Sunday, December 30, 2007

Getting the Story Straight from Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson corrects the record on a recent article quoting him about how he's not that interested in running for President.  Part of the reason I like Fred is that his ambition is not to win the election just for the sake of personal fulfillment -- he wants to do what's best for the country.  I think he's honest about his approach to campaigning.

I am not consumed by personal ambition. I will not be devastated if I don't do it. I want the people to have the best president they can have.
When this talk first originated from people around the country both directly and through polls, liked the idea of me stepping up and of course, you always look better form a distance.
But most of those people are still there. I approached it from the standpoint of a deal. A kind of a marriage. If one side of a marriage really has to be talked into the marriage, it probably ain't going to be a good deal. But if you mutually decide it's going to be a good thing. In this case, if you think this is a good thing for the country, then we have an opportunity to do some wonderful things together.
I'm offering myself up. I'm saying that I have the background, the capability and concern to do this and do it for the right reasons. I'm not particularly interested in running for president, but I think I'd make a good president.
Nowadays, the process has become much more important than it used to be.
I don't know that they ever asked George Washington a question like this. I don't know that they ever asked Dwight D. Eisenhower a question like this. But nowadays, it's all about fire in the belly. I'm not sure in the world we live in today it's a good thing if a president has too much fire in the belly. I approach life differently than a lot of people. People, I guess, wonder how I've been as successful as I've been in everything that I've done. I won two races in TN by 20 point margins in a state that bill Clinton carried twice. I've never had an acting lesson. I guess that's obvious by people who've watched me…
When I did it, I did it. Wasn't just a lark. Anything that's worth doing is worth doing well. But I've always been a little more laid back than most. I'm only consumed by very, very few things. Politics is not one of them. The welfare of our country and our kids and grandkids is one of them.
If people really want in their president super type-a personality, someone who has gotten up every morning and gone to bed every night and been thinking about for years how they win the presidency of the united states, someone who can look you straight in the eye and say they enjoy every minute of campaigning, I ain't that guy. So I hope I've discussed that and didn't talk you out of anything. I honestly want – I can't imagine a worse set of circumstances [than] achieving the Presidency of the United States under false pretenses. I go out of my way to be myself.

New super-cameras mean no hiding for drivers who smoke, eat or use a phone [in England]

Digital speed cameras which capture drivers smoking or eating at the wheel are being introduced nationwide in a new move to hammer motorists.

Drivers will also face fines, bans and even jail for infringements such as driving without a seatbelt, using a hand-held mobile phone or overtaking across double white lines.

The hi-tech DVD cameras, which have instant playback, will also be used to provide photographic evidence against those eating sandwiches or rolling-up cigarettes at the wheel.

These are now considered serious offences under new guidelines drawn up for prosecutors.

The development will massively increase the number of fines and prosecutions against normally law-abiding drivers for relatively minor offences.

As well as being fined £60 and given three points on their licences, motorists now face two years in jail if their actions are considered to have been a factor in dangerous driving.

General Petraeus: man with a message of hope - Telegraph;jsessionid=AA4OSBQXNV5A3QFIQMFCFFWAVCBQYIV0?xml=/news/2007/12/30/nperson130.xml

The critics said it couldn't be done, but the vision and determination of General David Petraeus have brought greater security and cause for optimism to the people of Iraq. He is The Sunday Telegraph's Person of the Year.

Peter Hitchens: So much for our 'way of life'
The deeply English, deeply Christian city of Oxford, one of the homes of free thought, is now being asked to accept the Islamic call to prayer wafting from mosque loudspeakers over its spires and domes.

If that is not a threat to our "way of life", then I don't know what is. Allowing the regular electronic proclamation of Allah's supremacy in a British city is not tolerance, but a surrender of the sky to a wholly different culture. Just you wait and see what opponents of this scheme are accused of.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Peggy Noonan: Be Reasonable

Hillary Clinton? No, not reasonable. I concede her sturdy mind, deep sophistication, and seriousness of intent. I see her as a triangulator like her husband, not a radical but a maneuverer in the direction of a vague, half-forgotten but always remembered, leftism. It is also true that she has a command-and-control mentality, an urgent, insistent and grating sense of destiny, and she appears to believe that any act that benefits Clintons is a virtuous act, because Clintons are good and deserve to be benefited.

But this is not, actually, my central problem with her candidacy. My central problem is that the next American president will very likely face another big bad thing, a terrible day, or days, and in that time it will be crucial--crucial--that our nation be led by a man or woman who can be, at least for the moment and at least in general, trusted. Mrs. Clinton is the most dramatically polarizing, the most instinctively distrusted, political figure of my lifetime. Yes, I include Nixon. Would she be able to speak the nation through the trauma? I do not think so. And if I am right, that simple fact would do as much damage to America as the terrible thing itself.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Andrew C. McCarthy on Benazir Bhutto on National Review Online

Whether we get round to admitting it or not, in Pakistan, our quarrel is with the people. Their struggle, literally, is jihad. For them, freedom would mean institutionalizing the tyranny of Islamic fundamentalism. They are the same people who, only a few weeks ago, tried to kill Benazir Bhutto on what was to be her triumphant return to prominence — the symbol, however dubious, of democracy's promise. They are the same people who managed to kill her today. Today, no surfeit of Western media depicting angry lawyers railing about Musharraf — as if hewere the problem — can camouflage that fact.

In Pakistan, it is the regime that propounds Western values, such as last year's reform of oppressive, Sharia-based Hudood laws, which made rape virtually impossible to prosecute — a reform enacted despite furious fundamentalist rioting that was, shall we say, less well covered in the Western press. The regime, unreliable and at times infuriating, is our only friend. It is the only segment of Pakistani society capable of confronting militant Islam — though its vigor for doing so is too often sapped by its own share of jihadist sympathizers. 

Yet, we've spent two months pining about its suppression of democracy — its instinct not further to empower the millions who hate us.

For the United States, the question is whether we learn nothing from repeated, inescapable lessons that placing democratization at the top of our foreign policy priorities is high-order folly.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boston's $14.8B Big Dig finally complete - Yahoo! News;_ylt=A9G_Rztsj3JHcpUArgys0NUE

After a history marked by engineering triumphs, tunnels leaks, epic traffic jams, last year's death of a motorist crushed by falling concrete panels and a price tag that soared from $2.6 billion to a staggering $14.8 billion, there's little appetite for celebration.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Clifford D. May on Energy Victory on National Review Online

Right now, 97 percent of the cars on America's roads run on gasoline. Only three percent are Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) — automobiles that can be powered by either gasoline or alcohol fuels, or any mixture of the two. The additional cost to make a new car an FFV is only about $100 per vehicle

For the sake of individual security, the government mandates that all cars have seat belts. For the sake of national security, Dr. Zubrin proposes, the government should mandate that all new cars be FFVs. 

In three years, the change would put 50 million FFVs on the road. The free market would then mobilize to do what it does best: Entrepreneurs would compete to produce alternative, non-petroleum fuels for these potential customers. 

Dr. Zubrin expects those fuels to be made from alcohol: ethanol and methanol. Ethanol is made from agricultural products, from plants of all kinds. Methanol can be made from biomass — even biodegradable garbage — as well as from natural gas or coal. 

Ethanol can be produced right now for $1.50 a gallon; methanol for 93 cents a gallon. Dr. Zubrin expects the first generation of alternative fuels would be high alcohol-to-gasoline mixtures. These would provide better mileage while still dramatically reducing dependence on petroleum. 

The key is you'd be free to choose: You could buy gasoline as you do now or you could buy fuels made mostly of alcohol, giving less money — and hence less power — to Iranian mullahs, Saudi clerics, and Venezuelan despots. 

$1/Watt Solar Panels

(via instapundit...)

Most solar panels cost about $4 per watt (or more) for just the panel. Nanosolar claims to have shipped their first solar panels using a new process "which we believe will make us the first solar manufacturer capable of profitably selling solar panels at as little as $.99/Watt...."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bill: Hillary Not As Unlikable As Everyone Says

Former President Bill Clinton mounted the campaign stump again today as part of his wife's new charm offensive, telling Iowa voters that "Hillary Clinton is not as unlikable as everyone says."

George F. Will - The New Entitlement

The president says: "The homeowners deserve our help." But why "deserve"? The principles of "compassionate conservatism" are opaque, but they might involve liberalism's premise that Americans are so easily victimized they must be regarded as wards of government.

Perhaps Washington's intervention in the subprime problem reveals the tiny tip of an enormous new entitlement: People who voluntarily run a risk, betting that they will escape unscathed, are entitled to government-organized amelioration when they lose their bets. The costs of this entitlement will include new ambiguities in the concepts of contracts and private property.

The typical political solution to a free market is to impose extra costs on prudent buyers so that speculators with political connections can get a government bail out.  The politicians act like they're just helping poor people, but they're making things worse for everyone by changing the rules of the game.  I'm all in favor of full disclosure in lending, but once you make the deal, the government has no business getting involved.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Videotape shows Sharpton cutting a deal

With a hidden FBI camera rolling inside a New York hotel suite in 2003, an unsuspecting Rev. Al Sharpton, Democratic candidate for president, spoke candidly.

Sharpton offered to help Philadelphia fund-raiser Ronald A. White win a multimillion-dollar business deal, if White helped him raise $50,000 for politics.

White offered $25,000. "If you bring my guys up on this hedge fund, and I have the right conversation," White said, "I'll give you what you need."

"Cool," Sharpton said.

The Inquirer obtained an account of the May 9, 2003, conversation, which was recorded as part of the Philadelphia City Hall corruption case. The tape helped spark a separate inquiry into Sharpton's 2004 campaign and his civil-rights organization, the National Action Network. The FBI-IRS probe resurfaced publicly Wednesday, when Sharpton aides received subpoenas.

In an interview yesterday, Sharpton said there is "absolutely nothing illegal" about tying business deals to fund-raising because he is not a public official.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fred Thompson Campaign Apologies

We apologize for pointing out that as Governor of Arkansas, Huckabee offered in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. That's something he'd probably just as soon no one talk about.

I like Fred's sense of humor.  Of all the presidential candidates, he's the guy I'd most like to have a beer with.

IRS wants taxes from victims of identity theft

For Lora and Jamey Costner, a $7,854 federal income tax bill is the painful indigestion that followed two unsatisfying servings of identity theft cooked up by two former Koch Foods employees, records indicate.

The criminal cases involving the Newport married couple and the two illegal immigrants, who IRS records indicate worked for Koch Foods, have been resolved in the court system.

The bitter aftertaste that remains is the unpalatable possibility of having their wages garnished to pay tax bills on income they never earned at the Morristown chicken-processing plant.

"The overall burden of it all is crushing us, please help," the Costners wrote in an appeal to U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. "We have done all we know to do."

Mrs. Costner says she realized the magnitude of the problem in July when the IRS informed her that she and her husband failed to report approximately $30,000 in income they earned at Koch Foods during 2005.

The Costners say it's easy to prove they both worked at Wallace Hardware in Morristown during 2005. Relatedly, Mrs. Costner maintains it's child's play to prove they never worked at Koch Foods during that year.

Peggy Noonan: It takes a Potemkin village

This thought occurs that Hillary Clinton's entire campaign is, and always was, a Potemkin village, a giant head fake, a haughty facade hollow at the core. That she is disorganized on the ground in Iowa, taken aback by a challenge to her invincibility, that she doesn't actually have an A team, that her advisers have always been chosen more for proven loyalty than talent, that her supporters don't feel deep affection for her. That she's scrambling chaotically to catch up, with surrogates saying scuzzy things about Barack Obama and drug use, and her following up with apologies that will, as always, keep the story alive. That her guru-pollster, the almost universally disliked Mark Penn, has, according to Newsday, become the focus of charges that he has "mistakenly run Clinton as a de facto incumbent" and that the top officials on the campaign have never had a real understanding of Iowa.
Might it be that they don't miss Bill as much as everyone thought? That they don't actually want Bill back in the White House?

Maybe. But maybe it's this. Maybe they'd love to have him back in the White House. Maybe they just don't want him to bring her. Maybe they miss the Cuckoo's Nest and they'd love having Jack Nicholson's McMurphy running through the halls. Maybe they just don't miss Nurse Ratched. Does she have to come?

Fineman: Hillary on the Brink

Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign is teetering on the brink, no matter what the meaningless national horserace numbers say. The notion that she has a post-Iowa "firewall" in New Hampshire is a fantasy, and she is in danger of losing all four early contests, including Nevada and South Carolina – probably to Sen. Barack Obama, who is now, in momentum terms, the Democratic frontrunner.

As always, pundits tend to exaggerate to get noticed.  It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Clinton campaign has decided they need to lower expectations so they can play a "comeback kid" theme.  Blame the Republicans for pushing her numbers down with lies, then pull out a narrow victory and run away with the nomination.  The trick is deciding how much she has to knock down Obama.  They'd rather hit Republicans.  Their lame attempt to play the "drug card" against Obama has backfired badly.  I don't think they want to get into that anymore.  And as I've said before, the Oprah endorsement is really difficult to counter directly.  She's the most likable person on TV and Obama is perhaps becoming the most likable presidential candidate.  Hillary is notoriously weak on the likability scale.  Her campaign looked everywhere for a famous person who liked her and came up with her mother.  That's not saying much compared to Oprah.  On the other hand, Hillary (and Bill) own the Democratic establishment.  No doubt they're working on an Al Gore endorsement right now.  They gave him only luke warm support when he ran, but now he looks like a King Maker for the Democrats.  I wonder how they could motivated him, or punish him for not coming out for Hillary? This could get ugly.  As Hillary says, the fun part starts now.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Subpoenas for Al Sharpton's aides
Teams of federal agents swooped down on up to 10 close associates of the Rev. Al Sharpton Wednesday, demanding the flamboyant clergyman's financial records since 2001.
Sharpton's former chief of staff said he was roused at his Harlem home about 6:30 a.m. by two FBI agents who handed him a subpoena to bring the records to a federal grand jury the day after Christmas.
Several employees of Sharpton's National Action Network also got wakeup subpoenas to testify before the Brooklyn panel, the rabble-rousing reverend's lawyer said.
The FBI and IRS are investigating whether Sharpton improperly misstated the amount of money he raised during his 2004 White House run to illegally obtain federal matching funds, a source familiar with the probe said.
Sharpton, although forced to return $100,000 in matching taxpayer funds after an investigation two years ago, denied any wrongdoing at the time.
The feds are also looking into allegations of tax fraud, including whether Sharpton commingled funds from his nonprofit National Action Network with several of his for-profit ventures, the source said.
Lawyer Michael Hardy shrugged off the probe, which sought a vast array of business, political and personal records, as a federal fishing expedition.
"I can't think of a time when the Rev. Sharpton wasn't under investigation," he said.
Sharpton was not among those subpoenaed in the synchronized sweep of friends and employees.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

National Review Endorses Romney

Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate. In our judgment, that candidate is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Unlike some other candidates in the race, Romney is a full-spectrum conservative: a supporter of free-market economics and limited government, moral causes such as the right to life and the preservation of marriage, and a foreign policy based on the national interest. While he has not talked much about the importance of resisting ethnic balkanization — none of the major candidates has — he supports enforcing the immigration laws and opposes amnesty. Those are important steps in the right direction.

I like Romney, but I thought he couldn't win the general election.  I've been split between Rudy and Fred Thompson.  Maybe I'll have to give Mitt another look.

Skeptical Scientists Urge World To ‘Have the Courage to Do Nothing' At UN Conference

An international team of scientists skeptical of man-made climate fears promoted by the UN and former Vice President Al Gore, descended on Bali this week to urge the world to "have the courage to do nothing" in response to UN demands.  

Lord Christopher Monckton, a UK climate researcher, had a blunt message for UN climate conference participants on Monday.

"Climate change is a non-problem. The right answer to a non problem is to have the courage to do nothing," Monckton told participants. 

"The UN conference is a complete waste of our time and your money and we should no longer pay the slightest attention to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,)" Monckton added. (LINK)

Monckton also noted that the UN has not been overly welcoming to the group of skeptical scientists.   

"UN organizers refused my credentials and appeared desperate that I should not come to this conference. They have also made several attempts to interfere with our public meetings," Monckton explained.

Security Guard: 'God Guided Me And Protected Me' - Denver News Story - KMGH Denver

"I saw him coming through the doors" and took cover, Assam said. "I came out of cover and identified myself and engaged him and took him down."

"God was with me," Assam said. "I didn't think for a minute to run away."

Assam said she believes God gave her the strength to confront Murray, keeping her calm and focused even though he appeared to be twice her size and was more heavily armed.

Murray was carrying two handguns, an assault rifle and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition, said Sgt. Jeff Johnson of the Colorado Springs Police Department.

"It seemed like it was me, the gunman and God," she said.

Assam worked as a police officer in downtown Minneapolis during the 1990s and is licensed to carry a weapon. She attends one of the morning services and then volunteers as a guard during another service.

Boyd said Assam was the one who suggested the church beef up its security Sunday following the Arvada shooting, which it did. The pastor credited the security plan and the extra security for preventing further bloodshed.

Boyd said there are 15 to 20 security people at the church. All are volunteers but the only ones armed are those who are licensed to carry weapons.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The future belongs to Islam | - Mark Steyn

We are witnessing the end of the late 20th- century progressive welfare democracy. Its fiscal bankruptcy is merely a symptom of a more fundamental bankruptcy: its insufficiency as an animating principle for society. The children and grandchildren of those fascists and republicans who waged a bitter civil war for the future of Spain now shrug when a bunch of foreigners blow up their capital. Too sedated even to sue for terms, they capitulate instantly. Over on the other side of the equation, the modern multicultural state is too watery a concept to bind huge numbers of immigrants to the land of their nominal citizenship. So they look elsewhere and find the jihad. The Western Muslim's pan-Islamic identity is merely the first great cause in a world where globalized pathologies are taking the place of old-school nationalism.

For states in demographic decline with ever more lavish social programs, the question is a simple one: can they get real? Can they grow up before they grow old? If not, then they'll end their days in societies dominated by people with a very different world view.

Which brings us to the third factor -- the enervated state of the Western world, the sense of civilizational ennui, of nations too mired in cultural relativism to understand what's at stake. As it happens, that third point is closely related to the first two. To Americans, it doesn't always seem obvious that there's any connection between the "war on terror" and the so-called "pocketbook issues" of domestic politics. But there is a correlation between the structural weaknesses of the social democratic state and the rise of a globalized Islam. The state has gradually annexed all the responsibilities of adulthood -- health care, child care, care of the elderly -- to the point where it's effectively severed its citizens from humanity's primal instincts, not least the survival instinct. In the American context, the federal "deficit" isn't the problem; it's the government programs that cause the deficit. These programs would still be wrong even if Bill Gates wrote a cheque to cover them each month. They corrode the citizen's sense of self-reliance to a potentially fatal degree. Big government is a national security threat: it increases your vulnerability to threats like Islamism, and makes it less likely you'll be able to summon the will to rebuff it. We should have learned that lesson on Sept. 11, 2001, when big government flopped big-time and the only good news of the day came from the ad hoc citizen militia of Flight 93.


Dead man writing   [Mark Steyn]

One of the critical differences between America and the rest of the west is that America has a First Amendment and the rest don't. And a lot of them are far too comfortable with the notion that in free societies it is right and proper for the state to regulate speech. The response of the EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security to the Danish cartoons was to propose a press charter that would oblige newspapers to exercise "prudence" on, ah, certain controversial subjects. The response of Tony Blair's ministry to the problems of "Londonistan" was to propose a sweeping law dramatically constraining free discussion of religion. At the end of her life, Oriana Fallaci was being sued in France, Italy, Switzerland and sundry other jurisdictions by groups who believed her opinions were not merely disagreeable but criminal. In France, Michel Houellebecq was sued by Muslim and other "anti-racist" groups who believed opinions held by afictional character in one of his novels were not merely disagreeable but criminal.

Up north, the Canadian Islamic Congress announced the other day that at least two of Canada's "Human Rights Commissions" – one federal, one provincial – had agreed to hear their complaints that their "human rights" had been breached by this "flagrantly Islamophobic" excerpt from my book, as published in the country's bestselling news magazine, Maclean's. Several readers and various Canadian media outlets have enquired what my defense to the charges is. Here's my answer:

I can defend myself if I have to. But I shouldn't have to.

Steynophobia   [Stanley Kurtz]

Late yesterday I stumbled across an article about a "human rights complaint" filed by the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) against Maclean's, Canada's most widely-read news magazine, for running a "flagrantly Islamophobic" excerpt from Mark Steyn's book, America Alone. At least two Canadian Human Rights Commissions have agreed to hear these complaints. Only then did I find Steyn's too-easily-missed late-night post from Wednesday on the controversy.

This is a big deal. The blogosphere has so far largely missed it, but this attack on Mark Steyn is very much our business. There may be an impulse to dismiss this assault on Steyn, on the assumption that it will fail, that Steyn is a big boy and can take care of himself, and that in any case this is crazy Canada, where political correctness rules, rather than the land of the free. That would be a mistake. The Canadian Islamic Congress's war on Mark Steyn and Maclean's is an attack on all of us.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Survivors remember Pearl Harbor - Yahoo! News;_ylt=AqySbFL1rKVo31F.xpf9BEqs0NUE

On Friday, Hyland joined some 50 survivors and hundreds more family members and officials at a Pearl Harbor pier overlooking the USS Arizona Memorial to honor the attack's victims.

The crowd observed a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the time of the attack on Dec. 7, 1941, and Chinook helicopters flew over in formation, followed by a B-2 stealth bomber. - Gun-Free Zone

I HEARD NEAL BOORTZ holding forth on the Omaha mall shooting this morning on the way to work, and I realized I haven't posted on it. I don't really have anything to say that I haven't said before. But it's worth noting -- since apparently most of the media reports haven't -- that this was another mass shooting in a "gun-free" zone. It seems to me that we've reached the point at which a facility that bans firearms, making its patrons unable to defend themselves, should be subject to lawsuit for its failure to protect them. The pattern of mass shootings in "gun free" zones is well-established at this point, and I don't see why places that take the affirmative step of forcing their law-abiding patrons to go unarmed should get off scot-free. There's even an academic literature on mass shootings and concealed-gun carriage.

Perhaps we need legislation. If it saves just one life, it's worth it.

The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney: Longtime Libtalker Indicted On Child Pornography Charges
In a shocking development from San Francisco, longtime liberal talk show host Bernie Ward has apparently been indicted on charges related to child pornography, according to several sources in Baghdad-By-The-Bay.

