Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Eagle Dropping Flares Over Afghanistan

The F-15 Eagle was originally designed to be an air superiority fighter, that is, a fighter which would shoot down all the fighters from the other side. We're using it, however, as a ground attack aircraft, at least in this configuration--F-15E Strike Eagle. To keep from being shot down by a heat seeking missile, modern fighters drop flares from time to time in the hope that the missile, if one is coming, will track one of the flares rather than the exhaust of the plane.

Our sale of FIM-92 Stingers to the Mujaheddin fighting the Soviet invaders in the 1980s was the turning point in that war and the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union; but for every good result in an action, there is sometimes also an unintended bad consequence. But perhaps this Strike Eagle is defending itself from a different missile. I don't know for sure.



In With the In Crowd

Spelling, it seems, is not a Palestinian value.
It continues to amaze me that American Jews (or Juice, whatever) are overwhelmingly liberal, as the liberals are overwhelmingly in favor of the Palestinians and anti-Israel. I pointed this out to a friend of the Jewish persuasion lately and he countered who was the first president to recognize Israel? I lamely answered, well Truman might well be a Republican today.
I think, however, it is very telling that he had to go back 60 years to name a Democrat very supportive of Israel. Carter and Clinton are, I think, more representative of where current sympathies lie (and it's not squarely with Israel, which Jimmy Carter called an apartheid nation).
We'll see where Obama's heart lies. He said the right thing on the campaign trail in July.


Monday, December 29, 2008


An Irregular Galaxy, But Nice

NGC 1569. A Dwarf Irregular Galaxy only 11 million light years away. Almost right next door.

I have to ask if there are any Dwarf Sprial Galaxies?


Sunday, December 28, 2008


The Press' Self-Immolation

Here is just part of the interminable but generally fact free article, a sort of hagiography without the saint, about why Caroline Kennedy-Schlossberg would make a great Senator from New York. There weren't a lot of reasons given either, but finally there were a few from an unimpeachable source who,

said this week that there are three central reasons to appoint her cousin to the Senate: her grasp of financial matters, her scholarship of the Bill of Rights and her experiences as a working mother. "There are very few women in the Senate and very few mothers... And we really need someone with that experience, and I think Caroline will be great."

Let's cover and condense that part again:
She has a lot of money, she co-wrote books called the "People magazine coverage" of the Constitution, and she is a working mother. (Emphasis added).
Wasn't there a woman, a relative newcomer in politics, recently who was also a working mother? And the Washington Post lauded her similarly. Right?

As for me, I'd as soon support Caroline Kennedy-Schlossberg for Senator as I would allow her brother to pilot my small private plane.

When you produce a product that no one wants, you eventually lose your job and the company you work for goes under. No one wants to be lied to about why Caroline Kennedy-Schlossberg would, without any detectable legislative skills and absolutely no experience in public office, make a great Senator; and a talented new comer, with tons of executive experience (compared to anyone else running from either party) is a joke and a drag on the ticket.

The people writing the stories and otherwise putting out the newspapers which are indistinguishable from Democratic public relations have only themselves to blame for the very sad state of modern journalism.

Toodles, journalists, it's been fun.



The Self-Immolation of Science

I studied Old Norse in grad school (ever a fan of dead languages I) and wrote a paper in 1977 which showed that the period of greatest vigor, first heroic and then literary, in Iceland a millennium ago coincided with what was then called the Little Optimum, now called the Medieval Warm Period. To reach that conclusion I had to read a lot of climatological studies. Thus, when some of the Warmies published data which completely erased the Little Optimum from history (the most egregious of which Warmie propaganda was the thoroughly discredited Mann hockey stick graph), I knew something was wrong. I have become ever more convinced, though silently, that certain scientists, for political reasons, have abandoned real science and are shilling for the hoax, anthropogenic global warming. I didn't want to believe it, and in an unaccustomed period of humility, I thought, who am I to accuse them of bad acts or bad science? I'm just an English major (with an MA in Old English) and a lawyer. But I feel I can't keep quiet any more and since someone else with greater scientific credentials is saying the same thing, I am silent no more.

It is not just a coincidence that the temperature measurements which can be manipulated are showing consistently warmer temperatures than the two satellite measurers which cannot be easily manipulated.

Not only are the Warmies backing the wrong horse, they are cooking the books to support the horse (if that's not too mixed a metaphor for you).

Shame on them. Our reaction should go beyond mere disbelief, past even ignoring them--we should hold them in active disdain. More to follow, including names.

Here are the bits of the Tulane Professor's letter I just read which I found so compelling:

It is obvious that anthropogenic global warming is not science at all, because a scientific theory makes non-obvious predictions which are then compared with observations that the average person can check for himself. As we both know from our own observations, AGW theory has spectacularly failed to do this. The theory has predicted steadily increasing global temperatures, and this has been refuted by experience. NOW the global warmers claim that the Earth will enter a cooling period. In other words, whether the ice caps melt, or expand --- whatever happens --- the AGW theorists claim it confirms their theory. A perfect example of a pseudo-science like astrology.

I emphasized [above] that the average person has to be able to check the observations. I emphasize this because I no longer trust "scientists" to report observations correctly. I think the data is adjusted to confirm, as far as possible, AGW. We've seen many recent cases where the data was cooked in climate studies. In one case, Hanson and company claimed that October 2008 was the warmest October on record. Watts looked at the data, and discovered that Hanson and company had used September's temperatures for Russia rather than October's. I'm not surprised to learn that September is hotter than October in the Northern hemisphere.


Another shocking thing about the AGW theory is that it is generating a loss of true scientific knowledge. The great astronomer William Herschel, the discoverer of the planet Uranus, observed in the early 1800's that warm weather was correlated with sunspot number. Herschel noticed that warmer weather meant better crops, and thus fewer sunspots meant higher grain prices. The AGW people are trying to do a disappearing act on these observations. Some are trying to deny the existence of the Maunder Minimum.


