Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Science - Hubble To be Repaired in 2007

Oustanding news. NASA has decided to give the go-ahead with a Hubble Telescope repair mission next year between ISS construction missions. The mission could feature as many as five spacewalks by astronauts, and extend the telescope's mission to 2013, when a new space observatory, the James Webb, will be launched.

"Astronomers hope the decision means Hubble could still be in operation by 2013 when NASA’s next great observatory — the James Webb Space Telescope — is slated to fly. Hubble’s visible and ultraviolet observations will not be duplicated by JWST, which will scan primarily in the infrared wavelengths, researchers said."

Astronauts will install a new camera, replace batteries and insulation, as well as replace two critical gyroscopes and a guidance sensor, and boost the satellite's orbit using the shuttle's engines.

1st District - Moul

This is going to be more tough than I thought. I didn't think it would be possible to have a candidate website with less information than Esch's but I was wrong. Moul has exactly 5 issues she is running on. Healthcare, Education, National Debt, and Agriculture/Rural Development. Link above is to her website.

Nothing on Iraq, Foreign policy, taxes, immigration, gun control, social security, abortion, judges, or energy. Nada. Zip. Simply amazing. The website pressroom is all about Fortenberry's links to lobbyists and other Republicans, nothing about Moul's position on anything.

On healthcare wants to "expand access", but HOW is never explained, and crticizes the Medicare prescription plan, but doesn't say if she want to scrap it or reform it somehow. On Education, she want to reform No Child Left Behind, which is sensible, but not how, other than give more $$ to school districts, and wants to make higher ed more affordable - OK, again, how?

National Debt - she is once again incredibly short on specifics here, but does mention balanced budgets, tax reform, eliminating "wasteful government spending" and "inadequate investments on programs such as the the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit", which sounds like she doesn't think we are spending enough on that program, which she says "rewards big drug companies at taxpayer's expense." I'm missing the consistency here. Again, nice rhetoric, but what do you plan to do?

Rural Development & Ag - should be the centerpeice of her campaign, but again lacking much substance. Criticizes Fortenberry for voting with Tom DeLay and lobbyists against farmers and businesses, but no specific examples. Says Congress cut rural development money while "tax cuts for the rich" were implemented, but I thought taxes were cut on EVERYONE. Also apparently supports subsidies for small farmers, which is great, but what about putting ceilings on them, since they disproportionately go to corporate farm interests? No ideas here again.

Umm, I guess she has a TV ad saying to secure the border and crack down on employers, and criticized the Bush administration on desiring to grant amnesty, but that would mis-characterize his postion to some degree and certainly wouldn't characterize the House bill that Fortenberry voted for. I also seem to remember something written about Moul being pro-choice, someone correct me if I'm wrong.

I'll examine Fortenbery's positions tomorrow, and hopefully get to the 3rd District as well, with a look at the governor's race and some of the other local races later in the week.

2nd District Race: Terry vs Esch

I'm going to start here in the Omaha district and head west over the rest of the week, examining candidates positions and my take on them. As far as this race is concerned, I don't know much about Esch other than every bus stop in town has a bench with his name on it. It's a little hard to find info on the Democratic candidate's positions other than his website, and what is there is pretty much a small blurb. No real substantive views other than on a couple of topics.

Abortion - again, not a big issue for me, philosophically opposed to it myself, and both candidates here agree. Terry has a 0% NARAL rating, which indicates a pretty conservative rating. Esch is consistently pro-life, anti-euthanasia and anti-death penalty, but seems to quibble a bit on stem cell research.
Nothing here for me to base a decison on.

Immigration - fairly big gap here between the candidates. Terry supports stronger border enforcement (no mention of a fence) and a guest worker program, but no path to citizenship. Eisch mentions Employer enforcement, guest workers, AND a path to legalization to "long-term undocumented workers". I'm not sure I agree with either candidates positions on this subject. I support more LEGAL immigration, a fence and stronger border enforcement, think guest worker programs are hooey and believe that while it's unfortunate, we have to be pragmatic and give a path to eventual citizenship. But the road should be long, hard, and they should go to the back of the line for being here illegally. Nothing here really either.

Iraq - Terry supports the current course of assisting the Iraqi government stablize the nation and then withdraw over an undefined period based on success on the ground. Esch demands a "definition of victory" (not clear what he means)and a more immediate withdrawal, although he isn't terribly clear here either. Strong advantage Terry on this one; casualties, while horrible, happen in war, and are low by historical standards. Cutting and runnning isn't an option with the lives of 25 million Iraqis at stake.

