Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse went to Harvard in June and talked to her fellow alumni about how she broke into tears at a recent Simon & Garfunkel concert and what may have led up to her breakdown -- the perfidy of the Bush administration. "And of course my little crying jag occurred before we knew the worst of it, before it was clear the extent to which our government had turned its energy and attention away from upholding the rule of law and toward creating law-free zones at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, and other places around the world. And let’s not forget the sustained assault on women’s reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism. To say that these last years have been dispiriting is an understatement." Greenhouse, perhaps aware that her boss, publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., had made a similar rant in May (see item #2), didn't seem overly concerned about her future with the paper, simply telling National Public Radio: "I said what I said in a public place. Let the chips fall where they may."And there are 5 that are worse.
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Timeswatch.org suffers through the liberal political agenda of the NY Times every day so that we don't have to. They document what the Times is down to. They put together the ten worst cases during the past year. Top Ten Lowlights of the NY Times in 2006 For example: #6 Linda Greenhouse's Liberal Harvard Admission
Friday, December 29, 2006
The War of the World by Niall Ferguson Hugh Hewitt recommends it strongly. From the book:
The hundred years after 1900 were without question the bloodiest century in modern history, far more violent in relative as well as absolute terms than any previous era. Significantly larger percentages of the world's population were killed in the two world wars that dominated the century than had been killed in any previous conflict of comparable geopolitical magnitude. Although wars between 'great powers' were more frequent in earlier centuries, the world wars were unparalleled in their severity (battle deaths per year) and concentration (battle deaths per nation-year). By any measure the Second World War was the greatest man-made catastrophe of all time. And yet, for all the attention they have attracted from historians, the world wars were only two of many twentieth-century conflicts. Death tolls quite probably passed the million mark in more than a dozen others.* Comparable fatalities were caused by the genocidal or 'politicidal' wars waged against civilian populations by the Young Turk regime during the First World War, the Soviet regime from the 1920s until the 1950s and the National Socialist regime in Germany between 1933 and 1945, to say nothing of the tyranny of Pol Pot in Cambodia. There was not a single year before, between, or after the world wars that did not see large-scale organized violence in one part of the world or another. *The Mexican Revolutionary War (1910-20), The Russian civil war (1917-21), the civil war in China (1926-37), the Korean War (1950-53), the intermittent civil wars in Rwanda and Burundi (1963-95), the post-colonial wars in Indo-China (1960-75), the Ethiopian civil war (1962-92), the Nigerian civil war (1966-70), the Bangladeshi war of independence (1971), the civil war in Mozambique (1975-93), the war in Afghanistan (1979-2001), the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) and the on-going civil wars in Sudan (since 1983) and Congo (since 1998). Before 1900 only the rebellions of nineteenth-century China, in particular the Taiping Rebellion, caused comparable amounts of lethal violence.Hewitt:
It is against that backdrop that Iran's thrust for nukes must be understood. All of the carnage of the previous century was completed with the only uses of a WMD at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Project forward the same level of violence of the last century into the new one, but imagine even four or five of the aggressors or factions possessing WMD, and the picture of what is ahead in the next 93 years is bleak beyond description
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Joseph Rago is associate features editor for the Wall Street Journal. On December 20 he subtitled his attack on bloggers with "Written by fools to be read by imbeciles." Hugh Hewitt had him on the radio to defend his inflammatory words, but he wouldn't. See the transcript. And Hugh's blog entry. A short summary: Rago doesn't think he has to defend what he wrote. Hewitt quotes an emailer:
He [Rago] doesn't seem to understand that you have to defend the things you write. The only real check on the power of the press these days is for non-journalists to have a voice. They might be impolite, vulgar or partisan (as if journalists aren't), but they do much to fulfill the intent of the First Amendment of assuring not only reporting of facts those in power don't want to get out (the press having become itself a monolithic power), but by engaging in robust debate over the issues of the day. We had lost most of that, but we're starting to regain it because of the blogosphere.Shorter summary: Rago can't defend himself. I find this ironic because the first blog I ever discovered was "Best of the Web" by James Taranto on the Wall Street Journal's free website OpinionJournal.com. Taranto is Rago's coworker and is a fool, according to Rago.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
The government of Iran is not popular with the people. Ahmadinejad and his nuclear intentions lost big in municipal elections earlier in December. Iran Election Outcome a Rebuke to Ahmadinejad, Analyst Says And some students are bravely standing up to him. Time Magazine's choice of a mirror to show that "you" are man of the year is pretty poor. When Ahmadinejad spoke at Amir Kabir Technical University, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Dec. 11, 2006 the students lit firecrackers and burned his photo. See the photo at One Angry Christian of my nomination for man of the year. I hope and pray that this disagreement will strengthen and spread and disable Ahmadinejad's ability to develop and build the nuclear weapons that he says he will fire at Israel.
