Friday, November 30, 2012

The Future Of Computing?

The COO of Box gave a talk in KC recently, and offers his opinion about the future of computing, and specifically the use of hardware agnostic cloud technology.  Fascinating stuff (minor language warning):



Box is a great product, by the way.  Like he said, it's geared more toward commercial functionality, but it still works really well for individual consumers, too.  If you don't have an account, you really should get one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Feel Like Being Naked Online?

You're about to.  Big Brother is on his way and will arrive within a matter of days, if a bill currently in the U.S. Senate becomes law.  No more online privacy for you!

CNet reports (emphasis mine):

A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law.

CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' e-mail, isscheduled for next week.

Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies -- including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission -- to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge. (CNET obtained the revised draft from a source involved in the negotiations with Leahy.)


Make no mistake - this isn't a political thing, as you can see from the fact that these reports are coming from tech organizations like CNet and Gizmodo.  This isn't a Republican/Democrat thing, either, since there will likely be support from both sides of the aisle.  No, the reality is that this is all about the privacy of you, your family, and anyone you know who has any account or activity anywhere on the Internet being stripped away by the government...without any oversight or justification whatsoever.  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't trust that kind of power to a President and a Congress made up entirely of people I personally hand-picked, much less the corrupt chuckleheads currently in Washington!

This is, quite simply, the American people versus the American government, and they're looking to stack the deck against us.

Look up the two Senators from your state here, and give them a call or send an email (more than one if you're so inclined).  Tell them this bill is an overreach of government power, and that it shouldn't become law.  Then forward this information to as many people as you can.  A massive uprising of people from both the Left and the Right is the only thing standing between your online privacy and the full legal force of the U.S. government.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Today's Lesson In Irony

A friend of mine sent me this.  I offer it without further comment:


The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever, to 46 million people.

 

Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us "Please Do Not Feed the Animals." Their stated reason for the policy is because "The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves."

 

Thus ends today's lesson in irony.

 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Now THAT'S An Implosion

I find it hard to believe that a team as mentally tough as this one seems to have crumpled like paper mache once the #1 ranking was at stake, but I'm not sure what else can explain this.  Injuries?  Sure, that makes a difference, but everyone has to deal with injuries at this point in the year.  A bunch of blown officiating?  Perhaps, but what's done is done.  Mostly, it was just a total failure to show up.  There wasn't one aspect of this game that was #1 quality, or anything close.  This was a summary destruction at the hands of a team that had previously beaten only one team -- Kansas, of all people -- in the Big 12 this year.  Losing a close one to a top-10 team is one thing; this was pathetic and inexcusable.

So, let's chuck this one into the Forget It Really Fast bin and start looking toward Texas next week.  Don't forget that with a win over the Longhorns, KSU clinches at least a share of the Big 12 title, which is a massive accomplishment in itself.  I don't know about most KSU fans, but if you would have offered me the chance to accept a one-loss season, a Big 12 Championship, and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl, I'd have taken it in a heartbeat.  Of course, with OU squeaking out a win over West Virginia tonight, the Cats had better make it a convincing win over Texas, or it's very possible (maybe even likely) that the Sooners would get the Fiesta invite, especially given the Wildcats' downward trend of late.  A sound win over another ranked team would do wonders to shore up the bowl bid prospects.


Oh, and Collin Klein's chances at winning the Heisman can be chucked, too.  Maybe there really is something about that Sports Illustrated cover curse...

Ugh.  What an awful, awful night.  The only thing worse would be to follow it up with an even more awful Chiefs game tomorrow...oh wait...

Total, Complete Suckage

Actually, that's being generous.  Stupid penalties, turnovers, poor blocking, poor tackling, dropped passes...it's all there tonight, and against an opponent that really is an inferior team.  I'm generally not one to give up early, but at this point -- 35-17 Baylor, in the 3rd quarter -- I'm doing other stuff.  If this is how they play when it counts most, K-State most certainly does not deserve to be #1, nor play in the BCS Championship.  The only consolation is that Oregon seems to be struggling, as well.  If K-State can pull their heads out of their butts quickly enough to salvage this utter disaster of a game and Oregon can't, then there's still hope.  We'll see soon enough...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Security Alert For Internet Explorer Users

PC World:

Today is the eleventh Patch Tuesday of 2012, but the first since the official launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT. There are six new security bulletins—a couple of which are particularly urgent, especially for anyone planning to do any online shopping this holiday season.

There are four security bulletins rated as Critical, one Important, and one Moderate. The Critical security bulletins address issues with Internet Explorer, Windows kernel-mode drivers, the .NET framework, and flaws in Windows shell code that can allow remote exploits.

The most crucial of the six security bulletins is the cumulative update for Internet Explorer—MS12-071. Andrew Storms, director of security operations for nCircle, declares, "Topping our 'patch immediately' list this month is the drive-by exploit affecting Internet Explorer 9. It's fairly obvious that Microsoft patched this bug in IE10 before its release; otherwise, we would have a bulletin affecting both IE9 and IE10.

Black Friday—the official kick off of the holiday shopping season—and it's online twin Cyber Monday are just around the corner. Millions of holiday shoppers will turn to the Internet to research gifts, and make holiday purchases. The holidays are always a time for heightened online security, so a flaw in Internet Explorer that can result in drive-by downloads is even more serious than usual.

Tyler Reguly, technical manager of security research and development for nCircle, concurs. "To reiterate what will be said hundreds of times today: patch IE first. It's the most critical bulletin."


