Tuesday, September 30, 2008

 

My New Favorite Animal


The Red Panda.

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Worst Case Scenario

Dafydd at Big Lizards has the most sobering piece I've read on the subject. It appears that in its swan song, the left dominated media still can provide the fabled 15 point advantage to its candidate. They can even do it right out in the open. Food for despair, for Republicans, is this about Nancy Pelosi's pre vote speech in the House:


Make your mind a complete blank on things you have learned from Rush or Hugh or Michael Medved, everything you've read on Power Line or Instapundit or Patterico's or Wolf Howling -- or even here. Just watch and tell me: Does Pelosi come across on this video as a raving left-winger, a bomb-throwing radical, a poison-spewing harpy? Because honestly, I think she comes across as very reasonable and even-handed -- even as she fires lie after lie after vile, despicable lie into the heartland:

And then he gets really bleak.

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Thought of the Day

My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time...Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (70 years ago to the day)

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Monday, September 29, 2008

 

Scary Photo of the Day



At least Massachusetts doesn't apppear to be afraid of being honest here. That's not so good. If we ever get thought police or some permutation of that concept, there won't be anything on the side of their cars.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

 

Thought of the Day

I've got a bracelet too.

Barack Obama

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

 

A Vestas wind system fail and crashes.

Along with them catching on fire from time to time, some windmills have the brakes fail and self destruct...spectacularly.

(h/t Anthony Watt)


 

This Day in the Short History of Successful Invasions of England


On this day in 1066, the 5,000 French speaking Vikings under the Duke William of Normandy landed at Pevensey, Sussex, and began the Norman conquest of England, the last successful invasion there.
That's the Bayeux Tapestry, the first educational 'film strip' in history.

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Alternative Fuels

I am interested in generating alternative energy sources, and I have long been a proponent of a hydrogen economy even though the storage problems with that are at present insurmountable. But as I look at the other ones, less green than lysing water with electricity, it is getting very difficult to see either any short term successes or long term solutions there. Let's look at the least popular ones first.

Making alcohol from corn or any other good food source is a bad idea. Too much energy and water goes into it to make it a long term solution and it makes food prices higher. Bad idea. John McCain told the truth last night to dismiss that as a solution.

Making alcohol from sugar. Could work but we would never get above 10% additive to gasoline unless we turned huge tracts of our nation into cane or sugar beet farms, which is unlikely.

Making alcohol from non food crops. Too much energy and water goes into it to make it a long term solution even if it has no effect on food prices.

Biodiesel from good food sources. Same problem as alcohol. OK to reuse french fry oil, but not a lot of that around, certainly not even a 1% solution here.

Biodiesel from algae. It turns out it's easy to grow algae but very, very difficult to turn the algae into oil. Many have grown algae in ponds and plastic tubes. only one company, in New Zealand, has actually made any substantial amount of oil out of it. Algal biodiesel corrodes rubber. That's not so good.

Methane from manure. A medium sized farm, with 200 pigs, 70 beef cows or 90 dairy cows, can produce, with a lot of daily effort, enough methane to heat a 1400 square foot house for a year. Some help but hardly worth the effort unless you have a huge smell problem you have to abate. Few farms of any size bother with it. Methane so generated usually contains toxic and corrosive contaminants. That's not so good

I just don't see a future here.

Falling water will generate power, but there are few places left to build dams and we want to preserve the un-dammed rivers left. Tide is so far unproven but where are you going to put it? The sandy parts of the coast are used for recreation and the price to crowd the sun and sea bathers out is prohibitive. In the mud parts of the coast, we, again, want to preserve the life generating wetlands and not make them into more sterile, power water storage areas.

Let's look at the big ones.

Wind power. It obviously works, but it's expensive, causes a sort of noise pollution and for many is a scenery spoiler. It also chops up a lot of birds and bats. That's not so good. Also, the wind is usable only about 30 to 35% of the time so it would have to be backed up by a 'nimble' power plant that could take over immediately when the wind dies down.

Photovoltaic. Obviously works as well, but only generates usable power about 35 to 40% of the time. Also it is very expensive, only 25% efficient, even in theory, and takes up a lot of space. What do you do with the area under the collectors? Except for small time generation, on roofs, the answer now is nothing. Has the same back-up needs as windmills.

All alternative ways of producing electric power would need a lot of new infrastructure to put them on the grid.

So it looks like oil, natural gas and coal into the future as far as almost anyone can see.

There is one solution that seems just the ticket. Nuclear. It produces almost no CO2. It works really well (just look at Sweden and France) and a single, merely large nuclear power plant would produce as much power as 1400 of the largest commercially produced windmills. I'd much rather have the nuke power plant. You have to store some of the nuclear waste safely, forever, but there is a mountain in the middle of nowhere Nevada (I know that doesn't narrow it down much) that is all ready for just such storage.

The arrow of the future appears clear. 50 new nuclear power plants, as many windmills and photovoltaics as we can afford, backed up with natural gas power plants. Meanwhile, there is no reason to pump up the price of oil by artificially depressing the supply. Drill, baby, drill. Here and now.

Like Germany during the latter half of WWII, we'll only make gasoline from coal when there is not real gasoline to be had.

Have I left any real promising ones out?

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Top Ten Paul Newman Movies

Paul Newman is dead at 83 of cancer. Shocking in a way it shouldn't be. Here are his best movie performances.

Nobody's Fool
The Drowning Pool
The Sting
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Cool Hand Luke
Hombre
Hud
The Hustler
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

A long life, well loved. RIP

CORRECTION: I meant 'A long life, well lived.' Perhaps a Freudian slip.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

 

Thought of the Day

Luddites of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your coal fired electricity plants.

Anonymous (with a h/t to Investors Business Daily)

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

 

Electioneering

The Intrade betting predictions market has Obama retrieving 3/4 of his former 20 point lead. That's not totally unexpected, but it's not fun. The normal polls are all over the place but I still think they are unreliable. We just don't know who is going to show up November 4. The most worrisome are the ones where Obama is over 50%, like here in Colorado. Oh, man.

And how can Obama do poorly against McCain in the debates if McCain isn't there? McCain has been going all populist and, well, being pretty foolish, from time to time since Black Thursday. Andrew Cuomo?

There's a good reason he has lost some ground.

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This Day in the History of Crusades Ending in Disaster


On this day in 1396, the last great Christian crusade, led jointly by John the Fearless of Nevers and King Sigismund of Hungary, ended disastrously when the Muslim army of Sultan Bajazet I, an Ottoman army, beat the snot out of the Europeans at Nicopolis in Bulgaria. There would be no future coalitions to help the shrinking remnants of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire and Constantinople would fall within a lifetime of this big defeat. Not a good day for the Christians of Europe.
This painting is of prisoner executions by the Muslims in retaliation for Muslim prisoner execution by the Christians. It seems weirdly familiar.

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Third Battle of Ypres


Even as late as the Summer of 1917, there were generals of the Allied Armies who still believed in the 'one more push' way to victory. This battle, July 11 to November 10, 1917, would lay that failed strategy to rest. Here are a series of photos showing the effects of heavy bombardment during this time.

The casualties of the battle--dead, wounded, captured and missing--exceeded 850,000, with the bulk of them to the soldiers of the British Empire (500,000) with only 350,000 to the Germans. 'Only.'
Passchendaele was a tiny village west of Ypres. These two aerial photos show you its fate.
The land was flat, low and swampy to begin with, and, with the churned up earth from the bombardments and digging of trench and dugout, it became a sea of mud after the heavy Summer rains. Almost all of WWI was unmitigated suffering, but Passchendaele was concentrated, unmitigated suffering.
Siegfried Sasson wrote about the battle thus:
I died in Hell
(they called it Passchendaele); my wound was slight
and I was hobbling back; and then a shell
burst slick upon the duckboards; so I fell
into the bottomless mud, and lost the light

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Vindication


"Arctic sea ice extent on September 23, 2008, was 4.59 million square kilometers," says the NSIDC. Here is what I predicted, back in July, for the extent of Arctic sea ice on September 21, 2008, "On September 21, 2008, the area of sea ice in the Northern Ocean will be above 4,100,000 square kilometers."


