I Hereby Apologize to Paris Hilton

I’ve been wrong in the past. For instance, I wrongly supported the Democrats in 2006, advocated to swift withdrawal from Iraq, and opposed the Surge. I was wrong.

I also was wrong in my post “Leave Obama Alone!,” which contained a mocking reference to Paris Hilton in reference to Barack Obama. When I compared Barack Obama to Paris Hilton, I unfairly insulted Paris Hilton. I apologize.

On energy policy, Paris Hilton is better spoken, more knowledgeable, and more sensible than Barack Obama. Paris’ enegrgy plan correctly distinguishes between medium-term and long-term solutions, and recognizes that a plan which frees us from foreign order needs to substitute foreign oil with American oil, while we are building the capacity to substitute foreign oil with renewable fuels.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

I am completely serious. With regard to energy policy, if Paris was running as an independent, she would be superior to Barack Obama. The Obama’s Camp response, “whatever,” is typical of the elitist smartest-man-in-the-room-vibe that Obama exudes. McCain’s much smarter, noting that Paris has joined the yes-coalition that supports of all feasible options.

Paris Hilton, a celebrity famous for a privileged heritage and a sex tape, is an interesting contrast to Barack Obama, a celebrity famous for a privileged heritage and being able to read a speech. It proves that just because one gets ahead through a ‘legacy system’ and milking the media, it doesn’t mean one has to be a fool or a naif. Obama should pay attention. Barack has a lot to learn from Paris.

The Long War in Central Asia

A Central Asian Terrorist Group killed 16 Chinese soldiers near the borer of Chinese Turkestan and Tajikistan the other day.  In the ensuing uncertainty, China beat several journalists….  and then apologized:

Chunichi’s newspaper photographer Masami Kawakita, 38, and Nippon Television’s reporter Shinji Katsuta, 37, suffered light injuries after they were taken from their hotel by police and beaten, Kyodo said today. Kawakita’s equipment was partially destroyed, Kyodo said.

The border police have apologized after they “clashed” with the journalists who were trying to film a restricted area under police control, Xinhua said.

The journalists have accepted the apology and police offers to pay for repairs to their damaged equipment and medical bills, the Chinese state news agency said.

Bloomberg.com: Worldwide.

Meanwhile the Democratic Party is already mobilizing to oppose the War in Afghanistan:

If the going gets rough in Afghanistan, will a party that wanted to pull out of the Iraq “quagmire” at the first sign of trouble really back President Obama as he wages war, or will Democrats fracture as they did over the Vietnam War 40 years ago?

A Gallup Poll last week showed signs of potential trouble. While Americans generally believe — by a margin of 68 percent to 28 percent — that it was correct for the U.S. to send troops to Afghanistan, a full 41 percent of Democrats believe it was a mistake.

Only 55 percent of Democrats believe it was a correct move, as compared with 88 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of Independents.

Almost certainly, Democrats will heavily dominate Congress next year. They — and Obama, too — have extensive domestic priorities to meet and will face a huge budget deficit at the outset. Will they want another war to dominate their agenda?

It’s not clear how Obama means to “rout” the terrorists. Certainly, the 10,000 U.S. troops he wants to add to NATO’s current total of 62,000 (including 32,000 U.S.) will not be enough to control Afghanistan, which even 120,000 Soviet troops could not do.

RealClearPolitics – Articles – Do Democrats Want Obama to Be Another ‘War President’?.

It has been said the Chinese will miss George Bush.  If Obama wins, that certainly will be true.  Our relationship with China is based on trade, globalization, and increasingly the War in Central Asia.

An increasingly sizeable fraction of the Democratic Party opposes all three.

Building the Sysadmin-Industrial-Complex

A very good post from Tom on Enterra’s work. Tom’s echoing what I wrote about in describing the need for 5GW — we cannot expect a conscious grand strategy to take us where we need to go. We need to build the conditions such that we win anyway.

“Charlie Wilson’s Peace” with the right ending! (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog)
And the dream, which Steve helps each other to discover and then Steve implements like some genius “mad man” (see the series) through his stunning efforts in Kurdish Iraq, begins to take real shape.

