Friday, June 29, 2007

Comments?

I use Sitemeter and Feedburner...so I know that people actually do (occasionally) read my blog. Perhaps unintentionally, but I know y'all are out there.

So do me a favor...throw me a comment now and then. It gets lonely talking to myself all the time here.

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Questions

Does anyone else find this attempted attack conveniently situated immediately after Blair leaves office? I wonder if that had anything to do with the timing?

The car bomb found in London's West End contained 60 litres of petrol (thats British-talk for gasoline), a large amount of nails and several gas canisters, police have revealed.

Detectives believe they have foiled a major terror attack after the "big" explosive device was discovered in a Mercedes early this morning.
How did they foil an attack? The bad guys can't build a car bomb correctly; thats no positive in the good guy's column. [Edit: I was under the impression that the "smoke" people reported was a failed attempt to detonate the bomb. After reading subsequent reports, I'm not so sure that this is the case. Edit again: Fox news reported that it was a failed suicide attempt, with the suicide-ee running away. ] This was a "near miss" as its termed in industry safety. Its only a matter of time before it happens again -- probably successfully. So sad to live in Londonistan.

Isn't this a nice lesson in acceptance and multiculturalism for us all?
Intelligence sources said they were keeping an open mind on who was responsible for the car bomb.
So, what does that mean? We're not going to publicly blame Islamic terrorists?

Because the car bombing tactic is the calling card of so many other religions...right?

Update: UK authorities are now reporting that there was a second car bomb:
Police have confirmed that not one, but two massive car bombs were set to explode in the heart of London's West End.

The first, in Haymarket, was packed with petrol, gas cannisters and nails and was defused after police were alerted by an ambulance crew called to an incident at a nearby nightclub.

The second was in a car that was illegally parked nearby and towed to the Park Lane car pound.

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Mysteriously Absent

The MSM kind of half-heartedly reported the Mickey Farfour Mouse being used to indoctrinate the children of Palestinian terrorists, but this story has been mysteriously absent from mainstream news.

Hamas TV on Friday broadcast what it said was the last episode of a weekly children's show featuring "Farfour," a Mickey Mouse look-alike who had made worldwide headlines for preaching Islamic domination and armed struggle to youngsters.

In the final skit, Farfour was beaten to death by an actor posing as an Israeli official trying to buy Farfour's land. At one point, Farfour called the Israeli a "terrorist."

"Farfour was martyred while defending his land," said Sara, the teen presenter. He was killed "by the killers of children," she added.
Where's the outrage?

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Alarming

Counterterrorism Blog and The Croissant are reporting hints of increased activity that heralds renewed violence in Lebanon:

It is not only Fatah Al Islam fighting the Lebanese Army but also attacks against UNIFIL and now Syria and Iran preparing for a possible Hezbollah-Israel war.

For proof, this story from The Croissant:

Iran providing Syria with Revolutionary Guards and weapons

According to Syrian sources, passengers flying out of Damascus airport from last Tuesday to Thursday were sent home by authorities because of an alleged general breakdown.
The cancellation of all the flights was rather due to the fact that a massive airlift between Tehran and Damascus was under way and needed to proceed with the utmost discretion.

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Buqaba

I'm hesitant to wave the checkered flag in Buqaba, but this report is quite encouraging. Blah blah blah, checking a mosque for information...

...Absent any weapons or insurgents themselves, it seemed that the raid produced something of a jackpot of potential intelligence information.

“We’re money,” said Sgt. Luis Cruz, 28, of Davenport, Iowa.

That sort of information could prove vital as U.S. and Iraqi forces move into the next phase of operations in Baqouba. With almost no hostile fire reported in days, combat operations are winding down. The focus of the effort now is to consolidate control and persuade local residents to begin cooperating with U.S. troops and Iraqi security forces.

The overall intent of this phase of the Baqouba operation, said Capt. Issac Torres, commander of Company C, is to “lock down the local population and keep pressure on them” until they begin turning in al-Qaida and other insurgents who remain in the city.
Almost...too easy.

But I'll take what I'm given. Given this statement from Wednesday

When we speak of "clearing" an enemy safe haven, we are not talking about destroying the enemy in it; we are talking about rescuing the population in it from enemy intimidation. If we don't get every enemy cell in the initial operation, that's OK. The point of the operations is to lift the pall of fear from population groups that have been intimidated and exploited by terrorists to date, then win them over and work with them in partnership to clean out the cells that remain – as has happened in Al Anbar Province and can happen elsewhere in Iraq as well.

I'd say we're doing ok. Keep your thoughts and prayers focused on that city.

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Hah

Gotta love this:

Bay area CODEPINK member collapsed in Lieberman's office after 10 days of an ongoing hunger-strike to gain a meeting with the Senator. Outraged by Senator Lieberman's comments on CBS on June 15 about wanting to bomb Iran, CODEPINK member Leslie Angeline, 50, decided to start a hunger strike until she could meet with the senator.
Most people are smart enough to eat when they get hungry. I hope he refuses to grant her a meeting. I hate it when people try to strong-arm me into doing things, and I suspect most politicians are the same.

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Awesome

Craig Biggio got hit number 3,000 last night (and 3,001 and 3,002). I was lucky enough to be there. What an awesome night for an awesome player!

Biggio needed three hits for the big milestone when he stepped to the plate for the first time Thursday night at Minute Maid Park. By the time the Astros beat the Rockies on Carlos Lee's 11th-inning grand slam, Biggio had hit Nos. 2,998, 2,999 3,000, 3,001 and 3,002.
Absolutely great!

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

(Un)Fairness Doctrine

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) has submitted a bill to specifically prohibit reinstating the Fairness Doctrine.

"The American people love a fair fight, especially where the issues of the day are debated. In a free market, fairness should be determined based upon equal opportunity, not equal results. As some voices are calling for Congress to enforce their idea of ‘fairness’ upon the American people, it would be good for us to proceed with caution whenever some would achieve their ‘fairness’ by limiting the freedom of others.
Ed's play-by-play appears to indicate that Pence has won. Yay.

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This makes no sense

You know, I have yet to see a post about the failure immigration bill being a defeat to anyone in the legislative branch of government.

The US Senate meted out a severe blow to President George W. Bush Thursday, blocking a landmark immigration reform seen as one of his last, best hopes for a legacy-boosting second term victory.
Why isn't anyone calling it like it is: a failure of Harry Reid and Kennedy to get something done that is on their agenda? The fact that it is being backed by Bush doesn't make it his responsibility.

Which is, incidentally, why Reid isn't pushing very hard. He knows that if it bombs, the status quo is maintained -- which nobody in Washington minds -- and he avoids all blame, to boot.

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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.

How to fix immigration

When someone tells you it can't be done, you have a few options. You can listen to them, and give up. You can try it anyway, and "Damn the torpedoes!" Or, you can do the third thing -- look back and learn from history.

When it comes to that, I opt for the third option.

George W. Bush isn't the first Republican president to face a full-blown immigration crisis on the US-Mexican border.

Fifty-three years ago, when newly elected Dwight Eisenhower moved into the White House, America's southern frontier was as porous as a spaghetti sieve. As many as 3 million illegal migrants had walked and waded northward over a period of several years for jobs in California, Arizona, Texas, and points beyond.

President Eisenhower cut off this illegal traffic. He did it quickly and decisively with only 1,075 United States Border Patrol agents - less than one-tenth of today's force. The operation is still highly praised among veterans of the Border Patrol.
How did he do it? How did he fight the "entrenched bureaucracy," described thus by Dafydd:
Civil Service laws were deliberately constructed to prevent civil servants from being fired, replaced, demoted, promoted, threatened, bullied, or forced to do anything. The best you can do is cajole them, bribe them, or slowly -- over many years -- attrit the worst ones.
He fought them by placing a retired general over the INS, Gen. "Jumpin' Joe" Swing, who moved the long-term and uncooperative civil servants away from open-border supporters in the legislature (such as Lyndon Johnson) thus severing the political ties that prohibited them from doing their jobs. He then swept the country, beginning in California, capturing illegals with a goal rate of 1,000 a day. With 750 agents. They caught 50,000 in about two months in California and Arizona, with an impact factor of roughly ten times that, as many illegals fled.

They then took these illegals and dumped them back in Mexico. Not five feet from the border, where they can come back, but deep in Mexico, by using trains and buses to put them far, far away from us. Tens of thousands were transported by the Emancipation and the Mercurio to Vera Cruz, 500 miles from the border.

And you know what? It worked.

If 750 agents can be the driving force behind deporting nearly one million illegals in three months, then surely our current force of approximately 10,000 can deport 12 million in a year!

So the next time someone talks about how it can't be done, make sure you exercise the best of your three options!

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Oorah Marines

Ouch.

Bill Barnes says he was scratching off a losing $2 lottery ticket inside a gas station when he felt a hand slip into his front-left pants pocket, where he had $300 in cash.

