Day By Day

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ameican Decline

Economic historian Niall Ferguson takes a look at the financial crisis and explains why Obama-style deficits are likely to continue through the foreseeable future and why they will in all probability result in a decline in American influence in the world.

If the United States doesn't come up soon with a credible plan to restore the federal budget to balance over the next five to 10 years, the danger is very real that a debt crisis could lead to a major weakening of American power.
Read it here.

He's right! This is, as he says, "the fatal arithmetic of imperial decline". What I would note, though, is that many Americans, and most importantly those Americans who are currently calling the shots in Washington, would heartily welcome a drastically reduced American role in the world.

This Day In History

Today is a very special day here in the Gorgeous Commonwealth. It is the first day of Deer Season. When I was a kid growing up in Western Pennsylvania it was a school holiday. There was no point in having classes because most of the students would be absent anyway. I don't know if they still do that, but if they don't they should. Just be sure that if you have to be out in the woods and fields tomorrow and aren't carrying a gun you wear bright colors. That way you make an easy target.

On this day in 1782 Britain recognized American independence -- well, sort of. The process was actually quite protracted. Military operations against the colonists effectively ended at Yorktown in October, 1781; then political support for the war collapsed in Britain, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister Lord North in March, 1782; one month later the Commons voted to end the war; and negotiators meeting in Paris signed preliminary peace articles on November 30th. The Treaty of Paris formally ending the war and recognizing American independence was not signed until September of the following year, and the Confederation Congress did not ratify it until January, 1784. But it is safe to say that the matter of American independence was not an issue after the signing of the preliminary articles of peace.

Entering the Building:

Jonathan Swift [1667] still the greatest satirist in the English language.

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) [1835] not bad at satire himself and still IMHO the greatest American writer.

Theodore Mommsen [1817] German historian of Rome, revered in his day, and still considered important. One of his biggest fans was Mark Twain who once wrote, "I would have walked a great many miles to get a sight of him...."

Winston Churchill [1874] who in a recent poll was voted the "Greatest Englishman of All Time". He may well be. He distinguished himself as a statesman and orator, as a military officer, historian, journalist, and artist. Like Mommsen he won the Nobel Prize for literature. In government he held positions as President of the Board of Trade, Home Secretary, First Lord of the Admiralty, Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War, and Chancellor of the Exchequer before being elected Prime Minister in 1940. He was one of the great war leaders of modern times. He has his detractors, many of them, but nobody can dispute that he was one of the greatest figures of modern times. If you want to learn more about him this is a good place to start.

And a very "Happy Birthday" to Radu Lupu pianist extraordinare. I had the privilege of hearing him perform last year. It was a great experience. I would post a link to one of his performances but all of his solo work seems to have been removed from the internet.

Leaving the Building:

Cleopatra VII [30 BC]. Last of the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt, consort of Caesar and Antony, and one of the most romanticized figures in history. This site has links to a lot of online resources on her. Oh, by the way, she was not black -- she was Macedonian, a descendant of Ptolemy, one of Alexander's generals.

Another Liberal Complaint

E. J. Dionne complains that conservatives aren't deferring to our fine young president and according him sufficient civility in public discourse [here]. I would suggest that conservatives owe Obie just as much deference and civility as liberals accorded Dubya. No more, and no less. It was liberals, starting with the Nixon haters and the anti-war protesters of the Vietnam Era, who degraded political discourse in America. Until they admit such and apologize profusely for their past errors, they have absolutely nothing about which to complain.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Climategate Data Dump

From the Times:

SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

Read it here.

So the raw data are gone, but the massaged data are retained -- good thinking guys. That means nobody can check your work and therefore it is useless, except as warmist propaganda, which is what it always was.


John Steele Gordon on the data dump:
But without the raw data, it is impossible to check the work, and checking each other’s work lies at the very heart of the scientific method. Without the raw data, the adjusted data is useless. So if the destruction of the raw data was accidental, it was inexcusable. If it was deliberate, it was a scientific felony. If the data is now irretrievably lost, it is a tragedy.
Read it here.

And from the Times:
It means that the data on which a large part of the world’s understanding of climate change is based can never be revisited or checked. Pielke said: “Can this be serious? It is now impossible to create a new temperature index from scratch. [The unit] is basically saying, ‘Trust us’.”
Read it here.

Trust them indeed!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Disappearin' Railroad Blues

Spent a little time wandering around the South Hamburg railroad yards today. As a child I lived in a railroad town on the Pennsy main line. Railroading was a vibrant culture back in those days and it saddened me to see the state to which it has fallen. The line of rusting and abandoned rolling stock stretches for mile after mile after mile along Rte. 61 north of Reading. Like I said, sad, at least for those of us old enough to remember what once was.

Friday, November 27, 2009

This Day In History

Recovering from Thanksgiving overeating festival -- so posting is late and will be short today.

Today is "National Pins and Needles Day" -- it was originally a publicity gag for a Broadway show -- "Pins and Needles" back in 1937. Today it is more generic as a day of excitement and anticipation. Something's coming..., coming soon..., what will it be?

On this day in 43 BC Octavian, Lepidus, and Antony form the Second Triumvirate in Rome. This is traditionally considered to mark the end of the Roman Republic. The three men had been strong supporters of Julius Caesar and after his death two years earlier they had joined forces to hunt down and kill his assassins. To cement their alliance and to prevent future conflict they agreed to share the rule of Rome after the assassins were dead. Brutus and Cassius were killed in two battles at Phillipi in 42 BC, other republicans were hunted down and murdered, and for ten years thereafter the triumvirs ruled Rome as absolute dictators, dividing the empire among themselves. The whole thing eventually fell apart because Octavian and Anthony were bitter enemies, each determined to eliminate the other. In the end Octavian won the power struggle and emerged as the supreme power in Rome. HBO's series "Rome" presented a highly fictionalized and entertaining account of these events as seen by some men in the ranks.

