Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Evil Editing Marathon... finally over, but at the moment, sleep is much more appealing than blogging.

Goodnight, folks. See you when I wake up.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meanwhile, Back in the Real World...

"Gentleman, I may be short, but that apparently means I'm the only one on this stage who doesn't have his head stuck in the clouds. Imagine, the President of France asking the British Prime Minister and the American President to come join him back in the real world. Did anyone hope for that change?... "

No Sooner Do I...

...think I can get back to regular blogging than my editing deadlines shift. Again. And I find myself in a four-day editorial marathon.

I plan to spend Thursday and Friday detoxing from all the caffeine currently in my system. And mourning all the long, detailed blog posts I didn't write.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Typo of the Day

"The patient was admitted to the insensitive care unit."

Ed Schultz Makes Nancy Pelosi Cry

Do you think when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said this --

-- that she had "progressives" like Ed Schultz in mind?

I don't think so, either.

Stay classy, MSNBC. It makes your case against Ed's counterparts on Fox News so much more compelling...

(H/T: Patterico)

A Long and Quiet Week

The blog has been silent since Sunday, I know. Chalk it up to a combination of work deadlines, getting back to work on a "real" writing project of my own, some celebratory downtime at becoming debt-free for the first time in I've forgotten how long, and a recurring case of political burn-out/depression that decided to, well, recur.

For better or worse, I'm feeling recharged again now, finally. New posts will start appearing again shortly.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Handy Guide to Racist Political Thought in Post-Racial America

(H/T: Dana Loesch)

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Democrat Who Doesn't Get It

A "Great Moment in the English Language" from Creigh Deeds, Democratic candidate for the governorship in Virginia:

Somebody should promote these reporters to the White House Press Corps. Seriously.

(H/T: Power Line)

A Democrat Who Gets It

A "Quote of the Day," from Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN):

[L]ong-term progressive government can't be built on a foundation of debt and deficits. We cannot indefinitely share with the less-fortunate resources we do not possess.
It's always good to know that at least some members of my former party still get it, even if those members seem fewer and farther between than ever before.

Then again, maybe those other members just like the color red...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"ACORN: The Audacity of Hos"

When ACORN loses even Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, I think we're fast approaching "game over"...

(Warning: Strong language ahead. This is Jon Stewart.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

White House Phone Logs: President Obama Calls ACORN

"Hello? Is this ACORN?... It is?... Excellent! ACORN, this is President Barack Obama. I just wanted to call and say that you still have my unflagging support for all the good work that you do. Now, I know those two pesky little conservative undercover film-makers have your employees on videotape promoting tax fraud, giving advice about how to run a brothel filled with underage Salvadoran girls brought into this country illegally, and suggesting how to launder money from turning tricks so the funds can be used as political campaign contributions, but that doesn't mean... No, I saw the video from Baltimore... You mean there's more than one?... ACORN employees did the same thing on videotape without batting an eyelash in the Washington, D.C., and New York offices, too? I see... And in the San Bernardino office? Really?... And the employee at the San Bernardino office talked about threatening someone's life to make sure they don't talk? Are you kidding me?... Well, yes, I would say this is a pretty serious problem for you... Well, I'm sorry, but it is. So what's your plan for damage control?... You're going to say the tapes are doctored and edited, blame Glenn Beck and Fox News and racism for a smear campaign, but fire the ACORN employees who are shown on the tapes?... Frankly, no, I don't see the wisdom of that approach... Because your denying the charges at the same time your actions are admitting them. Even my silver tongue can't pull off something this outrageous... Now, don't go bringing my polls numbers into the conversation. That's just gratuitous... Because we're talking about 13-year-old girls from another country being forced into a life of prostitution, that's why... Because we're supposed to be working against that sort of thing... No, no. No, you're right. I called to pep you up. So where as I?... *ahem*... Now, I know the U.S. Census Bureau has dropped your participation in the 2010 count, and the Senate just voted 83-7 to block any further ACORN funding, but that doesn't mean... No, I didn't know even Barbara Boxer voted to block your funding... Yes, when you've lost Barbara Boxer, you really are in quite the... No. No, don't cry... Really. Don't cry... It's not that bad. Almost all of the major media outlets are still ignoring this whole story, right?... Silver lining, yes... Accentuate the positive, yes... And if the major media outlets do start reporting on this, I promise I'll give a major speech saying that I could no more disown ACORN than I could my own grandmother, just like the one I did for my pastor of 20 years, Rev. Jeremiah Wright... Well, yes, I suppose I did disown Rev. Wright just a few weeks later. What's your point?... Hello?... ACORN?... Hello?..."

