Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Edwards Pays Mom of Love-Child $15/Month

The National Enquirer remains the best place for news as the MSM continues its slow subsidence into agitpreppie mediocrity. Rielle Hunter gets 15 grand from an intermediary to keep her mouth shut on John Edwards' moral lapses as he preaches anodyne populist mantras to lobby for a place in an Obama cabinet.

That ain't gonna happen if the Edwards/Hunter story breaks big & so far, the Enquirer claims to have pictures, but won't leak them to bolster the Beverly Hilton Hotel midnight tryst between John & Rielle. Is the Enquirer waiting for the Democrat Convention in Denver to ruin John-Boy Hair-and-Makeup's big speech to the assembled Socialists in waiting? That would be the only reason, unmentioned by Mickey Kaus in the speculative list of excuses for the Enquirer's not breaking the story more widely.

While it would be wonderful to have Dem hypocrisy & scorn for family values splashed all over its convention, the Enquirer may be giving the Hollyweirdos time to concoct defenses against the scoop. Already, the non-news broadsheet LAT forbids any speculation even on its blogsite---once again testimony that the commissars of the MSM still reign unchecked in their agitprop strongholds. They emit newsie spin, but do not report news.

Fox of course once again breaks out of the paradigm of sheer mediocrity fostered inside the NYT & MSM cocoons.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cong. Wexler in a re-election fight in Florida over residence.

Congressman Robert Wexler is one elected official who simply keeps on ticking. I first ran into his office workers while my wife's real estate office was located next to his Congressional District Office on Military Hwy in Boca. The woman who helped us refinance our mortgage told us that she had been Wexler's office assistant before he went into politics while he was a lawyer here in Boca. She described him as "laid back" and a "nice guy."

When a former state representative [Republican] moved next door to us, he told me that Wexler was "fundamentally lazy." I myself had told my brother to inform Wexler that I was a resident of his Cong. Dist. when my brother told me Wexler & family were going to visit him in Banda Aceh, where my bro is head of a big USAID project.

The Sun-Sentinel here has been on Wexler's case over his CD residence's being his father-in-law's condo in Delray Beach. This makes Robert the only FL Congressman whose primary residence is out of state, according to theS-S's Mging Editor Mr. Fins.

Very bad form, as the Brits would say. Wexler travels overseas incessantly, especially to Israel, according to newspapers in the S. Florida area.

The Palm Beach Post takes a more compliant view of Wexler's residential improprieties, focussing instead on Wexler's attacks on Sen. Lieberman, who is in-state supporting McCain's foreign policy.

As a matter of interest, the former Palm Beach Republican Party Chmn told me at a Christmas Party last year that the reason that the 2000 FL POTUS election was so close was that a significant number of the 40+% of Florida Jews who were/are Republicans decided in that election that blood was thicker than water & pulled the lever/or butterfly wings/for the Gorebot & his ethnic VP.

Wexler himself is a PR genius of sorts, but heavy-handed and wrong-footed, as he demonstrated on Steve Colbert's TV show in front of a huge national audience. He may squeak through to re-election, but odds are that statewide office might be beyond this fellow's reach.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama Skips US Wounded Soldiers, goes to Tiergarten & Paris Instead.

Ed Morrissey has a great piece on how Obama is using this campaign swing for photo-op adoration by the same Germans that adored Adolf seventy years ago. Any one who has visited Germany & speaks & reads the language knows how susceptible to hysteria the two-ton Teuton beer-swilling rednecks are, especially when they try to erase symptoms of their unhappy history since they overran the Roman Empire. Germans are good for fast cars & wrecking places, as any Pole or Russian can tell you. Not for political sagesse.

So Obama gave his talk to ululating Arabs & other hidden allies---no wonder Arabs love him, as he is almost as incomprehensibly unspecific as they are. [I speak & read Arabic at 3+S4R level tested by the State Dept.]

The Bolshie boys on the lefty blogasylum keep insisting Obama is right that the surge had nothing to do with the American victory in Iraq. You have to understand language like a lefty does, to twist & tergiversate, until meaning is wrenched out exactly opposite of reality.

Don't believe your lyin' eyes, believe their sophistries & rhetorical flimflammery instead.

Edwards Caught Flagrante in Beverly Hilton. No VP? No AG?

Mickey Kaus is where I first spotted John Edwards' spectacular hypocrisy & subsequent love-chile due to Elizabeth's, well, no need to elaborate. Now the proverbial cat is roaming, but the deaf, dumb & blind MSM won't pick it up due to their DNC affiliate obligations. Plus it's in the National Enquirer, which Roger Simon notes is much more reliable than the New York Times nowadays as a news breaker.

But even the NYT-wannabe Los Angeles Times has let the story leak onto its back forty---is a revelation soon to spring full-blown from the head of Zeus?

Roger Simon has actually run into Rielle at the tedious round of Hollyweird cocktail parties and his description is the best I've seen in a long time of the kind of woman a po'-boy hypocrite blowhard hair-and-makeup ambulance chaser from them mill towns in the Carolina piedmont would find irresistable:
"She was not particularly notable, of the tedious sort that bore you to death about their yoga instructor."

But a veritable Siren to the wandering eye of what Wonkette wearily dismisses as a tiresome repeat of something she/it mentioned last October while a huge picture of Novak hangs above her bloghead---let's switch to Bob Novak accidentally hitting a pedestrian and put that as the lead on CNN & PMSNBC, quick, while no one notices Johnny Boy "Hair & Makeup" with his girl-friend.

Isn't it amazing how the MSM can make Novak front-page lead-in on the print & electronic Mighty Wurlitzer while John Edwards remains unavailable to Jay Leno & David Letterman?

Not amazing, but merely disgusting.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Obama Has The Media Covering His Back Even After TNY Expose By Ryan Lizza

The New Yorker is one of the very few media outlets daring to cover the seamy parts of Obama's sudden rise to power. Ryan Lizza has a great article in The New Yorker on what a dishonest phony creep Obama really is---a twenty-year narrative cavalcade in Chicago of Obama's lying, cheating, and stealing. [Then The Chicago Mafia wouldn't let Chicago journalist Lizza on the plane to the Middle East---Ryan knows way too much about this Jimmy Carter without ethics.]

And BTW, whatever happened to that Rezko fellow who financed The Obamable Showman's State Senate election?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Indeed we with long memories recall the sudden ascension of James Earl Carter to prominence solely because of a stupid grin the media insisted was a smile. The result was arguably the worst president of the 20th century & the most annoying ex-POTUS ever.

Now we see a concerted campaign by the MSM to concoct a phony non-important series of verbal mistakes by McCain into some sort of issue! McCain talks to the press all the time. Andrea Mitchell correctly points out that the press is excluded from any real contact with The Obamanable Showman. And the oracle from Indonesia almost never gives one-on-one interviews, and when he does, flubs up badly as he did with Katie Couric.

