"George W. Bush staked his presidency on his response to 9/11: on the proposition that the United States had to defeat the virulent forces loose in the Muslim world directly and militarily. In his last State of the Union address, delivered shortly after his first and only grand tour of the Middle East, Bush reaffirmed his intention to continue the fight everywhere he has committed American arms. It is way too soon to give the president a final grade, and it is surely tempting to flunk him, given the high-wire act the country has endured in Iraq. The denizens of the Middle East, however, will remember Bush as the most momentous American leader since an angry Thomas Jefferson sent men-of-war in pursuit of the Barbary pirates. His successor will not be able to walk away from what he has wrought. Let us consider the issues one by one--leaving aside for another day Iran and the menace of a Persian bomb."
Saturday, February 9, 2008
"Polaroid is closing factories in Massachusetts, Mexico and the Netherlands and cutting 450 jobs as the brand synonymous with instant images focuses on ventures such as a portable printer for images from cell phones and Polaroid-branded digital cameras, televisions and DVD players."
"Probably the single most devastating critique of Rowan William's advocacy of Sharia law in Britain comes from a Muslim woman writing in the Independent.
Look around the Islamic world where sharia rules and, in every single country, these ordinances reduce our human value to less than half that is accorded a male; homosexuals are imprisoned or killed, children have no free voice or autonomy, authoritarianism rules and infantilises populations."
Friday, February 8, 2008
No question where to look for this week’s top college matchup — Oxford, Ohio. The town of just over 21,000 is home to the nation’s top team: the Miami RedHawks. No, not *that* Miami. This one. How does a little school like Miami (Ohio) have the No. 1 team in college hockey?
"Hamas leaders spoke to the Arabic language Ash-Sharq il-Awsat newspaper recently and explained that as Muslims, they are allowed to lie. In an interview printed on Thursday, senior Hamas terrorists explained, “A Muslim is permitted to say things that oppose his beliefs in order to prevent damages or to be saved from death.”"
'We hold in our hands the solution to the global tobacco epidemic that threatens the lives of 1 billion men, women and children during this century,' WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said in an introduction to the report."Seems to me we'll have a much bigger problem if we save the poor schmucks.....
Hillary Clinton is a classic commodity provider. She caters to the less-educated, less-pretentious consumer. As Ron Brownstein of The National Journal pointed out on Wednesday, she won the non-college-educated voters by 22 points in California, 32 points in Massachusetts and 54 points in Arkansas. She offers voters no frills, just commodities: tax credits, federal subsidies and scholarships. She’s got good programs at good prices.
Barack Obama is an experience provider. He attracts the educated consumer. In the last Pew Research national survey, he led among people with college degrees by 22 points. Educated people get all emotional when they shop and vote. They want an uplifting experience so they can persuade themselves that they’re not engaging in a grubby self-interested transaction. They fall for all that zero-carbon footprint, locally grown, community-enhancing Third Place hype. They want cultural signifiers that enrich their lives with meaning.
"Swedish police are quizzing 'people of limited stature' with criminal records following a spate of robberies from the cargo holds of coaches - possibly carried out by dwarves smuggled onboard in sports bags. According to the Sun, the gang responsible pack their vertically-challenged accomplices into bags and stick them in with other passengers' luggage. The undercover operatives then rifle the hold for valuables before resealing themselves in their hiding place, to be extracted later by another gang member at the coach's final destination. ..."Well, you can't think of everything...
"Just one month ago, a study conducted by a team of American researchers concluded that there was nothing more environmental-friendly than the biofuel crops, that could reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 94% and produce five times more energy. New studies however warn that by transforming the various ecosystems into biofuel crop fields would only accentuate the global warming phenomenon rather than reducing it. According to the latest estimations, converting natural ecosystems into biofuel crop fields is likely to release up to 420 times more carbon."Here we go again. A few months ago, biofuels were the darlings of the media, Congress, and every "progressive" on the planet. So now, maybe they spoke too soon, maybe they spoke too much, maybe they should have shut-up....When will we ever learn to take all of the hype with a grain of salt, sit back and try and actually THINK before we pass legislation that can't be so easily reversed and realize that we cannot govern our way through these messes?
