This is the time of year when parents all over America take their children to the nation’s sports facilities, sneak down to courtside and show the youngsters how dangerous it is to drink and ink.
How else do you explain Golden State Warrior Stephen Jackson’s hands? Not the hands at the end of his arms. The tattooed hands on his chest and stomach, holding a handgun, praying. I am not kidding — two hands praying with a gun between them. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
What is the message Jackson’s stomach is trying to leave us? “God, please help me knock over this Kwik Stop?” “This is the Glock the Lord hath made?” Neither. Jackson says it represents him praying that he doesn’t need to use a gun again.
Damn, Stephen. Where’s your commute, Fallujah?
How else do you explain Kenyon Martin’s lips? Not the lips on his face — the lips on his neck. They’re fire-hydrant-red women’s lips, smooching there for all time, a permahickey. They’re a tracing of his girlfriend’s lips, the rapper Trina. I hope they stay together. Because hell hath no fury like a woman who has to stare at another woman’s lips every day and night. You’re talking turtlenecks in July.
You need look only a foot farther to see something even more puzzling on K-Mart, whose skin is a kind of human bathroom stall — his ornate “I Shall Fear No Man But God” scrawled on his back. Uh, see Kenyon, the thing is: God isn’t a man. Did you mean, Fear No Man. Fear God? That’s the unfortunate thing about tattoo guns: no delete key.
‘He talks too much,” a Saudi academic in Jeddah, who had once been smitten with Barack Obama, recently observed to me of America’s 44th president. He has wearied of Mr. Obama and now does not bother with the Obama oratory.
He is hardly alone, this academic. In the endless chatter of this region, and in the commentaries offered by the press, the theme is one of disappointment. In the Arab-Islamic world, Barack Obama has come down to earth.
He has not made the world anew, history did not bend to his will, the Indians and Pakistanis have been told that the matter of Kashmir is theirs to resolve, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the same intractable clash of two irreconcilable nationalisms, and the theocrats in Iran have not “unclenched their fist,” nor have they abandoned their nuclear quest.
There is little Mr. Obama can do about this disenchantment. He can’t journey to Turkey to tell its Islamist leaders and political class that a decade of anti-American scapegoating is all forgiven and was the product of American policies—he has already done that. He can’t journey to Cairo to tell the fabled “Arab street” that the Iraq war was a wasted war of choice, and that America earned the malice that came its way from Arab lands—he has already done that as well. He can’t tell Muslims that America is not at war with Islam—he, like his predecessor, has said that time and again.
It was the norm for American liberalism during the Bush years to brandish the Pew Global Attitudes survey that told of America’s decline in the eyes of foreign nations. Foreigners were saying what the liberals wanted said.
Now those surveys of 2009 bring findings from the world of Islam that confirm that the animus toward America has not been radically changed by the ascendancy of Mr. Obama.
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.
The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.
The admission follows the leaking of a thousand private emails sent and received by Professor Phil Jones, the CRU’s director. In them he discusses thwarting climate sceptics seeking access to such data.
In a statement on its website, the CRU said: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.”
That is, the cooked data.
Britain’s national health service…
FILTHY conditions at a major hospital may have led to up to 71 deaths, it was claimed yesterday.
An inspection by the Government’s Care Quality Commission at Basildon Hospital, Essex, found blood on floors and curtains, and soiled mattresses.
A source at the hospital claims the conditions resulted in a marked rise in fatalities.
And today the chairman of ANOTHER hospital Foundation Trust was removed from his post over a second series of failings.
Hospital regulator Monitor used their powers to force Richard Bourne — chairman of Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust — to step down over patient safety, leadership and waiting times.
A statement from Monitor said: “Regulatory action has been prompted by the trust’s failure to comply with healthcare standards, its failure to exercise its functions effectively, efficiently and economically, and serious and wide-ranging concerns as to overall governance and leadership at the trust.”
Government investigators had rated the Basildon University Hospital as “good” in October.
It received 13 out of 14 for cleanliness and five out of five for keeping the public healthy.
But then a new inspection team went into the Essex hospital unannounced… and discovered appalling conditions.
In Los Angeles, the county owned and operated King-Drew hospital was closed because it had killed too many patients. This was after five years of attempts to correct the hospital’s defects.
The Fall of King/Drew
King/Drew entered the 21st century with an array of problems related to incompetence and mismanagement. Due to a perceived lack of quality at the hospital, it had earned the nickname of “Killer King”. Starting with a series of reports in the Los Angeles Times, some of which earned a Pulitzer Prize, the hospital has gone through increasingly severe scrutiny.
 Troubles come to light
On August 22, 2003, the Los Angeles Times reported that two women connected to cardiac monitors died after their deteriorating vital signs went undetected. In December 2003, DHS closed the cardiac monitoring ward of King/Drew after a third patient died under questionable circumstances. A consulting group was hired to help fix issues with the nursing staff, with DHS spending nearly $1 million.
In a January 13, 2004 report, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) determined that King/Drew was out of compliance with minimum requirements for receiving federal funding, citing the work of government inspectors who identified five patients who died at King/Drew after what were determined to have been grave errors by staff members. By March, CMS declared King/Drew patients were in “immediate jeopardy” of harm or death because of medication errors at the hospital, citing numerous mistakes and threatening to pull federal government funding from the public hospital. An example in this report cited a meningitis patient receiving a potent anti-cancer drug for four days. In June CMS again stated that patients were in jeopardy, citing the use of Taser stun guns to subdue psychiatric patients. Yet again, it threatened to pull federal funding but backed away; federal funding makes up over half of King/Drew’s $400 million operating budget.
Gerald Warner in the UK Telegraph:
…Fox News, Barack Obama’s Nemesis, is now on the case, trampling all over Al Gore’s organic vegetable patch and breaking the White House windows. It has extracted some of the juiciest quotes from the e-mails and displayed them on-screen, with commentaries. Joe Public, coast-to-coast, now knows, thanks to the clowns at East Anglia’s CRU, just how royally he has been screwed.
