Date ►►► December 31, 2009

Gas Masquerade

Hatched by Dafydd

One remarkably serendipitous effect of Climategate is that mainstream science publications -- written for laymen, I mean, not scientists -- are beginning to take a hard look at the core contradictions of globaloney: Science-oriented magazines that never before so much as considered the evidence of "deniers* " are now calmly questioning the catechism of the First Church of Fundamentalist Catastrophism.

Here is a perfect example; Science Daily, which appears very "mainstream" -- that is, alarmist and intolerant -- has just published the following without much comment:

[S]ome studies have suggested that the ability of oceans and plants to absorb carbon dioxide recently may have begun to decline and that the airborne fraction of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions is therefore beginning to increase.

Many climate models also assume that the airborne fraction will increase. Because understanding of the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide is important for predicting future climate change, it is essential to have accurate knowledge of whether that fraction is changing or will change as emissions increase....

In contradiction to some recent studies, [Wolfgang Knorr of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol] finds that the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades.

Let me explain as best I can, given that I'm not an atmospheric scientist (or indeed any other kind of scientist). This doesn't mean that the amount of carbon and carbonoids in the atmosphere is decreasing or even that it's not increasing; the question is, what percent of that carbon dioxide that is generated is absorbed by the oceans and "terrestrial ecosystems" -- plants, essentially -- and what percent goes into the atmosphere?

Generally, 55% of CO2 is sucked up by the ocean and by plants, leaving 45% to enter the Earth's atmosphere... where it could cause warming, if you buy into globaloney. Many true-believers insist, as part of their Anthropogenic Global Climate Change (AGCC) obsession, that human production of CO2 is overwhelming the planetary ecosystem: Our industry and farming practices, not to mention our very existence in numbers larger than the human-hating globaloney hysterics think optimal, are swamping the Earth's ability to cope.

This conjecture demands that the oceans and plants absorb a dwindling percent of the carbon dioxide released. Assume the amount of CO2 created rises by 30%; if the Earth's ecosystem is being "overwhelmed," the sea and the greenery wouldn't be able to absorb 30% more than it used to do -- so it wouldn't absorb its "share," leaving a greater proportion to "pollute" the atmosphere. Thus, an increase of 30% in the rate of creation or release of CO2 would lead to a greater than 30% rise in atmospheric CO2 -- perhaps 40% or more.

The claim by acolytes of AGCC is that the percent of emitted CO2 entering the atmosphere would necessarily rise from the historic 45% of total emissions to a much larger percent. In this example, the atmospheric percent of carbon dioxide would be almost 50%, rather than 45%. It's not much of a difference, but it would have given a needed boost to the evidence in favor of AGCC.

But what Dr. Knorr, Senior Research Fellow and QUEST Deputy Leader at the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol, found was just the opposite: The percent of emitted carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere has not changed since 1850, nor has it changed in the past five decades... despite the fact that emission of CO2 itself has increased 1,750% during that same period. From the Bristol University newsletter:

New data show that the balance between the airborne and the absorbed fraction of carbon dioxide has stayed approximately constant since 1850, despite emissions of carbon dioxide having risen from about 2 billion tons a year in 1850 to 35 billion tons a year now. This suggests that terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans have a much greater capacity to absorb CO2 than had been previously expected.

A greater capacity to absorb carbon dioxide means that the increase is much less likely to cause disastrous problems... in this case, good news is bad news for globaloney!

The newsletter also makes explicit what was only hinted by Science Daily:

The results run contrary to a significant body of recent research which expects that the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans to absorb CO2 should start to diminish as CO2 emissions increase, letting greenhouse gas levels skyrocket. Dr Wolfgang Knorr at the University of Bristol found that in fact the trend in the airborne fraction since 1850 has only been 0.7 ± 1.4% per decade, which is essentially zero.

I love the word "expects" in the first sentence; as they say on Mythbusters, "well there's yer problem right there!" Too much of AGCC theory is based, not upon observation and analysis of existing data, but in the expectation that future data will confirm the thesis, regardless of what the dirty, lying, treacherous data indicates today.

Oh, and a final kick in the seat of globaloney's trousers:

The strength of the new study, published online in Geophysical Research Letters, is that it rests solely on measurements and statistical data, including historical records extracted from Antarctic ice, and does not rely on computations with complex climate models.

Yes... complex and typically error-riddled and artifactual, if not outright fraudulent climate models.

So once again, the high priests of AGCC and their journalistic groupies discover that facts are stubborn things, the truth will out -- and that reality bites. It couldn't happen to a nicer group of idealogues.

 

* An AGCC "denier" currently includes any person or agency that wants further investigation on any of the following "settled" questions -- none of which needs any further research, as we've already learnt everything we need to know about them:

  1. The Earth has warmed and is continuing to warm as we speak, and will continue to warm to Venusian temperatures unless -- well, read on.
  2. The warming is primarily due to human industry and technology, with a large chunk of the remainder due to human agriculture and exhalation.
  3. The warming (and the CO2 itself) will lead to a cataclysmal, Malthusian die-off of the human species, and will leave the few remaining people in the condition described by Thomas Hobbes: "Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." (Kind of like how we'll end up after ObamaCare.)

  4. The negative effects will include racist ocean rises; patriarchal swarms of hurricanes, tornados, and floods; genocidal "Dustbowl" droughts; and the complete collapse of Western civilization.
  5. There will be no positive effects whatsoever; don't be stupid! (Well, maybe one: the complete collapse of Western civilization.)
  6. This pending Armageddon can only be averted one way: By cutting energy production to a tiny fraction of its current level, terminating industry, smashing the looms, and returning to the idylic, pastoral lives we used to lead when there was a world-girdling Earthmother religion, before all those patriarchal, conservative, Republican, Judeo-Christian "penis religions" conquered everything and enslaved the world. This may require reducing the human population from its current six billion to approximately 500 million... but you can't make an omlet without breaking a few legs.

Amen.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 31, 2009, at the time of 6:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 30, 2009

A Hope or a Prier

Hatched by Dafydd

Paul "Deacon" Mirengoff at Power Line has a short post about failed crotch-bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, or Metal-Knob, whatever: Now that he's lawyered-up, he's clammed up; he has ceased cooperating with the FBI and refuses to rat out his co-conspirators.

Paul adds:

An earlier version of the Post's story included this statement: "Authorities are holding out hope that [Abdulmutallab] will change his mind and cooperate with the probe, the officials said." The Post removed the passage. Whether it did so out of embarrassment for the "officials" or for the newspaper itself is unclear.

I highlight this Power Line post for two reasons: First, to call attention to another gem from the Deke; second, to add the pithy summation that I'm sure was right at his fingerends but failed to make it into the post.

Which keeps America safer: To hope that Abdulmutallab changes his mind and cooperates -- or to prise it out of him with a funnel and a bucket of icewater?

I know which I would pick. I suppose that makes me a vigilante, but sometimes we need the Assembled Avengers more than we need the Constructive Engagers.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 30, 2009, at the time of 8:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Will Big Ben Chime in Again?

Hatched by Dafydd

The release of a post-ObamaCare vote Rasmussen poll showing that Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE, 75%) now sits 31 points (!) behind Republican Gov. Dave Heineman in a potential matchup in 2012 raises an interesting question: Will Nelson reconsider his vote for cloture when the bill comes back from the joint conference?

Given that there will likely be changes made in the bill, however slight, he has a ready-made excuse: "Oh, sure, I vote for the previous version; but the new one is soooo much worse!"

I reckon what it boils down to is whether he thinks the 31-point gap is just a statistical anomaly, or that it will naturally close itself as Nebraskans forget all their fears about ObamaCare and happy-up again... or whether he thinks the vote will linger and fester, effectively killing his political career for all time to come... unless he moves to Massachusetts or California and starts all over again.

At the moment, he's made an expensive ad buy to be aired starting tonight, during the Holiday Bowl football game between the Arizona Wildcats and the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The advert -- which sounds somewhat whiny, from the description in the Lincoln Journal-Star -- argues that ObamaCare doesn't mean a government takeover of health care; that it really, really, really does prevent any federal funds from subsidizing abortion; lowers health-insurance costs for all while mandating coverage; and (absurdly enough) that it actually does "reduce the deficit."

The problem is that nobody really believes that... not even Nelson; he relies upon the traditional Democratic catechism that voters are fools who can be led by the nose.

My guess is that the response to the ad will be vastly underwhelming; Nebraska is the Cornhusker state -- not the Cementhead state. When Nelson sees that his political sleight of hand has failed... will he then come to the obvious conclusion? Will he realize that if he is to have any hope of reelection at all, he must repudiate his cloture vote during the next bite at the apple in January or February?

I don't know. How bright is he?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 30, 2009, at the time of 1:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 29, 2009

Whitewashing the Panthers

Hatched by Dafydd

The attempt to stonewall investigation into the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party -- the case was dismissed by Attorney General Eric Holder (the first black attorney general!, a fact the NBPP seems to find of great significance) and Barack H. Obama (the first black President!, ditto) even after the Justice Department won it by default -- has just taken another stupifying turn: The administration booted Christopher Coates, the voting-rights section chief who signed off on the complaint against the Black Panthers, out of the prestigious D.C. office and down to South Carolina:

The veteran Justice Department voting rights section chief who recommended going forward on a civil complaint against members of the New Black Panther Party after they disrupted a Pennsylvania polling place in last year's elections has been removed from his post and transferred to the U.S. attorney's office in South Carolina.

Justice Department officials confirmed Monday that Christopher Coates, who signed off on the complaint's filing in federal court in Philadelphia in January accusing the party and three of its members of civil rights violations, would begin his new assignment next month.

I suppose there could be an innocent explanation; I understand Coates graduated from the University of North Carolina... mayhap he was just pining for the Carolinas and reckoned either one of 'em would do. But coming at the end of such a timeline of scandal, it's a bit thick:

  • December 22nd, 2008: Career Justice Department officials decide to proceed against the Panthers for their intimidation of white voters and Republican poll watchers in Philadelphia during the November presidential election.
  • January 7th, 2009: Christopher Coates signs off on a civil complaint against the NBPP and three members alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965:

    The complaint, filed in the United States District Court in Philadelphia, alleges that, during the election, Minister King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson were deployed at the entrance to a Philadelphia polling location wearing the uniform of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and that Samir Shabazz repeatedly brandished a police-style baton weapon.

    (The third member named was Malik Zulu Shabazz, Chairman of the NBPP.)

    Career prosecutors at Justice pursued the case vigorously, but the Panthers failed to participate, show up, or even respond; they simply ignored the proceedings against them.

  • April 7th, 2009: Prosecutors obtained an affidavit from Bartle Bull, "longtime civil rights activist and former aide to Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign," who stated that he personally "saw the three uniformed Panthers confront and intimidate voters with a nightstick."

    Mr. Bull said the "clear purpose" of what the Panthers were doing was to "intimidate voters with whom they did not agree." He also said he overheard one of the men tell a white poll watcher: "You are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker."

    But this affidavit was never filed with the court; no explanation why not has ever forthcome.

  • April 20th, 2009: The court issued a default judgment against the NBPP.
  • May 15th, 2009: The Department of Justice filed a "notice of voluntary dismissal," notwithstanding the default judgment against the Panthers:

    Court records reviewed by The Times show that career Justice lawyers were seeking a default judgment and penalties against the three men as recently as May 5, before abruptly ending their pursuit 10 days later.

    People directly familiar with the case, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because of fear of retribution, said career lawyers in two separate Justice offices had recommended proceeding to default judgment before political superiors overruled them.

    The "political superiors" would presumably be Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli (a political appointee and big-time fundraiser for Obama during his campaign -- number three at Justice); acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Loretta King; and, one presumes, Attorney General Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. himself.

    New Black Panther Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz and Jerry Jackson were dismissed from the case altogether; while Justice sought an injunction against Samir Shabazz that he "not display a 'weapon within 100 feet of any open polling location on any election day in the city of Philadelphia' -- until November 15th, 2012, when the injunction expires. After that date, he is evidently free to resume his armed vigil outside Philly polling places... as he is free to do immediately anywhere outside the City of Brotherly Love.

  • June 16th, 2009: The United States Commission on Civil Rights sent a letter to the DoJ demanding to know why the case was dismissed after it had already been won:

    "Though it had basically won the case, the [Civil Rights Division] took the unusual move of voluntarily dismissing the charges , " the letter said. "The division's public rationale would send the wrong message entirely -- that attempts at voter suppression will be tolerated and will not be vigorously prosecuted so long as the groups or individuals who engage in them fail to respond to the charges leveled against them."

    The CCR began an investigation of the case and its voluntary dismissal by Perrelli and King, as well as others, such as the number two at Justice, Deputy Attorney General David Ogden. The Commission has the authority to issue subpoenas with which, by law, all federal agencies must comply:

    The commission, by law, has explicit power to issue subpoenas, and the law mandates that "all federal agencies shall cooperate fully with the commission."

    It eventually subpoenaed two career DoJ attorneys, Christopher Coates and J. Christian Adams, to come before the commission and testify about the NBPP case. There are some indications that Deputy Attorney General Ogden was also subpoenaed, but I cannot say for sure.

  • December 2nd, 2009: Notwithstanding the law, the Justice Department ordered Coates and Adams not to comply with their subpoenas, neither to testify nor appear before the Commission on Civil Rights. The Department of Justice insisted that their own "internal regulations" dating from 1951 trump the more recent federal law.

    On this same day, Ogden announced his resignation after less than a year on the job.

  • December 29th, 2009: And now today, the Washington Times -- which seems to be the go-to paper on this alleged violation of the rather important principle of the unbiased rule of law -- reports that Coates has just been ousted from the D.C. headquarters and reassigned to South Carolina.

    Sure is a nice career you got going, kid; sure would be a shame if anything was to happen to it...

Two conclusions spring to mind:

First, the administration of Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder seems single-mindedly obsessed with crushing the voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party, preventing any outside investigation into said crushing, and punishing those who participated (under the previous administration) in bringing the case in the first place... those who naively believed that the point of the Voting Rights Act was to protect the voting rights of all the people, not just black liberals.

And second, I would recommend to J. Christian Adams that he get his resume in order... just in case.

I think we can find the key to unlock this mystery in the accusation leveled by New Black Panther Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz, from today's Washington Times story:

Party members have not returned numerous telephone messages and e-mails for comment, but told the Associated Press earlier this month in Dallas that the Justice Department was correct in dismissing the complaint. Malik Shabazz described the complaint as a "political witch hunt" aimed at discrediting Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. -- the first black man to be named to the post.

I believe the order to kill the case came directly from Holder, if not from Obama himself, for several reasons:

  • General sympathy with the leftist, blacktivist cause (perhaps absorbed by the president during his two decades in the pews of Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ);
  • Fear that Obama's victory (hence Holder's appointment) would be tainted by the whiff of scandal;
  • And bitter, relentless, reflexive hatred of George W. Bush from Texas and everyone associated with him, leading to the automatic imputation of vile motives for every policy he enacted... including even his support for the civil-rights acts of the 1960s. If Bush pushed the case, then it must be for some disreputable, white "cracker" racist reason.

Howbeit, since they quashed the case (it seemed like a good idea at the time), Obama and especially Holder are locked into a policy of stonewalling: They're increasingly worried about the unanticipated consequences of such a blatantly partisan action, particularly after the Left kicked up such a fuss about the putative "politicization" of the Justice Department under President Bush. Thus they have no choice but to implement ever more draconian actions to keep the lid on the mounting scandal.

But Panthergate has become an out of control boiler; as the heat rises, so does the pressure. Eventually it will blow skywards, and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.

Perhaps Christopher Coates will come to feel grateful for his exile to South Carolina, where he is less likely to be scalded by the superheated steam.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 29, 2009, at the time of 3:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 27, 2009

Will B.O. Run for Reelection? - Obamic Options 006

Hatched by Dafydd

This is a strange post, I assure you. Even by Big Lizard standards, this draws an extra flask of Weird.

My Obamic Option for today is... Will President Barack H. Obama actually run for reelection in 2012? Or has he something loftier in his future?

Don't become a mob; let me present my case:

  1. The predicate of this question is very specific; we assume a universe where his reelection prospects look at least "iffy." I think we all agree that if it looks like he's going to cruise to victory, he'll stick with the presidency.

So assume point 1 above -- that his chances are dicey (like Bush in 2004, Clinton in 1996, LBJ in 1968 -- and unlike Reagan in 1984 and Nixon in 1972).

  1. One of my operating contentions is that, whether Obama realizes it or not, the presidency is really not the position for which he is ideally suited.

He may have thought being president was like being a gentleman farmer, but he has already learnt better. The job requires decisiveness, leadership, the ability to persuade opponents to your own side, and the willingness to stand up and accept responsibility, to be accountable for failure as well as applauded for success -- all traits that B.O. notably lacks.

The entirety of his past experience has been in positions where all he has to do is schmooze, nod sagely to what others say, make his own lofty pronunciamentos... then sit down to his 633rd testimonial dinner. The presidency does not fit that job description, but there is a powerful and personally lucrative position that demands a man exactly like Barack Obama.

  1. Ergo, I argue, Obama is admirably suited to one job only: Secretary General of the United Nations.

The role of Yenta in Chief (or Yentor, since he's male) fits Obama's personality, talents, and experience like a drum. A Secretary General "Lucky Lefty" Obama would never again have to be "the decider;" the Secretary General never decides anything. Like the Director in C.S. Lewis' immortal novel That Hideous Strength, Obama's world comprises nothing but shades of grey. It's amusing and apropos that he calls himself "post-racial"; what does post-racial mean but beyond black and white?

And what's beyond black and white is an achromatic melange of greys, from steel to slate to iron to charcoal. Nothing is ever completely right, nothing ever utterly wrong; there is no conclusion; nought is finally decided; there is always a third way (or fourth, or tenth).