Your Radio Equalizer has learned that Ward, a married father of four, could face up to five years in prison if convicted on each of the two counts. The allegations include both possessing and forwarding child porn.

The onetime seminarian and frequent cable talk show guest was to be arraigned earlier today, photographed and fingerprinted. He was expected to plead not guilty to the charges.

As of yet, a request for information from the US Attorney's office in San Francisco has not met with a response.

Follow the link for updates.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Global Warming Vote on Snowy Day in Washington

Nothing inspires taking on the "planetary emergency" of global warming like the first snow of the winter in Washington, D.C.  As two inches of snow accumulated outside the U.S. Capitol, the Senate's Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee debated "historic" global warming legislation sponsored by Sens. John Warner (R.-Va.) and Joe Lieberman (I.-Conn.).  "We look around right now and see the snow on the trees – standing out here and say 'Where is global warming when you need it?'" Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.) said to the Business & Media Institute.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Law professors petition against on-campus military recruiting

Nearly the entire faculty of Stanford Law School has signed an e-mail to students encouraging those interested in a career in the military to meet recruiters off campus, a move that one Stanford alum argues puts the school at risk of violating the Solomon Amendment. 

Paul Mirengoff, a 1974 Stanford law graduate and now partner at a Washington law firm, has made three entries on his blog, Power Line News, that stop short of saying Stanford is in violation — which the law school says emphatically it is not — but criticize the school for discouraging military recruiters. 

"The Solomon Amendment is an intersection of politics, policy and the war on terrorism," said Mirengoff. "The whole issue of elite universities discouraging military recruitment on campus is a disadvantage to our country. The 'don't ask, don't tell policy' is controversial but it is the law of the land." 

Danish 'best-selling' climate change sceptic swims against the tide

Lomborg's claims fly in the face of the UN-sponsored climate change conference on the Indonesian island of Bali, where more than 180 nations will attempt this month to lay the groundwork for a new emissions-reducing pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires at the end of 2012.

"I don't refute global warming. It is real but has been exaggerated by many. We must stop this climate obsession and address other more urgent problems," he said.

"Reducing CO2 emissions will not make the world a better place to live," he said, insisting that "even if we do achieve the fixed (emission reduction) objectives, we will only slow global warming by two years by the end of the century."

"That's very little for a lot of money," Lomborg said, calling instead for "research into alternative and cheap technologies and energy development to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel pollutants."

"One could also get a lot more for one's money by investing in the fight against AIDS, malaria and famine," he said, insisting that "for every person saved from malaria by hitting the brakes on global warming you could save 36,000 through third world health policies."

More than 10,000 jet into Bali for global warming conference

Never before have so many people converged to try to save the planet from global warming, with more than 10,000 jetting into this Indonesian resort island, from government ministers to Nobel laureates to drought-stricken farmers.

But critics say they are contributing to the very problem they aim to solve.

"Nobody denies this is an important event, but huge numbers of people are going, and their emissions are probably going to be greater than a small African country," said Chris Goodall, author of the book "How to Live a Low-Carbon Life."

Interest in climate change is at an all-time high after former Vice President Al Gore and a team of U.N. scientists won the Nobel Peace Prize for highlighting the dangers of rising temperatures, melting polar ice, worsening droughts and floods, and lengthening heat waves.

Two big climate conferences have been held in less than a month, both in idyllic, far-flung holiday destinations -- first Valencia, Spain, and now Bali. They were preceded by dozens of smaller gatherings. In Bangkok, Paris, Vienna, Washington, New York and Sydney, in Rio de Janeiro, Anchorage, Helsinki and the Indian Ocean island of Kurumba.

The pace is only expected to pick up, prompting some to ask if the issue is creating a "cure" industry as various groups claim a stake in efforts to curb global warming.

This Global Warming hysteria is part religion and part industry, with the generous support of governments.  I can't imagine a better bureaucratic job than "Minister of Climate Change".  You can party with Hollywood celebrities and chat with presidents.  And just for fun, you can extort money from industrial tycoons to protect their industries from climate change regulations.  Meanwhile, you can start up a little Carbon Trading Institute on the side to sell indulgences to the guilty rich folks.

HIV-positive Navy priest accused of sexual misconduct - Navy News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports - Navy Times

An HIV-positive Navy chaplain and Catholic priest who allegedly had consensual and non-consensual sex with other military men without disclosing his condition will face a court-martial, military officials said Tuesday.

