Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

When Covering Global Warming, Why Bother With Facts?

A BBC story caught my attention with this line:
This will be the fourth [International Polar Year] since 1882 but the first one in which the impact of man-made global warming will be clearly visible at both poles.
"Man-made global warming!?" When was that proved? No qualifications? Really? Was not even a teensy degree of it caused by well-established natural climatological cycles?

Then, a couple inches down, this:
The southern polar ice sheet holds 90% of the world's fresh water.

If it all melted, global sea levels would rise by 200 metres. (650 feet).
Ninety percent? 650 feet? Just in Antarctica? Never having heard those stats before, off to I went. It didn't take long to find less sensationalistic stats:
  • First, even though the Earth has a great deal of water, only about 3% of this supply is made up of freshwater. (Kaufman and Franz, 1993, 281). Of this amount 75% is locked up in the polar ice caps. (source)
  • Just 3 percent of the world’s water exists as fresh water—2 percent is locked in the polar ice caps; less than 1 percent resides in freshwater lakes and streams. [That would be 66.7%] (source)
  • If just 10 percent of the water locked in these frozen [polar, north and south] reservoirs is added to the oceans, geologists predict that sea levels will rise by more than 20 feet .... [Then 100% melt would equal 200 feet.] (Scientific American)
  • Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey estimate that If all of the ice sitting on land in Greenland and Antarctica melted it would cause global sea levels to rise by about 215 feet, or about 65 meters. (USAToday)
BBC's ocean-rise stat is just three times overstated. Bloody Blimey! Don't they have any fact-checkers over there in England? Or do they just have sensation-verifiers?

Of course, none of this matters because not even the whackiest Warmie is predicting anything remotely approaching a total meltdown of the polar icecaps. BBC's use of total ice-meltdown stats is no less bizarre than if they had written a story on the war in Iraq saying, "If all the American and British troops in Iraq were killed ..."

But it's a story on global warming. Accuracy is hardly mandatory; heck, it's not even expected.

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The Mental Misfits Who Cover The UN

Yesterday, Ban-ki Moon met with the parents of two kidnapped Israel Defense Force soldiers.

Nice of him to do so, even if he has virtually no power to do anything whatsoever for those two poor souls. At today's UN press briefing the matter came up. You'll love this.
Question: Yesterday, I think you said that the Secretary-General met with the families of the Israeli soldiers, prisoners. Will the Secretary-General also consider meeting with the families of prisoners now in the US jails, as reported by Human Rights Watch yesterday, by the CIA?

: He hasn’t been asked yet.
Excuse me? Is there not some sort of competency test for journalists? Is there not a better answer than, "He hasn't been asked yet?" Like maybe, "Are you out of your ever-lovin' mind?"

Just to clarify: The soldiers were kidnapped on duty, a war ensued, and they're still being held after the war ended, in violation of all international understandings on the treatment of war prisoners.

The Human Rights Watch allegations about captured terrorists whose whereabouts are supposedly unknown are unsubstantiated and could be considered credible only by people who consider testimony by terrorists against their enemies to be credible. To raise these phantom terrorists to the same level of the Israeli soldiers is sheer lunacy.

Yet the guy asking the question has UN press credentials. If you know someone with a mental defect that leaves him with absolutely no mental discernment, I think I know where you can get him a job.

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Is It Breathing? Yes? Give It 500 Bucks!

California's power and water infrastructure, education system and highways are all in need of massive repair and improved management. But why should the state's managers -- those august electeds in Sacramento -- care about that when there are opportunities to fling money around willy-nilly?

Here's their latest brain-numbing idea:

California would give every newborn child a tax-free $500 savings account under legislation scheduled to be unveiled Wednesday.

The measure, Senate Bill 752, will be presented at a 1:30 p.m. news conference by state Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga.

The bill is meant to persuade more families to invest for the future, beginning when their children are very young.

SB 752 estimates that state costs would total about $270 million.

The state's $500-per-baby investment would be seed money for a long-term, tax-free account that would encourage family contributions.

The account, called Kids Investment and Development Savings, or KIDS, is meant to grow until the child is 18 and could use the money for a house, education or retirement savings.(source)

The authors of this flight of legislative fantasy are a Dem, Darrell Steinberg, and a GOP, Bob Dutton. Maybe they think they'll nab the parent vote.

They've built in all kinds of financial penalties for parents who cash in the $500 and use it for, oh, I don't know ... meth. I suppose one or two will do that ... one or two million. A year.

And I'm sure your local meth head, gambling addict or, for that matter, hungry mom with hungry kids won't think about the tax consequences and the fact that they're supposed to pay back the state when they cash out the KIDS account.

I'm also sure they won't be worried about how much the state will pay to chase down and prosecute these KIDS criminals. But I am. And I wonder why Steinberg and Dutton aren't. Because it's not their money; it's our money? Maybe.

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Blood Is Thicker Than Union Activism

This is a very funny story about a very local issue, so even if you don't care a bit about what happens in OC, please read on.

I posted a couple weeks ago about our "Ngyuen/Ngyuen" (pronounced "win/win") election to the OC Board of Supes, where two GOP Vietnamese candidates, Janet Ngyuen and Trung Ngyuen, are locked in a very tight recount. The third candidate, Dem Tom Umberg, was trying to sneak in on union votes and is nowhere to be seen: distant, distant, distant.

With that background, here's the funny post from Red County:

I was chatting with OCEA General Manager Nick Berardino.... We were marvelling at the magnitude of the Vietnamese turnout in the 1st [Supervisorial District] special election and how it caught so many of us by surprise.

Nick shared an anecdote which vividly illustrates how much the election of a Vietnamese-American candidate to the Board of Supervisors meant to the Vietnamese community.

Nick told me that in late January, they (they being the unions) started a pro-Tom Umberg Vietnamese phone bank staffed by Vietnamese union members. After about a week, the question occurred to someone: "How do we know they're really asking people to vote for Tom Umberg?"

Nick Berardino said they decided to station a Vietnamese-speaker within earshot of the phone bankers to listen to what they were saying.

"Sure enough," Nick told me, "they weren't saying anything about Umberg. They were just telling people to vote." Since Janet Nguyen and Trung Nguyen received virtually all the Vietnamese-American votes, the local public employee unions were running a de facto GOTV phone bank for GOPers Janet and Trung -- and they quickly pulled the plug on the Vietnamese election outreach.

Nick pointed out that these Vietnamese-American phone bankers are dedicated union people. Whereas the average member might walk a single precinct and knock off by early afternoon, Nick Berardino said these folks will walk three, maybe four precincts in a day.

But even that level of dedication to the union gave way before their enthusiasm for electing one of their own as OC's first Vietnamese -American Supervisor.

The Vietnamese are old-school, reminding me very much of earlier waves of Italian, German and Polish immigrants: They came here and maintained their ethnicity for generations, but also fully assimilated themselves into the American society, seeing themselves as Americans first, Americans for the long haul, and Italians, Germans or Poles second.

May the best Nguyen win, and make their Little Saigon neighbors proud.

hat-tip: Jim

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Stupid Bush Again Out-Thinks His Critics

Normalization of relations with L'il Kim Jong Il's personal pleasure playground? That's not the sort of thing Bush -- the yahoo from Yale, the cowboy from Crawford -- should be capable of pulling off.

The leftyblogs -- Kos, Americablog, DemUnderground -- are all mystically silent on the matter. Perhaps they remember their boy Kerry trying to whop Bush during the debates, belittling the prez for not taking on NoKo one-on-one in bluster-diplomacy. Bush stood his ground, belittling right back with the results of Clinton's one-on-ones with L'il Kim.

This little bit from today's WashTimes coverage underscores the wisdom of the Bush approach:
Kim Kye-gwan, North Korea's vice minister of foreign affairs, arrived in Beijing yesterday and was expected in San Francisco tomorrow, a State Department official told The Washington Times. He will continue to New York for talks with his U.S. negotiating counterpart, Christopher Hill, which will likely begin early next week.
Kim went first to Beijing, then to Washington. That action proves the wisdom of the Bush administration's Six-Party approach. Any deal with NoKo that doesn't include China is doomed because only China exerts any control over the Pyongyang Gang.

