Saturday, January 30, 2010
Why Being an AGW Denier Is No Longer Fun
1. The guy who is successfully impersonating the late Osama bin Laden is a Warmie. Noscitur a sociis.
2. The fraud of AGW is falling apart. I feel like I'm with the majority now rather than in the van of a small group of seriously skeptical non scientists who knew something was wrong with the climate alarmism. It's no longer cool to be a skeptic. Everyone is now.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thoughts (from a phony) About J D Salinger's Death
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Ignorance of Military History
In Vietnam, American forces killed at least 3.5 million people. In the process they fired untold billion of rounds of small-arms ammunition and dropped nearly seven million tons of ordnance—a weight three times heavier than that dropped on Germany during World War II. Afterward, the military had to recognize that its expenditure of ammunition had only helped the enemy cause.I think his death figures for the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong is high, but, if true, that means we had a kill ratio there of 70 to one. Wow. Who knew we were so bad (and I'm using that word in its early 1970s meaning, which is good)? The massive firepower we brought to bear against the enemy was of course the reason for so lopsided a ratio and it won us, and our allies, the war, but the writer, William Langewiesche, says the our heavy firepower "only helped the enemy cause." Is he insane?
A war is won when the enemy lacks the will or the ability to continue fighting. Generally you have to kill the enemy soldiers, and a lot of them and degrade their military-industrial complex, as we did with the Nazis and Imperial Japanese in WWII. The Vietnamese are tough and took casualties that would have brought other nations quickly to their metaphorical knees. But we did not bomb North Viet Nam as we bombed Japan until very late in the war, just before the peace treaty. We fought the NVA on full auto all the time and to say our overwhelming firepower helped the enemy is fantasy and a serious ignorance of military history. After the total failure of Tet the leadership in Hanoi seriously considered quitting and only fought on because our press' misreporting of the battle (and the growing peace movement therefrom) gave them hope. Does he not know these simple, irrefutable facts of history? But there's worse to follow. Turning to Afghanistan and continuing on the fantasy theme that killing the enemy in huge numbers is good for the enemy and bad for us, Langewiesche writes:
This war is going to be lost and declared to have been won. It worked that way in Vietnam; it is working that way in Iraq; it will work that way in Afghanistan as well. Meanwhile, “collateral casualties” undermine the moral ground of the fight and make the losing worse. There have been too many, they must be avoided, and something must be done.Afghanistan is lost? What is he channeling Harry Reid? It's a tough fight because it is a tough place, but lost, already? Don't make me laugh. Changing our tactics to a more effective form of counter-insurgency is only happening now. Our troops have been recently doubled and will be augmented again, finally. Give General McChrystal a chance at least. That's all we're saying. Give war a chance.
The war in Vietnam was lost and declared a win?--he's got it 180 wrong. Tet was a huge win for us. The Viet Cong, our primary adversaries at the time, were combat ineffective for the rest of the war, but ask 10 people if we won Tet and 9 at least will say no. We pulled our last ground troops out just as the ARVN, largely on its own but with our very effective close air support, were blunting an NVA blitzkrieg and killing nearly 100,000 NVA soldiers. North Vietnam signed a peace treaty the next year which the NVA later broke after the Democrats in Congress stabbed our allies in the back.
Iraq is a lost war? Really? Saddam is still in power and alive (as is his cousin "Chemical" Ali)? No, in fact, they are both executed as war criminals, and in place of a near 30 year Hitler lite dictatorship is a nascent, somewhat messy, constitutional republic, providing, like us, they can keep it. Lost?
Next thing he'll say is that the British Commonwealth's success against the Malay Communists was a failure too.
It's just chilling to see such historical ignorance get in print.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Thought of the Day
“The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office,” said Obama. “People are angry and they’re frustrated, not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years but what’s happened over the last eight years.”
Got it. People are so angry and frustrated at George W. Bush
Presumably, the president isn’t stupid enough actually to believe what he said. But it’s dispiriting to discover he’s stupid enough to think we’re stupid enough to believe it.