McCain never made a statement as stupid as the "57 states" comment that Obamessiah mentioned. And when the Chosen One does misspeak, it is not pointed out or drummed relentlessly into the blogosphere by libtard ninnies.

Cretins populating the network now known as National Barac-O Campfollowers---with its stable of airheads & vicious twits---are particularly egregious in this respect. Of course, no one watches MSNBC except committed anti-Americans.

My guess is that the American people is much brighter than the cretins in the media spotlight---PMSNBC's subbasement ratings reflect the good taste of these true Americans. And the latest polls indicate the American people think the press & cable outles are biased pro-Obama.

The most interesting part of the poll is that when matched with the largest major US polling outles [Pew, Gallup, WSJH/NBC, & Rasmiussen, Zogby, & CBS], Obama is getting no traction despite the numerous stumbles by a visibly exhausted McCain & the complete laissez-faire inability of the MSM to confront Obama when he also is bumbling through an interview. Obama can give a great speech with teleprompters, but is woefully inadequate in a one-on-one situation, as Couric demonstrated when pointing out his ridiculous statements about still being against the surge even after it worked.

His rapturous reception in front of the EU-nuch hordes, including ululations from the Arabs in his his ERman audience after he mentioned that his father was a goat-herder, means little to the average American in "flyover country," those unwashed hicks despised by the media titans in New York & Hollyweird. Indeed, the appeasement syndrome seems to be a permanent part of the EU-nuch mindset.

But even the "shiver-up-my-leg" moron Chris Matthews noted today on his rant-show that McCain is making gains & turning states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota into swing states, merely by remaining out of the klieglight glare of the Obamanable Showman's performances. And the MSM is losing viewers & readers at record levels, as NBC sinks into a permanent fourth place in the race for eyeballs each night.

The media are so biased that they are losing their most precious advantage, their credibility. And if McCain can stop his infuriating tendency to sound like some sort of nattering old man stringing unconnected thoughts and themes together seemingly at random---he could actually pull it off.

I'm hoping for that despite my numerous reservations about Johnny Mac's policy positions [ANWR is just another lapse in taking advantage of what 70% of Americans want---I can now understand why JM finished 590th in his Annapolis class of 596. But his heart is golden & he's our only hope to avoid the slippy slide into EU-socialist nonsense that the cheering Krauts in the Tiergarten have already succumbed to.

Obama is a ringer for weakening the US into the same competitve disadvantage that the EU-nuchs already suffer under---as was astutely pointed out by Karl Rove the other night on a talk show.

NBC Explains Its One-Sided Coverage

DNC Affiliate NBC is so one-sided in its reporting that it lurched back to defend its being in-the-tank for Obama. And over-the-top weirdos doing election night commentary [Olberman & Matthews].

David Gregory, NBC's chief White House correspondent and host of "Race to the White House" on MSNBC, saidMSNBC's broader style reflects the "revolution" in the television news business.
"We're trying to do something here," said Gregory. "We have a big tent. We have many different views, all on one network. We're doing reporting, analysis and opinion all under one umbrella."

Perhaps by "big tent," Gregory means a three-ring circus. And what Gregory didn't mention is that [P]MSNBC is trying to keep a cable operation on the air that has virtually no viewers.

And perhaps by "revolution," Gregory means "revolting."

Anyway, here's whatOlberman's colleagues at MSNBC think of him:
In a recent profile of Olbermann in the New Yorker, Peter Boyle recalls that he could be so "overbearing" that Suzy Kolber, a former colleague of his at ESPN, would sometimes "lock herself in the bathroom and cry." It's a sentiment that people who know him today echo. "I love his politics, and think he's really filled a void for the left that was missing on TV, but the guy is just a total asshole," says a former colleague of the frequent Page Six target. "He's just a full-blown, red-in-the-face screamer." Another former MSNBC staffer notes that Olbermann refused to communicate with underlings face to face when he worked out of the network's Secaucus operation, instead insisting that anyone who wished to get in touch with him leave him a note in a special mailbox. "His disregard for those beneath him is almost comical," the staffer continues. "I remember he had an assistant back then named Brian whom he made go out and buy presents for other people. Brian did, with his own money, and of course Keith never reimbursed him." Says an NBC producer who has worked with him: "He is, to put it kindly, brusque."

At ESPN absolutely no one will speak about the odious Odorboy, including his high school chum Chris Berman, whom an ESPN exec once told me was "the nicest guy in the world." Seems the "total asshole" alienated almost every ESPN colleague to the extent that Suzy Kolber's sentiment was well nigh universal there. Another hideous narcissist.

Watching his program gives one much to retch about.

Monday, July 21, 2008

NYT to McCain---"Drop Dead."

Drudge again does the country a service by printing the McCain Op-Ed rejected by Pravda-on-the-HUdson because, well, you be the judge:

In January 2007, when General David Petraeus took command in Iraq, he called the situation “hard” but not “hopeless.” Today, 18 months later, violence has fallen by up to 80% to the lowest levels in four years, and Sunni and Shiite terrorists are reeling from a string of defeats. The situation now is full of hope, but considerable hard work remains to consolidate our fragile gains.

Progress has been due primarily to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy. I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Senator Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent. "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” he said on January 10, 2007. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse."

Now Senator Obama has been forced to acknowledge that “our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence.” But he still denies that any political progress has resulted.

Perhaps he is unaware that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has recently certified that, as one news article put it, “Iraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress.” Even more heartening has been progress that’s not measured by the benchmarks. More than 90,000 Iraqis, many of them Sunnis who once fought against the government, have signed up as Sons of Iraq to fight against the terrorists. Nor do they measure Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s new-found willingness to crack down on Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City—actions that have done much to dispel suspicions of sectarianism.

The success of the surge has not changed Senator Obama’s determination to pull out all of our combat troops. All that has changed is his rationale. In a New York Times op-ed and a speech this week, he offered his “plan for Iraq” in advance of his first “fact finding” trip to that country in more than three years. It consisted of the same old proposal to pull all of our troops out within 16 months. In 2007 he wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been. Now he wants to withdraw because he thinks Iraqis no longer need our assistance.

To make this point, he mangles the evidence. He makes it sound as if Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama timetable, when all he has said is that he would like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops at some unspecified point in the future.

Senator Obama is also misleading on the Iraqi military's readiness. The Iraqi Army will be equipped and trained by the middle of next year, but this does not, as Senator Obama suggests, mean that they will then be ready to secure their country without a good deal of help. The Iraqi Air Force, for one, still lags behind, and no modern army can operate without air cover. The Iraqis are also still learning how to conduct planning, logistics, command and control, communications, and other complicated functions needed to support frontline troops.