I was right, if a little low. Who knew?

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Thanks to Alcee Hastings

I had been completely unaware of the connection between moose hunting and racism and anti-Semitism until Representative Alcee Hastings (D-FL) pointed it out, to applause, in front of a group of Jewish and black Democrats in Florida yesterday, saying:

“Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through.”

It now seems so obvious, I'm kicking myself for not noticing it before.

Of course, in a just universe, Hastings would just be getting out of jail about now rather than be the 7 time Representative for Florida's 23rd District. As it is, he is merely an impeached judge who disgraced his office and continues to disgrace his constituents.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

 

The Weather on Top of the World


It's freezing now in Sveagruva, Spitsbergen (a mining town in Svalbard, at about 78 degrees north--a good distance still from the North Pole) and the forecast is for freezing (the high is supposed to be 30 degrees F) for the next few days (and possibly for the next 9 months). The sea lags a few weeks behind the air. When the sea ice starts to grow, it can do so at a million square kilometers a week. The ice that survived this Summer's melting is by definition old ice and is greater by a little less than 10% than what was old ice after last year's Summer. We'll see how the Northern Ocean recovers from the annual melt. I bet that when it reaches its maximum at the end of Winter, there will be at least 15% more ice than at that time the year before.

The Antarctic sea ice is a million square kilometers down from last year at this time, but last year was a record and it's pretty much normal now. The head of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (Walt Meier) explained recently why that sea ice, around Antarctica, doesn't matter to the theory of anthropogenic global warming, but it's not like it's on Mars or something. How can the North be an important tell tale about the climate and the South be just so much chopped liver? I mean it is a theory about global warming, right?

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Another Cycle 24 Sunspot


Sunspot 1002 was tiny and it lasted less than 48 hours (some big sunspots last more than a month), but it was a real Cycle 24 spot.

Whew. Maybe we in the upper northern hemisphere are not all going to starve and/or freeze to death over the next 15 years. The flux density remains very low and the solar wind is at its lowest point since we started measuring it. What exactly this will mean for our climate is unknown. These things are not, however, related historically to warming here on Earth.

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The Lure of the Conspiracy Theory

Probably out of desire on my part, I hope and believe that the new government in Pakistan is more eager than the last one to take on the Taliban, al Qaeda types and assorted Muslim extremists living near Afghanistan. However, it would not be of a particularly political advantage for the new government in Pakistan to be seen as enthusiastic supporters of American and NATO efforts against these same people. Thus, I have come to believe that the efforts of the Pakistan armed forces to oppose our attacks on the extremists is merely for show and we share the same desire as the Pakistanis to defeat and destroy the extremists. The news that the Pakistanis downed a predator type drone actually increases my belief, where shooting down a manned aircraft would have caused me to doubt it.

Once you're in, it's tough to get out.

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Photoshop of the Day


It's not often that I agree with Senator Schumer (D-NY), but yesterday was one of those times. Why do we have to give the Secretary the full $700 Billion for the bail out? Couldn't the propers-up get by with $150 Billion for the next three months, with more to come in January if the program is working?
Remember that the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression rather than ended it. WWII ended it.

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The Achievements of Our Current Congress

The successful Democrat sponsored legislation, of which about 1/3 was naming post offices, only includes one thing they ran on in 2006--they increased the minimum wage. Well done.

Here is a partial list of what the Republicans got done:

  1. Won the war in Iraq (kept funding it, defeated Democrat Defeatists legislation, got the surge going).
  2. Fixed FISA (a little) and kept immunity in the new bill.
  3. Stopped enlargement of S-CHIP.
  4. Stopped a new illegal alien amnesty.
  5. Stopped card check voting for unions.
  6. Defeated (a week from now) Democrat renewal of offshore drilling moratorium.
  7. Stopped all efforts to impeach our current leaders.

I wonder if the Democrats who voted in the new Congress are satisfied with its accomplishments? We Republicans seem better lately when in the minority.

(h/t Moe Lane)

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Thought of the Day

Now the rainman gave me two cures
Then he said, "Jump right in."
The one was Texas medicine
The other was just railroad gin
And like a fool I mixed them
And it strangled up my mind
And now, people just get uglier
And I have no sense of time.

Bob Dylan in Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again

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Right in Glenn Reynold's Back Yard

I was watching the Neanderthal Code last night on TV, such is the unending exciting adventure of my life. I have always believed that Cro Magnons interbred with Neanderthals rather than killed them. (And if you want proof, look at the eye sockets and brow of the guy who plays the bus driver in Speed--if those aren't Neanderthal features...*) Anyway, the show was pretty tame stuff until they went to Knoxville, TN and revealed the existence of the Body Farm, a walled in area where about 200 human bodies donated to science are rotting away so that scientists, pathologists and CSI types can study what happens over time. It sounds bad but the video behind it was truly disgusting--I mean a real stick-with-you-forever bad, bad memory. Thanks, science channel.

*And if you want a white actor with such features look no further than Ron Perlman, currently involved in the horrible FX series about the more noble nature of bikers, Sons of Anarchy. He certainly has made lemonade of the lemon genes he inherited.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

 

Asymmetry

Last year the bulk of the sea ice melting was on the Russian side of the Ocean (East Siberian, Kara and Laptev Seas). This year more of the ice above Alaska and western Canada (Northwest Territories) has melted (Chukchi and Beaufort Seas). But there is news:

A NOTE ON THE ICE FORECAST...SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES ALONG THE ALASKA CHUKCHI AND BEAUFORT SEA COASTS ARE 2 TO 8 DEGREES CELSIUS COLDER THIS YEAR THAN AT THE SAME TIME LAST YEAR. SEA ICE IN THESE AREAS IS AT OR VERY NEAR THE SEASONAL MINIMUM. SIGNIFICANT ICE WILL BEGIN DEVELOPING ALONG THE ALASKA COAST NORTH OF 70N WITHIN THE NEXT 10 TO 14 DAYS.

Good news for those who like their Arctic Ocean icelocked.



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Democrats Surrender on Drilling Offshore

After fits and starts, and despite the best (or worst) efforts of the limited political vision of the Gang of 16 or 20 or whatever, the Democrats have failed in efforts to reinsert the Congressional offshore drilling ban (due to expire October 1) into a must pass resolution and have thrown in the towel. Let the leases begin to be sold. Let's see what effect this news has on the oil markets the rest of this week.

Money quote from Cap'n Ed:


This puts quite the capper on the 110th. Not only did Democrats fail to achieve their broad policy goals, they failed on almost every specific goal they set in 2006. They failed to stop funding the Iraq war, they failed to impeach George Bush, and they surrendered on energy policy. Their only policy goal achieved — an increase in the minimum wage — came in a war-funding bill.


This battle may have been won, but the larger war for a rational energy policy continues. Congress has to pass a revenue-sharing bill with the states in order to get investment started in American production — a process that will create American jobs and keep our wealth in the US rather than overseas. With the meltdown in the financial markets still looming, this could not come at a better time.

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Thought of the Day

Here’s a swift test. Be honest. What sentence can you quote from his convention speech in Denver? I thought so. All right, what about his big rally speech in Berlin? Just as I guessed. OK, help me out: Surely you can manage to cite a line or two from his imperishable address on race (compared by some liberal academics to Gettysburg itself) in Philadelphia? No, not the line about his white grandmother. Some other line. Oh, dear. Now do you see what I mean?