On that level, I say, f–k grand strategy in the official sense (but God bless Bob Gates for every day he stays in office). Steve and I have decided to have our own foreign policy, not waiting on the USG but wanting it to catch up ASAP.

That’s why both Steve and DiB are major characters in Great Powers. It’s “Charlie Wilson’s Peace” with the right G.D. ending!

The Sysadmin Industrial Complex will do for nation building what the Military-Industrial-Complex did for government-destroying. Tom’s very lucky to be in at the ground floor.

McCain at the National Urban League

The moderator said that McCain was the first Presidential candidate to accept questions at the National Urban League to take questions. And McCain took a lot of them. John is clearly fast on his, and it’s not surprising that Barack does not want to debate McCain in an informal setting.

Two major issues caught my attention. One McCain answered very well. The other less so.

On Crime, McCain emphasized Rudy Giuliani’s success in New York. He went a step beyond that to emphasize that similar tactics are working in Iraq, and they work for the same reasons: without security nothing is possible, but once security exists, the foundations for growth and trust exist. Obama, by contrast, opposes urban counter-insurgency operations. Obama supports a ‘Rumsfeld Doctrine’ of minimal policing both at home and abroad. I think that is dangerous, and McCain’s response is the way to go.

Unfortunately, McCain was weak on health care. He said he wanted every Ameriacn to have the opportunity to purchase health care, but did not emphasize the need for universal coverage that is required to keep America. Fareed Zakaria described this dynamic well in The Post American World (which I previously reviewed). We already have socialized health care in this country, and if we’re going to have this degree of massive government interference, we can at least create a system where losing your job doesn’t mean losing your health.

Obama’s tax and spend energy policy… is not that bad

Amateur Economist calls it “ignorance, arrogance, and socialism.” Crush Liberalism is profane. The heritage foundation is simply sarcastic. But is Obama’s plan to tax oil companies to provide a second round of “rebate” checks reasonable?

Think back to April 2005: oil was approximately $50/barrel, and I suggested a tax to raise the average price of gas to $5/gallon. Along with this I wanted to rebate the proceeds to the population on a per capita basis, so those that used less gas would actually profit from the gas tax.

The world ignored me, gas prices shot up to more than $4/gallon anyway. This has similar “demand destruction” consequences as my plan, but instead of Americans receiving monthly rebate checks, people who happen to have oil to sell (including the oil companies, but mainly including thugs such as Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez, King Abdullah, and so on).

Obama’s plan works like an attemp to half-implement my plan, doing nothing to prevent the massive transfer of wealth from the Core to natural resource providers, while rolling back the relatively negligible transfer of wealth from consumers to oil companies. Obama’s plan does not address the real issues. But that does not mean it is terrible.

The record oil company profits exist because the government failed to implement my plan earlier. Consumers feel squeeze because the government failed to implement my plan. Both Obama and McCain invision making things a little better, but ultimately Obama’s tax-and-spend approach is marginally superior to McCain’s gas-tax-holiday, merely because Obama’s plan continues to keep the price at the pump high and rewards Americans for not using gasoline.

To quote Obama: “I have to vote for Barack”

This is even better than the Paris Hilton ad!

Now, in fairness, it may not be fair for Republicans to criticize Barack “Bush III” Obama for religiosu rhetoric analogous to what got Bush II in trouble with the leftwing netroots. Still, when the leftwing of American politics transparently uses politics for political advantage without believing it it, it leads one to make the sort of tone-deaf pseudoreligious statements that Obama is known for.

Turning off the Lights

Courtesy of Slashdot, this is funny:

The Crypt: House Dems turn out the lights but GOP keeps talking – Politico.com
Update 3 – Democrats just turned out the lights again. Republicans cheered.

Update 4 – Republican leaders just sent out a notice looking for a bullhorn and leadership aides are trying to corral all the members who are still in town to come speak on the floor and sustain this one-sided debate.

