Thursday, May 21, 2009
Truly Awesome Crucifix Necklaces
Thought of the Day
This was perhaps best exemplified by the president’s attack on the very military commission system he has just revived. The dig that the system only succeeded in convicting three terrorists in seven years conveniently omits the fact that the delay was largely attributed to legal challenges advanced by lawyers who now work in his own administration.
Those challenges, despite consuming years of litigation, failed to derail the commission system, which Congress simply re-authorized, substantially unchanged, after a thin Supreme Court majority erroneously struck it down in the 2006 Hamdan case. The commissions, moreover, are now being delayed several more months simply so Mr. Obama can make some cosmetic tweaks that work no real change in the commission process but will enable him to claim that they are somehow a departure from Bush commissions.
It is also not true, no matter how many times Mr. Obama and his supporters repeat it, that Guantanamo Bay and enhanced interrogation (or “torture” as they call it) are primary drivers of terrorist recruitment. The principal exacerbating factor in recruitment is successful terrorist attacks. That is what convinces the undecided to join jihadist movements, and that is what the Bush administration’s approach prevented. And if the president truly insists on “transparency,” he should stop suppressing memoranda that detail the effectiveness of the CIA interrogation program.
Labels: Andrew McCarthy quote
Stronger Non-Posting Excuse
Labels: Light Posting Excuse
A Tale of Two Speeches
Here is the text of former Vice President Cheney's speech.
If you have the time and interest, read both of them and, of course, draw your own conclusions about the virtues of each.
I found Obama's to be whiny and full of platitudes. I found Cheney's to be detailed and heartfelt. The President makes a mistake to stray from the effective programs of the Bush Administration and, fortunately, he probably won't stray far, despite his clearly disingenuous campaign promises.
When a country or other political or religious entity declares and wages war on you, they give up certain things, like access to our criminal courts. If they obey the rules of law contained in the series of Geneva conventions, they get certain "rights" as honorable prisoners of war, but if captured, they are in for the duration of the war, not as punishment, but to prevent them from returning to the battlefield. Most wars we have waged have been short, the longest in the past was abut 8 years. We're entering the 10th, at least, of the current war being waged against us by Muslim extremists. There is no end in sight. It could be a new Hundred Years War. Rough luck for the al Qaeda/Taliban types.
If honorable prisoners of war are in for the duration with no habeas corpus rights, why oh why would we even think about giving more rights to the dishonorable, illegal combatants who do not follow any of the Geneva recognized laws of war the least of which is to wear uniforms? It is stupid for Obama to promise access to criminal trials and constant legal review of the prisoner's status, to name but a few of the stupid ideas he put forth today. The country, to paraphrase Glenn Reynolds, is NOT in the best of hands.
Worst moments in Obama's speech:
Unfortunately, faced with an uncertain threat, our government made a series of hasty decisions. And I believe that those decisions were motivated by a sincere desire to protect the American people. But I also believe that – too often – our government made decisions based upon fear rather than foresight, and all too often trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions. Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, we too often set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford.
I know some have argued that brutal methods like water-boarding were necessary to keep us safe. I could not disagree more. As Commander-in-Chief, I see the intelligence, I bear responsibility for keeping this country safe, and I reject the assertion that these are the most effective means of interrogation. What’s more, they undermine the rule of law. They alienate us in the world. They serve as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and increase the will of our enemies to fight us, while decreasing the will of others to work with America. They risk the lives of our troops by making it less likely that others will surrender to them in battle, and more likely that Americans will be mistreated if they are captured.
Vice President Cheney answered the two above quoted paragraph with the bulk of his speech. Let me just add this. We've seen on video, again and again, how the al Qaeda types treat the prisoners they take, they cut their heads off. They have done this nearly every time, both before and after we woke up from the vacation from history on 9/11/01. They torture and kill our uniformed soldiers not in retaliation for any perceived mistreatment of our prisoners but because that is their chosen path for waging war against us. To assert there is or could be a grain of added safety or mercy to our guys if we treat the illegal combatants with figurative kid gloves is the worst sort of naivety, and shocking in its ignorance of very recent history.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Really Good News
UPDATE: Damn, it's not true. Harry Reid is not to be relied on, but we knew that already.