Christopher Hitchens on Barack Obama (from an essay sub-titled Why is Obama so vapid, hesitant, and gutless?)

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Monday, September 22, 2008

 

Brief Sports Post

The Broncos continue to live the line, 'I'd rather be lucky than good.' The defense did make some important stops, at the goal line and on a third and one near the end of the game, and our offense looked good almost throughout the game, but something tells me that we're racking up a lot of negative Karma. I'm still with 9-7.

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Clean, Renewable Energy



A firefighter's nightmare.

(h/t Laer)

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Dangerous Instrumentality


If you bring a lion into your home, make its cage as safe as any human could make it, but the lion gets out anyway and bites the local postal employee to death, you can't say in your defense, "But I wasn't negligent." You have strict liability for introducing a foreign and dangerous instrument into the neighborhood.

The long and winding road of the two brutal and dangerous dogs, Presa Canarios, brought into the neighborhood by a choice San Francisco moron, continues to wind. The dogs' owner, Marjorie Knoller, had been convicted by a jury, rightly, of 2nd degree murder after her dogs got loose and mauled neighbor Dianne Whipple to death, but the judge reduced the verdict to manslaughter and sentenced Knoller to 4 years. On appeal, the California Supreme Court reinstated the jury verdict and today Marjorie got 15 years to life. Let's hope it's the latter.

The Presa Canario is like a pit bull on steroids and canine growth hormone. The dogs come from the Canary islands which, mirabile dictu, were named for dogs like these, rather than for yellow birds. Cave canem.

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This Day in the History of Germans Beating Up on the British


On this day in 1914, in the North Sea, the German U-9 submarine sank three British cruisers, the Aboukir, the Hogue, and the Cressy, in just over one hour. The one-sided battle cost 1,400 British sailors their lives, and the Germans lost none. Rough day to be a British sailor.

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Thought of the Day


Hansen’s model of 1980 is no longer relevant...


Dr. Walt Meier of the US National Snow and Ice Data Center


No kidding. But here is what Dr. Hanson predicted as recently as 1999 (his are the lines B1, A1B and A3) versus what actually has happened in the past 9 years. 'Dead wrong' is the proper translation of 'no longer relevant.' Meier went on to say he has confidence in the more sophisticated climate models of today. Why? is my first question. They were dead wrong in their predictions of just a decade ago as well.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

 

This Day in the History of Cutting Off Your Nose to Breath Easier

On this day in 454, Valentinian III, Emperor of the West, had his orders to murder Flavius Aetius, Roman Supreme Army Commander, carried out. Valentinian feared a really successful general would overthrow him. Aetius is often called the “last of the Romans,” and was the only Roman who ever defeated Attila, at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains (or Chalon or Chalons), which is only counted a victory because the Huns abandoned the field and ultimately the whole of Gaul. It was a general slaughter on both sides. Gibbons credited a Roman at the time saying to Valentinian after the murder: "I am ignorant, sir, of your motives or provocations; I only know that you have acted like a man who has cut off his right hand with his left." Aetius was avenged within 6 months when Valentinian was assassinated with no nearby soldier lifting a finger to save him. Such a waste of talent. Rough times for the Western Romans were just beginning.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

 

Proof We Will Win in Afghanistan


The gist of a rather silly article by Robert Fisk, who has rarely been right about the war being waged against the West by Islamic extremists, fills me with hope. He, to his credit, does say we've won in Iraq, so even a blind hog...
Money quotes:


And now? After the "unimaginable" progress in Iraq – I am quoting the fantasist who still occupies the White House – the Americans are going to hip-hop 8,000 soldiers out of Mesopotamia and dump another 4,700 into the hellfire of Afghanistan. Too few, too late, too slow, as one of my French colleagues commented acidly. It would need at least another 10,000 troops to hope to put an end to these Taliban devils who are now equipped with more sophisticated weapons, better trained and increasingly – sad to say – tolerated by the local civilian population. For Afghanistan, read Irakistan.

Oh no, not Iraqistan. Anything but that. (Is Fisk actually taken seriously in England?) I have to ask. And do we really need to take criticism of our successful war efforts from the French, who haven't triumphed in war without our help since very early in the 19th Century? 4,700 won't do it but 10,000 will? So if we add 5,300 troops who will fight, victory is assured? No, he tells us victory is impossible whatever we do. Nothing like careful analysis. Does anyone doubt that at one time in the past 5 years, Fisk wrote the same thing about Iraq? Which is why I am so optimistic. If Fisk says it's white, odds are it's at best a dark grey.

It would be helpful if the non English speaking nations in NATO with troops in Afghanistan actually ordered them to fire their weapons and if the Western nations that pledged money for rebuilding in Afghanistan actually paid what they pledged.

I, however, flat out reject the notion that finishing Gulf War 1 was a distraction to our efforts in Afghanistan. We have never let up in Afghanistan. When the whole of the Taliban decamped for Pakistan, there was, necessarily, little fighting of the Taliban in Afghanistan. We had to wait for them to return, which they are now, to their ultimate sorrow. I do, however, believe that the war in Iraq has been a huge distraction-- to the al Qaeda/Taliban efforts to reestablish control in Afghanistan. Only with the certain (but not yet completed) defeat of al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has the bulk of Arabs willing to fight American soldiers been directed back to Afghanistan. Of course we will have to respond to changing conditions on the ground, but if Pakistan actually does what it says it will, the Taliban story is going to all end in tears, as if it hasn't, to a large degree, already done just that.

The photo is of our Aussie allies patrolling.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

 

This Day in Ancient History


On this day in 98 A.D., the relatively little known Roman Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus, know to us as Domitian, was assassinated in a palace plot and the Senator Nerva, an erstwhile friend of Domitian, took over as Emperor the same day. Sic transit...

At least there is still a good statue of him.

His military ability were middling at best, but the skills and organization of the Legions kept him, and the Empire, in the game all during his 15 year reign.

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Thought of the Day

Don't waste your time calling an asshole an asshole. The asshole already knows he's an asshole. That's why he's an asshole.

Anonymous

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

 

The End of Arctic Melting


Anthony Watts reports here on the news from the National Snow and Ice Data Center up the road in Boulder, Colorado that the melting of sea ice in the Arctic has ended (unofficially) and over the last few days ice has been forming faster than it has been melting. As you can see from the chart, the minimum is higher than last years (by about 9%) but a full third less than the average since satellites have kept their watch on the ice and snow of our fair planet. So it was less melting this time, but still a lot, at least compared to the average over a very short period of time (since 1979).


It looks like my prediction regarding the amount of sea ice on September 21, 2008, was overgenerous, but I still have 5 days.

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Photoshop of the Day



(h/t Say Anything)

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Thought of the Day

The one thing that I want to insist on is that, as I travel around the country, the American people are a decent people. Now they get confused sometimes. You know, they listen to the wrong talk radio shows or watch the wrong TV networks, um, but they’re, they’re basically decent, they’re basically sound.

Barack Obama

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Consciousness of Guilt

Usually, anything a criminal defendant did during and after an alleged crime which would indicate that the defendant was aware of his or her guilt is admissible at trial. That stands to reason. Actions speak louder than words. Someone charged with murder, for example, who cut up and buried a body and then destroyed the gun and the knives used, will have a difficult time defending the charge with "I thought it was a burglar." If you kill a burglar, you call the police. Destruction of evidence is almost always done because of a consciousness of guilt--here, of murder.

In this vein, in my experience outside a criminal trial, the first one to say, 'I didn't do it,' should be the prime suspect.

