Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Kerry's Sticking To His Guns?

What's with Kerry and grabbing these faulty reports and running with them? Now, I haven't mentioned the New York Times piece about the missing munitions because I thought it was pretty much being covered not only by the new media but by the main stream media as well. I figured it was squashed as soon as it came out. I was amazed this morning on the news to hear that Kerry is still using it in his stump speeches as late as today.

Was this supposed to be the October surprise? If so, it's backfired.

When I first heard about it, I was concerned that it was squashed so fast, that the exposure would be too limited to reflect poorly on Kerry. It looks as though Kerry's going to try and ride it anyway which, it seems to me, could only be to his detriment.

I'd really like someone to ask Kerry, "Who do you trust more, the 101st Airborne or the UN?" The answer, of course, is obvious but I wonder what he'd say.


Captains Quarters

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I Voted....Finally

I've always liked absentee voting. I used to do it when I was going to school out-of-state while my registration was in Washington State. I figured Washington State needed as many conservative votes as they could get. I signed up for permanent absentee status and my ballots came to me like clock-work. I then lived for several years that didn't have that service. You could get an absentee ballot, but you had to sign up for it for each election. Very inconvenient. Once we started having kids, it made voting even more difficult for me and my wife.

Now I've just moved to California and once again I've signed up for permanent absentee voting. I thought it was for the convenience of not having to go to the voting booth. Little did I know that California voting is a whole different kind of beast!

I first received my voting guide. This voting guide is larger than some small town white pages. In it was a discussion on the 16...Count them...16 propositions. Many states have the proposition and initiative process which allows citizens to create laws and get them passed via the electorate. Apparently, California invented the process and takes it to a whole new level!

But wait, that's not all. The voting guide for San Diego County arrived and in it, the discussion on the 7 county-wide propositions.

Finally, a pamphlet arrived discussing a proposition that was community level with its one proposition.

24 propositions! Let me say that again. 24 propositions! And this is in addition to all of the candidates on the ballots.

It took my wife and I 3 hours per evening over the course of 2 evenings to make decisions on all of these propositions and I have to admit that that didn't even give time to reading all of the material about each issue.

So I was grateful for the fact that I voted absentee just for the simple fact that there is no way I could remember how I would vote on 24 propositions and who knows how many candidates.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think the proposition process is nice. It allows people to take their concerns directly to the people when their representatives refuse to listen to them. Nevertheless, I give the founding fathers credit for coming up with a representative government knowing that a pure democracy would be a total disaster. Sometimes I hear people that claim that, given current technology, that a pure democracy is now possible and that we should work more towards that. Anyone thinking that should vote in a California election and it'd become very clear that a republic is definitely the way to go.

Tribute To The Soldiers

You see these things floating around the internet via e-mail and web sites. I usually don't give them much time but this one seemed to touch me today. Here's the link. Enjoy.

Congress Wants To Ban All Abortions

Last night I was watching regular network TV (Fox), something I really don't do very often these days. I saw about a dozen different political ads in the couple of hours I was sitting there. The one that really stood out as being absurd was the most recent ad by Barbara Boxer's campaign.

You can view it here.

If you believed the ad, there just a step away from banning ALL abortions in this country, even when the mother's life is at risk. Now I'd like to see the data on that. She says that there are members in Congress that want to ban abortions. All of them. I want her to name names. Why? Because I don't believe it. I can't think of a Senator nor a Congress person that wants to ban abortions in the cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger.

Now, let's talk about the dirty little secrets "pro-choicers" don't talk about. If Roe v. Wade gets overturned, not a likely prospect, it will not outlaw abortions. WHAT?!?!?! That's right. The overturn of Roe v. Wade will not outlaw abortion.

It would simply return the right to outlaw or not outlaw the practice to the state, where it should be anyway. If you live in California, it's very likely that you will not have trouble getting an abortion. If you live in a more conservative state, you may have to go to a neighboring state.

My attitude on the whole issue is that it should, in fact, be a function of the state to legalize or outlaw abortion. Any state that does outlaw the practice (obviously excepting the cases of rape, incest, and health of the mother) should encourage adoption programs to give mother's an option outside of abortion and to place these children in homes with parents that want them and would bring them up to be productive citizens.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Well, I'm Convinced

After an interview of Eminem by Rolling Stones (brought to us by Drudge), I can't see how anyone could vote for Bush.

Fri Oct 22 2004 13:45:08 ET

Rapper Eminem bodyslams President Bush in the upcoming edition of ROLLING STONE, publishing sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

President Bush is "like dog chasing its tail," the Hollywood-bound Eminem tells the magazine, set to street during the first week of November.