And on this day in 511 Clovis, King of the Franks, died. He was the first leader to unite all of the Frankish tribes under his rule and under his command the Franks conquered most of Gaul. He also introduced Christianity in his realm. His achievements shaped the course of Western European history for centuries to come.

And on this day in 1966 the Washington Redskins defeated the New York Giants. The score? 72-41. Wow!

Entering the building:

Charles A. Beard [1874], the greatest of America's "Progressive" historians.

Jimi Hendrix [1942] rock guitarist.

Leaving the building:

Baby Face Nelson [1934], taken down by the FBI.

Eugene O'Neill [1953], "Ah Wilderness!"

Things Supposedly Caused by Global Warming

A partial list:

Acne, agricultural land increase, Afghan poppies destroyed, poppies more potent, Africa devastated, Africa in conflict, African aid threatened, African summer frost, aggressive weeds, Air France crash, air pressure changes, airport malaria, Agulhas current, Al Qaeda and Taliban Being Helped, Alaska reshaped, moves, allergy season longer, alligators in the Thames, Alps melting, Amazon a desert, American dream end, amphibians breeding earlier (or not), anaphylactic reactions to bee stings, ancient forests dramatically changed, animals head for the hills, animals shrink, Antarctic grass flourishes, Antarctic ice grows, Antarctic ice shrinks, Antarctic sea life at risk, anxiety treatment, algal blooms, archaeological sites threatened, Arctic bogs melt, Arctic in bloom, Arctic ice free, Arctic ice melt faster, Arctic lakes disappear, Arctic tundra to burn, Arctic warming (not), Atlantic less salty, Atlantic more salty, atmospheric circulation modified, attack of the killer jellyfish, avalanches reduced, avalanches increased, Baghdad snow, Bahrain under water, bananas grow, barbarisation, beer and bread prices to soar, beer better, beer shortage, beer worse, beetle infestation, bet for $10,000, big melt faster, billion dollar research projects, billion homeless, billions face risk, billions of deaths, bird distributions change, bird loss accelerating, bird strikes, bird visitors drop, birds confused, birds decline (Wales), birds driven north, birds face longer migrations, birds return early, birds shrink, bittern boom ends, blackbirds stop singing, blackbirds threatened, Black Hawk down, blood contaminated, blue mussels return, bluetongue, brain eating amoebae, brains shrink, bridge collapse (Minneapolis), Britain one big city, Britain Siberian, British monsoon, brothels struggle, brown Ireland, bubonic plague, budget increases, Buddhist temple threatened, building collapse, building season extension, bushfires, business opportunities, business risks, butterflies move north, carbon crimes, camel deaths, cancer deaths in England, cannibalism, caterpillar biomass shift, cave paintings threatened, childhood insomnia, Cholera, circumcision in decline, cirrus disappearance, civil unrest, cloud increase, coast beauty spots lost, cockroach migration, coffee threatened, coffee berry borer, cold climate creatures survive, cold spells (Australia), cold wave (India), computer models, conferences, conflict, conflict with Russia, consumers foot the bill, coral bleaching, coral fish suffer, coral reefs dying, coral reefs grow, coral reefs shrink , coral reefs twilight, cost of trillions, cougar attacks, crabgrass menace, cradle of civilisation threatened, creatures move uphill, crime increase, crocodile sex, crops devastated, crumbling roads, buildings and sewage systems, curriculum change, cyclones (Australia), danger to kid's health, Darfur, Dartford Warbler plague, deadly virus outbreaks, death rate increase (US), deaths to reach 6 million, Dengue hemorrhagic fever, depression, desert advance, desert retreat, destruction of the environment, dig sites threatened, disappearance of coastal cities, disasters, diseases move north, dog disease, Dolomites collapse, dozen deadly diseases - or not, drought, ducks and geese decline, dust bowl in the corn belt, early marriages, early spring, earlier pollen season, Earth axis tilt, Earth biodiversity crisis, Earth dying, Earth even hotter, Earth light dimming, Earth lopsided, Earth melting, Earth morbid fever, Earth on fast track, Earth past point of no return, Earth slowing down, Earth spins faster, Earth to explode, earth upside down, earthquakes, earthquakes redux, El NiƱo intensification, end of the world as we know it, erosion, emerging infections, encephalitis, English villages lost, equality threatened, Europe simultaneously baking and freezing, eutrophication, evolution accelerating, expansion of university climate groups, extinctions (human, civilisation, logic, Inuit, smallest butterfly, cod, ladybirds, pikas, polar bears, possums, walrus, toads, plants, salmon, trout, wild flowers, woodlice, a million species, half of all animal and plant species, mountain species, not polar bears, barrier reef, leaches, salamanders, tropical insects) experts muzzled, extreme changes to California, fading fall foliage, fainting, famine, farmers benefit, farmers go under, farm output boost, fashion disaster, fever, figurehead sacked, fir cone bonanza, fires fanned in Nepal, fish bigger, fish catches drop, fish downsize, fish catches rise, fish deaf, fish get lost, fish head north, fish shrinking, fish stocks at risk, fish stocks decline, five million illnesses, flames stoked, flesh eating disease, flies on Everest, flood patterns change, floods, floods of beaches and cities, flood of migrants,

Read the whole thing here.

HT: Jonah

Thursday, November 26, 2009

More Climate Fraud

The circle of discovered fraud and deceit among climate scientists keeps widening. Now New Zealand government "scientists" have been caught reporting results that are contradicted by the raw data they supposedly used.

The New Zealand Government’s chief climate advisory unit NIWA is under fire for allegedly massaging raw climate data to show a global warming trend that wasn’t there.

The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain’s CRU climate research centre.

Read the whole thing here.


James Delingpole on the falsification of climate data by the Kiwis: "Climategate: the Scandal Spreads, the Plot Thickens, the Shame Deepens..."

