The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Insanity: Expecting a Different Result...
Why we Have High Gas Prices and DON'T Have Energy Independence
What to do about oil? First it went from $60 to $80 a barrel, then from $80 to $100 and now to $120. Perhaps we can persuade OPEC to raise production, as some senators suggest; but this seems unlikely. The truth is that we're almost powerless to influence today's prices. We are because we didn't take sensible actions 10 or 20 years ago. If we persist, we will be even worse off in a decade or two. The first thing to do: Start drilling.
It may surprise Americans to discover that the United States is the third-largest oil producer, behind Saudi Arabia and Russia. We could be producing more, but Congress has put large areas of potential supply off-limits. These include the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and parts of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. By government estimates, these areas may contain 25 billion to 30 billion barrels of oil (against about 30 billion barrels of proven U.S. reserves today) and 80 trillion cubic feet or more of natural gas (compared with about 200 tcf of proven reserves).
What keeps these areas closed are exaggerated environmental fears, strong prejudice against oil companies and sheer stupidity. Americans favor both "energy independence" and cheap fuel. They deplore imports -- who wants to pay foreigners? -- but oppose more production in the United States. Got it? The result is a "no-pain energy agenda that sounds appealing but has no basis in reality," writes Robert Bryce in "Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of 'Energy Independence.' "
Unsurprisingly, all three major presidential candidates tout "energy independence." This reflects either ignorance (unlikely) or pandering (probable). The United States imports about 60 percent of its oil, up from 42 percent in 1990. We'll import lots more for the foreseeable future. The world uses 86 million barrels of oil a day, up from 67 mbd in 1990. The basic cause of exploding prices is that advancing demand has virtually exhausted the world's surplus production capacity, says analyst Douglas MacIntyre of the Energy Information Administration. Combined with a stingy OPEC, the result is predictable: Any unexpected rise in demand or threat to supply triggers higher prices.
The best we can do is to try to exert long-term influence on the global balance of supply and demand. Increase our supply. Restrain our demand. With luck, this might widen the worldwide surplus of production capacity. Producers would have less power to exact ever-higher prices, because there would be more competition among them to sell. OPEC loses some leverage; its members cheat. Congress took a small step last year by increasing fuel economy standards for new cars and light trucks from 25 to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. (And yes, we need a gradually rising fuel tax to create a strong market for more-efficient vehicles.)
Increasing production also is important. Output from older fields, including Alaska's North Slope, is declining. Although production from restricted areas won't make the United States self-sufficient, it might stabilize output or even reduce imports. No one knows exactly what's in these areas, because the exploratory work is old. Estimates indicate that production from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge might equal almost 5 percent of present U.S. oil use.
Members of Congress complain loudly about high oil profits ($40.6 billion for Exxon Mobil last year) but frustrate those companies' desire to use those profits to explore and produce in the United States. Getting access to oil elsewhere is increasingly difficult. Governments own three-quarters or more of proven reserves. Perversely, higher prices discourage other countries from approving new projects. Flush with oil revenue, countries have less need to expand production. Undersupply and high prices then feed on each other.
But it's hard for the United States to complain that other countries limit access to their reserves when we're doing the same. If higher U.S. production reduced world prices, other countries might expand production. What they couldn't get from prices they'd try to get from greater sales.
Read the rest. Most of us already know these things, but an enormous number of people are under the spell of the myth spun by our media and a political class bound by PC and their servitude to the Leftist Environmentalists. But it is the truth nevertheless.
Obama on Dangerous Ground
“The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago,” Obama said on Tuesday. Obama was “shocked” and “surprised” by the man he heard speak at the National Press Club. Wright’s words, Obama insisted, “contradicts what [I] believe so fundamentally.”
But the notion that Jeremiah Wright is a fundamentally different person now than he was just a few years ago seems extremely implausible. Wright is, after all, a person who long ago embraced the “black liberation theology” of James Cone. Wright is a man who traveled to Libya in the 1980s with Louis Farrakhan and met with Muammar Qaddafi. Wright was instrumental in honoring Farrakhan a few years ago and praised him as a great figure. Wright has used his “Pastor’s Corner” in the Trinity United Church bulletin to reprint pieces by a leading Hamas figure. And Obama was concerned enough about what Wright had said in the past that he disinvited Wright from playing a role when Obama announced he was running for president. It’s also worth recalling that in a New York Times story last year on Wright and Obama, Wright indicated that the two had spoken and agreed that if Obama ever got the nomination, the senator would have to distance himself from Wright. How prescient. This all makes Obama’s claim that the Wright on display on Monday was something wholly new and offensive to Obama difficult to accept.
Sen. Obama himself, in his much-praised race speech in Philadelphia, tried to leave himself an escape hatch when he — in a shift — conceded that he knew Wright to be “an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy.” Obama said that he in fact heard “controversial” comments by Wright while he sat in church and “strongly disagree[d] with many of [Wright’s] political views.” But Obama never told us specifically what he heard that qualified as “controversial” and qualified Wright as a “fierce critic” of the U.S. government — and an unusually passive media never asked. But one got the distinct impression that Wright’s National Press Club speech Monday was no maiden voyage.
Barack Obama is in treacherous territory. He is now in a very visible and increasingly ugly fight with a man who was an intimate friend and who on Monday showed he is both beyond the control of the Obama campaign and willing to go after Obama’s character. From all we can tell about Wright, this fire probably hasn’t burned itself out just yet.
A few months ago, Barack Obama, a very likable man in possession of some tremendous talents, was soaring high above the political seas. He now looks to be heading directly for the cliffs. It isn’t a pleasant thing to watch. But it appears to be something he has brought on himself.
Interesting Speculation about Iran
Robert Burns at the Associated Press reports that the US has provided the Iraqi government with a report of the extent of Iranian subversion. In cases where secret briefings are publicly announced the news is the announcement, not the briefing. The ballyhoo is normally intended to send a signal to a third party, or to prepare the public for further action.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Iraqi leaders have been given the latest U.S. evidence of Iranian support for militias inside Iraq, and Baghdad will decide what to do about it, two senior Pentagon officials said Wednesday.
Marine Lt. Gen. John Sattler, director of strategy, plans and policy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki possesses the evidence, which other officials said contradicts Tehran's stated commitment to stop providing arms, weapons technology and training to Shiite militias inside Iraq.
"It's in Prime Minister al-Maliki's hands right now, the evidence as to whether or not he's been lied to — bald-faced lied to — by the Iranian government," Sattler told a Pentagon news conference.
"The evidence inside Baghdad has been shared with the Iraqi leadership, and that's where it stands right now," he added.
