Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sex, math, and a feminist poll

Link was broken. Fixed. Sorry.
Boys' Math Scores Hit Highs and Lows

This is not news, despite the implication contained in "researchers are now taking notice"

Here's a TOC reference from 2006. The book referenced was published in 2002. The information therein has apparently only just come to the attention of the University of Wisconsin and the University of California, Berkeley.

See also.

Update 8:05PM

Larry Summers' revenge
A Reuters story quoted the lead author of a study in Science magazine, Janet Hyde, as saying that "there aren't gender differences anymore in math performance" that could account for the pre-eminence of men in strongly quantitative careers such as math and physics.
Her own study refutes that statement.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Can he really believe this?

Well, not to mention how much gas we'd save by simply increasing taxes on oil companies, suing Saudi Arabia for not pumping more and refusing to permit a vote on off-shore drilling - Democrat initiatives all. In Michigan, RAISING the gas tax is next.

It's surprising Obama's handlers ever let him speak extemporaneously. Then again, he's helping Nancy save the planet. Reading that link shows you how fawning over Democrats is spreading to the bit players. Next: The Philosophy of Harry Reid.

The content of his character

According to Barack Obama this statement is divisive:

"The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting."

I'd try praying on Capitol Hill instead

Groups to pray for lower prices at gas stations

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sigh II

McCain backs off his no-new-tax pledge

What happened to backing off on spending? After the gas tax holiday, of course.

Little Brother is watching you. Courtesy of...

Flint seeks sponsors for police surveillance cameras; some question whether it's appropriate

The program is known as "Adopt-A-PODSS." That's short for Portable Overt Digital Surveillance System.

So, I was struck with the idea of "The Other Club Public Service" cam with the URL in smaller type below.

OTOH, I don't necessarily subscribe to the idea that any publicity is good publicity.

Maybe we could lease one on behalf of George Soros or, better yet, Michael Moore.

FLINT, Michigan -- Willing to spend $30,000 to put your name on a camera?

The City of Flint is looking for sponsors for surveillance cameras that will be mounted around the city to keep a watch out for crooks.

In exchange for cash, the city will plaster business names next to police logos on the pole-mounted camera boxes that sport a blue police light that flashes 24 hours a day.

This is funny

And I tried to embed it, but I can't turn off the automatic playing which I HATE. I won't expose you to it.

Still, a very funny George Bush impression with reactions from Bush.

Steve Bridges imitates Bush for Bush.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reading list

The primary issues in this year's elections will be the economy and the war. The sub-text will be whether opposing Barack Obama for any reason is knee-jerk racism.

I present my reading list of the last 6 weeks, which contains some selections you should read specifically regarding those issues. Others are included because they are worth reading, too. First, the election relevant titles:

Thomas Sowell – Race & Culture
What should have informed Obama's famous speech on race, and didn't.
Moderately long.

Footnotes omitted in the following.
Outside of Western civilization, the the anti-slavery effort was opposed and evaded, especially in the Islamic world. Repeated pressure on the Ottoman empire led its government to decree a ban on the slave trade within its domains in 1847, ... However, mindful of the opposition within, Ottoman authorities were not very active at trying to stamp out the slave trade. Eventually, the British government threatened to begin boarding Ottoman ships in the Mediterranean to search for slaves, unless the Ottomans themselves began enforcing the the ban on the forbidden slave trade. Nor was the Ottoman Empire the only foreign government to feel the pressure of British anti-slavery policy. In 1873, British ships anchored off Zanzibar and threatened to blockade the island unless the slave market there closed. It closed.
[p 212]

To explain the enslavement of Africans by Europeans by things peculiar to Africans or Europeans is to ignore the glaring fact that slavery was a worldwide institution, among the most disparate races and cultures, going back untold thousands of years. Clearly other factors must have been at work to explain the existence of slavery elsewhere.
[p 219]

Another distortion of history is to assume a priori that social problems afflicting contemporary blacks in the United States are a “legacy of slavery.” Broken families, lower rates of marriage, lower rates of labor force participation have been included among the social phenomena explained and excused on the ground of a “legacy of slavery.” In reality, most black children were raised in two-parent homes even during the era of slavery and for generations thereafter, blacks had higher rates of marriage than whites in the early twentieth century, and higher rates of labor force participation in every census from 1890 to 1950. Whatever may be the real causes of very different patterns among blacks in the world of today must be sought in the twentieth century, not in the era before emancipation.
Henry Hazlitt – Economics in One Lesson
Demonstrating that economics is not so complicated as those in government would like you to believe. Also that they lie and pander. Who knew?
Not a long read.
Government -guaranteed home mortgages, especially when a negligible or no down payment is required, inevitably mean more bad loans than otherwise. They force the general taxpayer to subsidize the bad risks and to defray the losses. They encourage people to “buy” houses that they cannot really afford. They tend to eventually to bring about an oversupply of houses as compared with other things. They temporarily overstimulate building, raise the cost of building for everybody (including the buyers of homes with the guaranteed mortgages), and they may mislead the building industry into an eventually costly overexpansion. In brief, in the long run they do not increase overall national production but encourage malinvestment.
[p47 I will remind you that that it was written in 1946.]

The government must act. All that we really want to do is correct these violent, senseless fluctuations in price...

There are several methods by which it is commonly proposed to do this. One of the most frequent is government loans to farmers to enable theme to hold their crops off the market.

Such loans are urged in Congress for reasons that seem very plausible to most listeners. They are told that the farmers crops are all dumped on the market at once, at harvest time; that this is precisely the time when prices are lowest, and that speculators take advantage of this to buy the crops themselves and hold them for higher prices when food gets scarcer again. Thus it is urged that the farmers suffer, and that they, rather than the speculators, should get the advantage of higher prices.

This argument is not supported by either theory or experience. The much-reviled speculators are not the enemy of the farmer; they are essential to his best welfare. The risks of fluctuating farm prices must be borne by somebody; they have in fact been borne in modern times chiefly by the profession speculator. In general, the more competently the latter act in their own interest as speculators, the more they help the farmer. For speculators see their own interest precisely in proportion to foresee future prices. But the more accurately they foresee future prices the less violent or extreme are the fluctuations in prices.
[p 110-111]
Again, written in 1946.

Since 1958 there has been an experiment in the futures commodity market that proves Hazlitt's point. Onions are forbidden (thanks to Gerald Ford) to be traded on futures commodity markets. Here's the result: “Onion prices soared 400 percent between October 2006 and April 2007, only to crash 96 percent by March 2008 and then rebound 300 percent this past April.”

Michael Yon – Moment of Truth in Iraq

Check reviews at the link above, but buy a signed copy here.

Why our military's ability as public administration warriors made the surge a success, and why the surge could not have been a success except for the preparation of the field by our military commanders on the ground.

Despite what the MSM would have you believe, the seeds of the "Anbar Awakening" had to be planted before adding US troops made sense. Our soldiers planted those seeds, and Obama's claim that that the awakening must be considered an event separate from our military presence is tripe. He can't admit he was wrong on the signature judgment of his candidacy, so the success of the surge can't be what it appears.

