Monday, August 25, 2008

"We're inferior!", etc.

Government 101: India has a form of “affirmative action” in the form of state sanctioned discrimination in favor of the lowest castes. The practice runs directly counter to fundamental laws preventing discrimination based on caste, much as racial preferences (aka “affirmative action”) in the US directly contradict the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

As you would expect, the Indian version creates to the same kind of perverse incentives as does our own. Enter the Gujjar tribe, which is part of a group called (I’m not making this up) the “other backward classes.” This puts it one rung above the bottom of India’s traditional social structure. And this really pisses off the Gujjar.

Well, sure, you say, who would want to be considered a backward class?

Umm, no, you’re forgetting how “affirmative action” works. See, the Gujjar have been rioting throughout this year because they want their caste to be downgraded. So they too can get preferential treatment from the government for university placements and government jobs. In one particularly ugly stretch in May, more than 45000 police were deployed and at least 39 Gujjar were killed during daily rioting.

Could anything possibly better capture the essence of “affirmative action?”


I’m a fan of the new Hornets uniforms and logos, which is notable since I am usually a bit of a curmudgeon on such things.

As for the team wearing them, I’ll continue to hate, thank you.


A London Telegraph poll of Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia showed Obama preferred over McCain by a 52% to 15% margin. The poll also found “a striking level of anti-American feeling in every country.”

Kind of goes together, doesn’t it?


Do you remember the last president who made raising taxes on high earners and increasing protectionist trade policies the centerpieces of his economic plan? You’re probably not old enough, it’s been a long time since the Herbert Hoover administration.

Worked out well, didn’t it?

Trade rose from 40% to 55% of world GDP between 1990 and 2004, according to the World Bank. During the same period, the world economy grew by 50%. The five fastest-growing countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Ireland and Vietnam) all had double-digit percentage increases in trade. The countries that traded the least (Iran and most of Africa) have stagnate economies.

Free trade is the world’s best hope for lifting people out of poverty. No other issue, not even school vouchers, so clearly pits the desires of narrow special interest groups against the welfare of the poor.

To be against free trade is to be for poverty, it’s really as simple as that.


Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus: "The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious,
arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism."

At least I’m in good company!

The possibility that governments will gain the power to ration energy is one of the greatest threats we face in the coming decades. Like the rationing of food and other necessities that are fundamental features of the various flavors of communism and socialism, it will always be sold in moral terms and as for the good of the people, even as it destroys their lives.

We must diligently work to defeat it, at every opportunity and at any cost.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Unlikely" Finals matchups

brink posted a while back in the Lakers Usenet group on the oddity that both of the teams in the 2008 Finals came out of nowhere, based on the previous season’s results. I finally had a chance to take a look at it, and it turns out that it was indeed the unlikeliest Finals matchup ever (going back to the 1949 merger, before which things get pretty chaotic).

Here are the “Top” 5 in terms of worst previous season aggregate record:

2008/07 Celtics (24-58) and Lakers (42-40), aggregate 66-98 (.402)
The Celtics traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and improved by a record 42 games. The Lakers got a huge breakthrough season from Andrew Bynum, signed Derek Fisher, traded for Pau Gasol after losing Bynum to a midseason knee injury and improved by 15 games.

1959/58 Celtics (49-23) and Lakers (19-53), aggregate 68-76 (.472)
The Celtics had been in the Finals the previous year and were in the early stages of an extended dynasty. The Lakers drafted Elgin Baylor and improved by 14 games.

2002/01 Lakers (56-26) and Nets (26-56), aggregate 82-82 (.500)
The Lakers had won a championship the previous year and were completing a dynasty. The Nets traded Stephon Marbury for Jason Kidd, got Kerry Kittles back from injury, drafted Richard Jefferson and improved by 26 games.

1957/56 Celtics (39-33) and Hawks (33-39), aggregate 72-72 (.500)
The Celtics traded Ed Macauley for the draft rights to Bill Russell, drafted Tommy Heinsohn and got Frank Ramsey back from military service, but somehow improved by only 5 games despite adding three Hall of Fame players. The Hawks traded for Ed Macauley and Slater Martin but only improved by 1 game.

1977/76 Trail Blazers (37-45) and 76ers (46-36), aggregate 83-81 (.506)
The Blazers added Maurice Lucas and Dave Twardzik from the ABA, traded for Herm Gilliam, got an extra 600 minutes from a healthier Bill Walton and improved by 12 games. The Sixers traded for Julius Erving and Henry Bibby, added Caldwell Jones from the ABA and improved by 4 games.

The other end of the extreme is the 1998/97 Bulls (69-13) and Jazz (64-18), aggregate 133-31 (.811), who met in a Finals rematch.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My opponent is a psychic, etc.

Obama’s camp is running an attack ad in Indiana that shows McCain saying, "I don't believe we're headed into a recession." It’s from a debate in January, and it proved to be absolutely correct as we did not end up having a recession.

As far as attack ads go, pointing out your opponent’s dead-on predictions is not the greatest strategy.


This is from a commercial that’s been ubiquitous on the Ticket lately, but it still cracks me up. I can’t even remember what it’s selling, so I guess they’ve failed on me, indeed I don’t even notice it’s that ad until I hear the relevant line start.

Brian Billick on commitment: “In a bacon and egg breakfast, the chicken’s involved, but the pig’s committed.”

The thing is, I can easily hear a football coach saying such a thing.


Check out this video: “A World Without the American Soldier”
Especially notable in that it was created by Brits.


From the Virginian, via Instapundit:

[R]obber barons like Pickens, allied with the MSM and the Democrats are on the way to making billions on “alternative energy.” The formula is simple: keep oil prices high, prevent the use of coal, stop nuclear power production, scare people with doomsday scenarios of global warming via “greenhouse gasses,” pass laws mandating the use of power sources that Pickens and the Greens own and rake in the billions as consumers get financially raped.