He immediately grabbed the person's wrist with his left hand and started throwing punches with his right, landing six or seven blows before a store manager intervened.

"I guess he thought I was an easy mark," Barnes, 72, told The Grand Rapids Press for a story Tuesday.

He's anything but an easy mark: Barnes served in the Marines, was an accomplished Golden Gloves boxer and retired after 20 years as an iron worker.

..."There was blood everywhere," said another manager on duty, Abby Ostrom, 25.

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Interesting

This article has some interesting information about Al Gore tucked surreptitiously into one of its paragraphs.

...He has become an insider at two of the hottest companies on the planet: at Google, where he signed on as an adviser in 2001, pre-IPO (and received stock options now reportedly worth north of $30 million), and at Apple, where he joined the board in 2003 (and got stock options now valued at about $6 million). He enjoyed a big payday as vice chairman of an investment firm in L.A., and, more recently, started a cable-television company and an asset-management firm, both of which are becoming quiet forces in their fields.
Well. Now we know why Steve Jobs backs him for president.

Can someone explain to me why Gore rates a position of "adviser" to Google, a company which regularly hires PhDs from Stanford and MIT? Or a spot on the board at Apple? He's got a bachelor's degree in (you guessed it) government from Harvard and a half-finished law degree. He's been a newspaper writer, a congressman, a senator, and vice president. No business degree. No knowledge of computer science. No experience as a businessman.

Now if I'm reading this right, I'd say that those positions are (gasp!) political in nature. This is just musing out loud, but if he were to run for public office again, would those funds he was essentially given by Google and Apple be considered campaign contributions?

Contrast that with the fact that you and I can't choose to donate our money to a political candidate over certain amounts -- and the companies we work for can't, either. But Google and Apple can "hire" Al Gore for a non-position in order to further their political objectives. Not to mention the fact that at the time Gore received his $30 million donation he was a likely repeat candidate. "Campaign finance restrictions and limited political speech for you -- but not for me", the drum of liberal hypocrisy.
Financial disclosure documents released before the 2000 election put the Gore family's net worth at $1 million to $2 million. After years of public service--and four kids needing high-priced educations--Al and Tipper used to fret occasionally about money...Not anymore. Available data indicate a net worth well in excess of $100 million.
A net worth of $1-2 million and they fretted about money? Oh, the poor dears! They needed Google to give them a $30MM handout so they could afford a college education for their kids.

Right?

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Update on GCC

More anecdotal evidence of global warming global climate change, here and here.

June 27 (Bloomberg) -- Johannesburg recorded its first confirmed snowfall for almost 26 years overnight as temperatures dropped below freezing in South Africa's largest city, grounding flights at its main airport.

Snow last blanketed Johannesburg for a single day on Sept. 11, 1981. The city's average minimum temperature for June over the past 47 years is 4 degrees Celsius, according to data provided by the South Africa Weather Service. This year's average minimum is 4.7 degrees compared with 0.7 degrees in 1968, the coldest on record.

Light snowfall was also recorded in Pretoria, the capital, which last had snow on June 11, 1968, the newswire said.
And also,
Residents were forced to stoke up the fires and ramp up the electric blankets over the weekend as the city recorded its chilliest June day on record.
The mercury plummeted to an arctic -4 degrees on Friday morning, improving only slightly to a low of -3 on Saturday and hovering just below -2 yesterday morning.
The previous coldest June day since records began in 1958 was -3.4 degrees on June 27, 1983.
John Darnley from Wagga’s Bureau of Meteorology said Friday’s low temperature was a massive 8 degrees below the average June minimum for Griffith of 4.5 degrees.
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.

Is the "surge" working?

Decide for yourself by reading this excellent link.

This post is not about whether current ops are “working” — for us, here on the ground, time will tell, though some observers elsewhere seem to have already made up their minds (on the basis of what evidence, I’m not really sure). But for professional counterinsurgency operators such as our SWJ community, the thing to understand at this point is the intention and concept behind current ops in Iraq: if you grasp this, you can tell for yourself how the operations are going, without relying on armchair pundits. So in the interests of self-education (and cutting out the commentariat middlemen—sorry, guys) here is a field perspective on current operations.
David Kilcullen is Senior Counterinsurgency Adviser for the MNF in Iraq. I'll summarize his general points below.

We're not not fighting the same fight as before. We're hitting multiple locations simultaneously to restrict the relocation activities of the enemy.

Clearing a location doesn't mean killing all the enemy there. It means rescuing the population from the insurgent influence. This is based on the following facts:
  • The enemy needs the people to act in certain ways (sympathy, acquiescence, silence, reaction to provocation) in order to survive and further his strategy.
  • The enemy is fluid, but the population is fixed.
  • Being fluid, the enemy can control his loss rate and therefore can never be eradicated by purely enemy-centric means: he can just go to ground if the pressure becomes too much. BUT, because he needs the population to act in certain ways in order to survive, we can asphyxiate him by cutting him off from the people.
  • The enemy may not be identifiable, but the population is.
He finishes by saying
So far, thank God, the loss rate has not been too terrible: casualties are up in absolute terms, but down as a proportion of troops deployed (in the fourth quarter of 2006 we had about 100,000 troops in country and casualties averaged 90 deaths a month; now we have almost 160,000 troops in country but deaths are under 120 per month, much less than a proportionate increase, which would have been around 150 a month). And last year we patrolled rarely, mainly in vehicles, and got hit almost every time we went out. Now we patrol all the time, on foot, by day and night with Iraqi units normally present as partners, and the chances of getting hit are much lower on each patrol. We are finally coming out of the "defensive crouch" with which we used to approach the environment, and it is starting to pay off.

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Fairness Doctrine

When will liberals learn that you simply can't force people to agree with you? The fairness doctrine is anything but.

“It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they’re in a better position to make a decision.”

The Fairness Doctrine, which the FCC discarded in 1985, required broadcasters to present opposing viewpoints on controversial political issues. Prior to 1985, government regulations called for broadcasters to “make reasonable judgments in good faith” on how to present multiple viewpoints on controversial issues.

Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she planned to “look at the legal and constitutional aspects of” reviving the Fairness Doctrine.

“I believe very strongly that the airwaves are public and people use these airwaves for profit,” she said. “But there is a responsibility to see that both sides and not just one side of the big public questions of debate of the day are aired and are aired with some modicum of fairness.”
Unfortunately for liberals, the weight of the market is against them. The fact is, there's only so much Bush-hatred and emotional rhetoric folks can listen to before they just get tired of it. Sustained audiences (which I haven't got) need more than just passion -- they need substance.

There was a fellow on Fox News this morning saying something or other about big media being insensitive to minority issues and being conservatively leaning when it comes to radio -- I'm assuming he means Clear Channel. He said that local stations tended to be more liberally minded. I doubt the veracity of that statement. My personal experience with this is that local stations can't be painted with the brush of either party; they go where the money is. The talk radio station I listen to locally is independently owned - the only English speaking independently owned and operated station left in Houston, incidentally. The owner has mentioned in the past his dealings with listeners and cost, and mentioned how hard it was for him to compete with Rush. He even had Bill O'Reilly on for a while opposite of Rush, but that was expensive and couldn't compete.

He used to have a "moderate" guy on in the afternoons. After a long while of this guy being on the air, he had to let him go because he wasn't bringing in the revenue.

And therein lies the key to the whole thing. When you realize that all of this is simply a means for the government to employ economic control on a booming industry, and score some political points for the left to boot, you realize this is just another shade of liberalism.

Free speech is great to them, but socialism is greater. The free market is serving the needs of the people; leftists want the market to serve the whims of the government. That's the essence of socialism.

Edit: IMAO has a great take on "No Amnesty for Illegal Liberal Talk Radio".

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See?

Iran began gas rationing as of midnight their time today. Rather than wait in lines like they made Americans do in 1979, Iranians come up with a better solution -- burn down the station!

Iranians were given only two hours' notice of the move that limits private drivers to 100 litres of fuel a month.

Despite its huge energy reserves, Iran lacks refining capacity and it imports about 40% of its petrol.
"I think rationing is not bad by itself but it must be organised," one man told the Associated Press news agency. "One cannot announce at 9pm that the rationing would start at midnight, they should have announced the exact date days earlier."

There was violence in nine areas of Tehran as angry youths attacked petrol stations, Raja News, a website linked to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, reported.

Reports of attacks on petrol stations elsewhere in the country could not be confirmed.
Hate to say I told you so...and we didn't even have to facilitate the process! The justice of this is simply lovely.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Political Theory

I have a new-to-me political theory. In pencil and paper role playing games (like dungeons and dragons) characters are classified using two different scales: order and morality. There are 3 classifications on each scale, resulting in nine different possible combinations. The order scale goes from chaos to lawful, and the morality scales from evil to good. Applying one scale only tells half the story -- for example, an ruthless dictator who nevertheless rules with order and regulations would be evil, but not lawless. An independent man who is a free spirit would be a good man but not lawful. And so forth.

