Day By Day

Monday, April 30, 2007

Bill Richardson Jumps the Shark

Of all the candidates running for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Bill Richardson always seemed to be the most plausible choice. Certainly, he was the only one for whom I could vote. Well, that's changing.

Don Surber notes the consequences of Richardson's proposed solution to the ongoing genocide in Darfur:

Here is what he is saying:

1. Expand our bureaucracy.

2. Somehow get China, Pakistan, etc. to bend to our will.

3. Deploy another platoon of ineffectual, child-molesting UN blue helmets.

4. Cut a deal with the rebel forces and the corrupt government.

5. Hope the rebels keep their word.

6. Turn over our military to an International Criminal Court so the next Donald Rumsfeld can be tried for war crimes.

And here I thought Gov. Richardson knew what the hell he was doing.

So did I. Now I have strong doubts whether da Gov is ready for the big leagues.

Read Surber's post here.

And then there's this. He wants to cut and run in Iraq -- no qualifications can compensate for this stuff. There's no way I could ever vote for this guy.

The Crumbling Climate Consensus

Another major scientist speaks up to challenge the so-called "consensus" on anthropogenic global warming.

THE United States' leading hurricane forecaster says global ocean currents, not human-produced carbon dioxide, are responsible for global warming.

William Gray, a Colorado State University researcher, also said the Earth may begin to cool on its own in five to 10 years.

Speaking to a group of Republican MPs, Dr Gray had harsh words for researchers and politicians who said man-made greenhouse gases were responsible for global warming.

"They are blaming it all on humans, which is crazy," he said.

"We're not the cause of it."

Read it here.

More on Global Warming

A "scientific" consensus is emerging. Global warming is taking place..., on Mars!

The Times reports:

Mars is being hit by rapid climate change and it is happening so fast that the red planet could lose its southern ice cap, writes Jonathan Leake.

Scientists from Nasa say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period.

Since there is no known life on Mars it suggests rapid changes in planetary climates could be natural phenomena.

Read it here.

Hmmmm. Verrry interrressssting! Over to you, Al.

Antiques At the Auto Club

On Saturday "She Who Must Not Be Named" and I got together with some friends and we all headed out to a party up in Hershey. The venue was the Antique Auto Club of America Museum. All I can say is "Wow!" Their "Top Brass" exhibit, which will be showing until the end of May, is amazing. It is a must see!!!

Here are a few samples of items on display:

Neat, aren't they?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Steyn on Support for the War

He writes:

The Defeaticrats are being opportunist: They think they can calibrate the precise degree of U.S. defeat in Mesopotamia that will bring victory for them in Ohio and Florida. Contemptible as this is, it wouldn't be possible had the administration not lost the support of many of the American people over this war. The losses are devastating for the individuals' families but they are historically among the lowest in any conflict this nation or any other has fought. So I don't believe the nightly plume of smoke over Baghdad on the evening news explains the national disenchantment. Rather, the mission as framed by the president -- help the Iraqi people build a free and stable Iraq -- is simply not accepted by the American people. On the right, between the unrealpolitik "realists" and the "rubble doesn't cause trouble" isolationists and the hit-'em-harder-faster crowd, the president has fewer and fewer takers for a hunkered-down, defensive, thankless semi-colonial policing operation. Regardless of how it works on the ground, it has limited appeal at home. Meanwhile, the leftists don't accept it because, while they're fond of "causes," they dislike those that require meaningful action: Ask Tibetans about how effective half a century of America's "Free Tibet" campaign has been; or ask Darfuris, assuming you can find one still breathing, how the left's latest fetishization is going from their perspective:

"On Sunday, April 29, Salt Lake Saves Darfur invites the greater Salt Lake community of compassion to join with us as we honor the fallen and suffering Darfuris in a day of films, discussion and dance with a Sudanese dance troupe."


Read Steyn's column here.

He's right. Democrats have behaved despicably in this matter, but the administration has failed to rally the American people behind a righteous cause. Too late the Bushies have realized that effective governance in this media-saturated world, is essentially and always a political enterprise. You have to choose a policy that will be an easy sell, then you have to sell it and keep selling and keep selling and keep selling. Bill Clinton, for all his faults, knew that.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Appalachian Springtime -- New Pics

Spent a few days up on the mountain. One of the nice things about living in two states is that you can prolong Springtime. The first wave of Spring blooms has crested down in Maryland, but up north it is just arriving.

One reason I really like the mountain in the Springtime is this. From my favorite workplace I see this when I raise my eyes from the computer screen.

And if I turn around and look the opposite direction I see this.

Or I can wander outside and see this.

Or this.

Or even better this.

And I have wonderful neighbors -- always a joy to watch. I was so taken with them that I didn't even notice the Turkey Vultures circling overhead. If you look really closely you can see a couple of them in the picture.

Here's a better picture of a TV. They always seem to show up right after I step outside. Maybe they know something....

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fred Kagan on Iraq

Fred Kagan, in an interview with Hugh Hewitt disputes the claim, made by many on the Left, that our involvement in Iraq is creating more jihadis. That is something we cannot know. But, he points out, what is important is that Iraq is concentrating the jihadi effort, and once the US withdraws from the current conflict, the jihadis will be free to do other things.

I know for sure that it’s attracting them to the most obvious battlefield. Is it making more of them? I’m not sure. But if you take a look at the example of Afghanistan in the 1980’s, there was a situation where the Soviet presence, that was definitely manufacturing terrorists. And as long as the Soviets were there, they were fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. As soon as the Soviets left, the terrorists didn’t just go home and take up gardening. They left, they moved all around the world, and then they started attacking us. That’s how we got al Qaeda. So the question really is, if we were to leave Iraq tomorrow, what would happen with these guys? And the answer for sure is that they would find other ways to attack and kill us elsewhere.
As President Bush has reminded us time and time again, Iraq is the best place to confront the jihadis, and it is there that they must be defeated. The jihadis thrive on success. They claim to have defeated the Soviets, and to have driven the US out of Lebanon and Sudan. Each withdrawal simply strengthens them. They must be met with determined force and defeated or else they will continue to grow. Iraq offers us the best bet for achieving that victory -- if, of course, the Democrats are willing to allow us to win.

Read a transcript here.

Taheri on Iraq

Amir Taheri asks -- If Harry Reid thinks the US has lost in Iraq, then who won?

[W]hichever way one looks at the situation, America and its Iraqi allies remain the only objective victors in this war.

Reid cannot name al Qaeda as the winner, because the terror organization has failed to achieve any of its objectives. It hasn't been able to halt the process of democratization, marked by a string of elections, and it has failed to destroy the still fragile institutions created in the post-Saddam era. Al Qaeda is also suffering from increasing failure to attract new recruits, while coming under pressure from Iraqi Sunni Arab tribes, especially west of the Euphrates.