RS: You get deep into your feelings about President Bush and Iraq on "Mosh." Do you think the Iraq War was a mistake?

E: He's been painted to be this hero and he's got our troops over there dying for no reason. I haven't heard an explanation yet that I can understand. Explain to us why we have troops over there dying.

RS: There is no good answer.

E: I think he started a mess. America is the best country there is, the best country to live in. But he's [expletive] that up and could run our country into the ground. He jumped the gun, and he [expletive] up so bad he doesn't know what to do right now. He's in a tailspin, running around like a dog chasing its tail. And we got young people over there dyin', kids in their teens, early twenties that should have futures ahead of them. And for what? It seems like a Vietnam 2. Bin Laden attacked us and we attacked Saddam. We ain't heard from Saddam for ten years, but we go attack Saddam. Explain why that is. Give us some answers.

RS: Are you voting?

E: This is the first year I've registered to vote. And I'm gonna vote. Bush is definitely not my homie, but I'm still undecided. Kerry has been known to say some things that's caught my attention, made a few statements I've liked, but I don't know. Whatever my decision is, I would like to see Bush out of office. I don't wanna see my little brother get drafted. He just turned eighteen. I don't want to see him lose his life. People think their votes don't count, but people need to get out and vote. Every [expletive] vote counts.


With facts like the ones Eminem has put forth, it's really hard to see how anyone could possibly vote for Bush. As far as I can tell, here are the facts according to him:

  • Bush got confused and instead of attacking Osama Bin Laden, he attacked Saddam. I mean, here was Saddam in Iraq minding his own business for the past 10 years and BLAM, Bush attacked him while nothing at all happened to Al Qaeda.

  • The whole country is in a tailspin and nothing is going right.

  • Iraq is Vietnam 2.

  • Bush is going to draft 18 year olds around the country.

    I have no response to these hard core facts. There is nothing I can do, now, but vote for Kerry. Now I have to figure out how to get my absentee ballot back....

    In all seriousness, the one thing I am glad of is that Eminem has decided to register and vote this election. He may not be supporting my candidate, but I do like to see people taking part in the electoral process. It's a bit disheartening that the right that so many have fought and died for is so easily thrown by the wayside and not exercised. Maybe someday he'll look at what's going on in the country and start looking beyond the rhetoric and make informed decisions on the candidates. Chances are, he'll still pick the more liberal candidates, but at least it'll be informed.
  • Wednesday, October 20, 2004

    ER Overrun By The Insured

    Reuters reported on a study finding out who is going to the Emergency Rooms around the country.

    "The mistaken belief that emergency departments are overcrowded by a small, disenfranchised portion of the U.S. population can lead to misguided policy decisions and a perception by hospital administrators that emergency patients are not as valuable to the institution as patients having elective surgery," Weber said in a statement.

    The fact is, roughly 85% of the US is insured at any given time and that number is very likely to be much higher (see this post). We just don't have this health care crisis that Kerry wants us all to think we have. Our ERs are not getting overrun by the uninsured. The vast majority of the people do have insurance and many of the uninsured aren't even under the poverty line. They're young people and others that just, simply, choose to pay medical costs out of pocket instead, after all, that still is an option in our free market economy. We have a problem with run-away premiums but that can be better handled through tort reforms than creating a nationalized option.

    Peter Jennings Doesn't Know If He Can Be Unbiased

    Via Drudge, Channel 7 in Omaha has some excerpts from an interview with Dan Rather asking him about the media bias. Here was Dan's response:

    "I'm a little concerned about this notion everybody wants us to be objective," Jennings said.

    Jennings said that everyone -- even journalists -- have points of view through which they filter their perception of the news. It could be race, sex or income. But, he said, reporters are ideally trained to be as objective as possible.

    He's right on this point, of course. It's not that everyone expects the reporters to be 100% unbiased, but we do expect them to at least try to be unbiased. What ever happened to just focussing on Who What Where When? We're seeing a lot more editorializing coming from our reporters and anchors than just the facts. Not only that, it's the facts that they don't report that causes as much bias as the facts that they do report.

    Of course, all of their woes is a result of the new media of talk radio and the blogosphere.

    Jennings maintains those polls may be driven by groups with an agenda.

    "There's a whole industry of conservatives saying, 'Ah, it's those damn liberals,' and a whole group of liberals saying, 'It's all those damn conservatives,'" Jennings said.

    The problematic response, Jennings said, is the way people tailor the way they consume news.