AGW supporters are also bringing back the Inquisition, where the power of the state is used to silence one's scientific opponents. The case of Bjorn Lomborg is illustrative. Lomborg is a tenured professor of mathematics in Denmark. Shortly after his book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist," was published by Cambridge University Press, Lomborg was charged and convicted (later reversed) of scientific fraud for being critical of the "consensus" view on AGW and other environmental questions. Had the conviction been upheld, Lomborg would have been fired. Stillman Drake, the world's leading Galileo scholar, demonstrates in his book "Galileo: A Very Short Introduction" (Oxford University Press, 2001) that it was not theologians, but rather his fellow physicists (then called "natural philosophers"), who manipulated the Inquisition into trying and convicting Galileo. The "out-of-the-mainsteam" Galileo had the gall to prove the consensus view, the Aristotlean theory, wrong by devising simple experiments that anyone could do. Galileo's fellow scientists first tried to refute him by argument from authority. They failed. Then these "scientists" tried calling Galileo names, but this made no impression on the average person, who could see with his own eyes that Galileo was right. Finally, Galileo's fellow "scientists" called in the Inquisition to silence him.

I find it very disturbing that part of the Danish Inquisition's case against Lomborg was written by John Holdren, Obama's new science advisor. Holdren has recently written that people like Lomborg are "dangerous." I think it is people like Holdren who are dangerous, because they are willing to use state power to silence their scientific opponents.

(h/t William Katz'a blog Urgent Agenda via John Hinderaker at Power Line)


Friday, December 26, 2008


Hysterical Non Science

Here is the worst sort of science reporting from one who either doesn't understand what she's covering or is just addicted to chicken little predictions. Here is the chief offender from Ms. Eilperin at the Washington Post:

In one of the report's most worrisome findings, the agency estimates that in light of recent ice sheet melting, global sea level rise could be as much as four feet by 2100. The IPCC had projected a sea level rise of no more than 1.5 feet by that time, but satellite data over the past two years show the world's major ice sheets are melting much more rapidly than previously thought. The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are now losing an average of 48 cubic miles of ice a year, equivalent to twice the amount of ice that exists in the Alps. (Emphasis added).
Wow, that certainly sounds like a lot of ice turning into water. So how long will it take for all the ice to melt at that rate? Let's see---there is 7.2 million cubic miles of non-sea ice in the Antarctic (up from the estimate in 1974 of merely 6 million) and Greenland has 706,000 cubic miles of non sea ice in its ice cap. Together that's just shy of 8 million cubic miles divided by rounded up 50 cubic miles and we have just 160,000 years until the ice is all gone. Oh, the humanity.

But is it really melting in the Antarctic? Here is a different view, a much different view:

From 1992 to 2003, Curt Davis, MU professor of electrical and computer engineering, and his team of researchers observed 7.1 million kilometers of the ice sheet, using satellites to measure changes in elevation. They discovered that the ice sheet's interior was gaining mass by about 45 billion tons per year, which was enough to slow sea level rise by .12 millimeters per year.


The researchers used satellite radar altimeters from the European Space Agency's ERS-1 and ERS-2 satellites to make 347 million elevation-change measurements between June 1992 to May 2003. (Emphasis added).

Well, maybe there's more melting in Greenland. Here is what the Earth Policy Institute says:

Satellite data show Greenland’s ice has been melting at higher and higher elevations every year since 1979. A conservative estimate of annual ice loss from Greenland is 50 cubic kilometers (12 cubic miles) per year, enough water to raise the global sea level by 0.13 millimeters a year.

So, the interior of the Antarctic is lowering the sea level by .12 mm per year (by adding water to the ice sheet there), and the Greenland melting is increasing it by .13 mm per year (by melting into the ocean); then the net gain is .o1 mm per year. That doesn't seem like too much.

Maybe the coastal melting in the Antarctic is adding a lot to rising sea levels. Four feet in 92 years, by 2100, as Ms. Chicken Little writes, means that the sea level would have to rise 13.25 mm per year (1219.2 divided by 92). Well, how has the sea level been doing lately?

Hmmm? The rate is 3.3 mm per year. That's' about 10 mm per year less than would be needed. Indeed, it would take a 400% increase in the rate of sea level rise to get us to a 4 foot higher sea level by 2100. What is the likelihood of that? Well, look at the most recent years (the same years that mean global temperature has plunged). Does it appear that the actual measurements have gotten off the rate of change line? In fact does it appear that during all this supposedly, recently discovered excess melting, the sea level has not increased in the past two years?


And recall that the global rate of sea level rise is merely 20% melt water and 80% thermal expansion, so the melt water addition to sea level is merely .66 mm per year (the rest is warmer water taking up more space). In light of the recent slowing in sea level rise and the recent lack of warming (even, dare I say it, global cooling) 4 feet higher sea level by 2100 seems a real long shot, doesn't it?

(h/t ICECAP and blogger Tom Nelson)


Thursday, December 25, 2008


The Norwegian Blue Prefers Lying on its Back



Thought of the Day

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.

Charles Jennens


Wednesday, December 24, 2008


This Day in the Long History of German Advances in the Technology of Warfare

On this day in 1942, the first powered flight of a V-1 cruise missile took place. Of course, the Germans didn't call it a cruise missile. It was unguided and had a timer to turn off the engine so that it would fall to the earth and explode somewhere on England. The engine (in red in the photo) was a pulse jet, which had two screens in front, one of which rocked back and forth many times per second. When the holes lined up, air was taken in and the fuel sprayed into the combustion chamber, when the holes didn't line up, the fuel air mixture was ignited and the gas expanded out the only way open to it and the thing flew. The rapidly stuttering burning of fuel created a buzzing sound so the Brits called it a buzz bomb. Its warhead in the lower area consisted of a ton of explosives. About 9,000 were used against Britain, of which only 2,000 some reached the target, causing about 6,000 casualties but the displacement of over a million and a half people out of the London area, at least for a short time. Good weapon, but slow. The V-2, a real liquid fueled rocket also carrying a ton of explosives was hypersonic and killed about ten times as many civilians because it was unstoppable and arrived with no warning.



