Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Wright Stuff?

I heard a lot about Obama's recent speech called, "A more perfect union", so today I searched for and found the video.

George Lakoff is cuckoo for the speech. You can read his comments here.

Since deciding that I prefer Barak to Hillary I haven't felt conflicted. Hillary seems like she's angrily imploding while equating attacks against Obama with making the case for herself. It is not the same thing at all, otherwise my own criticism of the president Bush would qualify me as your president.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The way of the vegemite

Here is a 40-minute talk by Dr. Colin Campbell, author of "The China Study".

T. Colin Campbell Presentation

I have been mostly adopting a vegemite diet and so far it is going well. I say mostly because I am intent not to be a fanatic about this. Here is my outlook:

  • I have meat in the freezer that I'm not going to throw out since an animal died to provide it. 
  • If I'm going to do this, then one key is good recipes. I don't know how to cook vegemite dishes, so I've been perusing vegetarian cooking magazines. That has provided an influx of  ideas.
  • Thinking about food like this has turned out to add a lot of interest to meals. One success was  the idea of fixing a nice meal, to both try out new recipes and to illustrate that a change like this doesn't have to be a martyr's experience. On the menu were stir-fry turnovers and sage/pumpkin-balls with white wine and then desert (a chocolate-pie with date-nut crust).  I think that was a good idea. Everything looked, smelled and tasted good and I was full.
  • Cheese is really good on a lot of things and that will be tough to eliminate, perhaps even impossible for me. I think I'll reduce the amount of cheese I eat by using Parmesan cheese grated on things, as well as a sprinkling of nutritional yeast. It is a quality vs. quantity approach.
  • I have no desire to become a fanatic about my diet. Life is short and uncertain and there are times when I am going to consume animal protein (i.e. holidays, Super-Bowl parties,  weddings). I'll leave horror, guilt, and shame to the vegans.
  • I'll steer away from the fake-meat products, which usually look unappetizing and invite comparison. I want to strive to make food that tastes good in-and-of itself. Vegetables have a lot of color and flavor and simple techniques like roasting or sautéing develops them further. I don't think there is any need to make "meat-like" dishes and I believe this is a self-defeating approach given my experience with a Tofu "hot-dog". Anything more disgusting than a hotdog will only be found in my trash bins.
  • Having said that, though, I have found a few substitutes that I like. I prefer the taste of rice milk to soy milk, and like Nature's Gate brand. I like Morning Star "chicken" nuggets. I also like WholeSoy & Co.'s soy frozen yogurt. So, I am not going to be fanatical about avoiding substitutes either.
  • I really like soup and I'm going to figure out some good ones. I saw a Tuscan bean and green soup that looks good and French Onion soup ought to be possible.

So far this approach is working out well-enough for me. I have had a pizza with friends here, and burger at a BBQ joint there, but on the whole I have reduced the animal protein in my diet by a large magnitude. 

Monday, March 24, 2008

Simplicity Itself

Politicians are great at generating confusion when campaigning. Here is what I intend to keep in mind come November.

This is an election to pry power from the finger-tips of people that have abused it. If I live to be 140 years old I expect to never see economic, moral, and foreign policy failures of this magnitude, duration, and cost.

In short, I will vote for a gassy mule with a powder-horn in it's butt over a Republican in 2008, and that goes double for one so misguided as to see success when he looks at 4,000 deaths, 5 years, and no political progress.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Where in the world is Dick Cheney?

Vice president Dick Cheney's current tour du war includes stops in Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, and Turkey. You might ask yourself, "Self. What is Dick doin'?"

DEBKAfile, an Israeli-aligned intelligence-reporting site, reports that:

Our military, Washington and Gulf sources report that US Vice President Dick Cheney is again talking about possible US military action to shut down Iran’s covert nuclear program.
Full Details
I know it is late in the president Bush's term, but those incompetent violence-addicts need watching.

Friday, March 21, 2008


The past sez...

"Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God's service when it is violating all His laws. Our passions, ambitions, avarice, love and resentment, etc., possess so much metaphysical subtlety and so much overpowering eloquence that they insinuate themselves into the understanding and the conscience and convert both to their party."

- John Adams in a letter to Thomas Jefferson -
Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1952), 21-22

The present illustrates...

Raddatz: Two-third of Americans say it’s [Iraq war] not worth fighting.

Cheney: So?

Raddatz: So? You don’t care what the American people think?

Cheney: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls. There has, in fact, been fundamental change and transformation and improvement for the better. That’s a huge accomplishment.