Read it here.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Plastic Fantastic Fraud

I have been arguing for some time that the peer review process in scientific publishing has been fatally compromised. Here's an example of scientific fraud that was not caught by peer review despite being published in a series of journals over several years.

People Who Hate People

Nice piece in Spiked by Brendan O'Neill on the evil that is Malthusianism and why it must be opposed. Read it here.

This Day In History

Today is "National Parfait Day" so go out there and indulge your yearnings for the "perfect" dessert [here are some recipes]. With all that fruit in it you can add a little granola to the mix and think of it as a health food. That way you can have two, three, four, or more without having to feel guilty. At least that's the way I plan to celebrate.

On this day in 2348 BC God decided to punish mankind by inundating the earth and drowning everyone and everything except Noah, his family, and their pets -- at least that was the opinion of some biblical scholars. Other scholars came up with other dates [here]. Supposedly this ultimate act of genocide was retaliation for our sinfulness. At least that's the biblical reasoning. In the original Mesopotamian version of the story it was because we were making too much noise and the Gods were having trouble sleeping.

On this day in 1758 a British expedition headed by General John Forbes captured what was left of the French outpost, Fort Duquesne, in Western Pennsylvania. Three days later Forbes wrote to the British Prime Minister, William Pitt [the elder], informing him that he was constructing a new fort on the site and would name it "Fort Pitt". He addressed the letter from "Pittsborough", and that is how Pittsburgh got its name.

And on this day in 1792 the Farmer's Almanac was first published.

And on this day in 1867 Alfred Nobel [the guy the prize is named for] invented dynamite.

And on this day in 1920 Philadelphia staged its first Thanksgiving parade.

And on this day in 1963 President John F. Kennedy was interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

Entering the Building:

Andrew Carnegie [1835] A Pittsburgh kid who rose from poverty to become one of the richest men in the world and the greatest philanthropist of his day. Along the way he created America's modern steel industry.

Karl Benz [1844]. Never heard of him? Just put "Mercedes" in front of his last name and you will know what he is famous for.

Angelo Roncalli [1881] Italian kid who grew up to be Pope John XXIII.

Robert Ripley [1893] Newspaper illustrator who created "Believe It Or Not" which I read assiduously as a kid.

Joe Dimaggio [1914] aka "The Yankee Clipper" San Francisco kid who grew up to be one of the greatest baseball players of all time, and one of Marilyn Monroe's favorite husbands.

Gloria Steinem [1935] Feminist icon who got her start as a Playboy bunny, and then wrote a book about it.

Leaving the Building:

Luther "Bill" Robinson [1949] -- better known as "Mr. Bojangles".

Here he is doing the "drum dance" from "Stormy Weather". The film, which showcased the most popular black performers of the day, was loosely based on episodes Bill Robinson's life when he got out of the Army and was trying to break into show business. When the film was made Bill was in his mid-sixties. His co-star and love interest in the film was the gorgeous Lena Horne [hubba hubba!], nearly forty years his junior. Not bad for an old man.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Corruption of the Peer Review Process

One of Hollywood's most committed environmentalists [and that's saying something], Ed Begley, Jr., goes on FOX News to discuss the AGW scandal. He has his talking point down pat and reiterates it over and over -- trust nothing that is not from a "peer reviewed" source. You will be hearing this a lot in the next few weeks as the environmental alarmist interests close ranks. But that misses the point of the whole scandal. The hacked e-mails clearly show that the peer-review process, already badly compromised in both medical and environmental science, had completely broken down. The conspirators were deliberately subverting the process and in this case peer review cannot be trusted. So, don't believe what you hear from Ed Begley, Jr.

Check out the video here.

Lies of the Left -- The Dead Census Worker

When a census worker was found hanging from a tree in Kentucky with the word "fed" written on his chest left wing journalists and their fellow travelers in the MSM were quick to sound off on the incident as evidence of the malignant effect of conservative pundits. Major newspapers and media outlets ran stories on the subject that assumed the death was due to anti-government bias [here].

Well, it wasn't so. Police have investigated the case and concluded that the death was a suicide made to look like a murder by a man who hoped his family would benefit from a large insurance payout.

I wonder how eager the MSM will be to clarify the situation. Will this be a page one story in the New York Times?

Don't hold your breath.

Read about it here.

The Whale that Ate Jaws

The old joke goes, "What does a killer whale do when it meets a great white shark?"; the answer: "lunch". It seems to be true. Check it out here.


Hilarious, but true. Check them out here.

Obama Loses the Germans

Europeans are finally waking up to the fact that Obie is not what they thought he would be. Der Spiegel notes that his foreign policy initiatives have to date been spectacularly ineffective.
Upon taking office, Obama said that he wanted to listen to the world, promising respect instead of arrogance. But Obama's currency isn't as strong as he had believed. Everyone wants respect, but hardly anyone is willing to pay for it. Interests, not emotions, dominate the world of realpolitik. The Asia trip revealed the limits of Washington's new foreign policy: Although Obama did not lose face in China and Japan, he did appear to have lost some of his initial stature.
Read the whole thing here.

For a while I thought that many of Obie's foreign policy blunders [and there have been many of them] were a result of his determination to re-orient American policy away from Europe and toward Asia, but his inability to formulate a successful Asian policy seems to indicate something more fundamental. The guy just doesn't care much about foreign policy. He likes being an international celebrity, but isn't willing to do the hard work necessary to carry a policy into effect. The last time we had a president this clueless his name was Carter. Many of us have seen Obie as the second coming of Jimmah. Now even Europe is beginning to note the similarities.

On This Day In History

Today is a day without any official [or unofficial] designation, so feel free to make up your own pseudo-holiday and celebrate it in any way you want [remembering always to practice appropriate behavior, of course].

