Caption This Picture of Romney

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I am working on something of substance, but for now, I found this picture.  I am almost speechless.  Go ahead and see what captions you can come up with.


Humpday Simplicity

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Well in somewhat typical Hump Day fashion, today sucked. I have no garage, and those of us in Mid Michigan had some fun weather last night. At 10 PM it was 45 degrees and thundershowering, by midnight it had fallen to 20 degrees and when I checked the temp first thing in the morning, it was 6. So our car was frozen shut. Great. So I walked to work, thank god it's only 5 blocks! The rest of the day was filled with pointless meetings, stupid clients, and micro-managing bureaucratic bullshit preventing me from being able to do my job. Pretty typical, eh?

So when I got home, the Gal and I decided it would be a simple night, no cooking. So we ordered up a nice simple pizza: barbecue pork. And I couldn't think of an better beer to go with my pizza than a nice simple IPA, tonight it's Mad Hatter from New Holland Brewing Company.

I'm sure some of you have had this, it's not rare by any means. What it is, is Good. Just a plain simple IPA, nothing fancy, but damned tasty and spot on for the style. I'm a big fan of Mad Hatter. it's pretty common in my fridge, especially in the summer.

It's a clear golden-amber brew with a sticky and sturdy two-finger thick off white head. This beer is clearly being filtered now, as it used to have plenty of sediment in the bottle that used to muck it up a bit, but now it's crystal clear. No complaints really, I don't mind the filtering for the most part, I just don't mind cloudy beer either. The head is marvelous, moderately rocky, leaves lots of lacing, and takes forever to get down to a film.

The aroma is all grapefruit rind and grass, strongly hoppy but not going to ruin your sense of smell for a week.

A light toasty and slightly sweet malt is overtaken by a rush of the same hops from the nose, all citrus peel and grass, joined by some herbal and floral notes, oregano almost and jasmine, that come in late as more of an aroma.

Not too much to say about the body, except for my only concern with filtering. The body doesn't seem to be *quite* as full as it did pre-filter. Oh well, not enough of a difference to put me off.

One of my three favorite IPAs this one is, and all from Michigan (Two-Hearted Ale and Crooked Tree are the other two in case anybody cares to know), this beer was the perfect beginning to the end of a previously crappy day.


Ride Along with Rickey

You may know Ricky Henderson as quite possibly the craziest base coach in baseball, who continually refers to himself in the 3rd person.

Well, a denizen of the fine city of New York, channels all of the hubris and habits of Mr. Henderson plus a fine helping of his own misanthropic jabs to whip up a fine daily batch of Riding With Rickey.

Go check out Rickey's blog. You've seen him quite often here in our comments section, and his blog is every bit worth the visit. He also accomplishes the nearly impossible by throwing up (in every sense of the phrase) a new post every day. That is, first and foremost, incredibly difficult and requires a ton a creativity. I say this in light of the fact that despite having 7 contributors to this blog, we don't always get a daily post up-and-running.

There you have it. It's a blog about baseball trivia, pop culture and politics. And it's damn funny to boot.


The State of the Union is Smug

Monday, January 28, 2008

So, here I sit on my couch with my laptop, realizing that I have no idea where I want to go with this. In the end, I'll try to pick up and the things that catch my ear and offer-up some snark to go along with it. I encourage my fellow contributors to either update and add to this peice, or add your own snippets and snark in the comments...or whatever.

9:09 pm, after 9 minutes of introductions and ceaseless clapping, did Nancy Pelosi alomost stumble over saying it was a distinct pleasure to introduce the President?

He made a point to say that 110th Congress will affect the security of our nation for years to come, and to recognize our obligations and keep them. This came up again, several times, especailly with regard to his coverage of the progress in Iraq and the Middle East in general. He essentially spent a lot of time on variations of the "don't pull out of Iraq" theme. Whatever you may think of being there, staying there, or leaving, he's clearly challenging the Democrats. And given the Dems' track record on his challenges...they'll buckle.

Pelosi looked like she was going to laugh when he said he reached an agreement with her. I bet she thought he was gonna say "boner" instead of Boener. Because I think it every single time.

Awwwww, George made a funny! He starts with saying that letting a tax decrease expire is essentially an increase, which is splitting hairs. He goes on to say that there are some people who are happy to pay higher taxes. He's happy to say the IRS accepts checks or money orders. Smug motherfucker.

Of course, he went on to say that Congress must make tax relief permanent. There is no problem with that George. So long as you also see that you either fund the war, fund education, fund corporate welfare, or fund health care, but not all three on a diminishing pot of money.

He says he'll veto any tax increase bill. If one were being discussed, I don't believe this Congress would have the political will to even send him one.

