Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I didn't know this about myself

The brush the leftists use to paint the right is large.

IN THE SPIRIT of the season, the following is an open letter to readers of the Drudge Report (that'd be me):

Gee, gang, why so angry? Every time a column or article of mine gets posted on the site, I invariably wake up to a torrent of hostile emails. For awhile, it was like a perverse "Where's Waldo?" game -- "Oh, that one's rage-filled and anti-Semitic -- I must have made Drudge!"

Frankly, all this vitriol seems slightly misplaced, given that there are so many outlets now for people who would write such things. Starting with prison.

Just for the sake of argument, let's concede you're correct in your suspicions that the traditional media -- you know, the one largely controlled by General Electric, Disney, Time Warner and News Corp. -- are completely under the thumb of left-wing anarchists. On the bright side, there's the Internet and talkradio, and you (that is, Drudge readers) clearly have access to the web, which puts you way ahead of your shoeless forebears or toothless cousins. So cheer up!
I learned a few things about myself reading that. I thought all my cousins had teeth. And here I was thinking folks on the Left were against "stereotypes" and "profiling". Apparently its OK as long as you're bashing Southerners and Republicans.

Admittedly, given the dire financial state many newspapers face, it's nice being reminded that people are reading at all out there -- even when the reaction comes in the electronic equivalent of crayon.

As far as I know, the biggest problem newspapers have is that their readers (or potential readers, or past readers) resent the constant implications that they're stupid.

Perhaps if members of the old media paid more attention to their readers instead of writing us all off as stupid, toothless, prison-bound morons they wouldn't be going bankrupt?

Read the rest.

Interesting

Time magazine is interesting. I was at first upset by their selection of Vladimir Putin as Man of the Year. I even began clicking through my links to find stories about his evil rule, stories about people like Anna Politkovskaya his "fiercest critic", about his throttling of the free press in his nation. I admit, I was indignant. Petraeus was on the list of candidates after all. How dare they?

And then I read their disclaimer:

TIME's Person of the Year is not and never has been an honor. It is not an endorsement. It is not a popularity contest. At its best, it is a clear-eyed recognition of the world as it is and of the most powerful individuals and forces shaping that world—for better or for worse. It is ultimately about leadership—bold, earth-changing leadership. Putin is not a boy scout. He is not a democrat in any way that the West would define it. He is not a paragon of free speech. He stands, above all, for stability—stability before freedom, stability before choice, stability in a country that has hardly seen it for a hundred years. Whether he becomes more like the man for whom his grandfather prepared blinis—who himself was twice TIME's Person of the Year—or like Peter the Great, the historical figure he most admires; whether he proves to be a reformer or an autocrat who takes Russia back to an era of repression—this we will know only over the next decade. At significant cost to the principles and ideas that free nations prize, he has performed an extraordinary feat of leadership in imposing stability on a nation that has rarely known it and brought Russia back to the table of world power. For that reason, Vladimir Putin is TIME's 2007 Person of the Year.
I can buy that.

If the media (including Time magazine) had proportional representation of Putin as a world-changer and actually covered his actions as a fledgling dictator rather than spend their time moaning about either the Bush economy or Iraq (depending on which one is doing poorly) perhaps this recognition would come as less of a surprise.

Read the rest.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

GCC: The problem

In a continuation of a series of posts that I'm breaking up for my own purposes (specifically, so that I can reference them individually at a later date) I'll explain my take on the Big Problem with the state of affairs that exists surrounding global warming.

Communication.

There, wasn't that nice? You could probably do the same thing to define the Big Problem in a lot of areas, but you'd be speaking (writing?) more tongue-in-cheek than I currently am.

Science is a funny thing. I don't think many people understand the kooky world that is academia. To get into the club you have run a gauntlet of various tasks that will take no less than 4 years after the successful completion of a bachelor's degree. A graduate student must take the GRE, apply to a school, get in, find an adviser, figure out how to pay for school (funding, the four letter word of research), pass qualification tests which reassert the right for him to even be there, complete a rehash of his education within his field of study thus far, conduct research, write copiously about the research, have these papers subjected to the fury of his adviser, rewrite these papers, submit these papers, have them subjected to the peer review process (which can be daunting, if done correctly), write an all-encompassing description of his work known as a dissertation, and finally defend not only his dissertation but himself and his knowledge of his field in front of a jury of his superiors. This is a process that occurs in series. Any failure in any of these steps will result in the student being thrown out on his ear, or having to start all over.

So scientists are stuck up. They often develop God-complexes, especially once they're tenured. They tend to be smart, and the writing that is accepted as scientific is full of jargon, math, and is so highly stylized that it is almost its own language, which results in papers that may as well be in code to people who aren't in the club. Sometimes papers are so obscure and esoteric that a PhD isn't sufficient to gain insight or true appreciation for a paper -- but instead a thorough understanding of the basis of the research being explained is in order. Quantum physics can be explained in a matter of moments, provided you have the ten years' worth of math and physics required to understand the equations.

To be sure, you don't need a PhD to read 90% of the papers out there. You don't need to be a scientist to understand them, either. But it does require a large amount of diligence and fortitude, patience and perseverance to get through a paper which is built on a body of research that proceeds backwards through reference after reference, each with little or no explanation beyond a footnote. That is to say, most particular journal papers. And who has that kind of time on their hands? Most folks can't be bothered to read the whole newspaper, much less a fifteen or twenty page paper in two-column format written in ten-point font with itty-bitty figures (and smaller font captions that are two and three sentences long).

Unfortunately for the world, this leads to the intelligentsia making proclamations that often mean little to anyone but others in their club. They discover important stuff, and it needs to be disseminated to people who lack technical education, even to laymen. This is where the media gets involved.

I don't know if you've watched CNN lately, but those guys and gals don't have doctoral degrees. I mean, heck, Katie Couric doesn't even know what "sputum" means. The people writing the stuff that's fed into their teleprompter don't, either. This is where things like the IPCC policy committee come in.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is more than one body of scientists pounding away on their keyboards, Prometheusing us into understanding of climate change. There is a "working group" (i.e., the guys with doctorates) and then there's a committee of people dedicated to take what the scientists say and translate it into one- and two-syllable words so politicians don't get confused or scared and retreat behind their staffers. Thus, the Third Assessment Report is condensed from 1,000 pages into 20 to create the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM).

Think about that for one moment, if you will. Understand, please, that scientists may be wordy in their writing, but they're not superfluous. 1,000 pages exist in the IPCC third report because 1,000 words are necessary. It's like trying to take War and Peace and summarize in a page...you may get the gist, but you won't love Pierre Bezukhov after reading it. (A nice explanation of the variations and impact of this sort of scenario exists here. Happy reading!)

That isn't to say that the SPM is wrong. But I can tell you right away that it almost guarantees that the plethora of news articles, statements, and sound bytes it causes will have as many errors in them as an installation of 32-bit Norton antivirus onto Vista 64. (That's a lot, by the way).

And so politicians misunderestimate what the scientists say. And the Katie Courics of the world tell the laymen the wrong information with cute segues with titles like "Global Warming: Are We All Going To Die?" and you get a big, fat mess. A poster child for this scenario is the Kyoto Protocol. Another is the phrase "George Bush doesn't care about polar bears". Another is anyone who tells you that the science of climate change is settled (yes, that would be Al Gore, specifically).

And there you have it. Whatever the science may say, unless you actually read the publications or chat with the scientists who wrote them you're probably not getting the correct story.

To alleviate this problem, I try to read important or relevant journal papers. I also visit quality climate change blogs such as World Climate Report, which is written by climate scientists and describes itself as "...a concise, hard-hitting and scientifically correct response to the global change reports which gain attention in the literature and popular press. As the nation’s leading publication in this realm, World Climate Report is exhaustively researched, impeccably referenced, and always timely."

Thus, reader, my assertion is that it is absolutely vital for anyone who wanted to really argue with me about global warming climate change to discuss science. Not popular opinion, not "common sense", not conjecture or hearsay. Science. And that means papers, math, and logic. And that's why I always attach the following disclaimer to my posts about cold snaps, snowfall records, and unseasonably cold temperatures:

Anecdotal evidence is beyond stupid as support or condemnation of global warming. I only point these out as a foil to the increasingly shrill comments and stories presented by the mainstream media linking warm-weather aberrations to global warming.
If you want to debate GCC with me, find a journal article, read it, digest it, formulate an opinion based upon it, and get back to me. Because that's what I do.

Read the rest.

Some Nomenclature

Since people seem to want to discuss global warming climate change, I feel an obligation to make my position more lucid. To do so, however, requires a brief review of nomenclature as sometimes I talk like an engineer -- and I always tend to think like one.

First: data is data, theories are theories, and facts are facts. Truth is something else altogether.

Data cannot be true or not true; it simply is. There is good data and bad data, but this is a subjective measurement and usually has more to do with how the data is displayed, explained, and used than the actual numbers themselves. There is an entire field of mathematics devoted to the interpretation and use of large data samples. An overview would require defining accuracy vs. precision but I'll leave that to the reader.

Data is the one thing that is incontrovertible in the entire GCC argument. NASA has tons of it through the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) which has been attempting to compile the huge amount of data required to accurately quantify the temperature of the earth. The use of such data is what falls into the gray area of life.

Second on the list of what's what is theories. A theory is not a guess...not in science, anyway. A theory takes data (see, this is coming in handy already) to explain observed phenomena. Global warming is a theory because it explains the change in temperature as recorded by the various recording agencies.

A fact is something that doesn't really belong in a scientific discussion. One definition is a truth known by observation or recording, or something that is incontrovertible. However, "facts" are based on data which is never infallible. Thus in science, nothing is fact. Everything works more along the lines of it's working so far, and we expect it to continue to work in the future, but we can't make any promises.

Recently a blogger threw some data at me and said I was wrong for using a different data sample and making a point with it, only he called "his" data "facts". Now, perhaps, you can understand the dismay I felt upon reading

You, once again, do not do anything in the way of even attempting to challenge that fact. You simply ignore it, like 99% of the facts that I put on here.
or
I attack you on the merit of the facts that you present in your arguments.
How on Earth is anyone supposed to respond to something like that? I'll answer my own question: with a post like this.

Read the rest.

Publications

I have stated many times that most of what is thrown around about global warming is "smutty psuedo-science" and isn't fit to be printed in a scientific journal alongside real research. There's more than just my random opinion behind this, and I feel as if I have at least some qualification to say this as a published author (in the journals Carbon, Langmuir, and Synthetic Metals).

As a scientist, and engineer, and a researcher, I understand what goes into writing a paper. I understand what an impact factor means to people and how huge it is to be published in Nano Letters, Science or Nature. What I don't understand is how theoretical modeling with very little actual research done or any real relationship to empirical data can consistently be printed in journals with impact factors higher than 5; that is, journals that are more than topic-specific. To get into Nature for any subject other than global warming climate change a scientist must write a paper that has the ability to change the world (this is not a specific criterion, but Nature rejects over 90% of the submissions they receive as "not hot enough"). Papers that are only related to their specific field or which will have very little impact on a currently existing hot or important topic will be shuffled aside. Thus, broad journals such as Science and Nature publish only the cream of the crop while smaller journals such as Carbon publish only what is relevant to scientists who work with carbon based materials (e.g., polymer scientists and those who work with carbon composites).

Unfortunately, papers which do nothing to further science of climate change are submitted, "peer reviewed," and accepted into Nature all the time. More recently it appears that merely adding the phrase Global Warming to your paper will merit its printing. As a result, papers which really have no business whatsoever being printed outside of smaller periodicals (with smaller impact factors) such as the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (3.167) or the Journal of Climate (3.882) or, more appropriately, Global and Planetary Change (1.758) are instead printed in Nature (27.074) or Science (21.911).

Thus, true science is muddied by the force of politics poisoning the waters. Publications which don't "go with the flow" are ignored without review while papers that do nothing more than add yet another climate change model to the sea of models we're drowning in currently are ushered in with nary a challenge. (The peer review process itself is also highly questionable -- but thats a post of it's own).

Read the rest.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Word of the Day, or, How Not To Look Ignorant

The internet is a great place. I really love the fact that there is literally an unlimited amount of information readily available at my fingertips. It has its downsides, though. One is people who don't know how to use dictionary.com:

There's a difference between being a skeptic, and being a debunker. Skeptics will see both sides of an argument and admit the likelihood of both. A debunker will deny, deny, deny the truth, even if it slaps him across the face. Which one are you?
For your reading pleasure (and hopefully, edification):

de·bunk
–verb (used with object)
to expose or excoriate (a claim, assertion, sentiment, etc.) as being pretentious, false, or exaggerated: to debunk advertising slogans.

However wrong he may be on what the word debunk actually means, the commenter was right about one thing. There is a difference between being a skeptic and debunker. Anyone can be a skeptic. All skepticism requires is enough brain matter to choose to doubt. This doesn't necessarily include rational analysis of the subject matter or any real reason to do so.

The debunker, on the other hand, accepts the data as it becomes available and uses his own wits, intelligence, and logic to get through the claims made by others (true or false) with the express purpose of finding truth, and subsequently uses that truth to drown out the claims of the ignorant, uninformed, or intentionally disingenuous. Both parts are critical -- the man who finds truth and does not share it may be wise, but he's no debunker.

Based upon the actual definitions of the words in play, as opposed to the imagined ones of a sadly confused but nevertheless passionate poster, I'll gladly wear the mantle of Global Warming Climate Change debunker. It's the least I can do.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Clap clap, clap-clap-clap...

....glo-bal war-ming...clap clap, clap-clap-clap:

The National Weather Service says the Grand Forks airport had 8.1 inches of snow yesterday, setting a record for the date. And Fargo set a record with 5.9 inches.

The previous mark in both cities was set back in 1926.

And this:
Portland tied the record for the date set in 1890 with 8.5 inches of snow on Monday, according to Bob Marine of the National Weather Service.

Elsewhere, Marshfield in Washington County had 18 inches of snow, Lakeville in Penobscot County 17 inches, Island Falls in Aroostook County 16, Brassau Lake near Moosehead 15.7, Farmington 14.7 inches and Andover 13, the weather service said.

The storm may have produced even more snow if it hadn't tracked farther out to sea that originally forecast, Marine said.
As ever, my disclaimer: Anecdotal evidence is beyond stupid as support or condemnation of global warming. I only point these out as a foil to the increasingly shrill comments and stories presented by the mainstream media linking warm-weather aberrations to global warming.

Read the rest.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Don't ask, don't tell

The insistence of liberals to pander to the sub-critical minority that is "alternative lifestyle" partakers -- also known as gay, lesbian and transgendered folks -- continues to irritate me.

Their latest pushing point to get the same-sex and same-sex sympathizer vote is a huge push to get rid of the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. The usual tagline is that our men and women are professional enough to deal with homosexuals being around them in their jobs.

To me, this is a totally and completely irrelevant statement. Our soldiers are professional enough to deal with a lot of things. They've gone without food, showers, basic necessities, seeing their loved ones. They've lost blood, limbs, sweated, cried, and died for this country. Can they deal with a gay man showering next to them? Of course. Would it destabilize our military to the point of collapse? No, assuredly. But that isn't the point. They're professional enough to deal with water rationing, too -- but that doesn't mean we should go ahead and do that.

There's two main problems with the idea of gays in the military. And by that I mean active, openly homosexual people. For one, it is an unnecessary strain one people who don't need more stress, and one that they are subjected to unwillingly. I don't care how non-homophobic you are, showering with a guy who you know is turned on by the sight of male genitalia is awkward. And it's something that someone who has no choice about where they live, fight, shower, eat and sleep shouldn't be subjected to. People in civilian life can choose to live in a "gay friendly" area. If they don't like the sight of men holding hands or kissing, they can leave, or move. It's their choice. Our men and women in uniform have no such luxury.

I've seen people get cute and say "oh, they can shower at different times" and "they're pros, they can deal with it". But would we let a homosexual male shower with the females? I doubt it. I doubt that our female soldiers would enjoy that particularly. But that would make "more sense" than having (letting?) them shower with men. Or if we did set them up by "gender" rather than sex...what about lying? Would the average 18 year old lie about being gay to shower with a girl? Perhaps not -- but would the occasional one? Have you ever met an 18 year old male?

Secondly, it potentially disrupts the cohesion of a fighting team. In the critical moments of combat as a commander I would want absolutely zero hesitation between private Jones and private Smith if I tell them to do something. I don't want private Jones, the stupid hillbilly he is, to even halfway start to grouse about being paired up with the Smith because Smith is gay. Furthermore, I don't even know what would happen if a homosexual relationship occurred in the barracks. That sort of thing is bad business, whether it's between a guy and a girl or two guys or two girls or whatever.

Currently the military doesn't mix quarters or (I believe) units by sex. I see no reason that this wouldn't be extended to sexual preference, as the case would become. I hate to be snide, but I can't help but imagining the homosexual unit passing in review. Parade would take on an entirely new meaning. The point being, having openly gay people in the military requires, essentially, that you provide new, separate facilities for them. It's impractical and a gigantic waste of logistic effort for a small minority to whom the question is almost entirely academic.

Finally, if our military is so dang professional, then there isn't a problem to begin with. If a gay man wants to serve, no one is stopping him. He just has to keep his mouth shut and do his job, and no one will say a thing to him. They can't even ask if he's gay (that's the first part of the rule, after all). Discretion is the better part of professionalism. If their patriotism is as fired up as their political views, then they can refrain from turning the military into yet another gay-rights battle, and leave it to do it's job.

Read the rest.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Busy, Busy

I've been kind of busy lately and I've neglected my blogging duties. Sorry! Hope to be back to regular updating soon.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Roo: It's what's for dinner

This article falls under the category of "you can't make this stuff up".

MORE kangaroos should be slaughtered and eaten to help save the world from global warming, environmental activists say.

The controversial call to cut down on beef and serve more of the national symbol on our dinner plates follows a report on curbing greenhouse gas emissions damaging the planet.

It also coincides with recent calls from climate change experts for people in rich countries to reduce red meat and switch to chicken and fish because land-clearing and burping and farting cattle and sheep were damaging the environment.

They said nearly a quarter of the planet's greenhouse gases came from agriculture, which releases the potent heat-trapping gas methane.
Yes, I can see it now. No cars, no meat, no technology. And mother Earth will no longer be angry.

