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Everything is a Lefty Smear

[ 0 ] September 6, 2008 |

Steve M. says just about all that needs to be said about this piece in the Times, wherein we learn that throughout her adult life, Sarah Palin has been distinguished among other things — wait for it — by fearlessly venturing out into public with her children. Because secular, coastal progressives hide their kids in the car trunk or lock them kids in the basement and force them to assemble small electronic devices with their tiny fingers.

I’ll note as well that Kim Severson brings up the use of the term “Palinbots,” claiming that “some liberal Democrats” have used the nickname to dismiss Palin’s supporters. Aside from the fact that the term has not exactly gone viral (see, for example, this for comparison), the more important point is that the nickname was actually popularized by Dan Fagan, a wingnut talk show host and columnist from Anchorage who loathes Palin but loves him some Ted Stevens.

But since every criticism of Sarah Palin is by definition a Left Wing Smear, the details shouldn’t bother us.

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A Man to Man Apology

[ 0 ] September 6, 2008 |

I’m not a McMegan fan, but this is pretty good:

The key point is that when John McCain was called out on his insult to Chelsea Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Janet Reno, he apologized to Bill Clinton, and not to the people he actually disparaged.

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Do I See Another Deposed Monarch on the Horizon?

[ 1 ] September 6, 2008 |

Swaziland:

A great event was soon forthcoming — on Saturday, in fact. To prepare for the day — the 40-40 Celebration, so-named to honor the king’s 40th birthday and the nation’s 40th year of independence — a 15,000-seat stadium was built and a fleet of top-of-the-line BMW sedans was ordered for the comfort of visiting dignitaries.

Once again, some people wondered how the kingdom, Swaziland, could afford the expense. Some 1,500 of them grumpily marched in protest through the capital after news reports said that several of the queens and their entourages had gone on an overseas shopping trip aboard a chartered plane.

Indeed, as the big day neared, other protests drew thousands more into the streets of the country’s two biggest cities. “The king spends our money and is not answerable to anyone!” complained Mario Masuku, the head of an outlawed political party and a familiar figure of Swazi discontent.

The rowdiest of the demonstrators flung rocks, looted goods from sidewalk vendors and even set off a few small explosions. Others made impromptu placards with torn up cardboard. “Down with 40-40!” read one, while another demanded, “Democracy now!” A few protesters chanted things meant to make rich people feel guilty: “My mother was a kitchen girl. My father was a garden boy. That’s why I’m a Socialist.”

Still, it’s good that the King is incorruptible and shows a keen interest in policy:

In 2001, faced with the relentlessness of the AIDS pandemic, Mswati III invoked an ancient chastity rite, asking Swazi maidens to refrain from sex for five years. He then violated his own rule by selecting a 17-year-old as his ninth wife. To show the extent of his regret, he paid the customary fine of one cow.

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Your Questions Answered!

[ 0 ] September 5, 2008 |

Q:

Ilya asks whether Palin has libertarian tendencies.

No. This has been…

Admittedly, I do think that it’s fair to say that Palin gives off a “western vibe.” What this vibe seems to entail is simultaneously 1)demanding that the government get off your back while doing things like 2)demanding and accepting buckets of federal money far in excess of your state’s tax contributions, favoring the banning of abortions in virtually all circumstances, believing that a liberal democracy in Iraq can be created ex nihilo in a war that otherwise has no positive relationship to American interests at the cost of trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives, etc. etc. etc.

What this has to do with “libertarianism” in any sense I can’t tell you, unless the term means “being a completely orthodox right-wing Republican with an extra dose of hypocrisy.”

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A Wasted Day..

[ 0 ] September 5, 2008 |

In an effort not to think about politics, I wasted my day today at Ancestry.com. From father to son:

Thomas Farley, b. 1600 Worcester, England (arrived Virginia 1623)
John Farley, b. 1648 Charles City, Virginia
John Farley, b. 1670 Henrico, Virginia
Henry Farley, b. 1716 Henrico, Virginia
Josiah Farley, b. 1744 Henrico, Virginia
John Farley, b. 1770 Bath, Virginia
William Farley, b. 1811 Burke, North Carolina
Jason Leonidas “Pony” Farley, b. 1847 Jackson, North Carolina
Monteville Columbus Farley, b. 1884 Jackson, North Carolina
Kelly Paul Farley, b. 1914 Missouri
Michael Harriman Farley, b. 1945 Jackson, North Carolina
Robert Michael Farley, b. 1974 Jackson, North Carolina

There’s some interesting stuff, here; I had always assumed that the Farleys were hill people since time immemorial, but Henrico is just outside Richmond. Of course, this would still have been quite rural, but not so much with the hills. Bath is very much hill country, as are Burke and Jackson. On the upside, twice (in successive generations) the family tree fails to fork, as first cousins married one another. On my mother’s side I know less; I am the product of the rare single-parent household headed by a father, and information about my grandmother and great-grandmother is also unaccountably scarce.

Something else interesting; I may have a Jewish ancestor. Elizabeth Corzine, who lived from 1702-1774, is my something-like-eight-greats-grandmother. Corzine is by far the most exotic name in my patrilineal heritage; the next most exotic is Connelly, and the rest are all standard English. I am told that there are some sephardic Jews named Corzine, and it turns out that Elizabeth named her last three sons Moses, Isaac, and Jacob. Those, along with a couple of other traditional Jewish names, lasted for a couple of generations in the family before dying out.

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Radio Daze

[ 0 ] September 5, 2008 |

For any of our loyal Delaware listeners, I’ll be appearing on WDEL in about an hour or so (~5:30 EST) to talk about You Know Who.

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Based on A Poll of Republican Donors in Montgomery, Alabama, McCain Has A Huge Lead!