I like how he wants to eliminate $18 Billion in sending by eliminating wasteful programs. I can't wait to see the list of wasteful programs. Apparently, health insurance for poor kids is one of those wasteful programs...

I loved this one: families have to balance their should their government. A yes, I think that's Chapter 6 of the Book Of Irony. $734 Billion in deficit (down from a $431 billion surplus in 2001) and $9.2 trillion in debt (up from $5.7 in 2001) anyone?

Oh, gods. Earmarks...blah blah...he'll veto budget bills with earmarks and, via executive order, will require federal agencies to ignore earmarks that haven't been voted on. Again, I can't wait to see what qualifies as an earmark, or better yet, what doesn't.

He moved on to health care and the importance of patients and doctors making their own medical decisions, and to make health care affordable and accessible for all Americans. Universal, maybe? No!! He says it must be based on consumer choice, not government control. That said, there are plenty of warnings about a "Canadian" health care system, many of which are not exactly accurate, but the status quo of competitive consumer choice is not getting us much of anywhere other than the richest nation in the world being unable to cover all of its citizens.

The doozy is his reiteration that medical decisions are made in the privacy of your doctor's office, not the halls of congress. Chapter 43 in the Book Of Irony. Terry Shiavo, anyone?

Ah yes. He'd like a new $300 Million Pell Grant for Kids program to "liberate poor children trapped in failing public schools" giving them a government grant to send them to private and religious schools. You know, instead of revamping and rescuing...or, um, fully funding, public schools.

Wow: "embolden the purveyors of false populism in our hemisphere" many times did he have to practice that phrase?

Okay. Congress needs to reauthorize a program for displaced workers to get new skills and find new jobs.

In the middle of his focus on energy...did Nancy Pelosi just get passed a note??? Dying to know what that said.

Back to energy: he wants us to generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions. Good. Let's waste time on coal energy that's not really, you know, renewable, rather than focusing on the renewable stuff. One question: what are you going to do with the carbon emissions you capture? Send them to Guantanamo? Anyway, all the other big points were touched. Emissions-free nucular power. Advanced batteries, rebewable fuel. International clean technology fund to urge our neighbors to use clean energy (uh, our neighbors, I recall, asked us to do the same...) Every major economy must participate, nobody gets a free ride (kinda like...our free ride?).

He said global climate change! Hey hey!

Ah yes. He wants us to entrust and empower our scientists to pursue the breakthroughs of tomorrow. Of course. Except, you know, stem cells and global warming studies. Those are bad breakthroughs.

A call on congress to double our funding for physical sciences to maintain our edge. That we have lost to all the other countries who don't limit their scientific studies by (worse) corporate dogma.

Oh goody. Stem cells. We need to find new treatments...blah cells...blah blah...use that rather than destoying human life. WE'RE THOWING THEM AWAY!!! Dont't destroy...what we're going to destroy. Jesus I am sick of this mantra.

Bush wants us to assure that all life is treated with the dignity it deserves. He wants Congress to ban unethical practices like buying, selling, cloning, etc. Question: who the fuck is talking about cloning humans? And I am pretty sure it's been illegal to sell human for quite some time now. Oh, wait, that's not what he means??

Curious...the constitution means what it says, according to Bush. Chapter 2 in the Book Of Irony.

Americans are volunteering. Charitable donations are higher than in years. For this, I am very happy.

So they will hold the North American Summit in NOLA. So, for the citizens of that fine city, another 10-block section will finally get rebuilt.

Hey! Immigration! No way! Secure borders. Fucking fences. Double border agents. We should apparently never secure our border against foreign workers to come here and support our economy. Because nothing says "send us your poor, your tires, your hungry" like a 14-foot fence with razor wire spiraling across the top.

9/11. Only twice, though. Imagine President Giuliani...

Aha. 3,200 Marines will be sent to Afghanistan. Maybe we should have done that 6 1/2 fucking years ago.

Ah, The Surge. He's really making the case that we're so successful, we have to stay. Largely, aspects of The Surge have been successful, which bodes well for the long-term. No joke here. Our military command and intelligence have done a great job.

To our military: in the fight ahead, you'll have all you need to protect our nation. Gee...thanks. That'd have helped, say, 6 or so years ago.

And back to the opening theme: any further drawdown will be based on conditions in Iraq and the input of the generals.

Democratic Isreal and Democratic Palestine...side by side...stop fighting, establish Palestine. Can't argue.

Tehran/Iran. I didn't really listen to this. I had to get some water.

I hear we need to pass liability protection for companies who thought they were acting in our best interests. Fuck. No.

