Monday, January 28, 2008

In case you weren't feeling paranoid enough already

Patrick Nielsen Hayden links to this:

You might as well just go stand by the stairs. Do you have stairs in your house?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Nice use of the word "reprobate"

Here. And in the comments.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Just too damn many people, that's all

This grew too big to be a Gleaning. More on Deep Greens, and how they would like to radically reduce the world's population, starting with everybody else.

Dave Lindorff: Global Warming Will Save America from the Right...Eventually. There used to be hundreds of comments on this. Lindorff now claims that it is satire, of the "Modest Proposal" variety. It's not uncommon for lefties to make death threats and voice death wishes, and when called on it claim that they are kidding. (For example, the wishful thinking movie "Death of a President." It takes a lot of effort and money to make a movie.) Here it is in the Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel, an over-the-moonbat "non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication." In context with the other stories in the C&S, it fits right in. I'm still waiting for the prices of waterfront property to start declining. That's when we'll know if there's anything to this.

Compare and contrast: Ask Ethan: Is it ethical to force people to be green?

Ethan's five-point plan:

1. A ban on all motorised transport
2. A ban on all petro-chemical, poison-spraying agriculture
3. A ban on all space heating
4. Restrictions on health care
5. Reducing the number of children born
I constantly remind my children that they are a terrible drain on the planet. Sometimes they cry. I think it’s good that they share Gaia’s pain.… Ultimately, the world’s population must be reduced - by 5.9 billion. But the 100 million left, devoid of cars, planes, heaters and fertilisers will be a much smaller burden on the planet. What a happy place it will be!
All the details at the link. By way of Alien Corn.

Further compare and contrast: Ethan is satire. Paul Watson is serious. (Isn't he? He sounds serious.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

So long, Fred

That was disappointing. It seems indecent for a candidate to be fundraising full-tilt one week and out the next. I want my nickel back!

Maybe it's time to reconsider Christopher Walken's candidacy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Note on windfall profits

The next time I hear someone talking about the evils of price-gouging, or how such-and-such industry should be subjected to a windfall profits tax, I hope I can remember this story from Jim Reed's The Funny Side of Fishing:

Customer: "How much is that fly rod in the window?"
Store clerk: "$150."
Customer: "Wow! The discount store at the edge of town sells that same rod for $75."
Store clerk: "Why don't you buy it there?"
Customer: "Because they're out of them."
Store clerk: "Oh, when we are out of the rods we sell them for $50."
Supply and demand. That's all.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Quickly, now, quickly.

Andrea Harris: England continues to sink. Not post-glacial rebound, here; cultural deterioration.

From the Yemen Times: There must be violence against women. Otherwise, they would be going to the police and the courts all the time. What?!

Paul Graham: How To Do What You Love.
Compare and contrast:
Marty Nemko: Do What You Love and You'll Starve.

Fred Thompson: "I don’t think that it’s the primary responsibility of the federal government to tell you what to eat.… With that, or whether you're talking about education, there's some things the federal government can't do." This reasoning could be extended to the drug war.

New solar cycle coming, looks like cooler days ahead. NASA: Long Range Solar Forecast: Solar Cycle 25 peaking around 2022 could be one of the weakest in centuries.

Aerosols an important factor being left out of climate models. How many more factors are left out? Could Earth's interior heat be one of them? H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe knew that there were volcanoes in Antarctica.

To end with something blessedly funny, Megan McArdle links to Dr. Boli's Celebrated Magazine. Thanks Jane!

Aand one more of the funny, and possibly practical: edible googly eyes.

Socialist spammers

Just got an ebay phishing spam with the usual "click here to resolve this problem" link. This time the link goes back to "": the Socialist Party of Portugal! This is the dominant party over there, so it's probably a rogue user, or a sign of a hacked system, rather than a systematic effort at sharing the wealth by stealth, but then you never know with socialists. If the ends justify the means, no means is too mean.

Monday, January 14, 2008

More arms for Africa

Last night, 60 Minutes had a horrifying segment, "War Against Women," on massive numbers of rapes in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Anderson Cooper gave no background at all. If, as he said, the rapes are a weapon of war; then why are these people fighting? Seems there's gold in the hills: here is a report from Human Rights Watch, The Curse of Gold. I have not read the whole thing; but from a quick skim, it looks like people have been fighting over this gold for over a hundred years.

Seeing the presence of large numbers of blue-helmeted UN "peacekeepers," at the beginning of the piece, made me suspicious right away, since we know that wherever the UN peacekeepers go, sex crimes follow. Haiti, Liberia, Kosovo, Congo, Congo. Human Rights Watch says the crimes in the DRC are also gold- and arms-related. Another news article: UN troops traded guns for gold with militias, says report. And a letter from HRW to the UN.

There is a big peace conference going on right now: Congo-Kinshasa: Aid Tops Agenda As Kivus Conference Gets Under Way. How bitter is it that this is an occasion for the elites to demand even more from these people who seem to have nothing left but pain:

An original list of 300 delegates grew to more than 800, with an additional 500 attending as observers. As a result, the US$2 million budgeted for the conference will not suffice, according to organisers.

"Delegates will receive a per diem of $135 but they haven't got it yet because I think there is a liquidity problem," said a member of the organising committee.

Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga has called on all DRC citizens to contribute the equivalent of a dollar to meet the shortfall.

"It is going to cost a lot of money but peace has a price which we have to pay," National Assembly speaker Vital Kamerhe said.