Labels: Mark Steyn quote
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thought of the Day
Labels: Henry Payne quote
A Working Definition of Freedom
So it's an increase in freedom when the Supreme Court says, as it did in the very long decision in Citizens United v. FEC, that the free speech part of the First Amendment (Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech) means just what it says and takes away narrow parts of really stupid laws (McCain-Feingold) and reverses old stupid case law (Austin) which did, in fact, abridge free speech, and political speech at that, the first among firsts in the First Amendment free speech clause. The decision decreases a malum prohibitum law and therefore increases freedom. That's a good thing, as victim of a malum prohibitum prosecution, Martha Stewart always says.
The Worst Thing That Can Happen
Oh yea, Air America declared bankruptcy, again, and disrupting, terrible, health care reform is zombie dead, waiting for the head shot.
Labels: John Stewart; Keith Olbermann
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Thought of the Day
Labels: Charlie Martin quote
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
More Sad News
You could read those suckers in just a few hours and generally they were funny and pretty cool, Hawk was cool, at least. Often they gave you a recipe idea or a new wine to try. Loyal criticizer T pointed out a problem with that series of novels, and with all series of novels which last decades and decades, namely, if you continue to set them in the general present, the lead character grows old. The Spenser in the novels fought in the Korean War and boxed Jersey Joe Walcott. Giving him just 16 years in 1953, that meant that he was at least 72 last year and more likely as old as his creator. That's a problem for a PI, a tough guy and ladies man to the end; and about midway during the Clinton administration, I think, Parker just pretended that Spenser was perennially in his mid 40s.
Few of the Spenser novels were first class fiction but I sure enjoyed most of them and I'll miss them and their creator. RIP.
Will The Bad News Never Stop?
Cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal has suffered a serious defeat in the Supreme Court and will have to have his sentencing revisited once again. Although it is not in the bag, he could be returned to Death Row. Keep your fingers crossed.
Quick details: Mumia is guilty of murdering Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981. Although wounded by Mumia's first shots, Faulkner managed to shoot Mumia before being murdered. Several eye witnesses, most black, testified that Mumia stood over Faulkner, down and helpless, and shot him dead. Mumia later bragged about the murder in the hospital. Mumia's brother, also an eyewitness, did not testify on his brother's behalf. No one testified that anyone else shot Faulkner. In 2001, Mumia caught a break in the federal appeals courts after losing every appeal in the Pennsylvania state system. A judge ruled that jury instructions regarding the death penalty were in error. After more appeals, a three judge panel in the 3rd Circuit held that the jury instructions were indeed in error and ordered resentencing. In April of this year, the Supreme Court refused to hear Mumia's appeal of his conviction and today it issued an order to the 3rd Circuit to reconsider the issue regarding sentencing in light of the recent Supreme Court decision in Smith v. Spisak, which held that the so called defective jury instructions were not defective after all, and reinstated the death sentence, for the second time, of the murderous neo-Nazi, Spisak.
The Spisak case appears to be on point--the jury instructions in doubt were effectively identical--and Mumia should soon return to death row where he belongs.
(When I called this bad news, I meant it was bad news for Democrats, not bad news in a cosmic sense).
Thought of the Day
Twelve months later, Mr. Obama's approval rating has fallen further and faster than any recent President's, Congress is despised, the public mood has shifted sharply to the right on the role of government, and a Republican could pick up a Senate seat in a state with no GOP Members of Congress and that Mr. Obama carried by 26 points.
What explains this precipitous political fall? Democrats and their media allies attribute it to GOP obstructionism, though Republicans lack the votes to stop anything by themselves. Or they blame their own Blue Dogs, who haven't stopped or even significantly modified any legislation of consequence.
Or they blame an economic agenda that wasn't populist or liberal enough because it didn't nationalize banks and spend even more on 'stimulus.' It takes a special kind of delusion to believe, amid a popular revolt against too much government spending and debt, that another $1 trillion would have made all the difference. But that's the latest left-wing theme.