We apparently now also oppose genocide in Sudan. Not a lot of troops going there though.

Expansion of an Agriculture program to purchase food grown in developing countires. Michigan State University has been doing this for some time, and it's pretty cool. Can't argue here.

$30 Billion over 5 years to fight AIDS. Again, cool. But I bet he won't want it to include condom use.

Expand access to child care for military families, allow military spouses to transfer unused education benefits to their spouse, and establish hiring preferences for military spouses. Hell yes.

Dem Response: really, truly uninspired. The message was okay. Health care, education, economic stimulus can't be just this $300 but has to instead be ongoing for the middle class, peace in the Middle East, etc. But the delivery? Boring and uninspired. Kinda like our Democratic COngress. Shit, she didn't even take the opportunity to beat the shit out of the weakened Administration. So add "spineless" to uninspired.

Have at it.


Friday Beer Review

Friday, January 25, 2008

Well finally it's going to happen. I've been stymied at every turn by flaky cable modems, busy work schedules and holidays (which are extended a bit for me since my birthday is Jan-5th). After all this time, though, I'm finally going to get the beer review I've had written for nearly three weeks up.

Though it's a little less timely now, I was inspired by the latest issue of BeerAdvocate magazine. This latest issue was all about "Top 25". Top 25 Beers, Top 25 Beer Bars, Top 25 Belgian Beers... etc. So I decided to find something from one of the top 25 lists and review that, until I realized that in my little backwoods backwards hick town, finding one of the 25 best beers from anywhere would be damned hard... but I was wrong. I stumbled upon a gem: Aventinus, the #4 German Beer.

Aventinus is a Weizenbock, one of two styles that I casually group together into "Dark Wheat Beer". The other style is Dunkel Weizen, which is more technically a "Dark" wheat beer, as WeizenBock is a "Strong" wheat beer. Either way, these styles are fairly similar in that they are dark colored beers made from predominately wheat malt, with very light Noble Hops for bittering, and fermented using a Weizen yeast, the yeast that gives us the funky clove and banana flavors. This is a style of beer that is made mostly in Germany, I've not had too many American examples, and I wasn't overly impressed with them. Only three more of these two styles made it into the "Top 25 German Beers" list; #6 Plank Bavarian Heller Weizenbock, #11 Weihenstephaner Heffeweissebeer Dunkel (my spell check is going nuts at this point) and lastly #25 Weihenstephaner Vitus. I've had the first two, and they're pretty good, but they can't hold a candle to Aventinus!! So on to the Nitty Gritty:

Aventinus pours like a Belgian, kind of frizzy and frothy. Middlish dark creamy colored head recedes slowly and leaves a thick covering of foam and a good thick ring. (I have pictures, but I'm at work so I'm trying to be fast) Light shows through deep amber edges with a dark, ruby-brown middle. Beautiful stuff, makes me thirsty all over again just thinking of it (/Sopor pours another cup of green tea to hold off the urge to run home for beer... doesn't work very well/)

My nose was kind of stuffy when I was drinking this, but I could smell hints of banana over a base of musky wheat and dark fruit, prunes and figs.

Aventinus is absolutely incredible, marvelously rich and complex. Up front is dark fruit like plums, and Mission figs. The stinging of the fizzy CO2 gives way to cloves and banana esters overlaying a deep dark whole wheat bread flavor that nothing else on earth can replicate. The interplay between the spicy clove and sweet banana esters and the rich musky wheat bread is masterfully balanced and very delicate. It makes me want more and more. I know the hops are there, I can just taste their balancing bitterness in the delicate lingering aftertaste.

The body is smooth, almost slick but not at all thick, very pleasant on the tongue and broken up by the lively, but not too strong carbonation.

An incredible beer Aventinus is. By all rites the best beer of it's style, and the fourth best beer from Germany. A 1 pint 6.9 fluid ounce bottle can be had for around $3-5, and I think that's a HELL of a deal.

Since I don't have pictures, I'll give you one hint to help locate this at your local beer mecca. It's in a brown bottle with purple label and gold or silver (can't remember now) writing. At the local beer mecca that many of you frequent, it should be in one of the first three coolers on the back wall. Maybe even the fourth, but pretty close to all the big bottles on the left.


8 Random Things You Really Don't Care to Know

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thanks to that wonderful but inglorious bastard Rickey over at Riding with Rickey (an extremely well-written humor blog, if not also a source of over-biased East Coast baseball trivia), I have been tagged with a meme. This one's clever subject matter is "8 random (but true) facts about me."

