Day By Day

Friday, November 30, 2007

Challenging Murtha

William Russell is planning to take on Jack Murtha in next year's elections. Here's his statement:

My name is William T Russell. I am running for Congress against John Murtha as a Republican in the 12th Congressional District of Pennsylvania in the November 2008 election.

I would like to introduce myself to you. I am a family man, a husband, and a father. I am also a small business owner and entrepreneur, as well as an American Soldier....

Read the whole thing here.

I wish him luck, but he has one really big thing against him. He's not from the area and folks from Pittsylvania can be pretty clannish. I know -- I grew up there.

Happy Birthday Jacques

Jacques Barzun is 100 today. Nobody in the past century has contributed more to the intellectual life of this nation than he.

Happy birthday to a great man.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


The last seven anti-American, anti-war films have tanked, so what do the Hollywood execs do? They greenlight half a dozen more of them.

First there will be the "Blackline" trilogy -- a series of films based loosely on Blackwater Corporation. Guess who the villains will be? (Read about it here.)

Then there will be this:

“Traitor”: Don Cheadle (“Oceans Thirteen,” “Hotel Rwanda”) portrays a CIA operative working undercover with a terrorist group who mixes it up with an FBI agent played by Guy Pearce (“L.A. Confidential”).

and this,

“Stop-Loss”: Ryan Phillippe stars as a decorated Iraq war hero who resists being forced back to Baghdad under the military’s stop-loss process.

and this,

“S.O.P.: Standard Operating Procedure”: This documentary by Oscar winner Errol Morris (“The Fog of War”) focuses on Abu Ghraib, based on 200 hours of interviews with soldiers and prisoners.

and this,

“Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?”: “Super Size Me” director Morgan Spurlock is keeping a tight lid on his doc about the search for the world’s most infamous terrorist. Execs who saw early footage had to sign a “shocking” nondisclosure agreement.

Read about it here.


Over at Libertas Dirty Harry wonders if Hollywood has "lost its ever-loving mind." I think the answer is obvious.

de Camp

And while we are on the subject of authors' centennials, L. Sprague de Camp was born 100 years ago today. His fans are celebrating over at the Cimmerian. I once had dinner with Sprague and his wife, Catherine, and carried on a brief correspondence with him on the subject of ancient and medieval technology. He was a gentleman and a scholar and an immensely engaging conversationalist. I remember him fondly.

The L. Sprague de Camp website is here.

Hat Tip, Instapundit


Just a quick reminder for those of you who procrastinate to the last second, Jacques Barzun's 100th birthday is tomorrow. He is one of our greatest scholars, certainly our greatest historian. Fifty one years ago he was selected as Time's "Man of the Year" and his career was just getting started. He is the author of more than thirty books, at least half a dozen of which are classics. Twelve of them are still in print. His last book -- Dawn and Decadence, a best-seller -- was published when he was ninety-two years old(you might have caught the hour and a half interview with him on C-SPAN).

Gee, I wonder what he is planning next.

You might want to check out the Barzun Blog, dedicated to him and his work here.

To purchase any of his books, simply click on the Amazon link at the top of this page. Do it, you'll be glad you did.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's an Election Year, So the Doom-mongers Are Back

It has been said that if you laid all the economists in the world end to end they still wouldn't reach a conclusion. That's certainly the case regarding the current state of the economy.

Larry Summers, a Clinton tool in a year in which Hillary is aspiring to the Oval Office whose opinion is therefore suspect, predicts in the Financial Times an imminent recession unless the Fed takes drastic action to lower interest rates.

The New York Times predicts worse. Americans, they argue, have been living beyond their means for decades, depending on the kindness of other nations to sustain our extravagant policies and lifestyles, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. Get ready for richly deserved hard times. [here]

Noruiel Roubini, over at Global Economic Monitor, predicts that the crisis will worsen regardless of how much liquidity the central banks pump into the system. [here]

Which prompts Mark Thoma to respond that the biggest danger facing us right now is the possibility that people will take Summers' and the other hysterics' advice and stimulate us into a period of inflation. [here]

Thoma is right -- the hysterics and the moralistic tut tutting, however psychologically gratifying or politically useful, are not appropriate. At the most fundamental level, what we are trying to deal with is a crisis of confidence in the lending industry, and predictions of imminent doom are not helping the situation one bit.

Brad DeLong explains [here].
A U.S. recession is probable because sentiment now believes that a U.S. recession is probable.

We seem to be experiencing what George Will [remember him?] calls "The Politics of Economic Hypochondria". Basically, he argues, the welfare state mentality that now permeates our culture leads people to think like spoiled children. He may be right. Whatever the cause, public pronouncements of doom by political tools or smug moralists are not helpful.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Drums on the Mountain

The things you see on YouTube!

Some guy hauled a hang drum all the way up to the Pinnacle, a rock outcropping on the Appalachian Trail just down the way from Hawk Mountain's north lookout where I like to sit and watch raptors.

Gotta admit, it's sorta neat, in a weird way that is.

Summary Judgment

"She Who Must Not Be Named" has issued her judgment on a YouTube song I posted a few days ago -- the one with Jane Monheit and Michael Buble doing "I Won't Dance". She checked a few other songs by Monheit and proclaimed her "too draggy". No, she wasn't saying that Jane looked like a drag queen or anything like that, just that her songs were too down tempo. But Michael Buble is another story. "She" really likes his work, particularly this piece:

Well, it's more up tempo and the song is nice as a novelty and the guy has great phrasing and a pleasing stage presence, but Monheit has that wonderful voice and can do amazing, sophisticated, subtle things with it that are far beyond Buble's ken. Sure, she's over the top visually -- works her eyes and body too much -- and she likes to show off her technical virtuosity a bit too much. At times you just want her to sing the melody plain and simple. But she's still young and learning her stagecraft. Buble right now is as good as he ever will get [and that's pretty damn good] but Jane is still developing and it will be exciting to see what she eventually does with all that talent.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Demon Haunted World?

I just don't know what to make of this. Moonbattery has been mainstreamed.

A national survey conducted by Scripps Howard and Ohio University found that nearly two thirds of the public actually believes that the government had advance warning of 9/11 and refused to do anything about it. One third of the public thinks that the government was actually complicit in the attacks. Sixteen percent believe that the government actually staged the attacks so as to have an excuse for going to war.

