Spock Out of His Mind


On a lighter note, this has to be one of the funniest scenes in Star Trek.

This is from the episode, This Side of Paradise. The Enterprise is assigned to check on a colony on the planet Omicron Ceti III which is exposed to lethal “Berthold rays”. They are surprised to find the colonists alive and well thanks to strange plant whose spores not only protect them from the radiation but make them all mellow and content. After being exposed to the spores, Spock is finally able to let loose. The look on Kirk’s face is priceless. Sulu looks like he’s been drugged after breathing in the spores.

Kirk cures Spock by picking a fight with him, and nearly gets himself killed.


This is actually kind of a sad episode. Kirk, Spock, and the entire crew of the Enterprise find perfect happiness and contentment on Omicron Ceti III under the influence of the spores. At the end, Spock admits that he was happy for the first time in his life. He can freely love Leila, a woman who loved him. Yet, in the end Kirk and Spock choose their duty to the Enterprise and Starfleet over life on the planet.

Star Trek was made in the old days, when good values could still occasionally be found on television. I think that the theme of this episode, like several others, is one of choosing duty and responsibility over self-indulgence, and ultimately freedom over happy slavery (to the spores). They don’t make them like this anymore.


Likeability and Polls



I was reading this article by Roger Simon in the Politico.

“President Obama came in with a lot of promises,” he said. “But it is now 42 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent.”

The unemployment rate under Obama hit a high of 10 percent in October 2009 and has never done better than 8.1 percent during any full month of his presidency. (It was 7.6 percent in January 2009, but Obama didn’t become president until the 20th of that month.)

And as has been pointed out many times, no president since FDR has been reelected with unemployment greater than 7.2 percent.

Further, more than 60 percent of Americans feel the nation is on the “wrong track” under Obama.

I could list other gloomy figures for Obama, but they all leave me with one question: So why is Obama still ahead in the polls? And not just in national polls, but also in key states that are needed for an Electoral College victory.

Shouldn’t Romney be wiping the floor with Obama? By the measurements Romney uses again and again in his speeches — prolonged high unemployment, a failed economy and the unpopularity of “Obamacare” — shouldn’t Americans be rallying around Romney by a significant majority by now?

After all, how long can Romney wait to catch fire? The election is only about three months away. True, Romney gets the opportunity to make a stirring convention speech — but so does Obama. True, Romney gets the opportunity to make an invigorating choice for his running mate, but Obama has already selected Joe Biden, who has shown himself to be a vigorous and popular campaigner.

It is an interesting question. Why are so many people reluctant to give Mitt Romney their full and enthusiastic support? Given his record, Obama should be headed for a landslide defeat, even with the mainstream media doing their best to prop him up, yet, it seems to be a very tight race so far. Romney should have won the Republican nomination easily, considering that all of the other GOP A-list figures sat out the race, yet he couldn’t quite close the deal until towards the end. What is it about Romney?

I don’t think that many people actually have a negative impression of the man. The Obama ad campaign depicting him as a vulture capitalist who gleefully closed companies and through working people out on the street, fell flat. I guess Romney just doesn’t seem very interesting.

Still, I am not sure I agree with Roger Simon’s analysis.

But what do the Great Gods of Politics, the opinion polls, show?

They show a country that still likes Obama more than it likes Romney. And by quite a bit.

As I have written for years, I have a simple — OK, simple-minded — way of determining who is going to win the presidency: The more likable candidate wins. Not always, but almost always.

On Aug. 2, a survey published by the well-respected Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found Obama was leading Romney by 51-41 percent for the presidency, the eighth time in a row since January that Obama has led Romney by between 4 and 12 percentage points.

But more importantly by my Simple Simon standard of likability, Romney’s favorable/unfavorable rating was 37/52 compared with Obama’s 50/45. Which means Romney had a net unfavorable rating of 15 points while Obama had a net favorable of 5 points.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post and ABC News released a poll showing 40 percent of voters approving of Romney and 49 percent disapproving. When it came to Obama, 53 percent of voters approved and 43 percent disapproved.

I wonder how reliable these polls actually are. I know that when I get a phone call and the person identifies himself as a pollster, I just hang up. Any poll based on the people who actually are willing to talk to a stranger about politics is likely to be skewed.

Also, Obama is not really a very likeable person. People like him because they have, for the most part, been presented with a very one-sided and carefully selective portrayal of the man. No one in the mainstream media seems to have ever been interested in finding out just who Barack Hussein Obama really is. Once you strip away that hope and change facade, he is revealed as a rather ruthless and arrogant Chicago politician.He really doesn’t like opposition very much and he isn’t very good at the self-deprecating humor that many politicians master.

As he will not be able to get away with vague statements about hope and change this year and as he cannot defend his record, I expect that the mask will slip, it already has a little, and the real Barack Obama will be revealed. I expect that the Romney camp knows this. They are also doubtlessly aware that Obama is remarkably thin skinned so I think they will be doing their best to needle him in the hope that he lashes out. The debates should be fun to watch.

Meanwhile, here is a very different take at the Washington Times.

In 2006, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stood before the United Nations and insulted our president: “The devil came here yesterday,” Mr. Chavez said of President George W. Bush, “and it smells of sulfur still today.” Now, in 2012, the Democrats may not smell sulfur exactly, but if you follow their desperate actions, you certainly can smell their fear.