-Excerpt from an interview between Martha Raddatz, chief White House correspondent for ABC News, and vice president Dick Cheney in Oman. -

I sez...

Shouldn't someone with Dick Cheney's record have more humility? 
Shouldn't a public servant in a democracy have a higher regard for the will of the people?

Dick Cheney reminds me more and more of "Dear Leader" Kim Jong Il.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Delegate math

Barak Obama has 1413 pledged delegates and 208 super delegates for a total of 1621 delegates.

Hillary Clinton has 1242 pledged delegates and 237 super delegates for a total of 1479 delegates.

John Edwards has 18 pledged delegates.

Democratic candidates need 2024 delegates to win the nomination.
Obama therefore needs 403 more delegates (1621 + 403 = 2024).
Hillary needs 545 more delegates (1479 +545 = 2024).

3118 delegates awarded so far (1621 + 1479 + 18).
There are 4047 total delegates.
There are, then, 929 delegates remaining.

There are 566 pledged delegates left, ranked in descending delegate order below:

Pennsylvania has 158 delegates and votes on April 22nd
North Carolina has 115 delegates and votes on May 16th
Indiana has 72 delegates and votes on May 6th
Puerto Rico has 55 delegates and votes on June 7th
Oregon has 52 delegates and votes on May 20th
Kentucky has 51 delegates and votes on May 20th
West Virginia has 28 delegates and votes on May 13th
Montana has 16 delegates and votes on June 3rd
South Dakota has 15 delegates and votes on June 3rd
Guam has 4 delegates and votes on May 3rd

This means there are 363 super delegates remaining (929 - 566)

Now that we have the info we can look at the odds.

Obama needs 403 of the 929 remaining delegates, so he needs 43.38% of the total to win the nomination (403/929).

Hillary needs 545 of the 929 remaining delegates, so she needs 58.67% of the total to win the nomination (545/929).

Here are the places she garnered those kinds of pledged delegate numbers:

Hillary won 59.14% of the pledged delegates in Massassachusetts's (55 of 93).
Hillary won 59.91% of the pledged delegates in New York (139 of 232).
Hillary won 63.16% of the pledged delegates in Oklahoma (24 of 38).
Hillary won 66.66% of the pledged delegates in American Samoa (2 of 3).


I cannot resist pointing out here that Democrats will be counting the votes in Guam, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa while ignoring those of Florida and Michigan.

God Talk

If you want to see someone reasonable discussing the athiest viewpoint, you can't do much better than this opening statement by Sam Harris:

This statement was part of a debate with Chris Hedges. You can view the full exchange here:

Truthdig discussion

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Obama finally sat down with the Chicago press and answered all questions about Tony Rezko.

Details here

With that albatross flung off his neck I feel a lot better about candidate Obama.

So much so that I think I'll do a post shortly on delegate math and Hillary's predicament.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Here is a link to a video of Bill Moyers interviewing former journalist Sarah Chayes. She has been helping to rebuild Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban.

Hope is irrelevant

She seems like a remarkable woman and I admire her fortitude.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Woman in red

Vanessa Cariddi grew up in Maine and from a young age was captivated by opera. If you've ever traveled around rural Maine you'd know how improbable that was.

Knowing nothing about opera I will describe her voice as luscious. She appears in this video dressed in red and on the right:

Here is a link to her website: Vanessa Cariddi

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I've seen enough of Hillary

I've decided that I've had enough of Hillary's campaign. She just drove me away with this bit of shameless, scorched-party groveling for votes:

"I think you'll be able to imagine many things Senator McCain will be able to say. He's never been the president, but he will put forth his lifetime of experience. I will put forth my lifetime of experience. Senator Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002,"

Clinton on her plane en route to Fort Worth from San Antonio.

Now I hope she loses in a rout.

ADDENDUM: So much for a Texas rout, but now Hillary has been caught exploiting racism.

Her desire to win now exceeds my desire to vote for her.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Whitewater too?

The worst-case scenario I can come up with for Democrats in 2008 goes something like this:

1. Obama locks up the nomination
2. The press suddenly realizes the Tony Rezko story (see here and here) is worth looking at after-all.
3. The trial becomes a circus, with Obama forced to testify.
4. John McCain plays the race card.
5. Al Sharpton rides in and kicks the hornets nest.

Maybe it is a good idea for Hillary not to concede the nomination after-all?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Jack Nicholson endorses Hillary

Here is a YouTube video of Jack Nicholson endorsing Hillary Clinton:

Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin