Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ledeen on Obama's Holocaust Day speech

At PJ Media. Obama gets the meaning of "never again" wrong:

He then gave his version of “never again,” and it’s a very odd version indeed. First, he draws hope from the survivors of the Holocaust. Those who came to America had a higher birthrate than the Jews who were already living here, and those members of “a chosen people” who created Israel. These, he says, chose life and asserted it despite the horrors they had endured. And then he goes on:
We find cause for hope as well in Protestant and Catholic children attending school together in Northern Ireland; in Hutus and Tutsis living side-by-side, forgiving neighbors who have done the unforgivable; in a movement to save Darfur that has thousands of high school and college chapters in 25 countries and brought 70,000 people to the Washington Mall, people of every age and faith and background and race united in common cause with suffering brothers and sisters halfway around the world.

Those numbers can be our future, our fellow citizens of the world showing us how to make the journey from oppression to survival, from witness to resistance and ultimately to reconciliation. That is what we mean when we say “never again.”
So “never again” means that we learn from others how to forgive and forget, and ultimately live happily with one another. But that is not what “never again” means, at least for the generation of the Holocaust and for most of those who followed. For them, “never again” means that we will destroy the next would-be Fuhrer.
It's not a civil rights march. If Gandhi had faced Nazis rather than the British, Gandhi would have died young.
In the history of modern times, the United States has done more than anyone else, perhaps more than the rest of the world combined, to defeat evil, and we are still doing it. Yet Obama says that we must “learn from others” how to move on, forgive and forget, and live happily ever after. But these are just words, they are not policies, or even actions. And the meanings he gives to his words show that he has no real intention of doing anything to thwart evil, any more than he had any concrete actions to propose to punish North Korea.

Significantly, Barack Obama is a lot tougher on his domestic American opponents than on tyrants who threaten our values and America itself. He tells the Republicans that they’d better stop listening to Rush Limbaugh, but he doesn’t criticize Palestinians who raise their children to hate the Jews. He bows to the Saudi monarch, but humiliates the prime minister of Great Britain. He expresses astonishment that anyone can worry about a national security threat from Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela, even as Chavez solidifies an alliance with Iran that brings plane loads of terror masters, weapons and explosives into our hemisphere from Tehran via Damascus, fuels terrorists and narcotics traffic, and offers military facilities to Russian warships and aircraft. He is seemingly unconcerned by radical Islam and a resurgent Communism in Latin America, even as his Department of Homeland Security fires a warning shot at veterans–the best of America–returning from the Middle East. He seeks warm relations with Iran and Syria–who are up to their necks in American blood–while warning Israel of dire consequences if she should attempt to preempt a threatened Iranian nuclear attack.

Thus far, at least, the one clear message from President Obama is that he is not prepared to fight…our international enemies.
The United States is being destroyed before our eyes. I do not think this is what Schumpeter had in mind by "creative destruction." Or as the President said during the campaign, nice country you have here; let's change it.

Lots of comments over there. Commenter Harry Truman (name rings a bell; St. Louis, wasn't it?) recommends the Collectivist Quote Quiz at The People's Cube. Hilarious, in that throw-up-in-your-mouth-a-little kind of way.

Update: More on this speech at Power Line.

And: Follow-ups by Ledeen, Steyn, and Ledeen again, at The Corner.

Looking at card check sponsors

Kevin Mooney of the Washington Examiner seems to be starting in southern New England with a series on members of Congress who are co-sponsors of the Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check) and have taken dubious money. These are very brief, and tightly focused on the card check issue. The installments so far:

To be updated?

Yes. I'll keep adding to the list here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An essay in appreciation of Dick Cheney ...

… can be found at Hillbuzz:

He may be a crotchety, gruff, surly, wiseass who shoots people in the face — but he was OUR crotchety, gruff, surly, friend’s-face-shooting wiseass…with great emphasis on the WISE part.
Lots of comments. Pix of Joe Biden eating ice cream. Thanks to Ace, who has his own funny take on it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

WTF? US Government tries to scare Manhattan to death

WSJ today:

Low-Flying Plane Over Manhattan Was a 'Photo Op'

NYPD Says It Was Told Not to Disclose Flight Information

A jumbo jetliner that serves as Air Force One, escorted by a military jet, flew over Lower Manhattan Monday morning, frightening office workers and causing evacuations in what turned out to be a publicity operation approved by a unit of the U.S. Air Force.