I give you Exhibit A, Nancy Pelosi, asked about who was responsible for the recent collapse of several companies involved in financing or holding 'mortgage bonds' She often has a difficult time being succinct, but her response was basically, 'We didn't do it."

Hmmm?

Let's look just at the Fannie/Freddie Mac debacle. My source, from September 11, 2003, is the New York Times:


The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government--sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.
Gee, I wonder who opposed this plan? Can the New York Times shed any light?


Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''

Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed.
(emphasis added).

Oh. The Democrats killed an oversight program of Freddie and Fannie 5 years ago. So it's good to see Ms. Pelosi is as accurate as usual.

(h/t Minuteman McGuire)

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

 

The High Water Mark of American Military Power

This is a photo of the flyover the Navy and Army Air Corp did after the surrender of Imperial Japan on the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay. At that time we had about 13 million of our citizens in uniform (about 10% of the population) about 40 aircraft carriers of varying sizes, a nuclear arsenal (only 3 bombs-but a monopoly) and an impressive number of very good airplanes. We could have messed up any country, including the Soviet Union. We stood down instead, because we are a very good country.

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A Little Perspective


In this story, in the Wall Street Journal online, the author calls the key legislation/payoff to the Democrat-supporting trial bar the recently increased maximum non-economic (pain and suffering) damages allowed here in Colorado. I have to point out that not all trial lawyers are Democrats and our state limits were much lower than the federal tort limits and needed to be raised, at least for the most egregious cases.


See, I can disagree with the WSJ's editorial page.
That's our Governor, who signed the tort reform retrenchment. Not a for-real salute, though.

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Worst Political Denial in American History

As reported by Amir Taheri, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebarihas stated the following about Senator Obama's visit in July: "[Obama] asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement [regarding draw-down of the American military presence] until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington."

Here is an account of the denial of the statement by some previously unknown lackey at the Obama campaign. Money quotes:
Barack Obama's White House campaign angrily denied Monday a report that he had secretly urged the Iraqis to postpone a deal to withdraw US troops until after November's election.
[...]
But Obama's national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said Taheri's article bore "as much resemblance to the truth as a McCain campaign commercial."

In fact, Obama had told the Iraqis that they should not rush through a "Strategic Framework Agreement" governing the future of US forces until after President George W. Bush leaves office, she said.

One more time for the slightly slow.

Zebarihas: "[Obama] asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington."

Morigi: "...Obama had told the Iraqis that they should not rush through a "Strategic Framework Agreement" governing the future of US forces until after President George W. Bush leaves office."

I can't find anything more to say that's not venomous invective against Morigi's intelligence.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

 

Brief Sports Post

I've thought about the game Sunday and racked my memory (sorry, Andy, for the torture allusion) but I can't recall a less satisfying win for the Broncos. Ever. I'm upping my season prediction to 9 and 7 (from 7 and 9) but I am far from happy.

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Steady Analysis

Here is a devastating article regarding Senator Obama by the former treasurer and secretary of state of Ohio, Ken Blackwell. Read it all, but here are some money quotes:


Let’s start with social issues like Second Amendment freedoms. Mr. Obama denies that he’s ever supported banning handguns, right after the landmark Heller case where the Supreme Court struck down Washington D.C.’s handgun ban.

When a 1996 questionnaire surfaced that had asked if Mr. Obama supported banning all handguns, his one-word written answer was “yes.” He said an unnamed staffer must have filled it out without his knowledge. Then another copy surfaced — this one with his handwriting on it. He says he must not have read that particular question. Sure.


[...]
And then we have the Iraq war. Congress authorized war against Iraq in 2002. The vote in the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate was an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 77-23. The intelligence provided to Congress was profoundly flawed, but based on the intelligence presented, Congress voted for war. That is why those voting for the war included John Kerry, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton,and — yes — Joe Biden.

Yet Mr. Obama, who was in the Illinois Senate at the time and thus had no vote, opposed the war. He says that this shows his superior judgment, and that those voting for the war, like John McCain, lack the judgment to be president. But his vice presidential pick Joe Biden voted for the war, and Mr. Obama says Mr. Biden has the judgment to be president. How do you reconcile that?

Stunningly accurate.

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Thought of the Day

If there is any consistent enemy of science, it is not religion, but irrationalism.

Stephen Jay Gould

(h/t Charles Johnson)

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

 

This Day in the History of French Efforts Reaching the Top of a Rainbow Arc


On this day in 1812, Napoleon’s invasion of Russia reached its climax when the Grande Armee entered Moscow. The French have not, at least unaided by the Brits and/or us, won a war since. Hitler tried and couldn't even get done what Napoleon did--his armies stalled outside St. Petersburg and Moscow and the last bit of Stalingrad. Germany has not done well, militarily, ever since either. Not so secret protocol for the American President, "Don't invade Russia."

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Late Summer in the Rockies


My hunting buddy and soon to be brother in law went 'scouting' north of Rocky Mountain National Park. It was beautiful but pretty much elk free, as far as I could tell.

This was the snow rolling in, although I didn't know that then. I was in shirt sleeves, although I fortunately brought my unlucky hunting coat. Maybe that's what scared off the elk.




When it rains at a mile above sea level, it often snows above two miles up, where we were.

This is an old, logged out area which my bud says is prime elk hunting. Since I couldn't find a line of fire more than 50 yards long, I wondered why we had worked so hard to get our rifles sighted in at 200. This seems more like claymore ambush area than sniper ally.



The mountains were pretty the next morning.

Some might even say magnificent.

Which is good, because then we can look at the beautiful scenery all around us when the elk have eluded us.

At least he has his 'evil Spock' goatee going, so I know he's serious about eliminating Colorado's excess elk population, one at a time.

Have you seen your [future] brother, baby, standing in the shadows? I hope he has a better eye through his scope than he does through the camera's view finder. Pretty much nailed the mountain view, though.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

 

Thought of the Day

...it's clear that Obama has lost control of this campaign.

E. J. Dionne

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Niether Jake Tapper Nor Paul Krugman Can Read a Statute

Both Jake Tapper and Paul Krugman, and I'm sure many others, are calling John McCain a liar for his campaign ad that Barack Obama supported compulsory and comprehensive sex education for kids in kindergarten (in Illinois SB0099).

OK, let's look at Tapper's support for his name calling. Krugman supplies none, as usual, just more name calling. His one talent is apparently in the dismal science and he's not a shining star there.

Tapper says that Barack Obama did not write Illinois SB0099 and that it did not become law, but that Obama voted for it. Sorry, Jake, that's supporting it. So that part was true. Obama supported the legislation.

Now we can look at the legislation and see if it contains what John McCain's ad said it contains.

Tapper does a strawman argument here:

McCain’s ad makes it sound as if Obama was mandating that kindergartners receive the same information as a sexually active high school senior.


Frankly, Jake, we don't care what you think it sounds like, we want to know if what it actually does say is false is not. This would seem self evident in an article sub-titled "From the Fact Check Desk," but I guess it's possible the word 'facts' means something else to Jake Tapper.

Finally he quotes the crucial part of the proposed statute:

The word “comprehensive” appears just once in the bill as applied to kindergartners, it the section saying that "Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV" (Emphasis added)

Tapper also quotes this from elsewhere in the statute: All course material and instruction shall be age and developmentally appropriate.

He then says this.


So what does “comprehensive sex education” mean in terms of kindergartners?
“It means teaching kids about families,” McDowell says.
Is McCain right when he says Obama wanted kids to learn about sex before they learned how to read?
“If by 'sex' he meant that there are boys and girls and mothers and fathers, yes," McDowell says.
But that's clearly not what McCain is suggesting.
"No reasonable person would believe we’re talking about teaching kindergartners about sexual intercourse," McDowell says...


