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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Courtesy SC&A

Sort of Scrooge Redux; the story of Souter past and present. It brought a moment of ease to my fevered brow.

Also, I really want the keychain. Pick your own fantasy - perhaps something with which to impress your friends and neighbors?

I have concluded that you could auction your dirty socks on eBay and someone would bid.

Wow - Outside In On EBay

This is just an incredible post, worth reading so that you will be able to watch for the signs of eBay fever as so aptly explicated by Outside In. It can be fatal to a relationship:
Before I quit eBay I made some fine purchases. These are among my best:

A vintage 1965 Airstream travel trailer in mint condition with all original interior, including pink Formica counter tops. She lived her entire life parked in Estes , CO until I got her on a Buy It Now listing that started at 2:38 AM. Having never even considered a travel trailer and with no knowledge of them whatsoever, I bought her at 2:39 AM for 4800.00 because the price seemed right (It was; I've since been offered 11,000. and up). At 2:42 AM I went back to bed and the next morning I thought I had dreamed that I bought an Airstream. This was during the phase where I was having blackouts. Imagine my horror when I read that the buyer had to retrieve her from Estes Park, cash in hand, within 7 days.
Chief No-Nag had a dire flirtation with eBay. I slowly backed him down, but it wasn't easy. He's on a methadone-type program of thrift stores.

The Movie Industry Found The Problem

Howard at Oraculations has covered the story. It is the Christians who are ruining the movie industry with their propaganda. Now that we know the cause of the 18-week slump at the box office, I guess it will be asimple matter to fix, eh? Just get the word out that the Christians are the ones who are really sneaking off to see the dirty movies, and all the rest of the population will follow suit? I don't think so!

Howard linked to the Variety article. See this one for the other half of the story. When hard-core movies stopped making as much the PG brand began its resurgence.

Now I Get It!

With the assistance of Wikipedia, (thanks to IMAO) I now understand why Tom Cruise hates and distrusts psychiatrists! It's because they helped Xenu:
75 million years ago, Xenu was the ruler of a Galactic Confederacy which consisted of 26 stars and 76 planets including Earth, which was then known as Teegeeack. The planets were overpopulated, each having on average 178 billion people. The Galactic Confederacy's civilization was comparable to our own, with people "walking around in clothes which looked very remarkably like the clothes they wear this very minute" and using cars, trains and boats looking exactly the same as those "circa 1950, 1960" on Earth.

Xenu was about to be deposed from power, so he devised a plot to eliminate the excess population from his dominions. With the assistance of "renegades", he defeated the populace and the "Loyal Officers", a force for good that was opposed to Xenu. Then, with the assistance of psychiatrists, he summoned billions of people to paralyse them with injections of alcohol and glycol, under the pretense that they were being called for "income tax inspections."
(Got that? If you get called for an income tax audit, and they have a psychiatrist standing by, bolt for the door screaming "Xenu! Xenu!" as loudly as you can. I'll bet Tom Cruise really, really hates income tax audits too.) But back to Xenu, that cold-hearted evil Ming-like person, who loaded these billions of people onto big planes which flew through space and came to Earth. Cleverly and efficiently stacking all the paralyzed people around volcanoes, Ming-Xenu dropped hydrogen bombs into the volcanoes and blew everyone up, although he did not stop to gloat and explain his entire plan to James Bond, which is the normal mistake an arch-villain makes. Take heed, all ye would-be arch-villains - don't explain - just hit the detonator before James Bond wakes up!

So the series had been cancelled, which had caused the scriptwriter on this one to take the series out with a bang. But last minute funding for another season came in, leaving the scriptwriter in quite a fix with all the main characters dead. However, El-Ron realized he could count on the evil inventiveness and sheer ruthlessness of Minglike-emperors. Heartlessly, Ming-Xenu gathered the ghosts of all of these people and made them watch bad movies for days upon days, to propagandize them. The horror! The horror! This could explain a lot about Hollywood, couldn't it?

By the way - the propagandized ghosts of those people are still haunting earthlings today, and if you agree to give large, large sums of money to some Scientologist unit and tell someone all your secrets, you can be freed of these ghosts, which will lead to a life of a great something or other during which you will rant hysterically in public about things of which Scientologists disapprove. And once you tell the Scientologists all your secrets, my guess is you will slink off quietly if you ever become disillusioned.

You can't accomplish this without the Scientologists, because you will get physically diseased or go bug-nuts if you try, which will serve you right for ignoring the true faith of Scientology. Even the great El-Ron himself found it incredibly difficult to recover the memory of the above story (evil emperor Ming, volcanoes, malevolent ghosts), and it is imperative, absolutely imperative, that you not attempt this on your own:
According to Hubbard, his research was achieved at the cost of a broken back, knee and arm. OT III contains a warning that the R6 implant is "calculated to kill (by pneumonia etc) anyone who attempts to solve it."
Heeeheee. Good old El-Ron was reputed to do a lot of drugs. A LOT of drugs. I guess he had developed severe writer's block by that time and needed the drugs to break through, because frankly this plot is straight out of Buck Rogers. I could have knocked that one out in half an hour without even spraining a finger and plugged a few plot holes to boot. The dominant theme in all this is that they are all against us, all those evil/unfriendly planets out there with masses of psychiatrists and income-tax auditors, conspiring against us, and only enough money paid to Scientology will free you. Naturally this sort of thing is attractive to those who tend to paranoia and are already spending a lot of money on tinfoil.

So you can see why Scientologists would not approve of psychiatrists, whose job is to guide people toward a reasonable level of sanity for a reasonable level of money. They also don't approve of Christians, who also tend to recommend a reasonable level of sanity and prefer that you give money to the church. Competition. Anyway, for more on Scientology see Operation Clambake or the Emmons report.

Tran Sient on Chinese Riots

Tran Sient asks "Could Unrest In China Lead To War?" He also includes a reference to widespread riots in 2003 and closes:
Since a Communist Party backed magazine published this, I suspect the number is higher. I was not aware that the internal unrest facing China was this bad. It certainly does add another element into the China situation that does not bode well for peace in Asia.
This Reuters report cites members of the Chinese administration who seem concerned:
In the latest riot on Sunday, in the poor eastern province of Anhui, armed police who tried to quell the disturbance were driven back by rocks and firecrackers. Later, power to the police station was cut and fireworks thrown inside.

Protests are becoming increasingly common in China, fuelled by corruption and a growing gap between rich and poor, but such brazen attacks on authority are bound to worry a leadership bent on maintaining stability in the vast country of 1.3 billion.

In another riot in the western municipality of Chongqing last October, thousands took to the streets burning police cars and looting government buildings after a man passed himself off as an official during a quarrel between residents, enraging bystanders with the attempted abuse of power.
Here is another story in Epoch Times about the riots this week, which also cites a report in the NY Times saying that there were over sixty thousand incidents of unrest in China in 2004. The story cites comments in chatrooms:
“People are always ‘unidentified bad persons.’ Marches are always ‘illegal assemblies.’ Troubles are always created by ‘persons with ulterior motives.’ The governing authorities are always ‘glorious and correct.’ ”

“In this oppressive society, there are rarely courageous revolutionary heroes. In the end, who is always hiding the truth or even manipulating the truth?”

“Mobs are created by tyranny.”

“Dictatorship is just like a person sitting on the volcano, it may have been dozens of years, but when it erupts, it will eliminate all the sin and evil on this planet, and give everyone justice!”
Boxun News Network carried a story in April about the Chinese National Party being revived. I read about all of this and wonder what the effect of a flu pandemic might be on China, and I don't know.

SC&A Goes Into The Real Estate Business

Very, very funny, but not much of an exaggeration. It's nice to know that private enterprise has been invigorated by Kelo V New London. You do know what English people think about American bathrooms, don't you? Yes you do now!

K. Hovnanian filed a brief in support of New London, the AARP and NAACP filed a brief against New London. "Nuff said. Unless you didn't know that K. Hovnanian is one of the largest homebuilders in the US.

JUseful Idiots And Others Who Are Involved With Money

I am in the grips of a terrible ethical dilemma. After praying about it, I decided to do the right thing, which is publicize something that I think should be publicized. I am not accusing anyone, just attempting to show why I see an odd pattern of correlations between extreme politics and certain types of commercial dealings. I think it this should be investigated.

I have been puzzled since November about an anomaly I accidentally ran across in the wake of the election. It had to do with Sheldon Drobny (a Jew who claims that the Zionists were allied with the Nazis) and his involvement with the Intelcon National Intelligence Conference and Exposition. Now any time a name like Drobny's appears on the same board as a name like Daniel Pipes, a person has the right to wonder what is going on. Sheldon Drobny was an ardent Kerry supporter who allied himself with the Zogby brothers in questioning the results of the 2004 election. James Zogby's articles often appear in Al-Jazeera, for example. Sheldon Drobny also co-founded Air America radio.

Anyone who is familar with Air America knows that it holds several articles of faith, among which articles are that the Bush administration either engineered 9/11 or encouraged and facilated it. It also pushes the view that this was done in order to facilitate the war on Iraq and as a result of the machinations of oil-holding interests. This is an odd set of allegations, and they pop up on what purports to be the right and on the left, which confuses me. The allegations may lack logic, but they do show an odd consistency, and there is also a high correlation to anti-Semitism. So first the useful idiots:

Courtesy Lucianne, Jackson's Junction has the video of Ward Churchill recommending killing military officers:
"For those of you who do, as a matter of principle, oppose war in any form, the idea of supporting a conscientious objector who's already been inducted in his combat service in Iraq might have a certain appeal. But let me ask you this: Would you render the same level of support to someone who hadn't conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit?"

"...Conscientious objection removes a given piece of cannon fodder from the fray. Fragging an officer has a much more impactful effect."
He's a real piece of work. Churchill seems obsessed with violence, in love with violence, barely unable to discuss any situation without recommending violence. I really think the man is nuts, not that that's an excuse for being a traitor. There is a fifth column in the US, but it is not Muslim. It's academic, and it wants to destroy this nation. It also espouses a brand of shrieking, screaming anti-Semitism that has not been respectable since the Nazis. But is there another element to this coalition? I think there may be. Please read the rest of this post carefully.

Our boy Ward is by no means the only one; Jane Christiansen comes to mind, the Poli-Sci professor at Rocky Mount (North Carolina Wesleyan). Here's her faculty website. I strongly recommend spending half an hour on this one. The Israelis are responsible for 9/11, of course! A sample of headlines linked to articles:
Israeli Spying in America. Israeli Spying: The Mother of all Scandals, IS ISRAEL BLACKMAILING AMERICA?. FRANTIC PRESSURE EXERTED TO BURY "ISRAELI SPY SCANDAL", Mossad Planning Another Attack in US , THE ISRAELI CONNECTION TO 9/11, Israelis Planning Targetted Kills in US
You know what Jane Christiansen is pushing inside her classes now? Read this interview (April 8, 2005) with Karl Schwarz. Karl Schwarz claims to have video showing that it wasn't the passenger planes who took down the towers. You know the type of thing - remote control antennas, swarming hordes of Mossad (or Saudi oil barons allied with the Bush administration) etc. But the passage which is significant to me in the interview is this:
KS: I gave a presentation yesterday in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, in Jane Christiansen’s class. She is a political science professor at North Carolina Wesleyan College. She is the only professor I’m aware of, I’m sure there are others out there, but she’s the one that’s been out front, kind of like you and I have, John. She teaching a class in political science on 9/11.

JS: And using Alex Jones’ tapes and DVDs and other collected information. By the way, Robbie Noel is going to have this woman on his program next Wednesday. So you are not going to want to miss that. And here is the case and this issue, Karl, really cuts across political lines. You know we’ve had people that were, they think the best approach to this is to invite the liberal mindset into the conservative camp. And I’m not going to tag the conservative thought process connected to the Republican Party. Folks, I’m not that stupid. Nor am I willing to throw my hat into the ring with the now, I think, taken over Libertarian Party. No, I’m a free and independent thinking American – as well as everybody should be. But this woman was a dyed in the wool, self-professed liberal, who looked at this information and was absolutely aghast. And she is now, as you said, teaching her class using materials that our groups have produced. And that’s a good thing.
Jihad Jane is a Palestinian sympathizer. Here's her famous picture of herself with a gun, posing with terrorists:

Jane Christiansen definitely belongs in the "useful idiot" class.

Karl Schwarz is something else. I invite you to see this Offshoring Digest article about his purported companies. Right now I am desperately hunting for a connection to XML Global, which is linked to Sheldon Drobny. Sheldon Drobny is an interesting character (scroll down) himself. See XML/XAC/Xformity merger information here, which is when Drobny dropped off the board. See more about Xformity here. See the XML Global takeover here. XML Global was headquartered in Canada until it was purchased by Drobny's Paradigm. At that time Jun Li, one of the XMLG's board of directors resigned.

Dr. Jun Li had joined XMLG's board of directors along with Sergio Nesti in 2003. There is a Chinese connection:
Dr. Jun Li is currently Vice Dean of the School of Information Science and Technology at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He is also President and CEO of Tsinghua Unisplendour (USA) Co. Ltd. in Fremont, California, where he has worked since 2001. In addition, Mr. Li is a Co-founder and Managing Director of Versatile Venture Capital I and II in Fremont California, where he has worked since 2000. From 2001 to April 2003 he held various positions, including General Manager, at ServGate Technologies, Inc. a company that he co-founded in 1999. Dr. Li holds a PhD degree in Computer Science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and MS and BS degrees in Control and Information from Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Mr. Nesti is currently Director of Technical Evaluation for Paradigm Ventures, LLC where he has consulted since January 2002. Paradigm Ventures, LLC is part of the Paradigm Group, which has invested significantly in XML Global in the last year. Before joining Paradigm Group, Mr. Nesti worked at Autonomy, Inc., as Technical Consultant and Trainer from January 2002 until January 2003. From 2000 until 2001, he worked as an Executive in Technology and Services for Brience, Inc. From 1999 until 2000 he worked for Click-n-Done, LLC, as Chief Technology Officer. Mr. Nesti worked at Inverse Network Technology/Visual Networks as Vice President Technology Services from 1998 until 1999. Mr. Nesti holds a Masters Degree (MS) in Information Technology from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Illinois.
Anyone who is at all familiar with the tactics of money launderers (although very few people are) is going to see the red flags I see. And the current explosion of scandal in Canada is not unrelated either. At the time that Jun Li and Sergio Nesti (Paradigm, Sheldon Drobny) joined the board, XML was in deep financial trouble. (Scroll down, it's nearly at the end of the page):
As previously reported, XML Global's independent auditor's report
stated that XML's consolidated financial statements for the year
ending June 30, 2002 have been prepared assuming that the Company
will continue as a going concern. However, the Company has
incurred losses since inception and has an accumulated deficit.
These conditions raise substantial doubt about its ability to
continue as a going concern.

It has incurred costs to design, develop and implement search
engine and electronic commerce applications and to grow its
business. As a result, it has incurred operating losses and
negative cash flows from operations in each quarter since
commencing operations. As of September 30, 2002 the Company had an
accumulated deficit of $12,860,900.

At September 30, 2002 XML's cash funds are insufficient to fund
operations through the end of fiscal 2003 based on historical
operating performance. In order for the Company to maintain its
operations it will have to seek additional funding, generate
additional sales or reduce its operating expenses, or some
combination of these. At current and planned expenditure rates,
taking into consideration cash received from the first part of the
Paradigm financing, current reserves are sufficient to fund
operations only through December 2002.
I am beginning to suspect that a lot of businessmen have been laundering money through a web of pseudo-technological companies, and that the Bush hatred emanating from this direction is due to the fact that the Bush administration is pushing hard domestically and internationally to close such money-moving channels. Other than that, I can't account for the odd linkages between left and right. When I start digging for information about many of these characters, I keep coming up with a list of shell technology companies, most of them LLC's, many of which have some putative relationship to security technologies or biological research, although there are a few solid companies in the midst of all this. I can think of no better way to launder money in today's environment. I might be wrong, of course, but the pattern that is emerging is a terribly strong one. Correlation is not causation, but at some point it does warrant further investigation.

Even assuming I may be correct about some of these transactions, it will not mean that Karl Schwarz or any other single individual involved is a crook or a money launderer. Most businessmen who wind up involved in these schemes don't realize what is going on; they simply accept offers that are exceptionally generous. Once the hook is set, they can serve as a channel for the layering that is an integral part of money laundering.

Critical Mass On Climate Science

I'm not surprised by the sudden willingness to openly challenge the global warming thesis and the scientific theories behind Kyoto, but I am surprised by how quickly the tide is turning. It's as if half a year of an attempt to actually implement Kyoto has suddenly plunged the world back into reality.

Robert Samuelson, writing in WaPo, discusses the hopelessness of the approach contained in Kyoto:
What we have now is a respectable charade. Politicians and advocates make speeches, convene conferences and formulate plans. They pose as warriors against global warming. The media participate in the resulting deception by treating their gestures seriously. One danger is that some of these measures will harm the economy without producing significant environmental benefits. Policies motivated by political gain will inflict public pain. Why should anyone applaud?
One of the more troubling things about the whole issue of CO2 levels, the IPCC and Kyoto is that science itself seems to have been corrupted. The Mann hockey stick controversy shows no sign of ending. The latest is that Congress is going to investigate the IPCC and Mann's work. Climate Audit is covering the story and contains a multitude of links to other sources.

Prometheus looks at the support for and the criticisms of the Congressional action.

You can read the letters yourself - they are up at the Committee on Energy and Commerce. What's happening is that the IPCC has been caught in an adult movie theater with its pants down, and is going to have to quietly retract some of the contentions in its previous report or simply ignore the matter, thus abandoning any pretense of scientific objectivity. The letter to Pachauri in full:
Questions have been raised, according to a February 14, 2005 article in The Wall Street Journal,
about the significance of methodological flaws and data errors in studies by Dr. Michael Mann and
co-authors of the historical record of temperatures and climate change. We understand that these
studies of temperature proxies (tree rings, ice cores, corals, etc.) formed the basis for a new finding in the 2001 United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report (TAR). This finding – that the increase in 20th century northern hemisphere temperatures is “likely to have been the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years” and that the “1990s was the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year” – has since been referenced widely and has become a prominent feature of the public debate surrounding climate change policy.

However, in recent peer-reviewed articles in Science, Geophysical Research Letters, Energy & Environment, among others, researchers question the results of this work. As these researchers find, based on the available information, the conclusions concerning temperature histories – and hence whether warming in the 20th century is actually unprecedented – cannot besupported by the Mann et. al. studies. In addition, we understand from the February 14 Journal and these other reports that researchers have failed to replicate the findings of these studies, in part because of problems with the underlying data and the calculations used to reach the conclusions. Questions have also been raised concerning the sharing and dissemination of the data and methods used to perform the studies. For example, according to the January 2005 Energy & Environment, the information necessary to replicate the analyses in the studies has not een made fully available to researchers upon request.

The concerns surrounding these studies reflect upon the quality and transparency of federally funded research and of the IPCC review process – two matters of particular interest to the Committee. For example, one concern relates to whether IPCC review has been sufficiently robust and independent. We understand that Dr. Michael Mann, the lead author of the studies in question, was also a lead author of the IPCC chapter that assessed and reported this very same work, and that two co-authors of the studies were also contributing authors to the same chapter. Given the prominence these studies were accorded in the IPCC TAR, we seek to learn more about the facts and circumstances that led to acceptance and prominent use of this work in the IPCC TAR and to understand what this controversy indicates about the data quality of key IPCC studies.

In light of the Committee’s jurisdiction over energy policy and certain environmental issues in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Committee must have full and accurate information when considering matters relating to climate change policy. We open this review because the dispute surrounding these studies bears directly on important questions about the federally funded work upon which climate studies rely and the quality and transparency of analyses used to support the IPCC assessment process. With the IPCC currently working to produce a fourth assessment report, addressing questions of quality and transparency in the underlying analyses supporting that assessment, both scientific and economic, are of utmost importance if Congress is eventually going to make policy decisions drawing from this work.

To assist us as we begin this review, and pursuant to Rules X and XI of the U.S. House of Representatives, please provide the following information requested below on or before July 11, 2005:

1. Explain the IPCC process for preparing and writing its assessment reports, including, but not limited to: (a) how referenced studies are reviewed and assessed by the relevant Working Group; (b) the steps taken by lead authors, reviewers, and others to ensure the data underlying the studies forming the basis for key findings – particularly proxy and temperature data – are accurate and up to date; and (c) the IPCC requirements governing the quality of data used in reports.

2. What specifically did IPCC do to check the quality of the Mann et. al. studies and underlying data, cited in the TAR? Did IPCC seek to ensure the studies could be replicated?

3. What is your position with regard to: (a) the recent challenges to the quality of the Mann et. al. data, (b) related questions surrounding the sharing of methods and research for others to test the validity of these studies, and (c) what this controversy indicates about the data quality of key IPCC studies?