"The blood of our brothers and our army is priceless," he added.
The blood, and honor, of their women, on the other hand, is meaningless, and not worth mentioning. I don't know what can be done about this mess. But one thing struck me as I watched the report: the only ones with arms were the soldiers and "peacekeepers." Maybe the real humanitarian thing for some NGO to do here would be to provide pistols to the ordinary people. Some teeth for the prey, so to speak. Of course it will not happen.

Update: Zimbabwe: Mugabe troops use rape as weapon. Thanks to Theo Spark. And see: Gleanings from June 7, 2008.

Offsets, I got yer offsets right here

Carbon offsets: FTC Carbon Offset Investigation Previews Cap and Trade’s Imminent Failure.

Al Gore gets his carbon credits here. He owns the company. You or I would have to shop for ours. But why bother, when we can get all the free offsets we want.

Offsets for cheaters.

Horse offsets.

Business Week [bold is mine]:

A growing number of organizations, corporations, cities, and individuals are seeking to protect the climate—or at least claim bragging rights for protecting the climate. Rather than take the arduous step of significantly cutting their own emissions of carbon dioxide, many in the ranks of the environmentally concerned are paying to have someone else curtail air pollution or develop "renewable" energy sources (see, 2/1/07, "Ethanol: Too Much Hype—and Corn "). Carbon offsets, as the most common variety of these deals is known, have become one of the most widely promoted products marketed to checkbook environmentalists.

Done carefully, offsets can have a positive effect and raise ecological awareness. But a close look at several transactions—including those involving the Oscar presenters, Vail Resorts, and the Seattle power company—reveals that some deals amount to little more than feel-good hype. When traced to their source, these dubious offsets often encourage climate protection that would have happened regardless of the buying and selling of paper certificates. One danger of largely symbolic deals is that they may divert attention and resources from more expensive and effective measures.
Remember the Pet Rock™? Some people will buy anything.

Thanks to Glenn Reynolds.

Update: More on this from Morgan Freeberg at the House of Eratosthenes. Do read the comments!

Another update: Michelle Malkin has the story on offsets for the jet-set environmentalists at Davos: Enviro-nitwits fly to Davos, seek absolution from Al Gore.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Happy birthday to Ann Althouse

I think it was this post that led me to choose the template you see before you. And it was certainly this one that brought in my biggest traffic surge evar.

I doubt I would be blogging at all if not for the (former) requirement that one have a Blogger ID to comment at Althouse. With the ID came the offer of blog space, and one thing just followed the other, as things sometimes do.

So—Happy birthday, Professor Althouse, and best wishes for many more to come.

Here's a cake, swiped from someone [Janet Margul?] on GEnie so long ago that I no longer have any idea, in the old ascii boxology style:

() () () () ()
|| || || || ||
| * * * * * * * * * |
| |
| |

Now that's a bunch of tasty bits. Or bytes. Bites of bits.

Update a few minutes later: I see that Blake has a good birthday post at BitMaelstrom—and also that he has the good(?) taste to be another Thorne Smith fan. So there's a movie of Night Life of the Gods? To think I never knew! I'll have to order a copy. Nostalgia Family Video has it on VHS. So wishing Althouse a happy birthday turns into a happy unbirthday for me! Lots of win to go around.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Energy policy: who let the loons out?

I would like to know how much time was spent in the House and Senate debating the plan to ban incandescent bulbs. High silliness, this. But it doesn't approach the silliness level of California's proposal that all thermostats in new or renovated buildings be controlled remotely by the power company.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Lancing the Lancet

Neil Munro and Carl M. Cannon in the National Journal: Data Bomb.

Three weeks before the 2006 midterm elections gave Democrats control of Congress, a shocking study reported on the number of Iraqis who had died in the ongoing war. It bolstered criticism of President Bush and heightened the waves of dread -- here and around the world -- about the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Published by The Lancet, a venerable British medical journal, the study [PDF] used previously accepted methods for calculating death rates to estimate the number of "excess" Iraqi deaths after the 2003 invasion at 426,369 to 793,663; the study said the most likely figure was near the middle of that range: 654,965. Almost 92 percent of the dead, the study asserted, were killed by bullets, bombs, or U.S. air strikes. This stunning toll was more than 10 times the number of deaths estimated by the Iraqi or U.S. governments, or by any human-rights group.

In December 2005, Bush had used a figure of 30,000 civilian deaths in Iraq. Iraq's health ministry calculated that, based on death certificates, 50,000 Iraqis had died in the war through June 2006. A cautiously compiled database of media reports by a London-based anti-war group called Iraq Body Count confirmed at least 45,000 war dead during the same time period. These were all horrific numbers -- but the death count in The Lancet's study differed by an order of magnitude.
Glenn Reynolds says, "This is a big deal story; it'll be interesting to see if it gets the attention it deserves." He mentions additional coverage at PJ Media and Bizzyblog. Neo-neocon has a thoughtful post with good comments, including this from Synova,
[…] it didn’t pass the smell test. You know, that step your math teacher tells you to do right after you’ve plugged in all the numbers in your equation and got the answer out? You’re supposed to ask yourself, does it make *sense* that my answer is that the car travels 1485 miles an hour?
who also has a post on the subject.

Speaking of bombs: Lancet. Lancet study. Lancet Iraq study. Lancet Iraq deaths study. Lancet Iraq mortality study.

Update: George Soros's hand in this is revealed. Thanks to GR.
Another update: More on Soros's involvement from TigerHawk.