Sorry, Mr. McDowell and Mr. Tapper, statutes don't work that way. Both of the quoted sections are mandatory because they contain the magic word "shall." It is a universal rule of statutory construction that you interpret the various mandatory sections in harmony. You don't ignore one mandatory section because of another mandatory section.

In the first quoted section the K class' sex education "shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections" like AIDS. You can't get out of that by saying it's not age appropriate to teach 5 year olds about how to avoid AIDS, even if it is, because the statute requires, for K classes, the sex education to contain just such instruction. You have to make the instruction age appropriate (I guess calling it Mr. Condom or something), but you don't get to skip it. Any lawyer would realize this after reading the proposed statute. Neither Krugman nor Tapper are lawyers, but Senator Obama is.

What McCain's ad contained regarding SB0099 is absolutely true.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

 

The Best of the Web Indeed

James Taranto today takes apart three Palin haters, Carol Fowler (who said, John McCain had chosen a running mate 'whose primary qualification seems to be that she hasn't had an abortion' ) Andrew Sullivan (who wrote, because McCain "could see he was going to lose, ten days ago, he threw caution to the wind and with no vetting whatsoever, picked a woman who, by her decision to endure her own eight-month pregnancy of a Down Syndrome child [will] reignite the culture war as a last stand against Obama") and Cintra Wilson (who wrote, what Palin's "Down syndrome baby and pregnant teenage daughter unequivocally prove, however, is that her most beloved child is the antiabortion platform that ensures her own political ambitions with the conservative right.") Money quotes from Taranto:


Fowler uses Palin's motherhood to disparage her accomplishments, an obvious betrayal of the principle of women's equality. And although proponents of permissive abortion laws nearly always claim to support not abortion but "a woman's right to choose," here we have three of them rebuking Palin for choosing not to abort her baby.

Sullivan and Wilson go further, ascribing evil intent to an act of maternal love. To Sullivan, Palin's decision to carry her child to term is a salvo in a "culture war"--that is, an act of aggression against those with different political views. (That, at least, is how he sees it for the purpose of this post. In an earlier one, he praised her for going through "eight months of pregnancy and a painful, difficult, endless labor for a cause she believes in"--which, although considerably less obnoxious, still depicts the decision as a political rather than a personal one.)

To Wilson, Palin's adherence to her own principles about the sanctity of life is an act of neglect toward her children--proof "that her most beloved child is the antiabortion platform." Never mind that the alternative would have ensured that one of her actual children did not live.

[...]

None of this can be explained in terms of political calculation. Scorning a woman for declining to abort a disabled child is likely to be about as persuasive to voters as burning an American flag. These ugly sentiments have to be sincere. In a way, that makes them even more disquieting.

Disturbing indeed.

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Lie of the Day

The senator from Illinois is known as a closer, and there is plenty of time left. Keep the faith.

Tim Fernholz (emphasis added)

Closer? How many of the last 14 primaries did Senator Obama win? How about 5 and not a single big state. Wow, that's quite a kick.

I'm serious--you can't count his first successful try for the Illinois Senate in 1996 because he merely disqualified his serious adversaries ahead of the campaign; nor can you count his being crushed by former Black Panther Bobby Rush for a Congressional seat in 2000. Nor can you count his successful Senate run, as his formidable Republican opponent was knocked out by a 'sex scandal with no sex' (with his wife, the Borg babe) and his subsequent run against non Illinois resident Alan Keyes was not a campaign but a horrible joke. So there are two successful runs for the state house in 1998 and 2002 to judge how good a closer Senator Obama is. It's a safe Democratic seat so the actual election was nothing but a popularity contest between Democrats. Where's the closer?

Looks like Tim is bucking up the Democrats' spirits with fibs.

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Thought of the Day

Quit the hand-wringing, Democrats, and don't believe the hype. Barack Obama is a lot of things, but he isn't John Kerry and he's not Al Gore.

Tim Fernholz (trying to calm the Democrat panic)

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A Thing of Beauty

What hath the Palin choice wrought? A rapid and decisive 20 point change in the prediction market. Please keep attacking her. Please! That will flip things back around.

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A Source on the New York Times

I am very hesitant to use anything Frank Rich wrote about things, other than the theater, as a valid metric, but in a hoist on his own petard sort of way, I'll point out what Rich wrote on the first anniversary of the successful al Qaeda attacks here 7 years ago:


That Iraq is ''a grave and gathering danger,'' as the president also said, is not in doubt. But is it as grave a danger as the enemy that attacked America on 9/11 and those states that are its most integral collaborators? The campaign against Iraq, wrote Brent Scowcroft in the op-ed that launched a thousand others, ''is certain to divert us for some indefinite period from our war on terrorism.'' Since major Qaeda attacks are planned well in advance and have historically been separated by intervals of 12 to 24 months, we will find out how much we've been distracted soon enough.

So if Rich is right, and the already successful recent war in Iraq (finishing Gulf War 1 properly) was a grand distraction to our efforts to disrupt the plans of al Qaeda to hit us again by no later than 2003, then what happened to the attack? The fact that it is 5 years overdue must cause at least some of the thinking left to wonder if taking the fight to al Qaeda in the center of the Caliphate seems to have distracted al Qaeda more than it has distracted us.

(h/t Ann Coulter)

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This Day in the History of the British Defeating Americans


On this day in 1777, at the Battle of Brandywine, a British force under General Howe and only slightly larger than the colonials they faced, beat the snot out of George Washington's troops and walked into Philadelphia unopposed a few weeks later. Had Howe been just a little more aggressive earlier on, when our right flank was fully exposed, he could have destroyed Washington's Army. We were lucky to leave the field intact. Not a good day for us even in earlier history.

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New Categories at Intrade

They used to feature a chart for when Palin would withdraw (like Tom Eagleton) from running for the Vice Presidency. That's no longer on the featured list, but one for Biden pulling out in a Torricelli switch is up now. Hmmm?

I'm not the only one thinking about it.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

 

Paul Begala Joins the Ineffectual Anti-Palin Meltdown


Paul Begala, whose very presence finished off Crossfire on TV, whom Rush Limbaugh calls the Forehead (I usually use a different body part for synecdoche), had an article today where he calls Sarah Palin about the bridge to nowhere a liar. This is textbook projection.

The straight skinny is that any governor welcomes free money from the feds, but it is the Senators, and here a congressman, who actually shake the money tree that is DC for such funds. We now revile these spending add-ons, known as ear marks, or pork, short for pork barrel spending, but this sort of spending has had a very long tradition in Congress.

Now we know that Obama and Biden were both for the earmarked funds for the bridge to nowhere because they voted for it, and even when Senator Tom Colburn (R-OK) gave them a second chance and an out--a chance to put the money to helping rebuild New Orleans, they voted for it again. That's fact; that's historical record.

When bloggers and then the national media finally put the spotlight on some ear mark spending and particularly on the bridge to nowhere, the Congress no longer said the money had to be spent on the bridge near Ketchikan, but the money still went to Alaska with no real strings attached. At that point, Governor Sarah Palin, who certainly wanted to help out the Gravina Island residents (all 50 of them) with better transportation to the rest of Alaska, said no to the multi-hundred million dollar bridge. Again, that's fact; that's historical record.

Here is what Begala said:


In the face of demonstrable, provable, incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, McCain and Palin continue to assert that Gov. Palin opposed the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere."

[...]

I said the media was at fault for letting Palin and McCain get away with "flat out lies."
Not a lie. She was of the same mind as Obama and Biden, but after the big stink, when the money came without strings, she changed her mind and spent the money on different projects. The foul fiend. Apparently the Democratic logic is, if she was not against it from the very beginning, that is, when Obama and Biden were for it, she gets no credit for changing to being against it later and indeed, in the slightly warped mind of Paul Begala, she is lying to say she opposed and, in the end, killed the project, even though that's exactly what she did.