Wall Street Journal
A special kind of delusion indeed. The Scott heard round the world might penetrate the minds of the more astute Democrats, but there is little hope of a helpful learning curve for President Obama or the current Democratic leadership. Heck, if introspection were explosives the Democratic leadership couldn't blow their noses. Look at the left liberal elites. E. J. Dionne and his ilk are blaming the Republicans for the unpopularity of the Democrat 'borrow and spenders' and Paul Krugman and his ilk are saying that the Democrats did not squander enough of the borrowed money failing to create jobs.
The fault is not in your stars but in yourselves.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Mote in GOP eye, HUGE--Beam in Democrats eye, what beam?
See to the liberal elites, Republicans don't actually have the power of human speech; they don't have principled differences in world views worth discussing--they just make an indecipherable noise, like bad refrigerator compressors.
Sorry E.J., and Kevin, we Republicans only have a few critical tools, talk radio and the internet, to be precise. We lack the firepower to pull the wool over independents' eyes. There is indeed Fox News but it is merely a cable station, which pulls in excellent cable ratings, but they are a drop in the bucket compared to the alphabet broadcast news, who collectively draw ten million viewers for each million watching O'Reilly.
Deep in the embracing womb of Mother Jones' distorting alternate reality, Kevin Jones senses that something bad is happening to his party and supporters, but he can't see that it is simply a wholesale rejection of the Democrats' policies and agendas by a large majority of the Americans who vote. It must be something someone else is doing to them. Everyone loves Obama and his cohorts. Can't be them.
When we saw the Republicans, during the middle of George Bush's 8 years, acting like Democrats lite, we groaned and protested, in vain, and now that we've been swept out of office for our sins, we look back and blame the Republicans who lost their way and spent and borrowed like
It's a vision beyond Mr. Dionne and Mr. Drum, apparently.
Labels: Republican Noise Machine
One Difference Between Democrats and Republicans
I, on the other hand, and many in the big tent of the Republican party, look at that same individual and I admire his or her faith, and his or her ability to accept without hesitation God's message and manifest love. I look at the Evangelical as a kind of negative mirror in which I see myself as wanting, not superior.
However, Darwin's almost certainly right about the origin of species, while it is an unanswered question regarding the origin of life. I believe it is possible, if not quite probable, that God created life here on Earth in the first place, a position even Darwin accepted as literally true.
Happy Martin Luther King Day
Labels: Martin Luther King
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Thought of the Day
E. J. Dionne, Jr.
Yeah, the evil Conservatives fooled everyone into dispising the noble liberal idea and the liberals themselves are absolutely blameless. I see. I get the picture. Nice World you live in, E. J. I hope I can visit it one day.
(h/t Jonah Goldberg at NRO)
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Friday Movie Review--Avatar
There is a decided lack of imagination regarding the animals on the moon, Pandora. There appear to be no feathered fliers (so you wonder where the fletching on the Na'vi arrows come from) but everything in the air is dragon like--exactly like our popular ideas of dragons, absent the flame throwing. Some fliers have six limbs, some only four. (Why?) On the ground there are, in order of appearance, lemurs, rhinos (actually more like Brontotheriums), a lion, dogs, horsies, monkeys, lizards designed by Da Vinci, and a deer. I can see the others are possible, but what is the chance of horsies living on a different planet? All of the terrestrials have six limbs (and most have four eyes) although the double front legs seem to give their owners absolutely no advantage as they are not spaced properly. Oh, the Na'vi don't have an extra set of arms or eyes, not even a vestige, but are comfortably humanoid (with three fingers and a thumb--the avatars have four and a thumb). Why aren't the Na'vi like centaurs with four eyes? It's a mystery. The stone age blue natives indeed seem to have the inexplicable sensing tendril jacks in a long braided quoit, like American Indians, apparently from birth, as the undecanted avatars have braids in the birth tanks, where no human has been. So the aliens look just like us (albeit Native American like) and all the animals are recognizable. Not my idea of sci fi imagination.