Other beliefs:

Forty two percent believe that the government knew in advance about the Kennedy assassination.

Thirty-seven percent believe in UFO's and that the government is hiding evidence of them.

Eighty percent believe that the big oil companies are conspiring to drive gasoline prices up.

Read about it here.

This is insanity -- sheer insanity! Yet it is the mood of the public today, and such absurdities are particularly common among young people. This does not bode well for the future -- not well at all.

How can we explain such rampant madness, such pervasive ignorance and distrust and cynicism, especially among the young? Is it the schools..., the mass media..., the breakdown of the family..., secularization? What?

Years ago Carl Sagan, viewing the rise of irrational, superstitious nonsense in our culture, warned that we were inhabiting a "Demon Haunted" world. At the time I thought he was alarmist. Now I am alarmed.

In his book Sagan urged people to use critical, logical thinking and to rely on scientific authority. Well..., he was half right.

Lebanon On the Line

Things are getting very complex and very dangerous in Lebanon. The term of pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud has ended and what will follow is still very undecided. For a while things were very tense. For several weeks pro-Iranian Hizbullah leaders had been calling on Lahoud to launch an anti-western Jihad [here] and for a while on Friday it seemed he was about to. Lahoud declared a "state of emergency" and ordered the Lebanese Army into the streets to "keep order" [here]. This move was denounced as unconstitutional by the pro-Western Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora [here]. It seemed a pro-Syrian coup was imminent.

But then at midnight, Friday Lahoud backed down and left the presidential palace. This left a problem since elections to choose his successor had been postponed several times. Siniora and his cabinet have formed a caretaker government until Parliament can choose a new president, but this interim government has been declared illegitimate by the Hizbullah.

Pro-western crowds took to the street to celebrate Lahoud's departure, but the situation remains very unsettled. Hizbullah has announced that it will oppose any effort on the part of the caretaker government to take any actions and demands a voice in the choosing of a new President. Negotiations are going on between the pro-Western majority and Hizbullah, but so far they have been inconclusive and the jihadis are threatening violence if they break down.

Read the NYT account here.

Both the Bush administration and that of President Sarkozy are actively involved in this crisis, trying to supervise a peaceful transition to a pro-Western regime. The MSM is currently focused on the Annapolis meeting and the Israel/Palestine problem, but I suspect that the actual delegates to the meeting are far more concerned about what goes on in Beirut than Gaza and the West Bank.

Lest you become too stressed worrying about the threat of more jihadi violence in Lebanon, I've posted a picture of Haifa Wehbe, the Lebanese superstar singer/model. Much more pleasant to contemplate, don't you think, and a reminder that Lebanon is in many ways very Western. Here's a sample of her work, an interesting blend of Arabic and Western styles:

Two Cheers For The Declining Dollar

Democrats and their tools in the MSM are gleefully watching the decline of the dollar [here], citing it as a sure sign that America is on the wrong track -- that the Bush administration has mishandled the economy and weakened the nation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Gerald Baker, writing in the Times of London, puts the matter in proper perspective:

The pundits have finally run out of bad news to report from Iraq, where, unmolested by the morbid fascination of misery-seeking reporters, the locals actually seem to be belatedly enjoying the first fruits of their liberation. So attention has turned again, as it has tended to do from time to time these past 50 years, to the inevitable collapse of the American economy.


Much has been written about the eschatological symbolism of the dollar's fall and the financial problems that have accompanied it. The apparent consensus among commentators here in America and especially in Europe is that the US has become a kind of Third World country, awash in debt and sinking fast because of a collapsing housing market and a banking system in meltdown. And all this is supposed to reflect in turn a seismic shift in the balance of global economic power away from the US and towards Mighty Europe and Emerging Asia.

But such apocalyptic interpretations, however emotionally or politically gratifying, are not accurate. Instead,
prosaic facts such as differentials in countries' short-term interest rates, the rebalancing of temporary financial and economic imbalances and sudden changes in demand for and prices of commodities such as oil produced by particular countries...
are far better explanations of what is happening in international currency markets.

What is more, this is nothing new:
Between 1985 and 1995, the dollar declined by 43 per cent against the world's big currencies — somewhat more than it has in the past six years. That period was also marked by dire proclamations of the end of US economic power. But it turned out that in those years the foundations were laid for the strongest period of US economic growth in the past 35 years.
And what about those moralists who say that the US is running on borrowed time because of the [shudder] enormous debt run up by Bush? Baker provides a bit of perspective:
The first thing to be said is that the level of public sector borrowing in the US is very small. The fiscal deficit, at just over 1 per cent of national income, is smaller than in most major European countries. It's true that America faces a large long-term fiscal challenge from an aging population. But it's a smaller challenge than that faced by most of Europe, Japan or even China.
And what about that enormous private debt run up by greedy Americans [about 5 trillion dollars since 2001]? If you look at it as investment rather than simple debt, it turns out to have been a wise decision:
The aggregate value of houses alone is up $8 trillion [since 2001]. The increase in the value of stocks held either directly or through pension funds and other investment instruments is higher by another $8 trillion. That's an increase in net wealth of American households of $11 trillion in less than six years. That's about $90,000 for every household in the country.
Not bad as a rational economic decision!

Read it here.

And if you look at the supposed currency crisis from overseas, things are quite different.

Der Spiegel this week noted that the decline of the Dollar against the Euro is hurting European business and boosting unemployment there. It urges the European Central Bank to follow the example of the US Federal Reserve and cut interest rates [an unlikely prospect] or to negotiate a treaty granting an international agency like the World Monetary Fund power to coordinate currency rates [not bloody likely]. [here]

And then there's this:

MSNBC reports:

Airbus signaled a significant cut in its research and development budget yesterday, as part of emergency measures to face the "life-threatening" effects of the weak U.S. dollar on its largely European production base.

Tom Enders, chief executive of the European aircraft maker, raised the alarm over Airbus's future development plans in a hard-hitting speech to German unions detailing the consequences of the sharp decline in the dollar, which this week hit new lows against the euro.

Read it here.

So, the dollar has declined, but the American economy continues to hum quite nicely, and what adverse effects have ensued are mostly felt in Europe, not the U. S. [although the weak dollar does contribute to the runup in gas and oil prices]. There is an economic crisis looming, but it is on the European horizon, not on ours.