Monday, December 25, 2006
"To all Americans I say that loving our neighbor as we love ourselves is not enough- that we as a Nation and as individuals will please God best by showing regard for the laws of God. There is no better way of fostering good will toward man than by first fostering good will toward God. If we love Him we will keep His Commandments. In sending Christmas greetings to the armed forces and merchant sailors...we include our pride in their bravery on the fighting fronts... It is significant that Christmas Day our plants and factories will be stilled. That is not true of the other holidays. On all other holidays work goes on- gladly- for the winning of the war. So Christmas becomes the only holiday in all the year. I like to think that this is so because Christmas is a holy day. May all it stands for live and grow throughout the years." Franklin D. Roosevelt in his Christmas Message, 1942. From American Minute - http://www.amerisearch.net/
Sunday, December 24, 2006
My best investment sources recommend "The Only Three Questions That Count," by Ken Fisher. Fisher is a very, very successful investor. Forbes says that he is the only one of their investment adviser/columnists who is on their "400 Richest in the World" list. Donald Luskin reviews it:
There's pretty much no such thing as a great investment book. But here's an exception. Here's one that you're going to want to read. And when you're done, you're going to want to read it again. Unlike most investment books, this one doesn't pretend to give you all the answers. Instead, this one just gives you questions. And that turns out to be infinitely more valuable — because they are precisely the right questions. They cut right to the heart of what it takes to be a serious, thoughtful and successful investor.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Good news. Baghdad is coming alive economically. Will we see this on Ms. Katie's news program? Newsweek International has admitted it. The New York Post reports:
* Real estate, construction and retail sales industries are booming in Iraq. * The number of registered companies in Iraq grew from 8,000 in 2003 to 34,000 this year. * Iraq earned $41 billion in oil revenue this year ... The report also said reduced customs restrictions and fees have made imported goods more accessible and affordable to many Iraqis. Other studies showed a growth of almost 100 percent in salaries for those who have jobs. And Iraqis have even had American-style tax cuts, the report said.According to studies by World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. All the news is not good.
Monday, December 18, 2006
I have followed the career of Seattle native star Franklin Raines as in each higher job he performs lower. It was frustrating to hear him as President Clinton's budget chief spout nonsense. Then he got the star job of head of Fannie Mae, the federal "private" mortgage second market maker. It wasn't enough to have high status and high pay; he needed to "earn" millions in bonuses. And "earn" them he did. Not. The board of Fannie Mae fired him in 2004. After he was gone Fannie Mae's profits were recalculated and lowered by $6.3 billion. That's real money, even in D.C. The $6.3 billion in false profits provided Raines with his big bonuses - over $100 million. He was cooking the books to put money in his pockets. It's a crime to rob someone of $10. Isn't it a crime to steal millions? Someone lacks the guts to put him in prison, but at least they are going after the cash. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight is seeking fines and the cash in a civil lawsuit, not with criminal charges. The Associated Press reports:
OFHEO said it is seeking civil fines of $100 million or more against the three former executives and restitution totaling more than $115 million in bonus money tied to an improper accounting scheme. ... Lockhart said the charges "reveal how the individuals improperly manipulated earnings to maximize their bonuses, while knowingly neglecting accounting systems and internal controls, misapplying over 20 accounting principles, and misleading the regulator and the public." "The misconduct cost (Fannie Mae) and shareholders many billions of dollars and damaged the public trust," Lockhart said in a statement. OFHEO, the regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, last May issued a blistering report alleging a six-year accounting fraud at Washington-based Fannie Mae, the second-largest U.S. financial institution after Citigroup Inc. The regulators said the scheme included manipulations to reach quarterly earnings targets so that company executives could pocket hundreds of millions in bonuses from 1998 to 2004.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
