Sunday, August 31, 2008

The shoes

“We may be seeing the first woman president. As a Democrat, I am reeling,” said Camille Paglia, the cultural critic. “That was the best political speech I have ever seen delivered by an American woman politician. Palin is as tough as nails.”
Fausta's Blog

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Russians sold Alaska to America

because Sarah Palin would not submit to autocracy.

Right side pundits on Palin; I tamp down Barack criticism!

Jack Kelly in The Pittsburgh Post Gazette:
But if Mr. Biden comes on too hard in the vice presidential debate, he'll look like a bully. And Alaska is littered with the bodies of those who tried to bully Sarah Palin and failed.

Scott at Powerline:
The experience question -- implicit in Kelly's concern about Palin's campaign performance -- remains a kind of trap door on her candidacy. Obama's endless parade of ignorant gaffes are walled off by a bodyguard of media fans. Governor Palin will have no such margin for error.

Mark Steyn in NRO's The Corner:
What other country in the developed world produces beauty queens who hunt caribou and serve up a terrific moose stew? As an immigrant, I'm not saying I came to the United States purely to meet chicks like that, but it was certainly high on my list of priorities. And for the gun-totin' Miss Wasilla then to go on to become Governor while having five kids makes it an even more uniquely American story. Next to her resume, a guy who's done nothing but serve in the phony-baloney job of "community organizer" and write multiple autobiographies looks like just another creepily self-absorbed lifelong member of the full-time political class that infests every advanced democracy.
[...]
Whenever Senator Obama attempts anything non-political (such as bowling), he comes over like a visiting dignitary to a foreign country getting shanghaied into some impenetrable local folk ritual. Sarah Palin isn't just on the right side of the issues intellectually. She won't need the usual stage-managed "hunting" trip to reassure gun owners....
The Left/Obama Campaign/MSM does seem awfully proud of Obama's basketball skills: I've seen quips about Obama vs. McCain on the basketball court. Palin does have a state championship to match up against Obama's very nice (considering the pressure) 21 foot basket on his troop visit.

As for bowling, here's an old blurb I liked, but never published, from Thomas Sowell:
If Barack Obama had given a speech on bowling, it might well have been brilliant and inspiring. But instead he actually tried bowling and threw a gutter ball. The contrast between talking and doing could not have been better illustrated.

Sowell's observation occurred during my own hiatus from criticizing Obama. No such hiatus is in effect now!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You may find this shocking, but I keep the Obama criticism tamped down on the blog. I mean this: Barack is a gaffe machine and therefore there is immense volume of potential material for criticism. It may be hard to believe, but I imitate the MSM and ignore the vast majority of it. I blog for fun. Too much Barack criticism is no fun.

Two examples of Barack gaffes I've up to now ignored:

  1. On 8/21, Barack compared the immorality of Russia's invasion of Georgia to our overthrow of the Saddam government. link This one gaffe, in and of itself, shows sufficient lack of reason and wisdom as to properly disqualify anyone from serious candidacy for POTUS. When Barack goes extemporaneous - and his true thoughts and opinions come out - he is a disaster.
  2. Also on 8/21, Barack said:
    "[China's] ports, their train systems, their airports are vastly the superior to us now, which means if you are a corporation deciding where to do business you're starting to think, "Beijing looks like a pretty good option."
Here, in #2, Barack's default tendency to bash America took over his reasoning. U.S.A. infrastructure is solidly if not spectacularly superior to China's, and anyone who takes just a moment to consider things would realize that. A tendency to unfairly bash America ought disqualify one from POTUS candidacy, as should a tendency towards lack of reason and logic, as should a lack of wisdom and sensitivity about the totalitarian tactics used to force Chinese peasants to labor under harsh conditions to construct the infrastructure which China does have.

Barack, when he looks at China, doesn't see oppressive forced labor by peasants. He doesn't see the Potemkin aspects of the Olympic charade. Instead, he sees the glorious triumph of strong centralized government. At his core, Barack is about the glory of strong centralized government.

In Iraq and Georgia, Barack didn't see humanity being oppressed by Saddam and now by Putin. Instead, he heard this refrain inside his head: "War is bad for children and all living things." The refrain is so loud inside his head that it drowns out his reason.





Friday, August 29, 2008

Sometimes, Peggy Noonan cracks me

Stay through to the end (video link), when she describes the typical Democrat politician's speech. Noonan, a former speechwriter for Reagan and Bush I (she coined "a thousand points of light") knows this ground as well as anyone. She has noticed - as The End Zone has noted 1, 2, 3 - Democrats and leftists are neither the happiest of warriors nor the happiest of human beings.

Which reminds of my thoughts as I watched the rapturous crowd worship Barack: everyone wants to believe in something. It is human nature. Much of the Investco crowd didn't believe in God, so they glommed onto believing in Barack instead. They want the promise of a human hero who will ease their existential pain. If Barack doesn't pan out, they will believe in someone else, and so on, and so on....

Palin's kid




Her thought balloons:

I'm givin ya just a little more good behavior, then I am DONE! No more Miss Nice Kid for you. This is fair warning. I can't believe I had to interrupt playing Barbies for this.

Also, you TOLD ME I could swim at a hotel pool.

You HAVE TO come through on that! You PROMISED!

And, btw, these people around here act sooooo silly!

Sarah Palin Superstar


Updated
State Champion Point Guard; Miss Wasilla, Alaska; Fisherman - er, woman; Elk Hunter; TV Sports Reporter; Hot Librarian; Mother of 5; Pro Life Star; Lifetime NRA Member; Crusader Against Corruption*; Expert on Energy Issues; Crusader for Low Taxes; Thrower of Right Crosses Directly at Chins of Alaskan Government Good Ol' Boys Network.

I might've made up that hot librarian thing, but the rest is true. She is the hot librarian of my dreams...


Stolen from Confederate Yankee: Unlike Dick Cheney and his 28 gauge shotgun: when Sarah Palin shoots a lawyer with her hunting rifle, the lawyer stays down.

This part is true: her nickname on her high school basketball team: "Sarah Barracuda." She played part of the championship season on a stress fractured foot.

Palinfacts.com: The Northern Lights are really just the reflection from Sarah Palin’s eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My reaction to Palin is the same as when I first saw Barack: Superstar.

Political reaction: McCain is obviously going hard for Hillary voters. However, what McCain has really done is energize Catholics and Evangelicals into November polling booths. He needs energized Evangelicals more than he needs moderates and PUMAs. David Brody, at CBSNews.com:

"Also, let me just say that while Palin may not be known much nationally, conservative Evangelical leaders know all about her and think the World of her. They like her. She has been involved and active with many Christian organizations. They like what she stands for ...."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hillarity: Multiple Dems are rushing onto CNN to denounce Palin as unqualified. I can't stop giggling at that.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton released this statement:

“Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency."
Once Dems have a chance to reflect, I think they will decide "lack of qualifications" is not a fight they want to have - and partially because the former Mayor of Wasilla is solidly more qualified to hold office than Barack.