Healthcare - Terry supports Health Savings Accounts, business group insurance and on using Federal court rules on malpractice suits, but not limiting the awards (this raises the bar for getting into court vs. state courts, but not the amount a litigant can be awarded.) Esch wants to nationalize healthcare. Ouch. What a stupid idea. Strong advantage Terry here, although I'm not with him 100%.

Spending/Taxes - Terry is pro-earmark reform (although he never did answer my questions about earmarks I asked a couple months ago), and to his credit, has voted against the "throw everything against the wall" omnibus bills that get passed at the end of sessions. Esch really shows his ignorance here - He's for a balanced budget (nice idea, but do you do if there's a recession?), also for earmark reform, and has some ideas about modernizing and streamlining government, but doesn't say how that would be accomplished. Tie more or less as far as I'm concerned here, maybe advantage Terry for voting to cut taxes. Esch doesn't mention taxes ANYWHERE on his site.

Social Security - Terry is for reforming the system to include private accounts. Esch is against them, but for "saving social security" - by raising the limit on social security taxes to $140k and some other indeterminate things. Definite advantage Terry here.

Energy - Terry is on the House Energy Committee, and has pushed hard on hydrogen, ethanol, as well as domestic drilling and refining. Esch mostly has a wish list of renewables and conservation and is calling for an Apollo-style program on them. I find Terry's approach of drilling while you do research on alternatives a lot more realistic.

Education - alot of feel-good rhetoric from both candidates here, nothing really to distinguish the two. More $$ for teachers, higher ed., etc.

Environment - not much here from either candidate again, Esch seems to believe Al Gore about warming, Terry wants to drill (safely) in the AWR. Slight advantage Terry here in at least being realistic.

Trade/Foreign Policy - Terry is definitely a free trader, having voted for a number of such bi-lateral agreements. Nothing on Esch at all on either on foreign policy except some stuff on talking to N. Korea, which we're already doing with our allies in the region along with China and Russia. Definite advantage Terry for being a grown-up and not ignoring the issues.

Guns/2nd Amendment - both candidate support 2nd Amendment rights, so nothing here to really distinguish the two.

Military - Esch point out his father is Vietnam vet and lost a leg and we should support our vets. Nothing of substance here for him. In contrast Terry has voted to increase vet funding, as well as military pay and family benefits for active and reserve forces. Terry has a definite advantage here for me as well.

To conclude, I think Esch has some nice ideas, but is young, a little naive, and probably unprepared to be a US Congressman. Terry is the incumbent, with all the advantages that confers, and seems to have a far better grasp of the issues than Esch does today. Terry reflects my view on most issues far more than Esch, although I also have disagreements with Terry on specific subjects. OnTheIssues defines Terry as a Libertarian-leaning Conservative. Make up your own mind.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Senate Race

Senate Race Issues -- click on the candidates name and get a host of issue related info instead of crappy TV ads attacking the other guy.

I'll analyze where they & I stand. I don't like either guy too well, but I do want to look at where they stand on the issues.

Immigration -- Nelson and Ricketts both against amnesty, pro-border enforcement, I agree.

Iraq -- Nelson and Ricketts both agree that no timetable should be set, but benchmarks for progress should be defined. Agree with both here as well.

Energy -- both candidates are for developing energy alternatives to oil, but Ricketts is also a proponent of domestic drilling even in the AWR. Have to give major points to Pete on that one, Nelson has voted against AWR drilling repeatedly.

Trade -- both candidates are for free and open trade, nothing to argue with here.

Military -- both candidates support a strong miltary and vets. Good to go here also.

Education -- Nelson opposes vouchers, Ricketts is for them. Advantage Ricketts.

Legal System -- Both support malpractice reform & the death penalty, and are against legal activism. Nelson voted for the President's SC picks, but mixed record at lower levels. Tie again, possible advantage to Pete.

Taxes -- Nelson has supported the President's tax cuts, but Pete wants not only to make them permanent, but wants to look at the entire tax structure. Advantage Pete again.

Spending -- both talk a good game here, but Ben voted against a $40 billion spending reduction last Dec., and has had a some questionable business relationships. Ricketts wants not only to reduce spending, but go to a 2 year budget. Another advantage Pete.

Abortion/Stem cells/etc --Not a big issue for me, Ricketts is strongly pro-life, and Nelson appears to vote that way as well.

Social Security -- Nelson is against private accounts, Pete is for them, big advantage Pete.