Of course, being the tech savvy audience you are, I assume you're not using IE much at all because Firefox and Chrome are both vastly better.  Still, I wanted to post this so you all could inform people you may know who might still be using the Smart Car (i.e. the piddly, underperforming, doofus-y stepchild) of modern browsers.

Not that I'm biased or anything.

;)

This Is Just Cool

Monday, November 12, 2012

#1!

Just a quick follow-up to the last post...it's official!!!


The highlights:


Woo-hoo!!!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Dream Lives!

This week K-State faced one of its toughest tests of the year - TCU.  The Horned Frogs were one of the top teams in the pre-season ratings, and expected to make some waves in the Big 12.  They've fallen a bit short of expectations, but still posed some tricky hurdles for the Wildcats.  They have a history of being a giant-killer, taking out their last three visiting top 5 opponents.  Head coach Gary Patterson is a former KSU player and coach, and has a drive to win like no other.  They play tough defense, and are good a taking the ball away.  Perhaps more than anything else, TCU just plain knows how to win, with 11+ wins in four out of the last seven seasons.

But, K-State, as we all know, is not without weapons of their own, and they took care of business.  Here are some highlights:




Looking at the stats, TCU actually outplayed the Wildcats.  They had more first downs, more yardage, and better time of possession.  They forced two turnovers in the game from a disciplined Wildcat offense that has given up only four in the previous nine games combined.  One of the most remarkable stats of the year, though, has to be points off turnovers.  Before the TCU game:

The Wildcats' four turnovers through their first eight games are the fewest in the country, and the 24 they've forced are fifth-most. The result is a plus-20 turnover margin that's more than triple any other Big 12 team. 
The result? Kansas State (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) has outscored opponents 111-0 off turnovers. 
Yes, that's not a misprint — 111-0 in points off turnovers.

It's astounding, really.  Personally, I think this points to a very underrated defense that is truly great at throttling offenses of every kind.  But, TCU finally managed to crack that egg, scoring a late touchdown in the final 3 minutes of the game after a KSU fumble.  The game was out of reach at that point, and the statistic is still pretty mind-blowing, but the 0 was really nice to have on the other side.  :)

I heard a lot of talk this week about how K-State has yet to have a bad game.  They've had plenty of good ones, but not one where things just seemed to go wrong, and the ball bounces the wrong way.  This appears to have been that game.  But, the important thing is that they still found a way -- largely on the backs of a smothering defense that had shut out TCU for almost 54 minutes -- to get the win.  Most pundits will tell you that championship teams find a way, and that's just what the Wildcats did.  Despite the disparities in the stats, it really didn't feel at all like it was a close game.  This is one of those where the numbers just don't tell the story.

With the stunning loss of #1 Alabama to Texas A&M, this opens the door to K-State moving to #1 in the next BCS rankings tomorrow night.  Oregon and Notre Dame also won, so that will likely be the new top trio.  There's an outside chance that Oregon might hop over K-State since they're higher in the human polls, but it really doesn't matter.  What counts is simply getting into the championship game, whether as #1 or #2.  Again, a quick review of the remaining schedule of these three teams:
K-State: Baylor, #17 Texas
Oregon: #14 Stanford, #11 Oregon State
Notre Dame: Wake Forest, #19 USC
Oregon still has the toughest road to go, with two ranked teams and the PAC-12 Championship, probably against a third ranked team.  If they win out, they will certainly have earned their spot in the title game.  This rapid uptick in their strength of schedule will also likely push their computer rankings up to #1, giving them the top spot at some point before the end.  Notre Dame has a cupcake game before finishing with USC, which has had their number in 9 of their last 10 meetings.  They are probably better than USC, but it's hard to see a scenario where they gain enough 'style points' to leap over either KSU or Oregon if all three win out.  K-State has what should be a cupcake-ish game against Baylor (though Baylor does have a decent passing attack, and if K-State has a weakness it's the pass defense...more on that next week), followed by a week off and then a tough finish against Texas.  Texas' resurgence late in the year means it's not only a tough game, but also that the nation will be watching, so it's another opportunity for the Cats to put a smackdown on another ranked opponent.  K-State has inexplicably had Texas' number for several years, even during the Ron Prince years.  The week off will be great for getting healthy and game-planning, and finishing against a highly ranked opponent like Texas will help bring KSU back onto the national thought scene after the bye week.  K-State should be fine on this one, too, and it will provide a great opportunity for a last-minute BCS statement.

One more win and K-State will guarantee at least a share of the Big 12 Championship for the year.  Collin Klein still has the inside track on the Heisman.  Who would have thought we'd be saying this about the Kansas State Wildcats??

It's been a terrific year, and we're now on the home stretch.  Let's hope the focus, the determination, and the drive continues...and ratchets up another notch each week.


PS - my favorite article about this week is by Jen Floyd Engel, and can be found here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

In Douglas Adams' hilarious Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, humanity was the third most intelligent species on the planet, behind mice and dolphins.  When it became apparent to the dolphins that the Earth was doomed, they left.  All dolphins everywhere suddenly disappeared, leaving  only a single simple message on the bottom of two fish bowls: "So long and thanks...for all the fish."