At around 10 a.m. EDT, a Boeing 747 was seen accompanied by an F-16 fighter jet flying low over the southern tip of Manhattan and at one point seen circling the Goldman Sachs Tower in nearby Jersey City, N.J.

The circling planes were part of a "photo op," a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said.

The larger plane was one of two highly customized Boeing 747-200 series aircraft that serve as Air Force One when the commander in chief is on board. Technically, "Air Force One" is the call sign of any Air Force aircraft carrying the president. But President Barack Obama wasn't aboard the plane Monday.

The "aerial photo mission," conducted by the Air Force's Presidential Airlift Group, was supposed to be in the area of lower Manhattan and New Jersey for around 30 minutes.

It involved one 747 and one F-16 fighter jet, said Vicki Stein, an Air Force spokeswoman. "You would have to ask the White House the specifics on the mission," Ms. Stein said. The plane is part of the Air Force's Presidential Airlift Group, stationed at Maryland's Andrews Air Force Base.

The New York City Police Department said Monday that the flight was authorized by the FAA for the vicinity "with directives to local authorities not to disclose information about it," according to an email advisory from Paul J. Browne, deputy commissioner of the New York City Police Department.

The low-flying 747 sent workers worried about a repeat of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks fleeing their offices in the New York City area.

Traders bolted from the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange after seeing the jets. The exchange, which sits on the east bank of the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan and is blocks from the site of the terrorist-destroyed World Trade Center, didn't order an evacuation.

People trading oil, natural gas and other commodities on the Nymex floor apparently took no chances. A Nymex security official was "literally standing, holding his hands up in a calming gesture. Guys were running right past him," said Pete Donovan, a vice president at Vantage Trading in the crude-futures ring.

But several buildings in the area were ordered evacuated, although workers quickly returned after it became clear that the flyover was a planned event.

Lower Manhattan tenants and landlords said they weren't informed of the flyover until after it happened. A spokesman for World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein, who owns several properties near the site of the 2001 attacks, said in an email that the firm got no information ahead of time.

Construction workers fled the 43-story headquarters for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., currently under construction across the street from the trade center site. Gia Moron, a spokeswoman for Goldman, one of the largest businesses in Lower Manhattan, said: "We did not receive a heads up. Our security officers were advised after it happened."

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates bridges, tunnels and airports in the area, said initially the agency had no knowledge of the low-flying plane, according to a spokesman. But a Port Authority executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the agency was still investigating, said the Port Authority's security staff were told of the photo shoot at least by Monday morning and possibly as early as the weekend.
White House deflects questions.

Readers' comments at WSJ.

NY Times says "White House Apologizes for Air Force Flyover," with same facts as everyone else. The fall guy has been found, to "take responsibility." Which means taking blame; there's no responsibility anywhere in government. Commenters seem to think it's a bigger deal than the correspondents do.

Premeditated, using the President's plane. What's the point of the shock treatment? What's the point of the "directives to local authorities?" Incompetence and insanity at high levels.

So was it for money, or for fun? Was Soros shorting something today, and not getting enough of a drop out of the swine flu scare? Or was this done just to watch 'em scurry? Cowardly American capitalists, afraid of a couple of airplanes! Or, possibly, a joyride for some FOB? (How about that? Friends of Bill, Friends of Barack, comes out the same. We need a new one, to be able to tell them apart. Friends of Obama would be FOO. The middle name, that's only to be used abroad, to show that change has come to America, and we are now so much like our enemies that we no longer have to fight, but can discuss terms instead, so FOH wouldn't do.) The descriptions of the maneuvers by commenters make it sound like a joyride. Sharp turns, circling buildings, the triple field goal between the buildings in Jersey City, and so forth. Will we ever find out who was on the plane?