In military terms, al Qaeda hasn't won any territory and has lost the control it briefly exercised in such places as Fallujah and Samarra. More important, al Qaeda has failed to develop a political program, focusing instead on its campaign of mindless terror.

What about the remnants of the Saddamite regime? Can Reid name them as victors? Hardly. What's left of the Baath Party has split into four warring factions with rival leaders in exile.

The remnants of the Republican Guards have also split. Some have joined Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, now the Loch Ness monster of Iraqi politics. Others have set up crime syndicates and/or death squads with no discernible political ambitions.

Reid may believe that Iran, either alone or with its Syrian Sancho Panza, is the victor. If that's the case, Reid shares the illusion peddled by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Convinced that the Americans will run away, mostly thanks to political maneuvers by Reid and his friends, Ahmadinejad has gone on the offensive in Iraq and throughout the region. By heightening his profile, he wants to make sure that Iran reaps the fruits of what Reid is sowing in Washington.

But even then, it's unlikely that most Iraqis would acknowledge Ahmadinejad as winner and bow to his diktat. The Islamic Republic cannot act as victor solely because Reid says so.

Read it here.

Good questions. Unfortunately, Chuck Schumer has convinced Reid that a US loss in Iraq will pay big political dividends for the Democrats and so Reid is determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

It's That Time of Year Again!

Only fifty-four shopping days left until "World Sauntering Day." Get your orders in well in advance. You don't want to be one of those unfortunate folk rushing around at the last minute only to find the shelves are bare. And don't forget to set aside a few hours each week to practice your sauntering technique.

Vendors report that in-store sales this year are lagging behind last year's, but attribute it to a rise in internet shopping.

Read about it here.

Oh, and don't forget -- today is "Hug an Australian Day" [only in the southern hemisphere'].

The CBO on Wage and Job Variability

The CBO has just issued a very important report on job and wage volatility.

One of the consistent assertions being made by protectionists in both major parties is that recent changes in the global economy has increasingly cost Americans jobs as companies outsource production or are unable to compete with low-wage foreign firms. The call has been for the government to intervene to protect American jobs and wages from the new danger of "globalization."

Well, Senators Schumer and Webb asked the CBO to take a systematic look at the problem, hoping to find something that Democrats could use in the next round of elections. What they found, though, is that the threat of job loss is more a matter of perception than reality. Neither wages nor jobs are more volatile today than they were ten or twenty years ago. It's just that we pay more attention to them now than we did in the past.

Give Chuck Shumer credit -- he is willing to recognize that his assumptions were wrong.

“Intuitively, you would think volatility is increasing,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who along with Senator Jim Webb of Virginia requested that the study be done. “But it isn’t, which I guess shows that the American economy has always been very flexible.”
Read the New York Times article from which I quote here [ignore the crap about the costs of inequality which is just plain silly].

The CBO report is here.

More Lies Of the Left -- The Patriotism Canard

Time and again Democrats have complained that the White House was trying to squelch debate by questioning the patriotism of war critics. Well, the Economist has checked out those complaints and found them to be baseless.

There seems to be a White House rule that officials are to avoid any mention of patriotism while vehemently attacking critics of the war. The Google searches I ran brought up only instances of Democrats attacking the White House with such language. In fact, the White House takes pains to say it's not questioning anyone’s patriotism.
What is actually going on is that Democrats are trying to squelch debate by claiming that anyone who criticizes them is unfairly questioning their patriotism. Once again the Democrats issue a big lie and it is uncritically accepted by the MSM.

As the Economist puts it,
I fail to see any hypocrisy in the White House saying to Democrats, "Your intentions are decent, but your ideas are rubbish."

Read the post here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Anne Applebaum over at Slate has a nice assessment of Boris Yeltsin's role in the most important events of our lifetimes. Read it here.

Positive Signs in Iraqi Politics

Reuel Marc Gerecht, writing in the Weekly Standard makes some very important points.

First -- Democrats are now so heavily invested in defeat that they have come to see their Party's interest as directly counter to the nation's interest. That is a very dangerous situation for both the Party and the Nation.

Second -- [P]olitically, Iraq is coming alive again. A Shiite-led Iraqi democracy is taking root--an astonishing achievement given the concerted efforts of the Iraqi Sunnis, and the surrounding Sunni Arab states, to attack and delegitimize the new Iraq.

Third -- The improving situation in Iraq is directly due to decisions made by President Bush.
Not that long ago, many--perhaps most--Iraqis thought that the United States would soon abandon Iraq. President Bush's decision to back the surge has altered this perception, in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. The effect of this on Iraq's politics has been enormously beneficial. The retreat of Sadr, the growing Sunni tribal unease, if not outright conflict, with al Qaeda in Anbar, and the growing self-confidence of Maliki are all, in part, results of President Bush's decision.
'Finally -- An emerging Iraqi democracy will not welcome the long term presence of large numbers of American troops in their country. Strengthening Iraq's democratic institutions will ultimately hasten American withdrawal; continued chaos prolongs our presence.

Read it here.

Gerecht notes that within the Shiite majority moderate leaders have begun to eclipse al Sadr's Mahdi forces. Meanwhile in the Sunni regions, there is this news from the Los Angeles Times:

RAMADI, IRAQ — A group of Sunni tribal leaders in beleaguered Al Anbar province said Thursday that it intended to form a national party to oppose insurgents such as Al Qaeda in Iraq and reengage with Iraq's political process.

The announcement came after 200 sheiks said to represent 50 tribes met here and agreed to form a provincial sheiks council and hold the first convention in May of their new party, called Iraq Awakening. Sheiks from three other provinces will attend, organizers said.


[C]ooperation from sheiks in Al Anbar in recent months had contributed to a rise in Iraqi police and army recruitment and a sharp reduction in insurgent attacks on U.S. troops and their Iraqi allies.


With the sheiks' encouragement, Al Anbar tribes have contributed thousands of recruits to Iraq's security forces in recent months, enabling U.S.-led troops to hold and pacify parts of the restive province.

The number of insurgent attacks in Ramadi and its outlying areas has fallen to a fraction of what it was a year ago, said U.S. Army Col. John Charlton, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, who is overall military commander in the Ramadi area.

Read it here.

Hmmm. In both the Sunni and Shiite areas moderates are gradually marginalizing the radical elements of the population.

Democrats keep saying that only a political solution can work in Iraq, but ignore the fact that the Bush administration has been diligently working toward that goal and when it seems to be emerging, the Democrats have nothing to say.