I'll admit I'm very, very surprised at the results.  I also cannot express the sadness/nausea with which I write this.  I could go into a rather lengthy description of my guesses as to what happened, but ultimately they're just guesses, and I'm just a guy.  What do I know?  (clearly...)  At some point I may ruminate further on what happened, or maybe explore some of the bigger reasons that I think are behind the events of tonight.  But I might not.  I'll have to think about it and get some perspective before I decide.  I will simply finish my political commentary with two thoughts.

I don't know who said it, but it's fundamentally correct: Americans don't necessarily get the government they want, but they do get the government they deserve.  Tonight, this seems like the most frightening premonition I can conjure up.

Finally, my brain is consumed with this analogy.  When you have children, you try to teach them that their choices have consequences, whether good or bad.  If they choose to fritter away their time with unproductive endeavors, they won't learn and grow.  If they are lazy, they'll achieve less than their more industrious peers.  If they treat others poorly, they'll have fewer friends and more enemies.  On the other hand, if they study hard, they'll get good grades.  If they practice hard, they'll get better at piano, soccer, or whatever their chosen activity.  If they save their money, they'll have plenty in times of want.  And so on (though that model may be in the process of fundamentally transforming now...).  The hope of a parent is that you can teach them well enough that they will learn to self-evaluate when they need to, take a good long look at the consequences of their actions before they decide, and make more good choices than bad.

The thing is, this holds true for adults and for nations, as well.  America made its choice tonight, at least insofar as we can be said to have a legitimate election.  Through whatever means, Barack Obama won re-election.  For all you Obama supporters out there -- whether grudgingly or enthusiastically -- I ask only one thing: remember this choice when you deal with the consequences of another four years of Obama.  Obamacare, Obama-spending, and Obama's Muslim outreach come to mind as a few of the biggest potential impacts, but I suspect there will be many, many more.  It may not happen tomorrow, it may not happen next year, but the choice made tonight will invade upon your life at some point in the future.  You will have no one to blame but yourself.

After all, choices have consequences.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Update #2

A few more items for you...


But no, there's no voter fraud here, folks.

Despite all this, the GOP is feeling pretty good about things thus far:

Assuming Romney wins Florida, NC, and Virginia, then Wisconsin, Colorado, and either Iowa or New Hampshire wins it for him.

I think Team Obama is trying to put out word that Virginia is shaky for Romney. I think they're trying to demoralize us. I don't believe it.

If Rasmussen and Gallup are right about the partisan skew of the country's actual voter population, which is either R+1 or R +6, respectively, then the polls offered by virtually everyone else aren't worth jack.


Just remember...ignore exit polls.

Interesting reading: who exactly is stealing votes?

More tonight...

Quick Election Update

I just heard on the radio that the article I cited earlier about Romney's internal polling being leaked was inaccurate, and that his internal polling information was not been released.  Just to set the record straight.

It is still interesting to note that the Obama-Biden campaign is already positioning themselves for a loss in Ohio, claiming pre-emptively that fraud would be the only possible explanation.  You know, because there's absolutely no way that a state that is widely considered an extremely tight toss-up, and showing higher than expected early voting returns for Romney couldn't possibly be a loss unless fraud was involved.  Speaking of Ohio, Gannett news accidentally posted numbers that show Romney ahead in the early voting by 92,000 votes...then they took it down.  Oops!  Didn't mean to show anything other than a landslide Obama victory!  Here's the analysis on this bit that I think it correct:

This may be a very big deal, if these numbers are correct.  Obama had a big lead in EVs before Election Day in 2008, which allowed him to withstand the GOP's better turnout on the day itself.  Frankly, Team Romney might have been thrilled to be trailing by 92K at this juncture.  To be ahead in early voting portends a big Republican turnout in the Buckeye State, and perhaps an early night for all of us.  We'll see, but this is the first indication of unforeseen Romney strength in this election.

Let's hope so.  We'll know soon enough.

Democrat Spokes-zombie Stephanie Cutter is sending out pre-emptive tweets to calm the angsty Democrat masses to not pay attention to early reports of exit polls all over that might be showing higher Romney turnout.  She claims their early voting returns are the cause of the lower than expected numbers.  For once, I would agree with her that no one should bother paying attention to the exit polls numbers, but for an entirely different reason.  More analysis here.

In continuing news of Democrat voter fraud, we have reports in Iowa of people signing ballots for other people, and "non-partisan" group whose mission is to register new voters shredding Republican registrations.  This is the same organization that had a number of members indicted for voter fraud after the 2008 election.

In Philadelphia, Republican election officials were thrown out of a number of polling places:

The Philadelphia GOP is reporting that court appointed Minority (read GOP) Inspectors are being thrown out of polling locations in several Wards.

These Inspectors are election officials - again, court appointed -- and are reportedly being thrown out by the Head Judges of Elections (these Judges are elected Democrats) and being replaced by Democrats.

This happened in 15 precincts.  A judge formally ordered them to be reinstated, but perhaps now we understand better why the Black Panthers are standing guard outside Philly polling places.  Also in Philly, we see polling places with wall murals of Obama.  But relax, there's no voter fraud.

Now, as for reports of fraud benefiting Republicans, we have the following:

*crickets chirping*

Moving on, I couldn't resist posting this little quote from Bill Clinton on a campaign stop yesterday concerning a Romney ad suggesting Barack Obama's auto bailout hurt America:

"You're laughing, but who wants a president who will knowingly, repeatedly tell you something he knows is not true?

Says the guy who was impeached by the House of Representatives for lying under oath.

More updates as the day goes on...

Final Pre-Election Thoughts

This will be my final post before the election begins.  To put it succinctly, I'm optimistic.  Here are a few high points to justify my position.

Pretty much all of the long-term trends are going in favor of Romney (or, perhaps more accurately, against Obama), and have been for weeks.  The Chick-Fil-A event this past year was a huge movement of support in favor of freedom of religion and speech, both of which have been relentlessly attacked by the Obama administration (and the equivalent left-wing events, like the Chick-Fil-A kiss-in or the 'Million Muppet March' are complete flops).  People are tired of the low-class berating and insults from Obama-Biden that look oh-so-unpresidential.  The 2010 elections were a Republican landslide of historical proportions, an outright rejection of Obama's radical Leftist agenda.  Most of the special elections that have been held since 2010 have gone the way of the Republican, even in blue states (the failed attempt to recall Scott Walker in Wisconsin, for example).  Romney's and Ryan's recent campaign stops are seeing huge crowds, while Obama's final stop yesterday was in a half-empty stadium in Ohio.  The biggest issue of this election is the economy, and the facts are that Obama has presided over the worst 'recovery' since the Great Depression...the promised jobs simply aren't there.  Persistent high unemployment, the failures on Benghazi, constant bowing to foreign leaders, chronic blaming of America first, racial accusation after racial accusation, and a general appearance of not caring, not engaging, and incompetence have all chipped away at the image of Obama as the Messiah who would lower the seas and heal the planet.  The Tea Party is alive and well, and I think is a political time-bomb that has been patiently waiting to go off today.  Even the most shallow anecdotal evidence -- the Washington Redskins and LSU both losing at home the weekend before the election -- are leaning toward Romney.  Never mind all this, the media has already called the election for Obama.

If you look at most of the polls, they're showing various degrees of a 'dead heat', within the margin of error.  The only way they can do this is by severely over-sampling Democrats in a model that has nothing to do with voter enthusiasm or current party self-identification, both of which are also trending Republican in a big way right now.  For example:
The poll, released earlier tonight, shows a 49-49 tie among likely voters. But to get that result CNN had to use one of the most skewed samples we’ve seen this campaign (see page 29): 
 Among those likely voters, 41% described themselves as Democrats, 29% described themselves as Independents, and 30% described themselves as Republicans. 
A D+11 sample! By comparison, the electorate in 2008, when Obama-mania was at its peak, was merely D+7, according to exit polls.
Interesting, don't you think?  You see, the media is unabashedly in the tank for Obama.  They're trying to depress Republican turnout, and cover up any possible indication that their guy might lose, to the extent that they are able.  But, on top of everything else, a Romney campaign internal poll gives us solid reason for optimism.  Also, there's this: independent voters are breaking toward Romney big-time.
Team Romney is drawing satisfaction and a growing sense of confidence from a new CNN poll that, while over-weighting Democrats, shows that Mitt Romney is running away with independents, the Big Kahuna in Tuesday's presidential election. 
According to a new CNN poll, Romney is beating President Obama 59 percent to 35 percent among independents even when third party candidates are included. The poll has the race deadlocked at 49 percent, but the sample includes 11 percent more Democrats than Republicans, 41 percent to 30 percent, a bigger gap than recent elections have witnessed. 
What's more, the poll found a slight edge for Romney when it came to those who call themselves "very enthusiastic" about voting. In that category, Romney beats Obama 42 percent to 37 percent.
And this independent thing is huge, so huge that one of the most intelligent election experts in the country, Michael Barone, thinks that this will not only be a Romney win, but big Romney win:
Fundamentals usually prevail in American elections. That's bad news for Barack Obama. True, Americans want to think well of their presidents, and many think it would be bad if Americans were perceived as rejecting the first black president. 
But it's also true that most voters oppose Obama's major policies and consider unsatisfactory the very sluggish economic recovery — Friday's job report showed an unemployment uptick.
Also, both national and target state polls show that independents — voters who don't identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans — break for Romney.
That might not matter if Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 39% to 32%, as they did in the 2008 exit poll. But just about every indicator suggests that Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting — and about their candidate — than they were in 2008, and Democrats are less so.
That's been apparent in early or absentee voting, where Democrats trail their 2008 numbers in target states Virginia, Ohio, Iowa and Nevada.
The Obama campaign strategy, from the beginning, has recognized these handicaps, running barrages of early anti-Romney ads in states that Obama carried narrowly. But other states, not so heavily barraged, have come into contention.

Hit the link for his full estimates.  His prediction is Romney winning 315 electoral votes to Obama's 223.

Full disclosure: I'm choosing to be optimistic because the alternative is, to me, unthinkable.  More on that in a moment, but let's just say I have faith that there are a whole lot of people like me out there, and that we'll find that out in the next day or so.

But don't get me wrong, this is far from a slam dunk.  After all, we're already seeing 'irregularities' from Philly and voting machines that magically change Romney votes to Obama votes in Coloradomultiple votes in Nevada, theft and other dirty tricks in Ohio, Black Panthers 'monitoring' voting stations again, and the prevention of military votes by the Department of Defense itself.  I'm sure it's purely a coincidence that every documented incident of voter fraud benefits Democrats.  We don't want another mess involving lawsuits and provisional ballots, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the Democrats will file lawsuit after lawsuit, especially in close precincts.