Compare that rather pedestrian list of animals to some of the creatures in the bar scene of Star Wars and Avatar comes off the loser. Its not much better regarding the flora, which is basically trees. Oh, there are some vines, epiphites and giant fiddle head ferns thrown in. Cameron installs in the pedestrian plants of his moon some exotic deep sea features, such as the giant Christmas Tree Worms, which disappear with a plumbing noise when touched, and the plant bioluminescence. Wow, what an imagination. Let's talk more about the junction boxes for Na'vi tendril jacks. The dogs, horsies and dragons have them but nothing else. Why? Are the dogs domesticated? Are the horsies? Pretty convenient evolutionary set up you got there, Mr. Cameron. Talking to the trees, actually makes more sense to me.
There is a simplistic and totally unrealistic monochomaticism of humans on Pandora, as there are apparently no black men or women there (unless you count the actors and actresses playing Na'vi). There are plenty of former Marines (sorry, members of the Jarhead Clan) there, serving as private security for the evil, big unobtanium mining cartel, but they are all white. What's up with that? Among the scientists there are no visible East Asians. Yeah, right--that's possible. Now let's look at the rebels. There is white Jake Sully, the cripple; Dr. Grace Augustine, a woman (whose name represents Christian tradition, right?); IT guy Max Patel, a Western Asian; beautiful pilot Trudy Chacon, a Chicana; and researcher Spellman (played by the guy from Dodgeball), who is kind of a wimp, not that there's anything wrong with that. Kind of a rainbow coalition there. Hollywood political correctness by the numbers.
That simplistic and totally unrealistic paring is echoed in the shopworn plot, kind of a Dances with Wolves meets Pocahontas in space. I'm complaining of the lack of imagination and nuance there too, but it is wrong to take from my complaints that the plot doesn't work, that is, deliver an emotional hook to the CGI wonderment. It is a rousing good tale for 5 year olds. I need only refer to three people in the film to establish the grade school Manicheanism of the plot. Ribisi, Lang and the well built former Marine (Matt Gerald) who keeps repeating a blood lust phrase from the Viet Nam war, "Get some!" (I mean it's 2154 in the film and he's using slang from 1968. Are there Brit soldiers today using phrases popular from the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-26)?) Of the three, perhaps Ribisi is the most cravenly evil. His name, Selfridge, is cognate with "selfish." He's the worst sort of bigoted bureaucrat, but he survives. On the other hand, I really like Lang's character, a scarred, former Marine Colonel, just for his never say die attitude. He rushed outside and holds his breath in the often conveniently visible, toxic atmosphere to take some full auto and then pistol shots at the fleeing rebels. (That scene made we want to say, "Get some!") Lang's character is a doer, a warrior on stilts and steroids (literally) to the bitter end. Against those venal, one dimensional, corporate characters we have the expanded, rather soft humanity of the rebels and then the infinitely politically correct blue stone age savages. It's not much of a contest who gets rooted for. And Cameron certainly pays off those whom he has manipulated into cheering for his side.
I feel sorry for the corporate humans. As Jake Sully narrates, they come from a brown planet a planet where they have killed their mother (yet Lang described the Venezuelan jungle where Jake Sully fought as 'mean bush'--it must have gone down hill since that fight). Yet all the while the beautiful moon Pandora is described as a hell hole by Sully and Lang, indeed the latter of the two suggests R and R in Hell as a pleasant respite. They make a big deal about the soul tree area interfering with electronics and instruments, but communication between Jake and the stay-on-the-base race traitor is unaffected, as is the wi fi connection Jake, Grace and wimp have with the avatars right next to the soul tree. If contradiction were genius, Cameron would be king of the world here.
Still. See this movie. If you can get through Jake Sully's stupid speech to rouse the natives and Lang's even stupider speech (with jarring anti-Bush references) to rouse the Blackwater types to bomb the Na'vi's holiest site, it is mostly good stuff, thrilling, beautiful stuff. And such a hopeful ending! Hopeful, that is, until the evil (all American) empire returns to nuke the Na'vi from orbit to clear Pandora for strip mining, as you know they will.
My Local Sources Suck
Sorry for the misinformation--I'll try not to let that happen again.