Monday, April 23, 2007


From NASA -- the view from the peak of Mt. Everest.

David Halberstam is Dead

He was killed in a car crash. Already I miss him. He was wrong -- terribly, destructively wrong on just about everything, especially Vietnam -- but he was one of the most influential and interesting writers of our times.

Andrew Klaven on the Lies of the Left

Andrew Klaven has a wonderful piece in the City Journal on the social costs and personal benefits of being a conservative.

The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don’t have to lie. I don’t have to pretend that men and women are the same. I don’t have to declare that failed or oppressive cultures are as good as mine. I don’t have to say that everyone’s special or that the rich cause poverty or that all religions are a path to God. I don’t have to claim that a bad writer like Alice Walker is a good one or that a good writer like Toni Morrison is a great one. I don’t have to pretend that Islam means peace.

Of course, like everything, this candor has its price. A politics that depends on honesty will be, by nature, often impolite. Good manners and hypocrisy are intimately intertwined, and so conservatives, with their gimlet-eyed view of the world, are always susceptible to charges of incivility. It’s not really nice, you know, to describe things as they are.

This is leftism’s great strength: it’s all white lies. That’s its only advantage, as far as I can tell. None of its programs actually works, after all. From statism and income redistribution to liberalized criminal laws and multiculturalism, from its assault on religion to its redefinition of family, leftist policies have made the common life worse wherever they’re installed. But because it depends on—indeed is defined by—describing the human condition inaccurately, leftism is nothing if not polite. With its tortuous attempts to rename unpleasant facts out of existence—he’s not crippled, dear, he’s handicapped; it’s not a slum, it’s an inner city; it’s not surrender, it’s redeployment—leftism has outlived its own failure by hiding itself within the most labyrinthine construct of social delicacy since Victoria was queen.

Read the whole thing here.

Betty Trachtenberg is an Idiot!!!

Ilya Somin over at the Volokh Conspiracy tries to talk some sense to the academic loons:

Reacting to Trachenberg's ban of all representations of weapons in Yale Drama productions Somin [a Yale Law School graduate] writes:

In and of itself, the new Yale rule probably isn't that important (except to the school's theater students). But I fear that it may be the beginning of a broader trend towards enacting "zero tolerance" rules that do little or nothing to reduce violence, but - especially in their cumulative effect - may well reduce the quality of life on campus.

To reiterate an argument from my earlier post, it is essential to recognize that on-campus murders of any kind are extraordinarily rare. We should not, therefore, adopt draconian rules to prevent them unless there is strong evidence that they really will significantly reduce their incidence. Obviously, reducing the incidence of an already highly uncommon event is quite difficult to do. The new Yale rule doesn't even come close to meeting this standard. Hopefully, university administrators at other schools will have better sense than to imitate it.

Read it here.

One commenter, DaSarge, cites Mark Steyn's observation:

To promote vulnerability as a moral virtue is not merely foolish. Like the new Yale props department policy, it signals to everyone that you're not in the real world. The 'gun-free zone' fraud isn't just about banning firearms or even a symptom of academia's distaste for an entire sensibility of which the Second Amendment is part and parcel but part of a deeper reluctance of critical segments of our culture to engage with reality.
I have some problems with Steyn's larger reaction to the killings (he blames the victims for not fighting back), but on this point he is right.

Another commenter, Fub, provides some insight into the radical dissociation from -- even obstinate rejection of -- reality represented by bureaucratic gnomes like Miss Betty:

What makes these ritual bannings of depictions or imitations of real weapons politically effective (among those for whom they are effective) is a very primitive human thought process: belief in sympathetic magic.

The actual object, the weapon, is imbued with magical power. Its very presence magically causes harm. It causes people to behave in evil ways. The rationale commonly offered is that the mere presence of a weapon makes people more prone to violence.

Sympathetic magic is the belief that what one does with an imitation of the thing with magical power will affect the actual thing. For example, in a magical religious context we see the image of a deity addressed, or given gifts or sacrifices. The magical deity is affected through the treatment of its image, and so performs its magic for the one who gives the image a gift.

In the imitation weapon banning context we have first the belief that the object, the actual weapon, is magic and causes those in its presence to behave in an evil manner. The sympathetic magical belief is that by banning the image or the imitation weapon, the magical power of real weapons to cause people to be violent will be lessened, or the real weapons will stay away from the presence of the faithful.
I'm not an anthropologist, but Fub's explanation helps to account for an awful lot of the symbolic silliness that goes on in academic institutions.

Ross on the British Hostage Crisis

While the Western press portrayed the British hostage crisis as a humiliating defeat for the West, Dennis Ross points out that it certainly did not look that way in Iran.

He argues that the hostage taking was planned and carried out by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which is spoiling for confrontation with the West, but that it had not been approved by the nation's religious leadership. What followed, unnoticed by the MSM, was a humiliating defeat, not for the West, but for the Islamic radicals.

First, note that the Iranian press did not even mention the crisis for several days after the British sailors were seized: This was hardly a case in which the regime was trying to whip the public into a frenzy. On the contrary, it seemed to downplay the issue. Second, after the release of the sailors, Ahmadinejad was roundly criticized in many Iranian newspapers, with several articles making the point that the crisis cost Iran greatly without any corresponding benefit. Third, Admadinejad himself acknowledged that the British made no concessions when he said that they weren't big enough to admit mistake; and an article in the Iranian newspaper Aftab e Yazd even suggested that the Iranians were coerced into letting the sailors go: "If we wanted, as the president says, to pardon them while we had the authority to try them, why did we not release them before Blair's ultimatum or three days after it?"

It is hard to escape the conclusion that Ahmadinejad was a loser in the crisis, and that other Iranian leaders decided they needed to cut their losses. Interestingly, I know from speaking to British officials that they were surprised when Ahmadinejad announced the release of the sailors in his press conference. They had expected that there were going to be more quiet talks with the Iranians, in part to work out the details of the release and in part to discuss, without any British apology, how to minimize the possibility of avoiding future such problems. This was how they expected the Iranians to climb down.

And, yet, the Iranians ended the crisis unilaterally.

Read the whole thing here.

The lesson to be learned -- when assessing the situation in Iran, pay no attention to what their nut-job President says, instead look at what the real powers in the Islamic Republic do, or more importantly, don't do.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Peeps Is Back

The Fimbulwinter has finally ended, the sun is out, and the crowds have returned to the Inner Harbor. I took my camera down and strolled around. Here's a little of what I saw.

Still Waters

Hangin' out at the Harbor

Remembering the Hokies

Some really, really old guys.


Only one thought mars this beautiful day. I seem to remember that the end of Fimbulwinter signified the onset of Ragnarok.

