31 October 2008

Victory, and rumors of violence?

Here's some more detailed, and revealing, discussion of those McCain campaign "internal" figures.

For the record, I still believe that McCain will win -- I have never wavered from that assessment.

MSM reassurance for agitated Obama cultists may be found here. You're gonna need something a lot stronger on Nov. 5, though.

Everyone seems to agree that the race is largely coming down to Pennsylvania. I thought that the "new politics" was supposed to consign all those bitter gun-clinging rural swing-state NASCAR low-information typical white persons to the dustbin of electoral history as being irrelevant to the Messiah's shiny new coalition? Guess that hasn't quite worked out as planned?


There have been persistent and ominous mumurs that, if Obama loses the election, riots will erupt. There have actually been a few cases of figures on the left hinting at this, in terms that do suggest that they are trying to threaten the electorate (examples here and here). However, when I googled "Obama riots loses" for more examples, what I got was almost entirely links to conservatives speculating about the possibility of riots if Obama loses.

Such talk is shameful. Violent temper tantrums by losers are not in the American tradition. The defeats of Kerry, Gore, Dole, Bush I (in 1992), Dukakis, Mondale, and so on did not trigger significant outbreaks of violence. Yes, it's true that some Obama cultists seem to be especially fanatical, and I suppose it's possible that his defeat could lead to rioting (and the authorities are prepared), but why play with fire by speculating before the fact?

30 October 2008

Link roundup for 30 October 2008

I know people do extravagant things for love, but this is ridiculous (found via Mendip).

Prash is back home from Tokyo with some observations and pics.

The Obama cultists' "humor" is as classy as ever.

Iowahawk dissects how polling in reality differs from theory.

A citizen with a truck found a creative way to deal with that hanged Palin effigy.

This happened less than a mile from where I live. It's no wonder that McCain or Hillary lawn signs and bumper stickers have been practically nonexistent in Portland this year. I certainly wouldn't display one. Better to just stay quiet, avoid attracting the thugs' attention -- and vote.

The cult has been targeting Joe the plumber too.

Obama's website has tips for kids on getting their parents to vote "correctly". Of course, people who couldn't see anything wrong with North-Korean-style children's songs in praise of the Great One probably won't find this unsettling either.

Back in 2006, one politician tried to warn us about the problems at Fannie and Freddie.

That unprecedented surge of young voters that's supposed to seal the deal for Obama isn't materializing, at least among early voters in Florida.

Here's more on McCain's chances in Pennsylvania.

Riverdaughter looks at "High Broderism" in Democratic politics (watch the video ad at the end, too).

Is the EU common currency in danger of disintegration?

South Ossetians fear renewed violence as Russian troops are replaced with toothless EU forces.

Barbarism erupts in India.

Here's one piece of human anatomy which has been functioning continuously for 123 years.

29 October 2008

Straws in the wind

One community which has some actual knowledge of life under socialism seems to have made its choice for President.

Here's some inside info on Pennsylvania.

The McCain campaign's internal polls look good and are moving in the right direction. And, yes, we PUMAs are a key factor:

We are beginning to once again get over a 20% chunk of the vote among soft Democrats. Seems the PUMAs and Blue Dog - Reagan Democrats are coming home.

In the final analysis I think America is too great and wise to fall for what the Obama cult is pushing.

6 days to go now.....

28 October 2008

Oh $#!T, not AGAIN.....

The BATF has discovered and stopped another racist conspiracy to murder Barack Obama (and, apparently, a large number of randomly-chosen other black people).

I've said it before, but it's something everyone on every side of the political discussion should step up and repeat until it seeps into whatever caves these trogoldytes inhabit: Assassinating Obama would be the worst thing that could happen to this country right now. I do not want him to become President. But that's for the voters to decide. Not some tiny handful of sick, goofy-looking, murderous knuckle-draggers.

Have fun where you're going, guys.