Senator James Inhofe’s Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has written to all the relevant US Government agencies, acquainting them with the nature of the e-mails. But the real car crash for Obama is on Capitol Hill where it is now confidently believed his Cap and Trade climate legislation is toast. It was always problematic; but with a growing awakening to the scale of the scientific imposture sweeping the world, as far as the Antipodes, the clever money is on Cap and Trade laws failing to pass, with many legislators sceptical and the mid-term elections looming ever closer.
At the more domestic level, the proposed ban on incandescent light bulbs, so supinely accepted in this servile state of Britain, is now provoking a huge backlash in America. US citizens do not like the government coming into their houses and putting their lights out. Voters may not understand the cut and thrust of climate debate at the technical level, but they know when the Man from Washington has crossed their threshold uninvited.
The term that Fox News is now applying to the Climategate e-mails is “game-changer”. For the first time, Anthropogenic Global Warming cranks are on the defensive, losing their cool and uttering desperate mantras such as “You can be sceptical, not denial.” Gee, thanks, guys. In fact we shall be whatever we want to be, without asking your permission.
At this rate, Copenhagen is going to turn into a comedy convention with the real world laughing at these liars. Now is the time to mount massive resistance to the petty tyrants and hit them where it hurts – in the wallet. Further down the line there may be, in many countries, a question of criminal prosecution of anybody who has falsified data to secure funds and impose potentially disastrous fiscal restraints on the world in deference to a massive hoax. It’s a new world out there, Al, and, as you may have noticed, the climate is very cold indeed.
We saw another good Czech film by director Jan Hrebejk. The poem by Robert Graves (1895-1985) provides the film’s title and its outline.
Beauty in Trouble
Beauty in trouble flees to the good angel
On whom she can rely
To pay her cab-fare, run a steaming bath,
Poultice her bruised eye;
Will not at first, whether for shame or caution,
Her difficulty disclose;
Until he draws a cheque book from his plumage,
Asking her how much she owes;
(Breakfast in bed: coffee and marmalade,
Toast, eggs, orange-juice,
After a long, sound sleep – the first since when? -
And no word of abuse.)
Loves him less only than her saint-like mother,
Promises to repay
His loans and most seraphic thoughtfulness
A million-fold one day.
Beauty grows plump, renews her broken courage
And, borrowing ink and pen,
Writes a news-letter to the evil angel
(Her first gay act since when?):
The fiend who beats, betrays and sponges on her,
Persuades her white is black,
Flaunts vespertilian wing and cloven hoof;
And soon will fetch her back.
Virtue, good angel, is its own reward:
Your dollars were well spent.
But would you to the marriage of true minds
Not a brothel, but a house built for the house cat.
…I was reminded of something I began noticing a few months ago in bipartisan crowds. I would ask Democrats how they thought the president was doing. In the past they would extol, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, his virtues. Increasingly, they would preface their answer with, “Well, I was for Hillary.”
This in turn reminded me of a surprising thing I observe among loyal Democrats in informal settings and conversations: No one loves Barack Obama. Half the American people say they support him, and Democrats are still with him. But there were Bill Clinton supporters who really loved him. George W. Bush had people who loved him. A lot of people loved Jack Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. But no one seems to love Mr. Obama now; they’re not dazzled and head over heels. That’s gone away. He himself seems a fairly chilly customer; perhaps in turn he inspires chilly support. But presidents need that rock—bottom 20% who, no matter what’s happening—war, unemployment—adore their guy, have complete faith in him, and insist that you love him, too.
They’re the hard 20 a president always keeps. Nixon kept them! Obama probably has a hard 20 too, but whatever is keeping them close, it doesn’t seem to be love.
My favorite moment in the Climategate/Climaquiddick scandal currently roiling the “climate change” racket was Stuart Varney’s interview on Fox News with the actor Ed Begley Jr. — star of the 1980s medical drama St. Elsewhere but latterly better known, as is the fashion with members of the thespian community, as an “activist.” He’s currently in a competition with Bill Nye (“the Science Guy”) to see who can have the lowest “carbon footprint.” Pistols at dawn would seem the quickest way of resolving that one, but presumably you couldn’t get a reality series out of it. Anyway, Ed was relaxed about the mountain of documents recently leaked from Britain’s Climate Research Unit in which the world’s leading climate-change warm-mongers e-mail each other back and forth on how to “hide the decline” and other interesting matters.
Nothing to worry about, folks. “We’ll go down the path and see what happens in peer-reviewed studies,” said Ed airily. “Those are the key words here, Stuart. ‘Peer-reviewed studies.’”
Hang on. Could you say that again more slowly so I can write it down? Not to worry. Ed said it every 12 seconds, as if it were the magic charm that could make all the bad publicity go away. He wore an open-necked shirt, and, although I don’t have a 76” inch HDTV, I wouldn’t have been surprised to find a talismanic peer-reviewed amulet nestling in his chest hair for additional protection. “If these scientists have done something wrong, it will be found out and their peers will determine it,” insisted Ed. “Don’t get your information from me, folks, or any newscaster. Get it from people with Ph.D. after their names. ‘Peer-reviewed studies is the key words. And if it comes out in peer-reviewed studies . . . ”
Got it: Pier-reviewed studies. You stand on the pier and you notice the tide seems to be coming in a little higher than it used to and you wonder if it’s something to do with incandescent light bulbs killing the polar bears? Is that how it works? (more…)
A lot of people seemed shocked to discover that the folks at the National Endowment of the Arts were so ready, even anxious, to devote their talents to propagandizing on behalf of Obama and his administration. That merely proves that a lot of people haven’t been paying attention.
It’s my guess that a majority of those involved with the NEA — even those few who are talented — are always eager to roll over for left-wing politicians. Partly it’s because they are so hungry for attention and partly because they lack anything resembling a moral compass.