The US has been complaining about Iranian subversion for some time now. What's different this time is an implied attempt to get Iraq to explicitly denounce Teheran. In trying to get Baghdad to nail its colors to the mast, the US is building pieces of a coalition against Teheran.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Cartoon by Mike Lester (click to enlarge)
Giant vs. Midget
Many years ago, a great hitter named Paul Waner was nearing the end of his long career. He entered a ballgame with 2,999 hits — one hit away from the 3,000-hit landmark — which so many hitters want to reach, but which relatively few actually do reach.Read it all--and then think about how sad it all is: here we have a man--a man so utterly worthy and deserving of our respect that words really aren't adequate. Here we have a true elder statesman, untarnished by the pretense of politics. Here we have someone who really could--in a perfect world--heal the great black-white rift; or more accurately, he would dispel the myth that there still is a great black-white rift. Why can't we elevate people like this to positions of importance? How is it that men we hold in high esteem like Sowell remain in the shadows, while pretenders--very dangerous pretenders--like Obama occupy center stage?
Waner hit a ball that the fielder did not handle cleanly but the official scorer called it a hit, making it Waner’s 3,000th. Paul Waner then sent word to the official scorer that he did not want that questionable hit to be the one that put him over the top.
The official scorer reversed himself and called it an error. Later Paul Waner got a clean hit for number 3,000.
What reminded me of this is the great fervor that many seem to feel over the prospect of the first black president of the United States.
No doubt it is only a matter of time before there is a black president, just as it was only a matter of time before Paul Waner got his 3,000th hit. The issue is whether we want to reach that landmark so badly that we are willing to overlook how questionably that landmark is reached.
Paul Waner had too much pride to accept a scratch hit. Choosing a president of the United States is a lot more momentous than a baseball record. We the voters need to have far more concern about who we put in that office that holds the destiny of a nation and of generations yet unborn.
There is no reason why someone as arrogant, foolishly clever, and ultimately dangerous as Barack Obama should become president — especially not at a time when the threat of international terrorists with nuclear weapons looms over 300 million Americans.
Many people seem to regard elections as occasions for venting emotions, like cheering for your favorite team or choosing a homecoming queen.
The three leading candidates for their party’s nomination are being discussed in terms of their demographics — race, sex, and age — as if that is what the job is about.
One of the painful aspects of studying great catastrophes of the past is discovering how many times people were preoccupied with trivialities when they were teetering on the edge of doom. The demographics of the presidency are far less important than the momentous weight of responsibility that office carries.
Just the power to nominate federal judges to trial courts and appellate courts across the country, including the Supreme Court, can have an enormous impact for decades to come. There is no point feeling outraged by things done by federal judges, if you vote on the basis of emotion for those who appoint them.
This world is not a just place; but it isn't because of racism--it is because of our sheer stupidity.
Obama's Pathetic Denial
- 20 years.... 20 years. And now he's "shocked, shocked..." Obama IS the "usual suspects".
- The really sad part about this whole matter is that there are a LOT of really brain-dead people out there who buy into Barack's act who will actually believe that Barack never knew. It was just a coincidence that Obama disinvited Wright to his Presidential announcement. And there are still more who do know, but will look the other way regardless.
- Ayers news conference coming soon? I give it 50/50.
RICK MORAN on the Obama press conference. "Obama has credibility issues with Wright as well as his other problem associates Ayers and indicted Chicago political fixer Tony Rezko. In each and every case, Obama has first downplayed his connections to these political hot potatoes. Wright was a 'crazy uncle.' Ayers, a 'neighbor.' Rezko, just 'one of thousands of contributors' to his campaign. Only when these associations have reached a critical political mass has Obama tried to put out the fire."
ANOTHER UPDATE: "Obama on Wright: He Really Means It This Time."
The Supreme Court , Obama, and Voter Fraud
Barack Obama has approached Chicago politics differently. He came to the city as a community organizer in the 1980s and quickly developed a name for himself as a litigator in voting cases.Read the whole thing. Obama has a lot more to worry about than pathetic assertion that he spent 20 years attending Jeremiah Wright's church and had no idea about what he was about.
In 1995, then GOP Gov. Jim Edgar refused to implement the federal "Motor Voter" law. Allowing voters to register using only a postcard and blocking the state from culling voter rolls, he argued, could invite fraud. Mr. Obama sued on behalf of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, and won. Acorn later invited Mr. Obama to help train its staff; Mr. Obama would also sit on the board of the Woods Fund for Chicago, which frequently gave this group grants.
Acorn's efforts to register voters have been scandal-prone. St. Louis, Mo., officials found that in 2006 over 1,000 addresses listed on its registrations didn't exist. "We met twice with Acorn before their drive, but our requests completely fell by the wayside," said Democrat Matt Potter, the city's deputy elections director. Later, federal authorities indicted eight of the group's local workers. One of the eight pleaded guilty last month.
In Seattle, local officials invalidated 1,762 Acorn registrations. Felony charges were filed against seven of its workers, some of whom have criminal records. Prosecutors say Acorn's oversight of its workers was virtually nonexistent. To avoid prosecution, Acorn agreed to pay $25,000 in restitution.
Despite this record – and polls that show clear majorities of blacks and Hispanics back voter ID laws – Mr. Obama continues to back Acorn. They both joined briefs urging the Supreme Court to overturn Indiana's law.
Last year, he put on hold the nomination of Hans von Spakovsky for a seat on the Federal Election Commission. Mr. von Spakovsky, as a Justice Department official, had supported a Georgia photo ID law.
In a letter to the Senate Rules Committee, Mr. Obama wrote that "Mr. von Spakovsky's role in supporting the Department of Justice's quixotic efforts to attack voter fraud raises significant questions about his ability to interpret and apply the law in a fair manner." Of course, now an even stricter law than the one in Georgia has been upheld by the Supreme Court, removing Mr. Obama's chief objection.
The hold on the von Spakovsky nomination has left the Federal Election Commission with less than a quorum. As a result, the FEC can't open new cases, hold public meetings, issue advisory opinions or approve John McCain's receipt of public funding for the general election. Now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claims that, even without the von Spakovsky hold, filling the FEC's vacancies will take "several months."
All of this may be smart politics, but it is far removed from Mr. Obama's call for transcending the partisan divide. Then again, Mr. Obama's relationship to reform has always been tenuous. Jay Stewart, the executive director of the Chicago Better Government Association, notes that, while Mr. Obama supported ethics reforms as a state senator, he has "been noticeably silent on the issue of corruption here in his home state, including at this point, mostly Democratic."
So we have the irony of two liberal icons in sharp disagreement over yesterday's Supreme Court decision. Justice Stevens, the real reformer, believes voter ID laws are justified to prevent fraud. Barack Obama, the faux reformer, hauls out discredited rhetoric that they disenfranchise voters.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Chicago, we have a Problem
Obama's Worst Nightmare: Wright turns UP the Venom
There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do do not want to lose their jobs. - Booker T. WashingtonMr. Washington was clearly wise beyond his years. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have new competition on the block for the "keep the brothers down so I can keep getting rich" business. And to a great extent, the Democrat Party apparatchiks have also been playing this card for years to garner the minority vote.
