Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Scan

A Curious Endorsement

Ed Morrisey, skipper of Captain's Quarters has decided who he's going to vote for and has published an endorsement. It's Mitt Romney, and his thinking is much like mine, as I approach finality in my decision-making. (I need to decide by California's Feb. 5 primary unless I vote absentee.)

No one's the perfect conservative, but Mitt'll do. Check. Executive leadership and experience. Check. The guy we want if the economy turns south. Check.

What is telling, very, very telling, is that the war against Islamic jihadists and Iraq is not mentioned once in Morissey's endorsement. How could such a thoroughly exceptional an observer of our times make so monumental oversight?

In part, it's because when looking at McCain, Romney and Giuliani, there's strong confidence that any of them have the ability to faithfully and forcefully guide the mission.

And in part, it's because we have a general and senior staff in the field who are getting the job done, taking the pressure off the president.

And that is also, perhaps, the reason for Morrissey's oversight. With the war going well, one of the keenest observers of the war on terror simply forgot to mention it.

A Kennedy Endorsement

There's news today that Ted Kennedy has come out of his fog long enough to endorse Obama tomorrow. Could I care any less? Checking .... No.

But who can't take note, as I wrote last night, that Caroline Kennedy is endorsing Obama? That is golden; that has value; that has magic.

I still think of Caroline Kennedy as a little girl in a pretty coat standing by her mother as little John saluted. That image in our mind gives her a very special place in the American consciousness, as does how she has lived her life since: quietly and pretty darn normally.

So when this 40-year-old mother of teens who works in New York City's' schools writes of Obama in today's NYT ...
There is a generation coming of age that is hopeful, hard-working, innovative and imaginative. But too many of them are also hopeless, defeated and disengaged. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our children to believe in themselves and in their power to shape their future. Senator Obama is inspiring my children, my parents’ grandchildren, with that sense of possibility. ...

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.
... it is a powerful thing for Obama, indeed.

I was Boy Scout age when Kennedy was killed, so I admit that some youthful romanticism is affecting my thinking. That said, I still think this endorsement is huge, and may have just iced Obama as the Dem nominee.

And we were so hoping to be able to take on Hillary.

Throwing Stones At Greenhouses

In case your copy of the journal from the Institut für Mathematische Physik at Germany's Technische Universität Carolo-Wilhelmina has been sitting around unread since last summer, here's what you're missing:
The atmospheric greenhouse effect, an idea that authors trace back to the traditional works of Fourier 1824, Tyndall 1861 and Arrhenius 1896 and is still supported in global climatology essentially describes a fictitious mechanism in which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system. According to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist. Nevertheless, in almost all texts of global climatology and in a widespread secondary literature it is taken for granted that such mechanism is real and stands on a firm scientific foundation. In this paper the popular conjecture is analyzed and the underlying physical principles are clarified. By showing that (a) there are no common physical laws between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric greenhouse effects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned difference of 33 °C is a meaningless number calculated wrongly, (d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical, (f) thermal conductivity and friction must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified.
A hat-tip Bubba who led me to the post by Van Helsing at Moonbattery, who comments, "Someone get this to Al Gore quickly, before he makes a fool of himself. Whoops, too late."

Russia Pumped Oil-for-Food For Bucks

Just when you thought the Oil-for-Food scandal was past its last outrage, just when you thought Putin's Russia couldn't get any more troubling, there's always another story that shouts, "You ain't seen nuthin' yet!" And this new one, from Sky News, is a doozey:
A former Russian spymaster has said his agents helped the Russian government steal nearly $500m (£252m) from the UN's oil-for-food programme in Iraq.

Sergei Tretyakov says he helped Saddam Hussein's regime manipulate the price of Iraqi oil sold under the programme.

The scheme was set up to ease the suffering of ordinary Iraqis under UN sanctions imposed after Saddam's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

It allowed Iraq to sell oil provided the bulk of the proceeds were used to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian goods and to pay war reparations.