Therefore, I predict this is coming to a media outlet near you:

Sarah Palin: Superstar and Unconscious Racist!
Yep: that's the fight Dems want to have; that's the ground they will choose. That's how they will try and get her: dumb, corrupt, and - especially - unconscious racist. They will pore over her every utterance; they will find what they need to spark an MSM tsunami of Sarah Palin Unconscious Racist ... because, doncha know: Alaska is awfully white ....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*Wikipedia:

Governor Murkowski appointed Palin Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission,[10] where she served from 2003 to 2004 until resigning in protest over what she called the "lack of ethics" of fellow Alaskan Republican leaders, who ignored her whistleblowing complaints of legal violations and conflicts of interest.[5] After she resigned, she exposed the state Republican Party's chairman, Randy Ruedrich, one of her fellow Oil & Gas commissioners, who was accused of doing work for the party on public time, and supplying a lobbyist with a sensitive e-mail.[11] Palin filed formal complaints against both Ruedrich and former Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes, who both resigned; Ruedrich paid a record $12,000 fine.[5]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Governor Palin's Alaskan opponents have attempted what seems like a clear political hit job. This is unsurprising, given that she has thrown hard political elbows at some powerful Alaskans. This morning, I've already heard Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, D-FL, go on CNN and flatly allege that Governor Palin is corrupt. The seeming hit job - which the McCain Campaign had to have investigated before selecting her:

Wikipedia:


Commissioner dismissal controversy
On July 11, 2008, Governor Palin dismissed Walter Monegan as Commissioner of Public Safety and instead offered him a position as executive director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which he subsequently turned down.[46][47] Monegan alleged shortly after his dismissal that it may have been partly due to his reluctance to fire an Alaska State Trooper, Mike Wooten, who had been involved in a divorce and child custody battle with Palin's sister, Molly McCann.[48] In 2006, before Palin was governor, Wooten was briefly suspended for ten days for threatening to kill McCann's (and Palin's) father, tasering his 11-year-old stepson (at the stepson's request), and violating game laws. After a union protest, the suspension was reduced to five days.

Governor Palin asserts that her dismissal of Monegan was unrelated to the fact that he had not fired Wooten, and asserts that Monegan was instead dismissed for not adequately filling state trooper vacancies, and because he "did not turn out to be a team player on budgeting issues." Palin acknowledges that a member of her administration, Frank Bailey, did contact the Department of Public Safety regarding Wooten, but both Palin and Bailey say that happened without her knowledge and was unrelated to her dismissal of Monegan. Bailey was put on leave for two months for acting outside the scope of his authority as the Director of Boards and Commissions. At least one news report (Alaska's KVTA Channel 11) noted that Commissioner Monegan received no severance pay, though oddly another dismissed Commissioner, Charles Kopp, who served only 11 days received $10,000, implying some animus on Palin's part toward Monegan (http://www.ktva.com/ci_10195264).

In response to Palin's statement that she had nothing to hide, in August 2008 the Alaska Legislature hired Steve Branchflower to investigate Palin and her staff for possible abuse of power surrounding the dismissal, though lawmakers acknowledge that "Monegan and other commissioners serve at will, meaning they can be fired by Palin at any time." The investigation is being overseen by Democratic State Senator Hollis French, who says that the Palin administration has been cooperating and thus subpoenas are unnecessary.[52] The Palin administration itself was the first to release an audiotape of Bailey making inquiries about the status of the Wooten investigation.

Obama's speech

Tom Maguire called it "the March of the Strawmen".

Sidebar Poll!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Football begins(!): Baylor Uniforms

Update
July 17, 2009: see post on 2009 Baylor football uniforms at this link.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Coach Art Briles has tried to return to the Grant Teaff era uniforms, with some modification.

The jerseys are Teaff era circa 1974, i.e. the jerseys are darker green than the more emerald green which characterized the last decade+ of the Teaff era (i.e. at least from 1978 on, as illustrated in the photo below, of Singletary in 1979). The darker green is a good green; a likable green; yet not as pretty a green as the more emerald green.

White pants, no stripes. I approve. Teaff pants had a gold stripe outlined by green stripes. I approve the Teaff pants also.

Helmet shade: The helmet gold is nice, yet the shade is not as darkly muddled as it needs to be if Briles wants it to be optimal. The optimal color is "Old Gold" (as also shown in the Singletary photo). I am very, very picky about this. Few others would be as picky. The current helmets are a good shade of gold. The shade could be a lot worse - and has been in the past.

Helmet striping: here I experience cognitive dissonance. The striping is white with green outline, which is perfectly reasonable and perfectly football traditional. However, Baylor for years used a green stripe with a thin white outline(again, shown in the Singletary photo). Baylor has also used no striping; Baylor has also used a single green stripe with no outline. I've never see Baylor gold helmets with a white stripe + green outlines. My brain is broken. I keep staring at the helmet striping as if in a weird, off-kilter dream. The striping - which is perfectly normal and football traditional - is nevertheless freakin me out, man.

BTW: my favorite helmet for Baylor would have no striping.

Overall summary: kudos for Coach Art Briles.

Whines: Jerseys could be emeraldish. Helmet gold could darken. Helmet striping colors could be reversed.

The white helmet stripe with green outline is completely pedestrian. If I am a high school athlete: there's nothing about it which intrigues me or makes me want to put it on my head.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the first half Baylor is getting drummed by Wake Forest. They started a veteran QB, then quickly replaced him with their exciting frosh stud QB: Robert Griffin III. The back of his uniform says: "Griffin III". I've never seen that before.

Griffin III has both wheels and a cannon. His adrenaline is flowing, and he keeps slinging high fastballs over his receivers' heads - like Roger Staubach at the beginning of a playoff game. So: what's exciting about him? Well, the high fastballs do travel very fast. If they ever hit a receiver, they might knock him down. So, there is some excitement. Also, Griffin III scrambled the Bears downfield, and eventually they got themselves into the end zone. Sic em.

Megyn with glasses


Oh babe-y

h/t Drew M

U.S. Economy Grew 3.3% in 2nd Quarter of 2008

"... according to preliminary estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis."
Ed Morrissey

Remember, a few months ago, when multiple D.C. Democrats made a coordinated rush to microphones with this message:
We don't care what the economic statistics say: we are in a recession!
The ignoring of data - in favor of one's preferred fantasy - embodies the essence of the modern Democratic Party.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Barack the fake

Speaking tomorrow night in front of fake columns reminiscent of Athens,
the "Birthplace of Democracy":

Image from The Political Inquirer

Arugula, my friends.