When was it again that LBJ's"War on Poverty" started? 1964? 1965? It has been 44 years now...how's that "war" coming along? The dirty little secret that no Democrat will admit to is that the minute that "war" is won, no one will need to vote for a Socialist nanny state anymore. No poverty = no power for Dems.
Yesterday I focused on some posts that were trying to make a distinct point about Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his 20-year association with Barack Obama; namely that for those opposing Obama to point out the stream of outrageous statements that Mr. Wright has been making for years has nothing to do with racism, and everything to do with calling into question the judgment of a person who is claiming to have what it takes to hold the most powerful office on the Planet. If Obama was a Newt Gingrich conservative, with his youth and communication skills, I would be out there campaigning him and raising money for him. It's not about race. It's about honesty, character, patriotism, and sanity.
But Obama isn't Gingrich. He is a dyed in the wool Marxist, quite possibly the most hard left candidate to ever have a real shot at the office. His associations with Wright, William Ayers, Tony Rezko, and others show incredibly poor judgment, and a monumental disdain for the ideas within the Constitution of the United States--which a President must swear to "preserve, protect, and defend". I could care less what color his skin is: he is a dangerous man because he is a radical Leftist
I am sure that Obama wished he had a "do over" when it comes to his radical past and his association with known radicals, crooks, terrorists, and race-baiting hate-mongers. But he does not. So he must not have been happy with what Mr. Wright has been vomiting up in public for the last several days.
First, there was this particular speech--which almost has to be heard to be believed--where he basically states that people of African descent learn differently than, well, any other race. This sounds a lot more like something that a Nation of Islam minister would be saying than a so-called Christian. And, as a matter of fact, Wright's security is being provided by the Nation of Islam. But as a first stop on the Reverend Wright's "heal the divisions" world tour, get a load of this:
The American Digest comments, beginning with a quote from the NAACP speech the other night (ahem):
"In comparing African-American children and European-American children, we were comparing apples and rocks."Got that? Rocks.
The Digest continues:
"Different is not deficient," is the theme of this speech by Obama mentor Wright. That and a crash course in black eugenics and phrenology that would make a fascist blush.But that's not the half of it; today the Reverend appeared before the National Press Club and let loose more lunacy:
It would seem there is a profound difference between the black brain and other brains after all. At least according to Reverend Wright. According to this shining exemplar of Barack Obama and his deep "scholarship," is vast learning concerning black liberation theology, black people are right-brained, white people are left-brained. and never the twain shall meet. Asian people don't make the discussion since that would be, well, unfortunate.
If you're like me you've probably been wandering about the world babbling something about racial equality in America that affirms, "There are no differences except differences of degree between different degrees of difference and no difference." You could also say, "All men are created equal." How left-brained of you.
Now comes Reverend James Wright to set us all straight. He notes in passing that the right-brain of black people is somehow descended from the griots of Africa. The griots were people who could remember long, very long, poems; proto-rappers if you will. White people had something like that too, but then they invented ... writing. Or was it the Asians? I forget since, alas, my griot genes are slim to none.
At any rate, being descended from griots seems to me to be a lucky win in genetic lotto if you get one of the 100 top rapper slots in the world. It will probably be a bit more problematic if you want to get a job that involves actual analytic skills.
Reverend Wright's mindset is indeed fascinating. You can see the brain in fervid action above.
Full speech @ Rev Wright NAACP Speech (Video). Four segments including singing and dancing.
- he implied that Obama agrees with him, but just has to pretend that he doesn't; he also stated that Obama "had to" disown him because he is a politician, and that the day after he gets elected, Barack understands that Wright is"coming after" him
- he once again overtly stated that America was responsible for 9/11
- he said that any attack on him is an "attack on the Black church" (i.e. was "racist")
- he did not back down from his assertion that the US Government may have created the AIDS virus to kill black people
This election is John McCain's to lose.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Still the Ones
UPDATED McCain executes an "About Face" on Wright
Well it's a start, anyway. Meanwhile, Obama cannot run fast enough from his intimate friendships with Marxists, race bigots and terrorists (via Belmont Club):
Watching McCain operate in a campaign that your side absolutely has to win is sort of like having your wisdom teeth cut out every single day; the pain killers (or in this case, the Xanax...) may help--but it is only masking the pain to come. I am beginning to think that if I am actually going to be able to muster the enormous strength it is going to take for me to vote for McCain in November, I would be much better off ignoring any and news about him at all... (good luck with that...)
Byron York, at The Corner on National Review Online says that under pressure, John McCain has allowed that the "Rev. Wright Is An Issue, After All".
John McCain, stung by criticism on the right that he seems unwilling to go after Barack Obama on the Jeremiah Wright issue, is changing course. The McCain campaign, latching onto Obama's comment this morning on "Fox News Sunday" that Wright's comments are "a legitimate political issue," is sending around a transcript of McCain's comments at a press conference in Florida today.
One of the nice things about a democracy is that politicians, to a certain degree, listen to their constituents. With the MSM force field leaking in places, politicians are simply forced to respond to things they'd rather not and explore issues they wish they wouldn't. For example, Glenn Reynolds has a mini-roundup suggesting that Barack Obama is belatedly trying to distance himself from his radical base. And the pro-Hillary blogs have discovered the Obama-Ayers connection and are mining it for all it's worth.
UPDATE: The Editors of National Review state the case about at well as it can be stated:
Obama’s relationship to Wright is relevant to his judgment, character, and — in his explanations of what he knew and when about Wright — his honesty. Are we to ignore all this because Wright is black? Are only videos of white pastors damning America fit for airwaves? It’s not Wright’s race that matters, but his racist and anti-American rantings.UPDATE: Bill Hobbs nails it pretty well too.
We understand McCain’s desire to steer well clear of any racial foul-play, but there’s none in the ad and he’s foolish to be pushed into the position of speech cop for every other Republican in the country. It’s unclear what McCain’s principled standard for criticism of Obama is. The Illinois senator has a closer relationship to Wright than former terrorist William Ayers, but McCain has seen fit to condemn the latter association.
From now until November, any Republican criticizing Wright will be accused of playing the race card. It’s a way to shut down discussion of Wright’s poisonous worldview, and of what it says about Obama. These rules stack the deck and stifle legitimate debate. Republicans must reject them.
The New York Times says this ad is race-baiting. Ann Althouse disagrees. Given that the ad doesn't mention race at all, the NYT apparently thinks it is "race-baiting" to show a picture of an African-American man in a campaign ad about an African-American candidate. Which, if you take the NYT's logic to its extreme, must mean that the NYT thinks all of Barack Obama's ads in which Obama is pictured are "race-baiting."
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Unintended Consequences of Imbecility
Cartoon by Mike Lester (click to enlarge)
The Founder of the Weather Channel Calls "BS" on Global Warming
Very refreshing, to say the least.