The court-martial of Lt. Cmdr. John Thomas Matthew Lee, 42, will begin on Thursday at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

The Archdiocese of Washington, where Lee was ordained in 1993, received allegations of sexual misconduct in June and subsequently "removed his faculties to perform Mass," said Susan Gibbs, a diocesan spokeswoman. He also was relieved of his military duties in June, though military officials would not disclose his current duty status or unit.

The Catholic Church has more than a public relations problem.  It's time for the magisterium to start asking priests some uncomfortable questions.  The bishops have the responsibility for protecting the faithful, and the public at large.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Power Line: Fog of Foer

Today TNR editor Franklin Foer has posted his long-awaited climbdown from the magazine's Baghdad Diarist columns by Scott Thomas Beauchamp. Foer's 10,000-words is published under the heading "Fog of war." It is a pathetic, evasive, self-justifying, self-pitying, and deeply dishonest emission of verbal fog. Too bad, instead of all the rationalizations, that he didn't just apologize in a manly and direct way long ago as soon as the facts warranted an apology.

Friday, November 30, 2007

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The Most Busted Names In News (or The revenge of The Mole)

No serious anchor would want to be where Cooper is today, at the center of a vast train wreck which cannot be explained away as the inevitable result of the sudden appearance of big news in a difficult setting, as with hysterical Katrina coverage of bodies stacked in freezers and gun fights in the Superdome, or the result of the input of bad data, as with the early call of Florida for Gore in 2000.

No, this premeditated mediocrity. The network had months to  prepare and consider and execute.  But even with all that time, it lacked the minimal talent necessary to produce a serious debate about important issues using new technology. All it could deliver was a carnival of bad taste, trick questions, and full frontal left wing bias.

I have to disagree respectfully.  There's a better explanation for the trouble that afflicts Anderson Cooper:  The Mole has infiltrated CNN.  If you think about the debates as an odd sort of reality TV show, it all starts to make sense.

Murtha's comments on 'surge' are a problem for House Democrats - The Crypt's Blog -
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), one of the leading anti-war voices in the House Democratic Caucus, is back from a trip to Iraq and he now says the "surge is working." This could be a huge problem for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders, who are blocking approval of the full $200 billion being sought by President Bush for combat operations in Iraq in 2008.

Instapundit and I are on the same page

Meanwhile, I'll just repeat what I said earlier: If Fox hosted a Democratic debate and many of the most pointed questions turned out to come from Republican activists, but Fox didn't disclose that, do you think it would pass unremarked?

I suspect that many journalists are privately embarrassed for CNN.  Best to keep quiet about it, though. Democrats sometimes make mistakes in their zeal to get their message across, but we all know that only Republicans play dirty tricks. Let's move on and get back to the real issues.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Michelle Malkin » Digging out more CNN/YouTube plants: Abortion questioner is declared Edwards supporter (and a slobbering Anderson Cooper fan); Log Cabin Republican questioner is declared Obama supporter; lead toy questioner is a prominent union activist for the Edwards-endorsing United Steelworkers

Digging out more CNN/YouTube plants: Abortion questioner is declared Edwards supporter (and a slobbering Anderson Cooper fan); Log Cabin Republican questioner is declared Obama supporter; lead toy questioner is a prominent union activist for the Edwards-endorsing United Steelworkers

Imagine if the Democrats had had a debate on Fox News and Republican operatives had managed to infiltrate the show as questioners.  Does anyone doubt that it would have been the work of "a vast right-wing conspiracy"?  I imagine that some media people might have even wondered out loud about the journalistic ethics of Fox:  either they were in on it or they are hopelessly incompetent.  People are joking that CNN should learn about Google (the best, as usual is Scrappleface's CNN to Team with Google for Next GOP Debate), but that's letting them off pretty lightly compared to how the Kossacks would treat Fox News in a comparable position.  I like this quote from Scarborough.

Not so concerned about Global Warming

And yet the public does not seem to feel all that heatedly about the warming of the planet. In survey after survey, American voters say that they care about global warming, but the subject ranks quite low when compared with other concerns (e.g., the economy, health care, the war on terror). Even when Mr. Gore's Oscar-winning film, "An Inconvenient Truth," was at the height of its popularity, it did not increase the importance of global warming in the public mind or mobilize greater support for Mr. Gore's favored remedies--e.g., reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by government fiat. Mr. Gore may seek to make environmental protection civilization's "central organizing principle," as he puts it, but there is no constituency for such a regime. Hence even the Democratic Party's presidential candidates, in their debates, give global warming only cursory treatment, with lofty rhetoric and vague policy proposals.