Yon is no war apologist, and he explains why you should get behind finishing what we started in Iraq. For those reluctant because they think this book will be neo-con propaganda, Yon has been a serious critic of our Iraq policies. He is a self-financed embedded reporter. He is the Ernie Pyle of the Battle of Iraq. HIGHLY recommended. If you read but one of the recommendations here, let it be this.
Not long at all.
“When General Petraeus took command in early 2007 he had the diplomatic and command skills to take full advantage of “the cleaving” that was already underway. (People talk about “the surge.” But there was something else that happened: “the cleaving.” We hacked a lot of the groups apart from one another.) During the fall and winter of 2006, our military had already progressed substantially in transforming how it conducted the war. Heavy-handed tactics were mostly gone, replaced instead by a multi-dimensional counterinsugency strategy rolled out simultaneously with tightly targeted kinetic battles.
[p 94-95]

I understood why army officers had been telling me the marines were more advanced in counterinsurgency. These marines were doing vintage Special Forces work and had a flair for it. They were even studying Arabic in their filthy little compound [sahred with the Iraqis they were mentoring] ... The Iraqis appreciated it.

One of the most important things I saw was that Iraqi soldiers and police constantly emulated marines and soldiers.

...A man like [SSG] Raken Lee was not someone they could overlook. Physically, the man was amazingly strong. But even more amazing was the strength of his moral fiber. Whatever the man talked, he walked.

...By showing that the strongest soldier is also disciplined, just and compassionate, soldiers like SSG Lee were winning the moral high ground in Iraq and devastating al Qaeda. I saw an Iraqi Army lieutenant named Hamid treating prisoners with respect because he had seen American soldiers do it.
[p 99-100]
They have devastated al Qaeda and they are sowing respect for Western values in a nation we dearly want as an ally. We have expended much blood and treasure to reach this point. Barack Obama would throw it away, because he is as ignorant of our troops performance as he is of the history of "the awakening," which he would like you to believe occurred spontaneously and independent of the efforts of American troops.

Obama argues his “plan” for complete and precipitous withdrawal might have worked, but wasn't tried. He contends the Anbar Awakening might have flowered without additional troops to protect it. He's trapped in his own far-left pandering.

The other books:

Isaac Asimov – New Guide to Science

Not so new, (4th edition, 1984) but a good history of science. Even if you've been keeping up you'll learn something. I got mine for a buck at a book sale, don't pay the outrageous prices at that link.

Lee Child – Nothing to Lose
Adventure fiction. Don't start with this, read Child's earlier Jack Reacher stories first.
In this genre I prefer Stephen Hunter's Bob Lee Swagger and Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch, but Child's series is worth reading.
Not long.

Ray Kurzweil – The Singularity is Near
Technological progress is truly exponential. You think it's linear. Why your mistake matters.

All these books are recommended, but reading in the first 3 categories is required prior to casting your vote in November. For those not familiar with the issues: Don't vote if you don't read in the categories – even if you reject all my suggestions, read something new. For those familiar with the issues, here are alternatives in the economics arena:

For economics, instead of Hazlitt you might read Sowell's Economics 101 to similar effect. Hazlitt, however, writing as early as the mid-1940s, touches on the precisely the same economic conundra we face today – from Social Security to minimum wage to energy prices - and Sowell has an entry already. Still other choices in the economic realm include Eat the Rich (O'Rourke), The Road to Serfdom (Hayek) and Capitalism and Freedom or Free to Choose by (Freidman). O'Rourke is the most entertaining (it still makes me laugh aloud after several readings), if not quite as directly relevant. Read it just for the humor.

In any case, responsible voters need to read in economics, on the Battle of Iraq and a on culture from sources that provide some counterpoint to Jesse Jackson and Jeremiah Wright, who are Barack Obama's philosophical progenitors and mentors, whether he's belatedly thrown them under the bus or not. Maybe you already have read extensively in these categories and are confirmed in your opinion, but if it helps, I will offer to be informed by any book suggested in a comment on a tit for tat basis.

Update 7:04AM 28-Jul This comment appeared on anothe post, but I think was intended for this one:
Anonymous said...
Liberalism by Ludwig von Mises. (1927) A short book and very accessible.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

John Bolton for President

One world? Obama's on a different planet
SEN. BARACK OBAMA said in an interview the day after his Berlin speech that it "allowed me to send a message to the American people that the judgments I have made and the judgments I will make are ones that are going to result in them being safer."

If that is what the senator thought he was doing, he still has a lot to learn about both foreign policy and the views of the American people. Although well received in the Tiergarten, the Obama speech actually reveals an even more naive view of the world than we had previously been treated to in the United States. In addition, although most of the speech was substantively as content-free as his other campaign pronouncements, when substance did slip in, it was truly radical, from an American perspective.

It's a wonder they can think at all

I've written a fair bit on this topic in the past, and I recommend reading all the posts linked here. These are good background and decent posts. I am fond of this sentence, "[Harvard President Larry] Summers has offered obeisance to all the Feminists offended by his remarks regarding the factors possibly affecting penetration of females into the ivory towers of hard science."

But enough feminist-baiting self-indulgence, today's item is the recent confirmation that Larry Summers, formerly President of Harvard University was just as misogynist as NOW claimed when he had the temerity to ask a question about “under-representation” of female scientists at elite universities. He asked, based on a significant body of supportive scientific research, whether the phenomenon could be due partly to “innate” differences between men and women. He deserved to be fired by the Harvard Humanities faculty: Math study finds girls are just as good as boys

Research of this sort, for which the archetype is the "wage-gap" between men an women, always make me wonder about premises. In this case, just reading the story revealed that this study does not actually demonstrate anything meaningful.

As Hyde and her colleagues looked across the data for states' testing, they found something they didn't expect: In most states they reviewed, and at most grade levels, there weren't any questions that involved complex problem-solving, an ability needed to succeed in high levels of science and math. If tests don't assess these reasoning skills, they may not be taught, putting American students at a disadvantage to students in other countries with more challenging tests, the researchers said.
I take that back. The meaningful part of the study is that boys and girls are equally ill-served by government schools. What math is taught there is generally disconnected from any actual accomplishment in science or math. It's a wonder we have any mathematicians or scientists of either sex.

The damage doesn't stop at failure to prepare either sex for careers in math and science. You may not like math, or desire a career that involves math, but taking math courses that do not expose you to critical thinking skills is not just a waste of time, it is a failure an order of magnitude greater. To paraphrase the philosopher Paul Simon, "It's a wonder they can think at all."

Friday, July 25, 2008

How about a cap of 130 grams per speech?

I didn't think John had it in him. Highly recommended. RTWT at the link. John McCain makes an observation about Obama's idiotic position on the surge.
We rejected the audacity of hopelessness, and we were right.
Here's my observation. Powerline has a nice bulleted summary of Obama speaking in English to the Germans. To appreciate Obama's full egregiousness this is worth reading in its entirety also, but I want to focus on one point which is contained in the first and sixth bullets.
[1] That the Europeans are right to consider global warming the primary threat we face: “As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya” and “This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands.”