After this, I am supposed to "tag" 8 other people. Well, most of whom I socialize with reds this and other blogs, but have none of their own, or are actually contributors. This is where I found my loophole to avoid sending it to less than 8 people, and make it as easy as possible: all of the otjher contributors to this blog are hereby required to be tagged by the meme and respond in kind in the comments section. Ha ha, internet Goids! You can't punish me with 1,000 generations of bad luck or whatever the punishment is for not forwarding the digital age's take on a chain letter...I am making an honest effort.

1. I hate scrambled eggs, passionately, unless they have loads of cheese mixed in them or are in the form of an omelette. Mrs. Smitty and Smitty Jr. love scrambled eggs, but they love them completely unadorned. Thus, the Smitty household goes through lots of eggs every weekend.

2. While I bitch very publicly about having to drive a minivan, I secretly really like it. It's roomy, it handles likke a dream, it's got an 8-cylinder balls-out engine, a plug for a full-sized television and gaming system, it can haul loads of building supplies and it has loads of electronics gear. What's not to love? Plus, it says "I'm a dad, motherfuckers."

3. Despite 8 years in the Marines, I have never been to any Asian countries, except the Phillipines. The legend of the banana and the (shall we say) practiced stripper? True.

4. I am afraid of heights. Not paralyzingly so; I can force myself up ladders and out of helicopters. But I nearly have to wear a diaper to do it. I get shaky and nervous climbing a 30' ladder to my roof top. Hanging Christmas lights is an exercise in controlling fear and vomit, and I have to have a stiff drink afterwards.

5. I won a 5th of Jack Daniels riding an electric bull at a country bar.

6. While I am an unapologetic metalhead headbanging freak, I consider Mozart's Piano Concerto in D Minor, K 466 - Romanza to be nearly the height of musical accomplishment. I am pissed I can't get it as a ring tone.

7. In the 5th grade, I won a Greater Lansing Area School District story writing contest. My book was entitled Blue Snow and the Seven Little Breakdancers (an adaptation of Snow White and the 7 Dwarves). It was such a hit that my co-author and I made it into a little play that we and 9 friends performed for our class. No kidding. That was the last creative thing I have ever done, I think.

8. I have never watched Casablanca all the way through, nor do I plan to. Classic or not, it bores the living shit out of me.

So there you go. 8 random, but true, statements. Tag, you're it Bob/Poindexter, Sopor, Steves, Joel, B Mac and Andy.



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

So Smitty and I, along with a few others, took in Cloverfield last night. GOOD TIMES. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

If you haven't heard, this... is a monster movie. Pretty much Godzilla... but not... see, Godzilla (Roland Emmerich's version) sucked and this movie is the exact opposite of that. IT ROCKED. If you're a Godzilla fan, as I am, and you were as horribly disappointed with that movie when it came out as I was, Cloverfield will make you disappointed in Godzilla even more. Don't get me wrong, Godzilla could never be Cloverfield; Godzilla requires back story and explanation, something Cloverfield specifically avoids, but when it comes to smashing and killing, the Cloverfield monster shows Emmerich how it should have been done.

Cloverfield is shot, Blair Witch style, with a Handycam basically attached to a dude's head while he chronicles the attack of a giant creature on Manhattan. The opening premise is that this guy is leaving his posh New York digs and upscale "all too-good-looking-to-be-true" friends for a VP job in Japan. The friends are sending him off in style with a bash, and are recording "tributes" to him when, basically, mayhem in the form of a 35 story monstrosity appears and begins tearin' shit up. Our Abercrombie model Japanese VP has a love affair with this chic (who, of course, is uber hot as well), which serves as the impetus for him and a group of his friends to venture through the city to find her despite the beast that is destroying everything in its path. His buddy keeps filming because, well, he's gotta do something... and besides, if they all die, he figures someone should tell their story. As a person sitting in the theater, you're watching the footage basically raw, with the opening scene explaining that you're witnessing footage recovered from the scene that is now classified Defense Department Property.

If you're a person who needs explanations, you'll leave Cloverfield very unsatisfied, at least from that perspective. Where the monster comes from, whether or not the characters live, did they kill the thing in the end... that isn't what this movie is about. There is no music, no sound track, just a group of 20-somethings trying to make their way through the carnage. Quite honestly, for movie buffs this is a refreshing piece of work. No spoon fed explanations from some scientist who happens to have an on-the-mark theory of the beast's origins based upon his status as the world's foremost authority on North African crotch crickets, no "oh look what I found" contrived diary from a long dead explorer who explains the monster just before the hero figures out how to defeat it... just 4 scared people trying to find a friend while filming a letter form home with a digital 8; and some great CGI. Plus, the Military takes action in this movie, and we're not talking pot shots. They BRING IT; Full out, no prisoners, military strike stuff. The kind of thing the director's in other films don't do, precisely because they always want the downfall of the creature to be more meaningful, or because the hero always needs to have some simple, but initially overlooked, insight that does the trick. Here, they bomb the fucker, just like you know we'd do in real life. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


Monday Beer Review

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I didn't post my normal Friday beer review because the Smitty family was heading to stay with some friends in Chicago over the weekend. I had planned to visit Three Floyds brewery in Munster, Indiana, which is kinda on the way.