And in the process, Bush has skillfully drawn Beijing into a new role of Asian peace-promoter, establishing a foothold that future administrations can build on to manage all the problems and potentials China poses.

And the Leftyblogs just go on and on about conditions at Walter Reed ... fiddling with non-stories while the world changes.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Not Available For Comment

If you didn't catch the rabidly bad taste comments on HuffPost regarding the lame but fatal Taliban assassination attempt on the VEEP, you won't find them there now.

(You can find a good representative sampling still at Amy Proctor's blog. Don't worry, Amy's purged the ****-load of mindlessly obscene leftyspeak.)

There's terrifying significance to the fact that so many Americans feel comfortable saying, and believing, comments like this:
You can never find a competent suicide bomber when you need one.
You can never find a competent suicide bomber when you need one.
But you know that, so let's talk instead about blog ethics. Was it right for HuffPost to do this:
Over the last few hours, the more than 400 comments appended to the Huffington Post’s news item on the attack in Afghanistan on a base being visited by Vice-President Dick Cheney have been expunged from the site. At first the comments were closed, then gradually shrunken and for a short time completely expunged from The Huffington Post as the heat on the Cheney hate fest built up over the day. (Pajamas Media)
I would certainly have deleted the obscene ones myself, and edited some others, but HuffPost did something entirely different, deleting comments like "Cheney's spokeswoman said he was fine. F***" and keeping comments like "glad the vp is ok." PajamasMedia says:

The comments now visible are evidently cherry-picked out of the original thread to give some sort of “tone” to the thread that it did not originally possess. It is really amazing what you can do to history with just a few strokes of the keyboard.

Now it is one thing to close comments, another thing to erase them, but something else altogether different to actually “edit” the thread to give a false impression.
A conscious decision was made at HuffPost to allow comments to be posted without monitoring, then another conscious decision was made to delete offending comments only after the sickest of them had spread through the blogosphere and conservative radio.

Disgusting posts were going up as early as 8:15 a.m., but the comments weren't deleted until around 2:50 p.m. -- so the posts were there for about five and a half hours, and OK with HuffPost for at least four hours, assuming it would take the Huffies 90 minutes to hash out what they'd do and do it.

Their decision was a terrible one. First, it will really, really tick off HuffPost's readers and will do longterm damage to the blog's credibility among its primary readers.

It was hypocritical. You can't blast the Bush admin day after day -- right up to the original headline of the post, “Cheney ‘Targeted’ Deadly Afghan Blast,” -- then purge the overly critical comments, creating a false impression of the blog and its readers.

And for that reason, HuffPost's decision was terribly unethical.

As the PajamaMedia writer nicely pointed out, you can't ask the 400 commenters what they think of being deleted: They're not available for comment.

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Gore's Math Apparently Stuck In The Lockbox

You remember the lockbox, the famous lockbox, that was in all AlGore's debate answers about Social Security. Well, he apparently put his carbon neutrality math in there as well.

It was great to see AP's tough story on Al's electric bill today, as the MSM picked up the story with gusto. Even greater were these snippets:
The Gores used about 191,000 kilowatt hours in 2006, according to bills reviewed by The Associated Press spanning the period from Feb. 3, 2006, to Jan. 5. ...

Utility records show the Gore family paid an average monthly electric bill of about $1,200 last year for its 10,000-square-foot home. ...

Gore participates in a utility program that sells blocks of "green power" for an extra $4 a month. Gore purchases 108 such blocks every month, covering 16,200 kilowatt-hours and helping subsidize renewable energy sources. ...

[Electric company spokeswoman] Laurie Parker...said Gore has been purchasing the "green power" for $432 a month since November.
Let's see. Gore's "carbon footprint" for electricity use at home is $1,200 a month for the electron juice the clan burns each month. For that, he buys $432 in credits -- $768 short each month.

Well, that's $768 short each month since November. Before that, he was $1,200 short each month. And that's just for electricity; we're not even talking about natural gas, gasoline or jet fuel yet.

Warmies say conservatives don't understand the concept of carbon neutrality. I say they don't understand the concept of math -- and here I thought math was at the core of global warming modeling.

(Also of note was this little bit:
The Gore home is also under renovation to add solar panels, [Gore spokesgal Kalee Kreider said.
Under renovation?! Gore's been laying guilt on us for years about global warming and he's just now getting around to adding solar to his house? He's made tens of millions of dollars since he left office, so his only excuse must be that solar is ... Inconvenient.)

Art: RSchultz

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Left Circles The Wagons Around Al

Holy glowing lightbulbs, this is wierd.

Drudge runs an item from the Tennessee Center on Policy Research on the Gore's personal electrical use and not a soul denies the content of the release -- just the fact that it got reported at all. There's a lot of foam being flung from a lot of mouths on the rabid left this morning; I can imagine keyboards drenched in foam as blogscribe after blogscribe defends their demi-god Gore.

"Did you honestly think that the Right Wing $mear machine was going to let Al Gore stand up with the terrific team who created and direct the movie and receive an Oscar for 'An Inconvenient Truth?'" asks Dave Johnson at Seeing the Forest. He continues:

Did you really believe they would stand by and watch a Democratic leader validated for his life's work?

No chance in hell.
Johnson is not one to ask questions of Gore; rather he attacks the source -- not a fact beyond low web hits on the group's Web site, but that doesn't stop him -- and when he's sufficiently riled up, he concludes:

But guess what? We're going to fight back. All of us.

Why? Well, first of all, Al Gore turning his lights on doesn't make him a hypocrite, it makes him a human.

Second, we've seen this game a few too many damn times. The trick is for them to create doubt and distraction. They need to create doubt all around the country about Al Gore. But there is no doubt.

Al Gore is a hero.

Even heroes need help - join us, add to the comments, let's find out everything we can about these guys and stop them in their tracks. Now.

Hey, we're all humans, after all. So do we all get a hall pass like Al does? Not a chance, not even if your name is Barack Obama:

Note to Senator Obama: spare us the hope and bi-partisanship talk and help us fight back.

Man, that's bleak.

The Anonymous Liberal bleats:
Moreover, Gore lives in a large home (10,000 sq. ft.). If you look at the data, it's clear that Gore's energy usage per square foot (even assuming the 221,000 kWh number is accurate) is well within the average range for his climate region.
His math is a bit screwy, but consider this: Lefties are quick to attack any overt sign of over-consumption -- a Hummer, for example -- but they're letting Al and Tipper, a household of two, get by with 10,000 sq. ft. of living space without a raised eyebrow?

Another meme is carbon footprint forgiveness, as enunciated here by Unqualified Offerings:
Curiously, the “free market” think tank that gives us our first link declares that Gore’s free choice to use his own money to offset his family’s carbon output makes him a “hypocrite,” since he thinks global warming is bad.
Several of the leftyposts have challenged the Tennessee Center's math -- not with facts, but with suppositions -- but none raise a question about the foundational mathematical assumptions of carbon neutrality.

Suppose Al buys trees to offset the carbon footprint of his private jet. If they're seedlings, they're not scrubbing the amount of carbon of mature trees, the trees that are used in neutrality calculations. If the money preserves mature forests, is he compensating for the tree-buying organization's management costs and over-contributing to take care of his true carbon footprint?

Good questions. Don't expect the Warmie Left to answer them.

Several blogs pointed to Dave Johnson's post as a great rebuttal to the statements about the Gores' energy use. He's got solar. He's got flourescents. His house is big, so it's average use isn't that big.

Look, if he's got solar and flourescents, it just makes matters worse. He's really, really got to be burning electrons 24/7 to be 20 times the natural average if he's greened up his house that much.