[6]...That we should emulate the Germans on carbon reduction ("Let us resolve that all nations - including my own - will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere.")
If you look at the German carbon emissions profile since oh, 1990, you will see numbers that indeed show a significant reduction by 2000. These numbers played a part in the Kyoto negotiations. How much you have to reduce carbon emissions is partly based on the current level and the historical pattern.

What this seemingly straightforward analysis ignores is the fall of the Berlin Wall. At that point West Germany was on a path to absorb the German Democratic Republic, AKA East Germany, where industrial production was as small as it was inefficient and dirty. Obsolete manufacturing and power generation in East Germany has largely been replaced by modern plants or shut down as uneconomic. This alone accounts for a grand reduction in per capita carbon emissions.

Beyond that however, East German carbon emissions were already anemic. So, even before modernization, the reunified Germany benefited statistically by an averaging of per capita emissions. East Germany, for all intents and purposes, was a third world country. How much would it benefit Britain's historical CO2 pattern, for example, if they could combine it with that of Zimbabwe starting in 1990?

Arguably, Germany's progress in reducing carbon emissions is mostly due to a speech made by an American in Germany. That American was Ronald Reagan.

The reunification of carbon emissions, however, is not even the whole story. The rest of it involves the reaction of German industry to increasingly draconian EU regulation. How well is it working?

German Auto Industry Calls EU's CO2 Diet Unworkable

The new EU-wide target for 2012 is now [carbon emissions of] 130 g/km with the shortfall of 10 grams to be made up with the use of bio-fuels and other measures, but the EU has yet to spell out how such a target is to be achieved.

...A trading system is one way some EU experts said the 27-nation bloc's average pollution could be decreased.

"Porsche, for instance, could buy emission points from a low CO2 producer such as Smart to reach the 130 g/km target," Dudenhöffer said. "Under such a trading scheme, the list price of a Smart would go down 600 euros ($778), while premium brands, such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes would go up 1,500 euros to 2,000 euros. The Porsche would wind up on average costing 6,000 euros more."

..."Porsche cannot reach 130 g/km -- not now, not ever, but our sports cars and SUVs are among the best in their category for emission standards," said Porsche AG spokesman Albrecht Bamler.

..."There is much that can be done technologically to reduce emissions, but it's simply impossible to put a Mercedes sedan on a CO2 diet of 130g/km," the spokeswoman said. "It's like saying that everyone is obliged to live in a 60-square-meter apartment (646 square feet), regardless of whether their household consists of one person or a family with three kids."
Killing Jobs to Save the Climate
The price of European emission permits is rising so rapidly that German companies are threatening to leave the country. Thousands of jobs could be lost. And the environment may, in the end, be no better off.

They sat silently through two lectures, but then they couldn't control their anger any longer. The civil servants from the Environment Ministry, the Environment Agency and the German Emissions Trading Authority made it sound easy for industry to take up carbon trading. It was just too much for the managers to tolerate.

"If that's the shape the trading will take, we will simply move our cement operation to Ukraine," a cement factory manager shouted into the lecture hall. "Then there won't be any trading here, nothing will be produced here anymore -- the lights will simply go out here."

The businessmen's anger surprised the emissions-allowance trading experts. They had invited industry representatives to a relaxed forum at the Environment Ministry's office in Bonn. They wanted to present international developments in the carbon trading market. However, the mood in the German business world has soured -- managers no longer have the stomach for academic lectures. The reason is that emissions allowances are already burdening some companies that require a lot of energy for production purposes.

In the last 12 months alone, the price for the right to pump a ton of carbon into the atmosphere has shot up from €23 ($36.5) to nearly €30 ($47.6), according to the European Energy Exchange in Leipzig. This hike of around 30 percent has a direct effect on the electricity production of power companies.
The factory managers just don't want to live in the new East Germany.

The regulations being discussed are similar to what climatologically challenged and less economically astute legislators are calling for here. That includes John McCain, of course, though he didn't feel compelled to announce his criticisms of his country to a German audience.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Quayle at the thought

Obama Wants To Be Absolutely Clear on Who Is Israel's Friend
“Let me be absolutely clear. Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s. It will be a strong friend of Israel’s under a McCain…administration. It will be a strong friend of Israel’s under an Obama administration. So that policy is not going to change.”
That seems more tautological than reassuring. Maybe it's just me.

Barack Obama's Butterfly Effect

The notion that Obama will be dealing with world leaders for eighjt-to-ten [sic] years, possibly up through July 2018, suggests that either (a) he believes that not only will he be elected and re-elected, but the 22nd amendment will be repealed and he will be elected for a third term, OR (b) he was speaking casually and just meant two terms.
OR (c) he meant for life.

Well, not yet …

At a morning background briefing, reporters parried with senior advisers on the characterization of Obama’s speech Thursday in Berlin as a campaign rally. The outdoor speech at the Victory Column could draw thousands of people, similar to the size of Obama events in the United States.

“It is not going to be a political speech,” said a senior foreign policy adviser, who spoke to reporters on background. “When the president of the United States goes and gives a speech, it is not a political speech or a political rally.[”]

“But he is not president of the United States,” a reporter reminded the adviser.
Well, why not? He invented his own Presidential Seal.

The Audacity of Vanity

There's nothing new about narcissism in politics. Every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. Nonetheless, has there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements?

Obama is a three-year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted "present" nearly 130 times. As president of the Harvard Law Review, as law professor and as legislator, has he ever produced a single notable piece of scholarship? Written a single memorable article? His most memorable work is a biography of his favorite subject: himself.

...For the first few months of the campaign, the question about Obama was: Who is he? The question now is: Who does he think he is?
Indeed. He has declared his presidency will be seen as ‘the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal’.

H/T Rachel Lucas

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just words, though some of them are blatant falsehoods

He is not even a member of that committee.

Barack Obama apparently lives in some alternate Universe where everything he approves of, or which might be immediately politically expedient, happens because of Him.

Think about it. This lie is so easily detected that Hillary Clinton wouldn't have dreamed of telling it. The only explanations are that a) Obama slips into alternate reality at such times, where the Senate Banking Committee actually is his committee, or b) he thinks we will believe it just because he says it. The common denominator is: It's true because he says it.

Barack Obama is one scary guy. If he's really going to have face to face unconditional talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an expert in dealing with megalomania must be present at all times. Without that, who knows, they might both leave the meeting with an apocalyptic vision that they're Al Gore.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nuance or nitwit?

Did you understand that? I didn't, but giving Obama the benefit of the doubt, which you'll be doing if you vote for him, maybe the stumbling incoherent non-sequiturs are just the result of lacking a teleprompter.

If Obama's hindsight was actually even 20/200 he could see that he wouldn't have been able to have his photo op in Iraq if not for the surge.

Here, again, is why he says he would still oppose the surge, "At that time we had to change the political debate because the view of the Bush administration at that time was one that I just disagreed with."