Labels: Ted Kennedy; malignant glioma
Thought of the Day
Labels: Jack Goldsmith quote
Monday, May 18, 2009
Dowd in Her Own Words
Cheney, who had five deferments himself to get out of going to Vietnam, would rather follow a blowhard entertainer who has had three divorces and a drug problem (who also avoided Vietnam) than a four-star general who spent his life serving his country.
Here is what she and her ilk would have said at the time had Cheney or Limbaugh volunteered for service in our armed forces during the Viet Nam War--What did you do that for, man? What are you, stupid?
So why is the logo-kleptomaniacal Dowd now mentioning that neither Cheney or Limbaugh served in the military? I mean other than because she suffers from the worst sort of rank hypocrisy.
Some questions answer themselves, do they not?
Her equation with torture, in her more recent article, of the enhanced interrogation techniques, including virtual drowning, is an important tell tale. Those who oppose anything that even approaches torture don't usually stop at that. They often repeat the counter intuitive notion that torture doesn't work. Their repetition of that non-fact is, on one level, proof of their doubt that our methods after 9/11 were even morally bad (they certainly were not criminal). If our techniques indeed were torture, why do they have to say, 'and it doesn't even work, either'? If it's torture; we shouldn't do it whether it works or not. It does work and that is why we have to avoid the Siren song of quickest intelligence and stay on the legal and moral side of the line while vigorously defending ourselves against a rather monstrous enemy.
The al Qaeda types are illegal combatants not protected by any treaty or international law. Any fool knows that and to prove it, Attorney General Holder has said just that. As soon as the captured terrorists have spilled their guts with the slow, gentle but effective interrogation methods the lefties assure us exist and are effective, we should promptly execute them, the terrorists, not the lefties. Gitmo problem solved.
Labels: Maureen Dowd; Chickenhawk Smear
Change at the South Pole
Eco-tip of the Week
Just a reminder. Don't cut down all your trees.
They did it on Rapa Nui and within a relatively short time "Your mother's flesh sticks in my teeth" became a common insult.
Labels: Easter Island
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Thought of the Day
Victor Davis Hanson
Labels: Victor Davis Hanson quote
Friday, May 15, 2009
Second Thought of the Day
Just kidding, he actually said:
We can’t keep on just borrowing from China... We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt.
But I didn't think anyone would believe me.
Labels: Barack Obama fauxquote
Tales of the Totally Banal
Thought of the Day
It reminds me of a line in a Graham Greene novel in which a spy says "I prefer to tell the truth. It's easier to memorize." Well, she didn't have it memorized. You had a sense that if you'd attached a lie detector to her in that news conference, it would have short circuited.
Charles Krauthammer (talking about Nanci Pelosi's performance)
Labels: Charles Krauthammer quote
Flat hexagonal shaped ice crystals falling through the atmosphere in the form of cirrus clouds sometimes, when the sun is at least 58 degrees high in the sky, create a flat, or circular rainbow, like the one pictured over Dublin, Ohio. Hugh Hewitt would know where that is. I don't. It's also known as a circumhorizontal arc and sometimes called a fire rainbow.
Very nice. And not that gay.
Labels: Circumhorizontal Arc
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The Catlin Arctic Survey Team Has Left the Ice
After futzing around in bitterly cold weather for 73 days, battling frostbite, living on half rations, lugging around equipment that proved utter rubbish, and traveling only a couple of hundred miles or so over the ice cap, the Brit showboaters have been safely picked up and returned to civilization at Resolute Bay in Nunavik, Canada. They just missed reaching the pole by 300 miles or so.
There is better and longer coverage of the coverage here. My favorite from the press:
The expedition has showed that the Arctic Ocean is cool enough for the airplanes to safely land in the middle of May, much later than what used to be considered as the limit back in 2003 (April 30th).
According to NSIDC charts above, compared to the route they traveled just over 2/5 of the way along, they were almost always on first year ice, which is between 1.5 and 2 meters thick. They measured, by boring holes in the ice, the average ice thickness, which was a perfectly normal 1.77 meters, yet have the cheek to claim that such measurement was unexpected. What? What was unexpected to them was that they failed to reach some of the older (that is, thicker) ice nearer the Pole. They are spinning their totally expected discovery to pretend that the ice is unexpectedly thin (because the ice extent is currently greater than this time last year and only slightly below the "normal" of 1979 to 2000). Thus, they add to the general "crisis" atmosphere when there is no reason to think anything is wrong in the Arctic.