This is simple stuff, not rocket science. But it doesn't protect Al, so it's not going to be covered by his allies on the Left.

hat-tip: memeorandum

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Monday, February 26, 2007

The Religion of "Piece"

Islam's backwardness has many measures, not the least of which is its treatment of women. Long before Mohammed, Christ set a guideline for greater respect of women -- his treatment of the adultress, the woman at the well and Mary Magdeline.

Unfortunately, Mohammed ignored Christ's revolutionary acceptance of women. For women, the Religion of Peace has become a religion that treats them like pieces of flesh, as evidenced (yet again!) in this story:
HYDERABAD (Reuters) - A teenage girl in southern Pakistan, whose late father lost her in a poker game when she was 2 years old, has asked authorities to save her from being handed over to a middle-aged relative.

Rasheeda, 17 (above), said she has filed applications with the police and a local councillor asking them to prevent Lal Haider, 45, from taking her to his home.

Her mother, Nooran said her husband racked up a debt of 10,000 rupees ($151) to Haider playing cards.

"My husband didn't have money to pay, and instead he told Lal Haider that he could take Rasheeda when she grows up," she said.
Yeah, so what? It's just a girl.

Pakistan is a supposed ally in our confrontation with terror, but women there are routinely terrorized by its culture, and the religion that fires the culture. If all that happens to Rasheeda is an unwanted and unloving marriage, she won't be doing too badly for a woman in an Islamic culture -- as long as she can avoid an honor killing, or worse, a failed honor killing.

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Do We Want A Woman President?

Ugh. A frightening thought. More photos available at


Are There No Liability Lawyers In Pakistan?

Either the Pakistani legal profession hasn't had John Edwards over to give a seminar on class action and liability lawsuits yet, or there's something to that "not valuing life as we do" thing:
An annual kite festival Sunday in eastern Pakistan has left at least 11 people dead.

Officials said two died after their throats were cut by metal kite strings. Kite flyers often use string made of wire or coated with ground glass to try to cut the strings of rivals or damage other kites.

The festival is also often marked with celebratory gunshots fired into the air. Five people died after being hit by stray bullets. Two people were electrocuted when they tried to untangle kites from overhead power cables.

Two others fell from roofs. One was a boy chasing a stray kite. Another was a woman trying to stop her son from going after a kite. (source)
Could you imagine such a thing in America, where a whole generation of children has been raised with a deathly fear of getting on a bicycle without head, knee and elbow protection?

Hat-tip: Incredible Daughter #1

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More Iran-Iraq Weapons Links

Following on the heels of the LATimes' Sunday story doubting Iranian involvment in nukes and Iraq -- it acutally quoted a guy saying Iran wants a "stable" Iran, and the reporter didn't bother to ask how Iran intended to make Iraq stable -- comes this:
The U.S. military showed on Monday what it said was further evidence of Iranian-made weapons being used by Iraqi militants, including explosives linked to sophisticated roadside bombs.

The weapons, which included mortar bombs and 122 mm rockets, were found during a raid by U.S. forces and Iraqi police on Saturday near the volatile city of Baquba, north of Baghdad.

Washington, which accuses Iran of fanning violence in Iraq, is particularly concerned about what it calls "explosively formed projectiles" -- bombs which, on detonation, shoot out a copper plate that becomes a large bullet-like projectile capable of penetrating armored vehicles.

The U.S. military say such bombs, which it calls EFPs, have killed 170 U.S. soldiers in Iraq since 2004. ...

One completed bomb was found as well as around 150 copper discs -- the key component of EFPs -- rolls of electrical wire, plastic pipes to use as casings, ball-bearings and batteries.

U.S. military sources quoted in the story refused to link the explosives to Iran, saying that even if they are manufactured in Iran, there is no proof the Iranian government is supplying them directly to the Mehdi Army militia that dominate the area where the explosives were found.

It seems to be too fine a point, since it's unlikely a paranoid regime like Ahmadinejad's would allow controls on state-manufactured munitions to be so loose that anti-theocracy, pro-democracy forces could obtain them.

Nevertheless, in the messaging war we are taking a very conservative stance, hounded as we are by our own media if we ever overstate or leave a loophole unclosed. The enemy, of course, exploits our careful language and returns strong language short on qualifiers of any kind, which the media then use to pound down our spokespersons so they become weaker still.

It's my old lament: Ernie Pyle, where are you?

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hmmm ... Immigration Edition

My friend Jim sent along this thought:

The American Indians found out what happens when you don't control immigration.

While we're being politically incorrect, saying "American Indians" instead of "Native Americans," let's also consider this: The indigenous people here lost their continent to a superior civilization, one that was more industrious, learned, expansive, solidly centered and compassionate than these shores' original inhabitants.

The waves of immigrants that are flowing north into America are some of those things, for sure, but they are primarily the dregs and drop-outs of Mexico and Central America, the ones who can't secure a fortune there. And they are not superior to the civilization they are coming to.

And unlike the waves of immigrants who preceded them who came here for keeps, to become Americans, the new wave came here just to be temporary burdens who take the money and the benefits, then return home.

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Kudos To U.S. MSM On Climate Report Coverage?

Yes, it's true. An award-winning climate scientist says the U.S. media wasn't all that hysterical in its coverage of the recent UN's IPCC report (actually, the non-scientific executive summary of a pending scientific report) on global warming. Media in the UK, however, were a very different story.

Mike Hulme, of the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia and winner of the 1995 Hugh Robert Mill Prize of the Royal Meteorological Society, wrote to Nature Magazine:
Communicating science to wider, public audiences, however - in this case on matters of important public policy - is an art that requires careful message management and tone setting. It seems that confident and salient science, as presented by the IPCC, may be received by the public in non-productive ways, depending on the intervening media. With this in mind, I examined the coverage of the IPCC report in the ten main national UK newspapers for Saturday 3 February, the day after the report was released.

Only one newspaper failed to run at least one story on the report (one newspaper ran seven stories), but what was most striking was the tone. The four UK 'quality' newspapers all ran front-page headlines conveying a message of rising anxiety: "Final warning", "Worse than we thought", "New fears on climate raise heat on leaders" and "Only man can stop climate disaster". And all nine newspapers introduced one or more of the adjectives "catastrophic", "shocking", "terrifying" or "devastating" in their various qualifications of climate change.

Yet none of these words exist in the report, nor were they used in the scientists' presentations in Paris. Added to the front-page vocabulary of "final", "fears", "worse" and "disaster", they offer an insight into the likely response of the 20 million Britons who read these newspapers.

In contrast, an online search of some leading newspapers in the United States suggests a different media discourse. Thus, on the same day, one finds these headlines: "UN climate panel says warming is man-made", "New tack on global warming", "Warming report builds support for action" and "The basics: ever firmer statements on global warming". This suggests a more neutral representation in the United States of the IPCC's key message, and a tone that facilitates a less loaded or frenzied debate about options for action.
Hulme is conveniently overlooking some over-amped US coverage, particularly on the broadcast networks, but his point is well taken. The European media, because they brand themselves as "conservative" or "liberal" quite openly, are unfettered by the U.S. media's on-going futile efforts to appear objective.

Hulme, like all good scientists, went beyond mere observation to state a theory:
Campaigners, media and some scientists seem to be appealing to fear in order to generate a sense of urgency. If they want to engage the public in responding to climate change, this is unreliable at best and counter-productive at worst. As Susanne Moser and Lisa Dilling point out in Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007), such appeals often lead to denial, paralysis, apathy or even perverse reactive behaviour.
Unfortunately, they also lead to acceptance of half-baked, unproductive and expensive schemes to force global warming solutions on a skeptical public. And that, of course, is what the media wants: Big new programs to cover, and later turn on as they become, as they unevitably will, massive sinkholes of waste, corruption and do-nothingness.

hat-tip: Greenie Watch

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Warmies: Stop Industry Because Ticks Are Spreading!

I just shake my head and wonder how hysteria can become so entrenched that all reason dies.

