Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, January 31, 2008

View From Mt. Everest

Ever wanted to stand on top of Mt. Everest and slowly turn around, seeing the world at your feet?

Now you can.

See if you spot the climber on his way up.

An Airy Ta Da! From Tata

Tata Motors, the Indian car company that just flummoxed Greenies because its $2,500 Nano mini-car will actually bring joy and comfort to the poor, may get back in with the alienated Birkenstock bunch with its latest effort, the Air Car.

No, not the Jetson's kind of air car. This one runs on air and emits just air from its tailpipe. The long-distance model adds a gas engine that compresses the air on-board, increasing the range while still getting 130 miles to the gallon.

Tata is licensing the technology from Guy Negre, a French inventor and former Formula One engineer, whose Motor Development International (MDI) has been perfecting the car over the last several years.

Here's the description of the technology from the Greenie mag Plenty:
The Air Car works similarly to electric cars, but rather than storing electrical energy in a huge, heavy battery, the vehicle converts energy into air pressure and stores it in a tank. According to MDI’s Miguel Celades, Negre’s engine uses compressed air stored at a pressure of 300 bars to pump the pistons, providing a range of around 60 miles per tank at highway speeds. An onboard air compressor can be plugged into a regular outlet at home to recharge the tank in about four hours, or an industrial compressor capable of 3,500 psi (likes those found in scuba shops) can fill it up in a few minutes for around two dollars. Celades says optional gasoline or biofuel hybrid models will heat the pressurized air, increasing the volume available for the pistons and allowing the car to drive for nearly 500 miles between air refills and about 160 miles per gallon of fuel burned.
Here's an Australian TV video on Negre's air car. You'll notice it's a clattery, noisy thing. The second air car featured in the video is even more remarkable; it scoots around quietly, powered by an engine that weighs just 14 pounds.
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Tata says it will market the car later this year for about $10,000, but Negre thinks it may take a couple more years before the car actually hits the market.

Against all this put the draconian approaches to global warming favored by John McCain and the (other) Dems. Their desire to limit our economy instead of let it act to create new technologies is symptomatic of Dem Disease, that horrible condition where your mind gets so sick it actually believes that government is superior to individual when it comes to knowing what's best and doing what's best.

Government can be very effective at getting people to stand in line. They've done this; they've gotten practically the entire planet to stand in the line under the "We're freaked out about global warming"' sign.

Now they'll serve the world best by saying, "Gosh, we sure did that well," and leaving the solution to the more creative side of the government/private sector yin-yang.

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Samba To That Holocaust Beat

When I think of the holocaust, it makes me feel like ... dancing!

Or so it seems with the Unidos do Viradouro samba school, one of Rio's big samba schools and a primary Carnival participant. The group built the pictured float to be one of three in its presentation for Carnival, which starts this Sunday.

The Jewish Federation of Rio de Janeiro got a court order today prohibiting Viradouro from entering the float in the parade, but there are still a couple days available for the legal case to flip and even flop.

BBC quotes Viradouro's creative director saying the float is designed to be "a reminder that such an atrocity should never be repeated." No dancers were going to be around the float, the group says.

That may be a noble motivation, if true. But a noble motivation in an inappropriate venue cannot remain noble. File this under "What were they thinking?"

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The Libyan Gets A Look At Hell

Abu Laith al-Libi, "The Libyan," a senior al-Qaeda operative who tried to kill President Cheney in Afghanistan a year ago, became a charred, dismembered victim of superior US technology today.

A CIA Predator drone piloted via video controls a thousand miles away fired a missile into a passle of Taliban and al-Qaeda scum, killing 12, including al-Libi..

As it happens, the 12 were hanging out in Pakistan, in the Waziristan tribal area next to Pakistan. That makes the hit an even better tactical strike, since it lets the enemy know there are no safe havens, and it sends Musharaff a much-needed message that if he can't take care of Waziristan, we will.

Next up: drones over Iran. Even more cool.

AP quotes Eric Rosenbach, a terror expert at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School:
"Al-Libi has been waging jihad for more than 10 years and it will be a blow to both al-Qaida and the Taliban, but not in a way that will lead to the downfall of those organizations."
Blows are good, even if not fatal. They mean we have good intelligence in the al-Qaeda's backyards and we have the capability and will to act on that intelligence, even at the expense of another nation's sovereignty.

The attack must have dispirited and demoralized al-Qaeda greatly, so I hope there are more to come, and soon. Name the enemy (which the Dems can't do), attack the enemy and kill the enemy using technology that boggles their minds. Dispirit and demoralize them some more.

Can we do it again tomorrow?

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Fade-Out On The Campaign TV Spot

Karl Rove's "campaign lessons learned" piece in today's WSJ is good reading for any political wonk. Nothing much stands out as entirely new thought, but the four "new rules" and seven "old rules" he lists and illuminates are a primer for politicos.

One item did jump out from the rest, under the "new rule" topic that TV political ads ain't what they used to be:
By Feb. 5, when it costs $16 million to burn one television spot in every state that's voting, it's simply too expensive to be on air everywhere at once.
Breathtaking, isn't it?

I watch a bit more TV than I'd like to admit and I live within the huge LA TV market in a state that in five days will begin the process of doling out well over 100 GOP delegates -- and I have seen one presidential campaign ad. With the volume muted. It was for Hillary.

I was already numbed to it because of the Indian wars. We have four ballot propositions that would make four tribes vastly more wealthy, thousands of poor, gambling-addled citizens vastly poorer, and the state not much better off at all. The two sides have been skirmishing for well over a month; it seems like every day I see more Indians than Custer met at Little Big Horn.

Not all states are as initiative-crazed as California, but all states have local campaigns of one sort or another than are buying lots of TV spots for long before the primary bandwagons roll in. By the time the day comes when it costs $16 mil to buy a spot in every Feb. 5 primary state, the prez campaigns should know that the local politicos with their local campaigns will have already pretty much putrefied the waters, so the national spots will be little welcomed.

