In response the the Senate's ridiculous English language proposals, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez made a statement that Bush's position is that English is the common language of the country, and is important for immigrants to learn, but that "the president has never supported making English the national language".
This strikes me as a surpringly nuanced position for Bush.
As far as I am concerned, like many aspects of the immigration debate, I'm trying to figure out what problem the Senate believes this solves. This is especially the case considering that there are two amendments to the immigration bill that reference English. One "directs the government to 'preserve and enhance' the role of English" (whatever that means). And the other "calling English the 'unifying language' of the United States".
Jack Cafferty had this to say about it (video at the first link above):
This is all being done by the Republican majority in an effort to appeal to right-wing nuts in the Republican Party ahead of the upcoming mid-term elections. Ignore all of the pressing issues facing the country, and instead go grovel at the feet of the lunatic fringe. Senator Frist should be very proud of himself. That's leadership.
Keep in mind that Jack Cafferty is no liberal mouthpiece. When Air America started broadcasting, he referred to it as the communist network. When it was pointed out that the network was liberal, not communist, he replied "Well, aren't they synonymous?"
I seemed to have hit a nerve with my post on the ballistics of open tip bullets. I've been keeping an eye out for another firearms-related topic I can post about. Since I'm not a gun nut, I have not necessarily been looking for typical firearms fodder — new military weapons, the new models developed for sport/personal use, etc. — which guys like ACE and Murdoc cover extremely well on their sites. Even though I am generally for regulated (but legal) gun ownership, I just don't follow the industry that closely. What I am very interested in is the science behind firearms, which was the motivation for the open tip bullet post.
All of that is a long-winded way to introduce this topic. I recently saw the Mythbusters' episode where they examine whether or not bullets fired straight up in the air are dangerous when they fall back down. The reason I wanted to post about it is because I think they did an awful job of explaining the aerodynamics behind what is going on, and because I think they jumped to a key conclusion that they should not have. Having said all of that, I think they came to the right conclusion.
First, for those who may not know what Mythbusters is, it is a Discovery Channel program where two Hollywood special effects guys try to determine whether or not various urban myths are true, false or plausible (where plausible means it is scientifically possible that the myth is true, but they can't prove whether or not the exact circumstances ever actually happened).
Mythbusters' Conclusion: Both true and false. Bullets fired perfectly straight up into the air tumble as they fall back down, slowing them enough to not be deadly. Bullets fired at an angle not perfectly vertical may not end up tumbling, so remain fast enough to kill. Because of the difficulty of being sure one is aiming straight up, people should consider any firing into the air to be potentially deadly.
Again, this is the right conclusion based on what they found. But, like I said, I think they glossed over some stuff along the way.
As promised, I have finished a table of the gubernatorial races in 2006. I have also made some minor updates to the Senate and House detailed schedules. Just to keep everything in one place, here's what I currently have.
I've had a really hard time finding a concise summary of the 2006 U.S. House and Senate races. There has been a lot of discussion that the House is in play, but not the Senate. But I have not been able to find concise tables that show the key races and current status of those races.
There are various places that provide text summaries of individual races, but I was really interested in seeing a summary in tabular form that would show the close races, current polling, etc.
Since I could not find such tables, I put them together myself.
I intend to do the same type of table for the various Governor races, but thought I'd get these up on the site since they are done.
Note on formats: Unfortunately, I built the tables in Excel and I could not find a way to translate them into HTML in a way that would work well on a webpage. There are multiple problems with posting them as HTML: (i) some formatting did not transfer into HTML, (ii) the tables are very wide and (iii) I could translate them once into HTML, but it would be time consuming so future updates would be more difficult. Because of this, all the tables I am posting are being posted as pictures and PDFs. The summary tables are being posted as in-line pictures and the detail tables as PDFs. The PDFs are not too big, so they should download OK over dial-up, but it would have been nice for readers not to have to open separate windows. (If anyone has suggestions of how I can do this better, I'm all ears.)
Update: Note that my projection process is very basic. I am not particularly applying my own opinion to the races. The projections are based on current polling, where available. Where polls are unavailable, I am assuming that, because of the current political environment, Republicans lose 4% and Democrats gain 4% compared to the 2004 results. This assumption only changes the outcome of a few races. Also, I only had to use this assumption for House races, since I found polling data for all Senate races considered in play. I will update these tables periodically as polling data comes in.
Update 2: Please weigh in with any comments. Also, if anyone wants a copy of the actual Excel files, I'd probably be willing to provide them, depending on what they intend to use them for. I also have tables listing all the Senators and Representatives, their districts, and party affiliations. I I could not find this data available in table format anywhere online (or at least not a format easily copied into Excel), and would be happy to provide these tables to anyone for any use. I have not posted an e-mail address on my site, so leave a comment if you want any of the files. I read all comments.
Orin Kerr has a series of postings at his blog with analysis of this question. I do have a few fundamental differences with Orin's analysis, and his analysis is spread across three postings (first, second, third), so I thought I'd do my own summary of the situation.
Anyone who really wants to dig into the complexity here should probably also read Orin's analysis, since he goes into more detail on various points.