Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wow, AirBusted

From EU Referendum:

As expected, Airbus Chief Executive Louis Gallois yesterday announced his much delayed "Power8" plans to restructure his ailing company, shedding 10,000 jobs in the process. The jobs comprise 5,000 directly employed staff and 5,000 workers contracted from other firms and redundancies will be phased over the next four years. Additionally, Airbus intends to sell all or part of six factories.
I've read of the history of boom and bust in the aircraft industry, of Boeing going from rags to riches to rags to riches, laying off the work force, then hiring them back. It looks like Airbus hasn't escaped this cycle. It will be veeery interesting to see if the politics can be made to work. Politics is an uneeded headache in an already tough business, especially international politics. Maybe state subsidies aren't always a plus.

Is it just me?

.. or is anyone else getting more than a little irritated with these "Save Darfur" ads on TV that finish with the tart imperative "President Bush: Stop the Genocide!"

Do these pea-brains seriously think those of us who do not partake of the Kool-Aid (presumably their target audience) will actually be fooled by their feeble attempt at triangulating yet another issue they fail to properly grasp?

The Anchoress asked a good question

The Anchoress has some good stuff up on hypocricy and global warming and Katie Couric. I stole just a little bit of it:

Aside from the fact that that sounds like it’s written by a 14 year old, it also is simply wrong. There is no consensus on global warming. There are only people who say there is consensus and tell everyone else to shut up, or be threatened with their jobs. Which is actually called fascism, not environmentalism, but that’s another post.

Couric offers no names or evidence that this “handful” of scientists are on these “payrolls,” and she never wonders whether some of the global warming religionists might themselves be on a payroll or two…she just blithely throws out what she knows or think she knows and tra-las away. I’m quite certain she has no idea that President Bush has a very green eco-friendly residence in Crawford, or that he has been successfully working with other countries to create effective eco-policy to replace the Kyoto treaty. The mainstream press and her handlers haven’t told her about it, and no one she knows mentions it, after all.

All in all, Couric gives the impression that she’s heard a few people talking about Global Warming as she’s meandered from luncheon to cocktail party, and this is what everyone she knows is saying - and the people she knows are the smartest people who are always right - so she doesn’t really need to actually check anything out, or read anything that might make her uncomfortable.

I never thought I would say it, but I miss Dan Rather. I may not have agreed with him much of the time toward the end, but he had a curious mind, a willingness to ask questions and he possessed a voice and presence that conveyed…oh…gravitas. Seriousness of purpose. Substance. To me it sounds like Couric dictated that thing while she was having her nails done and a non-fat mocha latte was being delivered to her. Oh, yeah. Gore. Global Warming. Gee, I hope the rightwingnutjobs don’t start hating him just because Hollywood loves him, because they do that, those rightwingers - look at the poor Dixie Chirps. It’s Chirps, right? Oh, Chicks. Oh, that’s cute!

Enough of that. Now, about those magic carbon-offset indulgences the folks on the left are championing with great fervor. You know they’re hot - they were included in the “presenter’s thank you gifts” at this week’s Oscar telecast:

The [gift offsets] “are enough to balance out an average year in the life of an Academy Award presenter,” a press release from TerraPass asserts. “For example, 100,000 pounds is the total amount of carbon dioxide created by 20,000 miles of driving, 40,000 miles on commercial airlines, 20 hours in a private jet and a large house in Los Angeles. The greenhouse gas reductions will be accomplished through TerraPass’ [program] of verified wind energy, cow power [collecting methane from manure] and efficiency projects.” Voila, guilt-free consumption! It reminds us of the era when rich Catholics paid the church for “dispensations” that would shorten their terms in Purgatory. (H/T Larwyn)

So, TerraPass does what, exactly?


That is a good question.

If at first you don't succeed.........

I think Dafydd is onto something here:

For example, one element of the plot guaranteed, by law, one full year of "rest" between deployments -- followed by many months of training before they could be sent back. This would have made it virtually impossible to send reinforcements or relieve forces that had been in Iraq for a long deployment. The Democrats believed that they would be able to put the Republicans between Iraq and a hard peace, forcing them either to vote with the Democrats, or to vote against "helping out" the troops.

But then Murtha went and shot his mouth off on some internet interview site; he actually let the beans out of the cat about his real purpose: to strangle the new security operation a-borning, to kill it with kindness. This confession was picked up and bruited all about the internet, then all about conservative talk-radio, and finally all around the entire communications grid... and the Democrats had to call it off.

So now, with the warning firmly in cheek that "loose lips sink ships," along comes AP -- which runs a story about a new Democratic strategy, but fails to go into any details at all about it!

Coincidence? We report, you decide.

In any event, I doubt this will succeed any better than the other schemes. Here is the rapid-reaction Republican response:

The House Democrats' plan brought a sharp response from Brian Kennedy, spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

"If this is the Democrats' last ditch effort to appease the ultraliberal wing of their party while appearing to support the troops at the same time, I don't think they are going to convince either one of any commitment whatsoever," Kennedy said. "This appears to be political posturing at its worst and yet another attempt to undermine the mission of our troops in harm's way. The American people are going to see right through it."

Tagged, bagged, and released back into the wild with a microburst transmitter up the drainpipe.

The Democrats (and the Bigfoot media) consistently misunderestimate the capacity of the American public to see through their little Kabuki dances. Just because Murtha didn't lurch to the mike to broadcast his too clever by half scheme this time doesn't mean that the voters will fail to see that this ruse is just the same as the earlier attempt to micromanage the war. Once bitten, twice shy.

Or to haul out another hoary quotation: "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence. The third time, Mr. Bond, is enemy action."

Global Carbon Tax

Oh yes indeed.

The UN has spoken. I was under the impression that in the United States the legislative branch gets the job of administering taxes, not the UN. Kyoto rears its ugly head while we wait for the report and its recommendations. After all the fate of mankind and the very survival of the planet rests on the ability of an international band of thieves, liars and dictators to con the American people into funding yet another boondoggle.

Gonna Take a Sentimental Journey

From Betsy's Page:

Cinton's pardons come back to haunt his better half:

But while Hillary Clinton immediately expressed chagrin over the news in 2001 that Hugh received the money -- and asked him to return it -- she said Tony was "not paid," according to a congressional report. The Clinton campaign yesterday declined to comment on the case involving Tony Rodham.

Clinton critics have been seeking to revive an array of controversies, from the Whitewater land deal to the Monica Lewinsky case. The Clinton campaign has sought to depict them as old or moot cases. But the Tony Rodham case could be different because it is in court just as Senator Clinton's campaign reaches full speed.

Loose Lips

Greenspan says there is a possibility of a recession by the end of the year and the next thing you know markets are slipping all over the world. The Chinese markets tank {for fear of interest rates hike and US recession} and we see a drop of over 400 points on Wall Street within a day.

Well there is a possibility that I will win the powerball too, but I am not holding my breath.

I believe in world trade and all that, in fact I think world trade is more likely to lead to world peace than the transnational multilateral post modern relativist psycho babble new age feel good let's all just be friends hocus pocus cuddly movements ever will.

But when one things leads to another and in 24 hours markets all over the world can decline without anything actually happening to make them decline...maybe we are a little too global.

BTW I hate new blogger. I wanted to add an update and can not figure out how to make the font do what I want it to do.

Anyway, the market slide continues. I blame the Democrats. They win Congress and in no time things start going to hell.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ripe for the madhouse

In matters musical (as in so many other matters) I am ignorant. I know nothing beyond whether or not I enjoy a particular piece of music. As tunes cannot be carried in buckets I am forever condemned to be unable to carry one. Musical keys cannot open doors and are, therefore, meaningless and incomprehensible to me. I have paid out quite a great deal of money for musical instruments of various sorts. Not a one of them can ever be mine.

Yesterday afternoon I attended a performance of Symphony No.7, Op.92, by Ludwig van Beethoven. It was time well spent and I cannot imagine enjoying a piece of music more thoroughly. It was just flat out fun.