Rove's conclusion from this phenomenon is sound:
The 20th century's closing decades saw the rise of the TV ad man as the most potent operator in presidential campaigns. The 21st century's opening decade is seeing the rise of the communications director and press spokesman as the more important figures on a campaign staff. It is the age of the Internet, cable TV, YouTube, multiple news cycles in one day, and the need for really instantaneous response. Ads and ad makers are still vital -- but not nearly as much as they were just a few years ago.
That means that unless we bloggers can figure out a way to rake in money as effectively as TV stations do, campaigns should become less expensive to run. In Iowa, we saw Huckabee do well without a big ad budget and Romney not do well despite a huge ad budget.

This is good news for American politics, because as important as the TV spot was, and is, it's a lousy way to communicate with the public. The wealth of debates this year provided much more than the ads could, and the ensuing storm of commentary and YouTube clips created a depth of knowledge unprecedented in a campaign.

Granted, most Americans aren't watching political YouTube clips, listening 24/7 to talk radio or reading blog posts on the campaign -- but most Americans know someone who is. Unfortunately, they're doing this in a year when there's not a single great candidate on either side. But maybe in 2012 or 2016 we'll hit a sweet nexus of fantastic candidates and dazzling new ways to stay up on them.

This has been quite a campaign, flawed as the candidates may be, and the new media have helped us to see their flaws. But that sweet future campaign ... that will be one to shape America's future!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Creationism Bragging Rights

Did you know a "giant step" has been made in scientific efforts to create human life?

Yes, indeed! We are truly on the doorstep of designer life from scratch ... at least that's true if you're not paying careful attention to the bombastic claims of some scientists. Unlike the SF Chronicle, which bought the story hook, line and genome:
American scientists have built from scratch a synthetic chromosome containing all the genetic material needed to produce a primitive bacterium - a giant step toward the creation of artificial life. ...

Now, a team led by Dr. Hamilton Smith, director of the Venter Institute's Synthetic Biology Group, has manufactured from laboratory chemicals a ring of DNA containing all the genes of Mycoplasma genitalium - the tiniest bacteria ever found.

That means the team is tantalizingly close to creating an artificial form of life that could replicate itself using these machine-made genes.
The article mentions curing disease and all the usual promises of mad scientists, then cuts to the chase:
And there is the matter of bragging rights of mythological proportions. Mere mortals have yet to lay claim to creating life.
Yeah, and that's a good thing, if you ask me or nine out of ten science fiction writers. Why exactly would we want to produce artificial life? Is there something wrong with God-created life? Do we really think we can do any better?

Never mind with the metaphysical questions, though, because it turns out that Dr. Smith is hardly creating artificial life:
The plan is to slip the synthetic chromosome inside the microscopic skin of one of the Mycoplasma bacterium, replacing its natural genome with the machine-made one and sparking the creature into a life form that can reproduce itself.
He may be hijacking actual life, but he's not creating anything sustainable from scratch if it takes having a Mycoplasa bacterium handy to pull of the trick.

It all reminds me of what is, perhaps, the greatest of all creationist jokes (not that there is exactly a primordial sea-full of creationist jokes, mind you).

A scientist waves his arm at his massive lab of sophisticated equipment and says to God, "Human intelligence is now so great and our understanding of science so comprehensive that I, too, can create life."

Unimpressed, God reaches down, takes a lump of dirt, breathes on it, and transforms it into a butterfly that flutters from his hand.

"That's nothing!" brags the scientist. "I too can make a butterfly!" He reaches down to get a piece of dirt.

"Hold it right there," God says. "Make your own dirt."

Make your own host bacterium, Dr. Smith. The chromosome was a nice trick, but let's not lose our perspective, eh?

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Mukasey Makes It Clear (Sort Of) On Waterboarding

In a letter quoted in today's NYTimes, AG Michael Mukasey wrote top Lib Sen Patrick Leahy on the subject of whether waterboarding is torture:
“If this were an easy question, I would not be reluctant to offer my views.

"But with respect, I believe it is not an easy question. There are some circumstances where current law would appear clearly to prohibit the use of waterboarding. Other circumstances would present a far closer question.”

That's hardly a sterling endorsement of the legality of the procedure, but Dems took the occasion to rail against the Bush Admin nonetheless.

Leahy, who's firing up an oversight hearing of his Senate Judiciary Committee, said the letter does not answer "the critical questions we have been asking about [waterboarding's] legality.” He promised tough questions.

He didn't promise to not look like an apologist for terrorists or a political opportunist. But if we strip our interrogators of the ability to carefully and selectively chose from procedures that do not break the bones, cut the skin or trim the toenails of top terrorist operatives, aren't we being apologists for terrorist? And if we can't admit that these tough questions were never asked of Dem administrations, aren't we being political opportunists?

As for the NYT coverage, it rumbles through 11 paragraphs before getting around to sharing this with its readers:
[Mukasey] said [in the letter to Leahy] that only “a limited set of methods is currently authorized for use in that program,” and added: “I have been authorized to disclose publicly that waterboarding is not among those methods. Accordingly, waterboarding is not, and may not, be used in the current program.” (emphasis added)
The headline on this story is, "Mukasey offers views on waterboarding," which, in fact, he didn't.

Why isn't the headline, "Mukasey confirms administration does not use waterboarding?" Might that have clarified matters a bit more? Might that have made readers feel a bit more positive about the Bush Administration?

Oh ... I get it ... never mind.

Photo: AFP/Getty, from NY Magazine

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There Is Still Hope

I often wondered why John Edwards wasn't pulling out of the race, but I'm not one of the legions who figured John Edwards would stick to the campaign forever in order to (1) stoke his galaxy-sized ego and (2) become a power broker at the convention, thereby stoking his galaxy-sized ego. Many pundits certainly assumed he would.

But no:
Sen. John Edwards today will end his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination where he began it 14 months ago — in New Orleans, where his signature issue of poverty is a stark part of everyday life.

Democratic sources said he will not immediately endorse either of the front-runners, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) or Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). He's scheduled to make remarks at 1 p.m.
So there is hope. For a while there, I thought there were enough stupid people in America to fall for this snake who raised prices all over America through his self-motivated class-action lawsuits, then wandered out from his 25,600-square-foot home to secure the votes of gullible fools concerned about "two Americas."

It turns out Edwards ran out of fools.

But let's not be too optimistic about the mental state of America. He did garner 64 delegates before falling on his gilded, jewel-encrusted sword.