Here is more Begala smears:


...noting Palin's support for banning books, teaching creationism and doubting
global warming...

No book banning, nor any creationism in school; and she certainly believes it's getting warmer up there, she is merely skeptical about the anthropogenic claims (as any reasonably smart person with 20 hours of reading on the subject would be).

I have to admit that I'm enjoying the show of the anti-Palin smears and panic. I feel in my gut that it is counterproductive to the Obama campaign, so it's all good. There are a lot of people letting the mask over their haughty, elitist, sneering faces swing free. A lot of people on the left truly and honestly hate the bulk of their fellow Americans. The coverage of the panic makes the media look horrible too because, well, most of the TV talking heads are.
UPDATE: Good advice for the Democrats: She killed off the Bridge to Nowhere. Deal with it.

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Post Convention Bump

Over at intrade market, McCain is at 50.4 and Obama is at 48.9. We've 8 weeks until this long campaign is finally over and there is many a slip twixt the cup and the lip, but Obama had been at 60 and above for about 3 months. Was the Palin pick a Minsky moment for the junior Senator from Illinois?

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This Day in the History of American Naval Forces Defeating the British


On this day in 1813, the Americans won the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. After defeating the British, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry sent the famous message, "We have met the enemy, and they are ours." The capture of all the British ships on the lake allowed the Americans to recover Detroit from the Brits. That, in retrospect, seems a mixed blessing.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

 

Richard Cohen Glady Jumps in the Sewer

I look at this article like I would probably look on Inca religious rites, if it were possible to see them--I know that it is a human doing this but I share nearly none of the underlying beliefs.

Cohen starts with a list of Palin accomplishments, such as, "exaggerations, ...smug provincialism, ... hypocrisy about family and government." Provincial, sure, but smug? Elitists are smug (and how); provincials are generally more lout-like than smug. Oh well, his heart is in the right place. Like nearly all of the panicked, hate filled reaction to Palin from the left, he's a little short on detail. What exaggerations? What hypocrisy?

Not supplied. I guess we're just supposed to know these things.

The rest of the article is Cohen ragging on Obama for not fighting back more effectively. Yeah, Obama should do what his minions and supporters are doing. He could, for example, allude to her as a pig in lipstick. He could have his staff call her unqualified. He could ignore that she has 20 months of chief state executive experience which is 20 more months of executive experience than he has. There's plenty for him to do. Certainly like John Paul Jones, he has not yet begun to fight.

UPDATE:

Dean "Chowda" Barnett noticed a functional equivalent which escaped my attention. Cohen said both Obama and McCain had moments in their histories of "pure wonderment". McCain refused early release from the torturous prison camp and remained there for over 5 years; and Obama became a community organizer in Chicago during the 3 year period after working in NYC for two years after graduation from Columbia, before he enrolled in Harvard Law. Can't you see the equality of those decision, the parity of the sacrifice. No? Hmmm. You must be a racist.

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Juan Cole Logic Deprived

I've seldom read this guy and now I know why. He compares Governor Sarah Palin to islamic fundamentalist. Favorably. He can't tell the difference. A theocrat is a theocrat, he says. I strike the flat of my hand into my forehead. Darn! How come I didn't see it? It is so plain.

He says she has no values in common with our Founding Fathers, or at least far fewer than she has in common with Muslim fundamentalists.

He repeats the lie (discredited nearly everywhere but at sinking-in-debt Salon) that Sarah Palin supports banning books. He says the Muslims do that too. I seem to remember some socialists in the '20s and '30s burning books but I guess that is ancient history to the intellectual giant Cole must be.

There's more smear but why shouldn't Cole jump on the Democrats 'lie about Palin' bandwagon.

Here is the list of lefty core beliefs Sarah neglects to embrace. Abortion, contraception, Darwinism, anthropogenic global warming, and the separation of church and state. Yeah, Juan, all of these were central to the Founding Father's world view.

What Juan Cole doesn't know about Christianity and this nation's history could fill a library. Guess I'll know what I'm getting into when I read him again.

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One Photo From the North Korean Celebration



It's a truck mounted ZPU-4 in 14.4mm with two large RPGs at the front corners. Think of the quad 50 in Waterworld but slightly larger in caliber. Not of any use at all against a jet (even with radar control) but possibly worthwhile against unarmored helicopters although its effective range is much less than the range of a hellfire missile. These are 60s Soviet hardware and I'd laugh at their inclusion in the parade but for the fact that they are 'manned' by women and thus will probably prove to be quite deadly.

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This Day in the History of Evil

On this day in 1948, the People's Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) was created. Since then the leadership of North Korea (and there have only been two, the Great Leader and the Dear Leader) have been responsible for over a million deaths in the failed invasion of South Korea, several million deaths from plain old starvation, nearly a million tortured, sometimes daily, in the Gulags there, and untold stories of misery, deprivation and pain caused by the leaders' stubborn and stupid embracing an anti-human nature political/economic systems, socialism. Not a good day for humanity.

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Some of Obama Gaffes

Here is a list of the gaffes Obama has made during his run for President compiled by Michelle Malkin. I added some after that. Happy reading, Mike.


All it takes is one gaffe to taint a Republican for life. The political establishment never let Dan Quayle live down his fateful misspelling of “potatoe.” The New York Times distorted and misreported the first President Bush’s questions about new scanner technology at a grocers’ convention to brand him permanently as out of touch.

But what about Barack Obama? The guy’s a perpetual gaffe machine. Let us count the ways, large and small, that his tongue has betrayed him throughout the campaign:

*Last May, he claimed that Kansas tornadoes killed a whopping 10,000 people: “In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed.” The actual death toll: 12.

*Earlier this month in Oregon, he redrew the map of the United States: “Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go.”

*Last week, in front of a roaring Sioux Falls, South Dakota audience, Obama exulted: “Thank you Sioux City…I said it wrong. I’ve been in Iowa for too long. I’m sorry.”

*Explaining last week why he was trailing Hillary Clinton in Kentucky, Obama again botched basic geography: “Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it’s not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle.” On what map is Arkansas closer to Kentucky than Illinois?

*Obama has as much trouble with numbers as he has with maps. Last March, on the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama, he claimed his parents united as a direct result of the civil rights movement: “There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born.” Obama was born in 1961. The Selma march took place in 1965. His spokesman, Bill Burton, later explained that Obama was “speaking metaphorically about the civil rights movement as a whole.”

*Earlier this month in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Obama showed off his knowledge of the war in Afghanistan by honing in on a lack of translators: “We only have a certain number of them and if they are all in Iraq, then it’s harder for us to use them in Afghanistan.” The real reason it’s “harder for us to use them” in Afghanistan: Iraqis speak Arabic or Kurdish. The Afghanis speak Pashto, Farsi, or other non-Arabic languages.

*Over the weekend in Oregon, Obama pleaded ignorance of the decades-old, multi-billion-dollar massive Hanford nuclear waste clean-up: “Here’s something that you will rarely hear from a politician, and that is that I’m not familiar with the Hanford, uuuuhh, site, so I don’t know exactly what’s going on there. (Applause.) Now, having said that, I promise you I’ll learn about it by the time I leave here on the ride back to the airport.” I assume on that ride, a staffer reminded him that he’s voted on at least one defense authorization bill that addressed the “costs, schedules, and technical issues” dealing with the nation’s most contaminated nuclear waste site.

*Last March, the Chicago Tribune reported this little-noticed nugget about a fake autobiographical detail in Obama’s “Dreams from My Father:” “Then, there’s the copy of Life magazine that Obama presents as his racial awakening at age 9. In it, he wrote, was an article and two accompanying photographs of an African-American man physically and mentally scarred by his efforts to lighten his skin. In fact, the Life article and the photographs don’t exist, say the magazine’s own historians.”