Quote of the Day

From James Lileks:

God knows I love irony, but it’s the condom the culture puts on when it doesn’t want to enjoy something completely for reasons it will regret in the morning.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wildfire Sunset

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years Ago Today...

I will not forget...

I will not forgive...

I will not explain, justify, or rationalize what happened as anything other than jihadist terrorism committed by radical Islamic fanatics...

And I will never, ever, lose sight of who the enemy truly is...

6,291+ injured

2,993 dead


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Does that Health Reform Plan Come With a Therapy Unicorn, Too?

When I heard that President Obama was going to make a special address to a joint session of Congress to try and salvage his failing health reform initiative, I of course thought he was going to have something new and important to say. President Obama is clearly much smarter than I am, however, because the Greatest Orator of Our Time understood that what the debate really needed at this critical moment was simply a more eloquent repetition of just about every single thing he's already said before. Kind of like that health reform press conference he held a few weeks ago, but without those pesky White House reporters and their softball questions that might take him off-teleprompter and provoke a somewhat less than "oratorical" response. You know, like how he doesn't know all the facts, but the police acted stupidly.

So, what did I learn from this relentless review session with our National Teaching Assistant?

Well, health care is a devastating crisis that is destroying our nation, but if you already have insurance, nothing will change, except that it will cost you less, and if you have Medicare, you won't lose a single benefit, and if you're among the 30–45 million people who don't have health insurance, we'll give it to you through the Public Option, which will essentially be paid for by the government finally eliminating all fraud and waste from Medicare and Medicaid, but as mentioned, without eliminating a single benefit from either program, and any worries or fears that someone might have about these health reform bills are simply a product of evil scare tactics for vile partisan gain, because Republicans want to kill health reform and maintain the status quo, even though the health reform bills actually include many Republican ideas, which is strange, because President Obama says he's still waiting for "serious" Republican ideas, which the Republicans apparently don't have but which somehow are already in the health reform bills, because the president is a postpartisan uniter, even when he's blaming irresponsible Republican spending on the Iraq War and tax cuts for that $1 trillion deficit he says he inherited, and let's not talk about that other $8 trillion in deficits from his own spending over the next 10 years, because we're here to talk about health reform.

Did I miss anything?

Oh, right. Ted Kennedy wrote a very moving letter to President Obama about health reform just a few months before he died. Or at least, I think it was moving, because a large helicopter fighting the wildfires in the Angeles National Forest chose that moment to fly low overhead and drown out the president's voice on the television. But the president did look very moved. And so did Senator Kennedy's widow, sitting in the gallery next to First Lady Michelle Obama, who admittedly didn't look quite as moved as the first two, but she was probably still smarting over Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) rather stupidly shouting "You lie!" at her husband when her husband rather stupidly, well, lied. (Of course the reforms President Obama proposes won't cover illegal aliens, because none of the 13–20 million illegal aliens in this country are among those 30–45 million people who don't have health insurance and who use emergency rooms as their family doctors, thus increasing the cost of health care for us all, and any who try to slip in are expertly weeded out when the admitting nurse asks for proof of citizenship before treatment. Any claim to the contrary is an evil scare tactic for vile partisan gain by those who just want to destroy health reform and maintain the status quo.)

Anything else?

Oh, right. "Profit" now falls under the category of "overhead." Somehow, I missed that in my business accounting class. I always thought that "profit" was what you had left after all your expenses -- like overhead. And that "profit" is what you pay taxes on. So the more "profit" you make, the more taxes you pay, and the more health care "reform" the government can then afford without borrowing still more from the Chinese and my future grandchildren. But again, President Obama is clearly much smarter than I am, because as he says, we need to cut "overhead," which now includes "profit."

Anything else?

Oh, right. President Obama now says he believes that medical malpractice suits and defensive medicine "may" be contributing to the rising costs of health care. So he's ordered the Secretary of Health and Human Services to authorize some pilot programs in several states to see how we might be able to reign in these costs. Because tort reform is the kind of scary, complex undertaking that requires pilot programs to figure out what works and what doesn't and what the unintended consequences might be. Unlike revamping and rewriting the rules for roughly one-sixth of the entire U.S. economy all at once in, say, a major heath reform bill. (Any claim to the contrary is an evil scare tactic for vile partisan gain by those who just want to destroy health reform and maintain the status quo.)

