Thursday, April 30, 2009

 

Rejected Book Titles

Overseas Contingency Operations and Lack of Overseas Contingency Operations by Leon Tolstoy.

Little wordy.

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Disneyland Torture

Just as there are few poisonous substances, per se, merely poisonous levels of most substances, there are some things, which are not torture at one level, which can become torture above that level. Let's take water as an example of a non poisonous, indeed, a necessary-to-life, substance which can become fatal if too much is ingested. Every few years someone dies from electrolyte dysfunction brought on by drinking gallons of water in a short period of time. That's not to mention drowning either, which will be mentioned below. Let's pick sleep deprivation as an example of things which can become torture with increased duration. Ten seconds of sleep deprivation is barely noticeable mere inconvenience and only an idiot would call it torture. A full night of sleep deprivation is serious inconvenience and no fun, as all parents who have stayed up most the night with a fussy child can attest. Repeated nights of no sleep will have not only a bad effect on the psyche of the person without sleep, he or she will start to dream awake, a process much like what we call the delirium tremens, but a 100 days of no sleep for most individuals could be fatal.

So there comes a time between one night and 100 nights were sleep deprivation becomes severely detrimental to health and no one doubts it would be torture, except maybe the Marquis de Sade. It would difficult to draw the line betwee safe, non torture sleep deprivation nights, and too many sleepless nights constituting torture. I personally think it's about a dozen, but that's just me.

Just so with waterboarding. Dunking a restrained person in water or using a tube to introduce gallons of water up the subject's nose or down his or her throat so that actual drowning is a real possibility sounds a lot like torture. As this was used by the Inquisition and by others, including Japanese citizens during WWII, it almost certainly was torture, especially if it went on and on and on. In Viet Nam, I know that we and our allies would sometimes put a cloth over a restrained person's face and saturate it with water. This would simulate drowning and if done for short duration (less than a minute) and only for a limited number of times (like 6) per day, then the process would not lead to serious or severe problems in the psyche or body and the possibility of actual drowning would be so remote as to be inconsequential. It still wasn't pleasant and often got the subject talking, which is why we and our allies used it.

The recent method of waterboarding we routinely used during SERE training on our own guys, and which we have used against three guys in 2003, involve saran wrap over the face so that there is no possibility of water entering the nose, mouth or lungs and therefore no possibility of actual drowning. It is merely virtual drowning; your body thinks you're drowning even if you rationally know that's not possible. Again, then, the metrics which would change it from harsh, but not torture, into real torture is the duration of the virtual drowning and the number of times it is done in a day.

No harsh treatment we do merely to punish a person is acceptable and indeed harsh interrogation techniques are only allowable in the context of getting actionable intelligence from captured illegal combatants. There would come a time in waterboarding one of those guys when he would talk and nothing further needs to be done (the usual); or when it becomes clear that he can take it without talking and no additional 40 second virtual drowning 6 times a day will produce anything useful. Thus, there will always be an endpoint to it--either he talks or it becomes punishment of someone who will not talk; and we could probably find that endpoint in half a dozen sessions of 40 seconds.

I can hold my breath for 40 seconds and I have no inordinate fear of water or drowning. I believe I could be waterboarded, as the guys in SERE are and the three terrorists were, and be fine. I don't think I could be really tortured and be fine. Real torture, by definition, doesn't leave you fine.

Our President last night said that he thinks waterboarding is torture. If he means the real attempted drowning I agree, but that was not the context. If he means what we did to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, I disagree and I'm right.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

 

Second Thought of the Day

As non-uniformed combatants, all of the detainees at Guantanamo could have been summarily shot on the battlefield under the Laws of War.

Instead, we gave them comfy chairs, free lawyers, better food than is served in Afghani caves, prayer rugs, recreational activities and top-flight medical care -- including one terrorist who was released, whereupon he rejoined the jihad against America, after being fitted for an expensive artificial leg at Guantanamo, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.

Only three terrorists -- who could have been shot -- were waterboarded. This is not nearly as bad as "snowboarding," which is known to cause massive buttocks pain and results in approximately 10 deaths per year.

Normal human beings -- especially those who grew up with my older brother, Jimmy -- can't read the interrogation memos without laughing.

At Al-Jazeera, they don't believe these interrogation memos are for real. Muslims look at them and say: THIS IS ALL THEY'RE DOING? We do that for practice. We do that to our friends.

But The New York Times is populated with people who can't believe they live in a country where people would put a caterpillar in a terrorist's cell.

Ann Coulter

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Thought of the Day

We should emphasize the things that unite us and make these the only ‘litmus test’ of what constitutes a Republican: our belief in restraining government spending, pro-growth policies, tax reduction, sound national defense, and maximum individual liberty...As to the other issues that draw on the deep springs of morality and emotion, let us decide that we can disagree among ourselves as Republicans and tolerate the disagreement.

Ronald Reagan

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Best Criticism of the 100 Days

The most important criticism of President Obama's 'achievements' of his first three months or so is here. Money quotes:


India and Russia
– A done deal…the Indian purchase of combat aircraft from Russia for the next 15 years. Russia’s fifth-generation fighter, and the MiG-35, will be produced in India. India, in return, will assist Russia in Russia’s development of a microelectronics industry, and also assist Russia in advanced computer research.

[...]


Russia and Venezuela
-- ...Chavez has purchased more than $4 billion in arms and military equipment from Russia alone, and has offered them basing rights for their Navy and Air Force. Chavez has also strengthened his ties with Cuba, and has begun arms purchases from China. One has to ask why Venezuela needs a new huge arsenal…to protect itself from an imagined American invasion, or perhaps to engage in old-fashioned power-projection?

[...]


Iran
-- ...The previous Administration held Iran as one of the Axis of Evil nations…and despite Obama’s hope for a new beginning with Iran, seems Iran is pretty much set to keep it real…they are evil, they know it…so what? Iran’s support for Gaza and Hamas is strong and growing. Likewise Iran’s support for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran has also recently condemned what it has called US supported attacks on Shia’s in Iraq. John Kerry claims that “bullying” Iran will not work, so let’s sit down and talk, instead. About what, exactly? Has Iran given up its announced desire to vaporize Israel?

[...]


Georgia
– As the Obama Administration tries to “win” cooperation from Moscow on major policy goals, i.e., reigning in Iran’s nuclear program, of which Russia is the largest beneficiary, Russia continues to be very irked about both Ukraine and Georgia being considered for NATO full membership, and about continued US military support for Georgia. Any projections as to whom will be thrown under the bus on this issue? South Ossettia, sovereign Georgian territory, as much a part of Georgia as Ohio is to the United States, continues to see an influx of “Russians” and no sign at all of the Russian military leaving soon.

[...]


North Korea
-- ...The North Korean export of long-range missiles continues, one of their leading exports, and North Korea is now pursuing with a vengeance their nuclear program. While the Obama Administration is focused on Yongbyon…there are other facilities in North Korea that have never been visited by the IAEA or any other monitors. Perhaps this Administration should insist on it, demanding access to all North Korean nuclear related faciltiies, in the Kangye Corridor and farther north toward China. I doubt we will see this sort of demand from Obama. Nor Hillary. The largest two foreign embassies in P’yongyang are those of China and Iran. Iran’s embassy in Kim’s Kingdom is massive. Has been for some time. Iranians are seen on the streets of P’yongyang routinely. Must all be students studying ancient Korean civilizations and the art of the Silla Dynasty.

Never underestimate the power of North Korea. They don’t care. They’ve nothing to lose. A potentially extremely dangerous combination.

Sobering recount of mis-step after mis-step in a lot more places than those sampled above.

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Energy Users of the World Unite


It is a basic tenant of the Warmie Weltanshauung that North Korea is better than South Korea for its reduced 'carbon footprint', when every reasonable thinker knows that it is far, far worse.
Energy use is the telltale of freedom and a vibrant economy. Curtailed energy use is a telltale of indescribable human suffering.
Doubling the CO2 in our atmosphere from the pre-industrial 'ideal' of 280 ppm, which we will do this century, despite the pixie dust promises of our Warmie leaders, will only have good results.

