Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Depressing Cartoon of the Day



Thought of the Day

Going after Mr. Mann [with a Freedom of Information request] only discourages the sort of scientific inquiry that, over time, sorts out fact from speculation, good science from bad. Academics must feel comfortable sharing research, disagreeing with colleagues and proposing conclusions — not all of which will be correct — without fear that those who dislike their findings will conduct invasive fishing expeditions in search of a pretext to discredit them. That give-and-take should be unhindered by how popular a professor’s ideas are or whose ideological convictions might be hurt.

Unsigned Washington Post Editorial

Let me try a rough translation:

Back off, Deniers. Science is only for established elites and we don't need any prying into their rarefied discourse by the likes of you knuckle-draggers. Scientific ideas are like delicate hot house flowers--exposure to the real world can be fatal, and we wouldn't want that, would we? Besides, you might find that the established elites are conspiring to commit scientific fraud or are at a minimum straying from honest scientific method through their lack of appropriate scepticism.


Monday, May 30, 2011


Insomnia Theater -- Funny Games

Here's a movie you probably ought not to see late at night alone. It's not that it's so scary, but that it sticks with you in a depressing, cloying way, like giardia of the soul. The movie is German director's shot for shot remake of his same film, Funny Games. The original had the great actor from The Lives of Others, Ulrich Mühe, as the father. This time, in English, the mother is (better looking than the original) Naomi Watts, the father is Tim Roth, and the lead bad guy is Michael Pitt, whom I've watched morph from harmless teen on mid-series Dawson's Creek to idealistic, pacifist movie lover in Bertolucci's The Dreamers to this and then lately to homicidal good bad guy (and troubled WWI vet) on Boardwalk Empire. Now that's a journey.

The director is Michael Haneke, born during WWII in Munich, who also did the recent well praised but off-putting The White Ribbon and the good but seriously disturbing Caché, and whose TV movies I've never even heard of much less seen, stretch sporadically back to the 70s. This guy can make a film, but from what I've seen, he can't make a film you like. He can't seem to endear any of his characters to the viewer. It should go without saying, therefore, that the European elitists love him.

OK, the plot is simple. Quintessential family (mother father son and dog--in Germany it was an Alsatian; in America it was a Golden Retriever) towing a sailboat pull into their gated weekend place. They've seen the neighbor being a little standoffish (I guess) conversing with two preppie young men with white gloves on. That's what passes for subtle in Germany although, to be fair, it's a good detail as things develop. The young men come over serially and after the mother can't help but want them out of there, the real violence starts and never lets up although, to be fair, again, all of the real violence takes place, actually, off camera. Hmmm. The two young men with white gloves are psychopaths who enjoy terrorizing, humiliating and murdering family after family. Even the dog.

The interesting thing is the so-called breaking of the fourth wall, when Pitt looks into the camera and addresses the audience directly or when he gets the remote control... I'll leave a few things as surprises. And there are a pitiful few in the film: The golf club, the knife in the boat, the approaching car lights at night, to name a few. The fourth wall thing you'll either love or hate but I loved it, because it added to the central powerful manipulation of the film.

The reason I'm even talking about this is that the film nearly destroys your sense of justice. These are sloppy, sloppy killers but they'll never get caught. Even when something goes wrong for them, it doesn't matter. They fix it, or just nothing happens from the mistake. That's not how we have learned to view a movie. Here in America, the bad are ultimately punished, the good, if plucky enough, survive. Not this film.

There certainly is a taking to heart of the phrase that Hanna Arendt used to describe the Third Reich villains, particularly Eichmann--the banality of evil. It is difficult to judge whether the actors are doing well or not, as what they are doing is so nothing special. There is little open emotion (perhaps the good bye kiss was an exception), little for the actors to do actually. The question we're left with is why did this get to us? Why are we still thinking about it--without satisfactory dénouement, without catharsis, without even much thought provocation. Ciao, bella and whole lives (we kinda care about) are over with narry a ripple to show for it. What's up with that?

Unlike other disturbing films which actually change your life for the worse just for having seen them (like Irreversible, Audition and Salo) this film seems to have some sort of beneficial pay off for the hardy souls who stick it out. I just wish I could put into words what the payoff is.