Thought of the Day

Ronald Reagan had a vision of America. Barack Obama has a vision of Barack Obama.

Thomas Sowell


Tuesday, December 23, 2008


This Day in the History of Slow but Sure Justice

On this day in 1948, Hideki Tojo and six other Japanese war leaders, all Class-A war criminals, were executed, by hanging, for their war crimes. Tojo had shot himself, in September 1945, through the spot where his doctor had marked where Tojo's heat was, but he somehow missed that vital organ. Tojo had been convicted of several counts of waging unprovoked war against several nations and one count of "ordering, authorizing and permitting inhumane treatment" of POWs.

The other six were: Kenji Doihara, who plotted the Mukden incident and authorized the attack on Pearl Harbor; Koki Hirota , who signed treaties with Nazi Germany and plotted the attacks on China and Southeast Asia; Akira Muto, who was responsible for the Nanking rape/murder fest; Seishiro Itagaki, responsible for many prison camp atrocities; Heitaro Kimura, responsible for the deaths of POWs and levied workers on the Siam Burma Railway; and, Iwane Matsui, also responsible for the Nanking rape/murder fest.

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Thought of the Day

[Warming fears are the] worst scientific scandal in...history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.

UN IPCC Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh


Monday, December 22, 2008


Thought of the Day

Earth has cooled since 1998 in defiance of the predictions by the UN-IPCC….The global temperature for 2007 was the coldest in a decade and the coldest of the millennium…which is why ‘global warming’ is now called ‘climate change.’

Climatologist Dr. Richard Keen


Sunday, December 21, 2008


Rare Sports Post

The Broncos have played more like themselves the past two games and are now poised to fail to get into the playoffs. Again. They have already beaten my pre-season prediction of 7-9 but will they get to my revised prediction of 9-7? I'm not holding my breath. It's not one single thing you can point to. They are uneven--that is, sometimes they play well and sometimes.... Certainly the lack of good tackling is a constant problem. Even if they were to get to the playoffs by rising to the occasion against San Diego next week, who among even the real fan base would bet they got to a second round there? Very few, I believe.



This Day in the History of Tit for Tat

On this day in 1494, a new sickness broke out in Naples, which illness was later named Syphilis. The point source of the outbreak were sailors from Columbus' ships who had returned from the New World in March, 1493. The Europeans gave the native Americans a lot of different diseases which they were more used to than the natives. That's one of the reasons the people in North and South America speak mostly European languages now. But it wasn't a completely one way transfer.



Thought of the Day

Many [scientists] are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined.

Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden


Saturday, December 20, 2008


Thought of the Day

Est queadam fiere voluptas


There is a certain pleasure in weeping.



This Day in the History of Shrewd Land Acquisitions

On this day in 1803, the U.S. almost doubled in size overnight as the Louisiana Purchase was completed and the territory formally transferring from France to the United States during ceremonies in New Orleans. French Prefect Pierre Clement Laussat, Governor of the Territory of Mississippi William C.C. Claiborne and U.S. General James Wilkinson signed four copies of the treaty. The Louisiana Purchase contained 827,987 square miles; so, at the price paid, we spent roughly $18 per square mile--under 3 cents per acre. That's pretty good, except for some of the areas in Kansas and Nebraska. We might have been snookered there.

The really pretty country in the U.S. West (at least where it doesn't rain all the time or is too cold in winter) we got 45 years later from Mexico by conquest.


Thursday, December 18, 2008


The Most Beautiful Galaxy in the Universe

NGC 7331. Credit for the photo is shared by Vincent Peris and Gilles Bergond. It was taken from Chile.



The Weird Sky Over Gunnison

There's an explanation for this, and I read it, but it still looks really creepy to me.
Credit for the photo is to a human with the last name Cuerling.



Global warming...

This is the silliest piece of propaganda perhaps ever. Animals don't commit suicide. They don't have the intellectual capacity to despair. Not even the chimps.
Ih/t Watt's Up with That)


This Day in the History of Curing National Defects

On this day in 1865, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery, was declared in effect. It had been proposed and passed by Republicans in the House and Senate and sent to the states for ratification. With Georgia's assent on 12/6/65, the number of states necessary was reached (although ratification was not complete) and the announcement came nearly two weeks later. The Amendment reads:

1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

It is often said by nit-picker, anti-American types that Abraham Lincoln freed no slaves. That may be technically correct due to his assassination, but he provided the moral leadership to get the amendment started and the absolute leadership to preserve the Union so that the slave freeing, when it came, was in each state and territory of our nation.

A nearly fatal flaw in our constitution was fixed by amendment within 80 years. Changing the minds of the average Democrat, particularly in the South, took a little longer.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Well There's Your Problem, Right There in Siberia

Here is the NYT supporting the hysterical AP story earlier this week. Look at eastern Siberia on the map provided by NASA GISS. It's supposed to have been in the past 12 months, at least 2 and a half degrees C warmer than "normal." I don't believe it. Here is some background about the problems GISS has had issuing accurate surface measurements, and it's refusal to vouch for the accuracy of the Siberian data. Here are more reliable satellite measurements from RSS and UAH. It's certainly not that toasty now in Yakutsk, for example.

Some 'scientists' seem to be cooking the books to support their near religion regarding anthropogenic global warming and it's getting ever more difficult to believe it's an innocent mistake.
UPDATE: Here is more on the subject:

The NASA, NOAA and Hadley data bases are seriously contaminated and the agencies are intentionally ignoring the issues as they are agenda driven with inflated budgets because of the alleged global warming.

NOAA has actually gone as far as to pull out the urbanization (urban heat island or UHI) adjustment from the US data and there is very little to no urban adjustment made to the global data based on the flawed papers by Peterson and Parker which suggest UHI has little effect on global trends. Ignored are the many other papers from some of the worlds best climatologists worldwide that suggest it produces significant contamination.

Add to that the fact that more than 2/3rds of the world’s stations (most rural) have dropped out and or are often missing monthly data, 69% of the first nearly 600 US stations evaluated by Anthony Watts surface stations.org are poor or very poorly sited with only 4% meeting official standards and no changes were made for the known biases of new instrumentation.