No one favors a permanent U.S. presence, as Senator Obama charges. A partial withdrawal has already occurred with the departure of five “surge” brigades, and more withdrawals can take place as the security situation improves. As we draw down in Iraq, we can beef up our presence on other battlefields, such as Afghanistan, without fear of leaving a failed state behind. I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.

But I have also said that any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons. This is the crux of my disagreement with Senator Obama.

Senator Obama has said that he would consult our commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders, but he did no such thing before releasing his “plan for Iraq.” Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t want to hear what they have to say. During the course of eight visits to Iraq, I have heard many times from our troops what Major General Jeffrey Hammond, commander of coalition forces in Baghdad, recently said: that leaving based on a timetable would be “very dangerous.”

The danger is that extremists supported by Al Qaeda and Iran could stage a comeback, as they have in the past when we’ve had too few troops in Iraq. Senator Obama seems to have learned nothing from recent history. I find it ironic that he is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the “Mission Accomplished” banner prematurely.

I am also dismayed that he never talks about winning the war—only of ending it. But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will. A triumph for the terrorists would be a disaster for us. That is something I will not allow to happen as president. Instead I will continue implementing a proven counterinsurgency strategy not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan with the goal of creating stable, secure, self-sustaining democratic allies.

My guess is that Drudge's readership is so large compared to the rapidly shrinking agitprop DNC affilate that more people will read McCain's piece on-line than the Uptown crowd in NYC will in its local BS broadsheet.

Just guessing!

Desperate French TV---Caution, This blog is in French

French TV often prides itself as superior to foreign offerings---when in reality, it is mostly trite, cliche-ridden state-controlled junk. Can you believe it when the American cultural imperialist now dominate French offerings with Desperate Housewives, Les Experts [no English name given] & Prison Break among the top ratings in the Hexagon? Here's your dose of French for the day/week/month on the blogosphere:
Elles n’hésitent pas à explorer des univers sociaux totalement décalés (par exemple
celui des croque-mort avec Six Feet Under ou comme dans Les Sopranos d’un chef
de la maffia en psychothérapie) et peuvent composer des univers où le surnaturel
ou l’ésotérisme tissent une toile de fond (Buffy, Angel ou Roswell). Elles pratiquent
l’extravagance, l’ellipse, l’invraisemblance, le grotesque, le clin d’œil, se
rapprochant sur ce point des sitcoms, mais avec une audace démultipliée. Souvent,
elles bousculent les normes morales en vigueur, peignent d’un réalisme outrancier
les mœurs sociales et font fi des stéréotypes – quitte à en générer d’autres. Enfin,
elles organisent parfois des renvois appuyés à des images ou des situations déjà
vues dans d’autres fictions-culte, crossovers qui ainsi relient symboliquement une
série à une autre, construisant ce qu’on pourrait nommer des transfictions : une
formule qui ajoute une clef supplémentaire à la lecture du récit.

You can sort of piece it together by the references---but the gist is that American TV is creative & daring compared to the French & provides an amplitude of diversity that "l'exception culturelle," as the French grandiosely call their audiovisual contribution to the world, shuns because the elites in Paris are narrow & self-absorbed & apodictic---period.

What spurred me is watching "La Grande Illusion" with its preachy leftism during the Popular Front in the late thirties as Europe prepared for another Holocaust, which deprived the Continent of any leading role in the future. Ideology trumps creativity in the French cinema, & I prefer Marcel Pagnol to Luc-Goddard infinitely---one is real and the other simply sux.

P.S. Just reread a couple of chapters of Village in the Vaucluse, one of the great sociological pieces to convey a real sense of living in a Frencn village, and the only character/movie that would draw a huge crowd every time it was shown was "Marius" with Raimu as the chief draw. Pagnol could paint on a canvas much more universal than the silly Bolshie BS of Breathless.

Dems Practice Class Warfare in Limousine/Gulfstream Flyover Country

The Wall Street Journal has a great editorial on the Socialists-In-Waiting tax policy.
the top 1% of taxpayers, those who earn above $388,806, paid 40% of all income taxes in 2006, the highest share in at least 40 years. The top 10% in income, those earning more than $108,904, paid 71%. Barack Obama says he's going to cut taxes for those at the bottom, but that's also going to be a challenge because Americans with an income below the median paid a record low 2.9% of all income taxes, while the top 50% paid 97.1%. Perhaps he thinks half the country should pay all the taxes to support the other half.

This tax level would seem confiscatory to all but the lunatics who think the Obamanable Showman's statement that the rich AREN'T TAXED ENOUGH is the problem. Here's the WSJ preaching to the loons:
Aha, we are told: The rich paid more taxes because they made a greater share of the money. That is true. The top 1% earned 22% of all reported income. But they also paid a share of taxes not far from double their share of income. In other words, the tax code is already steeply progressive.

We also know from income mobility data that a very large percentage in the top 1% are "new rich," not inheritors of fortunes. There is rapid turnover in the ranks of the highest income earners, so much so that people who started in the top 1% of income in the 1980s and 1990s suffered the largest declines in earnings of any income group over the subsequent decade, according to Treasury Department studies of actual tax returns. It's hard to stay king of the hill in America for long.

The most amazing part of this story is the leap in the number of Americans who declared adjusted gross income of more than $1 million from 2003 to 2006. The ranks of U.S. millionaires nearly doubled to 354,000 from 181,000 in a mere three years after the tax cuts.

Yet the MSM keeps their anvil chorus clanging about how terrible the economy is, though technically it isn't in recession. What gives? I guess that a certain percentage ARE suffering, sometimes from bad due diligence on their part & the banks with the mortgage crisis, and sometimes from their own extravagance, and sometimes from sheer bad luck. However, the "BAD" economy is being foisted on what the left likes to call "the masses" who the left thinks will believe them rather than their own lyin' eyes. And of course, GWB employs his hopelessly out-of-date fratboy insouciance in trying to counter, in his bumbling fashion, the agitprop from the in-the-tank MSM.


This is precisely what supply-siders predicted would happen with lower tax rates on capital gains, dividends and income. The economy and earnings would grow faster, which they did; investors would declare more capital gains and companies would pay out more dividends, which they did; the rich would invest less in tax shelters at lower tax rates, so their tax payments would rise, which did happen.

The idea that this has been a giveaway to the rich is a figment of the left's imagination. Taxes paid by millionaire households more than doubled to $274 billion in 2006 from $136 billion in 2003. No President has ever plied more money from the rich than George W. Bush did with his 2003 tax cuts. These tax payments from the rich explain the very rapid reduction in the budget deficit to 1.9% of GDP in 2006 from 3.5% in 2003.

