Monday, 13 October 2008

McCain's Vanishing Chances

According to, McCain's chances of winning are now a mere 5.9%. 

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Some Useful Pieces Of Business Advice

These are all worth a read. Here's No. 3
Lesson 3:
A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil

They rub it and a Genie comes out.
The Genie says, 'I'll give each of you just one wish.'
'Me first! Me first!' says the admin clerk. 'I want to be in the Bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care
in the world.'
Puff! She's gone.

'Me next! Me next!' says the sales rep. 'I want to be in Hawaii , relaxing on the beach with my personal
masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.'

Puff! He's gone.

'OK, you're up,' the Genie says to the manager.
The manager says, 'I want those two back in the office after lunch.'

Moral of the story:
Always let your boss have the first say. 

I Approve This Message

Don Wright nails it.

North Carolina Update

There's a long and detailed look at North Carolina by Al Giordano on The Field.  It aagain back up the organisation that Obama has set up throughout the country which is going to change the way that elections are run. 
The Field has listened to all the talk of Obama possibly winning North Carolina and its 15 Electoral Votes with a healthy dose of skepticism, but also with great curiosity (which is why we added it to our swing state reporting tour when it was only number 15 among 538's "tipping point" states - it's now number seven). Remember that, in 2004, Republican George W. Bush won 1,961,166 votes here (56 percent) to just 1,525,849 for Democrat John Kerry.
He goes on to quote Hugh J. McColl, former CEO of Bank of America who endorses Obama and stock market guru James Cramer who explains the difference between the two candidates as "Obama is a recession. McCain is a depression". 

However, it is the extent of Obama's ground organisation that makes a real impression.
At the end of the day on Thursday, The Field conducted an unannounced "inspection" of the regional Obama office in Greenville, to which the local organizers report each day. It was 8:30 p.m., the close of phone banking hours, and the headquarters was a beehive of activity with phone-bankers ending their shift and change crew chiefs bringing in the day's tallies. More than 250 newly filled voter registration forms sat atop an organizer's desk. After phone banking, the organizers then get on a regional conference call with statewide organizers to report the day's numerical progress (new voters, phone contacts, canvass contacts, etcetera). It took the local organizers until after 10 p.m. to finish their daily tasks.

Alright. Okay. I get it. This isn't just a political campaign. It's a steamroller (my italics). This is why North Carolina really is in play. And the excitement in this state - from West to East - is the highest and the hungriest among the five states we visited in the past two weeks.
Summing the article up is Obama representative Dan Blue.
"We're definitely in play. If I had to make the call, I believe we're going to win it."
Read the whole thing.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Lego Bricks.....and too much time on your hands!

Well, it filled up their day I suppose. It's very clever and woth checking them all out. There are some very famous photos there.

The Ground Game

Obama's campaign has been run immaculately, with election day always in mind.

Using momentum built during thr primaries, he has built the most impressive ground game that the US has probably ever seen.

Despite tens of thousands of "Neighborhood Team Leaders," and an entire organizing outreach tool actually named "Neighbor to Neighbor," Barone apparently fervently hopes Obama has no peer-to-peer efforts:
The most successful recent turnout drive was that of the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign, which relied on peer-to-peer volunteers, local people who made connections with neighbors with whom they had something in common (fellow members of a particular church, fellow accountants, nearby neighbors). The Obama campaign, in contrast, seems to be depending on youthful volunteers who seem unlikely to have such connections.
Wow. They. Are. So. F#$%ed.
the team have been travelling round the States checking out both parties' organisations on the ground. From what I've read, on this site and others, there's just no comparison. I think Sean Quinn's quote above sums it up.

PG Porn

Pornography - if you like porn but don't like the sex.

With pornography all over the internet and the video store, the Gunn brothers rely on viewers' familiarity with all its conventions - the goofy acting, the bad music, the lace-thin plots - to create movies that look like the real thing but skirt nudity. Comedy substitutes for hard-core sex.

The actor in Nailing Your Wife is Nathan Fillion, who appeared in the ABC show Desperate Housewives, and his castmate is porn star Aria Giovanni. PG Porn will feature similar pairings in the future.

Flickr Of The Day

Originally uploaded by jmazur22
I want one of these badges!

A Letter from a Field Hand

This letter illustrates the failure of McCain's campaign - that it is strengthening his opponent.

And yesterday, I cried my last tears, after I watch the venomous, vile, and vitriolic display at the McCain-Palin rally unfold over the last few days. I was raised in a Southern Baptist church, and I was taught as a young child when things look bleak and you are backed up against a wall you just let go and let God. We as AAs have been subjected to the system and have the philosophy ingrained that we have to accept the things that we can not change.

Well here and now damn it--I have cried my last tears yesterday. I am going to fight!

Now add in this analysis on, which speculates that Obama's numbers are being underestimated!

The Bradley effect is named for former Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, a black, who lost a close 1982 gubernatorial election in California after holding a solid lead in the polls. As the 2008 primaries played out, Greenwald and Albertson found that the Bradley effect only showed up in three states -- California, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

However, they found a reverse Bradley effect in 12 primary states. In these states they found actual support for Obama exceeded pre-election polls by totals of 7 percent or more, well beyond the polls' margins of error. These errors ranged up to 18 percent in Georgia.
Bye,bye Georgia? (H/T Andrew Sullivan)

Friday, 10 October 2008

Album Covers Map

What a great idea. I love Google Maps!

