Day By Day

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Other Side of Vietnam

There are stories the politicians and ideologues tell about Vietnam. Some tell us it was an unjust war directed by paranoid Presidents and fought by pathological losers against an aroused populace who hated us and were finally liberated from colonial oppression when the Americans were driven from their land in disgrace. For others it was a noble endeavor in which the American military, at great cost, protected the people of South Vietnam from communist aggression and temporarily halted the fall of South Asian dominoes. Ultimately, though, anti-war politicians betrayed the effort and forced the abandonment of our Vietnamese allies. The result of this "stab in the back" was the death and oppression of millions.

Then there are the stories that veterans tell each other. One of these is recounted in the Atlantic by Robert Kaplan. It is a side of the Vietnam experience of which few in the general public are aware.

Read about it here.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

So Much For the Scientific "Consensus" on Anthropogenic Climate Change

The claims of "scientific consensus" supporting anthropogenic climate change, incessantly asserted by the Left, are based on a study done by a "history professor" [snicker]. In 2004 she surveyed
"peer-reviewed" [more snickers and perhaps a snort of derision -- the peer review process has completely broken down] papers on the ISI Web of Science database and found that a "majority" supported the "consensus view" that human agency affected global climate change. Now that is a remarkably weak finding, but eco-nuts have been trumpeting her results ever since as proof that there is a scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change.

Now even that slender reed has collapsed. A medical researcher has duplicated the historian's work for papers presented since 2003 and finds that only 7% of them support the "consensus" position.

These changing viewpoints represent the advances in climate science over the past decade. While today we are even more certain the earth is warming, we are less certain about the root causes. More importantly, research has shown us that -- whatever the cause may be -- the amount of warming is unlikely to cause any great calamity for mankind or the planet itself.

Read about it here.

As I have pointed out several times, basing public policy on scientific consensus is building your house on shifting sands.

Keaton Night Tonight

Tonight TCM is honoring Buster Keaton, the greatest American comic genius. We just watched "Steamboat Bill, Jr." -- not his best, but with amazing action sequences. The General -- my favorite Keaton flick -- is coming up.

Watching "Steamboat Bill, Jr." I was again astounded at the sheer physicality Keaton projects. There are stunt sequences that would challenge any parkour runner today. He is one of the great ones. Jackie Chan has credited Keaton as being his inspiration and in these films you can see what he means.

To see "Steamboat Bill, Jr." go here.

And here is the General.

Read a nice appreciation of Keaton's genius here.

Dyson On Climate Models

Freeman Dyson explains why the climate models on which current global warming hysteria is based are fatally flawed:

[A]ll the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. Of course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak. But I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.
Read it here.

He has a lot more of interest to say, not least the advice he gave young Francis Crick -- don't waste your time with biology, physics will be much more exciting and rewarding.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Everyone Goes to Rick's

And while we're on the subject of photos, check out Rick Lee's work. He's a commercial photographer working out of Charleston, West Virginia and he has the eye. Check out his site here and scroll down to see what he does in the produce section on Thursdays.

Amazing Photos From Africa

Steve Bloom is one of the world's premier wildlife photographers. I can't show you his amazing images here, but you can check them out here.

Simply wonderful!

Some of these images were enhanced with digital manipulation and some of the animals photographed were tame or in captivity. Bloom's work is a subject of much discussion among professional photographers. Purists think he is cheating the viewer by not revealing how the images were made, others don't and say he is a creative artist. Make up your own minds.

For a brief discussion of his work go here.

Now This Sounds Encouraging

From the WaPo:
BAGHDAD, Aug. 29 -- Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr Wednesday ordered a six-month shutdown of his militia in what his aides described as an attempt to reform the organization, a development that came as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki imposed a curfew in the southern holy city of Karbala to contain the deadly fighting there.
Read it here.

Gee, it was just a couple of weeks ago that leading Democrats were complaining that all we were doing with the surge was to turn control of the country over to al Sadr and his murderous minions and the al-Maliki was completely toothless and unable to take decisive action.

Guess they got that wrong. But on the other hand the war critics have managed to keep their perfect record for misjudging events in Iraq alive.

The Shame of Maryland Schools

This tells you all you need to know about the state of public education in Maryland.

From the WaPo:

BALTIMORE, Aug. 28 -- Maryland high school students who are unable to pass a set of exams required for graduation could instead submit projects to demonstrate their mastery of academic subjects, under a plan introduced Tuesday by State School Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick.

Students in the Class of 2009 (this year's juniors) and those who follow must pass the exams in algebra, English, biology and government -- or earn an adequate composite score on them -- to graduate.

Grasmick offered her alternative because she is concerned that hundreds of students could be denied diplomas based on a single set of tests, rather than on their mastery of the subject.

Read the whole article here.

If they can't do the work, they don't deserve the degree, and what is this crap about "mastery of the subject"? That's supposed to be what the tests measure.


Great White Flight

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the sky, the damn things learn how to fly.

This is just one of several pictures of airborne great white sharks taken by Fred Vnoucek. Check out the whole series on here. Visit his site here. Some amazing stuff!


Here's some video of flying great whites.

Hans Rosling on the State of the World

How has the world changed in our lifetimes? It is getting better. Hans Rosling has some of the statistics and a wonderful way of presenting them. There is some real wisdom in what he has to say and nobody says it better. Check this out -- you will be wiser for it, and if you are in the business of presenting information to people, you could find much worse models than Hans Rosling.

Check out other talks by him here. Watch and learn.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hollywood on Iraq

Mickey Kaus, a sane liberal and one of the most astute political observers anywhere, asks, "Has Big Hollywood made a single non-anti-US post-9/11 film I missed? I can't remember one (aside from Team America: World Police, which was a self-mocking puppet cartoon)...." [here]

The answer, Mickey, is "No! Not a single one, and several more anti-Bush screeds are already in the pipeline."

"No End in Sight" [a virulently anti-administration documentary on the fall of Baghdad], "In the Valley of Elah" [Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron discover that the Army is covering up the murder of a soldier], "Lions for Lambs" [a Robert Redford production, Tom Cruise is an evil Republican pushing for war in Iraq], an untitled Oliver Stone film on My Lai, "Charlie Wilson's War" [Tom Hanks helps to create Al Qaeda during the Cold War], "Stop Loss" [Ryan Phillippe is a soldier who refuses to return to Iraq on moral grounds]....

and so it goes..., and so it goes.