There is a reason for this political freeze-up. In "Break Through," Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger argue that Mr. Gore and the broader environmental movement--in which Mr. Gore plays an almost messianic part--remain wedded to an outmoded vision, seeing global warming as "a problem of pollution to be fixed by a politics of limits." Such a vision may have worked in the early days of environmentalism, when the first clear-air and clean-water regulations were pushed through Congress, but today it cannot mobilize enough public support for dramatic political change.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Can Oprah's blessing boost Obama? - Yahoo! News;_ylt=AmD2pMEVjUSXG_5Kp6uq9RWs0NUE

And now Winfrey's "favorite senator," Barack Obama, hopes the O Factor will work for him, too, as the talk-show host and media icon prepares to campaign for the presidential candidate in the early voting states of IowaNew Hampshire and South Carolina.

But can Winfrey's influence, vast as it is, extend to the political realm? That depends on whether celebrity endorsements, so courted and coveted in modern politics, really mean much at all in the end. But then again, how many celebrities have the reach and the power of Oprah Winfrey?

Many political people are discounting Oprah's influence, but I think it's a big deal, especially among older women voters.  That could make a difference in Iowa.  The Clinton people right now are trying to figure out how they can beat Obama but keep Oprah involved in politics for the general election. That might force them to offer the VP spot to Obama.  The Clinton camp doesn't want to get tough on Obama because they need him later.  They'll have a tough decision to make if she doesn't win in Iowa.

ABC News: Overweight? Standing May Be Solution

In most cases, exercise alone, according to a team of scientists at the University of Missouri, isn't enough to take off those added pounds. The problem, they say, is that all the stuff we've heard the last few years about weight control left one key factor out of the equation. When we sit, the researchers found, the enzymes that are responsible for burning fat just shut down.

This goes way beyond the common sense assumption that people who sit too much are less active and thus less able to keep their weight under control. It turns out that sitting for hours at a time, as so many of us do in these days of ubiquitous computers and electronic games and 24-hour television, attacks the body in ways that have not been well understood.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Clinton and Obama in Iowa, talking about Qualifications

(via Instapundit and Althouse)

Last week, Clinton -- apparently feeling the heat -- took one of her sharpest jabs yet at Obama, mocking his claim that his childhood years in Indonesia provide him with unique insight into foreign affairs. "Now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next president will face," Clinton said.

Obama fired back in an interview with "Nightline" co-anchor Terry Moran: "You know, we must be doing pretty well in Iowa. She wasn't paying much attention to what I said before then." (CLICK HERE to read the transcript of the interview)

And then, Obama went out of his way to belittle Clinton's experience as first lady.

"I think the fact of the matter is that Sen. Clinton is claiming basically the entire eight years of the Clinton presidency as her own, except for the stuff that didn't work out, in which case she says she has nothing to do with it," Obama said, and added, referring to his relationship with his wife, Michelle, "There is no doubt that Bill Clinton had faith in her and consulted with her on issues, in the same way that I would consult with Michelle, if there were issues," Obama said. "On the other hand, I don't think Michelle would claim that she is the best qualified person to be a United States Senator by virtue of me talking to her on occasion about the work I've done."

With this line of attack, Obama is openly calling Clinton out on one of the basic arguments of her candidacy and her career -- that her experience at Bill Clinton's side in the White House and before, make her the most qualified person in the race.

Question: If Hillary's experience as First Lady qualifies her to be president, then what job does Monica Lewinsky's internship qualify her for?  Postmaster General?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Round up of articles on Gore's carbon credits

But how Gore buys his "carbon offsets," as revealed by The Tennessean raises serious questions. According to the newspaper's report, Gore's spokesperson said Gore buys his carbon offsets through Generation Investment Management:

Gore helped found Generation Investment Management, through which he and others pay for offsets. The firm invests the money in solar, wind and other projects that reduce energy consumption around the globe, she said...
Gore is chairman of the firm and, presumably, draws an income or will make money as its investments prosper. In other words, he "buys" his "carbon offsets" from himself, through a transaction designed to boost his own investments and return a profit to himself. To be blunt, Gore doesn't buy "carbon offsets" through Generation Investment Management - he buys stocks.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

US is‘worst’ imperialist says Archbishop of Canterbury

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the United States wields its power in a way that is worse than Britain during its imperial heyday.

Rowan Williams claimed that America's attempt to intervene overseas by "clearing the decks" with a "quick burst of violent action" had led to "the worst of all worlds".

In a wide-ranging interview with a British Muslim magazine, the Anglican leader linked criticism of the United States to one of his most pessimistic declarations about the state of western civilisation.

He said the crisis was caused not just by America's actions but also by its misguided sense of its own mission. He poured scorn on the "chosen nation myth of America, meaning that what happens in America is very much at the heart of God's purpose for humanity".