This is how it's done, Wolf!

A message to Wolf Blitzer and the rest of the national media. This is how you question a politician or their spokesman. If they won't answer ask them again. Then again. Then again. Until the story becomes the fact that they won't answer and you can question why.

Can we send these guys to question Sarah Palin? Please?

Thursday, 9 October 2008

McCain's Economic Plan

I don't think I need to add anything to the headline.  

There's a big difference here: Democrats want to prevent depression and support the financial markets by investing taxpayer money in banks with troubled assets. Republicans want to give taxpayers money away to the shareholders and managers of banks with troubled assets.

I would say that this is unbelievable, but I do believe it.

Obama's Ace In The Hole

With all of the hype surrounding the polls and Obama's rise, there's always the worry that come Polling Day, the turnout remains low and the other guy (no, that one) sneaks in.

Obama's campaign through the primaries and into the presidential election has been planned and carried out immaculately. I am expecting the his 'Get Out The Vote' plan is equally impressive. 

With his massive numbers of organisers in every state, he should have a huge advantage over the Republicans whose enthusiasm, I should imagine,  is waning as their poll numbers sink.

Chill Out!

I first saw this (on Oliver Willis) during the Palin poll bounce. I was pretty unchilled at the time but now, it's looking prescient.

Feral camels destroying WA outback

There's a headline you don't see every day.

Large herds of up to 100 camels were often found in the more habitable areas where rivers lakes and ranges were located, while camel numbers were lower in areas dominated by sand plains and dune fields, Dr Burrows said.
They've obviously been watching the wrong movies. Don't they know they're supposed to live in deserts.

Well, he was a POW, you know.

Longtime TPM Reader GG says I'm being too kind: "If a Dem had made that statement (my fellow prisoners) and in that context, the repubs would loudly proclaim the man mad as a hatter and unfit for the presidency.

He's as mad as a hatter!

Flickr Of The Day

Mist in the morning near Montepulciano.

This one stood out in a flick through of the last seven days interesting photos.

90.5% !!

I saw Nate Silver of on the Colbert Report last night which I thought he handled pretty well. Hopefully it will drive a bit more traffic to the news that he is now projecting that Obama has a 90.5% chance of winning the election.

Here's a spreadsheet charting the movements in his figures over the last three months. Apart from the brief (though frightening) Palin bounce, Obama's always been on top and he is strengthening his position daily at the moment.

There's a lot that can go wrong yet, but...

Obama did well at the debate.

Let's hope that there are no more surprises.

Is Wolf Blitzer a Journalist?

Absolutely no challenge to the fact that Sarah Palin will not take questions from the press. He sounds as if the spokeswoman is being reasonable. 

Challenge it!

Sarah Just Pallin' Around

Whilst Sarah is out and about stirring up bigotry and hatred, she is still refusing to talk to the press. In fact, the McCain campaign has no intention of letting her talk before the election. Frightening!

How else will questions like this get answered? H/T Andrew Sullivan

Monday, 6 October 2008

This is worth a read...

H/T to Andrew Sullivan for this link
The Norwegian newspaper VG has reported a truly amazing story about a newly-wed trying to get to Norway to be with her husband, and the stranger who helped pay an unexpected luggage surcharge.  The blog "Leisha's Random Thoughts" has translated the story.

Obama Rising's daily stats now show Obama's chances of winning next month are at 87.4%

I thought the VP debate response was interesting. I wondered if there would be an uptick in McCain's support as wavering voters manaed to convince themselves that Palin wasn't a total disaster. However, it gave most voters a chance to hear Joe Biden who's basically been ignored on the campaign trail and I thought he came off very well. 

Whilst, Palin failed almost totally, or coherently to answer any questions, Biden was knowledgeable and concide. When Palin stumbled over the Afghanistan commander's name and came out with 'McClellan' (I'm not sure if she was r
eferring to the civil war general or Bush's bumbling press secretary. It seems unlikely she would have heard of the general), Biden, following up, didn't correct her, or use the name McKiernan, but talked of our commander in Afghanistan. This followed on from the tactics Obama used in the preidential debate when he maintained his calm demeanor against McCain.

Here's the graph showing the stats as they have moved over the last three months.

Pure Genius.

Pure genius from Tina Fey on SNL. I can't tell them apart any more.

Friday, 3 October 2008

What a Speech

Magnificent. (H/T Andrew Sullivan)

Most discussions in the election race have tiptoed around the latent racism that has existed so far. Here, Richard Trumka tackles it head on. This is probably one of the speeches of the campaign.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Japanese Binocular Soccer

As recommended by James Richardson on the Football Weekly Podcast (highly recommended). This is hilarious.

Flickr Of The Day

Barnsley v Norwich
Originally uploaded by Miles Seecharan
It's a long way from Norwich to Barnsley and it's great to see families making the trip.

Not a great game apparently, but 0-0 and a point means it wasn't a too depressing trip home (unlike tonight's 2-0 defeat at Southampton)

Economic Crisis Answers

From what I've been reading, there are not many commentators who have an answer to the present crisis. Today's financial markets are so complicated that it's difficult to know how best to respond.

I've just read this article in Time which says that the failing mortgages should be protected but let the financial instruments based on them fail. This makes sense to me at a layman's level - if the mortgages are guaranteed or picked up by the government, then do not the instruments based on them also survive? Unless, of course, that's not the only reason that they are failing.