"Because America just sucks" actually resonates as a jibe. Amazing. You could not have teased that FDR or Truman believed America sucked. The jibe would have fallen to Earth with a flat clunk. Nor Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon. Maybe Carter - but not during his 1976 candidacy. Not Reagan, not Bush 41, not Clinton, not GWB. Bill Clinton:
"There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with America."
I read that quote at the Clinton Presidential Library. Barack will never have such a structure - mainly b/c the jibe resonates.

Events preceding Russian invasion of Georgia

Michael Totten provides the best reportage.

Andrew Breitbart travelled with Totten on the long overland trip to Tbilisi.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A fundamental difference between the right and the left

I wrote, in Red Snapdragons:
I've been acting like a lefty! I've been acting as if something is very wrong about life! I've forgotten something is very right about the design of existence.
From Michelle Obama's speech:
All of us driven by the simple belief that the world as it is just won't do, that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.

And that is the thread that connects our hearts.

Bill Clinton: Awesomely Awesome

h/t for stolen headline

Bill Clinton sends a message to Barack: I pity the fool who calls me a racist!

Hillary Clinton sends a message to Barack: Don't f@#% with me.

Utilizing perfect political timing and the perfect venue: Bill Clinton today sunk Barack Obama's campaign. TheHill.com:
The former president, speaking in Denver[...]: "Suppose you're a voter, and you've got candidate X and candidate Y. Candidate X agrees with you on everything, but you don't think that candidate can deliver on anything at all. Candidate Y you agree with on about half the issues, but he can deliver. Which candidate are you going to vote for?"

Then, perhaps mindful of how his off-the-cuff remarks might be taken, Clinton added after a pause: "This has nothing to do with what's going on now."

This is not even a knife in the back: this is a deep slash across the jugular.

I believe this is damaging, and is a politically memorable statement. Pres. Clinton's comments tap into a meme with a lot of truth behind it. The comments might become ranked amongst the most famous Pres. Clinton has ever uttered:

  1. "I did not have sex with that woman...."
  2. "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is."
  3. "Suppose ... you don't think that candidate can deliver on anything at all .... Which candidate are you going to vote for?"
Speculation: This has been planned for a long time. For weeks, as Hillary made nice, Clinton operatives have been sending out the message: Bill just can't get over his anger at the way the primaries played out. Ten days or so ago, appropos of nothing, Bill said this in an interview: "I am not a racist."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I saw, just a day or so ago, on the Travel Channel, some desert Muslims ritually slaughter a goat. They faced the goat northeast, towards Mecca. They slashed it's neck, then hung it upside down, then allowed all the goat blood to drip out of the jugular and onto the sand.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Barack got his start in politics via a powerful and long time Illinois State Senator: Alice Palmer.

When Palmer decided to run for higher office, she a) introduced Barack to the sharp Chicago political operatives he would need, and b) publicly endorsed his candidacy for her longtime state legislative office.

When Palmer subsequently lost the Dem Primary for her newly sought office, she asked Barack to step aside so she could be re-elected to her long-held office in the Illinois State Senate. Not only did Barack refuse to step aside for his patron, he set his new friends - the sharp Chicago political operatives - to work getting Alice Palmer thrown off the ballot. The sharpies succeeded at their task, and Barack ran unopposed for his first political office.

When asked for comment, Alice Palmer said (quoting from memory): "This is politics. You gotta have sharp elbows."

Monday, August 25, 2008

The most important things to know about Barack

In honor of the Dem Convention: edited, updated with new info, bumped to top.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. Very far left (arguably the furthest left of any Presidential Candidate in history)
2. Has never been a reformer
3. No notable professional accomplishment
4. Historical ignorance
5. Naivete
6. Deeply deceptive

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Former terrorist and current radical William Ayers helped Barack start his political career. They collaborated on three projects, most notably the failed $49M Chicago Annenberg Challenge (in education), for which Barack served as Chairman of the Board from 1995-1999, while Ayers served as Head of Operations. Early in Barack's political career, Ayers hosted, in his home, a campaign event for Barack.

Ayers quotes: when an Ayers criminal trial was dismissed on technicality, Ayers said: "Guilty as sin, free as a bird. What a country!"; of his terrorist days, Ayers said: "I only regret we didn't do more." The article containing the latter quote was published on 9/11/01.

Barack has covered up the extent of his relationship with Ayers, characterizing him as merely "a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago...."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. Very far left

VDH explains the most important thing:

[T]he gut instinct for Obama ... is always to start out with the premise of a flawed America, rather than appreciation of the vast difference between us and the alternative.
VDH's words point to Barack being very far left - no matter what Barack or supporters pretend to.

Circumstantially, if Barack is not solidly leftist, why has he spent his political life around leftists, communists, and former terrorists who remain radical? (video; article)

Re actions and rhetoric - one example amongst many: in a speech to the NAACP, Barack four times referenced his belief in "economic justice." Consider exactly what "economic justice" means. Then shiver.

Larry Petrash:

In his latest memoir, [Obama] shares that he’d like to “recast” the welfare net that FDR and LBJ cast while rolling back what he derisively calls the “winner-take-all” market economy that Ronald Reagan reignited.

Stanley Kurtz:

Throughout the 2008 campaign, Obama has made a point of refusing the liberal label. While running for Congress against Bobby Rush in late 1999 and early 2000, however, Obama showed no such compunction. At a November 1999 candidate forum, the Hyde Park Herald reported that "there was little to distinguish" the candidates, who "struggled to differentiate themselves" ideologically. Acknowledged Obama, "[W]e're all on the liberal wing of the Democratic party."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2. Has never been a reformer

David Freddoso (h/t Webutante):

The main lesson is that Barack Obama’s record, throughout his career, demonstrates conclusively that he has never been a reformer, that this image of “change and hope” that he projects is really a great lie. In fact there’s never been a single time in Senator Obama’s political career where he did something that was difficult and would cost him politically for the sake of needed reforms and change.
[...]
If you actually look at Obama’s record the incongruity is actually more obvious because he doesn’t have a record of being a reformer. Reformers don’t ... consistently support corrupt systemic arrangements in every public office they’ve ever held.

Maybe the most quease-inducing example of Barack's same old same old politics is his support for "card check" voting on whether or not company or industry employees will become unionized. Thomas Sowell:

We take it for granted that a vote means a secret ballot, but it was not always that way. Moreover, it will not remain that way for workers who vote on whether or not they want a labor union, if legislation sponsored by congressional Democrats and endorsed by Senator Barack Obama becomes law.

Before there were secret ballots, voters dared not express their true preferences if those who watched them vote could retaliate — whether by firing them, beating them up, or in other ways.

Anyone who is serious about people being free to express themselves with their votes wants a secret ballot.

The problem for labor unions is that workers in the private sector increasingly vote against being represented by unions. The proportion of workers in the private sector who are represented by unions has fallen below 10 percent.