Take Sweden. The country is so darn cold and dark for so long, it has high alcoholism, drug addiction and suicide rates, but the Warmies choose to focus on this:
In Sweden, fewer winter days below 10 degrees and more summer days above 50 degrees have encouraged the northward movement of ticks, which has coincided with an increase in cases of tick-borne encephalitis since the 1980s.
And then there's this nightmare of near-Biblical proportions:
In 1996, health authorities reported a human case of tick-borne encephalitis in the Czech village of Borova Lada, elevation 3,000 feet. Until then, the Ixodes rinicus tick, which carries the disease, had never been seen above 2,600 feet.
Sell the SUV! Turn off the power! Shackle free enterprise!

Or maybe expand the market of tick medicine and make the manufacturers a bit richer. Or maybe, just maybe, stop worrying about ticks and discover that your local growing season just increased, the yield of your dairy herd is up, and your outlook on life is brighter, your desire to end it all considerably less.

These stories, courtesy of your Warmie lunatics at the LATimes, underscore the conflicting Warmie beliefs that the world needs human help to balance itself, and that humans are too stupid to adjust to the marginal effects of global warming. How can Warmies trust human ideas for how we should handle the macro if they don't trust humans to solve the micro?

The story is really hysterical in its hyperventilating about oysters. Here's the hand-wringing lead:
CORDOVA, ALASKA — Oysterman Jim Aguiar had never had to deal with the bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus in his 25 years working the frigid waters of Prince William Sound.

The dangerous microbe infected seafood in warmer waters, like the Gulf of Mexico. Alaska was way too cold.

But the sound was gradually warming. By summer 2004, the temperature had risen just enough to poke above the crucial 59-degree mark. Cruise ship passengers who had eaten local oysters were soon coming down with diarrhea, cramping and vomiting — the first cases of Vibrio food poisoning in Alaska that anyone could remember.

"We were slapped from left field," said Aguiar, who shut down his oyster farm that year along with a few others.

As scientists later determined, the culprit was not just the bacterium, but the warming that allowed it to proliferate.

"This was probably the best example to date of how global climate change is changing the importation of infectious diseases," said Dr. Joe McLaughlin, acting chief of epidemiology at the Alaska Division of Public Health, who published a study on the outbreak.
OMG. Cruise ship passengers getting sick from oysters instead of any of a thousand other food poisoning opportunities round-the-clock gnoshing presents. This global warming stuff really is frightening!

And what of Cordova's oysters being "best example to date" of global warming and disease? Well, the LAT admits it was just a temporary condition -- but it buries the admission at the end of the story, 34 paragraphs and a page jump below the hand-wringing lead:
After Prince William Sound's Vibrio outbreak in 2004, the state required more oyster testing in some areas. In the last two years, there have been only four cases of Vibrio food poisoning.

Life in Aguiar's remote inlet has largely returned to the way it was before. This winter has been cold. Aguiar, a bear of a man with a riotous beard, huddled inside the houseboat for warmth recently as the temperature outside hovered around 20 degrees. The pale Northern Lights pulsed over the snow-laced Chugach Mountains, and skins of ice grew on the still water.

Come summer, Aguiar will start sending oyster samples to the state. When the temperature hits about 55 degrees, he'll drop his oyster baskets 60 or 100 feet in the water for about 10 days to clear out the bacteria.

It's a solution he can live with in a warming world.

"It's not all evil," he said. "I just don't like to see rapid change."
Well, Mr. Aguiar, you didn't see rapid change. You saw a temperature spike that just comes with living in a natural world. It came. It went. No big deal. Quit your whining and get back to our oysters.

If worse came to worse, in a few dozen millenia, future generations of Aguiars still could be fishing in the village of Cordova. They may fish more often in their shirtsleeves, and they might have a few more tourists and sportsfishing boats to deal with ... so I suppose that's what the Warmies mean when they say climate change will end life as we know it.

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LA Times Takes Iran's Side In Nuke Debate

The lead story in Sunday's LATimes is nothing more than an apologist statement for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his policies, built (natch!) on criticism of the US administration:
VIENNA — Although international concern is growing about Iran's nuclear program and its regional ambitions, diplomats here say most U.S. intelligence shared with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has proved inaccurate and none has led to significant discoveries inside Iran.

The officials said the CIA and other Western spy services had provided sensitive information to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency at least since 2002, when Iran's long-secret nuclear program was exposed. But none of the tips about supposed secret weapons sites provided clear evidence that the Islamic Republic was developing illicit weapons.

"Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that's come to us has proved to be wrong," a senior diplomat at the IAEA said. Another official here described the agency's intelligence stream as "very cold now" because "so little panned out."

The reliability of U.S. information and assessments on Iran is increasingly at issue as the Bush administration confronts the emerging regional power on several fronts: its expanding nuclear effort, its alleged support for insurgents in Iraq and its backing of Middle East militant groups.
Taking the suppoposed dearth of "real evidence" of a nuke program, the LAT extrapolates to posit that there is no clear evidence for Iranian support of Shi'ite groups in Iran or for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Forget that Iranian trainers are captured in these places, forget that Iranian-manufactured munitions are found there -- and used to kill innocents and warriors against Islamist totalitarianism -- the lack of "real evidence" makes it all doubtful.

What would be "real evidence" to the LAT? A nuclear device with "Made in Iran" stamped on it? We haven't found that yet. How about all that "wipe Israel off the map" hysteria? Does the LAT and the IAEA think they intend to do that with a few tanks and conventional missiles?

Well, lacking that "real evidence," how about a notebook -- like the Giuliani campaign strategy notebook -- with all the details of Iran's nuke ambitions? Well, it turns out the IAEA pretty much found at least part of such a notebook already, and the LAT acknowledges as much:
In November 2005, U.N. inspectors leafing through papers in Tehran discovered a 15-page document that showed how to form highly enriched uranium into the configuration needed for the core of a nuclear bomb. Iran said the paper came from Pakistan, but has rebuffed IAEA requests to let inspectors take or copy it for further analysis.
Seems a tad suspicious, as does this:
Diplomats here were less convinced by documents recovered by U.S. intelligence from a laptop computer apparently stolen from Iran. American analysts first briefed senior IAEA officials on the contents of the hard drive at the U.S. mission here in mid-2005.

The documents included detailed designs to upgrade ballistic missiles to carry nuclear warheads, drawings for subterranean testing of high explosives, and two pages describing research on uranium tetrafluoride, known as "green salt," which is used during uranium enrichment. IAEA officials remain suspicious of the information in part because most of the papers are in English rather than Persian, the Iranian language.

"We don't know. Are they genuine, are they real?" asked a senior U.N. official here. Another official who was briefed on the documents said he was "very unconvinced."

Iran's representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, dismissed the laptop documents as "fabricated information." Iran, he said, has produced 170 tons of "green salt" at a uranium conversion facility in Esfahan that is monitored by the IAEA.

"We are not hiding it," he said in an interview. "We make tons of it. These documents are all nonsense."
Vienna is dismissing the hard-drive because the documents are in English? If they'd been in Klingon, I would have been suspicious, but since English is the language of science, this isn't a deal-killer to me. Besides, did no one in Vienna or the LAT think to follow up on the matters Soltanieh avoided in his "Green Salt" answer -- ballistic missile upgrades to make them nuke-capapble, and drawings of subterranean testing facilities?

The LAT goes on to dismiss Iranian supply of explosively formed projectiles because of US backtracking on one statement about the decision to provide EFP's was traceable to the "highest levels" of Iranian leadership. So? Supply is supply; Iran is Iran. We're sure they're not coming from repressed pro-democracy groups in Iran.

Also dismissed is Iranian supply of Hezbollah, despite overwhelming evidence. Just how it's dismissed isn't explained by the LAT. They just bring up the allegation and let it stand unchallenged, surrounded by challenged allegations. They appear afraid to draw conclusions from something anti-Iranian they can't refute.