Guns -- Nelson has NRA support, but appears to have a mixed record, opposed a bill that would absolve manufacturers from lawsuits. Ricketts supports 2nd amendment and concealed carry. Advantage Pete, again.

Healthcare -- again, not a big personal issue, but Nelson has voted against limiting lawsuits (contrasting a statement under legal system reform), and bulk drug purchases. Ricketts is for Health Savings Accounts and limiting lawsuits, again advantage Ricketts.

Environment -- Nelson voted to confirm Secretary Norton, and seems to have some flexibility on the issues of EPA mandates. No Ricketts policy stance available, so advantage Nelson.

Pete appears to reflect where I stand on issues quite a bit more, and on some important issues. What I do like is his stance on the budget and spending, as well as tax reform. I wish he would say more about foreign policy, which is a pretty big issue with me as well, but unfortunately, he's been pretty silent on that one.

Social Security accounts are also a big plus for Pete, and the domestic drilling issue is a big kicker for me too. Personally, I wish he'd stay more on issues in his ads and draw more of a compare contrast with Nelson.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Huskers vs Okie St.

Preview via CBS's Sportsline.

OK, I'm finally over the disappointment from last week.

What do we have here? Two high octane offenses (2nd & 3rd in Big 12 in scoring)tangle with alot riding on the game for NU. Fortunately, OSU hasn't really stopped anyone all season, giving up over 340 yds/game, 144 on the ground and almost 200 through the air. Zac to Mo Purify, anyone?

My guess is BC goes back to "pound the rock" and tries to keep OSU QB Bobby Reid and his stable of fleet WRs off the field. Hopefully, the return of Steve Octaivan can help shake loose our DE's and we can get good pressure on Reid. Blackshirt secondary will have its hands full with league leading receiver Anthony Bowman. Huskers are leading the league in scoring defense (14.5 pts/game), and doing pretty well in controlling the running game (102/game)so hopefully they can make them one-dimensional & keep them out of the endzone. FEARLESS PREDICTION: NU 35, OSU 24.

Baseball World Series


I realized the other day I had not congratulated the Tiggers and the Redbirds on reaching the World Series. Redbirds hold a commanding 3-1 lead as of tonight. Jeff Weaver attempts to give the Cards their first WS ring since Whitey Herzog's base stealing racetrack Cards of 1982, weather permitting. Grandpa, who was a big Cards fan from the days of Dizzy & Stan the Man, must be pretty happy up in heaven.

EDIT: St Louis wins the series!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Science - Ancient Cultures

The remains of what might have been a corral for horses has been found in Khazakhistan, where the Boltoi culture existed from 4 to almost 6 thousand years ago.

"From 3600 to 2300 B.C., the Botai culture lived in the steppe environment of Kazakhstan, where temperatures can reach subzero during winters. Domesticated horses could have weathered the deep chill, allowing the Botai people to stay put all-year round."

While it was known that the Boltoi hunted horses, it was not clear that they had domesticated horses, although it is not thought they were not the first to do so - that privelige appears to belong the Samarra culture (related to the Kurgan/Proto Indo-European hypthosis) of the current day Ukraine, but the timelines appear to be pretty close and the info here at Wiki isn't very clear, although they do lede some credence to either the Botai or the Sredny Stog culture. Interesting archaeological conundrum here.

Armored Paintball

via the London Daily Mail. (I think)

This is so effin' cool I can't believe it.
English paintball farm escalates the fun into armored paintball warfare.

"15 years ago, Stuart Garner decided to try out an extra source of revenue on his family farm's 250 acres. He opened a conventional paintball site in one of the woods, but kept thinking up ways of improving it.

So, he bought an old tactical missile launcher (without a missile) to replicate landing craft assaults on dry land. That went down a treat, so he bought a couple of armoured personnel carriers (APCs) to liven things up even more.

Then, he had another idea. If the general public found it so much fun playing infantry games, maybe they would like to try out a spot of armoured activity, too. How about tank paintball?

It took a few years to perfect. Stuart eventually, found just what he needed at an ex-military vehicle sale. During the Seventies, the Army used an APC called an FV432. A handful were also built with turrets and a nasty 30mm Rarden gun.

Stuart had the guns removed and contacted Jez Smith, 26-year-old local engineer and serial inventor, to make the biggest paintball gun ever seen. Their chosen ammunition, fired by compressed air, would be paint-filled ping-pong balls."

I think I may need to get to the state department of economic development - tomorrow.

Hattip to the gang at Wizbang!