Here’s why: Yet another so-called “Recovery Summer” has come and nearly gone and Americans are still reeling from the failures of Obamanomics. It’s been a full year since Treasury Secretary and admitted tax cheat Timothy F. Geithner announced, “Welcome to the recovery.” Recovery? The gross-domestic-product growth rate slowed to 1.5 percent. The unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent. Twenty-three million Americans are unemployed. A nearly $16 trillion debt looms large. A record 45 million Americans are on food stamps. More than 100 million are on some form of welfare. America’s credit rating has been downgraded.

The president’s response? “We tried our plan — and it worked.” This was his plan? Now his only plan is to attack Mitt Romney.

That giant crackling sound you hear is Team Obama burning through tens of millions of dollars to attack the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. All told, the president’s campaign and groups friendly to it launched a $131 million, three-month ad blitz that failed miserably. Karl Rove, former senior adviser to President Bush, points out that before the onslaught, the Gallup Daily tracking poll had the contenders tied at 46-46, where the poll remains. Rasmussen has a 4-point Romney lead.

Team Obama continues to flail. “No drama” Obama himself showed an uncharacteristic hint of desperation as he broke the trance of his teleprompter and betrayed his deep-rooted hostility toward small businesses and the hardworking Americans who build them. His arms nervously bouncing in the air, an unscripted President Obama uttered those now famous words: “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Those four words — “You didn’t build that” — deserve a place on the Mount Rushmore of unbelievable presidential stupidity right along with “Read my lips — no new taxes” and “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” What do these whoppers from former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton have in common with Mr. Obama’s? They are all hollow, insulting and downright dumb.

I think that it is possible that the Obama campaign knows some things that Roger Simon doesn’t.


Paul Ryan for Vice-President



I read the news this morning that Mitt Romney chose Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Mitt Romney announced Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate Saturday, selecting the Republican Party’s go-to man on budget issues in a decision that signals the campaign will make the nation’s spiraling debt a centerpiece of its attacks on President Obama.

Romney made the selection official during a campaign stop Saturday morning in Norfolk, Va., before launching a four-day bus tour.

The Republican presidential candidate called his new running mate a man of “steadiness” and “integrity.” Speaking Saturday morning, Romney praised Ryan as an “intellectual leader” of the party, one who understands the toll the debt is taking on the country but is optimistic about the future.

“He doesn’t demonize his opponents. He understands that honorable people can have honest differences and he appeals to the better angels of our nature,” Romney said. “He’s never been content to just curse the darkness. He’d rather light candles.”

To the backdrop of retired battleship USS Wisconsin, an energized Ryan then riled up the crowd with a feisty speech that promoted Romney as the solution to the problems under President Obama. Ryan, met with chants of “USA, USA,” gave a sweeping vision speech on free enterprise, one laced with attacks on the White House incumbent.

This is an interesting choice. Romney doesn’t seem to be interested in balancing the ticket. We have two white men from the north. I might have thought he would have selected a woman or a minority but it seems that highlighting economic/budgetary issues was foremost on Romney’s mind. Given that Rep. Ryan has been one of the few men in Congress who is serious about doing something about the looming entitlements crisis, this was a good pick.

Naturally, given his reputation, we can expect the Democrats to unleash their attack ads describing Ryan as a “Tea Party” extremist who wants to kick old people out on the street to pay for tax cuts to the evil millionaires and billionaires. These attacks won’t be honest or responsible but what does that matter to the Obama campaign?

I’m already getting Democratic emails about that fiend Ryan.

The news just broke: Mitt Romney has announced GOP Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Ryan is best known for the extreme budget that bears his name — one that would end Medicare as we know it while giving huge tax breaks to billionaires and corporations. A Romney-Ryan ticket is a frightening prospect for the middle class and anyone who might one day need Medicare or Social Security.

The GOP has their team, and now it’s more important than ever that we stand behind ours. Will you sign our petition and stand with President Obama and Vice President Biden?

Sign the petition: http://dscc.org/obama-biden


Patty Murray

The thing that really bothers me about this is that the Democrats have done nothing to secure the future of Medicare or Social Security even though they have to know perfectly well that neither program is sustainable in the long, and not so long, term. If Medicare is not ended as we know it, it will not be there at all when I am old.

Paul Ryan will be Mitt Romney’s running mate.

What you need to know right now: This election is about values, and today Romney doubled down on his commitment to take our country back to the failed policies of the past.

Congressman Paul Ryan is best known as the author of a budget so radical The New York Times called it “the most extreme budget plan passed by a House of Congress in modern times.” With Mitt Romney’s support, Ryan would end Medicare as we know it and slash the investments we need to keep our economy growing — all while cutting taxes for those at the very top.

Over the next few days, Romney’s campaign and its allies will tell a very different story about Paul Ryan.

Our job is to make sure Americans know the truth about what Romney’s choice says about him as a candidate and leader, and to stand with President Obama and Vice President Biden at another major moment in this campaign.

Say you’re with them:


Thanks for all you’re doing. More to come.


Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

Coming from the New York Times, that is a rousing endorsement of Ryan. Note the reference to the “failed policies of the past”. As opposed to the absolutely disastrous policies of the present?



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