Not less than half a dozen peer reviewed papers have suggested the warming is exaggerated by up to 50%.

Not the stuff for slavish acceptance of anything these agencies say.



This Day in the History of Foolish Idealism

On this day in 1927, U.S. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg suggested a worldwide pact renouncing war. He along with French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand got nations to sign the pact of their combined names on August 27, 1928. Among the signers were Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States, all of which were major combatants (well, maybe not Belgium) in WWII, a savage war which probably killed a 100 million people.

So the treaty doesn't appear to have worked out all that well.



Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This Day in the Long History of Nancy Boy Liberals Using the Military as a Fig Leaf to a Scrawny, Naked Foreign Policy

On this day in 1998, President Clinton ordered four days of missile strikes and bombing missions against Iraq forces in response to Saddam Hussein's continued defiance of U.N. weapons inspectors. Wow, that sure taught Saddam Hussein a thing or two and set him quickly on the straight and narrow.
It seems that when you're at war with someone, as we were with Iraq's tyrannical leader, since 1991, if you don't take, destroy or occupy his capital and kill him, you haven't won the war. It takes a lot of effort, money and the blood and sacrifice of heroes to end a war properly. As we've just seen.


Monday, December 15, 2008


Vaya Con Dios

The economic slowdown here in Colorado is sending some illegal aliens home for good. I wish them the best in their homeland, but note that drug cartel and gang violence has made Mexico, for example, a more deadly place to live than Iraq.

I welcome new Americans, but it would be better if they followed the rules. Oh, and having more than a 8th grade education would be good too. Besides, nobody likes line-jumpers, which is what illegal aliens are.



Sun Pilar

When it's cold, ice crystals (6 sided but not like snow flakes) fall from the even colder heights and line up a bit because of wind resistance (that is, they fall flat) and the result of the lined up refraction is a column of light. Like this beautiful one in North Carolina recently.
Credit for the photo is to Terry Holdsclaw. Very nice.


Sunday, December 14, 2008


The AP Goes Ape About Global Warming and is as Hysterical as it is Wrong

Man, you'd think we were burning up rather than freezing our butts off here in the Northern Hemisphere a week before it's even Winter. It certainly is cold here in Denver, a record low, I believe. Here are parts of the article, titled Time Running Out for Obama to Curb Global Warming, which exhibit the rarely seen breathless neurosis of one who has swallowed the hook line and sinker of the latest prediction of impending apocalypse:

Since Clinton's inauguration, summer Arctic sea ice has lost the equivalent of Alaska, California and Texas. The 10 hottest years on record have occurred since Clinton's second inauguration. Global warming is accelerating. Time is close to running out, and Obama knows it.

Well, not exactly. There has been Summer melting of the sea ice in the Northern Ocean lately which was more than the average since we've been measuring it (only since 1979--not much of a data base on which to decide the sky is falling). The Northern Ocean freezes up again in the Fall and Winter, which re-freezing has accelerated in the last few weeks and is on track to be 'normal' by the new year.

The 10 hottest years were not since 1996. Here are the real ones--1934, 1998, 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999, 1953, 1990, 1938, 1939. That would mean three of the years since Clinton's second inauguration were pretty hot while four were in the 30s, including the very hottest on record. Dr. Hansen supplied a false top ten a few years ago--he got caught; and, he corrected them but the press apparently haven't been keeping up on meteorological current events.

Global warming has not accelerated and indeed has pretty much stopped this past 10 years. Indeed, it's gotten globally cooler the past two years and no one in the World, except the guys counting sunspots (quite easy lately), predicted such cooling. The sunspot guys in fact predict further cooling for the next three decades. I happen to believe them.

Time is not running out. I don't even know what that means. There is an infinite amount of time, isn't there?

Here's another bit of misinformation from the Associated Press:

Scientists fear that what's happening with Arctic ice melt will be amplified so that ominous sea level rise will occur sooner than they expected. They predict Arctic waters could be ice-free in summers, perhaps by 2013, decades earlier than they thought only a few years ago.

If all the sea ice melted, which it won't, the sea level would remain the same because the sea ice, as its name might suggest to anyone actually paying attention, is already in, well, the sea. Kind of floating on the top. So whether the water is solid on the top or all liquid has no real effect on sea level. Sheesh. One would have to doubt that this AP writer is even remotely aware of the concept of water displacement discovered by Archimedes about 2500 years ago (there is no hope, I believe, that the writer would know the second aorist, first person of the Greek verb 'to discover' which is associated with that discovery).

I have about $14,000 I can get in short notice. I will bet anyone this amount of money that the Arctic, the Northern Ocean, will not be ice free by the end of Summer, 2013. It's an absurd prediction. Kind of like the AP article.



This Day in the History of German Short-Sightedness

On this day in 2001, the German Bundestag approved a plan to shut down all German nuclear power plants within 20 years. This was the 'green' plan. German electric power generation is recently divided thus: 62% coal and natural gas (mainly lignite, brown coal); 26% nuclear; 4% hydroelectric; and, 8% green renewable (solar, wind, geothermal, wood and waste). Germany is the leader in the world in solar power generation and in the top three for wind generation and there are huge Danish built windmills all over the place. Still they have yet to crack 10% and as the electrical needs of their 83 million people continues to rise, the 700 plus billion kilowatt hours they generate each year will have to come from somewhere. Think fossil fuels or keep the nukes going.

In light of the current inability to develop meaningful renewable sources, German leadership has been preparing to do an Emily Litella about closing down any more of the country's 17 nuclear plants. They are planning to build 30 or more coal burning plants. That's not awfully green.

Whenever you hear an American politician talk about us getting, within 10 or 20 years, a substantial portion of our power from the wind or the sun or rape seed oil or switch grass or pond scum, or all of the above and the kitchen sink, just recall how little the clever and industrious Krauts have been able to accomplish, despite a determined effort and substantial government support.

It is a lesson we here in America should learn. Again.

Nukes are good. Windmills are bad. Solar only works when the sun is shining. You make the call.