Can anyone take these people seriously any more?

Read the rest.

Laughable

Pot...kettle.

Former President Jimmy Carter on Wednesday denounced Vice President Dick Cheney as a "disaster" for the country and a "militant" who has had an excessive influence in setting foreign policy.
I really wish Jimmy Carter would have the decency to fade away like most former presidents do.

Read the rest.

Decency

Whoopi is way better than that nasty woman that used to be on The View.

At least she calls them like she sees them.

Read the rest.

Monday, October 08, 2007

House Democrats

...are so full of themselves it makes me sick. After droning on and on about the Bush administration's desecration of the constitution, they're going to go ahead and validated everything they ask for. Don't get me wrong; I'm not upset. I just wish they'd either get called out for their dualism or shut up.

Two months after vowing to roll back broad new wiretapping powers won by the Bush administration, Congressional Democrats appear ready to make concessions that could extend some of the key powers granted to the National Security Agency.

Bush administration officials say they are confident they will win approval of the broadened wiretapping authority that they secured temporarily in August as Congress rushed toward recess, and some Democratic officials admit that they may not come up with the votes to rein in the administration.

As the debate over the N.S.A.’s wiretapping powers begins anew this week, the emerging legislation reflects the political reality confronting the Democrats. While they are willing to oppose the White House on the conduct of the war in Iraq, they remain nervous that they will be labeled as soft on terrorism if they insist on strict curbs on intelligence gathering.

A Democratic bill to be proposed Tuesday in the House would maintain for several years the type of broad, blanket authority for N.S.A. wiretapping that the administration secured in August for just six months. But in an acknowledgment of civil liberties concerns, the measure would also require a more active role by the special foreign intelligence court that oversees the N.S.A.’s interception of foreign-based communications.

A competing proposal in the Senate, still being drafted, may be even closer in line with the administration’s demands, with the possibility of including retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that took part in the N.S.A.’s once-secret program to wiretap without court warrants.

No one is willing to predict with certainty how the issue will play out. But some Congressional officials and others monitoring the debate over the legislation said the final result may not be much different than it was two months ago, despite Democrats’ insistence that they would not let stand the August extension of the N.S.A.’s powers.

Read the rest.

You have to wonder

Who picked the fruit before the Mexicans did?

Some farmers told Garza they expect some of their fields to remain unpicked.

Some said they believe their fields will end up filled with rotting produce.

The Bush administration has learned of the possible loss of millions of dollars for thousands of farmers throughout the country, and is attempting to loosen visa requirements for workers.

However, farmers told Garza the attempt is "too little too late."

The president has blamed Congress for failing to come up with acceptable new immigration laws.

Experts expect the impact on agribusiness to affect Americans' pocketbooks, Garza said.

Working in the fields is a hard job that few will do, according to Pete Aiello of Uesugi Farms in Gilroy.
I'll give you a hint. They weren't a minority.

Incidentally, this story is a lot of "some say" and "experts report" sort of reporting. High on speculation, low on facts.

Read the rest.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Good Sense

This is refreshing:

CNN Meteorologist Rob Marciano clapped his hands and exclaimed, "Finally," in response to a report that a British judge might ban the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" from UK schools because, according to "American Morning," "it is politically biased and contains scientific inaccuracies."

"There are definitely some inaccuracies," Marciano added. "The biggest thing I have a problem with is this implication that Katrina was caused by global warming."

The case stems from a father's claims that the film is brainwashing propaganda, who told The Telegraph, "I am determined to prevent my children from being subjected to political spin in the classroom."
Also, I'm enjoying Gore's continual refusal to debate anyone about the science he claims is so final. It's becoming rather telling, isn't it?
Seven hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money to spend to try to get someone to talk to you and not get an answer.

That's how much the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based libertarian think tank, has forked over in six months for advertisements in national newspapers trying to persuade Al Gore to debate one of its experts on global warming issues. "We have tried, repeatedly, to contact Gore directly, with registered letters and calls to his office, and have never received a reply," says Joseph Bast, Heartland president.
...
The Heartland case is not the first time Gore has ducked a forum. Earlier this year he canceled an interview with Denmark's largest newspaper when he learned it would include questions from Bjorn Lomborg, respected author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. "Gore's sermon is not one that will stand scrutiny," says Christopher C. Horner, another one of Heartland's debate candidates, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism.

Read the rest.

Economy "Vibrant"

Unemployment is up an ineffectual amount while thousands of new jobs have been added to our economy. This is good.

The national unemployment rate edged up to 4.7 percent from 4.6 percent in August and was the highest since 4.8 percent in July 2006 as the size of the labor force increased.

The department said 89,000 jobs were created in August, rather than the 4,000 that it reported last month were lost. It also said 93,000 jobs were created in July instead of 68,000 it previously reported -- a total of 118,000 more jobs in the July-August period than it had earlier estimated.
Bush lied, people found work and the economy did great.

Read the rest.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Oops

Again, her false and phony nature (she's a willow in political winds) shows through:

"It cannot be American policy, period," Clinton (D-N.Y.) told debate moderator Tim Russert, who asked if there should be a presidential exemption to allow the torture of a terror chieftain if authorities knew a bomb was about to go off, but didn't know where it was.

When Russert revealed ex-President Bill Clinton advocated such a policy on a recent NBC "Meet the Press" appearance, Hillary Clinton won huge applause from the Dartmouth College audience with a deadpan comeback:

"Well, I'll talk to him later."

She may have to give herself that talk, too.

Last October, Clinton told the Daily News: "If we're going to bepreparing for the kind of improbable but possible eventuality, then it has to be done within the rule of law."

She said then the "ticking time bomb" scenario represents a narrow exception to her opposition to torture as morally wrong, ineffective and dangerous to American soldiers.

"In the event we were ever confronted with having to interrogate a detainee with knowledge of an imminent threat to millions of Americans, then the decision to depart from standard international practices must be made by the President, and the President must be held accountable," she said.

Read the rest.

Couric's ratings don't lie

Katy Couric opened her yap in front of a bunch of other members of the press and said things that are revealing in more ways than one.

Couric was crystal-clear on both topics during a Tuesday-night seminar on "Democracy and the Press" at the National Press Club in Washington.

"Everyone in this room would agree that people in this country were misled in terms of the rationale for this war," Couric said, according to a report in the Washington Examiner.

"I've never understood why [invading Iraq] was so high on the administration's agenda when terrorism was going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan - and that [Iraq] had no true connection with al Qaeda," she said.

"The whole culture of wearing flags on our lapel and saying 'we' when referring to the United States and, even the 'shock and awe' of the initial stages, it was just too jubilant and just a little uncomfortable." (emphasis mine)
She reveals three things in this idiotic flow of thoughts.

Everyone in this room would agree.
Perhaps the most damning of all is the idea that a consensus of any sort exists on a topic which is still quite controversial amongst the "rest" of us in this nation. Then again, it shouldn't be surprising considering that the citizens of the United States are force fed ignorant drivel by the press all the time. Perhaps all reporters do agree that "Bush lied, people died"; if so, it gives everyone else all the more reason to mistrust their intentions and their statements.

[Iraq] had no true connection with al Qaeda.
This has been shown to be utterly and completely false. Even the One, Hillary Clinton, said:
[Saddam Hussein] has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001.
Couric and her media buddies have been peddling these lies for a long time. Again, as I find myself often saying to liberals, repeating or wishing for something doesn't make it true.

...saying 'we' when referring to the United States... was just a little uncomfortable.
Doesn't that just say it all?

Read the rest.

Saddam and reassurance

I read an article about Saddam and Bush which didn't surprise me and then read some comments that did.

"The Eqyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein," said Mr Bush.

"It seems he's indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he's allowed to take $1billion and all the information he wants about weapons of mass destruction."
I'm glad we didn't take him up on that. It would have been the Sudetenland of Islamic terrorism and the qualification of WMD information merely confirms it.

But the really interesting thing for me were the comments shown at the bottom of the page:
I shouldn't be shocked but I am - how deceitful. So basically we have spent the taxpayers' money and many soldiers lives on a war that could have been avoided. Blair and Bush have blood on their hands. There are many soldiers who have died fighting this war as well as many innocent citizens.
This is what I expected to see: idiots blathering about how Bush should've rolled over and given a mass murderer ample opportunity to develop a little shop of horrors on our dime. I was even going to write a post about it. But then I read another comment, and I realized I didn't have to (emphasis mine).
Political expediency is universal in every country throughout all of human history but at least democracies are capable of getting rid of their leaders.

Saddam was responsible for the development of weapons of mass destruction using materials supplied by the West which were also provided to many other countries who never chose to use them to develop weapons. Consequently Saddam became the biggest mass murderer of Muslims in the history of mankind invading Iran and Kuwait, arbitrarily attacking Israel and killing hundreds of thousands of his own innocent citizens. Whatever the arguments about the war, the world is well rid of this despicable murderous fascist who had clearly threatened the security of the entire Middle East.