I find Beethoven (perhaps, more accurately, the times he lived in) fascinating. When he was a lad of 5 or 6 growing up in Bonn his drunken father was abusing him to practice his music which, apparently, he did not want to do because he did not like music. His father harbored a fantasy of his son repeating the story of Mozart's youth and bringing large sums of money into the home. It was not to be. His father would take his own life before the arrival of fame and fortune for the Beethoven name.

Around that the time that his father was beating him to make him practice his piano Adam Smith was publishing an Investigation Into the Nature And Causes Of The Wealth of Nations and a gang of colonial malcontents was publishing the Declaration of Independence. The world was well on its way to changing and Ludwig was going to make a contribution to that change.

He once said of himself,
"For years I have avoided almost all society, because I cannot tell people I am deaf. I have to appear as a misanthrope; I, who am so little of one."

For a figure of such public reknown that must have been a horrible torment. I am no Beethoven historian and it has been many years since I read anything of any depth about the man but I have this lingering notion that he was considered to be a miserable, mean man. Was he? Or was he something else entirely?

By the time he wrote the Seventh he was quite deaf and knew it was irreversable. The symphony was first performed, with Beethoven himself conducting, as a benefit for Austrian and Bavarian soldiers wounded at the Battle of Hanau. His composition, Wellington's Victory was also premiered at the benefit concert. Napolean could run but, ultimately, he could not hide.

Upon hearing the Seventh Beethoven's contemporary composer, Carl Maria von Weber said,

"the extravagances of this genius have reached the ne plus ultra, and Beethoven is quite ripe for the madhouse."
A review published in a newspaper of the day said:
"Mr. Van Beethoven goes his own path, and a dreary, eccentric, and tiresome path it is: learning, learning, and nothing but learning, but not a bit of nature or melody. And, after all, it is but a crude and undigested learning, without method or arrangement, a seeking after curious modulations, a hatred of ordinary progressions, a heaping up of difficulties, until all the pleasure and patience are lost."
Ripe for the madhouse he may have been. Pleasure and patience lost? I beg to differ, but what do I know.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saturday fun

Mozart's widow is one of the people in this photo. Which one she is?

Al Gore appears in this poster. Can you find him?

Answers below the fold.

a) Ha, ha. The Constanza photo is a fraud. Welcome to the Internet, suckers.

b) I can't find him myself. I think he's hidden behind that soldier in the foreground.

Global Warming, the new bogey man

Via Flopping aces He has lots of interesting stuff.

Pull out of NATO?

Ed Morrisey has an interesting post up today on NATO in Afghanistan and who is and is not carrying their weight.

Britain and the US have received years of criticism for the foray into Iraq to resolve the 12-year standoff there rather than commit more troops to fight the terrorists of the Taliban. However, when the subject of that fight comes up, the defense ministers of the NATO alliance suddenly find a lot of excuses as to why they cannot contribute troops for the mission. Liam Fox, the shadow Defence Secretary, puts it rather bluntly: “Too many of our European partners are now pocketing the Nato security guarantee but leaving UK taxpayers and the UK military to carry the cost."

NATO currently has 35,000 troops in Afghanistan. The US provides 27,000 of them, followed by the existing British contingent of 5,500. That leaves around 2,500 troops contributed by the rest of our partners in the war on terror, many of which have placed restrictions on their deployment in combat areas. That's less participation than we had during the invasion of Iraq.

Perhaps we should end our NATO alliance and look for more suitable partners for security. The Eastern European nations appear more rational about the threat to freedom coming from Southwest Asia these days. The traditional NATO nations, save the UK, appear to have decided that the doctrine of unity among members has little to do with them. The US should pull itself out of Western Europe altogether and let them provide for their own security, paying their own bills and organizing their own policies rather than continue subsidizing ennui.

The British force in Afghanistan will soon be increased to 7,000 as Ed mentions and it is worth noting that while people complain that the British have seen significant drawdowns in Iraq and American forces have not...the British have not repudiated the mission. In spite of incredible political pressure Tony Blair has stood by his decision to go to war. It is also worth noting for all those folks out there on the left critical of the British for pulling down troops in the relatively peaceful southern regions of Iraq...that the same complaining, harassing, and backstabbing left Bush has to deal with here in the United States also exists in the UK. In spades. It is amazing he has been able to do as much for the cause as he has.

Trail of Tears

In 1838 and 1839, as part of Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policy, the Cherokee nation was forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River and to migrate to an area in present-day Oklahoma. The Cherokee people called this journey the "Trail of Tears," because of its devastating effects. The migrants faced hunger, disease, and exhaustion on the forced march. Over 4,000 out of 15,000 of the Cherokees died.

This picture, The Trail of Tears, was painted by Robert Lindneux in 1942. It commemorates the suffering of the Cherokee people under forced removal. If any depictions of the "Trail of Tears" were created at the time of the march, they have not survived.

According to some timelines the beginnings of this tragedy were in February, 1838..but in truth of course it began much earlier.

Years ago I was given a tape by a distant relative in Georgia. It told the tale of a run away son and an Indian Princess and the Trail of Tears.

Ezekiel Wilson lived in the Ohio River Valley near what is today Stubenville, Ohio with the rest of his clan back in the early days of the 19th century. They owned a mill and ran the local postal service. Anyone who has read Conrad Richter's The Awakening Land will have an idea of what this part of the country was like back then. People say it was home to the largest hard wood forest in the world with trees 15 across at the base towering in the sky so high that they cut out all sight of the sky. People travelled by boat if they wanted to see the stars or the moon.

Ezekiel was sent south with his brothers on a long walk to see relatives in the Carolinas. It was thought they could acquire some education in the more civilized country around Charleston. Ezekiel made the trek and when two years later at the age of 18 he began his return journey he and his fellow travellers passed through the Cherokee nation. Ezekiel fell in love with a 16 year old girl known in my family history as the Princess.

They were married right then and news of the marriage made it back to Ohio before Ezekiel did. When he returned home Ezekiel was informed he was dead to the family. They had even had a funeral. So that night he sneaked into the camp and he took what he considered to be his birth right, the stone. The large stone used in the grist mill. He took horses and a wagon and he stole the big stone. The constable was called, but he told the family that he would not chase a dead man into Indian country.

But that was not the end of their story. The couple would have 13 children and when the orders came for the march to Oklahoma known as the Trail of Tears, Ezekiel would make that march with his wife and children all the way to Oklahoma. Later they would return to the Carolinas because after all they were not Plains people. For the rest of her life the Princess would wear long sleeves and a bonnet. Whenever she bathed she made sure there were guards at the doors for fear someone might catch her out and see how dark she was. She hid the fact that she was Indian from all but close family and friends.

The Wilsons would marry and have children with the Walravens, another family of mixed race and heritage. It was not until the Civil War had laid the south to waste that the Indian branch of the family would again speak to the northern branch of the family. Ezekiel's grandson would make a plea to his Ohio relatives for food and seed and livestock and he did not go away empty handed. Like the prodigal son, they welcomed him and sent him home with everything he asked for and more.

I tell this story because it is an American tale. I bet many of you have stories much like this. And who would have believed looking at this history that this country would ever have been one people. We might think we face divisions today, but they pale in comparison to the divisions of race and war and wrongdoing that this country has overcome.

It never stops

Jules Crittenden has a post up on the story CBS is doing on the 1,000 active duty military coming out against the Iraq War:

CBS will be trotting out some anti-war vets for a big special tomorrow. USMC Sgt. Liam Madden and about 1,000 others who want to squawk but are unwilling to face court martial for their beliefs like Lt. Watada. They sent a petition to Congress under a whistleblower provision:

“Just because we volunteered for the military doesn’t mean we volunteered to put our lives in unnecessary harm and to carry out missions that are illogical and immoral,” says Madden.

I noticed an interesting post in the comments concerning another kind of soldier... these guys are looking for support for the war. This is their site and petition over at Appeal for Courage. Needless to say CBS won't be doing a story on them anytime soon.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Italian politics and the Democrats

And we think we have problems.