Why Obama's Stock is Dropping like a Rock for the General
.... Much of the tragedy of the Obama campaign is how ever so steadily, incrementally its theme has devolved into a racialist message: the ubiquitous use of "they" who always in some way are to be faulted for an array of sins against the Obamas, from losing Pennsylvania to raising the bar on Michelle to such a degree as not to warrant pride in her country; the now serial snideness about what Obama called "a typical white person" and amplified with his remarks about Middle America's superstitious clinging to guns and church, its xenophobia and bigotry, and now most lately with the Axelrod dismissal of the need to appeal to the natural constituency of the "white working class" (e.g. 'this is not new that Democratic candidates don’t rely solely on those votes.')—all of that superimposed on a landscape of a Rev. Wright's blanket hatred against "rich white people," Italians, Israelis, et. al.Read the whole thing here. And perhaps it is a "tragedy" from the perspective of the Obama campaign--but it is a Godsend for the United States.
I say "devolved," but in truth the campaign from the beginning had these elements within it; all that is changed is that the media at last has given Obama some scrutiny (much to furor of the liberal left who cannibalized their own at ABC News for asking routine questions), and that critics no longer fear the tired charge of "racist" in asking perfectly legitimate questions of their possible next President.
If this continues, the worry is not that a large portion of the "white working class" will defect to McCain, but that a large portion of Democrats who counted on incorporating the "white working class" will as well.
Mark Steyn takes on: Food Riots, Starving People, Biofuels...and the Global Warmism Myth causing it ALL
... So where exactly do Time magazine’s generals want to plant their tree? Presumably, as in Iwo Jima, on foreign soil. It’s all these third-world types monkeying around with their rain forests who decline to share the sophisticated Euro-American reverence for the tree. In the Time iconography, the tree is Old Glory and it’s a flag of eco-colonialism.
And which obscure island has it been planted on? In Haiti, the Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis was removed from office on April 12. Insofar as history will recall him at all, he may have the distinction of being the first head of government to fall victim to “global warming” — or, at any rate, the “war on global warming” that Time magazine is gung-ho for. At least five people have been killed in food riots in Port-au-Prince. Prices have risen 40 percent since last summer and, as Deroy Murdock reported, some citizens are now subsisting on biscuits made from salt, vegetable oil and (mmmm) dirt. Dirt cookies: Nutritious, tasty, and affordable? Well, one out of three ain’t bad.
Unlike “global warming,” food rioting is a planet-wide phenomenon, from Indonesia to Pakistan to Ivory Coast to the tortilla rampages in Mexico and even pasta protests in Italy.... So what happened?
Well, Western governments listened to the eco-warriors, and introduced some of the “wartime measures” they’ve been urging. The EU decreed that 5.75 percent of petrol and diesel must come from “biofuels” by 2010, rising to 10 percent by 2020. The U.S. added to its 51 cents-per-gallon ethanol subsidy by mandating a five-fold increase in “biofuels” production by 2022.
The result is that big government accomplished at a stroke what the free market could never have done: They turned the food supply into a subsidiary of the energy industry. When you divert 28 percent of U.S. grain into fuel production, and when you artificially make its value as fuel higher than its value as food, why be surprised that you’ve suddenly got less to eat? Or, to be more precise, it’s not “you” who’s got less to eat but those starving peasants in distant lands you claim to care so much about.
Heigh-ho. In the greater scheme of things, a few dead natives keeled over with distended bellies is a small price to pay for saving the planet, right? Except that turning food into fuel does nothing for the planet in the first place. That tree the U.S. Marines are raising on Iwo Jima was most likely cut down to make way for an ethanol-producing corn field: Researchers at Princeton calculate that to date the “carbon debt” created by the biofuels arboricide will take 167 years to reverse.
The biofuels debacle is global warm-mongering in a nutshell: The first victims of poseur environmentalism will always be developing countries. In order for you to put biofuel in your Prius and feel good about yourself for no reason, real actual people in faraway places have to starve to death. On April 15, the Independent, the impeccably progressive British newspaper, editorialized: “The production of biofuel is devastating huge swathes of the world’s environment. So why on earth is the Government forcing us to use more of it?”
You want the short answer? Because the government made the mistake of listening to fellows like you. ...
... It’s not the environmental movement’s chickenfeedhawks who’ll have to reap what they demand must be sown, but we should be in no doubt about where to place the blame — on the bullying activists and their media cheerleaders and weathervane politicians who insist that the “science” is “settled” and that those who query whether there’s any crisis are (in the designation of the strikingly non-emaciated Al Gore) “denialists.” All three presidential candidates have drunk the environmental kool-ethanol and are committed to Big Government solutions. But, as the Independent’s whiplash-inducing U-turn confirms, the eco-scolds are under no such obligation to consistency. Finger-in-the-wind politicians shouldn’t be surprised to find that gentle breeze is from the media wind turbine and it’s just sliced your finger off.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Iran Heating Up: US Navy Fires at Iranian Boats; Other Options on the Table...
If that weren't enough, this very interesting story appeared in the WaPo this morning:
In at least the second provocation by Iranian vessels in international waters, the US Navy fired warning shots at boats that acted aggressively towards our ships. After attempting several times to signal the craft, the Navy let loose with a barrage of M-16s and .50-caliber guns. The Iranians got the message:
The incident took place in the Gulf, in international waters dozens of miles from the Iranian coast, the US said.
The vessel - the Westward Venture - was working for the US Military Sealift Command under a 65-day charter, an official told the BBC.
The Iranaian boats withdrew soon after the warning shots were fired.
US officials say the Westward Venture used the correct measures prior to firing the shots: it sounded its horn, and gave the Iranian boats a verbal warning, before firing flares, 50-caliber machine guns and M-16s in the direction of the boats.
Shortly after the incident, a routine inquiry was made of the Westward Venture by Iranian authorities, according to US officials.
Tehran wants to probe American naval defense protocols just short of initiating hostilities. The Navy, mindful of an incident in which Iranian boats captured 15 British sailors and later paraded them for propaganda purposes, have thus far shown no particular friendliness. After the USS Cole bombing in 2000, the US Navy doesn’t let anyone get close without clear intent and communication being known first.
The ultimate goal could be to intimidate the US out of the Gulf, which the Iranians consider their private lake. If so, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad will be sorely disappointed, at least in this President. If he keeps provoking the Navy, one day he may be a few boats short.
The nation's top military officer said today that the Pentagon is planning for "potential military courses of action" against Iran, criticizing what he called the Tehran government's "increasingly lethal and malign influence" in Iraq.
Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a conflict with Iran would be "extremely stressing" but not impossible for U.S. forces, pointing specifically to reserve capabilities in the Navy and Air Force.
"It would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability," he said at a Pentagon news conference.
Still, Mullen made clear that he prefers a diplomatic solution to the tensions with Iran and does not foresee any imminent military action. "I have no expectations that we're going to get into a conflict with Iran in the immediate future," he said.
Mullen's statements and others by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recently signal a new rhetorical onslaught by the Bush administration against Iran, amid what officials say is increased Iranian provision of weapons, training and financing to Iraqi groups that are attacking and killing Americans.