Since unions are losing the game under the current rules, their obvious answer is to change the rules. Specifically, they want to do away with secret ballots when the government conducts elections to determine whether the workers in a particular company or industry want to be represented by a union.
[...]
Of course, the union organizers will then know who did and who did not vote for them. And they may have long memories, or short fuses, or both. Moreover, the workers themselves know that, so they may find it prudent to sign up for a union, whether they want one or not.

This legislation passed the House of Representatives last year but did not make it through the Senate. “I will make it the law of the land when I’m President of the United States,” Barack Obama has said to the AFL-CIO.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

3. No notable professional accomplishment.

Karl, formerly of Protein Wisdom, produced the best overview.

Barack's "community organizer" career accomplished zero of note. Ace of Spades:

Kaus calls this "Obama's Katrina," explaining that if Obama is running on his record as a community activist and advocate, it's a pretty big deal a housing project he had his hand in is an almost-unlivable slum.
[...]
Perhaps Obama had good intentions here. Trouble is, he has a decidedly thin resume, and one of the biggest bullet points on it reads Miserable Failure.

In 1995, Barack headed the $49M Chicago Annenberg Challenge effort to reform education. That effort - the largest enterprise Barack has ever headed - was a flat out and dismal failure, complete with massive squandering of monies, though The Annenberg organization couches "failure" in this Title language for their report: "Successes, Failures, and Lessons for the Future".

If you know of notable accomplishment during Barack's abbreviated legal career, please inform.

As an Illinois State Representative - as beneficiary of Dem. Majority Leader Emil Jones' ultimately successful strategy to help make Barack into a U.S. Senator - Barack infamously claimed credit for about-to-be-passed legislative bills which Jones had taken away from other legislators. Beyond legislation gifted to him by Emil Jones, Barack accomplished nothing of note.

Hillary was on the mark:

"The question is what have you done over the course of a lifetime to equip you for that moment. Now I think you will be able to imagine many things Sen. McCain will be able to say. He has never been the president. He will put forth his experience. I will put forth my experience. Sen. Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

4. Historical ignorance

Suffice to say: Barack sees history through a patina of liberal lies about questions of fact.

As a result: some of Barack's proffered solutions were already tried and proven to be failures during the Carter Administration. For example, a Windfall Profits Tax resulted in drastically reduced government tax receipts from oil companies.

In other instances, Barack is historically ignorant in a way which is independent of being on the left: 1, 2, 3, 4. This is a problem b/c Barack has a penchant for shooting his mouth off without checking his facts. If he allowed his staff to do some research, then his historical ignorance would not be a huge problem. I speculate Barack has arrogance which precludes him from acknowledging areas of ignorance, and thus precludes assigning staff to do research in those areas. I speculate this trait, combined with his apparent belief he can escape any jam via rhetorical brilliance, results in numerous historical gaffes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

5. Naivete - as you would expect from someone who has no substantive accomplishment and is historically ignorant. Scrappleface weighs in. Barack himself weighs in:



Barack also accomplishes the difficult double of being simultaneously naive and condescending, as in:

Americans "cling to God and guns".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

6. "Deeply deceptive".

Example of blatant deception: asked at Saddleback to cite an instance of working across the aisle, Barack cited working with Sen. McCain on earmark reform, even though Barack infamously double-crossed Sen. McCain via backing away from supporting earmark reform. Hugh Hewitt recounts:

Obama sent McCain a letter backing out of the effort. McCain responded with a blistering rebuke.
"I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable," McCain responded. " [T]hank you for disabusing me of such notions."
No matter what one thinks of the merits of the Obama flip-flop, for him to cite his work with John McCain on Senate reform as the best example of his willingness to work against party and self-interest is more than just oily. It is deeply deceptive.

Deceptive Blank Screen: from Barack's 2006 book, "The Audacity of Hope":

I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripe project their own views.
To this day, people who should know better believe that Barack - sometimes in blatant opposition to his own words - will nevertheless legislate as they most fondly desire. Consider the usually shrewd Ann Althouse, in a liveblog of last night's Saddleback forum:
7:25: Define marriage. It's "the union of a man and a woman," and for him as a Christian, it's "sacred" and "God's in the mix." [...] I'm sure in his heart he supports full rights for gay people, but obviously, at this point, he can't say it.
I too suspect Barack "in his heart" supports gay marriage. I only quibble with one of Althouse's words - but it is telling: "sure". My point is: no one actually knows what Barack truly believes about many issues. His words are frequently meaningless - no one believes them: not even his supporters, not even his own staff. Even his staff sometimes doesn't know what he believes when they show up on TV to talk about him. Barack's true beliefs are but wispy fog.

One thing we do know: similar to Terrell Owens' "I loves me some me", Barack believes in and loves his own personal advancement.

More from Ann Althouse, in a closing update to her Saddleback live-blog post:
A telling comment from XWL: "McCain has the advantage of just being able to say what he thinks."

Indeed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In summary, the most important things to know about Barack:

1. Very far left (arguably the furthest left of any Pres. Candidate in history)
2. Has never been a reformer
3. No notable professional accomplishment
4. Historical ignorance
5. Naivete
6. Deeply deceptive

Khatuna Lorig

Georgian-American flag bearer at Olympics Closing Ceremonies. Bravo.

Story.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sanya Richards: Redemption and Vindication

A few days ago, Sanya lost a large lead in the last 100 meters of the 400 Meter Olympic Final. Sanya, in Lane 7, finished third.



Afterwards, Sanya said she got a hamstring cramp as she came down the homestretch.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yesterday, as Sanya waited to run the anchor leg of the 1600 Meter Relay: the girl needed redemption; the girl needed vindication.



I often say that good athletes who fail, and good teams who fail, at some point say to themselves: "Dadgumnit! I am better than this, and I WILL NOT allow myself to fail again." Then they go out and accomplish whatever it is they had previously failed to accomplish. As she awaits the baton, that sentiment is written all over Sanya Richards' face.

She took the baton a full 5 meters behind Russia's best runner.

Midway through the last curve, Sanya was a full 7 meters behind. She made her move.

She began closing the gap.

Could she close it all?

With a scant 30 meters to go: Sanya still closed, yet still trailed. The 400 is an insanely painful race. These women are in great pain.



She made it! She's gonna do it! Working from memory, and with the hashmarks: this is 18 meters from the finish.



4 meters from the finish.



1 1/2 meters from the finish.





When the Kenyan runs into the stadium

Samuel Wansiru; Getty Images

and circles the track and wins the marathon: you know the Olympics are just about over.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's not the size of the Barbie Rod in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the Barbie Rod

The grandfather caught the fish, but the story and the photo remain lovable:

AP Photo

I love that Kung Fu Panda t-shirt. Perfect. AP:
Fri Aug 22, 2:51 AM ET

ELKIN, N.C. - David Hayes' granddaughter just asked him to hold her Barbie rod and reel while she went to the bathroom. He did. And seconds later he landed the state record channel catfish at 21 pounds, 1 ounce.
[...]
The Winston-Salem Journal reported the catch Aug. 5 in eastern Wilkes County has been certified as a record by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Hayes and his granddaughter have been fishing in the pond behind his house since she was big enough to hold a pole.