The big question: Why?

Even though the article concludes with a fine quote --
"The Americans are worried about enriched uranium, and the Arabs are worried about enriched Shiism," said Mamoun Fandy, senior fellow for Persian Gulf security at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. Iran's growing power, he said, "threatens every existing political order in the region."
-- it's evident that the editors and publisher of the LAT are convinced by their Bush hatred that a US attack on Iran is imminent. The article is thrown out as a journalistic EFP, trying to kill a policy boogeyman that doesn't exist, but scares them.

Bush and his leadership can say "No, no, no, no, no" to questions about plans to attack Iran, but because they think Bush is a liar (he's not, of course), they don't believe him, so they find themselves defending Tehran and slamming America -- and the LAT journalistic elite seem to be quite happy being there.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Quote Of The Day: Hillary, Your Fangs Are Showing Edition

“Attack, attack, attack doesn’t always work, as the people in the Charge of the Light Brigade found out."
-- Bob Shrum

Shrum, one of the top Dem campaign strategists, is speaking of Hillary Clinton's campaign strategy, as it becomes evident that the vindictive, take no prisoners banshee that was behind Bill Clinton's campaign is behind her own campaign.

Amazing -- less than one month after declaring her candidacy, the grand illusion she has spent some eight years building is coming unravelled, all because of a clean and articulate first term senator from Illinois. Read these quotes that accompanied Schrum's in a Times of London article:

Dick Morris said of Hil, “Nobody’s allowed to do [criticize her]. Certainly none of their opponents. If they dare to, Hillary sends in one of her boys, who practically accuses them of being unAmerican.”

Chris Matthews said of the Clinton campaign's attempted early crush of Obama: “Is this the strategy? You cannot dare criticise us?”

Exactly what Hil needs to be running away from -- her old image -- is what she's embracing in the early days of the campaign. She could reinvent herself yet again, this time as one who can take crticism and give it without fear or recrimination, and she needs to if she's really In to Win.

But she doesn't have it in her.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Truth In Media: Newscaster Admits Dem Bias!

In this photo you can see it for yourself: A primetime TV anchor admitting on a live newscast he's a Dem sympathizer -- donkey ears and all!

Of course it's not true. No self-respecting TV anchor (Ha! Can you imagine a self-loathing TV anchor? Didn't think so!) would ever admit to the bias that is so evident.

No, the photo is of Madrid TV anchor Fernando Sánchez Dragó of Telemadrid, who apparently has a bit of a Olbermann-esque mouth on him:

[Drago] apologized for comments made in a local newspaper called 20 Minutos (20 Minutes).

In the interview, Sánchez Dragó was asked about his feelings about Madrid. Never one to miss an opportunity to be controversial, he responded by saying, "Spaniards are among the dirtiest people on earth and as for Madrileños (Madrid citizens), there's no need to say any more."

Adding fuel to the fire, he continued: "And the immigrants are even worse. There are no Madrileños anymore. Now they are black, copper-colored, yellow …" (Source)

It created quite a stir, especially since Telemadrid is government owned, so Drago donned the donkey ears during a broadcast to admit he's an ass. Hmm. Maybe he is a Dem.

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That Stinkin' Global Warming!

Dead fish -- thousands upon thousands of Talapia -- are decomposing with a great stench in the Salton Sea, southeast of Palm Springs. The Desert Sun reports:

"Septic conditions" could be created by the carcasses on the shores and the sinking dead fish, and that could pose serious health risks, said Jose Angel, assistant executive officer for the California Water Quality Board.

"We're worried about bacteria (in the localized water) that could be harmful," Angel said, adding that flies and mosquitoes could be drawn to the area. "A number of things could potentially develop."

While a cleanup of the sea's shores is scheduled for March 10, Salton Sea Authority Executive Director Rick Daniels said it will not alleviate the odor problem.

"When the fish sink to the bottom, we can't do anything about them," he said.

"We'll have 10 to 15 feet of odors coming out through the sea that will probably last through the summer."

I'm not sure what 10 to 15 feet of odors smells like, but I know I don't want to know.

The cause of this rare mid-winter die-off, you ask?
A cold snap in January caused water temperatures to dip into the 50s, which can be lethal for the fish, California Fish and Game biologist Jack Crayon said.
Temperatures in the sunny California desert cold enough long enough to drive water temperatures down the the 50s -- wow, this global warming is worse than I thought.

Another example of why the genius idiots behind Warmie hysteria are insisting we call it climate change instead of global warming. Long before the stink wears off the Salton Sea, the Warmies will be claiming this is more proof of the havok industrialization is wreaking on our poor, defenseless planet.

Hat-tip: Jim

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Deauthorizing The War: The Dem's Next Great Mistake

The new Dem strategy of repealing the October 2, 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq is being launched with bravado -- but it's bravado that's covering a stinging defeat of the party's dove leadership, and a challenge the Dem prez hopefuls would rather avoid.

Pelosi and Murtha wanted much more -- the imposition of controls on how the war is executed -- but they couldn't find support for their propositon. WaPo reports:
House Democrats have pulled back from efforts to link additional funding for the war to strict troop-readiness standards after the proposal came under withering fire from Republicans and from their party's own moderates.
You've got to search pretty hard for anything approaching a victory for the inept and noisy Pelosi/Murtha faction, who wrongly thought the midterm election was an endorsement of cut and run in Iraq.

Repealing the Authorization is a more intelligent approach than the blundering sledgehammer swings that are Murtha's favored approach. It probably won't go anywhere, thanks to Senate rules, but unlike Pelosi/Murtha, it actually sets the stage for the debate the Dems want on the war.

The Authorization contains 23 "whereas" phrases, 10 of which mention WMDs. Reading them today, especially with Dem glasses on, they weaken the resolution's credibility. Of course, Saddam could have shipped some out, of course he was poised to re-start the program at the first opportunity, but read the resolution, and you get the sense we would have uncovered massive stockpiles of ticking biological and chemical weapons and found rows of cyclotrons humming away.

That's what was on John Kerry's mind when he spoke of his support of repeal:
"I've had enough of non-binding. The authorization that we gave the president back in 2002 is completely, completely outdated, inappropriate to what we're engaged in today."
That's going to be their debate, and I say bring it on, because as usual, the Dems are launching a campaign based on fallacious assumptions. For example, the Authorization includes this:
Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;
and this:
Whereas Congress has taken steps to pursue vigorously the war on terrorism through the provision of authorities and funding requested by the President to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 or harbored such persons or organizations;
and this:
Whereas the President and Congress are determined to continue to take all appropriate actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations;
and these concluding whereases:

Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to take action in order to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States, as Congress recognized in the joint resolution on Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40); and

Whereas it is in the national security of the United States to restore international peace and security to the Persian Gulf region ...

Do the Dems really want to repeal any of those statements? Do they want to vote to repeal an Authorization to fight international terrorism and hunt down al Qaeda?

Of course not. And as long as this language stays alive, as it must, the president is authorized to do what he's doing in Iraq. Take these authorizations away, and you're saying you're giving up on fighting terror, that 9/11 is nothing more than a bygone.

Bring on the vote, and bring it fast! I want to see how Hil and Obama vote on this one -- you might as well call it the Dem Campaign Killing Act of 2007.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Spanking Bill Spanked, But Meddling Never Dies

There will be less fiddling in Sacramento as California burns:

The California Legislature won't be cracking down on spanking after all.

Assemblywoman Sally Lieber has abandoned her plans to push for a legislative prohibition on parents spanking their children under age 4.

Lieber, D-Mountain View, will introduce a bill Thursday morning that will target the use of physical force on children, but not spanking, an aide said. (source)

Lieber, who lives the child-free life of a Bay Area liberal, isn't giving up on dictating to parents how to handle their kids. Licking her wounds after getting stomped on her spanking bill, she's introduced a new bill that proposes a "rebuttable presumption" that throwing, kicking or hitting children under 18 with a cord or other instrument is unjustifiable, and that for kids under four, vigorous shaking and the act of hitting or slapping on the head or face.