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Jumping the Gun

During the interminable investigation, by Illinois federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, of the non-crime of gossiping about what Valerie Plame did for a living, there was a lot of Republican grumbling. After it was revealed that Fitzgerald knew who 'leaked' the name to Bob Novak, the journalist who first published the information, before he started the investigation, a lot of Republicans were asking WTF? What was the 2 years of Grand Jury testimony about then, other than laying a perjury trap for some poor Bush insider? And the leaker, Bush outsider Richard Armitage, was never charged, and good guy Scooter Libby fell into the trap and fell absolutely. Really, WTF?

Then Fitzgerald sprung the trap on Illinois governor Blagojevich at the very start of his investigation, before there was even the first hour of Grand Jury testimony. Republicans were again going WTF? By arresting the govenor and his aid, Fitzgerald stopped others from committing the crime of bribery, et al. Is Fitzgerald trying not to catch corrupt Democratic politicians? It is a valid question.

But my respect for former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy, who vouches absolutely for Fitzgerald, is such that I want to believe in Fitzgerald's good faith. Support for this view was supplied by Captain Ed Morrissey, who said on the radio this weekend that he thought Blagojevich was about to name someone (Jesse Jackson, Jr.?) to replace Senator/President Elect Obama's seat and only the Senate, not all that reliable, could have undone that corrupt pick; so Fitzgerald played the hand he had then to stop the selection, even though it sent corrupt Democratic politicians scurrying to safety.

Could have happened.

Or it could be the well known Serbian-American bias which exists in the hearts of most Americans of non Serbian descent.



Thought of the Day

When the scandal involves Republicans, most of the media types act like prosecutors. When the scandal involves Democrats, most in the media act like public defenders.

Rush Limbaugh (improved paraphrase version)


Saturday, December 13, 2008


Sic Semper Tyrannis

On this day in 2003, American forces captured Saddam Hussein, who was hiding in a hole near his hometown of Tikrit.

Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging a little over three years later. There's film of that, but I don't see the point of linking to it.

Think of where Hitler 'ate' his gun, in the Führerbunker in Berlin. It had generators, lights, bedrooms, radios, kitchens--all the comforts of home.

This hole in comparison to the bunker is about the same difference of historical importance between the two genocidal dictators. BIH, Saddam.


Friday, December 12, 2008


Perigee Moon.

Just a reminder that the full moon tonight will look as big as it gets, because just as it rises and is full, the moon is within hours of perigee. Take a look if there are no clouds in the way.
Credit to Rick Baldridge for the impressive photo.


Thursday, December 11, 2008


This Day in the History of Proper Responses to Idiocy

On this day in 1941, our Congress responded to Germany's unnecessary and foolish declaration of war on the United States with this:

Joint Resolution Declaring that a State of War Exists Between the People of Germany and the People of the United States, Dec. 11, 1941

"Whereas the Government of Germany has formally declared war against the Government and the people of the United States of America: Therefore be it

"Resolved, etc., That the state of war between the United States and the Government of Germany which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Government of Germany; and, to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States."

Hitler was an idiot.



More Flat-Earther, Denier Reading

Here is a pair of articles pointing to the problems with the anthropogenic global warming theory. Highlights from the Lorne Gunter article about the ARGOS buoy system:

These 3,000 yellow sentinels --about the size and shape of a large fencepost -- free-float the world's oceans, season in and season out, surfacing between 30 and 40 times a year, disgorging their findings, then submerging again for another fact finding voyage.

It's fascinating to watch their progress online. (The URLs are too complex to reproduce here, but Google "Argo Buoy Movement" or "Argo Float Animation," and you will be directed to the links.)


So why are some scientists now beginning to question the buoys' findings? Because in five years, the little blighters have failed to detect any global warming. They are not reinforcing the scientific orthodoxy of the day, namely that man is causing the planet to warm dangerously. They are not proving the predetermined conclusions of their human masters. Therefore they, and not their masters' hypotheses, must be wrong.

In fact, "there has been a very slight cooling," according to a U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) interview with Josh Willis at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a scientist who keeps close watch on the Argo findings.

Dr. Willis insisted the temperature drop was "not anything really significant." And I trust he's right. But can anyone imagine NASA or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change --the UN's climate experts -- shrugging off even a "very slight" warming.

A slight drop in the oceans' temperature over a period of five or six years probably is insignificant, just as a warming over such a short period would be. Yet if there had been a rise of any kind, even of the same slightness, rest assured this would be broadcast far and wide as yet another log on the global warming fire.

Just look how tenaciously some scientists are prepared to cling to the climate change dogma. "It may be that we are in a period of less rapid warming," Dr. Willis told NPR.
Yeah, you know, like when you put your car into reverse you are causing it to enter a period of less rapid forward motion. Or when I gain a few pounds I am in a period of less rapid weight loss.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Really Smart

Team captain Joe Sakic sticks his fingers into the clogged snow blower and doesn't get them hacked off. But they are broken and otherwise damaged and he's out for 3 months and probably the rest of time as this was his second to last or last season.
The Avs have been uneven at best this season. Lengthy playoff play looks a longer shot now.



Shooting Rudolph

Although the Christmas season has only just started, I already am sick of the carols, especially the non religious ones. If I hear Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer one more time, I may do what clearly Governor Palin did in this absolutely authentic fautograph.
I'd use the Dragunov SVD sniper rifle too, if I owned one.
That looks like a European Red Deer Stag in velvet, but the color of the cape is wrong. Bractrian? Maral? It's absolutely not native to North America.
Looks like a good shot though, by golly.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008


This Day in the History of Proving the Italians Ought to Stick to Making Cars

On this day in 1940, British and Commonwealth troops opened their first major offensive in North Africa during World War II, when they attacked Italian troops in Libya. The Brits slapped the Ities around until the Afrika Corp showed up in February, 1941.

That's a Matilda tank. Slow, under gunned, under armored, but there.