Dafydd makes sense of some of the parties in the collapse of the Italian government and he also makes an interesting observation:

But I'm less interested in the intricacies of Italian coalition politics than I am in the fact that the Communists broke with Prodi, not over the Iraq war, but in a dispute whether Italy should participate in the non-controversial Afghanistan war... where the defeated Taliban are trying -- without any success so far -- to stage a resurgance.

Even the French and the Canadians participate in Iraq as part of their NATO commitment to the International Security Assistance Force: 1,700 from the former and 2,500 from the latter. At the moment, there are 1,950 Italian troops in Afghanistan... but evidently, the so-called "pacifists" in Italy (perhaps taking their cue from Russian President Vladimir Putin) now almost openly side with the anti-liberal, anti-woman, anti-gay, Moslem-fundamentalist terrorists in the Taliban.

I have argued for some time (since at least 1996 in print) that the global jihadis are the natural heirs of the Communists; that when push comes to pull, totalitarians of a feather stick together. Over and over, in virtually every corner of the globe (well, you know what I mean!), Communists ally with jihadis:

* Russia, swiftly re-Communizing under Putin, and despite fighting for years against Chechen separatists, is clearly allied with Iran against the West;

* Red China is also allied with Iran against the West;

* North Korea conducted nuclear and missile trades with Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq;

* Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has formed a virtual partnership with Hezbollah and Hamas;

* And the Godfather of Latin American Communist revolution, Fidel Castro, formed a deep bond with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979, launching a connection between Cuba and Iran that exists to this day.

The slow drift of Communists supporting jihadis has dramatically accelerated in recent years. It appears that the party of atheist empire has more in common with the fighters for global theocracy than with any supporter of freedom and liberty.

This may well explain the mounting rejection by the Democratic Party here in America of a serious war against global jihad: it's not that the Democrats are anti-war; a major part of their leftist base has simply become pro-jihad. Recall Michael Moore referring to the Iraqi al-Qaeda terrorists as "Minutemen," and note the embrace by the Democratic Party of noted apologists for jihadist terrorism, such as CAIR, the Nation of Islam, and Sami al-Arian.

This is a very scary development, but I wonder how far it can possibly go: the mass of Democrats in the United States are certainly not supporters of jihad or jihadists. At what point will they suddenly wake up to what the party leadership is doing -- something that formerly Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT, 80%) realized some time ago -- and actually begin doing something about it? Either by voting against future Keith Ellisons in primary elections, or even by starting to vote Republican, as many did during the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

We are not Italy. And as AJ notes the Democratic leadership might well have overplayed their hand:

The Democrats are in a world of political hurt. Their radical (and not entirely sane) anti-war base wants to surrender to Iraq as soon as possible, but brand new poll is out confirming an earlier poll showing Americans are in not in the mood to quit Iraq, but they instead want to win Iraq as soon as possible (H/T to MacRanger on the latest poll).

By a 53 percent - 46 percent margin, respondents surveyed said that Democrats are going too far, too fast in pressing the President to withdraw troops from Iraq.

By identical 57 percent - 41 percent margins, voters agreed with these statements: I support finishing the job in Iraq, that is, keeping the troops there until the Iraqi government can maintain control and provide security and the Iraqi war is a key part of the global war on terrorism.

As I stated previously, if Bush gets continued traction with the Surge plan (beyond chasing al Qaeda and the Mahdi leaders out of the country or into hiding - which is already a result) thden the Dems will be a deep, long political price as the party that tried to quit on America when she needed resolve and confidence in her armed forces. And it is clear that Americans understand the ramifications:

By a wide 74 percent - 25 percent margin, voters disagree with the notion that “I don’t really care what happens in Iraq after the U.S. leaves, I just want the troops brought home.”

For a bunch of people who like to talk about nuance sometimes the Democrats really are the bull in the china shop.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Makes you wonder.

I stole this from Powerline :

These poll results suggest that, apart from the irresponsibility of their position on the merits, the Democrats' defeatist approach to Iraq may not be a winning political strategy. In fact, the Dems' approach may be a dubious political strategy precisely because of its weakness on the merits.

According to the survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, 57 percent of Americans say “The Iraq War is a key part of the global war on terrorism.” 57 percent also “support finishing the job in Iraq, that is, keeping the troops there until the Iraqi government can maintain control and provide security for its people."

Moreover, 56 percent believe that “Even if they have concerns about his war policies, Americans should stand behind the President in Iraq because we are at war.” And 53 percent believe “The Democrats are going too far, too fast in pressing the President to withdraw the troops from Iraq.”

In the same poll, 60 percent predict that Iraq probably will never be a stable democracy and 60 percent disapprove of the job President Bush is doing. Yet, unlike most Democrats, they are willing and able to distinguish between these issues and the matter of what we should do going forward in Iraq.

I think the operative word is democracy. I think Iraq can still become a democracy, but I think even though people think we can stabilize Iraq eventually, they are not sure it will end up a democracy. I say have faith.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Posting Note

I am unable to post directly to Flares tonight, and indeed all day today. Each attempt to log into the website leads me inexorably to a page demanding that I upgrade the whole website to the new format. Evidently our benevolent masters at Google (which owns and data-mines Blogger) have decided that upgrading to the new format is an offer we can't refuse. This post and the previous are being produced instead with the free Windows Live Writer blogging software available for free from Microsoft here. I edit the post and then hit the "publish" button to get it to post to the website, and this still seems to work. There are some other free goodies available on that page as well. Am I the only one having this problem?

Whither Our Cities?

At the conclusion of the Punic Wars, Rome found itself with a large swath of territories to rule and exploit whose inhabitants did not fit into the traditional republican paradigm the city had carefully nurtured for several hundred years. What to do? Multi-millionaire senators were eager to step forward as governors of these large territories, thereby reaping massive financial advantage for themselves. The spoils of this system, paid to only a small elite, allowed a tiny number of families to buy most of the land around Rome, while the gentleman farmers of yore were left with naught. The middle class was eradicated; the city became a two-class society, with only a tiny upper class able to afford and therefore to own and control the land, while vast masses of plebeians were left living off the largesse of the state. Traditional Roman values quickly broke down amid the corruption and dictatorship which followed. 

Now consider the elite cities of San Francisco, New York, and Boston. All three of these superstar cities have reached a point at which it is impossible for middle-class people to own a house. All three are becoming two-class societies, inhabited only by the ultra-wealthy and those on welfare.

Wall Street's 2006 megabonuses created thousands of instant millionaires, and, with their venture-fund soulmates in places like San Francisco, Boston and Greenwich, the best people are prowling for Ferraris, planes, multimillion-dollar condos, the newest $200 lunch place and the latest in high fashion.

As in ancient Rome, the rapid increase in property values is not mainly the result of productive inhabitants.

In some superstar cities less than 10% of households can afford a median-priced home. Nationally the average is about 50%.

This is good news for those who hold property, but has been less than a blessing for those middle-class families who might want to enter these markets. In some superstar cities less than 10% of households can afford a median-priced home. Nationally the average is about 50%.

Mr. Gyourko traces these surging prices to two basic causes. First, there remains in superstar cities a remarkable concentration of very high-earning families who can bid up real estate. The second factor lies with the regulatory and tax regimes, which greatly limit the production of housing and job opportunities, particularly for middle-income families, not only in the city cores but in surrounding areas.

Our tier-one cities have become exclusive enclaves of the ultra-wealthy, an elite group of rulers like Soros and Chomsky who never encounter and feel no real connection to ordinary middle-class families with ordinary desires to get ahead and prosper themselves. The middle class is fleeing elsewhere.