Sal Gal, we don't need laws to tell us that.

She hasn't exactly freed up the Legislature to actually take care of important things a state legislature should do -- balancing the budget, trying to contain state employee and teacher unions before they bankrupt us, salvaging our infrastructure -- but hopefully the debate on her new bill will take less time than the spanking bill.

But honestly, do we need another law in this area? Hurting kids is illegal and bad parenting, and we don't need an anti-parenting busybody to stick her nose, and the California State Legislature's noses, into our homes.

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What Would Tip Do?

Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi got so mad at Dick Cheney, she called the Prez to give him a piece of her mind.

I had felt nervous about my post yesterday questioning Hillary's recent action as overly female, but that nervousness was wiped away by this reassuring -- and very humorous -- news. Hillary getting her staff to melt down for her over David Geffen's honest statement about the Clintons was typically Clintonesque, typical of a political hack ... and it reflected certain womanly characteristics that men in politics pretty much don't share. (Well, maybe Dan Foley does.)

As I read of our Dem leader's impulsive and pointless phone call, I thought of Tip O'Neill, the crusty Bostonian Dem House leader from 1977-1987. Would Tip have grabbed the phone to tell Reagan a piece of his mind? Doubtful. He would have poured himself a Scotch, sworn a blue streak, and gotten on with business.

Not NanPo.
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday phoned President Bush to air her complaints over Vice President Dick Cheney's comments that the Congressional Democrats' plan for Iraq would "validate the Al Qaeda strategy."

Pelosi, who said she could not reach the president, said Cheney's comments wrongly questioned critics' patriotism and ignored Bush's call for openness on Iraq strategy.

"You cannot say as the president of the United States, 'I welcome disagreement in a time of war,' and then have the vice president of the United States go out of the country and mischaracterize a position of the speaker of the House and in a manner that says that person in that position of authority is acting against the national security of our country," the speaker said.

Pelosi, at a news conference in San Francisco, said Cheney's criticism of Democrats was "beneath the dignity of the debate we're engaged in and a disservice to our men and women in uniform, whom we all support."

"And you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to call the president and tell him I disapprove of what the vice president said," Pelosi said. "It has no place in our debate." Bush had previously urged her to call him when a member of his administration stepped over the line by questioning Democrats' patriotism, she said. (Fox)
On the Geffen matter, while Hil was saying she was running a positive campaign, whe was directing her staff to be anything but. On this, NanPo criticized the Prez for not welcoming debate because of his Veep's statement -- then behaved like someone who would allow no debate whatsoever.

Cheney's statement was pointed but hardly what Pelosi characterized it to be:
"I think if we were to do what Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha are suggesting, all we will do is validate the Al Qaeda strategy. The Al Qaeda strategy is to break the will of the American people ... try to persuade us to throw in the towel and come home, and then they win because we quit."
What about that is beneath debate? What about it debases the men and women in the military? What about it questions the patriotism of NanPo and her senile lapdog? And where was NanPo's answer? Non-existent! Because it's "beneath debate!" Says who? We really want to hear why the Dem plan doesn't build up al Qaeda.

Tip would have sucked Cheney's comment in with a deep draw of cigar smoke, washed it down with a barley beverage, and colorfully pointed out errors and shortfalls in Cheney's statements, character and politics. It would have been memorable and probably strategic.

What did Nancy get? Hung out to dry by the President's Chief of Staff. The First Female Speaker of the House didn't even know that you don't herald a call to the President unless you're sure he's in.

The two most powerful women in American politics are doing nothing to promote women in politics by this kind of behavior.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Maybe They Should Give More

Here's the headline on a story AP ran this afternoon on colleges receiving increased donations:

Fifteen minutes later, AP ran this story:

I guess college journalism classes aren't spending much time on math nowdays.

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The Huge Implications Of Hillary's Hissy Fit

Hillary's hissy fit over David Geffen's Clinton slam got me thinking about women in politics. (No disrespect to Incredible Wife who very rarely hisses.) Here's the latest on the fit:
The rival presidential campaigns of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama traded accusations of nasty politics Wednesday over Hollywood donor David Geffen, who once backed Bill Clinton but now supports his wife's top rival.

The Clinton campaign demanded that Obama denounce comments made by the DreamWorks movie studio founder, who told New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd in Wednesday's editions that while "everybody in politics lies," the former president and his wife "do it with such ease, it's troubling."

The Clinton camp also called on Obama to give back Geffen's $2,300 contribution.

Campaigning in Iowa, Obama refused. ...

"It's not clear to me why I'd be apologizing for someone else's remark," the Illinois senator said.

For her part, New York Sen. Clinton sidestepped questions, leaving the issue to her aides to discuss.

"I'm just going to stay focused on my campaign and I'm going to run a positive campaign about the issues that affect the people in our country," she told The Associated Press in an interview in Nevada. (AP)
Hillary obviously was in charge of the entire process, determining on her own who would respond and what they would say, then claiming she's running a positive campaign -- unequivocal proof that Geffen was right in saying the Clintons are completely untroubled by their lies.

Is she behaving like a Clinton, a politician ... or just a woman?

Normally I wouldn't pose this question (part out of fear, part out of respect), but I've been mulling over an NYT story for a week or so now. The headline is a bit, well ... hysterical, which isn't a good way to start of an article about women in politics:

In State Legislatures, Democrats Are Pushing
Toward Parity Between the Sexes

The story's basically not true. Plod through the chatter to paragraph 20 and you find the nuts and bolts (eye shadow and Midol?) of the female surge in state politics:
Republican women lost ground and saw their numbers slide everywhere but in parts of the South. There are now only 534 of them out of more than 7,300 party-affiliated state legislators nationwide, compared with 1,187 Democratic women, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan group.
Assuming the 7,300 seats are fairly evenly split at 3,650 per party, the GOP gals have about 15% of the seats, while the Demwomen make up about a third of that party's state electeds. (Does it seem to you that the structure of the paragraph was deliberately made obtuse, so people would think only 534 of 7,300 elected GOP seats were filled by women? Maybe.)

But that's not the point of this post. Women are gaining seats, at least in the Dem party. Suppose they keep coming, filling the low seats on the political bleachers, then climbing up until parity -- true parity, as opposed to NYT headline parity -- is achieved in Congress. Would that be good for America?

Part of the increase in elected women is very much good for America, because most of these women won because are not the feminists that previously ran, alienating most men and many women; rather, they are moderate, mainstream and palatable to broader audiences.

The NYT makes another positive speculation: Women, we're told, bring more reasonableness to American politics because of their roles as women, they are used to finding solutions that work, and are unburdened by that pesky testosterone driven strutting of men. (And I thought feminism taught us men and women are the same!)

Left unsaid are other differences between men and women, one I'd like to focus on primarily: the womanly way of remembering conversations and relationship issues long, long after men have moved on. I remember an expert saying that studies show that when they have time on their hands, men tend to think in short segments about work strategies, sports, sex, whatever, but women play lengthy mental tapes of conversations over and over in their heads, analyzing them.

I can't imagine, but Incredible Wife confirms it's true for her at least. Sometimes the result is good -- a hug out of nowhere -- sometimes it is very bad, as things that should have been forgotten or forgiven long ago (to my bumbling male mind, anyway) gets revisited. Again. And again.

That's bad enough in domestic relationships, but imagine a floor-full of Congresspersons, the majority playing old conversations through their minds, remembering old relational pluses and minuses, and basing votes, at least in part, on that instead of more immediate concerns.

I'm not so sure that's a good thing.

Back to Hillary. When Bill heard Geffen's comment, he was probably angry. He almost certainly remembered how much money Geffen had given his campaign (Geffen raised millions for Bill) and he most likely got steamed thinking about Obama getting money he (oh, yeah, and Hillary) didn't.