Whatever your personal weather, around the planet January 2008 was the second coldest in 15 years. The linked post, complete with graphs and everything, does not suggest that this says anything in particular about the climate or the long-term direction of local temperatures.
To me, the most interesting thing about this story is the complete absence of discussion in the mainstream media, which manages to induce a scientist or politician to blame anthropogenic global warming for any bit of idiosyncratic weather. See, if you can stand it, the latest comedy gold from John Kerry.
If you are going to live by idiosyncratic weather, you should die by it. The cherry-picking of specific weather events to bolster the case for greenhouse gas regulation actually makes the advocates and their propagandists in the media look like fools. Among smart people, at least, there would be less skepticism about climate change if the media and activists were not so disingenuous and opportunistic in their publicity of it. But maybe they are not trying to persuade smart people.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Never had the intention ... regretted ... impugning' ... never have such big words been placed at the service of so small a spirit. Now we know how much principles are worth. In this case they are worth 2.3 million dollars. They shouldn't bother to offer their hand in apology. It would be better to wash it.I still think they should have been allowed to go ahead with the ban, providing that they signed an agreement forgoing ALL military assistance for the city in the future (earthquakes, floods, war, pestilence, etc.). The hallmark of the liberal mind, to me, is the complete disconnect between cause and effect, much like an adolescent who believes that he/she can do anything they want without consequences. Let the wonks have their little tantrum, and then see who the first phone call would go to if they were in some REAL trouble - the proverbial and Mommy and Daddy. Idiots and fools....
"Well, Maharishi dropped his body. It's like a man is in a car and the car is old and the man gets out of the car and rolls the car into the water into a lake. Do we feel sorry for the man? The car is gone but the man is there. No problems for Maharishi. People are sad because that voice of wisdom is gone."
"Erica Jong, who was last seen on CNN calling noted intellect and husband par excellence Charlie Sheen a 'patriot' for suggesting 9/11 was an inside job, has a WaPo op-ed that deserves to be singled out for contempt:"
Bob Owens joined fellow students in a cramped classroom to learn the rules for carrying a concealed handgun in his state. Between the limited definition legal self defense and number of places he is forbidden to carry a weapon, he says, “it would be far more practical to apply for a ‘concealed lawyer’ permit, if I could only find one small enough to shove in a holster.Worth reading if you believe that you should be allowed to defend yourself
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) argues that, by blowing a hole in the Gaza-Egyptian border, Hamas has reshaped its geography vis a vis Israel. As if to illustrate the point, two suicide bombers who attacked a Dimona shopping center believed to be Hamas operatives may have entered Israel via Egypt.Atlas Shrugs noticed the same thing....and Egypt ain't so happy about it either.
Bruce Schnier, a noted author on network security and encryption subjects, comments on the undersea cable outages at his blog. "There have been no official reports of malice to me, but it's an awfully big coincidence." The conspiracy theories -- and their rebuttals -- are in his comments section.
Plus, Iran is not disconnected! which provides a reality check on this subject. However, conspiracy theorists will delight in this Washington Post article on drug-running submarines. The key piece is that 13 criminal submersibles were recently seized by US authorities, more than in the last 14 years put together. Once upon a time the ocean provided a defense against intruders. Today it has become something of a blanket udner which hanky-panky proceeds apace. How long till cruise ships have to defend against combat swimmers?
Others have speculated similarly, but have different theories....
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Clinton left office insisting that he’d restored liberalism in America, but in reality he bequeathed a confused mishmash of ill-formed ideas, slogans, and hatreds. President Bush is winding down his presidency much the same way, talking about limited government, personal liberty, and spending restraint, but he’s left his party’s troops scattered across the battlefield, with no overarching strategy and an awful lot of friendly fire.Read it all..
"Disarmament always gives the advantage to the thugs. Europe has been disarming itself, militarily and morally for six decades now. It will be interesting to see if they can stand up to even a second-rate thug like Russia."And why, as Dershowitz says, terrorism works...