Saturday, May 14, 2011


Thought of the Day

So under the 2011 budget, every hour of every day, the United States government spends $188 million it doesn’t have, $130 million of which is “borrowed” from itself. There’s nobody else out there.

In other words, however Congress votes, we’re rubbing up against the real debt ceiling — the willingness of the world to continue bankrolling American debauchery.

Barack Obama is offering us a Latin-American future — that’s to say, a United States in which a corrupt governing class rules a dysfunctional morass. He’s confident that, when the moat with alligators is put in, he’ll be on the secure side. If you figure you’ll be, too, you can afford to vote for him.

The rest of us would like a credible alternative. The Republicans have a habit of nominating the guy whose turn it is: Bob Dole, John McCain.

This time the guy whose turn it is is Mitt Romney. Unfortunately for him, his signature legislation in Massachusetts looks awfully like a pilot program for Obamacare. So in recent days, he’s been out yet again defending his record: If I understand him correctly, his argument is that the salient point about Romneycare and Obamacare is not that they’re both disasters, but that one’s local and the other’s national, and that Obama has a one-disaster-fits-all approach to health care whereas Romney believes in letting a thousand disasters bloom. Celebrate diversity!

Mark Steyn


Saturday, May 07, 2011


Andrew McCarthy for Attorney General

My memory of the quality of our attorney generals during the near 58 years I've lived is spotty at best. Janet Reno was horrible, making up from whole cloth an unspecified imminent danger to the children in the Branch Davidian compound to justify a poorly planned assault thereon which resulted in the burning to death of, well, all the children she said she was trying to save. But there may have been worse ones in the 60s or 70s. Ramsey Clark couldn't have been any great shakes. Still, for general horribleness, it is difficult to think of a worse attorney general than Eric Holder.

The left cried a river when the second Bush Administration got rid of a handful of US Attorneys, saying he was politicizing the Justice Department. President Clinton fired all of the US Attorneys but of course, as a Democrat, he was held to a different standard. As Al Jolson used to say: You ain't seen nothing, yet. Under Holder, the Justice Department has become nearly fully politicized--the race based decisions to forego prosecution of the New Black Panthers and other voting act violations (by blacks); the decision not to prosecute Islamic money gatherers for Jihadists; the decision to give full, citizen like protection to those waging war as illegal combatants, and the witch hunt against CIA interrogators, who should be receiving medals, are just the lowlights of the myriad, idiot decisions by Mr. Holder.

I wrote yesterday about Holder's inability to see the war footing nose on the front of his face. Andrew McCarthy writes today about how fully foolish our current AG is. Behold:

In 2004, Mr. Holder chose to file an amicus brief on behalf of Jose Padilla, the al-Qaeda terrorist sent to our country by bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to carry out a post-9/11 second wave of attacks. In the brief, Holder argued that a commander-in-chief lacks the constitutional authority to do what his boss, the current commander-in-chief, has just done: determine the parameters of the battlefield. By Holder’s lights — at least when the president is not named Obama — an al-Qaeda terrorist must be treated as a criminal defendant, not an enemy combatant, unless he is encountered on a traditional battlefield.

The more-rights-for-illegal-combatants crowd seems to think that unless Congress uses the words "declare" and "war" back to back, it is powerless to authorize military force. The Constitution, unfortunately, did not come with forms for Congress to use. I submit, as Mr. McCarthy does, that an authorization to use military force declares war just as effectively as an honest to God declaration. You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think. As an antidote for Holder's failure to grasp the bloody obvious, here's more of the rigorous logic of Mr. McCarthy:

But hold on: Bin Laden was not confronted on a battlefield. Nor was he, like Admiral Yamamoto, in an aircraft, which theoretically can be a military asset — or even used as a missile, as al-Qaeda has demonstrated. To the contrary, al-Qaeda’s emir was targeted in a residential neighborhood. Though he had some bodyguards, he was in the company of noncombatant women and children.

