The "warning signs" exhibited by this particular passenger included the following:
His name was Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
He's a Muslim.
His name was Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
He boarded a plane in Lagos, Nigeria.
He paid nearly $3,000 in cash for his ticket.
He had no luggage.
His name was Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Two months ago, his father warned the U.S. that he was a radical Muslim and possibly dangerous.
If our security procedures can't stop this guy, can't we just dispense with those procedures altogether? What's the point exactly?
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
From HARRY-READ-ME text:
As you read the programmer's comments below, remember, this is only a fraction of what he says [in the HARRY_READ_Me.txt file]. These
presumably precise data are the backbone of climate science. Reading "HARRY_READ_Me.txt" it's clear the CRU's files were a mess. ... [And
yet] the CRU at East Anglia University is considered by many as the world's leading climate research agency. ...
-- Back to the gridding. I am seriously worried that our flagship gridded data product is produced by Delaunay triangulation - apparently
linear as well. As far as I can see, this renders the station counts totally meaningless. It also means that we cannot say exactly
how the gridded data is arrived at from a statistical perspective ... Of course, it's too late for me to fix it too. Meh.
-- But what are all those monthly files? DON'T KNOW, UNDOCUMENTED. Wherever I look, there are data files, no info about what they are
other than their names. And that's useless ...
-- It's botch after botch after botch.
-- This surely is the worst project I've ever attempted. Eeeek.
-- Oh, GOD, if I could start this project again and actually argue the case for junking the inherited program suite.
-- ... this should all have been rewritten from scratch a year ago!
-- Well, dtr2cld is not the world's most complicated program. Wheras cloudreg is, and I immediately found a mistake! ... a loop that, for
completely unfathomable reasons, didn't include months!
-- Am I the first person to attempt to get the CRU databases in working order?!!
-- As far as I can see, this renders the (weather) station counts totally meaningless.
-- COBAR AIRPORT AWS (data from an Australian weather station) cannot start in 1962, it didn't open until 1993!
-- Getting seriously fed up with the state of the Australian data. so many new stations have been introduced, so many false references.. so many
changes that aren't documented.
-- The rest of the databases seem to be in nearly as poor a state as Australia was. ... Aarrggghhh! There truly is no end in sight.
-- What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah -- there is no 'supposed,' I can make it up. So I have : - )
-- You can't imagine what this has cost me -- to actually allow the operator to assign false WMO (World Meteorological
Organization) codes!! But what else is there in such situations? Especially when dealing with a 'Master' database of dubious provenance ...
-- So with a somewhat cynical shrug, I added the nuclear option -- to match every WMO possible, and turn the rest into new stations ... In
other words what CRU usually do. It will allow bad databases to pass unnoticed, and good databases to become bad ...
-- OH FUCK THIS. It's Sunday evening, I've worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done, I'm hitting yet another problem
that's based on the hopeless state of our databases.
-- This whole project is SUCH A MESS. No wonder I needed therapy!! ... I am seriously close to giving up, again.
-- Right, time to stop pussyfooting around the niceties of Tim's labyrinthine software suites - let's have a go at producing CRU TS 3.0! since failing
to do that will be the definitive failure of the entire project..
Sunday, December 27, 2009
My Republican friends often seem to miss the point in this debate: The so-called “public option” is not Page 3,079, Section (f), Clause VII. The entire bill is a public option — because that’s where it leads, remorselessly. The so-called “death panel” is not Page 2,721, Paragraph 19, Sub-section (d), but again the entire bill — because it inserts the power of the state between you and your doctor, and in effect assumes jurisdiction over your body. As the savvier Dems have always known, once you’ve crossed the Rubicon, you can endlessly re-reform your health reform until the end of time, and all the stuff you didn’t get this go-round will fall into place, and very quickly.
The details don't matter. Once government controls either the substance of health care or the insurance companies, it's all government control all the time. Once people get into the "system," even if its stinks, they will adapt themselves and find something to love in this rotten security blanket, and panic if there's a threat of it being taken away.
It is her basic position that the "system worked" because the bureaucrats responded properly after the attack. That the attack was "foiled" by a bad detonator and some civilian passengers is proof, she claims, that her agency is doing everything right. That is just about the dumbest thing she could say, on the merits and politically. I would wager that not one percent of Americans think the system is "working" when terrorists successfully get bombs onto planes (and succeed in activating them).
Here's Goldberg's assessment of the role that Napolitano seems to be playing:
Napolitano has a habit of arguing that DHS is a first responder outfit. Its mission is to deal with "man-caused-disasters" afer they occur. It appears she really believes it.
Watch the video and see if you don't agree.
Repeat: 38% believe that the stimulus has not just been ineffective, but it has actually hurt.
Why? It seems that for the trillion dollars spent, the public has seen little or no improvement. But they have seen the deficit skyrocket out of control.
The Obama administration may have been too clever by half when it decided to hold off on spending most of the money until the election year of 2010.
Here's the breakdown by class, gender and party:
The Political Class has a much different view than the rest of the county. Ninety percent (90%) of the Political Class believes the stimulus plan helped the economy and not a single Political Class respondent says it has hurt.
Men, by a 42% to 27% margin, believe the stimulus effort has hurt the economy. Women are evenly divided.
Fifty-one percent (51%) of Democrats believe the stimulus plan has helped the economy while 47% of Republicans believe it has hurt. Among those not affiliated with either major political party, 52% believe the stimulus plan has had a negative impact.
And here's a very important piece of polling data: 55% of Americans Are Populist, 7% Support the Political Class
Passengers getting off both U.S. domestic flights and those arriving from overseas reported being told that they couldn’t get out of their seat for the last hour of their flight. ... What will they do after, say, a burka-clad woman boards the flight with breast impants packed with plastic explosives?
The bizarre restrictions the government is placing on airline passengers are futile.
Playing the game this way lets the terrorists set the rules and forces us to react defensively to every innovation. What difference does it make whether the plot succeeds? After all, long after Richard Reid has died of old age in prison, we'll still be removing our footwear in eternal homage to the thwarted shoebomber.
The arithmetic is very simple: Can we regulate for all faster than they can adapt for some?
Is this the best that the super-smart people who are "the ones we were waiting for" can do?
British police are searching an address in central London after a Nigerian man tried to ignite an explosive device on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
What does the Obama administration know and what is its plan?
Saturday, December 26, 2009
The Clean Energy Act of 2009 would dramatically increase our nation’s energy output and measurably decrease carbon dioxide emissions, and do so at an overall 10-year cost of no more than $20 billion.
This is the day after Christmas, and I have just finished reading Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography on my new Kindle. So I would like to take some of Franklin’s admonitions to heart. I will not be rude, argumentative and dogmatic. So I will put the best possible face on Senator Webb’s announcement. I will assume that he believes that the world is warming and that the current cold and snow sweeping not just the US and Europe is a mere blip on the march of the globe’s temperature rise. But I would ask him to wonder why this was not predicted by the computer models which tell us that the earth is warming due to increased levels of carbon dioxide. Is it not a tenet of science that theory and reality should coincide; and if they do not, the theory is wrong?
Is Senator Webb unaware that the e-mails and computer data that has been revealed from the world’s foremost research body shows not only that the scientists have created s spurious “consensus” but that the data entered into the computer models was manipulated to create the desired conclusions?
Yet the Senator is proposing to provide a solution to a problem which may not exist. His entire proposal is based on a premise that may be faulty. Read the proposed purpose again:
As our country works its way through the ongoing economic crisis, there has been strong debate over the most appropriate ways for the Congress to address both our energy needs and the specter of climate change. We have introduced legislation that we believe would address all three of these challenges. The Clean Energy Act of 2009 would dramatically increase our nation’s energy output and measurably decrease carbon dioxide emissions, and do so at an overall 10-year cost of no more than $20 billion.
I ask Senator Webb to consider that man may not have any measurable impact on climate change; that the computer models that associate climate change and carbon dioxide may either be mistaken, or criminally manipulated for financial gain. I ask Senator Webb to answer a simple question: if carbon dioxide is not the cause of climate change, what would be the effect on his proposal to spend $20 billion dollars that the people of this country desperately need in their own pockets?
Would he still propose to spend the money? The answer will be very instructive.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
The Congressional Budget Office challenged claims by health-care overhaul proponents that Medicare savings in Senate legislation would help finance expanded coverage and postpone the bankruptcy of the medical program for the elderly.
VATICAN CITY – A woman jumped the barriers in St. Peter's Basilica and knocked down Pope Benedict XVI as he walked down the main aisle to begin Christmas Eve Mass on Thursday, a Vatican spokesman said.
When it comes to the public outrage that will emerge based on the deals that took place to secure passage of the Senate health-care bill, the degree of tone-deafness among Democrats is nothing short of startling. Senator Tom Harkin calls it “small stuff.” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said, “Rather than sitting here and carping about what Nelson got for Nebraska, I would say to my friends on the other side of the aisle: Let’s get together and see what we can get for South Carolina.”...
These people strike me as hermetically sealed off from how most of the rest of the country view this subject. As these backroom deals become more and more widely known, anger will swell up among voters. It is bad enough to jam through a bill on a strict party-line-vote against overwhelming opposition from the public; for it to have happened only because various Members of Congress were (legally) bribed will magnify the intensity of the opposition. And for politicians to take such obvious pride in the pay-off will make things even worse. The populist, anti-Washington wave out there, which is already quite large, will only grow, and grow, and grow.
Obama’s rhetoric in fact looks to be the best way to achieve a Clintonian agenda. But a Clintonian agenda is the worst possible way to live up to Obama’s rhetoric.
Consider his signature domestic priority: health-care reform. After a year of working on it, his progressive base is either profoundly disappointed with him or seethingly angry. His Republican and conservative opponents are not only furious, they are emboldened. And independents — who’ve been deserting the Democrats in polls and off-year elections — are simply disgusted with the whole spectacle. Most important, an administration that once preened over its people-power roots can’t even claim that Americans like what he’s doing.
But here’s the point: Obama’s rhetorical audacity breeds cynicism, because utopianism always comes up short. Obama has many victories ahead of him, but his cause is already lost.
Obama goes beyond Clinton in being able to tell lies with a straight face. Obama's lies are bigger, they are bolder and they can't even be excused by defining what "is" is.
Irritated at the bumps on the road to the Democrats' Thousand-Year Reich, liberals are now claiming that Republican Sen. Tom Coburn requested a prayer for the death of Sen. Bob Byrd during the health care debate last Saturday night.
Here is what Coburn actually said: "What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can't make the vote tonight. That's what they ought to pray."
After reporting Coburn's remark, The Washington Post's Dana Milbank added: "It was difficult to escape the conclusion that Coburn was referring to the 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.)."
Contrary to Milbank's claim, I find it extremely easy to get away from that conclusion. In fact, I'm a regular Houdini when it comes to that conclusion. That conclusion couldn't hold me for a second.
There are a million ways a senator could miss a vote, other than by dying. Ask Patrick Kennedy. At 1 a.m. on a Sunday night in the middle of a historic blizzard in the nation's capital, I don't think the first thing that came to anyone's mind was death. More likely it was: "Last call."
Milbank was employing the MSNBC motto, "In Other Words," which provides the formula for 90 percent of the political commentary on that network. The MSNBC host quotes a Republican, then says "in other words," translates the statement into something that would be stupid to say, and spends the next 10 minutes ridiculing the translated version. Which no one said. Except the host.
Read the whole thing.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
We grew weary of explaining to the Left… and far too often to the Right… why the War in Iraq was not fought by the US for energy purposes, for as we euphemistically said in speech after speech after speech, the US got very little crude oil from Iraq when compared to its other suppliers, while in fact France got a much larger percentage of its total oil requirements from Iraq, and so too did Germany.
Back in ’03, for example, prior to the War, the US got approximately 5% of its oil imports from Iraq, while back then the US got 15% of its oil imports from that war-like state to our north, Canada, and got 12% from those vicious Mexicans to our south [Ed. Note: We are of course speaking tongue-in-cheek here, so to our friends in Canada and Mexico, please bear with us; we need to make a point here to everyone else. We at TGL know all too well how dependent we are upon our true friends in Canada and Mexico if few other Americans do.].
Even now, we are hardly dependent at all upon Iraqi crude oil, for as of September Iraq ranks behind Algeria, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and of course Canada, and it is barely ahead of “mighty” Ecuador, with Brazil having ranked ahead of Iraq several times in the past six months but having ranked below Iraq in August and September ...
Even more interesting, however, are the results from recent oil lease auctions in Iraq, which one would think that the US would “win” rather easily if the War effort there had been fought solely to win Iraqi crude oil, wouldn’t one? Wouldn’t one reasonably expect that the auctions would be properly rigged in order for the US to win more than its share of Iraq’s crude oil if the war was fought for Iraqi crude? One would be wrong, however, for in these recent auctions the US was effectively shut out.
Exxon Mobil was the only US company that lead a winning bid team in the recent auction, winning the right to develop Iraq's West Qurna 1. Oh, and we will acknowledge that Occidental Petroleum ended up as a “junior partner” in another winning bid, but on balance the US lost, lost and lost again in the bidding.
When then were the winners: Well, Royal Dutch Shell won the right to operate the Majnoon field. The Majnoon has a production target of 1.8 million bpd, and Royal Dutch Shell’s joint bid gets it 45% of that total. Malaysia's Petronas joined Royal Dutch Shell and “won” 30%, with the rest kicked down to more and more minor partners none of which were American.
Moving on, Petronas was again successful, along with CNPC of Hong Kong and France’s Total to develop the Halfaya oil field that is expected to produce just over half a million bpd. Again, no US companies were involved. Oh, and Russia’s oil company Lukoil was busy, joining with Norway’s Statoil to develop the West Qurna 2 field, whose target is 750,000 bpd.