In coverage of the packing it in, there is this continued Warmie nugget:
Al Gore says it will disappear in September, 2013, so this learned prediction is twice as long as that fear mongering.
At the same time, Peter Wadhams, head of the polar ocean physics group at the University of Cambridge has brought forward his estimate for the demise of summer sea-ice in the Arctic.
He believes the ice, which has been a permanent feature for at least 100,000 years, is now so thin that almost all of it will disappear in about a decade.
I'll take anyone's money straight up that on every September 21 for the next several decades, as measured by ASMR-E, the sea ice extent in the Northern Ocean will be 4 million square kilometers or more, generally much more. Peter Wadhams has the wit not to take my bet, I bet.
This "expedition" has been a near total failure, except to show us that the Northern Ocean is no place to be, due to extreme cold, even during the Spring. Who, except for the Catlin fools, didn't know that.
UPDATE: A multi-national scientific team headed by a German Institute flew in comfort (relatively) over large parts of the Arctic towing a ground penetrating radar and discovered that the new ice was often 4 meters thick, twice what the Warmies would have us believe. Nothing like exact measurements to bolster your cause.
Update 2: Peter Wadhams did indeed refuse to take the bet in a short but polite e-mail in which he said he had too much respect for nature's variability to take it. I don't know if that means he fears he will take my money or he fears I will take his.
UPDATE 3: Steven Goddard at Anthony Watts' site covers the same news with the same observations as I, although he, being a scientist, does a much better job of it.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Magnetic Activity But No Sunspots
This is the sun in ultraviolet light. Mr. Maunder may have had access in the 19th Century to the technology to see in UV light, but the earlier sun gazers certainly did not. Based on his studies of the earlier astronomers, Maunder discovered that there were only about 50 sunspots from 1645 to 1715. After that it got real cold for about 135 years.
Labels: Sun Spots
Thought of the Day
Not that Obama's policies and conduct shouldn't receive sharp scrutiny. Despite my disgust at the grotesquely bloated stimulus package which did severe early damage to this administration, I am generally happy with Obama's eagerness to tackle long-entrenched social problems, although there is sometimes a curious disconnect between what he says and what he does. The degree to which Obama is or is not a stealth socialist remains to be seen.
Labels: Camille Paglia
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
100 Days of Obama Talk
The tea parties are a symptom of the anxiety of Patriots who feel that our current leadership is inadequate for the crises ahead.The venue was the exhibition hall at the Douglas County Fairgrounds south of Castle Rock. There were about 3,000 people there and had they rented a bigger hall, they could have hade many more. I feel that there is the making of a recovery for the Conservatives out there, but we'll need leadership too. I fear that recovery will take major pain and suffering to the nation at large brought about by Democrats being Democrats. I fear it will take major damage to our nation from wrong headed policies. And as to our leadership--nothing visible on the horizon.
That ain't so good.
I'll update this with photographs as soon as the blogger site lets me.
Labels: Hugh Hewitt; 100 Days of Obama
Lannie Garrett's Place
Labels: Lannie Garrett
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Friday Movie Review (quite late): Star Trek
It is difficult now to recall how different television was in 1966. There was no constant self promotion by the three networks then. They didn't even tell you what was on next. There was a magazine out there, TV Guide, to do that. So one Thursday in early September, when I was 13 and a total geek who had read perhaps 500 science fiction novels, this new show, Star Trek, appeared and it was pretty good. The first episode to air was the salt monster one and although I like The Menagerie a lot better, it was a good start.
Compare that humble beginning to the hype that surrounds this film (and each and every Summer wannabe blockbuster), and you can see the origins of disappointment from the final product here. Few movies live up to their hype. This is, as usual, bad science fiction, with the emphasis on science. Very bad. They travel faster than light; there appears to be artificial gravity (yeah, right) and a suspension of the Newtonian laws of momentum, that is, they come to a dead stop instantly after traveling a billion miles per hour and are not reduced to protoplasmic goo a few microns thick on the inside front of the ship. The beam weapons are visible. Humans can mate with alien species and produce viable hybrids. I could go on and on. But that leap of faith suspension of nearly all known science has always been the substrate in the popular series. Heck, you can hear the engines Doppler by and explosions, with lots of fire, in space. Don't get me started about the idiocy of the red goo ball or time travel through, mind you, in and then back out, a black hole. These are time honored lies and mere plot devices, but still annoying.