Jonathan Foreman, in the NRO, writes:

Hollywood, in its collective wisdom, has decided that now is a good time to make a handful of movies about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. They are antiwar movies, of course. Rest assured that they won’t exclusively depict G.I.s and Marines as bestial rapists, murderers, and torturers oppressing populations that were happy and prosperous under Saddam Hussein and the Taliban.

They will also depict good American soldiers, like those refuse to fight in an unjust, imperialist racist war against the Vietnamese — I mean — Iraqi people. Inevitably there will also be tales of veterans driven mad by Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or tormented by guilt. And, there will be portraits of whistleblowers putting their lives on the line to expose all those atrocities so regularly committed by America’s callous, cruel G.I.s and Marines.
Read the whole thing here.


And then there's this from Greg Gutfeld

From the Bourne Ultimatum to the Shooter, Hollywood wants it both ways - their heroes need to be battle-tough American soldiers with millions of dollars invested in their training. But they want that expertise focused not on the enemy, but the government that trained them! We have no external enemy - the enemy is always us. Hollywood capitalizes on the military's amazing supply of heroism, but it's too damn cowardly to attach real, moral value to it. That avoids some embarrassment in David Geffen's hot tub.

Read it here.

The Bush Economic Miracle Continues

Don Surber notes a Census Bureau report that the proportion of people living in poverty has dropped from 12.7 percent in 2005 to 12.3 percent today, and writes:

Damn that George Bush. First he shrank the deficit too fast. Then he dropped the unemployment level too low. Now the nation is running out of poor people.

Read about it here.

The Female of the Species...

Is Deadlier Than the Male

From Dr. Helen:
Regarding perpetration of violence, more women than men (25 percent versus 11 percent) were responsible. In fact, 71 percent of the instigators in nonreciprocal partner violence were women. This finding surprised Whitaker and his colleagues, they admitted in their study report.

As for physical injury due to intimate partner violence, it was more likely to occur when the violence was reciprocal than nonreciprocal. And while injury was more likely when violence was perpetrated by men, in relationships with reciprocal violence it was the men who were injured more often (25 percent of the time) than were women (20 percent of the time). "This is important as violence perpetrated by women is often seen as not serious," Whitaker and his group stressed....
Read the whole thing here.

So what she's saying is Kipling was right! I always suspected so.

On This Day in History

Aug 28, 1845 Scientific American, the oldest continually published magazine in America printed its first issue.

Read about it here.

I used to read it every month, but lately it seems to have been taken over by environuts so I've been giving it a pass. It may have something to do with the fact that the new owners are Germans.

A Breakthrough Deal?

This hasn't gotten a lot of play in the American MSM. Wonder why.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's top Shi'ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish political leaders announced on Sunday they had reached consensus on some key measures seen as vital to fostering national reconciliation.

The agreement by the five leaders was one of the most significant political developments in Iraq for months and was quickly welcomed by the United States, which hopes such moves will ease sectarian violence that has killed tens of thousands.
Read it here.

Two reasons for MSM silence seem to be applicable here. First of all some Sunni leaders have stated that despite the new deal they will continue to boycott the Iraqi Parliament [here]. They will hold out, they say "until more of their demands are met." In other words there's still some haggling to do, but then there always is. The intransigence of some Sunnis gives story editors an excuse for downplaying the larger deal.

The second reason has to do with American domestic politics. The original story notes:
The apparent breakthrough comes two weeks before U.S. President George W. Bush's top officials in Iraq present a report that could have a major influence on future American policy in Iraq.
And we can't be publicizing information that would lend support to the administration's position, can we..., well can we? Of course not.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Lileks on Writing

Lileks explains how to be a productive writer -- write in the first person because, "when you're writing about yourself you're always fascinated by your subject."

And for those who fancy living the writer's life, remember -- always throw up in the bathroom sink "(only hopeless drunks used the toilet)".

Words of wisdom to live by.

Read the whole thing here.

Hey, the guy's good -- he understands that O'Hara is superior to Fitzgerald.


The Louisiana Irishman sends the following quote from Heinlein: "There's nothing wrong with writing so long as you do it in private and wash your hands afterward."

Selective Curiosity

Marc over at Spinning Clio notes that historians have been battling the Bush administration demanding full access to records of the current administration as well as those of Johnson, Nixon and Reagan. Curiously, though, nobody seems to be interested in fully opening the records of the Carter or Clinton administrations. Could it be that they would be embarrassing to a certain presidential candidate?

Neither Marc nor I would suggest that there is a systematic liberal bias within the historical profession, perish the thought, but there does seem to be a curious selectivity in the areas historians are interested in investigating.

Read Marc's post here.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Keystone State

Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution lists his favorite things, about Pennsylvania.

The bottom line: Almost certainly, Pennsylvania is better than your state. If you are a foreigner, and want to understand what made America great, study and visit Pennsylvania.
Check out his post and the comments it engendered here.

Sex and Drugs and Leftist Politics

Shannon Love wonders if, other than sex and recreational drugs, there is any area of life in which the Left favors greater individual freedom.

The answer: No!

Read it here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Problems With Wind Power

Enviros like to talk about alternative energy sources, and one of their favorite subjects is wind power. Crossing Pennsylvania recently we noticed that the State is promoting investment in wind turbines [here]. Europe has too, and is beginning to find that wind power is not all it is cracked up to be.

Der Spiegel reports:

Wind turbines continue to multiply the world over. But as they grow bigger and bigger, the number of dangerous accidents is climbing. How safe is wind energy?

After the industry's recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting. Gearboxes hiding inside the casings perched on top of the towering masts have short shelf lives, often crapping out before even five years is up. In some cases, fractures form along the rotors, or even in the foundation, after only limited operation. Short circuits or overheated propellers have been known to cause fires. All this despite manufacturers' promises that the turbines would last at least 20 years.

Gearboxes have already had to be replaced "in large numbers," the German Insurance Association is now complaining. "In addition to generators and gearboxes, rotor blades also often display defects," a report on the technical shortcomings of wind turbines claims. The insurance companies are complaining of problems ranging from those caused by improper storage to dangerous cracks and fractures.

Read it here.