4. What did IPCC do to ensure the quality of data for other prominent historical temperature or proxy studies cited in the IPCC, including the Folland et. al. and Jones et. al. studies that were sources for the graphic accompanying the Mann et. al. graphic in the Summary for Policy Makers? Are the data and methodologies for such works complete and available for other researchers to test and replicate?

5. Explain (a) the facts and circumstances by which Dr. Michael Mann served as a lead author of the very chapter that prominently featured his work and (b) by which his work became a finding and graphical feature of the TAR Summary for Policymakers.

6. Explain (a) how IPCC ensures objectivity and independence among section contributors and reviewers, (b) how they are chosen, and (c) how the chapters, summaries, and the full report are approved and what any such approval signifies about the quality and acceptance of particular research therein.

7. Identify the people who wrote and reviewed the historical temperature-record portions of the TAR, particularly Section 2.3, “Is the Recent Warming Unusual?” and explain all their roles in the preparation of the TAR, including, but not limited to, the specific roles in the writing and review process.

8. Given the questions about Mann et. al. data, has the Working Group I or the IPCC made any changes to specific procedures or policies, including policies for checking the quality of data, for the forthcoming Fourth Assessment Report? If so, explain in detail any such changes, and why they were made.

9. Does the IPCC or Working Group I have policies or procedures regarding the disclosure and dissemination of scientific data referenced in the reports? If so, explain in detail any such policies and what happens when they are violated.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

On Torture

Minh-Duc at State of Flux wants to have a serious discussion on torture, and what we may be or may not be doing in interrogations that would qualify as torture. He believes the first prerequisite to having a serious discussion is to define torture. Then he goes on to list three tiers of practices (the last tier not officially approved) from an interrogation manual.

I will read more tonight and probably comment, but I just wanted to give you all a heads-up on it.

The Mighty Withlacoochee In Full Spate

The floodwaters rise, the terror fills every heart. Will houses drift downstream and mobile homes set sail to the Gulf on their own? According to Weather Today:
For the Withlacoochee river near Valdosta. Minor flooding is occurring. With a stage of 13. 1 feet measured at 10 am Wednesday. Minor flooding is forecast. With a maximum stage of 13. 6 feet at 8 pm Wednesday. Which is 0. 6 feet above flood stage. The stage exceeded the flood stage of 13. 0 feet at 9 am Wednesday. The stage will fall below flood stage at 11 am Thursday.
All persons with interest along the river should monitor the latest forecasts. And be prepared to take necessary precautions to protect life and property. Do not drive cars through flooded areas. If you see flood waters. Remember to turn around and do not drown.
Well, well, no need to get hysterical about this. This is the Withlachoochee that's flooding. It is possible that if South Central GA gets more rain (which is projected to occur) that the parking lot of the Valdosta, GA YMCA might be partially submerged and there will definitely be a few more beer cans floating in the river.

I will include a map for my family's benefit, most of whom have not actually seen the Withlacoochee with any actual water in it. They probably believe there has never been and never will be any water in it. This could be due to the amount of trees they observed growing in the riverbed. There were skeptical looks and comments.

Well, now there's water! Thirteen feet! I told you so. I may drive down to observe the phenomenon after work.

Constituent Relations

So who's the idiot now?
A New York state lawmaker says he's embarrassed, after he mistakenly sent out an e-mail message that referred to his constituents as "idiots."
On the other hand, maybe his district will decide that at least he's good for a laugh! (R, NY, Willis Stephens)

The Failure To Engage The Enemy

1) Jane Galt at Asymmetrical Information writes about misused economic ideas and the Democratic quagmire:
I watched Howard Dean on The Daily Show last night, and rarely have I seen a major political figure so thoroughly, even painstakingly, inept at appealing to voters.... If he wasn't making ham-fisted attempts to prove Democratic moralistic superiority* by selective and theologically shallow quotation from the bible--an activity that even bible-thumping Republican congressmen undertake with more caution (and erudition) than Mr Dean did--he was claiming that his was the party of real moral values. Cringe. When was the last time you heard an RNC chair say something like that? Answer: you don't, because the "Family values" guys know that you do not garner votes by saying "Everyone who voted for the other guy is immoral" . . . especially when the other guy got a majority. You get votes by talking about what your values are, which (other than gay marriage) Howard Dean had a hard time doing.
2) Tom Carter, writing separately but making rather similar arguments:
Our two-party system, whatever its ills, works well only when two relatively robust parties serve to balance and moderate each other. The way things are going now, the Democratic Party is going to continue to be ineffective, and that worries me....

Democratic partisans seem to be a lot more interested in airing extremist views, criticizing and obstructing the Republican majority, and in some cases promoting their individual self-interest than they are in winning elections. The American people understand this, and they can see clearly that the Democratic Party has no coherent policy stance.
3) Pedro at The Quietist, commenting briefly and bitingly about the brandishing of moral outrage by the left (read his whole post, please):
Being "right" or "wrong" is not the point in leftist politics: being moral is more about intentions and outward appearances than it is about being "correct." Mathematicians deal in "correct." We deal in emotional self-congratulation and assurance.
Don't get me wrong - I think the left has the right to moral outrage. I think there is an awful lot about which to be morally outraged in today's world, and it isn't all overseas either. What bothers me is when there's nothing else but moral outrage. I feel like kidnapping Howard Dean, locking him in a room, and deprogramming him by making him write "Don't just get mad - figure out a solution!" 90 thousand times on a blackboard with squeaky chalk.

4) And for the reason why moral outrage and fine words is not enough, please see this post at Waiter Rant, courtesy The Anchoress. It's about reality. It's about being there and remaining aware and open to another's pain, confronting the hopeless and the helpless and being strong enough not to run and not to quit trying to help. Sometimes the only thing you can do may be futile as far as you can see, but that's no reason to quit. The only solution I have found to such things is to ask God for help when my strength runs out.

Well, my strength ran out a long time ago but I am still here, still fighting, but no longer afraid. For I lost the battle and I know it; now I walk only by and in the light of God. I have no real worries, only responsibility for others. I can afford to turn outward, powerful in my helplessness, and help others. And now all my weakness is turned to strength, and my past desperation is the raw material with which I can help others. This second life is greater than the first even though it's not really mine.

5) And this from Carl at No Oil For Pacifists is an example of the levels to which you can fall when you stop trying to make a difference and begin just trying to insist that you really, really care. Read it all; he is talking about a great wrong. This is only posturing, a cheap and meretricious exercise in pretending to care while ignoring all the real problems and doing nothing to help. We cannot permit ourselves to be so diminished.

The Speech

Via Lucianne, the text of Bush's speech:
Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate. Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: "This Third World War is raging" in Iraq. "The whole world is watching this war." He says it will end in "victory and glory or misery and humiliation."...

We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who exploded car bombs along a busy shopping street in Baghdad, including one outside a mosque. We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who sent a suicide bomber to a teaching hospital in Mosul. And we see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who behead civilian hostages and broadcast their atrocities for the world to see....