On this day in 1859, after dithering for several years, Charles Darwin finally published The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle For Life. The first printing sold out in a single day. The debate sparked by Darwin's theory of natural selection reverberates down to the present day and gives terminally silly people on all sides something about which to fulminate. For the life of me I cannot see why people think it matters whether or not a public figure fully accepts the Darwinian explanation of life's variety or not.

And on this day in 1871 the National Rifle Association was organized in New York City

And on this day in 1874 Joseph Glidden, an Illinois farmer, received a patent for barbed wire. His invention had an enormous impact on the settlement of the West and made him one of the richest men in the country.

And on this day in 1938 the Mexican government, taking advantage of the Roosevelt administration's preoccupation with domestic and European turmoil, nationalized oil fields along the U.S. border, negating leases previously obtained by several oil companies. In retaliation the U.S.A, the U.K., and the Dutch Republic imposed an international boycott on Mexican products. Eleven years later on the same day Britain nationalized its steel industry. Socialism was on the march.

And on this day in 1947 the "Hollywood Ten" [screenwriters and directors] were found in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify as to whether or not they were communists. Most of them were blacklisted and unable to work under their own names for several years. The political Left has worked hard and with some success to fix in the American mind the image of these guys as martyrs to right-wing fanatacism.

And on this day in 1963 Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, giving rise to numerous conspiracy theories that are still being argued to this day.

And on this day in 1966 a "killer smog" descended on New York City. More than 400 people died that day of respiratory failure and heart attack. People forget just how terribly polluted this country was half a century ago and how much it has cleaned up since then. I grew up near Pittsburgh and I remember.

And on this day in 1987 Li Peng succeeded Zhou Ziyang as Premier of the Peoples Republic of China.

Entering the Building:

Baruch Benedict de Spinoza [1632] -- perhaps the most important, and certainly the most radical, philosopher of the early modern period.
Zachary Taylor [1784] 12th President of the United States.
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec [1864]
Scott Joplin [1868] The "King of Ragtime" Here he is playing one of his most famous compositions, the "Maple Leaf Rag".
Ferdnand Braudel [1902] one of the greatest historians of the Twentieth Century.
William F. Buckley [1925] -- the man who stood athwart history and shouted "Stop!".

Leaving the Building:

John Knox [1572] Scottish Reformation clergymen and founder of the Presbyterian Church.
George Raft [1980] Actor who played numerous gangsters in the movies and was supposedly connected to gangsters in real life.
Warren Spahn [2003], "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain" -- all you needed for a rotation.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Secret Life of Climate Researchers

Iowahawk's take on the climate science scandal here.
Within minutes of arriving on campus, the migratory researchers approach the entrance of the Climate Research Unit and perform the secret credential dance, fiercely displaying their prominent curriculum vitae. This signals to the security drone that they can be trusted with the sacred electronic lanyard badge that will grant them entrance to the hive's inner sanctum.

During the upcoming research season, this hive alone will produce over 6 million metric tons of grant-sustaining climate data guano, but until recently little was known about the elusive genus of homo scientifica living inside. Where do they come from? What strange force draws them here year after year? In order to unravel the mystery, Iowahawk Geographic documentary filmmaker David Burge undertook a painstaking one-week project to finally capture the climate researchers in their native habitat.

In this exclusive footage, Burge warily approaches the hive's security drone, disguising himself as smelly graduate student.
Hilarious as usual -- check it out.

Lies of the Left -- Vietnam Atrocities

Well, now. It seems that many of the tales of atrocities supposedly committed by U.S. soldiers in Vietnam were either exaggerated or fabricated, but were uncritically accepted by American journalists and academics. Read about it here. This is not to say that no atrocities were committed nor that they should not be denounced and exposed, but the willingness, indeed eagerness, of American opinion elites to believe and publicize unproven allegations that place our military in a bad light is not just unseemly, it is pathological.

This Day In History

Today is National Cranberry Day and also National Cashew Day. Hmmm. Cranberries and Cashews, two of my favorite snacks. Mix them together with some dark chocolate, and a few other ingredients and you have pure perfection. Uh, excuse me..., time to run out to Trader Joe's for some provisions.

Ahh, I'm back.

On this day in 1863 the Battle of Chattanooga began. Perhaps it would be more precise to say that the "Battle of Orchard Knob" began. It was one of many clashes in and around Chattanooga during the months of October and November that included such storied locales as "Lookout Mountain", "Missionary Ridge" and "Rossville Gap". Collectively they are referred to as the "Battle[s] of Chattanooga". Here's the setup: A Union Army under General William Rosecranz had been encircled and beseiged at Chattanooga after a crushing defeat at the hands of Confederate Genearl Braxton Bragg at Chickamauga Creek. Union General U. S. Grant was ordered to break the siege and did so in spectacular fashion. [See an excellent animated overview of the battles here.] As a result of this victory the Union gained control of all of Tennessee; Confederate supply lines and transportation links were disrupted; General William T. Sherman established a base from which to launch his famous "March to the Sea", and probably most important, Grant was elevated to command of all the Union armies.

On this day in 1897 J. L. Love patented the pencil sharpener.

And on this day in 1936 the first edition of Life Magazine hit the stands. Before TV "Life" and its imitators were your window on the world. Today it is a website [here]. Check it out -- there are thousands of amazing photographs to see.

And on this day in 1943 William D. Cox, owner of the Phillies, was barred from baseball for life for betting on games.

And on this day in 1963, while America mourned the assassination of President Kennedy, "Doctor Who" debuted on British TV.

And on this day in 1971 Danny Murtagh, Pirate skipper, retired.

Entering the building:

Franklin Pierce [1804] 14th President of the United States.
William Bonney [1859] AKA "Billy the Kid".
Boris Karloff [1887] Scared the heck out of me when I was a kid.
Adolph Marx [1888] Better known as "Harpo".