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Wednesday Reading

Somehow I'm seeing Fred McMurray, all tweeds, slippers and pipes, settling down for a good read with the Watcher of Weasels' weekly carnival of miscellaneous good stuff. My three sons ... and a computer?

Anyway, here's what the Watcher's Council nominated as this week's best curl up for a good read posts in the blogosphere. Council members will vote Thursday evening, and winners will be posted here Friday morning.

Council links:

  1. Complicit
    Soccer Dad
  2. A Shot in the Dark
    Done With Mirrors
  3. Orwell's Britain Is Halal Toast
    Wolf Howling
  4. About Those "Lies"
    The Colossus of Rhodey
  5. How to Lie About Lying
    Big Lizards
  6. The Media, Richard Scaife, and the Never Ending Soros Connection
    Bookworm Room
  7. State of the Union, 2008
    The Glittering Eye
  8. Quote of the Day: Prez Bill Edition
    Cheat Seeking Missiles
  9. Energy Independence -- What It Am And What It Ain't
  10. Repeal the Twenty-Second Amendment
    Rhymes With Right
  11. The ACLU: Senator Craig's Newest Pals
    The Education Wonks
  12. The GOP Comes A’Courtin’
    Right Wing Nut House
Non-council links:
  1. On Term Limits and Government Power
    Somewhere On A1A...
  2. A Moral Core for U.S. Foreign Policy
    Hoover Institution
  3. Britain's Top 9 New Names For Islamic Terrorists
    The Nose On Your Face
  4. Big News: Indonesia's Largest Muslim Group Vows to Combat Misunderstanding of Islam!
    Jihad Watch
  5. John McCain's Open-Borders Outreach Director: The Next DHS Secretary?; Update: A "Non-Paid Volunteer"
    Michelle Malkin
  6. The Audacity of Questioning Obama's Commitment to Israel
    American Thinker
  7. Treaties and Executive Agreements
    Outside the Beltway
  8. Capitalism Doesn't Work, Mr. Gates?
    Rasmussen Reports
  9. The Muslims of Europe Charter
    Gates of Vienna
  10. A List of Regional Pizza Styles
  11. The Conclusion We Dare Not Face
    Dr. Sanity
  12. Be a Victim! Or Else!
    Classical Values
  13. BDS as an Occupational Hazard
    The Paragraph Farmer
  14. Thoughts on Froggy Billion Fraud
Thanks, Watcher ... got a match for my pipe?*

* Long, long ago. I've been a nonsmoker for years now.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Poll Check: Florida Vote

CNN is beating Fox on reporting returns, having just broken through the 90% barrier, so the results of the Florida GOP primary are pretty much set in stone.

Here are this morning's RCP polling averages followed by CNN's actuals:
McCain: RCP - 30.3%; Actual - 36%
Romney: RCP - 29.8%; Actual - 31%
Giuliani: RCP - 15.0%; Actual - 15%
Huckabee: RCP - 12.7; Actual - 14%
Paul: RCP - 3.8%; Actual - 3%
McCain's final tally was outside the 3% margin of error we expect from polls, but just barely, and no one else was outside the margin. McCain just picked up a bit here and there from each of the other candidates to solidify his narrow win.

This all leads to one (almost) known conclusion: Rudy's out. It's a shame he ran such a pathetic campaign, because he deserved much better. But I don't think he had a choice of any other strategy. If he had had the money, he would have run in more states.

He did tell supporters he's going to California ... but the good money is on the trip being about endorsing McCain, not running himself.

The results also tell us that McCain was able to get away with dirty politics this time around. His contention that Romney waffled on the a timeline for Iraq was a stretch of Reed Richards proportions.

So McCain (and the pollsters) leave Florida with their heads high. But with the warm-up states behind them and Super Tuesday a week away, McCain only holds a 21-delegate edge over Romney (95 to 74). To win, 1,191 delegates are needed ... so you can liken what we've done up to now to a hitter taking a couple practice swings while the pitcher looks in at the catcher for a sign.

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Exit Polls Hint At Mitt Win

Here's an interesting bit of Florida GOP primary exit poll data:


Given four choices, nearly half of Florida Republican primary voters said the economy is the most important issue facing the country. Terrorism, Iraq and immigration each were picked by fewer than two in 10. (AP)
Who is Mr. Economy? John McCain? Mike Huckabee? I don't think so!

McCain probably saw similar data a week ago, which is why the alleged straight-shooter desperately misrepresented Romney's record to try to turn the Florida voters' away from the economy and back to the war.

I've seen more than enough whacked-out exit poll results to seize on this item and prognosticate a Romney win ... but for Romney's backers, it's certainly better news than a reversed finding would be.

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UFOs And Global Warming

The League of Conservation Voters is getting hot under the collar due to global warming -- more specifically, due to the media's lack of focus on the Big Hot Button Issue of the Greenie movement.

Would you believe the MSM have asked presidential candidates about as many questions about global warming as they have about UFOs? That might be excusable -- after all, neither phenomenon has been proven to exist.

Salon isn't happy about this state of affairs, quoting a League of Conservation Voters quickie study of transcripts of TV interviews and debates conducted by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, MSNBC's Tim Russert, Fox News' Chris Wallace and CBS's Bob Schieffer. Through January 25, 171 interviews with the candidates and 2,975 questions asked, only six mentioned the words "climate change" or "global warming."

The League is all uppity:
"Global warming is unequivocally one of the biggest issues facing the nation and the planet, and one of the issues that the next president will have the greatest impact on. And yet we've gone through the longest presidential primary in our nation's history, and these reporters are ignoring the most pressing issue," says Navin Nayak, director of the global warming program of the League of Conservation Voters.
Nayak (rhymes with "kayak," which we'll all need if his hysterics prove founded) is missing one little point: No one knows more about what is on the mind of the American voter than presidential wannabees, who spend millions of dollars probing what they should talk about and what they should say.

That global warming is not an issue in the campaign should tell any intelligent observer (Nayak apparently fails this test) that all the presidential pollsters have found the same compelling reasons to not talk about global warming: The people of America don't want to hear it.

Maybe after the campaign's wrapped up, the now-hidden details of this story will come out and we'll begin to see what I've expected all along: A strong cynicism of the extremist position staked out by the Gorites.