I feel genuinely sorry for people who are unable to differentiate between Saddam, Bush and Blair. There were 17 (yes seventeen!) U.N. binding resolutions which Saddam ignored - more resolutions than any other country faced. The time for bland pathologic platitudes is surely over. Saddam could easily have avoided a war by acceding to the U.N's requirements for inspections. He above all others was responsible for this war - just as he was for all the other wars. The responsibility lies with him in his grave. The biggest criminal in all of this was charged and duly paid for his depravity just like those at Nuremburg 50 years ago.
Thank you, M Campbell of London. That was delightfully refreshing.

Read the rest.

I feel bad for smokers

The only reason this is a problem is because smokers are a minority.

Starting today, state Department of Revenue agents will begin stopping Tennessee motorists spotted buying large quantities of cigarettes in border states, then charging them with a crime and, in some cases, seizing their cars.

...State Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr says his department is simply doing its job, enforcing a valid state law while protecting Tennessee retailers who properly pay state taxes.
The government is mad because they feel like these folks buying cigarettes out of state are effectively performing tax evasion. The smokers don't want to pay an arm and a leg in taxes. And the non-smokers in the state couldn't care less.

There's a few things at work. One, nobody (or not enough people to matter) complains about cigarette taxes because they're the current scapegoat for nearly all social evils in our society (alongside Big Oil). So smokers get the shaft for a lot of government spending hikes. Two, the government is the biggest thief in the world and has fooled its citizens into thinking that they "owe" things to it.

Government is by its very nature a massive parasite. It creates nothing and only exists as a necessary evil. It leeches off of its citizens solely to prevent them from killing each other or being killed by citizens of other countries. In the relationship of remora and shark, government is the remora. Unfortunately, Americans are beginning to think of themselves as the members of the Echeneididae family -- we hitch along Big Fed's back and eat the leavings Uncle Sugar tosses us.

Smokers in Tennessee are feeling it now, questioning the right of the tick to hold the reins of the dog. My concern is that no one will listen or realize that it can happen (and is currently happening) to any and all of us.

Read the rest.

Writing for TV shows

I watched Bionic Woman last night; I'll admit it. But I didn't like it.

It wasn't because it was cheesy (it was) or that the lead girl was awkward (she was) or that the blond questionably evil gal who showed up was wholly inappropriate for the part (she was neither sultry nor attractive). It was because the writing was transparent, ineffective, and off-beat.

None of the dialogue was well versed. Rather than establishing characters or background stories or, heck, just letting the show run it's course -- it is rather action packed -- the writers seemed intent on giving themselves all kinds of facets, alleyways, and straws to grasp at later. Mysterious whispers of people's fathers, hints at alliances within alliances, not-so-subtle clues to inner turmoils were all included in the minefield of television story arcs usually reserved for daytime soaps.

It just led up to a clunky, confusing, distracting hour long mess. The best part by far was the car wreck that sent the lead character into oblivion.

Shining examples include the ambiguously evil girl telling Bionic Woman "you look too innocent to be a bar tender," Bionic Woman asking Dr. Keanu-Ben (see below) "why are you with me?" and, of course, the obligatory Asian martial arts trainer telling Dr. Keanu-Ben "you scare me because you remind me of your father".

Do writers live in real life? Do they ever actually listen to how people talk to each other?

The blond and the lead doctor guy represented a growing trend I've seen in television, one I call "knock off" or "cheap version" actors. The girl was the bargain bin Angelina while the doctor looked like Keanu Reeves playing Ben from Lost. (Another example of bargain bin actors is the psychiatrist in the departed -- she's the cheaper version of Sarah Jessica Parker). That distracts me from the show, but that may be more a personal failure on my part to give these up-and-comers the benefit of the doubt.

At any rate, I don't think this is me being hypercritical. There are well-written shows out there. And there are shows that use up-and-comers without stuffing them into shoes that they just don't fit in. The Office's pilot was picture perfect -- all the characters were well-written from the start with no awkward surprises later, something rare to see. Arrested Development, though only airing for three seasons, lived and died by it's wonderful dialogue and fast-paced acerbic wit delivered by characters who were new and delightfully astereotypical.

Summary: Bionic Woman was bad. The show's writers should be...de-penned.

Read the rest.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bipartisan

I really respect George W. Bush. He is a man of his convictions, whether or not I agree with all of them, and this story shows that his beliefs transcend his politics. For all the ballyhoo you hear about partisanship and "reaching across the aisle" I think this story is probably the best example out there of the way things ought to be (tm) in politics.

President Bush is quietly providing back-channel advice to Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to modulate her rhetoric so she can effectively prosecute the war in Iraq if elected president.

In an interview for the new book “The Evangelical President,” White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten said Bush has “been urging candidates: ‘Don’t get yourself too locked in where you stand right now. If you end up sitting where I sit, things could change dramatically.’ ”

Bolten said Bush wants enough continuity in his Iraq policy that “even a Democratic president would be in a position to sustain a legitimate presence there.”

“Especially if it’s a Democrat,” the chief of staff told The Examiner in his West Wing office. “He wants to create the conditions where a Democrat not only will have the leeway, but the obligation to see it out.”
This ups his stock in my book so much. Not only does he understand what's at stake here, he also is willing to say forget the politics, here's what matters.
“Look, I’d like to make as many hard decisions as I can make, and do a lot of the heavy lifting prior to whoever my successor is,” Bush said. “And then that person is going to have to come and look at the same data I’ve been looking at, and come to their own conclusion.”

“I specifically talked about it so that a candidate and/or president wouldn’t have to deal with the issue,” he said. “The next person has got the opportunity to analyze the utility of the program and make his or her decision about whether or not it is necessary to protect the homeland. I suspect they’ll find that it is necessary. But my only point to you is that it was important for me to lay it out there, so that the politics wouldn’t enter into whether or not the program ought to survive beyond my period.”
These aren't the words of a rabid anti-Democrat. They're the words of a man who believes in our political system, and a man who is preparing for the future. That's prudence speaking.

I sincerely hope that he isn't overestimating the ability of the democratic candidates to put aside party politics - or aspirations to power - in order to secure this country.

Read the rest.

Space bacteria

Creepy.

Microbes that cause salmonella came back from spaceflight even more virulent and dangerous in an experiment aboard the US space shuttle Atlantis, according to a study published on Monday.

The salmonella sample that travelled millions of kilometers (miles) in orbit changed their pattern of certain genes compared to identical bacteria back on Earth, said the study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Following the shuttle flight, studies using mice showed the salmonella bacteria aboard the shuttle were "almost three times as likely to cause disease when compared with control bacteria grown on the ground," said a university statement outlining the study.

Read the rest.

Monday, September 24, 2007

As if it were surprising

What liberal media?

After two weeks of denials, the New York Times acknowledged that it should not have given a discount to MoveOn.org for a full-page advertisement assailing Gen. David H. Petraeus.

The liberal advocacy group should have paid $142,000 for the ad calling the U.S. commander in Iraq "General Betray Us," not $65,000, the paper's public editor wrote yesterday.

Clark Hoyt said in his column that MoveOn was not entitled to the cheaper "standby" rate for advertising that can run any time over the following week because the Times did promise that the ad would run Sept. 10, the day Petraeus began his congressional testimony. "We made a mistake," Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis was quoted as saying.

MoveOn, saying it had no reason to believe it was paying "anything other than the normal and usual charge," said yesterday that it would send the Times $77,000 to make up the difference.

The Times also violated its own advertising policy, which bars "attacks of a personal nature," Hoyt reported. He wrote that the episode "gave fresh ammunition to a cottage industry that loves to bash The Times as a bastion of the 'liberal media.' "
Lies, partisanship, bias, and filth. What's new?

Read the rest.

Hah

This gave me a chuckle.

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton said Sunday she can appeal to Republicans as well as Democrats on the presidential trail.
Yeah, and the Aggies are going to win the National Championship this year.

Read the rest.

Stupidity and ignorance

Socialism doesn't work -- the economics just don't work out. Because of this, Obama's hare brained scheme of taxing the rich and their employers to redistribute the wealth to lower income Americans is as foolish as can be.

Obama's idea, which he described on the op-ed page of Friday's Quad City Times as being "one possible option" and not a formal plan, would raise more than $1 trillion over 10 years by subjecting income of more than $97,000 to a 12.4 percent tax. Half of the tax would be paid by employees and half would be paid by employers.
Obama is floating the idea of a tax hike on the rich as a way of assuring lower- and middle-income voters that he sees an option for ensuring Social Security's solvency that would not burden them.

People need to be reminded of two things:

  1. The government has nothing but what it has taken (stolen, if you will) from its citizens.
  2. Companies don't pay taxes.

The government's absorbance of wages to redistribute to others in any form is the basic tenet of socialism. In my opinion, increasing the degree of socialization in this country is always bad.

More importantly, though, the idea that corporate taxes don't burden lower income Americans is utterly foolish. The truth is that companies don't pay taxes. In fact, companies don't really absorb any costs. All costs a company sees, including but most certainly not limited to taxes, are passed directly to the consumer. An increase in taxation results in an increase in costs for a company, which either results in the company cutting costs somewhere else (as in, employee beneifts or product quality) or in raised prices.

Ultimately, though, the only entity that ever benefits from raising taxes is the government. Likewise, the only entity that suffers from raised taxes are consumers -- a group to which we all belong to, like it or not.

Read the rest.

Collectivism vs Individuality

This is why I don't understand union members.