Reynolds has more, more, and more, including a link to Cuffy Meigs's photo set: Obama Tortures 9/11 Victims. Another, with an MSNBC video. And another, and another ("Is it too early to call it 'Planegate' yet?").

Ace has a post or two on this, also. Althouse has a post, and a post with a poll.

On Tuesday, an editorial from the NY Post: Plane Dumb.

A possible movie tie-in? The Obamans are clueless enough to go for this.

Later Tuesday: A training mission? See the screencap? image of a fax? at GretaWire. Well, training in the sense that it wasn't combat. Includes a cost estimate, based on cost-per-hour figures averaged over the life of each type of airplane, so the numbers being bandied about are pretty loose.

AP: White House will probe presidential plane PR stunt. Yeah, right.

At American Digest, Vanderleun has We Need a White House "Stupid Service" and The Wind in the Heights.

A couple of Photoshop contests, at Free Republic and the NY Daily News.

People are calling this "Scare Force One."

Update May 5: Scare Force One Photos Wont Be Made Public. If there ever were any photos. Via Reynolds.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A classic review of a classic: Mary McCarthy on 'Pale Fire'

It's probably 30 years since I've last read Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire. Seeing this at Kausfiles has greatly increased the likelihood that I'll get around to rereading it sometime before the arrival of the Singularity:

The best book review I've ever read, Mary McCarthy's amazing figuring-out of Pale Fire, is now online at New Republic.
The review (from 1962, when the book was new) clarifies much complexity in (relatively) few words.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Earth Day follow-up

Couldn't leave it alone, could I?

Via the Urbin Report and Ed Driscoll, via Steven Den Beste, here's Ronald Bailey in Reason, back in 2000:

Earth Day, Then and Now

Earth Day 1970 provoked a torrent of apocalyptic predictions. "We have about five more years at the outside to do something," ecologist Kenneth Watt declared to a Swarthmore College audience on April 19, 1970. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that "civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." "We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation," wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment. The day after Earth Day, even the staid New York Times editorial page warned, "Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction." Very Apocalypse Now.

Three decades later, of course, the world hasn't come to an end; if anything, the planet's ecological future has never looked so promising. With half a billion people suiting up around the globe for Earth Day 2000, now is a good time to look back on the predictions made at the first Earth Day and see how they've held up and what we can learn from them. The short answer: The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong.
Paul Ehrlich, who collaborated with Obama science advisor John Holdren, is prominently mentioned. Much more at the link, RTWT.

Also at Urbin Report, George Carlin on "Saving the Planet." NSFW because of language.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day, things to do for

  • Get birthday card for Lenin
  • Call member of Congress through the Capitol switchboard on Earth Day and ask them to oppose the Markey Waxman climate bill, or American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES). (No point, but might as well.)
  • Submit comment to EPA on the Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act, which would allow the EPA to regulate CO2 as a pollutant. (A smidgen of hope for this one, but only a smidgen. It's a huge power grab, and will be irresistible.)
  • Go to park after rally, pick up litter.

Iain Murray has a bunch of Earth Day links over at The Corner: link to Myron Ebell's testimony on ACES; comment on CrunchyCon sneering; link to John Tierney contra the Ehrlichites, Use Energy, Get Rich and Save the Planet; link to comedian Lewis Black's take on TV companies marketing Earth Day to kids. (Near the end of the Lewis Black video there is a Sesame Street clip with a rock band of kids singing "Turn it off!" about water and lights and TV; of course they are using electric instruments and microphones, and are on a TV show themselves. Environmentalists don't appreciate irony.)

The TierneyLab blog followup to the Tierney piece above has a rich turnout of Malthusians and Ehrlichites in the comments. They all seem to be well-fed computer users. If their reasoning were correct, the whole world should have starved to death by now. Is comment #100 the prize-winner?
The U. S. is not finally turning green because it’s richer, but because leadership finally believes that the future matters.