26 October 2008

Why I still think McCain will win

The media would have us believe the Presidential race is already over; Obama, so we are told, has as good as won. I still stand by my prediction here; McCain will win, even if not by such a large margin as I expected back in September. Obama's weird and disturbing past alliances (Wright, Ayers, and Rezko) raise valid issues which have never been satisfactorily addressed; his lack of experience is similarly a serious concern in a potential President; PUMA alienation remains deep; McCain's resume is a far better fit for what Americans traditionally want in a leader. In the end all this will tell.

So why are the polls saying otherwise? Here's what I think is really going on behind the numbers.

1. The more reliable polls have the race closer. Gallup's three-day rolling-average poll ("traditional" weighting) has it at 50%-45% today, a gap of only 5 points. It's the polls associated with media groups that have shown the really huge Obama leads. I suspect they're weighting their samples to match the narratives they are pushing (huge youth turnout that won't actually materialize on Nov. 4, etc.). During the period of Oct. 12-15, Obama's lead (per Gallup) shrank from 51%-44% to 49%-47%; the current lead of 50%-45% is surmountable. And the IBD/TIPP poll, which turned out to be the most accurate predictor of the actual result in 2004, now has Obama ahead only 44.8%-43.7% -- a mere 1.1 points.

2. Remember the "Bradley effect": individuals who for perfectly-legitimate non-racist reasons intend to vote against a candidate who happens to be black, are often reluctant to tell pollsters that fact due to fear of being thought racist. You have probably seen articles claiming that recent elections show the Bradley effect no longer exists. What those elections really show, in my opinion, is that the degree to which the Bradley effect manifests itself mainly depends on how likely people feel they are to be accused of being racist if they vote the "wrong" way. In recent years there has often not been much of that fear, but with today's relentless campaign of insinuation that any opposition to Obama is racist in essence, I think the incentive to lie to pollsters has increased. Remember that most polls are done by calling people's home phones. If you're a typical voter who's worried about being thought racist, you're going to be particularly nervous expressing the "wrong" opinion to somebody who has just called you on your home phone and is gathering a bunch of other data about you. So I think the Bradley effect will be a significant factor.

3. McCain's numbers really started looking bad after the financial-crisis story broke. I think this largely reflected broad anger and disgust at Republicans in general (the Bush administration being perceived as responsible for the problem). But what people say in the first flush of initial anger is often not what they end up actually doing. When it comes time to vote, many will decide they want the experienced leader in charge for the crisis more than they want to vent anger at the Republicans with their actual votes (especially since the Republicans are going to be trounced in Congress and thus "punished" anyway). That is, the shift against McCain due to the financial crisis is a "soft" shift, not a solid change in voter intentions.

4. I think most undecideds and some weak Obama-leaners will end up voting McCain -- when they get into the voting booth, their gut will tell them that Obama's lack of experience is just too much of a gamble. Most people are now answering poll questions with the economy uppermost in their minds, but foreign policy (which guy do we want going face-to-face with Putin and Ahmadinejad?) will count for more when the actual decision day arrives than it does in people's thinking now.

5. Republicans who now talk unenthusiastically about McCain will still vote for him in the end. Remember, they're going to get blown out of the water across the board -- House, Senate, everything -- and they know it. McCain is their only chance to win something important.

Mind you, I'm a lot less confident now about McCain winning than I was a couple of weeks ago. But I still think he's the more likely to win of the two.

25 October 2008


The moment the X-ray came up on the computer monitor, before the doctor had said a word, I thought, "Oh, shit. This is bad."

The right hip was normal. The left was a ruin. The top half of the "ball" part of the ball-and-socket joint looked rotted and crumbled in on itself, collapsed under the weight of the pelvis, which was noticeably tilted downward on that side. Bone was resting on raw, decayed bone. Well, that explained the crunching noises I'd been hearing when I moved.

The doctor was explaining that the only option was surgery.