Hillary, on the other hand, probably remembered every time she's met Geffen and was able to listen in her head to old conversations in which he said nice things to her and made her feel as if she had her support.

Bill's reaction would be political; Hillary's was personal, played out politically. That may explain why she made the grievous tactical error she made today -- one that may just be the turning point of her campaign.

The wannabe future world leader came off as a vindictive, lying woman today. She won't be able to do that too many more times and still be In To Win.

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Mon Dieu! Le Hornet! Le Global Warming!

Asian hornets are spreading through Europe and have already killed off more than half of France's honeybees, which reportedly waved tiny white flags before succumbing to the new Yellow Peril.

The hornets arrived in a shipment of ceramic pots from China so we could blame globalization -- but how passe is that? No, let's pin it on global warming instead!

It's true -- the pinning part at least. The latest manefestation of Warmie hysterics is the Great Asian Hornet Invasion, so we're adding "habitat change" to "climate change" in the global vernacular. Here's the explain-o from the UK Telegraph:

"There's no doubt that these hornets are heading north and will probably find their way to Britain at some point," said Stuart Hine, manager of the Insect Information Service at London's Natural History Museum.

"Climate change certainly means they can cope with European summers. However, they would still have difficulty coping with our winter frosts."

It's bunk, of course. Europe's summers may be warmer than a few years ago (disputable), but they're still 10 degrees F colder than Beijing's, with mean August temps of 67 degrees in Paris and 77 degrees in Beijing. Relative to climate change increases in the hundreths of degrees, 10 degrees F is positively cataclysmic.

In the winter, Beijing is colder, 31 degrees mean to 40 degrees, so the idea that the hornets will have trouble surviving the European winters is climatological poppycock, as is so much of Warmie hysterics.

The climate differences between Beijing and Paris are naturally much, much greater than any changes brought by climate change, so let's attribute this to survivability, not SUVs. Hornets have survived the millenia through global cold spells and global hot spells more severe than what we're experiencing today ... but how many newspapers will that sell?

The theory that anything but sloppy customs checks is to blame for the spread of Asian hornets in Europe can be disproved in about two minutes on the Internet ... but apparently the crack reporters in the mainstream media are content to be spoon fed Warmie fantasies, so they can regurgitate them all over their readers.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Who Should Get The RNCC's Dirty Money?

Hugh posts:

From the AP:

A New York man accused of trying to help terrorists in Afghanistan has donated some $15,000 to the House Republicans' campaign committee over three years.

Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari pleaded not guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to charges that include terrorism financing, material support of terrorism and money laundering.

From April 2002 until August 2004, the man also known as "Michael Mixon" gave donations ranging from $500 to $5,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to Federal Election Commission reports and two campaign donor tracking Web sites, and

Incredibly, the NRCC says it will donate the money to charity "if he's found guilty!"

Look, the standard for conviction is very different than the standard for taking money. I don't think the NRCC should keep the money of indicted terrorist suspects.

I couldn't agree more. What are the Republicans thinking? My money 'til proven guilty? A little terror-cash won't corrupt us?

Hugh suggests the RNCC should donate the money to the Semper Fi Fund. A caller trumped that by suggesting a charity that supports the Israeli Defence Force. Ha!

Any better ideas? I like both of their ideas a lot, but wouldn't it be fun to use it for seed money into a film on the Crusades?

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Fig Leaves, Fudge Factors And Global Warming

When scientists use computer models -- whether it's for predicting the effects of development on an endangered species or what the global temperature will be in 2027 -- things can go wrong. And usually do.

And when they do, scientists do what anyone does -- they defend their position until long after it's reasonable to do so. They're not pugilistic about it; they're formulaic. Specifically, they keep applying and re-applying their formulas (called "fig leaves" by certain wags, hence our lovely model). It's the scientific counterpart to the old AA saying, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

Fig leaves, fudge factors and kamikaze approaches are all terms used by Orrin Pilkey and his daughter Linda Pilkey-Jarvis in their book on the dangers of assuming scientific models can be trusted, Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can't Predict the Future.

Warmie scientists should read the book, but of course they won't. Doing so would mean they would have to remove their fig leaves. Ick.

But Cornelia Dean read it for the NYT and wrote a lauding review -- another step, I hope, in the gradual destruction of the credibility of the Warmie movement. Climate change is one of the big topics on the Pilkey book, and it's pretty shocking:
Two issues, the authors say, illustrate other problems with modeling. One is climate change, in which, they say, experts’ justifiable caution about model uncertainties can encourage them to ignore accumulating evidence from the real world.
Got that? Weather forecasters who never step outside to check the weather! It's already happening in the young art of climate hysteria, as earlier, short-term models are found to over-predict everything from ice melt to temperature change. The response? More models.

It won't work because models fail. Pilkey's early work on modeling sand movement on beaches -- models that were exquisitely elegant but perputually useless -- gave him the answer why:
Among other things, participants concluded that beach modelers applied too many fixed values to phenomena that actually change quite a lot. For example, “assumed average wave height,” a variable crucial for many models, assumes that all waves hit the beach in the same way, that they are all the same height and that their patterns will not change over time. But, the authors say, that’s not the way things work.
Their solution? Well, there's a bunch of ideas about how to work smarter with models, but the idea I like the most is this: Throw 'em all out.

It sounds radical, but think a moment. If you throw out the models, you will have to observe what's going on, think it through, try a solution, observe if it works, adjust, observe, adjust again. If you have any life experience at all, you know that's a superior solution.

Scientists complain about it. It'll be too expensive, too time consuming, too much time outside our comfortable labs. But whoa up there, Dr. Partner. With the Stern Report predicting the cost of stopping global warming at $400 billion a year, scrapping the models and funding actual research, analysis and planning seems like a much more sensible approach, since funds would be committed only when a need was found and verified, and a plan of action was designed.

The haphazard de-industrialization of the planet and heartless ignoring of more pressing human needs (AIDS, malaria, education, opportunity) all because a model tells us to is worse than useless arithmetic -- it's immoral arithmetic.

Hat-tip: Neil

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Why Are We Not Done With Dionne?

E.J. Dionne gets under my skin because he's a man with little common sense who has been given a massive soapbox to say what he will. The WaPo columnist had this to say on Real Clear Politics this a.m.:
The challenge to critics of the war is to make the debate about Bush, not themselves, and to make clear that the president has rebuffed all efforts to pursue a bipartisan path out of Iraq, beginning with his rejection of the core recommendations of the Iraq Study Group headed by James A. Baker III and Lee Hamilton.
What a breakthrough! Make the war about Bush! Why hadn't the Left thought of that before? Brilliant!

Dionne is hanging out with former DC mayors if he thinks there's a crack-smoke-thin whiff of bipartisanship in the Dem party. Hasn't been since Florida in 2000. Their definition of bipartisanship is "My way or the highway, Bub."

If there were bipartisan leadership in the Dems, there wouldn't have been a Resolution to Show No Resolve. There might have been a non-binding resolution saying timelines and performance milestones need to be imposed on the Baghdad government, but not a no confidence resolution like the House and Senate bills.

And Dionne's reference to the Baker-Hamilton report, which has been shown to be deeply, mortally flawed, is about as compellling as a third-rate hack spinning for a losing cause. Waving that report under our noses may influence some, but most of us just smell a stink.

Of Jack Murtha's proposed end-around -- support the troops by making it impossible for them to fight by enforcing "term limits" on their action in Iraq -- Dionne says:
The Murtha measure would at least force a much-needed debate on the damage this war has done to our armed forces and the extraordinary burdens being borne by the brave minority of Americans who serve. It would also sidestep the political damage of doing anything that could be construed by Bush's supporters as "failing to support our troops.''
Granted, Dionne goes on to say Murtha's approach is doomed, but does he think we voters would actually buy Murtha's approach as anything but a slap in the face of the soldiers? We're too smart by far. We know that Murtha's measure isn't based on concern for the troops or their families -- if he's even talked to them, he knows the majority are there for the long haul -- it's just political sidestepping and cowardness.