Cuba is among the greenest countries on earth, according to a study by the Global Footprint Network. It is not wealthy in the monetary terms that Mr. Tierney measures, although it does have high levels of human development indicators such as health, science, education, arts, and culture. It also has a low ecological footprint (or level of ecological damage), according to the study.

It also has leadership focused on measures other than private profit.
There's your example to follow, kids! If we can only get the right leadership, we can be just like Cuba! Political prisons and all. Comment #135 for the runner-up:
How about measuring some more pertinent variables, like the amount of un-built land, old-growth forest, grassland… even the number of tropical beaches that don’t have hotels and hordes of drunken tourists. ["…" is in the original]
If somehow all those other people, you know, the annoying ones who just don't care about Gaia, would just disappear, wouldn't everything be wonderful! We could have those tropical beaches all to ourselves. And we don't sleep in hotels, no, we sleep right on the beach, and bury our poop in the sand.

I'll close up this Earth Day post by noting that President Obama chose to honor conservation and all that by taking Air Force One to go to Newton, Iowa, for a few hours, to make a campaign stop deliver a speech. (Thanks to Glenn Reynolds, who also has this: CNN's Marciano to Obama: 'Let's Park the Jumbo Jet' for Earth Day, and links on the amount of fuel consumed.)

Here earlier: Planning a newer New Deal and a new Depression to go with it, and Energy, among others.

Butterfly effect: Spitzer, Greenberg, and AIG

If Eliot Spitzer had not been such a self-aggrandizing, aggressive grandstander of an A.G., would AIG have had it better the last few years? If Spitzer had not forced the long-time CEO from his post, the timeline of the last few years would be different. Could it possibly have been worse?


Thanks to Glenn Reynolds.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spending cuts, drop from the bucket style

So if the bucket is too heavy to carry, and you take one drop out of it, well, that's gonna make a difference. And then if you take another drop out of it, sooner or later, that adds up to …

The Heritage Foundation has come up with another of these great graphics, similar in impact to the one in the tea party post. They did not get it from the WaPo this time, either. It's by John Fleming of their staff:

(If that link doesn't work, there is an archived copy at Iterasi.)

Can you see the proposed cuts? The tiny black dot way up at the top.

The WaPo article linked by Heritage quotes Obama:

"None of these things alone are going to make a difference. But cumulatively they make an extraordinary difference because they start setting a tone. And so what we are going to do is, line by line, page by page, $100 million there, $100 million here, pretty soon, even in Washington, it adds up to real money."
It also quotes Greg Mankiw:
Just to be clear: $100 million represents .003 percent of $3.5 trillion.

To put those numbers in perspective, imagine that the head of a household with annual spending of $100,000 called everyone in the family together to deal with a $34,000 budget shortfall. How much would he or she announce that spending had to be cut? By $3 over the course of the year--approximately the cost of one latte at Starbucks. The other $33,997? We can put that on the family credit card and worry about it next year.
Paul Krugman does some arithmetic:
Let’s say the administration finds $100 million in efficiencies every working day for the rest of the Obama administration’s first term. That’s still around $80 billion, or around 2% of one year’s federal spending.
This amount is no more than "ground noise and static." So who does the President think he's kidding?

Thanks once again to Glenn Reynolds, and to Mark Hemingway for the Krugman quote.

Update: Ezra Klein thinks the President is kidding the voters, who are too dense to figure out the numbers. And this is a good thing, because it's a smart way to get headlines. Lefties do these things for the benefit of The People, who are so thick that they must be deceived for their own good. Revolting, and revealing.

XKCD hits the news media on the same kind of thing.

Confirmation of an expectation

I asked a couple of financial types the other day, "Do you think the banks will ever become private again?" They said something along the lines of, "Sure, the banks will pay back the loans and everything will be normal." I asked that question because I had heard that the government was refusing offers of repayment. I couldn't think of specifics at the moment, though, so let it pass without following up.

Now Glenn Reynolds points to Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion, where William Jacobson cites the Financial Times and Forbes to say that some of those bailed-out banks will not be allowed to repay those loans.