Do not be fooled. The $700 billion (ultimately $1 trillion or more) bailout is not predominantly for mortgages and homeowners. Instead, the bailout is for mortgage-backed securities. In fact, some versions of these instruments are imaginary derivatives. These claims overlap on the same types of mortgages. Many financial institutions wrote claims over the same mortgages, and these are the majority of claims that have "gone bad."

At this point, such claims have no bearing on the mortgage or housing crisis; they have bearing only on the holders of these securities themselves. These are ridiculously risky claims with little value for society. It is as if many financial institutions sold "earthquake insurance" on the same house: when the quake hits, all these claims become close to worthless — but the claims are simply bets disconnected from reality.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Flickr Of The Day

Originally uploaded by JMK aka Sky Dreams Flyer
Spectacular shot of paragliding in the French Alps

Obama Rising

The polls are reflecting a big rise in support for Obama over the last couple of weeks. A combination of the economic meltdown, the Palin interview and the debate are now pushing the numbers up.

On Obama's chances of winning are now up over 80% for the first time.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Debate Reaction

I don't suppose that many other people here in Melbourne were watching the debate - it's AFL Grand Final Day here today.

I was pretty impressed with Obama's coolness today. The Surge tactics-strategy argument was probably over most people's heads. I hoped that Obama would have pushed the issue that the objective of 'The Surge' was political reconciliation which hasn't happened yet, regardless of the recent vote on elections (which kicked the Kirkuk can down the road). Plus the fact that 'The Surge' wasn't the only reason for the drop in violence.

At the end of the day, it wasn't the game-changer that McCain needed.

Now on to important matters! Geelong or Hawthorn?

Friday, 26 September 2008

Flickr Of The Day

Bath Balloons
Originally uploaded by tweeny
I love the drama of the light and colour of this picture. With the people in the foreground it almost looks posed.

Running Scared

The announcement yesterday that John McCain was 'suspending' his campaign to deal with the finance crisis always looked like a stunt.

However, I am beginning to strongly believe that the driving motive for all of this is to cancel the VP debate. The problem isn't that Palin won't answer questions but that they have been unable to get her to shut up. She wants to answer questions but McCain aides usher her away from any contact with the press. She's obviously far more confident in her ability than anyone around her is.

I've heard most of the interview with Katie Couric - what on earth was she talking about? No wonder McCain wants to reschedule his first debate in place of the VP's.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Sarah Palin's Bio

Here is a must-read biography of Sarah Palin, from Dickipedia.

In 1984, Palin won the Miss Wasilla Pageant, a feat that sounds a lot more impressive than it is unless you’ve ever met a girl from Wasilla, few of whom have either a full set of teeth or a vacant womb. She then finished runner up in the Miss Alaska pageant, a feat that sounds a lot more impressive than it is considering the state is nearly 75% male.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Obama's Rebound

It's been pretty depressing reading of the polls over the last couple of weeks and the Palin-induced insanity that seems to have taken place.

Now with the economic situation in the forefront and Palin still saying 'Thanks But No Thanks' to the Bridge to Nowhere, it looks like the shine is wearing off.

I was expecting a slow climb back up the polls for Obama, but today there's been a big bounce back into credit on

Here's a graph of the last couple of months of the stats.

A Plague of deer

Two fatal crashes on Norfolk roads in a few days due to deer?

I drove on these roads for twenty years and never saw a deer. Mind you, a friend of my brother has had two accidents with deer in the past few years on the road between Norwich and Cromer. He was travelling home late at night after shift work so I imagine that the time of day or night is a big factor.

I left ten years ago and I don't recall any stories of fatal crashes with deer when I was there. Are there more deer about now? You wouldn't think so with the reduction in habitat over the last 20-30 years.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Flickr Of The Day

Misty Pikes
Originally uploaded by Canon-Girl
One of my favourite places - Elterwater and a view of the Langdale Pikes.

The Iraq Situation

Iraq appears to have disappeared off the radar for the moment with the Sarah Palin story dominating the news cycle. However, the situation there reminds me of that of Yugoslavia in the last days of president Tito.

There was a country basically at peace since the Second World War but in essence a simmering cauldron of ethnic tension held down by the military power of the Tito government. On Tito's death, the nationalistic Slobodan Milosovic rose to power and the lid came off. How similar is Iraq, with the US military providing the 'lid' in this case, but the underlying ethnic, or in this case, religious tensions still existing?

Yes, the 'Surge' was part of the success in reducing the level of violence in Iraq. Just as important though, I believe, were the decision by the Sunni tribes to join the fight against Al Qaeda - The Awakening, and the decision by Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army to observe a ceasefire and the ethnic cleansing and subsequent walling off of various Baghdad districts.

Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, doesn't seem inclined to integrate the Sunni leaders into the country's government. Indeed, the opposite appears to be happening and he is making a grab for power and excluding them. The status of oil-rich Kirkuk is also a potential flashpoint between the Iraqi government and the Kurds, who to all intents and purposes are self-governing.

All in all then, the underlying tensions in Iraq are still there and until there are moves by the Iraqi government to include the Sunnis and Kurds in power, the Yugoslavia scenario is still a possible outcome.

John McCain's Soul

JohnMcCain's campaign has shown that the image he has been calculating, and perhaps earned, over the last ten years has been thrown away in favour of the desire to win at all costs.