Worker Anita Ahrens burst into tears as hundreds of United Auto Workers streamed out of a GM plant in Janesville, Wis.

"Oh my God, here they come," said Ahrens, 39. "This is unreal."

Ahrens has seven years at the plant, where she works nights installing speakers in sport utility vehicles. She waited outside the building Monday for her husband, Ron Ahrens, who has worked there for 21 years.

The couple has three children, including a college freshman, and Ahrens worried about how they would pay their bills.

"This is horrible, but we're die-hard union, so we have to," Ahrens said. "We got a mortgage, two car payments and tons of freaking bills."
We're die hard union, so we have to. Collective bargaining may be a useful tool but in this day and age I believe unions have flipped the tables from their balances in the early 20th century. At that point, corporations had all the power over a work force with limited options, mobility, and education.

In this day and age no job is a mandate. It costs less money than ever to move, and more people are educated to higher levels. There really isn't a need for unions to be as all-powerful as they are provided the employment market is allowed to fluctuate and adjust. Companies who mistreat their workers simply won't find employees to work for them.

Wal-Mart is a perfect example of the market in action. Despite having no union presence in their stores their employees are happy and productive, and the company is flourishing. If Wal-Mart suddenly cut benefits or wages, their employees would leave -- plain and simple. Employment at will keeps both parties honest.

What's the point of being in a union when you get no benefit -- but suffer through shortfalls -- due to being a member? Auto workers are no more than cogs in a giant political graft machine. The sooner they figure this out and break the cycle that's killing GM and hurting their own pocketbooks, the better.

And people wonder why factories are moving overseas...

Read the rest.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Darth Cheney

This Clinton quote shows a few things to me:

"You can always tell when the Republicans are getting restless, because the vice president’s motorcade pulls into the Capitol, and Darth Vader emerges," Clinton said just now at town hall in New York, referring to Cheney's efforts shore up Republican congressional support for the Iraq war.

"I’m not invited to their meetings and I don’t know what he says or does," she said. "But all the brave talk about bringing our troops home, and setting deadlines, and getting out by a certain date just dissipated."
  1. Clinton respects Cheney. This is pretty obvious. Her comments are snarky, but not really flippant. Call it grudging admiration -- she doesn't know how or why, but he gets the job done.
  2. Clinton reads the DailyKos and HuffPo. 'Nuff said there.
  3. Clinton is still (for some reason) wooing the more radical side of her party. This is interesting by itself, because it indicates one of two things: that she believes that side of her party has enough power to be worth her time, especially considering how loony it makes her look to the rest of America; or she actually is a moonbat herself and believes it, too.
  4. When balked, she resorts to name calling. I don't ever recall a senator of the United States referring to her as Godzillary or anything like that, though the names are all over the right side blogs. This sort of thing is just childish for a person in her position to do. It's shameful for a senator -- imagine how much worse for a president!

Read the rest.

Canada's Health care?

Canada's health care system is so vastly superior to America's! At least, thats what the cronies on the Left and Michael Moore want you to believe.

If so, why would a Canadian member of parliament head to California for cancer treatment?

Liberal MP Belinda Stronach, who is battling breast cancer, travelled to California last June for an operation that was recommended as part of her treatment, says a report.

Stronach's spokesman, Greg MacEachern, told the Toronto Star that the MP for Newmarket-Aurora had a "later-stage" operation in the U.S. after a Toronto doctor referred her.

"Belinda had one of her later-stage operations in California, after referral from her personal physicians in Toronto. Prior to this, Belinda had surgery and treatment in Toronto, and continues to receive follow-up treatment there," said MacEachern.

He said speed was not the reason why she went to California.

Instead, MacEachern said the decision was made because the U.S. hospital was the best place to have it done due to the type of surgery required.
...
"In fact, Belinda thinks very highly of the Canadian health-care system, and uses it when needed for herself and her children, as do all Canadians. As well, her family has clearly demonstrated that support," MacEachern told the Star.
That's like saying "I think very highly of my wife, and I go to her when needed as do all husbands. But when she can't satisfy my needs, I pay for the good stuff".

It's a pretty hollow argument. Socialized medicine just isn't the answer -- and the elitists in the world don't care because they'll always be rich enough to get what they need.

Read the rest.

MSM Goes to bat for their girl

The MSM reveals their bias objective stance through Joe Klein:

I know this is old news, but this guy is shameless. The headline, with a photo of a three-quarters crazed Hillary, is HEALTH INSURANCE PROOF REQUIRED FOR WORK but the linked story says this:

At this point, we don't have anything punitive that we have proposed," the presidential candidate said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We're providing incentives and tax credits which we think will be very attractive to the vast majority of Americans."

She said she could envision a day when "you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview — like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination," but said such details would be worked out through negotiations with Congress.
What Joe Klein forgot is that the MSM is also a disgrace...because they provide out of context quotes such as his own. What Clinton went on to say was
...she could envision a day when "you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview — like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination," but said such details would be worked out through negotiations with Congress.
Which, of course, works just fine with Drudge's working headline.

So what is Klein really objecting to, Drudge's reporting or his politics?
How stupid does he think we are? Answer: Extremely dumbolic.

I'll have more about Clinton's health plan in this week's print column.
If you're going to call someone a disgrace to journalism you should at least use a word that's actually...you know...a word. In the dictionary.

Read the rest.

Fake but accurate?

Dan Rather is seeing dollar signs.

Former CBS news anchor Dan Rather filed a $70 million lawsuit Wednesday against the network, former corporate parent Viacom Inc., and three of his former bosses.

Rather's complaint stems from "CBS' intentional mishandling" of the aftermath of a discredited story about President George W. Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard.

Rather is seeking $20 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.
The chump forgot that the only reason it became an issue is because he pushed it personally. You can't sue for being fired if your termination was a direct result of your own actions.

Intentional mishandling my foot. That sounds suspiciously similar to "vast right-wing conspiracy".

Read the rest.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pretty messed up...

So as humorous as this guy's response to being hit with a taser is, the whole situation is pretty sad.

A university student with a history of taping his own practical jokes was Tasered by campus police and arrested after loudly and repeatedly trying to ask U.S. Sen. John Kerry questions during a campus forum.

Videos of the Monday night incident, posted on several Web sites and played repeatedly on television news, show University of Florida police officers pulling Meyer away from the microphone after he asks Kerry about impeaching President Bush and whether he and Bush were both members of the secret society Skull and Bones at Yale University.

As two officers take Meyer by the arms, Kerry, D-Mass., can be heard saying, "That's all right, let me answer his question."

Audience members applaud, and Meyer struggles for several seconds as up to four officers try to remove him from the room. Meyer screams for help and tries to break away from officers with his arms flailing at them, then is forced to the ground and officers order him to stop resisting.
I don't think the article really captures what was going on there. If you'll watch the video here, you'll see what I mean.

The guy went over his allotted time and asked a question that prompted the Kerry aide in the background to cut off the mic. There were cops standing by who immediately grabbed his arms apparently without saying anything to the guy and started to drag him forcibly away.

Not unpredictably, the guy reacts with surprise and obstinance. The guy repeats over and over "get off of me" but also things like "If you let go of me I'll walk out of here". He literally begs the officers not to tase him.

Looks like a lawsuit waiting to happen. There was literally no reason for them to use force to begin with, much less tase him.

Even more damning, Kerry is heard saying that it's ok, he'll answer the question. What was the big deal?

Frankly, I'm kind of surprised no one started at least heckling the officers. People were looking but no one even said anything, even after the kid started screaming for help.

True, the guy should have just kept his mouth shut and walked away to begin with. But the cops are equally culpable here -- you can't just grab people and expect them to follow along meekly. We're a bunch of independent minded rebels by heritage, and it hasn't been bred out of us quite yet.

Read the rest.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Murtha is nuts

Seriously, the guy is batty. He has unlearned the toddler's lesson that wishing for something won't make it come true.

House Appropriations Defense subcommittee Chairman John Murtha (D-Pa.) said Monday that he expects that Republican lawmakers will begin abandoning President Bush’s Iraq policy after the GOP picks a presidential candidate next year.

"As soon as the primaries are over, you’ll see Republicans start jumping ship," Murtha said in remarks at the National Press Club.

Murtha also predicted that, despite the unpopularity of Congress, Democrats will make broad gains in next year’s election because voters are upset with the war.

"People are frustrated, but you’re going to see a big Democratic increase," he told reporters after his speech. “I think we’ll pick up 40 [to] 50 seats."
Apparently he's forgotten that all of the Republican candidates (except for Ron Paul...heh) are decidedly pro-Petraeus and pro-"Stay the course"? And that the current congress is in shambles and has literally done nothing aside from upping the minimum wage (i.e. soothe their union cohorts)?

Read the rest.

Not to stir up trouble...

...but isn't this grounds for war a-la yellowcake?

The United States has determined that Syria has been seeking nuclear weapons from North Korea.

"We do know that there are a number of foreign technicians that have been in Syria," Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Semmel said. "We do know that there may have been contact between Syria and some secret suppliers for nuclear equipment. Whether anything transpired remains to be seen."

Read the rest.

Fortunate

We are fortunate that the pendulum in the world is swinging back to the conservative side of politics. I think that having an ally (and potential hawk?) in France may be one of the biggest boons of that swing to date -- perhaps just in time to save the world from a truly liberal/socialist American government.