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Monday, December 08, 2008


Saddam Soap Opera

I watched about 20 minutes of House of Saddam on HBO which goes into a little detail about what was going on with Saddam Hussein's family life while he was leading Iraq to Hell as a Hitler wannabe. It wasn't very good or illuminating, as far as I could tell. They definitely made two mistakes. First, they should have let local lawyer and talk show host Craig Silverman portray Saddam. At least he looks like him. Second, they should have seriously reconsidered the whole project.
But all is not lost. Here are alternative titles (some with subtitles) they could have used:

All My Children (are buried in Baghdad in unmarked graves)

The Young and The Resistantless

As the World Returns (to kick our ass)

One Million Lives Not to be Lived

The Guiding Allah (ite)

Generally Hostile (to all)

The Edge of Bright (hacking scimitar)

Search for (survivors) Tomorrow

Days of Ending Lives

The Bold and Not That Beautiful

Saddam Hussein, Saddam Hussein



Just as the Sun Brightens the World...

I hope this photo brightens your day. It's the trianular conjunction of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter, which has been evident at night for a few weeks now. The photo was taken in Australia by Mike Salway.



This Day in the History of Catholic Dogma

On this day in 1854, Pope Pius IX issued the dogma, known now as the 'Immaculate Conception', in his apostolic letter, "Ineffabilis Deus". He asserted that by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, Mary was freed from original sin "in the first instant of conception." Most non Catholics can't get their heads around this concept--that Mary was born without sin rather than Mary bore Jesus without the sin of having sex. The conception at issue here was Mary's in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, not Jesus in Mary's womb; that second one was virgin birth, which is a different thing. All clear?



Thought of the Day

Dulce bellum inexpertis


War is sweet for those who haven't experienced it.


Sunday, December 07, 2008


Are Neo-Nazis Right Wing or Left Wing Like the Old Nazis?

What's in a name, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. I have no problem with people calling the execrable Neo-Nazis right wing or even extreme right wing, but we have to remember that what we do now has no effect on history. Here's the story from Berlin. Let's look at what the two different groups use as a name. The Neo-Nazis are the National Democratic Party (NPD), the old Nazis were the National Socialist and German Workers' Party. Notice the difference? What's the current center right party called in Germany? That's the party of the Chancellor Angela Merkel. It's called the Christian Democratic Union. Ah, it's all falling into place.

Unless you believe the Nazis were kidding when they named themselves in the 1920s, only an idiot could call them right wing.

What about the Neo-Nazis here in America? What party or part of the political spectrum do they inhabit? Hmm. This could take a while. More later, I promise.



Thought of the Day

Difficile est saturam non scribere


It is hard not to write satire.


Saturday, December 06, 2008


This Day in the History of Conquest by the World's Greatest Band of Warriors

On this day in 1240, Mongol hoards under Batu Kahn occupied and destroyed Kiev in the Ukraine. Hungary, Poland, and most of the rest of Eastern Europe were next over the following four decades, but finally the West began to defeat the invaders largely with the construction of stone castles. That Eastern Europe was the third area of interest to the Mongols, after China and the Middle East was a help as well. Whew, a close one for us.



Thought of the Day

How many innocents have to die in the name of Islam before Muslim leaders and countries take effective action to deal with the nuts, who are out to destroy us all with their nihilistic cult?

Aijaz Zaka Syed


Friday, December 05, 2008


Why the Juice Might Have Caught a Life Sentence

Double murderer, kidnapper/armed robber, and former NFL star Orenthal James Simpson was sentenced today to between 9 and 33 years in prison for his latest crime. The nominal minimum was 15 (and he's eligible for parole in 9). OJ was born in July, 1947. He's 61 and the average life expectancy of African American males is 70. It's actually longer if you get to 60, so, say 75 for the Juice. So if he does the full 15....

Those of you who think along my lines regarding his actual guilt for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole, and Ron Goldman can keep your fingers crossed that he does 14 years and lives not a second beyond his present life expectancy. His dying in a Nevada prison is probably a sufficient punishment.



Thought of the Day

There is a mysterious force operating in the universe called "dark energy." If that sounds scary, it's because astrophysicists like to come up with scary names for things that are actually code for "We have no idea what this is."

Andy Guerriero


Thursday, December 04, 2008


This Day in the History of Sound Judicial Rulings in Florida

On this day in 2000, Leon County Circuit Court Judge N. Sanders Sauls rejected all of Vice President Gore's arguments contesting the election results and denied his request for a hand count of more than 12,000 ballots in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties that registered no vote for president in machine recounts. Sauls declared from the bench that there is "no credible statistical evidence and no other competent substantial evidence" to establish a reasonable probability that Al Gore might win if granted a hand recount of the selected ballots. It was this ruling which the Florida Supreme Court reversed on December 8, which ruling, in turn, was reversed by the U. S. Supreme Court on December 12. Gore conceded the next day, 35 days too late.

Gore was a fool to cherry pick only a few Democrat heavy counties for recounts, which decision cost him any moral authority, and to limit his requests for hand recounts to undervotes (ballots with no valid choice for president on them). He would have been better served to ask for all counties and both under- and overvotes (ballots containing more than one choice for president). He still would have lost, but he would have looked better and gotten closer. His perspicacity has, apparently, not improved with age.



The Yin and the Yang on Terrorism

Two very different people have written about the larger implications of the Mumbai massacre, lefty law professor Rosa Brooks and center right historian Victor Davis Hanson. Which one do you think would influence our President Elect more?

Here is criticism and praise.

Brooks writes:

... the Mumbai attack should also remind you of Timothy McVeigh and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168, and the 2002 D.C.-area sniper attacks, in which two men killed 10 people and caused so much fear that for weeks people were reluctant to go to shopping centers or gas stations, and the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, in which one man killed 32 people.

The perpetrators of those attacks weren't Islamic extremists.

Well, kind of. The DC snipers were Muslims. McVeigh comitted a sui generis crime at worst and the VT killer was a crazy guy killing at random. These last two are nothing like Mumbai while the DC snipers were just like the 10 Muslims shooting people in Mumbai.