Were any US companies involved in that bid? None; zero; nada. Zilch. CNPC and British Petroleum joined to win control of the huge Rumaila oil field that has reserves of 17.8 million barrels; again, no US companies were involved. Angola, where the OPEC summit will be held tomorrow, who bid in the auction via its national oil company Sonangol, won the right to the Qayara oil field and the Najma oil field, whose combined “target” shall be 230,000 bpd. Was there any US participation in Angola’s bid? Nope! Then Brazil’s Petronas and Japan’s Japex won the right to develop the Gharraf oil field; Russia’s Gazprom, joined with Turkey’s TPAO, S. Korea’s Kogas and Malaysia’s Petronas to jointly win the right to the Badra field, whose target is a smallish 170,000 bpd. Again, there were no US participants.
Yes, these were auctions, but this was and is Iraq where corruption is rampant. If the US defeated Saddam Hussein solely to gain access to Iraqi crude oil, wouldn’t one reasonably think that the governments would have rigged the auctions so that the US could take Iraq’s crude cheaply, effectively and quickly? Certainly we would think so, but the auction results would seem to suggest otherwise. But then again, what do we know?
Reuters ... carried a moving account of the speech by Ian Fry, lead negotiator for Tuvalu, the beleaguered Pacific island nation soon to be under water because of a planet-devastating combination of your SUV and unsustainable bovine flatulence from Vermont farms. "The fate of my country rests in your hands," Fry told the meeting. "I make this as a strong and impassioned plea ... I woke this morning and I was crying and that was not easy for a grown man to admit," he continued, "his voice choking with emotion," in the Reuters reporter's words. Who could fail to be moved?
"My country, 'tis of thee
Sweet land near rising sea
Of thee I choke!"
Alas, nowhere in this emotionally harrowing dispatch was there room to mention that Ian Fry's country is not Tuvalu but Australia, where he lives relatively safe from rising sea levels given that he's a hundred miles inland. A career doom-monger, he's resided in Queanbeyan, New South Wales for over a decade while working his way, in the revealing phrase of his neighbor Michelle Ormay, to being "very high up in climate change." As to whether the emotion-choked lachrymose pleader has ever lived in "his" endangered country of Tuvalu, his wife told Samantha Maiden of The Australian that she would "rather not comment." Like his fellow Copenhagen delegate Brad Pitt, Ian Fry is an actor: He's not a Tuvaluan, but he plays one on the world stage.
Read the whole thing.
From a certain perspective, some things don’t make sense. Change the perspective and they make perfect sense.
Most people value their lives very highly. Why would you strap a bomb onto your body and walk into a restaurant and blow yourself up? From a conventional perspective it makes no sense. But from the perspective of a person who believes that by doing so he enters into heaven and acquires a number of virgins for eternal orgies it makes perfect sense.
Why would the leader of a huge nation like Russia, destroy the most productive farmers in his country and cause a famine? From a conventional perspective, it doesn’t make sense but if the leader is trying to break the people’s will to oppose collectivization, it makes perfect sense.
If you are the leader of a country, like Cambodia, why would you kill off all the educated people? From a conventional rational perspective it makes no sense, but if your purpose is to destroy a culture and build a new culture from the ground up, starting with children, it makes perfect sense.
If you are the dictator of the Third Reich and are in losing World War 2, why would you divert limited resources to exterminating Jews and risk global condemnation? From a conventional perspective it makes no sense, but if you consider them polluters of the Master Aryan Race, it makes perfect sense.
If you believe that the weak and powerless need the protection of society why are you also an advocate of abortion until the very moment of delivery? If you believe that what’s in the womb is a baby, it makes no sense. If your perspective is that it’s not a baby, simply an appendage of the person in whom it resides, it makes perfect sense.
Saving lives is considered by most people to be a good thing. However, if you believe – as do a lot of environmentalist – that to save the planet, lots of people dying is a “good thing” it makes perfect sense.
David Foreman, Earth First!: "We advocate biodiversity for biodiversity's sake. It may take our extinction to set things straight."
Prince Phillip of England: "If I could be reincarnated, I would return as a killer virus to lower human population levels."
Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalogue: "We have wished, we eco-freaks, for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us into the Stone Age."
Earth First! Newsletter: "If radical environmentalists were to invent a disease to bring human populations back to sanity, it would probably be something like AIDS."
Dr. Van den Bosch, University of California, chided others about their concern for "all those little brown people in poor countries" who might be saved if DDT was used.
David Graber, biologist, National Park Service: "Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, is not as important as a wild and healthy planet: Some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along."
Charles Wurster, chief scientist, Environmental Defense Fund: "There are too many people and [banning DDT] is as good a way to get rid of them as any."
Maurice Strong, secretary general, 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development: "What if a small group of world leaders were to conclude that the principal risk to the Earth comes from the actions of rich countries? And if the world is to survive, those rich countries would have to sign an agreement reducing their impact on the environment. Will they do it? The groups conclusion is "no." The rich countries won't do it. They won't change. So, in order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about? This group of world leaders forms a secret society to bring about an economic collapse. "
If you believe that the use of conventional fuels is destroying the planet you would not stand in the way of the construction of solar and wind power energy projects. But if you really don’t care about this or would like to do your part to help “industrial civilization collapse” you would be Diane Feinstein and introduce legislation to prevent these power sources from being built in the Mojave Desert.
Finally, the actions of the Obama administration regarding foreign policy, the economy, health care and the environment don’t make sense if you care about America. From a different perspective all these things make perfect sense.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
B. The Warmists hear about it and prepare a rebuttal.
C. They conspire with the editor of a scientific journal to delay publishing the original study and prevent the orginal scientific team from defending their study.
D. Global warming "consensus" retained.
Read the entire sordid tale. There IS a real conspiracy among the Warmists.
New Jersey just got 23.5 inches of snow thanks to global warming.
In these New England villages and towns I’ve noticed it slowly while driving to this or that seasonal celebration. The holiday lights on the houses and in the yards are fewer this year, switched on later and turned off earlier. At the parties the cheer is a bit more forced. Inside the malls the shoppers all seem a tad glum, the stores’ offerings and blandishments forced, and the sales sooner and more drastic. There’s nothing dramatic, only a sense, a strangely unnerving sense, that this Christmas season is, in a word, diminished.
Somehow this last year now passing has slowly and steadily broken every promise made when it began. Instead of revival, the nation and the spirits of its people have been slowly immersed into a state of quiet desperation as its history and institutions have been stripped from it in such a methodical manner as to seem malicious. Those sworn to be the servants of the people, to preserve and protect their traditions and laws, prove each and every day to be not the exemplars of the best of us, but of the worst.
Now, as we move from the last night of Hanukkah towards the morning of the birth of Christ, our false servants are swearing – for no clear reason – to pursue passage of their rejected laws and Byzantine litigation right into the eve of Christmas. It’s a frenetic secular sacrilege mounted in some obscene ritual to instill in Americans not a respect for their government but a despair of its intent. It tarnishes the season and it is the death of hope.
