Sunday, November 23, 2008

Grow Up and Learn Something

The resurgence of piracy and the seeming inability to stop it by Western navies points to a downfall of civilizational confidence.
The pirate city of Eyl is Somalia's only boomtown. In a country that has seen 14 provisional governments since 1991 — all of them corrupt — high-seas hijackings have been the best business in town, and may net upwards of $100 million this year.

The seizure of an Iranian-owned ship in the Gulf of Aden Tuesday was only the latest in a series of assaults that have accelerated drastically since the summer.

The International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center said before Wednesday's hijacking that 88 attacks have been reported in the area this year, including 36 successful hijackings. About 14 vessels — and 250 crew members — are still being held hostage. Intelligence sources believe the number of vessels held presently is about 15.
Some coverage even seems sympathetic, seeing a sort of advantageous Robin Hood situation:
And in an impoverished country where every public institution has crumbled, they have become heroes in the steamy coastal dens they operate from because they are the only real business in town.

"The pirates depend on us, and we benefit from them," said Sahra Sheik Dahir, a shop owner in Haradhere, the nearest village to where a hijacked Saudi Arabian supertanker carrying $100 million in crude was anchored Wednesday.

These boomtowns are all the more shocking in light of Somalia's violence and poverty: Radical Islamists control most of the country's south, meting out lashings and stonings for accused criminals. There has been no effective central government in nearly 20 years, plunging this arid African country into chaos.

Life expectancy is just 46 years; a quarter of children die before they reach 5.

But in northern coastal towns like Haradhere, Eyl and Bossaso, the pirate economy is thriving thanks to the money pouring in from pirate ransoms that have reached $30 million this year alone.

In Haradhere, residents came out in droves to celebrate as the looming oil ship came into focus this week off the country's lawless coast. Businessmen started gathering cigarettes, food and cold glass bottles of orange soda, setting up small kiosks for the pirates who come to shore to re-supply almost daily.

Dahir said she is so confident in the pirates, she instituted a layaway plan just for them.

"They always take things without paying and we put them into the book of debts," she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "Later, when they get the ransom money, they pay us a lot."

For Somalis, the simple fact that pirates offer jobs is enough to gain their esteem, even as hostages languish on ships for months. The population makes sure the pirates are well-stocked in qat, a popular narcotic leaf, and offer support from the ground even as the international community tries to quash them.

"Regardless of how the money is coming in, legally or illegally, I can say it has started a life in our town," said Shamso Moalim, a 36-year-old mother of five in Haradhere.

"Our children are not worrying about food now, and they go to Islamic schools in the morning and play soccer in the afternoon. They are happy."

Meanwhile, towns that once were eroded by years of poverty and chaos are now bustling with restaurants, Land Cruisers and Internet cafes. Residents also use their gains to buy generators -- allowing full days of electricity, once an unimaginable luxury in Somalia.

There are no reliable estimates of the number of pirates operating in Somalia, but they must number in the thousands. And though the bandits do sometimes get nabbed, piracy is generally considered a sure bet to a better life.
The attackers generally treat their hostages well in anticipation of a big payday, hiring caterers on shore to cook spaghetti, grilled fish and roasted meat that will appeal to a Western palate. They also keep a steady supply of cigarettes and drinks from the shops on shore.
So it's a "business" now.

Note too how the "innocent" townspeople support piracy, and are thus culpable.

Why is not more done?

Not long ago, pirates were clearly seen as threats to civilization, and, as unlawful combatants, were eradicated with military force, and could be summarily executed if captured.

Today however, they've acquired more "rights" than traditional soldiers, apparently, due to the suicidal interference of lawyers, left-wingers, and "human rights scolds" that wish to see this as a criminal justice problem rather than a military one:
The key problem is that America's NATO allies have effectively abandoned the historical legal rules permitting irregular fighters to be tried in special military courts (or, in the case of pirates, admiralty courts) in favor of a straightforward criminal-justice model. Although piracy is certainly a criminal offense, treating it like bank robbery or an ordinary murder case presents certain problems for Western states.

