Kasey in the Curtains Again

Kasey in the Curtains Again

kasey-curtains

Kasey likes to hide under the curtains so she can dash out to chase birds in the yard with them all unaware of her being there.

Pelosi Prevaricates

Pelosi Prevaricates

Forty briefings: those squawking the loudest about enhanced interrogation techniques knew about it. If President Bush is a war criminal for this then so is Speaker Pelosi. See the video below where the  hypocrisy abounds:

Moon Through Clouds

Moon Through Clouds

moon-050809

Here’s tonight’s moon with thin clouds obscuring. The clouds were really pretty, and I would have liked to get them as well but could not because it would have taken a time exposure and they were moving too fast for that. I upped the output brightness and contrast so you can see the thin bands of cloud. Below is the updated and improved equivalent to the camera used along with the lens used. The resolution of the photo is greatly reduced for the website, and it’s cropped down to 1200 as all photos I post are.

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Dump the Dentist

Dump the Dentist

Don McLeroy, Dentist, Discovery Institute shill, and Chairman of the Texas State Board of education is under fire and likely out of a job. He’s a Governor Rick Perry appointee, but the legislature still has to confirm. So far they haven’t done so even though these are usually fly through appointments. If they don’t by June 1st that will be it for the Dentist.

State Sen. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, chairman of the Senate Nominations Committee, declared McLeroy’s confirmation dead in the water. If so, Gov. Rick Perry will have to look to the other nine Republicans on the 15-member elected board for a new board chair.

It will be interesting to see who Perry’s next appointee to the Texas State Board of Creationist Indoctrination is. Read more here.

H/T: The Sensuous Curmudgeon

Previous Lunacy in Texas

Pundit Puddingheads Pimp Pandemic Paranoia

Pundit Puddingheads Pimp Pandemic Paranoia

You always hate it when radio and talk pundits willingly feed ammunition to our enemies – when media matters can publish just the facts and Joe Scarborough can lay you low with a comment you know you are treading too far into the land of extreme paranoia. Sorry for the media matters video, but it’s all just factual sound bites.

Marshaling nativist fears and  extreme wing paranoia during times of crisis is counterproductive if there is a real emergency. Doing that when there isn’t must have a motive, and it demonstrates the desperate ploy of populist fear. The Republican party is better than that, or at least I hope they are. It’s notable that Boortz is Libertarian, and Savage is a nutcase.

The facts: the Flu will go pandemic, but it was bought here and elsewhere by tourists and truckers, not illegal immigrants. The Flu is mild in symptoms at present, but it could evolve into something nastier in the future.

If you wanted to attack the US with a bioterror weapon, you wouldn’t start in Mexico, you would start in a few of the hotels around Ohare field, MCI, Dallas, and etc. to make it spread further before detection. Starting in Mexico would probably eventually get it here, but with lots of forewarning and easy means to quarantine or stop the flow. So why would you do something so stupid if you were a terrorist?

If you are worried about vectors across the border keep in mind that even if all immigration were stopped from all countries, that same flu would still get here by crossing the borders with avian and animal vectors.

Boortz and Savage: Get a clue if you are going to pretend to educate your audience.

The Art of the Con

The Art of the Con

Here’s an educational video that bears watching in the era of Obama, and a democrat controlled congress. What red meat political issues are the Dems chumming the water with, and which should we really be paying attention to? What are the rowdier and louder fringes of the Republican party screaming about, and what should we really be paying attention to?

The New Rib Rack

The New Rib Rack

rib-rack

I’m trying out a new rack for smoking ribs, picked this thing up for nine bucks at Home Depot. We’ll see how it does, the worry about it that I have is that the ribs will come out dry, if you cook them bone side up on the grill they usually do not, but we will see in another hour. *Public Health Warning: If you click on the thumbnail to enlarge you will gain two pounds.*

UPDATE: The ribs are perfect.

The Moon Through High Thin Clouds

The Moon Through High Thin Clouds

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Here’s Tonight’s moon shot through high thin clouds. I had to up the contrast and brightness in P-shop just a tad so you can see the craters better.

Republicans Need New Strategy II: The Shores of Desolation

Republicans Need New Strategy II: The Shores of Desolation

tidal-flatsIt’s 256-178 against Republicans in the House of Representatives and it’s 59-41 in the Senate, our President is Democrat and likely to get two or more Supreme Court appointments during his coming term or terms. The most populous states in the country are solidly in the (D) column, and our last holdout states are being worked on by the Dems as I type (Pelosi was in Texas yesterday, and many prominent Dems are making regular sweeps – it’s the next populous red state they are working on converting to a grape.) That’s our reality and what we must deal with.

Our tide has receded and we stand amidst wrack and drying foam upon a desolate shore. What’s next for us? Will we starve and shrink, or can we somehow pull that tide back?

To do so takes a long term, mid term, and short term strategies based on reality. Neither strategies based on what’s happening in the news cycle at the moment, nor strategies based on worries and wishes will work.

There’s been lots of coulda, shoulda, woulda analysis of the past election but one thing is very clear – many of our pundits and strategists are now betting the farm on a four and out failure scenario and the conventional wisdom that the party out of power gains in mid term elections. While balancing will come into play, we can’t count on that alone in 2010.

