Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

He’s Running.

ACK predicts that Fred will win the nomination, but lose the general election. Given the accuracy of Mr. Kleinheider's past performance in predicting the future, President Thompson may very well be a lock.

Let's review, shall we?

Mar 19, 2007
Fred Thompson has a history of this kind of nonsense. He is known for having a lot of theoretical ideas about what he would like to do — but not much follow through.

I cannot say it enough. Fred Thompson will not run for President.

Mar 19, 2007
This surge of support for Fred Thompson is about image, not substance. There is no important issue of the day that is going unheralded in this primary.

This is what the Republican Party has come to: pining away for a good actor, a salesman, who can play the part and sell a bankrupt schismatic conservatism. It is unseemly and disgraceful.

Mar 20, 2007

All of this is not to say that there is a severe vacuum in the Republican primary electorate. There is.
What a difference a day makes...Just yesterday, there wasn't ideological room for Fred to run.
Mar 20,2007
Katherine, I’ll see that cookie and raise you a C-note. Thompson and his acolytes are encouraging this groundswell just in case but when it comes right down to it, he’ll pass.
Will Katherine collect her $100 prize? Stay tuned...
Mar 21, 2007
I also do not think, not for one minute, that he will run. Whether it is out of a distaste of retail politics, of doing what is necessary to win, or whether it is out of concern for his new family, I believe Fred Thompson will defer.

What I do not question is his skills as an actor and politician. If Fred wants this and goes, excuse my French, balls to the wall in pursuit of the prize — he will win. The nomination certainly and likely the Presidency.
But today, you say he'll lose the general election. Playing both sides, Mr. K?
April 2, 2007
The idle speculation and sycophantic boosterism regarding a Fred Thompson Presidential candidacy has begun to morph into something else.
Is he about to see the light?
I will admit, at this point, a Thompson Presidential candidacy is a real possibility. But, is it a probability?

Most people now say yes. I am still gonna say no.
April 4, 2007
I am no Thompson partisan, as we all know, but this is a great opportunity for all those sycophantic Internet boosters to truly show their muscle.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
April 6, 2007
He dated extensively and he dated smart women and even after the affairs were over they have nothing but good things to say.

Like any player, he likely let these women think something that was not reality. Fred Thompson supporters may need to wake up to the fact that ole Fred may just be playing them like he did Lorrie Morgan and Margaret Carlson.
Huh? Generally women who have been lied to rarely have good things to say about the guy who lied to them. ACK is getting unbalanced here.
Fred Thompson is still more likely not to run than to make this race. Believe.
Finishing the quote from Ripleys: or not!

April 18, 2007

He doesn’t need to run a traditional campaign. Fred comes into this race with a tremendous advantage. His name and his face are known. His political skills and communication skills are unmatched.
Mr. K is a true believer!
May 4,2007
I’ll have to see the clip but, if the character is at all nuanced, it will harder to dismiss as “just playing a role.” After all, much of the talk on Fred has been that he isn’t really a good actor and that he plays himself, more or less.

If that is true and he gave an authentic portrayal of a white nationalist, the question has to be asked: how deep did he have to dig to find that character?
ACK achieves a new low by playing the "I'm not saying he's a racist, but he did play one on TV..." card.
May 30,2007
Fred Thompson, in my opinion, will be the Republican nominee come the summer of 2008. And come fall 2008, he will become what he was until recently — a retired politician.

You may ask why I went to the trouble of digging up Mr. Kleinheider's posts on Fred. After all, it seems like I'm just rubbing his face in it, and I guess I am a little. I can understand the desire to be the contrarian, but ACK was downright nasty during the past couple of months, disparaging backers of Fred as sycophants and boosters, claiming that the whole thing was a carefully orchestrated ploy, and even stooping to smear tactics with the whole racist thing, and the constant references to Fred's social life. He's gone far beyond being a contrarian, and ventured into partisan political hack territory.

I think what really got me going was his attempt to pass off the last two month's worth of anti Thompson posts as "skepticism." Rereading the quotes above, the word 'skepticism' isn't the first that comes to mind.

Posted by Rich
Fred Thompson • (1) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, May 25, 2007

In Case You Weren’t Paying Attention

The current compromise proposal for funding the war, which drops time lines for withdrawal but includes billions in non war related spending, demonstrates exactly where each party's priorities lie:

Republicans want maximum flexibility to prosecute the war, without artificially imposed external deadlines.

Democrats want pork.