After a Moroccan thug was stabbed to death in self-defense by a German man he was trying to rob, Muslims in Cologne took to the streets in protest. Apparently, they believe it’s their right to mug Germans, and the Germans should just accept it.
You’re giving me what I call the classic journalistic arrogance — deciding that puppies don’t count. I don’t know anything about puppies. What I’m interested in is, how can we generate additional interest in our product and additional revenue, so we can make our product better and better. And hopefully we get to the point where our revenue is so significant that we can do puppies and Iraq. Fuck you.Read the whole quote....
"But the $64,000 question is whether the directive is the opening shot in attempts to expand the scope of Internet surveillance as well. The backdrop of the classified directive is a much wider policy debate over the extent to which information defenses should be erected around America. The Wapo story continues:How far are we willing to go to protect our assets?
The initiative foreshadows a policy debate over the proper role for government as the Internet becomes more dangerous. Supporters of cyber-security measures say the initiative falls short because it doesn't include the private sector -- power plants, refineries, banks -- where analysts say 90 percent of the threat exists."
The longer I watch politics--and I haven't, in two years--the more grating I find the television anchors. Their need for verbal filler to occupy air space (terrifying thought: what if the viewers are the ones who require this filler, to refocus their minds after all those glittering montages of automobiles and alchoholic beverages) is mind boggling--but even more amazing are the things they come up with to fill it.
I voted in Chelsea and the guy gave me a democrat ticket even though I had Republican under my name. I then asked if this was the right ticket and he screamed OOH A Republican out loud!! I was very upset. I voted at the Fashion High School on 24th street. To make things worse they gave me a bright red ticket that seemed somewhat strange. Are they allowed to shout out Republican? I felt there was no privacy at all they tried to be nice but you could tell they were shocked to see a black Republican and so young!
A survey of teenagers conducted by the National Constitutional Center found more students able to name the Three Stooges (59 percent) than could name the three branches of U.S. government (41 percent). A 1999 survey of students at 55 elite colleges and universities found that 40 percent couldn’t place the U.S. Civil War in the correct half-century. Given that the U.S. hasn’t been around for five half-centuries yet, I wonder how many guesses these students needed.
Al-Qaida, increasingly tamped down in Iraq, is establishing cells in other countries as Osama bin Laden's organization uses Pakistan's tribal region to train for attacks in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Africa and the United States, the U.S. intelligence chief said Tuesday.
''Al-Qaida remains the pre-eminent threat against the United States,'' Mike McConnell told a Senate hearing more than six years after the Sept. 11 attacks.
So whose fault will it be next time?
His fame and fortune have been built on his opposition to Our Fearless Leader; I doubt that most of his slavish followers would read him so devotedly if he did not lend the imprimatur of science to their ferocious hatred of George W. Bush.No kidding. Krugman is, at best, a one star wonder who got his nerdy puss on every political talk show only because he had Bush Derangement Syndrome. I cannot wait until his time has past....
"In truth, the war in Vietnam was lost on the propaganda front, in great measure due to the press's pervasive misreporting of the clear U.S. victory at Tet as a defeat. Forty years is long past time to set the historical record straight.
The Tet offensive came at the end of a long string of communist setbacks. By 1967 their insurgent army in the South, the Viet Cong, had proved increasingly ineffective, both as a military and political force. Once American combat troops began arriving in the summer of 1965, the communists were mauled in one battle after another, despite massive Hanoi support for the southern insurgency with soldiers and arms. By 1967 the VC had lost control over areas like the Mekong Delta -- ironically, the very place where reporters David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan had first diagnosed a Vietnam 'quagmire' that never existed."
Fans Throng Lower Manhattan for Giants Parade:
"On behalf of the team, I just want to tell you all how proud we are to be able to bring a championship back to New York City,” Mr. Manning told the cheering fans. “I believe that we play football for the greatest city in the world, and all of you all deserve to have the greatest football team in the world. It’s been an honor to play with this group of guys, who have such character, such closeness amongst us, coaches who prepare us for every game. We’ve had our ups, we’ve had our downs, but everything we’ve gone through this season has made it so special."Now I'm pissed...As an original AFL fan and a Jets fan I had to sit through the Super Bowl with 4 Giants fans trying my best not to show my disappointment at the outcome. I know the Giants deserved to win the game (I'm not that stupid); but I really did want the Pats to make history, and the sense of what they lost is almost too much to grasp.