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The Fall of the House of Buckley

There are few people in the 20th Century I respected more than Bill Buckley. Not only was he a very perceptive thinker and an outstanding writer, but he was just the sort of television personality I liked best. Add to that his influence on the formerly Grand Old Party and his other talents (he gave a solo performance in Carnegie Hall on a harpsichord he designed and built, for example) and he truly was an outstanding guy. He and his lovely wife had but a single progeny, a son, Christopher, who was an outstanding writer even to a few years ago, with such comic gems as The White House Mess and Thank You for Smoking. Then things started to go wrong for Christopher. His books took on a stultifying sameness which some authors, the lesser ones, fall into. He then endorsed Barack Obama for president and left his father's creation, the National Review. Then he wrote a book very critical of his parents both of whom recently died (and of course they cannot now defend themselves or offer a different narrative). I have to quote John Hinderaker on this:


I've read only a few of Bill Buckley's books, but I recall the great affection with which he wrote of Christopher in one of his later books about sailing. I suppose there is something lower than attacking your parents in print after their deaths--while, no doubt, assiduously cashing all inheritance checks--but I can't offhand think what it would be.

And now there's this. Money quote:


Meanwhile, I am delighted, overall, with our president’s first 100 days. I think he has struck a fine tone overseas (trans: the U.S. is less detested than it has been in recent years). He has exhibited the “first-class temperament” that persuaded me he was the man for the job. He is, as I called him last October, “one cool cat.” (The only time he seems to have gotten “furious” was yesterday, over that idiotic Air Force One photo-op-from-hell over Manhattan.)
On the minus side, I think his waffling over prosecuting Bush Justice Department officials for approving the enhanced interrogation methods (trans: “torture”) is detrimental and even dangerous. I thought Mr. Obama was initially on the right track with his “let’s move forward” approach (I applaud him, for among other things, retreating on renegotiating NAFTA) and hope that Attorney General Eric Holder, who did exactly the right thing in castigating the Ted Stevens prosecutors, will decide in the end against proceeding against the Bush-era officials.
Mr. Obama’s spending worries me greatly. If every president who comes into office doubles the national debt, then we are finished. We are burying future generations (trans: our children) under crushing debt.


Kind of a free fall, to my way of thinking.

UPDATE: Compare what Ann Coulter wrote about her recently departed mom and dad to the Mum and Pup, dearests treatment from Christopher Buckley.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

 

Not Necessarily Eye Candy



I don't want to be judgmental or anything, but isn't that a lot of sag for a 22 year old woman? Just asking.

The rest looks pretty good if a little on the skinny side.

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Second Thought of the Day

It's going to be hard to do a worse job running America than the Republicans did, but the Democrats can do it if anyone can.

The Left is the party of government activism - the party that says government can make you richer, smarter, slimmer, taller, and take a dozen strokes off your golf game.

The Right is the party that says government doesn't work. And then they get elected and prove it.

The US Government is going to take over the American car industry. I can predict the result - a light-weight, compact vehicle with a small carbon footprint using sustainable alternative energy. When I was a kid we called it a bike.

P.J. O'Rourke

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Thought of the Day

The selling of the green economy involves much economic make-believe.

Robert Samuelson

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

 

This is Why Even the Best of Europe is Second Rate

On Friday, former Democrat Klan leader David Dukes was arrested in Prague on suspicion of Holocaust denial. Some people will cheer this news. I think it's awful. I know the National Socialists murdered, on an industrial scale, about 6 million Jews, 2 million Poles, .2 million Gypsies und so weiter during WWII; and only evil or stupid people deny that obvious and well documented historical fact. But you defeat fools and frauds with counter argument, with the truth; not by silencing them with what borders on Orwellian thought crime. We here in America don't yet punish people for mere historical disagreement. The 1st Amendment would make that difficult in any case.

Protecting nearly all speech from criminal prosecution is the better way to go, and the Czech Republic and the rest of Europe would be well served to follow our example. Protest the Holocaust Deniers, scorn them, laugh at them, and show them they are wrong; but don't jail them.

After Dukes left the Klan, he switched parties to become first a Populist and then a Republican (cold shiver down my spine), he served, for a short time, as a state Representative in Louisiana but the Republicans soon thereafter repudiated his new party affiliation and he was never even close to successful as a Republican candidate for statewide or nationwide office, thank the Lord.

UPDATE: They did not incarcerate Dukes in preparation for a holocaust denial trial, they just put him on a plane out of the Czech Republic. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. You can say what you want, just don't say it here. I'm OK with countries picking and choosing who can come in. I wish we did that with a little more dilligence here.

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Thought of the Day

Instead of the headlines being about what the Bush administration sanctioned, they became about Nancy Pelosi’s denial and then non-denial of her knowledge on waterboarding interrogations, the success of the interrogations in preventing an attack, and Obama’s lack of testicular fortitude in sticking with his original position to let sleeping dogs lie. Small wonder that he began backtracking in earnest yesterday when meeting with Congressional leaders.

Now we have confirmation that Obama planned this all along as a political attack against a man who hardly matters on the national political scene any longer – or at least he didn’t until Obama decided to pick a fight with him. Just as with his strange attack on Rush Limbaugh, all it did was elevate his opponent and diminish himself.

Ed Morrissey

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Friday, April 24, 2009

 

Going Ad Hominem

When you've got the facts on your sides, you argue the facts, when you don't, you attack the character of your opponent. Here is the Goracle today misinforming Congress:


Gore replied by reiterating that Barton has been misled, “Like Bernie Madoff, and they lied about it in order to make money. And they themselves profited. The CEO of the largest got a onetime payment of $400 million. Now, again, those who have trusted them and believed them are due an apology. These corporations ought to apologize to the American people for conducting a massive fraud for the last 14 years.”


[...]


Another Republican, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, questioned the scientific basis of some of Mr. Gore’s claims about climate change.

Mr. Gore, clearly exasperated, said, “There are people who still believe that the moon landing was staged on a movie lot in Arizona.”

Mr. Scalise responded, “I know you like those cutesy anecdotes but this is not a cutesy issue.”


I don't think the Warmies are corrupt (well, most of them aren't); I just think they're wrong, really wrong. And I have reasons for thinking that, which reasons have been a large part of my blogging posts over the past few years.

The un-attacked guy going ad hominem has generally lost the argument.

TI-I-I-IME is on my side, yes it is.

And that's not to mention the cowardice displayed by the Goracle and the Democrats on the committee for not allowing well spoken and funny Denier, Lord Christopher Monckton, to testify. What are they afraid of? I thought the science was settled.

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Base Power

I have good news and bad news. First the bad news: It appears that some sort of tax on fossil, that is, real, energy is all but a lock in Washington, DC, as are the new government approved power systems--solar and wind. Everyone with a scintilla of experience in the business of supplying a nation with electrical power knows that these intermittent sources are not only not the answer, but, like the former government approved power system, ethanol, they are counterproductive in almost every way imaginable. The idea that wind and solar will soon be providing a substantial amount of our power needs is merely a lefty fantasy, but the lefty fantasists are in power now. As our President promised during the campaign, he will make it financially ruinous to build a new coal fired plant. There will be no new nuke plants; and since we're near capacity for hydroelectric, we'll be stuck, for the next two decades, with the two thousand or so serious power plants we now have. OK, what was that good news?

The only way we can mitigate the extreme damage to our economy and our former cushy life styles that the Obama Administration is contemplating (and outsourcing the implementation thereof to allies in the House and Senate) is to build a lot of gas fired turbines to back up the fickle sources of wind and sun. Gas is an expensive way to back up intermittent sources but, and this is finally the good news, we will have plenty of natural gas at relatively low prices. The industry has solved, recently, formerly insurmountable problems with production from 'tight' formations and there will be lots of natural gas available.