Leaving the building:

Merle Oberon [1979] exotically beautiful actress.
Roald Dahl [1990] writer of dark and twisted short stories.
Freddie Mercury [1991] speaking of dark and twisted....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

More Pennsylvania Pictures

A murder of crows.

Something to strike terror into the heart of any crow -- a red-tailed hawk skimming low over a field.

Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang....

Blast off, a flock of pigeons takes to the air.

Fields along Rte. 222 west of Reading.

Why the Democrats are Doing It

Larry Sabato explains why the Democrats are so hell-bent on passing health care legisltation:

[T]he Republican interpretation of ‘09, as applied to health care, was that the victories of Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell would deter the Democrats from moving forward on the bill,” says Sabato. “But Democrats drew precisely the opposite lesson from ‘09. In their analysis, if they didn’t hang together and re-energize their party activists with a health care win, they'd hang separately in November 2010. Worried senators and congressmen began to see their names etched on the wall of losers, right after Jon Corzine and Creigh Deeds.”

Read it here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

In The Still Of The Night


Burkha Barbie

The Look of Loathe

Andrea Mitchell tries to ambush Sarah at a book signing, but the police stop her. Check out the expression on her face. View the whole sequence here.

This woman clearly has problems, and I'm not talking about Sarah.

Here's a link to the video -- it's not quite as bad as the still photos make it look, but Andrea still comes across as incredibly obnoxious and Sarah's natural grace and patience shows forth clearly.


Michelle v Oprah. Read about it here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Roots of Political Correctness

Toby Young explains:
Being politically correct is also socially correct — which helps explain its ubiquity. When a political trend is reinforced by snobbery it becomes an irresistible force, which helps explain the success of the environmental movement.
Political attitudes as social indicators -- very perceptive, and it explains a lot. Read the whole thing here.

The Collapse of Scientific Authority -- Climate Change Fraud

As I have expected, evidence now comes to light that "scientists" have been faking global warming data.

Read about it here.

Back when I was in the game they used to talk about "massaging" the data to achieve the desired results.


The Anchoress has a lot of links on the climate change fraud. She points out that President Bush, unlike his critics, was able to see through the fraud and resist immense pressures to go along to get along. Read her here.


John Hindraker over at Powerline has been reading the documents and notes that they reveal not only a willingness to massage data, but a fanatic "bunker" mentality among the leading lights of the warmist community and an ideological affiliation with the hard left. These people, he argues, are doing politics, not science. It's not just a case of their professional reputations and funding being at stake (although that certainly is the case), they are also true believers. Read it here.


James Delingpole, writing in the Telegraph, calls this the "greatest scandal in modern science", an notes that the MSM is desperately trying to ignore or minimize the impact of the story [here].


Great summary of the incriminating e-mails at Bishop Hill Blog here. This stuff is really damning.


For up-to-the-minute coverage of this emergent scandal check out Climate Depot here. There is definitely blood in the water.

Ardi Revisited

I seldom look at Scientific American any more -- it's been taken over by warmist enthusiasts -- but it has a nice, objective, overview of the current controversy over Ardi.

Check it out here.

Sensible Talk About Sarah

Excellent piece by Jonah Goldberg over at the National Review on the subject of Palinophobia. He makes a lot of sense. I particularly liked this line:

[S]ome of us will always be sympathetic to Mrs. Palin if for nothing else than her enemies. The bile she extracts from her critics is almost like a dye marker, illuminating deep pockets of asininity that heretofore were either unnoticed or underappreciated.
My feelings exactly. And this:

[M]y sense is that Palin is good for the Republican party but not necessarily great. She generates enthusiasm among, and donations from, the base. But she also turns off many of the people the GOP needs to persuade and attract. That could change with this book tour, and I hope it does. Whether she’s ready or qualified for the presidency is another matter. But the presidency is a long way off, and besides, that’s what primaries are for.
Read the whole thing here.

This Day In History

Today is "Universal Children's Day", officially so designated in 1954 by the U. N. This is not to be confused with "International Children's Day" sponsored by UNICEF which comes in December, nor the other "International Children's Day" which comes in June, nor with "National Child's Day" which President Bush established on the first Sunday of June, nor with "Children's Day" which was celebrated last week in India, nor with the "Children's Day" [formerly "Boy's Day"] which was celebrated in May in Japan, nor with the hundreds of other national and international celebrations of children. Actually, for people with children still at home every day seems to be "children's day", and that is how it should be.

On this day in 1272 Edward I [Longshanks] was proclaimed King of England. Today he's mostly remembered as the guy who killed Braveheart, but he was an extremely competent king who greatly strengthened the monarchy. His son, however, was a different matter.

And on this day in 1866 Howard University was founded in Washington, D.C.

And on this day in 1910 Francisco Madero issued a call for revolution against Mexican President-for-Life, Porfirio Diaz. This is the start of the Mexican Revolution that brought Madero to the presidency. It didn't last long, though. Soon Madero himself faced revolt and in 1913 he was displaced by a coup and executed by strongman, Victoriano Huerta.

On this day in 1945 the Nazi War Crimes trials began in Nuremberg. These trials remain one of the most controversial events of the Twentieth Century. Many consider them to be fully justified considering the nature of the Nazi regime, but it is clear that the trials were terribly flawed. Not only were prosecutors selective in the choice of defendants and used fraudulent evidence to convict some of them, but many of the charges were made "ex post facto" [that is, the actions were only defined as crimes after they were committed]. U.S. Chief Justice Harlan Stone called the trials a "fraud" and a "high-grade lynching party"; liberal icon, Justice William Douglas called them "unprincipled"; and even the American prosecutor, Robert Jackson, admitted that the Allies [particularly the French and the Soviets] were guilty of precisely the same "crimes" that were being charged against the defendants. Most disturbingly, the Nuremberg Trials set precedents for legal actions that have repeatedly been abused by left-wing ideologues ever since.