So what's good about it?
There is some humor. Most of the young actors look pretty good. Student Kirk nails a green girl. Uh... There are lots of explosions. The pacing is very rapid especially in contrast to the first one, "all ahead, Mr. Sulu at glacial speed." Oh, and there are no Klingons.
You can barely recognize Eric Bana and Winona Rider, and most of the rest are pretty unknown, at least to me. One exception is Syler from Heroes. He does a good job in a reined in, wooden sort of way. Karl Urban, the former Eomer in the Lord of the Rings cycle, is near perfect as the young, or at least younger, Dr. McCoy.
The director is J.J. Adams, who has done a lot of interesting but ultimately pointless TV pseudo science fiction, like Alias and Lost. He was the producer of Cloverfield, which I liked. He has a deft touch with a lot of the relationships. Well done. The writers are a team, Roberto Orci and Alex Kutzman, responsible for such things as Mission Impossible III, The Island and Transfomers, and both were born after the original series of Star Trek was off the air for several years. Despite the wildly improbable plotline, which relies on billion to one coincidences again and again, the seem to have re-captured the essential likability of Gene Roddenberry's Utopia tinged vision of our future.
I just have one question. Where did the Nimoy Spock get the wood for his fire?
Labels: Star Trek
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Where Has the Globally Warmed Ocean Heat Gone?
But about that time the ARGO buoy system was completed and we began to get numbers on the ocean heat from the 3000 buoys spread about the oceans. Josh Willis gave an interview on NPR and showed his inability to get out of the Warmie frame of mind by calling ocean cooling, which he was measuring with the ARGO buoys, a "period of less rapid warming." A lot of us made fun of him for that phrase.
But here is the latest. Willis might have been unconsciously fudging the numbers to reduce the rate and extent of the ocean cooling. It may be cooling quite a bit.
But the main thing to take away is that all the computer models and all the Warmie alarmists and the IPCC said that the ocean would warm up. All of them. It's not warming, it's cooling; and the actual rate of cooling is not really important given the Warmie consensus of ocean warming.
Here is a graph showing the predictions versus the measurements and here is the article from the maker of the graph. Well worth reading. He frames the essential nexus. To miss the mark by so much means either that the anthropogenic global warming theory is invalid or that it is seriously flawed. Either way there is no reason to risk harming our fragile economies with ill conceived taxing policies designed to ameliorate a problem that does not exist.
How many more times must the Deniers show that the Warmie computer models are crap before we, as a population, reject their theory and stop listening to their idiot spokespeople.
The Blind Hog Gambit
On Friday, President Barack Obama's Interior Department reluctantly agreed with the Bush administration, saying it's scientifically impossible to use the Endangered Species Act to regulate the greenhouse gases that contribute to the destruction of the bears' habitat. The emissions from a cement plant in Georgia, for example, can't be tied directly to the precipitous decline of sea ice, Salazar said.
I would add that there is no way to prove that even a nation's entire output of anthropogenic CO2 has anything to do with sea ice melting. The culprit in 2007 were sea currents which broke up the ice and sent it south. Since that time the extent of the arctic sea ice has recovered and is nearly 'normal' now. We have comprehensive knowledge of the extent of the sea ice for only about 30 years, much too short a period to assign normality. There may well be cyclical melting and freezing trends beyond the normal yearly cycle of which we are as yet unaware.
I would also add that the Polar Bear has recovered from "hunting" in the first part of the 20th Century, which resulted in approximately 5,000 bears worldwide in 1950 and now there are 25,000. In most of the distinct areas where polar bears live the numbers are growing or stable and in the two or three areas where the bear numbers are declining, the Inuit, and their assignees, are hunting them perhaps too much.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Here Comes the Sun(spot), and I Say
Labels: Global Warming: Sunspot Activity
Thought of the Day
These deficiencies and more have been papered over by reviving outdated and inaccurate research about the warming effect of carbon dioxide. The numbers still didn’t add up but the inclusion of some “positive feedbacks” masked the problem, and the models were declared “proof” of a significant human influence on climate.