The lesson of this experience is clear: The terrorists can kill the innocent but they cannot stop the advance of freedom. The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September 11, if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like bin Laden. For the sake of our nation's security, this will not happen on my watch.
His comments about the calls for a timetable of withdrawal:
The new Iraqi security forces are proving their courage every day. More than 2,000 members of the Iraqi security forces have given their lives in the line of duty. Thousands more have stepped forward and are now training to serve their nation. With each engagement, Iraqi soldiers grow more battle-hardened and their officers grow more experienced. We have learned that Iraqis are courageous and that they need additional skills. That is why a major part of our mission is to train them so they can do the fighting and our troops can come home.

I recognize that Americans want our troops to come home as quickly as possible. So do I. Some contend that we should set a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces. Let me explain why that would be a serious mistake. Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done. It would send the wrong signal to our troops, who need to know that we are serious about completing the mission they are risking their lives to achieve. And it would send the wrong message to the enemy, who would know that all they have to do is to wait us out. We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed and not a day longer.
President Bush concluded by calling for us to show our support for the troops to celebrate the Fourth:
Next week, our nation has an opportunity to make sure that support is felt by every soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman and Marine at every outpost across the world. This Fourth of July, I ask you to find a way to thank the men and women defending our freedom by flying the flag, sending letters to our troops in the field or helping the military family down the street. The Department of Defense has set up a Web site, AmericaSupportsYou.mil. You can go there to learn about private efforts in your own community. At this time when we celebrate our freedom, let us stand with the men and women who defend us all.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Reading And Pondering

From Coyote Blog and Volokh, a suggestion for a way to override Kelo V New London at the federal level. Senator Cornyn has proposed a bill which would forbid takings for economic development. I am listing the entire text so it can be cross-posted easily. Senator Cornyn was at one time a judge on the Texas Supreme Court.
S 1313:
A Bill to protect homes, small businesses, and other private property rights, by limiting the power of eminent domain.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

Section 1. Short Title.
This Act may be cited as the "Protection of Homes, Small Businesses, and Private Property Act of 2005".

Section 2. Findings.
Congress finds the following:
(1) The protection of homes, small businesses, and other private property rights against government seizures and other unreasonable government interference is a fundamental principel and core commitment of our Nation's Founders.
(2) As Thomas Jefferson wrote on April 6, 1816, the protection of such rights is "the first principle of association, the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it".
(3) The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution specifically provides that "private property" shall not "be taken for public use without just compensation".
(4) The Fifth Amendment thus provides an essential guarantee of liberty against the abuse of the power of eminent domain, by permitting government to seize private property only "for public use".
(5) On June 23, 2005, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Kelo v. City of New London, No. 04-108.
(6) As the Court acknowledged, "it has long been accepted that the sovereign may not take the property of A for the sole purpose of transferring it to another private party B", and that under the Fifth Amendment, the power of eminent domain may be used only "for public use".
(7) The Court nevertheless held, by a 5-4 vote, that the government may seize the home, small business, or other private property of one owner, and transfer that property to another private owner, simply by concluding that such a transfer would benefit the community through increased economic development.
(8) The Court's decision in Kelo is alarming because, as Justice O'Connor accurately noted in her dissenting opinion, joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Scalia and Thomas, the Court has "effectively . . . delete[d] the words 'for public use' from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment" and thereby "refus[ed] to enforce properly the Federal Constitution".
(9) Under the Court's decision in Kelo, Justice O'Connor warns, "[t]he specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory".
(10) Justice O'Connor further warns that, under the Court's decision in Kelo, "[a]ny property may not be taken for the benefit of another private party", and "the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result".
(11) As an amicus brief filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, AARP, and other organizations noted, "[a]bsent a true public use requirement the takings power will be employed more frequently. The takings that result will disproportionately affect and harm the economically disadvantaged and, in particular, racial and ethnic minorities and the elderly".
(12) It is appropriate for Congress to take action, consistent with its limited powers under the Constitution, to restore the vital protections of the Fifth Amendment and to protect homes, small businesses, and other private property rights against unreasonable government use of the power of eminent domain.
(13) It would also be appropriate for States to take action to voluntarily limit their own power of eminent domain. As the Court in Kelo noted, "nothing in our opinion precludes any State from placing further restrictions on its exercise of the takings power".

Section 3. Protection of Homes, Small Businesses, and Other Private Property Rights.
(a) In General. - The power of eminent domain shall be available only for public use.
(b) Public Use. - In this Act, the term "public use" shall not be construed to include economic development.
(c) Application. - This Act shall apply to -
(1) all exercises of eminent domain power by the Federal Government; and
(2) all exercises of eminent domain power by State and local government through the use of Federal funds.
It looks like a good first step to me, although of course it doesn't protect individuals in the states.

Plan Your Next Vacation Now!

You will want to reserve rooms in the Lost Liberty Hotel.

Via QandO("the tree of liberty may also be refreshed from time to time with the deeds of tyrants") and Dingo (joyfully barking over this one), we have the story of a proposed new taking of private property for private use. Dingo explains it clearly:
This is too good to be true. Logan Darrow Clements has just filed an application in the City of Weare, NH. to build a hotel at 34 Cilley Hill Road. There is already a house sitting on this land, but by the ruling in Kelo vs. City of New London, the city selectmen can condemn the property under eminent domain.

You may ask why is this any more special than any other lot of privately owned land being stolen the government? Because the house belongs to none other than Justice Souter. Mr. Clements argues that the hotel will bring in more tax revenue and be a bigger benefit to the town than Justice Souter's house will ever be.
I think we should all write to the town council of Weare expressing our intense desire to vacation at such a hotel. We should tell them that it would be a historic success! The gentleman says it isn't a joke:
"This is not a prank" said Clements, "The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."

Clements' plan is to raise investment capital from wealthy pro-liberty investors and draw up architectural plans. These plans would then be used to raise investment capital for the project. Clements hopes that regular customers of the hotel might include supporters of the Institute For Justice and participants in the Free State Project among others.
The letter sent is here. If ever I have heard of a project likely to make a great deal of money, it is this one. Let's all throw our weight behind it and remove the blight from the city of Weare while we're at it!

UPDATE: Weare's official website is here, and it includes contact information for the selectmen who are the ones who would make this decision.

Also, Democratic Underground has a solid majority supporting this idea. Do something bipartisan today! Evict a Supreme Court Justice. As DU comments:
I don't think it's for real,YET....
...but let enough support roll in and it sure could become real...Think about the number of citizens pissed over the erosion of personal property rights-(left and right, incidentally)-and divide that number by 9-(the number of supreme court justices) and consider the divine justice of each of us investing 10 or 20 dollars and buying ancestral homes out from under their asses for motels, hotels 7-11's and other more economically viable uses....Though we MUST have at least one converted to a "The Peoples Court" motel and museum...Darrow (this other Darrow is leading the legal way-anyone else like the irony of that name?)and I pray other citizens follow.If you have an idea to get this to freepervillle,go for it....on this one we are united....
Ya know, a case could be made regarding ANY house that the property would generate more tax revenue if the land were used for a hotel.
When large numbers of liberals and conservatives agree on something Well, that's really something.
When can I make a reservation?
That's the spirit!