Oh, NOW I get it. You disagreed then with a policy that has since been extremely successful, so that's why you still disagree with it. Thanks for the clarification, Barack. It's all about you.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Queen of the Khyber Rifles

This has been sitting in my 'to post' queue for too long. With Barack Obama in full throated strategy pronouncement mode, "We need more troops in Afghanistan!" - something everybody with a brain has been saying to NATO for quite some time - I thought I should get it done.

Obama, by way of background, is chairman of a foreign relations subcommittee covering European matters. He has never held a hearing on how to bolster NATO in Afghanistan. The battle of Afghanistan is a NATO operation, though some allies are more equal than others (thank you Albania, Latvia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Australia, Norway, Poland - with apologies to any combat units I've missed). Obama should have been practicing his magical diplomacy on Germany and France at the least.

He's been AWOL from many Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Afghanistan.

...since joining Foreign Relations, Obama has missed three meetings on a "new strategy" in Afghanistan, a country he has never visited.

Obama was absent from a January 31 meeting this year, and also was not present for a hearing on Sept. 21, 2006. He did attend a March 8, 2007 hearing on a new Afghanistan strategy.

On Feb. 15, 2007, Obama also missed a committee hearing on U.S. ambassadors to Iraq and Afghanistan.
He has also been unflinchingly forthright in his opinion of our military personnel in Afghanistan:
...Asked whether he would move U.S. troops out of Iraq to better fight terrorism elsewhere, he brought up Afghanistan and said, "We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there."
And his attitude about allies bordering Afghanistan who possess nuclear weapons is not all that nuanced, either:
Earlier this month, Obama drew criticism when he said he would send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists even without local permission, if warranted.
The meat of the matter is this, if we had followed BHO's advice about "the surge," Christopher Hitchens would, of necessity, have written this quite differently.
If it is true, as yesterday's three-decker front-page headline in the New York Times had it, that "U.S. Considering Stepping Up Pace of Iraq Pullout/ Fall in Violence Cited/ More Troops Could Be Freed for Operations in Afghanistan," then this can only be because al-Qaida in Iraq has been subjected to a battlefield defeat at our hands—a military defeat accompanied by a political humiliation in which its fanatics have been angrily repudiated by the very people they falsely claimed to be fighting for. If we had left Iraq according to the timetable of the anti-war movement, the situation would be the precise reverse: The Iraqi people would now be excruciatingly tyrannized by the gloating sadists of al-Qaida, who could further boast of having inflicted a battlefield defeat on the United States. I dare say the word of that would have spread to Afghanistan fast enough and, indeed, to other places where the enemy operates. Bear this in mind next time you hear any easy talk about "the hunt for the real enemy" or any loose babble that suggests that we can only confront our foes in one place at a time.
RTWT Highly recommended.

Yesterday's headline question answered

The correct answer is "Fifth Column."

Belief Growing That Reporters are Trying to Help Obama Win

...The idea that reporters are trying to help Obama win in November has grown by five percentage points over the past month. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey, taken just before the new controversy involving the Times erupted, found that 49% of voters believe most reporters will try to help the Democrat with their coverage, up from 44% a month ago.

...A separate survey released this morning also found that 50% of voters believe most reporters want to make the economy seem worse than it is. A plurality believes that the media has also tried to make the war in Iraq appear worse that it really is.

A survey conducted earlier this year found that 30% of voters believe having a friendly reporter is more valuable than raising a lot of campaign contributions. Twenty-nine percent (29%) believe contributions are more important and 40% are not sure.
So, where are the Fairness doctrine or John McCain with more trashing of the First Amendment when you need them? Oh, right, neither the Fairness Doctrine nor McCain-Feingold apply to the print Maim Scream Media™.

At least the New York Times gets it, right? They explained here why they published an Op-Ed by Ahmed Yousef, spokesman for the terrorists of Hamas: The Danger of the One-Sided Debate
Op-ed pages are for debate, but if you get only one side, that’s not debate. And that’s not healthy.
Maybe that's not an entirely consistent policy, though, as noted here: Not Quite Good Enough for the New York Times

The Times just turned down a piece from John McCain, his response to the Barack Obama Op-Ed the Times published last week as part of their help in bolstering Obama's foreign policy creds in advance of his day trip to Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Times refused to publish McCain until he "mirrors Senator Obama's piece." Well, then, here's something you won't read in the New York Times.

By John McCain:
In January 2007, when General David Petraeus took command in Iraq, he called the situation “hard” but not “hopeless.” Today, 18 months later, violence has fallen by up to 80% to the lowest levels in four years, and Sunni and Shiite terrorists are reeling from a string of defeats. The situation now is full of hope, but considerable hard work remains to consolidate our fragile gains.

Progress has been due primarily to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy. I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Senator Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent. "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” he said on January 10, 2007. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse."

Now Senator Obama has been forced to acknowledge that “our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence.” But he still denies that any political progress has resulted.

Perhaps he is unaware that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has recently certified that, as one news article put it, “Iraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress.” Even more heartening has been progress that’s not measured by the benchmarks. More than 90,000 Iraqis, many of them Sunnis who once fought against the government, have signed up as Sons of Iraq to fight against the terrorists. Nor do they measure Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s new-found willingness to crack down on Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City—actions that have done much to dispel suspicions of sectarianism.

The success of the surge has not changed Senator Obama’s determination to pull out all of our combat troops. All that has changed is his rationale. In a New York Times op-ed and a speech this week, he offered his “plan for Iraq” in advance of his first “fact finding” trip to that country in more than three years. It consisted of the same old proposal to pull all of our troops out within 16 months. In 2007 he wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been. Now he wants to withdraw because he thinks Iraqis no longer need our assistance.

To make this point, he mangles the evidence. He makes it sound as if Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama timetable, when all he has said is that he would like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops at some unspecified point in the future.

Senator Obama is also misleading on the Iraqi military's readiness. The Iraqi Army will be equipped and trained by the middle of next year, but this does not, as Senator Obama suggests, mean that they will then be ready to secure their country without a good deal of help. The Iraqi Air Force, for one, still lags behind, and no modern army can operate without air cover. The Iraqis are also still learning how to conduct planning, logistics, command and control, communications, and other complicated functions needed to support frontline troops.

No one favors a permanent U.S. presence, as Senator Obama charges. A partial withdrawal has already occurred with the departure of five “surge” brigades, and more withdrawals can take place as the security situation improves. As we draw down in Iraq, we can beef up our presence on other battlefields, such as Afghanistan, without fear of leaving a failed state behind. I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.

But I have also said that any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons. This is the crux of my disagreement with Senator Obama.

Senator Obama has said that he would consult our commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders, but he did no such thing before releasing his “plan for Iraq.” Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t want to hear what they have to say. During the course of eight visits to Iraq, I have heard many times from our troops what Major General Jeffrey Hammond, commander of coalition forces in Baghdad, recently said: that leaving based on a timetable would be “very dangerous.”

The danger is that extremists supported by Al Qaeda and Iran could stage a comeback, as they have in the past when we’ve had too few troops in Iraq. Senator Obama seems to have learned nothing from recent history. I find it ironic that he is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the “Mission Accomplished” banner prematurely.