This speech would have been a joke if so much wasn't at stake. And it was the last nail in the coffin of my ever again taking President Obama as seriously as I once did.

UPDATE: From Patterico's Pontifications:

How awesome is ObamaCare? So awesome that it has already reduced the number of uninsured by 17 million people! At least, Pres. Obama magically dropped the number of uninsured from the 47 million that Democrats have been chanting like a mantra to 30 million in his speech Congress tonight.
Clearly, the White House is now applying the same kind of "budget math" to the number of uninsured Americans that it's applying when figuring out how much these reforms are actually going to cost.

UPDATE II: From Reuters: "Health Bill Could Benefit 6.6 Million Illegals"

UPDATE III: John Hinderaker at Power Line:
If we can identify hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid and we know how to eliminate it, why haven't we done so already? Why don't we do so--right now!--regardless of the administration's highly controversial health care bill? ... This was not, to put it kindly, a speech that was directed at thinking people.
Unless, of course, you think that "profit" really does equal "overhead." (Yes, I still can't get over that one...)

UPDATE IV: From David Gratzer:
President Clinton's health-care legislation didn't fail in 1994 because people didn't want better health care. The White House plan failed because it was too bureaucratic, too complicated, and too expensive.

Last night, President Obama's response to sixteen years (and one angry August recess) worth of bi-partisan doubt was to double down and bet even more political capital on the same approach. It's as if he expected Americans to tune in, and suddenly realize their mistake.
UPDATE V: From Tigerhawk:
What is it with guys named Joe Wilson? Do they all accuse presidents of lying?

The President Speaks to the Students: The Lost Footage

"And I say to you, schoolchildren of America, that if your parents don't buy a new car from the government-owned General Motors, then your parents are giving up on this country! And if your parents don't support my awesome proposals for health care reform, then Mommy and Daddy don't love you! And if... All right now, which one of you pranksters put my original, pre-conservative outrage speech up on the teleprompter? You scamps!"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back from Banff

If you want to forget about politics, work, Obama, blogging, and everything else that's been filling your mind for the last few months, go somewhere that will give you this for a view:

Or this:

Which means staying here:

That's a very small portion of the very large, castle-like Fairmont Banff Springs hotel in Alberta, and one of the few pictures I managed to take before the battery in my camera died. Which wouldn't have been a problem, except that I forgot to pack my recharger. Even so, I did get a picture (of a picture) of Marilyn Monroe, who apparently once played golf at the resort while wearing a single sock:

And of a prominently displayed t-shirt for sale that helped prove I really was in "The Texas of Canada":

I could go on about the details of the weekend -- of playing with another guest's Jack Russell terrier because I missed my own dog so much, our friends' wedding with the Rockies as a backdrop, the buffalo lasagna I couldn't stop eating, how you can wander the halls of the "castle" for most of a day and not even begin to discover all the little lounges and rooms and assorted nooks and crannies, and how my wife and I both got recharged and literally fell in love all over again, if only because I danced in public for half the night at the wedding reception. I could, but I won't. Or at least, I won't right now.

I will say that the smog and wildfire smoke of LA have never seemed so stomach-churning on our return, from anywhere. We did have to come back, though, if only for one very important reason:

And yes, my wife and I had even bigger smiles when we picked her up this morning...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Off to Alberta

The deadlines are met, the bags are packed, the dog is happily romping at K-9 Adventures, and my wife and I are on our way to a friend's wedding/mini-vacation in Alberta.

Regular blogging starts again sometime next, after we get back.

And yes, I desperately miss my 24/7 companion already...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

For Married Couples Everywhere...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SUMMER REPEAT: The Battle of Long Beach Harbor

This past week, the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain stopped at Long Beach during their travels up and down the California coast. Pirate fan and tall ship lover that my wife is, she immediately booked us on Saturday's "Battle Sail." I didn't need much convincing to join her.

I realized during the drive to Long Beach that the day would be full of the "unexpected." Getting caught behind slow-moving cars on the freeway is nothing new in Southern California, for instance. Having every single slow-moving car be a Toyota Camry, however, is. And I mean Camry after Camry after Camry, defying all laws of probability. And just to reinforce the point, one particularly seedy portion of Long Beach showed us more pairs of cops and pairs of Mormons than I've ever seen together on a single street. (Not surprisingly, the Mormons looked a lot happier than the cops.)