Hayes said his granddaughter worried he would break her rod. He landed the 21-pound fish on a 6-pound test line. It was 32 inches long, 2 inches longer than the rod.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Shawn Johnson: Gamer

"Gamer", my highest compliment, bestowed on a mentally tough and extremely deserving athlete:

Gold Medalist
Shawn Johnson








Ms. Johnson stood up under a lot of pressure - both before and during the Olympic Games - including the pressure of being a Gold Medal favorite who, during these Olympic Games, had won 3 Silver Medals and no Gold Medals. Ms. Johnson nevertheless came through with an excellent performance - like the Champion she is, and like the champion she would have continued to be, regardless of any judges scores. Bravo. Bravissimo.

WSJ Opinion Journal Online:
August 20, 2008; Page A18

The 4-feet-9-inch, 16-year-old bundle of power named Shawn Johnson is due back in class next week at West Des Moines Valley High School. But before it's time to start junior year, she deserves a few moments to savor her Olympic gold medal in the gymnastics balance beam. Her Tuesday victory was her first of the Beijing Games, but for more than a week she has been an inspiring example of guts and grace.

As reigning world champion, Ms. Johnson was a gold-medal favorite going into the Games. But despite her own performance in the team competition, the U.S. lost the gold to China when her teammates struggled. Ms. Johnson's reaction was to remind her most distraught comrade that it was Ms. Johnson who had made costly mistakes in a tournament last year.

When American Nastia Liukin beat her in the all-around competition, she smiled and told NBC's Bob Costas how happy she was for Ms. Liukin, her Olympic village roommate. A near-miss in the floor exercise elicited more goodwill. "I would never trade one of my silvers for gold," she told ESPN. "What I went through to get them is very special to me and really touched my heart."

Of course she still wanted gold, and it was fitting that her last shot would come on the balance beam, an event so difficult and unforgiving that many people can't even stand to watch it, never mind try to pull off backward somersaults atop a four-inch sliver of wood. Ms. Johnson's score of 16.225 gave her the win and triggered a bouncing, tearful celebration. Few medal winners in Beijing were more deserving.
From an Aug 7 MSNBC story:
Shawn has the express permission of her coach, Liang Chow, to make mistakes.

And, in one of those great twists, it's precisely because she feels the freedom to make mistakes that she rarely makes big ones.

Before the U.S. Olympic Trials, in June in Philadelphia, for instance, Chow told Shawn, as her mother, Teri recalled, just two things:

Perform like a champion.

And don't be afraid to make a mistake.

After which Shawn went out and, just as she did at the 2007 world championships in the individual all-around, came out on top -- finishing with the best overall score at the 2008 U.S. Trials.

"I remember him telling me that," said Shawn, who now wears a team silver medal from these Games. "It is almost just a relief. You're just trying to please the person who has taught you eveyrthing; you want to show them that you can be just as perfect as they've trained you to be. You're afraid to make mistakes. You're afraid to let them down -- even though you wouldn't.

"For him to have told me that, that as long as I went out there and did my best and he knew I had done my best, no matter what happened, he would have been happy -- it made me have a lot more confidence in myself because I knew if I went out there and made mistakes it wouldn't be the end of the world."

"I think that is so helpful to her, that he gives her permission to be imperfect, to be human," Shawn's mother, Teri Johnson, said, adding, "It's as simple as, 'Go do your best.' And, truthfully, that's all anybody can do."

In high-level sport, the mental edge often can -- and does -- make the difference.

Only the bounds of human ingenuity limit the ways in which coaches, trainers and others in the camp of an elite athlete seek that edge.

Chow's way is refreshingly simple.

It is based, he says, on a humanistic approach to the sport and to his athletes.

It is based, he says, on the idea of love.
[...]
"In competition," Chow said of Shawn, "she knows I care about her seeking perfection. I care about how she hits her routines beautifully. But there is no pressure if she is making mistakes, from me or Li [his wife].

"We are just there to help prepare her so she can perform beautiful routines. She's a human being -- we have to realize that."

It is in the vault, in particular, that this approach is most easily seen for those who don't have a technical eye for gymnastics.

Shawn performs an extraordinarily difficult vault called a Yurchenko 2 1/2; she is the only American woman who even attempts it. Instead of sticking the landing, it's not uncommon to see her take a little step.

On purpose.

Better, Chow reasons, that Shawn should give in and allow that small step, if she feels she needs to, than obsess over the perfection of sticking it. [Greg's note: this is a coach trusting his athlete - as opposed to being a control freak coach]

"She absolutely is allowed to make some mistakes," he said, adding, "She has a great personality ... she enjoys herself on the floor -- and in the gym, also. I can't say enough words, enough great things, about this kid. She is a loving person and very respectful.

"She is the world champion, the all-around champion. She is a huge star. But she is also like a normal kid, helping the younger kids, moving the mats, just like all the little things the other kids are doing. There are no exceptions for her.

"I'm very proud of what she does on the floor," he said. "But I am also very proud of her for who she is, as a real person."
Good stuff.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

May and Walsh!

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Golden!






I love these outstanding photos. I like the bottom photo because it shows Kerri's compassion and Misty's famous bootay.

May and Walsh have now gone through two Olympics without losing a set - quite amazing. Kick booty, girls! Misty's bootay is obviously bionic, and cannot be kicked.

May and Walsh are not athletically superior. They are fast on the sand - yet much of that has to do with getting true and good "jumps" on opposition hits. Instead of being athletically superior, May and Walsh are smarter and mentally tougher. A Chinese player, in an effort to stem May' and Walsh' momentum, faked an injury late in the second game. Don't make me laugh. May and Walsh could've cared less. They are about the last athletes in the world who would be affected by such a tactic.

Misty and Kerri are two of my favorite athletes, in any sport, ever. Salute.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The most important things to know about Barack

In honor of the Dem Convention: edited, updated with new info, bumped to top.

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1. Very far left (arguably the furthest left of any Presidential Candidate in history)
2. Has never been a reformer
3. No notable professional accomplishment
4. Historical ignorance
5. Naivete
6. Deeply deceptive

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William Ayers: "Guilty as sin, free as a bird. What a country!"; "I only regret we didn't do more."

1. Very far left

VDH explains the most important thing:

[T]he gut instinct for Obama ... is always to start out with the premise of a flawed America, rather than appreciation of the vast difference between us and the alternative.
VDH's words point to Barack being very far left - no matter what Barack or supporters pretend to.

