Not quite 8 pm Eastern yet. Still time for at least one more serious post of 2009...
Today Charles Krauthammer predicted that 2010 will be the year of Iran, and that one of three events will come to pass: Israel will launch a military attack against Iran's nuclear sites, Iran will succeed in developing the bomb, or a popular revolution will unseat the theocratic regime and effectively end the Iranian nuclear threat.
Adding weight to the third of these options was Tim Ghami of the Colorado Iranian American Community organization [no website found.] He was the guest of Tom Tancredo who guest hosted for Mike Rosen on Denver KOA radio this morning. In the last quarter of the third hour Tim said this:
What's important for the listeners to understand is that the Iranian people are capable of removing this government. They don't need a dollar, they don't need a soldier, they don't need anything. All they need is just the moral support. Exactly what the people are chanting on the street - President Obama, which side are you on? Are you on the side of the people or are you on the side of the government? Do you want to have a dialog with the Iranian people or do you want to have a dialog with the person who wants to wipe out Israel off the earth? Do you want to have a dialog and have a long-term relationship with the Iranian people or do you want to have a relationship with the person who is killing innocent citizens of the Iranian country?
Seems like a simple enough question to me.
Just prior to this Tim discussed the secular nature of the 95% muslim nation he grew up in prior to the Islamist revolution and described them as friendly to the west, the international community, and to freedom.
UPDATE: I also intended to excerpt the passage when they discussed Iran as the "root" of radical Islamic terrorism worldwide and how vital it is to Western interests [read: capitalist, individualist] that the theocracy be overthrown. Continue below...
Tancredo also asked Tim if instead of playing terrorist "whack-a-mole" it would be more effective to kill the roots of terrorism that are firmly established in Iran. "Now you're saying the root of terrorism is in Tehran, it is the leadership, but is that the root of the entire radical Islamic movement? ... If the government of Iran topples, if the mullahs are thrown out, if some democratic institutions are put into place, if they are non-sectarian and not even based on Sharia law - if all of that could happen how could we feel safer in that knowledge? Would it, in fact, end our fear of, or the threat of radical Islam?"
Ghami - "Yes it will. The reason for that is that we mentioned earlier that 80 percent of the international terrorism the Iranian regime is either directly or indirectly involved. We also must understand that for the first time, about 30 years ago, the Islamic fundamentalist force for the first time was able to capture a state and take over a government. Keep in mind that Iran is a wealthy nation, unlimited source of funds, natural resources, money and all of that. That the most evil global threat, a force that has targeted western civilization for the first time...
[Tancredo interrupts for emphasis.]
The leaders of the Iranian government in numerous occasion have said that they are the alternative to western civilization. And that's why, when you keep that in mind, that their activities would make sense in that context. They've spent millions of dollars sending funds to Palestine and Israel to make that area unstable. They're doing the same thing in Iraq. They're doing the same thing in Lebanon. Their entire motive is to cause instability for western civilization and of course they do that by oppressing the Iranian people which is the number one enemy to this regime."
With a teenage son facinated by mythical creatures and scifi, the movie "Avatar" (starring Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver) was a holiday must-see for The Refugee Clan. Although the 3-D special effects were at times vivid, the movie itself was nothing more than yet-another-attack-on-the-military-and-capitalism.
The Refugee would normally post a "plot spoiler" warning at this point, but there really is no plot to spoil. Avatar is the revenge of the American Indian, Custer's Last Stand and "Dances with Wolves" all wrapped into one. In the movie, the US military-industrial complex (which are indistinquishable as entities) has colonized a remote planet for the purposes of mining "unattainium," which sells for $20 million per kilo on planet Earth. The indigenous peoples, who happen to have braided hair, ride winged horse-like steeds, shoot bows and arrows, have shamans and speak a language that sounds remarkably like Lakota, coincidentally reside over the largest deposit of unattainium on the planet. The "company" wants the military, a bunch of ex-Marine mercenaries, to move the people from their sacred, ancestral homeland at any cost. The blood-thirsty ex-Marine commander is only too happy to do so, especially if he can kill them all with "shock and awe." He is completely unconcerned about women and children being in the way. How the movie progresses is not worth relating. Suffice it to say that the evil capitalists are vanquished from the planet forever and the local people become one with the environment.
Avatar, as work of art, is bereft of value because it adds nothing to the discourse. It is, frankly, left-wing propaganda packaged to appeal to a young audience. While not denying nor condoning the sometimes horrific treatment suffered by Indians at the hands of the US government (e.g., the Sand Creek Massacre), The Refugee labels this movie as a loser. It is just another ad hominem attack on the US, our military, our history and capitalism-as-greed. Balance and perspective are irrelevant to the producers. The similes are cheesy (i.e., "unattainium), the story plotless and the characters completely predictable. That the producers would intentionally propagandize to young minds in this way is deplorable. The Refugee is unhappy to have patronized this endeavor to contribute to the profit that the producers so apparently abhor. Perhaps his experience can serve as a warning to others.
I found this story very funny, sweet and strangely moving. Catholics past present and future will get several good chuckles.
I won't excerpt: read it coast to coast or move on. But the author, one "Robin in Berkeley," is a Jew who goes to Mass on Christmas with plans to hide in the back pew and observe. Things don't exactly work out as she planned.
The same author has another interesting post about hypocrisy and insular mentality at Obama-cheerleading churches. That was the hook that grabbed, but the Christmas Story really got me.
If we can’t catch a Nigerian with a powerful explosive powder in his oddly feminine-looking underpants and a syringe full of acid, a man whose own father had alerted the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, a traveler whose ticket was paid for in cash and who didn’t check bags, whose visa renewal had been denied by the British, who had studied Arabic in Al Qaeda sanctuary Yemen, whose name was on a counterterrorism watch list, who can we catch? -- Maureen Dowd
I'll have to think about that one, but he presents a nice defense of the procedure that every majority party learns to hate:
On any given day, what is Congress more likely to do: violate or expand liberty? As nineteenth-century New York Judge Gideon Tucker put it, “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”
Libertarian science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein had a good idea. One of his novels depicted a bicameral legislature with one chamber needing a supermajority to pass laws and the other needing only a minority of votes to repeal them.
By the standard of protecting freedom and keeping government caged, that’s not a bad idea. It should be easier to repeal laws than to pass them.
Apparently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) believes that a “shovel ready” project means digging up the dead to hand them a stimulus check.
In fact, the SSA reported that more than 10,000 stimulus checks were sent to the dead.
With the headline: "NOW THAT'S STIMULUS New hope for the dead!"
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the blossoming of democracy around the world, stimulated in part by the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989. Far from producing much new growth, however, 2009 brought to mind an old folk song: Where have all the flowers gone?
Steve, buddy, can I be honest with you? The "flowers" were in full bloom when a Sharanskyite US President was leading the world with a bold call for more self government and liberalism.
When Reason Magazine joined those who piled on an unpopular Administration in an unpopular war, freedom's growth was impeded. When Reason Magazine's editor published a polemic book attacking Senator McCain and lambasted him throughout the election, it contributed to the election of a candidate who displays zero interest in using even the bully pulpit to promote freedom.
Said Reason editors and staff were no doubt on firm philosophical footing when they criticized President Bush and Candidate-Senator McCain. But big-L Libertarians are supposed to be so smart about unintended consequences are they not?
You and your buddies, Steve, would do nothing to contribute to American leadership of a Liberal International Economic Order (LIEO). Welcome to your world.
We've got several flavors of football fan 'round these parts, but I have to give some props to the boys from the frozen tundra of Lambeau field. I recently reconnected with a great friend of this blog. When I was posting at Berkeley Square Blog, I met then Maj. Jay Greeley who had been recalled and was serving in Mosul.
Now LTC Greeley is an Army liaison to the FAA. He sent me a couple of emails, and I know everybody at ThreeSources will dig these pictures.
"Every Thursday a group of us arrive at Walter Reed about 3pm and stay no later than eight to sit with the soldiers. Two years ago, Gen Campbell called me up and invited me to contact the Packers organization. The Gen was an Alumni of St. Norbert College (SNC), knew that I had a connection with Bob Harlan, and said to "get the stuff."
"Mr. Harlan, then acting Pres of the Packers, sent eight boxes overnight of game balls and other stuff. Soldiers received hats, coats, everything... This is the family of a young man who lost his left leg and left arm. His younger brothers came from Arkansas and did not bring coats for the cool fall. So the Packer ladies packed some coaches jackets and the word is that they went in the Locker Room and grabbed them from the head coaches’ lockers as they had the biggest ones.
"A year later we were able to give Bob Harlan his thank you from the Walter Reed Warrior BDE Commander. With me was a young Sgt that was with me in Mosul, his unit supported some tough operations. He was assigned to St. Norbert College (SNC) ROTC."
There are other great pictures in the email and I can forward them to any ThreeSourcer who is interested, Some depict current patients so I will not post them publicly. I will leave you with one picture of our friend, receiving his service coin from some fellow named Petraeus – you may have heard of him.
I had the chance to talk to LTC Greeley on the phone for an hour yesterday, He is a fire hose of interesting information and great stories. I know I'm joined by all ThreeSourcers when I say "Thank you for your service!"
It looks like I can blame the Administration after all. Thanks, AP:
WASHINGTON – Two federal agencies charged with keeping potential terrorists off airplanes and out of the country have been without their top leaders for nearly a year.
It took the Obama administration more than eight months to nominate anyone to lead the Transportation Security Administration and the Customs and Border Protection agency.
President Barack Obama has ordered a review of U.S. security policies following the failed Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound flight from Amsterdam. He vowed Monday to "do everything that we can to keep America safe."
We would not have gone with a health care czar for eight weeks. Yet, those stupid, time-wasting, enumerated powers...
Sprint showed us what it would look like "If Firefighters Ran the World."
Senators Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Richard Durbin and Christopher Dodd show us what would happen "If the Mafia Ran the World."
Problem is, the Sprint ad was hypothetical and the Senate's actions are all too real. It can legitimately be argued that the Democrat party has become a full-fledged criminal syndicate. Just listen to Judge Napolitano.
Is what we are seeing today much different than if a majority of Mafioso had been elected to Congress?
Am I racist to post this because this particular, brain-dead, corrupt Union thug happens to be of African descent? You decide.
The teamsters are blockading blood donations at the Red Cross in Philadelphia (home to a certain football team). But, compassionate lot that dey is, dey did allow one shipment to go through to save the life of a two-year old. But the rest of youse? Dey got grievances!
I cannot even continue. Read Liberty Chick's post on BigGovernment (from whence I lifted the picture), then John Stossel's take.
When we have a union disgruntled over a pay freeze that has resorted to blocking a blood donation delivery, on its way to save the life of a 2-year old child, from reaching a hospital, we have a problem. When we have unions that control the majority of health care, home care, nursing home care, child care, pharmacy, radiology, and public workers in this country, we will have a catastrophe. -- Liberty Chick
The spirit of Sharansky lives, even though it is so unfashionable in America today that even I am becoming sheepish. Here's the WSJ Ed Page today:
In Iran and China, Christmas weekend brought two inspiring examples of the high price that men and women are still willing to pay in the eternal struggle for political freedom.
In Beijing, the Chinese Communists ignored the protests of more than a dozen countries and sentenced 53-year-old literary critic Liu Xiaobo to 11 years in prison for the crime of peacefully agitating for democracy. His verdict came after a two-hour, closed-door trial Wednesday from which diplomats, his wife and his chosen lawyer were barred.
"When he decides to do something, he doesn't regret it,'' said his wife, Liu Xia, who was allowed to speak to her husband for 10 minutes after he learned his fate. "He said he hopes to be the last person punished for practicing freedom of expression" in China. No wonder Chinese officials are so afraid of Mr. Liu, who wields the power of the unbreakable individual spirit.
Meanwhile, in Tehran, democratic protestors continued to risk their lives and freedom by going into the streets despite an increasingly brutal government crackdown. On Sunday, security forces opened fire on demonstrators in the College Square neighborhood, killing at least four and injuring dozens, according to witnesses and opposition Web sites. The nephew of opposition leader and former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi was among the dead.
It's impossible to know when these freedom fighters will realize their democratic goals, but they deserve our admiration and support.
I don't have the intestinal fortitude to watch "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." But yesterday, by accident, I was up and tuned in when it came on. Jake Tapper was interviewing Secretary Napolitano. In spite of admirable effort, he could not shake the Secretary out of happy talk mode.
"All the systems performed properly!" said the woman who believes herself to be in charge of our personal safety. No, no problems here.
The headline this morning is "Napolitano concedes airline security system failed" and even the AP is a bit wry in the lead paragraph:
WASHINGTON – Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano conceded Monday that the aviation security system failed when a young man on a watchlist with a U.S. visa in his pocket and a powerful explosive hidden on his body was allowed to board a fight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
Misconstrue me not. I don't blame the Secretary or the Administration for the failure. But her insistence that nothing was wrong portends poorly for hopes to correct it.
A linkety-good Christmas present from a good friend of this blog. Alexander Cockburn's piece in Real World Politics.
This admission edges close to acknowledgment of a huge core problem: that "greenhouse" theory violates the second law of thermodynamics, which says that a cooler body cannot warm a hotter body without compensation. Greenhouse gases in the cold upper atmosphere cannot possibly transfer heat to the warmer earth, and in fact radiate their absorbed heat into outer space. (Readers interested in the science can read Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf Tscheuschner's "Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within the Frame of Physics," updated in January 2009.)
Recent data from many monitors including the CRU, available on climate4you.com, show that the average temperature of the atmosphere and the oceans near the surface of the earth has decreased significantly across the past eight years or so. CO2 is a benign gas essential to life, occurring in past eras at five times present levels. Changes in atmospheric CO2 do not correlate with human emissions of CO2, the latter being entirely trivial in the global balance.
I know you're all shocked. Stick with me a minute.
In a superb guest editorial in the WSJ, Dr, Scott Gottlieb provides a comprehensive enumeration of reasons that the current Senate bill is bad for physicians and providers. Most will not be a surprise, but I had not seen this little gem before:
Next, the plan creates financial incentives for doctors to consolidate their practices. The idea here is that Medicare can more easily apply its regulations to institutions that manage large groups of doctors than it can to individual physicians. So the Obama plan imposes new costs on doctors who remain solo, mostly by increasing their overhead requirements—such as requiring three years of medical records every time a doctor orders routine medical equipment like wheelchairs.
The plan also offers doctors financial carrots if they give up their small practices and consolidate into larger medical groups, or become salaried employees of large institutions such as hospitals or "staff model" medical plans like Kaiser Permanente. One provision, laid out in Section 3022, allows doctors to share with the government any savings to the government they achieve by delivering less care—but only if physicians are part of groups caring for more than 5,000 Medicare patients and "have in place a leadership and management structure, including with regard to clinical and administrative systems."
Round 'em all up so they are easier to control! These are Doctors we are talking about.
Consolidation has a great track record in business and is important. But no serious person ever claimed it improved innovation. Our new medical overlords are so considered somebody will discover a new treatment that costs money.
I cannot imagine that any ThreeSourcer would enjoy anything more than a generally intelligent and very spirited philosophical debate. Larry Kudlow, Don Luskin, and NRO's Jerry Bowyer take on Ayn Rand, freedom, athieism, selfishness, the works.
Politico’s Mike Allen and Alexander Trowbridge have some bad news for Democrats, especially in the Senate, where Harry Reid has kept the chamber locked in battle over ObamaCare for weeks in an attempt to hit the finish line by Christmas. Barack Obama plans to put the health-care overhaul on the back burner until after the State of the Union address, pushing any conference between the House and Senate off until February. Instead, Obama plans a “hard pivot” towards jobs and the economy.
Let him screw up jobs and teh economy for awhile, that sounds far less dangerous.
How Congress Can Create More Jobs: Mandate the National League Enact the Designated Hitter
At first, this would create 16 new jobs (number of N.L. teams). But think of all the other jobs. There will likely need to be more balls and bats produced because a D.H. is more likely to break a bat or foul a ball off during a plate appearance than a pitcher batting. This will increase the demand for wood and forestry products. Think of all those jobs. We may even need another bat boy. Pitchers will wear out faster, thereby compounding this issue. And pitchers will probably be more likely to be hurt during the season due to more wear and tear (every 9th batter won't be essentially a free pass). Therefore, more replacement pitchers will be needed. Plus, this wear and tear will create more jobs for medical trainers.
I really resent TaxProf Blog's blatant spin on this issue. I would have entitled it "IRS Gets 30% Right!"
TIGTA reviewed a sample of ITIN applications and found that almost 70% contained significant errors and/or raised concerns that should have prevented the issuance of an ITIN. The IRS estimates that it has issued more than 14 million ITINs as of December 2008.
ITINs are intended to provide tax identification numbers to resident and nonresident alien individuals who may have U.S. tax reporting or filing obligations but do not qualify for Social Security Numbers, which generally are only issued to U.S. citizens and individuals legally admitted to the U.S.
James Pethokoukis points out: "On this double-counting issue, I dont know if this will pan out. But if it does, boom goes the dynamite."
The key point is that the savings to the HI trust fund under the PPACA would be received by the government only once, so they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs. Trust fund accounting shows the magnitude of the savings within the trust fund, and those savings indeed improve the solvency of that fund; however, that accounting ignores the burden that would be faced by the rest of the government later in redeeming the bonds held by the trust fund.
One tires of saying it but: if they did this at Enron, there'd be jail time...
A little reminder of what happens when government gets too powerful: my friend sends a link to a post on his friend's blog on "The Big Excursion." I guess the author was about 11 when the events happened. It does not lend itself to excerpting, but here is the intro:
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the compelled migration of Bulgaria’s Turks. Being a part of the brutal forced assimilation process that the Bulgarian government imposed on the largest minority of the country, it is the biggest exodus that Europe has seen since the World War II. More than 320,000 people left their homes seeking for shelter and protection in Turkey [1, 2]. Later this became known as “The Big Excursion”. Here I will try to relate my recollections of the sad story of my family during this excursion.
My friend is Bulgarian by birth, Turkish by race, and now a citizen of Ireland. He and the author now both have PhDs in Computer Science.
Both grew up under not only the oppression of Communism but also governmnet-sponsered racism against Turks and Muslims. Curiously, I cannot detect the distrust of government in my friend present in so many freed from Communism. He is a big fan of European Socialism, hopes to see the UN do more against Global Warming, &c.
He IMed this link to me and said "i hope nobody experiences something like this again." And yet he thinks I am crazy for seeing the seeds of that in expanding government power today.
We agree, however: "i hope nobody experiences something like this again."
Duquesne Light carries extra weight here because health-insurance industries are far from natural monopolies, so that regulating their rates calls for an extra dollop of judicial scrutiny. At this point, the Reid bill is on a collision course with the Constitution. I take it for granted that, constitutionally, the federal government could not just require all private health insurers to liquidate tomorrow, without compensation. -- Richard Epstein
It has been such a fine year for DAWG Denyin' -- really 2k9 was one for the books.
I went from skepticism that man was causing global warming to skepticism that the globe is warming at all. Good times. If things get better, I may start doubting that the Earth is round...
But don't let's forget the D: Is Global Warming, Anthropogenic or not, actually Deleterious? Insty links to a "Copenhagen Coda:" 100 Europeans dead -- just by being on the same continent as VP Gore:
More than 100 people have been killed in the cold snap across Europe, with temperatures plummeting and snowfall causing chaos from Moscow to Milan.
In Poland, where temperatures have dropped to as low as -20C in some areas, police appealed for tip-offs about people spotted lying around outside. At least 42 people, most of them homeless, died over the weekend.
In Ukraine 27 people have frozen to death since the thermometer dropped last week. Authorities in Romania said 11 people had succumbed to the chill, and in the Czech Republic the toll was 12. In Germany, where temperatures have fallen to -33C in certain parts, at least seven people are known to have lost their lives in the freezing weather.
Rough weather in the US lately has lead to dozens of deaths -- at the risk of jingoism -- in a developed, industrial society.
Lining up at the trough after the slop has been poured -- are they not?
Nelson Says More Senators Seeking Special Treatment in Light of Nebraska Deal
Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, who has faced a heap of criticism for appearing to trade his vote on health care for millions in federal Medicaid money, said he's considering asking that the Nebraska deal be stripped from the bill. But he said other senators are looking for special treatment in light of his success.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith announced Tuesday he is switching to the GOP, another blow to Democrats facing a potentially tough midterm election.
Griffith spoke to reporters at his home in northern Alabama, a region that relies heavily on defense and aerospace jobs.
"I believe our nation is at a crossroads and I can no longer align myself with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy, and drives us further and further into debt," Griffith said as his wife Virginia stood by his side.
The 67-year-old radiation oncologist was narrowly elected last year in a district that includes Huntsville and Decatur. President Barack Obama lost badly there to Republican John McCain.
Coals to Newcastle. But I break my Facebook pledge against politics again with this comprehensive argument against the Health Care bill and current partisan tactics.
I highly recommend everybody's sharing it with a few people who will dislike it.
I'll even give them a Quote of the Day:
Even in World War I there was a Christmas truce.
The rushed, secretive way that a bill this destructive and unpopular is being forced on the country shows that "reform" has devolved into the raw exercise of political power for the single purpose of permanently expanding the American entitlement state. An increasing roll of leaders in health care and business are looking on aghast at a bill that is so large and convoluted that no one can truly understand it, as Finance Chairman Max Baucus admitted on the floor last week. The only goal is to ram it into law while the political window is still open, and clean up the mess later.
I don't like to call out one of our valued commenters by name, but...
Keith, from here on out, no comments will be allowed that debase or deprecate Jamacus Russel. I can see exemptions for ridiculing those goofy earrings, but his QB skills are off limits. I have a delete button and I am not afraid to use it.
I will live but I will be grouchy for at least 24 more hours. Hey the Raiders beat us, that happens. I just asked SC if he saw the penalty at the end of the game. It gave them one or two more downs and as much as 30 seconds on the clock. Yet the illustrious TV presentation could not be bothered to run a replay. We saw the pass and the clock five times during the officials' time out, but we never saw the game-changing penalty. For all I know, #59 was busted with a smoking gun, DNA, and a solid chain of evidentiary possession. But if it were a ticky tacky call that changed the game, I'd like to have seen it.
The broadcasters. They called the game over with five minutes left and a single score separating division rivals. They were doing the playoff lineup and congratulating Coach McDaniels for his ninth win. I was wondering "any of you guys ever seen a Broncos-Raiders game?'
UPDATE Peace offering: here's an embed of Keith's clip:
Thanks to Senator Sheldon Whitehose for giving the opposition a viable plan:
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) today took shots at those who are not supporting the health care legislation. During a floor speech, he excoriated Senate GOP members for up holding the pending health care bill and accused their supporters of being birthers and fanatics in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups. He started off by citing an editorial from the Manchester Journal Inquirer, which used insults like "lunatic fringe.":
Likely past time. But Senator Cornyn offers a site that allows you send an email to seven Senators -- including my illustrious Senator Bennet.
I sent the mails and made a small gift. If any ThreeSources felt they could join me:
Your message was sent to:
Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln
Senator Michael F. Bennet
Senator Evan Bayh
Senator Byron L. Dorgan
Senator Ben Nelson
Senator Arlen Specter
Senator Jim Webb
I have Multiple Sclerosis and my wife is recovering from a stroke.
Both of us need advances in treatment and therapy that will be severely impeded by this bill.
I would support interstate purchase of insurance, normalization of tax status between employers and individuals, and would consider a well structured plan to aid those who cannot acquire or afford insurance.
The current package does none of this. It will drive up government costs and taxes -- and make future health care worse.
Please vote NO! (I especially urge Senator Bennet because I live in Colorado).
I realized what it was. We had returned to the Middle Ages.
A high tech Middle Ages, of course, but still the Middle Ages. Forget the Renaissance, forget the Enlightenment, forget Spinoza, Locke, Galileo and everybody else, we had returned to our roots as gullible and idiotic human beings, as willing to believe in the primacy of anthropogenic global warming as we would in the sighting of the Madonna at a river crossing twelve kilometers south of Sienna in 1340.
When a man in the UK was asked to be the best man at his friend's wedding, he was touched. So touched, that he promised not to pull any pranks before or during the wedding. After the wedding though, that's another story.
This man, who is choosing to stay anonymous, has set up this Twitter account for the sole purpose of automatically tweeting when the newlyweds are having sex. I'm not kidding.
Kim Strassel notes that "Barack Obama emerged from his meeting with Senate Democrats this week to claim Congress was on the 'precipice' of something historic." (Roger Kimball suggests "precipice" instead of "threshold" as a Freudian slip.)
The polls are bad and getting worse, but Strassel offers what I fear to be the real reason so many will jump:
So why the stubborn insistence on passing health reform? Think big. The liberal wing of the party -- the Barney Franks, the David Obeys -- are focused beyond November 2010, to the long-term political prize. They want a health-care program that inevitably leads to a value-added tax and a permanent welfare state. Big government then becomes fact, and another Ronald Reagan becomes impossible. See Continental Europe.
The entitlement crazes of the 1930s and 1960s also caused a backlash, but liberal Democrats know the programs of those periods survived. They are more than happy to sacrifice a few Blue Dogs, a Blanche Lincoln, a Michael Bennet, if they can expand government so that in the long run it benefits the party of government.
Should I congratulate them for principle? Strassel compliments my backbencher freshman Senator: "In Colorado, where 55% of voters oppose a health bill, appointed Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet told CNN he'd vote for a bill even if it "cost him his job." Give the freshman credit for honesty."
Yes, Senator, you've got to break some eggs to make an omelet, don't you?
I know y'all get tired of these examples (but the link is pretty interesting).
This is how science is done. Always questioning, diverging, and occasionally denying!
Was Newton right and Einstein wrong? It seems that unzipping the fabric of spacetime and harking back to 19th-century notions of time could lead to a theory of quantum gravity.
Physicists have struggled to marry quantum mechanics with gravity for decades. In contrast, the other forces of nature have obediently fallen into line. For instance, the electromagnetic force can be described quantum-mechanically by the motion of photons. Try and work out the gravitational force between two objects in terms of a quantum graviton, however, and you quickly run into trouble—the answer to every calculation is infinity. But now Petr Hořava, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, thinks he understands the problem. It’s all, he says, a matter of time.
Damned Relativity-deniers! Don't they know the science is settled!
Sanctimonious progressives ridicule social conservatives for refusing to acknowledge the validity of the theory of evolution. Too bad they are too dense to see the obvious parallel with their refusal to acknowledge the lessons of history. But IBD's Michael Ramirez sees it.
What do progressives love most? It's not global warming or taxes or shutting down a Walmart*
If you guessed "light rail" grab yourself an apple and granola bar.
Vincent Carroll of the Denver Post writes today on the Western High Speed Rail Alliance.
The brainchild of public agencies in four states — Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Utah — the rail alliance believes "the future mobility of people and freight in the West depends on high speed rail lines." Yet in supporting this dubious thesis in their opening press conference, officials misstated so many elementary facts as to cast doubt on whether they'd studied the issue at all.
An introductory video contained the first whopper. After explaining that in the future, "most of the fastest growing states will be in the West" — true enough — the narrator went on to claim that "for nearly a half century the primary focus for passenger rail has targeted the development and funding of Amtrak's Eastern corridor, an area losing population."
Which it isn't. but whatever...
To compound the demographic muddle, the general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, Jacob Snow, told reporters that "our densities here in the West are very high and probably much higher than those areas referenced in much of the rest of the country."
Huh? What? Mister Snow should join a rock band. I have driven across those states a time or two, and the word "density" does not come to mind.
Yet when asked about the economic viability of their plans to link cities in the four states, Snow blithely mentioned the profits of the Central Japan Railway Co., which serves one of the densest, highly populated corridors in the world.
This, from a WSJ house editorial titled, "The Audacity of Debt":
"Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren," Senator Barack Obama said during the 2006 debt-ceiling debate. "America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better." That was $2 trillion ago, when someone else was President.
Tipping point? Status Quo was a pejorative term last week: NBC/WSJ Poll:
As the Senate sprints to pass a health-care bill by Christmas, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that those believing President Obama's health-reform plan is a good idea has sunk to its lowest level.
Just 32 percent say it's a good idea, versus 47 percent who say it's a bad idea.
In addition, for the first time in the survey, a plurality prefers the status quo to reform. By a 44-41 percent margin, respondents say it would be better to keep the current system than to pass Obama's health plan.
In theory, the money is supposed to help poor countries pay for their transition to a carbon-neutral future. But the developed world has been pouring trillions of dollars into development aid in various forms for decades, with little to show for it. The reasons are well-known: Corruption, political oppression, government control of the economy and the absence of rule of law combine to keep poor countries poor. And those factors also ensure that most aid is squandered or skimmed off the top. Recasting foreign aid as "climate mitigation" won't change any of that.
Still, Copenhagen's fixation on who pays for these huge wealth transfers is instructive because it lays bare the myth that greening the global economy is a cost-free exercise. The G-77 scoffed at a European offer of €7.2 billion ($10 billion) over three years. Instead, the Sudanese chairman of the group, Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, suggested in an interview with Mother Jones magazine that something on the order of a trillion dollars, or more, would be appropriate.
BBC video showed truncheon-bearing Danish police shoving the crowd backward as protesters gasped and covered their faces to avoid breathing tear gas.