To begin with, common criminals cannot be targeted with military force. There are other issues as well. Last April the British Foreign Office reportedly warned the Royal Navy not to detain pirates, since this might violate their "human rights" and could even lead to claims of asylum in Britain. Turning the captives over to Somali authorities is also problematic -- since they might face the head- and hand-chopping rigors of Shariah law. Similar considerations have confounded U.S. government officials in their discussions of how to confront this new problem of an old terror at sea.
It's as if people have no concept of history, or how things ought to function.

Oh wait, that's EXACTLY the problem!

In this Civic Literacy Report, a survey found an appalling lack of basic knowledge by American citizens about fundamentals of the Constitution, our institutions, and market economics:
Seventy-one percent of Americans fail the test, with an overall average score of 49%.
You can try the 33 questions yourself here.

Even more shocking, our leaders are even LESS knowledgeable than the average American!
OF THE 2,508 PEOPLE surveyed, 164 say they have held an elected government office at least once in their life. Their average score on the civic literacy test is 44%, compared to 49% for those who have not held an elected office. Officeholders are less likely than other respondents to correctly answer 29 of the 33 test questions.
No wonder things are in the sorry state they are!

But when schools are become softer, social-organizations instead of rigorous halls of learning (witness the mission-creep of having students perform community service -- why isn't that time spent on math drills or reading the classics?), that's only to be expected.

Newt Gingrich calls for an end to the extended adolescence we've created; in other words, grow up and learn something:
It's time to declare the end of adolescence. As a social institution, it's been a failure. The proof is all around us: 19% of eighth graders, 36% of tenth graders, and 47% of twelfth graders say they have used illegal drugs, according to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan. One of every four girls has a sexually transmitted disease, suggests a recent study for the Centers for Disease Control. A methamphetamine epidemic among the young is destroying lives, families, and communities. And American students are learning at a frighteningly slower rate than Chinese and Indian students.

The solution is dramatic and unavoidable: We have to end adolescence as a social experiment. We tried it. It failed. It's time to move on. Returning to an earlier, more successful model of children rapidly assuming the roles and responsibilities of adults would yield enormous benefit to society.
The costs of this social experiment have been horrendous. For the poor who most need to make money, learn seriously, and accumulate resources, adolescence has helped crush their future. By trapping poor people in bad schools, with no work opportunities and no culture of responsibility, we have left them in poverty, in gangs, in drugs, and in irresponsible sexual activity. As a result, we have ruined several generations of poor people who might have made it if we had provided a different model of being young.

And for too many middle-class and wealthier young Americans, adolescence has been an excuse to delay work, family, and achievement—and thus contribute less to their own well-being and that of their communities.

It's time to change this—to shift to serious work, learning, and responsibility at age 13 instead of age 30. In other words, replace adolescence with young adulthood. But hastening that transition requires integrating learning into life and work. Fortunately, innovations in technology and in financial incentives to learn offer hope.
Indeed, going to school should be a money-making profession if you are good at it and work hard. That would revolutionize our poorest neighborhoods and boost our competitiveness.

The fact is, most young people want to be challenged and given real responsibility. They want to be treated like young men and women, not old children. So consider this simple proposal: High school students who can graduate a year early get the 12th year's cost of schooling as an automatic scholarship to any college or technical school they want to attend.
An interesting idea.

Something perhaps is in the air; also recently Prof. Victor Davis Hanson proposed:
Four years of high-school Latin would dramatically arrest the decline in American education. In particular, such instruction would do more for minority youths than all the ‘role model’ diversity sermons on Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Montezuma, and Caesar Chavez put together.

Nothing so enriches the vocabulary, so instructs about English grammar and syntax, so creates a discipline of the mind, an elegance of expression, and serves as a gateway to the thinking and values of Western civilization as mastery of a page of Virgil or Livy (except perhaps Sophocles’s Antigone in Greek or Thucydides’ dialogue at Melos).

After some 20 years of teaching mostly minority youth Greek, Latin, and ancient history and literature in translation (1984-2004), I came to the unfortunate conclusion that ethnic studies, women studies—indeed, anything “studies”— were perhaps the fruits of some evil plot dreamed up by illiberal white separatists to ensure that poor minority students in the public schools and universities were offered only a third-rate education.
In other words, grow up and learn something!