The point is simple and obvious: cheap moralism is a bad basis on which to construct economic, fiscal, or monetary policies, but it makes for effective politics, so expect the critics to keep up their drumbeat of misinformation, at least until a Democrat is in the Oval Office.


In the Telegraph Ambrose Evans-Pritchard notes that the weak dollar, combined with an excessively strong Euro, is devastating Europe's industrial core and fears that the political fallout will result in the destruction of the EU.

Read it here.


Megan McArdle links [here] to articles discussing the possibility that Italy will be the first country to abandon the euro. She suggests that when distinguished scholars begin to write learned articles proclaiming that the breakup of the EU is impossible, that is a good sign that such a breakup is possible. It is also clear from these articles that the major reason for maintaining the strength of the Euro, despite the policy's devastating effects, is simple chauvinism. Euro-elites take pride in the strength of their currency compared to the dollar, even if that pride is strangling them.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Catholic Moment

It's baaaaack,

The old nativist question as to whether Catholics can and will exercise intellectual independence if elected to high office is once again being bruited about. Thomas C. Reeves, over at HNN, makes the case that they are free to do and in fact do so regularly. Jonathan Dresner, in a comment, is not so sure. [here]

The fact that this question is still a matter of discussion tells us a lot, and it is not very complimentary, about the liberal/left wing perspective on American society. Nobody raises the question of whether Teddy Kennedy or Nancy Pelosi or John Kerry is capable of exercising independence of thought. Only conservatives are queried.

Still it is worth noting, if Rudy Giuliani wins the Presidency, the President, the Speaker of the House, and five of nine Supreme Court justices will be Catholics. We may be witnessing what future historians term the "Catholic Moment" in American political culture.

They Won't Dance, But They Sure Can Sing!

Two emerging jazz talents in a fun video. Jane Monheit and Michael Buble team up on "I Won't Dance". He's good, but her voice is amazing. Now if someone would post her version of "Honeysuckle Rose."

Another Film I Won't Bother to See

The Mist

Libertas explains why:

The Mist is a film where 11-minutes in a sweet old lady makes a speech scolding America for spending money on corporate handouts and bombs instead of education; a film where 15-minutes in the first reaction a Christian woman has at the sight of fog is to proclaim, “It’s the end of days!” as opposed to, “Could be a cold front;” a film where three uniformed Army troopers are locked in a grocery store under attack but leave it to the pudgy, nebbish bag boy to be the hero; a film that wants to be about man’s inhumanity to man but which results in yet another example of Hollywood’s contempt for its audience.


The dialogue is awkward and didactic, and coming out of the mouths of decent actors would be difficult enough, but from this b-level cast I was reminded of those Sci-fi Channel Monster-of-the Week movies I come across and watch just to see how long I can stand it. About ninety-minutes in I wrote a note to myself which simply read, “This movie is ridiculous.” And that was before we got to an ending so bad I wasn’t snickering alone.
Read it here.

Ho hum. I can stand a clunky horror film, but these sort of petty insults directed against mainstream American culture annoy me, and when I go to the movies I'm not interested in being mildly annoyed. There's really no reason to waste time and money on this amateurish product.

I'll give this one a pass.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Winter's Tale

Winter came early this year -- much too early. The trees weren't ready for it. For that matter, neither were "She Who Must Not Be Named" and I.

This is what the mountains looked like just last week. Every day I could look out on the realms of gold.

But it was not to last. Early last Sunday I looked out the window and saw this.

Yep, that's snow and it's coming down hard. It continued all morning long, and into the afternoon..., and into the evening..., and into the night. The next morning this is what I saw.

There was beauty in the new-fallen snow. Like this:

Or this:

But there was also this:

There were downed branches everywhere. The trees had not yet dropped their leaves and the snow clung to them. Gravity did the rest, ripping the branches untimely from their trunks. We cleared the driveway and figured that would be enough.

Boy, were we wrong!

Late that evening "She" was dozing in front of her computer. Suddenly she was awakened by loud popping sounds and the smell of burning plastic. At the other end of the house my computer began to flash off and on. Immediately I unplugged it and then I, too, smelled burning plastic.

"There must be a short in the electrical system," I thought. Frantically, we searched through the house looking for any hint of fire. All we found, though, were burned out surge protectors and light bulbs.

We shut down everything except the heat. "She" went to bed while I stayed up, just in case. I actually was fairly comfortable. I lit some candles for company, got out an emergency flashlight and some books and spent the night doing some serious reading.It was sorta nice -- no distractions.

In the morning we called an electrician who had installed some lines for us a few years back. He was busy dealing with emergency calls -- a lot of people had lost power in the storm and had no heat. We told him we still had heat, but were experiencing power surges. He promised to drop by on his way back from the emergency calls. We sat and waited and worried about fire.

That evening he arrived, checked out the circuit box, said "I shoulda come here sooner" and immediately turned off the main switch. His instruments had registered a power surge of 230 volts. Normal is 120.

That's not a short, he said, the problem is outside. He and I traipsed back through the woods, following the power line. Sure enough, it was broken. A falling limb had cut the neutral line and that was the reason for the power surges.

"Nothing I can do here" he said. "That's for the power company to fix."

So we called the power company. They were busy handling emergencies. They'd send a crew out as soon as possible.

Once again we waited. This time without heat or water or anything. Eventually it got dark. "She" went to bed while I sat with my books and flashlight and waited..., and waited..., and waited.

Around midnight a repair truck showed up. Only one man aboard, and he was not happy to be crawling around the woods in the middle of the night. I showed him the break and he got to work. About an hour and a half later he said it was OK to turn on the main switch. Aaaaah! Heat and light and water!

By this time "She" was awake again. As soon as the electric company guy left "She" went around the house checking to see what worked and what didn't. A lot of minor appliances, like her hair dryer, were fried, but all the big ones, like the refrigerator, were working. The only problem was the security system was out.

The next morning we called the security company and they promised to send a repairman as soon as possible, but there were a lot of emergency jobs in the queue. Once again we waited..., and waited. Of course our plans for spending the holiday down in the DC area were shot. That evening a repairman finally showed up and fixed the security alarm.

That left only minor problems to deal with -- the garage door opener isn't working, things like that. A few hours later we packed up and headed to the harbor. When we left the mountain the temperature was 31 degrees. When we arrived at the harbor in the wee, small hours of the morn it was 58 degrees. Today it was in the seventies and people we talked to were completely unaware that a major storm system had passed just to the north.