But is the One actually qualified for the exalted, opalescent apex of world diplomacy? Yea, verily.

  1. Barack H. Obama exceeds every job requirement:

     

    1. He's a "person of color" -- important in a world where most delegates see whites as nameless, faceless "oppressors" who must be relentlessly resisted.
    2. He professes a very, very, very deep Liberalism... yet in reality, he is an Alinskyite: He doesn't believe in power as the means to some other end but as the end in itself. In fact, everything is topsy-turvy in Obamunism: Left-liberalism is the means to power, not the other way round; the principles of the New Left are infinitely maleable and can easily adapt to the accretion of any available power du jour.
    3. As a specific instance of (b), Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for not being George W. Bush... even as he replicated virtually all of Bush's "warmongering" foreign policy. Why? Because Obama has clearly signalled that he intends to lose all those wars -- and blame the losses on Bush and the conservatives. Thus hawkishness can be presented as the necessary precursor to pacifism... and all the aging hippies pump their fists and shout "Right on!"
    4. He is either an antisemite himself, or else he is at least willing to surround himself with antisemites -- important in a world where, to quote Billy Carter, "They is a hell of a lot more A-rabs than they is Jews."
    5. Obama loves tyrants and dictators and hates messy "democracy" -- important inasmuch as, to paraphrase poor Billy this time, they is a hell of a lot more despots than they is democrats.
    6. He's not pushy or commanding; he makes no demands and doesn't press any particular principles. Just let him speak (endlessly), party like it's 1999 again, and receive award after citation after laurel, even if undeserved, and Barack Obama will be as happy as a doornail.
    7. Final qualification: Although he's American, a real black eye, he's an anti-America American ("the idiot who praises with enthusiastic tone/All centuries but this, and every country but his own"), which is a real feather in his cap. They balance out, subtracting what would otherwise be a deal-killer.

So what does this chain of reasoning portend? This: I predict that, if the Obamacle ponders the race of 2012 and sees a strong Republican contender and only luckwarm support for himself, he will try to cut a deal with the U.N.; current Secretary General Nanki-Poo would retire with all honors... then the General Assembly offers Obama the job.

I suspect he would consider the move a promotion; I can even play TOTUS and write his speech for him:

All of our greatest problems are collective problems, and they are international in scope. I have tried as hard as possible and have achieved goals both remarkable and unprecedented... but I've reached the limit of what can be achieved from the narrow, parochial viewpoint of the head of one particular government, even one as powerful as the United States. With the current crisis, this is no time for a man to play small ball.

To further the great project and bring about the vision that we all hold so dear, every one of us -- that of a single, unified, global government that does not waste time and resources in pointless bickering, but gives us action, action, action to implement the demands of the citizens of the world -- I must step up to the plate and accept the awe-inspiring responsibility the world offers me.

I must, with great humility, embrace my destiny to save not just the United States or even the Western hemisphere, but the entire global world. Therefore, with a light heart and great expectations, I hereby announce that I cannot be a candidate for the presidency of the United States this year, 2012; I leave that mission to those Democrats better suited to its limited and parochial nature.

See? I warned you it was weird. Perhaps next time you'll pay heed and flee while you still have legs to carry you.

I myself would rank the odds of my prediction coming true as no better than one in ten, and possibly a miniscule fraction of that (if I have over-analyzed my man). But if wrong, the only price I will pay will be a few chuckles and a bit of raillery; so what the heck.

If I'm right, however, I'll be hailed as a blogospheric godling. It's almost win-win!

 

Intense excavations of Jurassic Obamic Options have unearthed these previous fossils:

  1. Obamic Options 001
  2. Obamic Options 002: The Limits of Tolerance of Pinkos
  3. Another Noble Obamic Musing - Obamic Options 003
  4. Could He Ever Bring Himself to Say It? Obamic Options 004
  5. Extradition Indecision - Obamic Options 005

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 27, 2009, at the time of 11:50 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 26, 2009

But Some Are More Equal Than Others

Hatched by Dafydd

The Freedom from Religion Foundation says it simply wants all religions to be treated equally, including the religion of Atheism. (On second thought, they might object to being called a religion.) If the Illinois state government allows one religious symbol, a nativity scene, in the state Capitol, surely it must allow the religious or philosophical symbols of all other religions: a menorah, a crescent and star, or whatever would symbolize the sincerely held beliefs of atheists... the Great Black Bowling Ball of Oblivion, perhaps.

Obviously Mr. William J. Kelly, candidate for Comptroller of Illinois, wildly overreacted and displayed unlawful religious discrimination when he called the simple, heartfelt statement of first principles of the Freedom from Religion Foundation "hate speech" -- and dared turn their little sign about so it couldn't be read, at least temporarily (I'm sure someone would have turned it back eventually):

A conservative activist and Illinois comptroller candidate was escorted from the Illinois State Capitol building Wednesday when he tried to remove a sign put up by an atheist group....

But Kelly said when he turned the sign around so it was face down, state Capitol police were quick to escort him away....

Kelly called the sign "hate speech," and said he does not believe it is appropriate for a sign that "mocks" religion to be placed next to a Christmas tree and also near a nativity scene.

"I don't think the State of Illinois has any business denigrating or mocking any religion," Kelly said, "and I think that's what the verbiage on the sign was doing."

How dare he trample on the FFRF's freedom of mockery!

Except... well, it's peculiar that such an obvious religious bigot as Mr. Kelly never objected to the Jewish menorah in the same Capitol rotunda display as the FFRF's sign. Oh, and he also has no problem with other sundry symbols on parade there:

[Illinois Secretary of State's office spokeswoman Henry] Haupt said in addition to the sign, the Nativity Scene and the Christmas tree, there is also a Soldiers' Angels wreath, and a tabletop display from the American Civil Liberties Union that says the group "defends freedom of religion." A Hanukkah menorah had also been on display until the Jewish Festival of Lights ended on Saturday.

For the second year in a row, the Capitol also has an aluminum Festivus pole commemorating the fictional holiday created in "Seinfeld."

Now that's an odd duck of a religious extremist, one who seems to have no problem with other religious displays, including a fake religion created by a screenwriter -- or even a display from the ACLU, which has far more often been on the side of, well, atheists and the anti-religious than believers in recent years. How to explain this seeming dichotomy?

Sometimes the devil (who doesn't exist) is in the details; perhaps we ought to take a look at the actual wordage on the FFRF's declaration, which they set up directly in front of the Christmas tree:

The sign reads: "At the time of the winter solstice, let reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is just myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

Hm; in order to "let reason prevail," let us consider how such a sign might look when pushing a different message; consider this hypothetical placard, which could have been erected directly in front of the menorah in the rotunda:

At the time of the Mass of Christ, let the Son of God prevail. There are no laws, no acts that can save you from hell. There is only the divine salvation that comes from the King of Kings. Judaism is just myth and superstition that bewitches believers and damns souls.

Does anybody believe that such a (purely hypothetical) sign would be allowed under the Illinois state Capitol dome? Obviously not, because it is not so much an expression of faith as an attack on other people's faith.

As is the plaque placed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. It may be sincere mockery, but mockery and attack it clearly is.

FRFF plants their pugnacious sign like Cortez planting the flag of Spain in Aztec Mexico: Wherever it stands, it's a deliberate and truculent affront to religions other than Atheism... as even the foundation's co-president agrees!

As to Kelly's claims that the sign mocks religion, foundation co-President Dan Barker said: "He's kind of right, because the last couple of sentences do criticize religion, and of course, the beginning is a celebration of the winter solstice. But that kind of speech is protected as well -- speech that is critical and speech that is supportive."

Protected, yes; but not necessarily hosted. If the FRFF wants to put up a sign on private property proclaiming the falsity of Christianity and Judaism -- or of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Wicca, though those other religions never seem to provoke such Vesuvian eruptions from the FRFF, the ACLU, or the United Separators (sorry, I meant Americans United for the Separation of Church and State) -- let them.

But if they want to express themselves in a display in a public space devoted (for a time) to celebrations of religious faith, then let them simply state what they believe without mocking, attacking, deriding, or spitting on other faiths.

Mr. Barker seems to understand the thin ice on which he stands, for he attempts some sleight of hand to draw the false equivalence:

The foundation does not approve of the nativity scene, Barker said.

"We atheists believe that the nativity scene is mocking humanity," by suggesting that those who do not believe in Jesus will go to hell, Barker said. "But notice that we are not defacing or stealing nativity scenes because we disagree with their speech."

Of course, stating one's belief in the divinity of Jesus is surely not the same as "mocking humanity." In fact, a mere nativity scene doesn't even argue that "those who do not believe in Jesus will go to hell." I'm sure Christians generally believe that; but nothing inherent in a tableau of baby, parents, a trio of wiseguys, and a herd of barnyard animals makes any such case... no more than a Yule tree "makes the case" for Druidism.

(And why doesn't the FFRF protest the menorah? It's equally religious; why not equally offensive?)

There is certainly a fundamental constitutional right to freedom of religion (including the freedom to be of no religion); but there is no constitutional right to be free from religion: The latter would imply the right to remove all religious symbols from society, even those on private property, because the very sight of them -- even the knowledge that they might be secreted out of sight inside a house of worship -- could offend Mr. Barker's "right" to live a life utterly devoid of contact with any religious beliefs, claims, sentiments, or values.

My freedom of religion as a non-Christian is not the slightest bit infringed by a nativity scene in a Capitol dome, nor by a cross in the seal of Los Angeles County, nor by an Islamic crescent erected decades ago in some state or federal park, if such a thing exists. Such symbols of faith do not assault my conscience; I am capable of passing them by, respecting them, even admiring the beauty of their designs without feeling any compulsion to convert.

I wonder at a religious zealot like President Barker, whose faith is so shaky that the sight of any other religious relic or symbol threatens it. Atheism must be a barren and comfortless religion indeed to provoke such insecurity, even in its most fervent defenders.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 26, 2009, at the time of 2:25 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 25, 2009

We Wish You a...

Hatched by Dafydd

 

 

Merry Christmas ~



Santa Claus

Ho.

 

And a Happy... Morning After the Night Before!



Morning After Christmas

Oy!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 25, 2009, at the time of 11:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 24, 2009

Obamunism: Threat... or Menace?

Hatched by Dafydd

Threatswatch -- which is normally fairly reliable -- is either hyperventilating some very interesting psychedelic vapors... or else they're onto something big. Steve Schippert and Clyde Middleton note that President Barack H. Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) rescinding part of Ronald Reagan's 1983 EO 12425; the original EO restricted the activities of Interpol -- the International Criminal Police Organization -- by denying their premises and property diplomatic immunity from search, from confiscation, and denying them the "inviolability" of their "archives" that would normally be offered to, say, a foreign embassy.

Thus, under the Reagan doctrine, the FBI or other law-enforcement agencies in the United States could enter Interpol property, search Interpol premises or computers, could confiscate -- that is, seize into evidence -- property or records pursuant to a court order, and could copy and read Interpol's communications and data. In other words, Interpol was not treated as a sovereign power; it was answerable to the American justice system.

But Obama just signed, without fanfare, his own EO nullifying the exception found in Reagan's EO... and the intriguing question is -- why?

The Threatswatch Duo believe this "plac[es] INTERPOL above the United States Constitution and beyond the legal reach of our own top law enforcement;" they argue that this is a precursor to the president once again signing the Rome Treaty, enrolling the United States into the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court -- just when several European nations are trying to drag American soldiers into the ICC for show trials to express those countries' outrage at America for having the temerity to stand up to Iran, Syria, North Korea, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other such peaceful nation-states and charitable organizations:

The pre-requisite conditions regarding the Iraq withdrawal and the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility closure will continue their course. meanwhile, the next move from President Obama is likely an attempt to dissolve the agreements made between President Bush and other states preventing them from turning over American military forces to the ICC (via INTERPOL) for war crimes or any other prosecutions.

When the paths on the road map converge - Iraq withdrawal, Guantánamo closure, perceived American image improved internationally, and an empowered INTERPOL in the United States - it is probable that President Barack Obama will once again make America a signatory to the International Criminal Court. It will be a move that surrenders American sovereignty to an international body who's INTERPOL enforcement arm has already been elevated above the Constitution and American domestic law enforcement.

But a bit of skepticism is warranted; for one thing, despite its full name, Interpol is only a "police organization" in the sense that the National Crime Information Center is a police organization: Interpol acts to coordinate investigations and criminal databases between countries and provide an "entry point" into the justice system of a host country for foreign powers who might be befuddled by the host's laws and procedures. It has no international agents with powers of arrest; Interpol can only work through local host countries' own police forces.

Sovereign nations have national Interpol "branches" comprising duly appointed law-enforcement officials within that country; the U.S. has one called the National Central Bureau, headquartered in the Justice Department in D.C. Thus there are no Interpol agents, in the sense of arresting authorities; there are only national police officers who carry out investigations and make arrests within the United States (and other countries).

Ed Morrissey (my old blog-boss) at Hot Air rejects the most sweeping claims of Schippert and Middleton but does find Obama's EO granting Interpol immunity suspicious. Responding to a claim from the Threatswatch article:

Property and assets being immune from search and confiscation means precisely that. Wherever they may be in the United States. This could conceivably include human assets – Americans arrested on our soil by INTERPOL officers.

Actually, that last argument overreaches. American law does not consider people as “assets.” It does mean, though, that Interpol officers would have diplomatic immunity for any lawbreaking conducted in the US at a time when Interpol nations (like Italy) have attempted to try American intelligence agents for their work in the war on terror, a rather interesting double standard.

It also appears to mean that Americans who get arrested on the basis of Interpol work cannot get the type of documentation one normally would get in the discovery process, which is a remarkable reversal from Obama’s declared efforts to gain “due process” for terrorists detained at Gitmo. Does the White House intend to treat Americans worse than the terrorists we’ve captured during wartime?

An apologist blogger for the U.N., UN Dispatch (sponsored by the United Nations Foundation, Ted Turner's billion-dollar pro-U.N. advocacy organization), pooh-poohs the very idea that there is anything nefarious about this slight change in Interpol's immunity. But even the authors of UN Dispatch cannot hazard a guess why the Obamacle would have signed such an EO without warning or explanation:

The people actually making the arrests, though, are members of the national law enforcement of the country where the crimes are committed. They are not "Interpol Officers" -- because there is no such thing as an "Interpol Officer." Further, "Interpol" can't arrest an American on American soil, a Canadian on Canadian soil or a Rwandan on a Rwandan soil. Only national law enforcement can do that.

As to the specific reaon [sic] why the Obama administration would decide, last week, to extend to Interpol the same suite of diplomatic privileges that are typically accorded to international organizations? I don't have a good answer for that. My sense is that it probably has something to with the accessibility of Interpol's secure criminal databases (on things like stolen passports and the like). But that is a question that could pretty easily be answered by a phone call to the Justice Department.

Or perhaps not; the current administration is not exactly known for its transparency (or honesty).

I'm somewhere in between UN Dispatch and Threatswatch: I don't think this is a precursor to shoehorning the United States into the ICC or that we'll see mass arrests of former Bush administration officials by Interpol special forces in black helicopters. But on the other hand, when Obama grants special immunities to an international police-coordination organization, does so without warning or explanation, and when even those who habitually support anything done by the U.N. and other international bodies cannot find a "good answer" for why -- my transnational tyranny siren begins to scream like a banshee.

At the very least, we need to hear the story of O.: Why did he do it? What is the upside, what are the risks? Is Morrissey correct that Americans arrested by FBI agents acting as members of the "National Central Bureau" might be denied traditional powers of discovery, such as subpoenaing the investigative officers whose work led to the arrest warrant?

Then, because we cannot believe a single word that the One says (he is an Alinskyite, after all, and lies without compunction or embarassment), we need an independent investigation by the GOP before we have any idea whether this is something to concern us... or just a "pretty innocuous bureaucratic move," as the Ted Turner-backed UN Dispatch would have it.

I realize it's too much to ask; but is it too much to demand?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 24, 2009, at the time of 5:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 22, 2009

Pinky's Puppies

Hatched by Dafydd

I take as my thesis that the Senate Democrats, by voting unanimously for cloture on the ObamaCare bill (or PinkyCare, after Sen. Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid, D-Caesar's Palace, 70%), have made themselves very vulnerable in 2010 and 2012. I also take it that the more Republican the state, the more trouble that state's incumbent Democratic senator is.

But how to quantify that vulnerability? Here is a first stab.

In the first table, I rank the Democratic Senate seats up for grabs in November 2010 and November 2012 in order of how Republican or Democratic the state is -- based upon its vote in the presidential elections last year; a state that voted for John S. McCain makes a Democratic incumbent more vulnerable than a state that voted for Barack H. Obama; and a state that strongly voted for McCain makes the Democrat more vulnerable than a state that narrowly voted for the Arizonan.

(Note however that these are paper vulnerabilities that do not take into account the candidates' skills at campaigning, debating, or the money he can raise for his run.)

In this first table:

  1. The first column is the state;
  2. The second is which presidential candidate got that state's electoral votes (M for McCain or O for Obama);
  3. The third is the margin of victory of the candidate in the second column;
  4. The third is the name of the incumbent Democratic senator, if any;
  5. The fourth is the Democratic voting percentage, as calculated by the Americans for Democratic Action... a higher number means a more partisan Democrat;
  6. And the sixth column is the class of the senator, whether he is up for reelection in 2010 or in 2012.