Hanson also notes a related symptom of this clinging to childishness: a civilizational emasculation that takes us right back to not knowing how to deal with pirates any more:
Something has happened to the generic American male accent. Maybe it is urbanization; perhaps it is now an affectation to sound precise and caring with a patina of intellectual authority; perhaps it is the fashion culture of the metrosexual; maybe it is the influence of the gay community in arts and popular culture. Maybe the ubiquitous new intonation comes from the scarcity of salty old jobs in construction, farming, or fishing. But increasingly to meet a young American male about 25 is to hear a particular nasal stress, a much higher tone than one heard 40 years ago, and, to be frank, to listen to a precious voice often nearly indistinguishable from the female.

How indeed could one make Westerns these days, when there simply is not anyone left who sounds like John Wayne, Richard Boone, Robert Duvall, or Gary Cooper much less a Struther Martin, Jack Palance, L.Q. Jones, or Ben Johnson? I watched the movie Twelve O’clock High the other day, and Gregory Peck and Dean Jagger sounded liked they were from another planet. I confess over the last year, I have been interviewed a half-dozen times on the phone, and had no idea at first whether a male or female was asking the questions.

All this sounds absurd, but I think upon reflection readers my age (55) will attest they have had the same experience. In the old days, I remember only that I first heard a variant of this accent with the old Paul Lynde character actor in one of the Flubber movies; now young men sound closer to his camp than to a Jack Palance or Alan Ladd.
Another observer made the same point two years ago:
You hear this soft, inflected tone everywhere that young people below, roughly, 35 congregate. As flat as the bottles of spring water they carry and affectless as algae, it tends to always trend towards a slight rising question at the end of even simple declarative sentences. It has no timbre to it and no edge of assertion in it.

The voice whisps across your ears as if the speaker is in a state of perpetual uncertainty with every utterance. It is as if, male or female, there is no foundation or soul within the speaker on which the voice can rest and rise. As a result, it has a misty quality to it that denies it any unique character at all. It is the Valley Girl variation of the voices that Prufrock hears:

I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.

It's parting wistful wish for you is that you "Have a good one."

Above all, it is a sexless voice. Not, I hasten to add, a "gay" voice. Not that at all. It is neither that gentle nor that musical. Nor is it that old shabby lisping stereotype best consigned to the dustbin of popular culture. No, this is a new old voice of a generation of ostensible men and women who have been educated and acculturated out of, or say rather, to the far side of any gender at all. It is, as I have indicated above, the voice of the neutered. And in this I mean that of the transitive verb: To castrate or spay. The voice and the kids that carry it is the triumphant achievement of our halls of secondary and higher education. These children did not speak this way naturally, they were taught. And like good children seeking only to please their teachers and then their employers, they learned.

This is not to say that the new American Castrati of all genders live sexless lives. On the contrary, if reports are to be credited, they seem to have a good deal of sex, most often without the burden of love or the threat of chlldren, and in this they are condemned to the sex life of children.

No, it is only to say that this new voice that we hear throughout the land from so many of the young betokens a weaker and less certain brand of citizen than we have been used to in our history. Neither male nor female, neither gay nor straight, neither.... well, not anything substantive really. A generation finely tuned to irony and nothingness and tone deaf to duty and soul.
Here there is discussion about why men are marrying later and later...if they marry at all. Partly it is another symptom of this extended retreat from adulthood and responsibility; partly it is a reaction to the anti-male tendencies in popular culture, wrought by a misguided and extreme offshoot of feminism, and ties right in with the emasculated male phenomenon:
“The dating and mating scene is in chaos,” writes Hymowitz. “SYMs [Single young males] of the postfeminist era are moving around in a Babel of miscues, cross-purposes, and half-conscious, contradictory female expectations that are alternately proudly egalitarian and coyly traditional.”
But the real question, in an age that cops to an over 50% divorce rate, isn’t “Why aren’t more men getting married under 30?” It’s Why are any?
Some of the commenters offer further insights:
The true reason is that there has been an ongoing concealed, systemic effort to stigmatize the men, starting from the age of 2, by decades-long educational, social and technological hindrance of their natural developments and ignore them for the sake of the females. The results? The men of today (age 18 to 30) are not the same kind of men from the decades before 1965. So what happened between 1965 and now? Feminists, radical sexual liberation theorists, leftist/Marxist wonks & academic scholars and powerful entities have conspired to make women more empowered and men less empowered in the years that continue to this day.
It’s ALL about unrealistic expectations and lack of adulthood on both sides.