In a speech Monday at West Point, Gates said Iran "is hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons." He said a war with Iran would be "disastrous on a number of levels. But the military option must be kept on the table given the destabilizing policies of the regime and the risks inherent in a future Iranian nuclear threat."
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, who was nominated this week to head all U.S. forces in the Middle East, is preparing a briefing soon to lay out detailed evidence of increased Iranian involvement in Iraq, Mullen said. The briefing will detail, for example, the discovery in Iraq of weapons that were very recently manufactured in Iran, he said.
"The Iranian government pledged to halt such activities some months ago. It's plainly obvious they have not. Indeed, they seem to have gone the other way," Mullen said.
He said recent unrest in the southern Iraqi city of Basra had highlighted a "level of involvement" by Iran that had not been understood by the U.S. military previously. "It became very, very visible in ways that we hadn't seen before," he said. ...
Attempted Grand Theft: "It was Al Gore who made it a Judicial Question...."
"It was Al Gore who made it a judicial question…. We didn’t go looking for trouble. It was he who said, 'I want this to be decided by the courts.'"And (just in case anyone has forgotten), the court battles were not the only unseemly behavior that went on vis-a-vis Florida that year:
"What are we supposed to say — 'Not important enough?'
It's nice to get a snappy video clip of Scalia saying this. I think he's right. I've thought that from the day the case came out. And I voted for Al Gore and had been watching the Florida antics with the punchcards and the chads and hoping he'd luck into a win. I've also written about the case at length and taught the case many times in law school.
ADDED: Here's the main scholarly article I wrote about the Gore-Bush litigation.
- TV Network disenfranchisement of heavily Republican Florida counties: when the networks called Florida for Gore, the polls were still open in Western Florida's heavily Republican Counties. John Lott of the American Enterprise Institute did a scientific study of the impact of these false "early calls" to voters in Western Florida. His Conclusion: "Something unusual happened to Republican voting rates in Florida’s western Panhandle in the 2000 general election. To put these results in perspective, each one percent drop in Republican turnout relative to the non-Republicans in the western Panhandle represents about 2 500 votes—a drop of about 7 votes per precinct. The drop of at least 15% implied by the pooled cross-sectional
time-series data suggests that there were 37 500 fewer votes for Bush, 105 fewer votes per precinct. If anything, these results seem too large particularly if the effect of the media coverage was only to discourage Republican voters, even though voters vote at disproportionately high rates during the last hour that polls are open. But clearly something unusual occurred in the 2000 Presidential election. Even the purely cross-sectional estimates imply that Bush received as many as 7 500 to 10 000 fewer votes than he would normally have expected later in the day.
- Military vote disenfranchisement: the Gore campaign made active efforts to stop the counting of military votes, and political processes were in place beginning with the Clinton Administration to disenfranchise the military. The overall Democrat attempt to rob the power of the vote from our military men and women is nothing short of scandalous. It seemingly got lost in the "count every chad" news cycle (go figure), but we should not allow it to remain forgotten.
- African-American (Republican) vote disenfranchisement after the fact. In 2006 a study of the details of the 2000 Florida vote unearthed a stunning fact. Read the story as reported then by James Glassman and John Lott: (Lott also did a research study on this topic, which can be found here):
Last week, detailed statistics were released on voting in Florida during the presidential election. The data for the first time include all of the state`s precincts, with not just information on race but on party affiliation.
At first glance, the numbers confirm the disturbing claims, repeated often this year, that African American ballots were "spoiled"--that is, not counted because they showed either no vote for president or multiple votes--at higher rates than the ballots of other groups.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson was not alone in charging "a clear pattern of suppressing the votes of African Americans." Much less detailed data earlier this year caused the chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to call for a criminal investigation.
The newspaper consortium that has been recounting the Florida votes will release a report today that is expected to highlight the racial disparity in the spoiled ballots, giving a boost to reform bills that are now moving swiftly through Congress to try to remedy the apparent problem.
But if spoiled ballots do indicate disenfranchisement, then the new data show that, by a dramatic margin, the group most victimized in the Florida voting was African American Republicans.
We discovered this stunning twist in an extensive analysis of the new data.
The new findings show that African American Republicans who voted in Florida were in excess of 50 times more likely than the average African American to have had a ballot declared invalid because it was spoiled.
These results take into account a wide range of factors that influence spoiled-ballot rates, including education, gender, income, age, number of absentee votes, voting-machine type, ballot type and whether votes were counted at the precinct or centrally.
In other words, it is the isolated fact of being a Republican that makes an African American vastly more likely to have his or her ballot declared invalid.
Never forget that it was Al Gore whose ego was so inflated that he almost tore the country apart by fighting a legitimate electoral result--he has never led Florida, not after all the counts, recounts, and even post-election media counts. He never led.
If you think about it, much of the acrimony and scorched earth politics we are seeing today may be a direct result of Gore's "refuse to lose" tour of Florida in 2000; that event more than any I can think of in recent memory has caused a split in the American political landscape and psyche that still has not healed.
Thanks, Al. What kind of awards do they give out in Stockholm for polarizing and dividing a nation?
UPDATED The Cannibilism Begins (but what's Eating McCain?)
The Democratic Party begins eating its own.
How do you bring a country together when your party is falling apart?
The No. 3 House Democrat James Clyburn of South Carolina (via Talk Left): “I heard something, the first time yesterday (in South Carolina), and I heard it on the (House) floor today, which is telling me there are African Americans who have reached the decision that the Clintons know that she can’t win this. But they’re hell-bound to make it impossible for Obama to win.”
Supporter of Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton, Taylor Marsh, on House Speaker Democrat Nancy Pelosi: “I’ve supported Pelosi through all of her tenure, proud to have the first woman Speaker of the House. But recently she simply sounds like The Queen Political Bee intent on keeping any other female from hogging her spotlight. Her performance on Larry King Live was embarrassing. It reminds me of high school when the top cheerleader is about to be deposed by someone who can do a better jump. Truly beneath what I’d expect of a woman of this stature in the 21st century. Unless women get past this nonsense we’re doomed.”
The voice of reason? Paul Krugman!
No, I’m serious. Check it out:
But the message that Democrats are ready to continue and build on a grand tradition doesn’t mesh well with claims to be bringing a “new politics” and rhetoric that places blame for our current state equally on both parties.
And unless Democrats can get past this self-inflicted state of confusion, there’s a very good chance that they’ll snatch defeat from the jaws of victory this fall.
It’s all a plot to lull popcorn-munching Republicans to sleep.
Pass the popcorn anyway.
I am an Orville Redenbacher man myself... but how can one possibly sleep when one is having so much fun?
It is going to be a very bumpy ride. Buckle up.
UPDATE: Some more advice for the McCain camp from the WSJ:
It is hard to see McCain going there; but if he doesn't he's going to lose me.