I think describing people as liberals or conservatives is short sighted. We really need two scales: ideology and elitism. In this way, we can successfully categorize people like George W. Bush without feeling betrayed. He is a somewhat conservative elitist. On this scale his similarities with Ted Kennedy is revealed, because Kennedy is a liberal elitist. Reagan was, on some level, an elitist. Diane Feinstein is an elitist of the worst order.

Elitists don't believe that the "common" folk are able to run the country, to think, or to reason. They believe that the proletariat of society need to be taken care of. This is demonstrated in various means. Socialists do it through economic means; conservatives do it through legislative action such as the current amnesty bill.

I'm going to tag the opposite of Elitism as Pluralism. This should not be confused with the pluralist theory of power in a democracy. Instead, pluralists truly believe in democracy, or rule by the people of the people. Pluralists as politicians do not suppose to know what is best for their constituents, and exist to serve their constituents.

I think the vast majority of Americans are pluralists. Tthe ideals of the Minutemen and the American pioneers embody pluralism. "Can Do" is their motto.

So next time you disagree with a politician, analyze it. Are you upset with their political philosophy, or their relative elitism?

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Monday, June 25, 2007

More Yon

Michael Yon has another fascinating -- and largely ignored -- dispatch. The situation in Buqabah seems to be going well. 50-100 enemy dead, 60 captured. 22 American casualties, one killed.

Media reports indicating that many top leaders escaped before Arrowhead Ripper began appear to be mostly true. But other information suggests some AQI leaders are trapped just down the road from where I write. In addition to the seven men who were caught trying to escape while dressed as women, there is information that some AQI leaders remain trapped in a constricting cordon.
Given my (limited) knowledge of Moslem laws and habits, isn't this hilarious? Demeaning for them? Talk about rendering them impotent. Next thing you know they'll be disguising themselves as pigs. Isn't there a fatwa against being a transvestite?
The Fifth Iraqi Army Division is considered an increasingly competent group of fighters, and from the limited scope of 5th IA that I personally witnessed, that judgment seems correct. The 5th is committed to battle.
Great.
Although the battle is still unfolding here in Baqubah, Colonel Townsend reports that at least 50 AQI have been killed. Townsend’s subordinate commanders put the number as high as 100. More than 60 suspects are in custody, but Townsend is unsure how many of the suspects are truly AQI versus innocent men who will be released.

American losses include one soldier killed in action, with 21 wounded. One Bradley and one Stryker have been destroyed. The low numbers of friendly casualties have been largely due to the slow, methodical clearing operation where success is not measured against the clock.
Y'all ought to read it all. Its good stuff -- hands down better than 90% of the mainstream media articles.

Read the rest.

I'm relevant!

Chavez is clamoring for international relevance. I don't think he rates it.

Chavez—a close ally of Cuban leader Fidel Castro—told soldiers the Washington was trying to weaken and divide Venezuelan society, including the armed forces, without resorting to combat.

"It's not just armed warfare," said Chavez, a former army officer who is leading what he calls the "Bolivarian Revolution," a socialist movement named after 19th-century independence hero Simon Bolivar. "I'm also referring to psychological warfare, media warfare, political warfare, economic warfare."

Under Chavez, Venezuela has recently purchased some $3 billion worth of arms from Russia, including 53 military helicopters, 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 24 SU-30 Sukhoi fighter jets.
The guy is a dictator, a nut job whacko that would subjugate America in a heartbeat if he thought he could get away from it.

As for the "arms buildup"...fancy weapons and boots on the ground does not a successful army make. I'm not encouraging any sort of military action because I don't think Venezuela rates it, but if it really came to that it wouldn't be much of a fight. I'm thinking Mr T vs John Edwards.

Read the rest.

Typical

This is typical of American socialists -- they have no idea what they're supporting.

The voice of Princess Fiona in the animated Shrek films visited the Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru's Andes wearing an olive green bag emblazoned with a red star and the words "Serve the People", perhaps Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong's most famous political slogan, printed in Chinese.

The bags are marketed as fashion accessories in some cities around the world, but in Peru the slogan evokes memories of the Maoist Shining Path insurgency that fought the government in the 1980s and early 1990s in a bloody conflict that left nearly 70,000 people dead.
When will the elite left learn that socialism isn't chic?

Read the rest.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Klaus - So Wise

Vaclav Klaus is like a modern day, communist butt-kicking, global-warming denying, logic-wielding Buddha. He is so wise.

I am not afraid of right-left argument, even if I know that some people innocently hope that the right-left dilemma is over. It is not. Without going into nuances, we can say that the “right” people are in favour of individual freedom, whereas the “left” people believe in collectivist wisdom. Environmentalism, not preservation of nature (and of environment), is a leftist ideology. Some people, who pretend to be on the right, bought into it as well – to my great regret.
And the super-finale smackdown on some socialist Britisher who buys into the global warming Kool-aid:
There is no doubt that modern human society can adversely impact our living environment. This manifests itself from city air quality and industrial spills to deforestation and overfishing. Overwhelming evidence points to that when human beings find the condition too unpleasant to tolerate, the opportunity to stop or reverse the trend requires extreme action. How much evidence for environmental damage do you need to see before you are willing to advocate collective action in order to prevent the need for later extreme action?
Oddi Aasheim, London

Vaclav Klaus: You ask how much environmental damage I need to see before I am willing to do anything? My problem is that I do not “see” sufficient and persuasive evidence for environmental damage you have – probably – in mind, and I wonder whether you see it yourself, or whether you just read about it.

Do you really “see” any damage caused by current warming? I do not. I would prefer more snow for skiing during this winter but we are – in Central Europe – enjoying warm evenings this May and June, which is very pleasant. Do you see meltdown of glaciers and icebergs? You may see some retreating of continental glaciers, but they represent only 0.6 per cent of the planet’s ice. There is no meltdown either in Greenland or the Antarctic just now.

When I study and analyse environmental indicators concerning my own country and when I compare them with the situation in the communist era, there is an incredible improvement. The improvement is not because of “collective action” you advocate (it existed in the communist era), but because of freedom and of free markets. That’s my main message.

Read the rest.

Sweet, sweet irony

In a shocking piece that supports the "vast Right wing conspiracy" assertion that the media is full of liberals, something really just needed to be pointed out:

"Probably there should be a rule against it," said New Yorker writer Mark Singer, who wrote the magazine's profile of Howard Dean during the 2004 campaign, then gave $250 to America Coming Together and its get-out-the-vote campaign to defeat President Bush. "But there's a rule against murder. If someone had murdered Hitler — a journalist interviewing him had murdered him — the world would be a better place. I only feel good, as a citizen, about getting rid of George Bush, who has been the most destructive president in my lifetime. I certainly don't regret it."
Don't you see? The media really is fair!

Isn't it simply wonderful that in an article about moonbat journalists they actually quote a guy who promptly compares Bush to Hitler? And then rationalizes murder and assassination by comparing them to political donations?

We're taking news from these people? (We as America; I don't of course. I'm immune to their powers.)
"If giving money to a politician prejudiced my ability to think and write honestly, I wouldn't do it. Fortunately, it doesn't."
Phew. Good thing!

Read the rest.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I am a genius (by the way)

Last year I said this:

I happen to be of the opinion that both CO2 levels and temperature are co-dependent variables, arranged in a highly complex matrix with any number of similarly important variables, not the least of these being global position in orbit relative to the sun and solar activity.
And now there is a published article saying this:
Using computers to conduct what is referred to as a "time series analysis" on the colouration and thickness of the annual layers, we have discovered repeated cycles in marine productivity in this, a region larger than Europe. Specifically, we find a very strong and consistent 11-year cycle throughout the whole record in the sediments and diatom remains. This correlates closely to the well-known 11-year "Schwabe" sunspot cycle, during which the output of the sun varies by about 0.1%...

Our finding of a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators (called "proxies") is not unique. Hundreds of other studies, using proxies from tree rings in Russia's Kola Peninsula to water levels of the Nile, show exactly the same thing: The sun appears to drive climate change.
Thank you, thank you.

PS. To all the consensus-mongers -- not only did I completely debunk the Oreskes "928 paper" study last year, but I've found further evidence that the entire "consensus theory" is nothing more than a bunch of smoke and mirrors by a shrill enviro-socialist movement desperate to grab power:
In some fields the science is indeed "settled." For example, plate tectonics, once highly controversial, is now so well-established that we rarely see papers on the subject at all. But the science of global climate change is still in its infancy, with many thousands of papers published every year. In a 2003 poll conducted by German environmental researchers Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, two-thirds of more than 530 climate scientists from 27 countries surveyed did not believe that "the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases." About half of those polled stated that the science of climate change was not sufficiently settled to pass the issue over to policymakers at all.
Hows that for a minority view? Note that this poll didn't let any refugee from a lab with a PhD in, it was limited to people who actually know what they're talking about.