However, a UN investigation has accused 2,200 companies from 40 countries of cheating the scheme out of some $1.8bn (about £908m).

The former spy, who defected to the US in 2000 as a double agent, said this allowed Russia to skim profits on the scheme.
Of the UN, Tretyakov says,
"It's an international spy nest. Inside the UN, we were fishing for knowledgeable diplomats who could give us first of all anti-American information."
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing: Why do we pay to keep the UN alive when it's used against us, when it steals from and rapes those it is supposed to help, and when it's designed primarily to benefit our enemies?

Putin's New Man At NATO

And while we're on the subject of Putinville, let's pause to consider Vlad the Tiny's new appointment to represent Russia at NATO, Dmitri Rogozin. It's an appointment, says Andreus Umland at History News Network, that should be seen as "a slap in the face of the West."
The new NATO envoy is an infamous nationalist with manifold links to racist and antisemitic circles throughout his political career. From the beginning of his rise, Rogozin’s image has been that of a “protector” of ethnic Russians in and outside the Russian Federation, as well as of a rabidly anti-Western pan-Slavist. He was founder and co-founder of various nationalist groupings one of which openly demanded, among other things, to make homosexualism a criminal offense.

At a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Rogozin made Europe responsible for the horrors of Soviet communism - in as far as Marxism was imported to Russia from the West.
Just Putin's type, eh?

Bans And Lifting Bans

Spiegel has a couple interesting stories today on bans -- one on a busybody secularist ban that forces a change in many folks' lifestyle, all to aggrandize the Nanny State, and one a ban that's being lifted in order to squelch secularism -- an action that makes me nervous.

First, from Germany, the nation that brought us stern bauhaus avant guarde denizens, always with a cigarette dangling, there's this:
Helmut Schmidt, former German chancellor, former minister of defense and co-publisher of the influential weekly newspaper Die Zeit, is being accused of breaking the law -- for violating Germany's new ban on smoking in public places.

Committed smokers Helmut Schmidt and his wife Loki -- aged a lung-cancer-defying 89 and 88, respectively -- are being investigated by Hamburg public prosecutors under suspicion of breaking the smoking ban and endangering public health, the mass-circulation daily Bild reported Friday. The complaint was brought by the Wiesbaden Non-Smokers Initiative, an anti-smoking organization based in the town of Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt.

If you're almost 90 and you want to light up, and you're the guest of honor at the event, shouldn't you be able to? Of course not!

The Nanny Staters saw in Schmidt a target to publicize campaign to control our lives, so he and Loki are now potentially common criminals, all in the name of people who know what's good for us (and not smoking is definitely good for us) telling us what to do.

Then, from Turkey, there's this:
Women at Turkish universities could soon show up in class wearing traditional Islamic head scarves, as the government moves towards lifting a ban on the practice.

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has its root in an Islamist religious movement, reached an agreement with an opposition nationalist party on Thursday to cooperate on legislation to lift the two decade-old ban.

"Agreement has been reached ... the issue of the head scarf was evaluated in terms of rights and freedoms," read a joint statement released by the AKP and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The two parties control enough seats in parliament to end the ban with a vote that could be held as early as next week.

A lift on the ban would anger Turkey's secular elite, who view the wearing of head scarves as a political statement aimed at undermining the nation's secular principles.

Anyone following Turkish politics could see this coming. Fundamentally (bad choice of words?), my response should be "good," because government shouldn't be setting dress codes for schools. If a Muslim girl wants to wear a scarf, then why shouldn't she be able to?

But things are never simple in Turkey, or with Islam. The ban is more like a social dike, keeping all the harsh and restrictive tenants of Islam from overtaking the university. It's a symbol that there's a place where free thought is still allowed -- even as banning the scarves is a symbol that there's a place where free thought is not allowed.

Big picture: Turkey is on its way to losing its important symbolic role as the world's foremost secular Islamic nation. I fear that once scarves are allowed on campus, any girl trying to go to school without one will become the victim of Islamist thugs, and Islam will grab the nation's free spirit in its chilling, vice-like grip.

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