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Ask Not Who You Can Smear For Your Country

On the subject of the Kennedys' endorsements of Barack Obama, Soccer Dad commented, "Think that any members of the MSM or Democratic Party will say, 'I knew Jack Kennedy ...?'"

... and you, sir, are no Jack Kennedy. Dan Quayle's ears probably still hurt from the verbal cuffing he got from Lloyd Benson during the VP debate, yet Barack Obama remains pretty much uncuffed by such unflattering comparisons.

Until today.

Writing in the Washington Monthly under the coy headline Ask Not, Ted Widmer lays out why Obama is no Jack Kennedy. Here's one of several paragraphs Widmer spins out on the topic:

Kennedy, of course, was a decorated veteran of World War Two, which he fought in the South Pacific. But before and after the conflict, he had acquired travel experiences that most people take a lifetime to accumulate, richly detailed in biographies like Robert Dallek’s An Unfinished Life. His father was ambassador to the United Kingdom in the pivotal year 1938, and young Kennedy was in the audience of the House of Commons as the Munich deal was furiously debated (the experience shaped his first book, Why England Slept). As a young man, he made American officials uneasy with his relentless desire to see parts of Europe and the world that few Americans ever encountered. In 1939 alone, he took in the Soviet Union, Romania, Turkey, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Greece, France, Germany, Italy and Czechoslovakia. As the war was ending, he attended the San Francisco conference that created the United Nations, filing seventeen dispatches for the Chicago Herald American.

There's more, and it's all interesting, including how Widmer lionizes Kennedy's youthful encounters with Europe will dismissively brushing away Obama's youthful encounters with South Asia.

Now keep in mind that Widmer was a speechwriter for Bill Clinton.


So, the answer to Soccer Dad's question -- will the MSM do a forthright comparison of Kennedy and Obama, a subject Caroline Kennedy's endorsement makes so ripe? -- remains "Not yet."

We have today a well planted counter-attack from the Clinton camp, a sign of a well-oiled political machine. But the overwhelming silence from the media is itself a sign of an MSM that has turned its back on Clinton and is "objectively" cheering Obama on.

Is it because they like Obama so? Maybe a bit. But if we conservatives know that Hillary will be the easier of the two to beat in November, don't you think the the overwhelmingly Democratic leadership of the MSM (the NYT editorial board notwithstanding) gets that, too?

Hat-tip: RCP; Illustration: Kyo

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Poll Check: Flordia Pre-Vote

McCain and Romney have wrapped up what the St. Pete Times called their "rolling catfight" across Florida, and GOP voters in state state are off to the polls.

Here are the RCP polling averages for the Florida primary on this very important morning of the 2008 race:
McCain: 30.3%
Romney: 29.8%
Giuliani: 15.0%
Huckabee: 12.7
Paul: 3.8%
It seems to have all boiled down to the economy (Romney) vs. the war (McCain) -- with a large Clinton shadow.

The Clinton shadow used to manifest itself by Republicans voting not for their favorite, but for the candidate they felt had the best chance of beating Bill's wife. But in Florida it may boil down to this:

A lot of GOP voters watched the Clintons' deceitful and disastrous attempt to shove race into the campaign in nearby South Carolin and noted the voters' rejection of her because of it. Now they've watched McCain's equally dirty attempt to shove the war back to front and center, and they may be equally repulsed by McCain.

McCain's brand is two-fold. First, the warrior. That's where he wants to emotion of the vote to come from. Second, the straight shooter. In his effort to turn attention back to the war from the Mitt's stronghold of the economy, McCain sacrificed half his brand.

Worse, he did it at a time when "Who can beat Hillary?" is weakening as a vote-motivator, on the heels of Obama's trouncing of her in South Carolina and the back-to-back Kennedy endorsements of the junior (very junior) senator from Illinois.

This is the sort of stuff that plays out more in the privacy of a voting booth than on the phone with a pollster. If I'm right, the pollsters will be wrong. Won't be the fist time.

If I'm wrong and they're right, well, that won't be the first time either.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Point Vincente Sunset

Incredible Daughter #3 and I drove through heavy storms to the Palos Verdes Peninsula today to get a sense of the neighborhoods around a project our firm hopes to start working on in the next couple weeks.

The storms broke as we got to Palos Verdes, so on the way home, we drove over to the Pt. Vincente lighthouse, where I got this photo. Here's a bit of history on the lighthouse, from
The point was originally named in 1790 by Captain George Vancouver. Vancouver explored the Pacific coast for England in his 90 foot sloop Discovery. He named the point for his good friend Friar Vicente of the Mission Buenaventura. He also named Point Fermin in a similar manner.

Before the installation of lighthouses on the Pacific coast, many ships and seamen went to their graves on its rocky schoals. Shipmasters deplored this dangerous stretch of coastal water. On May 1,1926 their petitions were answered when the U.S. Lighthouse Service began the operation of the brightest beacon in Southern California, Point Vicente Lighthouse. The 1000 watt bulb, focused through a five foot lens, could be seen over twenty miles. The lens, hand ground by Paris craftsmen in 1886, saw forty years of service in Alaska before its installation here.

After the war, the endlessly rotating beam became a glaring disturbance to local residents and a positive hazard to motorists on Palos Verdes Drive. Keepers coated the inside of the inland facing windows with a coat of white paint to end the flash of the beacon on peninsula bedroom walls. That is when the "Lady Of The Light" appeared. In the dim light through the painted windows, some saw the shape of a tall serene woman in a flowing gown who would slowly pace the tower's walkway.

Some said she was the ghost of the first lighthouse keeper's wife who stumbled from the edge of a cliff one foggy night. Others say she waits for the return of a lover lost at sea, while still others think she is the shade of a heartbroken woman who threw herself from the cliffs when she found herself abandoned by her intended.

Sorry, I think the lady is just a fluke in the paint ... but what would a lighthouse be without romance, stories and a ghost or two?


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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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Poll Check: South Carolina Update

With 95 percent of precincts reporting in South Carolina, here's an update on this morning's Poll Check post. Real Clear Politics polling averages on the eve of voting are first; actual results are second:
Obama -- RCP: 38.4, Actual: 55
Clinton -- RCP: 26.8, Actual: 27
Edwards -- RCP: 19.2, Actual: 18
In South Carolina, the polls had it pretty right, as we see the undecideds breaking nearly entirely for Obama.