2nd District Debate: Terry vs Esch

Leavenworth Street is once again ALL over it. While poking a bit of fun at both candidates, Esch apparently got smacked around some, and then some more. And then Terry hurt him.

Also, out in the Third District, Democratic candidate Scott Kleeb gets a little exposure. While Kleeb is criticizing Adrian Smith for taking Club for Growth money,Kleeb is getting his cash from John Kerry and uber-lefty website Americablog. Very interesting, isn't it. Excellent takedown, again. I really need to meet this Leavenworth guy, he's good.

Citizen Activist Chris Lileks

via The American Spectator.

Great story of a young citizen who has had a dramatic impact on politics in Pennsylvania. Not only did he help to overturn a legislative "midnight" payraise, he got two of the top Republican legislators voted out of office in the primary election for passing it in the first place.

He is now working feverishly to help shore up Senator Rick Santorum's campaign against former State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr. By starting his own 527 lobbying group. If he's half as successful with this campaign as his last, Casey may be in trouble.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


No link, just a few comments. Nebraska showed that it can hang with a pretty good team, and probably would have won had another of Texas's several fumbles gone our way or one or another of our turnovers not happened. The second half showed why it is important to mix things up better, we were a little tentative in the first half in the passing game. Coach C had a stroke of genius calling the halfback pass. I didn't like the way NU mismanaged the clock while UT was driving to go ahead. Great catch and run by Brandon Jackson.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

College Football

Several surprises this week, particularly with #15 Iowa losing to Indiana and #16 Georgia losing to Vandy. #11 Auburn also upset 2nd rated Florida, and BC manhandled #22 Va Tech. One story from the not-so-surprising department, a number U of Miami (FL) thugs (players) are being suspended due to a onfield brawl with neighboring school Florida International. Both schools had numerous players involved and suspensions are being handed out all over.

In the Big 12, Missouri's loss to Texas A & M puts Nebraska momentarily in the North division driver's seat, although Texas comes to Lincoln next week. ISU loses to OU, UT thrashes Baylor, Okie St comes from behind with 42 second half points on Kansas, and the lowly Buffalos avoid a school reocrd 11th loss in a row in upsetting Texas Tech. UT and NU are the only teams now without a conference loss.

In the Big 10, OSU and Michigan continue to stay undefeated, Wisconsin thrashes Minnesota, Purdue thumps Northwestern, and Frank Solich's Ohio Bobcats continue their upset tradition edging out Illinois in a non-conference game.

New AP poll has OSU and UM 1 and 2, the USA poll has USC number 2 instead. UT is #5, with the Huskers moving up to 17 and 16 after a bunch of SEC/Big East/Pac-10 teams. OU is at 20 in both, Mizzou stays in only the AP at 24, A & M is at 23 and 25. Big-10's Badgers are are at 21 and 22, & BC returns to the polls as well for the ACC whose only other rated team is Clemson at #12.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Neolithic Revolution

More Friday NG science stuff -- and the kind of thing I have a particular interest in, namely, the beginnings of civilization.

DNA tracing done recently on goats show that they may be among the oldest domesticated species on the planet, perhaps as far back as 11-12,000 years. Originating near the Caucasus mountain range, the goat went global with people as they migrated from the early farming regions in the Near East west into Europe and east into Asia. The diversity of goat DNA is much lower than other domesticated livestock, indicating far more travel and interbreeding -- almost as mixed as humans themselves.

"DNA analysis of 7,000-year-old goat bones from caves in Baume d'Oullen in southwestern France revealed high genetic diversity and two goat lineages stemming from the Near East. The researchers say that this indicates genetic mixing in goats occurred with the first waves of Neolithic farmers in Europe around 7,500 years ago.

Goats would have been ideally suited companions for frontier farmers in Stone Age Europe, the researchers say, being hardy animals that can survive on minimal food, cope with extremes of temperature, and travel long distances."

Goats would have provided food, clothing, milk as well as bone and sinew for Stone Age equipment, and dung for fuel and fertilzer. As goat herding led to farming and more permanent settlement, farmers would go on to domesticate other local livestock such as cattle, sheep and pigs.

Huskers vs K St.

I see this game as a bellweather for the season. If the same team shows up that played ISU, we should be fine, but some consistency would be nice to see. If the team that played Kansas shows up, we are in trouble, particularly next week and later in the season. This SHOULD go onto the books as win number 800 for the program. We haven't won in Manhatten in a decade, and it's about time to start again.