The Democratic senators (and those running for an open Democratic seat) are listed from most vulnerable (Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas running next year) to least (Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, not running until 2012):

2010, 2012 Democrat Senate targets by vulnerability
ST Pres Marg Senator's name Dem % Class
AR M 20 Blanche Lincoln 80% 10
NE M 15 Ben Nelson 75% 12
WV M 13 Robert Byrd 79% 12
ND M 9 Byron Dorgan 95% 10
ND M 9 Kent Conrad 90% 12
MT M 2 Jon Tester 85% 12
MO M 0 Claire McCaskill 84% 12
IN O 1 Evan Bayh 70% 10
FL O 3 Bill Nelson 95% 12
NM O 4 Jeff Bingaman 100% 12
VA O 6 Jim Webb 95% 12
CO O 9 Michael Bennet N/A 10
PA O 10 Arlen Specter (as Dem) N/A 10
PA O 10 Bob Casey Jr. 90% 12
MN O 10 Amy Klobuchar 100% 12
NV O 13 Harry Reid 70% 10
WI O 14 Herb Kohl 95% 12
WI O 14 Russ Feingold 100% 10
NJ O 15 Bob Menendez 100% 12
OH O 15 Sherrod Brown 95% 12
OR O 16 Ron Wyden 100% 10
MI O 16 Debbie Stabenow 100% 12
WA O 17 Patty Murray 100% 10
WA O 17 Maria Cantwell 100% 12
CT O 22 Chris Dodd 100% 10
CT O 22 Joe Lieberman (Dem caucus) 85% 12
CA O 24 Barbara Boxer 100% 10
CA O 24 Dianne Feinstein 100% 12
DE O 25 Ted Kaufman (open) N/A 10
DE O 25 Tom Carper 85% 12
MD O 25 Barbara Mikulski 95% 10
MD O 25 Ben Cardin 100% 12
IL O 25 Roland Burris (open) N/A 10
NY O 27 Kirsten Gillibrand N/A 10
NY O 27 Chuck Schumer 100% 10
RI O 28 Sheldon Whitehouse 90% 12
VT O 37 Patrick Leahy 100% 10
VT O 37 Bernie Sanders 100% 12
HI O 45 Daniel Inouye 94% 10
HI O 45 Daniel Akaka 100% 12

2012 is a long way off, but 2010 is just around the bend; correspondingly, this table is restricted to those Democratic seats up for reelection next November.

I added the current Rasmussen polling in the last column in place of the class (which is fixed at 2010 in this table). The polling number shown is the spread of Democrat over Republican; a -7 would mean the Democrat trails by 7%, while +2 would mean the Democrat leads by 2%.

When there are multiple GOP candidates, I picked the one who does best in the polling against the incumbent Democrat; that is the real vulnerability factor in the incumbent's reelection. When there are multiple Democratic candidates, I report the polling of the incumbent. If there is no incumbent and multiple Democrats, I won't post a number at all, because the dynamics are too complex:

2010 Democrat Senate targets by vulnerability
(with Rasmussen polling)
ST Pres Marg Senator's name Vote % Polling
AR M 20 Blanche Lincoln 80% - 7
ND M 9 Byron Dorgan 95% - 4
IN O 1 Evan Bayh 70% - 12
CO O 9 Michael Bennet N/A - 9
PA O 10 Arlen Specter (as Dem) N/A - 4
NV O 13 Harry Reid 70% - 6
WI O 14 Russ Feingold 100% N/A
OR O 16 Ron Wyden 100% N/A
WA O 17 Patty Murray 100% N/A
CT O 22 Chris Dodd 100% - 13
CA O 24 Barbara Boxer 100% + 11
DE O 25 Ted Kaufman (open) N/A N/A
MD O 25 Barbara Mikulski 95% N/A
IL O 25 Roland Burris (open) N/A N/A
NY O 27 Kirsten Gillibrand N/A N/A
NY O 27 Chuck Schumer 100% N/A
VT O 37 Patrick Leahy 100% N/A
HI O 45 Daniel Inouye 94% N/A

Note that only one race, California, shows the Democrat ahead; in all others, he or she trails the GOP.

The final table shows the 2012 Democrats up for reelection; this time, polling was not included because it's meaningless this far out:

2012 Democrat Senate targets by vulnerability
ST Pres Marg Senator's name Vote %
NE M 15 Ben Nelson 75%
WV M 13 Robert Byrd 79%
ND M 9 Kent Conrad 90%
MT M 2 Jon Tester 85%
MO M 0 Claire McCaskill 84%
FL O 3 Bill Nelson 95%
NM O 4 Jeff Bingaman 100%
VA O 6 Jim Webb 95%
PA O 10 Bob Casey Jr. 90%
MN O 10 Amy Klobuchar 100%
WI O 14 Herb Kohl 95%
NJ O 15 Bob Menendez 100%
OH O 15 Sherrod Brown 95%
MI O 16 Debbie Stabenow 100%
WA O 17 Maria Cantwell 100%
CT O 22 Joe Lieberman (Dem caucus) 85%
CA O 24 Dianne Feinstein 100%
DE O 25 Tom Carper 85%
MD O 25 Ben Cardin 100%
RI O 28 Sheldon Whitehouse 90%
VT O 37 Bernie Sanders 100%
HI O 45 Daniel Akaka 100%

I'll be happy if this series of three tables allows readers to follow the vicissitudes of the political contests to come. If it allows the National Republican Senatorial Committee to focus its efforts on those Democratic "moderate" senators most vulnerable within their own states, I will be ecstatic.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 22, 2009, at the time of 9:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 21, 2009

Thou Shalt Not...

Hatched by Dafydd

This struck me -- an agnostic not-yet-believer -- as rather... odd:

A clergyman has been criticised as 'highly irresponsible' after advising his congregation to shoplift following his Nativity sermon.

Father Tim Jones, 41, broke off from his traditional annual sermon yesterday to tell his flock that stealing from large chains is sometimes the best option for vulnerable people.

It is far better for people desperate during the recession to shoplift than turn to 'prostitution, mugging or burglary', he said.

Evidently, he believes that poor people are criminal by their very natures. Well, in a sense I agree, though I think he has it backwards: Thieves are in general poor -- because of their very criminal natures.

As an irreligious person myself, it seems to me that a more effective sermon would be to instruct his congregation to develop the workplace and interpersonal skills necessary to hold down a job and earn a living. They're easily learnt, and we all had to do it; nobody is born knowing how to be a good employee, employer, or independent contractor. We all had to be taught how to act "appropriately" at work.

I refer to virtues such as:

  • Getting to work on time and staying until quitting time, if your job is time-based;
  • Finishing the projects you undertake;
  • Working diligently, rather than goofing off with your friends or sneaking off to the beach;
  • Attention to detail -- useful in virtually every endeavor including politics, where you really need the ability to keep track of which donors paid how much in bribes in exchange for what government goodies;
  • Understanding that other people exist; you are not the center of the universe;
  • Respect for other peoples opinions (and their space);
  • A sense of decorum;
  • Bottom;
  • Brevity (I need to work on this one myself);
  • Thrift (the last government needed remedial instruction in this virtue; the current one is irremedial and should be sacked).

Again, seems to me that if Daddy-Guy Jones were to help his flock attain more of these kinds of virtues, they wouldn't even need to shoplift, let alone mug. Too bad he's uninterested in teaching them. (Or perhaps he never learnt them himself.)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 21, 2009, at the time of 11:22 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 19, 2009

Never Retreat, Never Surrender

Hatched by Dafydd

Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 70%) finally snared Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE, 75%), getting the 60 votes needed to close debate on ObamaCare and (obviously) pass it. We haven't lost entirely yet, though it's now very likely that this dreadful government seizure will become law. Still, there are a few hurdles left for the Left to surmount:

  • Democrats actually have to muster those supposed 60 votes; it's dimly possible that some extreme leftist in the Democratic caucus will balk at the compromises made to "moderates" like Nelson and Lieberman. But more likely, all Democrats will vote for cloture and the bill; the lefties expect either that the compromises will be washed away in the conference committee -- or that there are enough Trojan horses (like the mandate plus the federal definition of what constitutes an "authorized" insurance plan) to get what they want without the more grotesque elements ever appearing in any formal language in the bill.
  • Then there is the conference; it's quite possible that House Democrats won't go along with the Reid version of the bill, and that one or more of those "compromises" (the government option, abortion, the delayed implementation) will be restored... and that that will be enough to peel off a moderate or two when it comes time for the final vote -- which is still subject to fillibuster.
  • Finally, even if everything goes through, the Democrats hold together, and Barack H. Obama signs the bill... remember that the most odious parts of it don't go into effect for several years (though the taxes increase immediately). That means we still have a chance to undo them -- if the GOP picks up many seats in November.

So don't give up the ship. Make the Democrats pay for every vote, every amendment, every abrogation of our liberties. Make them pay at the ballot box for spitting in the face of the American people. Make them regret this vote for the rest of their lives (preferably in retirement).

What one Congress does, another Congress can undo. It's very difficult; I don't know if such an "entitlement" program has ever been eliminated. But if there's ever to be a first time, this vile bill is a great candidate for it: Not only is it repugnant to the huge majority of the American people, but its most evil provisions won't actually start for years (so we have some time); and it was passed in a risible mockery of democracy that even stunned liberals, including threats, tantrums, secret backroom deals, thousands of pages of provisions that not a single senator has fully read, parliamentary chicanery, and of course brazen bribery -- as the payoffs to Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-LA, 65%) Louisiana and Ben Nelson's Nebraska exemplify.

I expect Republicans in 2010 to campaign on precisely that: Overturning ObamaCare before its medical-insurance limitations and rationing go into effect. While they won't likely win back either chamber of Congress -- and couldn't possibly enact a bill undoing ObamaCare with enough votes to override Obama's own veto -- they can make it harder to fund some of its provisions.

And of course, in 2012, we have the chance to change the president and add a few more Republican seats: That is our best shot at erasing this cancer from the books before it settles in and becomes permanent. A Republican president can do just what "Lucky Lefty" Obama did -- armtwist Democratic moderates into siding with Republicans to "amend" ObamaCare into nonexistence. By then I expect the American people to be fed up with the increased taxes and just starting to feel the bite of government control of health care; I doubt they will be any happier about the scheme then than they are right now.

Despair is a mortal sin; it saps one's will to continue fighting. The lesson of the Iraq counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy (and of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged) is this: You can only be defeated if you accept defeat; you must actively conspire in your own subjugation.

So don't. Just say "No" to surrender. We lost a battle; we'll likely lose this campaign. But the war against "socialisme" will continue. The Reds will never surrender, so why should we?

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 19, 2009, at the time of 10:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 18, 2009

Oil Follies - and a Gentle Suggestion

Hatched by Dafydd

Today, Iran sent troops into Iraqi territory and seized one of Iraq's oil wells.

This is nothing new; it evidently happens several times every year:

The field is about 500 metres (yards) from an Iranian border fort and about 1 kilometre from an Iraqi border fort, US Colonel Peter Newell said, adding that it falls on the Iraqi side of a border agreed between the two countries.

There are five other similar fields that also fall into disputed territory, he said. [The territory is only "disputed" because Iran covets it. -- DaH]

"What happens is, periodically, about every three or four months, the oil ministry guys from Iraq will go ... to fix something or do some maintenance. They'll paint it in Iraqi colours and throw an Iraqi flag up.

"They'll hang out there for a while, until they get tired, and as soon as they go away, the Iranians come down the hill and paint it Iranian colours and raise an Iranian flag. It happened about three months ago and it will probably happen again."

In keeping with the absurdity of Obamunism, everyone -- Americans and Iraqis alike -- is desperate for a "diplomatic" solution:

"There has been no violence related to this incident and we trust this will be resolved through peaceful diplomacy between the governments of Iraq and Iran," a US military spokesman told AFP at Contingency Operating Base Adder, just outside the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah.

"The oil field is in disputed territory in between Iranian and Iraqi border forts," he said, adding that such incidents occur quite frequently.

To which I respond, "Well there's yer problem right there!"

Nations always have disputes between them... but territorial integrity is the first and most basic component of sovereignty: If a country cannot hang onto its own territory, it may as well hang it up; it's not really a nation.

(And before anyone starts shouting about immigration, yes I believe that a country must be able to control who crosses its borders; but no, we are not being "invaded" by Mexicans. Immigrants are not invaders; they're guests. They may be unwelcome and unwanted guests, but that doesn't make families the equivalent of heavily armed Iranian soldiers.)

Iraq has been entirely too complacent for entirely too long about so-called "disputed" territory; worse, this lackadaisical attitude, in the Age of Barack H. Obama, has even infected the American military forces in Iraq. This is unacceptable; it's primitivism. And rather than enable it, we should help the Iraqis stamp it out and shift to a modernist conception of sovereign territory.

(The same could be said, by the way, about Japan's complacency when South Korea declares the island of Takeshima part of the Republic of Korea, or when Russia plants its flag on the four disputed islands in the Kuril Island chain, in violation of the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951.)

So I have a suggestion; it should be familiar to our Commander in Chief, coming from Chicago... but it appears he has never heard of such a thing, so I'll enlighten him:

  1. For right now, send a combined U.S. and Iraqi force into the area; the Iranians will amble on out, smirking. We linger at the border for a few weeks, then withdraw. (This step is necessary to feign weakness and set the Iranians up for step 3.)
  2. Inform Iran that this is the last time they will enter the Abu Gharb oil field, the Iraqi side of the al-Fakkah field, or any other Iraqi oil field... but don't tell them what will happen if they do. We keep troops fairly nearby but not close enough to keep the Iranians from doing what comes naturally.
  3. Within a few months, Iran will do it again; we know they will, because we deliberately signalled weakness with step 1. This is the trigger for which we will be waiting: Our troops move into the region; the Iranians withdraw. But instead of stopping at the border, American troops move into Iranian territory, seize some of their oil wells (on the pretext that they are "disputed territory")... and sit on them.
  4. We invite Iraqi oil workers in to start pumping the oil from these wells and driving it back to Iraq. The idea is not just to chase Iran out of Iraq but to force them to serve penance for their sins.
  5. We hold the wells for six months; then we tell Iran that this seizure was their one warning: The next time Iran invades any portion of Iraq, these wells and unspecified other assets will be annexed to Iraq... permanently.

If we are to introduce Iraq into the community of civilized nations, we must first induce them to break from their bad, old Arab traditions that turn nationalism on its head and keep them a backwards, "third world" nation with a few trappings of modernity. Until they think of themselves as a sovereign nation, nationalism will never trump tribalism.

Such a jump is impossible in Afghanistan, at least anytime in the forseeable future; all we can do there is maintain a more or less "tribal-democratic" government (where each tribe gets a vote -- in the form of each person voting) and keep the Taliban and their ilk out of power. But Iraq can be so much more; they can be a powerful American ally in the Middle East into the future. But we must encourage them to stop thinking like their neighbors and start thinking like us.

We cannot allow them to revert to their former ways; the danger to the United States would be dire.

Alas, this is all fantasy: Barack Obama cannot "feign" weakness because he is weak, and only the strong dare such pretense to draw an attack -- an expected attack -- and turn it back on the enemy. Perhaps someday Iran will school Obama on what it means to act from strength, not submission.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 18, 2009, at the time of 11:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 16, 2009

Heh - Let the Stare-Down Begin!

Hatched by Dafydd

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT, 85% Dem) insists he can never vote for a version of ObamaCare that includes any kind of a public option or government-run health insurance.

And now Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL, unrated) swears that he can never vote for an ObamaCare bill that does not include a public option or government-run health insurance.

Lieberman cannot be intimidated by the Democratic leadership, because (a) he has a huge fan base in Connecticut, and (b) they already read him out of the party... and he won reelection anyway as an independent. Meet Mr. Immovable Object.

Burris cannot be intimidated by the Democratic leadership, because he is an appointee; as an appointee, he must run for reelection in 2010, if he is to stay in the Senate; yet despite having signed a candidacy statement, Burris later announced that he will not run for reelection next year. He is stepping down. Meet Mr. Irresistable Force.

I still suspect that somehow, somewhichway, one of the two will yield; but this may take longer than the few days remaining before Congress breaks for the rest of the year. When they return, it will be in an election year; and who wants to pass a massive tax and Medicare cut in an election year?

Burris may just be the tip of the ice cream; there are other very, very liberal senators in the Democratic caucus, and not all of them may be aboard the Chris Dodd express.

Keep watching the skies...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 16, 2009, at the time of 9:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 15, 2009

A Modish Proposal

Hatched by Dafydd

A silly thought just occurred. Utterly ridiculous.

One of the big bugaboos of angloamophous google climbup chants, often played as the trump card in any AGCC debate -- where "debate" has that special liberal definition of a lengthy series of pronunciamentos by the anointed, followed by the suppression of Mr. Opponent's research papers, and topped off by a short prison term -- is that global warming climate change must surely cause the oceans to rise, unless we slavishly follow the path of least prosperity enunciated at Copenhagen and send "tens of trillions of dollars" to the Third World (whence Algore can skim a good tithe off the top for his various carbon-trading ventures). Such propitiation is necessary to keep the oceans unaroused.

Algore says the seas will surge 20 to 50 feet this century alone, but he may be exaggerating just slightly. Gore's fellow climatologists and oceanographers seem to believe that a rise of 0.6 to 2.0 feet is more plausible.

But I had this ridiculous thought, as I said, of an alternative. A risible one, but perhaps it's worth at least mentioning... if for no other reason than to confirm readers in their condescending opinions that I am nought but a fool and clown.

Thus: Instead of spending hundreds of billions to cripple our energy production, paid for by even more hundreds of billions in carbon taxation, capped with those tens of trillions op.cit., why doesn't the West simply agree to build 10-foot levees protecting every populated, low-lying area in every developing country?

Ten feet would surely cover the rise. (Heck, five feet would do it; but let's not be stingy.) We could dredge local lagoons for the dirt, or even dig strip mines around nearby volcanos... in between sacrifices of native virgins, assuming any can be found.