Read the rest.

Uh...what?

How does this make sense to anyone?

Shortly after noon on Fridays, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ties on a black headscarf, preparing to pray with her Muslim group on First Hill.

On Sunday mornings, Redding puts on the white collar of an Episcopal priest.

She does both, she says, because she's Christian and Muslim.
This is so freaking ridiculous. Can you believe that this person is an ordained priest? I thought the whole beauty of an "organized" religion was that you avoided wild, unorthodox teaching in the name of your church? That it guaranteed consistency throughout the religion?

Does the Episcopalian church condone these beliefs this apostasy??
She believes the Trinity is an idea about God and cannot be taken literally.

She does not believe Jesus and God are the same, but rather that God is more than Jesus.

She believes Jesus is the son of God insofar as all humans are the children of God, and that Jesus is divine, just as all humans are divine — because God dwells in all humans.
Strike one...two...and three. You're out. Her ideas are like a mishmash of New-Age Gnosticism and Pantheism. That is a fundamental departure of all things Christian. She can't be a Christian and a muslim because she's already established -- by her own admission, no less -- that she doesn't believe in any of the fundamental tenets of the New Testament.
What makes Jesus unique, she believes, is that out of all humans, he most embodied being filled with God and identifying completely with God's will.

She does believe that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, and acknowledges those beliefs conflict with the teachings of the Quran. "That's something I'll find a challenge the rest of my life," she said.

She considers Jesus her savior. At times of despair, because she knows Jesus suffered and overcame suffering, "he has connected me with God," she said.

That's not to say she couldn't develop as deep a relationship with Mohammed. "I'm still getting to know him," she said.
Of course, Jesus can't be her savior...because Muslims don't believe he saved anyone (that was the radical departure from the other "people of the book" that Mohammed proposed). And she can't be getting to know Mohammed, because he happens to be most assuredly dead.

I'm sorry, but that's not Christianity. Or Islam, I think.

It rather reminds me of C. S. Lewis' Tashlan.

Read the rest.

Two for the price of one!

Just lovely. Who needs the 23rd Amendment anyway?

If Americans elect Hillary Clinton as president next year they will also be re-electing her husband Bill, according to the author of a new biography of the former First Lady.

"There is no question in my mind it would be a co-presidency because he has better judgment than she does on most political matters. He would be a constant presence," said Mr Bernstein.

On the campaign trail to win the Democrat Party's nomination Mrs Clinton has said that she would use her husband as a global ambassador for America. But his real role would go much further, Mr Bernstein believes.
Now, its just speculation, I know. But is it really wild speculation? Or is it plausible?

Personally I find it very likely that Bill Clinton would do just about anything to get back into office, even using his wife as cover for his own political ambitions. And I have no compulsions over suggesting that Hillary would go for this; the only thing that would temper that conclusion would be that she'd not like splitting the power. She doesn't seem like the type who shares well with others.

I still fail to understand the world's love affair with Slick Willie. I've asked repeatedly to be shown what he did that was so good. Kosovo, Somalia, the Sudanese aspirin cruise missile attacks, the non-response to the USS Cole...these are not positive memories. The economy was booming, yes -- but it plummeted soon after. And the balanced budget? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that congress controlled the purse-strings of the government.

This two-for-one offer is definitely not a deal.

Read the rest.

Vocal opposition works

This is an effort to appease the masses:

Federal immigration authorities arrested 81 illegal immigrants at a tube manufacturing plant in the Poconos.

All 81 workers arrested in the raid Tuesday at Iridium Industries Inc.'s Artube division have been placed in removal proceedings for eventual deportation, said Ernestine Fobbs, a spokeswoman with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The immigrants, who are from Mexico, Indonesia, Malaysia and Ecuador, were taken to ICE detention centers for processing, she said.

Nantucket police and federal agents swept across the island this morning in a massive immigration raid that by 7:30 a.m. had netted at least 17 people believed to be undocumented aliens with criminal histories.
Its interesting to see the these are coming on the wake of staunch dig-your-heels-in opposition to the comprehensive immigration reform on the grounds that we can't trust the government to enforce the laws that exist.

Is this a sign of good faith? If so, isn't it sort of self-defeating? They say "see, we can arrest illegals" to which I respond - then why do we need new laws?

I wonder how many of these people will ever actually be deported.

Read the rest.

Wow

This guy is pretty much amazing...

Dale Rippy says he was acting on instinct when a rabid 25-pound bobcat attacked him on his porch in this central Florida suburb.

Rippy, 62, endured the bobcat's slashes and bites until it clawed into a position where he could grab it by the throat.

Then he strangled it.
Just...wow.

Read the rest.

Churchill says...

On Putin's balking of a missile defense system in Poland...

I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma: but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.
On Bush...
I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents.
On global warming...
It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.
On the Global War on Terror...
Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.
On Iraq...
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
On this very post...
It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations. Bartlett's Familiar Quotations is an admirable work, and I studied it intently. The quotations when engraved upon the memory give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more.


The last post inspired me.

Read the rest.

Appeasement won't work

This is why diplomacy won't work with Muslims. Even when you have Londonistan and bend over backwards to appease them, they still riot and hate you.

"Obviously we are sorry if there are people who have taken very much to heart this honour, which is after all for a lifelong body of literary work," Beckett said.

She stressed that Indian-born Rushdie was just one of many Muslims who had been recognised by the British honours system -- something she said "may not be realised by many of those who have been vocal in their opposition.

"People who are members of the Muslim faith are very much part of our whole, wider community... they receive honours in this country in just the same way as any other citizen."
You have to wonder what Churchill would have said? Perhaps something like "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last," or "We shall show mercy, but we shall not ask for it," or even "Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

I feel bad for him, because he is surely embarrassed by the actions of his country as of late.

Read the rest.

Heh

This is an interesting place for the blue screen of death (tm) to show up:

Read the rest.

Stupidity and Willful Ignorance

This really grinds my gears.

From New Hampshire to California, American Indian leaders are speaking out more forcefully about the danger of climate change.

Members of six tribes recently gathered near the Baker River in the White Mountains for a sacred ceremony honoring "Earth Mother."

"Earth Mother is fighting back - not only from the four winds, but also from underneath," he said. "Scientists call it global warming. We call it Earth Mother getting angry."

I've been saying it forever, global climate change is a religion. You're just seeing one face of the religion that is environmentalism. Earth Mother is getting angry, folks. Gaea is going to rise up against us. I really hate to break it to them, but the Earth has been angry for a long, long time. We live on an extremely violent planet; this is not something thats new. The only difference is that when they were running around in loincloths and early settlers were starving at Jamestown, the fastest method of transferring thoughts was by letter on a ship. Now we have the Internet, which allows a rapid transfer of information -- such as news of natural disasters -- making such things seem much more commonplace. As Michael Crichton puts it,
Is this really the end of the world? Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods?

No, we simply live on an active planet. Earthquakes are continuous, a million and a half of them every year, or three every minute. A Richter 5 quake every six hours, a major quake every 3 weeks. A quake as destructive as the one in Pakistan every 8 months. It’s nothing new, it’s right on schedule.

At any moment there are 1,500 electrical storms on the planet. A tornado touches down every six hours. We have ninety hurricanes a year, or one every four days. Again, right on schedule. Violent, disruptive, chaotic activity is a constant feature of our globe.

Is this the end of the world? No: this is the world.
Another thing that really burns me up is this infantile insistence that the indians that lived here in America were somehow these amazing stewards of the land, that they lived "in harmony" with nature and cared for it.

Aside:Apparently that only applies to North American natives; the natives in South America that practice slash and burn farming (just like nearly every native tribe or primitive agricultural society) are denounced as "hurting the rain forests".

Hate to break it to all you environmental loons, but the indian's brand of land management would be best described as "brutal". No matter how many Pocahontas or Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron movies get made it remains a fact that the native populations hunted large animals almost to extinction, regularly practiced large scale slash-and-burn agriculture, and were inhumanly cruel to what domestic animals they had.

For example, most indians rode horses with a war bridle, a simple and brutally effective means to control a recalcitrant horse:
This is a great tool if you don't care about your animal and don't have time to properly halter break or even saddle break a horse. A war bridle in various forms is essentially a slip knot -- but its much, much harder on the horse than a bit. It works because it can be used to inflict large amounts of pain very easily. This is what the indians used to ride. Harsh, effective pain; not whispers from Earth Mother into the horse's ear.

The indians didn't live in harmony with the land; they raped it to survive. But it was effective, and there weren't ever enough of them that it had lasting, permanent effects.

