Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sunday Scan

Triple Crown

Jockey Kent Desormeaux summed up yesterday's Belmont Stakes pretty well, saying of Triple Crown contender Big Brown, "I had no horse." Big Brown finished a distant, distant last, and another year goes by without a Triple Crown winner.

I didn't even watch the race because I've soured on all forms of gambling, but it reminded me of 1977 and Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, who I saw very up-close at the Kentucky Derby.

The not so incredible ex-wife was a photographer at the Louisville Courier Journal and I was her Derby photo assistant. She buried an auto-drive Nikon so the lens was at dirt level under the rail about 10 yards past the finish line. She focused it on the finish line, and handed me a cable remote.

"Push it when they reach the last pole before the finish and hold it down until the last horse is past you," she said. And that's what I did.

As the pack tore past me, I heard the jockeys yelling and the leather creaking and the whips slapping, I felt a hot rush of air, and was spattered with horse sweat. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life. After they blew past, I let the shutter button go and remembered to start breathing again.

In the process, I took an image of Seattle Slew crossing the finish line, all four feet in the air. It became somewhat famous; in fact, when a commemorative plate company selected one image of Seattle Slew for a series of plates on Triple Crown winners, they selected my Derby picture. Here it is:

I can't claim it as mine; it's credited to my ex-wife. But it's a heck of a lot better than the crummy one of the Belmont at the top of the post, isn't it?

Those Racist Clintons

"Sometimes your opponent just runs a good campaign," lamented Hillary's campaign chief Mark Penn in an NYT op/ed today.

I thought you paid geniuses like Penn millions of dollars, as Hillary did, so that your candidate would run a better campaign.

Penn raises many excuses for Hillary's failure, boiling it down mostly to money -- another responsibility of the campaign chief -- but the most interesting paragraph in the piece is this one:
The Clintons have spent their lives fighting as much as any leaders in their generation for greater equality across racial and gender lines. I believe nothing they said was ever intended to divide the country by race. Any suggestion to the contrary was perhaps the greatest injustice done to them in this campaign.
All in all, I have to agree with him, even though I can't stand it, and even with the famous Bill-ism about the only reason why Obama is running a fairy-tale campaign is because he's black, and the famously misinterpreted Hil-ism about Bobby Kennedy's assassination.

Back in February, I wrote a post titled In A PC Nation, How Will The GOP Run? that raised the issue of hyper-sensitivity on race issues:
Even if there were a line fine enough to appease the keepers of political correctness in the black, feminist and media communities, and there's not, the GOP will be charged with crossing it. There is no way the GOP can get to November without being called every "ist" in the book.
Still true, more true, today. As it turns out, even the Clintons couldn't pass this test in the face of the Obamaniacs who are found in high positions in the media and the DNC. The challenge for that old white guy with his blond cutie-pie of a wife has not gotten any easier.

China, The Nation That Keeps On Giving

Toys with lead paint, tainted dog food, and of course who can forget bird flu? China is such a generous nation! So giving! And since bird flu was such a hit last time around, it's now time for bird flu redux:
HONG KONG (WSJ) -- Hong Kong authorities slaughtered 2,700 birds and banned live poultry imports from mainland China for up to 21 days, after a routine inspection Saturday found chickens in one of the city's poultry markets infected with the dangerous H5N1 bird-flu virus.

While there's little immediate threat to humans from the infected birds, the discovery revives fears that the disease could still be a problem with poultry flocks in southern China -- although it isn't yet clear whether the infected birds came from local or mainland Chinese farms."
And what does the generous, giving People's Republic have to say about all this? Ever the humble gift-giver, they deferred:
An official with the General Administration of Quality, Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said the agency needed to consider questions about the matter before responding.
Can you say "chicken?"

Those Pesky Thermometers

Yesterday I wrote about NASA cooking the books on its US temperature data, a story Warmie cultists would no doubt reject as tales of denial by Warmie heretics. Well, if they had pipes and if they burned those little bowls of carbon-based plant material, I'd tell them to put this in their pipes and smoke it:
A perfect illustration is found when comparing the USHCN (U.S. Historical Climatology Network) temperature records from Central Park in New York City to those taken a mere 55 miles away at West Point. Readings in Central Park have been regularly measured since 1835 when the city's population had just surpassed 200,000. Today, surrounded by a metropolis of eight million people filled with some of the world's tallest buildings, a massive underground subway system, an extensive sewer system, power generation facilities, and millions of cars, buses, and taxis, the Central Park temperatures have been greatly altered by urbanization. And, as one might expect, the Central Park historical temperature plot illustrates an incredible warming increase of nearly 4øF.