Then we were at the harbor, and caught our first sight of where we would spend the next few hours.

Over the years, I've also realized that doings things with my wife means a very different experience than what another couple would have doing the exact same thing. My wife had already spent most of the past week in Long Beach at an astronomy conference, but she had spent her lunch breaks at the harbor. So when we arrived on Saturday, the Captain-in-Training and some of the crew of the Lady Washington already knew her, shouted greetings that surprised the rest of the ticket-holders (and myself), and basically cheered when they realized she would be sailing on their ship that day. (If we stay in California long enough, I have no doubt my wife will end up being Governor K., if she chooses.)

Once on board, the "unexpected" turned out to be unexpected bonuses. The Lady Washington appeared in all three Pirates of the Caribbean films, and was also the holodeck ship in Star Trek: Generations. My wife got her "Pirates fix," and the Trekker in me felt a warm glow as I stood where Data threw Beverly Crusher overboard.

That was just the start. Luckily for me, only two passengers showed up in full pirate costume. (I'll admit it. I just don't get the whole "pirate" thing.) And considering the crew and officers of the Lady Washington were far more Master and Commander than Curse of the Black Pearl, those two kept their "piratey-ness" to a minimum. (Unlike the female passenger with the cackling laugh of a turkey on Ecstasy, who thankfully sailed on the Hawaiian Chieftain and could be heard halfway across Long Beach Harbor.)

The group of Russians sailing with us more than made up for the two pirates, though, and for the piercing laugh from the other ship. I can't think of another language that I understand so little but enjoy listening to so much. And seeing a stocky bear of a man shouting insults in Russian at the Hawaiian Chieftain during the battle was worth the entire cost of the tickets all by itself.

Watching films about ships like these simply doesn't do the experience justice. The sound of wind actually filling real sails makes Dolby or THX Surround seem full of static. Feeling the deck shifting with the waves beneath your feet can't be recreated by camera work, no matter how good. Questions were fielded and answered for hours, and volunteers even got put to work.

My wife and I were lucky enough to spend most of the battle on the quarter-deck, between the First Mate shouting orders to the crew and the Captain (and Captain-in-Training) shouting orders to the First Mate. It was the best spot possible for me, because I could overhear the battle tactics being formulated and discussed. I played a lot of historical naval war games back in high school, but this was as close to the real thing as I'll probably ever get: On an actual tall ship, on actual water, with actual wind and actual sails and actual cannon being fired.

Adding to the day's defiance of all typical likelihoods, the captain of the Lady Washington turned out to be a distant relation of mine. Captain M. hails from the same Scottish clan that I do. "The M.'s have a long history of mariners," he said.

To which I replied, without thinking, "Stretching right back to the shipwreck that made us all Scottish."

Captain M. blinked for a moment, and I had visions of being tossed overboard like Beverly Crusher. But then he laughed. (Thank God.) And countered, "But we stayed mariners, just so we could get back off that island."

The battle itself was more intricate than any war game prepared me for. A constant jockeying for position, moves and countermoves based on how the other ship adjusted its sails. And in one thoroughly exciting mix of miscalculation, shifting wind, and who knows what else, the two ships passed so close that Captain M. had to fire up the diesel engines to avoid the rigging of each ship catching on the other. Even then, the aft boom of the Hawaiian Chieftain still grazed our ropes only a few feet above our heads. (Talk about getting your money's worth.)

In the end, no doubt existed that the Lady Washington had prevailed. The Hawaiian Chieftain was outmaneuvered from the start. Even considering that all the cannon were firing blanks, as one of our crew said, "Whenever you get off a point-blank shot at the other ship's stern, there's no question who won."

I think that "Mister Gunner" came to regret that stern shot, though. As I was told, after each trip out, the crewmember who made the worst mistake has to buy the beer. And even though the cannon were shooting blanks, Captain M. didn't want to set one off so close to the Hawaiian Chieftain while maneuvering to avoid its rigging. So as the crew and passengers cheered what in a real battle would have been the end of the Hawaiian Chieftain's rudder, I could hear Captain M. asking the Captain-in-Training, "Did he really set off that cannon after I yelled 'Hold fire!' three times?"

He really did.

In another time, of course, they would have been buying "Mister Gunner" drinks instead of the other way around.

Turns out the Lady Washington also has overnight "passage." My wife and I are already checking our calenders.

UPDATE: The official blog of the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain can be found here.