I see in about twenty years, after trillions wasted and millions of jobs destroyed, an end to this collective fantasy and finally new nuclear and coal fired power stations being built, while thousands of large concrete towers with no wind generator on them dot the countryside.

In the meantime, if we have have enough collective neurons left, we will build many gas fired electricity generators to back up the waste of time (and money) wind generators and photovoltaic arrays. With some painful advances in energy conservation and increased efficiency, we will barely scrape by with about the same base power we can now provide. That the electricity doesn't flow from photovoltaics when the sun goes down will be a wash because our demand for power is less during the night. The increased need for power as we all get to work in the morning will be supplied by the fantasy power and natural gas and we'll get used to brown outs when it gets real hot and we all turn on our air conditioners. It is a bleak near future, but one we, as a nation. ought to be able to stand, barely.

Then the last of the Warmies will be ignored, as the temperature continues to decline. We'll realize that an increase of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is, nearly universally, only a benefit, and almost all forms of inefficient, intermittant power will be abandoned, at least until all the fossil fuel runs out in several hundred years and we switch to hydrogen.

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The Moon and Venus



The crescent Moon and Venus next to each other in the mist of our atmosphere. Beautiful.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

 

Mandatory Eye Candy



Denise Milani. There appears to be nothing more to say.

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Thought of the Day

Washington is more confusing. Bill Clinton balanced his last budgets but raised taxes. George Bush increased deficits but cut taxes. But now taxes, spending, and deficits soar all at once. We are lectured that prior reckless federal spending and borrowing got us into this mess — but now are told that even more federal spending and borrowing will get us out of it.

Victor Davis Hanson

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Do Real Scientists Deny Their Past Positions?



Steve Goddard as a guest blogger at the very informative Watts Up With That has an excellent posting on the moving target that global sea ice has become through the Warmie apologists. The Arctic sea ice is almost at normal in extent, even though that normal is derived from an absurdly small period in time, 1979- 2000. Combine the Antarctic sea ice, which is way above normal, with the Arctic sea ice, which is slightly below, and global sea ice area is way above normal as well, about 600,000 square km., which is about the size of Texas. Area, I am told, is a more reliable measure than extent, except during the Summer.


This is not what is supposed to be happening according to the 'godfather' of the Warmie movement, the chief supporter of anthropogenic global warming alarmism, James Hanson, who wrote in the mid 80s the following:

"The surface air warming is enhanced at high latitudes [notice the plural]... partly because of confinement of the greenhouse warming to lower layers as a consequence of the atmospheric stability at high latitudes and partly because of the ice/snow albedo feedback at high latitudes."

Hanson's accompanying Figure 2-2 (a) shows that in both the Arctic and Antarctica, the expected temperatures were to be 5 to 8 degrees warmer. Both polar regions! Indeed, the 8 degrees was predicted in the South Polar region and North Pole was to be only 5 degrees warmer.

Yet this is what a typical Warmie site now shows:


...the scientific community has known for some time that that on a warming planet, sea ice in the global North (Arctic) is expected to melt while sea ice in the global South is expected to remain constant or even sightly grow.

Yeah, they've known for a long time that the Antarctic was not cooperating with the Warmie theories and computer models and they have recently changed the theory and 'improved' the models in response to empirical evidence and measurement and are now denying that their position was just years ago 180 degrees different. Who's actually corrupting science to serve a political purpose here? The Warmies or the Deniers?

Hanson said that the slight (1.5 degrees C) warming from doubling the atmospheric CO2 would cause three positive feedbacks, one of which was increased water vapor in the air, which water vapor is the primary greenhouse gas and it would warm things even more. Now apparently that only happens in the Arctic. I'm serious; this is what they say now:


Typically, warming of the climate leads to increased melting rates of sea ice cover and increased precipitation rates. However, in the Southern Ocean, with increased precipitation rates and deeper snow, the additional load of snow becomes so heavy that it pushes the Antarctic sea ice below sea level. This results in even more and even thicker sea ice when the snow refreezes as more ice. Therefore, the paper indicates that some climate processes, like warmer air temperatures increasing the amount of sea ice, may go against what we would normally believe would occur.


Yeah, in the North, the increased CO2 and water vapor therefrom melts the sea ice, but in the South the same increased CO2 and water vapor therefrom causes more sea ice to freeze. It's so simple when you're a climate scientist: If the empirical data causes one to doubt the theory, tweak the theory, even when it causes one to support absurd results. In other science it's more difficult; there, when the data destroys the theory, the scientists have to start all over again. The Warmie theory is more like a religion than science.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

 

Celebrating the Day

Happy Lenin's Birthday! Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, Владимир Ильич Ульянов, one of the world's more murderous mass murderers, was born this day in 1870. Oh, it's Earth Day too. I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

 

More Beautiful Dunes on Mars


That it looks just like chocolate syrup dripping off of something is merely a bonus.
Here are the more beautiful ones.

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Good News on the Gun Rights Front

A panel on the 9th Circuit has ruled that the 2nd Amendment (providing a private right to own and carry guns) applies in each of the states through the doctrine of incorporation. Good. Here's some background on the case, Nordyke v. King.

The Heller case which held, narrowly, that the 2nd Amendment is a private right, involved laws against any private ownership of a readily available, working gun in the District of Columbia. It was therefore a purely federal case. What about a citizen of one of the 50 states? Can he, faced with a state law prosecution, say he has a federal constitutional right to own and carry a gun under the 2nd Amendment? Well, only if the 2nd has been incorporated as to the laws the states. Unfortunately, there were no cases at the time of Heller which said that. Now there is one and it's from the very liberal 9th Circuit. As I said, good news.

It doesn't matter in this state really, or in most states, as 44 of them have a gun right in the state constitution, because our "2nd Amendment" in the Colorado Constitution, Article II, Section 13 (at page 5), is substantially the same as the Heller holding regarding the real 2nd. And ours doesn't even mention a "well regulated militia." Still ours has been held to be so inconsequential that subordinate governments in this state can ban the ownership of certain guns that look really mean. Not that I'm bitter, but I have never held the Appellate Courts in this state in high regard.
(h/t Volokh Conspiracy via Instapundit)

UPDATE: The Ace of Spades notes that the gun regulation was upheld, that is, the rule now is that you can probably have a semi auto pistol at your home, but the state government can tell you where you can't carry it once you're outside, and that prohibition can be very wide indeed. Oh well, take the rough with the smooth.

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Thought of the Day

For eight years, we’ve been treated to hysterical rhetoric from Democrats, including Barack Obama, about the scourge of “domestic spying.” Now that the Obama administration is openly calling for domestic spying — the real thing, not the smear used against President Bush — they’re suddenly silent.

Andrew McCarthy

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Friday, April 17, 2009

 

Friday Movie Review--Observe and Report

I went to the new Seth Rogen vehicle based on the review in the well respected entertainment magazine, online, National Review, by Peter Suderman, and boy was that ever a bum steer.

Here is his perceptive first paragraph:


Observe and Report
is a movie about failure and disappointment, compulsion and mental illness, violence and sexual obsession. It’s a dark, weird portrait of middle-American angst and shattered dreams. It’s grim, it’s deranged, it’s unsettling. It’s also a side-splittingly funny comedy.

He's right about everything except the funny. The humor in this dreck couldn't split an infinitive much less a human side. The film is actually nearly humor free. It's as if they took out all the funny in another of Rogen's successes, say, his similar role in Superbad, and stuffed it up Katie Morgan's asshole, but not in an erotic way. This is not just a desert of funny, it is a black hole of humor; things that could theoretically be funny fall flatter than a hypothetical two dimensional plane--like beating up the skateboarders, making fun of police movie cliches, having non consensual sex with a drunk woman (I personally would never find that funny and it is here as an example of the barrel bottom scraping I'm having to do to come up with the near funny in this sad mess, with an emphasis on sad).

