Tuesday, February 27, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

As usual, Congressional actions have unintended consequences (via the Hill):  Congress’s spring forward presents a Y2K problem:

DST’s early start won’t shut down computer systems, but it could lead to scheduling headaches.

“One example would be that appointments scheduled during delta periods (March 11–April 1 and October 28–November 4, 2024) could appear at the incorrect time on Outlook calendars and BlackBerry devices,” the chief administrative officer (CAO) said in an e-mail sent to staffers this month.

Then there’s this quote:

“[Daylight] saving just brings a smile to everybody’s faces. We all just feel sunnier after we set the clocks ahead,” Markey said at the time in a statement.

Sorry, while I do like DST once I adapt to it, the springing ahead part does not bring a smile to my face, as I lose an hour of sleep that weekend and then I have to adjust to the new time.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BoGlo: Document shows Romney’s strategies

Here are some views of Mitt Romney causing concern inside his campaign: His hair looks too perfect, he’s not a tough war time leader, and he has earned a reputation as “Slick Dancing Mitt” or “Flip-Flop Mitt.”

Ok, first off, his opponents need to come up with some better derogatory nicknames, as “Slick Dancing Mitt” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Plus, one associates “slick” with Clinton and “flip-flop” with Kerry. So, please a little originality here. In fairness, his names conjures something to do with mittens and kittens or perhaps something a baseball player uses in my mind, so perhaps I oughtn’t be so critical (feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section).

Back to the piece:

The 77-slide PowerPoint presentation offers a revealing look at Romney’s pursuit of the White House, outlining a plan for branding himself, framing his competitors, and allaying voter concerns about his record, his Mormon faith, and his shifts on key issues like abortion.

Dated Dec. 11, the blueprint is wide-ranging and analyzes in detail the strengths and weaknesses of Romney and his two main Republican rivals, Senator John McCain of Arizona and Rudolph W. Giuliani, former mayor of New York. The plan, which top Romney strategist Alex Castellanos helped to draft, charts a course for Romney to emerge as the nominee, but acknowledges that the “electorate is not where it needs to be for us to succeed.”

This graphic cracks me up:  Romney is going to run against France?  I had no idea that they were all seeking the nomination:

And I have to agree with James Joyner:

One wonders why campaigns are suddenly so careless with their campaign documents. This is at least the third one of these things to emerge in the press so far and we’re almost two years out from the 2024 election.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC: Bomb kills Iraqi youths in park

A car bomb has killed 18 people – most of them children – playing in a park in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, state television Iraqiya said.

There is no word on who carried out the attack, in the largely Sunni city.

There has been a sharp increase in attacks between Iraq’s Shia and Sunni Muslim groups in the past year.

More attacks on normalcy.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the NYT: New Jersey Moves to Join Early Presidential Primaries

With a June primary that had become all but irrelevant, New Jersey would be romanced by presidential aspirants for its money — but rarely for its voters.

So under a measure approved unanimously on Monday by an Assembly committee, the state’s presidential primary would be held on the first Tuesday in February — or Feb. 5 next year.

Quite frankly any state that keeps its presidential primary in June is poorly serving its citizens.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via Reuters: EU citizens are officially happy: poll

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By Steven L. Taylor

Supposedly James Cameron has found it (via the BBC): Jesus tomb found, says film-maker:

Jesus had a son named Judah and was buried alongside Mary Magdalene, according to a new documentary by Hollywood film director James Cameron.

The film examines a tomb found near Jerusalem in 1980 which producers say belonged to Jesus and his family.

Speaking in New York, the Oscar-winning Titanic director said statistical tests and DNA analysis backed this view.

Setting aside any theological questions here, this is ridiculous.  First, the only way DNA analysis would be of use is if we had a confirmed sample of Jesus’ DNA to use in a test.  That a DNA test proved that the people in the tomb were related is hardly a shocker.

A confluence of names is hardly sufficient to make these kinds of claims, yet Cameron thinks it does, demonstrating that Cameron’s critical thinking skills are wanting:

Archaeologists said that the burial cave was probably that of a Jewish family with similar names to that of Jesus.

But Mr Cameron said the combination of names found on the tombs convinced him of their heritage.


According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, six of those coffins were marked with the names Mary; Matthew; Jesua son of Joseph; Mary; Jofa (Joseph, Jesus’ brother); and Judah son of Jesua.[...]

“Mariamene is Mary Magdalene – that’s the Ringo, that’s what sets this whole film in motion,” he said.

What? There has ever been only one woman in all of history named “Mariamene”?