Allow me to give you a few notable examples of the way that people who earn their living in the areas of art and entertainment can voluntarily blind themselves to those matters that have moral implications. Just recently, we got to watch a swarm of Hollywood retards climbing all over themselves in a rush to defend Roman Polanski, a piece of Euro-trash who confessed to having drugged and raped a 13-year-old child. All sorts of big name, small brain, celebrities lined up to sign petitions on his behalf. By attesting to his character, they merely confirmed that they lacked any themselves.
Hollywood is the place where the members of the Motion Picture Academy were once so angry at producer Jack Warner for casting Audrey Hepburn, instead of Julie Andrews, in “My Fair Lady, that they refused to even nominate Ms. Hepburn for her terrific performance as Eliza Doolittle. However, proving, as usual, that they shouldn’t be allowed to vote even when politics aren’t involved, these lunkheads then gave the 1964 Oscar for Best Picture to “My Fair Lady,” which enabled the very same Jack Warner to stride onstage to thunderous applause.
Then there was the matter of Cliff Robertson and David Begelman. When Robertson, an Oscar-winning actor, discovered that Begelman, the head of Columbia Pictures, had forged his signature on a $10,000 check, he blew the whistle. After a police investigation, it turned out that Begelman had been financing his gambling habit with a lot of other people’s money, including Judy Garland, whom he had blackmailed. The upshot was that Robertson had his acting career short-circuited, whereas Begelman, who was only sentenced to community service, was then hired to run MGM.
Shortly after the scandal occurred, I happened to be having lunch with my agent in a restaurant loaded with Hollywood types. When Begelman entered, there was such a flurry of people competing for his attention, you could have mistaken them for a covey of cardinals vying to smooch the pope’s ring.
It’s not just actors, directors and producers, who act like dopes. Consider writer Norman Mailer. Perhaps because he was the fellow who once tried to settle a domestic dispute by stabbing the second of his six wives, Jack Abbott, who was serving time for bank robbery and murder, decided he’d be the ideal pen pal. Mailer became so enamored of Abbott’s writing, he not only used his considerable influence to get Abbott’s book, “In the Belly of the Beast,” published, but got this career criminal paroled. In New York, quite naturally, Abbott became the toast of the literati crowd, but only for a little while because six weeks after his release, Abbott stabbed 22-year-old Richard Adan to death.
Saving the best for last brings us to Leni Riefenstahl. In Berlin, in the 30s, as in Hollywood at any time, it wasn’t what you knew but who you knew, and Leni was a chum of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda. Think of him as the head of Germany’s NEA. It was Herr Goebbels who helped get her the opportunity to make “Triumph of the Will” and “Olympia,” a couple of over-wrought “documentaries” dedicated to hyping the Third Reich.
After the end of World War II and for the remaining half of her 101 years, American and European cineastes — the same twerps who do cartwheels over Michael Moore’s propaganda flicks — showered her with honors and acclaim. This in spite of the fact that although she claimed she wasn’t a Nazi and would barely have recognized Hitler if she’d tripped over him, had said, “To me, Hitler is the greatest man who ever lived. He truly is without fault, so simple and at the same time possessed of masculine strength.” Sort of sounds like Chris Matthews going on about Obama or Oliver Stone mooning over Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro, doesn’t it?
In 1993, Riefenstahl had the gall to deny that she deliberately attempted to create pro-Nazi propaganda. For good measure, she claimed she was disgusted that “Triumph of the Will” was used in such a way. It was reminiscent of Captain Renault’s shock upon discovering that gambling was taking place in the backroom at Rick’s, all the while pocketing his winnings.
Having seen her most famous films, I can assure you that unless you cut the movies up into a million little slivers of celluloid and used them for toothpicks, there was no other conceivable use for them except as Nazi propaganda.
Moreover, in 1934, Riefenstahl said that “Mein Kampf” had made a tremendous impression on her. “I became a confirmed National Socialist after reading the very first page. I felt a man who could write such a book should undoubtedly lead Germany. I felt very happy that such a man had come.”
She was so impressed with the book that she wrote the author a fan letter. The letter led to a meeting. The meeting led to her directing “Victory of Faith,” a movie about the fifth Nazi Party rally at Nuremberg. So much for her claim that she really only knew Hitler from his photos.
In fact, for someone who spent so many years churning out propaganda films, she was rather inept when it came to lying. For instance, on one occasion she claimed that she was totally unaware that concentration camps even existed, while another time she swore that she only worked for the Nazis because Goebbels had threatened to send her to a concentration camp if she didn’t cooperate.
Frankly, what confounds me is why she wasted even a single second lying about her past. I mean, even if she had been good at it, why bother? After all, sensible and moral people never believed her self-serving malarkey; and, as for the celebrity crowd, they simply didn’t care. They never do.
I can talk these words that will sound so sweet
They will even make your little heart skip a beat
Heal the sick, raise the dead
And make the little girls talk outta their heads
I’m the one, oh I’m the one…
–Johnny Rivers, Seventh Son
When you knowingly pay someone to lie to you, we call the deceiver an illusionist or a magician. When you unwittingly pay someone to do the same thing, I call him a politician.
President Obama insists that health care “reform” not “add a dime” to the budget deficit, which daily grows to ever more frightening levels. So the House-passed bill and the one the Senate now deliberates both claim to cost less than $900 billion. Somehow “$900 billion over 10 years” has been decreed to be a magical figure that will not increase the deficit.
It’s amazing how precise government gets when estimating the cost of 10 years of subsidized medical care. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s bill was scored not at $850 billion, but $849 billion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her bill would cost $871 billion.
How do they do that?
The key to magic is misdirection, fooling the audience into looking in the wrong direction.
I happily suspend disbelief when a magician says he’ll saw a woman in half. That’s entertainment. But when Harry Reid says he’ll give 30 million additional people health coverage while cutting the deficit, improving health care and reducing its cost, it’s not entertaining. It’s incredible.