And of course Al Gore, who is on his way to becoming a billionaire via what amounts to pump and dump tactics for his green investments.

I like the suggestion of Walter Williams: if you want to drill in ANWR, turn over ownership of it to green groups and watch the regulatory and litigative hurdles disappear like magic.


Massachusetts has been considering adopting 20-year mandatory sentencing for pedophiles convicted of raping a child under the age of 12. Democrat State Rep. James Fagan isn’t fond of the idea, which is fair enough as reasonable people can disagree on the issue.

But his description of how he would handle the law in his other job as a defense attorney is one of the most shocking and appalling things I have ever read. He says he would “rip apart” 6-year old victims and “make sure the rest of their life is ruined,” and ultimately grill them so hard that “when they’re 8 years old they throw up; when they’re 12 years old, they won’t sleep; when they’re 19 years old they’ll have nightmares and they’ll never have a relationship with anybody.”

I hope this miserable cretin does not have children, and is not an influence on the life of anybody else’s children. It’s a cliché, but some people really should not reproduce.


Did you know that the first minimum wage law, 1931’s Davis-Bacon Act, was designed for the specific purpose of keeping blacks from taking jobs from whites? Now you do.

In a related note, the last year in which the black unemployment rate was lower than the white unemployment rate was…1930.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Global drying, etc.

I’ve been critical of global warming alarmism, but there does seem to be a problem of global drying. You can guess why: global warming advocates, specifically the madness of the boifuels movement forcing land to be utilized for energy instead of for food. Author Peter Brabeck-Letmathe says it “could be the single most destructive set of policy mistakes made in a generation.”

I have become convinced that the global warming movement is the most dangerous enemy that civilization faces today, and in a world of radical Islamist hegemony that is not an easy distinction to earn.


How often are you reminded that JFK was killed by an anti-American Communist and that RFK was killed by a Palestinian Arab who hated the Senator/presidential candidate for his support of Israel? Not often enough, I’d wager.


Sad truth: China, in cooperation with Cuba, is drilling for oil closer to the US coastline than US companies are presently allowed to drill.


A Jay Nordlinger correspondent found this text of a Harley-Davidson ad that makes me want to go buy one myself:

We don’t do fear. Over the last 105 years in the saddle, we’ve seen wars, conflicts, depression, recession, resistance, and revolutions. But every time, this country has come out stronger than before. We’ve watched a thousand hand-wringing pundits disappear in our rearview mirror. Chrome and asphalt put distance between you and whatever the world can throw at you. Freedom and wind outlast hard times. And the rumble of an engine drowns out all the spin on the evening news. If 105 years have proved one thing, it’s that fear sucks, and it doesn’t last long. So screw it. Let’s ride.


Nordlinger also goes off on a rant worthy of Dennis Miller, which took me a while to post because I had to stop and applaud:

[From an Obama commencement speech at Wesleyan University]
We [Barack and she] left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do. Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond.

Just once — one friggin’ time in my life — I’d like to hear a commencement speaker say, “You know what I think you should do? If you can, I think you should start a business. You should think of an idea, and act on it. Give the public a product or service it needs. And make your company grow, and enrich your shareholders. That is a wonderful thing you could do for yourself, your neighbors, and mankind.”

But we are unlikely to hear that at a commencement ceremony, and you know why? Because America is a capitalist country where, curiously, a socialist mindset holds sway. Does Obama have any idea why he has such a rich country to play with, politically? Where does he think those tax revenues come from? Does he have any idea at all?

Building a better mouse trap, and selling it at an affordable price, is a public service. Michelle Obama speaks of a “money-making industry” and a “helping industry.” Evidently, she didn’t learn very much at Princeton and Harvard, or wherever she went. Henry Ford and Bill Gates have “helped” her a lot. Only she doesn’t know it.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Somebody call Webster, etc.

Did Obama seriously say that Clarence Thomas did not have enough experience to serve on the Supreme Court? Wow. We need some new words, irony and chutzpah are no longer sufficient for some situations.


Kirk Mitchell has an idea of where to house current Guantanamo prisoners in the wake of Boumediene: “a minimum security facility should be established in Washington D.C., equidistant between the Capitol and the Supreme Court Building."


Another baseball tidbit, this one courtesy of Clem Comly.

Five players have played for both World Series teams during the season:

Jack Kramer, 1951 Giants and Yankees
Johnny Schmitz, 1952 Dodgers and Yankees
Sid Monge, 1984 Padres and Tigers
Lonnie Smith, 1985 Cardinals and Royals
Jim Bruske, 1998 Padres and Yankees

Only Smith actually appeared in the Series in question.

If this kind of research interests you, you might want to look into joining SABR. Disclosure: I was a longtime moderator of and now train and supervise current moderators of the research e-mail list, but I have no financial stake in recommending the organization.


Jack Kelly echoes my observation (first item) on antiwar hypocrisy:

Did you see the huge crowd outside the Russian Embassy protesting the war in Georgia?

Neither did I. Now that we have a genuine war of aggression, the silence on the Left is deafening. […]

It is scandalous to liberals that terrorists at Gitmo don't have easy access to lawyers, but most don't care how many Georgians the Russians kill.

Vladimir Putin is counting on this.


A couple of environmental factoids:

Glaciers are advancing in Northern California, Norway, Sweden, Pakistan and New Zealand.

Arctic ice has been thinning by 3% per decade, but Antarctic ice has been growing by 1% a decade. Antarctic ice is 20 times bigger, which means that overall global polar ice is growing by 8/10 of 1% a decade.


On a related note, the California legislature passed a bill that would have required the state’s public schools to teach “climate change,” which fortunately was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger. An increase in such inconvenient truths has led greens to sense some urgency in their quest to indoctrinate our youth; gone are the good old days when you could wait until college to start the brainwashing.


