Monday, December 31, 2007

NFL Playoff Picks Web Hosting

Here are my picks for the NFL Playoffs:

Jacksonville @ Pittsburgh- the Jags are running all over people and the Steelers don't have Willie Parker. Barring a huge game from Big Ben, I like Jacksonville.
Tennessee @ San Diego - I can't believe the Titans even made the playoffs. San Diego by two touch downs.

San Diego @ Indianapolis - The Colts may not be as good as last year, but the Chargers have declined more. With or without Marvin Harrison, Peyton and Addai will have a big day.
Jacksonville @ New England - I like the Jaguars, but they are no match for the greatest team ever.

Indianapolis @ New England - The real Super Bowl? Greatest team ever wins by 10.

Washington @ Seattle - The Redskins have won four straight, beating the Bears, Giants, Vikings, and Cowboys.
N.Y. Giants @ Tampa Bay - The Giants played well against New England on Saturday. Eli is looking relaxed and Jacobs is a beast.

Washington @ Green Bay - Green Bay in a close one.
N.Y. Giants @ Dallas - Dallas has too many weapons on offense. Just don't let Romo hold for any kicks.

Dallas @ Green Bay - I like Favre over future-Favre (Romo).

Super Bowl: Green Bay vs. New England - Sorry Packers fans, but it's the year of the Patriots. After this game Tom Brady cements his status as the greatest QB of all time.

"Misunderestimating" Bush and the Troops

Peace and security are spreading around Iraq. US fatalities are down to 21 in the past month, almost identical to March, 2003. Michael Barone offers several lessons we should learn in One of the lessons is that "societies can more easily be transformed from the bottom up than from the top down." The Democrats have focused their latest criticisms (now that the security issues are so much improved) on the Iraqi politicians' bickering. However:
The impetus for change has come from the bottom up, from tribal sheiks in Anbar province who got tired of the violence and oppression of al Qaeda in Iraq, from Shiites and Sunnis who, once confident of the protection of American forces and of the new Iraqi military, decided to quit killing each other. They did not wait for orders from Baghdad or for legislation to be passed with all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed.
In summary:
Some of George W. Bush’s critics seem to have relished the prospect of American defeat and some refuse to acknowledge the success that has been achieved. But it appears that they have “misunderestimated” him once again, and have “misunderestimated” the competence of the American military and of free peoples working from the bottom up to transform their societies for the better. It’s something to be thankful for as the new year begins.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Huckabee's Foreign Policy Fumbles

The tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto by terrorists had all the candidates rushing to the nearest microphone to express their sympathy and show off their foreign policy acumen. Or lack there of, in Mike Huckabee's case. He expressed concern that martial law would continue longer in Pakistan, apparently unaware that martial law was lifted two weeks ago. Huckabee also stated that Musharaff "really does not have enough control of those eastern borders near Afghanistan." Um, perhaps he should take a look at this map. Huckabee went on to offer his "apologies" for the assassination, later saying he meant "sympathies." But that's not all. He also tried to tie this to illegal immigration for a Pella crowd, expressing concern about the 660 Pakistanis who immigrated illegally this past year. How does Huckabee know the exact number of illegal immigrants from Pakistan? The Huckabee camp seems to be stumped as well.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fox News Most Balanced in Election Coverage

A new study of the media's coverage of the '08 election shows that Fox News has been more balanced than the networks. The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason U did a scientific analysis of all 481 election news stories on the main evening news shows on NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX from October 1 through December 15. Their findings:
  • Hillary stories were 42% positive, 58% negative, Obama 61% positive, 39% negative.
  • Huckabee was 50/50, Romney 40/60, and Giuliani 39/61.
  • Fox News was 51/49 on Dems, 49/51 on Republicans, while the networks were 47/53 on the Dems, 40/60 on the Republicans.
Just because Fox has shows like O'Reilly's and Hannity & Colmes doesn't mean their news is biased.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

No Country For Old Men

I finally saw the Coen brothers' "No Country For Old Men" today. It is in the "Fargo" vein, but more intense, darker, and even better. I am a huge fan of the Coen brothers ("Big Lebowski", "Oh Brother Where Art Thou", the aforementioned "Fargo") and I think this is their masterpiece. I don't think I moved a muscle whenever Javier Bardem's psycho-killer was on screen. For more info, check out this review from the LA Times:
The story of stolen drug money and the horrific carnage it precipitates, "No Country for Old Men" doesn't celebrate or smile at violence, it despairs of it, despairs of its randomness, pervasiveness, its inescapable nature, of the way it eats at the soul of society and the individuals in it.