This year, thanks to the credit mess and slower growth, taxes paid by the rich may fall and the deficit will rise. (The nonstimulating tax rebates will also hurt the deficit.) Mr. Obama proposes to close this deficit by raising tax rates on the rich to their highest levels since the late 1970s. The very groups like the Congressional Budget Office and Tax Policy Center that wrongly predicted that the 2003 investment tax cuts would cost about $1 trillion in lost revenue are now saying that repealing those tax cuts would gain similar amounts. We'll wager it'd gain a lot less.

We have to go back to the hopelessly incompetent James Earl Carter to duplicate the effects that Obama's economy-wrecking lunacy might effect---remember those 15% mortgage rates? The Seven Economic Policies in Four Years? The Windfall Profits Tax? Everything that made Jimmy the worst domestic economy in the twentieth century will give Obama the worst in the 21st.
If Mr. Obama does succeed in raising tax rates on the rich, we'd also wager that the rich share of tax payments would fall. The last time tax rates were as high as the Senator wants them -- the Carter years -- the rich paid only 19% of all income taxes, half of the 40% share they pay today. Why? Because they either worked less, earned less, or they found ways to shelter income from taxes so it was never reported to the IRS as income.

The way to soak the rich is with low tax rates, and last week's IRS data provide more powerful validation of that proposition.

The fact that investments & tax breaks grow the economy never reaches the Bolshie-trained Keynesians of the ueber-left academicide elites. Read Amity Schlaes The Forgotten Man for a good dose of reality versus the Krugboy bong-induced shroom world that Obama would project.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Great White Shark & HIs New Bride at The British Open

Greg Norman was the most charismatic golfer of the nineties, even hosting POTUS Clinton at his home when Bubba broke his kneecap. When I first arrived in Florida to live, I played Doral & Norman's course there, a very innovative course.

Here in Boca, Chris Evert still has her tennis academy & she just married the Shark after a nasty divorce from his previous wife. Chris used to come to Joan of Arc School here in Boca, where my daughter went, to present the teacher of the year award, which was out of Chris's pocket [CE was a grad of J of A]. Her tennis academy is adjacent to my LA Fitness place & I see her sign every day on leaving in an exhausted state of mind & body. [I have lost 30 lbs. since starting there, but I digress].

Sadly, Greg has a talent for leading in major golf tournaments, but blowing up in the final round---I recall him hitting the clubhouse on the 18th green two decades ago at another British Open. According to the link above, he has lost 6 of 7 where he has led after 54 holes. I'm wishing him well & hope Chris's advice keeps him in the game. He is already playing in a more relaxed fashion & like the Irishman Padraig Harrington, has curtailed his practices---perhaps that's a secret to better golf, at least at their age.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The New Yorker Needs A Fact-Checking Department

The Wall Street Journal alertly calls out the increasingly disreputable fact-checkers at The New Yorker. It's a bit personal as I was admonished by one of the hacks working for this ultra-left National Inquirer wannabe named Hertzberg a while back. Then the same hack misspelled the oil kingdom as "Saudia Arabia" just to prove his illiteracy, at least on foreign policy. No Correction was issued, as TNY has become a shameless propaganda sheet with good cartoons. Here is what James Taranto said about the latest hiccup by this once-esteemed publication.
This is a bit embarrassing for us, but a lot more so for our counterparts over at The New Yorker. In an item yesterday on that magazine's cover story about Barack Obama, we failed to note a gross historical inaccuracy. The magazine quotes Obama as saying in 2002:

". . . My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton's Army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow-troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. . . ."
In fact, Auschwitz was liberated not by Patton's army but by Zhukov's: Like all of Poland, the death camp was taken by the Soviets, not the Americans. As for Treblinka, also in Poland, it was never liberated. In 1943, after a failed uprising, the Germans closed Treblinka and forced the captives to destroy the facility.

Granted, the error here is Obama's, not The New Yorker's, which presumably quoted the candidate accurately. Still, it's hard to imagine the magazine quoting such a howler from, say, George W. Bush without correcting him. So either the magazine is deliberately withholding information harmful to its favored candidate or its renowned fact-checking department is not as much of a powerhouse as it used to be.

Evidence for the latter hypothesis can be found on the magazine's cover, which depicts Obama in Muslim garb giving a "terrorist fist jab" to his wife, Michelle. According to Slate's Juliet Lapidos, the terrorist fist jab is a myth:

How do terrorists really greet one another?
With a triple kiss. Members ofal-Qaida are likely to use a common Middle Eastern welcome consisting of a tight hug and three cheek-to-cheek embraces: right to right, then left to left, then right to right again. This greeting is accompanied by the Arabic phrase "as-salaamu aleikum" ("May peace be with you") and the response "wa aleikum salaam" ("And with you peace"). Adherents to Hamas and Islamic Jihad employ a similar hello; secular members of the Palestine Liberation Front might say "marhaba"or "ahlan usahalan"instead of"as-salaamu aleikum."

One former spy says in his pseudonymous book, , that he witnessed a more singular greeting at the Khaldan training camp in Afghanistan: Al-Qaida trainees would salute with a shoulder bump.
This leads us to doubt whether any factual assertions in The New Yorker can be trusted. In fact, we are beginning to suspect Obama is not Muslim at all.

I've noticed an ad on TV sponsored by MoveOn castigating McCain for factual errors in Q&A sessions. Of course, McCain does make mistakes, but Obama lies from his own written text.

Big difference between those two.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nutroots Run Amok

Kirsten Powers has a fine piece on how the Kossacks & Puffington Host are throwing tantrums over Obama's move to the center---which I applaud as a recognition of reality, something the ultra-left Marxists in Hollyweird & the blogosphere don't accept.

For them, grandiose delusions trump reality every time.

Obama in Danger of Destroying His Brand?

NRO has a short piece by Byron York who says that a "well-connected Democrat" shared concerns about how Obama's move to the center might have the unintended consequence of dissolving his small-donor base.

This fits in with a recent NY Observer article with similar jitters about Obama's flexibility and the hidden pitfalls that might ensue abrupt moves rightward.

York's source claims that Obama believes that his centrist tilt will get him into the White House without big-donor obligations, but this Dem tells York that it is the "FISA-heads" & other policy geek/wonks who make the largest pct. of his small-donor base, the base that convinced him that reneging on his promise to accept public funding was a shrewd move.

If York's anonymous Democrat is right, Obama will have a lot of troubles. The York source doesn't mention it, but not only does Obama look like just another pol, but his broken promise on funding will harm his brand with less "pragmatic" independents, who believe that McCain's long record shows that he just might be a man of principle despite his frequent bobbing & weaving. The relatively unknown Obama in contrast reveals himself as just another Kerry flip-flop clone. In the end, the vital center will go for the comfort food Johnny Mac provides.

Read the piece for interesting & plausible morsels of Democrat disaffection with their candidate.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Krugboy Totally Misunderstands Mortgage Mess---is this moron an Econ Prof?