If we can run the ball effectively, we will probably win the game, but it might be a tall order as the Wildcats rank ahead of the Blackshirts defensively, at least on paper. Of course, our D had to play USC, and had a huge letdown against KU as well. But we do have alot more offensive firepower than they do, and have been getting on teams early, outscoring opponents 62-7 in the first quarter. Taylor may have to mix it up and throw early to open up the ground game, but he can certainly do that.

"The Cornhuskers have the Big 12's top scoring offense at 39.7 points per game. They lead the conference and rank among the top 10 teams in the nation in rushing with 210.7 yards per game and total offense with 463.8."

Defensively, we need to stop their run game and pressure KSU's frosh QB, and we should be able to do just that, although the KU game is a stark reminder that we need to play all four quarters. Special teams could be huge this week, KU has a fine return man and starting RB in Patton. We shouldn't need to play dime defense this week, focus on stopping Patton and containing QB Freeman. KSU O-line is huge, but they are only averaging 116 yds/game, hard to figure.

I'm saying NU wins on the road, 31-14.
We have Texas next week in Lincoln, hopefully no one is looking ahead. I'm not.

Science - Ancient Giant Camels

via National Geographic.

Giant camel fossil, twice the size of modern species at nearly 12 feet, discovered in Syria. The find extends the history of the species back more than 90,000 years. Modern camels are thought to have been domesticated in Arabia around 6-7,000 years ago. Perhaps as significant is that human bones and tools were also found in the area, suggesting that early humans may have hunted the giant dromedary.

"Hunter-gatherers likely attacked and killed the giant camel when it visited one of these springs to drink, the researchers suggest."

Gotta hand it to those cave-men, they loved barbeque so much they were willing to take on giant camels and mammoths just to get a taste.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Husker LB Kadavy

via Sports Illustrated.

Amazing story of a Husker walk-on LB Andy Kadavy, who is blind in one eye. Cut once as a FB during the Solich era, he caught on again as LB on the scout team with Bo Pellini's help after never giving up on himself. Coach Callahan rewarded the young man with a scholarship for his senior season after he had previously worked himself through school. Kadavy is a standout on the Husker special teams. Despite rumors to the contrary, the walk-on program is still very much alive at NU, with Kadavy and his good friend safety Brandon Rigoni being the current poster boys. Andy intends to teach elementary school after graduation.

Science - Ice Age

via Yahoo/Reuters.

Apparently new evidence has been uncovered in recent sediment cores that the Bering Land Bridge, widely thought to have allowed a land passage from Asia to North America during the Earth's last Ice Age, flooded about a millenia before previously thought, around 11,000 years ago. This leads further credence to the idea that Native Americans migrated further back in time than was once thought as well, perhaps as far back as 18,000 years if some finds I've read about can be proven.

"For decades most scientists believed that the first people to settle in the Americas were the Clovis people, and that they came via the Bering land bridge between 11,000 and 12,000 years ago. But recent evidence has suggested that humans came much earlier."

One of the interesting theories is that people not only migrated via the land bridge, but also along the coast in small boats. There is certainly evidence of boats before that time in South Asia and elsewhere. Naturally, the best places to look for evidence of such coastal migrations on America's west coast are now under water as the Ice Age glaciers melted, raising the world's sea levels.

North Korea

via Foxnews.

The US is attempting to bridge the gap between the sanctions being pushed by Japan (which unilaterally imposed a ban on N. korean shipping from docking at Japanese ports, among other things) and the "unspecified consequences" being proposed by the Chinese, who have the most leverage over the North. China is sending an envoy to the US to discuss the matter.

"Chinese officials have refused to say publicly what consequences they believe North Korea should face for its claimed nuclear test, although its U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, agreed earlier this week that the Security Council must impose "punitive actions."

The latest US proposals would drop the embargo conditions being pressed by the Japanese, but freeze some N. Korean assets and ban travel for some of its citizens.
However, the N. Koreans continue to threaten both the US and Japan if sanctions are imposed. The US is hoping to get the Chinese and the Russians on board with its proposals while maintaining the intense concern being expressed by the Japanese.

"The North will consider increased U.S. pressure "a declaration of war," RI Kong Son, vice spokesman for North Korea's Foreign Ministry, said in an interview with AP Television News in Pyongyang. He said North Korea would take unspecified "physical countermeasures. Song Il Ho, a North Korean envoy to Japan, gave a similar warning to Tokyo. "We will take strong countermeasures," he told Kyoto News Agency."