The peer-review process was originally a sanity check for the editors of scientific journals but has always been open to abuse by reviewers who wish to support or suppress a particular line of argument. The recent narrow focus of climate research funding has caused an outburst of scientific papers that support the IPCC’s alarmist beliefs and relatively few papers that contradict it. Reviewers with vested interests suppress contradictory papers and support the “official” line.
Vested interests now dominate climate science. Whether climatologists, their employers and other people believe the government-approved line has become irrelevant, because they all wish to retain an income stream and whatever reputations they’ve established. These people advise governments, which subsequently set policy and research funding regardless of any contradiction with observational data. Climate science is no longer an impartial truth but a slave to the yoke of politics and opportunism.
Labels: John McLean quote
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
The Unofficial Monument to the National Debt
Labels: World Statues
The Whale Galaxy
Labels: NGC 4631
Thought of the Day
The next step is getting the Alarmists to ADMIT they were wrong and that, I’m afraid, will take heaven AND Earth.
Labels: Jim Watson quote
Monday, May 04, 2009
Report on American War Dead in Afghanistan and Iraq
According to Department of Defense releases for the month of April: Things are warming up in Iraq, with 19 war dead, of which 13 were combat related (that is nearly three times what occurred last month). A lot of the casualties in Iraq seems to be related to the capture of the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq. In Afghanistan, by contrast, things appeared to be slowing down from last month, as there were less than half the battle deaths this month.
Here is further breakdown. In Iraq, eight were killed by IEDs (four times more than last month), three died in combat operations, five died from non combat causes, one died from small arms fire, and one was killed by a mine. None died in accidents. One died from a non combat related illness.
In Afghanistan, two died from IEDs, three from non-combat causes, and one during combat operations. It's full Spring there but there appears to be, again, no overwhelming, sweep out the infidel troops, dreaded Taliban Spring Offensive. Perhaps most of their efforts are directed into destabilizing Pakistan. The total in Afghanistan was 6, and the total last month for the wars being waged against us is 25, less than one per day.
No officers nor any soldiers with feminine first names were killed, Our thoughts and prayers go to the families and loved ones of these fallen warriors, and all our hopes for their continued success goes to our men and women, mainly men, fighting overseas.
Mandatory Eye Candy
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Saturday, May 02, 2009
The Last Thing an Appellate Judge Needs to Be
...I will seek somebody with a sharp and independent mind and a record of excellence and integrity. I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book. It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives -- whether they can make a living and care for their families; whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation.
I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving as just decisions and outcomes. (Emphasis added).
I have been a lawyer nearly 20 years now. I have appeared before trial judges thousands of times and before appellate judges perhaps a hundred times, and I have read countless thousands of opinions of appellate judges. The last thing an appellate judge needs is empathy.
It has often been said, and not without some truth, that we are a nation of laws not men. Apparently, our president wants to reverse that. Change indeed, but not for the better.
Why Won't You Tube Let Me Inbed This Video
I tried three times to get this embedded here, but YouTube ignored my efforts. During my repeated tries, the number of views went from 400 some to 4 thousand some, so someone is watching it.
Although gays as a group have the left's Official Victim designation, many of them seem quite willing to dish out gratuitous insults in faux outrage for disagreeing with them. The lefty pseudovictim victimizing others seems to have been the central theme of Ann Coulter's latest book, Guilty. So perceptive.
Labels: Hate Speech; Keith Olbermann
Labels: May Day Military Parades
Friday, May 01, 2009
ABC is Dead to Me
Hey, DICKHEADS! Remember the stink you all raised for months and months about the revelation by Richard Armitage of Valerie Plame's day job as an analyst? I do. You have placed targets on the backs of these two guys and their families and for what? Another two hundred over 65 viewers? Plame was so much not in danger she continued to drive to work in Langley for months after Novak's column and the CIA never guarded her for even a second.
I pray that nothing bad happens to these two or any of their loved ones, but if an easily foreseeable terrorist payback happens, I pray that I can get on the jury of the civil wrongful death case. We will award billions in punitive damages.
UPDATE: Many on the left look at human weakness on the right as hypocrisy. This is hypocrisy--doing what you claimed was a high crime, an impeachable offense, 10 months ago. Learn the difference, lefties.