When you break it all down, it's all guess-work at this point.  What matters is the ground game, and getting out the grass roots to vote.  That's why it is so critical that each and every Romney supporter get to the polls, no matter what the TV networks or radio announcers say.  Keep in mind that those 'early reports' are based purely on exit polls, and it has been explicitly demonstrated time and time again that Democrats are far more likely to participate in exit polls.  Remember the 2004 election, when media networks began calling various states for Kerry?  They ended up having to go back and retract those calls later...because the exit polls turned out to be too heavily slanted toward Democrats.  But they reported it anyway because they wanted to depress Republicans who were voting late in the day.  Remember the mess with hanging chads in Florida in 2000?  The Florida panhandle is heavily Republican, but it's also in a different time zone, and thus those polls closed an hour later than the rest of the state, which is much more Democrat.  The TV networks called the state for Gore before the polls even closed in the panhandle.  How many Republicans stayed home because they thought it was over?  We'll never know.

What we do know is that the media is pulling for Obama outright, and we know that they will call states early if they think they can get away with it for a few hours, even if they have to recant later.  So ignore anything they say, and get to the polls!

Here's why it matters.  I believe this election is a tipping point.  At this time in history, there is more than enough access to information about the truth of Barack Obama and his radical Leftist policies.  If anyone has eyes to see, he or she will see.  If there aren't enough people left in America who support the traditional views and principles set forth by the Founders to overcome even the inevitable cheating and fraud from the Left, then this nation is lost.  We will not survive another four years of Obama's policies.  Obamacare alone will truly transform this nation into a dependent state that is irreversible, and far more European than (formerly) American.  We've already got record numbers of dependents upon government, record numbers of food stamp recipients, record numbers of people on disability...another four years and we will be in an essentially permanent recession.  On top of the fiscal components, the Obama administration has shunned Christianity and Israel, and embraced Islam whenever possible.  Obamacare will force religious institutions to provide birth control despite being antithetical to their religious beliefs.  The moral decay in this nation is festering, and four more years of this onslaught will take its toll.  And for those who might be inclined to sit out the election because they don't necessarily like Romney...don't.  To not vote for Romney equates to a vote for Obama.  I agree with Dr. Jeremiah - we have a moral responsibility to vote for the best candidate available, even if he isn't our ideal candidate.  You may get a guy who only reflects your values 50% of the time, but isn't that better than a guy who reflects your values 10% of the time?  You don't get to choose neither, you have to pick the best one available, and that means either Romney or Obama.  No sitting out on this one.

If Obama wins another four years, I believe it will signal the beginning of the end.  America will continue, of course, but it will be on an irreversible course toward being just another primarily socialist nation.  There will be no going back.  It's no longer a question of if, but a question of when.  If that happens, I will weep for our children and grandchildren, for they will grow up in a land that promises them vastly less than we were promised.

I believe America will choose a long-term direction today one way or the other.  We will choose liberty or tyranny, and we have only one chance to get it right.


More info:

A Voter's Guide for Independents And Undecideds
Obama's 4 Years Of Deficient Leadership

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Tipping Point -- Liberty in the Balance

From the Patriot Post:


"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual -- or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country." --Samuel Adams (1781)
2012-11-01-alexander-1
As a student of history, I would assert that in noelection since 1860 has our nation been more viscerally divided along clearer battle lines than in the current contest between Romney/Ryanand Obama/Biden.
The contentious contrast in this campaign cycle is not so much about political policies as it is about the overarching themes of tyranny versus Liberty -- Rule of Law versus rule of men.
In just a few days, we will learn whether our nation has elected to move toward the restoration of Liberty, or if Barack Hussein Obama's propaganda machine has succeeded in fast-tracking our nation down the road toDemocratic Socialism.
In preparation for that revelation, I pause to take account of our bearing.
Today, as has been the case since the dawn of American Liberty, Patriots resist the temptation to set their course on moving objects. We are not moved by contemporaneous trends, such as polling and focus groups. Instead, we set our compass on true north, on eternal truths "endowed by our Creator" as outlined in what Thomas Jefferson called the "the declaratory charter of our rights, and the rights of man." Those rights are codified in our Constitution, which many of us have sworn to "support and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
This eternal bearing is central to our Patriot mission, and it will not change with the outcome of any election -- though the task before us will be much, much more difficult if enough of our countrymen lack the wisdom to vote for Liberty over tyranny.
In addition to the written records from our Founders of wisdom in support of Liberty and eternal truths, our team here at The Patriot Post is also blessed and humbled to count among the ranks of our readers hundreds of men and women from the Greatest Generation -- a generation that possesses wisdom that only comes with age. They have lived through presidential administrations from Wilson to Obama, and their wisdom has been forged in the fires of the Great Depression and World War II. They have witnessed the proliferation of socialist tyranny through Eastern Europe and Asia and the resulting slaughter of hundreds of millions of innocents. They have witnessed the grotesque tribal carnage in Africa and the Middle East.
They are also the generation who, through hard work and innovation in the context of a free-enterprise economy, built the strongest manufacturing operations in history; an economy based on tangible products "Made in the USA" by skilled workers and managers.
I receive letters almost every day from these elder Patriots, many of them expressing grief for the state of affairs they're leaving behind. Many of them bear a burden that they have somehow failed their posterity because the generations after them have not been instilled with a spirit of Liberty and civic duty sufficient to discern between candidates like Romney, who promote American Liberty, and those like Obama, who seek to undermine Liberty in their relentless pursuit of statist power.
One of these letters arrived Tuesday from one of my heroes -- my father. He was born in 1923 and remembers well the hardship of the Depression. He became a Naval Aviator in World War II, came home to start a family, and over three decades built a small manufacturing operation into a company with hundreds of employees. That company was dealt a deathblow during the last Great Recession under Jimmy Carter.
On the eve of his 90th birthday, my father is very concerned about the future of Liberty, and his concern has the bold bona-fide stamp of the wisdom of age.
His generation created great abundance, with the unintended consequence that following generations became progressively complacent, apathetic and dependent. This progression follows the fatal "Cycle of Democracy": From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to Liberty (Rule of Law); From Liberty to abundance; From abundance to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage (rule of men).
Our nation is now suffering under another Great Recession. Like the last one, this recession is the direct result of statist interventionist policies. These policies led to the collapse of real estate values, which cascaded into the banking collapse, which nearly took down the entire economy. (For the record, I outlined this sequence of our current economic decline a month before Obama was elected in 2008.)
John Adams wrote, "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." But it's certainly easier to accept Obama's recurring premise: "It's George Bush's fault."
Just prior to the 2008 election, Obama said his objective was "fundamentally transforming the United States of America," and he called on his adherents to join him in "remaking this nation, block by block." Four years later and that transformation is well underway.
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Since his election, Obama has undertaken measures in the name of "economic recovery" that will ultimately, by design, break the back of free enterprise. His "stimulus plan" is modeled on the Cloward-Piven strategy for economic transition, which he studied in depth as a student at Columbia University. This socialist stratagem calls for overloading the government welfare system to the point of crisis, requiring the replacement of that system with a national system of "guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty." This collapse is written into the genes of our nation's projected debt load, a burden that will crush free enterprise in the coming decade, without dramatic intervention.
So, how is Obama's strategy working thus far?
There are 23 million unemployed or underemployed Americans. Tens of millions who are working have not received sufficient pay increases to even keep up with inflation. On Obama's watch, we have record spending on welfare -- households considered impoverished have grown to one in six, and 47 million are on food stamps -- up 50 percent since Obama's election. Obama has also amassed $5 trillion in new debt, and our national debt now totals $16 trillion, which for the first time in history now exceeds U.S. annual economic output. On top of that, energy prices have doubled because of Obama's restrictions on exploration, and economic growth has slowed to an anemic 1.3 percent.
Of course, what Mitt Romney needs to drive home at every stop is, the real "Obama tax" on the middle class is the fact that median household income has declined by $4,520 (8.2 percent) since Obama took office.
As more Obama supporters remove their heads from their, uh, sandboxes, Obama's propaganda machine is running full steam, endeavoring to complete the colossal makeover to his "jobs president" fa├žade in the remaining days of the campaign. That pig is gonna take a LOT of lipstick.
Even though unemployment ticked back up to 7.9 percent in October (taking some of the wind out of Obama's "road to recovery" rhetoric), he will still take credit for private sector job growth invoking his socialist "we've created jobs" mantra.
The fact is, job creation is more accurately a reflection of how resilient the private sector is despiteObama's interventionist economic policies, and all the economic indicators would be much worse if not for that resilience.
As you recall, a few weeks before the Republican Confab in Tampa, Obama declared, "The private sector is doing fine," and insisted that we really need more government [read "union"] jobs. His Senate lap dog, Harry Reid reiterated, "It's very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine. It's the public-sector jobs where we've lost huge numbers..." Both of these remarks unveil Obama's real "jobs" agenda.
Last week, as part of his "jobs" charade, Obama unveiled his phony "The New Economic Patriotism" brochure, a "plan" for jobs that will most assuredly seal the fate of our economy if he is re-elected. He's calling on Americans to "embrace a new economic patriotism," while his lapdog Joe Biden has declared paying higher taxes to be our "patriotic duty."
Ah yes, I recall some other socialists in Germany and Russia, early in the last century, who equated "patriotism" with "statism."
This week, Obama released his second term plan to establish a cabinet level "Department of Business." (Seriously, he did so with a straight face.) Of course there is already a Department of Commerce and a Department of Labor, both of which do nothing but impede job growth. So, we suppose the "Department of Business" will be Obama's final nail in the coffin of free enterprise.
At every campaign stop for the next three days, I would recommended this talking point for Mr. Romney: "Obama should propose a 'Department of GET OUT OF OUR Business,' so the U.S. economy can grow millions of new and better paying jobs."
So, we find ourselves in quite a quandary on the eve of this election: We have a committedsocialist president who has won the allegiance of an electorate so dumbed-down by apathy and dependence that it views the state as a benevolent master.
Obama can depend on two principle constituencies who are irrevocably tied to the Left. About 30 percent of voters (60 percent of Obama's support) are primarily urbanites, whose allegiance has been co-opted by the state in return for redistributed wealth. Another 10 percent of voters (20 percent of Obama's support) are ideological socialists, from Leftist academicians to Hollywood glitterati, and all the Marxists in between.
It is that elusive 20 percent of independent voters who will determine if Obama or Romney will win. In 2008, a majority of independents joined with Obama's base constituencies to give him 53 percent of the popular vote for victory.
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It's not that independent voters who supported Obama are ignorant; it's simply that, as Ronald Reagan once said of Democrats, "they know so much that isn't so." Indeed, they were enticed in the last election to support a candidate Joe Biden described as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."
In this election year, there is a much clearer distinction between the candidate's ideologies and, fortunately, some of Obama's '08 supporters are coming to their senses, as typified in this Grassroots Commentary letter from "Karen," expressing the buyer's remorse of an ill-informed vote.
My primary concern is whether Mitt Romney has made enough progress in closing the deal with grassroots independent voters -- not because he doesn't genuinely care about Americans from all walks of life, but because his staff is top-heavy with folks who, themselves, have little or no grassroots grounding. Though we know our "Memo to Mitt From Grassroots Americans" was delivered to his communications director, it wasn't evident in the last two presidential debates that those talking points ever made it to his debate strategists.
On Tuesday, we will, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, "make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude."
Will enough independent voters choose Romney's plan to restore economy and move the needle back toward Liberty, or will a majority again be mesmerized by Obama's rhetorical socialist propaganda? We will know the answer to that question in a few days.
What we know now is that if Romney is elected, he will face the monumental task of defusing the "debt bomb" Obama prepared to dropped on the economy. If Obama is reelected, that debt bomb will most certainly fulfill his promise of "fundamentally transforming the United States of America."
In the meantime, we must, as Patriots, do everything in our power to push right-minded Americans in every state, however discouraged they may be, to the polls. Recently, Obama proclaimed, "The most important lesson I've learned is that you can't change Washington from the inside." It is time to throw him out.
(Footnote: There is a wild card that could accelerate the Obama's Cloward–Piven strategy. He has been derelict in his duty to contain the threat of al-Qa'ida and other Muslim terrorist groups calling for jihad, or "holy war," against "all the enemies of Allah." These Jihadis seek to disable the U.S. economy using any means at their disposal, and thus, undermine our political, military and cultural influence around the world. Their primary objective is the acquisition and detonation of one or more nuclear weapons in East Coast urban centers. Obama has undertaken a deliberate campaign to understate the threat of al-Qa'ida's strength, which is why his administration attempted to blame the recent attack against American diplomats in Libya on a web video.)
VOTE FOR LIBERTY!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Dust Has Settled (For Today)

