Friday, November 30, 2007
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.
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.
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?
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
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
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, and .
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?
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
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?
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.
Monday, November 26, 2007
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
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".
Saturday, November 24, 2007
"In my estimation this was something very nasty and vicious, and even more dangerous than a reactor," says Even. "I have no information, only an assessment, but I suspect that it was a plant for processing plutonium, namely a factory for assembling the bomb."
In other words, Syria already had several kilograms of plutonium, and it was involved in building a bomb factory (the assembling of one bomb requires about four kilograms of fissionable material).
Processing the plutonium and assembling the bomb require utmost caution, because plutonium is one of the most toxic and radioactive materials. One microgram can kill one person, and a gram is capable of killing a million people. Handling it requires special lathes, but because of its lethal nature nobody is allowed to come into direct contact with plutonium or with the lathes. That is why there is a need to build labs containing dozens of glove boxes, which isolate and separate the worker from the material and the equipment.
What reinforces Even's suspicion that the structure attacked in Syria was in fact a bomb assembly plant is the fact that the satellite photos taken after the bombing clearly show that the Syrians made an effort to bury the entire site under piles of earth. "They did so because of the lethal nature of the material that was in the structure, and that can be plutonium," he said. That may also be the reason they refused to allow IAEA inspectors to visit the site and take samples of the earth, which would give away their secret.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Since congress's new luxury jet is part of the military appropriations and with congress not funding the military as the president requested, the jet should be the first causalty of the reduction in spending required to maintain support for the troops in harm's way. While the jet has been delivered, so too late to cancel it, it should be grounded. Actually all congressional fights provided by the Air Force should be grounded. Let them all take to the airways with the regular folks and experience the problems we face. And since they are so concerned about global warming, it would reduce their carbon footprint.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
On Friday, I suggested that Stanford Law School may be violating the Solomon Amendment by discouraging its students from attending on-campus interviews with military recruiters. My post was based on reports from Stanford law students. They told me that when a student signs up for an interview with the JAG Corps, the career services office proceeds to "gauge" that student's interest. As part of this process, the student is sent a letter in which most of the law school's faculty members try to persuade him or her not interview with the JAG Corps on campus. If, as a result of this process, career services concludes that the number of sufficiently interested students is too low, the military recruiter is not allowed on campus.
In the quest to treat difficult diseases, researchers have created human embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos or using hard-to-get eggs. The technique may prove to be easier, cheaper, and more ethically appealing than an alternative approach that requires cloning.
Two separate teams of researchers say they have sidestepped the cloning method and reprogrammed mature human cells into a primordial, embryonic-like state. Those cells were then transformed into other tissue types, such as heart cells. The long-term hope is that such freshly-created tissue may, for example, be used to heal a heart-attack patient.
Unlike cloning, "the wonderful thing about this approach is that it's easy. You're going to see lots and lots of labs give it a try," predicts Robert Blelloch, a stem cell biologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who has performed his own reprogramming experiments. He says he read the latest studies but wasn't involved in them.
Monday, November 19, 2007
It's been less than a week since New York's Sen. Hillary Clinton and Gov. Eliot Spitzer had to climb down from their support of driver's licenses for illegal aliens. Now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has moved to kill an amendment that would protect employers from federal lawsuits for requiring their workers to speak English. Among the employers targeted by such lawsuits: the Salvation Army.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, a moderate Republican from Tennessee, is dumbstruck that legislation he views as simple common sense would be blocked. He noted that the full Senate passed his amendment to shield the Salvation Army by 75-19 last month, and the House followed suit with a 218-186 vote just this month. "I cannot imagine that the framers of the 1964 Civil Rights Act intended to say that it's discrimination for a shoe shop owner to say to his or her employee, 'I want you to be able to speak America's common language on the job,' " he told the Senate last Thursday.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
As I wrote in my syndicated advice column, in no other arena is a swindler rewarded with a court-ordered monthly cash settlement paid to them by the person they bilked. In an especially sick miscarriage of justice, even a man who says he was sexually victimized by an older woman from the time he was 14, has been forced to pay support for the child that resulted from underage sex with her.While the law allows women to turn casual sex into cash flow sex, Penelope Leach, in her book Children First , poses an essential question: "Why is it socially reprehensible for a man to leave a baby fatherless, but courageous, even admirable, for a woman to have a baby whom she knows will be so?"
But as of Veterans Day 2007, I think one can claim a very real expectation that next year the world may see a genuine, old-fashioned victory in the Iraq War. In five years we will have overturned Saddam's government, killed, captured or driven out of country almost all al Qaeda terrorists, suppressed the violent Shi'ite militias and induced the Sunni tribal leaders and their people to shun resistance and send their sons into the army and police and seek peaceful resolution of disputes. And we will have stood up a multisectarian, tribally inclusive army capable of maintaining the peace that our troops established.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
On Tuesday, a top aide to Hillary Clinton indirectly warned moderator Wolf Blitzer not to be too hard on her in Thursday's debate. The warning was issued via the Drudge Report, an influential Web site that has received numerous leaks from the Clinton campaign on such topics as her fundraising prowess.