WHO Press Conference

WHO (World Health Organization) held a joint press conference today with Chinese officials, during which they discussed the findings from their Qinghai visit:
A total of 5,000 birds have died on an island in northwest Qinghai province, according to officials from the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization just back in Beijing from visiting the area.

``This is the first time we've seen large numbers of migratory birds dying from bird flu,'' said Julie Hall, the WHO's official in charge of communicable diseases in China, Tuesday.

``So the virus has obviously changed to be more pathogenic to animals. What it means to humans we don't know,'' she said.
The real significance of this is that up till now the Chinese had only disclosed 1000 deaths from bird flu in Qinghai, while unauthorized reports had indicated the number was more like 8000. Those same reports also had reported over 100 human deaths.

Julie Hall of WHO gave an interview during which she came out and said that they weren't getting the data they needed from China:
Efforts to monitor avian influenza in Asia continue to be hampered by a lack of viral sequence data from China, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert told The Scientist today (June 28). Without appropriate data, she said, it is impossible to compare Chinese virus with the strain circulating in Vietnam or to confirm the sensitivity of the PCR primers being used in China and elsewhere.

Julie Hall, WHO coordinator for communicable disease surveillance and response in China, was among 17 experts from WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Chinese government who visited remote Qinghai province last week to investigate the deaths of more than 1,000 wild birds at a nature reserve.

Hall told The Scientist that while WHO had received data from poultry outbreaks in 2004, none had been passed on yet this year. Last week FAO sent a request to ministries of health in all H5N1-afflicted countries requesting that they share samples and send them to FAO/World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reference laboratories in Australia for further testing.

Bloomberg has a story which refers to the deaths of birds in Tacheng. As always, Recombinomics should have up-to-date news and commentary. EPIDEMica will also carry ongoing news and it has a map of the reported outbreaks. This isn't looking good at all, because these birds will be moving within two months. I have heard rumors that doctors are stockpiling tamiflu.

Cargo Cults And The IPCC

Carl at NOFP nails it. The Kyoto Treaty is a cargo cult. I nearly injured myself laughing over his post. Don't miss it.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Cotillion Assembles

It is probably rare that the words "it is an honor and a pleasure" are spoken or written with complete sincerity. But this is an exception to the rule, because it is a very real honor and a pleasure for me to act as hostess to some of the devastatingly charming ladies of the Cotillion this week.
Without further ado, I will let
these ladies whisper words of wisdom in your ears.

A Mom And Her Blog writes about her shock upon discovering what Michael Schiavo considers to be promise keeping. It is difficult to understand a person who feels the need to score a point with someone else's epitaph. I suppose it really was all about Michael in the end.

Absinthe & Cookies offers a lucky escort the chance to know her a little better ... with pictures and anecdotes. Remember to introduce yourself in a courteous and respectful fashion and check your phasers at the door.

An American Housewife unloads........the dishwasher while giving you her opinion at the same time. And she has finally taken off the high heels and those fancy gloves. Her arse must have been getting soggy sitting up there in that martini glass. Don't miss this thrilling, muckraking journalistic endeavor!

Raven at And Rightly So finds the political maneuvering of Senate Committees irksome. She doesn't consider turkey shoots in which Rumsfeld is tied on the log while the senators take potshots at him at all amusing. Instead she believes Byrd or Kennedy is more naturally suited to playing the role of the turkey, with which opinion I must agree.

Click over to Annika's Journal and share her consternation and the conversation she holds discreetly behind her fan as she reacts to Kouric's interview with the Bug-Eyed Bride, Jennifer Wilbanks. Do deposit your drinks on a table before reading; The Cotillion disclaims all liability for your failure to follow this simple instruction.

Jane at Armies of Liberation is attracting attention - and a lady knows how to appreciate attention, especially when that lady is Jane and she is getting attention from an entire country: "I thought after they realized they couldn’t bribe me, there might be a new strategy. But no, just another article trashing Jane in Yemen."

Atlas Shrugs in surprise at the fact
that even the lions in Ethiopia know how to behave in a more gentlemanly fashion than the men who abducted and beat a 12 year-old girl in an attempt to force her to marry one of them. In this case the lions not only lay down with the lamb, but guarded her.

Baldilocks attempts to explain the difference between Rove's remarks and Durbin's to the clueless and confused. Almost everyone should be able to understand the two basic differences she explicates, which is, I suppose, why she so provokes those who don't wish to recognize the distinction. I can only offer them the means to dry their tears of outrage. The fainting couch is in the powder room, if some weak souls require it.

Bobo Blogger comments on the Supreme Court's Kelo V New London ruling, noting that it "used to be that the Constitution meant something to the law". Indeed, I am old enough to remember the time when it was the law! But conservative women do not faint upon their couches when offended; she has formulated a plan to deal with any consequences of the ruling that may occur in her neighborhood. And by the way, the women in my neck of the woods have come up with the same idea as well.

You may not be able to eat your cake and have it too, but you
will enjoy savoring the bites Cake Eater Chronicles takes out of Tom Cruise's attempt to bypass medical school by jumping straight to practicing and prescribing in the field of psychiatry. Dare I make a comment about reality-based thinking?

Common Sense Runs Wild, observes "All of us know that the current "controversy" over Karl Rove's statements is falsely generated righteous indignation manufactured by the MSM and the Democrat Party leadership. If they had condemned Dick Durbin as strongly for his recent comments their current act might be a little more convincing." I don't think you will want to miss the transcript of the RNC advertisement.

Crossposted at The Cotillion, and don't miss the festivities at my fellow hostesses' salons, Not a Desperate Housewife, Knowledge Is Power: SondraK.com, and Rightwingsparkle.

True Grit On The Castle Coalition

Ilona at True Grit suggests pressing your local government to agree not to take private property for the purpose of handing it over to some private entity for private use. It doesn't really seem too much to ask, does it? I agree with her, by the way - in the vast majority of the cases, this is going to be all about greed, and not the general welfare:
Until citizens are given back their property rights, force your local government to agree not to abuse the carte blanche that the Supreme Court has given the never ending money pit of greed within the development housing interests and within the tax happy local schools which feed upon the same carcass of our rights to our homes.
Money is seductive, and the temptations here are so vast that there will be great abuse. So getting mad is fine, and we must preserve an intense determination to redress the matter on the federal level, but first we'd better protect our butts at home. First you guard your rear, then you advance.

Ilona linked to Dynamist Blog, who has some good advice. The Castle Coalition probably is a good place to start your efforts, and you had better start them now. You will not get a receptive hearing in the halls of government. And do not be mistaken - for the supporters of this decision, who are greatly concentrated among the ranks of the legal and the legislative class, plus their hangers-on, this decision is all about preserving government power. See this thread on DU. It begins, in part:
The Kelo case pitted elected government against property, and elected government won. Whom would a victory for property have helped more, big corporations or ordinary working people?

Liberal opponents of the decision are siding with Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, and O'Connor. Might the five Justices in the majority know something very important that's a mystery to most Liberals?

And one of the replies:
Thank you for posting this.

We need to eliminate corporate control over government decisions, not the regulatory power of government.
And yet another:
This is about property redistribution.

If America is to be controlled by corporations, then yes, of course we should be destroying the governments power to regulate everything because the government isnt legitimate, but that is an entirely seperate issue.