Mickey Kaus takes Marxist ninny OpEd flunkie Paul Krugboy to school with what amounts to verbal abuse kindly administered. Every pol insider in DC has long known that the two FMs have been Dem piggybanks for ultra-left politicos like FNU Franklin & Jamie Gorelick, to beef up their payrolls while they idled between Dem administrations---Johnson of the VP vetting farce was actually CEO of Target [& that's where the MSM attacks on Wal-Mart originated, as an agitpreppie attack on a true capitalist enterprise with conservative owners] & engineered Mondale's disastrous loss in '84 as his nat'l campaign mgr. Then Johnson went to the piggy bank to get grossly inflated salaries as a corrupt sluicer of monies to slush funds on the left. But here's Mickey on Krugboy:

Curious passage in Paul Krugman's half-defense of Fannie Mae today:
But here's the thing: Fannie and Freddie had nothing to do with the explosion of high-risk lending a few years ago, an explosion that dwarfed the S.& L. fiasco. In fact, Fannie and Freddie, after growing rapidly in the 1990s, largely faded from the scene during the height of the housing bubble.
Partly that's because regulators, responding to accounting scandals at the companies, placed temporary restraints on both Fannie and Freddie that curtailed their lending just as housing prices were really taking off. Also, they didn't do any subprime lending, because they can't.

Huh? Does Krugman not know that Fannie Mae was a huge buyer of subprime mortgages, including mortgages from Angelo Mozilo's Countrywide? David Smith's eerily prescient AHI blog noted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reportedly bought $35 billion in subprimes in the first quarter of 2007 alone.
On his blog, Krugman casts the Fannie problem in ideological terms:
What you need to know here is that the right — the WSJ editorial page, Heritage, etc. — hates, hates, hates Fannie and Freddie. Why? Because they don't want quasi-public entities competing with Angelo Mozilo.

"Huh?" again. Conn Carroll responds:

The problem is that Fannie was Countrywide's No. 1 enabler. ... When he was CEO of Fannie, former Barack Obama campaign adviser Jim Johnson worked personally with Mozilo to streamline the two companies' business relationship.
Could Mozilo have done his subprime thing without Johnson and Fannie Mae as a backup to purchase his junky mortgages?
P.S.: Krugman suggests Fannie's problem is that it wasn't a true government agency, but rather a hybrid public/private partnership that privatized profits and socialized losses.
Liberals like Fannie the way it was for the first 30 years — a purely public enterprise.
Good point--according to Smith Fannie seems to have been using all sorts of tricks to turn profits using its implicit government credit guarantee. But if Fannie had been a pure government enterprise, would it really have refrained from supporting Mozilo-style subprime lending? I'm not so sure. Providing "affordable housing" was a policy crusade of Johnson, among others, and a popular goal on Capitol Hill (where Mozilo had done so much to ensure that his "friends" would be receptive to his particular method of pursuing affordability).
P.P.S.: Krugman also writes, boldly:
You could say that the Fannie-Freddie experience shows that regulation works.

You could say that--unless you read the remainder of Krugman's column, which notes the inadequate capital requirements imposed on Fannie-Freddie because
the companies' management bought off the political process, systematically hiring influential figures from both parties.
P.P.P.S.: Is this risk of corruption any less with a) "purely public enterprise" than with b) a public-private hybrid like Fannie Mae or c) a purely private enterprise (like, say, the Blackstone Group)? Interesting question. I would think well-connected liberal operatives like Johnson would be capable of at least perverting a regulatory regime even if they headed a 100% federal, civil-servicized Fannie Mae. (Most "regulation" is in category (c) of course, where the risk of corruption seems somehow undiminished by the triumphant "Fannie-Freddie experience.") ... 2:00 P.M.
Didn't subprime poster villain Angelo Mozilo do Barack Obama a big favor by compromising Obama's initial VP vetter, Jim Johnson, with favorable loans, causing Johnson to step down from his position? How bad would today's headlines be for Obama if Fannie Mae fatcat Johnson was still heading up his vice-presidential search effort? ... 10:45 P.M.

Socialism sux, and if the US stumbles into the EU-nuch childhood disease of Marxist economics, the USA will terminate its economic hegemony [currently still 25% of world goods & services, though The Economist had it at 28% earlier this year].

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Huge Swing" Toward Dem Registration May Include Rushbo's Operation Chaos

Florida has seen both state legislatures go Republican over the last decade, along with a huge majority for GWB over Kerry in 2004.

The Sun-Sentinel is quoting stats, but overlooking that little campaign Rush started in late March called Operation Chaos. I myself tried to register as a Dem [I voted for McBride & against Jeb Bush in 2000], but missed the cut-off date.

Anyone who thinks Florida will go for Obama is smoking or shooting up some of those illegal drugs Democrats seems to enjoy so much.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Phil Gramm was Technically Right, Politically Wrong

UPDATEThe WSJ OpEd by Thomas Frank has a much less kindly take on Phil Gramm's intemperate remarks.

Amity Schlaes won my affection for her brilliant analyses while writing for The Financial Times. She also authored a paradigm-shift perspective on The Great Depression with her book The Forgotten Man." Here is Amity's take on Phil Gramm's remarks:
Gramm was right about the recession and stood by his recession comments on Thursday. A recession is two consecutive quarters in which the economy shrinks, and last quarter it grew. But no matter. Voters feel they are in a recession, and so they are, at least according to Campaign Econ.

Gramm's second sin was political. Calling voters whiners is to shame them. He later rephrased this comment, saying it was not voters he meant but politicians. That's because shaming voters is something American politicians simply don't do. Campaign Econ is unabashedly populist, and to seek to elicit shame is regarded as unpardonably elitist. Earlier this year, the McCain team was already terrified of seeming elitist. His advisers convinced themselves that the closeness of the primary contest was due to a lack of generosity. In January, when the McCain folks were desperate to win the Michigan primary, they ground their teeth down as Mitt Romney pandered to the auto industry. Romney's promise of unlimited support for carmakers won him that primary -- but not the nomination. Still, since then, McCain's advisers have sought to prove that he understands Campaign Econ; consider their proposal of a summer gas tax holiday.

I can recall many years back ['96?] when Gramm had amassed a huge pile of campaign funds in an attempt to run for POTUS. It soon became clear, however, that empathy of any kind was not part of Gramm's personal make-up, and all the money in the world couldn't make this Humpty Dumpty whole after a few choice misspoken & condescending remarks like his recent Heritage Foundation observations. The guy is politically tone-deaf, and subtle as a mule. However, he WAS technically correct. And in his world, right overrules contingencies like elections. But Amity puts perspective into the opposite view that The Sky Is Falling, the Paul Krugboy school of predicting seven recessions in the last seven years:
Campaign Econ is certainly understandable. Gas prices are ruining vacation plans and killing businesses. Many Americans have lost or are about to lose their homes to foreclosure or in distress sales. The federal government may not be talking about it much yet, but inflation plagues the country. The weak dollar is altering our everyday calculations. For many, this is not a happy summer.