The writer/director, Jody Hill, who seems to have graduated from the world renowned University of North Carolina film program last week, should never be allowed near a movie camera again, especially if he's thinking he's being funny. You're not funny Jody boy; you're just sad.

This should have gone the way of Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, another Rogen triumph, which did go direct to video. Stay away from this steaming pile; you will never get your 86 minutes back nor your $10. Really, this was devoid of redeeming value. For a while now I have suspected that modern comedies, because it is hard to be funny, have substituted embarrassment (which causes some people to laugh) for funny. This is a stunning proof. One guy, who was praising it, compared it to The Cable Guy. I can not top that insult.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

 

Gallery of the Tax Day Tea Party--Denver


The last one of these, when President Obama signed the horrible Stimulus bill and oohed and ahhed at the next to worthless (although it cost more than 3/4 million) photovoltaic array on the Museum, had about 300--400 people. This one was at least 10 times bigger, perhaps 15 times bigger. It was a sea of signs, some more clever than others.
Some of the legislators suspended their legislating and came out on the balcony to look us over. After about 30 minutes, however, they disappeared.

Most of the press reports called this, and the others around the country, tax protests, but most of the signs talked about spending and liberty.

I could never see the speakers and a lot of people complained that you couldn't hear them either. Jon Caldera, Rep. Mike Coffman, Gunny Bob, Tom Lucero, and 'Clear the Bench' Matt were the ones I recognized. State Senators Kopp and Penry did a good job too, as well as the representative people, although they were not as polished.
Colorado fought for the North in the civil war and this trooper, with a Sharps rifle, is the monument for the struggle. The only big battle fought was in New Mexico and it was a tiny battle compared to those on the East Coast.
There were an awful lot of the Gadsden flags. I'm not sure that a rattlesnake is the best mascot for our nation or this movement, although I like the message directed at the government in general. The varying levels are indeed usually the problem.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? The object of our attention is a pig balloon.

I was a little horrified to see how shabby our golden dome looked up close. There were a lot of water stains and damage in the grey stone of the exterior too.

Cut off of the center sign are the words "for this?"

This guy was a fountain of slogans.

The inevitable patriotic stilts man.

Our Republican Attorney General, John Struthers, with his back to us, confers with his minions. He did not speak to the crowd.







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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

 

Not Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

The revenue to this fair state from oil and gas drilling has been flat, and next fiscal year will fall by a few hundred million. The governor thinks that drop is a result of falling oil and gas prices. I know that falling prices caused some drop off, but in Colorado, as opposed to other nearby states, the drop off is largely a result of the Pixie Dust Energy revolution our governor is pushing and more specifically, the changes in the drilling rules and regulations his hand picked Commission packing ploy picks made, which changes have sent drillers to other states for the foreseeable future. Because of the loss of revenue from oil and gas, and the normal drop off because of the recession, we're short a half billion for running the state next year, which is a problem for a state, now completely controlled by Democrats, which has to balance the budget each year.

So the Democrats planned to raid the reserves of the quasi Governmental workers' compensation insurance provider, called Pinnacol Assurance. The fund was fat with income from overcharged businesses (the 1991 changes in the workers' comp law and replacement of most of the Administrative Law Judges from the earlier era have caused awards in Workers' Comp to plummet, but the premiums of the insurance, well, not so much). It was a very tempting target. And to be fair, if our spending on education is below a certain point, we lose forever some considerable federal funding; so you can see some rational motive to our ever more desperate governor's plans.

Now they have backed off that plan at the same time vowing some pretty serious repercussions to Pinnacol for denying them the use of the extra money to get the fed money. We'll see if anything comes of the threat.

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Thought of the Day

What I find bewildering is that the Greens, who claim to care for the environment, are so strongly in favour of wind farms, which are a kind of pollution of the countryside. What’s more, they don’t work very efficiently. So why ruin the countryside for the sake of ‘obsessed environmentalists’ gesture politics?

Peter Mullen

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

 

Don't Panic - Flaws In Catastrophic Global Warming Forecasts

A video well worth your time, less than 10 minutes, which focuses on the crux of the problem with the Warmie hypothesis, namely, whether there will be any positive feedback from the slight warming doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere this Century will cause? The answer still appears to be an emphatic no.


 

Another Beautiful Galaxy

M101, a mere 25 million light years away, is an Sc, that is, a spiral galaxy, without a central bar and with distinct and somewhat diffuse 'arms'. The blue stars are new and the red ones are old. It's not completely symmetrical (because of interaction with another galaxy, of which 5 are close) and about twice the size of our own galaxy. It is also catalogued as NGC 5457.
It's in the constellation Ursa Major.

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Kind Words for Our President


Not only should we applaud President Obama's recent brief visit to Iraq and the good speech he gave there praising the troops for succeeding in the war overseas contingency operation he opposed, but we should also praise him for not completely stopping any attempt to rescue the poor captain in the lifeboat in the Gulf of Aden. I do give him some credit there, as well as to the captain himself, Richard Phillips, and to the commander on the USS Bainbridge, DDG 96, Frank Castellano, and to the three unknown Navy SEALs who took out the young captors/pirates with three shoots/three kills. Excellent work all, especially the snipers for the short range but extremely difficult, simultaneous shots. Wonder if they used the .338 Lapua Magnum?


Hip Hip, etc.

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Ironic Thought of the Day

It’s never wise to imagine that either man or technology has the upper hand in the natural world.

Caitlin Arctic Ice Survey member Pen Hadow, talking about the group's failing equipment, apparently unaware of the irony of the statement coming from someone who believes that both man and technology are driving climate change towards warming.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

 

Justice




Phil Spector, weird music producer, was just convicted of murder (2nd Degree) and given no bail pending the inevitable appeal. This was the second try as some idiots on the first jury bought the "she committed suicide with my gun" defense this sniveling waste of protoplasm hid behind. See, usually juries do their duty. Lot of good it does the victim, B movie actress, Lana Clarkson, 6 years dead.

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Setting the Over Under


It turns out that the Caitlin show boaters cannot just stay on the ice until they reach the Pole. They never intended to walk back to land (as the old timers used to do) but planned, as leader Pen Hadow did in 2003, to be rescued from certain death on the ice by a plane.

It is clear that the party has made mistake after mistake and the continued cold temperatures and the struggle merely not to die has created a long term hypothermia reaction which makes things worse.

The risk to the plane and pilot of a rescue increases to unacceptable levels as Summer approaches. The pick up date was supposedly always May 25. However, there are guys who say May is too late for an air rescue. That's about a month too soon, but almost all of the high tech stuff has failed and even the latest in clothing is not keeping them as warm as traditional furs the Inuit wear. They've made their point and prolonging the suffering is pointless. So I'm setting Earth Day, April 22, as the day they get rescued for some, any, concocted reason (probably for facing a long ice crack, called an open lead, which runs athwart their path to the Pole and is many miles in length). They'll then claim some sort of hero status among the Warmies.

All this assumes that the Polar Bears don't do to them what this one in the picture is doing to the idiot German girl who jumped into their pen at the Berlin Zoo. The Caitlin useless idiots are unarmed as well.

I, for one, was never impressed with the so called heroism of the self absorbed who purposefully put themselves in danger and then manage not to die. Same thing here.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

 

Supporting Tom Lucero for the Fourth


I met CU Regent Tom Lucero for the first time at the Arapahoe Republican Mens' Club breakfast two weeks ago, I saw him on the street in front of my office last week ( he was coming from afternoon Mass at the nearby Cathedral) and I saw him last when I attended an early fundraiser for him where he was quite personable. I hope he wins and takes back the Fourth Congressional District from the Democratic usurper Betsey Markey. He might. My lovely bride gave Lucero her card in case he wanted to meet and talk to a large energy corporation preparing to leave the state (with all the rest of the drillers) because of the changes in drilling rules Governor Ritter has wrought.