At the same moment, the supposed leader of the country, raised up out of a lifetime of hustle and charm, out of a “handful of gimme and a mouthful of much obliged;” raised up from obscurity on an historic wave of optimism, flits about the world on a gigantic airplane trying to bestow large sacks of money he does not have on other nations who do not deserve it. He flies into snow and cold across the oceans for half a day. He speaks some petulant words and for a couple of hours huddles with other gnomes of ill-star. Then he flies back across the ocean into another snowstorm in Washington where more weekend blather and petulant yabble is being brought to bear on the “urgent” problem of how to spend the most money on the fewest people.
In the house which this cardboard “leader” and his family inhabit, the people’s house, the word “Christmas” is spoken seldom and then grudgingly. The traditional Nativity scene was to be kept in storage this year but was brought out, again grudgingly, only when it was clear that the political cost of hiding it exceeded the cost of displaying it. We were informed that this man and his wife and children once spent twenty years sitting in a Christian church in Chicago, but the role of Christ and Christmas in this church evidently took a back pew to the endless racial tribulations and racist obsessions of its pastor and parishioners.
Yes, the national Christmas tree was lit this year, but it may well have been called a “holiday tree” (I wasn’t paying close attention.). I’m sure that bunting and decorations suitable for the public areas of the White House are all in place and suitable for framing. But I doubt that in the private quarters anything resembling a traditional Christmas will take place. I don’t know this, but I sense it. And I have found that my sense of things pretty much parallels the sense that many of my fellow citizens have. Our sense is that this Christmas is, as a result of all that has transpired during the last year of this “historic” presidency, diminished.
Read the whole thing.
Me, I'm going to church this morning praying that the fellowship of believers and the spirit of Christmas will infuse my soul and provide the peace the passes all understanding. All that we have is a gift of God. It's what's in our souls, not what's in our wallet that gives us comfort.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Today the gloves came off and the true purpose of the “global warming” scare became nakedly visible. Ugo Chavez, the Socialist president of Venezuela, blamed “global warming” on capitalism – and received a standing ovation from very nearly all of the delegates, lamentably including those from those of the capitalist nations of the West that are on the far Left – and that means too many of them.
In the end, they decided to turn us away, which they did with an ill grace and in a bad-tempered manner. As soon as the decision was final, the Danish police moved in. One of them began the now familiar technique of manhandling me, in the same fashion as one of his colleagues had done the previous day.
Once again, conscious that a police helicopter with a high-resolution camera was hovering overhead, I thrust my hands into my pockets in accordance with the St. John Ambulance crowd-control training, looked my assailant in the eye and told him, quietly but firmly, to take his hands off me.
He complied, but then decided to have another go. I told him a second time, and he let go a second time. I turned to go and, after I had turned my back, he gave me a mighty shove that flung me to the ground and knocked me out.
I came to some time later (not sure exactly how long), to find my head being cradled by my friends, some of whom were doing their best to keep the police thugs at bay while the volunteer ambulance-men attended to me.
I was picked up and dusted me off. I could not remember where I had left my telephone, which had been in my hand at the time when I was assaulted. I rather fuzzily asked where it was, and one of the police goons shouted, “He alleges he had a mobile phone.”
...the Danish police were far too free with their hands when pushing us around, and that is not acceptable in a free society. But then, Europe is no longer a free society. It is, in effect, a tyranny ruled by the unelected Kommissars of the European Union. That is perhaps one reason why police forces throughout Europe, including that in the UK, have become far more brutal than was once acceptable in their treatment of the citizens they are sworn to serve.
It is exactly this species of tyranny that the UN would like to impose upon the entire planet, in the name of saving us from ourselves – or, as Ugo Chavez would put it, saving us from Western capitalist democracy.
A few weeks ago, at a major conference in New York, I spoke about this tendency towards tyranny with Dr. Vaclav Klaus, the distinguished economist and doughty fighter for freedom and democracy who is President of the Czech Republic.
While we still have one or two statesmen of his caliber, there is hope for Europe and the world. Unfortunately, he refused to come to Copenhagen, telling me that there was no point, now that the lunatics were firmly in control of the asylum.
However, I asked him whether the draft Copenhagen Treaty’s proposal for what amounted to a communistic world government reminded him of the Communism under which he and his country had suffered for so long.
He thought for a moment – as statesmen always do before answering an unusual question – and said, “Maybe it is not brutal. But in all other respects, what it proposes is far too close to Communism for comfort.”
Today, as I lay in the snow with a cut knee, a bruised back, a banged head, a ruined suit, and a written-off coat, I wondered whether the brutality of the New World Order was moving closer than President Klaus – or any of us – had realized.
Jiabao: Are those flowers on the table for me?
Jiabao: I said, are those flowers on the table for me?
Obama: I don't understand. Why would I bring you flowers?
Jiabao: Because I like to be brought flowers when someone is trying to have sex with me!
The reference is to this SNL skit.
Welcome Instapundit readers. I can't take credit for the translation, blame AC245 at Althouse. For a more serious note check out The Past Eight Years.
Since I like nice round numbers, let’s go back to the turn of this century, back to 2000. Forget about zippers that would not stay up and stained blue dresses; remember Y2K? That was the dreaded computer code that would disable our entire world: planes would fall from the sky, bank accounts would be wiped out, elevators would stop working and your microwave oven would be turned into a bulky paperweight. People hoarded cash and cancelled travel plans in fear of the dreaded Y2K. And what happened? Not a hiccup. Except … for the Dot.com crash.
From March 11, 2000 to October 9, 2002 the NASDAQ lost 78% of its value, taking even venerable old companies like Corning Glass from $109 to $1.60 in two years. Siloconaires moved from their $4 million dollar estates back to their rooms over their parents’ garage. For some reason, Bill Clinton did not get blamed for this fiasco by those for whom “The Past Eight Years™” is now the answer to everything. But George Bush inherited the dot.com bubble when he was elected President and entered into his eight years at the helm.
The tech crash was still occurring when we were hit on 9/11/2001 in the worst terrorist attack in American history with the loss of 3,000 civilian lives, the destruction of the Twin Towers, the attack on the Pentagon and the foiled plan to destroy either the Capitol or the White House. For days afterward, there were no civilian flights in the US, the stock markets were closed for a week and armed military boats patrolled America’s harbors for weeks after the attack. When the NYSE re-opened on 9/17, the market dropped 680 points, the largest one-day drop in American history.
All this happened at the beginning of George W. Bush’s Presidency but he did not complain or cast blame on his predecessor. So how did the rest of “The Past Eight Years™” go?
In January of 2000, the height of the tech bubble, the unemployment rate was 4.0%. Following the tech crash and the 9/11 attacks, unemployment peaked at 6.3% in June 2003 and then steadily declined to between 4% and 5% during 2006 through 2007. Unemployment reached its “The Past Eight Years™” peak at 7.2% in December 2008. Today it stands at either 10% or 17% depending on whose statistics you believe. For working Americans “The Past Eight Years™” were heaven compared to what they are experiencing now.