China appears to be pushing the North to admit going nuclear is a mistake and hopefully disarming, while at the same time attempting to prevent the international community from "punishing" the North. Hard to determine what the ultimate Chinese goals are, but they are legendarily obtuse in diplomatic circles. The North is demanding one-on-one talks with the US, which are wisely being refused in favor of a multi-lateral approach with the North's neighbors. It is still unclear, however, that the explosion/seismic event was, in fact, nuclear as both South Korea and Japan can find no signs of additional radioactivity in the atmosphere.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

GOP Straw Poll

Yankees Offseason

Apparently the Boss has decided to stay with Joe Torre as Yankee manager, a wise decision I fully endorse. I've also seen reports that GM Brian Cashman has no intention of trading Alex Rodriguez, although it was confirmed that teams did approach the Yanks to inquire about his availability before the trade deadline last summer. Cashman's job has to be to find some pitching over the winter. There is speculation the Gary Sheffield may not be back next year, not sure what his contract situation is yet, I want to say it's an option year. I'd like to see a top shelf free agent starting pitcher landed, and maybe this guy from Japan, and perahps a couple of middle inning guys for sure.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Cosmology -- Shape of the Universe


Long-overdue science post.

I've never even heard of this Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, and I'm about as robustly geeky as you can find. Anyhow, Italian scientists think that the universe is actually elliptical, rather than spherical, which explains certain ambiguities in background cosmic microwave radiation. Naturally, this solution causes even more questions, like how the universe became elliptical, than it solves. The thinking is magnetic fields, or cosmic strings are causing the shape to warp slightly, by about 1% -- but in something as big as the universe, that's alot.
But hey, this WMAP probe has been a bonanza of coolness since it's launch in 2001. Check out some of the findings here:

"So far data from this probe has helped nail down some of the most important details about the universe. This includes the age of the universe since the Big Bang, at 13.7 billion years; the time when the first atoms formed, at 380,000 years after the Big Bang; and how much of the universe is made of either ordinary matter or the mysteries known as dark matter and dark energy, at roughly 5, 25 and 70 percent, respectively."

Talk about good bang for your buck, this is what NASA should be about. Interesting that it sits at the L2 Lagrange point outside Earth's orbit. I'd love to know what this puppy cost, but whatever the price, it was definitely worth it for the top 2 scientific findings of 2003, among others.

Hydrogen Cars, and their Impact

Pittsburgh paper via RCP.

Great article on the progress being made on hydrogen vehicles. BMW, GM, and Ford all either have vehicles coming to market or will in the next few years. With no emissions and no oil being consumed, the impacts on the Middle East could be immense.

"Given the competitive drive within capitalism to be first with the best, it's a safe bet that the pace of development of the aforementioned technologies will become only more rapid. Equally predictable is the negative impact on the economies of the Islamic Middle East......One might say we've ended up with two worlds. On the one side, BMW engineers. On the other, suicide bombers. On the one side, scientific advances, reason and individual liberty. On the other, never-ending grievances and boundless victimhood, a downward spiral of rage, self-righteousness, envy and self-pity."

Outstanding point, and one in which many would be wise to take heed.

The article also goes on to quotes Dr. Lewis referring to a World Bank study indicating that the entire Arab world's total exports of non-oil products is less than Finland, a nation of only 5 million citizens. And if we don't need their oil, there really isn't much reason to have anything to do with them, is there?

Federal Deficit

Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, estimates the 2006 budget deficit at $250 billion, far better than expected a year ago, and lower than projected over the summer as well. Corporate tax revenues contributed heavily to the decrease. Of course the fact we are also at war also has something to do with the deficit.

"The Congressional Budget Office's latest estimate is $10 billion below CBO predictions issued in August and well below a July White House prediction of $296 billion. The improving deficit picture — Bush predicted a $423 billion deficit in his February budget — has been driven by better-than-expected tax receipts, especially from corporate profits, CBO said. The 2005 deficit registered $318 billion; the record $413 billion deficit was posted in 2004. At $250 billion, it would be the lowest since the $158 billion figure in 2002, the first deficit following four years of surpluses."

Of course, if you look at the deficit as a percentage of the economy, it looks even better than that. Fox even points it out, although they don't give numbers - which today, is around 65% (Total Debt as a percentage of the economy, or just under 2% for the year if looking at the $250 billion)

"when measured against the size of the economy, which is the comparison economists think is most important, the deficit picture looks even better."

Maybe the message from this guy is getting out. He had a good post on a politician, running for Senate in North Dakota, that appears to have learned the lesson.