France took the first steps Monday to set up a European sanctions regime against the Islamic government in Tehran, after warning that Iran's failure to renounce nuclear weapons could lead to war.

"These would be European sanctions that each country, individually, must put in place with its own banking, commercial and industrial system. The English and the Germans are interested in talking about this. We will try to find a common European position," Kouchner said.

Verhagen said the "first effort should be to convince the Security Council to apply more sanctions. But when the Security Council doesn't agree, I am prepared, I am willing, to apply European Union sanctions in common with the United States sanctions."

France has taken a more threatening posture towards Iran since the election of President Nicolas Sarkozy in May, and its willingness to promote extra-UN sanctions puts it closely in line with the position of the United States.
It's good to have allies in other places than Israel and Britain, don't you think?

Read the rest.

If this is how it works...?

If folks can self-appoint themselves as ambassadors for things, can I do it, too?

Madonna toasted the Jewish new year with Israeli President Shimon Peres and declared herself an "ambassador for Judaism," local newspapers reported Sunday.

The singer, who is not Jewish, arrived in Israel Wednesday on the eve of Jewish new year to attend a conference on Kabbalah or Jewish mysticism.
If so, I'd like to announce that I am officially the ambassador for Islam, Bacon, Baseball, College Football and Bikinis.

I pick those because if Islam would adapt to the other three, there wouldn't really be much cause for fighting any more, would there?

Read the rest.

The crux of the matter

There's an interesting point to be made after reading this article, and it really undermines everything Clinton says about the health care issue.

Addressing a crowd at a medical center in the early voting state of Iowa, Clinton laid out her proposal, with the centerpiece a so-called "individual mandate," requiring everyone to have health insurance — just as most states require drivers to purchase auto insurance. Rival John Edwards has also offered a plan that includes an individual mandate, while the proposal outlined by Barack Obama does not.
There's a staggering difference in ideology between the automotive insurance question and the health insurance questions.

Most states do require drivers to purchase insurance. However, that mandatory coverage is only for liability, not collision. I realize this isn't rocket science but the net difference is that the current state of auto insurance is the government doing its job -- that is, guaranteeing the rights of its citizens. When drivers have insurance, it protects other citizens from being wronged in such a way that they have no redress. An uninsured driver hitting someone and damaging their car essentially shoves the burden of their recklessness and irresponsibility on another person. However, they're only responsible legally for the damage to the other fellow's car, not their own.

Mandatory health insurance is the equivalent of mandatory full coverage collision on every single car. It's not in itself a bad thing -- I pay for both collision insurance and health insurance, but I do so by choice. The government should never presume to know better than its citizens, whether in matters of auto finances (sometimes it's not cost efficient to insure a vehicle) or health.

And, of course, Edwards is an idiot with idiotic, childish ideas.
Edwards said on his first day in office he will submit legislation that would pull health insurance for the president, members of Congress and all political appointees unless they pass universal health care within six months.

Read the rest.

Annoyance

I really get tired of everyone constantly disparaging Microsoft. They already got busted for including a web browser in windows -- now they can't include Windows Media Player on EU versions of Windows? And they have to release some of their source code?

It also said regulators had clearly demonstrated that selling media software with Windows had damaged rivals.

"The court observes that it is beyond dispute that in consequence of the tying consumers are unable to acquire the Windows operating system without simultaneously acquiring Windows Media Player," it said.

"In that regard, the court considers that neither the fact that Microsoft does not charge a separate price for Windows Media Player nor the fact that consumers are not obliged to use that Media Player is irrelevant."
The leeches of the world will always ride on the cart being pulled by the Do-ers. The fact that no company to date has even come close to toppling Microsoft's OS empire demonstrates to me that Microsoft is still serving the consumer in a satisfactory way. If there was a need the Microsoft wasn't filling, or if their product was inferior the market would demand that competition fill the gaps. It hasn't done so, and I must conclude that Windows is made pretty dang well. (The fact that I love Vista and all of the amazing features it has backs this up, too).

Personally I'd be pretty annoyed if I bought an operating system that came without a media player or a web browser. In fact, I'm not sure how you'd even go about getting updates when you installed the OS fresh, unless you happened to have another web browser saved to a hard disk. The whole idea is stupid.

Incidentally, OSX not only comes with a media player (Quicktime) but also a music player (iTunes), a movie editor, a web browser, a fairly advanced math program, and a plethora of other specialized non-operating system programs. Why isn't anyone whining about them? It seems to me that Matlab or Maple would have a decent court case against Apple for their math software, along these grounds.

The fact is that no one can compete with Microsoft because their product is better. This sets a bad precedent because in the end the consumer is going to suffer from this legislation. Things like this are ultimately a setback for the market -- and set a groundwork for future acts of stupidity. I wouldn't be surprised to see some kind of socialist backlash to Boeing's continued trouncing of Airbus or any other of the flagship examples of why American capitalism is simply better than the EU pseudomodel of it.

I wish Microsoft were private and principled beyond fighting for profits. If that were the case they could just deny the EU use of any and all Microsoft products because of this ruling. Would it hurt Microsoft? Sure. Would it hurt the EU a whole lot more? Of course. Would it be good for the world? I think so.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I feel bad for this kid

The folks using this kid as a political tool should be ashamed of themselves.

Then again, it would be kind of difficult to explain to him that Mommy is a repeat offender criminal that has no business being in this country and if it weren't for an outdated law he wouldn't be a citizen and would have no reason to stay here, either.

An 8-year-old boy whose mother was deported to Mexico led a chanting crowd of about 150 pro-immigration activists through the halls of Congress on Wednesday. Capitol Police arrested two demonstrators for disorderly conduct.

Saul Arellano and other children carried a banner that read: "Born in the USA. Don't take our moms and dads away."

The boy's mother, Elvira Arellano, was deported last month after taking refuge in a Chicago church for a year.

In Tijuana, Mexico, across the border from San Diego, Elvira Arellano spoke about her son to several dozen demonstrators. Saul was scheduled to join her there Thursday.

"He is a boy who has been suffering because the U.S. government told his mother she couldn't stay in their country anymore because she was undocumented," she said.
WRONG. He is a boy who is suffering because his mother refuses to take responsibilities for her actions.

I never quite understood the left's simultaneous view of the Federal government as both all-fathering and all-evil until I subtracted the lens of maturity. It is suspiciously similar to the way a teenager views their parents, isn't it?

Read the rest.

Giuliani

I saw Giuliuani speak early last year and at that point I'm not sure he realized that he was running for president.

He's gotten a whole lot meaner, and I think he's come to terms with it. I really like him and I like the way he presents himself and his positions. It would be a tough call between him and Fred Thompson for me at this point.

For example, I think this is spot-on:

When Army Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker came before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Clinton said that their claims of progress in Iraq require a "willing suspension of disbelief."

"Despite what I view is your rather extraordinary efforts in your testimony both yesterday and today," said Clinton, "I think that the reports that you provide to us really require a willing suspension of disbelief."

Giuliani accused Clinton of "playing into" a MoveOn.org ad that ran in the New York Times Monday that read: "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?"

After co-host Spiff Carner said, "She's trying to tell us that she knows more about the whole situation than he does,” Giuliani shot back by saying, “Doesn’t it also sound like she’s also saying that he isn’t telling the truth?”

"I really do think to accuse a general of the ‘willing suspension of disbelief,’ particular in the atmosphere that Moveon.org has created with these terrible attacks, I don’t know, I mean I think that’s not the way in a responsible way to go about , you know, forging the foreign policy of the United States and the military policy of the United States," said Giuliani. "I think this name calling, you know, saying to people, ‘willing suspension of disbelief,’ and then saying the horrible thing they said about betrayal -- that is the last thing we need right now."
First of all, what Hillary said doesn't even make sense. Read it again:
"Despite what I view is your rather extraordinary efforts in your testimony both yesterday and today," said Clinton, "I think that the reports that you provide to us really require a willing suspension of disbelief."
Not much better the second time around is it?

Secondly, Giuliani is right: making a career military officer out to be a political hack is only indicative of the lows democrats will stoop to. File this under the "we support the troops but not the war" idiocy folder.

Finally, this quote from a Clinton staffer is golden:
Senator Clinton will continue to ask the hard questions in an effort to get our troops home.
Apparently not only is Hillary unable to form grammatically correct sentences, her staff also doesn't seem to understand the difference between an assertion and a question.

Read the rest.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Frustrating

What the heck is the point of having an expert come in to brief congress if congress tells them they're wrong?

Anti-war Senate Democrats bluntly told Iraq commander General David Petraeus Tuesday his troop surge strategy was an abject failure in its prime objective -- forging an Iraqi political settlement.
...
Petraeus repeated his contention that the surge was working, and said US forces could gradually be reduced from their current 168,000 strength, to pre-surge levels of around 130,000 by mid 2008.

But committee chairman Senator Joseph Biden said: "we should stop the surge and start bringing our troops home."
Who is Joe Biden to tell Petraeus anything? And why is Petraeus' report a "contention"?

Forget congress. Let them throw their fits. They can't even play by the rules they set up. To be honest, I'd not have Petraeus do any briefings except to select committees and dare them to try another Vietnam budget cut.