In the weeks that followed, my condition deteriorated. Towards the end, movement became so awkward and painful that I could not work even close to a normal eight-hour day. Prescription painkillers were what kept me going, to the extent that I even was "going". My health was deteriorating in other ways, too. After my energetic vacation last year, I found that my weight was down to 190, not much above the maximum healthy figure for a man of my height; during the months before the surgery it ballooned to 210, since I essentially stopped walking for exercise, leaving me feeling bloated and flabby. My initial anxiety about the operation, which was considerable, eventually yielded to impatience to get it done and get myself out of this nightmare.

When the surgeon came in to see me as I was being prepped, to talk about anesthesia, I said, "I don't want to know anything. I want to not be there while it's happening, and come back when it's over." He said, "I think we can accommodate that." They did.

They started an IV. I vaguely remember being wheeled out of the preparation area and into someplace with bright lights on the ceiling (whether that was the OR or not, I have no idea). Then there was just nothingness. It was not like being asleep at all; I was simply not there. My next memory was of fuzzily waking up and noticing a large clock that said 3:30, almost six hours later. I was aware, barely, but inert; an organism to be kept alive and stable, not a person to do or think anything. That came back gradually, hour by hour.

You measure your return to autonomous humanity by the tubes they take out of you. When I woke up, I had at least three tubes connecting me to various things, and it wasn't until late the next day that I was fully untethered. Even then, they keep an IV socket plugged into you, just in case there's an emergency and they need to "feed" you something quickly. I still had that attached to my hand through Friday night.

I should mention that OHSU's doctors and staff were thoroughly professional and impressive in everything they did.

For such invasive surgery, recovery is remarkably pain-free. The main issue in recovery is that there are certain positions into which the leg must not be moved, because they could dislocate the new artificial hip joint or strain the soft tissues which had to be cut through during the operation and are still healing. Most of the "rehabilitation" period consisted of teaching me how to sit down, stand up, dress, climb stairs, get in and out of cars, etc., without letting my leg get into one of the forbidden positions.

I walk with a walker, the kind you see old people using. The left hip is far less painful than before surgery, but it will not support full body weight as it needs to do for me to walk autonomously. It was explained to me that the human system reacts to this surgery the way it would react to a broken bone. After all, they sawed the top part of my left thighbone completely off and replaced it with a metal prosthesis, and they had to cut through a lot of muscle to get at the bone to do so. It will take a while for the hip area to completely heal and get back to normal after that.

In the meantime, I move slowly and tire quickly. The biggest nuisance is a persistent swelling in one foot, caused (I'm told) by the days of lying still in bed after the operation. But strength returns day by day. I'll be back at work part-time during the first week of November, and probably back to 100% normal function around the end of the year. Already the torments of the last few months are fading into memory.

I feel fortunate to live in a modern society where technology, and human knowledge and skill, are advanced enough to have made my deliverance possible.

23 October 2008

The Infidel returns

I'm back! The surgery was successful, but it turns out that when they say you get out of the hospital on Saturday, that doesn't mean you go home that day. I was sent to a rehabilitation facility for several days. That's done now, though.

Thanks for all the good wishes. More later.....

15 October 2008

Today's the day

Surgery day is today. I'll be leaving for the hospital quite early in the morning, and probably not out until Saturday at the earliest.

Scary? Inevitably, somewhat so. Yet I am very aware of my good fortune to be living at a time when science and technology have made such operations possible, safe, and widely available. Even fifty years ago my condition would have been untreatable, and before modern times, back when "medicine" consisted of ignorant superstition, I would have been statistically unlikely even to have survived to my present age (48) in the first place.

I'm already looking forward to the days after recuperation -- to being able to walk normally and without pain, for the first time in months.

14 October 2008

London from the air

On not bowing to peer pressure

This speaks for me.....many of the comments too.

Note to would-be negative commenters: please read this (all of it) before regurgitating talking points. I've already heard them all.