Still, to liken the current moment to the Great Depression, or even the early 1980s, as Campaign Economists have, is to whine, just as Gramm said. During the Depression, people lost their homes even though they had borrowed only 10 percent of the purchase price. People losing their homes today frequently have borrowed 90 percent or more. The country approached double-digit unemployment in the early 1980s. This week, even as McCain was trying to talk his campaign past Gramm's comments, joblessness stood at a historically modest 5.5 percent.

And Campaign Econ has costs. The first is that talk of a downturn -- or "mental recession," as Gramm put -- can itself generate a downturn. Keynesian economists say this is so because consumer spending slows when people are afraid. But there's also a non-Keynesian dynamic. Grumbling leads to costly government rescues that scare markets and slow growth.

Second, as evidenced by the plummeting prices of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shares, serious trouble may be closer than we think. The plunging stock of the government-sponsored mortgage companies reminds us that those entities urgently require restructuring. Wall Street figures and the Senate Finance Committee that Gramm used to chair are already talking about how to structure a bailout. But this task is about stopping recession, not luxuriating in it.

Social Security and Medicare also need rewriting -- and Gramm put forth one of the better proposals on Social Security in the 1990s.

In short, to fix it all, we need a frank conversation about the economy. McCain, in fact, inaugurated one back in 2006 when he gave a speech that was downright Gramm-like at the Economic Club of New York.

In that speech, McCain said that on entitlements, hard choices were necessary. He concluded: "Any politician who tells you otherwise, Democrat or Republican, is lying."

This was McCain at his best. Many voters knew it, too.

The way to strengthen the economy right now is to elect leaders who dare to talk about problems in precise and even technical terms -- and then act on them. McCain has that capacity, but only if he can transcend Campaign Econ.

Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac were Dem cash cows for their big-money boys like Jim Johnson, recently disgraced for getting a wonderful deal from Countrywide, necessitating his subvehicularization from the Obama campaign [Johnson ran Fannie Mae & various companies like Target, and sicced the MSM on Wal-Mart as a marketing gimmick.]. But Dem peculation, as Charlie Rangel demonstrates today in the NYT by snatching four rent-controlled apartments & then denying any special treatment, is totally shameless & sempiternal.

John McCain has shown endless flexibility & pandering on his Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants over the years, as well as ideological suicidal tendencies with McCain/Feingold.

Johnny Mac is going to find out that the MSM is not "my base" if he dares speak the truth about an economy going through a "rolling readjustment" while the Dems & their pilot fish in the media say the economy is a Katrina.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hellboy II on my radar.

FX had a re-run of Hellboy last night & I again enjoyed the big Red Dude as he overcame the Nazis with Selma Blair [who went to U of Michigan, Ann Arbor] & Abe the mutant fishman. I enjoyed the kittens in Hellboy's one-room bolt hole somewhere in Jersey & enjoyed the Germans again being massacred---any country which makes its males pee sitting down deserves continual and unending humiliation!

The giant child inside me also loves the Catholic rosaries & iconography galore that the lugubrious Mex del Toro keeps inserting. I can't wait to see what he does with The Hobbit.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Pussification of Perfidious Albion Proceeds Apace

Rachel Lucas points out the latest abominable perversion of justice as England sinks into a socialist hell. Prime Weenie Gordon Brown is trying to push his country into EU-nuch impotence via parliamentary trickery now that the Irish have shown that real men dwell on the Emerald Isle. Even the Brits now admire the Irish for standing up for rights that are progressively being denied the English yeomanry by a political class bent on totalitarian crushing of every right the Brits used to treasure and fight for.

It's enough to make me start checking up on the BNP!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Congressional Approval Sinks to Single Digit = 9%

Superditz Pelosi & her terrorist FARC abetting buddy Rep. McGovern of the People's Republic of Massachusetts will probably not IMPROVE the dismal rating given by Americans to their elected bozos in the Lower & Upper Houses. Chris Dodd of Countrywide fame is another example of hypocrisy growing like weeds in the Legislative Branch.

If the Republicans were any better, I'd be excited about getting back the House of Representatives, but the Hastert/DeLay duo has stained that brand for the foreseeable future.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Robert Kaplan on Iran

Robert Kaplan points out the hazards of an Israeli attack on Iran:
As the most pro-Israel administration in Washington since Harry Truman enters its last six months in office, Israel faces a strategic choice. Will it use the possible indulgence of the Bush Administration to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, or will it wait and face an uncertain future with a new American president?
Halting Iran’s path toward the development of a nuclear bomb appears to be one of those seemingly insoluble chess problems. The Iranians may agree to this negotiating proposal or that proposal, all the while playing for time, while they develop sufficient enriched uranium to produce a nuclear bomb. A nuclear arsenal will allow Iran to become a Middle East hegemon like the Great Persia of antiquity, yet it will also encourage countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey to develop their own bombs. Iran will represent the heretofore unseen and unconventional combination of being a nuclear-armed state which supports sub-state armies in Iraq, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip.
Enter Israel, which is the only state that Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has specifically and repeatedly threatened with annihilation.
Israel recently held massive air exercises hundreds of miles off its coast in the eastern Mediterranean, both honing and displaying to the outside world the complex aerial sortie and air-to-air refueling skills that would be specifically required in an attack on Iran. The exercise was not just a message directed at Iran itself, but at the Europeans - to get serious in helping the United States to force Iran to stop enrichment, or face a military cataclysm that could immediately send the price of oil past $200 a barrel, with collateral effects on world stock markets.
But what if the Europeans don’t get the message? Or what if Iran continues its cat-and-mouse negotiating mixed with intransigence? Israel’s future in this regard is indeed bleak. For even if a moderate Republican realist like John McCain, or even worse, a liberal-left internationalist like Barrack Obama, is elected president, each is likely to subsume Israel to larger geopolitical considerations, rather than hold it up as an icon to be both supported and worshipped in the post-9/11 era, as George W. Bush has done.
Because an air attack on Iranian nuclear facilities will roil world financial markets and thus provide Obama with even more of an edge over the Republican party, Israel may be less inclined to attack Iran before the election. On the other hand, after the inauguration, Israel will be in the hands of a new American president who will show it much less sympathy than Bush. That’s why someone might bet on the period between the election and the inauguration -- say December -- as the perfect time for an Israeli attack.
There is a problem, though. Violating, say, Jordanian or Turkish airspace is not really the issue. The issue is that largely because of the on-going Iraq war, the U. S. controls the airspace over the entry points to Iran: in Iraq and in the Persian Gulf. Thus, an Israeli attack on Iran could probably only happen with U. S. connivance. And even if Israel could evade American sensors, few would believe that it honestly did so. As a sort of a last hurrah, one might speculate that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney would let Israel bomb Iran with a wink and a nod. But I do not believe that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates would do so. And because Gates has emerged as such a critical cabinet member, beloved by both the Pentagon staff and by the media, his word would be crucial.
Gates has shepherded Iraq from nearly a lost cause to a cause that might yet be salvaged. And an Israeli attack on Iran, precisely because it could not occur without both the fact and the appearance of U. S. support, could unleash a fury of Iran-supported bombings inside Iraq. No, Gates would not be on board for an Israeli strike.
Bottom line: precisely because the U. S. dominates the airspace around Iran, it has checkmated itself. Israel will find it very hard to pull America’s chestnuts out of the fire in Iran. An Israeli attack is, in the last analysis, still unlikely. The problem of a nuclear Iran is far from being solved.