On this day in 1967, according to Census Bureau projections, the population of the United States stood at 200 million people. In less than forty years it had exceeded 300 million people.

And on this day in 1978 Jim Jones' followers drank the kool-aid and died.

Entering the building:

Kennesaw Mountain Landis [1866] First Commissioner of Baseball, hired to clean up the mess after the Black Sox scandal.

Edwin Hubble [1889] -- he proved that there were galaxies outside the Milky Way and discovered the "Red Shift" that showed that the universe was expanding.

Robert Byrd [1917] Democratic Senator from West Virginia and former Ku Klux Klansman who served as Senate Majority Leader.

Robert F. Kennedy [1925] -- Joe McCarthy henchman who rode his brother's coat-tails to national office as Attorney General and while there hatched and ordered the execution of assassination plots against foreign leaders [most notably Fidel Castro] while ordering domestic surveillance against potential political foes [including Martin Luther King, Jr.]; who shamelessly exploited his brother's death to seek election to the U. S. Senate from New York, despite not actually living in the State, and to launch a campaign for the Democratic Party nomination for the presidency. Ironically, this man, who had ordered the assassination of others, and who had exploited his brother's assassination for political gain, was himself assassinated by a Palestinian radical Muslim.

And on this day in 1929 Dick Clark, DJ who hosted "American Bandstand" out of a studio on Market Street in West Philly and went on to become one of the most influential figures in the music business, was born.

And "Happy Birthday" to Joseph "Plugs" Biden [1942], Scranton native and longtime senator from Delaware who is currently one heartbeat away from the presidency [shudder].

Leaving the Building:

Leo Tolstoy [1910] Russian novelist whom nearly everyone claims to have read but probably didn't.

Allan Sherman [1973] "Hello Mutha, hello Fadder, here I am in Camp Granada..."

General Francisco Franco [1975] Leader of the Falangist movement in Spain and longtime dictator of that country.

And a very "Happy Anniversary" to Queen Elizabeth II of the U.K. and her consort, Prince Philip.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Moon Opening

Look for a huge opening for "New Moon". We went to the movies this afternoon and when we left teenage girls were already lining up for the midnight showing.

Visualizing the Depression

Here's a nice visual representation of county-level unemployment statistics since the beginning of 2007. You can see the country rapidly turning into California.

This Day In History

Today is "Have A Bad Day Day". Wow! Sounds bad! Wishing misfortune on others -- that's what comic book villains do. But it's not as perverse as it sounds. The commemoration was established by folks fed up with hearing people say "Have a good day" at the end of every encounter. In other words it is a protest against the insincerity of social conventions.

And in the spirit of mocking social conventions I should note that today is also the "Great American Smokeout", or as I call it "Nag your Neighbor Day". Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you so reiterating the fact over and over is not conveying useful information, it is just a form of nagging. So for those of you who want an alternative to the social convention of trashing and admonishing smokers, here's Harriet Harris' famous paean to smoking from the "Frasier" TV show.

Potatoes anyone?

On this day in 1863 President Abraham Lincoln delivered a commemorative address at the Gettysburg battlefield. Many scholars have argued that this "Gettysburg Address" (little noticed at the time) is the most important single speech ever given in the nation's history. The reason? Not only is it brilliantly composed [the story about it being written on an envelope on the train ride to the battlefield is completely bogus], but it fundamentally redefines the nature of the United States.

Originally conceived as a voluntary and conditional union of sovereign States, the United States emerged from the Civil was as an integrated nation in which the supremacy of the federal government was confirmed for all time. As one historian put it, "The United States" became a singular, rather than a plural, term. Lincoln's formulation at Gettysburg: "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" gave perfect expression to this new state of affairs. Big government advocates and nationalists have ever since looked to Lincoln's address, and indeed his entire administration, for inspiration and justification.

And on this day in 1874, William Marcy "Boss" Tweed was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment for having defrauded New York of millions of dollars. Tweed's corrupt political machine was typical of that era and has been denounced by good government reformers ever since. But historians have pointed out that corrupt city and state machines were responsible for building the nation's urban infrastructure and modernizing America in the decades after the Civil War, and provided a remarkably democratic way of organizing the nation's resources.

On this day in 1919 the U. S. Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations. Liberal transnationalists have long lamented this decision to stay out of the League and have argued that America's refusal to participate helped to bring about World War Two. Others find that argument unpersuasive.

On this day in 1928 "Time" magazine publishes its first issue with Japanese Emperor Hirohito on the cover.

And on this day in 1942 the tide began to turn on the Eastern Front as Soviet troops defending Stalingrad went on the offense. This was the beginning of the "Great Winter Offensive" that many European, and especially Russian, historians see as the great turning point of the Second World War. Most British and American historians see things a bit differently because such a formulation relegates actions on the Western Front to a decidedly secondary status.

And on this day in 1969 Apollo 12, bearing Pete Conrad and Alan Bean touched down on the Moon.

And on this day in 1986 Mike Schmidt, Phillies third basemen, won the NL MVP award, and four years to the day later Pittsburgh's Barry Bonds won the very same award. What a coincidence!

Entering the Building: King Charles I of the UK [1600]. His attempts to reassert the "divine right" of kings to rule provoked the English Civil War in 1642 which did not go well for him or for the doctrines he espoused. Also entering the building on this day in 1831, James Garfield. 20th President of the United States. Things did not go well for him either. And a very "Happy Birthday" to Billy Sunday, Pirate infielder who went on to be one of the nation's greatest evangelists; and to Tommy Dorsey [1905], a Mahanoy City kid who, along with his brother Jimmy, made it big, very big in the big band era; and to Phillies catcher, Bob Boone [1947], and also to Larry King [1933].

Leaving the Building: Franz Schubert [1828]; Lincoln Penny (Stepin Fetchit) [1985]; and Cab Calloway [1994] another Pittsburgh kid who made it big in show business.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Obie In China

Just what the heck is going on here?