Well, due to various reasons, we didn't make it there, but that's okay, because when we arrived at our destination, I was greeted with this:Wow.

Oh, wow.

Not only is it a "limited" burbon barrel aged stout but is it capped, corked and waxed:

(yeah, yeah, a marketing ploy I know but still pretty cool...) And, of course, to prove it's limited-ness, it's numbered on the side, bitches:

This, my friends, was an astounding beer. It's from Emmett's Ale House in Downers Grove, Illinois. It's a 2006 release, so it's had a few years to mellow and age. I was astounded by this beer.

The nose was a huge blast of chocolate with bourbon underneath (usually, it's the other way around). Following in the speedboat wake of chocolate and bourbon is coffee and molasses, but they are almost afterthoughts. And there, as if a backbone, was a great pine-and-citrus hop aroma.

The taste is every bit as spectacular. Huge chocolate balanced with a strong shot of sweet bourbon leads off, making this interpretation of an Imperial Stout much more sweet than its competitors. As always with this style, the ever-present burnt-toast-and-molasses flavors form a good base to keep the beer bitter and strong (and, um, dark). The hop presence is a scant orangey and piney flavor distantly in the background as the bulk of the bitterness comes from the roasted malts, but it serves a nice citrusy balance that I think goes very well with the bourbon and chocolate flavors. Of course, the bourbon taste tricks your brain into thinking there's more ABV here than there is, but it's still substantial at 9.5%, and adds an almost floral cooling to the beer.

To call this beer "big-bodied" is like saying 2-stroke engine oil is "kinda thick." This is a huge-bodied beer that poured nary a scant cappuccino-colored head. Very little carbonation certainly didn't get in the way of the huge, sweet taste of this amazing beer. It was really pleasantly different in that the bourbon didn't dominate like in other bourbon barrel aged beers, and that the chocolate was really in the forfront. That may not be exactly appropriate if I were judging this beer for an award. But judging this beer on my own preferences and biases...I'd buy a whole case.


The Whoppers of 2007

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I found this list not long after I found the one from Judicial Watch. I wanted to post it, but decided to check the sources and see if had any history of making bogus claims. I have used this site before and they seem to have a good reputation and they seem to be fair, from what I can tell. They are funded by the Annenberg Foundation, which primarily funds educational programs in humanities, science, math, and social science. They also fund programs designed to help teachers improve teaching methods and instruction.

The list contains 15 claims that are critical to Republicans and 7 that are critical to Democrats. I checked the sources and they seem to stand up. Since 'tort reform' is a bit of a pet peeve for me, I liked the one that dealt with 'lawsuit abuse' at the bottom of the page.

I realize it is getting to be a little late for lists from 2007, but many of the issues that came up in this list deal with the election and will probably come up throughout the year.


Michigan's Delegate Totals

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

As posted on Michigan Liberal, Democratic political number-cruncher Mark Grebner has posted the number of delegates earned during yesterday's primary.

Complete unofficial returns indicate that:
Clinton won 73 delegates
Uncommitted won 55 delegates

The debate on whether or not they can actually show up in Denver will continue.


Michigan Primary Results

By Smitty and Bob

At this point everyone has likely heard the Michigan Primary Results, but we thought it may be interesting to look at the actual delegate count, not the media-filtered horse race reporting, plus some commentary from Smitty. We also haven't been over to Kos's site to see if he's claiming victory regarding his strategy to have Dems cross over for Mitt.

Percentage of the Vote in Michigan's Primary

Democratic Ticket %
Clinton 55%
Uncommitted 40%
Kucinich 4%
Dodd 1%
Gravel 0%
Richardson 0%

Republican Ticket %
Romney 39%
McCain 30%
Huckabee 16%
Paul 9%
Thompson 4%
Giuliani 3%
Uncommitted 2%
Hunter 0%

Nationwide Delegate count according to

If Bob understands this correctly, CNN has NOT added in any Michigan Democratic Delegates and has only added in 50% of the Michigan Republican Delegates. The totals seem to include the votes of "pledged" delegates. These are the delegates and "super delegates" that can vote for whomever they choose outside of the primary or caucus system.