If you’re sitting on your butt with your buddies watching CartoonNetwork, you are not an adult. If you’re hanging with your girlfriends and your most serious topic of discussion is affording new shoes, you’re not an adult. Being not an adult is not a lofty goal, nor is it an excuse. It’s just a fact.

Society is supporting a generalized overall tilt towards remaining in adolescence. Like the lifelong hunt to stay 18 is something laudable and to be glorified. From looks to behavior, the grownup is dying.

Sorry, one can talk about the woman’s movement or the men’s movement, or anyone’s movement and it only touches on a part of it. It truly is about a global avoidance of all things adult, unless there is some sort of payment for it.

It was never meant to be easy. It was never meant to be completely fulfilling or one big date. It was never meant to meet all of one’s needs, that is what a balanced life is for.

And if you spend your time blaming someone else for what you cannot do, that makes you basically lame. But it fits the basic picture. Children blame others, adults own their own lives. This attitude is gender non-specific in my eyes. I’ve met just as many adolescent females as I’ve met males.
In other words, grow up and learn something!!!

And then go and eradicate the pirates with military force and raze Eyl to the ground as an object lesson to its criminal-enabling scum of a populace, with the true self-confidence of a neo-Victorian.

A French Soldier's View

An interesting view of the American army in Afghanistan by a French soldier, is translated here:
Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins and creatine - they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them - we are wimps, even the strongest of us - and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans.
Read it all, for it is good!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Victory In Iraq Day

Time to celebrate Victory in Iraq Day!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hip-Hop Conservative

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Conservative Values

It is time to refocus on just what conservative values are, as the Republicans seem to have forgotten.

As this site makes clear (lots of good references and resources there), "conservatism" is not a blind adherence to the past.

Here, "conservative" is equivalent to "classical liberal", as opposed to the "modern liberal", who takes the opposite view on each of the basic principles.

The six basic conservative principles are:
1. Belief in natural law
2. Belief in established institutions
3. Preference for liberty over equality
4. Suspicion of power—and of human nature
5. Belief in exceptionalism
6. Belief in the individual

The first of these principles, the belief in natural law, means simply that conservatives believe in a higher order of things. Good and evil, justice and injustice, rights and responsibilities are not subjective concepts to conservatives. Human beings do not make the laws of morality, nor are rights conferred upon us by governments but rather by a higher power.

[These are the "inalienable rights" that cannot be taken away by any government, no matter how large the majority --RDS]

What conservatives agree upon is that these natural laws exist independently of human beings, and that we are subject to them even more so than written (or "positive") law. The majority of conservatives believe that these natural laws originate with God, whereas a minority believes they exist Platonically, which is to say above God and man.
The fourth principle that defines conservatives is their suspicion of power and their hatred of big government.
And yet, what separates conservatives from anarchists is their reluctant concession that government is a necessary evil, as without it the good are often at the mercy of the evil.
The fifth and sixth beliefs of conservatives are closely related. Conservatives believe in exceptionalism because they do not believe in perfect equality. Conservatives realize that some people inevitably have superior abilities, intelligence, and talents, and they believe that those people have a fundamental right to use and profit from their natural gifts.

While it has become commonplace to regard the exceptional among us as "winners in the lottery of life" who are lifted up by the tired shoulders of average citizens, conservatives believe quite the opposite. Conservatives believe that exceptional people exist to lift us up, to improve our lives, and to give us hope.
Interesting sub-types are discussed in this formulation; for example, those who emphasize points 1 and 2 are social conservatives, whereas those more interested in points 2 and 5 tend to European-style "conservatism", favoring aristocracy.