How were those years for investors? In the beginning of 2000 the DJIA stood at 10,921. There followed the tech crash and 9/11, yet the market had recovered and reach an all-time high of 13,408 in April of 2007.
In December of 2008, after Obama had already been elected and the world teetered on the brink of en economic melt-down the DJIA stood at 7609. Responsibility for the economic crisis can be attributed to various actors: unscrupulous lenders, greedy investors, the failure to adequately understand risk, and government policy. What made it all possible – the elephant in the room - was government policy. The policy that everyone should own a home – even if they can’t afford one. Those unscrupulous lenders would not have lent money to people who could not pay it back if they had been forced to hold the loans instead of selling them to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The policy of allowing Fannie and Freddie to leverage their balance sheets to 50 to 1. That’s not to excuse the investment firms who gambled with their own capital on mortgage backed securities without understanding the risk, and leveraging their investment 50 to 1 like Fannie and Freddie. Or lenders who helped borrowers falsify income to qualify for a loan. Or ACORN who blackmailed banks into extending credit to deadbeats. Or … the list goes on. For most of “The Past Eight Years™” investors were treated very well. And if the Congress and Democrat leaders like Barney Frank had not stood in the way of reforming Fannie and Freddie when they did, assuring us that everything was fine, the current crisis may have been averted or ameliorated.
And how about “The Past Eight Years™” foreign policy? The Bush administration struck back against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban on October 7, 2001, slightly less than a month after the 9/11 attacks. By the end of 2001 the Taliban had been routed at the cost of 7 American deaths.
Keeping in mind that we had just suffered the most devastating attack by Islamic jihadists in American history and were facing a tense “truce” with Saddam Hussein, a brutal dictator who was believed by all parties to have WMDs in the form of poison gas and was in the process of acquiring nuclear weapons. In light of 9/11, it was decided to take no chances, an example of the "precautionary principle" now defended by Global Warmists. Bush is accused or “rushing” to war with Saddam when in reality he waited for a year and a half trying to gather UN support and to build a coalition. Finally in March 2003, Bush with the support of Britain and Australia acted and removed Saddam. In the process he freed 30 million people, replacing a brutal, homicidal dictator with a democratically elected regime which serves as an example to third world kleptocracies. It also provides the US with a foothold in a part of the world run by Islamic fascists who seek immortality via mass murder and – in the case of Iran – would be willing to commit national suicide as a path toward the return of the “mahdi.”
Condemned by friends and enemies alike, he kept us safe at home, freed millions from tyranny and blunted a perverted tradition of Jihad that threatens Armageddon even now.
There are many things that Bush did – or did not do – that he can rightly be faulted for. He did not veto any spending bills. He created a large and expensive new entitlement program. He did not stand up and fight in the public arena for his beliefs and his principles which allowed his enemies lies and distortions to morph into accepted wisdom. He was not a Conservative, with a capital “C” (or a Libertarian) but a moderate who worked the best he could with his political counterparts in an increasingly vicious partisan environment.
But all-in-all “The Past Eight Years™” were a good time for the American people who were led with quiet determination by a good man who honored the office he held, believed in his country and its heritage and defended his country well. It's no wonder that nearly half the people wish George Bush was back.
Friday, December 18, 2009
As evidence, they cite the AP, who assigned six people to read the CRU memos and provide cover for this theory.
Examinations of the e-mails by dispassionate parties - including The Associated Press - have revealed scientists fed up with constant attacks by skeptics, a frustration that led to petty revenge or worse.
Unfortunately for the Warmers, the controversy has allowed actual scientist to examine some of the math behind the Warmer theorists and we find that the data and the scary reports predicting the heat death of the planet do not coincide.
So contrary to the Pilot's assertion:
That's not to suggest the scientists are without sin, but it's not the sin that skeptics would ascribe to them: ginning up data to support a political point of view.
At Powerline Adjusting the Data we find a report by computer scientist Charlie Martin (keep in mind that the entire global warming argument is built on computer models designed to "prove" that we are in an unprecedented warming period and that man, by burning fossil fuels, is to blame):
Climategate opened the floodgates, and the faux-scientific edifice of global warming is being swept away.
It is important to understand that none of the charts and graphs that purport to depict the Earth's climate ever show you raw data. None. Always, the data are adjusted; and always, the data for the late 20th century are adjusted upward. Computer scientist Charlie Martin cites an example:
The Climategate files forced the UK Meteorological Office to make at least part of their raw data available. One of the first was Willis Eschenbach, at Watts Up With That. Read the whole discussion and also Eschenbach's answer to a critique published in the Economist for the details, but here is the "money shot":
In this figure, the blue line is the raw data. The black line is the adjustments that had been applied to that data, and the red line is the result following the adjustments.
That's right--the purported warming is all in the way the data are adjusted. This happens over and over again. Are these adjustments based on science or politics? If you've read the East Anglia emails, as I have, the question answers itself. The global warming project is political to its core, and lacks any scientific integrity.
If the Pilot's editors had bothered to do their homework instead of swallowing the AP story they would have found this in the original essay by Charlie Martin
The Climategate emails, however, make up only five percent of the Climategate files. The other 95 percent, the programs and data and documents, are where the real story is hiding. That story has begun to come out, in several independent analyses of the data we have, using hints from the emails and from other files and raw data that is available from other sources.
Like an army in retreat, realizing perhaps that their initial fall-back position may not stop the opponents, the Pilot editors change the debate. It’s not the first time this was tried and by now it’s getting a little dog-eared, like Obama’s ever-ready excuse that whatever’s wrong is Bush’s fault. Note how Global Warming™ morphed into Climate Change™. As the Pilot’s editors realize that the science behind global warming is crumbling, we are now told the reason to abandon carbon based energy is for a cleaner environment.
Back to the Pilot editorial:
If man - and specifically his use of carbon-based fuel - is causing the planet to warm by releasing greenhouse gases that trap the heat of the sun, the alternative is to find fuels that don't have to be burned. Using nuclear power or renewable energy from the sun, wind or tides produces no greenhouse gases and so won't warm the planet.
But those same energy sources used wisely also emit no pollution - no mercury that causes brain damage; no smog that makes breathing difficult; no nitrogen that chokes the Chesapeake Bay; no arsenic, cadmium or lead.
Even if the planet isn't warming, reducing the amount of mercury, smog and nitrogen in the environment is a worthy goal. Perhaps it's even one everyone - skeptic and believer - can agree on.
It should be noted that the Pilot is two faced on these issues. It has editorialized against the mining of uranium here in Virginia (the source of fuel to run those nuclear plants), the positioning of wind farms, and you can be sure that if “tide power” is ever proposed they will support the concept but never the actual implementation. I know these people and can tell you what they are going to say before they say it.