It seems that there are a lot of kinks to be worked out. Eventually the Europeans will figure out how to make more durable and reliable turbines. Then, and only then, will it make sense to invest heavily in this new technology. Until then, let the Euros dodge blade fragments.

Actually, come to think of it, the best course would probably be to leave the whole thing to private enterprise and for government to stay out of the way.

Noticing Burn Notice

We've been watching the latest USA series, "Burn Notice." It's a "comedy/action" drama, and it's pretty well done. The hook is that the hero, played by Jeffrey Donovan, is an ex-spy who was fired "burned" for mysterious reasons. He is now a marked man, based in Miami, and in constant peril. He is trying to find out why and by whom he was burned and, to support himself, takes on jobs locally that take maximum advantage of his skills. The scripts are formulaic, but the characters are well-defined. The hero's girl is "Fiona", a beautiful but sadistic former IRA terrorist played by Gabrielle Anwar. His friend and contact with official sources is played by the wonderful Bruce Campbell. His mother, with whom he has a tension-filled relationship is played by the even more wonderful Sharon Gless.

Lots of talent on display here. These guys are all veteran actors with major accomplishments under their belts. They work well together and it's a joy to watch them play with their roles.

Highly recommended -- only one thing worries me. "She Who Must Not Be Named" enjoys watching the Fiona character entirely too much.

The Bush Economic Miracle Continues

Don Surber notes a huge labor crunch in the West and concludes that President Bush is making the economy too good.

Record low unemployment across parts of the West has created tough working conditions for business owners, who in places are being forced to boost wages or be creative to fill their jobs.

John Francis, who owns the McDonald’s in Sidney, Mont., said he tried advertising in the local newspaper and even offered up to $10 an hour to compete with higher-paying oil field jobs. Yet the only calls were from other business owners upset they would have to raise wages, too. Of course, Francis’ current employees also wanted a pay hike.

“I don’t know what the answer is,” Francis said. “There’s just nobody around that wants to work.”

Unemployment rates have been as low as 2 percent this year in places like Montana, and nearly as low in neighboring states. Economists cite such factors as an aging work force and booming tourism economies for the tight labor market.

For places like Montana, it has been a steady climb in the nearly two decades since the timber and mining industry recession. The state approached double-digit unemployment levels in the 1980s and began the slow crawl back in the early 1990s.

“This is actually the biggest economic story of our time, and we don’t quite grasp it because it is 15 years in the making,” said economist Larry Swanson, director of the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West at the University of Montana.

Read it here.

So how do you fill those jobs? How about outsourcing and immigration? Of course raising wages and passing the costs on to consumers might help, but that has problems too.

[Q]uestions remain about how long the West can weather the problems that come with low unemployment.

“The hardest thing is to keep the economy growing at a strong rate when you have a low unemployment rate,” he said. “Take a company that wants to expand. Where is the next worker going to come from?”

Can you say "Mexico" or "Guatemala" or "Louisiana", or other such underdeveloped country?

Darn that Bush!

And regarding the credit crunch and collapse of the housing market, check out this comment by a reader:

“the credit crunch’ hasn’t even materialized as the equivalent of a market correction. A correction is characterized by a fall of 10% or more within a short period, with little discernable cause.

Dow falling from 14,000 to 13,000? 7% decline. It would appear that we are now just 4.4% down from the Dow’s high.

Housing market bust? When the sales of new homes dropped 4% in June, Krugman was dancing in the street. but then it went up in July 2.8%…

notice how the predictors of the looming housing disaster fail to mention that home sales could decline by 40% or more, and merely return to the average of any previously selected decade.

The problem is that we've had things too good for too long -- darn that Bush.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Taken With a Pinch of Salt

Ian Murphy over at the Corner notes a glaring inconsistency in evidence being proffered to support the global warming thesis:

Point and counterpoint:

Since the late 1960s, much of the North Atlantic Ocean has become less salty, in part due to increases in fresh water runoff induced by global warming, scientists say.

—Michael Schirber, LiveScience, 29 June 2005

The surface waters of the North Atlantic are getting saltier, suggests a new study of records spanning over 50 years. They found that during this time, the layer of water that makes up the top 400 metres has gradually become saltier. The seawater is probably becoming saltier due to global warming, Boyer says.

—Catherine Brahic, New Scientist, 23 August 2007

Read it here.

You'd think that they'd at least try to get their story straight.

Joe Lieberman Answers Senator Levin

Lieberman tells it like it is:

"Forced by facts on the ground to acknowledge the progress of the American and Iraqi militaries since the new surge strategy started, some of these opponents of the war are now turning their harshest criticism on our allies in Iraq instead of our enemies. This is a mistake. Whatever the shortcomings of our friends in Iraq, they are not an excuse to retreat from the real enemies who threaten our vital national interests there.

"I share the frustrations about the performance of the Iraqi government. But the fact is, as my colleagues know, Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus are meeting every day with Iraq's democratically-elected leaders to help them reach compromise and reconciliation on a range of complex, painful, and existential issues. Political progress in Iraq depends on this kind of steady statecraft and patient diplomacy on the ground in Baghdad, rather than scapegoating and congressionally-ordered coups.

"Ironically, it was not so long ago that many in Congress criticized the Bush administration for what they described as its heavy-handed and patronizing treatment of our most important allies in the world. Now many of those very critics make the exact same mistake in their treatment of the Iraqis, whose citizens--lest we forget--are fighting and dying every day in the struggle against al Qaeda, and in far higher numbers than any other nationality.

"Ultimately, the choice we face in Iraq is not between the current Iraqi government and a perfect Iraqi government. Rather, it is a choice between a young, imperfect, struggling democracy that we have helped midwife into existence, and the totalitarian, terrorist regime that al Qaeda hopes to impose in its place, should we retreat.

Read the whole thing here.

Well said!

Hanging Out In Ligonier

Last weekend "She Who Must Not Be Named" and I traveled over to Western Pennsylvania, to Laurel Mountain and the Ligonier Valley, sometime resort of the super-rich and powerful. We visited people we knew, checked out the local attractions, and generally had a wonderful time.

It was a pleasant drive across the Keystone State. "She" drove and I carried a camera in my lap to snap whatever looked interesting.

Here we are crossing the not so mighty Susquehanna just north of Harrisburg.

And this is the Laurel Highlands, not far from Somerset. That's Laurel Mountain dead ahead.

The square in Ligonier. When I was a kid I used to go to band concerts here.