The mountains and the harbor. Two completely different worlds -- so near and yet so far.

At least now I can get some quality sleep time.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

"She Who Must Not Be Named" and I just got back from a grueling stay in the mountains. Heavy snowstorm; power surge fries electric system; falling branch knocks out power; repairmen overstrained and unable to make repairs; long hours sitting in a dark, cold place worrying about fires. You get the drift.

But that's all over now -- we got most of the problems fixed. Just drove down to the Harbor. When we left the mountain it was 31 degrees outside -- here at the harbor it is 58. Two completely different worlds.

Must sleep now -- try to blog a bit in the morning.

Friday, November 16, 2007

More Michael Yon

From Michael Yon:
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any fighting. I can’t remember my last shootout: it’s been months. The nightmare is ending. Al Qaeda is being crushed. The Sunni tribes are awakening all across Iraq and foreswearing violence for negotiation. Many of the Shia are ready to stop the fighting that undermines their ability to forge and manage a new government. This is a complex and still delicate denouement, and the war may not be over yet. But the Muslims are saying it’s time to come home. And the Christians are saying it’s time to come home. They are weary, and there is much work to be done.
Check out the whole post here.

Why don't we see more pictures like this in the MSM? Oh yeah, of course, it might make Bush look good.

Punishing the Victim


AFP reports:
A court in the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia is punishing a female victim of gang rape with 200 lashes and six months in jail, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

The 19-year-old woman -- whose six armed attackers have been sentenced to jail terms -- was initially ordered to undergo 90 lashes for "being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape," the Arab News reported.

But in a new verdict issued after Saudi Arabia's Higher Judicial Council ordered a retrial, the court in the eastern town of Al-Qatif more than doubled the number of lashes to 200.

A court source told the English-language Arab News that the judges had decided to punish the woman further for "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media."

Saudi Arabia enforces a strict Islamic doctrine known as Wahhabism and forbids unrelated men and women from associating with each other, bans women from driving and forces them to cover head-to-toe in public.

Last year, the court sentenced six Saudi men to between one and five years in jail for the rape as well as ordering lashes for the victim, a member of the minority Shiite community.

Read it here.

Let's see now..., she is Shia, the rapists are Sunni. Any guesses as to what the judges are? That's right, Sunni.

There seems to be a bit more to the story than sectarianism, though. The girl appealed the original verdict to the "Higher Judicial Council" which ordered reconsideration. The even harsher second verdict was obviously a thumb in the eye of the Saudi authorities who were seeking to regulate Sharia courts.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

There has been a lot of discussion on the blogosphere and in middlebrow mags on the subject of whether Americans still have a common culture. Given the intensity of the culture wars and the extreme partisanship of our political discourse the question does have a bit of pertinence.

The Anchoress has a nice little piece on the common American culture here. In it she observes:

American culture is this: we hear Ride of the Valkyries and think, “Kill da wabbit, kill da wabbit, kill da Wabbit!”

Now that's the American culture I can identify with!


JB writes to say that it reminds him of the smell of napalm in the morning.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Evolution Debate -- Jerry Fodor and the Left

In the current culture wars "progressives" like to pose as the defenders of scientific truth against irrational, uninformed religious moralists. However, the situation is by no means as clear-cut as secularist controversialists and the media would have it.

First of all, scientific "truth" is not nearly as straightforward as the MSM assumes.

Jerry Fodor, writing in the London Review of Books [here] and drawing upon the writings of evolutionary biologists, Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin, notes that there are a lot of logical problems associated with the strict Darwinian adaptationist perspective that has been put forth by many anti-religious controversialists and the MSM. At the least Fodor's article shows that the "science" of evolution is by no means as settled as is often assumed. [For critical responses from equally distinguished authorities go here.]

More important is the point, first raised by Professor Gould, that enthusiasm for Darwinian mechanisms has led many scientists to concoct explanations for observable phenomena that are based not in fact, but in sheer speculation. Gould (recalling Kipling's children's tales) refers to these explanations, which have wide currency in the press, as "just so stories". In other words, much of what is presented in the MSM as scientific "fact" is actually just supposition or at least highly controversial within the scientific community itself.

Accounts in the MSM give the impression that opposition to evolutionary science is exclusively the purview of Christian conservatives, but that is hardly the case. The strongest and most persistent opposition to strict Darwinism has come from the political left, not the right.

For more than a century leftists have railed against many of the popular applications of Darwinian theory (which has been invoked to support capitalist individualism, war, racism, male dominance, social hierarchies, class privileges and any number of other things lefties claim to find repulsive). This left-wing anti-Darwinism, like that expressed by religious conservatives, is ultimately based in repulsion against the moral implications of Darwinian theory.

Today left-wing anti-Darwinism focuses on the pretensions of those subsets of evolutionary theory that attempt to explain human behavior as adaptations to evolutionary pressures. The popular terms for these explanations are "sociobiology" (which holds that human social interactions have been shaped by our evolutionary history) and "evolutionary psychology" (which holds that all of human nature is a product of evolutionary pressures).

At Slate, for instance, lefty feminists denounce the "utter phoniness" of evolutionary psychology because it asserts that cognitive and behavioral differences between the sexes are hard wired into our natures by evolutionary pressures. [read it here] They call for "stamping out" this line of inquiry, at least in its popular manifestations.

The repulsion that many lefties feel toward Darwinism's moral implications poses a real problem for them because the Left has always claimed to base its opinions on "science". This has led many of them to assert that, while the science itself might be right, the popular understanding of this science is in error, a "misinterpretation" of Darwin. This position allows them to assert the validity of the science when it supports their moral bias and to reject its implications when they find them inconvenient.

For a good example of this kind of argument see Tom Riggins' response [here] to Fodor's article in Countercurrents, where he argues that Fodor is right to brand much popular evolutionary psychology "nonsense" but that the Darwinian principles underlying this silliness are correct -- they have simply been "misinterpreted" and must be read instead in a "dialectical" manner.

These absurd contortions as well as the silly stories that instigated them testify to the fact that "science", unmediated by political, social, moral and even religious considerations, is an important, but ultimately inadequate and even dangerous basis upon which to forge public policy. We can never allow the technocrats free rein to organize our affairs, public and private.