This is distinguished from modern liberalism, which holds the following six core opposite core beliefs:
1. Belief in positive law
2. Faith in progress
3. Preference for equality over liberty
4. Belief in the benevolence of government and individuals
5. Belief in the perfectibility of human beings
6. Belief in the community
Too much to summarize here, just explore that site!

And the Planet Began to Heal

Obama said you can all now tell your children,
this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.
I, too, hope a bright future and a successful Presidency emerges.

Unfortunately hope, rather than evidence, is all I have to go on at this point.

The President doesn't write laws and events will likely dictate foreign policy. My biggest disappointment is in the (apparently)
lost chance to moderate the composition of the Supreme and lower courts away from judicial activists, who will continue to plague us for another generation.

Let's hope he didn't really mean it when he spoke of supporting higher energy prices, higher taxes, redistribution of wealth to non-taxpayers, and loss of secret ballots in unionization.

The stock market sold off today, with coal stocks down -10.5%, as he's said his policy will be to "bankrupt" coal-fired electricity plants, which will hurt the coal industry (i.e. Pennsylvania and Ohio, that's you!). His view is the only "clean" coal that's acceptable is one with zero emission of carbon dioxide -- but CO2 is not a pollutant and does not drive global warming!

The "good" news is it will no longer be possible to hide behind "hope" rhetoric and a shockingly fauning press -- expectations for results are enormously high.

The other good news is now maybe half the country can get over its Bush hatred and its unwillingness to do anything but obstruct; now try governing for a change, ha ha ha.

One-party rule ruined the Republicans; it will do so to the Democrats in short order as well.

Noted ex-blogger Steven Den Beste has some chilling predictions. Read it all:
I think this election is going to be a "coming of age" moment for a lot of people. They say, "Be careful what you wish for" and a lot of people got their wish yesterday.

And now they're bound to be disappointed. Not even Jesus could satisfy all the expectations of Obama's most vocal supporters, or fulfill all the promises Obama has made.

I think Obama is going to turn out to be the worst president since Carter, and for the same reason: good intentions do not guarantee good results. Idealists often stub their toes on the wayward rocks of reality, and fall on their faces. And the world doesn't respond to benign behavior benignly.

But there's another reason why: Obama has been hiding his light under a basket. A lot of people bought a pig in a poke today, and now they're going to find out what they bought. Obama isn't what most of them think he is. The intoxication of the cult will wear off, leaving a monumental hangover.

And four years from now they'll be older and much wiser.
I would have enjoyed watching lefty heads explode if McCain had won. But we're going to see lefty heads exploding anyway; it's just going to take longer.
I would have enjoyed that too.
Now, a few predictions for the next four years:

1. Obama's "hold out your hand to everyone" foreign policy is going to be a catastrophe. They'll love it in Europe. They're probably laughing their heads off about it in the middle east already.

2. The US hasn't suffered a terrorist attack by al Qaeda since 9/11, but we'll get at least one during Obama's term.

3. We're going to lose in Afghanistan.

4. Iran will get nuclear weapons. There will be nuclear war between Iran and Israel. (This is the only irreversibly terrible thing I see upcoming, and it's very bad indeed.)

5. There will eventually be a press backlash against Obama which will make their treatment of Bush look mild. Partly that's going to be because Obama is going to disappoint them just as much as all his other supporters. Partly it will be the MSM desperately trying to regain its own credibility, by trying to show that they're not in his tank any longer. And because of that they are eventually going to do the reporting they should have done during this campaign, about Obama's less-than-savory friends, and about voter fraud, and about illegal fund-raising, and about a lot of other things.

and 6. Obama will not be re-elected in 2012. He may even end up doing an LBJ and not even running again.
For a lighter side of the aftermath, see the Onion:

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

Voting Machines Elect One Of Their Own As President

They Love Us, They Really Love Us!

Suddenly, it may be cool to be an American again

Oh, bite me!

It was, is, and always will be cool to be an American, except we never think about it that way.

In the linked article, William J. Kole, AP's Vienna bureau chief, revels in European adulation, and recounts having had to pretend to be Canadian or other nationalities.

But now everyone loves the American expats.