The politicians have a hat full of tricks to make their schemes look cheaper than they are. The new revenues will pour in during Year One, but health care spending won’t begin until Year Three or Four. To this the Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner asks, “Wouldn’t it be great if you could count a whole month’s income, but only two weeks’ expenditures in your household budget?”
To be deficit-reducers, the health care bills depend on a $200 billion cut in Medicare. Current law requires cuts in payments to doctors, but let’s get real: Those cuts will never happen. The idea that Congress will “save $200 billion” by reducing payments for groups as influential as doctors and retirees is laughable. Since 2003, Congress has suspended those “required” cuts each year.
Our pandering congressmen rarely cut. They just spend. Even as the deficit grows, they vomit up our money onto new pet “green” projects, bailouts for irresponsible industries, gifts for special interests and guarantees to everyone.
Originally, this year’s suspension, “the doc fix,” was included in the health care bills, but when it clearly pushed the cost of “reform” over Obama’s limit and threatened to hike the deficit, the politicians moved the “doc fix” to a separate bill and pretended it was unrelated to their health care work.
Chris Erskine in the LA Times:
A while back, I developed the concept of “sportsenfreude,” based on the German term “schadenfreude,” which means taking glee in the misfortune of others.
Sportsenfreude is a close cousin to the concept of rooting for the underdog. It means you’re not really rooting for one team — you’re rooting against the other.
When the Dallas Cowboys lose, that warm little glow you feel — it’s almost sexual — that’s sportsenfreude. When the Yankees lose, same thing, assuming you don’t like the Yankees — hardly anybody does, the pinstripers having come to represent every overfed frat boy or silver spoon who got the girl you didn’t. They are baseball’s trust-fund babies, the Yankees are. It’s a little like cheering for Comcast or General Mills.
Though it is my concept, I am not particularly proud of sportsenfreude. No one should take joy in another person’s failures. Of course, a certain ambivalence can be forgiven. I mean, I would never exactly feel sympathy if Bill Belichick were caught cheating again. Or if someone popped that smug Jim Harbaugh in the snout.
The secret to sportsenfreude is to base your selection on some perceived moral issue. For instance, I rooted against the Tampa Bay Rays last year based on my dislike for their moldy indoor park. I dislike Philly because of Sylvester Stallone’s spotty record on marriage. In real life, he never married Talia Shire, which just seemed wrong.
I generally root against the Indianapolis Colts on the basis of one lousy, overpriced turkey sandwich I had at the airport there. That’s all you need, really. What this does is soften sportsenfreude and makes it a more spiritual and life-affirming process.
The Raiders and Notre Dame always provide me a rooting interest — for their opponents.
Many people believe that after suffering through a severe winter, the Pilgrims’ food shortages were resolved the following spring when the Native Americans taught them to plant corn and a Thanksgiving celebration resulted. In fact, the pilgrims continued to face chronic food shortages for three years until the harvest of 1623. Bad weather or lack of farming knowledge did not cause the pilgrims’ shortages. Bad economic incentives did.
In 1620 Plymouth Plantation was founded with a system of communal property rights. Food and supplies were held in common and then distributed based on equality and need as determined by Plantation officials. People received the same rations whether or not they contributed to producing the food, and residents were forbidden from producing their own food. Governor William Bradford, in his 1647 history, Of Plymouth Plantation, wrote that this system was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. The problem was that young men, that were most able and fit for labour, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. Because of the poor incentives, little food was produced.
Faced with potential starvation in the spring of 1623, the colony decided to implement a new economic system. Every family was assigned a private parcel of land. They could then keep all they grew for themselves, but now they alone were responsible for feeding themselves. While not a complete private property system, the move away from communal ownership had dramatic results.
This change, Bradford wrote, had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. Giving people economic incentives changed their behavior. Once the new system of property rights was in place, the women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability.
Once the Pilgrims in the Plymouth Plantation abandoned their communal economic system and adopted one with greater individual property rights, they never again faced the starvation and food shortages of the first three years. It was only after allowing greater property rights that they could feast without worrying that famine was just around the corner.
We are direct beneficiaries of the economics lesson the pilgrims learned in 1623. Today we have a much better developed and well-defined set of property rights. Our economic system offers incentives for us—in the form of prices and profits—to coordinate our individual behavior for the mutual benefit of all; even those we may not personally know.
The Medieval Warm Period (800-1300) was a good time for humanity. The growing season lasted longer, which meant more food and a growing population, and heck, in the days before central heating it was more comfortable.
But forget all that. Global warming will make you sick say the AGW zealots.
Slashing carbon dioxide emissions could save millions of lives, mostly by reducing preventable deaths from heart and lung diseases, according to studies released Wednesday and published in a special issue of The Lancet British medical journal.
Global and U.S. health officials unveiled the results as they pushed for health issues to take a more prominent role at upcoming climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. Also on Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced that he would go to Copenhagen at the start of international climate talks. U.S. health officials said the timing was not planned.
“Relying on fossil fuels leads to unhealthy lifestyles, increasing our chances for getting sick and in some cases takes years from our lives,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a telecast briefing from her home state of Kansas. “As greenhouse gas emissions go down, so do deaths from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. This is not a small effect.”
Why then are people living longer?
Instead of looking at the health ills caused by future global warming, as past studies have done, this research looks at the immediate benefits of doing something about the problem, said Linda Birnbaum, director of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. That agency helped fund the studies along with the Wellcome Trust and several other international public health groups.
The calculations of lives saved were based on computer models that looked at pollution-caused illnesses in certain cities. The figures are also based on the world making dramatic changes in daily life that may at first seem too hard and costly to do, researchers conceded.
Some possible benefits seemed highly speculative, the researchers conceded, based on people driving less and walking and cycling more. Other proposals studied were more concrete and achievable, such as eliminating cook stoves that burn dung, charcoal and other polluting fuels in the developing world.
And cutting carbon dioxide emissions also makes the air cleaner, reducing lung damage for millions of people, doctors said.