I was really there to see my old friend Hugh Hewitt, who continues to be kind and mention me and this little blog in his speeches. Man, it looks like I'm going bald, which I guess, at 55, I actually am. Oh well. You have to take the rough with the smooth.

I received 'orders' through the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to cover local politics more, so I will, starting with a meeting, if I can get it, with the Governor. He appears to be a Warmie; I would love to plumb the depths of his knowledge to support such a belief, of course, in a way respecting his high office and the fact that he is a really good guy. Stay tuned.

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Alive and, er, Well



I saw the doe with the leg yesterday with 4 other 'sisters' and she is about to become the doe without a leg. It is no longer looking like lingering death but like an injured animal making the best of it and apparently succeeding.



I no longer am making efforts to have her euthanized, but I don't think that change has anything to do with mellowing age.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

 

Nostalgia's Not What It Used to Be

I've been rewatcing some old movies I saw and liked years, no, decades ago, some by Truffault, one by Katherine Bigalow, and they really suck now. What's up with that? Was I naive and foolish back then, easy to please, or were they good back then but hackneyed and bad compared to more recent things? That last possibility would necessitate the belief that things are better now, and although I believe that generally, I'm not ready to say it's so for movies. So I'm trying an experiment. Here are the top ten episodes of Miami Vice as I remember them from the 80s. I'll rewatch them and report back.

1. Definitely Miami. This is the best by a large margin. It tells two good stories interspersed with no fat or filler. Minimum screen presence of Philip Michael Thomas. Ted Nugent is good playing himself (not everyone can do it), and Arielle Dombasle is beautiful and compelling. Albert Hall, the chief of the patrol boat in Apocalypse Now, is terrific as the representative of our federal government here to screw things up. Effective use of Cry by Godley and Creme at the end, and with a good dose of Europa by Gato Barbieri.

2. Calderon's Return--The Hit List. Best draw and double tap ever recorded, by the never seen again Jim Zubiena. Heartbreak as Sonny's estranged, but still in love with him, wife is almost drawn back into the life. Effective music includes Tush by ZZ Top and I'm so Excited by the Pointer Sisters. They take out the funny looking captain of the squad, Gregory Sierra, so they can replace him with the laconic Edward James Olmos. Good move.

3. Smuggler's Blues. Not only does this have the iconic song by Glenn Fry but Glenn Fry stars in it, although his acting chops are on par with Phillip Michael Thomas.

4. Out Where the Busses Don't Run. The best thing about this episode is the over the top performance of Bruce McGill (D-Day in Animal House) although David Straithairn is good in smaller portions and Little Richard turns out to be a better actor that Phillip Michael Thomas, but then again, who isn't?

5. Evan. I don't know why William Russ never became more famous, but his character here, calling everyone Buckwheat, is proof that he was robbed if he sold his soul to the Devil to be famous. He's great. The story about guilt and inability to accept homosexuality is psychologically plausible and even compelling (although old hat in our modern times).

6. Prodigal Son. A two parter in New York. I can't recall any of the story line other than Penn Jillett takes a round to the forehead, but the songs, including a Fry lesser number and Take Me Home by Phil Collins, are good.

7. Calderone's Return--Calderone's Demise. The action is only OK but the opening and closing songs, Voices by Russ Ballard and What's Love Got to Do With It? by Tina Turner are superb against the cigarette boat going full airborn as it speeds over 4 foot chop towards the Bahamas and back. Phillip Michael Thomas actually looks completely sea sick in the cockpit of the boat, some of his best method acting in the series.

8. No Exit. The highlight of this episode is a very young Bruce Willis playing a very bad guy convincingly. The story is good and the main song, I Don't Care Anymore, by Phil Collins, is perfectly matched to the mood and action.

9. Back in the World. The story is a bit too complicated for 41 minutes but it makes up that shortcoming with an all Doors soundtrack and a good guest cast, except for Iman, Bob Balaban, a young and very attractive Patti D'Arbaniville, and G. Gordon Liddy, a great addition to the all felon actor's team. This episode shows the power of the Vietnam Urban Myth more recently repeated in American Gangster.

10. Trust Fund Pirates. This episode creeps into the last slot based on the guest acting by a very young Richarde Belzer, Tommy Chong and Gary Cole, who was so good lately as the faux sportscaster in Dodgeball. I think they were good pirates, like Sir Francis Drake, but that's near heresy now.

Some of the near honorable mentions include Red Tape (early Viggo Mortensen), Lend Me an Ear, and the Pilot.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

 

Pixie Dust Energy Turns to...Uh, Something Like Dust

Denmark is the World leader in wind power generation. It has 6,000 generators, builds most of them around the World and gets 19% of its electric power from them, except that it doesn't really. Denmark has yet to close a single coal- or gas-fired plant and their CO2 production has increased dramatically as they install more wind generators. Oh and it costs a whole lot. Read the story. Money quotes:


Flemming Nissen, the head of development at West Danish generating company ELSAM (one of Denmark’s largest energy utilities) tells us that “wind turbines do not reduce carbon dioxide emissions.” The German experience is no different. Der Spiegel reports that “Germany’s CO2 emissions haven’t been reduced by even a single gram,” and additional coal- and gas-fired plants have been constructed to ensure reliable delivery.
Indeed, recent academic research shows that wind power may actually increase greenhouse gas emissions in some cases, depending on the carbon-intensity of back-up generation required because of its intermittent character.

[...]

Industrial wind power is not a viable economic alternative to other energy conservation options. Again, the Danish experience is instructive. Its electricity generation costs are the highest in Europe (15¢/kwh compared to Ontario’s current rate of about 6¢). Niels Gram of the Danish Federation of Industries says, “windmills are a mistake and economically make no sense.” Aase Madsen , the Chair of Energy Policy in the Danish Parliament, calls it “a terribly expensive disaster.”

Terribly expensive disaster? Man, that sounds familiar, oh yea, it's how cooler heads described the ethanol mistake, the last time our government tried to dictate energy production by picking an acceptable form of energy. We can only hope these guys in Denmark, Germany, and Spain are listened to before we begin to dismantle our fossil fuel industry over the AGW hoax. I hold out very little hope before the first several Trillion dollars are wasted.

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Report on Arctic Ice


Over at the NSIDC, the Warmie mentality is showing itself not in the normal near exultation about the below 'normal' area of Arctic sea ice, but in harping on the supposed thinness and relative youth of the ice, as if to say, yeah it looks OK now, but wait 'til September, you evil deniers, when it will all be open water, BWAHAHAHAHA.
OK, I added the mad scientist laugh, but they now use plan B when the ice extent is above 'normal' for the World, that is, they attack the thickness. Thickness is difficult to measure compared to extent and area--very difficult, as the Caitlin show boaters are finding out. Thereby, empirical refutation of the Warmie claims is submerged under disputed metrics.

And the sea ice extent in the world, and the ice area around both poles is above the 1979 to 2001 'normal' by nearly 600,000 square km. Over at the Cryosphere Today, the Arctic sea ice anomaly is listed as about -400,000 square km, but if you add up each of 14 distinct areas with Arctic sea ice, you only get -230,000 square km, almost all of it far from the Northern Ocean in the Sea of Okhotsk, between Kamchatka and the rest of Siberia just north of Japan. (Risk players know where it is). But things often do not add up at the Cryosphere Today and their flak-catcher never answers my questions to him. I'm not a scientist, so I can be ignored with impunity, I guess.

It is impossible for me to believe that the sea ice around Antarctica is a million square km above 'average' (and was at record high levels through much of 2007) and has been steadily growing over the past 30 years, yet the land and sea around that continent has been warming during the same period. It don't add up.
But the main news is the GISS NASA report that at least half of the Arctic warming lately is blamed not on greenhouse gasses but on soot and aerosol contamination/pollution. Now they tell us. It appears the Warmie hysteria is suffering the death by a thousand cuts. I like it.