John Hawks has a long post on this very subject. His points will not be welcomed by any of the factions in this debate. He argues that the whole problem is due to the fact that neither the adaptationists nor their critics are numerate enough to understand the mathematical principles underlying natural selection nor are they sophisticated enough to understand the philosophical issues involved. Perhaps all sides need to go back to school, learn calculus and statistics and a lot of economics and demography, read some logic and get some experience with econometric modeling. Then they will be in a position to judge the difference between "just so stories" and real, falsifiable explanations. Such distinctions, Hawks argues, can be made if we use the right tools.

Been there, done that.

Having some experience with econometrics I appreciate his argument -- indeed some progress can be made through demographic modeling -- but the models themselves are often deeply flawed, a problem made more difficult when there are huge gaps in the data and when they are filled in with proxies. There is just no way to get around the GIGO problem.

Read Hawks' commentary here.

The Bush Haters

Peter Berkowitz has a nice piece in the WSJ on the irrational hatred of President Bush that passes for rational opinion in todays intellectual elites. He argues that Bush hatred is something distinct from previous hate campaigns.

Bush hatred is different. It's not that this time members of the intellectual class have been swept away by passion and become votaries of anger and loathing. Alas, intellectuals have always been prone to employ their learning and fine words to whip up resentment and demonize the competition. Bush hatred, however, is distinguished by the pride intellectuals have taken in their hatred, openly endorsing it as a virtue and enthusiastically proclaiming that their hatred is not only a rational response to the president and his administration but a mark of good moral hygiene.
Read the whole thing here.

He's right. In my decades in academia I had to endure the malignant assaults of Nixon haters and Reagan haters, but Bush Derangement Syndrome is something else again. I suspect that class and ethnic antagonisms are in play here -- the children and grandchildren of late nineteenth and early twentieth century immigrants and self-styled "meritocrats" reacting to what they see as the undeserved success enjoyed by a scion of the old WASP aristocracy.


Shannon Love has an interesting take on BDS:
Bush hatred serves as group identification marker for the Left. Since the 60’s, the articulate intellectuals and their wanna-bes have created a entire subculture which uses politics as a social glue in the same way that traditional culture used religion. People who do not hate Bush get ejected from the subculture.
Read it here.

I'm not sure that is a legitimate use of the term "culture" but it is an interesting perspective.

Stewart Taylor, no conservative he, has a nice piece in the National Journal on the intellectual corruption that has infested our institutions of higher learning.

He points to the malignant effects of:
totalitarian "diversity" obsessives who pollute -- and often dominate -- political discourse at almost all of our universities, from coast to coast.
and opines that,
that the cancerous spread of ideologically eccentric, intellectually shoddy, phony-diversity-obsessed fanaticism among university faculties and administrators is far, far worse and more inexorable than most alumni, parents, and trustees suspect.
Read the whole thing here.

Fortunately there are sane and heroic individuals like Alan Kors and Harvey Silverglate who are waging a courageous struggle against this perversity.
We had been told, time and again, that this would be a bad year for foliage, but things have turned out pretty well. Last week was probably the peak. We drove up to Pottsville yesterday and I took a few pictures on the way. Here are a couple of shots of the trees just north of Schuylkill Haven.

Not bad. Actually pretty typical for this region -- lots of oak -- gold and green and brown and dull red -- not many maples so you don't get the really vibrant hues like you do up in New England. I actually like this mix better. It's nice to walk through realms of gold.

We came back south over country roads, like this one.

Fuzzy Deer

A group of deer passed through the woods right beside our place yesterday. "She Who Must Not Be Named" grabbed a camera and tried to get a shot and in the process learned a basic lesson about photography. When you set the camera on auto-focus the mechanism will focus on the closest object near the center of the image and unless you are using a deep-focus lens everything else will be fuzzy.

Here's what "She" got.

The critters are hard to see to begin with and when they are fuzzy damn near impossible. In case you missed it, I cropped the section where a deer can be seen and ramped up the contrast.

Another Movie I Won't Be Seeing

Lions for Lambs. Ross Douthat sums it up this way:
It's rare that you encounter a bad movie whose badness deserves no analysis, no interpretation, no exculpatory comments - nothing but pure, unadulterated derision. Lions for Lambs, however, is such a movie. Indeed, I fear that mere words can't begin to convey its unmitigated awfulness.
Read it here.

A Little Perspective Please

One of the most aggravating things about today's anti-administration rhetoric is the total lack of perspective on the nature of war and its conduct. Daniel Ford, writing in the WSJ, notes:
Whereas now we go into combat hoping for zero casualties and regard any loss whatever as proof of unforgivable incompetence, the history of warfare is mostly a chronicle of high casualties and terrible sacrifice.
Read it here.

A "Former Spook" offers some perspective.
Over 50,000 Americans died during World War I, despite our late entry into that conflict. More than 300,000 perished during World War II; the Korean War claimed another 30,000 military personnel and 58,000 died during Vietnam. By comparison, the number of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan now totals just over 4,000 (in 73 months of combat), a testament to improvements in tactics and training, better protective gear and advances in combat medicine.
Read it here.

In fact it is difficult to find in the annals of warfare any major conflict fought as efficiently and effectively as the current war in Iraq. The war effort should stand as an example of effectiveness and competence rather than the converse.

What is most disappointing is that many of the critics of the war effort know better, yet in their zeal to push a political or bureaucratic agenda, or through the simple operation of Bush Derangement Syndrome, they completely ignore or mis-represent the historical context within which this current conflict is being conducted.

War...? What War?

Ralph Peters, writing in the New York Post, notes that media interest in the war has waned as we have become more successful in prosecuting it.

Far fewer Iraqi civilians are dying at the hands of extremists. U.S. and Coalition casualty rates have fallen dramatically. The situation has changed so unmistakably and so swiftly that we should be reading proud headlines daily.

Where are they? Is it really so painful for all those war-porno journos to accept that our military - and the Iraqis - may have turned the situation around? Shouldn't we read and see and hear a bit of praise for today's soldiers and the progress they're making?

The media's new trick is to concentrate coverage on our wounded, mouthing platitudes while using military amputees as props to suggest that, no matter what happens in Iraq, everything's still a disaster.

Read it here.

They are bound and determined to make sure that the public remembers Iraq as a disaster, a quagmire, and a mistake and will stay on that course until long after the election is decided and public perception doesn't matter any more.