I'm tempted to quote the whole thing, but the comments are good, too, so I'll leave it there. Well, maybe just a little:

It is one thing for the government to lend money to banks to help the banks survive. It is someting quite different to use the lending to maintain control of the private sector when the specific borrower-bank no longer needs the money. And the greatest irony is that many banks which didn't want or need TARP money took it at the insistence of the feds, and now they can't pay it back.
This is the sort of "fascism" that Cody Willard was talking about, that led Jon Stewart maliciously to misquote him following the Tax Day Tea Parties: the penetration of private enterprise by the tendrils of government.

Alternate title: Here it comes.

Update: And from Megan McArdle, No Parting from TARP: "Once you take the King's Shilling, apparently you've enlisted for life--and your Congressional drill sergeants reserve the right to change the rules of your employment at will."

More at Reason: Is the Government Acting Like a Payday Lender?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

We're not going to Durban, or Geneva, either


U.S. boycotts racism conference, says it 'singles out' Israel

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States is boycotting a U.N. conference on racism next week over a document that "singles out" Israel in its criticism and conflicts with the nation's "commitment to unfettered free speech," the U.S. State Department said Saturday.
Good news from Washington? Let us give thanks. Hey, aren't President Obama and Hillary! both in Trinidad today? Let's see how long this decision stands.

We could have sent a delegation that would try to bang some sense into the assorted anti-Semites and moonbats, but the likelihood of any success in that would have been minimal. Better to hang back with the Australians, who will also be skipping the conference. Hey, hang with the Aussies? Bound to be beer! All right now. Make mine a Cooper's.

Update April 20: Not just the Aussies and the US; the list of the non-attending includes so far Israel, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Good beer will be had at the rump conference.

Another update: Roger L. Simon is in Durban Geneva, and writing about it, naturally. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. And what you might consider Part 6, "How Ahmadinejad Made Me a Believer." Video. Text, with lots of comments.

Update and correction: Silly me, how did I miss that a conference called "Durban II" was actually being held in Geneva?

"Night of the Living Government"

Sissy Willis picked this line for her post title: "Let me devour your flesh because I know how to use it better than you do."

There. Can you not go read that, now? Don't neglect to watch the video while you're over there. No, not the embedded one, the linked one, this one. If you'd rather YouTube, then this one at Andrew Klavan's blog at PJ Media. At one point, Klavan refers to "insatiable hunger for power," which reminded me of a post by Shannon Love a couple of days ago, Don’t Be Preedy.

Via Glenn Reynolds.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Katrina Pierson at the Dallas Tea Party

Could be inspirational.

Linked by Delia in a comment at PJ Media.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Look at this hipster

As a companion to Rock 'n' roll mockery, here is Look at this f-ing hipster. A collection of photos with humorous captions. The photos are funny; the captions give them the boost to LOL. Thanks to Althouse commenter mcg, who says "NSFW for language in large type." And I agree.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Windjammer round Cape Horn

Irving Johnson took a movie camera with him on this voyage from Hamburg to Talcahuano. Bird Dog, at Maggie's Farm, calls it "The Best Video of 1929." I'm inclined to agree. 36 minutes and some seconds, all of it riveting.

This is how cargo shipping with zero carbon footprint was done. When I see Greenpeace or Sea Shepherd setting sail in square-riggers, I might take them a little more seriously.

Update: That bit about cargo shipping with zero carbon footprint reminds me of a song. (Funny, as I get older, everything seems to remind me of a song.) This time, it's Larry Kaplan's "Old Zeb," about Captain Zebulon Tilton of Martha's Vineyard. (Listen to it here.) The verse that's apropos goes like this:

Any fool can work an engine, it takes brains to work a sail,
And I never seen no steamer get much good out of a gale.
You can go and pay your taxes on the rationed gas you get
But at least for me, the wind is free, and they haven't run out yet.
The tradeoff, of course there is a tradeoff, is that a modern vessel needs far fewer crewmen, and the crewmen are much more likely to come home. Note that two men were lost on the voyage around Cape Horn in the video linked above.

Missed the Tea Party ...