David Ignatius has an excellent column in the Washington Post this week on how McCain has made the Faustian bargain of selling his soul to win the election. Two key themes stand out -his military training and code:

In the military culture that shaped John McCain, there is no more important responsibility than the promotion boards that select the right officers for top positions of command. It's a sacred trust in McCain's world, because people's lives are at stake.

McCain wrote in his memoir of the officer's responsibility for those who serve under him: "He does not risk their lives and welfare for his sake, but only to answer the shared duty they are called to answer."

and the sacrifice of his principles:

In May 2006, after McCain had courted the Rev. Jerry Falwell in an effort to win conservative support, I asked him if he was bending his principles for the sake of winning. "I don't want it that badly," McCain answered. "I will continue to do what is right. . . . If that means I can't get the Republican nomination, fine. I've had a happy life. The worst thing I can do is sell my soul to the devil."

He was right.

This is becoming more and more apparent to everyone as the media finally start to question the lies.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Flickr Of The Day

Northern Exposure
Originally uploaded by norjam8
I'm currently reading one of Steve Hamilton's books set in Paradise, Michigan.

It's a well-written series of books and describes the solitary beauty of the area. In this picture, I can see what he means.

Don't Look Now

I've been following the statistics of since the start of the race and have been keeping a daily note on Obama's electoral chances. This last week or two has been pretty depressing. How can so many people be taken in by a campaign like this.

But there are signs that the tide might be turning. There was the hilarious session of John McCain on 'The View' where he probably faced the toughest questions that he has had put to him yet. The MSM seems to be waking up. Obama's fundraising machine just keeps carrying on.

So while it's looking pretty bleak in the polls, I think we'll be seeing a big upswing soon.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Flickr Of The Day

Wasilla City Hall
Originally uploaded by djcn0te
Where political careers are forged!

Friday, 5 September 2008

Flickr Of The Day

Originally uploaded by 8lits
Montbenoît, Doubs, France. A beautiful part of the world, right by the Swiss border. The local Compte cheese is to die for.

Is Palin Prepared for Office?

Steve Benen highlights in Washington Monthly that Tom Brokaw of NBC pushed back at the criticism that the GOP are dishing out at the MSM. 

Brokaw, to his credit, set the record straight: "With all due respect, and said this earlier, I think that issue has not been raised at the highest levels. I think there have been many more concerns about foreign policy experience, for example, about some of her other views, if she's going to appeal to the Clinton voters. She is after all, anti-abortion, not for choice. There are some questions about her real beliefs -- creationism vs. evolution -- and whether or not being the governor of a state like Alaska, with 600,000 people, and a budget that is underwritten by the oil companies, prepares her for stepping into the Oval Office."

I agree with all of that except.....

I would have thought that having a budget underwritten (or perhaps that should be written) by the oil companies was a perfect preparation for the White House.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

It's Official

Foreign policy experience can be gained by standing in the right place!

MCCAIN: Sure. And one of the key elements of America’s national security requirements are energy. She understands the energy issues better than anybody I know in Washington, D.C., and she understands.

Alaska is right next to Russia. She understands that. Look, Sen. Obama’s never visited south of our border. I mean, please.

From Steve Doocey to John McCain. Who'd have believed it.

The National Enquirer is Hard At Work

I see that everybody's favourite supermarket magazine is hard at work in Alaska. (H/T TPM)

Things Are Looking Up For Obama

538's stats are showing that the mood has swung in Obama's direction since the Democratic convention and Sarah Palin's selection.  We'll have to see if there's much of a swing back in the other direction after the Republican Convention, though I can't see it myself.

Flickr Of The Day

Untitled united
Originally uploaded by laura e
Reflections of the 2008 Colorado Balloon Classic

McCain Hires the 2000 South Carolina Smear Merchant

It's a sign of McCain's desperation that he has hired Tucker Eskew, one of W's operatives in South Carolina during the 2000 campaign.

Eskew’s talent notwithstanding, he was loathed by McCain’s 2000 campaign team. When the media first reported push-poll phone calls from Voter/Consumer Research, a company hired by he Bush campaign, asking South Carolinians if they knew about McCain’s role in the S&L crisis and his scandal as a member of the Keating Five, it was Eskew -- Bush’s South Carolina spokesman – who acknowledged, and defended, the calls.
I read today in White House Watch that Eskew is taking a major role in Palin's team.
Tucker Eskew, another senior Bush White House communications aide, is serving as senior counselor to Palin's operation.
I understand that McCain and his wife both despise those who were responsible for the smears of 2000. It's a sign of how far McCain will go for the presidency and how much integrity he will shed. 

Monday, 1 September 2008

Flickr Of The Day

LEAL 304
Originally uploaded by Carlos Ros
What a great shot, or more accurately, sequence of shots, of a plane landing at Alicante, Spain.

Now We Know What The Domestic Spying Without Warrants Was For

I've just read the posts here and here from Glenn Greenwald of house searches and arrest by full-blown SWAT teams on potential protesters at the Republican Convention.

I can't believe that this hasn't been picked up anywhere else. As Glenn says himself

After all, if you don't want the FBI spying on you, or the Police surrounding and then invading your home with rifles and seizing your computers, there's a very simple solution: don't protest the Government. Just sit quietly in your house and mind your own business. That way, the Government will have no reason to monitor what you say and feel the need to intimidate you by invading your home. Anyone who decides to protest -- especially with something as unruly and disrespectful as an unauthorized street march -- gets what they deserve.