Circumstantially, if Barack is not solidly leftist, why has he spent his political life around leftists, communists, and former terrorists who remain radical? (video; article)

Re actions and rhetoric - one example amongst many: in a speech to the NAACP, Barack four times referenced his belief in "economic justice." Consider exactly what "economic justice" means. Then shiver.

Larry Petrash:

In his latest memoir, [Obama] shares that he’d like to “recast” the welfare net that FDR and LBJ cast while rolling back what he derisively calls the “winner-take-all” market economy that Ronald Reagan reignited.

Stanley Kurtz:

Throughout the 2008 campaign, Obama has made a point of refusing the liberal label. While running for Congress against Bobby Rush in late 1999 and early 2000, however, Obama showed no such compunction. At a November 1999 candidate forum, the Hyde Park Herald reported that "there was little to distinguish" the candidates, who "struggled to differentiate themselves" ideologically. Acknowledged Obama, "[W]e're all on the liberal wing of the Democratic party."
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2. Has never been a reformer

David Freddoso (h/t Webutante):

The main lesson is that Barack Obama’s record, throughout his career, demonstrates conclusively that he has never been a reformer, that this image of “change and hope” that he projects is really a great lie. In fact there’s never been a single time in Senator Obama’s political career where he did something that was difficult and would cost him politically for the sake of needed reforms and change.
[...]
If you actually look at Obama’s record the incongruity is actually more obvious because he doesn’t have a record of being a reformer. Reformers don’t ... consistently support corrupt systemic arrangements in every public office they’ve ever held.

Maybe the most quease-inducing example of Barack's same old same old politics is his support for "card check" voting on whether or not company or industry employees will become unionized. Thomas Sowell:

We take it for granted that a vote means a secret ballot, but it was not always that way. Moreover, it will not remain that way for workers who vote on whether or not they want a labor union, if legislation sponsored by congressional Democrats and endorsed by Senator Barack Obama becomes law.

Before there were secret ballots, voters dared not express their true preferences if those who watched them vote could retaliate — whether by firing them, beating them up, or in other ways.

Anyone who is serious about people being free to express themselves with their votes wants a secret ballot.

The problem for labor unions is that workers in the private sector increasingly vote against being represented by unions. The proportion of workers in the private sector who are represented by unions has fallen below 10 percent.

Since unions are losing the game under the current rules, their obvious answer is to change the rules. Specifically, they want to do away with secret ballots when the government conducts elections to determine whether the workers in a particular company or industry want to be represented by a union.
[...]
Of course, the union organizers will then know who did and who did not vote for them. And they may have long memories, or short fuses, or both. Moreover, the workers themselves know that, so they may find it prudent to sign up for a union, whether they want one or not.

This legislation passed the House of Representatives last year but did not make it through the Senate. “I will make it the law of the land when I’m President of the United States,” Barack Obama has said to the AFL-CIO.

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3. No notable professional accomplishment.

Karl, formerly of Protein Wisdom, produced the best overview.

Barack's "community organizer" career accomplished zero of note. Ace of Spades:

Kaus calls this "Obama's Katrina," explaining that if Obama is running on his record as a community activist and advocate, it's a pretty big deal a housing project he had his hand in is an almost-unlivable slum.
[...]
Perhaps Obama had good intentions here. Trouble is, he has a decidedly thin resume, and one of the biggest bullet points on it reads Miserable Failure.

In 1995, Barack headed the $49M Chicago Annenburg Challenge effort to reform education. That effort - the largest enterprise Barack has ever headed - was a flat out and dismal failure, complete with massive squandering of monies, though The Annenburg organization couches "failure" in this Title language for their report: "Successes, Failures, and Lessons for the Future".

If you know of notable accomplishment during Barack's abbreviated legal career, please inform.

As an Illinois State Representative - as beneficiary of Dem. Majority Leader Emil Jones' ultimately successful strategy to help make Barack into a U.S. Senator - Barack infamously claimed credit for about-to-be-passed legislative bills which Jones had taken away from other legislators. Beyond legislation gifted to him by Emil Jones, Barack accomplished nothing of note.

Hillary was on the mark:

"The question is what have you done over the course of a lifetime to equip you for that moment. Now I think you will be able to imagine many things Sen. McCain will be able to say. He has never been the president. He will put forth his experience. I will put forth my experience. Sen. Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002."

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4. Historical ignorance

Suffice to say: Barack sees history through a patina of liberal lies about questions of fact.

As a result: some of Barack's proffered solutions were already tried and proven to be failures during the Carter Administration. For example, a Windfall Profits Tax resulted in drastically reduced government tax receipts from oil companies.

In other instances, Barack is historically ignorant in a way which is independent of being on the left: 1, 2, 3, 4. This is a problem b/c Barack has a penchant for shooting his mouth off without checking his facts. If he allowed his staff to do some research, then his historical ignorance would not be a huge problem. I speculate Barack has arrogance which precludes him from acknowledging areas of ignorance, and thus precludes assigning staff to do research in those areas. I speculate this trait, combined with his apparent belief he can escape any jam via rhetorical brilliance, results in numerous historical gaffes.

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5. Naivete - as you would expect from someone who has no substantive accomplishment and is historically ignorant. Scrappleface weighs in. Barack himself weighs in:


Barack also accomplishes the difficult double of being simultaneously naive and condescending, as in:

Americans "cling to God and guns".

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6. "Deeply deceptive".

Example of blatant deception: asked at Saddleback to cite an instance of working across the aisle, Barack cited working with Sen. McCain on earmark reform, even though Barack infamously double-crossed Sen. McCain via backing away from supporting earmark reform. Hugh Hewitt recounts:

Obama sent McCain a letter backing out of the effort. McCain responded with a blistering rebuke.
"I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable," McCain responded. " [T]hank you for disabusing me of such notions."
No matter what one thinks of the merits of the Obama flip-flop, for him to cite his work with John McCain on Senate reform as the best example of his willingness to work against party and self-interest is more than just oily. It is deeply deceptive.

Deceptive Blank Screen: from Barack's 2006 book, "The Audacity of Hope":

I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripe project their own views.
To this day, people who should know better believe that Barack - sometimes in blatant opposition to his own words - will nevertheless legislate as they most fondly desire. Consider the usually shrewd Ann Althouse, in a liveblog of last night's Saddleback forum:
7:25: Define marriage. It's "the union of a man and a woman," and for him as a Christian, it's "sacred" and "God's in the mix." [...] I'm sure in his heart he supports full rights for gay people, but obviously, at this point, he can't say it.
I too suspect Barack "in his heart" supports gay marriage. I only quibble with one of Althouse's words - but it is telling: "sure". My point is: no one actually knows what Barack truly believes about many issues. His words are frequently meaningless - no one believes them: not even his supporters, not even his own staff. Even his staff sometimes doesn't know what he believes when they show up on TV to talk about him. Barack's true beliefs are but wispy fog.