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Thought of the Day

Our president came bearing a basketful of mea culpas. With varying degrees of directness or obliqueness, Obama indicted his own people for arrogance, for dismissiveness and derisiveness, for genocide, for torture, for Hiroshima, for Guantanamo and for insufficient respect for the Muslim world.
And what did he get for this obsessive denigration of his own country? He wanted more NATO combat troops in Afghanistan to match the surge of 17,000 Americans. He was rudely rebuffed.
He wanted more stimulus spending from Europe. He got nothing.
From Russia, he got no help on Iran. From China, he got the blocking of any action on North Korea.
And what did he get for Guantanamo? France, pop. 64 million, will take one prisoner. One! (Sadly, he'll have to leave his swim buddy behind.) The Austrians said they would take none. As Interior Minister Maria Fekter explained with impeccable Germanic logic, if they're not dangerous, why not just keep them in America?
When Austria is mocking you, you're having a bad week.

Charles Krauthammer

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

 

More Tales of Competence by the Caitlin Survey

There's a lot of speculation going on about the non functioning of several of the things being dragged along by the Caitlin Arctic Survey, or as they are being renamed by Kate at Small Dead Animals, the New Franklin Expedition.

Here's the latest news:


After enduring ferocious weather, it has emerged that British explorers studying the Arctic are struggling with a series of technical problems.

A portable radar device, known as Sprite, designed to make millions of measurements of the ice thickness, has been dogged by breakdowns and uncertainties.
Another instrument, SeaCat, meant to measure the temperature and salinity of the water beneath the ice-cap, has malfunctioned as well.

This is on top of the malfunctioning medical telemetry equipment which is discussed in perhaps too much detail at Watts Up With That.

I knew there was something wrong with the radar when the leader reported drilling hundreds of holes in the ice.

By the way, I'm not the only one who doubts his findings of 1.5 to 2 meters. Check out this post. The Army buoys all show ice three to four meters thick, just as you would expect in early Spring. Wait, Army buoys? Shouldn't they be Navy buoys?

The only thing that would be worse for them now is to be eaten by a federally protected Polar Bear. It is illegal for non Inuit to molest in any way the sea mammals and that includes feeding them.

UPDATE: I got it wrong; the new name of the Caitlin Arctic Survey is Franklin Expedition--the Next Generation. Sorry, Kate.

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Blaming the Blameless

I wrote a much longer piece today on Armed Insurrection, but after consultation with Diomedes, I've put that on the shelf for perhaps forever. Self censorship is often a sign of wisdom. Or cowardice. Tough to tell. So here is a small part of it, expanded.

The left is busy lately putting blame on conservative spokesmen for the criminal acts of single persons here or there, some of whom seem utterly delusional, the criminals, I mean, not the lefty blamers. That has me thinking more on the subject of armed insurrection, in a purely academic sort of way, of course. I do not advocate it. The guys blaming right wing thought for individual criminal acts are people who see the speck in our eye but ignore the beam in their own. They always mention poor, dumb Tim McVeigh and the abortion clinic bomber and murders of abortion performing doctors (all 4 of them). They always mention them because that's about all the right wing bomber/murderers there are. For the single bomb McVeigh set off, there were hundreds of bombs set off by lefty loons in the 70s and into the 80s and beyond, like those set off by Bill Ayres and Bernadette Dorn, who formally declared war on the United States, as well as by others of their ilk. The Unabomber killed as many as the abortion clinic bomber, and in the Unabomber's 10 x 10 cabin/cell there was a copy of Al Gore's book Earth in the Balance, heavily annotated. Did anyone in the media blame Al Gore for causing the lefty looney Unabomber to go out and wage a murderous multi-year campaign against capitalists? Not a peep. The ELF, et al. actions are similarly left wing fringe stuff which have also caused about as many deaths as the abortion clinic bombers. The lefty fringe which kills cops and civilians is ahead of the abortion doctor assassins in number of deaths caused by a ratio of about 40 to 1. And that's not to mention the 100 million political murders (at least) committed during the 20th Century by the left as opposed to the 100,000 or so caused by the right. All of the violence against our dark skinned fellow citizens following the end of the Civil War was perpetrated by Democrats. The number of Republicans in the KKK is inconsequential at best. Most violent criminals in America who vote at all vote for Democrats.

We're not just talking obscure bloggers on the Daily Kos and the Daily Beast, but guys on the TV, albeit at the ever less watched CNN, where Rick Sanchez said this libel:

That weekend tragedy involves a man who allegedly shot and killed three police officers in cold blood. Why? Because he was convinced, after no doubt watching Fox News and listening to right-wing radio, that quote, ‘Our rights were being infringed upon.'

No doubt?

This is a conscious effort on the left to demonize reasoned opposition to the Obama Administration. Shame on them. The only guy responsible for shooting the cops is the shooter, the rest is calumny. There are eighty million Americans who listen to talk radio and watch Fox News and don't go shoot any one. 80 million to one is a powerful argument against the unfair charges.

This is really tame compared to what I wrote before, but it's better just to publish this.

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I Wonder What the Night Sky Would Look Like


The very dusty galaxy catalogued NGC 7049 about 100 million light years away. Beautiful in its own way.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

 

Less Than Brilliant Lefty Thought of the Day

Of course, the prospect of a nuclear Iran is frightening, and Obama's quest for disarmament isn't going to change that--at least not directly. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad obviously doesn't care if we ratify the [Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty]. But European countries do, and they can help squeeze Tehran. Obama's arms control efforts may not engender warmth and comity in rogue state capitals, but they can build capital among those states whose help we need while reducing the risk of nuclear terrorism. Proliferation is a problem best solved through the strength provided by an international regime. One could dismiss this idea as starry-eyed one-worldism, but remember: We've tried it the other way over the last eight years. And look where we are.

J. Peter Scoblic

We had an international regime in the 1930s, the League of Nations, and the Kellogg-Briand Pact banning international war. Didn't do a thing to stop militarization of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Scoblic dismisses referring to the Pre-WWII period as a right wing dodge. There is none so blind as he who will not see.

His idea that the feckless Europeans will help us prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons if we sign the CTBT is particularly delusional.

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Second Thought of the Day

"The shooter will eventually run out of ammo" strategy may not be the best one for stopping deranged multiple murderers.

Ann Coulter, using litotes very well

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Barack Obama Bows To Saudi King Abdullah

I heard this described before I saw it. It's much clearer what our President was doing than I had imagined, That's a bow. OK, everyone makes mistakes; but wait for what follows.


 

Transparently Untrue

The White House is denying that President Obama bowed to Saudi King Abdullah recently. Money quote:

"It wasn't a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he's taller than King Abdullah," said an Obama aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. (Emphasis added).

You've seen the video. Is the anonymous White House staffer saying something that's transparently untrue? Also, have you seen this on any of the alphabet news networks? Really, not one? Is it really not worth talking about?

(h/t Big Lizards blog)

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Thought of the Day

In America, it is not rich and productive people that create resentment. Instead, it is corrupt politicians handing out special favours, it is the bungling bureaucrats we saw after Hurricane Katrina, and it is cabinet nominees who cheat on their taxes. Americans are not upset at wealthy Steve Jobs and his amazing innovations, but they are upset when they hear that global warming advocate Al Gore lives in a mansion that consumes 15 times more electricity than the average US home. It is hypocrisy, fraud and corruption that people do not like, not hard work and high incomes.

Chris Edwards

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Sec. Ken Salazar is Full of... Hot Air

This is a good reality check for the pixie dust* energy pushers in the Democrat Party. Money quotes:
President Obama’s Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar unintentionally illustrated the policy fissures running through these complex debates just yesterday. Speaking at the first of a series of environmental town halls — fast becoming this Administration’s chosen method for feigning interest in the opinions of the citizenry (a relatively inexpensive method suitable for Bailout USA, requiring only a lukewarm carafe of burnt coffee, a stack of powdered donuts, creaky metal-backed chairs just uncomfortable enough to end the questioning after 90 minutes or less, and a Mr. Microphone) — in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Salazar was faced with an angry crowd of environmentalists.
[...]