Isn't it that mentality which very clearly is the cause of virtually everyone turning away as these police raids escalate against citizens -- including lawyers, journalists and activists -- who have broken no laws and whose only crime is that they intend vocally to protest what the Government is doing? Add to that the fact that many good establishment liberals are embarrassed by leftist protesters of this sort and wish that they would remain invisible, and there arises a widespread consensus that these Government attacks are perfectly tolerable if not desirable.

During the Olympics just weeks ago, there was endless hand-wringing over the efforts by the Chinese Government to squelch dissent and incarcerate protesters. On August 21, The Washington Post fretted:

Six Americans detained by police this week could be held for 10 days, according to Chinese authorities, who appear to be intensifying their efforts to shut down any public demonstrations during the final days of the Olympic Games. . . .

Chinese Olympic officials announced last month that Beijing would set up zones where people could protest during the Games, as long as they had received permission. None of the 77 applications submitted was approved, however, and several other would-be protesters were stopped from even applying.

This is particularly troubling.

We are suffering a preemptive video arrest. For those that don't know, I-Witness Video was remarkably successful in exposing police misconduct and outright perjury by police during the 2004 RNC. Out of 1800 arrests, at least 400 were overturned based solely on video evidence which contradicted sworn statements which were fabricated by police officers. It seems that the house arrest we are now under and the possible threat of the seizure of our computers and video cameras is a result of the 2004 success.
The 'Land Of The Free' indeed. This is why the next election is so important.

Quote Of The Day

Not only is President Bush keeping atop the reports of Tropical Storm Gustav, but the White House press office is keeping atop efforts to report that he is keeping atop the reports.

James Gerstenzang blogs for the LA Times (H/T Dan Froomkin)

Flickr Of The Day

Saturday Night, New Orleans. A deserted French Quarter ahead of the expected arrival of Hurricane Gustav on Monday.


TPM has been following the 'Troopergate' story for a long time before the vice-presidential selection. A good summary is here.
Just yesterday, Monegan gave an interview to the Washington Post in which he said that not only Palin's aides, but Palin's husband and Palin herself had repeatedly raised the Wooten issue with him and pressured him to fire him. And now he says he has emails that Palin sent him about the matter. (In an interesting sidelight, that may end up telling us a lot, Monegan says no one from the McCain campaign ever contacted him in the vetting process.)
The vetting, or lack of it, is turning into another major story.

Sarah Palin's First 'Misspeak'

So, she said 'Thanks, but no thanks' to the 'Bridge To Nowhere' did she?

According to the Alaskan Press that's not quite how it happened.

Check out these entries from the Ketchikan Daily News:

“People across the nation struggle with the idea of building a bridge because they’ve been under these misperceptions about the bridge and the purpose,’ said Palin, who described the link as the Ketchikan area’s potential for expansion and growth.

Palin said Alaska’s congressional delegation worked hard to obtain funding for the bridge and that she ‘would not stand in the way of the progress toward that bridge’.

‘We need to come to the defense of Southeast Alaska when proposals are on the table like the bridge and not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that’s so negative,’ Palin said.”
Ketchikan Daily News 9-28-06

Mudflats is probably going to me the most read Alaskan for the next couple of months.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Palin Panic

Was Sarah Palin a panic pick?

According to the ABC, McCain wanted Lieberman but was told it would be a disaster, alienating his base. He wasn't happy with Romney (surprise!), Pawlenty (would you buy a used bridge from this man?) or Ridge (amber alert) so wan't something different.

So what does this say about McCain? In a time of political crisis, John McCain panicked, shot from the hip, and made what will likely be a terrible error in judgment. And he is supposed to be ready in a crisis to lead the nation?

Vanity Fair are equally unimpressed.

It’s such a transparently political decision, a double-X Dan Quayle.

Essential Information For Visitors To Australia

Apparently, this is information given to questions on an Australian Tourism website.

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (USA)

A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does
not.. oh forget it. ..... Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.

McCain: Obama Lacks Experience Running 5,000-Person Town in Alaska

This site has been receiving a lot of attention today - I've seen several links to it.

McCain, You've Done It Again!

The campaign shows its lack of attention to detail again.

Flickr Of The Day

Norwich v Blackpool
Originally uploaded by oley moley
Norwich City maintaining their record of conceding a penalty in every match. So far, three games played and three penalties conceded (and scored). Let's hope for better luck today against Birmingham.

It Really Isn't The Republicans' Year

After the perfect weather than Obama enjoyed for his historic speech on Thursday, a balmy 70 degrees evening, the republicans and their convention are facing the prospect of a major hurricane slamming into the Gulf Coast, and possibly New Orleans again, early next week. It would truly be ironic it the hurricane hit land just as W was about to speak.

From watching the news this morning it looks as if NO is much better prepared this time. Although the population is much smaller now, fleets of buses are already in place, the National Guard has been deployed and trains are ready to move the old and sick. Let's hope there's no repeat of three years ago. To keep up to date, I'd recommend Brendon Loy's Weather Nerd Blog.
Meanwhile, who's going to be watching a convention with a hurricane on the way?

Sarah Palin?

John McCain surely pulled a big surprise by this pick. But will it succeed?

First of all, he has the throw out his arguement about Obama's lack of experience. With Palin just 'a heartbeat away', it puts the experience theme that McCain has been pushing right on the back burner. How can he consider it an issue when he has picked a complete outsider with virtually no experience for VP. To me it looks like an outright pander to women voters and the initial comments I've read on blog threads don't seem to support that.

