Friday, February 22, 2008

Blowed Up Real Good.

Right back at ya, Beijing! Video of the spy satellite being destroyed by missile is here. Stick with it to the end.



Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Proof That God Exists And Loves Us: Part 5.

We've heard it before that red wine has health benefits. Now Canadian scientists have learned that any old alcohol is just as beneficial as red wine for improving circulation. Test subjects were required to drink red wine and spirits.
"After one drink of either red wine or alcohol, blood vessels were more 'relaxed' or dilated, which reduced the amount of work the heart had to do." (Here.)
Once again drinking turns out to have health benefits.
"Alcohol or substances in alcohol such as resveratrol may improve blood vessel function and also prevent platelets in the blood from sticking together, which may reduce clot formation and the risk of heart attack or stroke."
God wants us to be healthy and happy. Not too happy, though.
"But, after two drinks, the heart rate, amount of blood pumped out of the heart, and action of the sympathetic nervous system all increased. At the same time, the ability of the blood vessels to expand in response to an increase in blood flow diminished. This counteracted the beneficial effect of one drink of red wine or alcohol."
So here's to your health, one drink at a time. Make mine a bourbon.


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Friday, February 08, 2008

Faith-Based Initiative Needs Help.

The SETI@home project is looking for more volunteers to hook their desktops into the SETI network and process data obtained from the Arecibo radio telescope.
"'The next generation SETI@home is 500 times more powerful then anything anyone has done before,' said project chief scientist Dan Werthimer. 'That means we are 500 times more likely to find ET than with the original SETI@home.'" (Here.)
Assuming, that is, ET is out there. If not, 500 times zero is still zero.



Tuesday, February 05, 2008

There Will Be Democratic Blood.

The Democratic results on Super Tuesday appear to have given neither candidate a clear lead. The delegate totals at this time (1045 PM Western on Super Tuesday) are Clinton 631 to Obama 525. (CNN website here.) The results aren't final but by the time all the Super Tuesday votes are counted the two top candidates will remain close to each other.

But because of anti-democratic rules adopted by the Democratic Party, these delegate totals do not count the votes of the people of Florida or Michigan. The Democratic Party stripped Michigan of all 156 of its delegates and Florida of all 210 of its delegates to punish the two states for holding their primaries too early. Clinton got 55 percent of the vote in Michigan and 50 percent of the vote in Florida.

The total delegate counts also include so-called "super delegates." These super delegates were not chosen by the voters in the primaries or caucuses. They are politicians, who are not pledged to any candidate. They can vote for whichever candidate they choose.

If the election results continue through the upcoming primaries as they have to date, the Democrats will convene their convention without a clear winner. We are going to see a big and potentially rancorous fight. HillBilly is not going to go down without fighting for the delegates Clinton should have won in Florida and Michigan. We can look forward to protestors chanting "count every vote," Clinton lawsuits, and the spectacle of the two leading candidates lobbying the super delegates, no doubt appealing only to their better natures. Surely, there will be no back room deals at a Democratic Convention.

This is the best political year in my voting lifetime.


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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Nothing A Good Bourbon Won't Cure.

The campaign in California is finally heating up. I've gotten half a dozen robocalls from the McCain and Romney campaigns this weekend. Mostly from Romney's. Interestingly, there was only one attack call and that was from the Romney campaign. The call tried to convince me to vote against McCain because Sean Hannity says McCain is not a conservative. As if I'd let that Fox doofus tell me how to vote.

I had planned to do early voting on Saturday but instead ended up taking a drive to Escondido, a town about half an hour north of San Diego. A great liquor store, the Holiday Wine Cellar, (here) was holding a bottle of Rowan's Creek bourbon for me. (Try it, you'll like it. You'll really, really like it.) I also took a chance on a $35 bottle of small batch bourbon from a distillery called Black Maple Hill.

On the drive home, I ended up listening to a repeat of Hannity's talk show for some reason. He did not sound happy. He seemed to have lost hope in politics. He was counseling his listeners to focus on their personal lives. He sounded like the ending of Voltaire's novel Candide. You know, where the character says we should all just tend our gardens.