The Fatal Flaw in Obama's Foreign Policy

Gordon F. Chang identifies the problem with Obie's approach to foreign relations:

We should thank Beijing’s ruling group for pointing out the fundamental flaw of American foreign policy toward China. Even if our policies are working — they’re not, but that’s another story — Washington is employing tactics that will take decades to bear fruit. So far, we have been appealing to the good instincts of autocrats who interpret gestures of friendship as signs of weakness and who respect nothing but strength. Perhaps we can entice them to be cooperative, but they have just told us that this approach will require a lifetime of unilateral concessions and obsequious behavior on our part.
Well said, and applicable to far more than US-Chinese relations.

Read the whole thing here.

This Day In History

Today is "Occult Day" so go out there and spend the day getting in touch with your paranormal side. Dabble in Theosophy or Ariosophy or Astrology; hold a seance, complete with spirit rapping; seek out Madonna and ask her to explain the Kabbalah; or answer an ad for the Rosicrucian Brotherhood. Your life will never be the same. To get you in the mood, here's a link to the collected works of H. P. Lovecraft.

On this day in 1307 William Tell supposedly was forced by a local tyrant to shoot an apple of the head of his son in Uri, Switzerland. Nobody knows if the story is true, and there is some doubt as to whether Tell ever existed, but the tale of Tell's defiance helped to spark a rebellion that eventually led to the formation of the Swiss Confederation.

And on this day in 1803 Haitian rebels defeated French troops in the Battle of Vertieres. This battle secured the independence of Haiti and the successful revolt convinced the French government that it would be impractical to attempt to refound their North American empire in Louisiana. They began to look around for someone to take it off their hands and offered to sell the vast territory at a bargain price to the United States. Fortunately, President Thomas Jefferson did not take constitutional principles very seriously. He made funds available and Louisiana was purchased, mostly to keep it out of British or Spanish hands.

On this day in 1928 Mickey Mouse made his screen debut in Steamboat Willie.

This was also Minnie Mouse's first screen appearance, although Mickey got all the credits.

And on this day in 1981 Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt won his second consecutive NL MVP award.

"Happy Birthday" to Louis Daguerre [1789], inventor of the daguerrotype; to Eugene Ormandy [1899], conductor of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra; to George Horatio Gallup [1901] the pollmeister; and to Alan Shepard [1923], first American astronaut in space.

Leaving the House: Chester A. Arthur [1886]; Niels Bohr [1962]; and Joseph P. Kennedy [1969].

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

European Envy and Climate Change

Why are Europeans so committed to the idea of climate change? Investors Business Daily thinks it has an answer. Reacting to a hysterical anti-American rant by Christian Schwagerl in Der Spiegel, IBD concludes:

Should anyone wish to know why Europe has bought so fully into the global warming nonsense, Schwagerl clears that up in his rant about Americans' lifestyles. He is typical of many in the Old World who are jealous of U.S. prosperity and demand that Washington adopt CO2 emissions limits that would bridle our economy. They want Americans' lives to be as materially meager as theirs.
Read it here.

Childbearing and the Culture Wars

Nice piece by Michael Barone in The American on childbearing and cultural differences in our society. He notes that women tend to conceive earlier in Republican leaning States than in those that lean liberal. This is interesting because of the prevalence of early child-bearing in many Democratic-oriented minority groups. Obviously the discrepancy in the general population must be quite significant to overcome that built-in bias. He then notes that age of first pregnancy has been shown to be a proxy for a number of cultural tendencies and the demographic divergence, which has been widening in recent decades, therefore seems to indicate a developing cultural split in our society.

All of this is to say something that we all know -- that there is a deep, profound, and growing cultural divergence in contemporary American society and that it has significant political consequences. America has passed through similar periods before and the outcome has never been benign.

Read the whole thing here.

This Day In History

Today is "World Peace Day". An admirable sentiment, no doubt, but one also has to ask at what price. A number of studies have shown that since the collapse of the Soviet evil empire the world has been getting steadily more peaceful, that is, the levels of conflict, both between states and within states, have been steadily declining since 1990. [here, here, here, and here.] This has been accomplished without any centralized direction or control [although the United Nations has tried, somewhat unpersuasively, to take credit for the changes]. So perhaps it is more appropriate to celebrate the emerging era of peace rather than to waste effort on insane schemes to pacify the world from the top down.

On this day in 1558 Mary Tudor ["Bloody Mary"] died and Elizabeth I ascended to the throne of England. Catholic persecution of Protestants in the realm came to an end and the Church of England was re-established.

And on this day in 1800 Congress for the first time assembled in Washington and President John Adams moved into the White House. At the time Washington was just a small settlement in the middle of a fever swamp, but in the minds of Tom Jefferson and his supporters it was better than Philadelphia.

And on this day in 1869 the Suez Canal was opened for business.

And on this day in 1913 the first ship passed through the Panama Canal.

And on this day in 1997 "Super" Mario Lemieux entered the NHL Hall of Fame.

Happy Birthday [1755] to Louis XVIII, the first post-revolutionary King of France [1814-1824]; And to Gen. Bernard Law "Monty" Montgomery [1887] who led British forces in WWII and gave Eisenhower more headaches than any commander should have to bear.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Officer Howie is Dead

Edward Woodward has passed away. He achieved fame as The Equalizer and in Breaker Morant, but for me he will always be Officer Howie in The Wicker Man.

Read about him here.

Obies Ego

There's a nice piece by Jeff Jacoby in yesterday's Boston Globe on the subject of "Obama's Swelling Ego".