For some background information on Palin, this blog (via Andrew Sullivan) gives some excellent background, especially the 'Trooper-gate' affair which TPM has been following for the past few months.

A couple of obvious questions are raised - would she have been picked, with her experience and background, if she were not a woman to which the answer is blatantly 'No'. Will it work? I think this depends on how she handles herself over the next couple of months. If she comes across as knowledgeable and statesmanlike then it may be a brilliant pick. However, from whjat I have read, it doesn't look likely.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Flickr Of The Day

red arrow over cromer peir
Originally uploaded by catz5555
It was Cromer Carnival Week last week. The highlight of carnival Day is always the Red Arrows display which you can watch from the cliff tops. I understand they performed later than usual, about 5pm, which would have been just before the parade started.

This Is An Aquarium

I've got an aquarium at home but it's nothing like this.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Fun with microwaves

With the advancement of scientific knowledge in mind...

Flickr of the Day

Château Bouillon HDR
Originally uploaded by rbleib
The chateau at Bouillon, in the Ardennes in Belgium.

We had a wonderful holiday many years ago near here staying in a gite in France just over the border. The chateau sits on the neck of a loop in the River Semois with the town down below.

Obama's 538 Stats

I've been reading the website for a while and especially keeping an eye on the predicted electoral votes that Obama would receive in November based on the evidence available. I decided last month that I'd keep a graph of the stats as they would change regularly but I could never remember from what. I wish I'd started this earlier - it may have been done somewhere else already.

The site is my go-to place for an overview of what's happening in the race. Here's a link to the graph...

Friday, 22 August 2008

This Guy's Good

But it must be expensive in balls.

Disappointment No 2

Norwich City's start to the season could hardly have been worse in terms on results - an opening day defeat at Coventry, a defeat to League One's MK Dons in the first round of the League Cup, followed by a draw at home to Blackpool last Saturday.

But reading between the lines, which is about all I can do from 12,000 miles away, the picture doesn't look quite so bad. The new signings seem to have settled in well, the two league games should and could have been wins. We seem to have dominated the possession and had great chances to score in both but not taken them only to concede a penalty in each game.

Yes, we need a new striker, I've still got hopes that we might sign Sheola Ameobi from Newcastle, but while the chances are being created, we're bound to start converting them. So, I'm not too disappointed and think that midtable or better is on the cards for this season. We can start with a win at Cardiff tomorrow though we'll have to make do without a Ched Evans wonder goal this year.

Disappointment No 1

How is the US election even close? I'm trying not to be too disappointed with the news that John McCain has caught up with Obama in the polls. I have a lot of faith in the Obama organisation who planned the primary competition perfectly.

I've read that a lot of Obama's effort is currently going into the 'ground game', setting up and staffing dozens of offices in key states. The effect of these won't really be seen until nearer to November. I think he's been a bit slow in fighting the effects of the McCain-Rove campaign but I don't believe that that is going to last. The election in November is what counts, not the state of the polls now.

With McCain's lack of policies and his need to please two completely different audiences, his base and independent voters, I can't believe the wheels aren't going to come off soon.

After eight years of one of the worst presidents in US history, I can't believe that four more years is a possibility. So I'll predict that Obama will win in November, I think quite comfortably. So it doesn't matter what the polls are saying now.....does it?

Friday, 27 June 2008

Dividing Iraq

This needs no further comment...

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Big Oil and Iraq

In the Boston Globe yesterday...

IT TOOK five years, the deaths of 4,100 US soldiers, and the wounding of 30,000 more to make Iraq safe for Exxon. It is the inescapable open question since the reasons given by President Bush for the invasion and occupation did not exist, neither the weapons of mass destruction nor Saddam Hussein's ties to Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.


Friday, 20 June 2008

Success In Iraq

At last, Bush and Cheney can (privately) toast the complete success of Operation Iraqi Liberation Freedom.

Firefox 3

I've always preferred independent browsing to the Microsoft force-feeding of Internet Explorer, even back to the days of Netscape Navigator.

Rob Pegoraro has a good review of the new Firefox 3. The key paragraph is the last one.

But when compared with the default browser on any new Windows machine, it's no contest. There may be no easier upgrade to your Web experience than a switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox. And there may be no plainer evidence of the dimwittedness of PC vendors than their failure to ship Firefox or any other alternative browser on their machines.
Download it here.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

This says it all

They can't have asked James Inhofe 29 times, can they? This really says it all about the 'heads in the sand' attitude of the GOP. H/T Matt Yglesias

Golf Gear - by John McCain

Obviously, he's recognised his base and he's catering for it with a link from the front page of his site to 'Golf Gear'.

This is brilliant.

They're Taking Over The World

I was reading an article about a planning request for wind turbines being turned down and this paragraph leaped out at me

It is the second time Ecotricity has submitted plans for the site. Its previous proposal, which critics claim is identical, was thrown out by councillors last November.

A key factor of that decision was that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had opposed the development on the grounds that the turbines would pose a threat to national security.

Since then the MoD has withdrawn its objection.
What! I'd like to see what their reasoning was.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Why Do We Have To Rely On The Comedy Channel For News?

I've been flicking round the cable channels here for the last couple of days and the all the talking heads are asking about 'elitism'.

Why is it that the only serious look at the issue is on the Comedy Channel?

Well done (again) Jon Stewart.