Remembering Earth Day

In commemoration of Earth Day let us hearken back to the first Earth Day in 1970, the brainchild of a Congresscritter with the felicitous name of "Gaylord."

On that day eminent Harvard biologist George Wald solemnly pronounced, "civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind."

Ron Bailey, writing for Reason back in 2000 surveyed a number of such remarks made by prominent "scientists" and commentators and concluded, "The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong."

The population bomb never exploded. Predictions of global famine and disruption were wildly off the mark.

Estimates of population growth were off by about 30%, on the high side.

And what about pollution?

"Since 1970, total U.S. population increased 29 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 121 percent, and the gross domestic product (GDP) increased 104 percent. During that same period, notable reductions in air quality concentrations and emissions took place." Since 1970, ambient levels of sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide have fallen by 75 percent, while total suspended particulates like smoke, soot, and dust have been cut by 50 percent since the 1950s.

In 1988, the particulate standard was changed to account for smaller particles. Even under this tougher standard, particulates have declined an additional 15 percent. Ambient ozone and nitrogen dioxide, prime constituents of smog, are both down by 30 percent since the 1970s. According to the EPA, the total number of days with air pollution alerts dropped 56 percent in Southern California and 66 percent in the remaining major cities in the United States between 1988 and 1997.

In similar terms, predictions about water shortages, the environmental risks of pesticides and genetic-modification, the depletion of resources, and a host of other concerns have failed to materialize.

Why have we been unable to learn from these failures? Why do we continue to give credence to the doom mongers' latest follies? Bailey has some thoughts on the matter, but you will have to read the whole article to find them.

Check him out here.

Save the Planet -- Kill Shade Tolerant Aliens on Earthday

At least that's what the eco-loons had planned to do up at Hawk Mountain.

Not surprisingly the loonies in our area seem to have problems getting organized. Someone with the felicitous name of "Fairyhawk" is trying to organize a cleanup of Lebanon, PA. It must not be going very well because when I checked his website, it was down. Too bad, the town needs it.

No sign of the eco-freaks at the inner harbor either -- unless you count one lone Prius which seems to always be parked near the aquarium.

Up at Hawk Mountain the resident crazies had planned to celebrate Earth Day by fanning out across the ridge to kill "shade tolerant aliens." By that they meant garlic mustard plants. The trouble was that because of cold weather the plants had not bloomed, so they had to call off their "garlic mustard swat." Oh well, there's always next year.

Yes: I know, but irony is lost on these guys -- they're true believers who think that it is all right to condemn millions of third-world children to an early death in order to save the raptors.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Glamour is Gone -- Hillary Snubbed at Rutgers

Newsday reports:
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton finally dropped by Rutgers to meet with the school's women's basketball coach -- but the players themselves skipped the half-hour meeting, citing their studies and Imus fatigue.

Clinton had been scheduled to meet with Scarlet Knight coach C. Vivian Stringer and an assistant, and possibly some of the players, Monday to talk with them about Don Imus's "nappy-headed ho" comments.

But that sit-down was postponed due to weather and because the story seemed far less significant after the Virginia Tech killings.

"Many of the players were in study hall from eight to noon and some had finals," explained a Rutgers source who said the players were "tired" of all the attention. "These young women need to do their classes, and wrap their spring semester."
Read it here.

Study hall!!!!

Very sensible young women they are. Far better to get on with their own lives than to serve as props for one of the most annoying and ambitious pols our nation has ever produced.

Remember how excited we all were supposed to be about the first serious woman candidate for President? Seems so long ago....

Putting Cho in Context

The Virginia Tech killings are just the latest example of a world-wide phenomenon. Individualized, non-political mass murder is not specific to the United States and cannot be systematically related to American gun culture.

In France, in Germany, in Japan, in Canada, in Australia, in Brazil, in Switzerland, and elsewhere people have engaged in non-political acts of mass murder. They have often used guns, but also knives and bombs. Their motives have often been obscure or when proclaimed, incoherent.

Der Spiegel lists many of the worst incidents here.

Each incident has forced us to gaze deep into the abyss and we [most of us] have recoiled and sought comfort in the soothing platitudes of science, religion, or ideology.


The ubiquity of this evil makes it difficult to fit into our standard explanations for horror. That won't keep the "experts" from trying. Just remember, though, that every time you hear a politician, a pundit or [worst of all] a psychologist confidently assert that he or she understands what went on at Blacksburg, they don't.

All that we really can do in such circumstances is to affirm our common humanity, to mourn the loss of life, and to reach out in compassion to those survivors whose lives have been devastated by the carnage.

Then we and they must go on to live our lives as best we can.

The picture above is of flowers left by mourners after a mass killing in Erfurt, Germany.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Checking Out the Hood

After breakfast I took a walk through Otterbein. Beautiful weather, gorgeous setting. Aaaaaaah!

"Where Are the Grown-Ups?"

Peggy Noonan marvels at the cold heartlessness of our media and therapy culture and wonders, "where are the grown-ups?"

Nice article. Read it here.

The Return of Anti-Catholic Bigotry

Here's yesterday's cartoon in the Philadelphia Inquirer portraying the Catholic justices on the Supreme Court as religiously-inspired threats to the civil liberties of American women.

Here's a famous cartoon by Thomas Nast portraying religiously inspired Catholics as a threat to the civil liberties of American families.

The Nast cartoon is universally despised as an expression of anti-Catholic bigotry. The Auth cartoon is praised as an expression of "progressive" thought.


UPDATE: Apparently this is not the first time Auth has done this sort of thing. Alex Charyna notes:

A Tony Auth creation…



Maybe he’s just unoriginal.

Nice catch, Alex.

Canada Gets Real

At last our neighbors across the border have wakened up to the fact that Kyoto is doomed. The Financial Post reports:

This week's announcement by the Canadian government -- that it may join a U.S.-led coalition focused on voluntary emissions cuts -- could be part of a global shift away from Kyoto's binding targets.

In a somewhat surprising development, Canada, a long-time supporter of the Kyoto Protocol, announced that it may want to join the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6), a six-nation coalition focusing on voluntary emission-reduction steps and technology transfers. Many environmentalists oppose AP6 out of a fear that it may undermine political support for the legally binding Kyoto treaty.

The partnership, launched in mid-2005, is an agreement among six countries -- Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and the United States -- to develop and share greenhouse-gasreduction technology to combat climate change. According to the AP6 Web site, the six partner countries "represent about half of the world's economy, population and energy use, and they produce about 65% of the world's coal, 48% of the world's steel, 37% of world's aluminum, and 61% of the world's cement." The countries also account for half the world's greenhouse-gas emissions.

Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the Asia-Pacific Partnership is voluntary and technology-based, and lets each country set its own goals for greenhouse gas emission reductions, rather than legally binding them to a greenhouse gas reduction target. The group sees itself as "a voluntary, non-legally binding framework for international co-operation to facilitate the development, diffusion, deployment, and transfer of existing, emerging and longer term cost-effective, cleaner, more efficient technologies and practices."

Green activists fear that AP6 -- officially a complementary approach to Kyoto -- could be converted into an opposing bloc.

Read it here.

The AP6 is emerging as a realistic alternative to the pie in the sky authoritarian Kyoto regime. One more major diplomatic success for the Bush administration -- but is anyone paying attention? Naaaaah!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

SUV Sales are Rising -- in Germany

Sales of SUVs has risen by 45% in Germany in the past three years. At the same time SUV sales in the US have fallen drastically. Der Spiegel wonders what is going on here.

Global Warming and Hurricanes

Stop the presses! This just out! The latest study, based on computer models [snicker], shows that global warming probably suppresses hurricanes.

[A] new study raises the possibility that global warming might even make it harder for hurricanes to form.

The findings, by Gabriel A. Vecchi of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Brian J. Soden of the University of Miami, are reported in Wednesday's issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

Vecchi and Soden used 18 complex computer climate models to anticipate the effects of warming in the years 2001-2020 and 2018-2100.

Read it here.

But..., but, just a few years ago "scientists" were telling us that global warming caused hurricanes; that it caused Katrina; that we were going to have more and more deadly hurricanes. Now "scientists" say just the opposite?

Isn't it nice to know that global warming "science" is "settled?"

I Can't Watch Any More

I can't stand to watch the endless "expert" analysis of the Virginia Tech killer's media dump any more. There is no useful information there -- just murder porn -- and nothing that has been said takes us any further toward understanding than this.

Lileks writes:

There is nothing to learn from listening to the killer. From looking at him or reading his writings or poking through his background or sticking mikes in the face of anyone who saw him across a cafeteria. Maybe it’s just me, but when I first heard of the case I thought: sociopath. A modern word for the man without a soul, the man who either had it stolen by deed or smothered in the womb. I think you can make a sociopath, if you hurt them early enough in a way they can never get their hands around. Others are simply bad seeds from the womb on up, I suspect. No matter what you do, you get a vacant Narcissus with an infinite supply of masks, a clever manniken who cannot apprehend the humanity of others. He could only feel empathy for the object in the mirror, and it’s hardly surprising this example spent his last hours posing for the camera. It was the only thing that understood him, and accepted him for the glorious, tragic creature he knew he was.

I may well be wrong, but I don’t think there’s anything more to it than that.

Read it here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Secular Transhumanist Environmentalists

The transhumanist element in the environmental movement speaks up.

CNS reports:
Ahead of Earth Day on Sunday, an advocacy group warned that the United States is ignoring "the most crucial factor in reducing global warming" -- population control.

"Human population growth is the paramount environmental issue," Ric Oberlink, a spokesman for Californians for Population Stabilization [said].

"Global warming is a very serious problem, but it is a subset of the overpopulation problem," he said.

Oberlink argued that an increase in the emission of "greenhouse gases" -- carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for climate change -- is a result of human activity, "like most environmental problems."

Although one part of the equation is what people do, he said, the other part is how many there are.

"If we had half as many people, we wouldn't have much of a climatic warming problem," argued Oberlink.
Read it here.

Think about that, and how he hopes to achieve that result -- the elimination of several BILLION human beings. Speaking as a human being to me this sort of thing represents pure, distilled evil!

And which humans are to be eliminated first? Hmmmm..., oh yeah!
According to the population group, Americans are "by far the most voracious consumers and the greatest producers of greenhouse gases per capita of any nation on earth."
That's right-- capitalist, consumerist Americans bear the disproportionate blame.

And of course, there's dat ol' debbil, religion!
"Those who surrender reason to religious and political doctrine and push the rubble of their misguided convictions into the path of prudent population reduction policies are complicit in condemning an entire planet to doom," said Alcorn.
That's right folks. Not only are these guys anti-capitalist, they are anti-human, anti-American, and anti-religion. Wow!!!

It is saddening to note that this kind of secular trans-humanist discourse is becoming common on the Left and that it finds shelter within the environmental crusade.


Monday, April 16, 2007

In Memoriam

Thanks to Instapundit for posting this.

Another Good Guy Goes

Just last week Johnny Hart died. Now Brant Parker his collaborator in producing "The Wizard of Id" has passed away. Read his son's memorial here.

God bless them both.

D'Sousa on Imus -- Stop the Insanity

Dinesh D'Sousa notes that our outrage over restrictions on free speech is situational, a fact that has also roused comment by Islamist propagandists.
Remember the Muhammad cartoon scandal? When the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten printed the cartoons portraying the prophet Muhammad as a terrorist, many in the West viewed this solely through the lens of free speech. The media coverage suggested a confirmation of Huntington's "clash of civilizations" thesis. We believe in free speech and they don't. Many conservatives rallied to this viewpoint.

How often during the Imus brouhaha have you heard the words "free speech"? Hardly.

Did the First Amendment even come up? Nyet. Did dozens of other radio hosts choose to echo the epithets directed at the Rutgers women's basketball team in order to affirm their solidarity with Imus and their enthusiasm for civil liberties? No, there has been an almost-universal howl of outrage. The man must be fired! Everyone involved should have sensitivity counseling to make sure this doesn't happen again! All of this is indicative of the racism that is endemic in our society!


No wonder the Muslims are chuckling. They see that when our sacred cows are gored, we scream bloody murder and demand accountability and heads on a platter. By contrast when someone elses's sacred cows are gored, we proclaim ourselves loftily on the side of free speech and demand that they "get over it."

He continues with a long itemization of the insanely complex ground-rules over what can be said or expressed, or even thought in today's media climate and calls for those, like Mike Nifong, who play the identity game to be held accountable for the damage they have done.

Read the whole thing here.

I remember that back during the civil rights era one telling argument advanced by proponents of reform was that our system of discrimination made us look bad in the eyes of the world at a time when we were engaged in a global conflict of values. Well..., the same argument applies today. Our insane PC system of "protected" and "preferred" categories of people provides ammunition to those who seek to destroy our culture and our persons.

The identity mongers have held sway for far too long and have caused untold damage to our society. We can no longer afford to cater to their demands. It is time to at long last heed Martin Luther King's call for a society that measures people by the content of their character.

Clive James on Art and Reality

I'm watching Clive James on C-Span talking about his new book Cultural Amnesia. Very entertaining, and even stimulating, but a bit sloppy and enormously self-indulgent.