Posted by Rich
Politics • (0) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Ok, folks, it's time to do it again! Let everyone know; pass the word; let's make it a big one before summer really gets going.

WHEN: Saturday, June 9[edit]
WHERE: Bailey's in West Knoxville.

Leave a comment if you'll be there. I'm setting the time early enough that it's still a kid friendly atmosphere for those who want to bring them along. I'd bring my kids, but they're at that age whre it's not cool to hang out with dad on the weekend.

I'll see everybody there!

Posted by Rich
Personal • (9) Comments • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Local Restaurants

I've been tagged by Lissa to list my 5 favorite local restaurants. This whole posting once a week things just isn't going to well, is it? Ah well, I did get some time in on the banjo and guitar yesterday, so all is not lost.

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Todd (Louisville, Kentucky, United States)
miss kendra (los angeles, california, u.s.a)
Jiggs Casey (Berkeley, CA, USA! USA! USA!)
Tits McGee (New England, USA)
Joe (NE Tennessee, USA)
10K Monkeys (Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA)
Big Stupid Tommy (Athens, Tennessee, USA)
Newscoma (Weakley County, Tennessee, USA)
Russ McBee (Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)
Atomictumor Mrs Eaves (Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA)
Oh Really? LissaKay (Oak Ridge, TN, USA)
Shots Across The Bow Rich Hailey, Kodak, TN

2. List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.

1. Monterray's Mexican Restaurant. The food is the closest to authentic Mexican food that I've had since I was in Dallas for a training class.
2. Ye Old Steakhouse. A longstanding favorite with excellent steaks.
3. Mandarin House in Pigeon Forge. The best Chinese buffet around.
4. The Chop House at Bass Pro Shops. The stuffed mushrooms are great, and I haven't had a bad meal there yet.
5. The Melting Pot in Knoxville. When you have a dinner that is an event, there's no better place to go.

Posted by Rich
Personal • (4) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Heroes: Who Lives; Who Dies?

If you haven't seen the finale yet, don't read on....

Posted by Rich
Entertainment • (3) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Well, That Didn’t Last Long.

So much for one post a week.

I read that the Senate voted for cloture so they can go ahead and debate a bill that they haven't even read yet.

Why am I not surprised? Who better to spend hours on the taxpayers' dime talking about something they know nothing about than our wonderful Senators?

And I see that LAMEr Alexander decided to vote for cloture as well.

I guess the search for the next Senator from Tennessee is on.

Curiously, I also noticed that several presidential hopefuls, including Hillary! and Barack accidentally missed the vote. How sad. Apparently they want to straddle a fence they don't even want to build.

Posted by Rich
Immigration • (0) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The New Comprehensive Swindle

N.Z. Bear has created as easily readable, linkable version of the proposed legislation.

Hugh Hewitt has read through the bill and has compiled his thoughts.

And for comparison purposes, here are the GOP talking points about the bill, also from Hugh Hewitt.

Now then, I'm a fast reader; I've never taken any speed reading courses or anything, but I can get through most novels in a couple of days. But the bill is 350+ pages of lawyer speak and political double talk, and it would take me at least two weeks of study to make sure I had a basic grip on its major provisions.

But the Senate will be voting on this thing as early as Tuesday. What does that tell you about it? If it's a good bill, why not give the folks voting on it time to read and digest it? For that matter,why not give the American people time to figure it out?

I feel like I'm at a used car lot listening to a high pressure sales pitch trying to convince me that a Ford Festiva is really a Mustang with a different body style. All that's missing is the fat salesman with beer breath and a bad comb over.Ted%20Kennedy%201.jpg. Oops, never mind.

Now since there's no hope of getting a comprehensive review of this swindle prior to the vote, the best we can hope to do is look at the GOP talking points, and see how well they match up with what we know of the bill so far.

Starting from the top. the talking points stress that the republicans have demanded that all immigration reform is contingent on first improving border security. Sounds good, but the actual bill reads a bit differently. Upon first reading, it seems to say that the benefits of the bill will not apply until certain acts strengthining the border are completed, like building 370 miles of fence, and hiring 18,000 additional border guards. Except that there appears to be one teeny, tiny, small, barely worth mentioning exception. Something about probationary benefits. So let's take a look at the referenced section on probationary benefits. Page 268 is where we find 601(h),and it says that any illegal applying for probationary benefits must be given those benefits if a background check does not reveal disqualifying information within one business day!

No way. The government can't deliver a letter across town in a singe day. Surely this is a misreading of the bill, right?