Now, let's revisit the questions I set up this morning:

First, if Edwards can't carry the state he was born in, the state next door to the state he represented in the Senate, why is he still running?

Who knows, but his staff says he is in fact still in the race, according to one Edwards staffer who was quoted on Fox tonight. Today's results proves that the man is attractive to too few, and useless to any Dem ticket. The man's wife has breast cancer; every day he remains on the campaign trail is a disgusting, egomaniacal day.

Next, what do the polls tell us about racial voting in the South? The hard data isn't in yet, but based on the exit polls, Obama got well but about 25 percent of black voters were with Obama, and all but about 25 percent of white voters split their votes between Clinton or Edwards. So, why do we bother to listen to the Dems about civil rights? This is change? I don't think so.

And finally, if Obama finishes with a lead of these proportions, what does it tell us about his future as a prez wannabe? He won a state where 50 percent of the Dem voters are black. He hasn't yet shown us if he can win a major, diverse state -- but this was a great day of Obama going into those big states.

Fox just announced that Caroline Kennedy will have an op/ed in tomorrow's NYT endorsing Obama, saying he has the impact on her that she's always heard her father had on others. That should help Obama greatly in New York, especially if she shows up on TV.

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Accepting Help, Palestinian Style

Of course, the Arab world benefits from Palestine's misery because they can blame it all on Israel. But often enough, news comes out of Palestine that reveals that the Arab world also dislikes Palestine for no other reason than that they're a people who are so easy to dislike.

Here's the latest from the Egypt/Palestine border, where chaos has prevailed ever since Hamas blew up a section of the border fence. (Apparently it's OK for Egyptians to put up fences to keep out Palestinians, but not for Israelis to do the same ....)
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) - Egyptian riot police and armored vehicles restricted Gaza motorists to a small border area of Egypt on Saturday, in the second attempt in two days to restore control over the chaotic frontier breached by Hamas militants.

At least 38 members of the Egyptian security forces have been hospitalized, some in critical condition, because of cross-border confrontations, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said. The minister complained of "provocations" at the border, a thinly veiled reprimand of Hamas, and said that while Egypt is ready to ease the suffering of Gazans, this should not endanger Egyptian lives.
Biting the hands that feed them truly has become an art in Palestine.

This is just the sort of nation we can expect when rule is given to terrorists and education is nothing more than indoctrination into hatred and victimization. It will take a generation or more to flush this out of Palestine if the process started tomorrow -- but it's not going to start any time soon.

If, then, Palestine becomes a state, it's going to become a very nasty state -- making me wonder why "solution" is always added to the phrase "two-state solution."

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Quote Of The Day: Prez Bill Edition

"We are not Argentina. We are not a banana republic. No CEO, no prime minister, no one in any public position, anywhere on this earth, could get away with a straight-faced claim that 'I honestly believe my wife is the best candidate for the job.'”
-- Bruce Feirstein in Vanity Fair

All across America, Dems are waking up to a stink under the sink, the aroma of Bill Clinton campaigning again for president, striving to make 2008-2016 the era of the "We-Presidency."

Feirstein's example in the hallowed liberal walls of Vanity Fair:
Watching the Democrats debate in South Carolina, I was struck by the heated “I’m here. He’s not” exchange between Senators Obama and Clinton because it so perfectly encapsulates the problem with the two Clintons: Bill is out there with a shiv—presumably with the full countenance of his wife—while Hillary deftly manages to avoid being held accountable for him, or taking any responsibility herself. And therein lies my real issue, should this hydra-headed candidacy succeed: Bill Clinton will always be there. He’ll always be larger than life. And, if the last few weeks have demonstrated anything, we’ll never know who’s really calling the shots.
There was a time when "Bill Clinton will always be there" would have been a good thing to Dems. What happened?

Possibly it's that liberal/feminist sensitivities make the Left want Hillary to be her own woman, and they resent Bill for not letting her become that.

More likely, it's that they've found they really don't like Clintonian politics. This is what Jonathon Chiat wrote about today in the LAT:
Something strange happened the other day. All these different people -- friends, co-workers, relatives, people on a liberal e-mail list I read -- kept saying the same thing: They've suddenly developed a disdain for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Maybe this is just a coincidence, but I think we've reached an irrevocable turning point in liberal opinion of the Clintons.
That list of "all these different people" is code, of course, for Obama supporters, but Chiat's viewpoint is fascinating even if partisan:
... But now that loathing seems a lot less irrational. We're not frothing Clinton haters like ... well, name pretty much any conservative. We just really wish they'd go away.

The big turning point seems to be this week, when the Clintons slammed Obama for acknowledging that Ronald Reagan changed the country. Everyone knows Reagan changed the country. Bill and Hillary have said he changed the country. But they falsely claimed that Obama praised Reagan's ideas, saying he was a better president than Clinton -- something he didn't say and surely does not believe.

This might have been the most egregious case, but it wasn't the first. Before the New Hampshire primaries, Clinton supporters e-mailed pro-choice voters claiming that Obama was suspect on abortion rights because he had voted "present" instead of "no" on some votes. (In fact, the president of the Illinois chapter of Planned Parenthood said she had coordinated strategy with Obama and wanted him to vote "present.") Recently, there have been waves of robocalls in South Carolina repeatedly attacking "Barack Hussein Obama."
In both Chiat's and Fierstein's piece, there's not a whiff of policy, of preferring Obama over Clinton because of his position on health care or the war or the economy; it is just a visceral and growing dislike of having to share a "D" with the Clintons.

Let's all shout a rousing "Told you so!" and wonder that so many Dems are finally seeing what was so obvious to us all along: That the Clintons are shamelessly political, that they see no reason not to be vicious in pursuit of their personal goals, and that with them, it's all about them.

But there's something much bigger here: It is becoming increasingly apparent that if Clinton wins the presidency, there will be a substantial group of Dems who are not on board with her, her husband, or their politics. Whatever marginal "mandate" she will claim from what would very likely be a very narrow victory will hardly even represent a mandate from the Democratic party.

That means there will be insubordination in the ranks, with congressional committee chairs not willing to goose-step along to her commands, a media that will be all too willing to set their truffle hogs digging after the next Clinton scandal, and a party that very well could be looking for an alternative in the elections of 2012.