Pelosi and her ilk don't have the guts or the political capital to carry it out. Why should we continue to play their stupid political game?

Read the rest.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thinly guised tyranny

The purpose of government is not to take care of its citizens. Governments exist solely to ensure the rights of their citizens. The value of the freedom to be unhealthy far outweighs any government guarantee of health.

Consider the resulting scenario: If the government becomes sole arbiter over what constitutes physical health, anything could be deemed healthy or unhealthy for all citizens under the guise of guaranteeing health. The first to go would be smoking -- that one is under fire already, as is the freedom to eat trans fat food. But what would be next? Alcohol? Sweets? McDonald's? Shall we be forced to exercise as well as visit the doctor regularly?

Health is usually already defined as more than physical absence of disease. Consider if the government is empowered to decide what constitutes mental health? Or spiritual? Mandatory visits to a doctor presumably are not limited to a physician. What of a psychiatrist? If the government is deciding who is and who isn’t healthy, the government is choosing who can and can't be responsible for their own actions.

Don't be fooled. Behind any veil of security lies the ugly face of tyranny. Universal health care is no exception.

Read the rest.

Watcher's Council

As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.

Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

Read the rest.

Headline you can smile about

"Anti-war leaders stymied, frustrated"

A well-known anti-war leader has gone public with the transcript of a private conference call that shows peace activists are exasperated with the Democratic congressional leadership and at a loss for a long-term strategy.
...But the call shows the war opponents are having little success because of fears about the impact on next year’s elections if the party is seen as defeatist.
There's not a ton of need for commentary. That's just a great snapshot of what victory over treason looks like.

I hope they squirm like rats in a trap.

Read the rest.

Interesting

When Hispanics became the largest minority in America we saw some changes. McDonald's commercials no longer featured as many blacks. Coca-cola ran ads with roommates eating "Mom's home made empanadas".

Now that trend is starting to show itself in politics. Brown is the new black:

And the candidates were eager to connect their experiences with those of the Latino community.

Clinton noted that her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, is a Latina, while Obama likened the work of labor activist Cesar Chavez to that of Martin Luther King Jr.

Former senator John Edwards (N.C.) bragged that the small town where he grew up, Robbins, N.C., "is now half Latino." And Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio) said Spanish should become a second national language, a stance that Dodd and Richardson would not adopt.

Richardson, the only Latino running for president, was the most explicit he has been in this campaign in discussing his Mexican American heritage and in identifying himself with Latino issues.

"I am of the view that Latinos can make a difference in this presidential election," he said. "Forty-three million of us all around the country can decide not just what is best for Latinos but what is best for America."
I find this sort of trash offensive. I don't understand why people feel the need to vote as a faction based solely on the color of their skin.

I can understand voting for liberalism or conservativism. I can understand voting for gun rights, or for abortion. But why on earth would you ever vote because of the nationality of your parents or grandparents?

There's no Irish voting block, or German, or Italian. No one even runs as a Catholic or Protestant candidate; the Mormon in this race sure isn't calling for all Mormons to vote for him exclusively for that reason.

My mother is a naturalized citizen. My entire family on her side is from Chile, of mixed English, Spanish, and Indian descent. I feel no need to vote "Latino"; I don't understand why anyone else would.

Read the rest.

Beautiful

Radical Islam has a problem. It can't deal with sexuality in any sort of healthy psychological way.

That's why this is such a brilliant, perfect comment to respond to bin Laden:

"This is about the best he can do," Townsend said of bin Laden. "This is a man on a run, from a cave, who's virtually impotent other than these tapes."
Islam can't deal with the allegation of impotence. Marine units in Iraq literally broadcasts the Arabic equivalent of "Al Qaeda has erectile dysfunction" over loudspeakers because it sends them into a tactically worthless rage.

Americans should exploit this aspect of the enemy. It's a psychological pressure point that we can use to our advantage. I'd love to see more of this type of talk.

Read the rest.

Colin Powell doesn't get it

Or perhaps he does. In an interview released today he said

"What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will say it's terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?"
Colin Powell believes, to me, that the greatest threat facing America today is either runaway illegal immigration by folks who have no interest in preserving America or radical socialist liberalism which also has no interest in preserving America.

And to be honest with you, I agree with that statement. External threats aren't all that great. No country can invade us and destroy or conquer us through military means.

But through an invasion via injection? Can we survive the virus that is illegal immigration? Or the spreading disease of socialism and government dependency?

Who is John Galt?

Read the rest.

Media puzzled

The media is still puzzled over what to do with Fred Thompson.

Freshly minted GOP White House hopeful Fred Thompson puzzled Iowans yesterday by insisting an Al Qaeda smoking ban was one reason freedom-loving Iraqis bolted to the U.S. side.
...Thompson received mixed reviews from several listeners who had reservations about his late entry into the race.
They've called him lazy, they've said that he doesn't enjoy campaigning. They attacked his wife, they said his staff was falling apart. They said his conservative credentials were fraudulent. And none of it stuck. None of it is becoming their oft-repeated mantra.

So now they're unhappily writing things from their corner, sighing, grasping at straws.

I'm sure the media will find something. They always do; Fred Thompson will be no miracle exception.

But those "mixed reviews" he got?
Carol Perrin, 62, a retired schoolteacher, said, "I was impressed. I don't think he's selling us a bill of goods."

But Ralph Hecht, 61, a farmer and Marine Vietnam veteran whose son served two tours in Iraq with the Army, said Thompson's attempts at folksy appeal wouldn't work with him. "For me, it will be the issues stuff," Hecht said.
Those don't quite sound like the normal definition of mixed reviews. That sounds to me like full support and tentative support.

Perhaps what the reporter meant was a mix between "good" and "great"?

Read the rest.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I got three things from this article

A few observations from reading this article.

1. You can't trust The Independent to describe pictures to you. This:

At first sight, the poster looks like an innocent children's cartoon. Three white sheep stand beside a black sheep. The drawing makes it looks as though the animals are smiling. But then you notice that the three white beasts are standing on the Swiss flag. One of the white sheep is kicking the black one off the flag, with a crafty flick of its back legs.
Doesn't really describe this:If anything I think the sheep look concerned.

2. Whoever wrote this article basically made a mistake in referencing this book. The author didn't read the book, or he didn't understand it. The title is either a poor choice of words (coincidence) or indicative of stupidity.

3. I think the Swiss have it figured out when it comes to nationalism and citizenship. We would do well to follow their example.
"How direct democracy functions is a very sensitive issue in Switzerland," he says, explaining why he has long opposed joining the EU. "To the average German, the transfer of power from Berlin to Brussels didn't really affect their daily lives. The transfer of power from the commune to Brussels would seriously change things for the ordinary Swiss citizen."

Switzerland has the toughest naturalization rules in Europe. To apply, you must live in the country legally for at least 12 years, pay taxes, and have no criminal record. The application can still be turned down by your local commune which meets to ask "Can you speak German? Do you work? Are you integrated with Swiss people?"
Anti-nationalism goes right along with Marxism and the more infuriating facets of pacifism. The fact that the Swiss have pride in their country and are exclusive flies in the face of most liberals, who feel that any sort of privilege or right earned by one is earned by all.

Read the rest.

This is stupid of them

Cable companies have enjoyed the upper hand in ISP control for a long time. Things like this (along with fiber and IPTV) are going to drag them from their high:

Comcast has punished some transgressors by cutting off their Internet service, arguing that excessive downloaders hog Internet capacity and slow down the network for other customers. The company declines to reveal its download limits.
It's their prerogative, and I'm sure there's something in the monthly contract stipulating a download limit. But it's stupid of them.

Bandwidth crunch is inevitable but punishing high end users isn't going to bring any more business.

Personally I can't wait to live in a house that has fiber and IPTV so I can say goodbye to Warner / TimeWarner / Comcast forever. It's been long enough!

Read the rest.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ridiculous

"We'll see what the 9/11 commission report says. We'll see what the Iraq Study Group says. We'll see what Petraeus says..."

When will the endless backpedaling statements end from the left?

Congressional Democrats are trying to undermine U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' credibility before he delivers a report on the Iraq war next week, saying the general is a mouthpiece for President Bush and his findings can't be trusted.

"We know what is going to be in it. It's clear. I think the president's trip over to Iraq makes it very obvious," the Illinois Democrat said. "I expect the Bush report to say, 'The surge is working. Let's have more of the same.' "

The top Democrats — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California — also referred to the general's briefing as the "Bush report."
It's so childishly predictable. The sad thing is, they'll probably get away with this schtick eight months after they voted to confirm him.

Says Captain Ed:
Of particular note is the fact that the same Senators who didn't cast a single vote against this highly-regarded commander taking over the effort in Iraq suddenly feel that Petraeus would conspire with George Bush to deliver a dishonest report to Congress. Which is more likely -- that a career commander would deliberately lie about events in Iraq that already have garnered plenty of independent evidence for success, or that Dick Durbin and Harry Reid would smear the military for their own political gain?
The gaggle of inept congressmen also revealed their reasons for not valuing Petraeus' report -- even though they haven't heard it yet.
They also favored an analysis due today by Gen. James L. Jones, former U.S. commander in Europe, that is expected to say security gains have been "uneven" and Iraqi security forces are ill-prepared to stand alone, according to a CNN report.
Because it doesn't help them out, see? Clearly a former commander has a better perspective than the current commander, particularly when he didn't even serve in the same theater.