Oh, come on. I’ve been in Delhi and choked on the dung-smoke air and the two-cycle engines belching pollution.
To conflate that with C02 is absurd.
Mark Steyn sums it thusly:
On this Thanksgiving Day, let us give thanks that the two greatest all-purpose pretexts for government regulation of every single aspect of your life – “health care” and “the environment” – have now converged. Forget the global warming, global cooling, all the phoney-baloney tree-ring stuff – who can keep track of all that “settled science”? And fortunately we no longer need it, because we have a new rationale for the massive multitrillion-dollar Copenhagen shakendownen. Drumroll, please!
But slashing carbon dioxide emissions also could save millions of lives, mostly by reducing preventable deaths from heart and lung diseases, according to studies published this week in the British medical journal The Lancet.
Government regulation of health care justifies government regulation of the environment: Ingenious!
In the ’80s I was writing a news release for a mortgage broker that arranged financing for an office tower.
I was referred to the architect to find out how many square feet were in the building. His answer: “How many square feet do you need?” It was revealing because the value of a building was a multiple of its rentable space. Thus more square feet meant more value.
No doubt his number became a cell in a spreadsheet that generated an “official” presentation that looked airtight. After all, numbers never lie, right? Especially when they come from a computer.
Within days, government leaders are convening in Copenhagen to draft an agreement to deal with a climate “crisis” that has been predicted by computer models conjured by scientists.
Most will blithely ignore the recent revelation — part of the ClimateGate scandal — that the computer code cranking out the doomsday scenarios was buggy. As Megan McArdle observed:
The emails seem to describe a model which frequently breaks, and being constantly “tweaked” with manual interventions of dubious quality in order to make them fit the historical data. These stories suggest that the model, and the past manual interventions, are so poorly documented that CRU cannot now replicate its own past findings.
That is a big problem. The IPCC report, which is the most widely relied upon in policy circles, uses this model to estimate the costs of global warming. If those costs are unreliable, then any cost-benefit analysis is totally worthless.
Sounds a bit like, “How many degrees do you need?”
Disliking a man’s politics, doesn’t mean disliking the man. Here we see Obama in good humor, enacting the peculiar ritual of pardoning a turkey the day before millions get eaten.
Not exclude Joe Biden, from the Onion:
In keeping with a longstanding Thanksgiving tradition, Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially pardoned a 4-pound yam today at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. “Under my authority as vice president of the United States of America, I hereby grant this yam full and unconditional clemency,” a smiling Biden declared as he gently patted “Spud,” a Beauregard sweet potato grown in Louisiana and selected from millions of candidates yielded by this year’s harvest. “May he never find himself in a casserole. Right, little guy?” Like yams reprieved before him, Spud will ride as an honored guest aboard the second float of the Disneyland Thanksgiving Day Parade before spending the rest of his life in the comfort and safety of a tuber petting zoo
Not from Bruce Tinsley, but Newsday:
About 20 people picketed the offices of Newsday yesterday protesting the publishing of a Mallard Fillmore cartoon last Sunday and demanded that the editor, John Mancini, be fired for running the cartoon according to Editor & Publisher.
The cartoon depicts a large dinosaur chasing a smaller saying, “I’m not chasing you because you’re a pachycephalosaurus … I’m chasing you because you’re delicious” in which the small dinosaur responds, “Oh, thank goodness. I was worried that this might be a hate crime.” The cartoon ran a week after the first year anniversary of the death of an Ecuadorian immigrant at the hands of seven teenagers. Protestors felt that running the cartoon reduced hate crimes to a joke.
Newsday issued a statement saying, “we expect the cartoons we publish, many of which are nationally syndicated, to amuse, stir and entertain, but never to offend. Hate crime is a serious issue. This nationally syndicated cartoon should never have run and we have expressed our concern to the syndicator.”
Curious: the Fort Hood murderer yells “Allahu Akbar” before opening fire.
Do libs see that as a hate crime? No, they fret about potential hate crimes against innocent American Muslims as a backlash.
Mocking liberals will soon become a “hate crime.”
Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed  three Notices of Intent to File Suit against NASA and its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for those bodies’ refusal — for nearly three years — to provide documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
The information sought is directly relevant to the exploding “Climategate” scandal revealing document destruction, coordinated efforts in the U.S. and UK to avoid complying with both countries’ freedom of information laws, and apparent and widespread intent to defraud at the highest levels of international climate science bodies. Numerous informed commenters had alleged such behavior for years, all of which appears to be affirmed by leaked emails, computer code, and other data from the Climatic Research Unit of the UK’s East Anglia University.
All of that material, and that sought for years by CEI, goes to the heart of the scientific claims and campaign underpinning the Kyoto Protocol, its planned successor treaty, “cap-and-trade” legislation, and the EPA’s threatened regulatory campaign to impose similar measures through the back door.
CEI sought the following documents, among others. NASA’s failure to provide them within thirty days will prompt CEI to file suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia:
– Internal discussions about NASA’s quiet correction of its false historical U.S. temperature records after two Canadian researchers discovered a key statistical error, specifically: discussion about whether and why to correct certain records, how to do so, the impact, or wisdom, or potential (or real) fallout there from or reaction to doing so (requested August 2007).
– Internal discussions relating to the email sent to James Hansen and/or Reto A. Ruedy from a Stephen (Steve) McIntyre calling their attention to the errors in NASA/GISS online temperature data (August 2007).
– Those relating to the content, importance, or propriety of workday-hour posts or entries by GISS/NASA employee Gavin A. Schmidt on the weblog or “blog” RealClimate, which is owned by the advocacy Environmental Media Services and was started as an effort to defend the debunked “Hockey Stick” that is so central to the CRU files. RealClimate.org is implicated in the leaked files and expressly offered as a tool to be used “in any way you think would be helpful” to a certain advocacy campaign, including an assertion of Schmidt’s active involvement in, e.g., delaying and/or screening out unhelpful input by “skeptics” attempting to comment on claims made on the website.