Energy analyst Vinod Dar (Dar and Company) on why global action on climate is unlikely to happen: The US and Japan will not tell Asia and Africa to choose poverty, disease, hunger and illiteracy over electricity. Europe might, but nobody will listen.”

Dar (sorry Ticket fans, his nickname is probably not “Eight Dollar”) lays out his vision of what we should do:

“Contingency planning should entail strategic responses to a warming globe, a cooling globe and a globe whose climate reverberates with laughter at human hubris.”

Indeed, the thing to keep in mind is that not only do we not know if the planet is going to warm or cool long term, we also do not know whether warming would be beneficial or harmful to man. We do know, from relatively recent experience (a little over a century ago), that a world more than a wee bit cooler would be harmful.


Is Rep. Jack Murtha ever going to apologize to the US Marines for his shameful “killed innocent civilians in cold blood” slander from May 17, 2006? His allegations, irresponsible at the time, have by now been conclusively shown to be false.

If Murtha is an honorable man, he will do the honorable thing. I won’t be holding my breath.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Same old Edwards, etc.

John Weidner calls BS on Walter Shapiro’s claim of John Edwards disillusionment:

What malarky. You were besotted with Edwards because he was (or was pretending to be) a liberal Democrat. And Edwards almost certainly paid flattering attention to the guy who was writing a book about his campaign. You dolt, Edwards and his wife almost certainly coldly planned how to woo you, and knew what your weaknesses are. That's what trial lawyers do with a jury. They study every scrap of information available on each juryman, and, like chameleons, tailor the message, and paint their very selves, to fit them. (I know about this stuff; my dear wife's on the other side, the good side, fighting scoundrels like Edwards every day.)

Everybody who retained any objectivity could see that he was a phony, and were not surprised by this. When a guy talks populism and green-ism while building the biggest mansion in the county, there's a 99% chance that he's a sham. When a guy spends minutes in front of a mirror fluffing his hairdo, there's a 99% chance that he will not resist the sexual temptations available to a celebrity.

And when you make millions as a trial lawyer, it means you are skilled at convincing people of things that just ain't so.

Hammer. Nail. Head. I’ve called Edwards the Empty Suit from North Carolina, but I think Dennis Miller is correct in saying that’s an insult to coat hangers.


How does Michael Phelps swim 17 times in 9 days at the Olympics? Your standard 2000 calorie diet will not get it done. Try 4000 calories…every meal.

Phelps lends a new spin to the phrase "Breakfast of Champions" by starting off his day by eating three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise.

He follows that up with two cups of coffee, a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar and three chocolate-chip pancakes.

At lunch, Phelps gobbles up a pound of enriched pasta and two large ham and cheese sandwiches slathered with mayo on white bread - capping off the meal by chugging about 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.

For dinner, Phelps really loads up on the carbs - what he needs to give him plenty of energy for his five-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week regimen - with a pound of pasta and an entire pizza.

He washes all that down with another 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.

Man...I think I need a pizza and a pitcher, I'm feeling a little tired today.


Man attacked bus, tried to rob 7-Eleven, stripped, fought dog and withstood Taser

Or, as we call it around here, Friday night.


Those who claim that abortion is “settled law” based on a 35 year old Supreme Court precedent must have been mortified when the current Court extended habeas corpus rights to POW’s in Boumediene v. Bush. After all, it overturned 58 years of settled law in that the Court had ruled, in 1950’s Johnson v. Eisentrager, that nonresident alien enemy combatants had no right to habeas corpus.


Isn’t “entitlements” an odd term for government programs that transfer assets from those who earned them to those who did not?

Wouldn’t “slavery” be a more proper term? That’s what one person being forced to work in the service of another, with no legal claim to the fruits of his labor, has traditionally been called. We should just be honest and call effective tax rates what they are, slavery rates – the percentage of their work time each year that an individual is required to function as a human slave.

Indeed, the difference between slavery and charity is one of freedom vs. coercion.


Lat November, Brazil discovered a reserve of billions of barrels of oil in an area 180 miles offshore from Sao Paulo and Rio. And here’s the punch line: they are already working on the drilling platforms and pipelines to bring this oil into the market.

Why is it that there was no resistance by the international environmental movement? No moralistic pronouncements, no demonstrations against Brazil or its interests, no lawsuits filed in Brazilian or international courts to delay or prevent development.

You might conclude that the gnashing of teeth and legal maneuvering to prevent the US from drilling off its own coasts is not about concern for the environment at all, that it’s instead purely about trying to damage America.

And you would be correct.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

The great game, etc.

Tom Glavine recently pitched in a minor league rehab assignment, his first minor league appearance since 1987 (21 years). Those kinds of rehabs are pretty common these days so it is very unusual for a player to go so long between minor league stints. You would basically have to be one of the better players in the era in order to play that long, and one of the most durable to go that long without injury.

It turns out that it was pretty uncommon even in the days when older players often ended up in the minors at the end of their careers.

SABR member Jacob Pomeranke looked into it and found that it was a pretty remarkable feat. His list:

24 years:
Warren Spahn (1942-66, never returned to the majors)

23 years:
Bobby Wallace (1894-1917) [found by Gerry Myerson]

22 years:
Bert Blyleven (1970-92)
Cy Young (1890-1912, assuming the 1890 Tri-State League to be minor)

21 years:
Glavine (1987-2008)
Eddie Murray (1976-97)
Tommy John (1964-85)
Tris Speaker (1908-29)

20 years:
Don Sutton (1968-88)
Grover Cleveland Alexander (1910-30)

19 years:
Robin Roberts (1948-67)


While on the subject, the 19-17 slow pitch softball game (they claim it was a real major league baseball game, but I don’t buy it) won by Boston over Texas on August 12, a game in which Texas came from 10-0 behind after 1 to later take a lead before losing, produced some historical oddities of its own.

- Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman became the second pitcher since 1900 to give up 10 runs in the first inning and stay in the game. The other was Mark Redman of Colorado, also (April 26) this year!

- Feldman also became the first pitcher to give up 12 runs and not take the loss since Gene Packard of the Cardinals, who was actually credited with a 16-12 win over the Phillies on August 3, 1918.

- The Rangers became the fifth team since 1900 to score 17+ and lose, joining the 2008 Marlins (17-18 to Colorado), 1979 Cubs (22-23 to Philadelphia), 1969 Phillies (17-19 to Cincinnati) and 1922 Phillies (23-26 to Chicago).


Tales from socialized medicine: Diagnosed with a brain tumor in Canada? Come back in six months, if you live that long, and they’ll let you see a neurologist. The author was one of the lucky ones, having the resources to be able to get care in the US instead of dying in line as so many others do.

Why would someone who lives in an industrialized country with a high standard of living and a promise of guaranteed health care need to go anywhere else? […]

Canada's bureaucratic health care system…put me on a waiting list and essentially told me to hope for the best. […]

My story, with all of its unfortunate twists and turns, is relatively simple: Stay in Canada and let the government gamble with my future or journey south of the border and benefit from an accessible, patient-oriented and compassionate facility that responds swiftly to medical emergencies. […]

I hope that American voters will remember my story when U.S. candidates this year begin touting the Canadian health care system as a role model for reform in their own country.

Americans already are being blitzed with a propaganda barrage that bashes their current private-public health care partnership as little better than that of an emerging Third World nation. […]

What they don't tell you is that both Canada's and Great Britain's routinely block or delay access to needed treatments and often treat elderly patients with cavalier contempt.

The national health care system in my country is racked by agonizingly long waits and rationing of many vital medical services, starting with a severe shortage of the family physicians who are gatekeepers of our care.

More than 800,000 Canadians currently are in long holding patterns for operations that would be done in the U.S. in a few weeks after the initial diagnosis. Sadly, many will die before they make it to the head of the line. Those who can find a way flee to the U.S. for the quality medical service so often lacking at home.

The benchmark question for any nation's health care system is whether their citizens are forced to go abroad for quality accessible health care treatment. The answer in America is obvious.

In the decades since World War II, millions of Canadians, Europeans, Asians, Africans and Latin Americans have flocked to the U.S. for life-saving medical procedures. With few exceptions, that has been a one-way flow.

While I work to reform Canada's creaking health care system, I sincerely hope that Americans won't destroy a system that is the envy of the world by placing it under the yoke of big government bureaucracy.

Until Canada breaks free from the "Alice in Wonderland" absurdity of its system, droves of Canadians, including me, will join millions of others around the globe in seeking medical sanctuary in the U.S.

If your "patient-first" system begins to crumble, we'll have no place to go.

Don't ever forget that "universal health care" is nothing but access to a waiting list for inferior care to what we get today.


The Green Party is always good for a few laughs, and this year’s convention in Chicago was no exception. It featured a workshop with the hilarious title "A Clear Path Towards Dismantling and Ending All “ism” (Racism, sexism, classism and white privilege) within the Green Party by 2012."

As James Taranto points out, “white privilege” is not an “ism” and it’s odd that the Greens, of all parties, would be getting rid of environmentalism.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Honest elections, please, etc.

How is it that I can’t even sign up for a frequent shopper card at my local retailer without showing an ID, but I can vote without showing ID? A 2006 NBS/WSJ national poll showed that Americans support voters being required to show “a valid photo identification” by a margin of 80%-7%. It is the single biggest potential impediment to election fraud. So why isn’t it the law of the land for federal elections, and the law of every state and local jurisdiction for their elections?

The only possible legitimate complaint is voter expense, but every law that is proposed includes provisions for free ID’s to be made for whoever wants them. They’ll even come to your house to make them.

At this point, resistance to voter ID laws has only one possible motivation – a desire to keep it easier to cast fraudulent votes, and thus to make it easier for unscrupulous politicians and political machines to attempt to steal elections. There just cannot be any other explanation, it defies logic.


Thomas Sowell gave the best explanation I’ve ever heard for why left liberal opinion dominates in the worlds of journalism and academics, and to some degree in politics. He said that liberals field their A team, while conservatives field their B team.

What he’s saying is that the best and brightest, as the saying goes, of liberals desire to enter politics or journalism, or strive for a tenure track professorship, in order to control other people’s minds and lives. While their conservative counterparts end up in the economy, starting businesses, inventing things.

As usual with Sowell, the point is so obviously true and so simple that you slap your head and wonder “why didn’t I think of that?”


You think Bush has low approval ratings? Check out Congress’ record lows.

But they both have it good when compared to Islamic terrorist, who would kill (yeah, I said it) for approval ratings in the high single digits like Pelosi and the gang. A 2007 ABC/BBC poll in Afghanistan showed support for jihadists there to be 1%. And in Pakistan’s northwestern province that is home to most of al Qaeda’s bases, support for bin Laden went from 70% in August 2007 to 4% in January 2008.

Hearts and minds? Yeah, we’re going pretty well there.


Another inconvenient truth: if you really want to combat global warming, you need more pollution.

Wait, now pollution is preventing global warming? That’s the conclusion of a recent study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, which says rising temperatures seen in Europe over the last few years result as much from the reduction of air pollution as from the creation of it. The research, which looked at the effects of aerosols on climate, confirms an older concept known as global dimming, and complicates our understanding of how mankind affects the climate.

[…] stricter pollution standards, adopted in part to slow global warming, may have sped it up.