Democratic Delegate Count - Nationwide
Clinton: 190
Obama: 103
Edwards: 51
Kucinich: 1

Total Delegates Available: 4049

Republican Delegate Count - Nationwide
Romney: 42
Huckabee: 21
McCain: 19
Thompson: 6
Paul: 2
Giuliani: 1
Hunter: 1

Total Delegates Available: 2380

Back to Michigan, Mitt was 1 point ahead of McCain going into yesterday's vote. That obviously grew to a 9-point lead over the course of the day. I was right about one thing: the Michigan Republican GOTV was out in force for Mitt and certainly didn't need the Dems' help. Kos's strategy, for what it's worth, would have assured a win whereas a 1-point lead going into a vote was enough to make him nervous and McCain hopeful. Well, in the end, Anuzis's machine worked as it was built to do, and turned-out about twice as many voters as the much-less-excited Dems. Ouch.

Candidate "uncommitted" garnered an unprecedented 40% of the vote. 40%. Hilarious. Also hilarious is the fact that Kucinich got only about 2,000 less total votes than Giuliani, making Giuliani onl slightly more popular than him.

Some interesting exit-polling data, for the true political nerds:

  • "Uncommitted" won in Detroit and ran nearly 50 percent in Washtenaw County (thanks, I'm sure, to Mr. Furious' efforts)
  • 70 % of black voters voted for "uncommitted," a stunning lack of support for Ms. Clinton
  • Clinton got support from 58 percent of the women who voted but just 47 percent of the men
  • Uncommitted got 43 percent of the male vote
  • Clinton won 55% of voters without college degrees and 46% of those with degrees
  • Uncommitted won 45% of those with degrees

So there you have it. Onward to lovely Myrtle Beach and South Carolina's primary this saturday.


Vote Today

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Go vote. If you're reading this blog and you haven't voted, stop reading it and go vote. Then come back and read it. Not that it has anything to say in particular.

All my Republican friends, vote for whomever you wish. Mitt is 1 point ahead of McCain at this point.

All my Democrat friends, vote uncommittede, unless you really like Hillary or Kucinich or tat one guy from Alaska.

Now go vote.


Video of the Week #8: Democrats for Romney

Monday, January 14, 2008

While I am still a strong supporter of ATK's favorite Democrat "Uncommitted", the following video offers a different opportunity for Michigan Democrats, instead of voting on this year's truncated Democratic ticket.

Funny stuff…

UPDATE 1: While I think it was a funny video worth posting, it seems that some folks over at Kos are actually making a campaign of this. Our illustrious leader Smitty has done a fine job debunking this "strategy". over at Mr. Furious.


"Uncommitted" Launches First Ad

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Uncommitted campaign is heating up! Our favorite candidate is now up with his own ad.



I have been in the midst of a brewing extravaganza. I have brewed every-other-week for 2 months now, and most has gone out the door as Christmas presents (and I absolutely blew one batch...I have never cried so many tears as pouring 5 gallons of beer down the drain). Given that, I have been at Michigan Brewing Company a whole lot recently, which is where i get my supplies (Things Beer, which is attached).

The last visit I made, I decided to try their Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout and the Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter. I was wildly impressed with both beers.

Today, I'll go over the Porter.

Typical of a "robust porter" the beer poured a dark enough brown to be just shy of black (betrayed by garnet highlights when held to light). Dark, enticing, thick. The head was somewhere between tan and eggshell white, foamy, and with decent retention. Just a thick, begging-to-be-quaffed porter.

Right up front, smack in the face, is bourbon on the nose. What's awesome is that you don't get the vague nosehair singe you get from inhaling a glass of bourbon. Instead, you get all of the lovely bourbon sweetness without the resultant headache. Underneath what seems like an entire double-shot of bourbon is this gorgeous roasted aroma mixed with a soft maltiness that aproaches bready and chocolatey. If there are any hops (of course there are), they were overshadowed by the bourbon (which is juuuust fine for this kind ofbeer). What you get on the nose then is a surprisingly soft, sweet and mellow aroma for such a normally strong kind of porter. The bourbon scent just mellows the whole beer like you'd expect a glass of bourbon on your porch in the summertime. Slow, sippin' mellow.

Normally a robust porter has some big roasted/burnt flavors right up front with a roasty, dry finish. Again, as in the aroma, the bourbon flavor is what dominates instead, which forces the "robust" character out of the way and highlights the other softer flavors of the porter: chocolate, coffee, bready roundness. There is still the roasted character tat I love in a porter, but the bourbon totally recharacterizes this beer into something sweet and pleasant. Again, maaayyyybe there were some hop flavors, but it's the bourbon that balances the roasted character of this beer rather than hops that compliment or enhance it.