There's a joke I read in a book published around the turn of the century (the previous one) that goes like this -- "What do you do with a horse after you've worn it out? Sell it to a cowboy, who rides it for 3 more months. What does he do with it? Sells it to a Texan, who rides it for 1 more year. What does he do with it? Sells it to an Indian who rides it to death, cooks it and eats it."

Now read this and tell me what it tells you
Though many people will look for "a consensus in the scientific community" to convince them of climate change, Krech said, others will seek "perspectives from Indian society. . . . Native Americans have a rich tradition that springs from this belief they have always been close to the land and always treated the land well."
This traditions springs from a belief. Not from fact, or history, or truth. Just a belief. I'd bet even money that his quote was taken out of context -- and the addendum to it was "even though in the past they didn't."

Read the rest.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

On music

I've long thought that the reason the music industry is suffering is because of bad music backed by out-of-touch record labels. After reading an article on the way music used to progress through local radio stations to become local, then regional, then national hits, I am beginning to think that media giants such as Clear Channel are a bigger part of the problem than the record labels.

Incidentally, I view both internet piracy (which Napster essentially started) and internet "connection" sites such as myspace and facebook to be the key to breaking this cycle. After Napster came out there was a wave of new artists, John Mayer being one of them, who would literally have never made it under the traditional system. This is the free market at work. Music that is good will be downloaded and proliferate, rather than music that gains the favor of some record label. In the future, perhaps, bands will not be faced with the choice of selling out vs. making money.

It seems to me that the record labels are blinded by temporary profits to the real use of the internet and digital music. By hamfisting their way through digital distribution they're literally killing i-Tunes profits, at great expense to themselves. DRM is not the answer, nor is large royalties.

Here's a site that I think is a brilliant idea to break the cycle of bad music. Check it out. It essentially allows fans to buy "shares" of a new band in exchange for a limited edition CD. $10 bucks for a CD is a steal this day and age, especially if the music isn't the run-of-the-mill trash that most labels put out. Is this local band you rave about really all that great? Put your money where your mouth is. I love it.

Read the rest.

Consensus!

So this is interesting.

During the past several years, more than 17,100 basic and applied American scientists, two-thirds with advanced degrees, have signed the Global Warming Petition.

Signers of this petition so far include 2,660 physicists, geophysicists, climatologists, meteorologists, oceanographers, and environmental scientists (select this link for a listing of these individuals) who are especially well qualified to evaluate the effects of carbon dioxide on the Earth's atmosphere and climate.

Signers of this petition also include 5,017 scientists whose fields of specialization in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, and other life sciences (select this link for a listing of these individuals) make them especially well qualified to evaluate the effects of carbon dioxide upon the Earth's plant and animal life.

Nearly all of the initial 17,100 scientist signers have technical training suitable for the evaluation of the relevant research data, and many are trained in related fields. In addition to these 17,100, approximately 2,400 individuals have signed the petition who are trained in fields other than science or whose field of specialization was not specified on their returned petition.


What's the petition say, you inquire? Here it is.
We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

Read the rest.

Michael Yon on Buqaba

Embedded reporter Michael Yon wrote an article about whats going on this very moment in Iraq as our troops attack Buqaba.

The doctor has made a decision: Al Qaeda must be excised. That means a large scale attack, and what appears to be the most widespread combat operations since the end of the ground war are now unfolding. A small part of that larger battle will be the Battle for Baquba. For those involved, it will be a very large battle, but in context, it will be only one of numerous similar battles now unfolding. Just as this sentence was written, we began dropping bombs south of Baghdad and our troops are in contact.

Northeast of Baghdad, innocent civilians are being asked to leave Baquba. More than 1,000 AQI fighters are there, with perhaps another thousand adjuncts. Baquba alone might be as intense as Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah in late 2004. They are ready for us. Giant bombs are buried in the roads. Snipers—real snipers—have chiseled holes in walls so that they can shoot not from roofs or windows, but from deep inside buildings, where we cannot see the flash or hear the shots. They will shoot for our faces and necks. Car bombs are already assembled. Suicide vests are prepared.

The enemy will try to herd us into their traps, and likely many of us will be killed before it ends. Already, they have been blowing up bridges, apparently to restrict our movements. Entire buildings are rigged with explosives. They have rockets, mortars, and bombs hidden in places they know we are likely to cross, or places we might seek cover. They will use human shields and force people to drive bombs at us. They will use cameras and make it look like we are ravaging the city and that they are defeating us. By the time you read this, we will be inside Baquba, and we will be killing them. No secrets are spilling here.

Our jets will drop bombs and we will use rockets. Helicopters will cover us, and medevac our wounded and killed. By the time you read this, our artillery will be firing, and our tanks moving in. And Humvees. And Strykers. And other vehicles. Our people will capture key terrain and cutoff escape routes. The idea this time is not to chase al Qaeda out, but to trap and kill them head-on, or in ambushes, or while they sleep. When they are wounded, they will be unable to go to hospitals without being captured, and so their wounds will fester and they will die painfully sometimes. It will be horrible for al Qaeda. Horror and terrorism is what they sow, and tonight they will reap their harvest. They will get no rest. They can only fight and die, or run and try to get away. Nobody is asking for surrender, but if they surrender, they will be taken.

We will go in on foot and fight from house to house if needed. We will shoot rockets into their hiding spaces, and our snipers will shoot them in their heads and chests. This is where all that talk of cancer and big ideas of what should be or could be done will smash head on against the searing reality of combat.

These words flow on the eve of a great battle, but are on hold until the attack is well underway. Nothing is certain. I am here and have been all year. We are in trouble, but we have a great General. The only one, I have long believed, who can lead the way out of this morass. Iraq is not hopeless. Iraq can stand again but first it must cast off these demons. And some of the demons must be killed.
God be with our troops and their families as they move into this next phase of combat.

Read the rest.

It begins...

The "surge" that everyone has been talking about failing has actually begun today.

About 10,000 U.S. soldiers launched an offensive against al-Qaida in Iraq northeast of Baghdad early Tuesday, killing at least 22 insurgents, the U.S. military said.

The raids, dubbed "Operation Arrowhead Ripper," took place in Baqouba, the capital of Diyala province, and involved air assaults under the cover of darkness, the military said in a statement. The operation was still in its opening stages, it said.

On Monday, military officials said U.S. and Iraqi forces had launched attacks on Baghdad's northern and southern flanks to clear out Sunni insurgents, al-Qaida fighters and Shiite militiamen who had fled the capital and Anbar during a four-month-old security operation.
And, as is typical, the media (in this case, Steven Hurst,AP writer) gives the obligatory "sky is blue" downer:
There is no guarantee that driving the organization out of current sanctuaries would prevent it from migrating to other regions to continue the fight.
Yes. And there's no guarantee that one of us won't get hit by a bus on the way home. What's the point of writing that, other than to spread dissent?

Don't be fooled by the media. As evidenced in this article, they're aware of the fact that the troop buildup has only now been completed and is only now being used.
A top U.S. military official said American forces were taking advantage of the arrival of the final brigade of 30,000 additional U.S. troops to open concerted attacks.
"Open" means start. They know it, the soldiers know it, the Squeaker and the Pejorativity Leader know it. The trick is to keep the citizens from knowing it.

Read the rest.

Wanna bet?

I bet we can deal with $100 oil longer than they can deal with a blockade preventing their gasoline imports...

"We will not start using this tool (of oil) but if others use their tools that they have not put aside to put pressure on negotiations, it is natural that the two sides would discuss all their tools," Kazempour Ardebili said.

Asked what would be the impact if Iran stopped its oil exports, Kazempour Ardebili said: "Definitely the market will be faced with a new shock and oil prices will increase strongly."

He added that prices would climb above $100 a barrel.

Although Iran is OPEC's No. 2 oil producer, it has to import about 40 percent of its domestic gasoline needs to meet domestic demand for fuel because it lacks refining capacity.

Read the rest.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Pay attention to ME

Al Gore is "enraged" that the media isn't paying attention to him.

AL GORE is a man on a mission to save the planet – and is enraged that everyone else seems more interested in saving Paris Hilton.

The former US Vice President turned environmental campaigner is doing his best to raise awareness about global warming.

He believes we have just TEN YEARS to begin saving the planet before it is too late.

But he struggles to get his message across when TV networks are donating the majority of their airtime to American socialite Paris Hilton’s stint behind bars.

The planet is in distress and all of the attention is on Paris Hilton. We have to ask ourselves what is going on here?” (emphasis original)

Therein lies our salvation. Not in Americans waking up to the hoax that is global warming; not in Al Gore's elitist hypocrisy being revealed; not in the climate itself proving us wrong. Our salvation lies in the absolute indifference of the average American.

Our obsession with Paris Hilton is our only hope and avoiding the enviro-tyranny proposed by the "Green" socialist left. How...sad.

Read the rest.

Hooey!

I'll just let Reid Bryson (father of climate science) speak for himself.