The idea that pollution may be reflecting some of the sun’s energy is not new. The term global dimming is decades old, and some believed that the reduction in pollution was the cause global warming. But now, with the link between greenhouse gas pollution and global warming firmly established, papers like this one highlight how complex the situation is, and how solutions like simply cutting air pollution may have a range of unintended and counterintuitive consequences.

Wait, mankind’s effect on the climate is more complex to understand than previously thought? Wow, I’m shocked. But by all means, let’s destroy world economic growth anyway, who needs to understand the implications?

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Anti-(some)-war, etc.

Where were the denunciations by anti-war groups and the demonstrations over Russia’s attempt to annex Georgia? What naked hypocrites they are…


It is heartbreaking that Taiwan is allowed to compete in the Olympics (and participate in other international organizations) only if they do so under the moniker “Chinese Taipei.”


It’s all corruption in the end: A Rasmussen poll says 55% Say Media Bias Bigger Problem Than Campaign Cash.


Did you catch Obama saying the following of his wife:

"She's just a wonderfully normal, levelheaded person. Any American woman who meets her would immediately identify her as a fellow traveler."

With husbands life that, who needs enemies? The sad thing is, many on the left won’t even recognize what a catastrophic gaffe it is.


From Jay Nordlinger’s excellent series on the Beijing Olympics:

[T]he 1936 Games were a great boon to the Nazis, giving them legitimacy and cementing their power. Years later, the journalist William Shirer wrote, “Hitler, we who covered the Games had to concede, turned the Olympics into a dazzling propaganda success for his barbarian regime.” And Duff Hart-Davis, in his book Hitler’s Games, tells us that Berlin was turned out prettily and benignly — creating the illusion that Nazi Germany was “a perfectly normal place, in which life went on as pleasantly as in any other European country.”

I fear that history might be repeating itself.


Amplifying on my post on global warmist desperation, check out Joel Achenbach’s observation:

Somewhere along the line, global warming became the explanation for everything. Right-thinking people are not supposed to discuss any meteorological or geophysical event -- a hurricane, a wildfire, a heat wave, a drought, a flood, a blizzard, a tornado, a lightning strike, an unfamiliar breeze, a strange tingling on the neck -- without immediately invoking the climate crisis. It causes earthquakes, plagues and backyard gardening disappointments. Weird fungus on your tomato plants? Classic sign of global warming.


Of course, not everybody sees possible global warming as a bad thing; some knuckle-dragger named Dave Lindorff (who bears an appropriate resemblance to Rob Reiner) sees a “silver lining”:

Look at a map of the US. The area that will by completely inundated by the rising ocean—and not in a century but in the lifetime of my two cats—are the American southeast, including the most populated area of Texas, almost all of Florida, most of Louisiana, and half of Alabama and Mississippi, as well as goodly portions of eastern Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. […]

So what we see is that huge swaths of conservative America are set to face a biblical deluge in a few more presidential cycles.

Then there’s the matter of the Midwest, which climate experts say is likely to face a permanent condition of unprecedented drought, making the place largely unlivable, and certainly unfarmable. […]

So again, we will see the decline and depopulation of the nation’s vast midsection—noted for its consistent conservatism. […]

Finally, in the Southwest, already parched and stiflingly hot, the rise in energy costs and the soaring temperatures will put an end to right-wing retirement communities like Phoenix, Tucson and Palm Springs. […]

So the future political map of America is likely to look as different as the much shrunken geographical map, with much of the so-called “red” state region either gone or depopulated.

There is a poetic justice to this of course.

It is sad that such naked bigotry can find a home in what appears to be a real newspaper of some kind; this is the stuff of fringe hate groups.

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The sky isn't falling, but take cover anyway!

Now that we are a decade into a global cooling cycle that is expected to last into the 2030’s, you are starting to see some panic set in among the global warming apocalyptists. This typically falls into the category of “pay no attention to the scientist behind the curtain.”

Thus I was fascinated to see the new approach by that reliable conduit of leftist propaganda, Paul Krugman. His prescription is notable for its honesty:

It’s true that scientists don’t know exactly how much world temperatures will rise if we persist with business as usual. But that uncertainty is actually what makes action so urgent. While there’s a chance that we’ll act against global warming only to find that the danger was overstated, there’s also a chance that we’ll fail to act only to find that the results of inaction were catastrophic. Which risk would you rather run?

Now that the actual climate data and prevailing science is inconvenient, we are advised that evidence is no longer important. We should forge ahead with a regulatory strangulation of the world’s (and in particular, the American) economy and drive tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of millions worldwide into poverty based on…well, an article of faith, which must be imposed on everybody by the force of law.

Bonus points if you’re asking yourself right about here…hey, what if global warming turns out to be beneficial to man? Heretic! You must repent and change your evil ways!

The goal is the same as it has always been – systematically implementing a discredited Utopian fantasy (socialism) against the will of the people. The agenda is nothing less than a rollback of the industrial and technological revolutions in favor of a state with unlimited power and control over every aspect of our lives.

Have you used your daily allowance of time having your PC running? Your daily air conditioning allotment? Can you mow the yard this week or have you used up your monthly ration of lawnmower credits? These are the kinds of questions that the apocalyptic global warming movement would have you deal with every day of your lives.

What is remarkable is that they no longer seem to be concerned with doing it stealthily. I suppose that desperate times call for desperate measures.

The next time you hear that the greatest danger to your children or grandchildren is global warming, remind the speaker that the greatest danger truly might be what advocates want government to do about global warming.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

You're lucky I typed this, etc.

I suppose you do about 99.44% of your writing on either your keyboard or your phone/PDA these days, like I do. So what happens when you try to put pen to paper?

For me, it’s ugly. I used to be an obsessively neat writer, and I can still print very well if I don’t try to rush it. But my cursive writing is just awful unless I slow it to an absolute crawl, and even then it’s probably not up to my fifth grade standards.