Nope. In case the general statement isn't clear enough, check out this from 601(h)(2)
2) Timing of Probationary Benefits.-No probationary
benefits shall be issued to an alien until the alien has
passed all appropriate background checks or the end of the
next business day, whichever is sooner.

Whichever is sooner. Wow.

This one section of the bill, hidden nearly 270 pages deep in the bill, puts the lie to nearly every talking point favoring the bill. An illegal alien merely has to apply, and if the background check takes longer than one business day, he must be granted probationary benefits. There's a short word that describes this; it's called amnesty.

I'm not going to waste any more time going through a line by line analysis of the bill; I've already seen enough. Between the hard sell, the short time for review, and the little surprise hidden 270 pages into the bill, that's three strikes against it as far as I'm concerned.

If Corker or Alexander vote for cloture, or vote to support this bill, I will vote against them at the next opportunity. This is as close as I come to being a single issue voter.

Republicans say this is the best they can do; if so, then they don't deserve to be in charge, now or ever.

Posted by Rich
Immigration • (1) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I’m Taking Some Time Off

First, I'm not quitting; sorry if I got your hopes up. But I've had to take a look at my life over the last few days and it is becoming increasingly clear that I have too many irons and not enough fire, so something has to give.

For the near term, that will be this blog.

My plan is to go to a weekly format, posting an article a week, probably on Sunday evenings. That frees up time during the week to focus on paid writing, plus home repair projects, raising my kids, playing with my grandkid, checking on my mom, and maybe even going out on a date or two.

My hope is that by redirecting all this energy, I can get more paid writing jobs of the non technical variety, and maybe even finish a novel or two. Heck, I'd be happy to finish a short story!

So that's the plan. One major post a week, put up on Sunday evening. See you then.

Posted by Rich
Personal • (1) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Opie and Anthony

So let me get this straight. Opie and Anthony broadcast a bit on their XM show about having rough, violent sex (aka rape) with Condoleeza Rice. After the outcry, they justify the bit by saying they were just trying to entertain, and asking why radio was being singled out for persecution over TV or other broadcast media.

I think I can answer that question for them.

First, it's not just radio. Remember Bill Maher? (Don't worry if you don't; he's pretty forgettable.) His crack about our military being cowards cost him a TV show. Going back further, remember Howard Cosell? Jimmy the Greek? Rush Limbaugh? They all made comments of varying degrees of racism on television shows,and they all were punished for it. Limbaugh was fired. The Greek was banned from TV.

Here's what it's all about, you morons. You crossed a line. You aired an extremely offensive bit of "comedy" guaranteed to anger just about anybody with any sense of decency, admittedly a shrinking minority, then to compound that error, you defended it by minimizing the seriousness of the offense by calling it "entertainment," and then indulged in juvenile delusions of persecution instead of admitting you screwed up.

And you did screw up.

Let me give you another example; while he might think it's funny and entertaining to tell racist jokes all day long, a corporate executive won't keep a job long if he does, regardless of whether he's in radio or not.

It's just that simple.

Posted by Rich
Radio • (0) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Mercury and Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs

Instapundit links to a KnoxViews post about Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs.

In the comments to the post, Justin links to treehugger who gives the following scenario:
A CFL containing 5 mg of mercury breaks in your child’s bedroom that has a volume of about 25 m3 (which corresponds to a medium sized bedroom). The entire 5 mg of mercury vaporizes immediately (an unlikely occurrence), resulting in an airborne mercury concentration in this room of 0.2 mg/m3. This concentration will decrease with time, as air in the room leaves and is replaced by air from outside or from a different room. As a result, concentrations of mercury in the room will likely approach zero after about an hour or so.

Under these relatively conservative assumptions, this level and duration of mercury exposure is not likely to be dangerous, as it is lower than the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard of 0.05 mg/m3 of metallic mercury vapor averaged over eight hours.

Professor Helen Suh MacIntosh has made a couple of key errors in her analysis,surprising for a professor of envronmental health. By the way, my credentials include 2 years on a mercury cleanup team in the Navy, another 8 years as a trained Hazardous Waste Operations and Response worker and 4 years as an OSHA 29CFR1910.120 40 hour HAZWOPER instructor.

I've done this stuff for a living.

The OSHA PEL for mercury vapor is 0.1mg/m3, not 0.05mg/m3. The latter is the NIOSH REL and it applies to skin contact only. You can look these values up at, or check out the NIOSH pocket guide online, resources any professor of environmental health should be intimately familiar with.