It didn't last that long. But in Washington we had the worst wind storm since at least January, 1993, the "Inaugural Day Storm," and probably since the Columbus Day storm of October, 1962. The 1962 storm was an extra-tropical typhoon, basically a temperate hurricane! Heavy rain that caused flooding was chased by high winds. 70 mph in Seattle. 85 mph farther north near Anacortes. 100 mph at Paradise at Mt. Rainier National Park and 113 at Chinook Pass, which is also at Mt. Rainier. We were lucky. Our power was out for only 12 hours. A blessing. Our son David in Kenmore, about 2 miles away was without power for about 40 hours. And around the corner and half a block up they are past 48 and still out. I can hear generators from our bedroom. In that same block one house had a tree on its power line after two days. And one house burned to total destruction - structural failure - certainly unrepairable. They were breeding Maine Coon cats and most were burned, but a few escaped and are missing.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
In the ten years since Congress passed welfare reform (Clinton vetoed it twice, then signed it and claimed credit) the 50 states have had latitude to take their own route. Some states chose to raise taxes and raise spending; others lowered taxes and controlled spending. The states with lower taxes have lower child poverty, the Christian Science Monitor reports:
Take Colorado. It reduced its childhood poverty rate by almost 27 percent. Meanwhile, Rhode Island's childhood poverty rate increased by almost the same amount. What accounts for those differences? Using data from the Census Bureau, the report found that states with the lowest tax rates enjoyed sizable decreases in poverty. For example, the 10 states with the lowest total state and local tax burdens saw an average poverty reduction of 13 percent - two times better than the national average. The 10 highest-tax states, meanwhile, suffered an average increase in poverty of 3 percent. Some high-tax states, such as California, Hawaii, and New York, suffered catastrophic increases in poverty. As California began to reject the low-tax legacy of the Reagan governorship, the state's poverty rate jumped 13 percent in the 1990s.Why? Growth:
When a state has a low tax burden, economic growth is stronger. Economic growth delivers more job creation and higher per capita and median family incomes. Economic growth is a powerful means to pull people out of poverty. Although some policymakers justify high taxes for the sake of the poor, the data show that higher taxes and related spending do little to reduce poverty rates. Rather, states with healthy economic climates have much more success in lifting people out of poverty.The original source is a study from the Goldwater Institute: "How to Win the War on Poverty: An Analysis of State Poverty Trends."
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
My congressman has been rebuked by the US House or Representatives. In 1996 he received illegally recorded tapes of a cell-phone conversation by Newt Gingrich. The people who recorded the conversation plead guilty to wire tapping or something similar. Janel Reno never saw an infraction by a Clinton supporter and let McDermott off. However Congressman John Boehner sued McDermott and won and won on appeal, including the Supreme Court telling the courts to have a trial. The ethics committee didn't have the stomach to get the whole House of 435 members to censure him. There was grounds to, because the standard is "a member must behave 'in a manner which shall reflect creditably on the House of Representatives.'" He certainly did that. Anyone who paid attention saw that he lied. He told the New York Times on television that he knew nothing about the tapes that the New York Times received. The House ethics committee did what they could. Seattle Times -
WASHINGTON — In an end-of-year effort to wipe longstanding cases off its agenda, the House ethics committee on Monday rebuked U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott for leaking an illegally taped phone call between Republican congressmen a decade ago. The committee's carefully worded report said that McDermott, D-Seattle, did not violate congressional rules of conduct, which state that a member must behave "in a manner which shall reflect creditably on the House of Representatives." However, the 25-page report said McDermott's actions were "inconsistent with the spirit of the applicable rules and represented a failure on his part to meet his obligations" as the ranking member of the ethics committee at the time. "Representative McDermott's secretive disclosures to the news media ... risked undermining the ethics process," the report said.