This, and the related political activism engaged in, are inappropriate behavior for a taxpayer-funded employee, particularly on taxpayer time. These documents were requested in January 2007 and NASA/GISS have refused to date to comply with their legal obligation to produce responsive documents.
I had a friend in Denver who, at age 40, suffered a stroke that paralyzed half his body for a day or two. Then he was perfectly fine.
Even during the worst of it he didn’t succumb to worry or despair. It was what it was. (His wife saw it differently.)
About a month later, his car crapped out and needed serious repairs. That upset him.
This came to mind reading Tom Bunzel’s post about his blood pressure and his laptop.
On Saturday afternoon while picking up a prescription, the pharmacist told me that my doctor had asked to be called for a follow up. Before leaving I decided to check my blood pressure on the automatic machine, only to find the reading stratospheric and scary.
I walked around the store sorting it out, and realized that I had let the machine read the pressure through my sweatshirt. Surely that explained the high reading since I’d been normal for some time.
Without the sweatshirt I was lower, but still elevated. I took a few more readings, each one a bit lower, and decided it was heading down to the normal level and that I was okay.
The next morning, just before leaving for breakfast to meet a friend, I opened my laptop to check my nonexistent Sunday email, and found the screen completely white. I took a deep breath, turned it off and turned it back on, and it stayed completely dark; the hard drive light went on for a seconds and then stopped. This happened three times. I left for breakfast considering the consequences of losing my hard drive – data was backed up to my desktop but lot of stuff, like recent email in Outlook, would fall through the cracks.
When liberals wake up in the morning, what do you think they do first? Have a cup of coffee and a Danish or check their computers to get their talking points from the White House? And when they find themselves in a moral bind, do they ask themselves not what would Jesus do, but what would Obama suggest?
Another question that’s been plaguing me is whether Democrats regard inconsistency as their birthright. Or do they really think that when a GOP congressman calls a liar a liar to his face, it’s a sin worthy of censure and just possibly a good horsewhipping, but when a Democrat, Rep. Alan Grayson, in defense of Obamacare, insists that Republicans want sick people to die quickly, defends ACORN on the floor of Congress, and, for good measure, calls Linda Robertson, an advisor to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, “a K Street whore,” it’s just frank and robust political speech?
Speaking of Obamacare, how essential can it possibly be that Congress immediately passes a bill that won’t even go into effect until 2014, but the President refuses to be rushed into making a decision about a surge in Afghanistan? I realize that Obama’s IQ slides about 50 points whenever he’s deprived of his beloved teleprompter, but, unlike the nonsense about phantom Americans dying in the streets because of our terrible health care system, surely even he understands that there are actual flesh-and-blood soldiers dying in Afghanistan. In the meanwhile, Obama takes his own sweet time consulting his Ouija board. But, then, we all know that members of the military tend to be conservatives, so why should Obama care two figs about their well-being?
Just as a sidebar, doesn’t it seem odd that Garry Trudeau, who went so far as to list the name of every soldier who died in Iraq in his “Doonesbury” comic strip, doesn’t bother mentioning casualties in Afghanistan? Apparently, war is only evil when it’s being conducted by a Republican president.
Leave it to liberals to push through a trillion dollar stimulus bill that has resulted in unemployment rising from about 8.5% to roughly 10% in less than a year and then try to shove through a multi-trillion dollar bill that will bring Castrocare to America five years down the road. But, these, after all, are the same clucks who insisted we couldn’t drill our way out of an energy crisis because it would take 10 years for the oil to get from the ground to our local gas pumps. Although they never got around to explaining why it would take that long — was the oil going to spend a decade playing hide-and-seek? — the fact remains that had they started drilling back then, the gas would just about be here by now.
But, then, Democrats never feel an obligation to be logical. Otherwise, they might feel compelled to explain how it is that those beret-wearing, stinky cigarette-puffing, anti-American, left-wing nincompoops in France can manage to get 80% of their energy from nuclear plants, but we’re supposed to make do with windmills and the energy generated by hamsters running on their little wheels.
As much as I disagree with the current administration, I, for one, didn’t object to the government’s recent decision to move a GM plant from Michigan to Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware. It may not have been a nice thing to do, but I think it’s worth it just for the opportunity to hear how the union bigwigs explain it to the UAW members in Michigan, where unemployment is hovering around 15%. Hey, you poor suckers, how do you feel now about busting your butts, not to mention the union piggybank, to help elect Obama?
Speaking of Michigan, I assume you’ve all heard the audio on which a couple of women in the Detroit crowd lined up to get government checks were asked where they thought the money was coming from. It seems they believed the manna was coming straight from Obama. When they were then asked where they thought he was getting it, one of the ladies guessed it was from his stash. The first time I heard it, I had to laugh. By the second or third time, it occurred to me that they simply assumed that, like every other cheap Chicago hustler, Obama had a slush fund at his disposal for buying votes. Which, when you stop and think about it, is exactly who he is and, moreover, what the money is.
Those two women and millions more like them are being paid off for past and future favors. But if you’re one of those people who voted for this huckster and didn’t get your payoff in Detroit, you’re a lot dumber than those ladies.
Getting back to Democrats and their inconsistent ways, doesn’t it strike you as peculiar that they cried bloody murder over Nixon’s enemy list, but don’t say boo about Obama’s attack on Fox News; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; every American citizen who attended a Tea Party or a Townhall meeting; conservative blogs; Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck; the 1st and 2nd amendments; and in fact on everyone and anyone who objects to a single stupid idea concocted by the loony likes of Emanuel, Axelrod, Sunstein, Dunn, Holdren and Jones. If only Obama waged the war in Afghanistan with the same passion and conviction he wages war on his critics, one day we might actually defeat the Taliban and get to watch Osama bin Laden doing the tango with Rosie O’Donnell on “Dancing With the Stars.”