    "If you tailor your news viewing, as some people are now doing, so that you only get one point of view, well of course you're going to think somebody else has got a different point of view, and it may be wrong," Jennings said.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2004

    Tommy Franks Fires Back

    Several times, during the debates, John Kerry claimed that Bush had "outsourced" the capture of Osama Bin Laden to Afghan war lords and that Bush took his "eye off the ball" in Afghanistan in order to fight the war in Iraq. Bush was curiously quiet and let these charges go by unanswered. I'm not sure why that would be, but he obviously had his reasons.

    Apparently, Tommy Franks couldn't let the charges go by unanswered. Tommy Franks ran both the fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq and he knows precisely the Whats and Whys. Tommy Franks wrote an op/ed in the New York Times in order to answer these charges.

    His main points are:

  • We didn't know one way or another whether Bin Laden was in Tora Bora at the time.
  • We didn't outsource to the afghan war lords. We used them because of their knowledge of the area and we had special forces there assisting.
  • We didn't divert troops or equipment to Iraq. When there was the lead-up to the attack on Iraq, we had 9,500 troops in Afghanistan. When major hostilities ended in Iraq, we had over 10,000 troops in Afghanistan.

    Once again Kerry seeks to mislead the voters and cast a pessimistic view on the events in Afghanistan and Bush's execution of the War on Terror.
  • Kerry Talks Well, But What Did He Say?

    The debates have come and gone. Most Main Stream Media articles are focusing on Kerry's performance in the debates and how well he presented himself. Many liked the way we spoke. They liked the way he had facts and figures at his finger tips. They thought he looked presidential. He was a good looking, smooth talking candidate. Curiously absent from the articles and the commentary is the substance of what he actually said.

    One item that got him immediate into immediate trouble was his reference to Mary Cheney and her sexuality. That was a clear mistake and has been discussed around the alternative media extensively. He tried to smooth it over with some comments that not even his supporters could believe, but he never apologized. An explanation with an apology would have appeared magnanimous and more genuine, but his refusal of an apology made him look petty.

    Something else that was particularly unnerving was his call for a "Global Test" when it comes to any international (perhaps domestic as well?) action the United States feels fit to do. Of course we all know that what he means by a "Global Test" is approval by France and Germany since most of our other staunchest allies are standing beside us in the Iraqi front of the War on Terror. We don't need to pander to nations that do not have our best interests at heart before we can think about what we need to do to protect ourselves.

    Kerry exploited the fear of seniors by charging Bush with trying to kill Social Security in order to enrich his friends. This of course is absolutely not true. Social Security is at risk and Bush has a plan to try and shore it up, but he has always vowed that the current benefits will not go down. What's Kerry's alternative plan? Do nothing. He criticizes with no alternative.

    Kerry wants to create a federal health care service option for the American people. He tries and flowers it up by saying it is just an option that people can take part in at will. He tries to make it not sound as all-encompassing as Hillary-Care in the early 90's. Here's the dirty little secret, though. The federal health care will be paid for by each and every one of us whether we use it or not. What incentive will an employer have to provide health insurance to an employee when the employer can simply save the money and tell the employees to go to the federal plan? Sure, a person could pay for their own, but why would they shell out the extra money for an independent plan when their tax dollars are already going towards the federal plan? As more and more people will have to go on the federal plan, taxes will have to go up and up to cover it. And like all socialized services, efficiency will go down, quality will go down, costs will go up, and there won't be a thing most people will be able to do about it. In the end, most everyone will be forced to be on socialized medicine while the very rich that can afford private insurance premiums on top of their increased taxes will be the only ones that have the option of private quality health care. This of course, at some point, will be considered unfair and the rich will be forced on the same program as the rest of us. Then, WHAMO, Socialized Medicine. Kerry hopes to bring what Hillary Clinton tried to do through the back door. The American people, who obviously don't know what we really need, will have to have socialized medicine snuck in on us, thus, saving us from our own ignorance.

    Is this what we want in a president? Someone who plays dirty tricks and exploits the children of the candidates in order to embarrass them? Someone who wants to give away our sovereignty to other nations? Someone who uses scare techniques on Social Security in order to criticize the alternative plan but do nothing for the problem? Someone who will sneak socialized medicine when it is obviously not wanted by the majority of the American people?

    Get past the smooth answers, nice hair, spray-on tan, botox, and statistics of a questionable origin, and you have an ultra-liberal extremist.

    Bush Ahead in Most All Polls

    According to's average of the national polls, Bush has a decent lead with just 2 weeks until the election.

    » 3-Way Spread: Bush +3.2

    » Head-to-Head Spread: Bush +2.5

    EV Count: Bush 227 - Kerry 220


    Captain's Quarters

    How Long Does It Take John Edwards To Do His Hair?

    You be the judge.