I guess that it’s not like riding a bike, as they say.


Happy 34th birthday to one of the finest human beings in public life: Lakers G Derek Fisher.


John Hinderaker has a question that, for me at least, is pretty easy to answer:

So, how should we deal with our energy needs? By aggressively seeking new sources of energy, including domestic petroleum reserves that would have been accessed already but for Congressional bans, or by inflating our tires, turning down our air conditioning, staying home instead of going on vacation, and generally accepting a less prosperous future?

My answer is the same as his:

We do, however, need the government to increase energy supply--not because the government should go into the energy business, but because various statutes and regulations are now blocking private industry from developing energy reserves. Government action is necessary because past, ill-advised government action is the problem.
For politicians to hector us to reduce our energy consumption in the face of rising prices is both unnecessary and condescending. Out of necessity, most of us will do that. But a lowered standard of living isn't the solution to the problem of high energy costs, it is the problem.

As usual, the main reason we need government is to fix the previous mistakes made by government. It’s a theme you will see repeatedly here.


Media 101: A man threatens to assasinate Obama and Bush. CBS and CNN report the threat to kill Obama but edit the threat to Bush out of the story. The full story would have obscured the anti-Obama = racist narrative, indeed you might call it an inconvenient truth.


So who’s going to launch in honor of the empty suit from North Carolina?


Glenn Reynolds echoes what so many of us have been wondering:

SO NOW THAT WE KNOW THAT THE PRESS COVERED FOR EDWARDS -- just as, pre-invasion, they covered for Saddam -- that raises a question: What else are they not telling us for fear it will hurt the Democrats' prospects?

I guess we'll get some of the answers sometime between January 2009 and never.

Funny that a fourth hand rumor of a rumor that McCain might have had an affair is a front page story for the New York Times, but visual evidence that Edwards had one is not even worthy of the kind of bottom of page 21 paragraph that is usually reserved for Democrat indiscretion in the paper.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

US disadvantages in international play

The US team has drawn some fire in recent international competitions for not playing team basketball, not being as cohesive as you want to see from a true team. They have attempted to adjust with the 3 year commitment system instituted for this Olympic cycle, allowing at least a good portion of the players to practice play together over three years (and thus 2-3 months total) as opposed to the week or two of practice and throw them out there in a virtual all-star game approach of the past.

But I thought and still think that such criticism, to the degree it will continue (and it will) is unfair. The international teams have a huge built-in advantage over us, namely that they play together as a unit for essentially their entire careers. They join the national teams as teenagers or just into their 20’s, and stay there until they near or pass 30. And in many cases they have also played together for a number of years on junior national teams. Add in that they practice together for longer and more intense periods each year as well, because the European season is so much lighter than the NBA marathon, and you can see why their level of teamwork might make the US look silly at times – it’s not a failing of the US players or, certainly, the NBA, it’s a product of being a veteran team.

As an example, the biggest threat to the US this year seems to be Spain. Their core of Pau Gasol, Jose Calderon, Felipe Reyes, Raul Lopez and Juan Carlos Navarro have been playing together on the national team since they were 15. Argentina's core has been together since the ramp up to the 2000 Olympics. You just cannot overstate how big of an advantage that is over three (or one!) years of a few weeks of practice and play each year.

The rules also leave us at a major disadvantage on a number of fronts:

- The ball is smaller and has a different feel, which I would guess is at least some factor in our well-documented perimeter shooting struggles.

- The court is smaller, mitigating our huge athletic edge to some degree.

- The goofy lane all but takes away post play, a staple of American basketball since even before the days of George Mikan.

- The allowance of true zone defenses, combined with the much shorter three-point line, clog the paint so that the kind of spread the floor isolation and drive play that is so common in the NBA is made difficult if not impossible in international play;

- Knocking the ball of the rim is allowed; this is completely counterintuitive to anybody who has ever played basketball. This is an area where the three year commitment has really helped, as you see our players taking advantage of this rule for the first time this year.

- The game is much more physical, which just takes getting used to – with the exception of the thuggish Spurs and hacking Jazz (and Celtics, to a degree), NBA guys don’t see this much. In particular, the tendency to allow moving screens frees shooters for open (and short) threes that they would have to earn in the NBA.

None of this is meant to make excuses for the US team if they do not win gold; they still need to go out and get it done. But I just can’t sit quietly any more while hoop idiots try to use international results as evidence that the NBA is something other than what it is – by far the highest quality basketball in the world. The game that the US wins or loses by 5 points by FIBA rules is a game they would win by 30 by NBA rules. John Hollinger estimates that the best international teams would go about 18-64 in an NBA season, which sounds about right to me. They are vastly superior to the best US college teams, but just not in the class of NBA teams.

The good news is that the FIBA game is slowly moving back towards being what I consider real basketball. Beginning in October 2010, the three-point line will be moved back from its present 20’6.1” to 22’1.7”, with plans to move to the NBA distance of 23’9” within a decade. And the three-second area will change from the current silly trapezoid to a rectangle, is it should be since Mikan and Wilt made the concept of “the key” obsolete.

These two changes will greatly improve the quality of the game, and while they will benefit the US at first the world will adjust quickly, probably after the first pro season under the new rules has passed. And it will greatly increase the popularity and legitimacy of the international pro game, which is good for the sport in general.

All this is not to say that you should skip the Olympics, which start Sunday. Anytime you get a chance to see Kobe, LeBron and Wade on the same court or see the brilliant play of the Spanish or Argentinan squads, you should take advantage, this is special stuff.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Silver linings etc.

If Obama wins and the expected Democrat gains in the House and Senate materialize, the party will finally be on board with the War on Terror. Why? Because Democrats would finally have to leave the children’s table and come eat with the adults.