She goes on:

Mumbai should remind us -- again -- of the folly of the Bush administration's "war on terror." Terror is an emotion, and terrorism is a tactic. You can't make "war" against it. Even if meant as mere metaphor, "the war on terror" foolishly enhanced the terrorist's status as prime boogeyman, arguably increasing the psychological effectiveness of terrorist tactics.

OK, normally I'd be with her on the war on a thing misnomer--the war on drugs, war on poverty, etc. are giant wastes--but here it is a metaphor, just as she suggests; WOT is a better acronym than WAIE (War Against Islamicist Extremists) or even WAME (War Against Muslim Extremists). We are doing just what she suggests in not naming the enemy, Muslim extremists, in order not to enhance their status. It is amazing to me that she can't see that. And what is the alternative she suggests: Leaving them alone? Treating them like mere criminals? Yeah, that worked out so well during the last administration.

Here is her big close:

Like crime, terrorism will always be with us, and terrorist attacks will increase as long as we succumb to the panic they're intended to inspire. But if we resist the temptation to lash out indiscriminately, we can take sober steps to reduce terrorism through improved intelligence, carefully targeted disruptions of specific terrorist organizations and efforts to address specific grievances (such as disputes over Kashmir). With a new U.S. administration about to take office, isn't it finally time to say goodbye to the "war on terror"? After all, we already have two real wars to worry about.

The lack of internal logic here is stunning. Terrorism will increase if we succumb to panic? What drivel. Terrorism will increase, and did, as long as we take no warlike steps to prevent attacks, not merely hold the guilty accountable after innocents are killed. Not the best method for preventing suicide bombers. I have to point to the scoreboard--during Clinton's treating it like a crime, several attacks against our people here and abroad. Since George Bush began treating it like the war it is, none. Draw your own conclusions from that fact.

Lash out indiscriminately? Against Afghanistan terrorist supporting Taliban? Against the terrorist supporting dictator Hussein? Those campaigns were not indiscriminate, but part of a sound global strategy to strike where the terrorists are rather than hope to detect them before they do things to us. That is, our sound strategy is to take the fight to the enemy, put him on defense, rather than cover up and let the terrorist choose where he wants to attack, while we attempt a difficult and largely ineffective defense.

And what does Ms. Brooks suggest we do? What sober steps does she suggest? ...improved intelligence, carefully targeted disruptions of specific terrorist organizations and efforts to address specific grievances...

Of course no sober commander in chief is trying to adopt worse intelligence methods; it's just that nearly every effort President Bush made in order to improve intelligence (PATRIOT USA act, FISA accords, Swift program, enhanced interrogation techniques) is met with the vapors by Miss Brooks and her ilk of 4th Amendment absolutists (or actively sabotaged by the NYT). But now she's in favor of improving intelligence. I have no idea what she is thinking here, if indeed she has a concrete thought in her head about improved intelligence.

Carefully targeted disruptions of specific terrorists organizations? Is that instead of the carpet bombing with nukes we have engaged in in the past 7 years? I don't know if you've been keeping up on the current events, Rosa, but that's exactly what we've been doing in Iraq and Afghanistan and we hope our 'ally' Pakistan is doing the same in the ungovernable border provinces. There is none so blind...

And the last, negotiations and the Festivus like airing of grievances. Do you mean like between Israel and the steadfastly intransigent Palestinians, like that roaring success? The lefties love to talk all right. Talking to the Muslim extremists, like talking to Hitler, is a complete waste of time.
And then the tell tale of Ms. Brooks' fundamental ignorance. We have "real wars" to fight. Hon, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are part of the war against Muslim extremists being waged against us and our allies. They are the carefully targeted reactions you advocate and the grand strategy to which you seem willingly blind.

As an armchair general, Ms. Brooks sucks.

Hanson, on the other hand is just as bleak in his view into the future, but what a more sober treatment.

There are a number of things to take away from the Mumbai atrocities.

First was the welcome re-emergence of concerned discussion of the dangers of global Islamist violence. George Bush apparently was not fabricating a global terrorist bogeyman -- as was sometimes alleged over the last years of calm -- when he sought support for his war in Iraq and domestic security measures.

In fact, caricatured efforts like the Patriot Act, the FISA accords, the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, the fostering of Middle East constitutional government, and the killing of violent insurgents abroad in Afghanistan and Iraq might seem once again understandable in the context of preventing another major violent terrorist attack of the sort we just saw at Mumbai.

Just so.

After pointing out the problems with an alliance with Pakistan, the source of much of the problem (particularly in Mumbai), Hanson makes this final point:

Fourth, the problem of Pakistan and the Islamist terrorism that so frequently emanates from its soil will now be President-elect Obama's to deal with. He will have to decide whether George Bush's anti-terrorism architecture shredded the Constitution and should be repealed, or helped to keep us safe from attack for seven years, and thus should be maintained, if not strengthened.

Obama once advocated open intrusions into Pakistan in hot pursuit of terrorists, and will have to adjudicate whether such actions will more likely enrage nuclear Pakistan or finally eliminate the followers of Osama bin Laden. At the same time, Obama also must ponder whether he should continue our subsidized "alliance" with Pakistan.

It is easy to imagine that the left will cease to bitch and moan about the proper steps, described above, now that Barack Obama seems perfectly willing to continue them. Apparently, there are no mistakes on the left. But the past years of strife are no bad dream, from which we can awake now with a return to the Democratic strategy of ignoring the problem, the war waged against us was, and is, really happening.

The right generally sees this sober fact; I'm not sure the left, with a few exceptions (very few, unfortunately) does.

UPDATE: Cliff May has a well reasoned take on the subject as well. It's bleak in its own way. He takes apart Rosa Brook's 'appeasement of grievances' argument.

But, one might argue, if such issues as Kashmir and Palestine could be resolved, surely that would remove fuel from the fire. Then, Lashkar-e-Taiba (the group apparently behind the carnage in Mumbai) and al-Qaeda and the Taliban and Hezbollah and Hamas and Iran’s mullahs would find fewer angry young Muslim men susceptible to being radicalized and recruited for terrorist missions.