A local specialty, fish trees.

And of course we visited Fort Ligonier -- it really looks great compared to the way I remembered it. If you are in the area, definitely check it out.

Driving through the old Mellon estates.

A viceroy in a friend's garden. Note the bees. They were all over the place, so I didn't stick around long.

Linn run at Rector. There be trout here. That evening we ate at the newly-reopened Colonial Inn and I had grilled trout caught on Laurel Mountain, just a couple of miles from here. It was good!!!

One of my favorite places to eat -- the Ligonier Country Inn in Laughlintown. Sunday brunch is the best -- good food, lots of it, terrific service, friendly people. It helps to be with locals -- everything is like a family dinner. Did I say people are friendly? Yes I did, and yes they are. "She" got an offer to go fly fishing with the owner. Unfortunately it is a lot of other people's favorite place and it fills up quick, so get there early.

Finally we headed home, back through the mountains.

And as we drove, the rains came.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pennsylvania Food Facts

Pennsylvania has contributed a lot to the national cuisine, from Philadelphia Scrapple [made of boiled hog offal] to Lancaster County Seimagga [a local version of haggis], to "Shoo Fly Pie" and
Funnel Cake. Mmmmmmm!!! I can already feel those heart valves slammin' shut.

But one of the greatest elements of Pennsylvania cuisine -- one that has taken the world by storm over the past forty years -- was the "Big Mac."

The Big Mac was invented forty years ago in Uniontown.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Jim Delligatti took two years to convince McDonald's Corp. that the Big Mac was a good idea but 40 years on he takes pride in having invented one of the world's most widely eaten foods that is getting its own museum.

In 1967, the McDonald's franchisee got permission from the corporate office to put two beef patties on a hamburger bun. A year later, the Big Mac he lobbied so hard for made it onto the menu of every McDonald's restaurant.

"I felt that we needed a big sandwich," the 89-year-old Delligatti told Reuters in an interview. "But you couldn't do anything unless they gave you permission."

To Delligatti's delight, the product was "an immediate success," he said, adding that the recipe has not really changed in the 40 years since he sold the first Big Mac in Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

Read it here.

Jim Delligatti, a grateful nation turns its rheumy eyes to you. Not only did he create the first Big Mac, he also dreamed up the "Hotcakes and Sausage" breakfast.

To honor Jim's contributions, pay a visit to the Big Mac Museum, newly constructed in Uniontown, PA. [correction: Irwin, PA]


One of my correspondents writes to tell me that he attended the opening of the Big Mac museum. It is in Irwin, PA, not Uniontown as I had indicated. It is located on Rte. 30 (the historic Lincoln highway) just west of the Irwin turnpike exchange. The opening seems to have been quite a big thing. My correspondent writes:

The gala was quite an event, cocktail attire required with a string quartet inside and a jazz band, Five Guys Named Moe, outside in a large tent. It was somewhat odd to see Champagne and wine being served to ladies in gowns and jewelry at the counter along with hors d' oeuvres consisting of quartered Big Macs and the usual assortment of crab, shrimp, and miniature lamb chops that you normally find at such events. I was really happy to be brought back to earth the following day by the usual assortment of obnoxious people cutting in line and “reserving tables” before they get their food and underpaid staff being stressed to the limit of their capabilities. They seemed to be a lot happier the night before.

"She Who Must Not Be Named" and I attended a similar event at the opening of a Taco Bell in Maryland. Not as elaborate, but the forced cheer of the servers was similarly unsettling.

The NIE Report

The latest National Intelligence Estimate report is out. Rich Lowrey summarizes its major points here.

Key points:

We assess, to the extent that Coalition forces continue to conduct robust counterinsurgency operations and mentor and support the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), that Iraq’s security will continue to improve modestly during the next six to 12 months but that levels of insurgent and sectarian violence will remain high and the Iraqi Government will continue to struggle to achieve national-level political reconciliation and improved governance.


We assess that changing the mission of Coalition forces from a primarily counterinsurgency and stabilization role to a primary combat support role for Iraqiforces and counterterrorist operations to prevent AQI from establishing a safehavenwould erode security gains achieved thus far.

The Shame of the Orioles

Texas 30, Baltimore 3

That's a baseball score. Really!

This one is not going away anytime soon. Even the Pirates weren't this bad.

Here's the complete box score.

And the Rangers aren't even a .500 team.

Where' the Logic in This?

I haven't written anything about the Michael Vick thingy and frankly haven't been following it very closely. Anything having to do with professional athletes bores me. But this set me back a bit when I saw it.

The owners of 53 pit bulls seized in April from the Virginia property owned by Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick have until the end of the day to claim the animals, a court official said.

Prosecutors have asked a federal judge for permission to exterminate the animals, but it is not known when this will take place.


Officials and animal rights advocates agree that the dogs should be killed because their brutal training could make them a threat to people and other animals.

The dogs might not be killed right away because they are evidence in the case against Vick and possibly others referred to in a federal indictment issued in July.

Read it here.

So let me get this straight. Vick committed a horrible crime when he killed non-performing dogs, but the "humane" society experts and court officials are fully justified in killing far more dogs, regardless of their performance, simply because they are not the nice, cuddly kinds of beasts most favored for pets. Unless, of course they might be useful in further prosecutions, in which case they might be kept around for a while.

I thought this whole thing had something to do with Vick's inhumanity toward simple beasts, but aren't the authorities just as bad if not worse?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Primary Sources

The FBI is looking for these guys. Keep an eye out for them and read about it here.

And here's the text of President Bush's speech today to the VFW convention.

And finally, here's the executive summary of the CIA's internal investigation into the runup to 9/11.

Check them out. There's a lot to think about in there.

"Invasion" -- The World the Pods Wrought

“She Who Must Not Be Named” and I went to see “Invasion” yesterday. We had personal reasons for doing so – some of our friends appeared in the film as extras and several scenes were shot in and around the building in which we live. At one point “She” tugged my sleeve and exclaimed, “That’s the table we play bridge on!” As we left the theater “She” marveled at a sequence in which Nicole Kidman exited an apartment in one building, entered an elevator and left it in another building, fled into a passage with no street exit, and emerged from it in an alley three blocks away. Ah, movie magic!