Israel might just do it with US connivance to stymie the pathetic EU-nuch soft diplomacy, but that would be cutting off a finger to spite a hand.

There are always more problems lurking in the hidden corners of the Muddled East than meet even the trained eye. And when bumpkins like GWB & Cheney get involved, lots of unexpected mayhem ensues.

Need a Friend, Buy a Dog [or Cat, in My Case]

IHT has a sensible article on how dogs are more consistent than humans---though the Bichon Frise at our house litters the floor with BMs when we are not around. Ditto the cats, if their litter bin is not cleaned thoroughly enough.

Still, their uncritical acceptance [though our cat Chloe looks down her nose at us mere humans] is better than nagging harping humans telling us to do this, don't do that.

For a good look at Dumpling, our 10K Maine Coon/Himalayan/Ragdoll mix, enlarge the picture on my blog. He is the perfect mix of feline independence & affectionate companion---follows his male master around like a dog, in fact!

Plus you don't have to walk him!!!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Violent Crime Outsourced: Another Libtard "Soilution" Gone Horribly Wrong?

The Atlantic has one of those articles that points out the persistence of crime in the public housing area, and the persistence of crime among the former dwellers of public housing when the projects are demolished & Section 8 subsidies are given to the former inhabitants to relocate. Old vices die hard, and the apparent decline in violent crime & murders in the '90s may have multiple reasons, but one of them is NOT Section 8. Indeed, a recent comeback in violent crime & murder in the 'burbs may be because Section 8 has swept the dirt to adjacent suburbs---not eliminated drug- and crime-neighborhoods. Here's an Atlantic spotlight on Memphis:
The inner city, where crime used to be concentrated, was now clean. But everywhere else looked much worse: arrests had skyrocketed along two corridors north and west of the central city (the bunny rabbit’s ears) and along one in the southeast (the tail). Hot spots had proliferated since the mid-1990s, and little islands of crime had sprung up where none had existed before, dotting the map all around the city.

Janikowski might not have managed to pinpoint the cause of this pattern if he hadn’t been married to Phyllis Betts, a housing expert at the University of Memphis. Betts and Janikowski have two dogs, three cats, and no kids; they both tend to bring their work home with them. Betts had been evaluating the impact of one of the city government’s most ambitious initiatives: the demolition of the city’s public-housing projects, as part of a nationwide experiment to free the poor from the destructive effects of concentrated poverty. Memphis demolished its first project in 1997. The city gave former residents federal “Section8” rent-subsidy vouchers and encouraged them to move out to new neighborhoods. Two more waves of demolition followed over the next nine years, dispersing tens of thousands of poor people into the wider metro community.

If police departments are usually stingy with their information, housing departments are even more so. Getting addresses of Section 8 holders is difficult, because the departments want to protect the residents’ privacy. Betts, however, helps the city track where the former residents of public housing have moved. Over time, she and Janikowski realized that they were doing their fieldwork in the same neighborhoods.

About six months ago, they decided to put a hunch to the test. Janikowski merged his computer map of crime patterns with Betts’s map of Section8 rentals. Where Janikowski saw a bunny rabbit, Betts saw a sideways horseshoe (“He has a better imagination,” she said). Otherwise, the match was near-perfect. On the merged map, dense violent-crime areas are shaded dark blue, and Section8 addresses are represented by little red dots. All of the dark-blue areas are covered in little red dots, like bursts of gunfire. The rest of the city has almost no dots.

The rest of this excellent Atlantic piece shows how our urban political class is trying to cover up the outsourcing of crime from high-rise projects to near-suburbs without getting nailed for relocating criminals

Friday, July 04, 2008

Is the American Mind Reopening?

Allen Bloom wrote his famous book The Closing of the American Mind to narrate the sad history of the takeover of "Academia" by narrow, Ideologues whose main project appeared to be to exercise a "revisionist" perspective that served as an ideological "corrective movement" about three notches leftward. Marxism was the driving social reform impulse of the sixties & seventies in the groves of Academe. Thus women, slaves, and the underclass became the proper subject of historical & social study. Forget about DWMs because they had little to do with real historical movements. The Lumpenproles were more important than The Founders. Society changed because of inevitable historical movements devoid of values & singular "great man" change-makers, occurring all by themselves through historical determinism. Yadda, yadda, yadda.....

And of course, dropping the bomb on Hiroshima & Nagasaki was a "war crime," even if it did save half-a-million American lives and who-knows-how-many Japanese lives. Und so weiter und so fort. America was to blame for World War II and the Cold War, because we forced Uncle Joe to become a cruel dictator, right?

The article notes that the Worst Generation is now dying off and the shiftless entitlement loo-zers called the Boomers have spent their own and their progenies' [those which they didn't abort] heritage through lavish social emoluments. Read the article for the NYT's characteristic softie take on this phenomenon of less ideological Marxist-lite professoriate.

Larry Summers is not mentioned.

I'm taking the liberty of quoting an "EconProf FL" on the anomalies that beset the professional professoriate, whose mediocrity is only exceeded by its arrogance:
This article missed a few crucial points:

1. Professors are among the only folks who hire and decide on the promotion of their own co-workers; could anyone possibly think of a worse system? It explains the medicrity of university faculty. I'm not going to vote for lifetime tenure to anyone who is a threat to me. Liberal or not, mediocrity is mediocrity.

2. There's no room for liberal faculty today. Men aren't going to college anymore, few major in traditional liberal arts subjects (universities are thinly-disguised vo-tecs for criminal justice and hospitality management), and nobody is going to grad school to do research or work for PhDs either. Instead, parents and employers insist on professional degrees (MBA, law, MPA, etc.).

3. With web courses and streaming video taking over, there is little opportunity for student-professor mentoring (or brainwashing, as the right calls it).