Thought of the Day
Walter E. Williams
Labels: Walter Williams quote
Monday, January 11, 2010
Thoughts on Recent Sunspot Activity
After months and months and months of very rare, tiny, short lasting sunspots, the end of the year has brought in a bevy of them, all high latitude (that is, new Cycle 24) and many of them long lasting. There have been, recently, as many as three at a time and rather than weeks or months between them, they have appeared barely a day after the last one goes away, that is, to the side of the sun away from our observation (the sun rotates and they go out of our view). The old ones (for example No. 1035) sometimes go around and come back as a so called corpse and then flare up again (current No. 1040 is old 1035 renewed). The flux density of the sun's 10.7 cm radio output, which ranges between a low of 64 (inactive sun) and high of 267 (very active sun) has finally jumped up into the 80s. So it looks like Cycle 24 is going to really get going at last.
What does that mean to us here on Earth? Well it could mean warming. Sunspots themselves are cooler (which is why they look black compared to the rest of the sun) but the ring around them is much warmer, which results in a net warming here on Earth. Also, there is a theory that increased magnetism in the sun, the source of sunspots (which are magnetic storms) causes less cosmic rays to hit our atmosphere so that we have less clouds of the type that cool the surface so that it warms a little. I'm not sure I completely embrace that theory but I do not refute it either. So all seems ready to warm up from the sun itself, right?
Well, not so fast--hold on there, kitty cat. Sunspots are not the only way to register the sun's magnetic activity.
Look at this graph.
Notice what Anthony Watt calls a "step change" in October '05 when the ap geomagnetic index dropped precipitously from a middling spike and has never recovered. Notice too that the recent index is just about zero. That is unprecedented in 165 years of observation; and perhaps we will not see any more sunspots after 2015 and sun's magnetic strength sinks below 1500 gauss. At least for a while.
So maybe 20 to 30 years of cooling is the correct prediction after all.
Labels: Global Warming: Sunspot Activity
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Thought of the Day
Labels: Mark Steyn quote
Friday, January 08, 2010
Why We Could Lose
And I thought, my, how times have changed. During WWII, eight Germans (two of whom were American citizens loyal to the Reich) came ashore in mid-June, 1942, delivered by U-boat. Two turned themselves in and assisted in the capture of the others, who had discarded their uniforms and donned civilian clothes so they could spread through America and destroy there war facilities and war industries (legitimate targets, not war crimes per se). All were tried by military tribunal in July, found guilty and sentenced to death; and 6, the ones who had not turned themselves in, were electrocuted in August, days after the Supreme Court gave its OK in Ex Parte Quirin, 87 L.Ed. 3 (1942) at the end of July.
We won that war decisively; and horrible, evil Nazi Germany and an even worse Imperial Japan have been model nations, democratic and pacifist, thereafter, certainly for the past 65 years and probably for a Century or more. That's what happens when you really defeat an enemy.
I point out that the Nazi saboteurs were going after legitimate military targets and the only thing they did to deserve death was fail to wear their uniforms as they waged war against us. They were not guilty of even contemplating war crimes, much less doing them-- their only crime deserving death was to be an illegal combatant.
I understand that our enemy waging war against us now is not a nation state, but a somewhat loose organization, with franchises, called the Foundation, al Qaeda in Arabic. Some people say its name was inspired by the novels of Isaac Asimov, but it's tough to get confirmation of that. They choose not to wear uniforms. (If you can afford to buy ammunition and weapons, you can afford a distinctive shirt to wear to show proudly you are al Qaeda--don't give me the Poor Mouth on their behalf). That choice makes them illegal combatants not subject to Geneva Convention protection, indeed, they may be summarily executed upon detection, as we did Nazi saboteurs and spies during the Battle of the Bulge, for example.
We have yet to execute any of the illegal combatants we have captured in the war Islamic extremists are waging against us, even after years and years of detention; and most of these guys are in it to commit war crimes, bring death and destruction to women and children, our women and children. Instead we let them go, with a return-to-combat-against-us rate of 20%, give or take. The current administration wants to bring them to an American prison. Madness. The better course is to interrogate them effectively and when they have no further useful information to give, try them before military tribunals and execute those guilty of being illegal combatants. That's what it takes to win a war. And it's troubling that good guy Coffman, a double veteran and a stalwart Conservative, won't display the grit it takes to defeat ruthless enemies. If not him, who?