Note the ultimate fall-back position:
Even if the planet isn't warming...
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved a $155 billion measure that seeks to create jobs and blunt the impact of the worst recession since the 1930s. By a vote of 217 to 212, the House approved additional spending for "shovel-ready" construction projects and money to avoid layoffs of teachers, police and other public employees. U.S President Barack Obama said that raising taxes or cutting spending would be the "wrong thing to do" next year when the U.S. economy is still fragile and this would be reflected in his budget plan and State of the Union speech. OK, but what is exactly is the ‘right thing to do’ when thebalance sheet of the Fed looks like a volcanic eruption?
On a totally unrelated issue, does it seem to you that teachers, police and public employee workers are going to be working at "shovel ready jobs?"
Which brings us to the corporate interests supporting our new "Maximum Leader."
In any case we are indebted to Dennis Gartman for the following observation:
We do know that it is terribly important these days for chief corporate figures to try to hold to a line of reasonable political correctness, for otherwise they shall come under severe pressure from Washington to become so and in the process bring down the vengeance of the government upon their business. Better it is, apparently, to be politically correct and to avoid Washington’s wrath than it is to be economically correct and invite that wrath. We know this and we understand this and we are dismayed by that fact, and so we take what Mr. Jeffery Immelt, the Chairman of General Electric, said in a recent interview regarding the distribution of wealth here in the US.
Speaking last week at West Point… and haven’t the young men and women of West Point had just about enough of being used as the nation’s sounding board for executive pronouncement, with the President last week having spoken then and now Mr. Immelt having done the same; shouldn’t these young men and women be studying? Shouldn’t they be learning the lessons of battle in the field, or studying international relations, or nuclear fission, or bridge building or almost anything rather than being forced to sit and listen to speeches that are not meant for them but are instead meant for some larger audience?...
Mr. Immelt launched into a politically correct attack upon the pay scales of Wall Street, noting that he and his fellow CEO has launched into an era of “meanness and greed” that, according to Mr. Immelt, has done irreparable damage to the US economy. Mr. Immelt said that the gap between the wealthy and the poor in the US has grown larger than at any time in our nation’s history and he took issue with that fact. Whether that is true is a question for another day, but then Mr. Immelt said some things that are simply not factually true and in the process gave the centre-left media a champion they could point to and say, “See, even the President of GE agrees with us.” Mr. Immelt said that this new thesis of “meanness and greed” had created an environment where
Rewards became perverted. The richest people made the most mistakes with the least accountability…where the bottom 25 per cent of the American population is poorer than they were 25 years ago. That is just wrong…
Well, Kum-bye-ya to you to, Mr. Immelt, but that is just plain wrong. Where did Mr. Immelt come up with such nonsense and why would he say such a thing other than to deflect criticism of his own leadership at GE? In the past twenty five years it is clear that indeed the gap between the wealthiest 1% of Americans and the lower 25% has widened but it is also true, without question, that the people in the bottom 25% have seen their wealth and their standard of living rise materially over that time.
We live longer; we live in larger houses; we have fewer and fewer people living below the “poverty line” even though that line has been raised and raised and raised again; we have conquered more diseases; fed more people; increased production of food and
housing; we’ve powered more machinery and increased communications domestically and internationally. Simply put, life for the 4th quartile of Americans is a haven compared to life for almost anyone anywhere else in the world. It is why people die trying to get to the US in steadily increasing numbers; they try to get here simply to become the bottom quartile hoping that life for their children will be better still and always it is.
So again we wonder aloud, where did Mr. Immelt get his data, and we wonder even more why he said such a thing that is clearly and unquestionably wrong. This is political correctness run very amuck. Shame upon Mr. Immelt for bowing to it. What he should have said was that mistakes have been made of course, but we should remember that this is a nation of progress and that we are progressing. He should have said that on his watch pay within GE was made according to the profits of each centre, and that the shareholder’s best interests were furthered. What he should have said is that it is his responsibility to push GE’s value up, and that he has and he shall in the future exploit each and every opportunity to do so, and that if all companies and all individuals worked to their own best interests the interests of society as a whole are furthered. China seems to understand that; why can’t Mr. Immelt? Kumbye- at that one!
I have met Jeff Immelt and he is a charming guy, but so is every con artist and snake oil salesman; so was Bernie Madoff and - I'm told - Bill Clinton. The secret to being a successful con artist is to be charming ... and believable. There is an expiration date on the credibility of both Immelt and his patron - Obama. Their "past due date" is fast approaching.
In his book Free to Choose, Friedman listed four ways to spend money: 1) spending your own money on yourself; 2) spending your own money on someone else; 3) spending someone else’s money on yourself; 4) spending someone else’s money on someone else.
In Case 1, spending your own money on yourself, you have the strongest incentive to economize and to get the highest value. When ordering dinner in a restaurant, only you can really decide if the extra cost of a higher priced meal is really worth it. Only a client can make the call as to whether he or she would rather spend $30,000 on a new car or spend $20,000 on a used car and put $10,000 away for the future.
Case 2, spending your own money on somebody else, is what most of us are doing right now during the holiday season. We have the same incentive to economize but not the same knowledge of what recipients would do with the money if they were spending it on themselves.
Buying lunch on an expense account is a classic example of Case 3, spending someone else’s money on yourself. You have a strong incentive to get your money’s worth but not to economize.
Finally, spending someone else’s money on someone else, Case 4, has the weakest incentives to economize or get the best value. This, unfortunately, probably explains why many government programs are not very efficient.
The point this simple analysis should bring home to clients is that they should weigh each dollar they spend. That is what Nobel prizewinners expect them to do.
[Stolen from FOUR WAYS TO SPEND MONEY, from Stephen J. Huxley, Ph.D., chief investment strategist, Asset Dedication ]
Why is Governor Schwarzenegger pushing for the same sorts of policies in Copenhagen that have helped drive his state into record deficits and unemployment? Perhaps he will recall that I live in our nation’s only Arctic state and that I was among the first governors to create a sub-cabinet to deal specifically with climate change. While I and all Alaskans witness the impacts of changes in weather patterns firsthand, I have repeatedly said that we can’t primarily blame man’s activities for those changes. And while I did look for practical responses to those changes, what I didn’t do was hamstring Alaska’s job creators with burdensome regulations so that I could act “greener than thou” when talking to reporters.
- Sarah Palin
Arnold once sounded like a reasonable alternative to Democrats in California. What a disappointment.
The AP lied for Al Gore today, via Sweetness and Light.
The Associated Press reported:
Clarification: Gore misspoke on polar ice data
(AP) – 7 hours ago
COPENHAGEN — In an early version of a Dec. 14 story, Al Gore told the U.N. climate conference that new data suggested the Arctic polar ice cap may disappear in the summertime within five to seven years. Gore’s office later clarified his statement and said he meant the cap would be nearly ice-free.
Of course, this is not true.
The Goracle also told an audience in Germany last year that “the entire North Polari(ized) cap will disappear in 5 years.”
