Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Aidan Beats Sarah

Wow. My son, 10, today gave his sister a succinct and cogent description of the Bush Doctrine on the way home from school today. He covered all the basics, including the ethics of preemptive strikes, the use of sanctions and inspections and the limitations on presidential power. Take that, Sarah Palin :)

Truck Fire on I-81 Today

Originally uploaded by prototypo
I traveled from Fredericksburg to Lexington, Virginia today in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley to kick off a seminar series that I organized at VMI. Unfortunately, an accident involving a semi rig completely shut down a section of I-81 this morning about 8 miles South of Staunton for many hours and I arrived late. I was luckily still able to give my talk.

I haven't seen any other reporting on this accident other than this blog post, which is surprising considering the amount of time the entire Southbound lanes were closed. Traffic was still crawling through a single lane a couple of hours ago.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Canary in Ohio

I checked in with my favorite indicators of political opinion in the swing state of Ohio today; my parents. Their political position in support of McCain was not surprising, but the details are interesting.

My mom, 81, favors abortion rights, but loves Sarah Palin. She stopped listening to the Youngstown radio station because she "couldn't believe how hard they were being on her." She suspected that the reason the media was being hard on Palin was "because she is a woman." She was amazed to hear about a poll that suggested that the women of Ohio were supportive of Obama, because everyone she discusses politics with supports McCain.

Palin's lack of understanding of the Bush Doctrine did not bother her at all: "She'll learn." When asked about Palin's religious views, especially her assertion that the war in Iraq is "God's Plan", she dismissed it as propaganda from the Obama campaign. I pointed her to the video. We'll see what she says after viewing it.

My mom also didn't care that Palin linked Iraq to 9/11. My mom does, too. She didn't fully believe me when I explained the Big Lie and that even George Bush has publicly repudiated the notion.

My dad, 82, expressed disdain for all four candidates and the electoral process in general. He was not rocked by the allegations that McCain may have used his Senate influence to tamper with a DEA investigation, saying that "they all do that sort of thing". He went on to say that he has been going to the library to rent old movies and other videos until two weeks before the election. At that point, he will try to listen to the position of both candidates and make a decision.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

China as an Island

This makes sense!

John Mauldin, an analyst at Investors Insight, came up with an awesomely useful idea: Instead of thinking of China as a huge land power, imagine them as an isolated island. Geographically, politically and demographically it makes a lot of sense.

John's idea is just part of a larger analysis of China to be found in this article, although the site was not responding today when I checked it.

The graphic is worth repeating. It is powerfully concise:

I found both the graphic and the link to the original article on Strange Maps, a blog worth watching.