We appear to be fighting back with both hands tied behind our back.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Thoughts on Governor Bill Ritter's Announced Retirement
On the other hand, had Bill been ten points up in the polls vis a vis the Republicans running, and was President Obama not sinking like a stone in popularity polls, I don't think he would have pulled out. Sorry to doubt you, Bill, but Republican party boss Dick Wadhams makes too much sense.
It is good news for Democrats as Bill was hurting in the polls and despite a relatively weak challenger (non-Conservative Republican Scott McInnis) but if it's not Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar (whom I don't like) nor former Speaker of the state House Andrew Romanoff (whom I do like) because it's tough to switch races at this point (he's running for the Senate seat), is it going to be popular Mayor of Denver Hickenlooper as the new candidate? I really doubt Hickenlooper will run, unless he secretly wants a divorce. Hmmm So who? Polis? Perlmutter? O'Brien? Kennedy? Stay tuned.
Labels: Colorado Politics
Report on the American War Dead in Afghanistan and Iraq
In Iraq, two soldiers died from non combat causes and one death is a complete mystery. That's it, three deaths. In Afghanistan, six Americans were killed by IEDs, two in combat operations, two from small arms and two from non combat causes. That's twelve and the total of American servicemen killed in the war being waged against us by Islamic extremists is 15, less than one every other day.
No officers nor anyone with a feminine first name were killed. There was an incident in a CIA base in Afghanistan where a Jordanian double agent turned out to be a single agent after all and he killed several CIA employees with a suicide vest bomb. I'm tempted to count these guys as military casualties but I won't as this recurrent posting is about purely military deaths.
We'll see what happens in Afghanistan during the always Dreaded Taliban Spring Offensive. Things are by no means certain--no more certain than our civilian shakey will to fight back over the long term. Many of our Republican leaders are looking like they are willing to slink back to the traditional and shameful Republican position called isolationism. Our soldiers et al. are almost certainly able to continue fighting for a long time but the Dems have not been able to get past 4 years lately and if the Republicans start to fold...
Sunday, January 03, 2010
This Very Dissapointing Week
He was semi-OK (that is, he was fair to the degree the lefty media is capable of) for about 15 minutes with the very less than impressive John Brennan and with the panel of Congresspeople (Lieberman and Collins from the Senate, Pete Hoekstra and Jane Harmon from the House). Then he asked only Democrat Rep. Harmon about the recent complaints from former Vice President Cheney about President Obama's failure to take seriously the war being waged against us by Islamic extremists. No one else got to talk about those comments. No one got a chance to defend the Vice President. He immediately followed that up with a very partisan question to Rep. Hoekstra. Let's look at that more closely.
Moran asked editorially:
Once upon a time, there was a tradition of solidarity in refraining from criticizing the president at the time the nation was under attack. Three days after this attempt to kill 300 people over the skies of Detroit, you sent out a fundraising letter...
We used to refrain from criticising our president during a war? When, 1945? Was Moran asleep during the thick sh**storm from Democrats President Bush (son) had to endure for about 7 years? (Moran was not asleep during the past decade, so the question is dissembling at best). So he picks on Hoekstra for trying to raise money for his campaign by highlighting his strength on national security as opposed to President Obama's weakness. Oh, the humanity. So he invites a Republican on and then tries to embarrass him with the necessaries of political life, fundraising. Here's the short version--How dare you criticize our President. Almost makes you yearn for the time when, for Democrats, dissent was the highest form of patriotism.
Then the panel was four very partisan journalists versus George Will. It was almost a fair fight intellectually and would have been at perfect parity had they made Will get drunk before the on camera discussion. Cynthia Tucker supported criminal prosecutions of illegal combatants by saying it was better than torturing them in black prisons. No extreme (and wrong) partisanship there.
Jake Tapper, who is at least capable of asking a difficult question to Democrats, was not very smooth last week, but the Keith Olbermann wannabe, Moran, is an ethical (I know, I know, journalistic ethics) and watchability train wreck. So I think he's all but in as Stephanopolous's replacement.
Labels: This Week