I like the guy. He hates Sartre even more than I do.

He just misquoted Auden, saying "art makes nothing happen" [Auden actually wrote "poetry makes nothing happen" here], and James seems content to note that quoting poetry does not stop the tank from rolling over you.

James is here positing a radical dissociation between art and the material world. He reinforces this point when he quotes Theodor Adorno to the effect that after Auschwitz there was no possibility of lyric poetry, then notes out that obviously lyric poetry is being produced everywhere. He takes satisfaction in noting that Adorno's statement was so wrong it was "not even false."

Now, I myself have a strong aversion to Adorno and the whole Frankfurt School, although I respect the integrity of their effort to explain the incomprehensible horror of the Holocaust, but the link between art and existence Adorno intuited was not just a fantasy.

That is something Nelson Mandela affirmed when he wrote:
Poetry cannot block a bullet or still a sjambok, but it can bear witness to brutality -- thereby cultivating a flower in a graveyard.

And here is where I lose patience with Clive James. He is far too dismissive in his judgments. I can sit and nod in agreement as he savages Sartre or Coltrane, but at the back of my mind a small voice is saying, "he's not really being fair..., there's more to it than that."

You can check out selections from James' latest book at Slate magazine here.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Artists On the Front Lines

Pictures by Michael Fay, "official Marine war artist." What a job title -- "war artist"! He does nice work. Check out the BBC story on him here.

Here is his blog -- lots of really interesting work by him and other artists.

Also check out Sgt. Kristopher Battles, "Sketchpad Warrior" here. What I like is that he shows , step by step, how the paintings are composed. Battles' commercial website is here. He's got some really nice stuff. I particularly like the landscapes.

More Reflexive Sillyness

Mark over at Spinning Clio notes the reflexive way historians reacted to the movie "300" and how that sort of stuff operates to the benefit of the film-makers.

Check him out here.

Ah yes..., herd behavior among the "free-thinking individuals." So what else is new?

So Cool!

An animated Bayeux tapestry [actually the last half of it].

I guess you have to be an historian to appreciate just how intensely cool this is.

Steyn on Imus

As usual, Mark Steyn gets to the core of the situation and articulates it better than anyone else. First of all he points up the real ambiguity of Imus' remarks.

I don't know whether calling the Rutgers basketball ladies "nappy-headed hos" is a mean old white guy's racist slur or an artful parodic jest on the way black women are talked about by black men -- or at least by the ones on the record charts. After all, the only way mean old white folks know the expressions "nappy" or "ho" is because they heard 'em from hip young black folks. Indeed, one could argue it's a tribute to how non-racist America is that an elderly Caucasian would wish to talk like a gangsta rapper.

He's right. There are many contextual levels of meaning involved here and attempting to force this whole thing into the standard white racist/black victim template obscures, rather than clarifies the issues at stake.

It's a good rule of thumb in American scandals that, no matter how big an idiot someone is, the outrage over him will always be more idiotic.

Again he's right. As soon as the reflexive posturing starts sanity goes by the wayside.

And saddest of all were the Rutgers basketball gals themselves. Almost a century and a half after the abolition of slavery, 40 years after the civil rights era, a group of young black women who've achieved great success went on TV and teared up because of a cheap crack by an over-the-hill shock jock. As a female correspondent to the Powerline Web site commented:

"Here are these tough women on top of the world and they are so fragile that a remark knocks them down. Hey, why wouldn't they have said 'F--- you? Who the heck is this fool Imus? We are queens of national basketball and there is no stopping us now. We can be and do anything we choose to be or do. . . . We don't need Al Sharpton to protect us. . . . ' But no, they look devastated and say they are damaged irreparably.''

And once again Steyn shoots and scores. The whole point of the grievance industry is to convince people that they are mere victims, incapable of functioning in this cruel world without the constant protection and advice of the hustlers.

Mark Steyn is a national treasure -- of which nation I'm not sure -- but we should all be glad that he's there to remind us of reality underlying the farce endlessly presented the MSM.

Read him here.

Meanwhile, George Will has a piece on Jackie Robinson, whose courage and determination helped to change the nation. He doesn't make it explicit, but the implicit contrast between this great man and the whining "victims" and cynical hustlers of today is striking.

Read it here.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Post-Katrina Follies -- Ed Blakely Tells It Like It Is

Droppings from my Louisiana correspondent:

New Orleans' lefty loonies don't like being called names. After a recovery specialist, Ed Blakley, referred to local activists and community leaders as "buffoons" they marched, demanding that he be fired.

I believe the first step toward recovery is admitting your problem and these loons are clearly still in denial.

Read about it here.

They were supported by the grand poobah of buffoonery, Mayor Ray Nagin, who suggested that the expert should keep his mouth shut. [here]

Meanwhile there is some excellent news out of the Swamp State. John Breaux has announced that he will not run for Governor against Bobby Jindal. Since Breaux lives in Maryland that seems to make sense.

Read about it here.

Walking Around Baltimore

I started out to get a long overdue haircut.

"She Who Must Not Be Named" really likes the way Trinh, a Vietnamese woman who works at a shop on S. Light Street, cuts my hair, so that is where I headed. At Montgomery the traffic light was out and drivers were edging warily through the intersection -- a problem for someone like me who can't hurry across the street. Fortunately a woman, seeing my cane, waved me across.

When I got to Trinh's shop it was dark and she and her sister were lounging in the barber chairs. "Power out," they shouted, "come back in half hour." The City was working on the power lines and had shut down the entire block. So I left and spent some time wandering around the neighborhood. Here's some of what I saw.

On a beautiful Spring day like today even alleys look inviting.

In front of the Light Street mission the leaves are bursting.

I wound up here, at my new favorite hotspot. The "Beach Bum's Cafe" on South Light Street, just a few doors up from the Cross Street Market, not only has WiFi, it has the best damn crab soup in the center city. And of course there is ice cream for dessert, unless you want to drop in next door for some "Dangerously Delicious" pie. Mmmmmmm....

Hey, it looks like the power is back on.

I walked [well hobbled] back to Trinh's shop. The power was on, a chair was open, and soon I was getting my annual Spring haircut. About fifteen minutes in, though, the power went out again. Fortunately, by that time Trinh was finished with the clippers and was able to complete the do with scissors.

When I got home, "She" pronounced the work satisfactory..., even good, although a bit "punky" [whatever that means]. Doesn't matter much to me. Basically I just wanted the hair off my ears and out of my eyes. With that done I should be good for at least the next few months.