Suppose we're talking about twenty thousand miles of levees. Considering the price of labor in those countries, it's hard to believe that such berms would cost more than, say, a million dollars a mile. That means the entire project could be executed for a scant $20 billion; even adding in 100% overhead, that's doubtless less than the amount Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT, 100%) has personally looted from the U.S. Treasury in earmarks alone.

In addition, think of the melodramatic improvements in third-world economies that would flow from actually hiring locals to perform real work, work that protects their own country and floods the local municipalities with stacks of American dollars! Much better and more dignified than pouring water upon the sand in the form of U.N. welfare checks.

I know, I know: preposterous, absurd, nonsensical, whimsical, buffoonery. But hey, somebody has to make such doltish suggestions. I've always said that the next time I need some idiot to make a proposal, I'd do it myself. And now I have.

That's it; I'm done.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 15, 2009, at the time of 11:21 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

They Don't Love Nature - They Just Hate Mankind

Hatched by Dafydd

That was my honest, stunned conclusion some years ago about the "environmentalist" movement; if anything, the evidence of anti-human insanity has become even clearer since then:

  • The increasingly violent, even murderous tactics of terrorist groups like the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and their enablers -- Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Wildlife Fund, and other ostensibly "mainstream" environmentalist organizations;
  • The callous disregard of real science in the zeal for "reducing the human footprint" (eventually to zero)... accompanied on the side by mindless chanting, drumming, and puppetry in place of reason, debate, and consensus;
  • The rise of modern "Earth religions," which recognize no law but "save the animals -- no matter what the cost to people"... a quasi-spiritualism that bears no relation to ancient pagan beliefs (which always recognized not only the friendly but also the malevolent nature of, well, Nature);
  • And the obsession on the part of every branch of government, from municipality all the way up to international tribunals, with enforcing environmentalist dogma and propagandizing children with the preservationist catechism, showing literally no concern whatsoever about the enormities inflicted upon individuals and communities by vague laws interpreted into enviro-madness by administrative agencies and judges run amok.

In America, the ultimate enabler of eco-terrorism is the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the entire "green machine" that enforces the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and similar anti-human legislation enacted over the decades. Many of those who supported the Nixon-era ESA were simply soft-hearted, soft-headed conservationists; but they were rolled by environmental extremists who frankly believe that the entire human race should be expunged.

Most of the elite media refuse even to report on how much of our current economic devastation is caused in fact by environmentalism run rampant:

New data from satellites show the vast underground pools feeding faucets and irrigation hoses across California are running low, a worrisome trend federal scientists largely attribute to aggressive agricultural pumping.

The measurements show the amount of water lost in the two main Central Valley river basins within the past six years could almost fill the nation's largest reservoir, Lake Mead in Nevada.

"All that water has been sucked from these river basins. It's gone. It's left the building," said Jay Famiglietti, an earth science professor at the University of California, Irvine, who led the research collaboration. "The data is telling us that this rate of pumping is not sustainable."

Darn those agricultural robber barons! They're despoiling the very water we need to drink, just so they can make their obscene profits. Why are they doing this? Why?

We get only a single, slight hint, two vague words buried in the midst of the story:

Hundreds of farmers have been drilling wells to irrigate their crops, as three years of drought and environmental restrictions on water supplies have withered crops, jobs and profits throughout the San Joaquin Valley, where roughly half of the nation's fruits, nuts and vegetables are grown.

What environmental restrictions are those? The story never elaborates.

Even worse is this piece in Science Daily, which attributes the increased pumping to... well, see if you can guess:

New space observations reveal that since October 2003, the aquifers for California's primary agricultural region -- the Central Valley -- and its major mountain water source -- the Sierra Nevada -- have lost nearly enough water combined to fill Lake Mead, America's largest reservoir. The findings, based on satellite data, reflect California's extended drought and increased pumping of groundwater for human uses such as irrigation.

At the American Geophysical Union meeting this week in San Francisco, UC Irvine and NASA scientists detailed the state's groundwater changes and outlined research on other global aquifers conducted via twin satellites called the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment. GRACE monitors tiny month-to-month differences in Earth's gravity field primarily caused by the movement of water in the planet's land, ocean, ice and atmosphere. Its ability to "weigh" changes in water content provides new insights into how climate change is affecting Earth's water cycle.

Ah ha, so all this increased pumping of groundwater wells in the San Joaquin Valley is due to global warming. If only we would agree to Kyoto II, all would be well; just ask Algore.

On the other hand, maybe this has something to do with it:

The Delta smelt issue in California is a prime example how an ESA interpretation has resulted in lost jobs and businesses, Stirling says. The smelt population has declined for decades attributed to the diminished quality of Delta water, predation by other fish, invasive species consuming the smelt’s food chain, and pumps that propel Delta water through the Central Valley to Southern California.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a biological opinion in 2005 indicating the smelt decline was caused by several factors including the pumps, Stirling explains. A lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other preservationist groups challenged the biological opinion. A judge ordered the pumps shutdown when smelt are young and in the pump vicinity.

The pump shutdown reduced 2008 Delta water deliveries via the California aqueduct and caused a 30 percent reduction of pumped water and a $300 million loss to California’s economy, Stirling says. Delta water deliveries in 2009 were reduced by 90 percent in some parts of the Central Valley.

The real reason for most of the increased (and "unsustainable") groundwater pumping in the San Joaquin Valley (a.k.a., the Central Valley) is what AP so obliquely called "environmental restrictions": To protect the Delta smelt, farmers have been cut off from the surface water they formerly used for irrigation; now, the only options they have are (a) pump the groundwater dry, or (b) abandon the farmland that provides nearly half of all American fruits, nuts, and vegetables... let the land become a desert and allow the entire country to go hungry.

But at least we can bask in the knowledge that some thumb-sized fish still survive. After all, what's more important, an endangered fish -- or a few measley humans?

Only an enviro-mentalist apparatus that nurses an intstitutional hatred of humanity could possibly enforce the ESA in such a way:

On the ESA loss-of-private-property-rights claim, Stirling points to the case of Paul Fisher whose home in Perdido Bay, Fla., was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Before the Fishers could gain local permits to rebuild, FWS declared Fisher’s private property as a critical habitat for the Perdido Key beach mouse.

“The federal government has virtually taken their (Fisher’s) property as a nature preserve for the mouse in effect,” Stirling said, “but refuses to pay them just compensation under the Constitution’s 5th Amendment.” PLF is representing Fisher in a lawsuit.

The apotheosis of enviro-mentalism is Globaloney itself, of course; and its synecdoche is found in ClimateGate: erstwhile climate "scientists" became so absolutely certain that human technology is destroying the Earth that when the evidence just wouldn't behave -- when other scientists kept asking inconvenient questions and finding confounding and complicating answers -- the true believers started falsifying the science, blocking independent investigation, banning publication by the wrong sorts, destroying the careers of "deniers," and ultimately, so utterly politicizing the field of AGCC research (anthropogenic -- "man caused" -- global climate change) that today we face a mandated energy cut-off that could hurl us back into the Dark Ages.

At the core of enviro-mentalism is an arrogance so intense and narcissistic, it mimics the hubris of classical Greek theater: The AGCC inquisitors literally seem to believe they can remake the Earth by signing a treaty, passing a law, or electing one of the anointed. After all --

This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.

Environmentalism became a religion long before the rise of "global warming;" in fact, even before the earlier exercise in catastrophism, "global cooling." The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was not the beginning, it was just the warning shot that should have been heard round the world, but was ignored. I suspect the First Church of Fundamentalist Enviro-Mentalism was founded in the early 19th century, wrought by the Romantics and their anti-industrialism nature-worship.

But it's finally come to the boiling point today. And unless we find the guts and the will to turn off the heat -- and if necessary, identify the lunatics who want to cleanse the planet of pesky humanity and exile them from the halls of science, politics, and the judiciary -- we'll all be boiled in our own primordial soup.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 15, 2009, at the time of 12:29 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 14, 2009

Straight From the Horse's Mouth

Hatched by Dafydd

(Or perhaps the other end.)

Barack H. Obama held a meeting today with top bankers and financial mavins, the CEOs at such corporations as American Express, US Bancorp, JP Morgan Chase, Capital One, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and others; at this gathering of the world's financiers, Obama issued a proclamation of what noble sacrifice the very universe demands of them:

The president said it is not his intent to vilify one person or industry -- to not dictate to them or micromanage their compensation practices.

"My job is to ensure that consumers and the larger economy are protected from risky speculation and predatory practices, that credit is flowing, that businesses can grow, and jobs are once again being created at the pace we need."

In working together towards a lasting recovery, Mr. Obama said, "we rise and fall together: banks and small businesses, consumers and large corporations. And we have a shared interest in working together to ensure a lasting recovery that will benefit all of us and not just some of us."

Very well then; we take the president at his word: We must never again make risky, speculative loans to poor people who cannot pay them back.

  • Such loans, generally at usurous rates, clearly qualify as "predatory practices."
  • They bring the free-flow of actual credit to a screeching halt by diluting it with ersatz "credit" that is in fact welfare.
  • They stifle the growth of businesses by sucking all the credit oxygen out of the room and blowing it at unqualified borrowers instead of credit-worthy companies, small and large.
  • And they damage the economy so that jobs are lost, not created -- and not "saved" -- at a stunning rate... as we have seen since the inauguration of one Barack Obama.

Taking the man at his word, I can only conclude that President Obama now calls upon Congress to repeal the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, along with every act, amendment, or regulatory "reform" since then that has driven banks and other financial institutions to pound sand down a rathole, lending too much money to people with too little credit, too much debt, and too little ability to meet a mortgage payment.

Thank goodness Obama has finally come to his senses!

Either that, or... well, there's always the faint possibility that he doesn't really mean what he says. But surely no President of the United States could be so despicable as to gallop into the history books, at least those written by liberals, across the shattered dreams of the undeserving poor, lured into believing they can purchase spectacular homes despite having insufficient income.

After all, they are all honorable men, these well-meaning do-gooders; all, all honorable men.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 14, 2009, at the time of 11:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

News So Great, It Boggles the Mind (and Provokes Skepticism)

Hatched by Dafydd

If this news is true, then that's all she wrote.

In a flailing, last-ditch effort to save the Senate ObamaCare bill -- which is gonna be sinking soon, to draft Norah Jones into a role she would hate -- Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 75%) jettisoned the government option and replaced it with a government option. That is, he deep-sixed the direct underwriting of health-care insurance by the government, the program so hated by the American people, and replaced it in the bill with a surreal expansion of the Medicare boondoggle... which is already teetering on the brink of complete collapse (being unfunded to the tune of trillions of dollars), and is simultaneously being looted of an additional half a trillion in real money by various other parts of ObamaCare.

Elementary, my dear Reid.

As Paul Mirengoff at Power Line put it yesterday:

This is only the latest blow to "Reid-care." The Mayo Clinic has already denounced the expansion of Medicare and the American Medical Association also opposes this concept. These developments reinforce the sense that Reid threw his "compromise" proposal together in desperation and without much thought to its consequences.

In essence, Reid is treating the process as a game of "60 pick-up."

Meaning, of course, that Reid is simply throwing everything but the kitchen sink, plus the television, plus the "slavery" threat -- plus the kitchen sink after all -- at the wall, hoping something sticks. Sixty somethings, actually.

For that, Reid needs to keep each and every last Democrat (plus the two Independents) on the plantation (to continue his own metaphor), since all 40 Republicans have already voted against cloture even before debate began. And the Dear Leader's job just got infinitely tougher this evening, when a certain non-Democrat made a certain announcement:

In a surprise setback for Democratic leaders, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, said on Sunday that he would vote against the health care legislation in its current form.

The bill’s supporters had said earlier that they thought they had secured Mr. Lieberman’s agreement to go along with a compromise they worked out to overcome an impasse within the Democratic Party.

But on Sunday, Mr. Lieberman told the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, to scrap the idea of expanding Medicare and abandon any new government insurance plan or lose his vote.

Exit Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT, 85% Democratic). Enter fat lady; warms up tonsils.

Even better, Reid is making no headway at all with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE, %) on the abortion issue:

On a separate issue, Mr. Reid tried over the weekend to concoct a compromise on abortion that would induce Senator Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, to vote for the bill. Mr. Nelson opposes abortion. Any provision that satisfies him risks alienating supporters of abortion rights.

In interviews on the CBS News program “Face the Nation,” Mr. Lieberman and Mr. Nelson said the bill did not have the 60 votes it would need in the Senate.

Nelson also expressed great misgivings about either version of the government option, worrying that it would lead to "the ultimate single-payer plan."

Meanwhile, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY, 80%) strikes what I think is exactly the right tack -- what should kill ObamaCare is not politics but policy failings:

The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said that passage of the bill was looking less and less inevitable. The Democrats "are in serious trouble on this," he said, "and the core problem is the American people do not want us to pass it."

Or to repeat the quote of the year about ObamaCare, from the assistant director of Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, Peter Brown:

“It’s a good thing for those pushing the health care overhaul in Congress that the American people don’t get a vote."

I said before that this monstrosity was going to collapse under its own weight, and I see no reason to withdraw or change my prediction. In fact, I almost feel like quoting "Hannibal" Smith: "I love it when a plan comes together!"

Still, my inborn Skept-O-Meter warns me that we're not out of the woods until the last dog has sung its swan song.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 14, 2009, at the time of 1:01 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 13, 2009

How to Win a Political Argument Without Really Trying

Hatched by Dafydd

Liberals and "Progressives" have always had a media advantage in pitching their sundry causes to the American people: They have controlled the major entertainment media (print, radio, television, and movies) for many decades; so when they're losing the argument on points in news and discussion shows, they can always sneak their agit-prop across in fiction dramas and comedies instead.

But rarely has this tactic been used more blatantly than in this week's episode of Law & Order: SVU:

This week's episode of "Law & Order: SVU" featured a character played by John Larroquette talking to a detective and saying, "Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly, all of 'em, they are like a cancer spreading ignorance and hate...They've convinced folks that immigrants are the problem, not corporations that fail to pay a living wage or a broken health care system..."

Why do they do this? Does it work? I'm afraid it probably does; a well-written show, as I'm informed Law & Order is (I've never watched it), grabs the viewer by the throat and drags him into that world. Once there, characters become real people; evil characters become actual bad guys subject to hisses and hurled tomatoes; and it's absurdly easy to gin up real anger at the villain of the piece. When that "villain" is a real person in the real world, fiction slops over into reality, and a real person becomes subject to attacks based upon scenarios in a fictional parallel universe.

A screenwriter needn't prove his case using evidence and analysis; he simply creates a storyline in which his personal political and ideological opinions all turn out to be true. Mirabile dictu! As I've said since paleozoic times, it's child's play to win an argument when you get to script both sides.

To many people, television is more real than the real world, because it's difficult to grasp the underlying "plot" in reality; things seem just to happen. In the real world, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Bill O'Reilly have complex, nuanced, fact-based, and articulable opinions on a variety of subjects. They don't always agree with each other and often take surprising twists, to the befuddlement of liberals and the consternation of conservatives. To evaluate any of them, you must at least listen to his show for a few weeks to understand the areas where he is brilliant, note his blind spots, and learn his prejudices (we all have them), thus to compile a (reasonably) complete picture of his worldview.

But in the TV realm, all nuance is squashed flat, shades of gray become black or white, and transitional colors morph into uncompromising primaries. These three real human beings become simply cartoonish villains -- and I mean DC comics from the 1940s; today's comic books have more character depth than conservatives are ever allowed to display on the great glass teat!

How long before somebody on Law & Order gets the bright idea to similarly attack Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY, 80%), Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ, 96%), and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC, 100%)? The writer can argue the case for ObamaCare in a universe in which it actually works the way Senate Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 75%) claims it will... relying upon the inability of many Americans, especially liberals, to distinguish between real life and a tendentiously concocted piece of fiction.

It's a hoot: Liberals constantly whine that we should resurrect the putative "Fairness Doctrine;" but it we ever did (may God forbid, if He exists), and if it was applied fairly and consistently, broadcast television would take a much greater punch in the mouth than would even talk radio, because these fiction shows almost never give "equal time" to the Right.

So why do they support the doctrine? Because they know it would in fact be administered corruptly, only being used against conservative messaging, not liberal. Just as when liberals voted for Barack H. Obama, knowing (nudge, wink) that his frequent denunciations of partisanship, demagoguery, corruption, profligate spending, and his support for unbiased science and for our two wars, were never intended to be taken seriously or pursued even-handedly.

To some extent, one can trace "progressive" fury at Obama to the inconvenient reality that the fiery, left-wing candidate, when he became president, was willy-nilly forced by circumstances actually to fulfill a couple of his campaign promises. Outrageous!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 13, 2009, at the time of 6:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 12, 2009

The War Against Children Spreads to Canada

Hatched by Dafydd

The Canadian newspaper the National Post has hit upon a brilliant solution to all the world's problems; not only that, they have discovered that if their solution is not implemented immediately, the Earth will be destroyed in short order.

But the solution turns out to be simple... ban children!

The "inconvenient truth" overhanging the UN's Copenhagen conference is not that the climate is warming or cooling, but that humans are overpopulating the world.

A planetary law, such as China's one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate currently, which is one million births every four days.

The article (opinion piece, whatever they consider it) was written by Diane Francis and published in last Tuesday's business section (called the "Financial Post," after a newspaper that the National Post gobbled up). Friend Lee tells me that on yesterday's O'Reilly Factor, Laura Ingraham "ripped Diane Francis a new one." I wish I'd seen it.

Incidentally, I wonder which of Francis' two children she regrets having?