Now if the Heritage Foundation, Wall Street Journal, CEI, Exxon, and ThreeSourcers were braving the Danish Truncheons I could dig it. But what do the enviros get from disturbing the global warming conference?
Parson Malthus was invoked on this blog many times yesterday. Wikipedia says he died in 1834, I say he lives:
Dennis Meadows, one of the authors of the Malthusian 1972 classic "The Limits to Growth," also served up some climate honesty in a recent interview with Der Spiegel. "I lived long enough in a country like Afghanistan to know that I don't want us to have to live like that in the future. But we have to learn to live a life that allows for fulfillment and development, with the CO2 emissions of Afghanistan." Mr. Meadows's chilling corollary: "If you want everyone to have the full potential of mobility, adequate food and self-development, then . . . one or two billion" people is about all the population the planet can sustain. -- WSJ Ed Page
I feel a little bit better about my two hopeless Senators when I watch this. But I do not post it just to jab my Minnesota friends with some sort of rhetorical poke in the eye with some sort of sharp stick, with large hunks of rock salt stuck on the end.
No, I post this for the same reason @mkhammer linked: the good people at Talking Points Memo put this together and posted it because they think it makes Senator Franken look so good. Yup, watch him take down Senator Thune with his repetition of a Moynihan quote -- watch in awe!
CATO scores us as one out of ten. Pretty depressing. I am not going to excerpt, you'll want to read the whole thing. It's what we're all about around here.
I'd add a couple more downers:
-- I thought their Eighth example was not as strong as would be a serious complaint about the possibility of anal rape in American prisons and the jocular attitude toward it.
-- Speaking of attitude, our country's foremost progressive journal, The New Republic, recently ridiculed tea party protesters, calling them "Tenthers" based on their appreciation for the Tenth Amendment. It seems believing in the Bill of Rights is considered akin to being a conspiracy theorist. Sad days.
James Pethokoukis agrees with "a greenie, Guardian op-ed (GGOE):"
Humanity is no longer split between conservatives and liberals, reactionaries and progressives, though both sides are informed by the older politics. Today the battle lines are drawn between expanders and restrainers; those who believe that there should be no impediments and those who believe that we must live within limits.
I spent the day waiting with thousands of others in subfreezing cold to try to get into the proper building to obtain our credentials for the official United Nations Climate Change Conference -- Ronald Bailey, wondering "how anyone expects the U.N. to run the world's climate if it can't manage a queue?"
An anecdote and a WSJ column add to the same sad conclusion. As the lamp of liberty is extinguished in the US, the lamp of prosperity dims concomitantly (boy if we had an editor around here, sentences like that would be struck or fixed...)
At lunch with two socialists and two dyed-in-the-wool American progressives last Sunday. I kept my mouth shut until the virtues of Michael Moore's "Sicko" came up. This was more than I could bear. "...and you go to the cashier after your doctor's visit and they give YOU money!" I snapped -- I waved my chopsticks in the air (it was dim sum) and said "and the money comes from faeries waving magic wands! They don't tax anybody or anything!"
It was all good natured and I got a little lecture on how socialism has "worked" in France for 60 years. But then my Parisian friend said something which did bug me. "Nobody there wants to come here anymore. My friends and family used to be jealous and they all wanted to come here. Now nobody does."
That line has stuck in my head. At one level it was a debating point, but the sentiment was real. Why would you? In a down economy, the world's highest corporate tax rates and a shining new era of increased regulation, why indeed?
You didn't come to ThreeSources to hear jk bash the USA (Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?) so I will pass the baton. Dana Matioli of the Wall Street Journal careers section says With Fewer U.S. Opportunities, Home Looks Appealing to Expats. Unemployment, Visa issues and more dynamic economies in their home countries are luring ex-pats back. Matioli cites examples from Australia, Germany and Asia.
Scrivener links to some contrarian thoughts from Dave Berri's "The Wages of Wins." Berri suggests that the team makes the quarterback, not as supposed, the other way 'round.
The Chicago Bears finished the 2008 season with a 9-7 record, a mark that fell just short of qualifying for the playoffs. In discussing Chicago’s problems, people tended to focus on the team’s quarterback. As Table One reports, Kyle Orton – the Bears starting quarterback in 2008 — was ranked 25th (out of 32) quarterbacks...
In the offseason it became clear that Jay Cutler -– a player who ranked 7th ... was available. So the Bears sent Kyle Orton –-- plus two first round draft picks and a third round pick –- to the Broncos for Cutler.
Fans of the Bears rejoiced at this move. And fans of the Denver Broncos became very, very angry ... Many NFL pundits were heard expressing the conventional wisdom: You simply don’t trade away a “franchise” quarterback [like Cutler]..
[Today] the Broncos are 7-4 while the Bears are 4-7. When we look at each quarterback’s stats we see that the 2008 result has been essentially reversed. Orton now ranks 9th ... Cutler is ranked 25th.
This was posted prior to the Broncos-Colts game. One might respond with the clever, well reasoned three word argument: "Umm, Peyton Manning?"
I have been thinking that the Chicago trade is on par with Cutler's tragic flaw: he lacks the emotional maturity to match his arm. Of course, he will probably grow out of it (into it?), but it is not a guarantee. Forcing a trade to a team with inferior receivers does not strike me as a rational, self-interested move for a QB.
No doubt they have a better club scene, and he can look forward to palling around with Oprah Winfrey. But a guy in his profession should start rolling up stats and wins and establishing a foundation for championships. I can't help but feel he traded those away or deferred them for childish reasons.
Closing, non-sequitor aside: I was pretty happy with the Broncos yesterday. No great shame to lose to the 2009 Colts. They did not get blown out. And if you take away a few educable errors (15 yd helmet-doff penalty), and make a couple field goals, it was a game.
At this point, Lieberman seems primarily motivated by torturing liberals. That is to say, he seems willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score.
Still, the question remains: what the hell is Joe Lieberman thinking? Sure, he can get away with these antics as long as he is the 60th vote. No matter how furious Democrats are, they are not going to punish him as long as he can break a filibuster for them.
But that's another year. Then what? It's highly unlikely that Democrats will keep exactly 58 seats plus Bernie Sanders. At that point, one way or another, Joe Lieberman becomes largely superfluous. And the Democrats are going to have their knives out.
Ummm, is it not possible that this is a vote of principle? This is a huge and likely irreversible step for the country. Senator Lieberman will always have some value as a swing vote in a closely divided Senate. He may be diminished if the numbers change, but not irrelevant.
Back to my naiveté, Klein and McArdle both miss the simple, occam's razor argument: Joe thinks it is wrong.
Any of my horsie-owning neighbors know a vet that would make a house call on a dog?
I cannot get a refill for Skylark's pain meds without blood tests and I cannot navigate the ice in our parking lot to keep the appointment (oddly enough I was out this weekend but it thawed and refroze funny).
Mark Steyn captures something that always disturbs me in President Obama's speeches. Steyn exposes the insane strawman arguments with this perfect reductio ad absurdum:
The usual trick is to position their man as the uniquely insightful leader, pitching his tent between two extremes no sane person has ever believed: "There are those who say there is no evil in the world. There are others who argue that pink fluffy bunnies are the spawn of Satan and conspiring to overthrow civilization. Let me be clear: I believe people of goodwill on all sides can find common ground between the absurdly implausible caricatures I attribute to them on a daily basis. We must begin by finding the courage to acknowledge the hard truth that I am living testimony to the power of nuance to triumph over hard truth and come to the end of the sentence on a note of sonorous, polysyllabic if somewhat hollow uplift. Pause for applause."