For we conservatives who take the long-term view, it's beginning to look like even if Clinton gets the nomination and wins, this could be a no-lose election.

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Poll Check

As Palmetto State voters turn out, possibly in record numbers, to vote in the Dem primary, let's take a look at what the pollsters have to say. Here are the Real Clear Politics polling averages on the eve of voting:
Obama -- 38.4
Clinton -- 26.8
Edwards -- 19.2
We'll check back after the results are in to see if the pollsters were up to snuff. Until then, some thoughts:

If Edwards can't carry the state he was born in, the state next door to the state he represented in the Senate, why is he still running? Even his VP wishes will then be dashed, since one of the roles of the traditional VP (Cheney nothwithstanding) is to deliver some states.

The LAT is trying to generate some hype over the idea that Edwards is gaining traction in the final days (just like Fred Thompson did ... not) and just might edge out Clinton ... that would shake things up a bit, but it's just desperate pundritry, and she's really tossed out the state anyway, focusing on Super Tuesday states instead.

What do the polls tell us about racial voting in the South? Well, nothing from these superfluous numbers, but when we get a chance to look at the details, will we see a big black vote for Obama and a split white vote between Edwards and Clinton? If that's what happens, why do we bother to listen to the Dems about civil rights? Blacks, by the way, make up 50 percent of the SC Dem electorate, by the way.

And finally, if Obama finishes with a lead of these proportions, what does it tell us about his future as a prez wannabe? Not much. He can't win unless he can win a big-delegate state, and we won't know that until the night of Feb. 5.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Chavez: Up To W's Old Tricks

With Hugo (No, you go) Chavez suddenly appearing to find threats and terrors everywhere -- doing the same ol' dirty tricks the Left accuses Bush of -- will the Leftys' love affair with Hugo falter?

As all of us who read the Leftist polemics know, Bush created hysteria over "non-existent" WMDs in order to justify an attack on Iraq, and has kept the terror over terrorism purposefully pitched at a high level in order to continue expanding his control of government and masking his efforts to shred the Constitution and crush our freedom.

Or something like that.

Now this, from the Left's favorite crackpot despot:
CARACAS [Don't you just love saying "Caracas?" Carrracas. Carrrracasss!], Venezuela (AP) - President Hugo Chavez on Friday accused Colombia of plotting a military attack against Venezuela.

"A military aggression against Venezuela is being prepared" by Colombia, Chavez said. He warned Colombia not to attempt "a provocation against Venezuela" and said his country would cut off all oil exports in the event of a military strike from the neighboring country.

Chavez did not support evidence to support his claim.
Nor did Bush! Or so the Lefties say, anyway, conveniently forgetting so much.

Or maybe it's his old friend Fidel he's emulating; after all, he just accused Columbia of plotting his assassination. Fidel's used that one for years to whip up the anti-American mindset in Cuba -- although I'm sure a substantial segment of the population there merely wonders why it's taking us so long.

In reality, Chavez is behaving more like Saddam Hussein, as if he's preparing his own version of Saddam's disastrous Iran/Iraq war, with Columbia in his sights. Since, unlike Bush who is content to be an 8-year president, Chavez's wants to be a long-term dictator, he may see war with Columbia as his best means to that end -- behaving very much in reality just as the Left imagines Bush acting in their paranoid fantasies.

My, how confusing the Leftist mindset it!

By the way, the always informative Daniel at Venezuela News and Views has a lengthy post that digs into all this and concludes that ultimately, Chavez is unlikely to go to war with Columbia.

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Storm Warning

I got up early this morning to put up a post or two before leaving for the airport and home, but ...

That's a BIG storm, so I'm heading off to the airport in the hope that somehow getting there early will help prevent my flight from being canceled or delayed. Later.

Weather map: Weatherbug

Watcher's Winners

The Watcher's Council behaved like a bunch of Republicans this week: They had a lot of candidates to choose from, but had difficulty picking a clear winner.

That said, Done with Mirrors was the clear winner with a tally of 2 2/3 for his essay Liberal Fascism, but that's a rather low tally for a winner. This review of a book by the same name delved into some interesting stuff on the nature of fascism and liberalism, and more about sloppy writing.

There followed a massive tie of six entries, all with one vote. One of those entries, Right Wing Nuthouse's Grim Choices for the GOP, was dinged with a 2/3 penalty, so it would have come in as a low-tally second. I thought Rick a bit too harsh on McCain. He's certainly got troubling baggage, but please, he's no Hillary.

My post, DiCaprio Lies and Hustles Bucks was in that 1-point group. I thought his post had a shot at glory. Sigh.

On the non-Council side, however, my nominee did achieve a moment of splendid glory, racking up a commanding 4 points. It's Iowa Hawk's Bylines of Brutality, which turned the recent NYT story on Iraq vets who murdered people on its ear by looking at the crime record of journalists in recent years.

See all the winners here.

Thanks, Watcher, for putting out this bucket so shining drops of blogging brilliance can be captured.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

High Court: Gore Lied, People Cried

I missed this important bit of news:
The High Court in London recently ordered the British Government to correct nine of the 36 serious errors in Al Gore’s climate movie before innocent pupils were exposed to it.
Read more at Greenie Watch.

Gore's An Inconvenient Truth is also shown to malleable minds all across America -- but usually because a Greenie-Warmie indoctrination officer teacher has purchased the film with his or her own money.

If anyone knows of public funds being used to purchase the film, consider this: There's a very important lawsuit in the making that could protect students from the mistruths, exaggerations and hysteria of Gore's polemic.

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Avalanche Deaths In The Age Of Global Warming

Across America, the families of 23 people killed in avalanches this winter are mourning their tragic losses. They may not be noting that the death toll from avalanches during the 2007-2008 winter season has already exceeded the entire avalanche death count from last winter.

You might, given the battering you've taken from the Warmie hysterics in the media, assume that this is the result of global warming; that snowpacks are becoming unstable due to warmer weather. But, reports USA Today, "Mountain experts point to a number of reasons for the increase in deaths. Among them are above-average snowfall and cold ...."

Above average snowfall and cold. How does that jibe with global warming? Are we to expect higher snowfalls and cold from the climatic chaos that is generally referred to as "global warming?" If so, are we also supposed to expect warmer temperatures and more drought?