Sowell on '08

Thomas Sowell, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford (and the author of the excellent book Black Rednecks and White Liberals, which I am currently reading), provides a quick summary of the '08 presidential election for National Review. I especially like his take on Obama's campaign: "When it comes to articulation, no one can beat Barack Obama. He can even convince people that he has new ideas, when in fact they are old 1960s ideas that have failed repeatedly, ever since that irresponsible decade."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Consensus Debunked

The "consensus" on global warming that has been jammed down our throats isn't holding up too well. The media claims that the scientists who contradict claims that CO2 emissions are destroying the planet are akin to the Flat Earth Society or Holocaust deniers. A new Senate report outlines the views of 400 prominent scientists who disagree with the claims of Gore and the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 400! These scientists are sacrificing piles of grant money to stand up for the truth: that trying to control our climate is impossible, that variations in global temps are normal, that greenhouse gases are only one of many things influencing climate (and CO2 is a small part of greenhouse gases, water vapor makes up the vast majority of it), and that reasonable ideas for improving the environment are cast aside for hysteria. 

Homer Every Day

Remember the Youtube video where the guy takes a picture of himself every day for years? This one's better.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Merry Christmas from the Huckabees

Please don't let this man win the Republican nomination.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Romney on Meet the Press

Romney was on Meet the Press with Tim Russert yesterday. You can watch the interview or read the transcript here. I thought Governor Romney was very successful in handling the tough questions from Russert on Mormonism, abortion, etc. He came out strong against Huckabee's comment that the Bush administration has an “arrogant bunker mentality,” saying “that’s an insult to the president, and Mike Huckabee should apologize to the president." (Huckabee refuses to apologize). The most talked about moment occured when Romney was asked about the Mormon church's decision to finally allow African Americans into the priesthood in 1978. His eyes filled with tears for a moment as he described his reaction to the news.
“And so it’s very deep and fundamental in my life and my most core beliefs that all people are children of God. My faith has always told me that. My faith has also always told me that in the eyes of God, every individual was merited the fullest degree of happiness in the hereafter and I had no question that African Americans and blacks generally would have every right and every benefit in the hereafter that anyone else had and that God is no respecter of persons.”

Rich Rodriguez in at Michigan

Now for something far more important than politics: Michigan football. After getting turned down by LSU's Miles and Rutgers' Schiano, UM landed a head coach in Rich Rodriguez from West Virginia. Rodriguez has been hugely successful at WVU, taking them to a BCS bowl game two out of the last three years, so I am very excited about this move. Rodriguez's teams have used a spread offense and a mobile quarterback, so it will be very interesting to see what he does with the Michigan offense. Ryan Mallet has to be a little concerned, as he's a traditional, drop back passer. However, the #1 recruit in the country, Jeanette, PA junior Terrelle Pryor, has now put Michigan on his short list. He's a 6-6 dual threat QB with 4.4 speed (think Vince Young in maize & blue).

Mike Huckabee or John Edwards?

Read the following quotes and see if you can guess who said them - Mike Huckabee or John Edwards.