...it isn't going to be sufficient for Senator McCain to simply tout [keeping the Bush] tax cuts without offering a strong rationale. The standard trap the left sets whenever tax cuts are mooted is to wave the "deficit" that will result. Absent a counterargument, Mr. McCain will spend the campaign playing on this liberal ground. In particular, he has to make the case that tax cuts do not lose as much revenue as the static, dollar-for-dollar revenuers claim. He has tax-cut history on his side. The threats of revenue catastrophe did not happen in the 1960s (the Kennedy tax cuts), the 1980s (Reagan) or after 2003 (Bush). ...
Senator McCain has to find a way to make the case that his economic plan and its attendant tax cuts are intended to spur economic growth. So much the better if he doesn't feel personally comfortable making that argument in the sort of dry terms his economic advisers might favor.
Growth is the product of work performed by a huge nation of individuals seeking to support families, small businesses and communities. Virtually everyone understands that the nation only thrives if people are able to invest their money and labor and then reinvest it in more of the same. They will only do that, at every income level, if the government consents to allowing most of the fruits of this effort to remain with individuals in the private economy.
Senator McCain doesn't need a doctorate in economics to understand this debate. As a Member of Congress and Presidential candidate, he has listened endlessly to Democrats mau-mau their opponents with rhetoric about "fairness" and the "deficit" and, best of all, the "investment needs" of the government, aka, spending.
The past week's criticisms are intended to bait Mr. McCain into debating his tax cuts on these liberal terms. He can only win this debate, and the election, by breaking free of that mindset and making his own personal case for lower taxes and the prosperity they help to create.
It is a great illustration of the problem for any Republican taking a Democrat position: at the end of any Democrat argument lies Marx, Class Warfare, anti-Business, anti-Judeo-Christian (and no other) religion, Peace and Appeasement at all costs... mentality. Cheap emotionalism and "peace/love/green" sentiment that has much more to do with expoliting guilt than it has basis in fact or logic.
This is why McCain trying to sound like a Democrat is so monumentally stupid: no matter what, it will always lead to something that cannot be defended using pure reason. And this is a trap the Dems are just waiting for him to wander into. The WSJ is very astute in pointing out this weakness--but it doesn't just apply to economics. If McCain really wants to run as an independent than he needs to be independent...of pop culture, leftist, feel good Groupthink in general.
Does he have it in him? We'll see.
Somebody Check the Trunk...
Cartoon by Glenn McCoy (click to enlarge)
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Self-Inflicted Tyranny: Deception, Servitude, and the Iron Boot
... I'm not suggesting Snipes isn't guilty, or shouldn't go to jail, but you never hear a peep from the supposed freedom loving liberals when it comes to how government taxes and spends, thereby controlling our lives, as well as our livelihoods.Bravo! Read the whole thing.
You can peace march all you want, try to persecute telco's for providing information to the government, and stage all the faux torture events you want in protest of government actions.
But what's perfectly clear in America today is one thing - you don't screw with the tax man. Never let it be said that our government doesn't know from whence its power springs.
It would be wise to consider that when debating hyper-regulative responses to issues like global warming and supporting politicians who love big government. It always comes with a price. And ultimately that price is freedom, just as much as it is dollars.
In relative terms, there will be little or no liberal hand-wringing over the Snipes conviction, which causes one to wonder if they really understand freedom at all. Snipes appears to be guilty, but he WAS striking Big Brother at its heart in a way few if any anti-war protesters ever do.
And the message is clear - Big Brother knows how to deal with threats to its collective heart when they really matter.
Issues like the above are why I genuinely question the motivations of liberals today. They claim to be championing liberty. Yet nearly everything they champion calls for more taxation and regulation. One can't do both and be intellectually consistent, or honest.
The most evil and insidious "trick" our Congress--which is so eager to ever greater amounts of our money--plays on the public, is to force a great majority of its employed citizens to have their taxes deducted from their paychecks throughout the year; for if all of our taxpaying citizens were allowed to let their own money earn interest for their own families over that same year--and then to be forced to write one enormous check from their savings at the end of the year--these citizens would not so easily vote for the very liars and thieves who would deprive them of even more.
I have my own business, and therefore have the "pleasure" of paying ridiculous sums of money four times per year instead of 26 (or 52...). And therefore I have a clearer--and starker--picture of what our wasteful, frivolous, pork-loving Politicians are doing to each and every one of us (at least those of us without our hands out...) It makes my blood boil, especially when I hear the Marxist bastards running our Congress (and running for President..) imply that it is the Government's money which they are graciously allowing us to keep some of--rather than the other way around.
As for Harry Reid's "voluntary" tax: I give you Mr. Wesley Snipes.
"The Wright Stuff": Then and Now
...For 20 years, Rev. Wright has been a “friend, mentor and pastor.” This is how Sen. Obama described him in a letter dated February 5, 2007.My how things have changed. From Ed Morrissey:
In that letter, the senator wrote “I constantly remember Rev. Wright as the shepherd who guided me to my commitment to Christ one Sunday morning at Trinity. I often consider, as I work in the Senate how he lives his life-a life of service to Trinity, Chicago and the nation; his activism on behalf of causes that few would champion and his dogged commitment to the first principles of love for God and fellow man. And in my personal walk, I seek daily to imitate his faith.”
And you should do just that, by reading the whole thing; in the meantime, you can chalk up another "dinger" for the Captain.
Barack Obama needs another eruption of the Wright Stuff like he needs another video of him making fun of embittered Bible-thumping bigots, but at least the former appears inevitable. ABC News responds to Jeremiah Wright’s allegation that his words were taken out of context … by providing the context. And guess what? The context makes it look just as bad:
Rev. Jeremiah Wright says his sermons were deliberately taken out of context by the news media “for a political purpose” and to “paint me as some sort of fanatic.”
“When something is taken like a sound bite for a political purpose and constantly over and over again, looped in the face of the public. That’s not a failure to communicate,” he told Bill Moyers in his first interview since ABC News Good Morning America first broadcast portions of his sermons. The Moyers interview will be broadcast tomorrow evening on PBS.
Wright says the use of the his controversial statements- -saying the US brought on the 9/ll attacks and that Black Americans should sing God Damn America instead of God Bless America—were “unfair” and “unjust” and were used “for some very devious reasons.”
Once again, we have the complaint that quoting someone accurately amounts to devious behavior. Selectively quoting someone to remove context can be devious, but the only one doing that is … Barack Obama, at least twice so far in the campaign. He flat-out misquoted John McCain in claiming that McCain said he would want 100 years of war, and he recently put out an ad that completely mischaracterized McCain’s view on the economy by cutting out a significant portion where he said that times had gotten tough recently. So far, Obama hasn’t apologized for either, although he has stopped using at least the first claim lately.So did Jeremiah Wright get the same treatment? Let’s look at the fuller context of his more controversial remarks. ...
Does the Washington Post (and/or others) PAY the Enemy to write Anti-American/Anti-Israel Propaganda?
