Day By Day

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Environmental Benefits of Capitalism

Walter Russell Mead writes:
Much to the surprise (and, one suspects, the chagrin) of the deranged doomsaying wing of the environmental movement, new forecasts of US CO2 emission are out and they point to an even steeper drop than the last set of predictions.

No cap and trade, no huge new taxes on oil, no draconian driver restrictions, no air conditioning bans, no rationing — and the US is on track to cut its CO2 emissions 17 percent below the 2005 levels by 2020 — and to keep cutting our emissions levels beyond that.
Interesting, and it points toward a reasonable solution to the problems associated with global economic growth.
[The United States of America is living proof that there are more ways to address environmental concerns than the green movement as a whole is willing to admit.

And if the United States can achieve this while blowing off the panicky greens and their tiresome Malthusian agendas, so can China and India. That is a very good thing, because those countries have zero repeat zero interest in  adopting any green measures that slow their growth.

The truth is that if CO2 emissions are going to come down, it’s going to happen the American way rather than the Greenpeace way.
Read it here.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Through the Heart of Europe -- Part 1, To Basel

This Spring we took a long river journey through the heart of the Dark Continent [Europe]. Our journey began at the Frankfort Airport where we were supposed to catch a Lufthansa flight to Basel, Switzerland.

Unfortunately, when we got to the airport we found that Lufthansa ground crews were threatening a strike and all flights were canceled.

So for ten hours we were stuck at the airport waiting for new flights to be scheduled.

At last we boarded a plane and headed south toward Switzerland. In the distance we could see the Bavarian alps. We arrived in Basel in the evening and were transported to the Rhine river where our boat was waiting for us. The sky above held an interesting conjunction of Jupiter, Venus and the Moon. We hoped it was a good omen.

The sun-deck where I hoped to spend a lot of time as we floated through the heart of Europe.

We went to our cabin and unpacked, explored the boat for a while, then went to sleep. We arose early in the morning and went to the dining room for breakfast where we were greeted by these local residents. I had forgotten just how many swans lived along the Rhine.

Early morning along the Rhine.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Good President (continued) -- The Comeback Kid

From the Washington Examiner:
Remember those billboards erected after anger grew over President Obama's stimulus spending that showed a picture of a grinning George W. Bush asking, "Miss me yet?

Well a consistently growing number of Americans are answering that question with a loud "yes!"
Deep in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll just published is the first hard evidence that the nation is softening on the 43rd president....
 Read the whole thing here.

Slowly but surely people are starting to take an objective view of George W. Bush and his presidency and as they do his reputation rises. Eventually, one can hope, justice will prevail and his greatness will be recognized.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Horror -- Another Journalist Attacked in Tahrir Square

British Journalist Natasha Smith came face to face with the spirit of Egypt's Islamist revolution. The result was pure horror.

Just as I realised I had reached the end of the bridge, I noticed the crowd became thicker, and decided immediately to turn around to avoid Tahrir Square. My friends and I tried to leave. I tried to put my camera back in my rucksack.

But in a split second, everything changed. Men had been groping me for a while, but suddenly, something shifted. I found myself being dragged from my male friend, groped all over, with increasing force and aggression. I screamed. I could see what was happening and I saw that I was powerless to stop it. I couldn’t believe I had got into this situation.
My friend did everything he could to hold onto me. But hundreds of men were dragging me away, kicking and screaming. I was pushed onto a small platform as the crowd surged, where I was hunched over, determined to protect my camera. But it was no use. My camera was snatched from my grasp. My rucksack was torn from my back – it was so crowded that I didn’t even feel it. The mob stumbled off the platform – I twisted my ankle.

Men began to rip off my clothes. I was stripped naked. Their insatiable appetite to hurt me heightened. These men, hundreds of them, had turned from humans to animals.
 It gets worse, much worse. If you have a strong stomach read the whole thing here.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Adventures in India, Part 42 -- Leaving the Subcontinent

Winding up our visit to the Indian Subcontinent.We left the monuments and royal parks behind and walked through the streets of Kathmandu.