If true. If this is true, Google is evil. This is a so far anonymous email to Rand Simberg:
It’s very disturbing how Google is behaving with regard to Climategate/Climaquiddick. I put both of those in my custom news page. For a while, it steadfastly refused to update Climaquiddick, and then it began to update Climategate only with stories attacking climate change skeptics. I could find many more stories on Yahoo, most of which were alarmed at the fraud which seems to be occurring.
Then when I logged in today, Google News had deleted those two categories from my custom section. When I reestablished them, they brought up only a few of the old, outdated original stories plus a few newer attack stories.
Web searches on Climaquiddick yielded only 72,600 hits on Google and 84,300 on Bing, but 565,000 on Yahoo. None of them will autocomplete the word “Climaquiddick.” They won’t autocomplete “Climategate” either, but Yahoo alone will suggest “climate gate.”
Does everyone in Silicon Valley think that pretending information doesn’t exist will make it so? If so, how much can we trust the technology they produce?
I'm a Yahoo guy thinking of migrating to Bing -- anybody see this?
DENVER — Dozens of Colorado businesses are turning off their lights from noon to 1 p.m. Friday as part of an initiative to conserve energy.
It's called Lights Out Lunch. Residents who pledge to turn off their lights too can get discounts from participating restaurants and a chance to win prizes.
The initiative is by Xcel Energy, the Governor's Energy Office and the city and county of Denver.
Colorado Restaurant Association President and CEO Pete Meersman says research shows restaurants use more than five times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings.
We froze in the dark for tens of thousands of years. Y'all want to climb back in the cave, be my guest! The stupidity of local government is no surprise, but how is the utility, Xcel Energy, caught up in this? Will the restaurants do a hunger strike day?
Two Quotes of the Day? At 11:00 Mountain? Boy, this blog is going downhill...
I'm sorry, I tried to be all breezy and cynical about this, but it's time for Democrats to tell Max Baucus that it's time for him to resign. Not because he had an affair with an employee, which doesn't bother me as long as it doesn't bother the employee. But nominating your girlfriend for US Attorney, and then withdrawing the nomination when a paper says they're about to break the story, clearly indicates that you know it's unsavory. Say what you want about Republicans, but they have a much better sense than their opponents of when it's time to grab one of their own and throw him off the sled to the wolves running behind. -- Megan McArdle
This last-minute, back-room ploy shows again that Democrats are simply winging it as they rush to pass something—anything—that can get 60 votes by Christmas. President Obama praised the proposal as "a creative new framework," while Finance Chairman Max Baucus told the Washington Post, "If there's 60 Senators who can reach agreement, I'm for it." Now there's a model standard to use for reordering 17% of the U.S. economy. --- WSJ Ed Page
That Professor Goddard, with his ‘chair’ in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution, does not know the relation of action to reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react – to say that would be absurd. Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.
What is noteworthy about the original editorial is not just the ignorance, but the arrogance and the outright nastiness. As the AstronauticsNow post points out, “The enlightened newspaper not only ridiculed the idea that rocket propulsion would work in vacuum but it questioned the integrity and professionalism of Goddard.” The post goes on to say that “The sensationalism and merciless attack by the New York Times and other newspapers left a profound impression on Robert Goddard who became secretive about his work (to detriment of development of rocketry in the United States)…”
It appears that some of the attributes of the NYT which make it so untrustworthy and unlovable today are actually cultural characteristics of long standing.
Worth keeping in mind when reading NYT analyses of Climategate.
I have a goofy idea, but it is a good idea. Here is a new way to raise campaign cash:
Create a "Director's Level" ("Wonk's Level," whatever..) and members who donate a certain $$$ get put on a special list that will receive -- how can I put this -- not-completely-idiotic campaign literature.
I have received a couple copies of an email from Jane Norton. She is running against Senator Bennet in 2010. I want to support her. I want her to win, but I really can't handle these emails. I know we all get 100s electronic and print:
As blog pragmatist, I understand that she cannot win by a 100% pure appeal to higher philosophical virtues (though she could do a little better than this letter). And yet, I am tired of being treated like a child. AND, I am wiling to pony up a certain amount ($250, maybe $500) to get emails that are substantive and targeted at somebody with a knowledge of politics and government that is not third-grade populism.
I'd like to receive her serious thoughts on health care at a level that would be suitable for readers of this blog. And I'd pay for the privilege.
Michael Steele, same offer buddy, I'm not three and your vehicles are causing me to contribute less than I would normally.
UPDATE: I conflated Jane Norton with Gale Norton (since corrected). ThreeSources apologizea for any inconvenience.
A beloved non-moonbat relative is not a fan of expanding government, yet is convinced that the reason the local grocery store doesn't sell bad meat is fear of the USDA, not fear of reputation or lawsuits.
I just sent a link to this USA Today piece (no doubt the print version has a cute little graph showing tainted chickens...)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the meat it buys for the National School Lunch Program "meets or exceeds standards in commercial products."
That isn't always the case. McDonald's, Burger King and Costco, for instance, are far more rigorous in checking for bacteria and dangerous pathogens. They test the ground beef they buy five to 10 times more often than the USDA tests beef made for schools during a typical production day.
And the limits Jack in the Box and other big retailers set for certain bacteria in their burgers are up to 10 times more stringent than what the USDA sets for school beef.
For chicken, the USDA has supplied schools with thousands of tons of meat from old birds that might otherwise go to compost or pet food. Called "spent hens" because they're past their egg-laying prime, the chickens don't pass muster with Colonel Sanders— KFC won't buy them — and they don't pass the soup test, either. The Campbell Soup Company says it stopped using them a decade ago based on "quality considerations."
This represents an insidious acceptance of government power. Living a whole life of regulation -- many assume that they have been protected by regulation, when they would be better served by free markets.
Several blog brothers and friends used to work at the company where I work. (I left and came back). I have some shocking news for them and an interesting economic indicator for everybody else.
We just bought a new building. We have been in some barely-improved warehouse space for more than 20 years. Our CEO enjoyed a good personal relationship with the landlord, and the price was right. We'd outgrow the space and get another building, fix it a little...
Being in a good position in a down economy does present opportunity (I think the Chinese pictogram for opportunity is the one for "crap" and the one for "dollars" -- not sure...) and I guess we got an offer even we could not refuse. I'll still work at home, but it is a nice underscore of stability as we celebrate our 30th anniversary.
Senators Colburn and McCain have compiled an impressive document: Stimulus Checkup: a closer look at 100 projects funded by the coercive taxpayer theft act of 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It's worth a look.
Don Luskin has highlighted a few egregious examples, but I'm going to open the bidding with #14: Anti-Capitalist, Socially-Conscious Puppet Shows ($100,000)
Each spring, Minnesota is home to a nationally known Mayday parade put on by In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOTB), which includes artists that advocate for socially progressive causes such as the elimination of fossil fuels and ―free market fundamentalism.‖98 The theatre derives its name from a quote popularized by Che Guevara, who in a thinly-veiled reference to the United States said, ―I envy you. You North Americans are very lucky. You are fighting the most important fight of all – you live in the heart of the beast.
Holy cow, who's representing that State in the Senate? Some comed -- oh, never mind.
Pull up a chair and open the PDF, you'll be really unhappy you did.