4. Armed with their yellowed notes, profs cannot be forced to retire, so we've already lost a generation or two of new physicists, philosophers, and writing profs. Most job applicants with no hope of ever finding a tenure-track position are consistently more qualified than anyone on the faculty denying them a job. Tenure was created to protect academic freedom, but most profs today share common traits: misanthropic curmudgeons who are arrogant wimps. They have as much use for academic freedom as a polar bear needs a bicycle. Aging boomer liberals may tell great war stories of storming the admin building, but contributing to Wikipedia is as radical as they get these days.

I was an adjunct prof in Int'l Business at the Ryder School of Business at Florida International University & can vouch for the ninnyhood of most profs---though the business school is much more real-world oriented than the social & humanities studies which are shot through with lazy Marxist drones & parasites masquerading as a "faculty."

Just like at Harvard, where it was the "Social Studies" & their allied social engineers in the "Humanities" that jettisoned Larry Summers for actually questioning their orthodoxy of lies.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mickey Kaus has a good idea for MTP.

Mickey Kaus has a great idea to lift NBC News out of the trough of septic sewage it feeds its dwindling audience.
Why not bring back Ken Bode to host Meet the Press? His Washington Week in Review was just getting really good when he was fired to make room for the anodyne Gwen Ifill. ... Bode's about as far away in style from Keith Olbermann as you can get, something that seems to be important to MTPers who see their show as a holdout against creeping cable culture.

I remember Bode as intelligent & balanced, unlike the whole crew [except perhaps Andrea Mitchell] of NBC back-ups to Russert.

Ifill got her ascendancy just at the time the Clintons were elected in '92---almost immediately introducing NBC News into the identity silliness that the Dems suffer from & may lose the election as the intricacies pile up among many competing constituencies. Anodyne is kind for her low-key & semi-competent center-left spin---Bode's sparkling wit & out-of-the-box insights will pep up any MTF much more than the slogging mediocrities presently in the running [of course, psycho-maniac K-O would be a fully-loaded Russian roulette maneuver only NBC might try, given Jeff Zucker's ultra-left propensities].

I wish Ken would surface on some other network---just like Aaron Brown, his competence simply doesn't merit full-time exposure.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Sarkozy Reintegrates France into NATO

The International Herald Tribune has an article bemoaning all the "inconsistencies" concerning France's announced plans for reintegration into NATO. John Vinocur, possibly a relative of TV commentator/reporter Sandor Vinocur from back in the day, verbally clenches his fists & asks plaintively what will become of the much-touted European Defense Force that discredited leftists Schroeder & Chirac were touting as a counterbalance to US power?

The fact is, which I learned from Peter Tarnoff while Vice Consul in Lyon back in the day, is that France never changed its cryptic military codes when De Gaulle ostentatiously left NATO in a huff back in '66, around when he was uttering "Vive Le Quebec Libre" and strutting across the world stage like an outsized Napoleon-wannabe. So the French departure from NATO was always more cosmetic than substance.

Sarkozy is clear-eyed about the fact that the EU-nuchs and their "soft power" will not accomplish much---as the continued impasse with Iran on nukes & Turkey on Northern Cyprus demonstrates on a frequent basis. The Brits & now the French & even the Krauts know that with all their shoulders behind the wheel, more forward movement will ensue.

Vive La France Libre!

Oops, Global Warming to Take a 10-Year Vacation, German Scientists Say!

Bret Stephens in today's WSJ defines AGW as "mass neurosis" whereas most real scientists regard it more as a psychosis. Here is the punch line:
But mother nature has opinions of her own. NASA now begrudgingly confirms that the hottest year on record in the continental 48 was not 1998, as previously believed, but 1934, and that six of the 10 hottest years since 1880 antedate 1954. Data from 3,000 scientific robots in the world's oceans show there has been slight cooling in the past five years, never mind that "80% to 90% of global warming involves heating up ocean waters," according to a report by NPR's Richard Harris.

The Arctic ice cap may be thinning, but the extent of Antarctic sea ice has been expanding for years. At least as of February, last winter was the Northern Hemisphere's coldest in decades. In May, German climate modelers reported in the journal Nature that global warming is due for a decade-long vacation. But be not not-afraid, added the modelers: The inexorable march to apocalypse resumes in 2020.

This last item is, of course, a forecast, not an empirical observation. But it raises a useful question: If even slight global cooling remains evidence of global warming, what isn't evidence of global warming? What we have here is a nonfalsifiable hypothesis, logically indistinguishable from claims for the existence of God. This doesn't mean God doesn't exist, or that global warming isn't happening. It does mean it isn't science.

Bret goes on to quote William James' Varieties of Religious Experience whereas I would cite the famous 19th century classic Extraordinary Delusions & the Madness of Crowds which goes from the Dutch Tulip craze in the early 17th century through the South Sea Bubble to various Panics & Bubbles in the 19th c. I myself sold my Exxon/Mobil stock in 1999 to participate in the Dot-Com Bubble, so I know firsthand how crazy people get when stocks zoom skyward or plummet to Middle Earth. Stephens says that Global Warming is a secular substitute for old-time religion & gives reasons for its popular appeal:
The first is as a vehicle of ideological convenience. Socialism may have failed as an economic theory, but global warming alarmism, with its dire warnings about the consequences of industry and consumerism, is equally a rebuke to capitalism. Take just about any other discredited leftist nostrum of yore – population control, higher taxes, a vast new regulatory regime, global economic redistribution, an enhanced role for the United Nations – and global warming provides a justification. One wonders what the left would make of a scientific "consensus" warning that some looming environmental crisis could only be averted if every college-educated woman bore six children: Thumbs to "patriarchal" science; curtains to the species.

A second explanation is theological. Surely it is no accident that the principal catastrophe predicted by global warming alarmists is diluvian in nature. Surely it is not a coincidence that modern-day environmentalists are awfully biblical in their critique of the depredations of modern society: "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." That's Genesis, but it sounds like Jim Hansen.

And surely it is in keeping with this essentially religious outlook that the "solutions" chiefly offered to global warming involve radical changes to personal behavior, all of them with an ascetic, virtue-centric bent: drive less, buy less, walk lightly upon the earth and so on. A light carbon footprint has become the 21st-century equivalent of sexual abstinence.

Finally, there is a psychological explanation. Listen carefully to the global warming alarmists, and the main theme that emerges is that what the developed world needs is a large dose of penance. What's remarkable is the extent to which penance sells among a mostly secular audience. What is there to be penitent about?

As it turns out, a lot, at least if you're inclined to believe that our successes are undeserved and that prosperity is morally suspect. In this view, global warming is nature's great comeuppance, affirming as nothing else our guilty conscience for our worldly success.

In "The Varieties of Religious Experience," William James distinguishes between healthy, life-affirming religion and the monastically inclined, "morbid-minded" religion of the sick-souled. Global warming is sick-souled religion.

So the Global Warming Hoax will live on, long after it is scientifically discredited, simply because we now prefer dogma from climatologists rather than statistics from ocean monitors to inform us of "correct thinking."