The fact is that no one knows what Petraeus will report yet other than him and his aides. All the guesswork and whining on the part of the democrats tells me that they expect it to be damning because of their defeatism. But even after the report is given, there are only a handful of people in the world with the ability to discredit it -- and most of them are in Iraq.
"We will see what the Bush report will be at the end of next week," Mrs. Pelosi said. "The facts are self-evident that the progress is not being made. They might want to find one or two places where there has been progress but the plural of anecdote is not data."
Pelosi needs some lessons on data. Facts are never, ever self-evident towards anything except what they represent. Data means nothing by itself; it requires interpretation. The only thing that is self-evident "that progress is not being made" is the continued litany from the left saying so.

The last bit of her statement applies quite well to global warming, too. Perhaps she is a closet Denier as well?

"The plural of anecdote is not data." I've been saying that for years.

Read the rest.

Car salesman Obama?

This tack sounds an awful lot like the schpiel they throw at you to buy a new car.

Asked if his '08 bid was just a strategic move to position himself for a run in 2012, Obama said he didn't think his wife would allow him to run again if it doesn't work out this time.

"Well, I'm not sure- I don't think my wife's going to let me do this twice. So let me be clear about that," Obama said while campaigning in Iowa.

Today Saturday and tomorrow Sunday only! Don't miss the chance to make a deal of a lifetime! Buy today or you'll regret it tomorrow!

So is it desperation or just another carefully timed maneuver? I'd lean towards the former myself.

Read the rest.

For you but not me

It's fine for me to tell you to be conscientious of your carbon footprint while I simultaneously ignore mine, because I can buy indulgences.

This is what the left says, and it doesn't stop with Al Gore.

During the year, the show has featured countless segments about everyone doing his or her part to curb the threat of global warming, but apparently they didn’t get the memo in time to apply their logic to their broadcast.
“I tallied it up and we have circled the globe 12 times, 12 times in one year, 315,688 miles,” Roberts said.
The inconvenient truth of the matter is that among the four of them, they have emitted 61.45 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere far exceeding the amount that Al Gore’s ClimateCrisis.Net allots.
If I cared about CO2 (I don't) I would be simply outraged about this. But then again, if I cared about CO2 I'd be a liberal, in which case I would trundle out the argument of moral authority (tm) and recognize the fact that by spreading the Global Warming Climate Change Gospel they are more than offsetting their carbon footprint.

Kind of how by spending billions of dollars in earmarks this session of congress has become the model for fiscal responsibility. Right?

Oh, was that below the belt?

UPDATE: And by the way, Good Morning America has officially contributed to the deaths of innocents.

Doctors warn that the warmer weather expected with climate change might also produce more heart problems.

"If it really is a few degrees warmer in the next 50 years, we could definitely have more cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Karin Schenck-Gustafsson, of the department of cardiology at Sweden's Karolinska Institute.

On the sidelines of the European Society of Cardiology's annual meeting in Vienna this week, some experts said that the issue deserved more attention. It's well-known that people have more heart problems when it's hot. (Duh).

Just thought I'd let you know.

And P.S. Dr. Karin Schenck-Gustafsson is apparently a fellow Denier (above, bold). Glad to have her aboard!

Read the rest.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Looks like one, smells like one...

I told you it was a rat.

Disgraced Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu was a wanted man again after he failed to show up for a court date Wednesday and a judge issued a new warrant for his arrest.
I understand you can't necessarily hold a candidate to task for the moneys they take. They aren't responsible for the actions of their supporters. But it is kind of indicative of the kind of politics the Clintons run -- and its nothing new, either.

Read the rest.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Apples and Oranges

In the wake of a recently released International Labor Organization report on world productivity and labor statistics, two articles appeared with decidedly different interpretations of the findings.

Geoff Colvin of Fortune says Americans are working less while charging more and eventually will be outpaced by the growing twin specters of China and India. However, the AP's article instead states not only are we working harder but smarter -- and I found it to be right on the money.

The Fortune article starts thusly:

We Americans pride ourselves on being a hard-working bunch, so here's a thought to spoil your Labor Day rest: By global standards, we're lazy. We've been getting lazier. And the days of the American dolce vita may be numbered.

The surprising report of our relative sloth arrives in new research from the UN's International Labor Organization, which looks at working hours around the world. When it comes to what we might call hard work, meaning the proportion of workers who put in more than 48 hours a week, America is near the bottom of the heap. About 18% of our employed people work that much.
Contrast that with the AP report, which states:
American workers stay longer in the office, at the factory or on the farm than their counterparts in Europe and most other rich nations, and they produce more per person over the year.

They also get more done per hour than everyone but the Norwegians, according to a U.N. report released Monday, which said the United States "leads the world in labor productivity."

The average U.S. worker produces $63,885 of wealth per year, more than their counterparts in all other countries.
So what gives?

Colvin's article references some anonymous study performed by the University of Chicago which I can't find. I did, however, read the International Labor Organization's report, and found it to be about as unalarming as can be.

Not only do we work more than other developed nations, but the American worker also creates more wealth per hour worked than every country but Norway, and we shatter their aspirations of first place productivity by working far more hours.

Our massive creation of wealth can't be totally written off as a result of more technical labor, either. We destroy the competition in each singular field of labor as well. For example, an American farm worker creates almost 58 times the annual wealth of his Chinese counterpart. A Chinese industrial worker produces $12,642 in wealth per year, which is absolutely demolished by the American figure of $104,606.

And the ILO report states that the productivity gap between the United States and poorer nations is widening.

This stands in sharp contrast to the crux of Colvin's article, where he says

Americans and others in developed economies are selling the world's most expensive labor. In a global market, some of those prices -- our pay -- will have to stop rising and maybe even come down, while pay in China, India, and elsewhere goes up.

Now I don't particularly want to argue with the Senior Editor-in-chief of Fortune, but I can't help but scoff at this. At best he's sorely misrepresented his argument; at worst, he's flat out wrong.

The difference lies not in the price of labor per hour but the type of labor being performed. This relates marvelously with the laws of thermodynamics, which tell us that energy has not only quantity (first law) but quality (second law).

Similarly, you can't find labor to produce what Americans will in other countries, and it has nothing to do with the price per hour. It's a case of apples to oranges, and I think Colvin knows it. The disparity between the amount of time to create wealth in a nation based on agriculture compared to that of one based on technology renders any comparison completely null and void.

The ILO report's executive summary makes this lucidly clear:
The majority of workers in most developed economies are engaged in wage and salaried employment. In contrast, the majority in the developing economies of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia continue to work as own account workers and contributing family workers.
...
In recent years agriculture has lost its place as the main sector of employment and has been replaced by the service sector, which in 2006 constituted 42.0 per cent of world employment compared to 36.1 per cent for agriculture
...
Agriculture is still the main employer in the poorest regions in the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, almost [70 percent] employed, work in this sector; in South Asia and South-East Asia & the Pacific it is almost [50 percent].
By contrast, only approximately 7 percent work in the agriculture industry in the US (21 million). The apples-to-oranges comparison becomes even more ridiculous when the cost of living in terms of food is considered: Americans, on average, spend 9.3 percent of their income on food. India spends 53.1 percent, Venezuela spends 34.3 percent, Italy spends 25.7 percent, Japan spends 19.1 percent, France spends 16.3 percent and the United Kingdom spends 11.5 percent.

Even if the productivity gap was neutralized, Americans would still be far wealthier than citizens of other nations. The "dolce vita" isn't going away any time soon.

And it's not only that Americans are doing different kinds of work. American laborers are more innovative, smarter, more competitive and just downright better than their counterparts overseas for a variety of reasons which are a study all by themselves (freedom, ability to own property, etc). What it comes down to is that Americans essentially demand higher pay for a higher quality product, something which the market understands and agrees with.

It may be true that the bulk of Americans may not be working in excess of 48 hours a week. As Colvin says, only 18% of us are workaholics enough to do that. But the vast majority of Americans (right at 80%) work the traditional full time 40 hour work week, which is actually up from a decade ago.

At this point, I'm not even sure that Geoff Colvin read the ILO report.

Finally, an interesting point is revealed when the methodology of the ILO's report is considered. They rely heavily on individual country's labor statistic offices and surveying of individual workers to report the time they spend working. What, then, constitutes work? Colvin suggests we're working less around the house as well as in the office (and links it to the rise of obesity). He also reports that Americans have more leisure time.

But is it really true?

With the rise of the work-related email address and the ever-present Blackberry, many Americans simply never stop working, whether on vacation or relaxing after 5 pm. And yet most, I believe, would not record this time as work hours when surveyed.

Again, its apples to oranges. As little as ten years ago a person was incommunicado as soon as they were on vacation -- and their work just got on without them. But, clearly, Americans still take vacation, and still count this time as "leisure" hours, whether they get a little work done or not.

I don't think the PDA craze has caught on in India just yet.


The point is pretty clear: Americans are still hard workers and are still providing not only more quantity but more quality than workers of other nations.

No matter what Geoff Colvin wants you to believe.

Read the rest.