I published a post some days ago, noting that a very significant portion of the global enviromentalist "movement" does not love nature half so much as it hates Mankind. Back then, I wrote:

But a darker motive lurks at the intersection of cultic environmentalism and madness; it's not just that the rich should be killed and eaten, that's old hat; humanity itself is a cancer upon the Earth... and it must be expunged. The anti-human radicals at, e.g., the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) believe that amputation is the planet's last hope; we must extirpate the human race.

And these "elves" are driving the environmentalism bus.

I believe the entire movement is riddled with people who believe Mankind itself should be exterminated, as the only way to open the door for a truly "green" Gaea. It's not everybody who calls himself an enviro; it's not Ed Begley, jr., for example. But it is the activist crust, and they're the ones pushing the agenda. I truly believe that many of what I call the "enviro-mental cases" see globaloney hysteria as their best shot at so devastating the world economy that our global population is reduced to a fraction of our current level... where "reduced" is a euphemism for an almost Malthusian die-off of human beings.

And the One We Have Elected is, all unwittingly -- or simply not caring, so long as he gets his -- playing right into the nihilists' hands.

Compare and contrast today's story in the National Post:

The world's other species, vegetation, resources, oceans, arable land, water supplies and atmosphere are being destroyed and pushed out of existence as a result of humanity's soaring reproduction rate.

Ironically, China, despite its dirty coal plants, is the world's leader in terms of fashioning policy to combat environmental degradation, thanks to its one-child-only edict.

Say... isn't China also the world's leader in poisoning people with everything from toxic frozen potstickers and vegetables, to toxic toothpaste, pet food, blood thinner, salt, instant noodles, lead-filled paint and lead-coated toys, and dozens of other pollution-related poisoning incidents, killing hundreds of people around the world. (They also sold industrial oil as "cooking oil.")

Many countries have adopted policies of banning Chinese imports -- evidently unaware that the Chinese policy of forced, post-partum "abortions" gives them "absolute moral authority" (as Ann Coulter likes to say) to poison those humans lucky enough to dodge the birth dragnet and be born.

The tale ends with the usual Gaea panacea for every plague and pestilence: totalitarianism:

For those who balk at the notion that governments should control family sizes, just wait until the growing human population turns twice as much pastureland into desert as is now the case, or when the Amazon is gone, the elephants disappear for good and wars erupt over water, scarce resources and spatial needs....

The only fix is if all countries drastically reduce their populations, clean up their messes and impose mandatory conservation measures.

In Robert Graves' novel about the Roman emperor Claudius, he has Caligula say something along the lines of "I would that all Rome had but a single throat, so I could cut it." Well, today's enviro-mental cases do the mad emperor one better: They wish to halve the human population, thus condemning the remaining half to lives of grinding poverty, a further collapse in population, eventual extinction -- and the utter loss of liberty, freedom, and dignity in the few remaining years we will have.

Alternatively, the developed (i.e., "civilized") countries will impose the one-child policy, while the developing (i.e., "third world") countries -- such as Yemen, Qatar, Libya, Sudan, and Indonesia -- will export their burgeoning population of radical jihadis to take the place of the forcibly aborted babies. Then Francis can call for the global imposition of sharia law and complete the triumph of her brand of "feminism."

But sharia cannot sustain itself in the absence of a civilized world to buy its oil and sell it the guns it needs to rule its own people; thus the new global ummah will quickly collapse into chaos and the war of all against all; heck, it's almost there already! Either way, in the end, Gaea will reign supreme over a world without Man.

Heavens, in what deep and deadly currents of hatred and misanthropy these enviros swim.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 12, 2009, at the time of 6:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Date ►►► December 11, 2009

"Race" Face

Hatched by Dafydd

Patterico has been driving a fascinating series of blogposts -- including two of mine, in my cacapity (sorry, it's after 2:00 pm, and I've had a three or four) capacity as a former guest blogger who still has blogging privileges on Patterico's Pontifications -- on the subject of racism. I find this not merely worth reading but utterly fundamental to any discussion of politics or cultural comparisons... because racism cuts to the quick of whether we see persons as individuals or as merely infinitesmial cogs in the giant machinery of State.

Big Lizards apple martini (not an "appletini," an appellation that makes us gag):

  1. One shot of Skyy vodka (unflavored);
  2. Three squirts of lime juice;
  3. Five shots of Dekuyper sour apple schnapps.
  4. Drink while watching (a) an original Perry Mason episode; (b) a "Thin Man" movie with William Powell and Myrna Loy, or (c) an episode of Dancing With the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance.

Patterico's most recent "racism" entry is this, wherein he quotes a table-pounding assertion by blogger Beldar -- who I love like a sister... brother, whatever -- as if it were written on the wall by a giant finger... mene mene tekel upharsin!

Anyone of any race who denies having ever had racist thoughts is a liar. Anyone who expects us to believe that he or she has never had racist thoughts is a fool.

With all due respect (which translates to "I'm about to make a pompous ass of myself by contradicting my betters) to one of my favorite bloggers, who I have never met (though I would love to take him to sushi in Houston), this abstracted and overly symmetrical homily is a load of sea cucumber *.

Big Lizards ordinary extraordinary gin martini:

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice;
  2. Pour in a shot of vermouth;
  3. Shake vigorously;
  4. Pour the vermouth out and down the drain... you don't need it, it's just a condiment;
  5. Pour a shot of Citadelle gin into the shaker;
  6. Shake vigorously; the gin will pick up the slight flavor of the coating of vermouth from steps 2 and 3;
  7. Pour into a martini glass;
  8. Add three or four Tabasco peppers on a toothpick;
  9. Drink while listening to 1970s progrock... King Crimson, Yes, ELP, Jethro Tull (especially Songs From the Wood -- that kind of music. You know what I mean.)
  10. For a burst of flavor, eat the peppers while the alcohol still swirls around your mouth.

What is a "racist thought?" It must surely be a thought that is racist... that is, a thought that betrays a belief that at least one race is implicitly "superior" to at least one other race. Oh, wait; let me clarify some terms, so that we're all speaking the same language:

  • Racist: A person who believes some races are cosmically inferior to others.
  • Racial bigot: A person who dislikes people because they belong to a particular race.
  • Racialist: A person who thinks race is always a person’s most important characteristic.
  • Racial separatist: A person advocating a separation of the races.
  • Racial supremicist: A person who believes one race should rule over the others.
  • Racial discrimination: Treating a person differently because of his race.
  • …Distinct words for distinct concepts.

    It’s important we all use by and large the same language: A person can be a racial separatist without being a racial supremicist (Randy Weaver, for example), or he can be a racial bigot without being a racist, or he can be a racist but not engage in racial discrimination.

    More often if he’s one, he’s the other; but the terms are not synonyms.

    It's important to define your terms, as Ayn Rand insisted. (I'm not a Randroid, by the way; I think she was an interesting but not compelling philosopher, and her misunderstanding of mathematical logic was of the towering, epic class. But she was right on this specific point of defining terms; trust me.)

    Taking this definition as our lodestone, a "racist thought" is a thought that directly states, or at least presupposes, that (to simplify) race A is inherently superior to race B. But there exist people in the world (I'm one of them) who believe that "race" is an artificial, artifactual construct with no corresponding physical reality. That is, many of us believe that race is simply an external characteristic that is applied retroactively to humans on the basis of superficial and meaningless biophysical morphologies.

    Therefore, it would be intellectually impossible for me to have a "racist thought": It would be like accusing me of believing that one astrological sign was inherently superior to another. I don't believe in astrology, I reject the physical existence of astrological signs -- not just rhetorically but in my very being; so how could I imagine that Libra, my own sign, was superior or inferior to Sagittarius, Sachi's sign? I don't even believe that zodiacal signs mean anything at all, other than the ability of humans to look at a cloud and see a horsey, a ducky -- or a scales or archer.

    Similarly, I don't look at a black man and see a different subspecies; I simply see someone who occupies a particular point on an n-dimensional graph of physical characteristics... facial features, hue, height, build, and so forth. I don't see a "black" -- I see an individual who is darker than I, probably taller, has a particular shaped nose, etc.

    Beldar's projections from his own programming, having grown up in the South, are meaningless to me; I don't see "races," so how could I see one race as superior or inferior to another? He can recline on his couch and make lordly pronouncements that everyone harbors racist thoughts; but he's simply generalizing from the particular to the universal... and doing it badly.

    I could no more think that blacks were inferior to whites than I could think that people with yellow hair ("blonds") were inherently stupid compared to people with brown hair ("brunets")... or that libras were smarter than sagittariuses.

    Now to Patterico. My friend and former blogboss asserts the following astounding claim:

    Beldar makes two very important points: 1) "making a racist comment does not mean you are a racist," and 2) "you need not “intend” to be racist to be racist."

    As for the first point, that is why I was careful to say that I was not calling R.S. McCain a racist....

    As to point 2), there are just a lot of instances where it just makes no sense to say you “intended” racism.

    The first paraphrase from the first paragraph simply plays with definitions; the second is demonstrably false. Point 1:

    1. The most logical and obvious definition of a racist is a person who harbors racist beliefs.
    2. A racist belief is one that assumes, explicitly or implicitly, that one race is superior to another.
    3. Anyone who believes that one race is superior to another is, by definition, a racist.
    4. Ergo, anyone who intentionally makes a racist statement is, again by definition, either a racist (if he is honest) or a mendacious liar (if he doesn't really believe what he says)... because he intentionally stated -- that is, trying to make people believe -- that one race is superior to another.

    So what about the second point; what does it mean to say that one "intends to be racist?" Again, I think it clear that, because racist means "believ[ing] some races are cosmically inferior to others," making any statement that is racist -- implying or explicitly stating that one race is inferior to others -- one must either believe what one has said, which means one has been racist... or else one doesn't believe what one has said, which means one was telling a deliberate falsehood.

    On the second prong of the fork, there are only two reasons one might say something racist without really meaning it: Either you are deliberately playing on the latent racism of some listener, hoping to mislead him into a racist belief... or else your statement was never intended to be believed in the first place. For an example of the latter, consider Carroll O'Connor, playing Archie Bunker in a teleplay, making racist comments in a conscious effort to make his character seem repugnant and reprehensible.

    Other than such satirical or pedantic pronouncements, it's hard to think of an instance in which one would utter a racist comment without intending to utter a racist comment. However, I can think of many instances in which one would intentionally utter a racist comment -- but not realize there was anything wrong with such racism... which I think is what Beldar and Patterico mistake for not "intentionally" being racist.

    But an analogy makes clear that this is rhetorical error. The analogy is a person who kills a rival or object of hatred, not realizing there is anything wrong with doing so. Can he still be convicted of murder? Of course he can! For murder, one must only have the intention to kill a person, in a situation not allowed by law; there is no requirement that one realize that such killing is wrong... only that he realizes that he is killing a person, and that killing a person is against the law.

    Otherwise, you could not convict, say, a Sicilian who believes that it's perfectly acceptable to kill the brother of a person who wronged him. Evviva la vendetta!

    For a racist statement to be intentional, I only must show that the speaker intended to state that one race is inferior to another... not that he understands that non-racists reject such categorizations. Thus, David Duke may think there is nothing wrong in saying that blacks are inferior to whites; but his ignorance or paleolithic opinons don't exonerate him from the proper charge of racism.

    So the only way to make a racist statement without being racist... is to state the idea that one race is inferior to another without any desire to advance that idea. In other words, to dishonestly (for entertainment or perversity) say something you don't really believe, even for a moment... like if, in response to an attack by some liberal, I were to say ironically, "Oh yes, I think blondes are all stupid."

    So other than obvious instances of irony, playacting, or mendacious instances of misleading, when a person makes a racist comment, it clearly implies that he harbors racist thoughts... hence is a racist.

    Sorry, my friends; but the Beldar/Patterico thesis that one can utter unconscious racism without having any racist thought is a risible humbug.

    There; who says alcohol addles the mind? God, I wish I had some LSD. Haven't had a microgram in twenty years. Yeesh. (All right, all right, don't panic; everything is back to norble.)

     

    * Sea cucumber is the most vile, disgusting, emetic "food" animal; it is eaten only by deranged individuals, in restaurants that cater to the mentally condemned. It's the same phylum as a sea star (a.k.a., a starfish); anybody who would voluntarily eat an echinoderm like a sea star, desperately needs psychiatric counseling. (Exceptional dispensation is offered for the roe of sea urchins, which is heavenly... though not the sea urchin itself.)

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 11, 2009, at the time of 4:22 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    Date ►►► December 10, 2009

    Quote of the Year on ObamaCare

    Hatched by Dafydd

    This quote should become the centerpiece of the anti-ObamaCare activists; it's an absolute bill killer. It's from the assistant director of Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, Peter Brown:

     

    “It’s a good thing for those pushing
    the health care overhaul in Congress that
    the American people don’t get a vote."

     

    Brown was referring to the newest Quinnipiac poll of ObamaCare, which found that voters reject it by a stunning 14-point margin, 38 supporting and 52 opposing:

    --Voters disapprove 52 – 38 percent of the health care reform proposal under consideration in Congress, and they disapprove 56 – 38 percent of President Obama’s handling of health care, down from 53 – 41 percent in a November 19 survey.

    --American voters say 63 – 30 percent that extending health insurance to all will raise their cost of health care, although they are split 47 – 46 percent on whether they are willing to pay more to make sure everyone is covered.

    --Voters split 48 – 46 percent on whether they think covering everyone will decrease the quality of their own care, but by 71 – 21 percent they do not think universal coverage is worth lower quality of care.

    Oh, and by the way: Quinnipiac has President Barack H. Obama's job approval at 46% favorable, 44% unfavorable; this is below even Rasmussen -- and Quinnipiac University is certainly not considered a "conservative" pollster.

    Moderate Democrats must be made to understand that by voting for cloture on this bill, they are signing their own career death warrants in 2010 or 2012. After the next election, they'll actually have to find honest work.

    Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 10, 2009, at the time of 3:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Date ►►► December 9, 2009

    Wham! Bang!

    Hatched by Dafydd

    That was the sound I heard tonight when I got pounded in an intersection. The first was the sound of some idiot blowing through the red light -- way, way into the red light -- and the second was the sound of the right-side airbag deploying... which would have been a Godsend, except nobody was sitting in that seat. (Ordinarily that's where I would be sitting, because usually Sachi is driving; but tonight, I was alone. Whew!)

    Here's what went down in the big city: I exited off the freeway; at the end of the offramp was a red light, and I came to a full stop. I was even annoyed, because the instant I stopped, the light turned green. I started out, crossed both of the northbound lanes fine; but halfway through the southbound lanes, I got perfectly t-boned.

    The impact was enough to spin my BMW 180° around, so I was facing the opposite way on the street. But I take my hat off (or I would, but I don't wear a hat -- I'm not Matt Drudge) to the powerful German engineering at Bayerische Motoren Werke AG: Even with that heavy a pounding -- I'm sure the nut was going about 45 or 50 -- the car was still drivable enough after the accident to make a Y-turn, get facing the right direction, and drive part way up the block and park it more or less out of the way.

    Neither I nor the other driver was hurt; but his car lost practically its entire front end, and our two right doors are munched. Still, I have hopes that the frame isn't bent and we can get off with just some replacement doors. I also hope that he won't go home and claim that he had the green light: Though the fact that I crossed two lanes of a busy street without hitting anything is pretty good evidence, I would think, that I had the green and he had the red.

    My guess is that if he's that inattentive a driver, going through a red a solid five seconds after it changed, that he's probably got a bad driving record; mine is perfect. Maybe the two insurance companies will take that into account when they're deciding who to charge with the accident.

    Anyway, that's why my homework was late, Teacher. I mean my second blogpost; I'll try to post it later tonight.

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 9, 2009, at the time of 11:50 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    The New (Old) Government Option; the Old (New) Shell Game

    Hatched by Dafydd

    The so-called "public option" is now out; it finally became clear even to Senate Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 75%) that there was no way in Hades that the public option could get the 60 votes needed to proceed on the Senate version of ObamaCare.

    So he has swapped in a ringer: In Reid's new (old) proposal, he excises the government-run health care, and replaces it with government-run health care:

    A much-courted moderate - Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman - signaled he might be able to live with a compromise to offer private insurance plans under the auspices of the federal employee health program while also allowing middle-aged people to buy into Medicare. Liberal Democrats also spoke out in favor of the idea....

    However, as the Senate continued to debate, the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association -- both groups that have been generally supportive of Congress' health overhaul efforts thus far -- raised red flags. Both groups are concerned about adding more patients to Medicare, because the program pays providers significantly lower rates than private insurers do....

    A powerful small business group also swung into opposition. The National Federation of Independent Business, which was instrumental in defeating then-President Bill Clinton's health care bill in the 1990s, said the Democratic bill would raise costs and make it harder to create jobs....

    Nonetheless Reid, D-Nev., was upbeat about the bill's prospects.

    Patients currently must be 65 or older to sign up for Medicare, except in a few special circumstances; allowing people aged 55 and up to join could nearly double the number of people drawing on Medicare funds for their medical care... a government program that right now teeters on the economic abyss.

    So let's see; the new (old) Reid plan would:

    • All but double the number of people relying upon Medicare, which is on the brink of insolvency already;
    • Drastically cut how much doctors and hospitals are reimbursed for treating those quasi-seniors;
    • Raise premiums for all those who aren't on Medicare or some other government "option";
    • Ration medical care, particularly for those dumb enough -- or desperate enough -- to sign up for expanded Medicare;
    • Kill Medicare Advantage; no more private health insurance option with the government program;
    • Jack up taxes for everyone, young and old, rich and poor, and probably higher than any previous tax increase;
    • Kill jobs throughout the country;
    • Leave at least 23 million uninsured -- despite the old (new) shell game of the Medicare option;
    • Oh, and I almost forgot... loot Medicare by half a trillion dollars, in addition to all the other stresses on that program.

     

     

    What could possibly go wrong?



