Hey, it’s just his middle name, right?

I live in a strange state. Perhaps it is for the best that in another year or so, there is an excellent chance that H and I will be leaving it.

In Texas, the debates have gone Obama’s way. He only seems to improve. I look forward to seeing him debate McCain, where I predict we’ll see an incredible amount of the rhetoric that Obama displayed at the end of that last debate from both. It should be a battle of the issues because both of them are especially difficult to attack on ethos grounds. We might just get a civil presidental campaign if McCain can keep the conserative GOP elements under control.

second chapter progress, no more heroes

It’s been tough going on the second chapter. For one, it’s longer. 24,000 words so far. The analysis is solid, but the lit review has been particularly slow due to a glut of difficult-to-swallow studies on the Baptist. I did find one person that held my position – in 1958 (maybe two, I came up with another name, a German, today). The lack of anyone that agrees with me in the slightest makes my review of the lit more aggressive than I would like; in fact, right now, the draft reads like I decided to give up and just eat the living souls of the previous scholars that have addressed the subject, letting the blood splattered on the walls serve as my argument. I feel like the 2nd draft will require a backup CSI team.

On more cheery topics, I’ve been playing No More Heroes on the Wii. It’s similar to an episode of the A-Team, in that it is so bad, it paradoxically flips over and becomes a special kind of awesome good. Of course, like any lightsaber-inspired game, and the last three Star Wars movies, it fails to understand that devoting 101% percent of its existence to hacking things to pieces is the ideal design. There is way too much time spent NOT cutting things in half. But there is enough. I am content. For now.

Also, somewhere in this month, I found time to continue my game as Brandenburg in EUIII. From 1453 to 1606 I turned a blind eye to France getting larger and larger… now, as an unified German state swollen larger than the Holy Roman Empire, with most of the Americas, the Holy Land, and northern Italy under control and no Reformation in sight, it’s time to head for Paris.

Dishonest and disgusting

Incredible statement by Clinton:

To KITV in Honolulu, asked about Obama’s speech flap: HRC: “There’s a big difference between a single word and along string of
words. Look, it’s not us making this charge. It’s the media. You know,
the media is finally examining my opponent which I think is important
because we’re trying to pick a president, someone for the toughest job
in the world. So, I think the media is going to be putting forth
whatever facts and information it has for voters to assess on their
own.”

There is really nothing to say to this tripe, other than I hope the vote in Wisconsin is not affected by it save by those who know better. I say this with full knowledge, given the name of this site, that bad rhetoric is very often effective rhetoric. But I would hope, at least, that no one actually changes their vote based on this, the cheapest of shots that I would have thought possible. By Ohio and Texas I expect Clinton to call him a pedophile.

Will it ever end?

Oh my. Now the Clinton camp is complaining that Obama gave a speech – that decried attacking speech – that was supposedly lifted from another politican, Deval Patrick’s, speech. Say that three times fast. Nevermind the two men know each other well and Obama was explicitly given that language by Patrick to help him defend against Clinton’s attacks! The irony is pouring from the sky in sheets now.

I was fine with Clinton as a senator. Now I’m not comfortable with even that anymore. Her campaign has become a horror since Obama began to challenge her. It’s too bad Nancy Pelosi isn’t running – then I would have to think about who to support.

Florida and Michigan

The Clinton campaign continues to clamor illogically for Florida and Michigan’s delegates to be counted. This is desperation, and a dangerous kind of desperation at that.

Mark my words – if Florida and Michigan get their delegates counted at the Democratic convention, it will be the worst thing for the electoral process since the SCOTUS decision to elect Bush in 2000, permanently marring any “victory” Clinton might achieve and sinking any chance she would defeat McCain. The Democratic nominee has to win clean.

Voters that feel disenfranchised in Florida and Michigan should blame their state party representattives, who recklessly attempted to hijack the primacy process by moving their primaries forward, and were rightly punished for doing so. Dean has already suggested that they hold a new caucus, but the states are refusing this because they blew their funds for voting already. Tough luck! I suggest Florida and Michigan voters should elect new representatives.

The Republicans only stripped 50% of the delegates in those two states, but Democrats in FL and MI were told that their votes were not going to count, and thus many simply didn’t come in a primary season filled with record turnouts everywhere. Obama wasn’t even on the ballot in MI.

Save keeping the delegates stripped, a possible peace offering, which I’ve seen mentioned on Kos, is to seat all the delgates 50% Clinton, 50% Obama. But there’s no precedent for that.

There are also rumors of Al Gore stepping forward and making a proclamation on this, which would have great impact, as he is effectively the party’s Mondale at this point. But he has to be hestitant, given what happened to Howard Dean after Gore endorsed him four years ago – jack.

Untangling John the Baptist

I’m working through the second chapter of the dissertation this month. Chapter 4, to be more precise, in terms of order in the to-be-finished work. It involves doing a close reading of all the passages in the gospels that mention or seem to mention John the Baptist. Mark and Matthew went by fairly quickly, thankfully enough, but I can’t explain Luke’s sneaky version of the baptism of Jesus on first glance. I’ll try tomorrow; there are other things to write today.

old school games

In my spare time I’ve been playing some freeware games written by the guy at Fullyramblomatic. It did not occur to me until today that this was the same fellow that did that snarky Bioshock review that I didn’t like. Fortunately, his own games have gotten the same treatment, so.

Art of Theft is the best one so far, with 1213 close behind, but the 5 days, 7 Days, and Trilby’s Notes (haven’t gotten to 6 Days) are a great deal of fun if you grew up playing Sierra and LucasArts graphic adventures.

The PC game market is slow, slow, slow – I’m still waiting on Assassin’s Creed, Fallout 3, anything with a reasonable story.

Speeches don’t put food on the table, part II

I still have a problem with this stuff, it’s still her big point:

In recent days, Clinton has challenged Obama’s ability to deliver on his rhetoric. “There’s a big difference between us — speeches versus solutions, talk versus action,” she said. “Speeches don’t put food on the table. Speeches don’t fill up your tank or fill your prescription or do anything about that stack of bills that keeps you up at night.”

I can believe a lawyer is saying these things because I see the transcript, but the words still refuse to make sense. Clinton is doing Plato’s old trick, giving a speech that criticizes speeches. Plato, at least, seemed to be aware of the contradiction; sometimes I’m not so sure that she does. It’s fascinating to watch her, though, using her own considerable skill at speaking to bash the ability to give speeches. Her TV ads are filled with the same strange line of reasoning, with the “perhaps Senator Obama would rather give a speech than answer questions” line. If you buy a simple talk vs. action dichotomy, where talk=inaction and action=silence, I guess that’s persuasive enough for many people. But good laws getting passed (I assumed that’s the action she is referring to) need passionate advocates with backers speaking for them. Action and talk in politics are inseperable, just as they are in any other human situation.

Now if she defined “talk” and “action” in more fluid ways, I might agree with her, if she could show that Obama’s speech leads to ineffective or unconstructive action and is thus not as useful as her speech, which leads to effective and constructive action. But she would have to stop demonizing speech to do that.

Oh, and here’s a slightly better poll on Ohio from Rasmussen. Compared to the one I posted easier, Obama picked up 7 points in a day. Still 14 behind, but he has weeks to prepare, and he doesn’t have to win; he only has to make it close to keep the delegate lead.