Wow, what a great day for college football!  It's a great sport.

Now that all of the Big 4 have wrapped up, let's review.  I've been hearing and reading a lot punditry this week about how there's only a 1-2% chance that four teams will make it to the end of the season undefeated.  Okay, I understand that - probabilities stack up pretty fast when you have literally dozens or hundreds of variables at play, and these are 18-22 year old kids with lots of ego and stupid decisions bumping around in their heads.  About the only thing that is guaranteed is that nothing is guaranteed, and that's part of what makes college football the best sport in the country.  Here's what happened tonight...


#1 Alabama

Bama was facing their toughest test for the remaining regular season playing #5 LSU at LSU.  The Tigers had pretty much locked down the Tide despite several miscues, and they had a 3-point lead going into the final two minutes of the game.  However, Alabama is #1 for a reason, and they pulled out their best play at the last moment to score a last-minute TD.  

#2 Kansas State
The Cats hosted #24 Oklahoma State, the third "explosive" offense they've faced this year.  The first two (West Virginia and Texas Tech) were completely throttled, but OSU didn't go away quietly.  After the first quarter, KSU was in control -- I don't recall them being less than two scoring possessions ahead at any point -- but it wasn't a blowout.  At one point, OSU's quarterback left the game with a concussion, but the backup performed his best Peyton Manning impression and kept the Cowboys playing a fierce game of catch-up.  Still, KSU maintained its customary domination of time of possession (38 minutes to 22) and turnovers (+5), and the outcome wasn't ever seriously in doubt.  Collin Klein left the game mid-3rd quarter, presumably with a minor wrist injury, but he wasn't taped up, wasn't being actively examined, and appeared in very good spirits on the sideline through the end of the game.  There's little doubt he'll be back and on fire again next week.

#3 Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish survived a massive scare against Pitt, winning in triple overtime by three, 29-26.  While it's true that an ugly win is still a win, and championship teams find a way to win when the normal things aren't working...this was anything but impressive.

#4 Oregon
The Ducks traveled to USC for a showdown of two of the Pac-12's best.  The game started out in typical Oregon fashion, with the flashy guys rocketing out to a 27-10 lead, but USC eventually closed the gap to three.  The final score ended up 62-51.  This was the most points and total yards ever given up in the Coliseum, and Oregon put down their most difficult game remaining on their schedule.

So, where do things stand now?  Here are the current BCS standings:



The official pundits will have their say tomorrow night when the updated BCS standings are released, but here's my take on it at the moment.

Alabama will remain #1.  They had an ugly, ugly win, but the ugliness will likely be attributed more to the sheer awesomeness -- according to the talking heads at ES(EC)PN -- of the SEC than anything having to do with Alabama's potential weaknesses (of which there are none, of course).  They'll remain on top of the polls.  K-State should stay #2.  They're already at the top of the pile in the computer polls, so the question for them is the human polls - their strength of schedule should improve after beating another ranked team (their fourth), and they actually had the best margin of victory of the four teams this weekend, so objective voters should take notice of that.  I wouldn't be surprised if Oregon jumped over Notre Dame.  For some reason, poll voters seem to look only at the number of offensive points scored when deciding which of two teams looks better; never mind that they gave up 52 points and only won by 11, they looked really swift in their silvery helmets while they ran past USC's defenders.  It's stupid, but that's the way it works.  Notre Dame had the worst showing of the bunch, barely surviving against a mediocre 4-4 Pitt team at home.  They're still undefeated and in the mix, but in a year where style points may be the critical differentiator between multiple undefeated teams, this certainly won't help them.