… because I was still wrangling the taxes! Got the e-file in at about 3:30 pm, too late to go up to Providence as I had something at home at 6.

It was a good turnout, considering how blue a state Rhode Island is.

There's some pretty fair coverage of the local event at the Providence Journal: Stimulated to protest. The video in that story is better here. There's even a slideshow. This is better coverage than the NY or Boston papers gave to events in their cities.

Glenn Reynolds has plenty of pictures and links. Blake has a post with more links, including some to Twitter, which, well, I'll understand it better by and by.

Doing a little channel-hopping around the networks, between CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, to see what the coverage would be like, I found the bias so blatant it was shocking. (Oh, yes, "I'm shocked, shocked, to find bias going on here.")

One of the (many) things that bugs me about today's lefties is their faux naiveté, or you might say disingenuousness. They pretend that they don't know what you're talking about, seize on some little turn of phrase, and proceed to argue against that, as if it were really the main point. That they continue to use this tactic shows that they are arguing in bad faith. And the obscenities, and the flood-the-zone. These so-called reporters are acting like comment trolls.

This CNN newsbabe, Susan Roesgen, in particular is exemplary, but really, the teabagging jokes are enough to demonstrate that the media elites are, uh, in the bag for the administration. Malkin writes on this effort by the no-longer-remotely-respectable media to turn this dissent into a dirty joke. This is rank stuff. Anderson Cooper and the rest who used this term, teabagging, in the sex-play sense have disgraced their networks. This is not sophisticated wit, it's Beavis and Butthead, snickering. No thought was taken for the many, a majority, I'd guess, who had never heard of this practice. I feel a little dirtier now, and I was a fairly dirty old man already. To Cooper, Shuster, the rest of the tv talkers who commented in this vein, I say, don't be doing blue comedy on the news, or, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" Ed Driscoll has a roundup post on early coverage, with more than I really wanted to read on the obscenities, and a link to a Nazi comparison.

Update: Speaking of disgusting lefties, here's an example: Teabag Fox News dot com. (I don't want to link this thing.) I was looking for the Janeane Garofolo clip as an example of fluorescent idiocy: here it is, posted proudly, along with much else that should be marked as not for the young or easily squicked.

More: Ed Driscoll has Jon Stewart taking a Cody Willard quote out of context. (It's dangerous to use terms, in this case "fascism," that have a real meaning known to some, and are used by others as invective.) Driscoll links to Stephen Green, who shows how the "teabag" shtick comes straight out of the Alinsky rulebook. In a comment on Green's piece, CraigZ clarifies the point that Jon Stewart used to make trouble for Cody Willard:

Calling Obama a Fascist is NOT to compare him to Hitler. It is an honest question whether the economic, repeat economic policies of this Administration are similar to those pursued by Italy in the 1920s and Germany in the ’30s. The “firing” of the CEO of GM seemed too similar for my tastes to the relationship between Krupp and the German government of 1938.
Though CraigZ is talking about something else, the general point applies. Did I take this quote out of context? Unlike viewers of The Daily Show, the reader here can click the link and decide for him- or herself.

Another update: To end, for now, on a more pleasant note, C-Span has a collection of Tea Party "videos submitted by C-SPAN viewers from across the nation," 14 in all, each from a different place.

Added: Why the tea parties? Why so suddenly? That "Taxed Enough Already" retronym is unfortunate, as it's allowing critics to say things about current taxes and tax breaks. I think the reason that hundreds of tea parties took place last week is that the significance of this

is being noticed by more people. The taxes that the tea partiers are complaining about are not necessarily the current taxes, but the taxes that will be required to meet the budgets that Pelosi, Obama, and Reid have promised. Especially since tax revenue is dropping like a stone. Democrats appear to believe the Laffer Curve is a figment of the imagination, so their prescription will be to raise the rates on the "rich," which will lead to revenue falling further, and so on. You've seen it over and over with municipal transit: when there are too few fare-paying riders to pay the cost of drivers, fuel, maintenance on the equipment, the authority will raise the fare. Except on the ever-increasing number of those who have bus passes. Compare Ari Fleischer: Everyone Should Pay Income Taxes.