...the demographic trends are not nearly so promising [for the elite cities]. Over the past decade college-educated workers — who once disproportionately migrated to the superstar cities — now appear to be tilting instead to more affordable, family-friendly places. Since 2000, Riverside, Phoenix, Charlotte, Las Vegas and Dallas all have been among the big net gainers with such migrants. In contrast New York, Boston, L.A. and even the Bay Area, a big winner in the 1990s,

These facts ran through my mind today as I picked up the "Business" section of today's New York Times. I perused the entire section but was completely unable to find a single article which dealt with anything except the entertainment industry(!). Every single article was about theater, television, radio, the movies, or the web-as-entertainment. With only the New York Times to go on, an immigrant Indian could well be forgiven for believing that steel, mining, farming, manufacturing of all sorts, paper-making, oil-drilling, etc. etc. are all activities unknown to Americans. The truth is that such other occupations, being the backbone of the middle class, are increasingly unknown among New Yorkers as well as the denizens of the other elite US cities, but not to Americans as a whole.

Yet the current situation is dangerous, for we are find ourselves suddenly ruled only by these elites, by people who get up in the morning, read their local newspaper, and think that "business" means arts. Barney Frank of Boston, Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, and Charles Rangel of Manhattan are in charge. Our press and media slavishly follow the lead of the now-provincial New York Times.

In the long run, the power and energy of a free people will move away from the elite cities. It is already happening. Increasing wealth, concentrated in a few places, has led American society to a fundamental fork in the road. If the provincial and shielded ultra-wealthy continue to rule, we are likely to follow the path of ancient Rome, our middle class broken and our traditional values a travesty. The alternative is that the rising power centers of free people bettering their lives in places like Dallas, Minneapolis, Denver, Charlotte, etc. yank the power away. This is the fundamental political conundrum of our age.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Just like in the days of Vietnam.

"There will be resolution after resolution, amendment after amendment . . . just like in the days of Vietnam," Schumer said. "The pressure will mount, the president will find he has no strategy, he will have to change his strategy and the vast majority of our troops will be taken out of harm's way and come home."

Come home to what? Defeat? Humiliation? Flag burning hippies?

What is with these people and Viet Nam? Do they think most Americans look back on those days with fondness and want to relive them? I am a baby boomer, but I have to say the world will be better off when the "me" generation are all gumming jello in a nursing home somewhere.

There is some war news over at Mudville.

Sam Johnson

Watch this and not cry. I dare you.

Sam Johnson


How sad. This story makes me think I should try harder to mend fences with my brother:

Police called to a Long Island man's house discovered the mummified remains of the resident, dead for more than a year, sitting in front of a blaring television set.

At least it was not a computer.


Check out what somebody found in an old barn on a piece of property they bought. How the heck does a collection like that get forgotten and lost?

The Help Desk

Saturday, February 17, 2007


The Washington Post has an interesting oped out about Murtha and his fellow Democrats:

Mr. Murtha has a different idea. He would stop the surge by crudely hamstringing the ability of military commanders to deploy troops. In an interview carried Thursday by the Web site, Mr. Murtha said he would attach language to a war funding bill that would prohibit the redeployment of units that have been at home for less than a year, stop the extension of tours beyond 12 months, and prohibit units from shipping out if they do not train with all of their equipment. His aim, he made clear, is not to improve readiness but to "stop the surge." So why not straightforwardly strip the money out of the appropriations bill -- an action Congress is clearly empowered to take -- rather than try to micromanage the Army in a way that may be unconstitutional? Because, Mr. Murtha said, it will deflect accusations that he is trying to do what he is trying to do. "What we are saying will be very hard to find fault with," he said.

Mr. Murtha's cynicism is matched by an alarming ignorance about conditions in Iraq. He continues to insist that Iraq "would be more stable with us out of there," in spite of the consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies that early withdrawal would produce "massive civilian casualties." He says he wants to force the administration to "bulldoze" the Abu Ghraib prison, even though it was emptied of prisoners and turned over to the Iraqi government last year. He wants to "get our troops out of the Green Zone" because "they are living in Saddam Hussein's palace"; could he be unaware that the zone's primary occupants are the Iraqi government and the U.S. Embassy?

It would be nice to believe that Mr. Murtha does not represent the mainstream of the Democratic Party or the thinking of its leadership. Yet when asked about Mr. Murtha's remarks Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered her support. Does Ms. Pelosi really believe that the debate she orchestrated this week was not "the real vote"? If the answer is yes, she is maneuvering her party in a way that can only do it harm.

Via Captains Quarters

The question I have is why are just now hearing about how ignorant Murtha is? He was not one bit smarter or competent before the midterms than he is now.

Now for something completely different

On this depressing day, which many of us would no doubt prefer to spend pinning pictures of Pelosi and Reid to our dartboards, I offer a bit of entertainment from the open source world. This is why I think Linus is the main reason for the success of Linux.

I've sent out patches. The code is actually _cleaner_ after my patches, and the end result is more capable. We'll see what happens.

THAT is constructive.

What I find unconstructive is how the GNOME people always make *excuses*. It took me a few hours to actually do the patches. It wasn't that hard. So why didn't I do it years ago?

I'll tell you why: because GNOME apologists don't say "please send us patches". No. They basically make it clear that they aren't even *interested* in fixing things, because their dear old Mum isn't interested in the feature.

Do you think that's "constructive"?

So let's see what happens to my patches. I guarantee you that they actually improve the code (not just add a feature). I also guarantee that they actually make things *more* logical rather than less (with my patches, double-clicking on the title bar isn't a special event: it's configurable along with right- and middle-clicking, and with the exact same syntax for all).

But why, oh, why, have GNOME people not just said "please fix it then"?

Instead, I _still_ (now after I sent out the patch) hear more of your kvetching about how you actually do everything right, and it's somehow *my* fault that I find things limiting.

Here's a damn big clue: the reason I find GNOME limiting is BECAUSE IT IS.

Now the question is, will people take the patches, or will they keep their heads up their arses and claim that configurability is bad, even when it makes things more logical, and code more readable.

It's not one of his more colorful rants, but it delivers some of the flavor. I've often wondered if having a communist journalist as a father didn't innoculate Linus with an aversion to politics and a preference for tangible results.

h/t: OS News

Bulletin: Reid Fails Again to Cut Off Debate On Surge

Reid's attempt to invoke cloture failed, but a few more "white flag" GOP Senators voted with him.

McCain was not voting. If he wants to do something to get the base excited, he might consider being out in front leading a Senate charge in favor of the troops and the surge he advocated. He could make a lot of "good pub" in that endeavor.

In Iraq, Petraeus need a few good battles, and some diplomatic coups to keep these birds off balance.


Here is the NYT headline on this development:

Senate Rejects Renewed Effort to Debate Iraq

NB: My headline is accurate, the NYT's is not. This is not debatable or capable of nuanced discussion. The NYT headline is simply misleading. In lefty terms, it is a "lie". Yellow Journalism, say I.

The Al Queada Congress

The 110th Congress has passed a nonbinding resolution that firmly establishes its reputation and objectives. Ralph Peters offers this in today's New York Post:
PROVIDING aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime is treason. It's not "just politics." It's treason.
And signaling our enemies that Congress wants them to win isn't "supporting our troops."

The "nonbinding resolution" telling the world that we intend to surrender to terrorism and abandon Iraq may be the most disgraceful congressional action since the Democratic Party united to defend slavery.
While Senator Liberman had this to say about the resolution as it comes before the Senate:
From all of the research my staff and I have done, including asking the Library of Congress to do, we have found no case in American history where Congress has done what this resolution does. That is, in a non-binding resolution, oppose a plan that our military is implementing right now. Congress has expressed non-binding resolutions of disapproval before a plan of military action has been carried out. Congress has taken much more direct steps, authorized to do so by the Constitution, to cut off funds for military action or a war in progress.

But never before has the Congress of the United States passed a non-binding resolution of disapproval of a military plan that is already being carried out by American military personnel.

This resolution will cause the deaths of American troops.

Knowledgeable Americans will recognize this resolution as empty political rhetoric tossed off as a sop to the party of treason's 'progressive' base but the ignorant muslim peasant who hears it from his mullah will take it as a sign that Allah favors another pusillanomous attack.