Are we to spend hundreds of billions of dollars building infrastructure to protect us from warmer temperatures and longer droughts, and billions more in useless carbon taxes and burdens on industry, even though global warming just might result in colder temperatures and more precipitation?

Yes, half a season does not a trend make, but these trend-busters are everywhere you turn, throwing into doubt the warming trends. Trend-busters like 2007 being the coolest year in many years -- and a year is a bit more indicative than half a winter season.

It is a tragedy these avalanche victims died. Their deaths were s not a geopolitical statement, and it is not my intention to make them so; that would be disrespectful and would overstate the case.

It would understate the case, however, to not note that they died because of colder, wetter weather, which is the opposite of what the bulk of the global temperature models predict.

But I forget ... the debate is over.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Afghan Journalist Death Sentence: A Good Thing?

In Afghanistan, a young journalism student -- just 23 years old -- has been sentenced to death for printing up his own little newspaper with stuff he downloaded from the internet -- stuff Islamic judges have decreed violates Islam.

Click here for Sayad Parwez Kambaksh's story. The story is not at its final chapter yet, though. Kambaksh has a couple appeals before his fate, whatever it may ultimately be, will be sealed.

Some pundits will seize this story as an example of our failure to stop the Taliban and its influence in Afghanistan. They include Jules Crittenden, who wrote this a.m.:
I thought the point of that invasion was to bring an end to this kind of thing.
But he and the others miss the point by half. Yes, it would have been nice if the invasion would have instantaneously re-righted a ship that's been leaning hard-Islam for centuries, but could we have at least an iota of reasonableness in our expectations?

It may not have been the point of the invasion, but it is because of the invasion that we are reading about what's happening to Kambaksh. Until America had the audacity to secure freedom for Afghans -- something the Russians certainly never intended to offer them -- those who defied the Islamic inner circle's opinion of what was right suffered in medieval anonymity.

AP did not carry their stories. Memeorandum did not pick the stories up and re-distribute them broadly over the Internet. The secret councils just did their dirty work for Allah out of sight, with no one to stand up for the victims of Mohammed, He Who Must Never, Never, Ever Be Challenged. There was no public knowledge or public opinion -- because the public simply did not matter.

That has all changed with the invasion. The spotlight of the world is on the ancient brutality of Islam, and Islam is not standing up well to the scrutiny. As the West rises up in protest, and it certainly will rise up to defend Kambaksh, it empowers those within the repressive Islamic system who want to speak more freely, to vote in elections, to control their own destiny. And it weakens those who use the Koran to keep the people chained.

So yes, the invasion is putting and end to this sort of thing. But the invasion is not a superhero that can jump tall institutions in a single bound. It is a thing of incremental gains, and we will see this again in the case of this young journalist who, I'll bet you, will not be executed.

So hooray for the invasion. Without it, it would be much worse in Afghanistan, and much, much worse for a certain young journalism student.

Photo: Time

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Wednesday Reading

Oh, boy! Just scan those headlines and drool ... it looks like a cranium-packin' collection of entries in this week's Watcher's Council festival of good stuff. We Council members will forward our best picks to the Watcher of Weasels Thursday evening and you'll see the winners here Friday morning.

Until then, happy reading!

Council links:

  1. What Is "Freedom"?
    The Colossus of Rhodey
  2. The Radicalization of American Politics
    The Glittering Eye
  3. Liberal Fascism
    Done With Mirrors
  4. Hillanomix 101
    Wolf Howling
  5. If Ever We Needed a Special Prosecutor (BUMPED)
    Rhymes With Right
  6. Rose Colored Rudy
    Soccer Dad
  7. Di Caprio Lies and Hustles Bucks
    Cheat Seeking Missiles
  8. The Problem With Obama's Race
    Bookworm Room
  9. 'I Have A Dream' -- The Democrat's Version
  10. Mike Huckabee for Minister in Chief?
    Big Lizards
  11. Our Out of Control Borders: Who's Accountable?
    The Education Wonks
  12. Grim Choices Confront GOP
    Right Wing Nut House
Non-council links:
  1. Media Lens Tries History, Yet Again
    Oliver Kamm
  2. About the Anarcholibertarians
    The QandO Blog
  3. Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters
    The Onion
  4. The Navy's Failing China Policy
    Pajamas Media
  5. Texas Landowners Refuse to Give Up Their Land
  6. Doctors and Death and Doctors Death
    The IgNoble Experiment
  7. Bylines of Brutality
  8. Let's End the Cold War and Get Rid of Marxist BS Once and for All
    Dr. Sanity
  9. It's All Israel's Fault
    Gates of Vienna
  10. A Relatively Scientific Experiment
    Power Line
  11. The Guy Who Wasn't In Last Night's Debate (But Might As Well Have Been...)
    Classical Values
  12. What Might Have Been... And What Was
  13. Ex-Congressman Tied to Many Current and Former Congressmen Indicted in Scheme to Aid Terrorists
  14. Pondering the Google Slap
Thank you, Watcher, for serving up this steamin' plate of brain food!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Journos Gone Wild

If you're looking for proof of media bias -- but why would a sensitive, intelligent person like you be looking for any more proof? -- check out this:
A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses." (AP)
What were the misstatements that these evil, evil men used to lead "the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003?" You already know the answer, don't you?
The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.
Holy cow! No WMDs!! How fresh! Let me think ... there's probably a slogan in there somewhere ... Bush ... Bush lied! Bush lied and ... and ... ah, forget it.

How many intelligence agencies thought Saddam had WMDs? America, France, Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt ... am I leaving anyone out? Apparently the two nonprofit journalism organizations, the and the Fund for Independence in Journalism missed these minor details.

Iran's al-Qaeda links, while not exactly hot stuff worth fighting wars over, did exist and have been documented.

Let's just say this about the Center on Public Integrity: It was founded by Charles Lewis, a one-time 60 Minutes producer, because he didn't think the media was doing a good enough job of investigating "'the systematic problems hampering government and the political process."

So think of his little cabal as Dan Rather on steroids.

And the Fund for Independence? Well the purpose of its existence is to fund the Center on Public Integrity. And it owes its existence to one George Soros, the major money man pulling the strings behind the scenes.