Now then, take an average room at 10'x10'x8', which comes out to 21.6m3. Assume the 5 mg of mercury all vaporizes, giving an initial concentration of 0.23mg/m3. This is roughly twice the OSHA PEL for Hg, and working in this area would require respiratory protection.

Her second error is to assume that the contaminate in the room would be replaced with a single air change, a completely unwarranted assumption. Standard environmental calculations assume that mixing occurs during the air exchange and the rule of thumb in the field is that one complete air exchange only reduces the contaminate by 50%. Again, I'm surprised that a Professor of Environmental Health would make that mistake. In the real world, starting with .23mg/m3 of Hg vapor, after one air exchange, we would expect to see 0.12mg/m3 Hg vapor. After the next exchange, we would expect to see 0.06mg/m3 and so on. Basically, a person in this room would be breathing air in excess of the OSHA PEL for about 1.5 hours.

The professor's scenario is flawed in another way, assuming that all of the Hg will vaporize immediately. She may have made this assumption honestly thinking that it would lead to the worst case scenario, but it doesn't. Let's take a more realistic case, one where only half the metallic Hg goes airborne each hour. The first hour, 2.5 mg would go airborne. The next hour, 1.25 mg go airborne, the third hour, 0.6 mg go airborne, and so on. In this more likely scenario, and using the 50% dilution rate per air change, Hg exposure will exceed the OSHA PEL for almost 3 hours, or twice as long as her test case.

Finally, while the OSHA PEL is an 8 hour TWA (Time weighted average) that doesn't mean you can exceed the limit for a short period of time. As an analogy, you can't drive 100mph in a 55mph zone and use the excuse that you were only going to be out for 15 minutes. Doses above the PEL result in a higher concentration of Hg in the body, leading to more damage, regardless of the duration of the exposure. There hasn't been enough study on the effects of short term exposures to determine non occupational exposure limits, which is why environmental scientists routinely defer to OSHA PELs or NIOSH/ACGIH RELs in assessing exposure for members of the public.

So, what's the bottom line? CFLs result in energy savings, but do require special handling for disposal, and do represent a slightly increased health risk, particularly to young children and pregnant mothers. The magnitude of that increase is very small, much smaller than risks we take for granted every day, like driving to the supermarket for example, but it does exist.

Given what I know about the risk,and that I hate replacing lightbulbs, I'm converting over to CFLs in my house. But to suggest that there is no increased risk is dishonest.

Posted by Rich
Science • (1) Comments • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Strength in Numbers

UPDATED with new polling data below.

Thompson contrarian AC ( Fred won't run. He's not going to run. He can't run. OK, he might run, but probably not. He probably will run.)Kleinheider says in one post that Fred is polling well because he's famous, then in a later post says Fred isn't really famous at all.

The two relevant quotes:
Yes, Thompson is polling impressively without officially declaring himself a candidate. But you have to remember a lot of the polls at this stage are tallying name recognition and public perception.


On the flipside however, his lack of true celebrity is just that. He simply isn't all that famous.

So according to ACK, Fred only polls well because he's famous, but he also polls well because he's not really famous.

I'm sorry; that's just a bit too nuanced for me. It sound too much like a guy who is twisting every fact in order to support a preconceived conclusion, rather than letting the facts speak for themselves.

Let's try a different approach. Let's look at the facts first, and then form a conclusion.

Looking at the Rasmussen poll details, we see that Thompson does have a problem with a lack of name recognition. 37% of likely voters don't know enough about Fred to classify him as conservative, liberal, or moderate. Even 30% of Republicans don't know enough about him to classify his ideology. So the question we have to ask is how he can poll so well when fully 1/3rd of likely voters don't know about him?

One possible answer is that those who do know about him like him. A lot. Looking deeper into the Rasmussen numbers, we see that among independent voters, Thompson enjoys a 33/26 favorable/unfavorable rating, with a whopping 40% not knowing him well enough. But what is more interesting is the pattern of the numbers. It should come as no surprise that most people rate Thompson in the "somewhat" categories; that dovetails with his relative lack of name recognition. But what is interesting is that the independent voter pattern follows the Republican voter pattern, indicating potential strength among independent voters.

Now let's do a little extrapolating. I'm going to assume that as people get to know more about Fred, they'll break down the same way the majority in their group already have. I think this is a conservative measure and may actually understate the actual support he'll get as he declares,and I'll explain why this is in a moment. If the undecideds of each group (Republican, Democrat, Independent) track along with their majorities, Fred should wind up with about a 55%/45% favorable/unfavorable rating. Compare that with McCain's 49%/43%.