UPDATE: #51 is an oldie but a goodie: Study On Why Young Men Do Not Like Condoms ($221,355)
Indiana University professors received $221,355 in economic stimulus funds to study why young men do not like to wear condoms. The research will ―advance our understanding of...the role of cognitive and affective processes and condom application skills in explaining problems with condom use in young, heterosexual adult men, and to create --education strategies tailored to the needs of individuals who have trouble using condoms effectively.
Spend our way out of alcoholism and drug addiction!
New Obama plans: 'spend our way out' of downturn
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama outlined major new government stimulus and jobs proposals on Tuesday, saying the nation must continue to "spend our way out of this recession."
Without giving a price tag, Obama proposed a package of new spending for highway, bridge and other infrastructure projects, deeper tax breaks for small businesses and tax incentives to encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient.
As Professor Reynolds would say "What could possibly go wrong?"
I'll briefly remind that I stood up for Google when brother ac took them to task for facilitating Chinese censorship, and even when brother jg claimed their stock was overvalued.
But there is an underlying creep factor on privacy concerns. And CEO Eric Schmitt let it loose on CNBC.
Schmidt's philosophy is clear with Bartiromo in the clip below: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." The philosophy that secrets are useful mainly to indecent people is awfully convenient for Schmidt as the CEO of a company whose value proposition revolves around info-hoarding. Convenient, that is, as long as people are smart enough not to apply the "secrets suck" philosophy to their Google passwords , credit card numbers and various other secrets they need to put money in Google's pockets.
Scrivener looks at a couple outliers in the real estate markets.
Zaarath and Christopher Prokop -- and their two cats -- live in the smallest apartment in the city, a 175-square-foot "microstudio" in Morningside Heights the couple bought three months ago for $150,000.
Yup, there's a picture at the link (175 square feet!) Scrivener adds the $700/mo maintenance fee into the mortgage and comes up with an interesting comparison:
So the four "double" versions of these pre-World War II apartments (two maid's quarters put together) -- that sold for near $500,000 plus an equivalently larger monthly maintenance fee -- each sold for about as much as Detroit's 34-year old, 80,000 seat Silverdome...
(Or two of my 1200-and-change ft2 condos with enough left over to furnish both.)
"It's too cold to walk from the hotel to the convention on global warming. Let's take a limo!" -- Simon Scowl
Ms Jorgensen reckons that between her and her rivals the total number of limos in Copenhagen next week has already broken the 1,200 barrier. The French alone rang up on Thursday and ordered another 42. "We haven't got enough limos in the country to fulfill the demand," she says. "We're having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden."
Steve Den Beste has a great piece at Hot Air. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that ThreeSourcers will dig it. He bifurcates materialism (which I would be tempted to call "reason") with teleology.
He then posits that the President's actions and policies make sense if their viewed as part of a teleological epistemological system.
Matthew Continetti says that we’re in “a year of magical thinking.” And to someone who has grown up with a materialist view of the universe, it could certainly seem that way. But what’s really going on is that Obama has this kind of world view. And that explains everything he’s done.
It explains his foreign policy. To a teleologistst, it just makes sense that everyone should want to get along. If you unclench your fist and hold out
your hand, everyone else will unclench their fists, and become your friends. So Obama is doing that, and as we know the result has been a shambles.
It explains his economic policy. Teleologists inherently don’t believe in unintended side effects when it comes to implementing their idealistic policies. Obviously it should be possible to provide free health care to everyone without wrecking the economy; it’s just how things really should be, so that’s how it will be. Where will the money come from? That’s the kind of question that materialists ask; teleologists don’t concern themselves with such trivial. It’ll happen somehow, because it’s obviously how it should turn out. To say we shouldn’t do it is to be heartless, uncaring — and those things are more important than mundane claims that it won’t work. If you just believe, it will work.
Of course, it won’t work. The materialists are right about that. But when it fails (if it gets tried) the teleologists will blame the negative vibes of all the materialist doubters for the failure. If only they’d come on board and supported it, then it would have come out OK.
I got into a Facebook fracas with a very good -- but seriously moonbatted -- friend, He pitted peace versus imperialism with a pithy aphorism that would look really good silk-screened (with soy ink) onto the side of a Whole Foods burlap reusable shopping bag.
I really do try to keep cool on FB, but my friend asked "How has imperialism improved the world we live in?" No doubt that was rhetorical, but my contrarian heart leapt into the fray and I touted Deepak Lal and suggested an answer to his question: "What I suspect you’re calling Imperialism established a foundation of law, rights and freedom that lifted the entire human race out of tens of thousand years of poverty and privation."
He's a smart guy and a fun interlocutor. I suspect I drove a couple of his friends into therapy, but we're having a good time. At the end of the day our ultimate difference is his teleological worldview. And the voice of jg rings in my ears that there is no chance or value in arguing with that.
Having wished out loud here for a conservative candidate like Sarah Palin to advocate limited government in the economic AND the social spheres I was naturally pleased to hear evangelical Christian Kevin Miller talk about his new effort to "reestablish crucial commonality and shared success among social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, libertarians and all freedom-cherishing Americans." (Hey, that got your attention din't it!)
Christians know from the New Testament that virtue is not accomplished even by Biblical law — so how much more powerless is civil law to create virtue? No national government can achieve both freedom and virtue: neither will be accomplished ...
I thought "Dollhouse" was dead. But there is a two hour episode on tonight with special guest Summer Glau.
Also, Blog friend Silence turned me onto "Burn Notice" in a comment awhile back. I got the DVDs from Netflix and am halfway through Season One. That is a very good show, kind of halfway between Dexter and Castle. Goood stuff.
From my brother, via email. I think he may actually be a birther, I 'm not sure. He sends me a lot of jokes like this.
UPDATE: Interestiing press fallout from this and the role of the WH social secretary Desiree Rogers.
Ryan claimed that there have been whispers around Washington insinuating that Rogers had overstepped the traditional role of her title at the event to become the "belle of the ball," thus "overshadowing the first lady." Frustrated by Ryan's tabloid-y line of questioning, Gibbs instructed her to "calm down" and to take a deep breath," adding "I do this with my son and that's what happens."
That blue state has gone at least indigo, if not quite purple. So thinks Julie Mason at the Washington Examiner:
But politics are shifting in Pennsylvania, which is lately drawing comparisons to New Jersey and Virginia, both of which elected Republican governors this year after lining up for Obama in 2008.
"I think the political environment in Pennsylvania has dramatically changed since last year, and now the Republicans are looking increasingly competitive," said Terry Madonna, a political scientist and pollster at Franklin & Marshall College In Lancaster, Pa.
Keep it up, Keystone State blog brothers and sister!
"Leute wie Sie standen auf den Mauer-Wachtürmen der roten Sozialisten, Sie überwachten die Wachtürme der braunen Sozialisten. Und, ..., Leute Ihres Schlages werden auf den Wachtürmen der grünen Sozialisten stehen und deren Umerziehungslagern zu klimatologisch korrekten Staatsbürgern."
("People like you stood in the guard towers of the red socialists' wall, they stood in the brown[shirt] socialists' guard towers. And people of your stripe will stand in the guard towers of the green socialists and their reeducation camps for climatologically correct citizens.")
- Commenter Frank39, who appears to have lived in East Germany, responding to another commenter on a post on Climategate from the German "Science Skeptical" blog. My thanks to the anonymous correspondent in Germany who pointed this out and provided me with the translation.
Former Vice President Al Gore on Thursday abruptly canceled a Dec. 16 personal appearance that was to be staged during the United Nation's Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, which begins next week.
As described in The Washington TImes' Inside the Beltway column Tuesday, the multi-media public event to promote Mr. Gore's new book "Our Choice" included $1,209 VIP tickets that granted the holder a photo opportunity with Mr. Gore and a "light snack."