There would no longer be any Bush and/or Republican majority to blame for any potential attack on the US; when you have to…you know…govern, it’s a whole new ballgame. Suddenly a domestic attack would not only be bad for the country, it would be bad for the party.

That changes everything. Suddenly spying on, detaining and interrogating or even killing terrorists won’t seem such a bad idea. Sure, the Kos/HuffPo/MoveOn crowd will howl in protest and make all kinds of profane threats, but ultimately they would return to pom-pom waving – you don’t really expect them and the Soros money machine that finds them to start backing Republicans, do you?

Much as it’s hard to find anybody who admits to being an anti-anti-Communist today, a Democrat sweep will turn critics of “domestic spying” and “torture” into an endangered species.


Another change would be big media’s treatment of the poor. One thing to keep in mind whenever you see income statistics used to make points about poverty: most of the true income of the poor does not come in the form of what most of us think of as income.

About 78% (source: Thomas Sowell) of the economic resources used by people in the bottom quintile of income comes in the form of cash transfer payments (welfare, food stamps etc.) and in-kind transfers (subsidized housing, medical care etc.).

Thus quoted “income” statistics can take the form of true income or only income earned from working, which leaves out more than 3/4 of true income. Expect the poor to suddenly be reported as much better off in the event of a Democrat sweep, even if they don’t have another penny beyond what they did during the Bush administration.


Random statistic: Spanish-speaking US immigrants earn 50-60% more if they also speak English, according to Mexico’s TV Azteca. Think about that the next time you hear some activist saying that it’s racist to require immigrants to learn English.


You often hear that this is the first election since 1952 that neither the president nor the vice president will be his party’s presidential nominee.

What you don’t hear as much is that this is the first election since 1928 that neither the president nor the vice president has sought the presidency. Truman dropped out of the 1952 race after an early primary loss.

So if you’re looking to precedent to figure out how this year’s election will go…good luck with that.


Fascinating admission from Zahir Muhse’in, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, in a 1977 interview with the Amsterdam-based newspaper Trouw (via Front Page Magazine):

“The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism. [Emphasis added.]


Is there a New York Times Worst Seller List?

Nancy Pelosi’s new book sold 2,737 copies in its first week. And I have to wonder, even of that paltry number, how many were bought by Democrat-leaning organizations to use as rewards for contributors. 2,700?

The First Amendment may guarantee freedom of speech, but it does not guarantee that anybody will listen or take you seriously.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Judicial philosophy etc.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on the question of how cases should be decided: “Look, it’s not my view: It’s what is permissible and impermissible under the Constitution. If you want this or that, by all means pass a law — and if the Constitution permits it, I’ll okay it. Even if it’s a law I deplore. But if the Constitution does not, I won’t.”



If you’re not familiar with the international teams, here’s a great preview from a friend of Kurt at Forum Blue & Gold.


Why has “global warming” been replaced by “climate change?”

Because we’re a few years into what is expected to be a three decade cycle of global cooling, meaning those who want control of every aspect of your life needed more versatile terminology.

Odd that those who are most critical of pre-emptive war for the national interest and based on irrefutable evidence are most eager to go all-in on a pre-emptive war based on the flimsy predictions of theoretical computer models.


How is it that Obama is considered the (or a) candidate of change? He seems to me to be almost wholly reactionary, with a mixture of positions pulled straight from the playbooks of the 1970’s, 1960’s and 1930’s. To label an old-fashioned Chicago machine politician espousing extreme welfare statism at home and reflexive appeasement abroad as being a reformer or an advocate of change is as silly as it is dishonest.


Government 101: George Mason U economist Donald Boudreaux, blogging at Café Hayek (great name!), on the necessity of airline regulation:

"Suppose that all government regulation of airlines were abolished today. Does ... Congressman [Oberstar] suppose that airline executives would tomorrow fire all inspectors and maintenance crews, indifferent to the prospect of losing multimillion-dollar assets in fiery crashes? Does he not see that airlines with poor safety records would have difficulty attracting customers? Is he unaware that airlines' insurers have ample incentives to work closely with airlines at keeping air-travel safety at optimal levels? In short, is Mr. Oberstar really so dimwitted to think that airlines will be safe only if they are regulated by government?"


The absurd lengths to which Obama supporters will go to play the race card deserves as much ridicule as possible. Peter Kirsanow weighs in with "25 Reasons You May be a Racist"


My Senator And Me: A Dog's Eye View Of Washington, D.C. is a children’s book written by Ted Kennedy. What caught my eye was this note from a cited review: “Kennedy's introduction to the political process is clear, informative, and loaded with child appeal, in part due to the choice of narrator: his Portuguese Water Dog, Splash.”

Yes, the man who killed Mary Jo Kopechne has a dog named Splash. Disgusting chutzpah from a disgusting man.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Favridiculous etc

When I turn on the ESPNews to get scores off the crawl and see the subjects roll by, NL … AL … NFL … NBA … Olympics … Favre. Brett Favre, he has become his own category, hell maybe he’s become his own sport.

The good news is DirecTV just moved the Big Ten Network from channel 220 to 610 so there is a spot open for the Favre Channel.

The worst thing is, after a month or more of it already, there’s still a ton to go. Just wait until they play and exhibition game, and when he plays an exhibition game, and when he or Aaron Rogers do well or poorly in an exhibition game, and don’t even get me started on what happens when one of them is named the starter and then throws two picks in a real game.

You think you’re beaten down now, just wait…


This quote from Israeli air commander Col. Ziv Levy (from a 60 Minutes segment earlier this year) is chilling: “We spend a lot of time and a lot of effort in training and being prepared for the worst. We cannot lose a single war. The first war we lose, Israel will cease to exist.”

It’s a simple point and we all know it well, but it still needs to be repeated regularly lest we forget or downplay Israel’s peril.