As you might say on a sign, "It's the spending, stupid!"

What's wrong with American Idol

is that it does not have singers like these. From the British TV show that "Idol" is a Bizarro copy of, Paul Potts:

and Susan Boyle:

"Ted Mack's Amateur Hour" and "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" had more diversity than American Idol.

(Those related videos from the Susan Boyle clip will open as pop-ups and may be blocked by a pop-up blocker.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Rock 'n' roll mockery

Oh dear, I couldn't stop looking, couldn't stop laughing either. With each click, wondering if one of my old bands with me in it would show up in the next pic. (Did not happen. Whew!)

Rock and Roll Confidential's collection of bad band photos.

Jeremy makes a number of appearances in these. So now we know what he's doing in his rare spare moments when not trolling Althouse.

Thanks to Tim Walters, commenting at Making Light on something entirely different.

As Bill Haley didn't exactly say, "We're gonna mock, mock, mock — mock around the clock tonight!"

How did I miss calling this post Mock 'n' roll? Chalk up another one for l'esprit de l'escalier.

Related: Look at this hipster.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The clock-work heart

See it here.

Jessica Palmer says, "What does it signify? Does it represent the gradual replacement of the natural world around us with technology, to the point where our own bodies become artificial? Is it critiquing the reductionist tendencies of neurobiologists who believe our deepest emotions are complex but purely chemical reactions? Is it a steampunk Valentine?"

An enigmatic image. Meaning? You, you human beings, you make the meaning. You create the meaning. So be careful, be mindful, of what you are creating.

Abrupt shift in tone:

19th-century pacemaker, that's my guess. Maybe the thing under the floor that so upset [the character written by] Edgar Allan Poe.

Weenie Campbell is back on the air

Or on the Net, oh, you know what I mean.

This is good news if you like old blues.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Welcoming our new ice overlords

Geoengineering. (via Reynolds.)

Now they're talking about geoengineering. What happens when an adherent of Ehrlich is appointed to a position of responsibility power? Turn the siren up to eleven! We got global warming, it's catastrophic, TURN THAT GLOBAL THERMOSTAT DOWN! Honestly, some of these people think a hangnail is a catastrophe. I wonder if John Holdren knows anything about the Dust Bowl of the 1930's. Maybe I'll send him a copy of The Grapes of Wrath.

Back in January, I said:

some of the alarmists are calling for geoengineering schemes to supplement ineffective CO2 reduction schemes. "Climate scientists: it's time for 'Plan B'." The survey on which the first piece is based: "What can we do to save our planet?" This approach could get seriously dangerous. None of these scientists exhibits any concern about the possibility of triggering another Ice Age.
Are these people mad?

Well, they might just be monumentally incompetent and stupid, perhaps venal. If that's any comfort. But they are in power now. Yes, I know that I don't have the degrees that they do, the credentials. But I don't have the vested interests, either.

Triggering another Ice Age. Think about it.

Update a few minutes later: Andrea Harris makes a Fritz Leiber reference.

And another: Even the Greenies don't like it.
(NaturalNews) Of all the hare-brained ideas about climate change I've heard in the last few years, this one takes the grand prize: John Holdren, the new science advisor to President Obama, is actively considering radical geoengineering ideas in order to halt global warming. One such idea now being discussed with the Obama administration involves -- get this -- launching enormous amounts of pollution particles into Earth's upper atmosphere to block the sun's rays and "chill" the planet.

Let me explain why this is one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard. And keep in mind this is not about the debate of whether global warming is even real or not, since that's a different article altogether. This is about the short-sighted stupidity of even considering polluting the atmosphere in order to protect us from the CO2 pollution we've already dumped into the atmosphere.

First off, there's the whole idea that intentionally launching pollution into the atmosphere is, by any reckoning, a dangerous ecological experiment that potentially puts the entire Earth ecosystem at risk. Let's face it, folks: Human beings have proven themselves to be remarkably bad at anticipating the ecological effects of their own actions. The ramifications of such misguided efforts to fight global warming simply cannot be foreseen by any scientist (or group of scientists).
Well, then, there you are.