One thing we do know: similar to Terrell Owens' "I loves me some me", Barack believes in and loves his own personal advancement.

More from Ann Althouse, in a closing update to her live-blog post:
A telling comment from XWL: "McCain has the advantage of just being able to say what he thinks."

Indeed.

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In summary, the most important things to know about Barack:

1. Very far left (arguably the furthest left of any Pres. Candidate in history)
2. Has never been a reformer
3. No notable professional accomplishment
4. Historical ignorance
5. Naivete
6. Deeply deceptive

Saturday, August 16, 2008

PHELPS!




8!
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Russia deploys Western Media as a weapon

Pre-invasion, part of Georgia's deterrence against Russian aggression consisted of world opinion which would rally Western Nations to Georgia's defense.

As the invasion began, Russia deployed Western Media as a weapon against pro-Georgia world opinion.

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Russia accomplished this via a series of tactical lies which comprised a kind of lily pad effect: the media frog leaps onto a lily pad lie and then takes days to uncover the lie - by which time another lily pad lie appears, and then another, et al.

The path of Russian lily pad lies is not nearly at it's end. Russia pre-planned their media logistics, tactics, and strategy just as carefully as they pre-planned their military logistics, tactics, and strategy.

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John Bolton points to one successful outcome of Russia's media tactics:
"More troubling, over the long term, was that the EU saw its task as being mediator – its favourite role in the world – between Georgia and Russia, rather than an advocate for the victim of aggression…"

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Why is Western Media vulnerable to the lag times needed to uncover lily pad lies?

Answer:
Because of Western Media's amateurish predilection to report news in a vacuum.

For example:
Putin said he had humanitarian concern for the South Ossetians. Consider:

1) Had Putin's actions ever before displayed humanitarian concern for another nation? They had not. Did Western Media report this as a circumstance to be considered alongside Putin's claim of humanitarian concern? They did not. Here's how that could've been reported:
In past, "humanitarian concerns" have never been a clear source of Mr. Putin's actions.
2) Were there other ways of acting upon alleged humanitarian concern for the South Ossetians? There were.

Georgia was a democratic nation which needed many things. Georgia was ripe to be negotiated with - to the likely benefit of all sides. Did Western Media report this as a circumstance to be considered alongside of Putin's claim of humanitarian concern? They did not. Here's how that could've been reported:
Civilized nations can avail themselves of many options before rolling tanks. Mr. Putin rolled tanks.
Reporting partisan statements in a vacuum equates to reporting lies. This is true whether reporting a statement from Russia, or from any political or interest group. Western Media's lack of professionalism has made them into "useful idiots".

Below, in a quote I am reposting, Richard Fernandez argues that the news model itself, i.e. just the facts, is to blame. Maybe. Maybe the best news model necessarily equates to reporting in a vacuum.

However, I say lack of journalistic professionalism - and all that implies - is the problem. Richard "Wretchard" Fernandez:
One of the reasons that Russia and China spend so much effort on cyberwarfare is that Western information institutions — universities, the press and even the Internet — are so vulnerable to disinformation. The MSM in particular is structurally incapable of classifying and analyzing new information at a near real-time rate. It can be cyberherded easily. And because it is institutionally perpetually amateur, it often can’t even tell when it is being had.
More Richard Fernandez, in his own comment section:
most of our original material comes from the press and increasingly, onsite bloggers. The real significance of denial of service attacks on the .ge (Georgia) domains was to suppress original material, to preserve the Big Lie for as long as possible.
This is an important point. Russians made efforts - as a tactic - to prevent both media and bloggers from reporting on the truth or falsity of an alleged Ossetian humanitarian crisis which WaPo now (8 days after the invasion) reports never happened. Watch this quite amazing video (which proves nothing, but is amazing) of journalists who tried to drive from Gori, into Ossetia, only to be met by hostile fire. The Turkish journalists scream, in English: "Journalists! Press!" They didn't realize that info might have already been surmised, and might have already resulted in fire being directed at them. More Fernandez:
The Big Lie is eventually unmasked, but the process is lagged, by which time it has been supplanted by another Big Lie. And since the Press jumps like a frog, from lilypad to lilypad of subject matter, (not through personal incompetence but because of the way the news model works) then it is a perfect subject for disinformation. Putin just needs to leave a trail of lilypads …

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Perhaps this 80 second video can influence public sympathy in favor of the Georgian people. The action is simple. The wound is minor, yet viewers will understand valor when they see it.



The West must fight back as best we can. This video is a weapon.

Update: Surreptitious BBC video of Russian troops in port city of Poti. A Russian spokesperson claims there are no troops in Poti. The BBC reporters fear they might be shot if they are found to be filming. The Russians show no signs either of abandoning Poti or of tolerating reporters.

Fierce Zagunis and her fierce friends win Team Bronze

After writing this, I found video of the U.S. Womens Team on MSNBC's site. The video is naturally more enlightening than my words. I will leave the words and links anyway, as a reminder of my impressions of these women and their sport.

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I am impressed with the U.S. Women's Saber team. Here are three of the four, pictured on the podium after earlier sweeping the individual medals (L to R): Sada Jacobsen, Mariel Zagunis, Becca Ward.

Getty Images

Slideshows of Zagunis: 1, 2, 3. Not pictured in photo above: fourth team member Dagmara Wozniak.

Saber is an unpredictable high wire act. The touches are counted by fallible human judges. Surges of momentum, seemingly unstoppable when they are happening, come and go - due, I believe, to attacking fencers getting into momentarily unstoppable rhythms, and/or to attacking fencers finding momentary vulnerabilities.

Saber requires tremendous mental toughness. The U.S. had to win 45 points to win their match with France. The U.S. women were fierce. They pulled to an 8 point or so lead near the end, then Becca Ward, especially, had to weather a surging comeback attempt by her opponent. France closed to within a few points, the outcome was perilously in doubt, then Ward put her opponent away. Nothing comes easy in fencing. Every victory is well and fiercely earned. Slideshow of the team during the Bronze Medal Match, and of Ward in the moments immediately after victory.

American Sada Jacobsen, 2004 Bronze Medalist and 2008 Silver Medalist, stands out for her quiet self-possession. She is a Jedi Warrior: fierce in the moment of battle; serene in the moments between, when she appears to have just come out of a half hour of calming meditation. Jacobsen fun fact: her favorite movie is "Princess Bride." Slideshow of Jacobsen.

Zagunis and Becca Ward are demonstrative. Their adrenaline is up, and they show it. They stalk the seconds between points as if they are caged tigers. In the millisecond after a touch on her opponent, Ward consistently wheels on the judges and demands satisfaction. The U.K. Guardian called her a diva. So be it. She's our diva, and we love her. Slideshow of Ward.