Some possibly exogenous event has caused the Vice President to cancel, but I bet the snack is still on.
For the purposes of the commentary to my Thanksgiving post I had occasion to search my Objectivism Research CD Rom for "altruism." The following passage [click continue reading] from 'For The New Intellectual' made a tremendous impression on me when I first read it, lo those many years ago. It hasn't lost its punch.
I consider FNI to be the best of Rand's non-fiction writing and I highly recommend it to everyone. In a brief 224 pages the reader gets a compendium of the author's thoughts on history, philosophy and morality in the form of a review of her major works of fiction: We The Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged. Fifty pages precede this under the heading, For the New Intellectual. First sentence:"When a man, a business corporation or an entire society is approaching bankruptcy, there are two courses that those involved can follow: they can evade the reality of their situation and act on a frantic, blind, range-of-the-moment expediency-not daring to look ahead, wishing no one would name the truth, yet desperately hoping that something will save them somehow-or they can identify the situation, check their premises, discover their hidden assets and start rebuilding."
Damn! Where's my copy?! Gotta read it again.
From chapter 1 of 'For the New Intellectual' by Ayn Rand - 1963
The businessman, historically, had started as the victim of the intellectuals; but no injustice or exploitation can succeed for long without the sanction of the victim. The businessman, who could not accept the intellectual leadership of post-Kantian Witch Doctors, made his fatal error when he conceded to them the field of the intellect. He gave them the benefit of the doubt, at his own expense: he concluded that their meaningless verbiage could not be as bad as it sounded to him, that he lacked understanding, but had no stomach for trying to understand that sort of stuff and would leave it respectfully alone. No Witch Doctor could have hoped for a deadlier concession.
By becoming anti-intellectual, the businessman condemned himself to the position of an Attila. By restricting his goals, concerns and vision exclusively to his specific productive activity, he was forced to restrict his interests to Attila's narrow range of the physical, the material, the immediately present. Thus he tore himself in two by an inner contradiction: he functioned on a confidently rational, conceptual level of psycho-epistemology in business, but repressed all the other aspects of his life and thought, letting himself he carried passively along by the general cultural current, in the semi-unfocused, perceptual-level daze of a man who considers himself impotent to judge what he perceives. It is thus that he turned too often into the tragic phenomenon of a genius in business who is a Babbitt in his private life.
He repressed and renounced any interest in ideas, any quest for intellectual values or moral principles. He could not accept the altruist morality, as no man of self-esteem can accept it, and he found no other moral philosophy. He lived by a subjective code of his own—the code of justice, the code of a fair trader—without knowing what a superlative moral virtue it represented. His private version or understanding of altruism—particularly in America—took the form of an enormous generosity, the joyous, innocent, benevolent generosity of a self-confident man, who is too innocent to suspect that he is hated for his success, that the moralists of altruism want him to pay financial tributes, not as kindness, but as atonement for the guilt of having succeeded. There were exceptions; there were businessmen who did accept the full philosophical meaning of altruism and its ugly burden of guilt, but they were not the majority.
They are the majority today. No man or group of men can live indefinitely under the pressure of moral injustice: they have to rebel or give in. Most of the businessmen gave in; it would have taken a philosopher to provide them with the intellectual weapons of rebellion, but they had given up any interest in philosophy. They accepted the burden of an unearned guilt; they accepted the brand of "vulgar materialists"; they accepted the accusations of "predatory greed"—predatory toward the wealth which they had created, greed for the fortunes which, but for them, would not have existed. As a result, consciously or subconsciously, they were driven to the cynical bitterness of the conviction that men are irrational, that reason is impotent in human relationships, that the field of ideas is some dark, gigantic, incomprehensible fraud.
Okay, Nick Schultz doesn't use the A-word, I'm just grasping for segues.
But I think most ThreeSources will dig his "Want to Help Poor People? Help Start Businesses" post.
New businesses are indispensable to kick-starting poverty-eliminating growth. So if you have an aptitude for starting and building businesses and want to help people in poor countries, think about that course of action. Or go to work for large multinational firms (like Wal-Mart or Carrefour) and help them break into developing countries (or even boroughs of New York City). This may not be what your anti-globalization friends in college think is a smart move, but it will do more to alleviate poverty than anything they will come up with.
Coach Josh McDaniels has apologized to the six million viewers who heard him use bad language when (Dave Barry would herein point out that the author is not making this up) yelling at professional football players.
Y'know, I'm a bigger fan of civility than my blog posts let on. I watch the 1956 Stanley Cup finals and believe that we are really missing something not having Joe Louis Arena populated with fans in suits and ties. Yeah, they're all male and white, but the boorishness of society does get me down. Freedom and civility need not be mutually exclusive.
But, darn it all, I don't think anybody is too surprised that a pro football coach might use a few salty bon mots after his team gives up 15 ^%&%@ yards in procedure penalties in the %^&*$@ red zone when the team is trying to snap a &^*%$@# four game losing streak.
The broadcast was done by the NFL network, which gets to follow cable rules. The local FOX affiliate rebroadcast it. If we must have a witch hunt, I think they should have probably caught it. Personally, I would just say "Shit Happens" and move on...
But forcing the coach to apologize? I saw some smarmy nanny-moms on TV who were aghast. There is something really wrong here, that we can feign this hyper-sensitivity in an ocean of crassness.
The Gov of my nightmares has been showing up in GOP 2012 polls and even did a health care stint with Gov. Howard Dean on FOX News Sunday last week (the solution is for all of us to eat better).
He also showed up as commuting the sentence of Cop Killer Maurice Clemmons. I don't know that I would rush to make a stink (you've heard me keeping quiet). But this has bubbled a bit as he's started to lash out at his detractors. Jim Geraghty has some disturbing background from his former campaign manager.
Joe Carter, probably the best part of Huckabee's presidential campaign, notes that the candidate really saw this issue differently from almost everyone else in the political world, for better or worse: "The governor seemed genuinely surprised that he was held responsible for the criminal acts committed by those whose sentences he had commuted as governor. It was as if he believed that simply having noble intentions and a willingness to make tough decisions would provide political cover."
That's a good Huck-a-Whack there, James. You caught his disturbing sanctimony, that his personal intrinsic purity supersedes judgment and beliefs.
The people who made those adjustments are, we now know, desperately invested in proving the truth of man-made global warming. And they lost the data. That’s more damning than anything else in the emails. If you’re doing important work that you know will be controversial, you don’t lose the data. You document everything you did to the data. You make the data available to others. If you don’t do all of those things, people are right to ignore anything you have published about the data. And that’s what we should do with everything these men have published about man-made global warming. -- Charles Murray
I withheld judgment that ClimateGate was a game changer until it got a little more mainstream coverage. Blog Brother Johngalt more approached the "It's Christmas Day and I got a pony!" view.
Well, he has the setup for a pony, and -- while it's still just a blog post -- this <heavenly music>New York Times</heavenly music> blog post by Science Editor John Tierney is a big deal.
I’m not trying to suggest that climate change isn’t a real threat, or that scientists are deliberately hyping it. But when they look at evidence of the threat, they may be subject to the confirmation bias — seeing trends that accord with their preconceptions and desires. Given the huge stakes in this debate — the trillions of dollars that might be spent to reduce greenhouse emissions — it’s important to keep taking skeptical looks at the data. How open do you think climate scientists are to skeptical views, and to letting outsiders double-check their data and calculations?