I am also dismayed that he never talks about winning the war—only of ending it. But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will. A triumph for the terrorists would be a disaster for us. That is something I will not allow to happen as president. Instead I will continue implementing a proven counterinsurgency strategy not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan with the goal of creating stable, secure, self-sustaining democratic allies.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fourth Estate or Fifth Column?

Obama's campaign is baskling (that's basking as practiced by the naive) in an apparent endorsement from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that appeared in Der Speigel. Unfortunately, the leftwing German magazine "reported" something Maliki didn't actually say.

The Lansing State Journal uncritically regurgitates this straight from the Associated Press, dateline Berlin:
"Iraqi Prime Minister says troops should leave "as soon as possible," [a statement with which no one disagrees] according to a magazine report, and he called Barack Obama's suggestion of 16 months "the right time frame for a withdrawal." [A statement with which Obama sometimes agrees and a timeline upon which his core supporters insist.]
So, the Gannett hegemony our local newspaper passes along an AP story, sourced from a far left German magazine wherein the Iraqi Prime Minister is misquoted. Three layers of your famous Maim Scream Media™ fact checking foiled by their predisposition and/or lack of resources. Mostly the former. Trusting Der Spiegel or AP in this matter was naive, especially since it's only been 5 days since they made a nearly identical "mistake."

It is embarrassing for everyone concerned except Obama, who will merely define it away as "not the Der Speigel I knew," or "No, this week I've always said the withdrawal needed to be tied to conditions in Iraq.", or "The crowing on the Website was the error of junior staff," or "You know better than to think that of ME!" Or maybe all four. He'll get away with any of them.

Der Speigel is standing by their story. They have illustrious companions.

Dan Rather is standing by his fake but true memo. France 2 is standing behind their Al Durah Pallywood propaganda. Reuters very belated admitted to fauxtography in some photos from Beirut. The list is too long.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Junking science

Here's a link to a 2005 Charles Krauthammer column on Intelligent Design (via Little Green Footballs). Presented as a followup to my post of July 8.

Phony Theory, False Conflict
...Let's be clear. Intelligent design may be interesting as theology, but as science it is a fraud. It is a self-enclosed, tautological "theory" whose only holding is that when there are gaps in some area of scientific knowledge -- in this case, evolution -- they are to be filled by God. It is a "theory" that admits that evolution and natural selection explain such things as the development of drug resistance in bacteria and other such evolutionary changes within species but also says that every once in a while God steps into this world of constant and accumulating change and says, "I think I'll make me a lemur today." A "theory" that violates the most basic requirement of anything pretending to be science -- that it be empirically disprovable.
Well put. Worth reading the whole thing.

To be sure, Intelligent Design has been made a political issue - a trait shared with global warming hucksterism. The difference is that despite the religious fervor of the Warm-mongers, their theory is falsifiable. For example, the debate on anthropogenic climate changes is not over. See also, Evans: No smoking gun for CO2 and Proved: There is no climate crisis

Of course, the other thing neo-Creationists share with global-warmists is that both groups are damaging the reputation of science. In both cases the method is to insist their theory cannot be disproven. The former rely on reference to the supernatural. The latter have recreated the inquisition complete with dogma, and the indulgences of carbon credits. Anyone who disagrees is a heretic and a "denier."

Mind your make up

This is more fair and balanced than anything you'll see in the Maim Scream Media™ - and it's from the McCain campaign.

Obama is simply shown rhetoricizing for, and against, himself. He's his own straw man.

The Obama Iraq Documentary

Friday, July 18, 2008

we advice you contact us immediately

My wife received this twist on the Nigerian "419" scam. She thought it was pretty funny. So did I. You'd think, if there was any money in this, they could hire a native English speaker. The decimal point's a nice touch, though I would have made it 19 cents or something.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2008 12:37:37 -0700
From: Robert S. Mueller, III

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION Anti-terrorist and Monitory Crimes Division
FBI Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NY Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

Attention Fund Beneficiary,

This is an official advice from the FBI foreign remittance/telegraphic Dept, it has come to our notice that the C.B.N bank Nigeria district has released 10,500,000.00 U.S dollars into Bank of America in your name as the beneficiary, by inheritance means.

The CBN Bank Nigeria knowing fully well that they do not have enough facilities to effect this payment from the united kingdom to your account, used what we know as a secret diplomatic transit payment S.T.D.P to pay this fund through wire transfer, they used this means to complete the payment.

They are still, waiting for confirmation from you on the already transferred funds which was made in direct transfer so that they can do final crediting to your account. Secret diplomatic payments are not made unless the funds are related to terrorist activities why must your payment be made in secret transfer, if your transaction is legitimate, if you are not a terrorist, then why did you not receive the money directly into your account; this is a pure coded, means of payment?

records which we have had with this method of payment in the past has always been related to terrorist acts, we do not want you to get into trouble as soon as these funds reflect in your account in the U.S.A, so it is our duty as a word wide commission to correct this little problem before this fund will be credited into your personal account.

Due to the increased difficulty and unnecessary scrutiny by the American authorities when funds come from outside of Europe, and the Middle East, the F.B.I bank commission for Europe has stopped the transfer on its way to deliver payment of $10,500,000.00 to debit your reserve account and pay you through a secured diplomatic transit account (S.T.D.P). We govern and oversee funds transfer for the World Bank and the rest of the world.

we advice you contact us immediately, as the funds have been stopped and are being held in our custody ,until you can be able to provide us with a diplomatic immunity seal of transfer(dist) within 3 days from the world local bank that authorize the transfer from where the funds was transferred from to certify that the funds that you are about to receive from Nigeria are antiterrorist/drug free or we shall have cause to cross and impound the payment, we shall release the funds immediately we receive this legal documents .
We have decided to contact you directly to acquire the proper verifications and proof from you to show that you are the rightful person to receive this fund, because of the amount involve, we want to make sure is a clean and legal money you are about to receive. Be informed that the fund are now in United State in your name , but right now we have ask the bank not to release the fund to anybody that comes to them , unless we ask them to do so, because we have to carry out our investigations first before releasing the fund to you. Note that the fund is in the BANK OF AMERICA right now, but we have ask them not to credit the fund to you yet, because we need a solid proof and verifications from you before releasing the funds.

So to this regards you are to re-assure and proof to us that what you are about to receive is a clean money by sending to us FBI Identification Record and also Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer(DIST) to satisfy to us that the money your about to receive is legitimate and real money. You are to forward the documents to us immediately if you have it in your possession, if you don't have it let us know so that we will direct and inform you where to obtain the document and send to us so that we will ask the bank holding the funds the Bank Of America to go ahead Crediting your account immediately.

This Documents are to be issued to you from the World Local Bank that Authorized the transfer, so get back to us immediately if you don't have the document so that we will inform you the particular place to obtain the document.

An FBI Identification Record and Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer (DIST) often referred to as a Criminal History Record or Rap Sheet, [;0'] is a listing of certain information taken from fingerprint submissions retained by the FBI in connection with arrests and, in some instances, federal employment, naturalization, or military service.