For most Americans, that does not detract at all from the legitimacy of bin Laden’s killing. This enemy has declared a global jihad against the United States. Al-Qaeda reserves to itself the prerogative to turn any place of its choosing into a battlefield. In fact, it would be perilous not to assume, when encountering al-Qaeda operatives, that this is exactly what they are up to. Their m.o., after all, is to target civilians for mass murder and to hide among civilians in order to frustrate retaliatory strikes. Consequently, it should make no difference that bin Laden was not found on a traditional battlefield — that he was in a residential compound inside a country with which the United States is not at war.

Nevertheless, what is not a problem for most Americans is a problem for Mr. Holder — at least if we’re talking about Eric Holder the prominent Democratic lawyer who filed the Padilla amicus brief, an action that he failed to disclose to the Senate during his confirmation process.

The idea is not to reward those who flaunt the few rules of war that civilized nations agree exist, by treating them the same as those who follow the rules and, worse, by giving them more rights than POWs. A blind man can see the wisdom of summary execution (after thorough interrogation) of illegal combatants. There is none so blind...

Fortunately, Mr. McCarthy chooses to see things as they are.

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Friday, May 06, 2011


Where Did Eric Holder Go to Law School?

I ask because his explanation of self defense as justification for the shooting of bin Laden is simply idiotic. How about Osama declared war on America twice and then waged war against various military and civilian targets as justification for our soldiers and sailors killing him? And he is an illegal combatant. Whenever anyone declares war on us and wages war on us as an illegal combatant, we ought to pay him a visit and put two in the brain.

In fact, that ought to be the fate of everyone who makes any move to take down the Great Satan.



Ubi Sunt?

Now that al Qaeda has verified that we put two in the brain of Osama bin Laden, the Deathers should suffer the same fate as the Birthers have from the release of the long form, namely, they should diminish. I don't recall, however, any of the 9-11 Truthers (Orwellian name) complaining that we shot an innocent man. Anyone remember that? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?



Thought of the Day

The new post-bin Laden dispensation is that the entire decade-long war on terror was an overreaction — as shown by the bin Laden operation itself, which, noted one critic, looks a lot like police work, the kind of law enforcement John Kerry insisted in 2004 was the proper prism through which to address the terror threat.

On the contrary. The bin Laden operation is the perfect vindication of the war on terror. It was made possible precisely by the vast, warlike infrastructure that the Bush administration created post-9/11, a fierce regime of capture and interrogation, of dropped bombs and commando strikes. That regime, of course, followed the more conventional war that brought down the Taliban, scattered and decimated al-Qaeda and made bin Laden a fugitive.

Charles Krauthammer


Thursday, May 05, 2011


Thought of the Day

What I simply want to do here in my first blog back... is remind you of the horrendous socio-political crisis we in the free world are facing today: one in which economic progress and commonsense threaten to be undermined at every turn by an insidious, mendacious and terrifyingly powerful global green movement which has its tentacles in almost every pie from the Obama administration to David Cameron’s Coalition to the EU to the UN to the MSM to the schools, universities and NGOs. The ideology of these Watermelons has virtually nothing to do with saving the environment (if it were, they’d be embracing shale gas wholesale) and almost everything to do with an instinctive loathing for economic growth combined with a bullying, puritanical urge to impose energy policy by diktat rather than by allowing the market to decide the most effective method.

James Delingpole, talking about the efforts falsely to demonize hydraulic fracturing particularly in gas wells in dense shale, which drilling breakthrough has led to a decline in natural gas prices when every single other commodity has gone up in price. Read the whole thing.


Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Thought of the Day

I don't want the power to come on only when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing; I want the power to come on whenever I flip the switch.

Roger Fraley


Monday, May 02, 2011


Thought of the Day

The slaying of [Osama bin Laden], the peerless capability of our armed forces it reaffirms, and the demonstration of national unity it has sparked, make this a great day for our country. They suggest, moreover, something else worth celebrating: the outlines of an effective, practical, and economic counterterrorism.

Andrew McCarthy

I, for one, salute our President, who was right to say if Pakistan wouldn't take care of OBL, we'd enter Pakistan and do it ourselves and then was right to do just that. His rhetoric and actions along these lines has been exemplary. Well done.


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