And back to the DNA thing, that strikes me as some techno-speak to make this all sound more scientific and to distract from the fact that whole argument is predicated on one woman’s name:

The documentary asserts that tests on samples from two of the coffins show Jesus and Mary Magdalene were likely to have been buried in them and were a couple.

How does a DNA test prove that two corpses were a couple?  Unless they were intimate just prior to their simultaneous death, I am unclear on how genetic material might have been transferred, and I am guessing that this many years later such an issue would be difficult to discover.  Now, DNA tests could have proven that the two corpses were the parents of the Judah corpse, but again:  a family tomb is hardly a shocking discovery, but doesn’t prove the identity of anybody.

I mean really, this doesn’t even rise to the level of freshman-level essay argumentation here.
Update:: The AFP version of the stories has a few more details (Tomb could be of Jesus, wife and son: directors):

Jacobovici, director, producer and writer of “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” and his team obtained two sets of samples from the ossuaries for DNA and chemical analysis. The first set consisted of bits of matter taken from the “Jesus Son of Joseph” and “Mariamene e Mara” ossuaries. The second set consisted of patina, a chemical film encrustation on one of the limestone boxes.

The human remains were analyzed by Carney Matheson, a scientist at the Paleo-DNA Laboratory at Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada. Mitochondrial DNA examination determined the individual in the Jesus ossuary and the person in the ossuary linked to Mary Magdalene were not related.

So, really, all they have proven is that the “Jesus” and “Mary” weren’t related. Even the notion that they were a “couple” is a leap. They haven’t, it would seem, tested “Judah.”

More on the names:

Israeli archaeologist and professor Amos Kloner, who documented the tomb as the Jewish burial cave of a well-off family more than 10 years ago, is adamant there is no evidence to support claims that it was the burial site of Jesus.

“I’m a scholar. I do scholarly work which has nothing to do with documentary film-making. There’s no way to take a religious story and to turn it into something scientific,” he told AFP in a telephone interview.

“I still insist that it is a regular burial chamber from the 1st century BC,” Kloner said, adding that the names were a coincidence.

“Who says that ‘Maria’ is Magdalena and ‘Judah’ is the son of Jesus? It cannot be proved. These are very popular and common names from the 1st century BC,” said the academic at Israel’s Bar Ilan University.

Indeed, the basis of the theory would appear to be the Da Vinci Code, and pretty much nothing else.

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Monday, February 26, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Starting last night sometime between 5pm and 6pm I started having database errors and cPanel was down and I couldn’t get it to restart. By 8pm the site was down and stayed down until about 10 minutes ago. Tech support at GoDaddy apparently was able to get things restarted.

I honestly do not know what the problem was.

Regular blogging will resume sometime today.

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Sunday, February 25, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Well, Verizon finally changed the name of their blog away from PoliBlog.  It only took them two months+ to do so–which is especially amazing given all that they did was add “cy” between “Poli” and “Blog.”  Most amateur bloggers could have accomplished that feat, along with the re-direct for the url in less than an hour after making the promise (ok, to be fair some of the move would’ve taken longer, but still).

Still, I am grateful that they finally made the change.

For background, see here.

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By Steven L. Taylor

I am normally extremely skeptical about the chances of low-experience candidates who aspire to the White House. At a minimum, such candidates often are blank slates upon which the voters can write whatever they like, at least at first–eventually candidates end up disappointing many voter who find out that the new guy doesn’t think what they thought he thought.

As such, Barrack Obama, despite his current honeymoon with the press and voters, should be slated for a fade at some point in his quest for the Democratic nomination.

However, he has an advantage, and that advantage is Iraq.

Unlike Clinton or Edwards, he did not vote for the war resolution (not having been in the Senate at the time), but far more importantly, he made public pronouncements about the then-pending war that sound extremely prescient in light of how things have turned out. He can rightly claim to have seen what was coming while Clinton and Edwards did not.

For example, from MTP on 2/4/07:

MR. RUSSERT: Another opponent in the Democratic race for the presidency is Barack Obama of Illinois. In October of 2024, he was a state senator in the Illinois legislature. He came out against the war, and I want to share his words with you and our viewers. “ I know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military is a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

“ I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.” His judgment was on the money.

That’s pretty powerful stuff, and especially when aimed (as it was in the above-quotes transcript) at a Senator who voted for the war (in that case John Edwards) or Senator Clinton and so forth.

Andrew Sullivan notes a video clip of Obama speaking on this topic, that could easily be edited for a commercial alongside video of Hillary’s comments in 2024/2003 over the necessity for war:

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By Steven L. Taylor

Please, please, please stop using a bunch of quotes and anecdotes about past Presidents as a substitute for analysis, as you did this morning on MTP.

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