This beer, like its liquor counterpart, is meant for sippin' and contemplatin'. I can't say enough how cool it is that the bourbon barrel aging totally changes the character of a porter into almost a different kind of beer; how the softer flavors are accentuated rather than the bitter/roasted qualities (yet still balanced) of a normal robust porter. This beer was truly a pleasure to drink, and hat's-off to MBC for doing a great job.


“Uncommitted” Seeks Democratic Nomination.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Disassociated Press

LANSING - In a press release today, a person only known as “Uncommitted” announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for President.

In the press release Uncommitted was quoted as saying:

"With a strong grassroots movement already up and running in Michigan, I think I have a shot at taking Michigan’s delegates to Denver."

Remarkably, Uncommitted is already on the ballot in Michigan and some pundits have him polling ahead of presumptive leader New York Senator Hillary Clinton, the only other lead candidate on the ballot. Senator John Edwards, Senator Barack Obama and other candidates asked to have their names removed from the ballot last fall in deference to national party rules.

Uncommitted was not clear in what platform he’ll run on, but did say:

"If you don’t like Clinton, you’ll love voting for me."

Calls to the Clinton campaign were not returned at press time.

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The Top 10 Most Corrupt Politicians for 2007

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Judicial Watch posted their list of the most corrupt politicians from the last year:  

1. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
2. Rep. John Conyers
3. Senator Larry Craig
4. Senator Diane Feinstein
5. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani
6. Governor Mike Huckabee
7. I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby
8. Senator Barack Obama
9. Rep. Nancy Pelosi
10. Senator Harry Reid

I am sure there are more, and some are probably worse, but it is still disturbing.  The fact that several are candidates for president is not all that encouraging either.  I was familiar with the accusations against Huckabee, Clinton, and Giuliani, but hadn't heard about Obama.  I have a hard time believing a politician from Illinois is corrupt.


Debunking The Debunkers Who Are Full Of Bunk, Part 1

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I was recently blessed with a copy of the "New York Times Bestseller" Unstoppable Global Warming; Every 1500 Years by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, marked as "Updated and Expanded." Updated and Expanded indeed, full of bullshit.

The premise of the book, of course, is to prove global warming to be a hoax and that what is happoening actually happens in natural cycles every 1,500 years. Thus, we have nothing to worry about.

A quick check on Amazon shows some of the people who rated this tome of knowledge:

Mrs. Avery and Singer provide an excellent readable and well documented book on the global warming hoax. The reader can only conclude that this book is an invaluable resource on the topic of global warming. The work refers to a vast amount of scientific research in a wide variety of scientific journals indicating a natural sunspot magnetic wave is causing what little global warming exists. Man created carbon dixoide has very little effect on the earth's climate.

Avery and Singer go further by providing an in depth expose of the fallacious research that alledgedly supports man made global warming. In particular the authors make an incisive investigation into the so called hockey stick hypothesis of unprecedented recent warming hoax widely enunciated by the UN's climate change panel. This hoax was first exposed by two skilled and courageous Canadian researchers - McIntyre and McKitrick.

Pseudoscientists and others with a vested interest in controlling the global economy by use of the global warming hoax will not like this work. However informed readers concerned with human welfare and human progress will find this book invaluable. This book should be read by all Amercians and really by everone else in the world
My favorite is
Detailed and documented, Fred Singer is a Distinguished Research Professor at George Mason University and Professor Emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia. He also debunked the "passive smoking as a cancer risk" nonsense...
...The report attacked the US Environmental Protection Agency for their 1993 study about the cancer risks of passive smoking and called it "junk science"
Let's start with Fred.

Mr. Siegfried Frederick Singer
Singer is the President and co-founder of the Science & Environmental Policy Project, the focus of which is to dispute the prevailing scientific views of climate change, ozone depletion, and secondhand smoke. He is also the science advisor to the conservative journal NewsMax. I have not yet had the time to look into all of the organizations he is a part of, but I think I know what I'll find if I do.