Every one of those newly elected Democrat Representatives voted in lockstep under the "leadership" of Pelosi. Every one of them is starting his or her Congressional career with the blood of Americans on their hands. The promises of "moderation" given by the Democratic candidates in order to obtain their seats were kept for almost six weeks. That's actually longer than usual.

For a Democrat.

Campaign 08 is now underway.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Nonbinding nonsense

The House voted today 246-182 on a nonbinding resolution against the surge. 17 Republicans voted for the resolution and 2 Democrats voted against it. I wonder why it is if they are so sure they have public opinion on their side...they did not go ahead and make it a binding resolution? The Cowards.

Why You Want to go to Vista Today

The chart shown compares security measures in-built into various operating systems. Blue is great, gray is good, white is bad. The operating systems are listed across the top; the security measures being assessed are down the side. These are all measures which have made their way from academic think-tanks into real-world code only during the last few years. More details here. Windows as the most widely used of the operating systems out there, has been the biggest target for hackers, and therefore OS X or RedHat LInux may be less of a threat in some sense. And to be fair, the chart is a bit behind on the features offered by OS X, which will undoubtedly improve in the next release. Still, the chart clearly shows that anybody with the hardware to upgrade to Vista from XP should do so quam primum.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

True Love..or something

ROME -- Archaeologists working on the eve of Valentine's Day carefully began digging up the bones of a prehistoric couple on Tuesday, hoping to keep their 5,000-year-old embrace undisturbed forever.

The skeletons unearthed last week were being scooped out of the earth to undergo tests before going on display in the northern Italian city of Mantua, archaeologists said.

The pair, buried between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago in the late Neolithic period, are believed to be a man and a woman who died young, because their teeth were found intact. Archaeologists have hailed the find, saying that double burials from that period are rare and none have been found in such a touching pose.

via Archeonieuws

Tony Snow

Tony Snow recovered from the same kind of cancer that killed my father. I look at Tony Snow and I wonder if the doctors could save my Dad today. Not only did Snow survive, he is doing quite well. Just check out this press briefing. Smart man.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass

On your way out.

That is what we should be saying to Sadr who has run away to Iran.

From Captains Quarters:

Well, so much for the whole 72 virgins thing and the radical Islamist desire to die in martyrdom:

The story tonight in Iraq is not the arrival of more U.S. troops, but the departure of one of the country's most powerful men, Moqtada al Sadr and members of his army.

According to senior military officials al Sadr left Baghdad two to three weeks ago, and fled to Tehran, Iran, where he has family.

Al Sadr commands the Mahdi Army, one of the most formidable insurgent militias in Iraq, and his move coincides with the announced U.S. troop surge in Baghdad.

Sources believe al Sadr is worried about an increase of 20,000 U.S. troops in the Iraqi capital. One official told ABC News' Martha Raddatz, "He is scared he will get a JDAM [bomb] dropped on his house."
{surely not ed.}
Sources say some of the Mahdi army leadership went with al Sadr.

This couldn't have come at a better time. Congress has tied itself in knots trying to opine on what a disaster the surge will be, and before they can vote on a resolution scolding George Bush for wasting resources, he's already chased one of the worst actors out of Baghdad. Nancy Pelosi will be holding a debate to disapprove of a strategy that has already demonstrated success.

Keep your fingers crossed. I am sure that the Democrats are concerned that after investing so much political capitol in defeat, this might signal an improvement in Iraq. I don't know about you guys, but I don't think Pelosi and the gang really want us to win this thing.

Hope Springs Eternal

Tomorrow, for some teams at least, is Pitchers and Catchers. For many of us, despite snowstorms forecast seemingly everywhere, that is the First Day of Spring. The Long Winter is ending.

I bring you not one, not two, but three classics to commemorate the rapidly approaching Great Day.

Shooting in Salt Lake

I suppose some of you have heard of the shootings that took place at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City yesterday. There is some coverage here on the front page of the Deseret News. What has caught my eye is the name of the perpetrator, Solejman Talovic, an 18 year old Bosnian refugee. Both the name and the country of origin are interesting. Solejman seems to be an alternate spelling of Sulejman, a name that googling associates with the Muslim communities in Bosnia, Albania, and Kosovo; it seems to be the arabic version of Soloman. Now, I am not saying there is a Muslim connection in this case, it is far too early and the details are still very sketchy, Solejman may be just another teenager in a trench coat. But I will be keeping an eye out for developments.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Let us not forget

Abraham Lincoln's birthday.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Globaloney Warming? - Czech Mate

Another head of state with something between his ears besides bone.

Czech president Vaclav Klaus on the UN report (link may not hold - Drudge)

Environmentalism as a metaphysical ideology and as a worldview has absolutely nothing to do with natural sciences or with the climate. Sadly, it has nothing to do with social sciences either. Still, it is becoming fashionable and this fact scares me. The second part of the sentence should be: we also have lots of reports, studies, and books of climatologists whose conclusions are diametrally opposite.• Indeed, I never measure the thickness of ice in Antarctica. I really don't know how to do it and don't plan to learn it. However, as a scientifically oriented person, I know how to read science reports about these questions, for example about ice in Antarctica. I don't have to be a climate scientist myself to read them. And inside the papers I have read, the conclusions we may see in the media simply don't appear. But let me promise you something: this topic troubles me which is why I started to write an article about it last Christmas. The article expanded and became a book. In a couple of months, it will be published. One chapter out of seven will organize my opinions about the climate change.• Environmentalism and green ideology is something very different from climate science. Various findings and screams of scientists are abused by this ideology.•

Luboš Motl did the translation and has a very interesting piece on Vaclav Klaus as well as much more of the interview than is available via Drudge. The song accompanying his take is hilarious.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Reading for a chilly Sunday

Below are links to a series of articles from the National Post concerning global warming, the science and politics thereof. (ht: John A at Climate Audit).

Wars and Rumors of Wars

As He sat on The Mount Of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the close of the age?" And Jesus answered them, "Take heed that no one leads you astray. For many will come in My Name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs." (Matthew 24:3-8 RSV)

This is not a bible lesson. It is just a lesson in how some things never change.

The Guardian is alarmed right now. Their fear is that Bush and his cabal of neocons will drag a resistant American Pentagon, Congress, State Department and populace into war with Iran. Why?..... because he has never forgiven the mullahs for 1979. Really, these people can not be this stupid.

An excerpt from Big Lizards:

Where the Guardian article gets really peculiar is when the journalists try to psychoanalyze President Bush, presumably hoping to tap into the traditional leftist meme that Republican "warmongers" are mentally disturbed as well as stupid:

Mr Bush is part of the American generation that refuses to forgive Iran for the 1979-81 hostage crisis. He leaves office in January 2009 and has said repeatedly that he does not want a legacy in which Iran has achieved superpower status in the region and come close to acquiring a nuclear weapon capability. The logic of this is that if diplomatic efforts fail to persuade Iran to stop uranium enrichment then the only alternative left is to turn to the military.

In fact, President Bush is of the generation that recognizes that Iran declared war on us in 1979 -- and they have been fighting that war as strongly as they can for the last 28 years. They certainly struck a horrific blow against us in Beirut in 1983, when they killed 241 American Marines, 58 French paratroopers, a Lebanese custodian, and the wife and four children of a Lebanese janitor (the infamous Beirut barracks terrorist bombing).

Iran's current bloody-handed actions in Iraq are further proof that they consider themselves at war against us, even if we haven't yet accepted that we are at war against them:

* Sending arms and explosives to the anti-democratic forces, both Shia and Sunni;

* Giving advanced military training to Shiite terrorists, in order to attack Americans and Iraqi government forces;

* Supporting Muqtada Sadr during the period he was actually fighting against American troops in Najaf and in Sadr City;

* Sending actual members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards into Iraq (Qods Force) to launch direct attacks on American and coalition forces;

* And green-lighting Hezbollah to attack our ally Israel, unprovoked, to draw them into a war in Lebanon.