The other thing that REALLY bothers me is watching all these supposedly New York fans rooting for a team that lives and works in (blechh) New Jersey, that God-forsaken asshole of a place that no self-respecting New Yorker would ever move to (hats-off to Archie Bunker). That doesn't really excuse me rooting for the Jets, does it? But we did give up our Jet tickets as soon as they moved; and I live and breathe the fact Super Bowl III is probably the beginning and end of this team's success. No harm, no foul....
“Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine,” Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the chief medical examiner, Dr. Charles S. Hirsch, said in a brief statement. “We have concluded that the manner of death is accident, resulting from the abuse of prescription medications.”
United to start charging passengers extra if they want to check more than one bag. Can pay bathrooms on airplanes be far behind? Actually, though, one can imagine charging for baggage being a good thing for most people. There are real, if minor, externalities involved in checking additional bags.
All that said, I find the trend over time to reduced quality and lower prices for air travel slightly odd. It seems like the kind of thing you'd expect to see in a country that was becoming poorer over time rather than in a growing economy.
Monday, February 4, 2008
Sit down. You might want to have a tranquilizer handy. And a phone, to call a doctor. Remember, it generally starts with a numbness on the left arm . . .
Now that you are braced for the shock, here it is: comprehensive health care program costs much, much more than the government anticipated.
Not shocked? You must be one of the rare few who knows that government health care plans tend to double their costs in short order, and then keep going.
A correspondent observed with regard to my post on the US Senate's affection for Mormons and Jews that the crux of the matter here may be that there are tons and tons of rich people in the Senate, and Mormons and Jews are a much larger swathe of the "rich people" population subset than we are of the general population. That seems plausible.
Apparently there are a whole lot of Muslims enraged and offended at Wikipedia, because there are ... gasp ... drawings and images of Mohammed in his Wikipedia entry.
So they’re demanding that Wikipedia stop violating their delicate sensibilities and remove the offending images, with an online petition that’s already gathered 82,783 signatures: Care2 : The Petition Site : Removal of the Pics.
Paul Krugman says:
I believe that universal health care has to be THE central item in a progressive agenda--not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because of its political economy implications. As I explain in Conscience of a Liberal, Republicans went all-out in 1993 to block health reform because they feared that success would reinvigorate the progressive agenda. And they were right."
He was tried by a sharia court (which oversees Islamic religious law) and was not allowed legal representation, according to news reports. The Afghan Senate passed a motion this week supporting the sentence, according to the British newspaper The Independent.
The Republicans have lucked out. They appear poised to nominate a guy who can actually win the presidential election in November - a possibility few Republicans had seemed willing to entertain, given the heavy baggage of George W. Bush.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
“We’re a nation of ideological illiterates, if not ideological idiots,” sighs Steve Boriss, who blames America’s public schools for failing to teach a proper political education. Instead of teaching the core principles between the right and left, our children are indoctrinated with a hopelessly monolithic curriculum of Republicans versus Democrats. It’s a far cry from what Jefferson envisioned."
Mark K.'s post on La Raza and hate speech: When Ms. Murguia of the National Council of "The Race" announces that "when free speech transforms into hate speech, we've got to draw that line " we don't know whether to laugh or cry, since her own organization's very nomenclature "The National Council of La Raza" is hate speech to the core.
Fiber Optic Cable Cuts Isolate Millions From Internet
Large swaths of the Middle East and Southeast Asia fell into internet darkness after two major underseas fiber optic links were damaged off Egypt's coast on Wednesday.
Early reports blamed an errant anchor for severing the cables, but THREAT LEVEL has not yet been able to confirm that's the cause.
"Egyptian troops closed the last breach in Egypt's frontier with the Gaza Strip on Sunday morning, witnesses and Hamas security officials said, bringing to an end a week and a half of free movement for Palestinian residents of the blockaded territory."