10 October 2008

Comment comment

From the comments policy, as a reminder:

"This is my space; other have, or can easily create, their own. I therefore reserve the right to reject any comment on the grounds of irrelevance, insulting language, threatening language.....use of obscenity, or, to be blunt, anything else I happen to strongly dislike [emphasis added]. Please note that this is not a freedom-of-speech issue. I neither have nor want any power to prevent you from saying anything you choose. But I am not obligated to provide you with a forum in which to say it."

I don't reject comments just because I disagree with them, as the large number of Obama-leaning comments recently appearing here attests. However, I did recently reject one rather snotty-toned comment consisting essentially of a long rehash of various Palin smears, which would have required an inordinate amount of time to respond to by assembling links to the various debunkings and quotes of what she actually said and what actually happened -- which anyone who was paying attention would already be aware of, anyway. Experience has shown that "true believers" seldom follow links to anything that might puncture their assurances, anyway -- how dare I judge a politician by what she actually said and did, rather than by the things the MSM and the Obama cult have diligently and meticulously made up about her? For another sensible blogger's experience of where that kind of thing leads, please read this.

Debates with brick walls aside, I just will not put up with the kind of turkey whose attitude is that he has a natural right to scribble anything he wants on my space and that I'm somehow obligated to justify or explain my choices of what to post or reject. You have no such right, any more than I have a natural right to plant a lawn sign touting my favored political candidate on your lawn and then get huffy with you if you remove it.

I think I'll take another break from blogging for a while. Hell, the surgery is less than a week away now -- maybe I'll just take a break until after that. Until then, I can barely walk, the prescription painkillers are the only thing that's keeping me functional at all, and I still have to drag myself to the office almost full-time every day to train the person who will be covering for me while I'm off work. I have way too much on my mind right now to be worrying my head over this kind of crap.

08 October 2008

What Palin actually said

"Oh, I think it [evolution] should be taught as an accepted principle. And, as you know, I say that also as the daughter of a school teacher, a science teacher, who has really instilled in me a respect for science. It should be taught in our schools. And I won’t deny that I see the hand of God in this beautiful creation that is Earth. But that is not part of the state policy or a local curriculum in a school district. Science should be taught in science class."

"And, um, if you’re asking, though, kind of foundationally here, should anyone end up in jail for having an … abortion, absolutely not. That’s nothing I would ever support."

More here. And of course I already mentioned this.

07 October 2008

McCain makes his case

Here's what people always say they want from political candidates: a serious discussion focusing on actual issues rather than on the fluff. He needs to keep doing this, even if the media would rather spend their time rehashing long-debunked trivia about Palin.

28 days to go.

05 October 2008

PUMAs purr and roar

A cheery report from the rally in Carson, California. More here and here. Also, an encounter with the opposition.

04 October 2008

On this day in 1957

Mankind's first artificial satellite was launched. The date is still commemorated as Space Force Day.

Link roundup for 4 October 2008

I know the quality of airline service is deteriorating these days, but this is ridiculous.

A secret "eco-village" in Wales has won its legal battle for survival (found via Mendip).

This ad is imaginative (you need to know a little British history to get it).

With 31 days to go, some are saying that the Presidential race is effectively over. It's not. Most polls show McCain only 4%-7% behind, and Obama remains politically and culturally outside the mainstream. For the record, I stand by my prediction that McCain will win.

Here are some non-filthy Palin jokes (which are, unlike Sandra Bernhard, actually funny).

An important site which I'm putting in the permanent link list: Dr. Lynette Long's study of the Democratic caucuses and how Obama won the nomination.

Thomas Sowell has wise words on the dangers of racial hype.

British journalist Gerard Baker, one of the few foreign observers who seems to actually understand the United States, debunks some myths about the credit crisis.

The Russian navy is considering ordering some new aircraft carriers -- from Ukraine. How many countries are even in a position to offer them for sale?

A new imperialism is taking root in Africa, and it's not pretty. Meanwhile, the Mother Continent's most promising country continues its slow political degeneration.

British politicians push back against barbarism.

Here's a reminder of what Shariah really means.