... Even the Washington Post ridiculed Carter in an editorial April 17:Mr. Carter justifies his meetings with familiar arguments about the value of dialogue with enemies. But he misses the point. Contacts between enemies can be useful: Israel is legendary for such negotiations, and even now it is engaged in back-channel bargaining with Hamas through Egypt. But it is one thing to communicate pragmatically, and quite another to publicly and unconditionally grant recognition and political sanction to a leader or a group that advocates terrorism, mass murder or the extinction of another state.
That's an odd thing for the Post to say, considering an op-ed column by Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar, an active leader of the group in Gaza was published on the next page. The editorial acknowledges Zahar's writing "drips with hatred for Israel, and with praise for former president Jimmy Carter." But publishing the column, granting Zahar recognition and political sanction, is justified, the Post said, because it could "provide some clarity about the group he helps to lead, a group that Mr. Carter contends is worthy of being included in the Middle East peace process."
As if Hamas' agenda requires clarity. Its charter invokes Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna: "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." The group "aspires to the realization of Allah's promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:
‘The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'"
Forget, for a moment, whether the Post's argument is consistent. There is a more immediate question at stake: Did the Post pay its standard fee for Zahar's column? The Post compensates guest writers with a minimum $200 fee, spokeswoman Rima Calderon said. Other factors, including whether the column was solicited or had multiple authors, could increase the amount. So, what did the Post pay Zahar?
"As I suspected, we don't make this information public," Calderon said in an e-mail.
Payment of any amount could violate U.S. law banning material support or other transactions with the designated terrorist group Hamas, said Jeffrey Breinholt, senior fellow and national security law director at the International Assessment and Strategy Center. Breinholt knows the law well. Before taking leave last summer, he was the deputy chief of the Department of Justice's counterterrorism section. ...
Read the whole thing. And consider the fact that this is an American newspaper--one read by many members (maybe even a majority) of our government on a daily basis. Consider that the same Washington Post broke the story revealing how the US was using the financial system to track terror funding...highly classified information which arguably has cost the US dearly.
Isn't it time that the "freedom of the press" does not include the "freedom" to undermine American national security and prop up the regimes of those who want us dead? Especially when we are at War??
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Free at Last
Cartoon by Larry Wright (click to enlarge)
Headline of the Day
The New F.O.B.'s
This is not a drill: our country is in grave danger from a Presidential candidate...
Come Home, America...
Hillary won just enough to show that it is ludicrous to oust a 10-point winner at this late junction, but not quite the blow-out that might cause a stampede to her in the next few states.
The Democrats are tottering at the edge of the abyss. They are about to nominate someone who cannot win, despite vastly out-spending his opponent, any of the key large states — CA, NJ, NY, OH, PENN, TX, etc. — that will determine the fall election. And yet not to nominate him will cause the sort of implosion they saw in 1968 or the sort of mess we saw in November 2000.
Hillary won't quit, since she knows that Obama, when pressure mounts, is starting to show a weird sort of petulance, and drops the "new politics" for snideness. And at any given second, a Rev. Wright outburst, an Ayers reappearance, another Michelle 'never been proud' moment, or another condescending Obamism can cause him to nose dive and become even more snappy.
They won't be able to force Hillary out since she still has strong arguments — the popular vote may end up dead even, or even in her favor; while he won caucuses and out-of-play states, she won the critical fall battlegrounds — and by plebiscites; she is the more experienced and more likely to run a steady national campaign; she wins the Reagan Democrats that will determine the fall election; and by other, more logical nomination rules (like the Republicans' fewer caucuses, winner-take-all elections) she would have already wrapped it up. There seems something unfair, after all, for someone to win these mega-states and end up only with a few extra delegates for the effort. The more this drags out, the more Obama and Hillary get nastier and more estranged from each other — at precisely the time one must take the VP nomination to unite the party.
On the plus side, Hillary is showing a scrappy, tough blue-collar talent that is critical for November — but apparently it will be all for naught, or worse, cause lots of these Middle America "clingers" to go over to McCain.
More and more, McCain will want to run against Obama and his far weaker coalition of elite whites, African-Americans, students — and closets of skeletons. More and more, we will start to see the buyer's remorse of midsummer 1972.
All eyes turn to a repeat in Indiana...
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
MSM Rehab Center
Cartoon by Eric Allie (click to enlarge)
Another Rude Awakening (Steyn comments on Hillary's Win in PA)
Today--in a very astute observation--Mark Steyn points out that it really is Obama who is looking like the biggest loser now.
As an observer to this Keystone Cops campaign, it is an amazing scene to behold: when I "crossed over" in Texas to vote for Hillary, it was because I thought Obama would be the more difficult of the two for McCain to defeat in the General Election; but not anymore. I I think if Obama is the nominee, it very well might result in a Republican landslide in the fall. The luster has come completely off of the "fresh"mythical Obama who is "above" petty politics and the smartest man on earth. The truth is out now. That truth may well be too late to derail his nomination; but Obama is playing defense almost all the time now--and not playing it well. He has cancelled his North Carolina debate with Hillary, and one gets the impression that it is more out of fear of losing ground than any other consideration. Meanwhile the General Election--with debates against an opponent who is as seasoned in debates as one can be--loom ahead.
If you think about what Steyn is saying here about Obama, its truth is like throwing cold water on the myth of the Messianic Obama. And there are miles and miles and miles to go before he sleeps:
Welcome to the "Perfect Storm" we've all been hoping for...
Speaking to reporters in Conshohocken, Pa., today, Clinton rejected that common argument, saying "a win is a win."
"But maybe I'm old fashioned about that. But you run a very competitive race at a considerable financial disadvantage. I think maybe the question ought to be why can't he close the deal?"
Which is a fair question. He's the new face in a party that loves new faces (as long as they peddle the same old cobwebbed policies), and he's cool and glamorous, to boot. She's a divisive figure with high negatives who's fought an inept campaign with far worse press coverage hobbled by a blundering hubby who's turned the buy-one-get-two double-act into a pantomime horse with two rear ends. Why can't he close the deal? The Vodka Pundit suggests:
If the Democrats ran a winner-take-all system like the Republicans and the Electoral College do, she’d have this thing clinched — and Obama would look like a regional candidate who can’t win much outside the South and his home state of Illinois.
Instead, the race goes on and on and the candidates get weaker and weaker and without an end in sight.
There's some truth in that, beyond the Dem system. Where is Barack's Mobamamentum?
REAL Reason for Panic on Climate (maybe--but not what you think...)
Bottom line--It's the SUN, stupid:
THE scariest photo I have seen on the internet is www.spaceweather.com, where you will find a real-time image of the sun from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, located in deep space at the equilibrium point between solar and terrestrial gravity.
What is scary about the picture is that there is only one tiny sunspot.
Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.
All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.
There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that 2007 was exceptionally cold. It snowed in Baghdad for the first time in centuries, the winter in China was simply terrible and the extent of Antarctic sea ice in the austral winter was the greatest on record since James Cook discovered the place in 1770.