NOTE: We have asked for the above documents to make available the most complete and up-to date records possible for the enhancement of public safety, welfare and security of Society while recognizing the importance of individual privacy rights. If you fail to provide the Documents to us, we will charge you with the FBI and take our proper action against you for not proofing to us the legitimate of the fund you are about to receive.

The United States Department of Justice Order 556-73 establishes rules and regulations for the subject of an FBI Identification Record to obtain a copy of his or her own Record for review. The FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division processes these requests to check illegal activities in U.S.A.

An individual may request a copy of his or her own FBI Identification Record for personal review or to challenge information on the Record. Other reasons an individual may request a copy of his or her own Identification Record may include international adoption or to satisfy a requirement to live or work in a foreign country or receive funds from another country (i.e. Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer, letter of good conduct, criminal history back ground, etc.)

FBI Director
Robert S. Mueller, III
I've assured the FBI that my "Criminal History Record or Rap Sheet" is in order, and we're waiting now for our $10,000,000. I'm writing off $500,000 for expenses. If the IRS objects, I'll just refer them to Robert Mueller.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Honor killing watch

Fauzia Mohammad

She was a 'bad Muslim girl'

..."In my belief, it has nothing to do with Islam," said Nahas, a practicing Muslim. "I know Islam well, and I do not believe it is Islamic. There is nothing in Islam that talks about honor killing."

Nahas said, however, that many Westerners don't accept his assertion.

"And they will not because it occurs in countries that have been Muslim for 1,000 years," he said. "People will ask, 'Why isn't it stopped?' I can't answer that."
...(Rochester Democrat and Chronicle h/t Jihad Watch)

H/T Dust My Broom

Lawlessness in DC follows Supreme Court gun decision

The crimes are being committed by the DC government.

D.C.’s Bad Joke: New Gun Law

DC Rejects [Dick Heller's] Handgun Application

Dick Heller is the man who brought the lawsuit against the District's 32-year-old ban on handguns. He was among the first in line Thursday morning to apply for a handgun permit.

But when he tried to register his semi-automatic weapon, he says he was rejected. He says his gun has seven bullet clip. Heller says the City Council legislation allows weapons with fewer than eleven bullets in the clip. A spokesman for the DC Police says the gun was a bottom-loading weapon, and according to their interpretation, all bottom-loading guns are outlawed because they are grouped with machine guns.

Besides obtaining paperwork to buy new handguns, residents also can register firearms they've had illegally under a 180-day amnesty period.

Though residents will be allowed to begin applying for handgun permits, city officials have said the entire process could take weeks or months.
Heller's Future in the Lower Courts

H/T Instapundit

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pitiful Omar Khadr

Maybe you saw some of the heart-rending video today of Omar Khadr, that pitiful Canadian teenager being held at Gitmo.

He was seen pleading for help from his Canadian interrogators, crying about his wounds and whimpering, "You don't care about me.". National Post has a story on it if you're not up to speed.
EDMONTON -- Omar Khadr's lawyers again called for political action in their client's case on Tuesday, shortly after releasing more than seven hours of video footage showing Canadian officials interrogating the sobbing youth in Guantanamo Bay in 2003.

"It is beyond comprehension that Prime Minister Harper continues to tolerate the treatment of a Canadian citizen in this manner," said Nathan Whitling, acts on behalf of Mr. Khadr with Denis Edney. "It is time for this travesty to stop and for Omar Khadr to come home to Canada to face justice under Canadian law."

...Mr. Whitling said it is obvious the Toronto-born Khadr was "devastated" when he realized the Canadians were not there to help him but to further interrogate him.

"Contrary to everything the Canadian public has been told of Omar Khadr, the tapes do not show a dangerous terrorist, but instead a frightened, wounded, Canadian boy, pleading for help from Canadian officials," he said. "Instead of helping, they casually dismiss his claims of abuse and mistreatment and tell him they will do nothing for him."
For excellent reason. Check this picture of Mr. Khadr; worth more than a thousand words.

Update: 7:09AM 16-Jul
The Lansing State Journal noticed the videos. This teaser appeared on the front page this morning:
Video shows interrogations at Guantanamo
Video released Tuesday provides the first glimpse of interrogations at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay. In the video, a 16-year-old captured in Afghanistan cries out for his mother. --Page 3A
If you haven't checked out the picture mentioned above, do so now. His mother must be very proud.

Update: 8:22PM 16-Jul
More info on the Khadr family, including Omar's father and his brother Karim who was paralyzed from a bullet to his spine received while fighting for the Taliban against Pakistan when he was 14. And a commenter scoffed at "15 year old enemy combatants" in Omar's case. I guess they are just advanced juvenile delinquents.

Ahmed Said Khadr

Khadr mother, brother arrive in Canada

Al-Qaeda Family: At home with Osama bin Laden

Khadrs backed al-Qaeda, CBC show says

Diamond dust

I've been trying to get a post together on required reading before voting in November. That post will start by mentioning the books I've read in the last month or so. Maybe I can get it together by the weekend. The book I'll mention next would be extra-credit, so I'm taking a bit more space here to discuss it.

I'm about 2/3 of the way through Ray Kurzweil's The Singularity is Near. I highly recommend it. In sum: Linear expectations of scientific progress are about to smash into the "knee" of an exponential technological progress curve. The linear expectations will not survive. A combination of nano-technology and neuro-biological progress are going to explode. There's an exponent on the exponent.

If you can live until the late 2020s you have a good chance at living as long as you want to. Kurzweil assumes that machines smaller than 100 nanometers will enable an electronic-biological fusion that will fundamentally transform humanity. He makes a good case, and argues that nano-bots built from diamond are very likely to be the delivery mechanism of the singularity.

This reminded me of list I was challenged to make a few years ago of books "every college undergraduate should have read." I think there were 6 or 8 of us who prepared lists. I was the only person to recommend Neal Stepenson's Diamond Age:

Eric Drexler and Ralph Merkle, both of whom receive an honorary mention in The Diamond Age, have argued that if nanotechnology develops the ability to manipulate individual atoms at will, it will become possible to simply assemble diamond structures from carbon atoms.[5] Merkle argues enthusiastically: "In diamond, then, a dense network of strong bonds creates a strong, light, and stiff material. Indeed, just as we named the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Steel Age after the materials that humans could make, we might call the new technological epoch we are entering the Diamond Age".[6] In the novel, a near future vision of our world, nanotechnology has developed precisely to this point, which enables the cheap production of diamond structures.
Stephenson, who is an excellent writer, examines what that means for society. I think Diamond Age even more relevant now than when I made my list. It is much, much closer than you think. Your children will certainly be living in some world like it in their middle age. So might you boomers be in your dotage.

Finally, I noticed a Slashdot thread on Sunday referencing manipulation of DNA using nano-bots:
Japanese researchers have found a way to build long threads of DNA using miniaturized hooks and bobbins. In fact, they've demonstrated how to manipulate delicate DNA chains without breaking them. They've designed these laser-directed microdevices to pick up and manipulate individual molecules of DNA. The scientists have used optical tweezers to catch and move these microdevices, which could be used in the future to detect genetic disorders such as Down's syndrome.
Full Journal article here.