If shouting "No WMDs!" at this point is what constitutes better journalistic investigating than the mainstream media offers, then Charles Lewis has a very small vision indeed.

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Thompson Out, Can We Get Back To "Real Clear Politics?"

Fred Thompson is out.

That makes me very sad because he was always the front-runner in my mind. I don't know why GOP voters didn't find him as appealing as I did -- conservative, low-key, trustworthy, right on the issues, no-nonsense.

But they didn't and now he's out.

Sad as that is, maybe now the Reader Articles section of Real Clear Politics can get back to reality. I'm sick of the puerile silliness that's been going on there lately, as any pro-Thompson post, no matter how dimwitted and lame, can rack up dozens of points and keep any number of better, more insightful posts on subjects other than Thompson off the RCP home page.

Readers Articles is not a presidential poll; it is a place for worthy posts to be recognized as worthy. If it now gets back to normal, that's great -- it's just unfortunate it took the collapse of Thompson to do it.

And it will be very unfortunate if I get boycotted for speaking the truth.

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Padillo Sentenced; Let's Hear It For Guantanamo

Jose Padilla, accused of conspiring to plant an al-Qaeda dirty bomb on our shores, was sentenced today in U.S. courts ... to a whopping 17 years and three months.

That means that for that amount of time or less he will be free to attempt to indoctrinate other misfits in our prisons, then will be released back into our population a free man -- as if he were fully cleansed, completely safe and ready to be a good citizen.

Maybe if he accepts Christ while in prison ...

That's reason enough for all but the most foggy-minded to understand why you don't want to let terrorists into our court system, but it's nothing compared to the reason U.S. District judge Marcia Cooke gave for not sentencing Padilla to life:
Prosecutors had sought life in prison, but Cook [sic]said she arrived at the 17-year sentence after taking into consideration the "harsh conditions" during Padilla's lengthy military detention at a Navy brig in South Carolina.

"I do find that the conditions were so harsh for Mr. Padilla ... they warrant consideration in the sentencing in this case," the judge said. (AP)
Why do the conditions warrant consideration? Do those conditions somehow make him any less dangerous? Of course not! In fact, the conditions were what they were just because he his so dangerous.

Padilla is a US citizen, so he has a right to stand before this judge, who unfortunately also has a right to do the idiot thing she did.

But why, pray tell, should we extend this same lunacy to non-citizen enemy combatants?

But watch -- the Left will declare Padilla dodging a life sentence a great victory, and will use it to demand similar treatment for the bloodthirsty warriors of the Religion of Peace we are now holding securely removed from judges like Miss Marcia.

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Brace Yourself: Kartoonistan 2 May Be Coming Soon

For five years, Geert Wilders has been living in a Dutch safehouse, as situation he "wouldn't wish on anyone" -- and for good reason, since two like-minded folk, Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, had both been murdered in the name of radical Islam.

You'd think that would give Wilders the right to create a simple 10-minute film on the effects the Islamification of Europe is having on the Netherlands.

You'd be wrong:
A senior Iranian lawmaker warned the Netherlands on Monday not to allow the screening of what it called an anti-Islamic film produced by a Dutch politician, claiming it "reflects insulting views about the Holy Koran."
And slashing van Gogh's throat so deep he's almost decapitated just because he made a 10-minute film on how Islamic women are treated doesn't reflect an insulting view about the Koran?
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, promised widespread protests and a review of Iran's relationship with the Netherlands if Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders' work is shown.

"If Holland will allow the broadcast of this movie, the Iranian parliament will request to reconsider our relationship with it," Boroujerdi said, according to IRNA, the official Iranian news agency. "In Iran, insulting Islam is a very sensitive matter and if the movie is broadcasted it will arouse a wave of popular hate that will be directed towards any government that insults Islam. (Fox News)
A film by Wilders could well generate a reaction similar to the Kartoonistan riots because the man, who heads the Party for Freedom, doesn't choose his words very carefully when talking about Islam:
  • "The tsunami of Islamicization is coming to Europe. We should come to be far stronger."
  • "I believe our culture is much better than the retarded Islamic cultures. Ninety-nine percent of the intolerance in the world comes back to the Islamic religion and the Koran."

That's definitely not the way I'd put it, since saying "retarded Islamic cultures" isn't going to encourage ... uh ... dysfunctional Islamic cultures to change. Nor is calling for Europe to ban the Koran, as he did five months ago in an essay, "Enough is Enough," which began:
The Koran is a facist book which incites violence,writes Geert Wilders. That is why this book, just like Mein Kampf, must be banned.

I have been proclaiming this for years: A moderate Islam does not exist. For those who don't want to believe me: read the speech which the Italian writer Oriana Fallaci who alas, died last year held in New York on November 28th 2007 when she received a prize for her heroic resistance to Islamo facism and her struggle for freedom:

"A moderate Islam does not exist. It does not exist because there is no difference between Good Islam and Bad Islam. There is Islam and that it the end of it. Islam is the Koran, and nothing other than the Koran. And the Koran is the Mein Kampf of a religion that desires to eliminate others - non-Muslims - who are called infidel dogs, and inferior creatures. Read the Koran, that Mein Kampf, yet again. In whatever version and you will see that the evil which the sons of Allah against us and themselves has perpetrated comes from that book". ...

Enough is enough. Let's stop with the politically correct spin and hype. ... The core of the problem is fascistic Islam, the sick ideology of Allah and Mohammed as it is set out in the Islamic Mein Kampf: the Koran. The texts in the Koran leave little to the imagination.
To Islam, as the only global religion that can tolerate no criticism, that's the kind of stuff you slit throats and burn embassies over. They don't even bother asking themselves why they aligned so easily with the Nazis in WWII -- a question that is answered in the pages of the Koran as much as anywhere else.

As Iran threatens, the Dutch government cowers, admitting they're nervous, hoping Wilder will rethink, but to their credit steadfastly saying government has no control over what he says until he says it since they have this quaint freedom of speech thing going there.

That message of freedom makes Wilder's film like Bhutto's return to Pakistan -- dangerous and risky, for sure, but even if it all turns out horribly, it makes a strong point about the dangers of radical, intolerant, ugly, violent Islam.

Stay tuned. The film could air as early as this week.

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