I’m one of those nutty guys who likes to plan for worst case and be happily surprised and cheer like a madman if anything better does occur. You won’t see me thinking Obama’s going to shoot both of his feet off, and you won’t see me planning how to win last election, or thinking that we will still be in recession in four years. Capitalism is stronger that that, no matter what the Dems do – it’s a primal force of human nature that can’t be overcome. Even in Communist China and the old Soviet Union it can’t be overcome. Preparing for the last war you had instead of the war that’s coming is a classic military blunder and the outcome of that can be even worse in the political arena.

First let’s look at short term: what we can do until election 2010 and the levers we have available.

With the Democrat super-majority we do not have a lot of options. To ameliorate bad legislation our levers amount to these:

  • Blocking in committee and using procedural rules where we can based on specific reasoned points that create political opportunities. Easy grandstanding populist issues should be eschewed as the general public will see through these with the ever present aid of the adversarial press
  • Influencing moderate and right democrats on specific regional issues: pair off teams of Republican legislators from their region with Democrats who are on the bubble or at risk in conservative to moderate states. This will not work if the R’s are branded RINO and beset by the nihilistic far right of our party.
  • Influencing through public campaigns and the Democrat’s constituency – target the Democrat Congress critter’s base with the agitprop, not the Republican base or the already converted in his area. This means retooling some of the bumper stickers to appeal more to the left not to the right. The red meat we use against them must be cooked to their liking, not ours if they are to swallow it.
  • Working through the courts to challenge unconstitutional segments of new legislation. The opportunities here are plentiful, each new session of congress seems less capable of writing legislation that will stand up in court. e.g. a few Property rights and Free Speech cases in the West could get us a lot of mileage.
  • Working at State level to supercede and challenge that which is truly unconstitutional – doing this for social issues gets us the FAIL, doing it for gun rights, sound fiscal policy, property rights, and individual liberties gets us the win, because if we don’t pull back the West and some of the North east we become the permanent superminority. Becoming the new Dixiecrat party is not only antithetical to our founding (our first platform was “Free State Kansas”,) but it will also ensure that we become irrelevant at national level for the next decade.

These are levers we can pull – but they are near term tactics, not a strategy. To get to a workable strategy we have to know the terrain and we can worry about the local weather after we figure out where the hills and valleys are.

To do that I propose that the Republican party commission an objective third party firm to conduct a neutral survey. Not a push survey set up to highlight Republican issues like you get every election. (You know the one I’m talking about: it begs for money after trying to push your hot-buttons with a supposed survey.) Make some of the questions on the survey open: don’t give multiple choice selections instead ask openly without prompting what their top three issues are and allow them to hand write or voice their answer.

This survey needs to be of the general public and it needs to be set up not to elicit push or pull responses but rather to survey true beliefs and positions.

We need to also poll our own base with the same survey. We don’t need a Frank Luntz or Dick Morris type involved in this, we need a double blind uninvolved and objective third party firm that’s not tied to a party, think tank, or news agency. Neutral and objective must be our watchwords for this.

Why do we need it? There have been some amazing shifts in demographics the past fifteen years, and the traditional base of what constitutes a Republican has changed, and America has changed as well. With that change in terrain we are fighting on new ground. We need a real assessment. When that comes back we must take off our blinders, blinkers, and rose colored glasses.

First step is to match up areas of agreement between our base and the general public. Those are our strengths so we must make some of those our lead issues, and if they are our strongest cards  then we must base strategy upon them.

Second we must look at areas where we are in major disagreement with the general public. Those are the important stumbling blocks, those are the issues the Dems will make grape states with.

Pundits: Don’t assume you know this already. You might have an inkling, but don’t project your wishes on the results. When and if the returns come back read the sections that make you weep, take a look in the mirror and do some soul searching – don’t make up conspiracy theories to justify the difference, don’t what- if the results. Instead take it, absorb it, sleep on it, and then think on it some more before you come to conclusions.

While you are waiting on that survey that might never happen, please pick up this book, and look at some of the factors over the last few decades that defy conventional wisdom and punditry on elections. Red State Blue State, Rich State, Poor State contains a lot of charts and graphs based on empirical reality. It tries to be neutral, but the left loves it because it underlines their class warfare line that the Republican party is the party of the rich.

It turns out that Rich people vote Republican more often, and Poor people vote Democrat more often. Nothing earth shattering there, you could say the authors are being masters of the obvious. However the big paradigm shift you have to pay attention to is this: Poor states vote Republican, Rich States vote Democrat.  You can hypothesize about that if you like, but the conclusion I’ve come to is that populous states have larger middle and upper classes. What must we do to get them back?

To me the answer is not Populism as that appeals to the poor states already in the Republican column and not necessarily the middle and upper classes in more populous urban states.

If we can’t win populous states we can’t be a national party. Think on it please.

Update: The Sensuous Curmudgeon has an Open Letter to the Party that’s well worth reading here.

The next installment in this series will map mid-game and long term strategies: Where is the Republican party going to head for the rest of the century? Is it a positive appealing direction?

Sea Gull Reflections

Sea Gull Reflections

sea-gull-reflectionsA picture from a beach in Oregon, click on the thumbnail to see full size.