...and don't miss the movies of the experiments. A strand of DNA is manipulated before your very eyes.

Make of this confluence what you will. I'm inclined to give Kurzweil a lot of credit.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Paved with good intentions

For statists, a policy failure is typically the fault of others. To wit:
  1. the right people were not in charge,
  2. not enough money was forthcoming,
  3. the victims intended recipients just don't understand the benefits yet
In the first instance, the idea is betrayed by its friends. They turn out to be incompetent. In the second case, the idea is betrayed by a lack of productivity, or taxation that was too low. As to the third excuse, that's simple betrayal by the proletariat the unwashed redneck gun-clingers the unenlightened.

To examine a perfect storm of collectivist excuse, look no farther than Pulitzer prize winner, and Stalin gopher - Walter Duranty.

He advanced all three excuses to explain the starvation Stalin visited on the Ukraine, for example. For decades, and in some cases even today, the far left won't acknowledge that the intent of Stalin's collectivization policy was starvation. That's why they feel obliged to defend it as something else. But even then, as Duranty said,"You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." That's a special case of the third statist excuse: All those dead kulaks were thwarting the higher good. Millions of others were just at the wrong place in the wrong time. Collateral damage.

If the intent is World Communism, millions starved is a small price to pay. See also Pulitzer-Winning Lies.

The idea is that other people need to be forced to behave in a certain way, not that the cognoscenti should set an example. Whether it's the failure of 5-Year plans or the looming insolvency in Social Security, statists are certain results would have matched intentions if the people actually doing the work had held up their end. Bad results are never the fault of superior thinkers, a group in which legislators are always automatically included. It's the intention that's important, not the results.

It is of more than passing interest then, when a presidential candidate points out a failure of his hoped for constituents in an area where he is a failure. Indeed, since some of them have achieved the goal, he is an abject failure. It really must be the intention that counts then, the intention to modify the behavior of others while ignoring your own.

For instance: If you think speaking more than one language is so important that it leads you to snickeringly (at 58 seconds) insult any American who does not,

...what does it mean if you can't do so yourself despite incredible opportunity?
Obama lacks a second language despite living for four years at an impressionable age in a foreign country, and then spending eight years at a lavish prep school that currently offers five different languages and makes studying at least one of them mandatory in 7th grade. Sen. Obama also has an undergraduate degree from Columbia University, which has a foreign language requirement and offers 37 different foreign languages, including some that don't exist anymore, such as Akkadian. He later spent three years at Harvard, which offers instruction in more languages than I'm willing to count. I did make it through Harvard's "African Languages" list and counted 20 separate ones offered at Harvard.
RTWT at Steve Sailer's iSteve Blog

What does it say about your audience that they are delighted by your snide critique of other Americans for a failure you (and assuredly some of them) share? Basically, it says, "Hey, we're all fine with it. It's the meta-idea of gauche Americans with IQs of 85 that counts."

Might it be that publicly laughing up your sleeve at your countrymen isn't so much lacking in social grace as it is evidence of an overweening superiority complex? A feeling of privilege so grand that it cannot recognize any limit to the securing of political advantage at another's expense? Obama has thrown his friends and advisors Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Michael Pfleger, Tony Rezko, Jim Johnson, Susan Rice and his own grandmother under the bus from pride. I guess this language thing is the "Friend of Obama" treatment for the rest of us.

Obama's condescending view is not what you'd call mainstream. When Americans were asked "Which is more important, encouraging all Americans to learn at least two languages or encouraging all immigrants to speak English as their primary language?" the answer was pretty clear. Check Sacre Bleu! for the results.

For the record, I agree that speaking more than one language is a good thing. I would encourage it. However, I don't think Obama's pride in his own lack of accomplishment is what would generally be described as leadership on the matter.

H/T five feet of fury

Update: 5:07PM
Oh, and by the way, why is it that many people who are not American, Australian, British, or Canadian speak English? Could it be that it is the primary language of science, commerce, tourism, aviation, diplomacy and pop culture? Could it be this?
Over two-thirds of the world's scientists read in English. Three quarters of the world's mail is written in English. Eighty per cent of the world's electronically stored information is in English. Of the estimated forty million users of the Internet, some eighty per cent communicate in English,
Non-native English speakers outnumber native English speakers 3 to 1. Why is that? One answer would be capitalism's close association with English, another would be colonialism's. Which do you think is more likely to have produced this continuing effect?

The advice to learn a second language does not need Barack Obama to promote it to English speakers. Immigrants to the US should make it their first priority, a concept Obama takes as a given despite increasing evidence to the contrary.

Googling "Obama" and "la raza" (the race) finds this. Listen and watch. It's a pastiche of a voodoo chant and illegal immigrant populism:

Update: 9:29PM
...Maybe the diminishing "nourishment" Sen. Obama receives from "popularity" is actually causing him to ratchet up his pursuit of more and more praise just to get the minimal fix he needs.

That would account for why a man who thinks striving for popularity is a character flaw has nonetheless decided to give his nomination acceptance speech in a 76,000-seat football stadium.

Or it might tell us why a candidate who hasn't even been nominated yet wants to re-enact some of the most famous scenes from both Reagan and JFK's highlight reels by holding a rally at Germany's Brandenburg Gate, even though he's not a head of state yet. (German authorities, aware of Obama's rock-star status with the German public, diplomatically suggested that it was up to Obama to decide what is in "good taste.")

Perhaps Dominic Lawson, writing in the British newspaper The Independent had it right when he recently wrote that Obama is "a man of stunning articulacy, but also stunning self-regard."
It would certainly explain why pandering to an audience of "blame America" junkies is more important than honesty.

And: Making It. Long. RTWT.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Worth reading

A Segregation Without Perpetrator or Benefactor

The Smugly American

Obama Snickers At His Countrymen
Barack Obama made a fool of himself again yesterday. At a campaign event in Georgia, he mocked Americans as ignoramuses who go abroad and can't say anything in French except "merci beaucoup." (Obama doesn't speak French.) He said that rather than worrying about immigrants learning English, we must all teach our children to speak Spanish. (Obama doesn't speak Spanish, either.)
Video at the link above. Hear the europhilic xenophiles cling to the superiority complex of the messiah, from whence they bask in the reflected glory of disdain.

Hee, hee, Barack, that's amusing. You're such a superior guy, please help with the following:

How you say, in Francais, "Wearing an American flag pin would be gay."?

How is it go, in Español, "Welcome to free médico."?

Inquiring gun-clingers minds want to know. Have your staff look it up.

Have them work on "vete a tomar por culo" and "va te faire foutre enculer d'merde" while they're at it.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Lessons from Canada

Previewing Obama-Care:
Finally, a fair and equitable solution to the doctor shortage in Canada has been discovered by a Newfoundland medical clinic. Social justice has nearly been achieved, though one wonders if the wealthier members of the community purchased more than one ticket.
A Newfoundland medical clinic held a lottery this week to determine which patients could see its two new doctors...
Democracy in action. RTWT

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


A trifecta of debunking Intelligent Design, aka "Creationism."