He also gets some richly-deserved swipes in at the clueless peacocks in Hollywood and the MSM, and includes this delicious phrase, "the 100-proof nastiness of the intelligentsia." Having spent much of my life in academia, I have become acquainted with numerous self-styled "intellectuals" and "nastiness" is the most appropriate term for their perspective I can imagine.

Where's Our Casablanca?

The blogosphere is all abuzz about the boxoffice failure of this season's anti-war films. Likeks comments on the commentators:

As many have noted elsewhere at great length, anti-war movies are unpopular. The theories vary: the public is tired of the war, the movies are lousy, the public doesn’t want to see Uncle Sam portrayed as the sort of guy who can’t wait to hook up a Diehard to the harbls of an innocent exchange student rounded up in the Bushilter Mandatory Scoop-Up-The-Dusky Initiative. Both sides will probably come to rest on the last answer, but for different reasons. One side takes cruel comfort in the fact that Americans CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH, as another Cruise movie so memorably accused, and the other side is convinced that Hollywood is so besotted by the vapors in its ideological pleasure-dome it cannot conceive of making a war movie that isn’t a glass of warm spinach juice – or, if it’s slam-bang rah-rah in concept, is laden down with hints and tics and cues designed to insulate the producers from the inevitable protests from all corners. You can almost hear the sighs of a producer looking at an incredible script about the drive to Baghdad, a straight-forward story that complete with straight-ahead, matter-of-fact drama: it’s a great script, but my wife’s all hooked up with Code Pink. Not that I care; they’re a bunch of nuts. But I can’t stand the people who think they’re a bunch of nuts for reasons different than mine. Also I’m going to get CAIR writing letters to the editor, and my kid reads that paper. Well, she reads it online. Maybe. I don’t know. It would probably show up on MySpacebook or something. But no one’s going to get hard looks if Tom Cruise comes out against torture, right? I mean, who’s gonna boo that at Cannes?

(Thank you, Mr. Strawman! Thank you for stating so succinctly what I suspect and believe. Remarkable.)

It’s an old subject, and I was moaning about this years ago. And I probably said the same thing: where’s our “Casablanca”?

Read it here.

My feelings exactly.

Actually, the closest thing we have had in recent years to Casablanca is Tony Minghella's The English Patient, which contains numerous references to America's most beloved film. Nearly all the critics compared it to David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia, but the more pertinent comparison is to the Bogart/Bergman film. Patient answers the question, "What if Rick and Ilsa had decided to stay together rather than sacrifice their happiness for the greater good?" At its heart it is a very conservative film. I wonder why so few critics picked up on that. It seemed so obvious, even to the point of recreating specific scenes from the Rick/Ilsa saga, when I saw it.


Google turned me on to David Aaron Murray's review in First Things that makes explicit the ways in which English Patient references Casablanca. Murray, for one, understands what he was seeing. It's appropriate that he writes for a serious conservative religious magazine. I do, however, disagree with his main conclusion. He argues that Minghella's film celebrates today's narcissistic culture. I think it repudiates it. Read the review here and come to your own conclusion.

And, read the correspondents section here where readers agree with me that the film is critical of, rather than celebrating today's culture.

I could not recommend any magazine more enthusiastically than First Things. It is a serious, informed, and profoundly intelligent religiously-oriented comment on American life and culture. It's contributors include some real heavyweights. Check it out here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Only Eighteen Days Left

Until Jacques Barzun turns 100. Just enough time for you to go out and buy one of his many books and read it.

Do it, you'll be better for it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Doing It On Their Own

Bill Roggio reports on an important battle near Samarra:

The vicious infighting between al Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic Army in Iraq manifested south of Samarra in Salahadin province yesterday. The Islamic Army in Iraq, one of the largest insurgent groups allied with al Qaeda in the past, attacked al Qaeda in a village south of the provincial capital on Friday. Eighteen al Qaeda fighters were killed and 16 captured during the hours-long battle, according to an Islamic Army commander.

Here comes the interesting part.
Abu Ibrahim, an Islamic Army commander in the region, told the Associated Press that he informed the Iraqi Police in the region that his fighters intended to attack al Qaeda. Ibrahim requested US forces stay out of the fight, as the insurgent groups could not be distinguished by uniform.
Read it here.


Another Bush Diplomatic Triumph

Don Surber chimes in on a point I have been making for some time. He writes:

The Democratic Party talking point is that Bush turned the “world” against us. The Democratic Party world now consists of Venezuela, Iran, Uzbekistan and Cuba, Cuba, Cuba.

In the real world, nation after nation is electing the pro-American candidates. And they are visiting the United States.

On Wednesday, it was tuxes with Sarkozy.

On Friday, it was Merkel at the ranch.

Yes, indeedy. "Old Europe" is flocking to visit Dubya -- looks like he is not the pariah the Democrats portray him as being.

Read it here.


Another pro-American European leader emerges. November 13, 2007:

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a staunch supporter of President Bush and the War on Terror led his party to a big win in Denmark today.

The picture shows Rasmussen cycling with his buddy Dubya.

Read it here.

Bush is certainly not a pariah, in fact he's looking damn popular. The world is starting to appreciate him. Now let's hope the American public starts to catch up.

Latest on Durrington Walls

Perhaps the most striking neolithic monument in northern Europe is Stonehenge, on Britain's Salisbury plain. It is usually pictured as standing in splendid isolation, but in fact the stone monument was part of a vast complex of structures -- causeways, mounds, enclosures, etc. -- that had obvious ritual significance [map here]. The plain also was a major population center. Archaeologists have recently discovered and are currently excavating a neolithic settlement beneath the enclosure known as "Durrington Walls," only two miles away from Stonehenge. The settlement was perhaps the largest in northern Europe at the time and consisted of several hundred houses.

Read the BBC report here.

We Have Come So Far, So Fast

Hilarious -- what if Jack Bauer had to use 1994 technology?

Check it out here.

Imagine how much technology will change in the next thirteen years.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Yon on Hewitt

Michael Yon on the Hugh Hewitt show talks about the changes in Iraq.

I believe this is the real thing... I’ve seen a change in the mood of the people, and it’s remarkable. And I believe if we can just continue to help them progress, and we’ve got a little bit more serious fighting to do up in Ninewa Province, and then in Kirkuk and Salahaddin Province, and also out in Diayala Province, those four provinces. Other than that, I think really, it’s a matter of pouring on the juice and helping them to get this country going again. I mean, they’re just finished with the war, as long as we can help get the monkey off their back in the form of al Qaeda, which is pretty much crushed at this point.