It is generally not possible to draw conclusions about climatic trends from events in a single year, so I would normally dismiss this cold snap as transient, pending what happens in the next few years.
This is where SOHO comes in. The sunspot number follows a cycle of somewhat variable length, averaging 11 years. The most recent minimum was in March last year. The new cycle, No.24, was supposed to start soon after that, with a gradual build-up in sunspot numbers.
It didn't happen. The first sunspot appeared in January this year and lasted only two days. A tiny spot appeared last Monday but vanished within 24 hours. Another little spot appeared this Monday. Pray that there will be many more, and soon.
The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth's climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790.
Northern winters became ferocious: in particular, the rout of Napoleon's Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812 was at least partly due to the lack of sunspots.
That the rapid temperature decline in 2007 coincided with the failure of cycle No.24 to begin on schedule is not proof of a causal connection but it is cause for concern.
It is time to put aside the global warming dogma, at least to begin contingency planning about what to do if we are moving into another little ice age, similar to the one that lasted from 1100 to 1850.
There is no doubt that the next little ice age would be much worse than the previous one and much more harmful than anything warming may do. There are many more people now and we have become dependent on a few temperate agricultural areas, especially in the US and Canada. Global warming would increase agricultural output, but global cooling will decrease it.
Millions will starve if we do nothing to prepare for it (such as planning changes in agriculture to compensate), and millions more will die from cold-related diseases. ...
This is not something to take lightly folks--he's not making this stuff up. Not only are we wasting billions every year on a threat that is completely false (which already is having catastrophic consequences to real people who are already dying), but we are also not even looking at what might be needed to respond to what actually might become the biggest catastrophe in human history (yes: even a greater catastrophe than an Obama Presidency or an Iranian bomb...).
Wake up and smell the coffee, Americans; you are being had. You are being taken to the cleaners by liars and thieves. And it isn't only costing you money, it is costing lives. Yet none of our politicians seem to be able to resist being the next person to step up to the mikes and state that this Emperor is wearing clothes, all evidence to the contrary...
You've Got to Love Lileks ...
JAMES LILEKS ON THE BILL AYERS SCANDAL: "There’s a touching naïvete about the description of Ayers as a college professor, as if that means he has entered a realm of pipe-smoking rumination about Truth and Beauty. Doesn’t that make him an Authority? Aren’t we supposed to question Authority? Note to Dick Cheney: get yourself to the Department of Political Science at the U of Wyoming, and watch those calls for war-crime prosecutions melt away. . . . It was a difficult time. What a wonderful absolution. Oh, we all went a little mad. Some of us listened to Steppenwolf, some of us bombed government buildings and plotted robberies that killed people, some of us were rotting in Vietnamese prisons having our teeth bashed out by torture experts. Those days are behind us now, best forgotten. (Unlike the McCarthy era, which will be the subject of 163 movies about the blacklist next year, bringing the total to 45,203.)"
Monday, April 21, 2008
Cartoon by Chip Bok (click to enlarge)
Bush Intervenes against Mugabe, Shameless Chinese
The world sees; the world judges. No amount of money, power, or tyranny can change that.
UPDATE Finally the Mask is Removed...
In contrast to the Gulfstream Liberal jet set who preach environmental socialism while enjoying the fruits of the free market, however, there are many left-wing world leaders who are open about their true aims. Take Bolivian thug president Evo Morales.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has told a UN forum that capitalism should be scrapped if the planet is to be saved from the effects of climate change.
“If we want to save our planet earth, we have a duty to put an end to the capitalist system,” he said.
And speaking of the wages of Global Warming stupidity: once again--as it always does--the law of unintended consequences lays waste to man's folly and arrogance.
If only it would lay waste equally to the hysterical charlatans and Marxists that got us here in the first place...
Sunday, April 20, 2008
If you Love America ...
Why this really MAY be the Most Important Election in our Lifetime
... The court ruled that the state of Kentucky may continue to use lethal injections when administering the death penalty. But that’s not what’s shocking. Nor was it surprising that for the first time Justice John Paul Stevens admitted he thinks the death penalty is unconstitutional.Read the whole thing. And pray for a "Red November"...
What is staggering, or at least should be, is that Stevens freely admits that he no longer considers “objective evidence” or even the plain text of the Constitution determinative of what is or isn’t constitutional: “I have relied on my own experience in reaching the conclusion that the imposition of the death penalty” is unconstitutional.
Justice Antonin Scalia, in a blistering response, justifiably exclaimed that, “Purer expression cannot be found of the principle of rule by judicial fiat.”
I say “justifiably” rather than “accurately” because I think we hear purer expressions of the principle that “good” judges are those who make it up as they go along all the time. Consider Barack Obama. The Democratic front-runner and former lecturer on constitutional law at the University of Chicago has explained his thinking toward judicial appointments thus: “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old — and that’s the criteria by which I’ll be selecting my judges.”
When defending his vote against Justice John Roberts’ confirmation, Obama explained that the standard for a justice must be “one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.”
Now that is a pure expression of the principle of judicial fiat.
Indeed, by Obama’s own words the best justices are those who will most shamelessly violate their own oath of office.
Supreme Court justices must “solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me as a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States under the Constitution and laws of the United States, so help me God.”
Note the bit about doing right to poor and rich alike. Feeling sorry for the poor guy who violates the Constitution or the law has no role in how a Supreme Court justice is supposed to make a decision. Legislators can write laws based on empathy. They can invoke their pet theories about “how the world works.” They can even, as Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsberg are fond of doing, consult foreign laws and court decisions in their efforts to make a more perfect union. But Supreme Court justices are supposed to decide what the written law requires, not pick winners and losers based upon some sense of noblesse oblige. That’s why all of those statues of Lady Justice show her standing blindfolded, not bent over kissing the boo-boos of the unfortunate and the downtrodden.
In a very real sense, this election year we face the question: Do we want to live in a monarchy or a nation of laws? ...
UPDATED Condi throws it High and Hard
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice mocked anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as a coward on Sunday, hours after the radical leader threatened to declare war unless U.S. and Iraqi forces end a military crackdown on his followers.UPDATE: Bill Roggio gives us the scoop on what Condi is so hot and bothered about.
Rice, in the Iraqi capital to tout security gains and what she calls an emerging political consensus, said al-Sadr is content to issue threats and edicts from the safety of Iran, where he is studying. Al-Sadr heads an unruly militia that was the main target of an Iraqi government assault in the oil-rich city of Basra last month, and his future role as a spoiler is an open question. ...
"I know he's sitting in Iran," Rice said dismissively, when asked about al-Sadr's latest threat to lift a self-imposed cease-fire with government and U.S. forces. "I guess it's all-out war for anybody but him," Rice said. "I guess that's the message; his followers can go too their deaths and he's in Iran."
WaPo and NYT: Signs that the End is Nigh...
ROGER SIMON: The Washington Post in Desperation Mode.
UPDATE: A different kind of desperation at The New York Times? They're related, though . . . .