[Secretary Salazar] raised eyebrows when he said offshore wind farms could replace 3,000 coal-fired plants. He contends that the offshore wind potential just in the Atlantic—the easiest region to develop–totals about 1,000 gigawatts.


Hold on there, Kitty Cat. Sr. Salazar has it exactly backwards; a single very large coal-fired plant will replace about 1,360 wind generators (even the big new Vestas V112-3.0 MW) and will be more reliable and cost effective, not the other way around. The US generates about 1,000 gigawatts with ALL of its generators--nuclear, hydroelectric, coal and gas fired--everything. There are only about 1,400 US coal fired plants, and they produce about a third of our electricity generated. There would have to be a lot of wind indeed to do what Salazar claims. Most of the potential wind energy in the Atlantic (about 77%) is over deep water. The rest of the world has built a lot of wind generators; all told, they produce 120 gigawatts, but only 1% of that is from deep water generators (sited in ocean water deeper than 200 feet). So Secretary Salazar is pushing the expenditure of more billions we don't have to construct hundreds of thousands of wind generators, each costing multi million dollars, most in deep water off our coast, in the hope they will provide us with rather fickle power that has to be backed up. It's just not going to happen. It's transparently untrue.



Any way the wind blows.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

 

Whom to Believe?


Here (and below) is what the National Snow and Ice Data Center up the road in Boulder put out recently as a map of the multi-year old sea ice versus first year ice in the Arctic. I always have trouble with that because wouldn't all the sea ice which did not melt last Summer necessarily be older than one year? The helpful spokeswoman at the NSIDC has tried to explain things to me but I am apparently too dense about science.



What interests me is that the area the poor Caitlin Arctic Survey are looking at with the ice thickness radar (yellow shoe like thing in the photo) is in the area the NSIDC says is first year ice. But the guys on the ground say this: "We've noticed that the ice is older and thicker than before..." Well, is it first year ice or older ice?
Finally compare the sea ice age map to the minimum the sea ice reached last September 21. Is the area of 1 to 2 year old ice in the NSIDC graph as large as what survived over a year? Why do you think it's substantially less? Does the sea ice melt in the winter?

It's a mystery to me.


UPDATE: I went to the website of the CAS and the leader says that the ice they're traveling on is only 1.5 to 2 meters thick. He knows this from the hundreds of holes he has drilled in the ice. Drilling in the ice? What, has the ice thickness radar crapped out?

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Just Criticism of Obama and the UN

Here are the money quotes from the Wall Street Journal lead editorial today:


"Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something."

So declared President Obama Sunday in Prague regarding North Korea's missile launch, which America's U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice added was a direct violation of U.N. resolutions. At which point, the Security Council spent hours debating its nonresponse, thus proving to nuclear proliferators everywhere that rules aren't binding, violations won't be punished, and words of warning mean nothing.
[...]

The truth is that Mr. Obama's nuclear vision has reality exactly backward. To the extent that the U.S. has maintained a large and credible nuclear arsenal, it has prevented war, defeated the Soviet Union, shored up our alliances and created an umbrella that persuaded other nations that they don't need a bomb to defend themselves.

Read it all.

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Thought of the Day

Barack Obama seems determined to repeat every disastrous mistake of the 1930s, at home and abroad. He has already repeated Herbert Hoover's policy of raising taxes on high income earners, FDR's policy of trying to micro-manage the economy and Neville Chamberlain's policy of seeking dialogues with hostile nations while downplaying the dangers they represent.

Thomas Sowell

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Monday, April 06, 2009

 

The Liberal Disconnect on Big Weapons

Just as Mr. Evans thinks banning ownership of a gun will make a criminal obey at least that law and not obtain the banned gun illegally (see post below), über-liberal Katrina vanden Huevel thinks that we can ban nuclear weapons with treaties, and no one will cheat. Oh, and she thinks anyone who doesn't share her delusion is an evil, stupid person whose point of view is unworthy of consideration. Nothing really new there.

Let's look at the central argument she posits when she quotes Republican icon Chuck Hegel:


Presidents Obama and Medvedev know that whatever stabilizing effect nuclear weapons may have had during the Cold War, any residual benefits of these arsenals are outweighed today by the risks of proliferation and terrorism--and that a commitment now by nuclear powers to begin serious negotiations for global zero would strengthen the case against North Korea and any non-nuclear nation which strives to acquire nuclear weapons.



Although there are a few exceptions, Japanese warriors during the Edo Period, between 1650 and 1867, for example, did not use pistols and rifles but stuck with swords, most nations rush to the very latest weapons and rapidly adopt them. Thus, the evolution of war weapons is general straight line towards maximum destruction and carnage. Just as we can't un-invent firearms, we can't un-invent nuclear weapons. Thermonuclear arms are so powerful that whole books have been written about all the coping mechanisms we have had to adopt in reaction to their very existence. The nuclear parity during the cold war stopped us from waging a WWII like global power struggle with the Soviet bloc until the Soviet bloc ceased to exist. Tough going now and again and we might have well lucked out of apocalypse, but just because there is no Soviet Union now, the rules are largely the same. Those nations which have nukes have the ability to cause a staggering amount of damage on an enemy. We actually used them to stop a war quickly and ultimately save lives. We should have used them against Chinese forces, but we didn't; and we've never seriously contemplated their use other than to implement mutual assured destruction which prevented another big war.

Still, the Soviets and the Red Chinese could not trust us to do the right thing and not use nukes against them and we certainly did not trust them, as they were untrustworthy. Nothing has changed there. Only a seriously deluded fool would trust the leadership in the minor nations of North Korea and Iran. They will not give up their weapons unless we destroy their weapons, the means of their production and the nation's desire to get such weapons again. We could do that but it would be costly and not only to us.

Hegel and vanden Huevel could not be more wrong. Merely saying out loud that we are willing to give up our nuclear arsenal has a destabilizing effect, as it makes obtaining nuclear weapons by minor nations all the more worthwhile. In the country of the blind the one eyed man is king. If we have no nukes, and a rogue nation or terrorist organization has one or two, we're pretty much screwed. And I am not a believer in the chicken little predictions about the effects of EMP. Overblown claims, I think.

The idea that we could actually trust Russia, China, India, Pakistan, or even France and Great Britain to actually give up their weapons is a fairy dust and unicorn sort of belief that is actually dangerous.

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Repeating the Libels

Harold Evans, who wrote for the Times and is now an Editor at The Week, who also seems to be an expert in travel and perhaps American history, writes a semi-coherent blame-athon at the Beast blog regarding the string of mass shootings this past 30 days. Here are some of the factually troubling parts.


The ten-year ban on assault weapons was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994 but was allowed to lapse in the Bush presidency, despite a 2004 U.S. Department of Justice study finding that the share of gun crimes involving automatic weapons dropped by 17%, to 72%. (Emphasis added).


The "assault weapon" ban (and manufacture of greater than 10 shot magazines ban), '94 to '04, was a semi-coherent, semi-ban based solely on the looks of a weapon and not at all on the weapon's actual lethality. A real assault weapon, like the STG 44, the M-16 or AK 47, is a rifle sized weapon capable of fully automatic fire (full auto--one trigger pull and it keeps firing until empty), designed for military use, with large magazine capacity, shooting an intermediate cartridge about midway between pistol ammunition and rifle cartridges capable of killing a deer, for instance. These were not affected by the ban we're discussing.

They are covered by the National Firearms Act of 1934, which only allows ownership of such weapons by qualified citizens who pay a special tax for the stamp which allows the privilege of exercising our 2nd Amendment rights. Other laws in 1968 and 1986 prohibited the import of foreign full auto weapons and sale to civilians of American full auto weapons. So there are now about 70,000 grandfathered full auto weapons owned lawfully; and in the 70 plus years of the program, only one such weapon was used here in a crime (by a policeman about 30 years ago--schmuck!). There is almost no crime being committed here with full auto weapons and none (with one exception) with the regulated and taxed weapons we can own legally. I have no idea what he's talking about in his quotation of meaningless statistics. The use of automatic weapons in crime was less than 1% and has been that way for a long time.