[It’s happening. In some areas, quicker than others. You know, we’re just on the front edge of it. But I can tell you, I can see it every day I’m out now, or week by week, month by month now.... I really believe five years from now, I’m going to be back here with my camera and my longest lens shooting bird photos. I just feel that it’s coming. You can sense the change in the people. The Iraqi people actually really tend to like Americans. It’s the ones that don’t like us, you know, that can be a pretty severe difference. But in general, they really want to have a relationship with the United States, and it’s not, we’re not dealing with blood enemies here at all.
There's more, about al Sadr, about the gratitude of the Iraqis, about the morale of the troops, etc. Read the whole thing here.

Red Headed Neanderthals

DNA analysis conducted on Neanderthal remains suggests that they were pale-skinned, possibly red-haired, and quite capable of fluent speech.

BBC Report here.

Hmmm..., lessee, what modern population is known for pale, pasty skin, red hair, and a gift of gab?

Mind you, I'm not saying that the Irish are Neanderthaloid..., of course not. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

But.... Ya gotta go where the scientific evidence leads.


After all, "Science is Facts!"

Actually, it is likely that the genetic marker for red hair evolved separately in Neanderthal and modern human populations, which is interesting because it suggests a strong selective pressure for red hair associated with northern Europe. John Hawks has a technical discussion of the evidence here.

Lieberman Speaks Truth to Paranoia

Sen. Joseph Lieberman gave a terrific speech at Hopkins SAIS yesterday in which he said that the Democratic candidates for president were pandering to a "hyper-partisan, politically paranoid" liberal base. Because of that he avowed that he might vote Republican in next year's election.

As described in the Financial Times:

He [Sen. Lieberman] argued that George W. Bush and the Republican presidential candidates remained truer than the Democratic party to its tradition of a "moral, internationalist, liberal and hawkish" foreign policy that was established by presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy.

"The Democratic party I grew up in was unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders," he said.

"[Today's Democrats] are inclined to see international problems as a result of America's engagement with the world and are viscerally opposed to the use of force - the polar opposite to the self-confident and idealistic nationalism of the party I grew up in."

.... [more excerpts]

T]here is something profoundly wrong--something that should trouble all of us--when we have elected Democratic officials who seem more worried about how the Bush administration might respond to Iran's murder of our troops, than about the fact that Iran is murdering our troops.

There is likewise something profoundly wrong when we see candidates who are willing to pander to this politically paranoid, hyper-partisan sentiment in the Democratic base--even if it sends a message of weakness and division to the Iranian regime.

Read the whole article here.

The unstated implication of Sen. Lieberman's remarks was that Hillary Clinton would be the only Democrat candidate worth voting for, because she is the only one who is likely to act responsibly in foreign affairs.

He's right. Hillary would be the only credible president among the Democrat contenders, but the Democratic Party seems to be in the thrall of an activist base that is increasingly divorced from reality. Their "distrust and disdain" for President Bush, noted by Lieberman, is a mark of their irresponsibility.


Bill Kristol notes that none, repeat none of the MSM reported on Lieberman's speech.

If a senator gives a speech, and no major newspaper reports it, does it matter? Joe Lieberman spoke in Washington Thursday on "the politics of national security." The next day, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today ignored his talk. Most Democrats will ignore it.
He also calls for the Republican candidates to consider Lieberman as a running mate -- right, we saw how that worked out for Al Gore. Kristol seems to think that a coalition of mainstream Republicans and moderate Democrats could bring about a political realignment that would exclude the activist bases of both parties. It's an attractive vision, but one that I fear will never come to pass.

The NY Sun discusses Joe's speech here.

Here is the full text of the speech.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bush Was Right -- Deal With It!

What a remarkable image! Michael Yon describes the reopening of St. John's Church in Baghdad:
The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people. ” Thank you, thank you,” the people were saying. One man said, “Thank you for peace.” Another man, a Muslim, said “All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother.” The men and women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory freedom rang over the ravaged land between two rivers.
Read Yon's account here.

Every day brings more and more reports of American and Iraqi successes in the battle against the insurgents and jihadis. For example this [ht, Instapundit]:

Sunni, Shiite tribes unite to fight Qaeda

By Abeer Diwani

Azzaman, November 7, 2007

A rare visit by a delegation representing Sunni tribes in the Province of Anbar to the predominantly Shiite Province of Qadissiya is yet another signal that Iraqis are keen to put an end to sectarian strife.

The Anbar delegation included major Sunni tribes who have formed a coalition and raised a tribal force to check Qaeda influence in their areas.

Anbar was the main stronghold of Qaeda in Mesopotamia but reports say the terror group’s influence there is receding.

The delegation held talks with tribal chiefs in Qadissiya Province centered on national reconciliation.

Ramadi, Anbar’s provincial capital, was for long a no-go area for Iraqi and U.S. troops as Qaeda fighters were almost in total control of its streets and districts.

Diwaniya, Qadissiya’s provincial capital, is currently one of the most restive cities in southern Iraq due to infighting among disparate Shiite militia groups.

Sheikh Mohammed Shaalan said both Sunni and Shiite tribes in the two provinces have vowed to bring national reconciliation to success.

Read it here.

Put them all together and you have something that looks a lot like (dare I say it?) "Victory"!

Don Surber, no shrinking violet he, writes:

Victory, man, it is spelled V-I-C-T-O-R-Y.

I am not saying that this is the end and everyone lives happily ever after. It took the French 10-15 years of going through a few republics to get it right — or at least to their satisfaction.

The reluctance of the American press to embrace victory is understandable. We all got burnt in April 2003 when the statuary was coming down. In January 2005, the purple-fingered majesty of an election also was a false start.

Maybe this is too.

But what is not false — what is for sure — is that eventually Iraqis will establish their own democracy. It will have its ups and its downs. But they will have 1 man to thank for giving them that shot.


President Bush was right. Deal with it.

Read it here.

Over at the "Long War Journal" Bill Ardolino notes several favorable recent developments in Iraq:

The "Surge" and counterinsurgency tactics seem to be working.
The Iraqi people are rising against the jihadists and seeking reconciliation.
The Iraqi security forces are much stronger.
Sectarian cleansing and refugee flight have diminished dramatically.
There is a truce with al Sadr and the Mahdi army.
We are finally gaining control of the borders.
Read it here.