PRESIDENT OBAMA was too busy to attend the celebrations in Germany this week marking the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago. But he did appear by video, delivering a few brief and bloodless remarks about how the wall was “a painful barrier between family and friends’’ that symbolized “a system that denied people the freedoms that should be the right of every human being.’’ He referred to “tyranny,’’ but never identified the tyrants - he never uttered the words “Soviet Union’’ or “communism,’’ for example. He said nothing about the men and women who died trying to cross the wall. Nor did he mention Harry Truman or Ronald Reagan - or even Mikhail Gorbachev.

He did, however, talk about Barack Obama.
Was there ever a president as deeply enamored of himself as Barack Obama?
Read the whole thing here.

This Day In History

Today is "Button Day". I don't know what it means either.

Lots of military stuff today.

On this day in 1532 the Conquistador Francisco Pizarro took Inca emperor, Atahualpa, hostage after victory in the battle of Cajamarca.

And on this day in 1798 the Brits boarded a United States ship, the Baltimore, and impressed several seamen into the Royal Navy, claiming that they were deserters. The practice of impressment was a clear violation of American rights and was a major source of tensions leading up to the War of 1812.

And on this day in 1846 General Zachary Taylor occupied Saltillo, Mexico.

And on this day in 1864 General William Tecumseh Sherman began his "march to the sea".

And on this day in 1967 American planes bombed Haiphong harbor in North Vietnam for the first time. Escalation, anyone?

And on this day in 1960 [the Year of Mazeroski], Pirate shortstop Dick Groat won the NL MVP award; and not to be outdone, in 1966 the peerless Pirate, Roberto Clemente received the same award.

"Happy Birthday" to the Federal Reserve System [1914]; to the Roman Emperor Tiberius [42 BC] (not to be confused with the captain of the Star Ship Enterprise); and to W. C. Handy [1873], writer of exquisite songs. Leaving the building today were Clark Gable [1960], the biggest male movie star of all time; and Rep. Sam Rayburn [1961] legendary Speaker of the House. He held the position for seventeen years. After he died they named the building for him.

And on this day in 1981 Luke married Laura on General Hospital. I'm not sure why, but I know several women who consider this to have been a big deal.

Signs of the Times

Obamao t-shirts, conceived as a compliment to our fine young President, but now banned because some thought it sent the wrong political message. Other's see it as perceptive commentary.

There he goes again -- bowing to a foreign leader. The first time might be excused as simple ignorance on his part, but he keeps doing it so the bows must be deliberate. Why does he do it? Who knows, but there are no acceptable answers.

And again with the Mao imagery. Does Obama not know who Mao was and what he did? Or could it be that he just doesn't care. Again the question arises -- are these gestures simply a matter of ignorance, or is Obama trying to signal his disdain for Western culture and values and acceptance of the worst the Twentieth Century had to offer? Time will tell.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lies of the Left -- Falling Soldier

One of the most famous images to emerge from the Spanish Civil War was Robert Capa's "falling soldier". It purported to show a Spanish leftist being felled by a Falangist bullet and it became a powerful symbol of resistance to fascism, used for decades to promote sympathy for left-wing causes. But it was a fake.

George Will explains here.

Obama Loses Broder

Even the dean of Washington correspondents has finally had it with the "ditherer in chief". David Broder writes:

The more President Obama examines our options in Afghanistan, the less he likes the choices he sees. But, as the old saying goes, to govern is to choose -- and he has stretched the internal debate to the breaking point.

It is evident from the length of this deliberative process and from the flood of leaks that have emerged from Kabul and Washington that the perfect course of action does not exist. Given that reality, the urgent necessity is to make a decision -- whether or not it is right.

Read the whole thing here.

Of course the rabid lefties are baying for Broder's scalp. What they and our feckless young president don't seem to realize is that inaction itself has consequences and, in the case of Afghanistan where we are faced with a deteriorating situation indecision can be fatal.

Obie's defenders like to pretend that he is simply and wisely considering all alternatives before acting, unlike President Bush, who they like to think acted precipitously and without thought. But Bush was anything but foolhardy and impetuous in the runup to the Iraq invasion and, as Broder points out, there has been plenty of time to consider all the available options and to gather all the pertinent information needed to choose among them.

What is left, then, is simply a President who, for whatever reason, is unable to make the kinds of decisions his office demands, who is unable to function once drawn away from a pre-ordained and rigidly held agenda. Faced with difficult choices and conflicting interests, Obama once again stands paralyzed by indecision. Frustration has been building among those who once supported this callow man and gloried in his triumph. Mr. Broder's protest is a measure of that frustration. The time for decision has long passed and now Mr. Obama must stand up and be counted. Presidents cannot vote "present".

The "First Pacific President"?

Speaking in Tokyo Obama referred to himself as the "first Pacific President" suggesting that he, unlike any of his predecessors, had significant experience in Pacific affairs based on the fact that he was born in Hawaii and spent some of his childhood in Indonesia. As with so many pronouncements made by this most historically illiterate of all Presidents and his minions the assertion is nonsense. California, home to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, borders the Pacific and could reasonably be considered a Pacific environment. Several former Presidents served military tours of duty in the Pacific. George H. W. Bush not only served in the Pacific, he was American ambassador to China. Taft was Governor-General of the Philippines. Hoover lived and worked in China and spoke Mandarin. So, Obama's claim to be the "first Pacific President" is not just unfounded, it is a slander against his predecessors in office.

And Obama's ignorant minions singled out George W. Bush for particular scorn, accusing his administration "of letting US ties with East Asia founder". Nothing could be further from the truth. The Bush administration took the lead in forging regional security, economic, and environmental agreements with Australia, South Korea, Japan, India, New Zealand, and the Philippines while simultaneously expanding the range and depth of ties with mainland China. If anything, Dubya was an activist with regard to East Asia and the Pacific.

It would be easy to dismiss all this as simply more lies from an essentially dishonest man and his lackeys, but it more likely reveals a disturbing level of self-centeredness and ignorance of history and global affairs unparalleled in any recent administration.