[ 5 ] September 5, 2008 |

Some nice cherry-picking from Drudgico.

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Shocking Verdicts of the Market

[ 0 ] September 5, 2008 |

Apparently, there isn’t a market for a fourth reactionary newspaper in a city that can be expected to vote Obama about 85-15 during a brutal time for the newspaper industry. Who could have possibly predicted it? (And, yes, the Sun does have very good arts and sports coverage. It’s also not surprising that this wasn’t enough to support a newspaper founded on the principle that it would be great to read an entire newspaper written like the craziest Wall Street Journal editorials.)

For further comedy check this out. Since on days where we get an Atrios link I think we have a greater readership than the Sun , this reminds me that I forgot to say that we are hiring interns with similar rules — it’s a great deal! In fact, we will permit our male interns to wear khakis with their sport jackets on Sunday…

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But POW! Hockey Moms! Arugula!

[ 15 ] September 5, 2008 |

Family visitation and work commitments meant that I didn’t see any speeches at the GOP convention last night; I can’t say I was terribly disappointed. Nonetheless, I did look at some transcripts and clips. We could do this all day, but consider the density of lies and nonsense packed into this sentence:

[Obama’s] plan will force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages, and force families into a government-run health care system where a bureaucrat…

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

… where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.

There are a couple of obvious lies here: Obama’s plan specifically exempts small businesses from contribution requirements, and he’s not proposing British-style socialized medicine. But what really kills me is the idea that in the current American system no “bureaucrat” will stand between you and your health care. I hate to break this to McCain — whose immense wealth and government benefits mean he doesn’t have to deal with this — but private insurance companies all invest in large bureaucracies whose primary purpose is to stand between you and your doctor.

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More on the Military Effectiveness Question

[ 33 ] September 5, 2008 |

Russia Navy Blog has a translation of a Russian article investigating the effectiveness of the Army in Georgia. Reaction speed: Good. Communications: Bad, especially with the Air Force. Recon and night operations bad; T-72s and various APCs also bad. For your humble blogger, this was an especially interesting point:

Examining the war one must recognize that the 1998 decision of the Ministry of Defense to withdraw Army Aviation from the Infantry has turned out unsuccessful. In contrast, every American Army Corps has more than 800 helicopters (up to 350 attack helicopters) and a division has 100 to 150.

The War in the Caucusus has shown that Army Aviation regiments were directly subordinated to the unified Air Force command in vain. As a matter of fact it couldn’t allocate aviation assets or give daily assignments to squadrons in support of the motorized troops. It is doubtful that this could be accomplished given the overload of the communications system with requests for support from the infantry. It’s obvious since 58th Army Aviation didn’t participate in operational-tactical and tactical airmobile landings…

It also makes sense to transfer control of Army Aviation from the Air and Air Defense Forces back to the Army and re-establish command of Army Aviation in Combined Arms Armies and Corps. Simultaneously give responsibility for Army Aviation and Air Defense to the CinC Army, the command troops of the military district and the combined arms units along with the re-creation of aviation control detachments. Putting Army Aviation back with the Army allows development of plans in support of the ground troops and also allows approximately a 30 percent reduction in Air Force staffs and increases the effectiveness in the utilization of aviation in the interests of the operations and combat actions of units.

According to the article, the Russian Army and Air Force also need precision guided weapons and better positional locating systems. Altogether, the recommendations more or less suggest that the Russian armed forces need to get themselves “networked”. One interesting point towards the end suggested that the Russian troops fought poorly while surrounded. Also see David Axe on Russian armored forces, and how the Russians cleverly used overwhelming numerical superiority to defeat the Georgians.

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As good an excuse as any

[ 60 ] September 5, 2008 |

I just submitted my tenure file to the proper authorities. I am now going to get impossibly drunk. And dance a little bit.

Before waking up in a cold sweat every night from now until April.

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Thank You, Arminius

[ 19 ] September 4, 2008 |

It turns out that the decisive victory of Arminius over three Roman Legions at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest may still be yielding benefits:

The spread of the Roman Empire through Europe could help explain why those living in its former colonies are more vulnerable to HIV.

The claim, by French researchers, is that people once ruled by Rome are less likely to have a gene variant which protects against HIV. This includes England, France, Greece and Spain, New Scientist reports. Others argue the difference is linked to a far larger event, such as the spread of bubonic plague or smallpox.

The idea that something carried by the occupying Romans could have a widespread influence on the genes of modern Europeans comes from researchers at the University of Provence. They say that the frequency of the variant corresponds closely with the shifting boundaries of the thousand-year empire.

In countries inside the borders of the empire for longer periods, such as Spain, Italy and Greece, the frequency of the CCR5-delta32 gene, which offers some protection against HIV, is between 0% and 6%. Countries at the fringe of the empire, such as Germany, and modern England, the rate is between 8% and 11.8%, while in countries never conquered by Rome, the rate is greater than this.

The theory is that the carriers of the ccr5-delta32 gene, while resistant to HIV, created a vulnerability to other diseases more common within the boundaries of the Empire than outside. As such, the gene is more common outside the Empire, and its carriers now enjoy a fortuitous resistance to AIDS.

The Battle of Teutoburg Forest is thought to have taken place 1999 years ago next Tuesday. I propose that we dub this day Arminius Day, a time when we give thanks for the barbarian chieftain who helped stop the disease spreading Legions of the Roman Empire.

…in comments, Scott suggests:

I think the residents of Gaul and Spain would have accepted a slightly higher susceptibility to a disease 2000 years later over the kind sensibilities of the Vandals, Goths, and Attila the Hun.

Listen; you play with discount rates enough, you can prove anything you want.

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