How much actual power does a science advisor have, anyway? Since his power is to advise and persuade, he'll likely do what the climate alarmists have been doing all along, fudge facts to make his case more emphatic. Like the fellow in the videos linked below.

Yet another update! More on this from Richard Fernandez at PJ Media. In comments, he voices a thought similar to something I have been thinking lately, "Sometimes I think the only function that a blogger can perform is to become a chronicler of the descent into insanity. The issues are no longer Right versus Left; Conservative versus Liberal. To some extent it is a battle between sanity and Looney Tunes."


And check this out: A little bit of a debate on climate and energy policy between Marc Morano and Joseph Romm. As near as I can tell, Morano is a political type with no particular scientific credentials, but is well-informed on the issues. Romm, on the other hand, has lots of credentials, worked in the Department of Energy for years, under Clinton, in important positions.

And yet, when they get to talking, Romm is spouting hysterical nonsense, while Morano calmly counters with facts.

So this is the best they can do? This is the "physicist and climate expert?" This person worked in government for years, determining the policies to guide the future of the nation? <sarcasm>I so want the government to take over my health care, build my cars, tell me how much I should be allowed to earn, how much I should be allowed to save.</sarcasm>

From Jerry Pournelle's mail.

Update: Mr. Romm is not happy about how that debate turned out.

Minor update to U-verse post

Just a little one, but it corrects an error: that problem with the audio on the coax connection is not restricted to the secondary STB's after all. I just had not been listening closely enough.

"Sprechen Sie douche?"

Andrea quotes Cuffy, and Wittgenstein, in the course of letting fly a fine diatribe.

Excuse me, my tiny little primate brain may be no match for President Obama’s gigantic Time Lord brain, but I was pretty sure that the language they spoke in Austria was German.
I can't keep up with this gaffe-a-minute Administration. Every time I get a half-dozen tabs with things to write about, another dozen come along.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Obama's plan for Afghanistan?

Gerard Vanderleun seems to have it figured out:

I think he realizes what his needs are in Afghanistan. What he needs to do is end a war in an American defeat while being seen as "trying for a victory." To do that he has to engineer an American defeat. Iraq is already, in the public mind at least, in the win column. So how do we engineer an American defeat? It is simplicity itself. You begin, not with a "surge" but a ripple.
Full details at American Digest.

The one thing that Vanderleun leaves out is this business of negotiating with the "moderate Taliban." Vice-President Biden has apparently been conducting interviews, or taking a poll:
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., speaking to NATO allies this week in Brussels, called 5 percent of the Taliban “incorrigible — not susceptible to anything other than being defeated.” A senior European diplomat involved in Afghanistan said officials believed that number to be 100 to 1,000 Qaeda and Taliban members. Mr. Biden said he believed that “another 25 percent or so” were uncertain about their commitment to the insurgency, while about 70 percent were involved because it meant “getting paid.”

But how exactly the Afghan government and the United States will pry away those insurgents remained unclear. Whatever is decided must be presented by the Afghan government, Mr. Biden said. “I do think it is worth engaging and determining whether or not there are those who are willing to participate in a secure and stable Afghan state,” he said.
I wonder why that question of "whether or not there are those who …" was not included in the survey.

It could be an amusing (for them) exercise in taqqiya for the Talib chiefs to pick a couple of their number to pretend to be moderates, and go waste the infidels' time in pointless talk. This would provide something for the Administration to point to: "See, we have found the moderate Taliban, and we are negotiating right now."

Update: "Barack Obama fails to win Nato troops he wants for Afghanistan."
Barack Obama made an impassioned plea to America’s allies to send more troops to Afghanistan, warning that failure to do so would leave Europe vulnerable to more terrorist atrocities.

But though he continued to dazzle Europeans on his debut international tour, the Continent’s leaders turned their backs on the US President.
I don't understand. I thought that relations with our allies were supposed to improve. Or as Glenn Reynolds says, "No, we can't." There is more to diplomacy than impassioned pleading.