"This campaign is about issues, not on who we can bring down and destroy," a senior Clinton aide told cyberjournalist Matt Drudge. "Blitzer should not go down to the levels of character attack and pull 'a Russert.' "
Blitzer, who said he had not been directly contacted by the Clinton campaign, called the New York Democrat "a sophisticated, strong politician." But he also issued his own veiled warning.
"If she can't handle the heat during a Democratic contest, wait until the Republicans really start going after her," he told TV Newser. "If she's the nominee."
Blitzer also defended Russert against criticism by Bill Clinton.
"I think Russert was doing his job," he said. "He was trying to follow up and be Tim Russert. He asks tough questions. That's what people want. I admire him."
Finally, Blitzer took issue with Bill Clinton's complaint that six "boys" — a reference to the other Democratic presidential candidates —ganged up on one "girl," his wife.
"Hillary Clinton is the front-runner," Blitzer said. "No matter if it's a boy or girl, there's a tendency to gang up on that person. It's a natural phenomenon."
Bipartisan legislation moving in the Senate would substantially lengthen the list of forbidden favors that could expose a member of Congress to charges of bribery. The move comes as Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, battles federal charges with a defense that his actions on behalf of various businesses were not "official acts" but private deals not covered by the current public corruption statutes.[...]
Jefferson has based a major portion of his defense on the vagueness of the current definition. He said that while he might have been paid to exert influence as a member of Congress -- including writing letters, visiting foreign dignitaries, appearing before a federal agency on behalf of a business client -- his actions didn't amount to "official acts" within the meaning of the bribery law.[...]
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
A MOTTO for modern Britain in five words or fewer? How about "In America we trust" or "At least we're not French", or "Land of yobs and morons".
As Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown seeks to capture the public's imagination with a search for a national motto, cynicism and subversion are emerging as the most prominent national characteristics.
Readers of the Times, a newspaper dear to the hearts of middle Britain, have posted hundreds of suggestions on an Internet blog asking for a motto to sum up modern Britain.
For some, it is an opportunity to express pride and confidence: "Great people, great country, Great Britain" is one suggestion, while others say "Courage, reason, humanity, democracy, monarchy" or "A country so brave and true" could serve as fitting mottos.
Some are wary of any sign of nationalism, warning: "Pride comes before a fall".
And others have grabbed the chance to have a dig at Mr Brown and his Labour government.
"Taxation without Representation is Tyranny" is one of the more political suggestions, along with "Created by heroes, destroyed by Labour" or "Our government no longer listens".
Nostalgia for the empire also runs deep, with suggestions such as "Wallowing in a post-colonial miasma" or "Once mighty empire, slightly used".
The U.N.'s top climate official warned policymakers and scientists trying to hammer out a landmark report on climate change that ignoring the urgency of global warming would be "criminally irresponsible."
The document to be issued Saturday sums up the scientific consensus on how rapidly the Earth is warming and the effects already observed; the impact it could have for billions of people; and what steps can be taken to keep the planet's temperature from rising to disastrous levels.
The IPCC already has established that the climate has begun to change because of the greenhouse gases emitted by humans, said de Boer, director of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Everyone will feel its effects, but global warming will hit the poorest countries hardest and will "threaten the very survival" of some people, he said.
"Failing to recognize the urgency of this message and act on it would be nothing less that criminally irresponsible" and a direct attack on the world's poorest people, De Boer said.
Monday, November 12, 2007
It seems to me a certain humility is appropriate when offering advice to Islamabad. General Musharraf is — as George S Kaufman remarked when the Germans invaded Russia — shooting without a script. But that's because he presides over a country that defies the neatness of scripted narratives. In the days after 9/11, George W Bush told the world that you're either with us or against us. Musharraf said he was with us, which was jolly decent of him considering that 99.9999 percent of his people are against us. In the teeth of that glum reality, he's rode a difficult tightrope with some skill. As John Negroponte, U.S. deputy secretary of state, put it, aside from America "no country has done more in terms of inflicting damage and punishment on the Taliban and al-Qaeda since 9/11" — which, given the proportion of the population that loathes America and actively supports the Taliban and al-Qaeda, is not unimpressive.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Columbia law Prof. Daniel Richman said California and New York authorities could be in "some sort of negotiation toward a global resolution" of Hsu's cases. "It might also serve [Hsu's] purposes to stall until the presidential campaign is over," Richman said."It's not because the federal charges will go away, but it might be a more hospitable environment."
Friday, November 02, 2007
Sen. Hillary Clinton was asked during a debate this week if she supported New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's plan to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. At first she seemed to endorse the idea, then claimed, "I did not say that it should be done, but I certainly recognize why Governor Spitzer is trying to do it."
The next day she took a firmer stand (sort of) by offering general support for Gov. Spitzer's approach, but adding that she hadn't studied his specific plan. She should, and so should the rest of us. It stops just short of being an engraved invitation for people to commit voter fraud.
Despite her muddled comments this week, there's no doubt where Mrs. Clinton stands on ballot integrity. She opposes photo ID laws, even though they enjoy over 80% support in the polls. She has also introduced a bill to force every state to offer no-excuse absentee voting as well as Election Day registration--easy avenues for election chicanery. The bill requires that every state restore voting rights to all criminals who have completed their prison terms, parole or probation.