*And in perhaps the most seriously troubling set of gaffes of them all, Obama told a Portland crowd over the weekend that Iran doesn’t “pose a serious threat to us”–cluelessly arguing that “tiny countries” with small defense budgets can’t do us harm– and then promptly flip-flopped the next day, claiming, “I’ve made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave.”


He recently said that he considered enlisting in the military when he signed up for selective services when he turned 18 in Hawaii (but there wasn't enough action going on so he didn't join). The trouble is he couldn't have signed up when he turned 18 in 1979, because selective services wasn't reinstated (in the weak form it has now) until a year later, under President Carter. Oh, and in neither of his two memoirs did he mention this yearning for joining the military with a war going on. I guess it was not worthy of inclusion, at least not before his opponent was a decorated Viet Nam war veteran.

In his second statement about Russia's invasion of Georgia, Obama said that the Security Council of the United Nations could be helpful. OOpsie. Russia has a veto power on the Security Council so that avenue to peace is even more worthless than normal. Could that fact have eluded a normal Columbia graduate with a major in Political Science?

"On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes — and I see many of them in the audience here today — our sense of patriotism is particularly strong."

"…Obama also spoke about his uncle, who was part of the American brigade that helped to liberate Auschwitz…" Sorry, Senator, Auschwitz, in Poland, was liberated by the Soviets.

Obama recently complained about people speaking vis a vis his Muslim faith. George Stephanopoulos had to remind him that he was a Christian. And he clearly is a Christian.

"Since the Bush Administration launched a misguided war in Iraq, its policy in the Americas has been negligent toward our friends, ineffective with our adversaries, disinterested in the challenges that matter in peoples' lives, and incapable of advancing our interests in the region.
No wonder, then, that demagogues like Hugo Chavez have stepped into this vacuum." Sorry, Obama, the Columbian dictator Chavez came to power in 1998, during the Clinton Administration. Difficult to blame President Bush for that.

"And, you know, let's take the example of Guantanamo. What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks -- for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated."
Well, Senator, we got some of them, but the primary builder of the bomb, Abdul Rahman Yasin, fled American justice and lived in Iraq, with Saddam's implicit permission (they pretended he was under arrest), until the invasion and then he fled to parts unknown. Not incapacitated.

Obama called the Banking Committee "my committee" when he is neither the head of it nor even on it.

And we needn't even go into detail about his calling his grandmother a "typical white person," calling the bulk of Americans 'bitter clingers to religion, guns and bigotry,' or calling a baby a "punishment"--any of which would probably have been political death if said by a Republican.

Some of these are mere slips of the tongue or ignorance, but look at the number of them and how little coverage most of them have received in the dominant leftwing media, which is so quick to pounce on the least slip or mistake of a Republican.

It's enough to cause one to think there might be double standard or something.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

 

Our Source Was the New York Times

In a campaign ad by Senator Obama, which you can see here at Instapundit, but which I can't find on YouTube, Senator Obama tries to slow the Republican momentum with what the ad calls a lie about Governor Palin and the infamous bridge to nowhere.

However, before there was reason to try to rewrite history, before Barack Obama called Sarah Palin a liar, here is what the New York Times said about this very subject:

Gov. Sarah Palin ordered state transportation officials to abandon the ''bridge to nowhere'' project that became a nationwide symbol of federal pork-barrel spending. The $398 million bridge would have connected Ketchikan, on one island in southeastern Alaska, to its airport on another nearby island.''Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport,'' Ms. Palin, a Republican, said in a news release, ''but the $398 million bridge is not the answer.'' She directed the State Transportation Department to find the most ''fiscally responsible'' alternative for access to the airport.


So who's lying now?

UPDATE: It's still too early to pay attention to the polls and we don't know what the relative voter turnouts will be anyway; so we shouldn't be too happy about the post convention (and Sarah Palin) bump, but Mike in Prague, a good guy of the left, said that the intrade market (where people actually risk actual money, their money I presume) is a better index for the future anyway. Obama is still ahead there but the trend lines have been marvelously good. Since the end of August, Obama has gone down 9 points and John McCain has gone up 8. That's a 17 point swing in 8 days. If you're an Obama supporter, all I can say is: Ouch. Let's see where it goes from there--51 to 48, right now, rounded off.

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Democrats Begin to Panic


And it's a whiny, delusional panic at that. Here is the first yelping jackal of the pack, Adam McKay at the Huffington Post. He's so far to the left, he thinks the press is an advantage for, wait for it, the Republicans. He also thinks that the vote will be rigged. So what happened in '06? Did the Republicans lose their ability to manipulate Diebold voting machines? Or were we cagey enough to lose one of the little votes to sooth the more paranoid of the nation? Expect more along both these lines as the polls get worse, as Obama underperforms at the 'debates' and as the nation wises up to the fraud being perpetrated against its citizens. If you listen to Obama merely say he is being lied about without explanation or example, there is the beginning of the panic waver in his voice too. Or perhaps I'm just hearing what I want to hear.

(h/t Hot Air)

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Thought of the Day

You're hearing an awfully lot about me — most of which is not true...

Barack Obama

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More on Hypocrisy

Here is an article from Rahul K. Parikh, M.D. at Salon (a site which is deeply in debt, over $80 million the last time I checked). Here is the problem I have with what he wrote. The good doctor says this:

It was inspirational to see a mother in a position of political power stand up for a child with special needs. But Palin was given a choice whether to have that child, something, if she had her way as a lawmaker, she wouldn't give others.
Well first she's not a lawmaker but a governor, and as VP she would be an executive still (even though the VP gets to vote in the Senate in the very few cases of tie votes) and second, with the current decisions in the Supreme Court, no lawmaker can prevent abortions of foetuses not viable outside the womb, as abortion is apparently a cherished, yet invisible, Constitutional right.
But the doctor's logic seems to fail him. In no event would Sarah Palin prevent a mother from having any child, with Downs or not. And Dr. Parikh doesn't know if Palin would take away, if it were possible, abortions of seriously deformed babies or even if she would try to prevent abortions of Downs babies (90% of whom are aborted). If he knows what she thinks about that, he doesn't bother to show any evidence of what he described as her "outspoken beliefs." Like a quote from Sarah Palin. Am I asking too much?

Then he calls it hypocrisy:

So while I respect Palin's decision to raise Trig, that's all the respect she will get from me. I don't see eye-to-eye with her on anything else: energy, guns, sex education and of course a woman's right to choose. Her supporters say that Trig signals that she practices what she preaches. But her to decision to have him is also a sign of her hypocrisy.


What?

Although doctors almost always feel they are the smartest humans in the room, like us mere humans, they are often wrong.

I do thank him for updating and correcting my vernacular. I had called Downs Syndrome triploidy 23, but he calls it trisomy 21. He obviously is correct about that.

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Who Are You Going to Believe?



Here is the University of Illinois' chart about the extent of Arctic sea ice.


It seems to say that the extent of the ice is just .3 million square kilometers above last year, which is about a 10% difference.


Yet on the same site, you can compare this day's composite photo from space with last year's composite photo. That's the side by side comparison below. Does it look like so little a difference to you?



Looks more like a 30% difference to me. I've contacted the guy they say to send questions to in order to see what's up. I'll report back, but he's never responded to a question from me yet.

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Report on American War Dead in Iraq and Afghanistan

The news is still interesting rather than good. A total of 47 American servicemen died in Iraq and Afghanistan last month, according to Department of Defense news releases. 22 died in Afghanistan and 25 died in Iraq, the same as in July. It seems I skipped this monthly blog post in August. Here's the further breakdowns.