Iran has been threatening us with horrific retaliation if we do attack; but realistically, there is little they can do. Their most effective response would be to use mines to try to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which a huge percentage of the world's oil passes; but that is precisely what the "Herman Option" is designed to prevent. And in fact, t
wo British minesweeping ships have already been dispatched to the Gulf, along with American submarines.

The Guardian article concludes on what must, for them, be a very sober note:

If it does come to war, [Josh Muravchik, a Middle East specialist at the AEI] said Iran would retaliate, but that on balance it would be worth it to stop a country that he said had "Death to America" as its official slogan.

"We have to gird our loins and prepare to absorb the counter-shock," he said.

Unlike the guardians of the Left -- including the Guardian -- I don't believe that "counter-shock" is going to be anywhere near as bad as we have suffered in Iraq, for the simple reason that we will not invade Iran; that is, we will not send troops to occupy the country and force regime change, as we did in Iraq. That part would be up to the Iranian people themselves, who by all accounts detest the ruling mullahs and hate how they are trying to push modern Persia back into the 7th century.

There is a difference between striking Iran's nuclear sites and/or gas refineries vs. invading that country. I think Americans might well support the former, but I doubt very much if they want to do the latter.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Words! Words! I'm so sick of words!
I get words all day through;
First from him, now from you! Is that all you blighters can do?

My Fair Lady, lyrics from Show Me

Charles Krauthammer has a good oped in the Washington Post on what passes for debate on Iraq in the halls of the Senate.

I don't deny that this is a fair application of "civil war" to the current situation. What I note with dismay, however, is how important -- and absurdly irrelevant -- the application of certain loaded words to the situation has become.

What is striking is how much of the debate in Washington about Iraq has to do not with the war but with the words. Who owns them, who deploys them, who uses them as a bludgeon. NBC's announcement in November that it would henceforth use the term civil war -- a statement far more political than analytical, invoking the same fake authority with which the networks regally "declare" election winners (e.g., Florida to Al Gore, Nov. 7, 2000) -- set the tone of definitional self-importance.

Words. We had weeks of debates in the Senate about Iraq. They eventually went nowhere, being shut down (temporarily) by partisan procedural disputes. But they were going nowhere anyway. The debates were not about real fighting in a real place. They were about how the various senators would position themselves in relation to that real fighting in that real place. At issue? With what tone and nuance and addenda to express disapproval of a troop surge that the president was going to order anyway.

When it came to doing something serious about the surge, the Senate ducked. It unanimously (81-0) approved sending Gen. David H. Petraeus to Baghdad to do the surge -- precisely what a majority of the senators said they did not want done.

If you really oppose the surge, how can you not oppose the appointment of the man whose very mission is to carry it out? Yet not one senator did so. Instead, they spent days fine-tuning the wording of a nonbinding -- i.e., entirely toothless -- expression of disapproval.

Read the whole thing. It won't take long.


Bizarre. Orwellian. Obscene. all of the above.

Via Little Green Footballs.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Do you like a good story?

If you do read this book, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I just finished it and I can not remember the last time I was so completely engrossed in a story.

Anita Diamont's Red Tent was good and Jodi Picoult is always good with books like The Tenth Circle, but this book by Diane Setterfield is in a class by itself.

The author has managed to write a completely satisfying story. The main characters, a reclusive and mysterious writer named Vida Winter and her biographer the bookish but haunted Margaret Lea come together in an isolated estate in the Moors to tell a story of secrets and ghosts and lost chances and love and most of all siblings. Read it. You will not be disappointed.

The God's honest truth

From John at powerline :

The current crop of candidates is not perfect; what crop ever was? But they are strong leaders of extraordinary ability. And Giuliani, McCain and Romney are united on the key issue of our time, victory in the war against Islamic extremism. If a purer conservative wants to get into the race, fine, and I might well back him. (And, no, I'm not talking about Mike Huckabee or Sam Brownback.) But conservatives need to get over any fantasies they may harbor about the Gingrich administration that never will be and the Reagan administration that never was, and get on with the business of electing the best possible--and I do mean "possible"--candidate in 2008.

Why is this so hard for some folks to understand?

Yahoo! Pipes

The tech world is full of innovations, nearly every single day. It's impossible to even keep up, let alone move forward. Though it seems like a pain sometimes, truth be told it's a blessing to live in an age when such progress is a daily occurrence.

Sometimes a novelty stands out among the daily inventions, a novelty which appears to be seminal. So it seems to me is the new Yahoo! system they call "Pipes". It's the first truly new thing I can remember seeing on the Internet in a couple of years (say after the introduction of the social AJAX sites like Digg). Pipes is a mechanism by which you the user can create an internet application all of your own—by requiring little more on your part than dragging and dropping. It's a reference to pipes in Unix, for all you Unix programmers, but now refers to internet processes rather than shell utilities. There's a good explanation here and here. Check it out.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Is Wells getting this? We didn't.

If the big story going around is Wilson and his trip to Niger and somebody tells you 'his wife was involved in the trip just ask the CIA' how would you interpret that?

His wife is involved in sending him and the CIA knows the story?

You might not get the connection that the wife herself is CIA.

She's involved somehow but you don't know what that means.

The above was information given to David Gregory by Ari Fleischer, according to Ari's testimony. Russert testified that what his reporters know, he knows, because they share information with him. So.....? Gregory tells Andrea and Tim that administration sources say the wife is involved somehow. But how?

Andrea Mitchell may be telling the truth that 'she did not know Wilson's wife was CIA'.
Russert may be telling the truth that he did not know Wilson's wife was CIA.
They both may be telling the truth that they did not know that Valery Plame was Wilson's wife.

But they all knew that Wilson's wife had some connection to the trip set up by the CIA wherein Wilson went to Niger. They were trying to figure it out. Mitchell is known to have spoken with Harlow at CIA. Did she ask about Mrs. Wilson and got nowhere?

Andrea did not know Wilson's wife's name as anything other than Mrs. Wilson (or possibly, Valery Wilson). She did not know to ask about Valery Plame. Andrea does not use Google all that much it seems.

(It's also possible that Andrea actually knew Valery Plame, CIA, from other work she had done over the years but didn't know Valery Plame was Wilson's wife. This was pointed out by MaidMarion, a commenter at JOM. And, boy, wouldn't that be a shocker to find out when reading Novak's article!)

So where does Wells think he's going by wanting Andrea to testify and wanting to show her on-air statement about some reporters knowing about the wife's CIA connection which she later retracted? Does he think he can create doubt in the jury about the state of their (Gregory, Mitchell, Russert) knowledge by bringing up Ari's testimony and speculating that Gregory told them that Wilson's wife was CIA?

They can ALL deny it. They can ALL be testifying truthfully. But they ain't going to volunteer anything more. And that won't be any help to Libby.

But Russert had sufficient knowledge to bring up something to Libby, to ask him about it. Ask Libby the question they all wanted answered.

Do you know anything about what my reporters are telling me about Wilson's wife's involvement in his CIA trip?

Libby assumes Russert knows wifey is CIA.

And we ALL assume Russert has to know wifey is CIA in order to make such a statement to Libby.

And, worst of all, Russert assumes he himself has to have known that Wilson's wife was CIA in order to say anything about it to Libby at all! So, to him, it's 'impossible' to have done so!

Has Wells figured this out?!?!?!

The Libby Case: The Government Rests

During Fitzgerald's investigation, Lewis Libby submitted to approximately ten hours of Government questioning, nearly nine of which were by a very skilled prosecutor without the protection of defense counsel under oath in front of a Grand Jury.

From that testimony, three snippets of less than three minutes total are now the subject of intense scrutiny.

Three witnesses testified that their versions of the events described by Libby in those snippets are somewhat different than Libby's version.

To me, the evidence is clear about this:

The memories of the three witnesses main prosecution witnesses, two of whom were highly respected journalists, one of whom was less experienced, were selective at best.