Posted just because Creationists keep pushing their non-falsifiable opinion as if it were science. Maybe they are right, but their opinion cannot be taught as science as a matter of definition.

15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense

Bacteria make major evolutionary shift in the lab

Ken Miller on Intelligent Design (~2 hours):

Lesson from Canada in a series.

I said last week that, if they knew who Stephen Harper was, ...Americans would prefer Stephen Harper over Barack Obama.

The Telegraph expands on my point in a piece about the G8 summit:
...the Canadian Tories are a model of how to behave during a downturn.

They have kept spending in check and reduced taxes. They are playing their full role in world affairs, notably in Afghanistan.

Rather than canting about saving the world (Mr Harper, in his quiet and courteous way, is a Kyoto-sceptic) they have addressed themselves to curing remediable ills and, above all, to putting their own affairs in order.

If the rest of the world had comported itself with similar modesty and prudence, we might not be in this mess.
Canadians, nonetheless, rank him behind the Axis of Rotation (Barack "Swivel" Obama) as a leader. Go figure. A lot of Americans, for no apparent reason, rank Mr. Swivel above John Kerry.

Modesty and prudence are the exact words to describe the difference between Stephen Harper and Barack Obama. Put the other way, those words might be hubris and recklessness.

Justjane nailed it in this comment:
Stephen Harper as Prime Minister means that for the first time in my adult life, I am proud to be Canadian. Lead on, Stephen!
Posted by justjane on July 7, 2008 9:33 PM
I think Brian Mulroney deserves some credit too, but I suspect justjane wasn't an adult then.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Dereliction of Duty

...that would be the Maim Scream Media™...

The Big Re-up
More video.

By my count via a Google News search, there is a grand total of three or four newspaper stories covering the largest reenlistment ceremony in the history of the American military.
Iraq "flipping point"?
More than two weeks ago the New York Times mentioned that the Iraqi city of Mosul was "in the midst of a major security operation" against one of the last bastions of Al Qaeda in Iraq. So how's that going? Should we have to read the London Times (or Belmont Club) to learn about its success or failure?
LSJ participation in the re-cover-up observed here. The Mosul story still hasn't been mentioned.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Three things

1- If you've read Michael Yon's Moment of Truth in Iraq (and you should) you will probably take the following with caution. Security in Mosul is a big problem. It is Al-Qaeda's last redoubt, however.
In Mosul, Al-Qaeda’s last redoubt, the group still held sway as recently as Easter. Now it lacks the strength to fight the army face to face and has lost the sympathy of most of the ordinary citizens who once admired its stand against the occupying forces and their allies in the Iraqi army.
If accurate, this is fantastic. "The surge" will have accomplished something almost unbelievable. Furthermore, this story is yet another you can't find in the US Maim Scream Media™. RTWT

See Iraqis lead final purge of Al-Qaeda from the same source. Also, Fox news tonight had a reporter claim Al-Qaeda fighters in Mosul are down to 1,200 from 12,000. Maybe the defeat of Al-Qaeda in Mosul has happened. If so, and if we keep a presence there, Al-Qaeda is done in Iraq.

2- Apropos of last Wednesday's comments on feminism and 14th Century cultures, here's another way to look at Islamic feminism. With tongue firmly in cheek, TOC commented on this burgeoning phenomenon in January 2006: The Islamofeminist Chronicles.

Here's a reality update from Dearborn Underground:
What I’m wondering is whether or not the women are extremists because they want to blow themselves up as Al-Qaida terrorists, or if they’re extremists because they’re feminists who see gender equality as achievable through self-detonation along with all those lucky men.
We can hope it is the latter. The matriarchs of martyrdom: Islamofeminism's gentle side. RTWT

3- Obama's position pivots have become so nuanced that no one can any longer be sure what principles he stands for, if any. He has espoused diametrically opposed views of the right to bear arms, campaign finance "reform," flag pins as a patriotic gesture, unconditional talks with heads of terrorist states - and he's inching away from his absolute guarantee to cut and run in Iraq by some date certain.

This latest example regards late term abortion regulation:
So as long as a woman can get her "blues" classified by a medical health professional as "depression," she has a right to a late term abortion no matter how strongly the majority of citizens feel about the immorality of destroying a fully viable human entity? And that's rigorous?

Incredible. That would be incredible even without the prior inconsistent statement.

Really. Does he think we are idiots?
Of course he does. Either that, or he's one. RTWT

Note: When you are exposed to Obama's extemporaneous word-smithing (see link immediately above) his dependence on teleprompters comes through loud and clear. This guy can't string 2 sentences together without a prepared text.

Whatever your personal take on the issues mentioned above, you can't possibly believe Barack Obama can be trusted.

Update 9:50PM, 6-Jul Link added - "inching away"

Friday, July 04, 2008

AWOL from the Lansing State Journal

One in a series...

This is the kind of story you'd probably run in your newspaper on the 4th of July if you were publishing in Lansing, Michigan.

If the LSJ had been aware of it, I do think they might have mentioned it. However, the paper's awareness is focused on Michigan State or local high school sports, local building projects or analysis of how GM's cars are selling. Everything else is outsourced and secondary. I guess the only non-local news source available to the State Journal (AP) chose to ignore the story.

It is not credible that it simply missed the LSJ's publication deadline for the 4th. It's not like the military didn't give advance notice, it's that nobody in Lansing was listening to original sources. The LSJ has the AP to filter world news for them. Pity.

TOC is happy to fill the gap.

How did you spend Independence Day?
BAGHDAD – How are you spending your 4th of July holiday? While most Americans probably slept, 1,215 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines raised their right hands and committed to a combined 5,500 years of additional service during the largest reenlistment ceremony in the history of the American military. ...members of all services, representing all 50 states took the oath administered by Gen. David Petraeus, Commander of Multi-National Forces Iraq.

Petraeus, reiterating earlier remarks made by Command Sergeant Major Hill, said that the unprecedented ceremony sends a “message to friend and foe alike.” He told those assembled that it is “impossible to calculate the value of what you are giving to our country . . . For no bonus, no matter the size, can adequately compensate you for the contribution each of you makes as a custodian of our nation’s defenses.”
Read the rest at the link above.

Humble thanks to all of you who re-upped. Too bad we couldn't have seen the story in our local paper.

Update: 8:39 AM, 5-July. The LSJ noted the story today with a small page 1 photo, and an AP story on page 3 where the 9th paragraph mentions (of 10) the re-enlistments.

10:19AM, 5-July. Video added

Alpha and Omega

The Declaration: 1776

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. ...
Omega; still unfolding. The Constitution: 1787.

A question as yet unresolved.
There is a story, often told, that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: "A republic, if you can keep it." The brevity of that response should not cause us to under-value its essential meaning: democratic republics are not merely founded upon the consent of the people, they are also absolutely dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people for their continued good health.