    Road Warrior apocalypse

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 9, 2009, at the time of 4:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Date ►►► December 8, 2009

    "Marriage" Movement Muffing Magic Moment

    Hatched by Dafydd

    One consequence of Chris Christie defeating Gov. Jon Corzine's bid for reelection in New Jersey has been the renewal of traditional marriage in the Garden State. Corzine is an outspoken advocate for same-sex marriage (SSM) -- possibly to distract the citizens of that state from his governmental (and personal) failings -- while the incoming Gov. Christie is an opponent and has vowed to veto any such legislation.

    So radical marriage advocates consider the period between now and January 19th, when Governor-elect Christie becomes Gov. Christie and gains veto power, their "magic moment," their last chance to force SSM upon a sullen and unwilling New Jersey populace. Democrats and gay-advocates are trying to ram a bill through the New Jersey state legislature for Corzine to sign before he leaves office.

    They scored a pyrrhic victory today when a state senate panel grudgingly approved the SSM bill by the narrowest of margins, 7 to 6; one Republican voted for it, while the Democratic chairman of the committee voted against. (I suspect if that lone Republican had behaved, the chairman would have supported his own party, leaving the vote at 7-6 again.)

    The bill now goes to the full state senate for a vote, which obviously must be fairly soon, as January 19th looms. If it should pass, it would race to the assembly, which would surely pass it and hurl it towards Corzine's desk faster than the speed of light. So the senate is the only potential barrier to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Joisey.

    According to the New York Times, Corzine's own defeat on November 3rd plays a role in how the state senate may ultimately vote; suffice to say that Christie's victory has put the fear of God (so to speak) into Democratic hearts:

    Passage of the bill, considered a fait accompli by many legislators as recently as October, has been in jeopardy since Gov. Jon S. Corzine, a Democrat who supports gay marriage, was defeated in the election last month. That loss rattled some Democratic legislators who began to worry about riling religious and social conservatives by supporting a controversial social measure at a time of economic distress.

    The vote is iffy; and if neighboring New York is any guide, support in an actual senate vote will be significantly lower than Democrats expect: The head-count in the New York state senate before the vote lured Democrats into believing that the vote would be close; the final vote was 38 to 24 against, a resounding defeat.

    One suggestion making the rounds is that the New Jersey state legislature should pass the deal, and vote to put an SSM initiative on the ballot for November 2010. Let voters take responsibility for their own fundamental institutions!

    Not surprisingly, this is pushed mostly by Republicans, who are confident -- given recent polling and the expected strong Republican showing for that election -- that they will win any actual referendum of the people of New Jersey:

    Opponents of the measure argued that the issue was so personal that it should be put before voters in a referendum.

    John Tomicki, a leader of the Coalition to Preserve and Protect Marriage, said hundreds of volunteers were in Trenton to lobby against the bill and had gathered more than 300,000 signatures on petitions urging the Legislature to reject it.

    (New Jersey) Star Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine, who calls himself a conservative (some evidently don't agree), keyboarded a Ledger blogpost today calling for just such a solution:

    So, try as they might, all of those people in T-shirts can’t get around the essential nature of what they are trying to do: Rush a bill through lame-duck in defiance of the voters. If this bill somehow gets signed into law, the attempt to repeal it will begin the next day, and the opponents will hold the high ground.

    There’s a simple way to avoid this. And that is to put the question of same-sex marriage before the voters. The opponents of same-sex marriage say they would agree to supply the votes to put that referendum on the November ballot. As for the supporters of same-sex marriage, they say they’ve got the votes to pass that referendum.

    My guess, however, is that the Democrats in the state senate would never, ever agree to such a bizarre suggestion, allowing the people to vote. Supporters of SSM have historically shied from letting mere voters have a say in crafting the definition of marriage.

    SSM is a program of the radical left, the "New Left" that depends upon the gay lobby -- from GALA to GLAAD to ACT-UP, even to NAMBLA -- for a large part of its political clout. These groups tend to be Marxist or socialist in their macro-politics, and all without exception are Stalinist in their strong-arm approach to what they call "gay rights." The last thing in the world the anointed want is ordinary "straights" (sexual and political) voting on the issue; after all, experience has taught them that voters invariably "get it wrong."

    They still seem to be getting it wrong. In the latest Quinnipiac University poll, released November 25th of last year (three weeks after the gubernatorial election), New Jersey registered voters opposed SSM by a narrow but statistically significant margin of 49% - 46%; this reverses a poll earlier this year, when voters supported it by 49 to 43. Since April, the support for SSM fell from an advantage of 6% to losing by 3%:

    "When we asked about gay marriage in April, it won narrow approval. Now that it seems closer to a legislative vote, it loses narrowly with the public," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

    "The biggest drop is among independent voters, who backed the measure 50 - 41 percent in April [and now support it by only 49-45]. And opposition among men spiked from 48 - 44 percent opposed to 57 - 38 percent."

    Mulshine seems to agree:

    So why not trust the people? Well, in other states, such as liberal Maine and even-more-liberal California, the voters have rejected same-sex marriage. Perhaps those polls [cited by SSM supporters] aren’t so predictive.

    (In fact, the polls Mulshine quotes senate supporters as citing are old; they didn't cite the newest Quinnipiac poll noted above.)

    I strongly expect a trifecta: After Maine's stunning defeat of SSM in November and New York's rejection of it less than a week ago, I predict that the New Jersey state senate will decisively repudiate same-sex marriage as well.

    Unless, of course, the Left realize they are about to lose again... and simply calls off the vote altogether. Perhaps they can figure out some way to get Barack H. Obama's Environmental Protection Agency to implement same-sex marriage by federal regulation; that would be more in keeping with the Left's extreme distaste for messy democratic processes.

    Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 8, 2009, at the time of 2:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Date ►►► December 7, 2009

    Dafydd's Pontifications

    Hatched by Dafydd

    After a hiatus of approximately 237 years, I have put a post up at Patterico's Pontifications, where I got my start blogging back when the rocks were still cooling. You can read it here.

    I'm too pressed for time to tell you what it's all about. Suffice to say that it relates to racism, paleoconservatism, communism (with a lowercase c), brainwashing, and McCain -- but not that McCain.

    For the full poop, follow the link, you lazy jackanapes!

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 7, 2009, at the time of 11:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Congress Be Damned, Globaloney Marches On!

    Hatched by Dafydd

    Now that the Cripple and Tax energy-killing bill flogged by President Barack H. Obama is stalled in the Senate, where it doesn't have the 60 votes needed to advance (sounds familiar), we can take a breather, right? We're safe from the overwrought, hyperventilating, anti-Capitalist hysteria that is sweeping Europe; after all, senators surely don't want to destroy our economy (what's left of it) by preventing us from generating the energy we need to run America!

    Not so fast, monkey boy.

    Quietly, sub rosa, the Environmental Protection Agency has been beavering away with it's "finding" that carbon dioxide -- a gas essential to the continued existence of life on this planet (beyond the bacterial stage) -- is actually a deadly poison, a pollutant that must be stamped out.

    Do I exaggerate? Yes, a little; the EPA doesn't want to ban all CO2 from the planet... but they do intend to use the finding to implement the entire Cripple and Tax carbon-restricting program that the Senate will not:

    The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday will complete its determination that greenhouse gases pose a danger to human health and the environment, paving the way for regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, power plants, factories refineries and other major sources....

    The move gives President Obama a significant tool to combat the gases blamed for the heating of the planet even while Congress remains stalled on economy-wide global warming legislation.

    The Obama administration has signaled its intent to issue a so-called endangerment finding for carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases since taking office in January. Ms. Jackson announced a proposed finding in April and has taken steps to implement the rules that would be needed to back it up.

    Why are they doing this? And why now? Two reasons:

    1. They can use the threat of heavy-fisted EPA regulations, which would have all the finesse and sensitivity to business needs of a kid in a china shop, to extort the Senate to pass the Obamic legislation.

    The administration evidently believes Republican senators will be so desperate to ward off the thuggish, slash-and-burn EPA-style "regulation," they will drop their filibuster in the Senate. In other words, the Obama administration now holds the nation's economy hostage, threatening to wreck it unless Congress passes Cripple and Tax -- which will also wreck the economy, but a little more slowly. "Say, nice little country you got there; be a shame if something was to happen to it..."

    If this squeeze play works, it will give the radicals in government the power to rule by decree, and to the devil with the legislative branch:

    The administration has wielded the finding as a prod to Congress to act on legislation, saying in effect that if lawmakers do not act to control greenhouse gas pollution they will use their rule-making power to do so. At the same time, the president and his top environmental aides have frequently said that they prefer such a major step be taken through the give-and-take of the legislative process.

    "Look what you're making me do!"

    Evidently, having gigantic majorities in both chambers of Congress is not enough: The Left will never be satisifed until there is no obstacle, or even a speed bump, between it and direct rule. It's no coincidence that the Obamacle is so enamored of Venezuelan dictator Oogo Chavez; they are kindred souls.

    1. The other reason for the finding -- and the reason it must be right now, not a month from now -- is that Barack Obama plans to use this regulatory threat to boost his internationalist standing at the Copenhagen conference of Anthropogenic Global Climate Change (AGCC) nutters... waving the bloody green shirt, as it were.

    The Times on that last point:

    The agency finding also will allow Mr. Obama to tell delegates at the United Nations climate change conference that began today in Copenhagen that the United States is moving aggressively to address the problem.

    "Aggressively" is the word, all right: The president is aggressing against his own people.

    (I think I misspeak; Barack Obama's "people" are actually those so chillingly described in Jonah Goldberg's book Liberal Fascism. But he is aggressing against real America, however.)

    There is certainly a utopian economic motivation behind the madness: a climate-change Ponzi scheme to force the "rich countries" to transfer most of their wealth to "poor countries." In the universe of the Left, distributing the wealth around is a good thing; after all, with our evil Capitalist system, we've been holding down the poor for hundreds of years!

    Botswana and Belize, Burma, Bulgaria, and Bangladesh would all be well-fed and prosperous -- were it not for the developed countries systematically looting them. There is nowhere else our wealth could have come from but stealing it from the poor. (Unlike the Old, Communist Left, the New Left does not believe in wealth creation, only redistribution.)

    But a darker motive lurks at the intersection of cultic environmentalism and madness; it's not just that the rich should be killed and eaten, that's old hat; humanity itself is a cancer upon the Earth... and it must be expunged. The anti-human radicals at, e.g., the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) believe that amputation is the planet's last hope; we must extirpate the human race.

    And these "elves" are driving the environmentalism bus.

    I believe the entire movement is riddled with people who believe Mankind itself should be exterminated, as the only way to open the door for a truly "green" Gaea. It's not everybody who calls himself an enviro; it's not Ed Begley, jr., for example. But it is the activist crust, and they're the ones pushing the agenda. I truly believe that many of what I call the "enviro-mental cases" see globaloney hysteria as their best shot at so devastating the world economy that our global population is reduced to a fraction of our current level... where "reduced" is a euphemism for an almost Malthusian die-off of human beings.

    And the One We Have Elected is, all unwittingly -- or simply not caring, so long as he gets his -- playing right into the nihilists' hands.

    Elections have consequences; one of the consequences of this last one is that we have an "imperial presidency" and "unitary executive" (as the liberals misuse those terms) that dwarfs any feeble steps the Bush administration ever took to castrate Congress, just as the Obama deficit spending towers over Bush's paltry excesses like Ozymandias looming over the desert sands in Percy Bysshe Shelly's famous 1818 sonnet. For some unaccountable reason, the Left doesn't mind having an American monarch, so long as he's their American monarch.

    In fact, I feel a great kinship with Mr. Shelly right about now; with every new outrage by America's worst president ever, I hear the echoes of Shelly's arrogant demigod:

    "My name is Obamandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

    Alas, it's difficult not to proceed immediately from there to the prophetic and terrifying final triplet of that poem... for which you will have to read the entire (14 line) sonnet below.

    Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

    (The complete text of Ozymandias may be found by clicking the "Slither on.")

    Ozymandias
    by Percy Bysshe Shelly
    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 7, 2009, at the time of 5:10 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Date ►►► December 6, 2009

    Thanksmas 2009

    Hatched by Dafydd

    Back when I was at university, I took judicial notice of an annoying fact about the major holidays: Nobody stuck around for them.

    Take Thanksgiving; everybody goes home to his family, myself included. Same thing a month later for Christmas. Thus I never had a chance to attend parties with my friends.

    My solution was typically convoluted and byzantine... I invented my own holiday, Thanksmas (decades before Seinfeld and "Festivus"); as the name implies, it falls anywhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas that most of my then starving-student friends could attend.

    Back in those days, if you bought something like $50 worth of groceries at any supermarket chain shortly before Thanksgiving, they'd give you a free turkey. I would deliberately let all my supplies run low -- making quite a point of thawing, cooking, and eating everything in the freezer. I waited until I had nothing to eat left in the house; then, when I went to Ralphs or Vons, I would just barely top out above half a yard, usually after tossing in a few things I probably didn't need, like mechanics' soap or a box of tampons (I would donate the latter to the first female friend I met).

    Having scored my turkey, I would shoe-horn it into the teeny (and now empty) freezer atop the tiny refrigerator, there to leave it however many days until Thanksmas. I invited friends over and we had a feast. Nobody ever left hungry.

    But at some point, I got bored with cooking a turkey each time, especially as I became the go-to guy in my family to cook the Thanksgiving turkey; twice in a row was a bit thick. So I hit upon the idea of making each Thanksmas feast completely different from all others... and exotic to boot. Each year had its own theme -- wild game night, Spanish tapas night, Chinese night, shellfish night, baked night (meat pies, fruit pies, and homemade bread), and so forth.

    2008 was the year of "all things Oriental that are neither Chinese nor Japanese;" since Sachi can make Chinese (her favorite *) or Japanese food in her sleep, we wanted a challenge. We had Korean jajangmyun (black noodle dish), Vietnamese spicy fruit soup (with tamarind), Thai curry, and some Indian lamb dish I can't quite recall. (For drinks, we served Mai Tais, but nobody got it.)

    * Actually, Sachi now informs me that she has changed her mind, as is a woman's prerogative; her favorite food is now Greek.

    This year, we spent a week together in Crete; and Sachi stayed an additional three weeks after I came home. Ergo, it seemed a no-brainer that we had to have... Crete night! Well, Crete and Greek night.

    The menu was as follows:

    • Dolma (S) with homemade tzatziki (D);
    • Greek salad (S);
    • Cretan lamb pie, flavored with vegetables, tomato, and mizithra cheese (D);
    • Cretan seafood tagliatelle, with squid, octopus, shrimp, mussels, and oysters (D);
    • Cretan rabbit stifado (rabbit stew with veggies) (S);
    • Baklava (S);
    • Fig cake (the only thing we bought; the rest we cooked from scratch)



    Baklava in perspective

    Baklava, perspective view

    I have to say that this turned out better than any other Thanksmas in recent memory; none of the food was off, everything was consumed, the guests practically devoured the tablecloth. Less than one dinner's worth of leftovers.



    Baklava from top

    Baklava, Busby Berkeley view

    I had one near-catastrophe when I ended up with too much liquid in the seafood dish; but I was able to scoop enough out that it assumed its proper consistency before we added the tagliatelle noodles.

    Sachi insists the best dish was my pie, but I really liked Sachi's rabbit.



    Dolma

    Dolma (lamb and bulgar wheat wrapped in grape leaf)

    Our misfortune, we didn't get any other photos of the dishes, not even the three main courses. So it goes.

    For drinks, my friend Dewie (the pre-post-doc, I call her) brought some ouzo, which was a lot better than any ouzo we had in Crete. (It's mostly bathtub booze there anyway, and it's dreadful; it tastes like wood alcohol.) You pour a little bit of water into the clear ouzo... and it turns cloudy. Passing strange.

    We also made rakomelo: You start with raki, a traditional eastern-Mediterranean "brandy" made from grape stems and leaves. The raki of Greece generally doesn't have anise in it, or at least not much; but the only raki we could find in Southern California was Turkish, and that's very heavily flavored with anise... it tastes like you're drinking liquid licorice! I didn't particularly like it.

    We finally broke out the tiny bottle of Cretan raki we had, and that tasted a lot better; alas there wasn't enough of it for rakomelo, so we had to stick with the young Turk.

    You make rakomelo by boiling raki with honey, cloves, and a cinnamon stick or two, which turns it into almost a liquour. It tasted good, despite the candy flavor; but I think I'll stick to port and my own recipe for apple martini.

    I was astonished at how many bakalavas the guests ate. Sachi and I each had two pieces, but everybody else averaged about four or five! Considering that each piece is probably 100-125 calories, that dessert alone carries quite a hefty caloric price tag.

    We were going to make a dessert out of unripe figs cooked in syrup, topped with a different kind of tzatziki -- one with mint instead of dill as the major seasoning -- and pomegranate syrup. Alas, speaking of seasons, figs were "out of ------;" so we had to blow it off. Hence the fig cake. Perhaps during the spring...

    All in all, a very satisfactory Thanksmas!

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 6, 2009, at the time of 9:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Does ObamaCare Teeter on the Brink of Collapse?

    Hatched by Dafydd

    There are two possible explanations for President Barack H. Obama's sudden rush to personally lobby and exhort senators to vote for ObamaCare:

    • It's scant days from passage, and Obama wants to be there for the kill;
    • Or just the opposite: The fragile coalition is breaking apart, and this is a last, desperate lunge for the brass ring, as Obama topples off the painted, wooden horse.

    I vote for the latter, as the former doesn't match the observed facts:

    Democrats met throughout yesterday to seek an alternative to Senate Majority Harry Reid’s plan to create the new national program to cover the uninsured. Opposition within his party leaves Reid at risk of falling four votes short of the 60 he needs to pass the legislation, the most sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health-care system in more than four decades.

