View 747 Monday, October 22, 2012
I am beginning to catch up, and we’re preparing a reopening of Chaos Manor Reviews with bits on the new iPad, Kindle Fire, and Windows 7 vs Windows 8. I have new machines (elegant ones) for 7 and for 8 so the comparisons are fair.
Bottom line is that for most users you’ll find 7 good enough, and if you’re upgrading from XP or Vista 7 is probably where you want to go; but if you’re planning new hardware there are reasons you might consider 8. More on that when it’s done. I’ll also have book reviews, some like the new Home Lab books by Robert Bruce Thompson LONG overdue. If you’re home schooling and you are not familiar with Thompson’s home lab books from O’Reilly, you should go inform yourself. Full reviews coming up.
Tonight is the foreign policy debate between President Obama and Candidate Romney. You will not forget which is the candidate and which is President; the President will make certain of that.
The Democrat strategy will be that this is a sensitive matter of national security, there are Things You Do Not Know, there are Things We Can’t Tell You, and there are Delicate Issues at Stake. And Mr. Obama will try to show that Mr. Romney is being disrespectful to the President, and that is a dangerous thing to do, and lessens the prestige of these United States, and How Dare You accuse me of making politics out of foreign policy matters? Politics used to stop at the water’s edge. What’s wrong with you people?
Mr. Romney’s strategy should be to avoid looking unpresidential and to avoid looking disrespectful. That will mean that he will not go hard after Mr. Obama, but Mr. Obama is correct: he is the President of these United States, and dissing him will not be good for the country. Since it is obvious to everyone in this country that the Administration’s policy in Libya was not optimum, it will not really be necessary for Mr. Romney to make that point. The voters will see that one for themselves. Mr. Romney can emphasize what he plans to do that is widely different from what we are doing now, but again he needs to be careful not to commit the nation to more adventures.
This will be a tightrope across Niagara for Romney. He is more than up to doing it well. Those who want to see him show up the President as an incompetent will be disappointed; or at least I hope for that outcome.
Regarding Benghazi, it is now clear that the President should have seen the attack coming, and ought to have had some Marines ready to go in to defend the Consulate – or else he ought to have closed that diplomatic post. The Brits had already pulled out of there.
Once the attack happened it was obvious to everyone but the White House that it was a terrorist attack. There may or may not have been good reason to pretend that we were prepared to accept the “disgusting movie” explanation, and for the President to send out spokespeople to say that we would accept that explanation. We really don’t want relations with what passes for government in Libya to get any worse than they are now. And of course the President can’t say anything like that.
This is why Mr. Romney should be careful.
It appears that the Administration was clueless. It’s pretty certain that they didn’t pay enough attention to the warning signs. It should have been preventable – a helicopter sent in to evacuate all the American citizens should have been possible without diplomatic consequences, and I expect we have enough Marines in Tripoli who could have been sent to Benghazi in time for that matter – but we didn’t do that. It may even be that the White House didn’t understand the situation by dawn of 12 September although that seems less likely. I think it more likely that someone, possibly at State and possibly in the White House, understood as soon as the reports on the severity and organization of the attack came in that this was an organized act of war in the continuing War on Civilization; but a policy decision was made to pretend otherwise for reasons of state. It has since become clear that no one can possibly believe that.
My thanks to all those who have responded to the Pledge Drive and sent in new subscriptions or renewals. This place operates on the public radio model: it’s free, but it stays open because of its subscribers. You can find out more on that at http://www.jerrypournelle.com/paying.html
This would be a great time to subscribe.
A minor inquiry:
We use Windows Security Essentials and have done so since it came into existence, and it has been Good Enough. Today I had a problem with a main system (this one in fact) seeming to run slowly. I reset it and it came up slowly. But that, it turned 0ut, was because somehow some update I allowed installed The Weather Channel, which can really slow things down. I got rid of that and as I sometimes do decided it would be no bad thing to do an outside scan. Made use of the ESET on line scanner. And that wouldn’t work. It began to download the updated scanning package and stopped. That was a bit of a concern – some attacks do try to disable protective packages – so I tried it on another machine that hasn’t been subject to any problems and the same thing happened. I then ran the McAfee online scan, which found nothing wrong with either system. And checked Windows Security Essentials, which doesn’t believe anything is wrong. And consulted Rick Hellewell my expert security advisor.
We all agree there’s nothing to be concerned about but I wondered if anyone out there had noticed a problem with the ESET on-line scanner. (I sometimes use ESET mostly because they are a long time sponsor of Leo Laporte. As it happens I did a TWIT show with Leo and John Dvorak and Dwight Silverman yesterday.) Has anyone heard of some kind of problem with their on-line scan system? Overloaded perhaps although since the download stalled out at the same percentage on each machine at different times of day, that seems highly unlikely. More likely a glitch in their profile file.
I just got a notice to upgrade Java. Since the ESET scanner uses a Java script, it’s pretty clear. Once I get Java updated I’ll try this again.
Of course that opens up another topic.
The debate is done, and it is possible to award it on points to Mr. Obama, or perhaps it was a tie. However, all Mr. Romney had to do was to continue to be presidential, and he did that. Mr. Obama had to make the case that Mr. Romney is not fit to be President, and Mr. Obama did not do that. Mr. Romney remained Presidential, he presented his case, and he showed that he is familiar with foreign policy and the foreign policy issues; he showed that he could be President.
This is a big win for Mr. Romney, particularly since the President tried his best to goad Mr. Romney into some kind of explosion, or a statement that could be construed as disrespectful for the office or the nation; and that didn’t happen. Thus no matter how one scores the debate on technical points, the big winner was Mr. Romney – and indeed for most of the debate, if you had not known who was President and who aspired to the job, you might have thought that Mr. Obama was the candidate running up from behind in hopes of catching the leader.
We will of course see huge spins tomorrow.
Subject: A possible tie
Jerry, I’ve been hearing speculation on the radio about the possibility that the votes in the Electoral College could end up as a tie. This would throw the election into the House of Representatives. And, as it would be decided by the current, Republican controlled House, that would give the presidency to Romney. (I’m not sure how correct that is, as each state has only one vote instead of the members voting separately, but that’s what I heard.)
Now this is just plain Bad News for Mr. Obama. Not the probability that the House would, in effect, reject him, but the fact that the possibility is even being discussed. Just the fact that people are publicly considering a tie shows that the very best he can hope for is just barely squeaking by, and for him, that’s not good.
The Republicans hold a majority in the House, but if the House decides the presidency, each state has one vote, decided by its delegation. I don’t know the actual makeup of the House state by state. Probably there are a majority of Republicans but I am not sure.
But at the moment it appears that the election will be decided by the ground game. Who can get the most votes out. Those who feel strongly about the outcome should take heed.
© 2012, jerrypournelle. All rights reserved.