So what comes next for each of these teams?  Here's the remaining schedule (with rankings as of today):

Alabama: #16 Texas A&M, Western Carolina, Auburn  
K-State: TCU, Baylor, #23 Texas
Oregon: California, #14 Stanford, #11 Oregon State
Notre Dame: Boston College, Wake Forest, #17 USC
Alabama faces a tough test against Texas A&M next week.  The Aggies are coming together really well, and present a very different challenge than they're used to.  Given the emotion of this win over LSU, it presents a major trap game.  They will also have to win the SEC championship, probably against Georgia, another top-10 team presenting a very real upset possibility.  The Wildcats seem to be more focused on the road than at home this year, so K-State should have no problems with road games at TCU and Baylor.  Texas will be a tough game, but they're hardly the juggernaut they were expected to be this year.  They will likely move up in the polls before that last game, so assuming K-State takes care of business and runs the table, they'll get a bit of a bump from the computers and a win over a fifth ranked team.  Oregon has the toughest remaining schedule.  In addition to two more ranked teams, they'll have the Pac-12 championship game.  It will likely be a rematch against USC, and while they just beat the Trojans today it's extremely difficult to beat the same opponent twice in the same season.  Notre Dame has a couple of easy games before finishing against USC, a long rivalry with a lot of upset potential.

Now, let's look at the Cats.  Here's what they've done so far to make it to 9-0:


- Missouri State, 51-9
- Miami, 52-13
- North Texas, 35-21
- at Oklahoma, 24-19
- Kansas, 56-16
- at Iowa State, 27-21
- at West Virginia, 55-14
- Texas Tech, 55-24
- Oklahoma State, 44-30

At the time these games were played, not a single one of these opponents had more than one loss; Oklahoma was ranked 5th, West Virginia was 13th, Texas Tech was 14th, Oklahoma State was 24th.  K-State is averaging one of the highest margins of victory in the country this year, they've completely shut down two 'high octane' offenses run by Heisman candidates and outpaced a third, and they've blown out more than half of their opponents.  As the pressure mounts with each successive win, it'll get harder and harder to avoid a trap.


Running the table is an extremely difficult and rare feat, but at this point I think K-State will do it.  It's mentally tougher than any K-State team I can recall.  Last year they won nailbiter after nailbiter.  That gives you a sort of invincible feeling that minimizes nerves when crunch time comes, allowing you to perform better when it matters most.  This year, they've added another level of domination on top of that, completely controlling all facets of many of their games.  They have refused to let any other teams play their game, instead imposing their own will on their opponents.  They grind the other team down, physically and mentally, as they inexorably play better and better throughout the game.  I heard one commentator describe it as a 'slow throttling', and I think that's exactly right.  They don't get ruffled, they take care of business.  They don't beat themselves, but they do take maximum advantage of their opponents' mistakes.  I won't go into many stats, as those can be misleading, and when you're ranked in the top five they kind of speak for themselves.  In short, K-State is as good a team as any in the country, and they've conducted themselves with sound football based on hard work and tremendous focus.  Collin Klein provides the key leadership and emotional drive that both holds the team together and propels it forward.  If he hangs on to win the Heisman, it's icing on the cake.

And yet...if it comes down to three undefeated teams, I'd bet money that K-State is the one left out in the cold.  It's a combination of coastal bias and superiority that's always been there.  You can see and hear it with almost every analysis from a talking head.  They give lots of love to K-State, but always end up minimizing their accomplishments and just assume that they're not as good as the other, more established teams.  Last week, I heard one guy talk about a hypothetical game in which K-State turned the ball over a couple of times would put them out of the running for a spot in the championship game.  In the next breath, he then went on to talk about a hypothetical one-loss team getting into the championship if only Alabama ran the table; he suggested with a straight face that Florida would probably be the best choice.  Of course, that was immediately after Florida committed six turnovers in their loss to Georgia.  SEC love, anyone?  But that's just how it works.  The only way K-State gets into the championship is if they and no more than one other team ends up undefeated.  Not even the SEC bias can overcome that.

I think it's a very good bet that K-State ends up undefeated.  Their computer rankings are great, no trouble there.  If Alabama or Oregon does too, then they'll almost certainly get the nod from the human voters instead.  Notre Dame is likely to, as well, but more lackluster wins may prevent them from being a serious contender.  Both Alabama and Oregon face a couple of tough challenges, especially in their league championship games.  My hope is that Alabama gets picked off by Georgia and Notre Dame loses their finale to USC, leaving just K-State and Oregon as undefeated.  There would be no doubt about who should get in, and I think Oregon presents the best possible match-up for the Wildcats.  Alabama is a tough, grinding, dominating team, much like K-State.  Their styles are very similar, but Alabama is littered with 4- and 5-star players that will probably win out in the end.  Oregon, however, is a very different beast.  They're incredibly talented on offense, but K-State has stopped three incredibly talented offenses so far.  The key difference is that they have little defense, certainly not enough to stop Klein and the Wildcat offense.

I would be extremely apprehensive about a face-off with the Tide, but Oregon?  I say bring it on.

Time will tell, but first things first - K-State has to keep on winning.  If they do, a second Big 12 Championship is secure, and a potential berth in the national championship game is waiting just around the corner.

Go Cats!