viewer deception something that a news channel should be pioneering?

Chuck Shumer is an Idiot

He thinks political speech on the public airwaves deserves no more protection than pornography.

What a freakin' moron.

Karl Rove Throws in the Towel

And I for one welcome our new Democrat overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted maverick scientist, I could be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground pinwheel factories.

My vote

My turn.

I really loathe John McCain. The things that turn him on and excite him: campaign finance "reform", legalizing illegals, etc., I can't stand. I think he'd be a menace. His instincts are to meet the Democrats half-way or worse. He would be Daschle'd worse that Bush Sr. ever was. The Dems in the Capitol would run circles around him.

That said, everything that McCain believes in that I can't stand, Obama believes in even more. And with a Democratic Capitol the country would be doomed.

If for one issue alone, I couldn't possibly give Obama my vote...the Supreme Court.

You see, I rather like democracy and the Constitution. Liberal justices believe in neither. To them, democracy is something to be overridden and ignored, and the Constitution is a quaint scrap of paper that means nothing.

If Obama gets 2 or 3 Justices, then they can literally rewrite the Constitution and there won't be a damned thing anyone with a vote can do about it. If you thought the McCain-Feingold legislation passing muster with the SCOTUS was a travesty (I've called it the worst decision since Dred Scot), then get ready for a court that treats that decision as little more than an appetizer.

Hold your nose and vote McCain!

Killer Plastic Bags (II)

Back in May, Steve wrote about killer plastic bags and the absurdity of some of the "killer" claims.

Well, now there is one documented case of a plastic-bag death:
[ Daily Tele ] Queensland's Environmental Protection Agency announced that the crocodile died a day after it was captured near Magnetic Island, close to the world famous coral reef which runs along Australia's northeastern coast.

The agency said 25 plastic shopping and garbage bags had been found inside the animal, along with a plastic wine cooler bag and a rubber float.

"Because the material had compacted solidly in its stomach it was unable to digest food," it said in a statement, adding that no animal would have survived with that much plastic compressed into its gut.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said it was surprised that the 3.5 metre (11.5 foot) crocodile had swallowed enough plastic bags, apparently over a long period of time, to kill it.

"I didn't know it was a problem for crocodiles specifically, you tend to hear it more as a problem for turtles," the authority's chairman Russell Reicheldt told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

Leaning Toward Obama-Palin

Well, it's time to decide for whom to vote. Here are my rambling and incoherent "thoughts."

As a practical matter, it doesn't matter for whom I vote, because Massachusetts is solidly Democrat. When you see "Obama 2012" yard signs around, you know you are in it deep. The Republicans couldn't even find someone to run against Barney Frank. The guy running as a Republican doesn't have the backing of the party. I'd feel better about him if it weren't for that bit about being convicted of beating up his 14 year old daughter.

Anyway, as I've said before, I don't like John McCain. I salute the man for his service to the country, but I don't think he would be an effective president. I have decided I can't vote for him. If I'm going to be angry with my government for the next four years I'd prefer to be angry at a Democratic government.

Bob Barr is a nut.

I don't like Obama either. His association with racist hatemongers and unrepentant terrorists is deeply disturbing. I wouldn't be caught dead associating with Bill Ayers. I wouldn't sit there in front of a racist minister for twenty years either. Would you? Further, I find his economic plan and health care plan completely unrealistic. Interesting that people still fall for the old "I promise to spend on you and make someone else pay for it!" line. His energy policy? Pinwheels and sunshine.

Still, I have to vote for someone. I'm leaning toward Obama. I think it would be good for the country to have a President who isn't white. That's it; that's all I've come up with. Call it affirmative action if you will. When presented with two equally craptacular candidates, one may choose in the interest of diversity.

This doesn't apply to Biden, of course. So I'm voting for Palin. I like her. She's someone I'd like to have over for barbecue. I'm thinking mooseburgers.

So there you have it. Obama-Palin. That's the ticket!

Banzai!

This article, Asteroid!, by Bill Whittle on NRO, contains probably the only time I have ever heard anyone, much less a political commentator on a well-respected magazine website, quote from "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension."

I Sure am Gonna' Miss that Son of a Gun I Tell You What

Fox has cancelled King of the Hill.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "King of the Hill" is over the hill at Fox, which is canceling the long-running animated comedy.

Final episodes of the half-hour series, now in its 13th year, likely will air during the 2009-10 season, Fox said Friday. The network recently ordered 13 new episodes, and animated series have a long production schedule.
It's too bad, it was a favorite of mine, and one of the few shows I would make an effort to try to see. I thought the characters were great, each with his own personality. Despite being animated, the characters seemed more real to me than most other shows out there. The humor was always good natured, never offensive or disgusting.

Speaking of offensive and disgusting, Fox has decided to create a spin-off from its animated series Family Guy. Would you believe "The Cleveland Show?" Sure I watch Family Guy now and then. Sometimes it is clever. But it is so often offensive just for the sake of being offensive that I rarely make it through an entire show. A friend of mine once pointed out the irony that much of what is passed off as "Adult Humor" is what you might hear in a seventh-grade boys' locker room. That pretty much sums up Family Guy.