Some people — not those folks who cling to their guns and their religion, you understand — but some people look at Barack Obama and, rather than see a radical leftist who has no more business being the commander in chief than I do, see God Almighty. But I’m afraid they’re very much mistaken. There’s a world of difference between God and Obama. God, you see, believes in free will.
Christopher Badeaux in the New Ledger:
The usual people who don’t understand foreign policy – which is to say, the sorts of people who are well-received, if not employed, by the State Department (which hasn’t understood foreign policy since Kissinger, or perhaps Dulles) – are of course charmed by the President’s playacting on the global stage. This is probably because the kabuki-dance of Metternichian diplomacy, though likely to allow untold millions to die of starvation, rape, genocide, torture, ethnic cleansing, and imprisonment, is more visually appealing than war and open conflict – not least because all of that starvation, rape, genocide, torture, ethnic cleansing, and imprisonment tends to happen in countries that don’t allow cameras near the atrocities.
This terrible conflation of form over substance elides the fact that Baron von Metternich developed the balance of power system he did to avoid a repeat of the devastation of Napoleon, and that ultimately, that very system of diplomatic communiqués, bows, negotiations, dinners, and playacting not only failed to avert the First World War, it positively accelerated and worsened the Second. In other words, the modern system is a shell of a remnant of a means of preventing a disaster that has long-since passed, and that failed miserably both times it was really well-tested. It is, in short, a system intended to devolve larger conflicts into smaller, more manageable ones, and is instead a method for preventing small conflicts by accumulating them into larger ones. Perversely, the whole, nominal point of the modern system of international diplomacy is to provide channels through which substantive foreign policy – that is, the real goals and desires of nations and nation-states – can flow without having more wars than necessary. Its loveliness should be secondary to its effectiveness. Applauding what President Obama has delivered – a foreign policy with better aesthetics than President Bush’s, without President Bush’s substance – is like wanting a faster car always stuck in the driveway: There’s no point if it’s not going anywhere.
This inability to separate substance and appearance – oddly appropriate for a President who has never shown much of an ability to do so since he began putting the finishing touch on his resume in 2004 – is nowhere better on display than in his dealings with China.
One would be hard-pressed to identify anyone who is neither a member of the Administration, a member of the American press corps (insofar as that isn’t the same thing), one of the aforementioned lovers of Metternichian avoidance, or a member of the government of the People’s Republic of China who thinks President Obama’s strolling photo-shoot through Asia was a success. The heretofore-unbroken foreign policy consensus of three decades has been that America wants to control a rising China to bring it into the community of nations – as a free and open society, trading freely with the world and keeping its torture to the bare minimum a quasi-fascist regime can accept as it transitions into something vaguely resembling a democratic empire. Because this requires a delicate dance of threats, cajolings, ingratiations, brute shows of force, and speeches about strategic partnerships while everyone clenches their teeth; and because that sort of thing is beyond the ability of any elected American President since Reagan if not Washington; Sino-American relations tend to look like a bizarrely schizophrenic bumble that extends the length of an Administration.
This is why President Clinton – in that way that only Bubba could – alternated between overlooking Chinese espionage at Los Alamos and sending a carrier battle group to the Taiwan Straits; why President Bush thanked China for capturing an American plane in international airspace on the one hand and met early and often with the Dalai Lama and made clear that America’s future strategic partnership lay with India, as an explicit counterweight to China.
The critical feature to all of this, however ineptly done, is that the carrot and the stick are closely joined. American Presidents praise a free, prosperous China. They speak of strategic partnerships while directing carrier battle groups in the Pacific. They talk about One China while approving arms shipments to Taiwan and hugging the Dalai Lama. They let China know that it faces no threat from the United States, but that it could.
Because he makes impossible shots. The final angle is the best.
Along with his choreographic gaucherie goes his peculiar belief that all of human history is just a bit of colorful backstory in the Barack Obama biopic — or as he put it in his video address on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall:
“Few would have foreseen on that day that a united Germany would be led by a woman from Brandenburg or that their American ally would be led by a man of African descent.”
Tear down that wall . . . so they can get a better look at me!!! Is there no one in the White House grown-up enough to say, “Er, Mr. President, that’s really the kind of line you get someone else to say about you”? And maybe somebody could have pointed out that Nov. 9, 1989, isn’t about him but about millions of nobodies whose names are unknown, who lead dreary lives doing unglamorous jobs and going home to drab accommodations, but who at a critical moment in history decided they were no longer going to live in a prison state. They’re no big deal; they’re never going to land a photoshoot for Vanity Fair. But it’s their day, not yours. It’s not the narcissism, so much as the crassly parochial nature of it.
Is it the only template in the White House speechwriters’ computer? “Few would have foreseen at the Elamite sack of Ur/Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow/the assassination of the Archduke Franz-Ferdinand/the passage of the Dubrovnik Airport Parking Lot Expansion Bill that one day I would be standing before you talking about how few would have foreseen that one day I would be standing before you.”
The real Obama emerges.
…The above are mostly offences against good taste, but they are, cumulatively, revealing. And they help explain why, whenever the president’s not talking about himself, he sounds like he’s wandered vaguely off-message. The other day, for example, he told Fox News that “if we keep on adding to the debt . . . people could lose confidence in the U.S. economy in a way that could actually lead to a double-dip recession.”
That’s a great line — but not from a guy who plans to “keep on adding to the debt” as a conscious strategy. This is the president who made “trillion” the new default unit of federal budgeting, and whose irresponsibility is prompting key players around the world to consider seriously whether it’s time to ditch the dollar’s role as global reserve currency. But Obama’s much vaunted “bipartisanship,” to which so many “moderate” conservatives were partial a year ago, seems to have dwindled down to an impressive ability to take one side of an issue in his rhetoric and another in his actions.
Which brings us to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11. He’d been brought before a military commission, and last December indicated he was ready to plead guilty, and itching for the express lane to the 72 virgins.