The Rosie Factor

One of the more disturbing aspects of our political culture is the willingness of substantial numbers of people, even those with access to the major media, to embrace wild conspiracy theories and other hokum. Think of Rosie O'Donnell's insane rants regarding 9/11, or Spike Lee's assertions that white authorities deliberately dynamited New Orleans' levees during Katrina, or Ted Kennedy's charge that the Iraq war was cooked up by Bushies just to give themselves a winning campaign issue, or the looney Left's claims that Bush invaded Iraq in order to control the world oil supply, or Al Gore's apocalyptic environmental scenarios. The list goes on and on.

Why should this be happening?

Bill Whittle has a few [actually a lot of] thoughts on the matter. Check out the first two installments of his essay here and here.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Terry Moran is Scum!

Read Terry Moran [of ABC News] on the Duke prosecution scandal which he sees as simply,
the celebrated exoneration of well-heeled, well-connected, well-publicized young men whose conduct, while not illegal, was not entirely admirable, either. They aren't heroes. They aren't boys. They are young men who were victimized by a reckless prosecutor--and had the resources the fight him off.
Read it here.

And just how clueless can this representative of the MSM be? Read J-Pod's response to Moran's absurd comments over at the "Corner." [here]

Moran's response to Mike Nifong's victims is a perfect example of the deep rot that has corrupted our elite institutions, as despicable in its own way as the resolutions of the Duke faculty senate. For such scum as these "justice" is a social concept to be dispensed only on behalf of approved categories of people.


Zimbabwe in Pictures

The Guardian has published a photo-essay on conditions in Mad Bobby Mugabe's racist/Maoist hell on earth. Pictured here, scavengers at a municipal garbage dump.

Check it out here.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Will on Environmental Hokum

George Will on global warming hysteria:
In a campaign without peacetime precedent, the media-entertainment- environmental complex is warning about global warming. Never, other than during the two world wars, has there been such a concerted effort by opinion-forming institutions to indoctrinate Americans, 83 percent of whom now call global warming a ``serious problem.'' Indoctrination is supposed to be a predicate for action commensurate with professions of seriousness.
Read it here.

He's right. There is a concerted effort to scare the pants off people so as to justify radical and fundamental transformation of the American economy and political system. Where Will is wrong is in saying that the effort is without precedent. The Left has been honing its techniques on this sort of thing for a generation. The litany of scares is impressive -- nuclear armageddon, nuclear power in general, alar, cholesterol, genetic modification, smoking and second hand smoke, global cooling, global warming, climate change of any kind. Long ago, advocates of "fundamental" change [read Marxists] learned to generate a sense of "crisis" to justify their infringements on liberty. Today's campaign differs only in its scale and scope from other, similar, campaigns we have seen time and again. So much has this scare-mongering become the modus operandi of the Left that, when confronted by a real and present danger like Islamist terrorism, they are incapable of seeing it as real and imagine that it is just another bogus campaign.

This addiction to duplicity, ruthlessness, and self-delusion is dangerous. The current environmentalist campaign simply illustrates for all to see, just how pervasive it is within the elite institutions that we count on to organize our society.

Where Is Al-Qaeda

Want to know where al-Qaeda is hiding out? Der Spiegel has the information. Check it out here.
Cutting to the chase, of the eleven top figures in al-Qaeda, eight are currently in... Pakistan!

And how did nuclear weapons technology come to be disseminated through the Muslim world? Why..., why..., it came from..., Pakistan!


Journalistic Irresponsibility

Alan Reynolds notes that

A recent Gallup poll found that only 41 percent of respondents approved of Bush's handling of the economy, compared to 55 percent who disapproved.

Read it here.

This is insane! Reynolds' article goes on to compare the Bush boom with that of Clinton and notes that under Bush the nation has achieved a level of prosperity comparable to that of the 1990's despite having faced much more difficult challenges [a recession, a bursting speculative bubble, Katrina, 9/11, a worldwide rise in energy costs, war, etc.]

I have argued many times that there is a good case to be made for considering the Bush administration's economic management to be the best of the past century and, were it not for Alexander Hamilton's genius, perhaps the best in our nation's history.

And still the idiots complain!

Reynolds notes this disparity between perception and reality and writes:

Because polls reflect perception rather than reality, the suspicion arises that many people wrongly believe the U.S. economy is in bad shape because that is what they keep hearing on TV or reading in the newspapers.

There's more than a suspicion involved here. The insane Bush-hatred that informs so much of our political commentary these days has seeped over into the economic realm. The MSM are and have long been engaged in a systematic disinformation campaign aimed at delegitimizing and denigating the accomplishments of the current administration. In doing so they are not serving the country or the American people well.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Pride of Baltimore

Things are starting to liven up here at the harbor. Last night there were fireworks right outside my window [we still haven't figured out why]. Tonight it's the Pride of Baltimore II back from roaming the seven seas.

All In the Eye?

A couple of years ago when I quit teaching, I cast about for some interesting ways to spend my now copious free time. This blog is one of them. Another was photography. I began carrying a digital camera everywhere I went and fell into the habit of looking at my surroundings as potential pictures. I also began to search the net for the work of good photographers I might emulate. This guy is one of the best I have yet found. He's amazing! His name is Mark Ridout, he's from Ontario, and his work is fantastic.

Check it out here. He specializes in wedding photography and it's unlike anything you have ever seen before. All of his work is good, but I was particularly impressed by his Cuba album.

Monday, April 09, 2007

You Can't Write This Stuff!!!

I am not making this up!

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

The trial in South Dakota of a deaf, black lesbian accused of murdering a rival and dismembering her with a chainsaw has shocked the rural midwestern US state.

Daphne Wright, 43, could become the first woman sent to death row in South Dakota, which has not executed a prisoner in more than 60 years.

Wright is accused of kidnapping and murdering a heterosexual deaf woman, Darlene VanderGiesen, 42, whom she thought was spending too much time with her girlfriend.

Emotional testimony and gruesome exhibits filled the first week of her trial, and worse is to come: prosecutors are expected to show jurors a video of a pig being dismembered with the same type of chainsaw Wright bought two days after VanderGiesen disappeared.

VanderGiesen's mother sobbed and stepped out of the courtroom as jurors passed around her daughter's charred brassiere on Thursday.

But she managed to sit stoically as a maintenance worker described finding her daughter's head and navel wrapped in bags and bed sheets that other witnesses linked to Wright.

Flecks of VanderGiesen's bone and tissue were found hidden under a coat of fresh paint in Wright's basement, where the smell of petrol lingered days after VanderGiesen's charred remains were left in a nearby dumpster and in a steep ravine 30 kilometres away, police testified.

Read the whole thing here. Go ahead, you know you want to.

Just one more point of interest:

The defence has questioned the fairness of the trial because no one in the pool of 150 perspective jurors was African-American.