I, on the other hand, was intrigued by the film’s possibilities. I knew it got horrible reviews and did very little business on its opening weekend. I knew there had been production troubles and that the Wachowski Brothers, whose work I intensely dislike, were involved in rewriting the original screenplay. Still, the original director was Oliver Hirschbiegel, whose previous work, especially “Downfall”, had been interesting. It would be fun to see what he could do with the creepy paranoia of the “Body Snatchers” series. I just hoped that the Wachowskis and their pet director, James McTeigue (who shot the execrable “Vendetta” and reshot some scenes for this film), had not done too much damage to the original concept.

Well, they did and they didn’t. The first half of the film works well, building suspense in a quiet way, introducing tantalizing concepts, then the Wachowski influence rears its ugly head and you have pod people hanging off the roof of a careening, blazing car. Too many cooks operating at cross purpose have spoiled what might have been an interesting film. Still, enough of the original remains to raise “Invaders” above the level of genre hackery.

And that is where fanboy reviewers have trouble with the film. Time and again you read the complaint, “it just wasn’t scary enough.” They’re right. Anyone wanting to see a standard monster or zombie flick is going to be disappointed by “Invasion.” It just isn’t that kind of movie. Nor is it a romance. Several female writers complained that Nicole Kidman doesn’t get it on with her sexy co-star, Daniel Craig. [“She” sympathizes with them – one of the high points of her recent film viewing was seeing Craig emerge nearly naked from the water in “Casino Royale”.] But here he keeps his clothes on and the stars never get around to coupling or even cuddling. It’s not that kind of film. Nor is it a suspense drama. The first half of the film, as I noted above, has plenty of suspense as you and the main characters wonder who is and who is not an alien, but once the Wachowskis take over that stuff goes out the window and we get an absurd demolition derby. The creepy sense of paranoia and unfolding peril that characterized earlier films in the series is dissipated. Neither suspense nor action film, nor a romance nor a horror flick “Invasion” cannot help but disappoint fans whose expectations are shaped by genre conventions.

Nor does “Invasion” work as a simple political allegory. Years ago a myth took shape within the critical community to the effect that Walter Wanger’s 1956 production of Jack Finney’s novel was an allegory that had something to do with either representing or condemning McCarthyism. That misperception is now cited as fact by major critics and even appears in texts used in film courses and is a reason why so many lefty critics hold the old film (which after all was just a poverty row B flick) in high regard. It affirms their bizarre understanding of mid-twentieth century American political culture.

But Wanger’s production was never any such thing. Wanger himself, as well as Don Siegel [the director], Dan Mainwaring [the screenwriter], and Kevin McCarthy [the star] as well as Jack Finney, who wrote the serialized novel on which the film was based, are all on record as saying that the whole allegory take on the film is nonsense. I might point out here that even those who believe it was an allegorical critique cannot agree on just what was being represented. To some it was a right wing warning about creeping communist subversion, to others it was a left-wing warning about creeping McCarthyism, to others it was more generalized expression of apprehension regarding conformity. This analytic confusion and repeated denials of their thesis did not, however, stop critics. For more than half a century they have continued to advance allegorical interpretations of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and its progeny. It was quite natural, therefore, that critics should try to see in this latest iteration a political allegory and that they should be disappointed to find it lacking.

There is far more to complain about in the film. Much of the editing is…, well, bizarre. There are gaping holes in the logic of the narrative. The acting is adequate, but hardly outstanding. There is really no character development.

Well then, just what is “Invasion” other than an ungodly mess?

It seems clear that the film, as originally conceived by Director Hirschbiegel and Dave Kajganich [who wrote the original screenplay], was intended as a vehicle in which to advance ideas. Only a few critics have recognized this and most of these have seen that as a defect, declaring the film to be “preachy” or too talky. They see the scenes devoted to advancing ideas as being simply an impediment to effective narrative. Only Manohla Dargis, writing in the New York Times, takes the ideas at the core of “Invasion” seriously and she proclaims them politically “abhorrent.” Well, just what are these ideas that so repulsed the critic at the Times?

“Invasion” is, at its core, a film about a trans-humanist, collectivist utopia. Throughout the first half of the film we are reminded time and again of the real, as opposed to fantasy, horrors infecting our world. The point is hammered home during a dinner conversation at which a Russian former communist recites a long list of atrocities and Nicole Kidman’s character replies that “postmodern feminism” might hold a cure for the world’s ills. The dinner’s hosts are a Czech couple who applaud Kidman’s solution and banter good-naturedly with the Russian guest, displaying the kind of genial discourse informed by mutual goodwill and respect – talking rather than fighting -- that sentimental lefties hold to be the solution to all manner of things. Later as the alien infection spreads and more people are assimilated into the collective mind the troubles of mankind begin to vanish. Warring nations make peace, genocidal policies are abandoned, statesmen come together to promote peace and prosperity for all the peoples of the world. The liberal Czech couple willingly, almost blissfully, accepts assimilation into the collective. It is for them the culmination of everything they hoped for all their lives.

And what does assimilation mean? It is the elimination of all normal human emotions – those pesky things that short-circuit our rational processes and cause us to behave badly. The collective is, in other words, an enlightened utopia, a realm of pure reason.

Of course there are some rough edges. Some people die during the transition, and there is a chilling disregard for human life – an obscene willingness of individuals to sacrifice their own lives for the good of the collective. This is made clear in one horrific scene that was featured in promotions for the film. Uninfected people can pass as members of the collective by suppressing all normal human emotions. At one point, while Nicole Kidman is attempting to pass, a couple stages a suicide, apparently with the purpose of stimulating an emotional response in spectators that would allow the aliens to identify non-infected people.

And then there is the problem of immunity. Some people are immune, and (in one of the film’s numerous coincidences) one of these turns out to be Nicole Kidman’s son, played by the terminally cute Jackson Bond. This fact sets up one of the main elements of the narrative – Kidman’s efforts to protect her son. Near the end of the film, when it seems that the aliens have won, it is revealed that they plan to eliminate all the immunes. At that point Kidman’s emotions kick into gear and she turns into a murder machine, ruthlessly gunning down the aliens who are threatening her son. In that moment Kidman (and all of humanity) stands revealed starkly as an unreasoning killer ape.

