Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday roundup and branding, the Gazette, and beyond...

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Sen. Tester wins the "Nomexed Ninny" award: Hat-tip to The Hardliner. Granted, after the way that his folks savaged Conrad Burns in the last election for blowing up at some firefighters, Tester has to act really interested, so what's a guy to do?

Romney underwhelming in Iowa straw-poll: Yes, he won it, and would probably have won it no matter what, but it is striking that after spending a gazillion dollars in Iowa, Mitt Romney didn't even manage to gain a third of the votes available -- with his three main competitors absent. His bid to gain the "conservative vote" is clearly coming up short.

The most important news of the day was that Mike Huckabee did three things: he came in a strong second, he confirmed his place in the national polls as being at the top of the "second-tier" (and perhaps deserving of a "first-tier" rating," and he came in ahead of Sam Brownback, who staked everything on this straw-poll.

At this point, Tommy Thompson has dropped out (finally!) and Duncan Hunter should shortly follow. Tancredo and Paul have niche constituencies that will keep them in the game. But Brownback, with neither a niche constituency nor a national following (he has trouble breaking into single digits in many national polls) by all rights should move out of the way as well.

Is the CIA any good?: OK, so the link is to a Billings Outpost movie review, but it has it right -- the latest Bourne film is the best of the three. It is one of those rare series where each has been better than the last. How often is it that II is better than I and III is better than II?

Christopher Abel asks a question that many viewers will be asking when they watch the film: “The CIA can’t really do that, can they?” -- which he answers by saying, "you probably don’t want to know the answer."

Actually, if Angelo Codevilla's review in the Claremont Review of Books is to be believed (and Codevilla is someone who knows a lot about intelligence from his years staffing for the Senate on intelligence oversight, and whose common-sense recommendations, if they had been followed, would have made for a far more effective Iraqi policy) -- then we don't have a lot to be worried about. Unfortunately, neither do our enemies.

Ed Kemmick's City Lights: ...makes an appeal for the addition of "emoticons" such as :-) or ;-) or maybe :-0 to the pro baseball record books. Well, maybe not, but really, why stop at an asterix?

Rehberg and CHIP redux: Having commented and then expounded on some of the ins and outs of CHIP (where "C" stands for "Children") as it relates to our Congressman, Denny Rehberg, there isn't a lot left to say.

But if Bill Kennedy's breathless editorial is a shape of things to come in the campaign ahead, then things are looking pretty good for Denny.

Kennedy opines: "SCHIP sought to help uninsured children, and Denny Rehberg voted no."

Of course, as has been pointed out before, Rehberg's votes had nothing to do with low-income children, and everything to do with all of the other things that were being tacked onto the bill.

Rehberg's vote, far from being a vote against low-income children, can be seen as a vote to help lower-cost private insurance plans survive rather than be swamped by government-sponsored competition. For instance, has Kennedy done any looking into the question of whether access is as good for kids on CHIP (which reimburses at a lower rate than private insurers) throughout the state as it is for kids with private insurance? In larger Montana cities like Billings where there is medical competition between different hospital systems, this isn't a problem, but in other communities with only one game in town, we suspect it is.

Until we hear Bill Kennedy talk about his plan to keep good private insurance plans from being undermined by government competition, we'll assume that he is to be numbered amongst those who want to eliminate private health insurance -- and we doubt that this will be the unqualified success that those on the left end of the Democratic party in this state think it will be.

Phi-Obama-jamma: My, but how things have changed in America. Barack Hussein Obama's biggest problem right now in his Presidential bid is that he is having trouble attracting "down-scale" voters. The elites love America's first serious African-American contender for the White House -- it's the guys carrying steel lunch-buckets and wearing hard-hats to work that he's having problems with, blacks no less than whites.

Just as Michael Dukakis had his "Belgian endive" moment in Iowa back in 1988, now Obama has had an "arugula moment."

Chalk one up on the education front -- many Iowa farmers now know what arugula is. And there is just something satisfying about living in an America where Obama is the one to do the teaching -- not that it helps his political aspirations.

But Obama has a problem:

According to the latest Cook Political Report survey, Hillary Clinton polls 12 points higher among voters who haven't graduated from college than those who have; Obama's numbers are reversed. His problem: only 34 percent of likely Democratic primary voters have college degrees.

But Obama should take heart, since most people with doctorates in things that you can't get real jobs with tend to vote Democrat -- and the more elitist-progressive the better. He most likely has the U. of Iowa creative writing department vote nailed down.

The Missoulian "reigns in" its copy editors: Our fondness for the Missoulian opinion page when compared to the Gazette's can't allow us to overlook this kind of assault on the English language. And in a state with more horses per capita than most, no less.

The answer is blowin' in the wind: Continuing its generally excellent coverage on wind-power issues, the Great Falls Tribune reports that opponents of the coal-burning electrical plant up in that neighborhood (for more information, once in a blue-moon the folks at Electric City talk about this issue -- drop by,) are proposing wind energy as an alternative.

Good idea. But as the article points out, wind-power needs to be supplemented by other sources, since it can't supply a steady source of power, or a "base-load."

And it appears that right now, wind-power generators in Montana are having to purchase their "firming power" from out-of-state. Which brings us back to traditional sources of generating power, questions about which ones are best (coal vs. gas,) and the perennial question of who builds what kind of gas-spewing smoke-stack where.

One thing that is unlikely to be the answer, if John Adams in the Missoula Independent is to be believed (and he probably is,) is our governor's "clean coal" solutions, which his own left flank hates, and which Republicans won't support just out of sheer cussedness (oh, and out of a better knowledge of how traditional energy works.)

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