There is no question the earth has been warming. It is coming out of the "Little Ice Age," he said in an interview this week.

"However, there is no credible evidence that it is due to mankind and carbon dioxide. We've been coming out of a Little Ice Age for 300 years. We have not been making very much carbon dioxide for 300 years. It's been warming up for a long time," Bryson said.

...

"There is very little truth to what is being said and an awful lot of religion. It's almost a religion. Where you have to believe in anthropogenic (or man-made) global warming or else you are nuts."

While Bryson doesn't think that global warming is man-made, he said there is some evidence of an effect from mankind, but not an effect of carbon dioxide.

For example, in Wisconsin in the last 100 years the biggest heating has been around Madison, Milwaukee and in the Southeast, where the cities are. There was a slight change in the Green Bay area, he said. The rest of the state shows no warming at all.

"The growth of cities makes it hotter, but that was true back in the 1930s, too," Bryson said. "Big cities were hotter than the surrounding countryside because you concentrate the traffic and you concentrate the home heating. And you modify the surface, you pave a lot of it."

Bryson didn't see Al Gore's movie about global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth."

"Don't make me throw up," he said. "It is not science. It is not true."
And from an article in May:
Bryson is a believer in climate change, in that he’s as quick as anyone to acknowledge that Earth’s climate has done nothing but change throughout the planet’s existence. In fact, he took that knowledge a big step further, earlier than probably anyone else. Almost 40 years ago, Bryson stood before the American Association for the Advancement of Science and presented a paper saying human activity could alter climate.

“I was laughed off the platform for saying that,” he told Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News.

“Climate’s always been changing and it’s been changing rapidly at various times, and so something was making it change in the past,” he told us in an interview this past winter. “Before there were enough people to make any difference at all, two million years ago, nobody was changing the climate, yet the climate was changing, okay?”

We ask Bryson what could be making the key difference:

Q: Could you rank the things that have the most significant impact and where would you put carbon dioxide on the list?

A: Well let me give you one fact first. In the first 30 feet of the atmosphere, on the average, outward radiation from the Earth, which is what CO2 is supposed to affect, how much [of the reflected energy] is absorbed by water vapor? In the first 30 feet, 80 percent, okay?

Q: Eighty percent of the heat radiated back from the surface is absorbed in the first 30 feet by water vapor…

A: And how much is absorbed by carbon dioxide? Eight hundredths of one percent. One one-thousandth as important as water vapor. You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide.
...
Asked to evaluate the [global warming forecast] models’ long-range predictive ability, he answers with another question: “Do you believe a five-day forecast?”

Read the rest.

Utter Nonsense

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is really showing himself to be completely worthless - not that its a surprise, considering the history of the office. His latest ineffectual drivel says that the Darfur killings are caused by global climate change.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the slaughter in Darfur was triggered by global climate change and that more such conflicts may be on the horizon, in an article published Saturday.

"The Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change," Ban said in a Washington Post opinion column.

UN statistics showed that rainfall declined some 40 percent over the past two decades, he said, as a rise in Indian Ocean temperatures disrupted monsoons.

"This suggests that the drying of sub-Saharan Africa derives, to some degree, from man-made global warming," the South Korean diplomat wrote.
So in Rwanda, when the Hutus and Tutsis massacred each other -- was that global warming, too? Or when Hitler cried out for "Lebensraum," was that because of rising sea temperatures? How about when Milosevic practiced genocide on Bosnian muslims? Can we blame that on greenhouse gas emissions?

You see, this is dangerous political rhetoric (I like that phrase, I'm going to use it more). I know it may not be exceedingly lucid, but here are the "facts" as the left sees them:

1. There is an Arab vs African genocide (in many cases Muslim vs Christian) occurring in the Sudan.
2. This cannot be the Muslims fault; Islam means "peace".
3. There is a terrible drought occurring simultaneously with this race- and religion-inspired genocide.

At this point Ki-moon looks around for a way to link up all this and somehow make it the United States fault. Seeing as we haven't really done anything (despite massive political pandering in 2004) they can't directly blame us. But we all "know" that the United States is the devil and is the source of all evil global climate change. If we just make it seem like the SUVs caused all of this, miraculously we exonerate the masked Arab gunmen and pin it all on good ol' Uncle Sam.

I'm all for economic causes underlying war. I firmly believe that economics are the root of all wars, and I think that these cases are no different. However, one of the means to economic superiority are using xenophobia and religious fanaticism to incite the masses. Darfur is a sad case of agricultural instability leading to an Islamic-fueled genocide, not a reason for the United States to say "mea culpa".

Read the rest.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Nifong Disbarred

Good.

A disciplinary committee says North Carolina prosecutor Mike Nifong will be disbarred for his handling of the Duke University lacrosse rape case...

The disbarment quickly followed a disciplinary committee ruling Saturday that Nifong broke numerous rules of professional conduct during his prosecution of three Duke University athletes falsely accused of rape.

This whole case has been very interesting. It, like Katrina, is a good example of what people should expect when they look to the government to protect them. The only reason this case has anywhere close to a happy ending is because the kids this guy picked on happened to be rich enough to fight it. The scary thing is, even though they could afford good lawyers he still managed to ruin their lives.

The government is not, will not, and has never acted in your or my best interests. The savvy citizen knows to protect himself first and trust the government to do it later.

Read the rest.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The "surge" is working

I'm reminded again why I prefer Lieberman's brand of Democrat to almost any other:

While benchmarks are critically important, American soldiers are not fighting in Iraq today only so that Iraqis can pass a law to share oil revenues. They are fighting because a failed state in the heart of the Middle East, overrun by al Qaeda and Iran, would be a catastrophe for American national security and our safety here at home. They are fighting al Qaeda and agents of Iran in order to create the stability in Iraq that will allow its government to take over, to achieve the national reconciliation that will enable them to pass the oil law and other benchmark legislation.
Lieberman sees, as I do, that the success of the misnomered "surge" lies not in the decrease in violence but the increase of the effective force we can bring to bear. In economic terms, a company may take on a large amount of debt to provide a return in the future -- but the gains are most assuredly worth it. Pelosi and Reid are, essentially, looking at their first mortgage bill and refusing to pay off the house.

This is because Democrats have invested in losing this war. From the get-go they have been the party that needs to say 'gotcha' to the president. It is a sad thing that a political party in the US has maneuvered itself into a position where a victory in the war is a defeat for them. When you understand that they absolutely lose if we win, their actions become much more (dare I say) rational.

Getting those troops into position and confronting the terrorists head on is a key part to our counter-insurgency strategy. However, the "surge" is not defined merely by an increase in troop levels. It involves swinging the population to our side...
On Haifa Street, for instance, where there was bloody fighting not so long ago, the 2nd "Black Jack" Brigade of our First Cavalry Division, under the command of a typically impressive American colonel, Bryan Roberts, has not only retaken the neighborhood from insurgents, but is working with the local population to revamp the electrical grid and sewer system, renovate schools and clinics, and create an "economic safe zone" where businesses can reopen. Indeed, of the brigade's five "lines of operations," only one is strictly military. That Iraq reality makes pure fiction of the argument heard in Washington that the surge will fail because it is only "military."
And driving the terrorists out of our controlled zones...
When I returned to Anbar on this trip, however, the security environment had undergone a dramatic reversal. Attacks on U.S. troops there have dropped from an average of 30 to 35 a day a few months ago to less than one a day now, according to Col. John Charlton, commander of the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, headquartered in Ramadi. Whereas six months ago only half of Ramadi's 23 tribes were cooperating with the coalition, all have now been persuaded to join an anti-al Qaeda alliance. One of Ramadi's leading sheikhs told me: "A rifle pointed at an American soldier is a rifle pointed at an Iraqi."

The success we're seeing in Anbar and Baghdad is indicative of the fact that we are on the right path. Rest assured, the closer we get to victory, the louder the screams will become.

Read the rest.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

News from Iraq

In all seriousness, I think the latest report out of Iraq is a mixed bag. I don't, however, view it as particularly surprising. I think the biggest feature of this article is the admission that we're having an impact in Anbar and Baghdad, two of the biggest trouble spots in the region.

Violence fell in Baghdad and Anbar province, where the bulk of the 28,700 more U.S. troops are located, but escalated elsewhere as insurgents and militias regroup in eastern and northern Iraq. In Anbar, attacks dropped by about a third, compared with the previous three months, as Sunni tribes have organized against entrenched fighters from al-Qaeda in Iraq, the report said.
It is important to note that we've actually driven the rats from their holes. To me this indicates that our counter-insurgency strategy is working. This is a good thing. Additionally, a rise in violence is not surprising when you're increasing the levels of troops present in a region. As I half-jokingly point out below, the amount of violence in western France increased dramatically from May to August in 1944. That doesn't necessarily imply that we're doing something wrong; I assure you, whatever casualties our boys are taking, they are inflicting very very many more on the enemy.