The ban he's so fond of affected only semi-automatic weapons which looked too military and deadly for someone's taste. They are rarely used in crimes, perhaps about 2% of crimes. If we substitute semi-automatic for automatic, the statistic Mr. Evans quotes makes more sense as almost all pistols not revolvers are semi-automatic (If you recall John Woo's Hard Target, one murderer played by Lance Henriksen, used a single shot pistol, a Winchester Contender, but trust me he would represent a tiny portion of the real criminal element out there). The reduction from 89% to 72% for semi-automatic pistols mainly, if it's a real statistic, would probably represent a greater use of revolvers rather than a decline in the already nearly non existent use of semi-auto rifles in real crime. I love it when gun haters reveal the true depths of their historical and gun ignorance in their writings. But there's more.

To his credit, Mr. Evans does not repeat the popular lefty lie that 90% of Mexican gangs' guns trace back to the United States, but he nearly does.

The Mexican drug cartels get their guns through us: After a shootout among factions of the Tijuana cartel, 60 seized guns were traced to purchases in Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia and Denver.

That last example may be true, but 87% of the 29,000 guns recently seized from Mexico's organized drug criminals do not come from the United States. They don't, in fact, get their guns through us, although the well armed criminals in Mexico, which bans private ownership of such weapons, makes the point, for the thousandth time, that gun laws don't actually disarm criminals, because criminals don't follow the gun laws either.

Here's a gratuitous libel on the NRA:

...the NRA demands completely unregulated gun sales, always ignoring that the Founding Fathers prefaced that right by referring to a “well-regulated” militia.

The NRA has for nearly a century supported gun laws which would make illegal the ownership of a gun by the criminally violent or insane. They still do, just as they generally quote the whole 2nd Amendment.

Here is the required lefty lie that gun availability makes more crimes happen.

But it is easy access to guns that, shockingly, gives America far and away the highest murder rate among civilized nations.

We don't have the highest murder rate among civilized nations, unless you consider Russia, Barbados, Belarus, Columbia, Costa Rica, Guatamala, Paraguay, South Africa, Thailand, Brazil and Mexico uncivilized, which I don't. I have recently been to Switzerland, where nearly every able bodied young male has a full auto weapon in his closet. The weapons are readily available to nearly every young Swiss male and yet somehow they are able to resist the gun's subtle siren song to murder and Switzerland has a lower murder rate per capita than England and Germany, for example, where nearly all gun ownership is totally banned. Likewise, Israel--guns everywhere and very little gun violence. Hamas rockets don't count.

Here's the final ignorance:


The guilty
are the congressmen who even now are planning to stop a renewal of the federal ban on assault weapons and ammunition magazines capable of semi automatic fire (one trigger pull per shot but with magazines enabling the user to fire hundreds of rounds in a minute).

If you had a magazine that held 200 rounds (I don't recall ever seeing one of those) you would be hard pressed to fire all the rounds in the mythical magazine in a minute. It might be possible, but you would certainly be concentrating on just pulling the trigger rapidly and not on aiming each shot, and the gun would be very heavy and difficult to handle. If you had the average size magazine for a semi-auto AK or AR 15, say, 30 rounds, you would lose half the minute dropping out the empty magazines and inserting new ones to reach the 200 rounds per minute Mr. Evans claims is possible. So, I'll say not even possible. Perhaps a gun nut can correct my timing assumptions.

So, in closing, Evans doesn't know what he's talking about when he blithely blames the blameless here, which utter ignorance allows him to maintain an absolute and unbreakable faith that banning a weapon will somehow cause a first time criminal bent on murder to reconsider things and not break the lesser law against his ownership of some kinds of gun. It is a pernicious fantasy. All gun control laws do is make ignorant liberals feel better and disarm the law abiding. That's not a sufficient trade off.

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

 

Rules For the Radical Right

In an earlier posting, where I was discussing, in a purely academic way, the pros and cons of armed insurrection by conservatives, I pointed out that one of the cons was that the first line of defense for the local and then the state and federal governments was the police and then the National Guard and the Armed Forces, all of whom were more than likely to be our political brothers. It's worse than I thought. If someone actually snaps and decides to off the pigs, as the hippies used to say, the less than intellectually rigorous left will suddenly accuse the right of "liking" to kill cops.

And it will be darned difficult to argue in the particular cases, where swallowers of the nativist and paranoid delusion/Kool Aid, of the black helicopter, new world order, worrier type, did the killing, that it's actually the left who advocated cop killing and celebrates infamous and undoubtedly guilty cop killers.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

 

Nobody Knows Nothing

The Justice Department has charged 5 Blackwater employees with multiple counts of manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and a weapons charge arising out of a September 16, 2007 shootout in Baghdad which left 17 Iraqis dead and many wounded. Trial is scheduled for 2010. Here is what was discovered recently. Bullets recovered from the scene (somehow) do not match the weapons used by Blackwater personnel. The guys charged are: Donald Ball, 26, of West Valley City, Utah; Dustin Heard, 27, of Knoxville, Tennessee; Evan Liberty, 26, of Rochester, New Hampshire; Nick Slatten, 25, of Sparta, Tennessee; and Paul Slough, 29, of Keller, Texas.

The Blackwater guys say they were ambushed and returned fire. Iraqis say it was a one way affair and Blackwater guys just started shooting with machine guns and grenade launchers for no apparent reason.

Whatever happened, this inability to match the bullets is not a good thing for the Prosecution. That means it's at least an OK thing for the Blackwater guys charged and perhaps then a good thing for Truth, Justice and the American Way.

There is a sixth guard, Jeremy Ridgeway, who has pled out and will turn "state's evidence" as the old phrase went. I wish my experience with these sorts caused me to believe he will be a good (and truthful) witness. But, alas...

Here is a taste of the expected Iraqi testimony against the 5:


Wisam Rahim, who was wounded on the square, said the guards should be executed. "Blackwater vehicles and helicopters were firing at us. I demand that these guards be executed. We want to see justice done," he said.

There is no testimony from anyone else that helicopters were firing at civilians.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

 

The Verdict on Ward Churchill

They jury said he was wrongfully terminated (BOOHISS) but they put his damages at one buck. The nature of the case is that his costs and attorney fees will almost certainly have to be awarded. That could be several hundred thousand. Rough for CU, which is a second rate university in my book, but it'll live with this.

But the jury must have thought he was worthless as a "scholar." No, sorry, worth a buck.

Rough with the smooth.

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The Problem with Fairy Dust Energy

The only serious "green" energy-from-the-sun producer, which creates real electricity you can use at home, comes from solar panels, which are very expensive. There are three major problems with their use.

1. Unless you back up the solar panels with natural gas power plants, so that you have not-from-the-sun power for your home at night, in the twilight, and during very cloudy days, your panels are just trinkets, as the coal powered plant, or other source, which powers your non solar panel owning neighbors, is producing the same power as if you and your panels didn't exist. Such is the nature of base power configurations.

2. The solar panels contain some very noxious ingredients which will eventually leach into the ground water and help poison the planet.

3. The panels are so expensive, that it would take at least 100 years of use, and the little bit of power they provide to the benefit of your electricity meter, for you to recover the original outlay of money for the panels. There's just one thing wrong with that lengthy payback period-- most panels only last 20 to 25 years and no commercial panel has lasted more than 35 years.

So until we reduce the cost of the panels by 75% and back up each solar panel with a dedicated natural gas plant, it is self delusion and fraud which cause some fools to believe that solar panel use is helpful to the carbon footprint, and pocketbook, of the user.

Put that in your green energy job calculations, Governor Ritter.

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