As for Mr. Singer's track record on scientific matters, I offer the following:
During Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Dr. S. Fred Singer debated Carl Sagan on the impact of the Kuwaiti petroleum fires on the ABC News program Nightline. Sagan said we know from the nuclear winter investigation that the smoke would loft into the upper atmosphere and that he believed the net effects would be very similar to the explosion of the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815, which resulted in the year 1816 being known as the year without a summer, in massive agricultural failures, in very serious human suffering and, in some cases, starvation. He predicted the same for south Asia, and perhaps for a significant fraction of the northern hemisphere as well as a result. Singer, on the other hand, said that calculations showed that the smoke would go to an altitude of about 3,000 feet and then be rained out after about three to five days and thus the lifetime of the smoke would be limited. In retrospect, we now know that smoke from the Kuwait Oil Fires dominated the weather pattern throughout the Persian Gulf and surrounding region during 1991, and that lower atmospheric wind blew the smoke along the eastern half of the Arabian Peninsula, and cities like Dhahran, Riyadh and Bahrain experienced days with smoke filled skies and carbon fallout.."
So he struck out on that one. No biggie. Just forgot to carry the 3 or something. Well, it certainly doesn't improve for Dr. Singer:
[English global warming skeptic]David Bellamy has said that most glaciers have been advancing since 1980 as evidence against global warming. This contrasts with the scientific consensus that the vast majority of glaciers have been retreating since 1850. In an editorial in The Guardian, [environmental journalist and political activist]George Monbiot said that Bellamy's argument came from Singer, and that Singer's stated source is an unspecified 1989 article in Science. Monbiot reports that he performed both electronic and manual searches of the journal, and found no such article[emphasis mine].
Okay. So, more than forgetting to carry the 3, it looks like we're now into making shit up. Cool. We're used to that. And then there's the kicker.
A 2007 Newsweek cover story on climate change denial reported that: "In April 1998 a dozen people from the denial machine — including the Marshall Institute, Fred Singer's group and Exxon — met at the American Petroleum Institute's Washington headquarters. They proposed a $5 million campaign, according to a leaked eight-page memo, to convince the public that the science of global warming is riddled with controversy and uncertainty."[emphasis mine] The plan was reportedly aimed at "raising questions about and undercutting the 'prevailing scientific wisdom'" on climate change.
And there it is. A meeting with the oil and gas industry at their turf to create a PR campaign.

Let's move on to his Co-author.

Dennis T. Avery
Dr. Avery is the director of the Center for Global Food Issues at the Hudson Institute, where he edits Global Food Quarterly (sounds like a real barn-burner of a newsletter. According to Sourcewatch:
Avery crusades against organic agriculture claiming that modern industrial agriculture and biotechnology will save the world from starvation and disaster. Avery also disputes the scientific consensus on global warming.

He is the originator of a misleading claim that organic foods are more dangerous than foods sprayed with chemical pesticides.

Avery served as a senior agricultural analyst for the US Department of State for between 1980 and 1988 under the Reagan administration[emphasis mine]
A look at Dr. Avery's track record, like we did with Dr. Singer, shows this little trip-up:
[Avery writes]"According to recent data compiled by the U.S Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people who eat organic and 'natural' foods are eight times as likely as the rest of the population to be attacked by a deadly new strain of E. coli bacteria (0157:H7)," Avery wrote in the Fall 1998 issue of American Outlook, a Hudson Institute publication. This happens, he said, because organic food is grown in animal manure, a known carrier of this nasty microbe. He said his data came from Dr. Paul Mead, an epidemiologist at the CDC.
The CDC answers:
CDC took the unusual step on January 14, 1999 of issuing a press release stating, "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not conducted any study that compares or quantitates the specific risk for infection with E. coli 0157:H7 and eating either conventionally grown or organic/natural foods."
Oops. Yeah, so Dr. Avery quotes scientific studies that don't actually exist. Again, we're sort of used to that by now. The plot thickens with this one, including a phone call from the CDC to Dr. Avery, telling him to quit citing the CDC as his source because, you know, it isn't. As for the Hudson Institute, at which Dr. Avery is a senior fellow, a search string yields, at the end of the day, a slew of conservative think-tanks that contribute to it, including the Capital Research Center, which ranks the Hudson Institute "as a 7 on its ideological spectrum with 8 being 'Free Market Right' and 1 'Radical Left.'"[link broken]

So there you have it: the authors of this fine study. I intend to do many more "parts" to this "study" as I sit down to slog through it and comare its arguments to those that we know are accurate. If I have the energy.


My Three Sons

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

So the news is back, and it's official. The twins will be boys!

Mrs. Smitty now lives alone with me and 3 sons (or what in May will become three sons...just 1 right now).

We realize that for centuries, people have been having kids without knowing what they'll be before they're born. But with ultrasounds, we figure that it was unfair for the doctor and some random tech to know what we were having and not us. Plus, if technology allows it, we'll do it (I can't wait for bionic body parts...).

Though we are in the process of selecting names for the next three inductees into my growing army of Darkness, I am happy to look at suggestions. Please, don't suggest your own name unless it is the awesomest name ever.

So Happy New Year to everyone, and we'll keep you posted about what are apparently our efforts to field an entire hockey team in one family.



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