The constitution assumes that we have a legitimate government, and thus as long as due process and compensation are followed that government can sieze property. You are completely fabricating the rule that government cannot use this power to take land and redistribute it. And seriously, it is the right that wants the power of government to redistribute property gone, not the left.
The Communists and statists among us are drooling over Kelo. The federal government is the place where they most need this power, and it is there that it must finally be blocked. People think it can't happen, but it can and it will. The crash that will first be felt in about a decade will be historic, because our federal government financing is running straight into a brick wall. Government workers are the largest single group among us, and those unions wield a disproportionate amount of political power. They will ardently support whatever needs to be done to protect themselves and their families. This is going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight to the finish, because it is the pensions and the security of those people that is really threatened.

The only way the government can continue on its present path is to seize a great deal of property. You don't have to believe me. Go read the CBO report, or the FDIC forecasts. Really read them. My grandfather got out of Germany ahead of the Nazis, and I was raised to look for the same signs, and here they are. World War II was begun in the 1930's, when Germany's economy was set on an unsustainable path - and it is that same path we ourselves are treading.

The difference between a fascist and a communist state is the flip of a coin, because they are two faces on the same coin. In order to keep from being hammered into that coin you must preserve rights to private property, because only those rights really constrains the power of the state. A hungry man can't say no to state coercion. I'm amazed at the tunnel vision of so many bloggers, who are focusing on the inevitable local abuses while the real problem will be the federal government. Nor is the definition of "property" in the Fifth Amendment restricted to real estate. The Supreme Court of the United States just announced that any governmental body can seize your assets providing it provides just compensation. (Which is whatever the government thinks it is, especially when you don't have the assets any more with which to fight in court.) Then the government can give them to whoever it wants to for a "public purpose", which might include a plan for economic development, not that anyone will be required to show that the plan is likely to succeed.

We will light a backfire to reverse this, or we will end up profoundly unfree. There is no middle course.

Supreme Court Roundup

How Appealing has the updates on today's cases. Texas is okay on its Ten Commandments; Kentucky is not. Grokster (file sharing) got nailed to the wall!

SCOTUSblog will probably have more updates. Volokh is arguing that Rehnquist won't retire.

Ehrlich's Wit And Wisdom

Some words of extinct wisdom from Paul Ehrlich, the man who singlehandedly made environmental idiocy a scientifically respectable and profitable endeavor (this was inspired by this WSJ article about how Americans refused to become hysterial over global warming):
"This vast tragedy, however, is nothing compared to the nutritional disaster that seems likely to overtake humanity in the 1970s (or, at the latest, the 1980s) ... A situation has been created that could lead to a billion or more people starving to death."
[Paul Ehrlich, "The End of Affluence" (1974), p.21]
I'll say! The entire world is getting fatter by the minute - now even the Chinese are getting porky. Who will stop the weight gain?
"By September 1979, all important life in the sea was extinct. Large areas of coastline had to be evacuated... A pretty grim scenario. Unfortunately we're a long way into it already...based on projections of trends already appearing..."
[Paul Ehrlich, "Eco-Catastrophe"
_Environmental Handbook_ 1970, pp 174]
I also find that projections made from trends that haven't become trends yet aren't very solid. You see, the problem is when something that might become a trend is just beginning to appear there is no way of distinguishing a trend-signal from the noise of random variation. Make much on the stock market, Paul?
"In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish."
[Paul Ehrlich, Earth Day (1970)]
No, no, that just turned out to be the algae-eating health-food craze. Then came Atkins and matters righted themselves when people started eating animals again and leaving the algae and plankton for the fish.
"We must institute the Chinese Communist system of compulsory abortion in various forms of infanticide so that each couple will have only one child. We must hope that our government doesn't wait until it, too, decides that coercive measures can solve America's population problem.... The price of personal freedom in making childbearing decisions may be the destruction of the world."
[Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University]
You know what's really cool? The German government is thinking about imposing penalties upon childless people in an attempt to boost their birthrate RIGHT NOW. Europe's decline and fall basically is rooted in the declining birthrate. One thing I love about these types - no matter what the problem, they can always come up with a reason why the government must to force people to do something for their own good.
"....we must go back to the spinning wheel, returning to a beatific state of endless drudge labor, six days a week, and exhaustion on Sunday."
[Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University]
Tell you what Paul - you try it first and let us know how the beatitude is coming along in two or three decades. We'll be waiting anxiously in 2030 for your report. On your mark, get set, start spinning!
"The 'rich and the intelligent' must not propagate. They are dangerous because they promote overproduction [and have] the heaviest impact on the planet. The rich are the cause of most of the world's ills. Poverty is beautiful."
[Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University]
I'll say! Just ask DU - now the literate Amerikkans are not only refusing to be poor and ignorant but the sick deviants have started voting Republican! How much worse can things get? I'm sure Paul donated all the royalties from his books, plus his salary, plus his pension to someone so he could be beautifully poor. Or maybe not.
"The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. Population control is the only answer."
[Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb (1968)]
But it turns out that war and communism are what produce hunger and disease. Of course, if you believe the Communists should take over the world, I guess you will need population control and a belief in the beauty of poverty.
"I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000."
[Paul Ehrlich in (1969)]
Some bookie in London somewhere missed his opportunity to clean up!
"Before 1985, mankind will enter a genuine age of scarcity.in which the accessible supplies of many key minerals will be facing depletion."
[Paul Ehrlich in (1976)]
Heh, heh, heh. Indeed. Did you ever pay Simon off on that bet you lost? Yeah. That's why zinc is worth more than gold, you know? Personally I'm hoarding a pound of magnesium in my backyard. You'll never find it!

You know what's really sad? This is the list (from Wikipedia) of this man's honors and awards:
* The John Muir Award of the Sierra Club
* The Gold Medal Award of the World Wildlife Fund International
* A MacArthur Prize Fellowship
* The Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
* A World Ecology Award from the International Center for Tropical Ecology, University of Missouri in 1993
* The Volvo Environmental Prize in 1993
* The United Nations Sasakawa Environment Prize in 1994
* The Heinz Award for the Environment in 1995
* The Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement in 1998
* The Dr. A. H. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences in 1998
* The Blue Planet Prize in 1999
* The Eminent Ecologist Award of the Ecological Society of America in 2001
* The Distinguished Scientist Award of the American Institute of Biological Sciences in 2001
See, in the magical world of environmental Cassandraism, you don't have to be right. In fact, you can be completely wrong over a matter of decades. All that matters is your devotion to doom. And this brings me back to Thomas Bray, writing in the WSJ about the American public's refusal to scream and run in circles about global warming:
Aside from the crucial question of whether a government bureaucracy is smart enough to do so, even environmentalists confess that Kyoto or McLieberman measures would have been a small first step in clamping a huge indirect tax on the American and world economy.

The collapse of the latest global warming boomlet is thus more than another bump in the political road. It represented the profound unease of the public about turning so much economic and social power over to Washington.
I think we can thank Ehrlich and his ilk for immunizing us against the Kyoto plague. Thank you, Dr. Ehrlich, for your service to humanity. By your dedicated and consistent service you have engendered a healthy skepticism in the American population. We are profoundly grateful to you for spending your entire life as a demo-project of environmental moonbattery.