But that wasn’t good enough for Obama, who in essence declined to accept KSM’s confession and decided to put him on trial in a New York courthouse. Why? To show “the world” — i.e., European op-ed pages and faculty lounges — that America would fight terror in a way “consistent with our values,” and apparently that means turning KSM into O. J. and loosing his dream team on the civilian justice system. But, having buttered up Le Monde and the BBC and many of his own lefties by announcing that Mohammed would get a fair trial, Obama then assured NBC that he’d be convicted and was gonna fry.
When pricey products like electronics first appear on the market, consumers resist. Who needs a TV, radios are good enough? Who needs a computer if you have a calculator? But then more companies enter the fray, embarking on a relentless campaign to refine their products. Pretty soon the consumer has a dazzling array of ever better options. But even after everyone is “hooked” and would be lost without their electronics, prices continue to fall. Why? Competition.
At a recent town hall meeting, President Obama said, “Now, the only thing that I have said is that having a public option in that menu would provide competition for insurance companies to keep them honest.”
But it is government that is responsible for the dearth of competition in the insurance business. That’s because Congress enacted the McCarran-Ferguson Act in 1945, which allows the states to limit the number of players in their insurance markets, and explains why “in 64 percent of all metropolitan areas, a single health insurer commands a market share of at least 50 percent”.
Government created the insurance monopolies in the states, thus destroying competition. Government is therefore responsible for the “dishonesty” that Obama decries.
With its business and individual mandates, Obamacare does nothing less than claim a portion of the nation’s future wealth for a particular enterprise. And just like Medicare, the money will all come off the top. Since all this preempted wealth will be funneled into this one industry, the insurance companies know that one of them will get each person’s business; they know they’ll get paid. If you know you’re going to make the sale, why lower prices? What is the incentive to offer lower prices? How does competition work in a system in which you must buy?
If there is any single thing that would lower the price of health insurance, it is repealing McCarran-Ferguson. It would create potentially a thousand times more competition than the “public option” would. And the price of repeal would be…nothing. Compare that to the trillion-dollar price tag of Obamacare
America hasn’t had a real market (the free market) in health insurance since 1945. Congress has used the Constitution’s Commerce Clause to justify just about everything, but won’t use it for actual commerce, such as opening up the health insurance market to cross-state sales. But cross-state purchase of insurance wouldn’t be enough to ensure real competition. We’d need two more things: more types of policies (including bare-bones catastrophic plans), and the right not to buy (think consumer electronics). With these three features, the consumer would be king, prices would fall, and we’d have some change we could believe in.
Funny how chary the New York Times and other members of Big Baloney are about publishing leaked information when it steps on their agenda.
With the release of hundreds of emails by scientists advocates of global warming showing obvious and entirely inappropriate collusion by the authors — including attempts to suppress dissent, to punish journals that publish peer-reviewed studies casting doubt on global warming, and to manipulate data to bolster their own arguments — even the New York Times is forced to concede that “the documents will undoubtedly raise questions about the quality of research on some specific questions and the actions of some scientists.” But apparently the paper’s environmental blog, Dot Earth, is taking a pass on publishing any of the documents and emails that are now circulating. Andrew Revkin, the author of that blog, writes,
The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.
This is the position of the New York Times when given the chance to publish sensitive information that might hinder the liberal agenda. Of course, when the choice is between publishing classified information that might endanger the lives of U.S. troops in the field or intelligence programs vital to national security, that information is published without hesitation by the nation’s paper of record. But in this case — the documents were “never intended for the public eye,” so the New York Times will take a pass. I guess that policy wasn’t in place when Neil Sheehan was working at the paper.
Nearly 50 years after a botched US-directed invasion of Cuba, the communist nation said Saturday it is holding a military exercise next week to boost preparedness against any future US attack.“It is a necessity of the first order given the political-military situation that now defines relations between Cuba and the empire,” Major General Leonardo Andollo warned, referring to the United States.
He told the official Granma newspaper that the “Bastion-2009″ exercises will “raise the deterrent capacity to prevent a military confrontation, under the principle that there is no better way to win a war than by avoiding it.”
Well, they do have a lot of classic cars down there. Except I think they consider them heaps.
…and he’s gonna use it. What fools we have running things.
A lawyer for one of five men facing trial for the Sept. 11 attacks says the men plan to plead not guilty and use the trial to express their political views.
Attorney Scott Fenstermaker says his client Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali and the others will not deny their role in the 2001 attacks but will tell the jury “why they did it.”
He says the men will explain “their assessment of American foreign policy.”
Fenstermaker met with Ali last week at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay. He says the men, including professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, have discussed the trial among themselves.
(First, it means writers never tire of appending “gate” to words.)
Anyway, on to the real story. Charlie Martin writes:
Late on the night of of November 19, news broke on PJM and elsewhere that a large amount of data had been stolen from one of the major climate research institutions by an unknown hacker and made available on the Internet. The institution is the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit, home institution for Dr Phil Jones and one of the world’s centers of research into anthropogenic global warming (AGW), or “climate change.”
The hackers released about 172 megabytes of data, and we can be sure examining it closely will take some time. But after a few days, certain things are beginning to become clear.
- The data appears to be largely, perhaps entirely, authentic.
- The emails are incendiary.
- The implications shake the scientific basis for AGW, and the scientific reputations of some of AGW’s major proponents, to their roots
The big takeaway from this:
- The emails suggest the authors co-operated covertly to ensure that only papers favorable to CO2-forced AGW were published, and that editors and journals publishing contrary papers were punished. They also attempted to “discipline” scientists and journalists who published skeptical information.
- The emails suggest that the authors manipulated and “massaged” the data to strengthen the case in favor of unprecedented CO2-forced AGW, and to suppress their own data if it called AGW into question.
- The emails suggest that the authors co-operated (perhaps the word is “conspired”) to prevent data from being made available to other researchers through either data archiving requests or through the Freedom of Information Acts of both the U.S. and the UK.