Maybe. But if terrorist acts prompt Indians, Israelis, Americans and others to move
such issues to the top of the pile — above, say, the genocide of Black Muslims (by Arab Muslims) in Darfur — and to make significant concessions to resolve them, that will lead to the conclusion that terrorism succeeds. And successful movements never have difficulty attracting adherents.

What’s more, there still would be millions of impoverished and frustrated young Muslim men from Casablanca to Cairo to Gaza to Karachi who would be susceptible to an ideology that tells them they deserve to rule, and that whatever they lack has been taken from them by infidels whom they are permitted — indeed encouraged — to kill.

UPDATE 2: I'm apparently not the only one troubled by Rosa Brooks' lack of rigorous analysis. A guest blogger at the best North Dakota blog has similar criticisms,



Thought of the Day

Credo ut intelligam

St. Augustine

I believe in order that I may understand.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Whither the Savage Nazi War Machine?

My complaint about the current German 'war machine' in Afghanistan is that they don't actually seem to want to fight the enemy. I would never fault them for eating too much sausage and drinking too much beer. They probably have always done that. Indeed, doesn't this series of complaints by the German Government sound just like what a fit hausfrau might nag to her lazy fat husband? Worse, if the main thrust of the government investigation was into the eating, drinking and exercise habits of the Bundeswehr, then the German government is as bad as its non badass warriors. Bad news that their attempts to teach the Afghan Army the proper style of army police work seems to have failed.
The guys in the photo look relatively slim to me. No obvious Sgt. Schultz types visible. Nice G-36s and I've always liked their camo, called flecktarn.

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Polar Bear Faces Extinction, Homelessness and the Results of a Makeover Gone Horribly Wrong

The Berlin Zoo has never been my favorite. It was for a long time in the 70s and 80s, before reunification, much more useful as a place to pick up desperate, heroin addicted young prostitutes than a place to learn about natural history. Things seemed to be looking up for it a year or two ago when the brittle boned cub, Knut, was born, abandoned, survived and drew huge, paying crowds to the aging, but not gracefully, zoo. That was then, this is now. Not good.

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The Good, Bad and the Ugly

Despite the title, this is about Pakistan and not the Leone movie with Eastwood et al. The good is that the Pakistani army and airforce are doing what they should in the ungovernable provinces along the border with Afghanistan, namely, attacking and killing the al Qaeda and Taliban types. More, please.

The bad is that President Asif Ali Zardari is warning that if his military has to shift men and materiel to the Indian border in order to respond to Indian troop movements, the war against the Taliban types will be hurt.

And the ugly is that the 10 attackers in the city formerly known as Bombay last week used Pakistani weapons (except for the rifles). Their semi automatic pistols and grenades were manufactured in Pakistan. The rifles were AK 47 types (in 7.62 x 39 mm) manufactured in Russia, specifically in Izhevsk, the city where Mr. Kalashnikov copied the Nazi Sturmgewehr 44 developed the AK-47.

Below are pictures of the grenades manufactured in Pakistan under license from the Austrian firm of Rheinmetall Waffe Munition. The ones with ridges are fragmentation types, although the metal case of the grenade shatters at random in the explosion and not along any lines raised or incised in the case.

The pistols were 7.62 mm (30 caliber) and were described as automatic, but I believe, from the accounts, they were semi automatic.

The Wall Street Journal had a heart breaking account Monday.

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Thought of the Day

Certum est quia impossibile


It is certain, because it is impossible.



This Day in the History of American Strides in Gender Equality

On this day in 1833, Oberlin College in Ohio started classes as the first coed institution of higher learning in the United States.

I recall meeting, in 1972, a guy who was going to newly coed Vassar in Poughkeepsie, NY. My school had a ratio of men to women of 2 to 1. He mentioned a ratio of men to women of 1 to 175. I asked him how that was working out and he answered with one word: Heaven. No doubt.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Thought of the Day

Amantium irae amoris integratio est


The quarrels of lovers are the renewal of love.



This Day in the History of Turning Points in WWII

On this day in 1941, the first Russian blizzard hit the German army attacking Moscow stopping the Germans within sight of the Kremlin; and Japanese Admiral Yamamoto sent his fleet to attack Pearl Harbor. Hitler had started too late into the USSR and had dithered and demurred all during the campaign when Guderian was giving him very sound advice to head straight to Moscow. The Germans, for all their early success, were also hopelessly underprepared for war against the Soviet Union. Had the Japanese attacked everywhere but Pearl Harbor, it is unclear that we would have even entered the war, much less waged thereafter so complete and devastating a campaign against them.


Monday, December 01, 2008


Report on the American War Dead in Afghanistan and Iraq

The numbers of our war dead in November were half of what the numbers were in October. It appears to me now that there is not much of a war going on in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Only 15 Americans were killed in Iraq in the past month, according to Department of Defense news releases, and only two were killed in Afghanistan. Great news. Here is a further analysis.

In Iraq, only one American was killed by an IED and three were killed by small arms (all by soldiers at least in the uniform of Iraq's Armed Services). One was killed in combat operations. That's five lost in combat. Five! Four died from non combat causes, five in accidents; and one report was so unclear it was impossible to tell what happened.

In Afghanistan, one was killed by IED and one in combat operations. That's it. Two! There is apparently no dreaded late Fall Taliban offensive.

No warriors with feminine first names were killed and only two officers died: 1st Lt. William Jernigan, 35 from Doraville, GA, from non combat causes and Capt. Warren Frank, 26 from Cincinnati, OH from combat operations.

I am very happy to report the overwhelming success Iraq has been since we changed tactics. We can now agree to a date certain to have our troops end active combat and then leave because we've already won the war in Iraq, defeated al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, avoided a civil war--just plain won. Great news. Things are less rosy in Afghanistan but Afghanistan is uniquely a problem from history and will probably never be a kite flying paradise no matter what we or they do. I believe a surge change in tactics could put things on at least a better track if we implement it. Pakistan fighting hard against the Taliban and al Qaeda in the ungovernable border provinces could help a lot as well.


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