Click on the link for the video.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) issued a report claiming that the Hadley Center for Climate Change based at the headquarters of the British Meteorological Office in Exeter (Devon, England) had probably tampered with Russian-climate data.
The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory. Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country's territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports. Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations.
The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK (HadCRUT) survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century.
The HadCRUT database includes specific stations providing incomplete data and highlighting the global-warming process, rather than stations facilitating uninterrupted observations.
You can show anything if you are allowed to cherry-pick the data.
Good article. Excerpt:
The big problem for this formerly good publication is that they have decided already what the answer is to any question on climate-change (and the answer could be warm or cold but it’s always ALARMING). That leaves them clutching for sand-bags to prop up their position as the king-tide sweeps away any journalistic credibility they might have had.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I put the question to a Democratic strategist who asked to remain anonymous. Yes, Democrats certainly understand that voters don't like the current bills, he told me, and they are fully aware they will probably pay a price next year. But they have found a way to view going ahead anyway as the logical thing to do, at least in their eyes.
Who came up with an interesting metaphor ...
-- he compared congressional Democrats with robbers who have passed the point of no return in deciding to hold up a bank. Whatever they do, they're guilty of something. "They're in the bank, they've got their guns out. They can run outside with no money, or they can stick it out, go through the gunfight, and get away with the money."
Our friendly part-time chairman of the IPCC, Dr Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, is quite a remarkable man. As well as his onerous post with the UN's IPCC, it seems he has a considerable number of other interests.
Dr Pachauri's main day job is, of course, Director-General of The Energy Research Institute (TERI) - which he has held since April 2001, having become its Director and head in 1981 when it was the Tata Energy Research Institute.
Intriguingly, for such an upstanding public servant though, he is also a strategic advisor to the private equity investment firm Pegasus Capital Advisors LP, which he became in February of this year. However, this is by no means Dr Pachauri's only foray into the world of finance. In December 2007, be became a member of the Senior Advisory Board of Siderian ventures based in San Francisco.
This is a venture capital business owned by the Dutch multinational business incubator and operator in sustainable technology, Tendris Holding, itself part-owned by electronics giant Philips. It acquired a minority interest in January 2009 in order to "explore new business opportunities in the area of sustainability." As a member of the Senior Advisory Board of Siderian, Dr Pachauri is expected to provide the Fund and its portfolio companies "with access, standing and industry exposure at the highest level."
In June 2008, Dr Pachauri became a member of the Board of the Nordic bank Glitnir, which that year launched the The Sustainable Future Fund, Iceland, a new savings account "designed to help the environment." Then, the fund was expected to accumulate up to €4 billion within a few years, thus becoming one of the largest private funds supporting research into sustainable development. That same month of June 2008, Dr Pachauri also became Chairman of the Indochina Sustainable Infrastructure Fund. Under its CEO Rick Mayo Smith, it was looking to raise at least $100 billion from the private sector.
The previous April 2008 was also a busy month. Dr Pachauri joined the Board of the Credit Suisse Research Institute, Zurich and became a member of the Advisory Group for the Rockefeller Foundation, USA. Then, in May he became a member of the Board of the International Risk Governance Council in Geneva. This, despite its name, is primarily concerned with the promotion of bioenergy, drawing funding from electricity giants EON and EDF. But, not content with that, Dr Pachauri also became Chairman and Member of the Advisory Group at the Asian Development Bank that May.
Dr Pachauri also keeps some ties with his roots. In his capacity as a former railway engineer, he is a member of the Policy Advisory Panel for the French national railway system, SNCF and has been since April 2007. Long before that, Dr Pachauri became the President of the Asian Energy Institute, a position he took on in 1992.
One of his most interesting - and possibly contentious - positions, however, is his previous directorship with and current post as "scientific advisor" to GloriOil Limited. This is a company he set up himself in late 2005 - two years after he had become chairman of the IPCC. He is described as its "founder". It was set up in Houston, Texas, to exploit patented processes developed by TERI - of which Pachauri is Director-General - known as "microbial enhanced oil recovery" (MEOR), designed to improve the production of mature oilfields. It now has annual revenues of $2.5 to 5 million.
A few eyebrows were raised in June 2007 when Kleiner Perkins, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm that preaches the need to invest in green technologies and reduce global warming, invested in GloriOil.
Here are a couple of Pachauri's other ventures:
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies,
Chicago Climate Exchange, Inc
FEOP (Far East Oil Price) Advisory Board
Climate Change Advisory Board of Deutsche Bank AG
NTPC Ltd (National Thermal Power Corp)
Director of the Indian Oil Corporation
Gail India Ltd, India's largest natural gas transportation company
Member of National Environmental Council, Government of India
International Solar Energy Society
World Resources Institute
World Energy Council
Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India
Oil Industry Restructuring Group
Senior Visiting Fellow of Resource Systems Institute, East - West Center, USA
Visiting Research Fellow at The World Bank, Washington, DC
McCluskey Fellow at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University.
He's one busy fellow ... and well compensated too.
There is more, much more on the subject of people getting rich by pushing global warming. This does not, of course, mean that global warming does not exist, but it's fair to point out that if it did not exist a lot of people would give up a lot of lucrative positions and lose a lot of money. And not the just the researchers who are pulling in millions a year to their labs to study this issue. Keep that in mind when global warmers in the press and the scientific community tell us that it's the "evil oil companies" who have a vested interest in denying that man is causing global warming.
As an aside, this information WILL NOT be printed in the Virginian Pilot. You have no need to know. In fact, the global warmers demand the Return of Censors. Their lives were much simpler when the gatekeepers kept you away from information you did not need to know.
From James Taranto's column in the WSJ:
See if you can spot the new euphemism in this Associated Press report on the new $1.1 trillion budget bill (yes, that's trillion with 1,000 B's):
The measure combines $447 billion in operating budgets with about $650 billion in mandatory payments for federal benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. It wraps together six individual spending bills and also contains more than 5,000 back-home projects sought by lawmakers in both parties.
Seems to us that back when the Republicans controlled Congress, "back-home projects" were called "earmarks" or "pork."
It will be only a matter of time before the Virginian Pilot catches on.
Monday, December 14, 2009
“The increasingly blatant nature of the nonsense uttered with impunity in public discourse is chilling. Our democratic society is imperiled as much by this as any other single threat, regardless of whether the origins of the nonsense are religious fanaticism, simple ignorance or personal gain.”
How's that for the demand that opinion "uttered with impunity" be stopped?
And how's this for reasoned debate?
... As I listen to the manifest nonsense that has been promulgated by the likes of right-wing fanatic radio hosts and moronic ex-governors ...
And how's this for the good old days when the ideas that were permitted were controlled by the gatekeepers?
The rise of a ubiquitous Internet, along with 24-hour news channels has, in some sense, had the opposite effect from what many might have hoped such free and open access to information would have had. It has instead provided free and open access, without the traditional media filters, to a barrage of disinformation. Nonsense claims had more difficulty gaining traction in the days when print journalism held sway and newspaper editors had the final word on what made its way into homes and when television news consisted of a half-hour summary of what a trained producer thought were the most essential stories of the day.