    Friday, October 15, 2004

    More on More on the Mexican Border and Terrorists

    A blog I just found, A Physicist's Perspective wrote this post on the difference between the two candidate's views on the border.

    David Mobley gives some good information on the candidates' position and then states that he's unsure what has to be done. I like this. Everybody is unsure as to what has to be done. If anyone tells you they have the answer is obviously ignoring a large part of the problem.

    The most common solution I hear is that we should militarize the borders. When asked how they'll pay for it, they don't have a good answer. Many of the people that want a militarized border are also for smaller government. That's tough.

    We obviously can't place army divisions on the border because the cost would be astronomical. On the other hand, the thing leaks like a sieve and something has to be done.

    I think Bush is on the right track and I think Kerry also said something that made some sense (we'll see if he changes his position by next week). The temporary workers permit will go a long ways to helping us keep track of the people coming in and out of the US from Mexico. The most dangerous thing about the illegal immigration is that we have no idea about who is coming in and who is coming out. The temporary worker cards gets these people into a database and takes some pressure off the border patrol.

    Bush also mentioned UAV (Unmanned Air Vehicles) patrolling the border helping border patrol find not only illegal immigrants but also drug smuggling. I know the border patrol has been looking into this already and have seen some very successful demos. UAVs can patrol for up to 24 hours at a time by remote control and can use infrared cameras to identify people and vehicles. They're also quiet. They can't be heard from the ground, unlike the helicopters the border patrol uses. Upon identification, the UAV operator can phone the border patrol to bring in their helicopter and men to apprehend them. What's nice about the UAVs are that they can record the whole process from start to finish and use the tapes as evidence in court against drug smugglers. A classic defense is for a drug smuggler to hear the helicopter and jet from their truck and pretend they're an illegal when they get caught. The border patrol has no way to connect them to the truck and so the worse that happens to them is they get deported. With a tape, they wouldn't have that defense.

    Another thing that has to happen is to focus on prosecuting the employers that hire illegals. Unfortunately, with the ease of creating forged documents (right CBS?) an employer who might suspect a worker to be illegal can plausibly hire the worker anyway if they show them a semi-professionally forged document. In order to hold employers completely accountable, we need to give employers an easy way to identify whether temporary worker permits or social security cards are valid. That's where biometrics come in and the only intelligent thing Kerry said about the issue. An employer, even a very small employer, can afford a simple fingerprint scanner (retinal scanner?) that could cross check with a national database of foreign nationals in the US for work. Social Security numbers and driver's license numbers should be able to be checked to see if they are valid and that the name corresponds to the number. Simple things like these could go a long way in reducing the number of illegals working in this country. Employers will have the incentive to check employees out before hiring them because it will absolve them from liability. If there are no employers for illegals, illegals won't come here to work. There will be incentive for them to go through the legal process.

    Will these procedures eliminate illegal immigration? No. Can it help reduce it at a fraction of the cost of a militarized border? Absolutely. I think the candidates are on the right track, though we'll see how they will implement it after election day.

    Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave

    John Kerry is practicing damage control after his reference to Dick and Lynne Cheney's daughter, Mary in the national debate. Fox News has a summary of all the comments made. Edwards started it in the Vice Presidential debate with this comment:

    "I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing,"

    Cheney, in response, just thanked him for kind remarks.

    Then John Kerry made this comment during Wednesday debate:

    "We're all God's children, Bob, and I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was. She's being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it's not a choice."

    This was responded to by Lynne Cheney at a rally after the debate.

    "Now, you know, I did have a chance to assess John Kerry once more and now the only thing I could conclude: This is not a good man," she told a crowd of 800 debate-watchers in a Pittsburgh suburb. "Of course, I am speaking as a mom, and a pretty indignant mom. This is not a good man. What a cheap and tawdry political trick."

    Why so much air time on the daughter of the Vice President's daughter's sexuality? Kerry's campaign manager, Mary Beth Cahill, explained when asked about it right after the debate.

    "She seems to be very proud and open about her sexuality, her parents seem to be very proud of her," Cahill said. "It comes up, there are a lot of questions here about gay marriage, and she is someone who is a major figure in the campaign. I think it's fair game and I think she has been treated very respectfully."

    Apparently the Kerry-Edwards campaign feels that the child of the Vice President is fair game in stump speeches and nationally televised debates. Elizabeth Edwards made this comment Thursday morning on ABC Radio News:

    "She's overreacted to this and treated it as if it's shameful to have this discussion. I think that's a very sad state of affairs. ... I think that it indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter's sexual preferences. ... It makes me really sad that that's Lynne's response,"

    It's abundantly clear that the purpose of bringing up Mary Cheney's sexuality was to try and embarrass the Cheneys at their daughter's expense. There used to be something of an unwritten rule that the children of your opponent are off-limits in campaigns, but I guess nothing is too low for Kerry right now. He's pulling out every stop, ethical or not, to try and sway votes. Luckily this one seems to have back-fired.