Hey, the race card worked for OJ!

The AP story is here.

Leaving Them

By Philip Larkin:

Homage to a Government (1969)

Next year we are to bring the soldiers home
For lack of money, and it is all right.
Places they guarded, or kept orderly,
Must guard themselves, and keep themselves orderly.
We want the money for ourselves at home
Instead of working. And this is all right.
It’s hard to say who wanted it to happen,
But now it’s been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here,
Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
Next year we shall be easier in our minds,
Next year we shall be living in a country
That brought its soldiers home for lack of money.
The statues will be standing in the same
Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
Our children will not know it’s a different country.
All we can hope to leave them now is money.

This is a road I’ve traveled before. I didn’t like the scenery then. I don’t like it any more this time. It is the road to Hell for many who trusted in the United States. Those who survive will have learned their lesson well.

The first time down this road was hard. The second a lot easier for many, but not for me.

For me, it’s not all right.


Read it here.

Hat Tip: John Derbyshire

ps: Yes, Che, I know Larkin was talking about Britain's retreat from empire.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Johnny Hart Passes

My favorite cartoonist, Johnny Hart, creator of B.C., has passed away. His work, especially in recent years, often expressed religious themes. Here's a good example.

Rest in Peace, Johnny, you did good!

Read about him here.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Not All Scientific Consensuses are Equal

Ronald Bailey, writing in Reason magazine, notes an interesting disconnect in Green thought.

[W]hen it comes to climate change, environmentalists righteously wrap themselves in the cloak of scientific "consensus." They excoriate scientists and others who doubt that man-made climate change will necessarily be disastrous, accusing some of being essentially paid liars for the fossil fuel industry. But for many environmentalist groups not all scientific consensuses are equal. Consider the case of genetically enhanced crops.


[T]he overwhelming scientific consensus is that current varieties of genetically enhanced crops are safe to eat and don't pose unusual risks to the natural environment. But that isn't stopping Greenpeace from waging a global "Say no to genetic engineering" campaign or the Friends of the Earth from demanding a GM freeze. Perhaps the idea of scientific consensus is not all that it's cracked up to be. After all, scientific consensus does not mean "certain truth." Whatever the current consensus of any scientific issue is can change in the light of new research. Nevertheless, environmentalist ideologues accuse those who question the climate change consensus of bad faith and worse. But aren't they exhibiting a similar bad faith when they reject the broad scientific consensus on genetically modified crops?
Read the whole thing here.

Of course to the luddites, science is only a tool of convenience to be wielded when useful and ignored when it does not support their goals.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Global Warming On Mars

A few years ago I had lunch with Sallie Baliunas, the Harvard astronomer, who laid out in some detail the reasons she believed that terrestrial global warming war related to solar output. That sort of argument, even though expressed by a world-class solar expert, was ignored by the "climate change" activists on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to support it. Well, evidence that variations in solar output are driving climate change is beginning to accumulate. in recent months attention has been focused on Mars where there seems to be clear evidence of global warming taking place.

Now Reuters reports:

NASA scientist Lori Fenton and colleagues, reporting this week in the journal Nature, now believe variations in radiation from the surface of Mars are fuelling strong winds that stir up giant dust storms, trapping heat and raising the planet's temperature.


By studying changes in light reflected from the surface of Mars -- a measure known as an object's albedo -- they predict the red planet has warmed by around 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.65 degree Celsius) from the 1970s to the 1990s, which may in part have caused the recent retreat of the southern polar ice cap.

Read it here.

So, both Earth and Mars are experiencing global warming at about the same rate at the same time. Is it not reasonable to conclude that a major element in terrestrial climate change is variation in solar output?

Why yes is is! But, reasonability is not a characteristic of the Left-wing activists who are driving the global warming hysteria. They are not about to weaken their anthropogenic model of climate change because it justifies their calls for fundamental social and political change [which, for them, is what the argument is really all about].

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Why is everyone so surprised that Obama has outraised Hillary in the funding sweepstakes? Don't they realize that the race card always, repeat always, trumps the gender card? That was the great lesson of the O.J. trial.

Lets get this straight. Obama allows white Americans to fantasize that by supporting him they can at last put the racial animosity of the past half century behind them. They hope that his rise to prominence means that they never have to see Rev. Jackson, Rev. Sharpton, Rev. Farrakhan, or any of the other race hustlers who have made careers out of stirring up racial resentments ever again.

Guys, it ain't gonna happen. Barak Obama is not the "magic negro" who will wash away the past. Nobody is! And voting for him does not make you a "good person" -- it just marks you as a racist fool who can be exploited by racial imagery. And those outrageous "reverends", they aren't going to fade away. Life ain't that easy.

Why did I use the term "racist"? Think about it. Are you responding to the color of Obama's skin or his substantial accomplishments? Since he has damn few accomplishments, it is his skin and his forgiving manner that turns you on, and if you respond to racial cues, you are by definition a racist.

Live with it.

UPDATE: If you ever thought that the race hustlers would ever fade away into the background, look at what happened after Don Imus made that silly remark about the Rutgers basketbabes. The obnoxious "reverends" and the black studies posers were all over the tube.

Virtue and Freedom

Theodore Dalrymple points to the essential flaw in the sociological mode of governance adopted by Tony Blair and New Labour. Commenting on the thousands of new laws passed in the last few years limiting the freedom of individuals in Britain -- laws that remind him of Mussolini's brave experiment in fascist Italy -- he writes:

The assault on freedom in Britain in the name of social welfare is an illustration of something that the American founding fathers understood, but that is not very congenial to the temper of our times: that in the long run, only a population that strives for virtue (with at least a degree of success) will be able to maintain its freedom. A nation whose individuals choose vice rather than virtue as the guiding principle of their lives will not long remain free, because it will need rescuing from the consequences of its own vices.


One of the destructive consequences of the spread of sociological modes of thought is that it has transferred the notion of virtue from individuals to social structures, and in so doing has made personal striving for virtue (as against happiness) not merely unnecessary but ridiculous and even bad, insofar as it diverted attention from the real task at hand, that of creating the perfect society: the society so perfect, as T S Eliot put it, that no one will have to be good.

It is that kind of society in which Mr Blair and his acolytes believe; by happy co-incidence, they also believe that they are the very men to bring it about. If it means that power has to be delivered up into their hands and the hands of the vast apparatus they direct...

Read it here.

Dr. Daniels [Dalrymple's real name] is right. The collapse of moral standards and informal mechanisms for enforcing them provides those who have a will to run other peoples' lives with a reason for exercising their worst impulses. An absence of public virtue is directly related to a decline in public freedom.