"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."
-Samuel Adams

the Misanthropic Humanist:


29 August 2008

I stand humbly corrected

And shocked. OK, that's not entirely true because I'm rarely humble. But I will admit when I'm wrong. In this case I was completely wrong. The political interest tracking must really be the case...

23 August 2008

No liberal media bias!?

Yeah, right. Have you ever heard some left-wing whacko claiming that there's a conservative bias in the news? It happens all the time, and the only explanation is chemically induced dementia. So anyway, Barak Obama picked Joe Biden as his VP. Well, that's certainly valid news. I'll even grant that it's fairly big news. But it's not this big:

I'd like to provide a link, but it isn't on the main Yahoo news page, it's what pops up when I sign on. Maybe it knows that I'm a political junkie because I click on those stories a lot, but beyond that, there's no way for yahoo to know that (I clear my cookies a lot). But even if they've got me figured for a political junkie, it's still no excuse for every single article on the page having Biden as a topic. 10 to one odds that does not happen on the 29th when McCain announces his.

I'm just sayin'

22 August 2008

Strategic Error

I've read quite a bit lately about how clever the Russians are for calling our bluff with regards to Georgia and it's neighboring states. The basic line is that Putin knew that if this went down while President Bush was in China, the face to face meeting along with all the other distractions could help him to pull it off with no risk of greater conflict. At first blush this appears to be completely correct. The political maneuvering and information management was handled well as documented here (hat tip instapundit). Because of the spin, it took several days for most of the West to decide what we thought about all of this. A lot of people said, "Georgia? Well, I really don't know much about that place. The Russians say the Georgians started it? Could be true." Then they sign a truce but continue to occupy the territory. This is a classic appeal to Western liberals, who will scream bloody murder if the US or NATO tries to move the Russians back out. There's a peace deal after all, so any action by us would be inflammatory war-mongering. Never mind the fact that the Russians haven't given anything. They just kept what they took and signed a nominal "peace" treaty, the violation of which by us would be breaking the "peace".

On the surface, it seems like a complete Russian victory. Their mistake is the American elections. Before the Gorgian episode, there was a chance that Barak Obama could have pulled out the election. Not a good chance, but a chance. He was and is obviously weak on foreign policy. But really that doesn't matter very much when the only foreign policy happening has already been dealt with and is mostly over. Don't get me wrong, the GWOT is important and it is ongoing. But really, the heavy lifting is done. And as far as enemies go, these ones are pretty weak. Terrorism is evil, dangerous, and rampant, but it has never been an existential challenge. Russia? Well now, that's a different story.

Two weeks ago, foreign policy weakness could pretty much be ignored. Two weeks ago we had one candidate who was terrible on foreign policy, and one candidate who's only selling point was foreign policy. Unfortunately for both of them, our economy is the biggest issue. Unfortunately for us, neither one of them has the foggiest idea about how the economy works. It's a bit like an American Idol competition where one guy dances and the other plays the drums, but neither one sings. And then from out of nowhere, Vladamir Putin throws a full drum set in front of John McCain.

When Iraq is looking up and Afghanistan is looking messy, but still mostly like a pile of rocks, it's pretty easy to ignore what an idiot Obama is on the issue and vote about something else. Or, more electorally significant; to not vote at all in protest of McCain running as a Democrat. But when the Russians start threatening to nuke Poland, the whole situation looks a bit more serious. The world suddenly started looking very cold-war-ish last week, and everybody but Obama noticed.

Barak had a chance before this. If Putin had waited a few months, he may have had a pushover US president in office and a free hand to do whatever his little black heart desired on his border with Europe. But he couldn't wait, and this week I'm sure that several million US voters went, "hmmm..."

Putin just bought himself an American president who had his teeth smashed by communists, and isn't afraid to call them that. Oops.

07 August 2008

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

There is oil in Alaska. A lot of it. Folks argue about exactly how much is really there, but whichever way you look at it, the answer is "a bunch". I'll get to global warming in a different post but for right now lets just start with these two facts: 1. Your car runs on refined oil called gas. 2. Gas is pretty darned expensive right now. Obviously there isn't enough gas, so going out and getting more will make it cheaper. If you don't think this is obvious, you need to quit the democrat party (AKA the McCain Campaign) and take an introductory economics class. After you understand the law of supply and demand, come back and read this again. But for now, I'll assume that everybody reading this grasps the idea that when there are people trying to buy more of something than is available, the price goes up.

Drilling in a deserted wasteland is a no-brainer. If you ask me, they should drill for oil, start some land-fills, and store depleted uranium there. But hey, that's just me. For anybody who thinks it really does need to be preserved in it's barren, useless state, we can pretty much guarantee it'll be just as bleak and desolate for years after the oil is gone. To show you why, I've worked up the following reference. If there are any drastic flaws in my logic, please let me know:

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is 19,049,236 acres. Yes, that's over 19 million acres. The area to be developed for oil drilling is 2,000 acres. Now, I've seen a few visual representations of what a percentage that is, but... well, they seemed off. The drilled area always looked to be a LOT bigger than what I imagined one nine-thousandth of the area would look like. So I worked it out myself. 19,049,236 acres divided by 2000 acres = 9,524.6. That's 9,524.6 to one. Shall we do this visually? I'll make each acre one pixel in a digital picture. OK, to make the picture big enough to see, we'll do 9,524.6 x 4 = 38098.4 acres. The square root of that rounds 195 pixels on each side of a square for ANWR, and 4 pixels for the area to be drilled. I've created a square in an ugly grayish, greenish brown (the color of ANWR) and the oil drilling area in black since that's the color of oil in all it's demonic evil. The contrast would really look nothing like this, but I'm giving the benefit of the doubt here. So what's that look like?

<---- The little black spot there is 4 pixles among 38,021 baby-food green pixles, and that is what those 2,000 acres would look like. Just a shame that we'll ruin the place, isn't it? A little spot in a barren wasteland that nobody ever visits might have some heavy equipment parked in it, and a bunch of people get so worked up that even the "republican" candidate is afraid to include drilling there in the plan. I can't believe there is even a question. I think we should drill pretty much everywhere. I sure wish there was oil under my back yard because I'd throw a derrick in there tomorrow, home owner's association be damned. In the mean-time I've gotten a "Drill here, drill now, pay less" bumper sticker. If you feel like doing so yourself, go here: www.americansolutions.com

14 Aug 08 update: This guy has some great pictures.


Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. Not the way to get a new blog off the ground, now is it? Well, I've been rather busy, but I'll get back to it shortly. I'm working on an ANWR / Global Warming post that should be ready shortly.

-The Misanthropic Humanist