I could go on, but I have to be 50 miles from here in an hour, so I'll just leave with this: Dionne may be a fool, but he's a fool to millions. Throughout Iraq are U.S. soldiers who are nobody's fools, certainly not his, and they would like to be able to get on with their mission without the knowledge that they are fighting to protect the liberties of liberals with oversized influence and undersized appreciation.

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Insert The Word "Baptist" And Voila, No News

I'm going to replace the word "Muslim" with the word "Baptist" in this news article about Ibrahim Ahmed, right. See it's a story you'd ever find in the news:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Baptist cabdriver from Somalia ran over two college students near Vanderbilt University after getting into an argument with them about religion, police said.

Ibrahim Ahmed, 37, a driver for United Cab, picked up two men near the Vanderbilt campus early Sunday morning, Capt. Mike Alexander of the Nashville Police Department said, referring to the incident report.

The two men, reportedly college students from Ohio who were visiting Nashville, were on their way back to the campus.

A conversation about religion ensued between the driver and his two fares. The local FOX affiliate in Nashville confirmed from a friend and fellow co-worker that Ahmed is a Baptist from Somalia. ...

According to the incident report, Ahmed then returned to his cab as the students fled on foot. Ahmed then allegedly drove across a parking lot, jumped a curb and struck the two men.

One of the students, identified as Jeremy Invus, was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center with critical injuries. The other passenger, Andrew Nelson, avoided the cab. ...

Ahmed, charged with assault and attempted homicide, is being held on $300,000 bond. He also was also charged with theft because police said the license plate on his cab was listed as stolen. (Fox)
Do you buy the Baptist story? Unlikely. Also unlikely, appaprently, is that Ahmed will be charged with a hate crime -- something that would have happened in a heartbeat had he been a Baptist instead of a Sunni Muslim, and his fares had been Muslims.

This appears to be the passion of a moment, not a jihad, but just as certainly, it is an indication of the gulf between the Muslim world and the Western world.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Our Crumbling Civilization: William, Mary And Sex Edition

What would William & Mary's most famous alums -- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Tyler -- think if they knew the school they attended was using public funds for pubic (no typo there) events?
A recent "sex workers" art show at the College of William & Mary is prompting more questions about President Gene R. Nichol's leadership of the 314-year-old public university.

Mr. Nichol allowed the "Sex Workers' Art Show" to stop at William & Mary last week as part of its national tour. The event included male and female strippers, escorts and prostitutes in various states of undress expressing their feelings on subjects ranging from their jobs to global politics. (WashTimes)
Is what an escort thinks about the war in Iraq now considered meaningful education? Is watching hookers sit around wearing (or not wearing) who knows what the sort of learning activity taxpayers had in mind when the nation's second-oldest college went on the public dole back in 1906?

Nichols justified his position on the sex show as you would expect:
"I don't like this kind of show, and I don't like having it here," Mr. Nichol told the Williamsburg-based Virginia Gazette. "But it is not the practice and province of universities to censor or cancel performances because they are controversial."
Of course, he's not telling the truth. The open door is extended to liberal and secular programs; questions are raised only about conservative or religious ... make that Christian ... programs. In fact, another controversial move by Nichol did just that:
The criticism against Mr. Nichol began in October when he removed a cross from the school's Wren Chapel to make it more open to people of all faiths.

Mr. Nichol said he removed the cross because potential students and their families viewing the chapel on campus tours immediately departed and because a Jewish student required to participate in a program in the chapel vowed never to return. ...

Before Mr. Nichol's decision about the cross, it was always on display but could be removed by request. Now it can be returned by request.
What did Nichol do to the cross? He censored it! He cancelled its performance, which had been continuous since Williamsburg's historic Bruton Parish loaned it to the college in 1940.

One hypersensitive and bigoted Jewish student raising a stink is not exactly a big-time controversy, but it was enough to get Nichol jumping up and ripping down the cross, an action since approved (Natch!) by the faculty and student assemblies.

One alum, Karla Bruno, who has decided to withhold financial support from the college until sensibilities are re-established, put it nicely:
"Where's the line? There's got to be a line somewhere. He's making a judgment call about the cross, but he refuses to make a judgment call about this depraved event that was going on at the University Center."

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Clash And Cash: Today's Iran News

Iran's instability continues to grow. Last week, 11 Revolutionary Guards were killed in an attack on a bus. Then last Friday, there was this:
Following a bomb blast, clashes have broken out between armed militants and police in the south-eastern Iranian city of Zahedan, even as police sealed off the area and exchanged fire with the attackers, state media have reported. (source)
The reason for the skirmishes is -- guess what!? -- Sunni/Shi'ite tensions! You betcha! It's the magic potion that keeps the fires burning throughout the Islamic world, where the religion relishes violence for a god that relishes violence. Here's the International Herald Trib:

A second bomb was set off in Zahedan on Friday evening. The semiofficial Fars press agency reported that it had caused no casualties. But the news agency said that the police had exchanged gunfire with an armed group after the blast.

Zahedan, the capital of Sistan and Baluchistan Province, is home to many ethnic Baluchis, who are Sunni Muslims. A majority of Iranians are Shiites. A Baluchi group opposed to the government, the Jundallah Organization of Iran, claimed responsibility for both attacks.

For the moment, Iran's blaming Pakistan. Count to three and Bush will be behind it all, and Mah- "I'm in the moud for Sunni-kabobs" Ahmadinejad (rhymes with "They're better than Jews, but Sunnis are bad") will be using the Zahedan bombs as a justification for the nation's nuclear program.

Speaking of nukes, Ahmadinejad's having no fun there, either. BBC reports:
Russian officials have warned work on an Iranian nuclear plant may be delayed because Iran is late with payments.

Russia has agreed a $1bn (£513m) deal to generate electricity at the Bushehr nuclear plant in southern Iran.

Under the Bushehr deal, Russia would have started fuel shipments by March, launched the plant in September and begun to generate electricity by November.

Russia's Federal Nuclear Power Agency spokesman Sergey Novikov said the "launch schedule definitely could be affected" by the delay in payments.

One unnamed Russian official told Associated Press Iran was blaming "technical reasons" for the delay. Iran has not commented officially.
Technical reasons? Did Ahmadinejad lose his pin number?

Art: Now What?

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ACLU Attacks Gifted Program, Wants Race-Bacing, Not Smarts

OC's Tustin school district has been sued by the ACLU for letting only smart kids into its gifted student program -- kids that look too much like this young fellow. The LAT reports:
Too few Latino and African American students are enrolled in gifted programs in the Tustin Unified School District, the ACLU charged in a letter sent to the district Thursday. The organization said it planned to sue the district if the disparity was not corrected.
What kind of school district would keep minorities out of its gifted program? Answer: None. That's not the ACLU's point. They're not counting minorities here; they're trying to overturn the system.

It's not enough that Tustin didn't just put all the gifted kids, no matter what their background, into the gifted program, says the ACLU; no, they need to do much more than that:
Minority and lower-income students have less access to such advantages as proper nutrition and preschool, which are the building blocks for their educational careers, [Carolyn Callahan, who's working with the ACLU on this] said. Along with a lack of training of teachers and administrators in how to identify gifted youths from all backgrounds, standardized testing that is culturally biased, and societal messages that lower these children's self-esteem, they are less likely to be chosen for such programs.

"Opportunities don't present themselves in the same way," [Callahan] said
The lawsuit is not at all about gifted children, you see. It's about finding an avenue to force societal equalization (read, Communism) on America. The only solution to the ACLU challenge is for Tustin to see that all children have the same nutrition, the same preschool, the same self-esteem. And, if that's not possible -- which as long as America stays free, it's not -- then gifted programs have to accept the ungifted by offering tests that are not "culturally biased," which means tests that give breaks to minorities.

No word yet on whether Tustin will cower and fold, or stand up and fight like an American school district.

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