Wanniski: Thomas For Chief Justice

Jude Wanniski writes an open letter to Bush asking that Justice Thomas be appointed to replace Justice Rehnquist as Chief Justice. He closes the letter:
Mr. President, if you had already decided against Justice Thomas as I had, please reconsider. There is no one else like him in America. He was born to be Chief Justice at this time of the nation’s life.
Wanniski believes that Thomas' dissent in Kelo V New London (in which Thomas argued that logic required that the court revisit its chain of jurisprudence in the case of the takings clause) will generate support for the appointment:
But after reading Justice Thomas’s dissenting opinion in the New London, Conn. case, I think his wisdom, his judgment and his perspective so clearly fits him to be Chief Justice that the American people would not permit the kind of political firestorm that accompanied his appointment to the Court by your father 15 years ago.
And personally, Wanniski thinks the court crossed a line:
In all my years either reporting on the Supreme Court, as a newspaperman, or following its decisions as a political analyst, I’ve never encountered a decision as brazenly unconstitutional as to be frightening in its implications. My first thought was “this is communism.” Except that the government must still provide monetary compensation that another court would ultimately decide, there is nothing different from a communist expropriation of private property with the good intentions of making things better for the “community” at the expense of the landowners. The New York Times, which predictably hailed the decision under a headline, “The Limits of Property Rights,” sounded more like Pravda in its conclusion: “New London’s development plan may hurt a few small property owners, who will, in any case, be fully compensated. But many more residents are likely to benefit if the city can shore up its tax base and attract badly needed jobs.”
Mugabe in Zimbabwe comes to my mind. In his latest move, he has launched an urban revitalization campaign by bulldozing the shacks and gardens of the urban poor. The drive is called "Drive Out Trash", and apparently in this regime being poor means you are trash:
Police have begun destroying vegetable gardens planted by Zimbabwe's urban poor, extending a demolition campaign that initially targeted shacks and street vendor kiosks.
The crackdown – at a time of food shortages in Zimbabwe – is the latest escalation in the government's monthlong Operation Murambatsvina, or Drive Out Trash, which has seen police torch the shacks of poor city dwellers, arrest street vendors and demolish their kiosks.
According to some insiders, the move is a deliberate political reprisal:
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change has accused the 81-year-old Mugabe of imitating Cambodia's former Pol Pot regime by driving pro-MDC urban voters back to rural areas for "re-education."

It alleges food access is being used as a weapon of political reprisal following March 31 parliamentary elections won by Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
Communists. I hate 'em. This is how it always ends. But don't worry! The UN is sending an envoy. I'm sure everything will be just fine very soon - or perhaps not:
Anna Tibaijuka, the executive director of UN-HABITAT, the global body's housing agency, will spend several days observing the results of "Operation Restore Order," a clean-up campaign that has demolished tens of thousands of homes and shops and left as many as 300,000 people homeless.

"I'm here at the request of the secretary-general to assess the situation here and to see how we can work together to put everything in the way that everybody would like to have them," Ms Tibaijuka, of Tanzania, told reporters.

"We are basically looking at the operation ... and to see the impact and how we can work together to assist all those affected. The secretary-general is of course following the situation with keen interest."
See, Communists hate the poor when they try to develop a way of living and their own political leaders.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Happy Monday!

In case you aren't up for all the joy and sparkly lights (the ones on the cop car that stopped you when you were speeding in order to get to work on time), here's a few quickies to go with your dour mood.

1) Democratic Underground experiences heartbreak upon learning that Ronald Reagan was voted "Greatest American" on the Discovery Channel. They vow a boycott. Warning, obscenities. Winning quote:
But when I saw he was the #1 vote in a clearly unscientific polling of America...with no weighted inputs from historians or experts...it just galls me. You are either purposefully or gullibly making yourselves the mouthpiece of the new hardline propagandist Republicans.
Ah ha! Now I understand why they keep insisting that Bush didn't win the 2004 election - it was unscientific and the votes weren't weighted properly. This one person-one vote stuff produces vortexes in the space-time fabric:
clearly a bunch of morons are able to vote and that has been what created the evil vortex we are now living through.
2) It's not like the Kelo V New London is going to cause any more takings, or that's what the experts claim. On the other hand, stories like this keep popping up:
With Thursday's Supreme Court decision, Freeport officials instructed attorneys to begin preparing legal documents to seize three pieces of waterfront property along the Old Brazos River from two seafood companies for construction of an $8 million private boat marina.
The tracts of land would be used for a planned 800- to 900-slip marina to be built by Freeport Marina, a group that that includes Dallas developer Hiram Walker Royall. He would buy the property from the city and receive a $6 million loan from the city to develop the project.
Get that? The city is going to let him buy the land AND a $6 million dollar loan. And mind you, two companies are being eliminated for this "economic development" project, which certainly will entail a loss of jobs.

3) And this DU thread just blew my mind. It's indescribable. The title is "The Conservative Supreme Court just handed us a 2008 political win". The people on DU are convinced that somehow the Republicans were behind the Kelo V New London decision. A couple of people keep arguing the facts - that it was the "liberal" judges who voted for it:
It doesn't matter who appointed who...the right wing feels that the only good judges are ones like Scalia and Thomas. They are using this to argue that we need more judges like Scalia and Thomas.

Any attempt by the Dems to capitalize on this will backfire because we are siding with Scalia and Thomas on this issue. If we were to use this issue as evidence that we need to remake the SC we are saying that we need to remake it in the form of Scalia and Thomas.

This is a no-win for us.
This is a sample of the responses to the original post (which blamed the whole thing on Republicans). It was a Rovian plot:
That is really how I feel - this was a tool to get the 'liberal activist judges' to look bad with a nice kick back to developers and corporations on the side. People just don't pay enough attention to smell the obvious skunk when normally pro-business justices voted against it. They had the votes they needed, so they could get the "See? We need more like Scalia and Thomas" line out there. Masterful. Brilliant. Evil.
It was all Scalia's fault (yes, I know he dissented - it is they who can't fathom it):
Scalia Showed His Pro-Business Colors Again The decision is an outrage and the Democrats definitely can get some mileage out of it. While the vote never should have been so close (true Republicans oppose the decision, too), Scalia showed his pro-business colors once again by granting even more power to corporations who are treated as citizens more and more under the law.
It is a Republican way to act, therefore the Republicans did it:
Do you think this decision is a viable Democratic issue for 2008? I think it is, and I think we must start right away saying why this decision is more of the Republican way of doing things, i.e., robbing the poor and middle class to make the rich richer.

When my Republican brother called to complain of the "liberals" on the court, my response was, this was more of a fascist approach. If you don't like the law, change the law to make illegal concepts perfectly legal. The liberal approach is to take a little more from the well to do and give to the less fortunate. This opinion in no way reflects that concept, quite the opposite.
4) Sometimes environmentalists seem to be confused about the value of human life versus that of say, alligators, but you can always count on a dog's certainty. Read about True Blue, courtesy Florida Cracker.

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