In Iraq, seven servicemen died from IEDs. That's low but not low enough. Two were killed by small arms and five in combat operations. That doesn't indicate a lot of stand up combat. Six died from non combat or non hostile causes--one in Bahrain and one in Kuwait. Four died in accidents. One died in a mortar attack. One of the guys killed in combat operations was wounded in 6/05 and died in 9/07 and an autopsy changed the category.

In Afghanistan, nine also were killed by IEDs and five were killed in combat operations. Three were killed by small arms, one was killed by a land mine and one was killed by unknown causes while on patrol.

Two women were killed (both by non-combat causes)--Jennifer L. Cole, 34, of American Canyon, CA and Janelle F. King, 23, of Merced, CA. The officers lost were: Capt. Garrett T. Lawton, 31, Charleston, WV (Combat operations in Afghanistan); Ist Lt.. Donald C. Carwile, 29, Oxford, Miss. (IED in Afghanistan); and, 2nd Lt. Michael R Girdano, 23, from Pennsylvania (IED in Afghanistan).

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all our brave warriors and their families.

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This Day in the History of Russian Successes


On this day in 1380, Russians won the Battle of Kulikovo against a numerically superior force of Tartars (Mongol descendants) and began the long, slow climb to world power.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

 

Categorizing American Attitudes About Abortion

There seem to be three main camps here in America regarding abortion.


  1. There are those who think that human life does not begin at conception and certainly the non-human has no human (or American Constitutional) rights and can be killed terminated at the will or even whim of the mother. This camp thinks that what goes on inside the mother is only the mothers' concern and no one else can make any judgement or law concerning it. This is generally the pro-choice crowd. I wouldn't think that many of them are actually pro abortion. They have Supreme Court precedents, most importantly Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pa. v. Casey, on their side, and therefore, no law can seriously intrude on the mother's medical choice regarding the foetus in her womb.
  2. There are those who think that human life does indeed begin at conception but that the foetus does not get rights until birth. This allows members of this camp to disparage but not criminalize abortions of 'not viable outside the womb' foetuses. Members of this camp, and I am one, are with the Catholic Church's teaching that abortions to save the mother's life are OK as a living mother is more important than a not yet born baby. Unlike with Catholics, there is room in this camp for differing opinions about abortions after rape and incest. Just as in early American history it was not murder to kill a slave (as the slave had life, obviously, but no rights), it is at least legal to kill the foetus for other reasons.
  3. The final camp are the pro-lifers, who think that human life and human rights both begin at conception and abortion or the use of abortifacients are the exact same as murder, indeed, is the worst sort of murder, the slaughter of the innocent. They counter the charge of being against choice by saying that the mother seeking abortion is taking away the unvoiced choice of the baby to live, and that we don't recognize the choice some women make to murder their small born children after birth (or their husbands, sisters, friends or strangers) as socially tolerable.

I don't have much more to say about the merits of the different positions. except that each seems to be internally, logically sound. I do wonder, however, if there are substantial positions which I have left out. I also don't know the relative membership of each of the three camps. If I had to guess, I'd say three is the most numerous one, but I really don't know.

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This Day in the History of Show Business Rivalries Turning Deadly


On this day in 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur was shot and mortally wounded on the Las Vegas Strip. The murder has never been solved. I have to admit that I could stand some of his songs. One question to be answered is whether it is better to go out like Tupac or die like many of the rockers, including Jimi Hendrix, from aspirating vomit after a drug overdose. Tough call, and after all dead is dead.

The photo is of Tupac and Suge Knight 20 minutes before the shooting.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

 

The Cure For the Left's Sneering, Condescending Hatred Hole Regarding Sarah Palin--More Diggin'

Here is a Brit who nails the zeitgeist of America as well as any effete, cluless, male chauvenist 5,000 to 8,000 miles away possibly could. Would that his sarcasm was funny in the slightest way.

There are, unfortunately, no highlights.

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A Useful Source

Here's a good site for the truth and lies in the myriad Palin rumors swirling about. The author seems to be an Alaskan, but maybe I'm jumping to conclusions.

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A Line Too Far

Senator Obama apparently is trying a prevent defense with hand picked "townhall" audiences. However, one person asked him about his gun control position. Here is part of what he said in response to the question whether he would enact a gun ban:


Here’s what I believe: that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right and it means something -- that people have a right to bear arms. What I also believe is that there is nothing wrong with some common sense gun safety measures.
Here is some more:


“If you’ve got a gun in your house, I’m not taking it"

But he didn't think he was convincing them, so he kept talking (as usual when he's off teleprompter) and probably wishes he didn't say this:


Even if I want to take them away, I don’t have the votes in Congress

Oh, so he has thought about taking away our guns but realized that he couldn't get it done politically so now he is saying that he doesn't want to ban guns when his zig-zag, straddle history and past votes, along with his recently revealed thoughts, all show just the opposite.

To quote our president. Fool me once shame on you...The point is we won't get fooled again.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

 

The Left's Idea of Free Speech



You can't talk if I want to talk over you and you can't shut me up no matter how
inappropriate my ravings are.

Of course we can shut you up as this photo clearly shows.

It looks like Code Pink loon Medea (Sally) Benjamin disrupting a speech at the RNC. Do right wingers disrupt any speeches? ANY? Because my memory of speechs recently disrupted by lefties is about 20 incidents long.

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Class--Either You Have It or You Don't

In an earlier post, I compared the gracious congratulation ad, on his website, that John McCain gave Senator Obama on the day of his acceptance speech, to some of the low blows against John McCain contained in that very speech. A loyal Democrat reader chided me for the comparison and assured me that McCain would receive his congratulations and certainly would take some swipes at Obama in his acceptance speech. Here is the speech. Here is what he said about Obama:


Finally, a word to Senator Obama and his supporters. We'll go at it over the next two months. That's the nature of these contests, and there are big differences between us. But you have my respect and admiration. Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, an association that means more to me than any other. We're dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights. No country ever had a greater cause than that. And I wouldn't be an American worthy of the name if I didn't honor Senator Obama and his supporters for their achievement.

On the other hand, here is what the Obama site contains in the way of congratulations to John McCain:

[Crickets chirping.]

I could repeat the headline, but it's no longer necessary.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

 

Gloria Steinem--Still Clueless About Basic Biology


Gloria Steinem, the fading rose of the shrinking lefty feminism movement, who once said, famously, a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, before she married a man, wrote yesterday about her sister, Governor Sarah Palin, saying, inter alia, that "Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton."

No, Gloria. Men have xy and women xx, so Governor Palin actually shares two all of her chromosomes with Senator Clinton.

Oh and when did "reproductive freedom" become the euphemism for abortion? Wouldn't reproductive freedom be something the Chinese, limited by their government to a single child, yearn for? Wouldn't it be freedom to have a child rather than freedom to kill the foetus because raising him or her (or even bringing him or her to term and putting him or her up for adoption) is too hard or is merely inconvenient? I don't support criminalizing abortion, but I know it is not a treasured constitutional right. Ms. Steinem, apparently, doesn't know squat.


(h/t James Taranto, who reminded me of this basic biological fact)

UPDATE:

Gloria also said Governor Palin was out of touch for these beliefs

[Palin] opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.
Eugene Volokh shows here that it is Ms. Steinem who is out of touch with the majority of Americans. Who could have guessed that? Here are but a few of the opinions of Americans in some of the areas mentioned.
58% of women support private right of the Second Amendment.
82% of people, including, obviously, women, support teaching creationism or intelligent design either alone (27%) or alongside evolution (55%).
Only 40% of women support abortion if the abortion is merely "to end unwanted pregnancy" and not to save a woman's life et al.

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