Through the "Peoples Plaza" a reminder that the Maoist movement is still strong in Nepal.

Boarded our bus and were taken to a local restaurant for dinner and a show.

There were several singers and dancers and at one point several members of our party got up on stage and stumbled around.

One interesting feature of the night was the presence of a group of mountaineers who had just returned from Everest. One of our party was himself a climber and he joined them for a while. He learned that, although they displayed medals celebrating their climb of Everest, they had actually gotten no higher than the base camp.

Our Program Director, patiently waiting for us outside.

Then it was back to the hotel to rest and pack, and then on to the airport where we took a plane to Delhi.

Then a long, long flight back to the USA. And finally, at dawn I was able to look out the window and see the familiar sights of the harbor.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Adventures in India, Part 41 -- Durbar Square, Kathmandu

Durbar means "palace" and these squares were highly significant manifestations of royal power back in the days when Nepal was divided into several small kingdoms. The Kathmandu square is one of the most impressive of these. As we approached the square we found a lot of activity in the area. It seems that there was a rock concert scheduled for a nearby venue and the police were out in force to forestall any trouble that might emerge.

The vendors were setting up too. 


Inside the square things were a lot quieter.

There were a lot of references to Kali, death the annihilator, in the local iconography. 

And all around were extraordinarily elaborate wood carvings. These windows are in a courtyard where the Kumari Deva, a prepubescent girl who is believed to be the manifestation of divine female energy, occasionally makes an appearance. She didn't show herself the day we were there which is probably a good thing because large throngs of worshipers show up to see her when she does. 


One of the reasons the police are so edgy -- the youth unemployment rate is estimated at around 40 percent. The squares are filled with young men simply sitting around and watching the world go by. 

This is the Pratap Malla column, honoring a king who ruled Kathmandu back in the seventeenth century. He is surrounded by servants and protected by a hooded cobra.

Pigeons everywhere.

Just hanging out at the temple.

 Sleeping in the sun, young love in the shade of the temples.

Appeasing the annihilator. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Adventures in India, Part 40 -- The Boudhantha Stupa

Our next destination was the famous Boudhanath Stupa, one of the main centers of Buddhist worship in Nepal.

Here is the stupa itself. Its origins are obscure. Varying traditions date it to the fourth, sixth, and eighth centuries and to a number of different monarchs. There are additionally a couple of competing myths [Nepalese and Tibetan] concerning its construction. Whatever the case, it is an impressive and important religious site.


The stupa is surrounded by prayer wheels.

I don't know what this is, and I'm not sure I want to know.

Another texting monk.

Monks at the stupa getting ready to have their picture taken.

Back on the streets of Kathmandu.

Then it was back onto the bus to visit another Durbar Square.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Immigration and the Decline of the West

By Mark Steyn,
[T]he shifting rationale for mass immigration may not illuminate much about the immigrants but it certainly tells you something about the natives: Originally, European leaders said, we needed immigrants to work in the mills and factories. But the mills and factories closed. So the new rationale was that we needed young immigrants to keep the welfare state solvent. But in Germany the Turks retire even younger than the Krauts do, and in France 65 percent of imams are on the dole. So the surviving rationale is that a dependence on mass immigration is not a structural flaw but a sign of moral virtue. The evolving justification for post-war immigration policy — from manufacturing to welfare to moral narcissism — is itself a perfect shorthand for Western decay. 
 Read the whole thing here.

Adventures in India, Part 39 -- Return to Kathmandu

We headed to the airport where we boarded a plane [Yeti Airlines, I'm not kidding] and flew back to Kathmandu

Back to the protests.

Back to the squalor of what had once been considered an exotic paradise.

And the bustle of the city.

To view the remnants of past glories, Patan Durbar Square, once a royal park, in Lalitpur City just outside Kathmandu.

Sometimes it's better not to look too closely at the icons, the details can be quite horrifying.

Young people hanging out in the park, watching the tourists.

A quiet corner. Nothing important, I just liked the colors.