It just so happened that what they selectively remembered differed somewhat from what Libby testified to respecting the events described in the snippets.

As Church Lady used to say, "How Conveeeeeeeeenient" for the Prosecution.

My take is that the government's evidence is somewhat thin to go to the jury.

But it is probably not an abuse of discretion for Judge Walton to overrule a Rule 29 motion, and let it go forward. He could go either way, IMO.

I have, however, not done any research on the issue, and have not read the cases cited in the parties' briefs. So I don't have any idea how I would rule on such a motion.

Iowahawk has the emails

You have got to go read Iowahawk's collection of "emails" to Senator Edwards from the lefty blogger Marcotte.

The emails are written in a progression beginning with getting the job and ending know, getting canned. Here is one of them:

To: Senator John Edwards
From: Amanda Marcotte
Re: Campaign Ideas

Dear Senator Edwards:

I had a couple of ideas for getting the campaign off to a fucking roaring start. I ran some numbers and discovered that (1) Orange County North Carolina has a shocking lack of women's reproductive health centers, and (2) your new home there has 28,000 square feet of space. What better way to address community health needs -- and appeal to the women's vote -- than by installing an abortion clinic inside your own house? It would only take up about 500 square feet total (not counting the exterior biohazard dumpster), and you appear to have a fucking awesome space between the indoor basketball court and reflective koi pond.

I also discovered that North Carolina is home to NASCAR, which as you know is the official sport of toothless Southern white supremecist racists. I think would make fucking great campaign street theater to drive over to one of the local fucking dickwad reich wing repugnican NASCAR garages and piss all over their goddamn earth-destroying Klan-mobiles. On the way there, it probably wouldn't fucking kill you to drop in at the Durham courthouse to support District Attorney Nifong in his brave battle to bring the white rapist Duke lacrosse team to justice.

To help organize the local campaign swing, I've lined up a couple of camera crews and programmed directions into the GPS of your Benz (the silver one).

On To The White House!

PS - I cross-posted my thoughts at the official campaign site, I will let you know about voter feedback.

Brilliant. H/T Big Lizards

Russert and Libby could both be wrong - and both right

Clarice's American Thinker article on Russert's very very hot seat problem can be found here. There you will get the juicy details of Russert's memory problem and a surprise issue that had Fitz slumping in his chair, studying the jury for their reaction (as reported by Kristinn at FR H/T Carol in JOM comments.)

As for the matter of whether Russert said xxxxx to Libby? I'm STILL not sure what is meant by the xxxxx. The indictment indicates 'Wilson's wife' rather than 'Valery Plame' and 'sending on trip' is in there. Russert is convinced he didn't know her name or her position until he read Novak's article. Fitz, I think, got him to say that she wasn't discussed at all. In fact, Russert is reported to have testified 'Impossible' in regards to his telling Libby anything. Wells will make Russert eat that word tomorrow, I'm sure. Part of it is in crumbs already.

Wells already hinted at where he will go when he asked Russert if he reasoned backwards to reach the conclusion that he told Libby nufink. And that is the process that was used in a televised confab with Tim Russert, Andrea Mitchell, and David Gregory on CNBC where they discussed what they would have done if they had had the information before the Novak article. I'm wondering if a transcript of that confab (which I can't find right now) will show up in the trial.

I think it's very possible that Russert knew that Wilson's wife was CIA. He didn't know her name. Didn't know her position. Didn't know she was involved in sending hubby to Niger. In fact I think the 'sending' part was the big surprise to them on reading Novak's article...not the fact she was CIA.

Andrea says everyone sniffing around about this knew Wilson's wife was CIA (she later retracted) and Ari Fleischer testified that he leaked that information to David Gregory--which doesn't seem to have been explored. Mitchell and Gregory work for Russert. If they knew, he knew.

So we have Libby claiming Russert told him that Wilson's wife was CIA and sent him on the mission.

We have Russert who probably knew Wilson's wife was CIA and that's all he knew at that time.

So how could they be both wrong and both right?

Russert says something like:

On the ambassador thing? My reporters are saying Wilson's wife is CIA and CIA sent Wilson to Niger, not Cheney. Heard anything about that?

Because Libby knows a bit more, Libby HEARS:

On the ambassador thing? My reporters are saying Wilson's wife is CIA and sent Wilson to Niger, not Cheney. Heard anything about that?

Russert's wrong about saying nothing and Libby's wrong about what Russert said. Russert's right that he didn't know the wife sent hubby and didn't tell Libby that and Libby's right that Russert said reporter's are talking about Wilson's wife.

I think Libby was surprised to hear about the reporters and it took him back and he did his own conflating about the sending. Heaven knows there's been enough conflation going around, let's let Libby get some benefit from it too.

It didn't have to go exactly like that, but you get the idea. And since the next day Rove supposedly told Libby that Novak told him about Wilson's wife bon voyaging hubby, it was reinforced in Libby's mind that reporters knew it and were passing it around.

Whaddya think?

Liquid Polyhedra

When a vertical water jet strikes a circular horizontal impactor, the water is deflected into a horizontal sheet. At sufficiently high speeds, the flow results in a circular water sheet, whose radius is set by a balance between inertial and curvature forces. At lower speeds, the sheet sags significantly under the influence of gravity, and may close, giving rise to a water bell....
The circular fluid sheets are marked by an axisymmetry-breaking instability that results in polygonal structures

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Faux JOM Libby Open Thread

In case the innertubes are break again.

Tim Russert Thread

We are waiting for Tim Russert to take center stage at the Libby trial.

I did a long preview last week, but here is an additional two cents: Russert can lose this case for Fitzgerald but he can't win it. Why? Part of the excitement about Russert's appearance is that Russert's previous testimony *MAY* have been deliberately ambiguous. From the NBC press release:

Mr. Russert told the Special Prosecutor that, at the time of that conversation, he did not know Ms. Plame's name or that she was a CIA operative and that he did not provide that information to Mr. Libby. Mr. Russert said that he first learned Ms. Plame's name and her role at the CIA when he read a column written by Robert Novak later that month.

Obviously, Mr. Russert could have *HYPOTHETICALLY* said to Libby "All the reporters know that Wilson's wife is at the CIA and sent him on this trip" without being aware of her name or that she was an "operative".

If Russert rocks the court with the news that, although he did not discuss Valerie Plame with Libby he may have said something about Joe Wilson's wife, well, Special Counsel Fitzgerald may be laughed out of the courtroom and jurors will be left wondering about the credibility of other journalists, specifically Matt Cooper and Judy Miller.

HOWEVER! Whether Russert told Libby about Ms. Plame on July 10/11 or not, that can't explain how Libby discussed her with Ari Fleischer on July 7 and with Judy Miller on July 8. So even if Russert does not torpedo Fitzgerald, his testimony won't change the basic conundrum facing the jury - with or without Russert it is already clear that either some parts of Libby's story defy conventional space-time or that Libby and/or other witnesses are confused.

Consequently, the jury must decide whether this is a case of honest confusion all around, or that Libby deliberately invented this story to throw investigators off the trail (of what, the defense will ask? Fitzgerald is straining to come up with a motive since it is far from obvious that "the truth" would have put Libby in any legal jeopardy).

So however credible Russert may be, he can't resolve the question of whether Fleischer is confused, Miller is making stuff up, or Libby has conflated a chat with Russert on July 10 with some other talk with some other person who mentioned Wilson's wife on, for example, July 6. That is a puzzle the jury will have to sort through, subject to reasonable doubt.

DEUS EX MACHINA: Suppose Libby can produce a surprise witness who says, essentially, he called Libby at home on Sunday July 6 (missing the White House phone logs), asked him about Joe Wilson's appearance on Russert's show - Russert, Russert, RUSSERT! - and mentioned to Libby that Andrea Mitchell was embarrassing herself with a kid glove interview of Joe Wilson since all the reporters knew his wife was with the CIA.