Zagunis, in what would be her final Olympic point, wheeled on the judges a la Ward - adding an insta-ripping-off-of-her-facemask for effect. Zagunis glared at the judges: Fail to give me that point at your peril. I've had just about ENOUGH of you guys.

This is not that moment, but maybe it will help you imagine the intensity of it. Turn this smile into a demanding glare-which-will-not-be-denied-give-me-the-point-I-deserve-you-bastards, and you pretty much have it:


AP photo


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2004 WaPo article about Zagunis' Gold Medal victory in Greece(Jacobsen won Bronze):
"Said Burdan simply: 'Tonight is the greatest night in the history of American fencing.'"
Guardian writer encounters 2008 Individual Olympic Tourney.

March 2008 Interview with 18 year old Ward:
"When the match was over, I was standing there thinking: 'I wonder if I just gave my parents a heart attack?'"

Interrupt this blog vacation: Kerri Walsh shoulder mystery

What is the black marking on her shoulder?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Interrupt this blog vacation: Chinese gymnasts

Do these Chinese gymnasts meet the minimum age requirement of 16 years? That's the American team on the left:


AP photo

Another photo - some of the Chinese gymnasts shopping at an Olympic souvenir store on Sunday:

Photo by Juliet Macur/The New York Times

Gateway Pundit - Busted China caught cheating:

[T]oo bad for China the articles [listing gymnast ages as young as 13] were saved in the internet archives.

China is soooo busted!



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U.S. in Georgia: economy of force; proxy warfare; infliction of insurance cost!

Bush to Putin: Fear the marine underwriting!

Aug 13, 2008 - 4:36 pm
Wretchard:
The geography of the Black Sea and limited access to Georgia means that the US is unlikely to seek a decisive or sharp confrontation with Russia there. The US ability to project power into the region is limited. It would be like trying to play a game against someone with a broadband conection while you have dialup. Therefore US involvement in Georgia will be economy of force.

Being on the defensive has the virtue of typing up 3, 4 or 5 Russians for every Georgian. The Russians have to wear out their armor and airplanes to get stuff over the Caucasus. So my fearless forecast is that US involvement with focus on making the Georgians more effective. Besides, Cold War Rule Number Two says “proxy warfare is OK”.

Once Russia takes the Black Sea ports the Georgians can mine them or fire antiship missiles at whatever is in the harbor. Even if this only does minor damage, it would turn the Eastern Black Sea coast into a warzone and since one third of Russia’s shipping goes via the Black Sea, I think Moscow will soon discover they have just blockaded themselves. As I pointed out from the begining of the crisis, this is an air and naval game.

According to these officials, Russian Black Sea ports currently handle more than one third of Russia’s sea-borne exports in terms of tonnage. Total export cargos were reported at 160 million tons in 2006 and are “conservatively” expected to grow to 250 million tons annually by 2010. The port development program ambitiously envisages doubling the existing export capacities, which are currently strained to the limit and distributed very unevenly along the Russian coast.

At present, Novorossiysk alone handles more than one half of that overall export tonnage. The over-congested port’s various terminals loaded a reported 88 million tons of export cargos in 2006.

That figure includes an estimated 60 million tons of oil, one half of this originating in Kazakhstan. Oil loading will increase if the Caspian Pipeline Consortium’s line boosts the volume of oil pumped from Kazakhstan to Novorossiysk. Expecting this to be the case, the Russian government is ordering three tanker ships to carry that additional volume of oil from Novorossiysk to Bulgaria’s Black Sea port of Burgas, for feeding into the planned trans-Balkan pipeline to Alexandropolis on the Greek Aegean coast.

The USN doesn’t have to control the Black Sea. It simply has to partly deny it to the Russians by making it a doubtful place. Then insurance rates and risk interest premiums will make Putin wish he had never been born.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Georgian military withdraws, Russians bomb civilians

in Gori, after Russian PM Medvedev "ordered" a ceasefire:
Miles away, at one of Tbilisi's main hospitals, doctors struggled to care for the wounded [from Gori], who arrived in waves throughout the day. Many were elderly. None was a soldier.
[...]
"Do you see any military people here?" asked Nikoloz Kvachatze, another doctor. "These are all civilians."
[...]
"They are punishing us," Kvachatze said of the Russians. "They are punishing us for trying to be independent."
Presidents of Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia travel to Tbilisi to stand behind Georgian President Saakashvili at today's rally of 10,000 Georgian's protesting Russia's incursion into Georgia. President Saakashvili:
"Today, John McCain said Americans are supporting Georgia. He said: 'We are all Georgians today!' (crowd cheers, begins chant I cannot identify)
[...]
Despite that it is dangerous to be in Tbilisi today, I want to say that here stand the leaders of these European countries, and I want to say thank you."

Russia is at fault

The Russian assault across an internationally recognized border was planned months and months ahead of time. Logistics dictate nothing less.

Therefore, the media and left agonized questioning over who was at fault between 55,000 ethnic Ossetians and 4.6M Georgians is a joke. The Ossetians and Georgians might've easily carried on their low level Hatfield-McCoy skirmishes for another 200 years.

The question is not "Ethnic Ossetians or Georgia?" The question is "Russia or Georgia?" The recent provocations out of Ossetia are likely to have been disguised Russian provocations which were designed to provoke some kind of response from Georgia - any kind of response: the slightest raising of any finger - which Russia could then use as an excuse to roll tanks across the Caucasus.

U.S. media and world media have provided Russia with public relations cover - so as not to “provoke” NATO or the U.S. into military action, doncha know. That’s the media’s job: evade the truth if it might provoke military action. Evade truth. Promote peace. Taught at all the J-Schools.

Ralph Peters:
the Kremlin spent months planning and preparing this operation. Any soldier above the grade of private can tell you that there’s absolutely no way Moscow could’ve launched this huge ground, air and sea offensive in an instantaneous “response” to alleged Georgian actions.

As I pointed out Saturday, even to get one armored brigade over the Caucasus Mountains required extensive preparations. Since then, Russia has sent in the equivalent of almost two divisions - not only in South Ossetia, the scene of the original fighting, but also in separatist Abkhazia on the Black Sea coast.

The Russians also managed to arrange the instant appearance of a squadron of warships to blockade Georgia. And they launched hundreds of air strikes against preplanned targets.

Every one of these things required careful preparations. In the words of one US officer, “Just to line up the airlift sorties would’ve taken weeks.”

Working through their mercenaries in South Ossetia, Russia staged brutal provocations against Georgia from late July onward. Last Thursday, Georgia’s president finally had to act to defend his own people.

But when the mouse stirred, the cat pounced.

The Russians know that we know this was a setup. But Moscow’s Big Lie propagandists still blame Georgia - even as Russian aircraft bomb Georgian homes and Russian troops seize the vital city of Gori in the country’s heart. And Russian troops also grabbed the Georgian city of Zugdidi to the west - invading from Abkhazia on a second axis.