• Bob Barr,  Election 2008,  Obama,  Predictions

    Election predictions

    Obama by 3.5 percent nationally (the polls overstate the Democrats, but not by enough to matter), the Dems pick up 20 or so house seats and make it to 58 senators, Allen Buckley pushes the Georgia Senate race into a runoff, which Chambliss will pull off by a narrow margin in three weeks. Bob Barr does better than any recent LP candidate with over 1% of the vote, coming in at 3% in Georgia. Obama will be a good winner, and McCain will be gracious in defeat, and out long, lurid parade of tired whores will finally be over.

    Now everyone read this article on why voting in unimportant.

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  • Inventions,  Links,  Predictions,  Weirdness

    Quick roundup while uploading

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  • BigThink,  Israel,  Middle East,  Predictions

    Funny and strange quotes

    From this rather odd article about the future of Israel

    As Peter O’Toole said as Lawrence of Arabia in the movie of that title, “Nothing is written.” However, it seems clear how to bet. As so often in history, bet on the horrible outcome.

    I think the post is flawed as it assumes that the current Israeli situation will not change by several orders of magnitude in qualitative ways as the decades roll by. Of course, there is no reason for the changes to be good, but current trends seldom hold before Bit Rot settles in. Worth reading

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  • Iraq,  Middle East,  Military,  Predictions

    What I got wrong about the Iraq war

    I was going to write this a while back, but here it is. I was on the fence about it at the time, but history did not to wait for me to reach a position.

    What I was wrong about with regard to Iraq (2003 assumptions)

    • I thought we would have over 10,000 military deaths by this point.
    • I thought the war would take about a year of heavy fighting.
    • I thought it would be over after that year
    • I thought the Sunni-Shia split would not play out as it has, rather that it would stay at or around the 2004 level
    • I thought we would have much more negative blowback – for all of the shouting and protests, not much has really happened on that front
    • I thought we would have found at least chemical weapons (in large quantities)
    • I did not think that Kurdistan would turn out as well as it has
    • I thought Turkey would have intervened in some form by now
    • I thought al Qaida would have benefited more, it seems that they have been hurt (in terms of their ideological appeal) by the Iraq war (more on that later)
    • I did not think that we would still have this many troops (fighting) at this point.
    • I thought that there would be much more conventional combat, and much less of this gang warfare
    • I thought that the Iraqis would have scored at least three major wins (surprise attacks in some fashion) in the scores of battles that have happened since the war began. They don’t seem to have won any against American troops.
  • Medicine,  Predictions,  Tech

    Needed technological advances

    In keeping with Instapundit’s list of needed technological advances, here are four of mine

    • Cheaper Carbon Fiber materials – Much lighter and much stronger than metal, but at the moment, much more expensive. If this cost could be brought down many other technologies become economical, electric cars, prefabbed buildings, small scale wind generation, etc.
    • Smart traffic lights – while these do exist at the moment, they are not in wide use. I live in a traffic-light heavy part of the city. I also do most of my car travel at non-peak hours. I still stop at most of the lights for no reason whatsoever. Smart lights (these exist already) would sense if there is a car that needs to get by and turn green (assuming there was no competing traffic) and then snap back to it’s existing cycle.
    • Decentralized electric power – To my knowledge, the main power grid has not been modernized, ever.
    • Cheap wholesale medical testing – imagine just having a machine in your home that could analyze your blood or urine every day or week and test it for the top 50 detectable problems. If all of these problems are caught at the first opportunity, how many lives could be saved?
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  • Politics,  Predictions

    My predictions – with no confidence

    I’m honestly not sure of the outcome. Were I betting, I would say the consensus opinion is wrong, and the Republicans hold on to both houses by a tiny margin. If I remember correctly, the polls usually underestimate the effects of the Republican ground game. Also, widely held opinions on the future are usually wrong, most lately the 2006 hurricane season. The chattering classes have seen a gathering destiny over the Democratic party that I don’t think is there.

    On another note, I am still quite please by the direction of the Dems this time around. Still very wrong with all the economic populism of course, but the baby boomer narcissism seems to be on it’s way out.

    Speaking of that, John Kerry’s bit last week was (even if taken at face value) NOT insulting to the troops, it was condescending, which is why it had resonance as a criticism of him in particular and the Dems in general.

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  • Middle East,  Oil,  Predictions

    Aspects of the conventional wisdom

    • Oil is the lifeblood of the Global Economy – I remember paying 94 cents a gallon in October of 2001, to $3.05 this summer, to $1.98 today (yes I realize that the price of oil does not track gas exactly, but it’s close). Given that the economy of the oil consuming world has growing mildly (Europe), moderately (the US), and highly (China and India), it would seem that this is simply not true, or if true, not meaningful.
    • The invasion of Iraq will turn the Muslim world against the US. Given that it’s been three and a half years, and all of the opposition is still based in Iraq (with some degree of foreign investment in people and capital) this would seem not to be meaningful.
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  • Politics,  Predictions

    Very well put

    From Matt Yglesias

    It’s not as if the opposition party has nothing to work with here. One might note the fiasco in Iraq, for example. Or OBL’s still-at-large status. Our bizarre herky-jerky stumbling into wider regional conflicts that will further take the focus off of al-Qaeda and others directly trying to kill Americans. This isn’t brain surgery.

    On the other hand, it’s not so easy that voters are going to believe it if Democrats don’t even try to make the case. What’s more, ducking security fights looks weak. It looks weak because it is weak. It demonstrates a lack of confidence in the party’s own ideas and people. It re-enforces everything the GOP is trying to say. Democrats need to knock this off and engage with what’s pretty clearly the central issue of our time.

    I think this is a good example of the Dems being more centralized (having a smaller collective brain if you will) than the Reps. Rather than picking on any of the weak points in the Republican platform, they charge groin first into the capable fists of the Republican party.

    I’ve said this before, the Democrats have situated themselves so that they don’t have to win elections to make money.

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  • Funny,  Israel,  Jimmy Carter,  Photography,  Predictions

    Monday rapid fire

    • Prediction Markets
    • Shutter Speed
    • Carter: Bush Israel’s ‘worst ally’ in D.C. – this is American Politics at its most vapid. Two parties, or in this particular case, one party, arguing over who can better serve a foreign government? Is it so much to ask what we get out of it? Israel does have a knack for drawing the proper enemies, but this is a country that has spied on us and sank one of our warships, must we be this servile?
    • Jack Handey’s Art Ideas
    • The Pickin’ Barn
    • Half of U.S. Still Believes Iraq Had WMD – Journalism at it’s most vapid. It’s bad enough the author uses the horrid acronym “WMD” but then he contradicts himself in the article. Half of the US still believes that Iraq had WMD, chemical weapons in this case, because they did, just not in meaningful quantity. The poll gave an accurate answer, but the author uses that as a mini rant, and it’s billed as news, not commentary.
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