  • "American foreign policy needs to change its tone and attitude, open up, and reach out. The Bush administration's arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad."
    • "When I hear the headlines that the economy's doing great, I know that it is, if you look at it from the macro sense. But if you go out and talk to people who work on the floors of factories or you talk to waitresses who are doing their second job, school teachers who have to work an extra job, you don't hear quite the confidence about how great the economy is doing."
    • “I don't want to see our food come from China, our oil come from Saudi Arabia and our manufacturing come from Europe and Asia.”
    • "I am not interested in being the candidate of Wall Street but of Main Street. Wealthy CEOs get paid 500 times what the average worker does, but they are not necessarily 500 times smarter or harder working and that is wrong."
    • "If you want to know how to fix [healthcare], I've got a solution. Either give every American the same kind of healthcare that Congress has or make Congress have the same kind of health care that every American has."
    • The US has a "revenge-based corrections system." And "we incarcerate more people than anybody on earth."
    If you guessed that all of these quotes are from Huckabee, you are the big winner. He is definitely not a conservative. His comments about lower income workers are not based in reality. As I posted earlier, because of economic growth, the lowest quintile saw their income increase by 90.5% from '96 to '05. Why is it any of the government's business what corporations pay their executives? If they overpay, the market will punish them. In healthcare, we should only "give" healthcare to the impoverished. Let everybody else pay their own way. Sure, he's a social conservative, but let's support all conservative principles.

    Thursday, December 13, 2007

    National Review Endorses Romney

    National Review, the prominent conservative magazine, has just endorsed Mitt Romney for president. While they also like Thompson, they do not view him as a viable candidate, citing his lackluster campaign and lack of executive experience.
    Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate. In our judgment, that candidate is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Unlike some other candidates in the race, Romney is a full-spectrum conservative: a supporter of free-market economics and limited government, moral causes such as the right to life and the preservation of marriage, and a foreign policy based on the national interest.

    On Rudy and Huckabee:
    Rudolph Giuliani did extraordinary work as mayor of New York and was inspirational on 9/11. But he and Mike Huckabee would pull apart the coalition from opposite ends: Giuliani alienating the social conservatives, and Huckabee the economic (and foreign-policy) conservatives. A Republican party that abandoned either limited government or moral standards would be much diminished in the service it could give the country.

    More on why Romney is the right choice:
    Romney is an intelligent, articulate, and accomplished former businessman and governor. At a time when voters yearn for competence and have soured on Washington because too often the Bush administration has not demonstrated it, Romney offers proven executive skill. He has demonstrated it in everything he has done in his professional life, and his tightly organized, disciplined campaign is no exception. He himself has shown impressive focus and energy.

    A huge endorsement for Romney, who many feel scored some points on Huckabee at the debate yesterday in Iowa.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2007

    Global Warming Update

    Good news on the global warming front:
    • So far the US and Canada have resisted efforts to get them to sign legally binding agreements to cut carbon emissions at the Bali global warming summit
    • The former director of the National Hurricane Center contradicts Henry Waxman's (D-CA) investigation that claims Republicans pressured him to change his testimony regarding the impact of global warming on hurricane activity.
    • Pope Benedict is now a global warming "denier." He will make a speech on January 1 (the speech was released in time for the Bali conference): The Pope "suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering." HT American Thinker.

    Thursday, December 06, 2007

    Mitt's Speech

    Mitt Romney gave an inspiring speech today. He spoke of freedom and the values that made this country great. Romney showed that his faith is important to him and makes him who he is. While his faith isn't the same as mine (or the evangelical base) he made clear that his values are the same: "Perhaps the most important question to ask a person of faith who seeks a political office, is this: does he share these American values: the equality of human kind, the obligation to serve one another, and a steadfast commitment to liberty?" Please watch the video.

    Sunday, December 02, 2007

    Gallup Poll: Democrats Not All There

    A new Gallup Poll of 4,000 reports that Republicans have much better mental health than Democrats. 58% of Republicans, 43% of independents, and only 38% of Democrats rated their mental health as excellent. You might think this is a result of all the money Republicans have stolen from the poor, but this relationship persists even when you control for income, age, gender, church attendance, and education. The differences in mental health are remarkably consistent across all of these characteristics. The impact of being a Republican on mental health was statistically significant, for the statisticians among you. As we all learned in stats, correlation does not prove causation. While this data does not tell us whether being a Republican improves mental health or if being mentally healthy causes you to choose to be a Republican, I believe that both are true.