So there the essential dilemma is posed. The pod people represent collective peace and order and the triumph of reason, and opposed to this ideal is homicidal human individualism and emotionality. We can achieve a liberal utopia, but only at the cost of losing the things that make us human, and we can remain human only if we are willing to accept the horrific suffering that fallen estate entails. Ultimately the film comes down on the side of the killer apes, the aliens are defeated [too easily for many reviewers], and this choice is apparently what repelled Ms. Dargis. There are serious questions at issue here. The problem is that they are so ineptly presented that few viewers are even aware of them.

Don Siegel, director of the original “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” once said that the pod people were studio executives and others in the film industry who couldn’t comprehend art and interfered in its production. The latest version of Jack Finney’s story shows that they are still with us. Their smooth fingerprints are all over “Invasion.”


Several critics criticized "Invasion" for having a "happy" ending [humans win]. Behind this is a broad rejection of the kind of positive conclusion that once characterized American films. Over at Windmills of My Mind, Damian is doing a month-long survey of Stephen Spielberg's career [one that I highly recommend]. In his discussion of "Sugarland Express" he writes:

Throughout his career Spielberg would become known for traditional, Hollywood-style happy endings. Though sometimes his endings (particularly his more recent ones) are a bit more ambigious than he is given credit for, most people seem to agree that endings tend to give Spielberg some trouble. It is, of course, a legitimate criticism that Spielberg can oftentimes add a happy ending to a film that really doesn’t seem to deserve it. At the same time, however, it could be argued that Spielberg’s unabashedly hopeful outlook on life is merely at odds with a culture that’s growing increasingly more dissatisfied with happy endings in general. It seems pretty evident, to me at least, that our worldview as a whole is gradually becoming more pessimistic, cynical and nihilistic. Thus, when we look at the world and apparently see suffering without purpose, evil without consequence and death without meaning, we naturally look to the movies to confirm those ideas and a filmmaker like Spielberg, who is ultimately an optimist, simply rubs us the wrong way.
Read it here.

If by "us" Damien means the community of critics, he certainly has a point -- it most definitely is characterized by pessimism, cynicism and nihilism. I'm not so sure about the general population, however.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lebanese Beach Babes -- There's More to Life than Politics

You gotta admire the Lebanese. When they want to party, they party, and nothing -- not assassinations, not terrorism, not even war -- gets in their way.

Here was the scene at Damour, a beach resort not far from Beirut.
Young Ukrainian models in flimsy lingerie spray champagne at a boisterous crowd of young Lebanese at a swanky beach resort south of Beirut -- barely a year after Israeli bombs were falling nearby.

Drinks in hand, shapely women in skimpy bikinis dance to the latest club song with men smoking Cuban cigars, underlining the image of a wealthy hedonist minority seizing any chance to escape their country's political crisis and uncertain future.


Young Lebanese were... adamant about making the most of their summer despite a brewing crisis over presidential polls.

"We're worried about the presidential elections, but we're not going to stop living until politicians agree on something," said Mark Khoury, 26, lounging near the poolside bar.

Sounds perfectly sensible to me. Way to go Mark!

Read the whole thing here.

The Cruelty of Environmentalism

Remember those poor Romanian villagers exploited by Sasha Baron Cohen in "Borat"? Of course you do! Their condition was pitiful. Well, a similar Romanian village lies close to a rich vein of gold and has plans to mine it. But rich environmental wackos like George Soros and Vanessa Redgrave are trying to block the mining development on the grounds that it might damage local ecosystems.

John Fund has the story here.

Two films have been made on the situation. One supports Soros, the other the villagers. Guess which film will be shown on PBS?

War And Peace

Today there were two must-read articles available on the Web. The first is by Victor Davis Hanson on the subject of “Why Study War?” A few excerpts:

A wartime public illiterate about the conflicts of the past can easily find itself paralyzed in the acrimony of the present. Without standards of historical comparison, it will prove ill equipped to make informed judgments. Neither our politicians nor most of our citizens seem to recall the incompetence and terrible decisions that, in December 1777, December 1941, and November 1950, led to massive American casualties and, for a time, public despair. So it’s no surprise that today so many seem to think that the violence in Iraq is unprecedented in our history.


Military history teaches us, contrary to popular belief these days, that wars aren’t necessarily the most costly of human calamities. The first Gulf War took few lives in getting Saddam out of Kuwait; doing nothing in Rwanda allowed savage gangs and militias to murder hundreds of thousands with impunity. Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, and Stalin killed far more off the battlefield than on it. The 1918 Spanish flu epidemic brought down more people than World War I did. And more Americans—over 3.2 million—lost their lives driving over the last 90 years than died in combat in this nation’s 231-year history…. [M]ilitary history also reminds us that war sometimes has an eerie utility: as British strategist Basil H. Liddell Hart put it, “War is always a matter of doing evil in the hope that good may come of it.” Wars—or threats of wars—put an end to chattel slavery, Nazism, fascism, Japanese militarism, and Soviet Communism.


[B]y ignoring history, the modern age is free to interpret war as a failure of communication, of diplomacy, of talking—as if aggressors don’t know exactly what they’re doing…. For a therapeutically inclined generation raised on Oprah and Dr. Phil—and not on the letters of William Tecumseh Sherman and William Shirer’s Berlin Diary—problems between states, like those in our personal lives, should be argued about by equally civilized and peaceful rivals, and so solved without resorting to violence.

Yet it’s hard to find many wars that result from miscommunication. Far more often they break out because of malevolent intent and the absence of deterrence.


Military history reminds us of important anomalies and paradoxes…. The 2003 removal of Saddam refuted doom-and-gloom critics who predicted thousands of deaths and millions of refugees, just as the subsequent messy four-year reconstruction hasn’t evolved as anticipated into a quiet, stable democracy—to say the least.

There is more, much more. Read it here.

Then turn your attention to Bruce Bawer’s article on “The Peace Racket”. He writes:

We need to make two points about this movement at the outset. First, it’s opposed to every value that the West stands for—liberty, free markets, individualism—and it despises America, the supreme symbol and defender of those values. Second, we’re talking not about a bunch of naive Quakers but about a movement of savvy, ambitious professionals that is already comfortably ensconced at the United Nations, in the European Union, and in many nongovernmental organizations. It is also waging an aggressive, under-the-media-radar campaign for a cabinet-level Peace Department in the United States.

And what does this peace movement stand for?