UN Secretary-General

via Foxnews.

The only one of six candidates to survive a UN Security Council veto, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon appears poised to take over on Jan. 1 if approved by the UN General Assembly.

"On Monday afternoon, Ban's dream took another step forward when he cemented his position to succeed Annan, becoming the only one of six candidates to escape a veto in an informal U.N. Security Council ballot while securing 14 votes in favor. "It is quite clear that from today's straw poll that Minister Ban Ki-Moon is the candidate that the Security Council will recommend to the General Assembly,"China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya said."

Ban is a life-long diplomat, has served in India, Austria, the US and UN for his country. He has been S. Korea's FM since 2004. He is described as thoughtful, quiet and soft-spoken, a "natural" diplomat. He would take over the post from controversial Kofi Annan, whose term expires Dec. 31.

It will be a great relief to finally be rid of "oil-for-food" Annan for the US and the West in general. Ban met JFK travelling in the US as a student, and coming from S. Korea, is likely to be far more friendly to the US and its interests. He has been heavily involved with the negotiations with neighboring North Korea over its nuclear program, which appears active with a test firing this weekend. The US Geological Survey detected a magnitude 4 tremor thought to be the test.

Yankees bounced by Detroit, Torre in Trouble

Yanks fall to Detroit, with a major power outage from the All-Star lineup in the three losses. The Boss is said to be unhappy, and rightly so -- but Torre isn't the reason the Yanks lost, it was the pitching. Apparently Lou is being considered, but they'd better move fast if they really want him, he's already had talks to four teams with openings. Pitching is the issue. Unit isn't the dominator he once was, and Moose is pretty long in the tooth as well. Jared Wright and Carl Pavano are absolutley not the answer either. Some are also calling for A-Rod to be moved, I think that is stupid as well, although he can't hit his weight in the playoffs. I'm not sure who is available, but they need to get younger and better on the staff. Barry Zito, anyone? When the Yanks were winning they had both pitching and hitting, and recently they've gone back to the late 80's all-bat, no pitch lineup that got them nowhere.

Elsewhere, the Tiggers go to the Bay on Tuesday, and the Cards go to the Stupid Mets on Wednesday. Go Cards.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Huskers defeat ISU 28-14

Well, what to say? The offense rolled with a heavy dose of Cody Glenn (148 yds, 2 TDS) and Brandon Jackson (116 yds, 1 TD), Taylor was efficient (17-21 for 131 and a TD), and Maurice Purify made the biggest play of the game as time was running out in the first half to give the Huskers a 21-7 lead and some additional momentum. NU controlled the game throughout. Big win for the Big Red, who have definitely had their problems on the road in the Callahan era. It was the first time they have beaten the Clones at their house since 2000.

The Blackshirts showed up to play, holding ISU to 53 yds rushing, with Steve Hicks held to 21 yds and Meyer to 26 on the ground. Meyer passed for 262 on 18 of 39, but had pressure put on him at key times that forced him into several bad plays. NU held on the Clones fake FG attempt and twice held on fourth down in the second half. Coach Coz also introduced Safety Andrew Shanle to the fun of blitzing. They also put in a dime package (about time!) which included frosh Ricky Thenarse and junior Byran Wilson. ISU did have a blown call against them that would have given them a TD in the second half. ISU got a meaningless TD with time expiring to make it look closer than it was.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Iranian prince speaks in Omaha

Reza Pahlavi, the son of the former Shah, spoke in Omaha at the UNO campus. He is advocating a more active US foreign policy against the current Iranian government, but believes an invasion would not be in anyone's best interest. Have to agree with him on that score.

"Pahlavi said he does not support a U.S. invasion because it would only inflame anti-American sentiment and Iranian nationalist pride. Instead, he envisions a democratic revolution from within Iran supported by U.S. economic might. The world's superpower can prompt this revolution by attempting to speak directly to the Iranian people using radio, TV and the Internet, he said. It can also make life difficult for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by imposing targeted sanctions geared to hurt the ruling class but not common Iranians, he said."

I also have to agree that making life difficult for the Iranian government is in our interest, and should be a high priority. He also appears to believe that many of our problems in Iraq are due to Iranian interference. That alone is reason enough to ratchet up the heat on Ahmadinejad. I have to wonder if Pahlavi was in NY when the Iranian President went to the UN. A picture of them meeting on the street would be......priceless.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Dow Hits all-Time High--Again


"U.S. stocks climbed on Wednesday, driving the Dow to an all-time high for a second day, as data showing a weaker-than-expected services sector reaffirmed views the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates unchanged."