A note: "Masterblurber" has decided to give up blogging, at least for a while. It's possible he may be back in the future.

03 October 2008

An epiphany of swine

A personal decision I've recently reached is to stop consuming pork, bacon, or any other form of food made from the flesh of pigs.

No, this is not a harbinger of imminent conversion to Judaism or (Satan forbid) Islam. Let me explain.

Most people are naturally repulsed when they hear about the new practice among wealthy Africans of eating the meat of gorillas and chimpanzees ("bushmeat") because they intuitively realize that it's only a millimeter removed from cannibalism. Those creatures are our closest relatives, their flesh and blood being biochemically practically indistinguishable from ours. To those of us who know how much the mental and emotional lives of the other great apes resemble our own, the thought is even more appalling, since no one who is truly familiar with the ways of these beings could deny that they manifest personhood, as much as we do.

Similarly, most Westerners are disgusted at the thought of eating dogs. While the intelligence of dogs cannot be compared with that of apes, their complex repertoire of feelings and interactions with humans makes it quite natural for people who know them well to think of them as persons of a sort.

The dog is not the only non-primate species in which exceptional intelligence and emotional sophistication has evolved. Most of us are at least vaguely aware that the elephant and the dolphin, too, stand on at least a similar level -- as best we can tell with beings so different from ourselves. People knowledgeable about those species wouldn't be comfortable eating their flesh either.

Humans have domesticated several large mammal species for food. What if it turned out that we had included among them yet another highly-intelligent and sensitive creature, without most of us realizing it?

It's increasingly obvious that we have.

Pigs are not cattle or sheep. Farmers have long noticed that they are smart enough to figure out how the latches of the gates of their pens work, and sometimes manage to escape and even to release others of their kind. They can be taught to identify and manipulate images on computer screens. In the wild they form groups with complex social interaction, including the ability to intentionally deceive each other (and also to take precautions against being deceived), in a way reminiscent of the interaction seen in primate social groups; at least twenty distinct noises that they make have identifiable meanings; and (contrary to their reputation) they maintain fairly high standards of cleanliness. They are at least as intelligent as dogs and show a similar range of feelings and ability to interact with humans.

In treating the pig as if it were just another nearly-mindless beast fit only to serve as a source of protein for our own dinner tables, we are making a horrific mistake, at least as much so as are those cultures where the dog is treated the same way.

It's a mistake in which I no longer wish to participate.

Here's one man who came to the same conclusion, in a far more meaningful way.

The perils of Palin

As best I can tell so soon after the fact, a consensus seems to be emerging that Palin did fairly well at yesterday's debate. This bears out the view that, when she's not being over-handled and over-scripted into robotitude by "professionals" or ambushed by hostile interviewers who deliberately edit her responses to make her look bad, she is a substantial asset to McCain.

The she's-an-airhead narrative never was very plausible. You don't win a nomination for governor against a sitting governor of your own party, and then rack up 80%-90% approval ratings while in office, by being an airhead. As I've said before, it's dangerous to underestimate one's opponent.

Perhaps inspired by Sandra Bernhard, self-proclaimed "sexpert" Susie Bright publicly fantasizes about kidnapping and sexually assaulting Palin, and throws in the hoary old paying-for-rape-kits story for good measure. Strikingly, of over 100 comments, every single one is hostile to Bright except for one loyalist whose grasp of reality is illustrated by the claim that "even if it was absolutely false, it would be still true" (and even that one might be a parody, I can't tell).

There are, it seems, certain risks to being Sarah Palin (or even resembling her).

32 days left to the election.....

01 October 2008

The cult

This is just creepy.

A note

Thanks to everyone who sent me e-mails of encouragement.

Things are looking up. I've found out I'll be able to get in for the surgery without much more of a wait, so I'll soon be on the way out of this nightmare. As for the other matter I mentioned, I think there's a chance that she and I will be able to patch things up. It's far from certain, but I really hope so. At least we're talking.