A Frenchman even gives him the permission to wear red, white, and blue again!
I'm a marathon runner, and I have a red, white and blue singlet that I've seldom dared to wear on the Continent. Marathons are difficult enough without enduring catcalls and jeers from spectators.

But my best friend and training partner — who is French — just gave me his stamp of approval.

"Will you wear your Stars and Stripes shirt now? You're allowed!" he told me.
Gee, thanks.

Let's see how long this honeymoon lasts.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Final Push

Here is an interesting analysis that says, assuming the latest polls are correct (and they probably aren't), that McCain just has to pick up about 430,000 disgruntled Hillary voters (the PUMAs) in key states (out of 18,000,000) to win the electoral college handily, or less than 2.5%!

Less than 200,000 would flip Pennsylvania, for example.

Certainly seems within the realm of possibility.

Make it a reality!

Al Gore vs. Irena Sendler

Photo by Mariusz Kubik (open source).

Irena Sendler, born February 10, 1910, died on May 12, 2008.

Have you heard of her?

Have you heard of Al Gore?

From wikipedia, a few facts:
During World War II, she was a member of the Polish Underground and the Żegota Polish anti-Holocaust resistance in Warsaw. She helped save 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto by providing them with false documents and sheltering them in individual and group children's homes outside the ghetto.
Helping Jews was very risky—in German-occupied Poland, all household members risked the death sentence if they were found to be hiding any Jews, a more severe punishment than in other occupied European countries.
As an employee of the Social Welfare Department, she had a special permit to enter the Warsaw Ghetto, to check for signs of typhus, something the Nazis feared would spread beyond the ghetto.
She organized the smuggling of Jewish children from the ghetto, carrying them out in boxes, suitcases and trolleys. Under the pretext of conducting inspections of sanitary conditions during a typhoid outbreak, Sendler visited the ghetto and smuggled out babies and small children in ambulances and trams, sometimes disguising them as packages.
The children were placed with Polish families, the Warsaw orphanage of the Sisters of the Family of Mary or Roman Catholic convents such as the Little Sister Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary Conceived Immaculate at Turkowice and Chotomów. Some were smuggled to priests in parish rectories.

She hid lists of their names in jars in order to keep track of their original and new identities. Żegota assured the children that, when the war was over, they would be returned to Jewish relatives.

In 1943, Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo, severely tortured, and sentenced to death. Żegota saved her by bribing German guards on the way to her execution. She was left in the woods, unconscious, with broken arms and legs. She was listed on public bulletin boards as among those executed. For the remainder of the war, she lived in hiding, but continued her work for the Jewish children.

After the war, she dug up the jars containing the children's identities and attempted to find the children and return them to living parents. However, almost all the parents had been murdered at the Treblinka extermination camp.
After the war, she was at first persecuted by the communist authorities, for the "crime" of being related to the Polish government in exile and association with the Armia Krajowa resistance. She was imprisoned, miscarried her second child, and her children were denied the right to study at a university.

In 1965, Sendler was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, which was confirmed in 1983 by the Israeli Supreme Court. She also was awarded the Commanders Cross by the Israeli Institute. It was only that year that the Polish communist government allowed her to travel abroad, to receive the award in Israel.

In 2003, Pope John Paul II sent a personal letter to Sendler, praising her wartime efforts. On 10 October 2003, Irena Sendler received the Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest civilian decoration. She was also awarded the Jan Karski Award "For Courage and Heart," given by the American Center of Polish Culture in Washington, D.C.. On 14 March 2007 Sendler was honored by Poland's Senate.
In 2007, at the age of 97, Irena Sendler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In their immeasurable wisdom, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee instead chose to honor Al Gore, for giving a deceptive slide show on global warming.

Previous postings on the pernicious myth of man-made global warming:

Global Warming
Pesky Temperature Fluctuations
No Starvation for Biofuel
Global Warming Over
Getting a Clue
Courage to do Nothing
Global Warming RIP
Propaganda 101
The Awkward Truth
Sun Power
The Big Lie
The Optimistic Scientist

I have no further comment.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Silent Majority

McCain pulled ahead of Obama in two major polls yesterday.