Also, the addition of Sunni tribes to our banners is a sign of shifting momentum in Iraq. A large part of counter-insurgency strategy involves isolating the anti-insurgent population from the insurgents, thus preventing them from becoming "bad guys" and protecting them from the bad guys. It also involves ensuring that the local population views the right people as the "good guys". As long as it appears to the locals that they can "end all of this now" by supporting Americans and resisting Al Qaeda we will continue to win.

I find it particularly encouraging that this report has spurned the squeaker of the house and the senate pejorativity leader to holler and scream about how we've already lost (again) even though the full effect of the "surge" can't be measured yet. Indeed, the increase in troop levels has occurred more as an incoming tide than a tidal wave, and is not even completed.

By all reports, the only truly damning sections of this are the lack of effectiveness of Iraqi security forces and the unwillingness of the government to actually do anything worthwhile.

As long as we're driving them out of our strong points and away from the locations we're choosing to control we're winning. As Dafydd at Big Lizards says, its all about turning Red to Pink and Pink to White.

Edit: Dafydd has a good post up here where he agrees with me and explains the tidal wave vs tide concept better than I have:
Let's start with a brief primer of what the counterinsurgency strategy actually entails (blue text represents preparation of the field of battle):
  1. Five new American brigades into Baghdad;
  2. Three additional Iraqi army brigades into Baghdad;
  3. Several new American battalions into Anbar;
  4. The objective is first to restore security to Baghdad and Anbar by driving insurgents out of the capital and out of al-Qaeda in Iraq's home province;
  5. After security is restored to those two provinces, the second objective is to expand that security to adjacent provinces (turning "red" to "pink" and "pink" to "white") by again driving insurgents outward (and killing or capturing them whenever possible);
  6. Continuing in this fashion, "expanding security outward," means that eventually, the insurgents have nowhere else to go in Iraq, and the country will be as pacified as any Arab Moslem country can be.
In other words, without even realizing it, the WaPo reports that the Pentagon reports that the insurgents are being driven out of Baghdad and Anbar -- before the main combat of the counterinsurgency has even begun.

...Which happens to be exactly the victory we want to see in bullet-point 4 above.

Read the rest.

No Drop in France Violence Seen Since Troop Buildup

By Johnny Yankee
August 7,1944; Page A01

Three months into the new U.S. military strategy that has sent hundreds of thousands of additional troops into France, overall levels of violence in the country have not decreased, as attacks have shifted away from Normandie, where American forces are concentrated, only to rise in most other provinces, according to a Pentagon report released yesterday.

The report -- the first comprehensive statistical overview of the new U.S. military strategy in France -- coincided with renewed fears of nationalistic violence after the bombing yesterday of the same Nazi outpost east of the Seine that was attacked in June, unleashing a spiral of retaliatory bloodshed. Local government imposed an immediate curfew in Avranches yesterday to prevent an outbreak of revenge killings.

Yesterday's attack adds to tensions faced by U.S. troops, who are paying a mounting price in casualties as they push into St. Lô neighborhoods, seeking to quell violence that the report said remains fundamentally driven by nationalism.

France's government, for its part, has proven "uneven" in delivering on its commitments under the strategy, the report said, stating that public pledges by Philippe Pétain have in many cases produced no concrete results.

Vichy leaders have made "little progress" on the overarching political goals that their stepped-up security operations are intended to help advance, the report said, calling reconciliation between Vichy, Resistance and Jewish factions "a serious unfulfilled objective." Indeed, "some analysts see a growing fragmentation of France," it said, noting that 36 percent of Frenchmen believe "the French people would be better off if the country were divided into three or more separate countries."

The 46-page report, mandated quarterly by Congress, tempers the early optimism about the new strategy voiced by senior U.S. officials. Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, for instance, in July described progress in Europe as "so far, so good." Instead, it depicts limited gains and setbacks and states that it is too soon to judge whether the new approach is working.

Nazi killings and attacks -- which were spiraling late last year -- dropped sharply from February to April, but civilian casualties rose slightly, to more than 100 a day. Despite the early drop in killings, data from the Paris morgue gathered by The New York Times in May show them returning to pre-"surge" levels last month.

Violence fell in Normandie province, where the bulk of the 1,452,000 Allied troops are located, but escalated elsewhere as German forces regroup in Southern and Eastern France. In Caen, attacks dropped by about a third, compared with the previous three months, as Allied units have organized against entrenched fighters from Germany in France, the report said.

Overall, however, violence "has increased in most provinces, particularly near Maine and Bretagne," the report said.

Read the rest.

Neat

Now I just need to save up $266,900.

The European aerospace giant EADS is going into the space tourism business.

Its Astrium division says it will build a space plane capable of carrying fare-paying passengers on a sub-orbital ride more than 100km above the planet.

The vehicle, which will take off from a normal airport, will give the tourists a three-to-five-minute experience of weightlessness at the top of its climb.

Read the rest.

Bush must be scary

Democrats in congress are so afraid of Bush after he whipped them with the veto pen that they are picking up the political rhetoric. Rather than wait until September like everyone else, they're going to demand that he pull the troops out now. Unfortunately for them, Bush doesn't seem to give a flip about what anyone says (on either side of the aisle) and I doubt that their snatches for the reins of war are going to be very effective.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi challenged the president over Iraq by sending him a letter, ahead of a White House meeting later on Wednesday.

Pelosi and Reid told Bush in the letter that they planned to send him new legislation to "limit the US mission in Iraq, begin the phased redeployment of US forces, and bring the war to a responsible end."

Last time I wrote about this I mentioned that the democratic strategy for Bush right now is that of a pitcher versus a slugger: we can't get you out, so we're going to intentionally walk you and hope for the double play ball. This is an extension of that. The democrats are essentially saying "Bush, we're not really effective here because we don't have anywhere near enough people to override a veto, so we're going to throw this your way...its not going to be a strike, so don't even worry about swinging. Just, you know...stand there...and you'll end up on base."

Remind me again why this is a "challenge" for Bush? All he has to do is say "No". He doesn't even have to say it loudly, or with any sort of emphasis.

Never mind the fact that waging war is solely the responsibility of the office of the executive. Congress has no business mucking about where they're not (legally) wanted.

Read the rest.

Vaclav Klaus is Amazing

The President of the Czech Republic is a staunch realist when it comes to environmentalism and anthropogenic global warming. He writes ever so eloquently; I wish I had his command of the English language. He has a great editorial up on the Financial Times website.

As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning.

The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.

The scientists should help us and take into consideration the political effects of their scientific opinions. They have an obligation to declare their political and value assumptions and how much they have affected their selection and interpretation of scientific evidence.

Does it make any sense to speak about warming of the Earth when we see it in the context of the evolution of our planet over hundreds of millions of years? Every child is taught at school about temperature variations, about the ice ages, about the much warmer climate in the Middle Ages. All of us have noticed that even during our life-time temperature changes occur (in both directions).
He suggests a few actions. I think these should be organized into an anti-environmental activist oath. We could use it as a litmus test for political office!
  • Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures
  • Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided
  • Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants
  • Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term “scientific consensus”, which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority
  • Instead of speaking about “the environment”, let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour
  • Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction
  • Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.

Read the rest.

Hillary Report

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery...
Compare Hillary Hub with the devil, Drudge Report.

Read the rest.

Gaza is a mess

Terrorists in Gaza are killing each other.

"There will be no dialogue with Fatah, only the sword and the rifle," Nezar Rayyan, a top Hamas leader, told Hamas radio on Thursday.

"This is a battle between Muslims and non-believers, and God willing, we will lead the Friday prayer in the president's office, and transform the [Fatah-controlled] security complex into a big mosque."

What lovely, charming, ethnic people. Just the types I want as neighbors! More here.

Fatah officials said seven of their fighters were shot to death in the street outside Preventive Security. A witness, Jihad Abu Ayad, said the men were being killed in front of their wives and children.
Hows that for a name? And these are perfect examples of the ethical, fair treatment our opponents give their prisoners. America should perk up and take notes -- we've got a lot to learn in that department.
Some of the Hamas fighters kneeled down outside the building, touching their foreheads to the ground in prayer. Others led Fatah fighters out of the building, some of them shirtless or in their underwear, holding their arms in the air. Several of the Fatah men flinched as the crack of gunfire split the air.
Oh no! They're repeating the cycle of violence we taught them at Abu Ghraib!
"We are telling our people that the past era has ended and will not return, " Islam Shahawan, a spokesman for Hamas' militia, told Hamas radio. "The era of justice and Islamic rule have (sic) arrived."
Talk about creepy. Justice and Islamic rule, heralded by murder and executions.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Newt on "The Bill"

Newt Gingrich shares with us his thoughts on the immigration bill. He has a few good points:

When Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said that we had to "bow to the reality" of millions of people being here illegally, he illustrated the difference between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan as President.