Classic Hip

Some classic Canadian rock from The Tagically Hip.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

A Clinton presidency - Part 2

An excellent article by Carl Bernstein (of All the President's Men fame) on what a Hillary presidency would bring.

And endless psychodrama: the essential Clintonian experience that mesmerizes the press, confuses the citizenry, confounds members of both parties in Congress (not to mention the Clintons themselves, at times) and pretty much keeps the rest of the world constantly amused and fixated.

Such a picture of Clinton Redux is, by definition, speculation. But it is speculation based on the best evidence at hand: the demonstrable and familiar record of Hillary and Bill Clinton coupled together in Permanent Campaign-mode for a generation, waging a continuous fight on the national political stage since 1992, an unceasing campaign for the White House, for redemption, for their ideas (sometimes) and for themselves (almost always), especially in 2008.

I really can't see it happening. If she did somehow win the Primary, how on Earth would she convince any Independents and enough disillusioned Democrats to vote for her against John McCain?

It's well worth a read.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Comedy and Food

My wife and I were in Melbourne city centre last week for the Comedy Festival.

First of all, we went to see Tom Basden Doesn't Say Anything at Melbourne Townm Hall. The crowds were huge as there were several performances going on in various rooms at similar times. Tom Basden was in 'The Powder Room', a small anteroom with a capacity of about 80 and it was about half full.

I found the performance a bit disappointing really. We didn't know anything about it beforehand thinking we would just try something different. The show was a series of songs which, while occasionally amusing, didn't get a real laugh from anyone. This type of material has always worked well as part of a show thrown in among a few stories a la Mike Harding or Max Boyce but as an act in itself, gets a bit repetitive.

After the show, which lasted an hour, we walked down to Southbank to find a place to eat. We hadn't booked anything as there is a wide selection of eating places so finding a table isn't usually a problem. We decided on looking for a Chinese or Thai Restaurant and found the Red Emperor Chinese Restaurant on the third level of Southgate on Southbank.

I must admit that the meal was the best Chinese I have eaten in our ten years in Australia. Whilst not cheap ( the meal cost about $100 for a main course with a couple of drinks each), each dish we chose was exceptional and the service was excellent.

The Spicy Pepper Chicken was tender and delicious on a bed of crispy seaweed and the Manderin Prawns were also extremely tasty and cooked perfectly. Even the special fried rice was exceptional, moist and full of flavour.

So if you're out in Melbourne, I'd recommend a visit to the Red Emperor.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Has Hillary 'Jumped The Shark'?

With the full effects of Tuzla-gate yet to be seen, it appeared to me that Hillary jumped the shark when she tried to point the focus back onto Rev. Wright.

In a campaign that has seemingly become more desperate as the mathmatical chances of success diminish, it will be very interesting to see the next polls out of Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

I think this will be the day that marks the beginning of the end.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

What Really Happened at Tuzla?

You've heard the story. You've seen the video. Here's the definitive version...

There was a grunt and a clatter of equipment as Sinbad threw himself down at my side. Sweat glistened on his bare arms, and I could see tendons contracting and relaxing as he squeezed off bursts from his M14. The motion was hypnotic, like a snake about to strike. Perhaps, when all this was over-

No. Concentrate. Focus on the mission. Survive.

The First Line Says It All

You don't really need to read the rest, do you?

Australian model Kristy Hinze says she was instantly attracted to her 63-year-old boyfriend, Texan billionaire Jim Clark, by his intelligence.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Flickr Of The Day

Power To The Sky
Originally uploaded by Philippe Sainte-Laudy
A dramatic picture.

Monday, 24 March 2008

A Report From Iraq

It's a pity we don't see more reports like this.

H/T Andrew Sullivan

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Why Not To Buy A Sony

If you're shopping for a new laptop, Sony has a very generous offer for you.

For an extra $50 they won't pre-install all of their crap software.

This is a hobby!

The world's largest remote controlled plane. And what a great landing.

The Sniper Dash

I have nothing further to add.

And my favourite bit?

...including a moment when Clinton uses her body to shield a little girl from danger:

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Sandwiches Anyone?

A very funny ad from Durex

Where's Wally

Stephen Colbert reminds us that we never did find out where George W Bush went, after the swift-boating of Dan Rather.

Friday, 21 March 2008

LA to New York in 4 Minutes

A time-lapse video of a drive from Los Angeles to New York.

It would have been nice to see a few sub-titles flashing up to show where they were.

A Sad Old Man

Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post tries to keep the racial politics of the last generation going and ignores the content of the speech to keep highlighting the 'outrages' of Wright's speeches.
But that is not the question. The question is why didn't he leave that church? Why didn't he leave -- why doesn't he leave even today -- a pastor who thundered not once but three times from the pulpit (on a DVD the church proudly sells) "God damn America"? Obama's 5,000-word speech, fawned over as a great meditation on race, is little more than an elegantly crafted, brilliantly sophistic justification of that scandalous dereliction.
Obama is never going to sway the closed minds of the far right who seem unable to grasp the ideas of the reality based community. Even when their goals of empire and deregulation bring disaster they are unable, or more likely, unwilling to recognise the damage, but continue to try to strike fear into their audience.

Obama can make a difference. This is their biggest fear.

A More Perfect Union

I've read the speech and seen the video.

I hope all Americans do the same.

Flickr Of The Day

Scotland - Sunset at far end of Europe

Thursday, 20 March 2008

If Ann Coulter had liveblogged the Gettysburg Address


Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

Right. As if Mr. Lincoln's victory over his sectional enemies on behalf of his black friends were the same as the survival of the nation. It all comes back to the cult of personality.