Queen’s “We Will Rock You” may have been a simple song, but don’t blame guitarist
Brian May. That’s Doctor May to you, buster! He has just published his doctoral thesis, "A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud”.

When he’s not gigging he’s busy being the Chancellor of John Moores University and doing segments on an astronomy TV show.


If only the default position on racial grievance was that of Walter Williams and his “Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon Granted to All Persons of European Descent,” the world would be a much better place.


Government 101: In 1972, the FDA passed a law requiring child safety caps on many medications, the driving force being publicity surrounding children poisoned by aspirin. You can guess what happened then – many people, especially older, left the caps off because they were too hard to open. And people became more likely to leave bottles in places where children can get to them, lulled into carelessness because they felt the caps were safer.

The result: an additional 3000 children have been poisoned by aspirin because of the regulation (per consumer advocate John Stossel).

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Monday, August 04, 2008

RIP Alexander Solzhenitsyn etc.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, one of the great heroes of the 20th century, passed away last night in Moscow. His courage in writing and publishing The Gulag Archipelago in 1974 was immeasurable. The book itself is one of the most important in human history. Those who lived under the horrors of communism, indeed under any totalitarian nightmare, had no greater ally. RIP.


30 years ago today, Jimmy Carter established the Department of Energy. $4.00 a gallon gas, major decreases in domestic energy production and dramatic increases in our reliance on foreign sources for our energy tells you that it worked out exactly as one would expect from a major government expansion.


With the Olympics set to begin next week in by far the greatest polluting country in the world, there will never be a better time for Al Gore to show up and forcefully speak out. We shall see if there is any sincerity in his fire and brimstone rhetoric or if the whole thing is just a ruse designed to make him a billionaire. Tick, tock…


While on the subject of the rotund VP cum preacher, enjoy this limerick from Scott Cram:

There once was a man named Gore,
who thought he had a climate change cure,
then things like grain and rice,
went far up in price,
now he's to blame for starving the poor!


Why does the notion that the concept of “mutually assured destruction,” which kept the US and the Soviet Union from engaging in nuclear war in the Cold War, still have traction in some circles as being applicable to the Iran dilemma? Soviet communism was a rational (albeit evil) ideology, more interested in survival than the destruction of its enemy.

Can we really assume that Shiite fundamentalism’s apocalyptic tendencies are all just an act? It’s not like the willingness to sacrifice most of their own in order to destroy Israel is a fringe position in the Iranian government, it comes from so many including from those at the very top.


When David Beckham moved from Madrid to Los Angeles, did he have to learn Spanish?


Wisdom from the great Thomas Sowell on how it is that a 9/11 or the constant attacks on Israel can happen at this point in history:

There was a time when it would have been suicidal to threaten, much less attack, a nation with much stronger military power because one of the dangers to the attacker would be the prospect of being annihilated.

"World opinion," the U.N. and "peace movements" have eliminated that deterrent. An aggressor today knows that if his aggression fails, he will still be protected from the full retaliatory power and fury of those he attacked because there will be hand-wringers demanding a cease fire, negotiations and concessions.

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Who said it?

See if you can guess who gave a speech that included the following:

"I do ask every publisher, every editor, and every newsman in the nation to reexamine his own standards, and to recognize the nature of our country’s peril. In time of war, the government and the press have customarily joined in an effort, based largely on self-discipline, to prevent unauthorized disclosures to the enemy.

[...] today no war has been declared — and however fierce the struggle may be, it may never be declared in the traditional fashion. Our way of life is under attack. Those who make themselves our enemy are advancing around the globe. The survival of our friends is in danger. And yet no war has been declared, no borders have been crossed by marching troops, no missiles have been fired.

If the press is awaiting a declaration of war before it imposes the self-discipline of combat conditions, then I can only say that no war ever posed a greater threat to our security. If you are awaiting a finding of “clear and present danger,” then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent.


[This war] requires a change in outlook, a change in tactics, a change in missions — by the government, by the people, by every businessman or labor leader, and by every newspaper. For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence — on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day.

For the facts of the matter are that this nation’s foes have openly boasted of acquiring through our newspapers information they would otherwise hire agents to acquire through theft, bribery, or espionage; that details of this nation’s covert preparations to counter the enemy’s covert operations have been available to every newspaper reader, friend and foe alike; that the size, the strength, the location, and the nature of our forces and weapons, and our plans and strategy for their use, have all been pinpointed in the press and other news media to a degree sufficient to satisfy any foreign power; and that, in at least one case, the publication of details concerning a secret mechanism whereby [communications were tracked] required its alteration at the expense of considerable time and money.


On many earlier occasions, I have said — and your newspapers have constantly said — that these are times that appeal to every citizen’s sense of sacrifice and self-discipline. They call out to every citizen to weigh his rights and comforts against his obligations to the common good. I cannot now believe that those citizens who serve in the newspaper business consider themselves exempt from that appeal.


I am asking the members of the newspaper profession and the industry in this country to reexamine their own responsibilities, to consider the degree and the nature of the present danger, and to heed the duty of self-restraint which that danger imposes upon us all.

Every newspaper now asks itself, with respect to every story: “Is it news?” All I suggest is that you add the question: “Is it in the interest of the national security?"

So who is it? President Bush chiding the New York Times for exposing yet another covert US program to the enemy?

Ummm, no. These are excerpts from a speech given to the American Newspaper Publishers Association, on April 27, 1961 by President Kennedy.

Can you imagine how much JFK would be hated by the left today? Don't forget that this was a president who, in addition to aggressively confronting US enemies, pushed through major cuts in marginal tax rates and wanted defense spending to be 50% of the federal budget. His assassination would be the subject of unadulterated glee on DailyKos and MoveOn.

Barack Obama is often compared to JFK, but it would be hard to imagine two politicians more different.

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