Now I said this was a conservative extrapolation, and here's why. Let's take a look at the GOP Straw poll. This is not a scientific poll, and the results will be skewed, so we can't take any actual numbers out of it, but we can spot trends, particularly within the most active elements the Republican party. As of the time I write this, Fred Thompson has an overwhelming lead with over 51% of the total vote.

Big deal. We're just bloggers, and if nothing else, Howard Dean proved the bloggers alone cannot win an election.

But once again, let's look deeper into the numbers.

Let's filter out everyone except for the RINOs, the most moderate/liberal portion of the GOP. How did they vote? Well, contrary to what you might expect, Fred and Rudy tied for first place with 22% of the vote. Now think about that for a minute. The most moderate portion of the GOP blogosphere does not favor Giuliani over Thompson. In fact, looking down further, we find that these moderate Republicans hold a more favorable view of Thompson than they do of Giuliani. (To add insult to injury, if you filter the data for just New Yorkers, Thompson still beats Giuliani handily.)

That is important. That is a big deal. If Fred enters the race, we can expect to see Giuliani lose a great deal of support among the grassroots and activists who dominate the primaries.(More on that in a minute)(See UPDATE below for evidence.)

Let's take a look at another number from the GOP straw poll. Selecting for certainty of vote, of the poll respondents who were most certain of their vote, Thompson wins with 53%. It gets worse for Giuliani, for among those respondents who were least committed to their candidate, Fred still garnered 3 times the votes of Giuliani.

So why are these trends important? Looking at Fred's strong support among the moderate and undecided portions of the GOP indicates that his numbers among independents will break more favorably than I extrapolated. Even more importantly, the Rasmussen group "likely voters" is not necessarily the same as "likely primary voters." Take Missouri for example. In the Missouri Democratic Primary, there were 413,000 votes. In the general election, there were 1.26 million Democratic votes. This means that in Missouri, only the most active 1/3 of likely voters participate in primary voting.

So what do you want to bet that those active likely voters are disproportionately represented among bloggers or blog readers?

So now the GOP straw poll does become a big deal, or at least a bigger deal, anyway. To some extent, and it's difficult to say precisely how much, it represent not just likely voters, but likely primary voters, and Thompson's huge lead in that group is a major campaign advantage.

It remains to be seen if he can capitalize on that advantage, or if he'll squander it as did Howard Dean, although to be fair, Dean was hulled amidships by his own party, as the DNC was determined to field a more traditional candidate. Thompson could fall afoul of the same political machinations if the RNC decides to throw its weight behind McCain or Giuliani the same way they did for Dubya in 2000. But given Thompson's broad based appeal, that doesn't seem too likely at this point.

So where does this examination of the facts lead us? Well, despite a lack of name recognition, polling data suggests that Thompson garners support from the full breadth of the GOP, a situation that will help him in the general election. The fact that he dominates polling among the activists bodes well for the primaries. His broad based favorable ratings would seem to indicate that the undecideds will break markedly in his favor as they learn more about him, adding to the strength of his primary campaign. Additionally,as those who don't know him connect his face with his name, that should garner more support.

On the negative side, his lack of name recognition means that many people don't know where he stands on the issues. Nor do they have a good feel for his character. As Barry pointed out in a comment to an earlier post, we're missing crucial pieces of information about Fred, pieces that will have to be filled in over the next couple of months or so.

UPDATE The latest Q-poll shows Fred at 14% compared to Rudy's 27%. This would look bad for Fred except that in the last poll, which didn't include Fred, Rudy polled at 40%. Remember how I said a Fred Thompson candidacy would likely pull a lot of support away from Rudy? This is proof.

Posted by Rich
Fred Thompson • (4) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Mom Update:  We’re in the Homestretch!

Mom was moved into a regular room yesterday. She's expected to stay there for a week or so to recover, then she should be coming home. Her biggest struggle will be building lung capacity. The average exhalation volume is roughly 4.8 liters,although that varies with age, sex,and physical condition. This morning, Mom could barely manage 0.5 liters. After doing her breathing exercises today, she's up to just over 1.2 liters.

The other thing we'll have to watch is her heart rhythm. She already had a laser ablation to treat her PATs, but her doctor told us that in roughly 25% of open heart surgeries, PAT's can occur or reoccur. She may need to get another ablation, or they may go away on their own; we'll just have to wait and see.

Other than that, everything looks great. 6 months from now, she should be feeling better than she's felt in years.

Thanks again for all the messages and prayers.

Posted by Rich
(2) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

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