We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

Well, no. It would be more "fitting and proper" to leave the dead in peace rather than to use them as a club with which to beat conservatives. But Lincoln, like all liberals, is completely shameless. Joshua is right: they're basically fascists.

H/T John Cole

Sunday, 16 March 2008

What to do with those old Vinyl Albums

Great idea. Not sure about that Prince one though.

The Fallon Resignation

William Arkin makes a six point arguement that the US is not heading for military action with Iran and summarises

So: Is the U.S. headed for war with Iran? It depends on what the meaning of "headed for war" is. If Iran makes a grave error in judgment, if diplomacy fails, if Iran is intent on developing nuclear weapons in defiance of the international community -- then yes, we may be "headed for war." But headed for war because of Fallon's resignation, and before the November election? That's nonsense.
I think Arkin is relying too heavily on reasoned logic being used by Cheney and Co in the White House. Dick Cheney has been advocating military action against Iran for the last 18 months and has had to back off his public rhetoric since the release of the NIE. Iran's 'grave error in judgement' will be more likely, something initiated in the dark recesses of the VP's office. Be prepared for another Gleiwitz.

The Obama I Know

Well worth reading.

This was a pretty amazing conversation, not only because of Obama's mastery of the legal details, but also because many prominent Democratic leaders had already blasted the Bush initiative as blatantly illegal. He did not want to take a public position until he had listened to, and explored, what might be said on the other side.

This is the Barack Obama I have known for nearly 15 years -- a careful and evenhanded analyst of law and policy, unusually attentive to multiple points of view.
Judging from the latest national polls, the mudslinging seems to be hurting Hillary more than Obama as she appears to more and more electors as a continuation of the current administration.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Flickr of the Day

Originally uploaded by Quantum Muse
Montbenoit - in the Doubs region near the Swiss border. We holidayed near here many years ago , just up the hill by a fromagerie.

We rented a gite on a working farm - they make a great and affordable holiday spot.


I've seen some chutzpah in my time, but this is breathtaking in its audacity.

Journalists really need to prepare for their interviews. A denial is a pretty standard response. Couldn't they just have some examples ready.

H/T Andrew Sullivan

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Flickr Of The Day

Originally uploaded by Colin 30d
I love this picture and the story that goes with it. The fun police strike again!

Have Some Phun

This looks great!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Bush's Pick

If you want to support George Bush's choice for successor, then you have two options...

His [Bush's] major goals are to prevent criminal prosecutions of himself (unlikely in any event) and his aides (more likely), to keep the public from finding out much of what he and his advisors actually did and ordered done during his presidency (his fight for immunity for telecom companies who engaged in illegal surveillance should be understood as part of this larger strategy), to entrench the U.S. presence in Iraq for the foreseeable future, and do what he can to ensure that John McCain becomes President, or failing that, Hillary Clinton as a second best solution. He figures that McCain, and, to a lesser extent Clinton, are most likely to continue aspects of his policies and keep troops in Iraq for some time. The longer that the next president continues his policies-- including warrantless surveillance, his interrogation practices, and his war in Iraq, the longer these features will become normalized and/or the next President's problem.

How much of this expanded executive power would Hillary hold on to? The Clinton's excessive secrecy to date means more of the same for the next four or eight years.

H/t Dan Froomkin

Terrorist Plots Foiled?

I've just been watching CNN and a report that China has disrupted a terrorist cell in North West China. The whole report was laced with skepticism and doubt.

Where's that skepticism when GWB says the same thing based on the torturing of individuals? Where is the same level of doubt, which this Executive has surely earned?

Interestingly, haveing led with the report on World Report I can't find the story on

Monday, 10 March 2008

Why bother to vote?

Did you trudge through the snow or rain to vote in the Democratic Primary or attend a Caucus? Did you get stuck in trafiic trying to get to the polling station?

Well, you shouldn't have bothered, obviously. It doesn't matter for whom you voted. According to Hillary...

How can you win the nomination when the math looks so bleak for you?
It doesn't look bleak at all. I have a very close race with Senator Obama. There are elected delegates, caucus delegates and superdelegates, all for different reasons, and they're all equal in their ability to cast their vote for whomever they choose. Even elected and caucus delegates are not required to stay with whomever they are pledged to . This is a very carefully constructed process that goes back years, and we're going to follow the process.
(my italics).

It doesn't matter if their district voted for Obama, they should switch to me seems to be the message. Democracy can be very untidy, can't it.

Flickr Of The Day

Eye of the Rainbow
Originally uploaded by down_the_rabbit_hole
A Rainbow Lorikeet. They are regular visitors to the garden.


Make sure everyone in your family knows if you're going away for the weekend!
A Melbourne doctor and his wife have arrived home from holiday to find homicide detectives about to hold a press conference into their suspected deaths.
I'm not sure why the police ripped the back deck up before speaking to the neighbours.

Intervention in Rwanda

When Hillary Clinton was asked whether this was true, she said "It is."

So: Clinton didn't mention that she advocated military intervention in Rwanda in her memoirs. Neither did Madeleine Albright. Neither, as far as I can tell, did anyone else. Military intervention was not considered as an option, "never even debated", which means that any advocacy she did engage in must have been pretty ineffective.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Norwich City's Greatest Moment?

I think so.

Just in case you think the first goal was a fluke...