What prompted Hannity's despair? McCain's ascendancy, of course. He was going on about McCain not being a conservative and what a disaster it will be for conservatism if McCain is the GOP candidate. Then Hannity admitted that he, himself, is more of a conservative than a Republican, and he said something about registering in the New York Conservative Party. Okay, Sean, if that's really how you feel, then butt out, will you?

I'm telling you, this intra-party squabble has the venom rising within me. Time for a glass of good Kentucky whisky.


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Dozo, Smoke On The Water.

A music video for the ages. Go to (Here.) Don't ask. Just go.



The Schadenfreude Election.

My dominant feeling this primary season has been schadenfreude. I've felt schadenfreude over the Democratic primaries for a number of reasons. There were the suspicions raised in New Hampshire because vote tallies appeared to differ between precincts that used machines and those that didn't. There was the undemocratic Nevada caucus where Hillary won the popular vote but Obama won the most delegates. There was the personal rancor between the frontrunners.

The identity politics of sex and race practiced by Democrats came home to roost with a vengeance within their own party. The divide began in New Hampshire when Hillary won the primary there despite predictions to the contrary from the opinion polls. This immediately raised the specter of racism. The high point was watching Chris Matthews speculate that Democratic voters told pollsters they would vote for a black politician but then in the privacy of the voting booth they gave their votes to the white politicians. If Matthews was right, that meant that all those middle-aged women who supported Clinton were closet racists.

The racial divide only increased in South Carolina when the Democratic vote split along racial lines with Obama getting 75 percent of the black vote and only 25 percent of the white vote. It got even more divisive later when Hispanics went in large numbers for Clinton. The racial angst in the Democratic primaries is the just desserts for a party that lives and dies on identity politics of race and sex.

Schadenfreude also grew from watching first Huckabee's and then McCain's rise to dominance within the Republican Party. Conservatives in the Republican Party have been tearing their hair out over the lack of a true conservative candidate and the rise of McCain. The problem is that conservatives have come to believe the Republican Party is the Conservative Party. Conservatives have forgotten that they are only a part of the Republican coalition and McCain's rise reminds them of that.

The conservative comeuppance is long overdue. For about two years now conservatives have been working to marginalize the Republican party by making it ideologically pure. I could not believe my eyes when I read Peggy Noonan turn on Bush after he said America would spend whatever it took to rebuild New Orleans. That Bush statement prompted Noonan to write that conservatives needed to speak out against big-government spending. What compassion. George Will wrote for years how America talked the talk in favor of small government but didn't walk the walk. When the Republicans caught on to that and elected George Bush, a poliician who recognized that reality, suddenly Will was aghast.

But the most damage conservatives have done to the GOP occurred when they embraced Pat Buchaninism and began their hysterical campaign against illegal immigrants. As far as I'm concerned, conservatives favor Pup Tent Republicanism. They want the party to be ideologically pure and if it means reading non-conservatives out of the party and losing an election, well, that's fine with them. I think they've got their heads in a place where the sun doesn't shine. The most important thing in politics is winning. You don't win by exclusion. You win by inclusion. That's what Big Tent Republicanism was all about. McCain represents Big Tent Republicanism. I hope he wins.

But schadenfreude has come home to roost on me because I have to say I give my vote to McCain reluctantly. He's made his career out of being the anti-Republican Republican and I don't particularly like that. He was not my first choice in this election. Rudy Giuliani was. But despite Rudy's pugnacious image he turned out not to be a fighter at all. He turned out to be a quitter. He decided on a bizzare campaign strategy of deliberately losing every election before Florida. It's no surprise that by the time Florida rolled around the candidates who had actually tried to win the early elections did better than he did. Who wants to give their vote to a loser? What is surprising is that he decided to quit.

Rudy's failure was disappointing and put me in a dilemma: vote for McCain or Romney. Neither candidate is ideal but both are good on the issue that matters most to me: the war against violent jihad. On other issues either is acceptable although Romney tends to be just a bit better. But McCain is better on immigration. Romney has aligned himself with the hysterical opponents of illegal immigration. His emrace of Pup Tent Republicanism disqualifies him for me.

So come Tuesday, I'm going to close one nostril and vote McCain.


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