The West Point readings have also been meticulously maintained since 1835, but the environment surrounding the thermometer shelter has experienced significantly less manmade interference then the one in Central Park. The West Point readings illustrate a significantly lower warming increase of only about 0.6øF over the same 170-year period. This is remarkable given that the year 1835 is considered to be the last gasp of the Little Ice Age -- a significant period of global cooling that stretched back several hundred years.

Cries of out of control global warming become more dubious when one looks at the hottest decade in modern history, the 1930s. The summer of 1930 marked the beginning of the longest drought of the 20th Century. From June 1 to August 3, Washington, D.C. experienced twenty-one days of high temperatures of at least 100ø. During that record-shattering heat wave, there were maximum temperatures set on nine different days that remain unbroken more than three-quarters-of-a-century later. (emphasis added; source)
How long can the global warming myth stand up to the temperature facts? It's an unanswerable question because global warming is the science of hysterics and hypnotism, and is therefore outside the realm of rational deduction.

hat-tip: Greenie Watch

Forever Reuters

No one can slip subjectivity into journalistic objectivity like Reuters. Here they are again, reporting on the meeting of G8 energy chiefs in Japan:
Japan, the United States, China, India and South Korea -- who together guzzle nearly half the world's oil -- said that they had agreed on the need for greater transparency in energy markets and more investment by consumers and producers both, while stopping short of calling on OPEC to pump more crude today. (source)
"Guzzle" is defined as "to drink especially liquor greedily, continually, or habitually." The U.S. and Japan should not be included with the guzzlers; we are more and more merely consumers. Greed simply isn't a part of our oil consumption; efficient output is. We consume ever more efficiently, investing billions in ways to make our automotive fleet, our homes and our industrial operations more efficient.

An objective Reuters (oxymoron) would have used the word consume. If it wants to look for oil-guzzling whipping boys, it should have stopped the list at China and Inda, which have put economic growth far ahead of environmental protection, and have put the acquisition of oil ahead of the efficient consumption of oil. In fact, both countries still subsidize the price of fuel to their populations, and refused reasoned calls to stop the practice in the name of greater fuel conservation.

Excitable Electrons

Confession time: I never understood this Mohamed ElBardei guy, and could no see the top UN nuke monitoring guy as a Nobel Prize winner than ... say ... Al Gore.

His mini-interview in Spiegel (the full interview publishes on Tuesday) gives me no further insights.

On Iran:
"The readiness on Iran's side to cooperate leaves a lot to be desired," he said. "We have pressing questions." Iran's leadership, he said, is sending "a message to the entire world: We can build a bomb in relatively short time."
On Syria:
But the general director of the International Atomic Energy Agency also said he expected "absolute transparency" from Syria.
On stopping proliferation by military action:
"With unilateral military actions, countries are undermining international agreements, and we are at a historic turning point."
What's difference between Iran and Syria might explain why ElBardei expects complete transparency from Syria, but not Iran? The only thing that comes to my mind is that there's been military action against Syria's nukes but not Iran's.


Fear is rising with a bullet on the list of global motivators. Plastic baby bottles, genetically engineered food, cell phones ... all feed the hysteria machine, ultimately producing stories like this:
South Korean politics are on the brink of meltdown after spiralling public hysteria over “mad cow” disease in American beef unleashed a weekend of mass protests and pitched battles between demonstrators and riot police.

Police vehicles were today attacked by angry mobs armed with sticks and police lines were reportedly charged after the 40,000-strong crowd of peaceful protesters thinned-out to leave a smaller group of activists.

With the violence threatening to continue for another week, and the calls for his resignation being screamed by students on the streets of Seoul, President Lee Myung Bak now faces a series of potentially crippling departures from his immediate circle of allies. (Times of London)
How many recent cases of BSE have there been in the US? One.

How many recent cases of BSE in the US were discovered before the cow was slaughtered for beef? One.

How many humans have been infected from BSE in US beef? None.

Frankly, being in that crowd of angry Koreans looks far more dangerous to one's health than eating U.S. beef.

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