Strong growth, strong profits, low unemployment, low inflation.

Oil is now under $59/barrel, likely heading lower as drving season and EPA-mandated
summer reformulation goes away.

1st District House Race

Moul-Fortenberry debate in Norfolk discusses in the LJS.

Not much on substance, although (surprise!) Moul apparently has some strange notion that there is no plan on the Iraq situation. Moron. What part of "turn over areas to Iraqi army control and withdraw from said areas" don't you understand? Currently 6 Iraqi divisions and 26 brigades command their areas and 2 Iraqi provinces have been turned over to Iraqi civilian control.

“President Bush and my opponent believe that empty rhetoric like ‘Stay the course’ are enough to win this war,” said Moul, responding to a question about Iraq.“We need to establish clear goals ... to make sure (the troops) can get the job done.”Moul said Congress should consider setting a timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq, adding: “Only when we complete our mission can we come home.” That last quote, Fortenberry fired back, is directly contradictory to establishing a timetable. Furthermore, he said, such a timetable would result in “absolute chaos” in the Middle East.“It is not a coincidence that since 9/11, our country has remained free from attack,” he said. “There’s progress being made, though it’s proceeded slowly.”

Fortunberry should have blasted her on this, but he's way ahead. Setting a timetable is pathetically stupid, as well as naive in the extreme -- just a good way to lose. She's also against any border fencing, which should be a no brainer for anyone not in the amnesty crowd. And to think I considered this woman a serious candidate. She's been nearly invisible, and has idiotic feel good ideas to boot.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Big 12 Football Report

Standings via ESPN.

Well, what do we know so far? The Big 12 isn't very good, being 0-10 against ranked teams, including 0-7 from the North. However, everyone in the conference except Baylor and Colorado do have winning records....against pretty weak competition. Mizzou, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech are probably the teams most likely to win the conference, with Texas likely to win it all.

Obviously, no one knows whether Mizzou or Nebraska are for real since neither have won a game against anyone of note, but they both get good tests this week on the road against Tech and Iowa St., who could put themsleves in play for the North with a win, although they follow with OU and Tech. Ouch. North front-runners both travel the following week as well, MU to A & M and NU to K St., so we'll know a lot more then.

In the South, the Red River shootout will likely to decide things as usual. OU gets ISU at home the following week, with UT at home vs. Baylor. Tech survived a close one against A & M last week, will test MU and then goes to the woeful Buffalos. A & M goes to KU this week, might be interesting to see if the Jayhawks continue to improve.

Baseball Standings, Playoff spots

Tiggers come to the House that Ruth Built after losing the division on the last day of the season.
Lefty Robertson going against the industrial strength sinkerballer Wang.
A's go to Southern Canada where the Twinkies have the best home record in the majors.
Zito vs. Santana in a duel of Spanish guitars classicists.

Cards survive the late season scare and travel to SoCal to play the Priests.
Carpenter tries to build a victory against soup mogul Peavy.
Dumb Dodgers go the other coast to bumble around with the Stupid Metropolitians at the House that Ruth obviously didn't build. Former Evil Sock Lowe against El Duke, who at least can pitch in NY. At least we have to wait until Tuesday for this one to start.

Hard to find a team to root for in the Inferior Circuit. Probably have to go with the Cards, they were Grandpa's team. And have Sir Albert of Pujols. Too bad Sir Ryan of Howard's team didn't make the cut instead of the dumb ones.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


No link. I'm just that irritated (AAARRGGHH!) by the alma mater. It's pretty apparent that NU isn't perhaps as good as advertised, nor KU as bad. On the plus side, NU got some early turnovers and jumped out to a nice halftime lead (24-10) on some real nice big pass plays.

On the bad side, we let the opposition get back into the game and if it weren't for some egregious errors (fumble at the goal line, int in the endzone) on their part, we would have lost. The defense never got any real pressure on the KU QB, who I think should probably be the starter over goldilocks Meier.

We didn't move the ball in the second half until it was almost too late, and as a result, the Blackshirts were out on the field most of the second half AGAIN. Fortunately, they got a good blow in OT as Taylor's pass to Swift at the goal line was reviewed multiple times. The play should have been ruled a TD in my book, but Glenn scored the next play anyway.

next up: Iowa State

Can we win? Maybe, but we'd damn well sure better play a better game on both sides of the ball than we did last night. Prediction? It could be a pinball contest unless Coz lets the D rush the QB.