    Four is a lot more than opponents need to kill the bill at the next cloture vote. And if there are four, more will probably jump aboard the bandwagon; any senator worried about reelection in 2010 or 2012 because his state is more conservative than he (that's a lot more than the usual formulation) would probably take advantage of a "free roll" to pander to the moderates. If the bill is already going down on a cloture vote anyway, it doesn't matter under the rules whether it falls four votes short -- or nine.

    And the fissures are the same as they ever were: abortion, the public option, taxes, the looting of Medicare, and health-care rationing. As an example of the last, here's news about how the bill Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 70%) introduced in the Senate guts home health-care:

    Republicans, unified in opposition, forced the Democrats yesterday to reiterate their support for cutting more than $40 billion in home health-care services funding under Medicare. It was the latest Republican effort to highlight the bill’s potential impact on the elderly....

    The Senate also turned back a Republican bid to restore the home health services funding. The Republicans are trying to draw attention to the impact on the elderly from some $400 billion in proposed Medicare savings.

    To boil it down, if Bloomberg is to be believed, Reid has made no progress whatsoever on persuading opponents, including some Democrats who voted to start debate, to come over to the dark side. Nobody has budged yet.

    Therefore, if the Obamacle is personally involved at this late date, the only explanation that jibes with the facts is that his hands-off approach, leaving it to the Senate Democratic leadership, has not worked. But with Obama's own lagging poll numbers, he really hasn't the clout to bully the wavering into voting for ObamaCare: The more he tightens his grip, the more star systems will slip through his fingers.

    If the Senate passes anything this year, it will be after an "amendment" jacks up the title and runs a whole new bill underneath... one that does little more than what the conservatives and moderates demand. Such a bill would be supported by Republicans, red-state Democrats, and even some leftist Democrats who cannot face the humiliation of returning to Berkeley or Austin or Manhattan empty handed; it would pass with well over 60 votes.

    Barack Obama has managed the nearly impossible: After less than a year in office, he has already transformed himself into a lame duck.

    Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 6, 2009, at the time of 4:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Date ►►► December 5, 2009

    Washington Post Warming to Climategate...

    Hatched by Dafydd

    ...But it still can't bring itself to admit there are reputable scientists who dispute the core theory of anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC).

    In its article today, the WaPo finally raises the issue of Climategate -- gingerly, and with great sensitivity to the feelings of the climate hystericos:

    Except now, much of that attention is focused on the science's flaws. Leaked just before international climate talks begin in Copenhagen -- the culmination of years of work by scientists to raise alarms about greenhouse-gas emissions -- the e-mails have cast those scientists in a political light and given new energy to others who think the issue of climate change is all overblown.

    The e-mails don't say that: They don't provide proof that human-caused climate change is a lie or a swindle.

    But they do raise hard questions. In an effort to control what the public hears, did prominent scientists who link climate change to human behavior try to squelch a back-and-forth that is central to the scientific method? Is the science of global warming messier than they have admitted?

    That's about as harsh as the Post is willing to go. They write not a single word about such fundamental questions as:

    • If human technology spurred AGCC in the last century, what caused the Mediaeval Warm Period from A.D. 800 to 1300? And what caused the Little Ice Age that followed?
    • Can other, completely natural factors explain the warming we have seen -- such as a change in the sun's output, or volcanic activity spewing "greenhouse" gases into the atmosphere?
    • Is a warming Earth truly catastrophic, as alarmists insist? Or does higher CO2 and warmer weather bring benefits as well as risks?
    • Will any of the suggested reparations actually make a significant difference? Or is it just feel-good politics that will push us towards the even greater catastrophe of energy starvation?
    • And why is it that, no matter whether the Earth is freezing into a gigantic, spherical glacier or turning into the hellish inferno of Venus, the solution is always the same: Smash the looms!
    • Most basic, why cannot the general-circulation computer models -- on which the entire theory is based -- even accurately "predict" the warming from 1900 to 2000, or the lack of warming occurring right now? Do they need minor tweaks... or are they utterly wrong from the beginning?

    The Post does at least touch on the question of climate models, but so gently even an alert reader could be excused for missing it:

    These are the facts: After an increase in 1998, the world has been historically warm, but its average temperatures have not climbed steadily. Does that mean climate change has stopped?

    Many mainstream scientists say no: This is just a tic of nature, as cycles of currents in the Pacific Ocean and a decrease in heat coming off the sun have temporarily dampened warming. Some researchers, though, have said the models -- and, by extension, the human researchers that built them -- could be missing something about how the climate works. That point was made in one stolen e-mail, in which climate researcher Kevin Trenberth wrote it was a "travesty" that models could not explain why the Earth hadn't warmed more.

    "We're simply not tracking where the heat is going," said Trenberth, who heads the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.

    The paper quotes no scientist opining that they're not "tracking where the heat is going" because the Earth may not be warming at the moment; the reporters assume all along that it's there... it's just hidden somehow. Yet if warming did abruptly stop, that causes a serious problem in the reliability of the general-circulation models -- since none of them predict such a thing. (At the very least it implies there are forces unaccounted for in current theory that operate counter to the supposedly warming effects of greenhouse gases.)

    The Post does note one anomaly that should sound a Klaxon about the integrity of AGCC researchers:

    The diversity of opinion on this topic, however, wasn't evident late last month, when a group of 26 climate researchers issued a report called "The Copenhagen Diagnosis," summarizing scientific advances since the last major U.N. climate report in 2007.

    "Has global warming recently slowed down or paused?" the report said. "No."

    Yet privately, researchers admit that global warming has "recently slowed down or paused." They just don't want to admit that in public; if people and politicians saw all the facts, including the messy ones that current AGCC theory cannot explain, they might get the wrong impression, you see.

    And here's another chilling quote that cuts right to the heart of the debate, rather, it's lack:

    Mainstream climate scientists say they have kept an open mind but have rejected papers that lack proper evidence. In Pielke's case, "the literature doesn't show" his ideas about the importance of land use are correct, said Tom Karl, head of the NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

    Top climate scientists say that in recent years most of the new, worthy research has only made the threat of climate change seem bigger and faster.

    But of course, research that draws the wrong conclusion can hardly be called "worthy."

    It's certainly true that peer-reviewed scientific journals cannot willy-nilly accept just any paper that's submitted; but the charge -- and it's one of the most serious in science -- is that papers are rejected not for lack of evidence but rather because they draw the "wrong" conclusions. If the globalista establishment pushes climate journals to reject any paper that invalidates or even questions a key element of AGCC, which some e-mails show the researchers at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia doing, then it's hardly a surprise that the scientific literature doesn't support the skeptics. It becomes, as I said, artifactual: Scientists get the literature they enforce.

    So on the one hand, we have a pure, linear, public face of science; and on the other, we see a messy, muddied private face. On the third hand, in the hacked CRU e-mails, we're shown the intersection of the two faces in a raging, secretive conversation about which facts can safely be released... and which are so explosive they must, at any cost, be suppressed. While this is the norm for politics, it makes for absolutely dreadful science.

    On the plus side, the leftstream media is finally starting to nibble around the edges of the Climategate scandal; but they're still not willing to admit that, far from merely presenting establishment climate researchers in an unflattering light, Climategate reveals them compromising the very data and scientific integrity they need to prove their theory... and one cannot help but conclude that if the facts really supported AGCC -- they wouldn't need to fudge them.

    Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 5, 2009, at the time of 3:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Date ►►► December 3, 2009

    Addendum to "The Party of Mandatory Assent"

    Hatched by Dafydd

    In our immediately preceding post, The Party of Mandatory Assent, we concluded that:

    What weaves all these threads together is a common theme of "winning" debate -- legislative, administrative, judicial, and academic -- by gagging the opposition, by mandating assent, by locking out dissenters, and by throwing freedom of speech under the bus of the permanent campaign.

    Bearing that in mind, here's another datum; this comes from the post "Free speech for me - not for thee," by Mark J. Fitzgibbons; I think you'll see the relevance:

    I recently received a direct mail fundraising appeal from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) that contained a premium (direct mail term for ‘freebie'). The letter was signed by Senator John Kerry. The premium was a flexible magnet, the type people put on their refrigerators and such.

    The magnet read: STAND FOR CHANGE -- SILENCE GOP LIES

    Silence them? Does the fundraising appeal also include a free SEIU t-shirt and standard-issue truncheon?

    Submitted for your thoughtful consideration...

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 3, 2009, at the time of 10:09 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    The Party of Mandatory Assent

    Hatched by Dafydd

    The Democratic Party fantasizes that it's "the party of dissent." It's certainly true that an inordinate number of Democrats were "dissidents" when they were young; but that was when Richard Nixon was president, for the older members -- or when Ronald Reagan was president, for the rest (including the current president, Barack H. Obama). That is, these radicals only dissented to Republican or conservative ideas; by contrast, they accepted the ideological ravings of the Left with uncritical cheerleading... and for the most part, they still do.

    Thus they're not really the party of dissent; they're the party of anti-Rightism. But now that the shoe is on the other hand, and wishy-washy leftism has become the establishment, dissent seems to the new power elite, to put it bluntly, unAmerican.

    Today, Democrats belong to the party of "'Shut up!' he explained."

    Examples are in order.

    Making waves

    First, as widely reported, since gaining control of both chambers of the Congress, Democrats have moved to shut Republicans completely out of most policy debates -- at times even changing the locks on House committee rooms to keep the GOP from mucking things up by joining the discussion:

    Last Thursday [October 15th, 2009], the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was set to hold a routine business meeting. Before the session, its ranking Republican, Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), made clear that he planned to call for the panel to subpoena Bank of America for documents related to Countrywide Financial Corp.'s infamous "Friends of Angelo" VIP mortgage program....

    When Thursday's committee meeting began, however, the Democrats were absent, and Republican members said they waited for more than half an hour before being told the session had been canceled because of scheduling conflicts. Democrats, meanwhile, were meeting in a private room behind the hearing room.

    A Republican aide saw the Democrats scuttling out of this backroom and videotaped them, posting the video on YouTube and the GOP website.

    On Monday, panel Democrats had the lock changed on the door leading from the GOP's office space into the main hearing room. They did so, Towns' office said, because Republicans "don't know how to behave."

    Rather than castigate these House Democrats, party members across the nation cheered them on, hooting and mocking the "defeated" Republicans. Defeated? Why yes... they were stopped from participating in their own committee meeting, a glorious victory!

    More glorious victories followed; they roll upon one another like waves against the shorline. Yesterday, lefty Joshua Micah Marshall, who runs Talking Points Memo (now called just "TPM," rather like how Kentucky Fried Chicken turned into KFC, and the International House of Pancakes mysteriously morphed into IHOP) reported the Democratic response to amendments Republicans offer to the ObamaCare bill under debate in the Senate:

    Currently, Reid and the Democrats are considering their options for moving the debate forward, and actually holding votes. The main possibility being considered is that Reid could move to table irrelevant Republican amendments.

    "If we're not allowed to move we're going to have to start tabling amendments," [Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA, 100%)] said.

    So whenever the Democrats decide (without consulting the GOP) that a Republican amendment is "irrelevant" -- Marshall's word, but I'm sure he has support on the Hill -- they will simply table it, which means to stuff it in a sack and throw it into the ocean... without debate.

    The wall

    But it's not just Congress, where one expects at least a certain amount of stepping on the minority's toes (though always so many more broken toes when the minority is Republican); the chief executive is supposed to be "President of the United States," not president of the Democratic caucus. But this particular fellow, who ran an entire campaign congratulating himself on his "post-partisanship," has also proven to be allergic to dissent against his meshuge pronunciamentos; John Stossel reports on today's "jobs summit":

    At least the Administration talks about the private sector:

    "We want to make sure it is not just the public sector doing this in a vacuum," said Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama. "It's important we engage the private sector as well." Administration officials, however, have excluded major trade associations from the summit....

    Some of those groups privately complain that their job creation ideas, including enactment of stalled free trade deals that they say would boost exports, are opposed by labor unions, which will be heavily represented at the forum.

    The White House, which has clashed with some of the business groups over their opposition to health-care reform and other initiatives, says it has met repeatedly with those organizations and wants to hear fresh ideas.

    Yes. I am sure those "fresh ideas" will come from the trade unions whom the White House just hasn't heard from much over the past year. At the summit they will also hear from environmental groups “Green for All” and “Coalition for the Green Bank.” I’m sure they’ll have great ideas for job creation.

    Will at least some free-market economists get to speak? No. The White House will hear from Paul Krugman, Joe Stiglitz, and Jeffrey Sachs. "Fresh ideas" won’t be heard from these folks.

    Anybody who knows what the term "summit" means, raise your hand. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

    Yes, I'm sure all readers of this blog know that a "summit" is generally used to mean a meeting between opposing heads of state to bring a long-term negotiation to a final conclusion. The operative word here is "opposing": If everyone is already singing from the same page, that's not a summit; that's a party.

    But this is hardly anomalous in the administration of the Obamacle. When dissenters are so obviously wrong, why bother listening to them? It will only waste time on "irrelevant" proposals. On issue after issue, in task force after task force, he has excluded not only Republicans but even Democrats who are insufficiently subordinate. In fact, his appointment of scores of "Czars" to make decisions in place of secretaries, administrators, and other positions subject to Senate confirmation is a gigantic conspiracy to wall off any congressional dissent to Obamic policy-making.

    Kritarchy malarkey

    Democrats in the judiciary evince the very same philosophy of "See no Republicans, hear no Republicans, Allow no Republicans to speak." No better example exists than the liberal judges who have repeatedly overturned the decisions of the people -- often even when those decisions were expressed in democratic elections -- and tried to force same-sex marriage (SSM) on us all, willy-nilly. The astonishing and relentless assault on government of, by, and for the people is particularly brutal in California:

    • In response to rumblings for SSM from the Left, Californians voted very strongly (61-39) for traditional marriage, Proposition 22, in May of 2000.
    • Not willing to accept the vote of mere peons -- can't let the inmates run the asylum! -- the California Supreme Court overturned Prop 22 eight years later, May 2008, declaring SSM to be a fundamental right under the California state constitution. Thus shocking those of us who had never actually seen it there before.
    • This forced the people back to the polls again six months later, where they enacted Proposition 8 by 52 to 48 (in a very Democratic year with Barack Obama on the same ballot). Prop 8 had exactly the same wording as Prop 22, but it was an initiative constitutional amendment, rather than a lowly legislative initiative. Thus, Prop 8 trumped the California Supreme Court's decision by amendmending the constitution.
    • But the Left refuses to admit defeat. Liberal activists filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to overturn Prop 8 under the federal Constitution, which everybody knows was expressly written in 1787 in order to legalize same-sex marriage.

      Notwithstanding all that voting goin' on, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals -- all three judges were appointed by Bill Clinton -- has signalled that it is poised to find Prop 8 unconstitutional and throw it out. The voters can go jump in the Pacific.

    This will eventually force the issue to the Supreme Court (perhaps after a detour at an "en banc" hearing of the 9th Circus), where I am utterly convinced the current Court will side with the people, not their self-appointed judicial masters.

    Regardless of the likely good ending to this long legal saga, my point is that the Democratic response to dissent from its utopian schemes is "shut up and go away." In this case, we actually held a debate in the most public and democratic way: by a democratic election. Now that debate is over and the Right has won, the Left wants the vote overturned by judicial warrant; their own losing side shall be declared the winner, and the votes of millions of Californios become null and void.

    Acrid academia

    This arrogance even permeates the lowest levels of "government," in this case a state-owned, public university.

    In the Fall of 1996, the debate over California's Proposition 209 raged. The initiative constitutional amendment threatened to end "affirmative action," that is, race and gender preferences in California -- and the Left was in a lather. How dare those conservatives take seriously all that nonsense about judging folks by the content of their characters, rather than the color of their skins; didn't those religious extremists and social troglodytes understand that skin color completely determines character, as well as determining ability, temperment, and opportunity?

    To top off the insult, the campaign for Prop 209 was run by a black conservative, Ward Connerly. How could such a creature even exist, let alone run a successful campaign to change California's constitution?

    The wording of the initiative was truly convoluted, contorted, tortuous, and impossible to understand... at least to liberals. It read, "The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting."

    The Left was terrified that the idiot sheeple, in the privacy of the voting booth, might become so befuddled by the sly and tricksy language that they fail to understand that voting for Prop 209 would stop the state from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to individuals or groups on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.

    The California State University at Northridge (CSUN) decided to hold a debate on September 25th, 1996. Speaking against the initiative would be famed civil-rights leader Joe Hicks; so obviously, the logical choice to speak in its favor would be Ward Connerly himself.

    But the CSUN student council had other ideas... or at least half of them did. It comprised 22 members, as I recall, split evenly between supporters and opponents of Prop 209. When the council called the first question, to invite Hicks to speak in opposition, the vote was unanimous.

    But then Student Body President Vladimir Cerna, an outspoken opponent of eliminating "affirmative action" and opponent of Prop 209, pulled a rabbit up his sleeve: Rather than call a vote on the proponent nominated by supporters of the initiative, Ward Connerly, Cerna took it upon himself to introduce a different candidate: He moved that CSUN invite, as its Prop 209 proponent in the debate, David Ernest Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

    Proponents of Prop 209 were aghast; they all voted against the obvious "poison pill." But the lovers of affirmative action unanimously voted for David Duke to represent their opponents, making the vote an 11-11 tie. This allowed Cerna to exercise his power as president to cast a second vote for Duke, and the motion carried 12 to 11. It was official: The pro-Prop 209 side would be represented in the debate by a white nationalist and demonstrated racist.

    The Left succeeded in picking a racist monster to "speak for" the Right... but Prop 209 was enacted anyway by a 10-point margin.