Also, Republicans can thank Shadegg for turning on the microphones the first time. Apparently, the fiesty Arizona conservative started typing random codes into the chamber’s public address system and accidentally typed the correct code, allowing Republicans brief access to the microphone before it was turned off again.

“I love this,” Shadegg told reporters up in the press gallery afterward. “Congress can be so boring…This is a kick.”
» Continue reading House Dems turn out the lights but GOP keeps talking

Update 4 – The scene on the floor is kind of crazy. Normally, members are not allowed to speak directly to the visitor galleries, or visitors are prohibited from cheering. But in this case, the members are walking up and down on the floor during their speeches, standing on cheers, the visitors are cheering loudly. Some members even brought in visitors, who are now sitting on the House floor in the seats normally filled by lawmakers, cheering and clapping. Very funny.

If only politics were always this fun!

Self Efficacy, and the way forward

While I’ll always be a fan of the OODA loop, a great conceptual model of human cognition, it does not help me in predicting outcomes. That’s why I generalized Horn et al to create a domain-knowledge/general-ability/motivation/behavior model of performance. Writing about this will be its own challenge, however.

This comes at about the same time I have discovered self-efficacy, an incredibly powerful tool first developed by Albert Bandura. Self-efficacy blows away concepts such as self-esteem, self-concept, self-definition, identity, and so on, and also better explains findings described by Expectancy-Value Theory, Goal Theory, and so on.

Self-efficacy boils down to a set of simple questions, all of which have this form: How confident are you that you can perform a specific action in order to achieve a goal, as of now. Self-efficacy is obviously beyond behavioralism, because such self-reports were frowned on by the behavioralists that Skinner. However, it is much more action-centered than other ‘cognitive’ or ‘constructive’ theories. What you feel, how proud you are, what you really want, so on, and burned away. How confident are you, right now, that you can do A to get B?

For instance, from this online resource on self-efficacy, comes a standard practice question, drived from Bandura’s famous “Guide to Creating Self-Efficacy Scales” (PDF).

If you were asked to lift a 10 pound object right now, how certain are you that you can lift it?

Respondants are given 11 choices, from 0 to 100, with 0 meaning cannot lift at all, and 100 meaning can lift without any problem.

When I first encountered self-efficacy I thought it was just a proxy of domain knowledge or long-term memory, but many, many studies show it is a seperate construct that explains variation on its own. A popularization of the concept is available from the Wall Street Jounal.

So now, I am planning to use self-efficacy, along with the rest of my model, to look at creativity in blogging. This is a large task and I need an organizational structure. Fortunately, Siwatu (2005) provides an excellent model. While Siwatu examined a different concept, we share a methodological outlook as well as a focus on self-efficacy.

So, using Siwatu as a model, how I plan to attack the problem. Italicized headings are areas where I replaced Siwatu’s topics with analogous ones in my own research.

Chapter 1 Introduction 1
Purpose of the Study 4
Research Questions 7
Definition of Terms 7
Blogging 7
Blogging Self-Efficacy 8
Blogging Creativity 8

Chapter II Review of the Literature 9
Creativity
Creation 11
The Novel 12
The Useful 14
The Field 16
The Domain 17
The Value of Creativity 17

Self-Efficacy
What are self-efficacy beliefs? 19
Source of Information 20
Mastery Experience 20
Vicarious Experience 20
Verbal Persuasion 21
Physiological and emotional states 21
Assessment of Self-Efficacy 22
The development of the CES Scale 25
Concerns regarding CES 29
What are Job and Creativity Self Efficacy? 33
Cognitive, Motivational, and Strategies Variables 35

General Ability 35
Domain Knowledge 37
Motivation 38
Strategies 41

Summary and Predictions 42
Chapter 3 Methods 46
Introduction 36
Quantitative Phase 36
Population and Sample 47
Measures 47
Creative Blogging Self-Efficacy Scale 47
Job Blogging Self-Efficacy Scale 48
Blogging Domain Knowledge Scale 49
Attitude Scale 50
General Ability Scale 51

Data Analysis 52

This model is missing a replacement for Siwatu’s qualitative section. I imagine that will come from creating and revising the scales I need in this research.