Does that help Libby walk? Some of the charges include that Libby did not specifically cite his tips to Miller and Cooper as reporter gossip, so those charges would still be in play.

And can the Libby team surprise us that way? I ask because two names on the list of *POSSIBLE* witnesses have no obvious connection to the case, and I am wondering whether Fitzgerald would have had a chance to depose them or review their depositions, or whatever.

Look, this is far-fetched, but I'd rather kick it around now than be surprised later.

MORE: Our guy Jeff has thoughts at The American Prospect. I feel obliged to rise to this bait:

However, there is no question that if Russert were to get up on the stand and admit that he did indeed tell Libby, it would be damaging for the prosecution. That has long been a fantasy of some right-wing observers of the case. Nothing would please them better than to discover that the MSM did it, and lied about it.

Nothing would please me better? C'mon, world peace, a world free from disease, even the Yankees back in the Series where they belong would all put a bigger smile on my face. However, a Russert meltdown would absolutley make my day and prolng my insufferability by several more.

Is the Korean War over?

I really doubt it.

Captains Quarters has a post up on what some might call interesting developments.

American nuclear expert David Albright, a former UN inspector on the North Korean impasse, has told the AP that he believes North Korea is ready to shut down its nuclear program for an end to the Korean War and "massive" energy shipments. Pyongyang will also insist on an end to the sanctions that shut down the Macau money-laundering operation connected to its counterfeiting ring:

Chief North Korean disarmament negotiator Kim Kye Gwan told Albright and Joel Wit, a former State Department official, that nothing would happen until the U.S. agreed to the construction of light-water reactors that Washington promised North Korea under a 1994 deal to freeze Pyongyang's nuclear program.

That deal, which also included an annual supply of half a million tons of heavy fuel oil until the reactors were built, was scrapped in 2002 when North Korea admitted it had restarted its atomic program.

Albright said the North emphasized that it now wanted either electricity shipments or more heavy fuel oil than was promised in the 1994 deal.

Albright said North Korean officials "acted as if it was going to be settled. They were pretty optimistic."

read it all.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Faux JOM Libby Open Thread

TypePad seems to have crashed again.

Tom's Top Post

Libby's defense team has posted their theory of his defense, some version of which ought to be included in the final jury instruction (Jeralyn Merritt explains this).

The .pdf is only two pages but the very short version is, Libby forgot but the errors were innocent and the information was trivial.

No surprise, but... I question this:

Mr. Libby further contends that when the investigation began he was confident that... he had not disclosed classified information about Mr. Wilson or his wife to any other reporters.

Really? I am confident Libby could argue that there is no evidence that he was aware that Ms. Wilson's status was classified at the time he disclosed it. However, is he really going to convince the court that as of October 2003 he was "confident" that Ms. Plame's status was not classified? Addington (OVP Counsel), Schmall (CIA briefer) and some newspaper articles Libby marked up all suggest that he was aware of such a possibility.

Statistics Needed

JB has asked that we post this interesting article on the Global warming debate.

In the global warming debate, there are essentially two broad camps. One believes that the science is settled, that global warming is serious and man-made, and that urgent action must be taken to mitigate or prevent a future calamity. The other believes that the science is far from settled, that precious little is known about global warming or its likely effects, and that prudence dictates more research and caution before intervening massively in the economy.

The "science is settled" camp, much the larger of the two, includes many eminent scientists with impressive credentials. But just who are the global warming skeptics who question the studies from the great majority of climate scientists and what are their motives?

Statistics needed -- The Deniers Part I
Warming is real -- and has benefits -- The Deniers Part II
The hurricane expert who stood up to UN junk science -- The Deniers Part III
Polar scientists on thin ice -- The Deniers Part IV
The original denier: into the cold -- The Deniers Part V
The sun moves climate change -- The Deniers Part VI
Will the sun cool us? -- The Deniers Part VII
The limits of predictability -- The Deniers Part VIII
Look to Mars for the truth on global warming -- The Deniers Part IX
Limited role for C02 -- the Deniers Part X

Many in the "science is settled" camp claim that the skeptics are untrustworthy -- that they are either cranks or otherwise at the periphery of their profession, or that they are in the pockets of Exxon or other corporate interests. The skeptics are increasingly being called Deniers, a term used by analogy to the Holocaust, to convey the catastrophe that could befall mankind if action is not taken. Increasingly, too, the press is taking up the Denier theme, convincing the public that the global-warming debate is over.

In this, the first of a series, I examine The Deniers, starting with Edward Wegman. Dr. Wegman is a professor at the Center for Computational Statistics at George Mason University, chair of the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics, and board member of the American Statistical Association. Few statisticians in the world have CVs to rival his (excerpts appear nearby).

Wegman became involved in the global-warming debate after the energy and commerce committee of the U.S. House of Representatives asked him to assess one of the hottest debates in the global-warming controversy: the statistical validity of work by Michael Mann. You may not have heard of Mann or read Mann's study but you have often heard its famous conclusion: that the temperature increases that we have been experiencing are "likely to have been the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years" and that the "1990s was the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year" of the millennium. You may have also heard of Mann's hockey-stick shaped graph, which showed relatively stable temperatures over most of the last millennium (the hockey stick's long handle), followed by a sharp increase (the hockey stick's blade) this century.

Mann's findings were arguably the single most influential study in swaying the public debate, and in 2001 they became the official view of the International Panel for Climate Change, the UN body that is organizing the worldwide effort to combat global warming. But Mann's work also had its critics, particularly two Canadians, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, who published peer-reviewed critiques of their own.

Wegman accepted the energy and commerce committee's assignment, and agreed to assess the Mann controversy pro bono. He conducted his third-party review by assembling an expert panel of statisticians, who also agreed to work pro bono. Wegman also consulted outside statisticians, including the Board of the American Statistical Association. At its conclusion, the Wegman review entirely vindicated the Canadian critics and repudiated Mann's work.

"Our committee believes that the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium cannot be supported," Wegman stated, adding that "The paucity of data in the more remote past makes the hottest-in-a-millennium claims essentially unverifiable." When Wegman corrected Mann's statistical mistakes, the hockey stick disappeared.

Wegman found that Mann made a basic error that "may be easily overlooked by someone not trained in statistical methodology. We note that there is no evidence that Dr. Mann or any of the other authors in paleoclimate studies have had significant interactions with mainstream statisticians." Instead, this small group of climate scientists were working on their own, largely in isolation, and without the academic scrutiny needed to ferret out false assumptions.

read it all.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Name that Thing

Libby Lives

But I think the MSM reputation has been severely tarnished....I actually found a blond who might be a lefty who agrees with me. ::grin:: Her name is Victoria. Victoria 4.

(just a quickie--no work on lighting or surfaces. Click on image for better view.)

Upon Further Reflection....

(via Brothers Judd)

"I have to say [cuz I'm runnin'] -- I've changed my mind about partial birth abortion. Until very recently, I'd never actually seen the procedure. I watched a video of one, and it’s horrific. A doctor friend of mine explained in a dispassionate, clinical way how it works -- how the baby's brain is sucked out of its head. It changed my whole view of it. I don't know anyone who wouldn't be changed by that. If people don't like that, sorry."

Rudy: I Would Appoint (Judges Like) Scalia, Alito and Roberts
[You sure as hell will if you want to be reelected.]
"On the Federal judiciary I would want judges who are strict constructionists because I am. I'm a lawyer. I've argued cases in the Supreme Court. I've argued cases in the Court of Appeals in different parts of the country. I have a very, very strong view that for this country to work, for our freedoms to be protected, judges have to interpret not invent the Constitution. Otherwise you end up, when judges invent the constitution, with your liberties being hurt.

Now, about the little problem that you've had with the Second Amendment - let's try and get that fixed tout sweety, OK Rudy? You have an excellent proven record as an executive, we know that you can lead under pressure, but it would be a big help if you did a little duck hunting with Antonin. Try for a brace of Bicoastal Blues while you're at it.