    Kerry said yesterday:

    I love my daughters. They love their daughter. I was trying to say something positive about the way strong families deal with this issue,

    Sorry, Senator. I wish you had taken your dying mother's advice: "Integrity, integrity, integrity." Too little. Too late.

    Thursday, October 14, 2004

    Lynne Cheney Not Impressed With Kerry's Performance

    The Washington Post reports that Lynne Cheney, wife of the Vice President and mother of Mary Cheney, whom John Kerry mentioned by name when asked if homosexuality was a choice, took Kerry to task about his politicking the personal lives of the Cheney family.

    Mary Cheney, one of the vice president's two daughters and an official of the Bush-Cheney campaign, has been open about her lesbian status. The candidates were asked if they believe homosexuality is a choice, and President Bush did not mention Mary Cheney. Then Kerry said, "If you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as."

    Lynne Cheney issued her post-debate rebuke to a cheering crowd outside Pittsburgh. "The only thing I can conclude is he is not a good man. I'm speaking as a mom," she said. "What a cheap and tawdry political trick."

    This was obviously a way to try and embarrass Bush and Cheney with the religious right wing. I think it has another affect. It shows a family that have their ideals and struggles just like every other family in America and personalizes them to America. It also shows that Kerry isn't above using the families of his opponents to get what he wants.

    I Am One of the 45 Million Without Health Insurance

    There's a famous quote by Benjamin Disraeli (often misattributed to Mark Twain): "There are three kinds of lies - lies, damned lies and statistics." Last nights debate was full of all three.

    The one I want to specifically address is the number being bantered around stating that there are almost 45 million people who are uninsured. The obvious conclusion they want people to draw is that the economy is so bad and health insurance premiums are so high that a huge percentage (almost 16%!!!) of the American population is without health insurance (and therefore without health care?).

    Well, I have a confession to make. My family of four are 4 of that 45 million without health care. That's right. We have been victims of the Bush economy. Now before anyone feels too sorry for me or my family, let me explain. I changed jobs at the beginning of the year. My last job ended on the last work day of January and I started my new job on the 1st of March. My last job had very good coverage without a deductible and my current job has even better coverage without a deductible, but for 1 whole month (February, the shortest month of the year)my family and I did not have health insurance.

    That's right. That statistic includes people that are between jobs and have lost their insurance temporarily until their next job starts up.

    Alan Reynolds from the CATO Institute wrote an article in the Washington Post on October 5 and it's reprinted on CATO's website called Politicized 'Facts' debunking many of these "statistics about the loss of jobs, the number of people in poverty, and the number of people who are uninsured.

    To fix such problems, a superior Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) is less frequent but more intense. That survey is conducted four times a year but not every year. In 1998, the latest available, the SIPP survey found only 21 million without health insurance for the entire year — half the number in the headlines. The SIPP survey confirmed, however, the CPS finding that about 40 million were indeed without insurance for part of the year. In May, a widely ignored Congressional Budget Office report noted that "between half and two-thirds of the people who experienced a period of time without insurance... had coverage for other portions of that year." Although reporters and politicians will keep shouting that more than 40 million people are continuously without health insurance, that is just another Big Lie.

    One reason many young people lack health insurance is that they rightly expect paying their own medical bills will be cheaper in most years than paying insurance premiums. One reason a disproportionate number of Hispanics lack health insurance is that many are here illegally, and therefore avoiding a conspicuous paper trail.

    These are the things Kerry doesn't tell you. One thing that made me chuckle, though, is that it may come back to haunt him. Right after the debate, one commentator on NBC showed how his health plan will fall well short of covering the 45 million people without health insurance.

    The fact remains, the economy is growing at 3.2 percent. We have gained 1.2 million jobs since the beginning of the year. There are only 21 million people without health insurance, most of which are without it by choice and not because they are too poor. The drop in the median household income (3.4 percent) has been lower than in the last 3 recessions (4.7 - 5.4 percent). And the percent of people that live under the poverty line (12.1 percent) is lower than it has been from 1980 to 1998.

    They can't dispute the facts so they use statistics instead. As Gregg Easterbrook said, "Torture numbers, and they'll confess to anything."

    It's been a while

    Things have been busy. So busy that I haven't been able to keep up much with my blog. My apologies to anyone who has come just to find older information.