    Like a web, the pieces all fall into place...

    What weaves all these threads together is a common theme of "winning" debate -- legislative, administrative, judicial, and academic -- by gagging the opposition, by mandating assent, by locking out dissenters, and by throwing freedom of speech under the bus of the permanent campaign.

    I can only conclude, as I have on too many occasions (but don't expect me to exercise admirable restraint in the future), by quoting the late great Robert Anton Wilson, when he ate too many magic mushrooms and channeled Lemuel Gulliver *:

    And so... these Learned Men, having Inquir'd into the Case for the Opposition, discover'd that the Opposition had no Case and were Devoid of Merit, which was what they Suspected all along, and they arriv'd at this Happy Conclusion by the most Economical and Nice of all Methods of Enquiry, which was that they did not Invite the Opposition to confuse Matters by Participating in the Discussion.

    My own thought: Democrats do not form a political party; they form an ideological cult.

    And that puts a period to this post.

    Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

     

    * Wilson, Robert Anton; "The Persecution and Assassination of the Parapsychologists as Performed by the Inmates of the American Association for the Advancement of Science under the Direction of the Amazing Randi;" p. 85, Right Where You Are Sitting Now, ©1982, And/Or Press, Inc. -- first printing.

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 3, 2009, at the time of 6:57 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    Polanski Peel-Out Pool

    Hatched by Dafydd

    I'm setting up a "betting" pool. Not with real money, of course; we have no way to force losers to pony up. This is just a fantasy-bet pool.

    Pick how many days will elapse from Roman Polanski's release under "house arrest" until he splits down the Alps -- on the French side.

    Choices range from "the same day he's released" to "after one day", "after two days", etc., all the way to "won't jump bail at all" (for the trusting types). Please post a comment picking some number of days after Polanski's transfer to house arrest; whoever comes closest gets bragging rights and predictive prestige.

    (Only one commenter per pick. All dates will be as reported in the Washington Examiner or the Washington Times; if the papers disagree on the date he was released or the date he runs, well then maybe two people get to win.

    (And to make it fair for whoever picks "never," that person wins if Polanski still hasn't fled thirty days after the latest date picked by commenters: For example, assume the latest date picked is twenty days; then if fifty days [20 + 30] elapse without Polanski running, and assuming nobody else picks a later date in the meantime, then the "never" guy wins.)

    I'll get the ball on the road: I think Polanski will wait a while, making sure he has everything arranged before bolting and waiting for Swiss police attention to wane. So I'm picking 12... I say he runs twelve days after being transferred to his chalet in Gstaad.

    Please link this post or e-mail the URL to your pals -- the more the merrier!

    Fire away...

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 3, 2009, at the time of 12:54 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    More Dancin' Diatribes

    Hatched by Dafydd

    This time, for "the other dance show" -- So You Think You Can Hip-Hop Dance.

    SYTYCD is really for the younger set; my sister and my brother's wife both love this show, but neither watches Dancing With the Stars.

    In this dance competition, twenty dancers (ten each) are selected from literally thousands of auditioners. They're paired up, then each week, every couple draws a dance style randomly; the styles range from hip hop (too much hip hop, in my opinion), to ballroom, jazz, Broadway, contemporary (basically modern ballet), and more exotic dance styles (Bollywood, Lindy Hop, Russian folk dance, etc.).

    Professional choreographers design the dances, which the couples perform, competing against each other. Each week, viewers get to vote: For the first half of each season, they vote for couples; for the last half, for individuals.

    On the "results" show, dancers wind up in the "bottom three" or "bottom two" based on viewer votes. Then one guy and one gal are cut, based upon the judges' decision (first half) or viewer votes (second half). In the end, "there can be only one."

    For any of youse who watch SYTYCD, you might imagine that my favorite male dance contestant would be the brilliant ballroom dancer, Ryan Di Lello. Not so! He was my favorite, up until a couple of weeks ago; but now my favorite is the contemporary dancer Jakob Karr.

    (My favorite female dance contestant was and still is Ashleigh Di Lello, Ryan's wife; I do hope Ryan hangs on long enough to get paired with his wife one week... and I hope they get a ballroom number!)

    Jakob is simply astonishing -- a cross between season 2 winner Benji Schwimmer and hall of famer Ray Bolger (the guy who played the Scarecrow in the 1939 version of the Wizard of Oz). He has never been in the bottom three, nor was he in the bottom two tonight. Although he's a contemporary dancer, he seems able to master nearly every dance style they throw at him... though of course Ryan is better at ballroom. (But Jakob does a better ballroom than Ryan does contemporary.)

    Most interesting to me is his physical flexibility, hence my otherwise cryptic remark above about Ray Bolger: Jakob can move his body in ways that no human male can possibly move, leading to my conclusion that he's a double-jointed alien.

    To me, he is clearly the -- best -- dancer on this season of the show, male or female... possibly the best dancer ever on any season. So that's my prediction: Jakob Karr will win this season of SYTYCD.

    ...Just etching it in stone to be the first (among those blogs I read) to make such a bold prediction. As Detective Inspector Grim (David Haig) said on the Rowan Atkinson series the Thin Blue Line, "My butt's hanging way out over the line, and I don't want any cock-up!"

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 3, 2009, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    Date ►►► December 2, 2009

    Quagistan

    Hatched by Dafydd

    Another ultra-short post, the purpose of which is clearly (and crassly) to make readers come back several times a day, checking to see if any new pearls have been cast before them...

    (Wait -- I just thought that silently, right? I didn't really say it out loud, did I? Didn't think so. Whew!)

    This from an unsigned editorial in today's Daily Telegraph (which newspaper actually leans to the right), anent the war in Afghanistan:

    Eight years after the West went into Afghanistan, the country remains a quagmire.

    Well... technically true, I suppose, in that we're not moving forward at the moment. But let's look at the big picture here: Isn't Afghanistan tremendously better off now from our perspective, and even from the Afghans' perspective (especially Afghan women), than it was in, say, mid-2001, just before the war began?

    (Not to give the wrong impression, the Telegraph wasn't a fan of the speech or (it appears) the policy.)

    So even if it is a "quagmire," the quicksand is a lot closer to shore, where we can see the beginnings of democracy, security, non-belligerence, and basic civilization. Afghanistan is much better off than before we invaded, it's like comparing eastern Germany before and after 1990.

    I can live with that.

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 2, 2009, at the time of 7:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    I Have a Dream...

    Hatched by Dafydd

    Dear American Left;

    Can we all agree on one result of the debate over ObamaCare, the latest attempt to wrench the United States over to the failed national health systems of Europe?

    Can't we sign some kind of Medical Contract with America that:

    • After we voters rise up in fear and fury over the attempt to cripple our medical care, push doctors out of the business, and (to further insult us) make us pay more for degraded medical service;
    • After ObamaCare is squelched in the next cloture vote;
    • After many of those who voted for it (or to "move the process forward") find themselves pressing the flesh... not looking for votes but looking for a new job;
    • After Barack H. Obama takes the big political hit, turning him into a lame duck halfway through his first (and only) term...
    • After fear, uncertainty, doubt, and destruction of the very liberals who pushed it -- you guys...

    After all those negative consequences for you, personally, not just this time but the last time as well (HillaryCare), can't we simply make a pact that -- we never, ever have to go through this again? Aren't two devastating defeats for medical Socialism in just fifteen years enough to put a stake through the heart of this leftist utopian scheme?

    Please?

    It can't possibly be good for America's health to raise everybody's blood pressure and anxiety level every few years. Give us a break; just leave it alone.

    Thanks,

    Dafydd ab Hugh
    Consarned citizen

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 2, 2009, at the time of 5:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    How About a Quickie?

    Hatched by Dafydd

    From the New York Times, moments ago:

    The [New York] State Senate defeated a bill on Wednesday that would legalize same-sex marriage, after an emotional debate that touched on civil rights, family and history. The vote means that the bill, pushed by Gov. David A. Paterson, is effectively dead for the year and dashes the optimism of gay rights advocates, who have suffered setbacks recently in several key states.

    The bill was defeated by a decisive margin of 38 to 24. The Democrats, who have a bare, one-seat majority, did not have enough votes to pass the bill without some Republican support, but not a single Republican senator voted for the measure. Still, several key Democrats who were considered swing votes also opposed the bill.

    I believe this will mark the turning point. The American voters have always -- every single time -- opposed radically rewriting the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, along with polygamy, polyandry, group marriage, and overly consanguineous marriage. Whenever the people were allowed to vote directly, they invariably supported the traditional definition of marriage.

    But for some time, state legislatures (and of course judges) have been trying a jam-down on same-sex marriage (SSM); several legislatures have enacted SSM in the teeth of opposition by their citizens. In Massachusetts, the lege went so far as to truculently kill a bill pushed by Republicans that would have allowed the citizens of that "commonwealth" a chance to vote whether to keep or repeal that state's legalization of SSM; can't have that!

    But today's stunner indicates to me that the fad has passed. It's not just that New York, one of the most liberal states in the nation, turned down SSM; more important, it wasn't even a close vote. Not only all Republicans vote against it (contrary to expectations before the vote), so did eight of the 32 Democrats, a full quarter of that caucus.

    Proponents of SSM can dream all they want; that strong a vote is not going to be reversed in the forseeable future. If anything, in the upcoming elections, the New York State Legislature will shift to the right, just like every other state and the federal Congress.

    There currently are only four states that allow SSM: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont; New Hampshire will join them on New Year's Day (I wonder how Mark Steyn feels about this). I can confidently predict that that is it; no more states will enroll in that perilous roster. In fact, I suspect that Iowa and New Hampshire may not stick with it for long... and if the voters in Massachusetts are ever allowed their vote, neither will they.

    Dare I say it? Of course! The "great movement" for SSM has petered out; adios, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 2, 2009, at the time of 2:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Gallup Sets Obamic Baseline on Afghanistan

    Hatched by Dafydd

    Gallup just released the polling numbers on Barack "Lucky Lefty" Obama's Afghanistan policy; they polled from November 20th to 22nd, so this poll sets a perfect baseline for how the One's policy speech last night, and his new policy itself, affect his approval on this issue.

    We'll check back in a week or so and see what Gallup indicates has happened to the Tally of O, at least anent Afghanistan.

    I suspect that rather than helping the Commander in Chief, the new policy -- we send 30,000 more men, who will fully arrive in about six months; then come what may, we yank them out one year later, just as his reelection fight kicks off -- and especially his "explanation" of the policy last night, will actually hurt his job approval on Afghanistan... significantly.

    As it happens, his Afghanistan policy approval has already plummeted from 56% in mid-July to a scary 35% now, dropping an average of 5.25% per month:



    Obama Afghanistan Policy Approval

    Barack Obama's Afghanistan policy approval

    Even fellow Democrats barely approve:



    Approval by Party

    Approval by party

    The same poll also asked about Obama's policies on six other issues: energy policy, terrorism policy, globaloney, economic policy, ObamaCare, and (heh) job creation. His approval ranges from a high of 49% for energy down to 40% for jobs.

    I wonder how long this fellow can even sustain his current low overall job approval of 49%; sooner or later (probably sooner), his general approval will sink to match the low-average rating of his policy approvals.

    We may very well charge into the November elections next year with President Obama languishing at 40% to 42% job approval. How might that affect the congressional elections?

    Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 2, 2009, at the time of 1:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    What the Right Hand Giveth...

    Hatched by Dafydd

    ...the left hand taketh away.

    At first, I was going to keep a scorecard of the strategic questions the president needs to answer, so we will have some idea of what strategy President Barack "Lucky Lefty" Obama plans to implement.

    But the speech turned out to be so lacking in essential detail that I can't answer any of 'em. This exercise in parroting the TOTUS seems vague but is in fact meaningless.

    Then I thought maybe I could fisk it; but no, that's redundant. It fisks itself:

    • The fuzzy, foggy flood of flatulent fatuity;
    • The whiny blame-it-on-Bush segments;
    • The unfocused jumping from one topic to another -- from Afghanistan, to a brief revisionist history of the world since 2001, to the failed eight years of the previous administration, to Afghanistan (again), to the economy, to yawn-inducing self congratulation;
    • The rambling and blathering at the end, as he recounted his drive up the California coastline -- oh, wait, that was a different blather. This one was... I can't remember, something about Franklin Roosevelt and how good things really were in the 1930s;
    • The nervous, tepid, semi-applause (I presume the "Applesauce" light lit up), the thin, grim lips on the cadets' mouths, the cadets who looked as though they were drifting off to the Land of Nod.

    I thought to note the terrible message this sends to our allies and enemas alike: That the danger posed by al-Qaeda and the Taliban is so great, it threatens the entire world... and that we intend to end that threat, once and for all -- all of a year and a half!

    No, all our readers already know all that.

    Then what about the Washington insiders enthusing about the wonderful "politics" of the speech, how the One successfully placated all the different sides that matter to him: The moderate Left, the Left, and the extreme Left:

    I watched President Obama's speech at West Point and thought it was a pretty good political speech.

    That's not entirely correct. I thought it was a very good political speech....

    Remember, Obama has to protect himself from his own left. House Democrats have all but declared war on Obama's War [the Washington Post's phrase, not mine], Michael Moore took out a full page ad in advance of the speech to announce his opposition, and the MoveOn.org and Pink Slip organizations are threatening to… be really, really, angry.

    By contrast, I think this is the limpest speech I have ever seen or heard Obama deliver, for all the reasons quoted above. This isn't going to move the meter one angstrom, not on presidential job approval, Afghanistan-war conduct approval, nor even the president's gravitas and leadership -- at least not positively. I can easily see the speech so turning off the electorate that Obama manages to dig a sub-basement into the hole he has already dug.

    So what the heck; consider this my contribution to the literature of oraculars from the Obamacle. I can't write any more; I'm already nodding off from ennui, just like those poor cadets.

    Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 2, 2009, at the time of 4:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Date ►►► December 1, 2009

    Obamic Afghanism

    Hatched by Dafydd

    Big speech tonight, 5:00 PM PST; for all of youse who plan to listen (I probably will), it's urgent for you to pay less attention to the number of troops Barack H. Obama plans to send (30,000) -- and more to any hint he gives of the strategy he will order or allow Gen. Stanley McChrystal to follow.

    Will he order the counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy McChrystal said was the only strategy that could achieve victory? Or will it be the failed "counterterrorism" strategy concocted by that respected military genius, Vice President "Slow" Joe Biden? Or something else entirely which we haven't seen yet?

    It makes all the difference in the world:

    • Will our main focus be on protecting the civilian population of Afghanistan -- or on finding specific terrorists and killing them?
    • Will we commit to stay until Afghanistan is stable and in control -- or will we announce a public withdrawal date, signalling the Taliban and al-Qaeda that they need only hang on till then?
    • Will we be patrolling in company, fully integrated with Afghan forces -- or hiding in our Fortress of Solitude, only sallying forth to fight pitched battles with the Taliban?
    • Will we be taking territory from the Taliban/al-Qaeda and holding it -- or chasing the bad guys from place to place to place in a big circle, ending right where they began?
    • Will the rules of engagement (ROEs) allow us to attack the enemy whenever we see them, initiating campaigns and fighting them to conclusion -- or do we have to wait until we personally are attacked before we can shoot in self-defense?
    • Can we follow Taliban or al-Qaeda forces across the Pakistan border in hot pursuit -- or must we always stop at the border, like the sheriff in a bad Hollywood western when he comes to the Rio Grande?

    In each instance above, COIN requires the first, but a "counterterrorism" strategy would probably favor the second.

    So listen close; the number of men is important, but less important than what he plans to do with them. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, If President Obama isn't going to use his army, the American people would like to borrow it for a time.

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 1, 2009, at the time of 2:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Days of Diminutive, Diminishing Democrats

    Hatched by Dafydd

    Rasmussen reports that the number of Democrats in the United States -- well, let's be specific... the number of folks willing to fess up to being Democrats -- is shrinking; it's now down to 36.0% of the population (rather, of the pool of respondents in the survey).

    Back in 2008, Democrats hit a local peak of 41.7% in May; at the election, they were still 41.4%... and we all know how that turned out.

    At the same time, Republicans crept up to 33.1%, leaving a shrinking gap of 2.9% (Democrats minus Republicans); that of course is the real statistic to pay attention to. In November 2006, Democrats enjoyed a 6.1% advantage over Republicans; in November 2008, the gap was 7.6%. (These are numbers for "all adults;" Republicans show up and vote at higher percentages than Democrats, so the gap shrinks somewhat during actual elections.)

    In November 2004, however, the gap was only 1.6%... yet Republicans only gained 3 net seats in the House and 4 in the Senate. Let's hope that we do better a year from now.

    Of course, if the Democrats keep slipping next year as they have this year -- from 40.9% down to 36.0%, while Republicans rose from 32.6% to 33.1%; the gap shrank from 8.3% to 2.9% -- if that trend continues (unlikely, but let's run with it), then by November 2010, Democrats would be down to 30.7%, Republicans would be up to 33.6%, and Republicans would actually enjoy an advantage of 2.9% -- the exact reverse of the gap right now.

    Naturally, you cannot make straight-line projections of polling data; but it's fun to ponder!

    In November (monthly tracking, not the daily tracking poll -- and we're back to "likely voters" on this one, not "all adults"), the overall approval rating of President Barack H. Obama was 48%; his overall disapproval rating was a majority, 52%; and his "approval index" -- that is, the number strongly approving minus the number strongly disapproving -- dropped again to -12%, 28% minus 40%. Note especially that while 52% disapprove, fully 40% strongly disapprove; that is, 77% of likely voters who disapprove of the Obamacle do so strongly.

    There's a whole lotta head-shaking goin' on.

    Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 1, 2009, at the time of 12:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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