First and foremost, they emphasize that the world’s great evil is capitalism—because it leads to imperialism, which in turn leads to war…. Students acquire a zero-sum picture of the world economy: if some countries and people are poor, it’s because others are rich. They’re taught that American wealth derives entirely from exploitation and that Americans, accordingly, are responsible for world poverty.


Peace studies students also discover how to think in terms of “deep culture.” How to prevent war between, say, the U.S. and Saddam’s Iraq? Answer: examine each country’s deep culture—its key psychosocial traits, good and bad—to understand its motives. Americans, according to this bestiary, are warlike and money-obsessed; Iraqis are intensely religious and proud. Not surprisingly, the Peace Racket’s summations of deep cultures skew against the West. The deep-culture approach also avoids calling tyrants or terrorists “evil”—for behind every atrocity, in this view, lies a legitimate grievance, which the peacemaker should locate so that all parties can meet at the negotiating table as moral equals.


The Peace Racket maintains that the Western world’s profound moral culpability, arising from its history of colonialism and economic exploitation, deprives it of any right to judge non-Western countries or individuals. Further, the non-West has suffered so much from exploitation that whatever offenses it commits are legitimate attempts to recapture dignity, obtain justice, and exact revenge.

And so it goes…, and so it goes.

Read the whole indictment here.

An ignorant public unable to place things in a realistic historical context, rampant anti-Americanism in our educational institutions..., nothing to worry about, or is it?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Gingrich Starts to Get It

I have often argued that it would be a good thing to have Newt Gingrich running for President, not because he has a chance of winning (he doesn't) or because he would make a good chief executive (he wouldn't), but because he has a quick and agile mind that would add interesting perspectives to the deadly, dreary dialogue that passes for debate in presidential campaigns.

Here's an example:

Writing in NRO Newt notes:
There is a war here at home, and it is even more deadly than the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Far more Americans are being killed by violent, evil people here in America than in our official military “combat zones” overseas.
He's absolutely right. Restoring law and order and safety to the streets of American communities should be the overriding issue in the upcoming campaign, and I suspect it will be.

But here Newt's imagination fails him. He tries to tie the issue of domestic criminality specifically to immigration.

Americans are killed by violent criminals all too often, of course. But the senselessness and tragedy of these killings [in Newark] and too many others is that they were completely preventable. Their perpetrators were men who should not have been in the United States to begin with and, after multiple previous arrests, shouldn’t have been on the streets. Instead, they should have been in jail awaiting trial, sentencing, prison, and eventual deportation.
Read the whole thing here.

Newt's argument is good as far as it goes, but it attacks the mote and not the beam. Illegal immigration is not the main source of domestic disorder; it is simply a symptom of a much larger problem -- domestic disorder.

Illegal immigration, to be sure, is a major problem for America, but to conceive of the problem as being specific to the immigrants is to define it too narrowly. The crisis affecting America is the local breakdown of civil order -- the presence in our communities of a significant number of people who refuse to live orderly lives and who a threat to the rest of us. We cannot ignore the fact that violent crime is disproportionately committed not by immigrants, but by people born and raised in our country. Focusing on immigration diverts us from this larger problem.

I suspect, and have long argued, that the overriding issue for 2008 is going to be law and order. The problems associated with illegal immigration are simply a sub-set of that issue. This obviously plays to Rudy's strengths and I am not surprised that his opponents are soft-pedaling the issue and trying to divert it into side channels like immigration, but that won't work for long. The Giuliani campaign recently has shown signs of developing a comprehensive approach to a wide range of issues, tying them all to a restoration of order. That, I predict, is a winning approach -- one that can propel hizzoner into the Oval Office.


David Freddoso says it well, "You can't spell environmentalist without 'mental'".

Check the loons out here.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Hooded Man and the Claw

Errol Morris, famed lefty documentarian, has a piece in the NYT Magazine on the fraud perpetrated by one of the Abu Ghraib prisoners, various human rights organizations, and the MSM.

The most famous of the incriminating photographs taken at Abu Ghraib showed a hooded man wired for electric shock torture. The picture gained in value to anti-war forces because a man stepped forward saying that he was the victim under the hood and telling horrible details about his torture and dehumanization. One of the most terrifying details was his nickname, "Clawman", given him because of the mutilation of his hand under interrogation.

Morris notes that none of the photos attached to the story actually showed the mutilated hand, leaving the details to the imagination of the viewer [a magnificently effective expository device] and further discloses that the purported victim was a fraud. The real man under the hood could not be found and thus had no story of horrors to tell. Human rights activists and anti-war journalists needed a story to go with the picture, so when "clawman" stepped forward with his fraudulent account he was welcomed unquestioningly.

In short -- the MSM, the human rights and anti-American activists, and hostile governments accepted and celebrated the pictures because they conformed to the narrative they wanted to tell. They saw what they wanted to see.

Morris is not saying that terrible things did not take place at Abu Ghraib, only that the account spread around the world was falsely over-dramatized for maximum effect. What is disturbing is how avidly and uncritically journalistic and political organizations in this country seized on and publicized the embellishments.

Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Words Fail Me

AP reports:

LUSAKA, Zambia - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe received the loudest cheers Thursday at the start of a southern African summit where his country's economic and political turmoil top the agenda.

Many in the West blame Mugabe's policies for the severe inflation and acute shortages that have crippled his country, once a regional breadbasket. But the dignitaries' reaction as Mugabe was introduced appeared to reflect the opinion that the longtime ruler has been unfairly targeted — or at least a hesitation to criticize a fellow leader many revere as an anti-colonialist hero.
Read it here.

Such is the poison that anti-colonialism has engendered. And who pays? The people of Zimbabwe, that's who.


From the Telegraph:

Cannibal tribe apologises for eating Methodists

A tribe in Papua New Guinea has apologised for killing and eating four 19th century missionaries under the command of a doughty British clergyman.

The four Fijian missionaries were on a proselytising mission on the island of New Britain when they were massacred by Tolai tribesmen in 1878.

They were murdered on the orders of a local warrior chief, Taleli, and were then cooked and eaten.

The Fijians - a minister and three teachers - were under the leadership of the Reverend George Brown, an adventurous Wesleyan missionary who was born in Durham but spent most of his life spreading the word of God in the South Seas.
Read the whole thing here.

No mention of reparations though.

Iraqis Above All

Iraqpundit asks why we haven't heard about this from the MSM?