Wretchard at the Belmont Club notes that these encouraging factors are linked and reinforce one another. [here]

The NYT, on p A-19, reports grudgingly:
American forces have routed Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the Iraqi militant network, from every neighborhood of Baghdad, a top American general said today, allowing American troops involved in the “surge” to depart as planned.
Read it here.

And, wonder of wonders, the French President, Sarkozy, gave a speech that contained these sentiments:

From the very beginning, the American dream meant putting into practice the dreams of the Old World.

From the very beginning, the American dream meant proving to all mankind that freedom, justice, human rights and democracy were no utopia but were rather the most realistic policy there is and the most likely to improve the fate of each and every person.

America did not tell the millions of men and women who came from every country in the world and who—with their hands, their intelligence and their heart—built the greatest nation in the world: "Come, and everything will be given to you." She said: "Come, and the only limits to what you'll be able to achieve will be your own courage and your own talent." America embodies this extraordinary ability to grant each and every person a second chance.

Here, both the humblest and most illustrious citizens alike know that nothing is owed to them and that everything has to be earned. That's what constitutes the moral value of America. America did not teach men the idea of freedom; she taught them how to practice it. And she fought for this freedom whenever she felt it to be threatened somewhere in the world. It was by watching America grow that men and women understood that freedom was possible.

What made America great was her ability to transform her own dream into hope for all mankind.

He pledged that France would stand with America in its quest to transform the Middle East.

Today as in the past, as we stand at the beginning of the 21st century, it is together that we must fight to defend and promote the values and ideals of freedom and democracy that men such as Washington and Lafayette invented together.

Together we must fight against terrorism.... For me, failure is not an option. Terrorism will not win because democracies are not weak, because we are not afraid of this barbarism. America can count on France.

Together we must fight against proliferation. Success in Libya and progress under way in North Korea shows that nuclear proliferation is not inevitable. Let me say it here before all of you: The prospect of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons is unacceptable....

Together we must help the people of the Middle East find the path of peace and security....

Together we must help the Lebanese people affirm their independence, their sovereignty, their freedom, their democracy....

And he concluded:

Long live the United States of America!

Vive la France!

Long live French-American friendship!
Read the whole text here.

So much for the Democrats' claim that Bush has made the whole world hate us. Wait until they get a gander at Angela Merkel, another pro-Bush European leader who will soon be visiting this country. The old European leaders who opposed Bush are long gone and a new generation has replaced them, a generation who understands the greatness of Bush's vision and supports it.

I wonder what John Kerry thinks of that.

Harbor Pictures

Well, I'm finally back on line, for a few days at least.

"She Who Has Not Been Named" has gotten the camera bug. Now when she sees something interesting, instead of calling me to take a picture, she just asks "where is your camera? and takes pictures herself"

A few days ago a storm rolled through the harbor and darkened the sky just as the sun dipped low in the sky. The result was brilliant sunlight reflecting off buildings against a striking backdrop of a dark and threatening sky. Here's one of the shots "She" took. Not bad.

We're not sure which of us took this picture. She's sure she did, but I think it was me. I particularly like the texture of the water and it's color, reflecting the early morning sky.

This one I definitely took. It's the cutest craft I've seen in a while.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Hot Republican Babe

Meet Jill Hazelbaker, hot Republican babe for McCain. She'll be speaking at the National Press Club tomorrow.

Real Life Intrudes

Not much posting for the next few days -- we will be traveling [as soon as "She Who Must Not Be Named" finishes packing], and I have a presentation to prepare.

Rotting Pumpkin

For your post-Halloween pleasure:

The Long Takes Revisited

Tracking shots, or "long takes", are among the most difficult things to pull off well in a film. That's why top-rank directors are so enamored of them. It's the ultimate cinematic showoff. Everyone agrees that the best example of the technique was the opening of Orson Welles, "Touch of Evil", but what are the other bests? I posted on a list of the best here which included some impressive work. Now I refer you to another list assembled by [here]. It starts, of course, with Welles, and does not completely overlap the previous list.

To whet your appetite, here's the famous opening sequence from "Touch of Evil" -- yes, that is Charleton Heston playing a Mexican cop and Janet Leigh as his bride. Note how Welles toys with the viewer. Note also, this was filmed before the invention of the steadicam -- they were using cameras that, fully blimped, weighed 500 pounds.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Joss Is Doing It Again -- With Her

The creator of "Buffy", "Angel", and the magnificent "Firefly" has another series in the hopper. It will be titled "Dollhouse" and will star Eliza Dushku ["Faith" from Buffy and Angel, and "Tru" from "Tru Calling"].

According to the press release:
"Dollhouse" follows a top-secret world of people programmed with different personalities, abilities and memories depending on their mission.

After each assignment -- which can be physical, romantic or even illegal -- the characters have their memories wiped clean, and are sent back to a lab (dubbed the "Dollhouse"). Show centers on Dushku's character, Echo, as she slowly begins to develop some self-awareness, which impacts her missions.

Read about it here.

Yep, another Whedonesque conspiracy fantasy -- complete nonsense, but well-written nonsense with attractive characters -- sounds good to me. It will be on Fox next fall. Can't wait.

The Corruption of Climate Science

Today's reading assignment.

The Telegraph has a nice piece showing how ideologues, international organizations and unscrupulous politicians [talkin' bout you Al] corrupted and misrepresented scientific inquiry into climate change to create the current global warming hysteria.

Read "The Deceit Behind Global Warming" here.

Yes, it will be on the test.

Measha, Measha

"She Who Must Not Be Named" and I have been attending the Shriver Hall Concert Series productions at the Baltimore Museum of Art recently. This is their discovery series featuring young up and coming talent. There has been a lot of it on display. There is an impressive generation of young artists out there.

Yesterday's concert featured Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergrosman singing a program of lieder by Benjamin Britten, Ned Rorem, Arnold Schoenberg, Francis Poulenc, William Bolcom, and Eric Satie. Roger Vignoles accompanied.

Here is a clip of Measha singing Reve Infini. She's lost a lot of weight since this was filmed and is looking really good. Outstanding voice, great presentation, this kid can act as well as sing. We had a great time.