Carter kept trying to convince us to accept malaise as the best we could do and to lower our expectations. Reagan told us we had every right to dream great dreams because we were Americans. Tell your senator that Secretary Chertoff needs to get off the Carter failure team and join the Reagan success team. That goes for everyone else in Washington who is trying to tell us we have no choice except to "bow to" illegality.

I also liked:
We now hear from the President that we have failed to control the border and failed to enforce the law on employers, and therefore, we need a new law to replace the law we have been failing to enforce. But we have been here before. The Simpson-Mazzoli immigration law passed 20 years ago promised the same things. Click here for a set of quotes from those politicians who promised to fix the border 20 years ago and see how familiar their enforcement promises sound today.

And this raises another question: Who has been running the government for the last six years? Why do we think anything will change and that the law will now suddenly be enforced? Over the last six years, the three recently arrested New Jersey terrorists who had been here illegally for 23 years had a total of 75 charges by the local police, and yet not once was our immigration enforcement infrastructure able to identify that they were here illegally. And now we are told that with the new comprehensive immigration bill, we will start to enforce the law against those have come here illegally after Jan. 1, 2007.

The comparison page is pretty good, too -- here's an example:
“Under this conference committee report the resources of the border patrol will double together with assuring additional sums for the INS to perform their functions.” (Senator Simpson)

"...one of the items that has not been mentioned is the debate today is we are doubling up the border patrol. This immigration bill says we are going to get tough with immigration laws; we are going to expedite our exclusionary process; we are going to take care of the backlog; and we are going to blunt the economic magnets that draw these people into the country illegally." (Rep Shaw)
Vs
“My Administration is determined to learn from the mistakes of the past decades. And that is why we are now committing more resources than ever before to border security, doubling the number of Border Patrol agents…” (President Bush)

“We will have more than doubled the Border Patrol in a relatively quick period of time. We believe the more manpower is on the border, the more likely it is we will be able to enforce the border, like the American people expect us to do.” (President Bush)

Read the rest.

Have YOU heard about this?

Let's do an exercise, shall we?

Have you heard of Natalie Holloway?
How about the Duke lacrosse "rape" case?
Did you hear about the hate crime in Jasper?
Or Rodney King?

Did you hear about this?

It's still not clear why the alleged carjacking confrontation between Channon Christian, 21, her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, 23, and brothers Davidson and Letalvis Darnell Cobbins turned fatal.

It's not even known yet where the deadly encounter began.

But it ended early Sunday morning in a seedy rental house on Chipman Street, where Christian and Newsom were forced inside at gunpoint, according to state and federal court records.

Newsom was shot, bound and his body wrapped up in bedding and set afire, according to a search warrant application drafted by Knoxville Police Department Investigator Todd Childress.

Police would find his body later that day discarded like trash along nearby railroad tracks. Two days passed before Christian's battered body was found stuffed in a trash can in the Chipman Street house where, records show, Davidson and Cobbins had been living.
The Chicago tribune has covered this but other than that it has failed to register on the national level.

Can you imagine the furor this would generate if those two kids had been black and those raping, torturing and mutilating them were white?

I hope the victims and their families can find peace, and the evil people who did this find a quick death -- so God can deal with them. How absolutely terrible.

Read the rest.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Rethinking Affirmative Action

Owen, whom I agree with almost all the time (and not because we share an alma mater -- though it helps) has a doubleplusgood article up about Affirmative Action.

Affirmative action policies are part of an entire culture in America that seeks to divide people by their ethnicity. They enforce the idea that if you are a member of a particular ethnic group, then you were wronged by the rest of society and deserve special treatment - even when you might have never actually been wronged. On the flip side, if you are a member of a particular ethnic group, then you have wronged other ethnic groups and deserve to be punished - even if you have never personally wronged anyone.
Read it all here.

Read the rest.

Things are happening

Stuff is going on in Gaza. That is all.

Hamas launched a full-scale attack Tuesday afternoon against Fatah security bases and positions in Gaza, and succeeded in taking over a number of them, Israel Radio reported.

Hamas-affiliated television said that the organization overtook the entire northern section of the Gaza Strip, the report stated.

Also on Tuesday afternoon, Fatah announced that within several hours, the faction would decide whether to stay in the unity government with Hamas, or leave the Palestinian Authority government altogether, Israel Radio reported.
Update: Cap'n Ed has more.

Read the rest.

Big Lizards (or, the Big Elite)

Dafydd at Big Lizards responded to one of my comments, and I think how he said what he said was more revealing than...what he said. His attitude is representative of most everyone "on our side" who supports this bill -- and this dim view of the opposition has become endemic in the elites on both sides of the aisle.

Update: Owen, among others, is noticing a similar trend.

To go for a few snippets:

K2, honest to goodness, everybody reading this blog knows this -- and knew it long before you toddled over here to tell us. You're not revealing some new wisdom here.

The problem with your argument isn't that it's false; the problems is that it is naïve. It is juvenile, based upon a "high-school civics" level of understanding of how government actually works.

I don't find naiveté cute, wholesome, or admirable in any way; I find it annoying as hell. And counterproductive.

Why don't you know this? What about the point do you not understand?

You seem more interested in standing on your principles and finding someone to blame for their failure than actually putting on your manly gown, girding your loins, and pulling up your socks to actually solve the problem as best you can.

Now, I like Dafydd. I like his blog, I like his posts -- and in this case, I like disagreeing heartily with him. I posted a short rebuttal on his blog, but it was late and I don't necessarily think it was my best work.

I think these pieces of his whole argument really kick the legs out from under the rest of it. Its similar to Bush's claim that using the word "amnesty" amounts to "empty political rhetoric" thats "bad for America".

If you ask me, we need more people in this country that are more interested in standing on their principles and finding someone to blame for the way things are than supposedly "solving the problem". What has not been sufficiently shown to me is how this bill, this behemoth 380 page document, is better for me, or any other average American citizen than the do-nothing alternative.

Where is the benefit? Why should I be glad to receive the verbal pummeling from Bush, Kennedy, Graham and Dafydd? My life now isn't so bad; the illegal situation isn't good, but its not killing me. What about this bill drastically improves the situation for me, or the average Joe going to work this morning?

Granted, this bill will make life great for the illegals here -- citizenship can now be bought for the paltry sum of $5,000. It will also make life better for some foreigners who have been trying to get in but have failed. But where's the gain for us, the consumer of Washington's legislation? Congress says "hey, this is the best we can do!". Our response? That isn't going to cut it -- its not worth it. Back to the drawing board.

But now, suddenly, "success" and "solving the problem" is defined as passing this bill. Was this bill divinely inspired that it is suddenly the cure-all for our immigration woes? Why this particular bill? By all accounts its not a great piece of legislation. Newt Gingrich (who has a significant edge on congressional experience over even Dafydd) says its a mess; all the politicos that typically have their ear to the ground on this sort of thing say its a mess; Dan Patrick, a Texas senator says its a mess...remind me, again, why I should listen to Dafydd, Michael Medved, and Ted Kennedy on this? Or Bush, whose immigration stance I opposed even when he was governor of Texas?

American's don't like be told they're idiots or naifs or fools. They also don't like being told to sit down and shut up. This elitist attitude is bad for business. The Bush administration's baffled response to the grass roots outrage is indicative of how foolish it is to tell people "this is how its going to be". Elitism is typically the calling card for liberalism, as it protects the poor stupid naifs from themselves. However, it should be noted that Elitism is not a philosophy exclusive to the left; it has its supporters on the right as well. This bill is a perfect time to note who believes in the intelligence and ability of the American people and who wants to patronize them and tell them their political notions are "juvenile, based upon a 'high-school civics' level of understanding of how government actually works". Well, it may be true. But we do know this -- we vote, and that gives us power.

Finally, one thing he said stuck out glaringly to me:
Appealed, appealed, appealed, on grounds that the judge is not properly applying the law and precedent. Rehearing, rehearing. Democratic House impeaches judge. Judge narrowly survives in the Senate... but has a suddenly come-to-Jesus conversion, since he does have some desire eventually to move up to the circuit bench.
Alright. Some hyperbole. It was warranted; I was using it myself in the post he was responding to. But its the last bit that counts. We have federal judges entrenched in the system who are by Dafydd's admission more concerned with their own selfish well-being than with the fair and consistent application of justice. That's why there's no one getting deported now -- and what part of this new bill will have people getting deported later? Whats to keep this same morally fat and selfish judge, who is more concerned about the circuit bench than standing on his principles, from acquitting illegals brought in for deportation under these shiny new laws?

Standing on one's principles has become a tasteless thing in recent years. Its also a textbook response to make your opponent seem unreasonable:
I'm working hard to come to the middle but you're over there standing on your principles.
Well, then. So be it. I, for one, think more people should follow my lead.

Read the rest.