"The political values of Iraqis are increasingly secular and nationalistic, according to a series of surveys of nationally representative samples of the population from December 2004-March 2007." According to the study, "only 18 percent of those surveyed in October 2006 thought that having an Islamic government where religious authorities have absolute power is 'very good,' compared with 26 percent surveyed in December 2004."

[T]he surveys show a decline in popular support for religious government in Iraq and an increase in support for secular political rule." Note that support among Iraqis for a religious state, now declining, was never very great to begin with.

"54 percent of Iraqis surveyed described themselves as 'Iraqis, above all,' (as opposed to 'Muslims, above all' or 'Arabs, above all') compared with just 28 percent who described themselves that way in April 2006. Three-quarters of Iraqis living in Baghdad said they thought of themselves in terms of their national identity, as Iraqis above all. 'This is a much higher proportion than we found in other Middle Eastern capitals...."
Read the whole thing here.

The answer to the question is obvious. The MSM has settled on a narrative, one that suits the agenda of leading Democrat politicians. It holds that the religious antagonisms in Iraq are so deeply seated in their culture and so widespread that any attempt to create a unified democratic polity must fail. The Iraqis are not, they argue, ready for democracy and won't be for a long, long time. Any attempt to impose it would produce civil war, regional destabilization and widespread religious conflict, and so the only thing for us to do is to retreat and allow the region to stew in its own medieval juices.

Evidence to the contrary, such as is reported by this survey, is either discredited or ignored. It just doesn't fit the narrative.

But the narrative seems to be changing. People are waking to the fact that there is no civil war, that the war on terrorism is not lost, and that the outcome of the Iraq intervention is still undecided.

Peters Loves Petraeus

Ralph Peters is one of the few commentators who is willing to place blame for military ineffectiveness on top military commanders, where it belongs. This has not endeared him to Pentagon bureaucrats who reflexively blame civilian authorities for their own screwups. Peters may be contemptuous of the beltway denizens, but he has tremendous admiration for soldiers who can actually fight.

He notes that al Qaeda shows every evidence of desperation. The recent round of bombings were directed not against Muslims [that has been counter-productive] but against religious minorities. The purpose of earlier bombings was an attempt to create a religious civil war in Iraq. That failed. Now the purpose of the bombings is..., well, let Peters say it himself:

al Qaeda needs to portray Iraq as a continuing failure of U.S. policy. Those dead and maimed Yazidis were just props: The intended audience was Congress.

Al Qaeda has been badly battered. It's lost top leaders and thousands of cadres. Even more painful for the Islamists, they've lost ground among the people of Iraq, including former allies. Iraqis got a good taste of al Qaeda. Now they're spitting it out.

The foreign terrorists slaughtering the innocent recognize that their only remaining hope of pulling off a come-from-way-behind win is to convince your senator and your congressman or -woman that it's politically expedient to hand a default victory to a defeated al Qaeda.

Expect more attempts to generate massive bloodshed in Iraq in the coming weeks. The terrorists are well aware of the exaggerated-by-all-parties importance of Gen. David Petraeus' Sept. 15 progress report to Congress. They'll do all they can to embarrass the general and provide ammunition to the surrender caucus.

And why is al Qaeda in such desperate straits?


How has Petraeus changed the outlook so swiftly? Numerous factors are in play, but two of his personal characteristics have helped keep him from making a single wrong move thus far.

* First, Petraeus is relentless. The result is that, for the first time, our military approach has become relentless, too.

In the past, we followed up military wins by stepping back and hoping that the reduction of Fallujah or the latest shoot-'em-up with Muqtada al-Sadr's thugs would prove decisive. We were wrong every time - all our forbearance achieved was to give our enemies time to recover.

Petraeus changed the rules, and God bless him for it. He may have a high-school-prom smile for the media, but the general's a clinch fighter who ignores the bell - and who isn't above landing a blow when the ref ain't looking. It's exactly the approach we've needed.

* The second quality is his leadership style. Micro-managers lose control in war. While Petraeus is interested in every detail and spends plenty of time on the ground with tactical commanders, he assigns missions, gives the essential guidance - then trusts subordinates to do their jobs.

Previous U.S. commanders worried about the wrong things, and they worried all the time. Petraeus is concerned about the one thing that matters: Winning.

He's that rarer-than-a-unicorn beast, a full general capable of learning. Petraeus hasn't "defended his dissertation" in the face of contrary facts. The politically correct counterinsurgency manual he produced before taking up this assignment delighted the left-of-center think-tank crowd - but they must be very disappointed today. Once in command in Iraq, Petraeus kept the doctrinal bits that worked, but dumped the baloney.

Wow! And how did you like that tongue-bath General? Want some more? OK!

He's doing what it really takes: Fighting. Our troops are killing those who need killing; tens of thousands of terrorists, insurgents and militiamen are in lockup, with more coming in every day. And any member of the NYPD can tell you that taking murderers off the streets works.
Note the NYPD reference, it's important.

Col. Peters' article is symptomatic of something very real and very powerful. There is a growing hunger in this country for a take-charge, no-nonsense, law and order guy like Gen. Petraeus.

Gee, I wonder which candidate might have credentials in that area?

Lemme think..., hmmm..., Oh Yeah!


I don't usually agree with Col. Peters, but this time I think he's on to something.

Oops! Climate Models Incomplete

Remember all those climate models used to forecast future climate change -- the ones predicting catastrophe in the near or far future? Of course you do. They claimed to be authoritative and complete and and adequate basis on which to institute radical policy changes that would affect the lives of everyone.

Well, as it turns out, they were missing a big hunk of information. Specifically they did not take into account one of the major elements of the ocean circulation system that drives global climate change.
New research shows that a current sweeping past Australia's southern island of Tasmania toward the South Atlantic is a previously undetected part of the world climate system's engine-room, said scientist Ken Ridgway.

The Southern Ocean, which swirls around Antarctica, has been identified in recent years as the main lung of global climate, absorbing a third of all carbon dioxide taken in by the world's oceans.

Read about it here.

Once again the "settled science" turns out to be a lot less settled than the Gorey Gang pretends it is. All the more reason to tread hesitantly when addressing questions of environmental policy.

They're Everywhere, They're Everywere!

Scientologists, that is. has a list of secret Scientologist celebrities here.

While you are there check out their list of celebrities who are secretly straight. You know what I mean, celebrities who seem to be gay, but aren't.