Yet, the media has pulled out all the stops to convince everyone the election is over. The latest ridiculous "news" story:

AP poll shows Obama backers gleeful, McCain's glum

They're already celebrating their victory.
WASHINGTON – That smiling guy walking down the street? Odds are he's a Barack Obama backer. The grouchy looking one? Don't ask, and don't necessarily count on him to vote next week, either.

Supporters of John McCain, long less enthusiastic than Obama's, have become increasingly glum about the presidential campaign in recent weeks, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll released Saturday. Their feelings have turned more negative during a period that has seen Obama, the Democratic senator from Illinois, take a firm lead in many polls.
Firm lead? Really? How about this from Zogby's latest tracking poll:
Pollster John Zogby: "Is McCain making a move? The three-day average holds steady, but McCain outpolled Obama today, 48% to 47%. He is beginning to cut into Obama's lead among independents, is now leading among blue collar voters, has strengthened his lead among investors and among men, and is walloping Obama among NASCAR voters. Joe the Plumber may get his license after all. "Obama's lead among women declined, and it looks like it is occurring because McCain is solidifying the support of conservative women, which is something we saw last time McCain picked up in the polls. If McCain has a good day tomorrow, we will eliminate Obama's good day three days ago, and we could really see some tightening in this rolling average. But for now, hold on."
And a foxnews poll had McCain leading by 49% to 47%.

Of course, the margin of error in all these polls is much higher than they let on, so they should be IGNORED until the real poll of election day:
the formula for margin of error simplifies to

Margin of Error = Who the hell knows?

Because, in this case, so-called scientific "sampling error" is completely meaningless, because it is utterly overwhelmed by unmeasurable non-sampling error. Under these circumstances "margin of error" is a fantasy, a numeric fiction masquerading as a pseudo-scientific fact.
The left-wing is trying to create a fantasy-land of "informational conformity", in which be declaring Obama has won, they wish to convince everyone that it is inevitable. The media is complicit in this campaign of attempted brainwashing:
Two campaigns are being waged right now for the presidency of the United States. No, I'm not talking about the Obama campaign and the McCain campaign. I'm talking about the real-world campaign and the meta-campaign.

The real-world campaign involves speeches and proposals and facts and scandals and political positions and news events. These details, however, are becoming increasingly irrelevant, and have become subsumed by the meta-campaign, which consists of perceptions, polls, reactions, analyses and summations. Until very recently, elections were decided by real-world facts -- but not anymore.
McCain supporters often complain about this strategy by the Left, going to great pains to point out the poll stuffing, the deceptive photos, the crowd overestimation, the slanted media coverage, and so forth. But should conservatives be so concerned? I propose that McCain supporters should be GLAD this is happening -- because the Left is in fact making a disastrous strategic blunder.
Zombie goes on to consder in detail the "clever Hans" effect, Asch experiments, bluffing strategies, informational versus normative conformity, and why the creation of this alternate reality may be for naught. Read it all!

Zombie concludes,
However, if Obama does win, it will be IN SPITE OF the counter-productive antics of his supporters, not because of them. I feel that all the exaggerations and bias polling and online poll-stuffing and comment-spamming have only served to increase a desperate come-from-behind energy in the McCain campaign, and induce a sense of complacency and inevitable victory among rank-and-file Obama voters. However: If McCain wins, then Obama's supporters will only have themselves to blame.

Will the exaggerations become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as assumed, or are Obama supporters spinning further and further away from reality, constructing one unsupportable exaggeration on top of another -- only to be stunned on election day when the actual results, once again, don't match either their pre-vote opinion polling or their post-vote exit polling?

Yet it may very well be that an army of glum, dispirited and pessimistic conservatives will reluctantly trudge to the polls on November 4, each one imagining they are the only remaining person in the entire country voting for McCain, and lo and behold -- they'll turn out to be a silent majority after all.
The media of course is complicit.

Prof. Hanson notes:
The media has succeeded in shielding Barack Obama from journalistic scrutiny. It thereby irrevocably destroyed its own reputation and forfeited the trust that generations of others had so carefully acquired. And it will never again be trusted to offer candid and nonpartisan coverage of presidential candidates.