And for the Tea party protesters:
...thousands of zombielike protesters to Washington ...
The problem with freedom is that there's too much of it, when in reality we need the guiding hand of the scientific elite ...
“Fair and balanced,” however, doesn’t mean putting all viewpoints, regardless of their underlying logic or validity, on an equal footing. Discerning the merits of competing claims is where the empirical basis of science should play a role.
...and no, I don't think its a parody.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
The Birth of Jesus
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (KJV)
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (KJV)
The Visit of the Shepherds
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (KJV)
Why do we do it? Because we believe that there is no other explanation for the creation of the universe. Physicists and astronomers peer into the heavens at the beginning of time and the universe and try to assign a date and an event, but are at a loss to explain what preceded that … what was there before the Universe was created; before the “big bang?”
We have no other choice to either believe that the age of the universe is infinite with an infinite number of ‘big bangs” or that there was a beginning. The question then becomes, what caused the beginning? And at that point, human knowledge and theory hits a wall. How was time, reality and matter created? That is not a question that man has an answer for. That is a matter of reason coupled with faith. And faith and reason answers:
Before time, before the universe there as God: the creator of reality as we know it. And his is not a clockwork universe that he set spinning and walked away, but one in which his infinite power is expressed in every day and every way. So a little over 2000 years ago He manifested a little bit of himself in the flesh on this dirtball we call Earth to rescue part of his creation from his righteous judgment. Jesus was born, taught, and died to expunge the mess mankind has made of this part of God’s creation.
The God who stands outside of space and time cared enough to send his Son as a perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of those who confess and believe. And this is the season to remind ourselves of the ultimate gift that we have that makes all the presents under our trees shrink into insignificance.
Never the less, it’s the thought that counts. We cannot out-give God, but we can show each other how much we appreciate them. Let us thank God for His blessings, for his gift, and let us hold each other tight because the love we have been shown can be reflected onto the people around us.
Press pass: spread the word
I think it’s a phrase whose time has come: press pass
Definition: the strategic spiking of a story that, if properly investigated, would be likely to reflect poorly on someone the MSM considers a friend or a good guy.
“The NY Times gave a press pass to Eason Jordan for his Davos remarks.”
“The MSM gave a press pass to John Kerry on his failure to sign a form 180.”
We see it all the time in the Virginian Pilot. Latest example, giving a "Press Pass" to the Climategate scandal ... until it decided to print a front page story from the AP claiming that there was no scandal. Whiplash!
Hat Tip to American Digest's Gerard Vanderleun.
Oh, come on. Herman van Rompuy. He's some Belgian cove who was recently appointed "president" of "Europe," whatever that means. He's hardly a household name, even in the van Rompuy household. I'm not sure if Belgian TV has a "Belgian Idol" or "Dancing With The Belgians," but, if so, he'd be knocked out in Round One.
Nonetheless, Rich Lowry does "President" van Rompuy a grave injustice. The boringness is, as the computer chappies say, not a bug but a feature. Like everything in Europe, the "presidency" was a backroom stitch-up, and neither the French nor the Germans wanted a charismatic glamorpuss in the gig, stealing their respective thunders. A Belgian nonentity was just what they were looking for. Being a nondescript yawneroo was the minimum entry qualification. And, by those standards, Herman van Rompuy is performing brilliantly.
But it's really about Obama and well worth a read.
By contrast, the point of Barack Obama is to dazzle. That's why he got all the magazine covers of him emerging topless from the Hawaiian surf, as if his beautifully sculpted pectorals were long-vanished Pacific atolls restored to sunlight after he'd fulfilled his pledge to lower the oceans before the end of his first term. The squealing Obammyboppers of the media seem to have gotten more muted since those inaugural specials hit the newsstands back in late January. His numbers have fallen further faster than those of any other president – because of where he fell from: As Evan Thomas of Newsweek drooled a mere six months ago, Obama was "standing above the country ... above the world. He's sort of God." That's a long drop.
The Obama speechwriting team doesn't seem to realize that. They seem to be the last guys on the planet in love with the sound of his voice and their one interminable tinny tune with its catchpenny hooks. The usual trick is to position their man as the uniquely insightful leader, pitching his tent between two extremes no sane person has ever believed: "There are those who say there is no evil in the world. There are others who argue that pink fluffy bunnies are the spawn of Satan and conspiring to overthrow civilization. Let me be clear: I believe people of goodwill on all sides can find common ground between the absurdly implausible caricatures I attribute to them on a daily basis. We must begin by finding the courage to acknowledge the hard truth that I am living testimony to the power of nuance to triumph over hard truth and come to the end of the sentence on a note of sonorous, polysyllabic if somewhat hollow uplift. Pause for applause."
He's quickly getting down to the core of his base.
Who are the other 10.2%?
After failing to cover this story in the past, this AP whitewash now appears on the front page of the Virginian Pilot. That’s typical of this rag’s editorial judgment. But anyone who gets their daily dose of information from the Pilot must be wondering what this story is all about.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
... our current President "is a man of rigid self-discipline," as is indicated by the fact "that we know next to nothing about his life apart from what he chose to impart in the two autobiographies he published. For a long time now, for longer than we can perhaps imagine, every move he has made has been carefully calculated, calibrated, and choreographed."
In the series of posts on Obama's gestures, I have drawn attention to Barack Obama's mastery of the insulting gesture -- the calculated insult -- meant to be understood only by those in a select audience. In the first post in this series I observed: "Behind the thin veneer of politeness, there is, I suspect, something ugly lurking. In the first of the autobiographies that he claims to have written, Barack Obama frequently speaks of himself as being in the grips of rage. We would do well to take him at his word. If we are to stop him from doing great damage to this country and to our friends and allies, we must take every opportunity that comes our way to unmask the man."
It is in this light, I suspect, that we must interpret his conduct in Oslo, Norway on Wednesday and Thursday of this last week.
To the fury of the Norwegians, as The Guardian reported, the White House "cancelled many of the events peace prize laureates traditionally submit to, including a dinner with the Norwegian Nobel committee, a press conference, a television interview, appearances at a children's event promoting peace and a music concert, . . . a visit to an exhibition in his honour at the Nobel peace centre," and, most important of all, lunch with the king.
Why would he do such a thing?
Vanity, perhaps. That Barack Obama thinks highly of himself is evident in every speech he gives. Why should so great a man have to submit to protocol?
Malice, as well. As I noted in the first post in this thread, this was on evidence in 2008 in his campaign and later in his dealings with Gordon Brown and Benyamin Netanyahu.
The America that he inherited and its traditional allies he hates. When the country turns on him, as it is doing step by step, and he recognizes that his fellow citizens are intent on reversing what he has done, he may openly turn on us.
That will be a dangerous time when people may be forced to choose between two dangerous paths.