Monday, December 11, 2006
We can lay off the population of the US who drive. Cars are not the biggest problem. Cows? Yes, cows. The Independent (UK): Meet the world's top destroyer of the environment. It is not the car, or the plane,or even George Bush: it is the cow. A United Nations report has identified the world's rapidly growing herds of cattle as the greatest threat to the climate, forests and wildlife. And they are blamed for a host of other environmental crimes, from acid rain to the introduction of alien species, from producing deserts to creating dead zones in the oceans, from poisoning rivers and drinking water to destroying coral reefs. The 400-page report by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, entitled Livestock's Long Shadow, also surveys the damage done by sheep, chickens, pigs and goats. But in almost every case, the world's 1.5 billion cattle are most to blame. Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together. Burning fuel to produce fertiliser to grow feed, to produce meat and to transport it - and clearing vegetation for grazing - produces 9 per cent of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. And their wind and manure emit more than one third of emissions of another, methane, which warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide. Livestock also produces more than 100 other polluting gases, including more than two-thirds of the world's emissions of ammonia, one of the main causes of acid rain. Ranching, the report adds, is "the major driver of deforestation" worldwide, and overgrazing is turning a fifth of all pastures and ranges into desert.Cows also soak up vast amounts of water: it takes a staggering 990 litres of water to produce one litre of milk. Wastes from feedlots and fertilisers used to grow their feed overnourish water, causing weeds to choke all other life. And the pesticides, antibiotics and hormones used to treat them get into drinking water and endanger human health. The pollution washes down to the sea, killing coral reefs and creating "dead zones" devoid of life. One is up to 21,000sqkm, in the Gulf of Mexico, where much of the waste from US beef production is carried down the Mississippi. The report concludes that, unless drastic changes are made, the massive damage done by livestock will more than double by 2050, as demand for meat increases. [end quote]
Sunday, December 10, 2006
A rabbit threatened to sue the Port of Seattle, which owns the Seattle-Tacoma airport if he couldn't display an 8-foot menorah. So the Port trashed the trees on December 9. Now he is afraid that the Jewish committee will be viewed as the Grinch. Right. Maybe not the community, but its leaders like Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky. I do blame him for stopping the public recognition of Christmas, as has been done in this country since the first settlement in 1607 = 399 years. KING 5 News reports in a story titled "Rabbi appalled by airport's removal of Christmas tree" He sued, but it's not his fault. "He's appalled." Right. On the other hand I know some public Jews who support the public celebration of Christian holidays. Michael Medved who has a national talk-radio program from Seattle. Rabbi Daniel Lappin of Mercer Island, who heads Toward Tradition. Dennis Prager who has a national talk-radio show from Los Angeles. These are three of the smartest, most articulate people I have ever encountered. All three speak out that Jews have nothing to fear from practicing Christians. The most Christian nations have been and are the best places for Jews to live.
The world-wide concern about global warming has led to the widely accepted the solution of decreasing the emissions of "greenhouse gases" including CO2 and methane. How can we do this? Technical solutions will be coming, but are not yet here. Stopping the economic growth of the US seems popular with Europe. But they are not stopping their own, which will reduce these greenhouse gases. Nuclear power does not emit CO2 or methane. The plants are very cheap to run, once they are built. The waste has to be locked up for the long decomposition process. So let's make more use of it. France gets well over 50% of their electricity from nuclear. A plant is under consideration in Idaho. KBCI TV in Boise, Idaho reports:
A Nevada-based company is planning to build a nuclear power plant outside of Bruneau, Idaho. In a letter of intent, Alternate Energy Holdings announced their plans to have a plant up a running by 2008. In a telephone interview, Alternate Energy Holdings President and CEO Donald L Gillispie told CBS 2 News the plant would produce enough energy to power several cities the size of Boise. Gillispie says it would look like a big air conditioner, the tallest part would be no more than 100 ft high, and it would blend into Bruneau's landscape. Gilleispie estimates it would employ about 500 people.I support it.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Travel veteran Will Allen III risked a ride on Amtrak's Empire Builder train from Seattle to Minneapolis - and had a great experience. At his blog Allen on travel:
... AND the Empire Builder has the best service. Thanks to years of cutbacks and underfunding, Amtrak has gone to prepared boxed meals on most of its long distance trains--but not on the Empire Builder. It still has a full service, cook-to-order diner that prepares three hot meals a day. On our train the staff was friendly, efficient, helpful, and downright nice. The service was fast and excellent, and the meals were good to very good.The skiers in Seattle used to talk about taking the train to Whitefish, Montana to ski at Big Mountain. But few ever did it. It's worth a try.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Not one hurricane hit the United States this year. Remember how the 2005 hurricane season proved that global warming was hurting us? Does 2006 prove that the globe is getting colder? Tell us, Albert Gore, Jr., please. Yahoo News/Associated Press:
MIAMI - The mild 2006 Atlantic hurricane season draws to a close Thursday without a single hurricane striking the United States — a stark contrast to the record-breaking 2005 season that killed more than 1,500 people and left thousands homeless along the Gulf Coast. Nine named storms and five hurricanes formed this season, and just two of the hurricanes were considered major. That is considered a near-normal season — and well short of the rough season government scientists had forecast.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
When Google Earth increased the resolution of its coverage of the Persian Gulf ("the Gulf" my friend from Saudi Arabia used to say), people in the island kingdom of Bahrain started learning what is behind the walls - huge palaces and villas that cover many acres, some that are larger than two or three neighboring villages, one that blocks fishermen from accessing the sea. The privileged demand the most of everything. The rest have little space to live in. So the government of Bahrain decided that the rich have the right of privacy, that peons can't look over the walls to see what they are being denied. In August they blocked access to Google Earth and demanded that GE stop showing the higher resolution photos of their country. Of course people found ways around simple access blocking. Mahmood reports:
... through Google Earth, the whole world, let alone the Bahraini users, can zoom in and have a good look at palaces and islands which a normal Bahraini wouldn’t even dream of one day coming close to, let alone stepping foot in, and the glaring confiscation of virtually all but 3% of beaches of the islands.Mahnood also links to the method of getting around access blocking!
Sunday, November 26, 2006
I have often been disappointed to see people with huge fortunes dedicate those fortunes to death. David Packard, cofounder of Hewlett-Packard, left about $9 billion at his death. He instructed his heirs to spend most of it to fight the world population "problem." There are various methods to reduce the world's population, but they generally cause deaths. They promote abortion. They promote euthenasia. Family planning is sometimes benign birth control, but generally includes abortion. But I am very pleased to see that that Bill Gates is using his even huger fortune to extend lives. He is underwriting vaccination for 3d world children, malaria cures, vitamin-enriched rice which prevents blindness due to malnutrition that is affecting large numbers of children per year and more. He is spreading his money wide and deep, enabling infrastructure and research that will allow benefits for decades ahead. The Seattle Times today describes this in the parochially titled "Seattle moves to forefront in global fight to save lives" After some gee whiz talk about how people who recently pilgrimaged to the UN in Geneva or New York now come to Seattle, they get to the substance:
... more than $1 billion to individual researchers and institutions based in Seattle. The total includes $30 million to launch a Department of Global Health at the UW. With Gates funding, Seattle scientists are helping lead development of vaccines for malaria, AIDS, pneumonia and a host of other afflictions that ravage Africa, Asia and Latin America. Seattle-based programs are delivering insecticide-treated bed nets and new-generation malaria drugs to people in Zambia; distributing vaccines to rural clinics in Mozambique; and directing street theater in India with a safe-sex theme.OK, there are a few strange things in the mix, but few.
But when Bill Gates Sr. began to scout around on behalf of his son's newly formed foundation, some of the first people he connected with were Dr. Gordon Perkin, PATH's founder, and Dr. William Foege, a Vashon Island resident who led smallpox eradication in the 1970s. A colleague at the elder Gates' law firm served on the board of SBRI. Both Perkin and Foege helped open the Gateses' eyes to the millions of deaths in the developing world that could be prevented with vaccines and drugs widely available in richer nations.More...
University of Washington bioengineering professor Paul Yager got a $15.4 million Gates grant by forming a consortium to develop a lab-on-a-card system to quickly diagnose diseases such as dengue and typhoid fever. Micronics, a Redmond firm that specializes in designing such systems, is part of the group. The company will have the right to market the devices but agreed to make them available at low cost in the developing world, said CEO Karen Hedine. In a partnership that initially raised doubts, PATH funneled money to GlaxoSmithKline to develop and test a malaria vaccine, said Melinda Moree, director of the PATH project. .... The Children's Vaccine Program, Gates' first megaproject administered by PATH, has immunized millions of youngsters against infectious diseases. Early successes in the Malaria Vaccine Initiative, also administered by PATH, have changed the minds of skeptics who said such drugs might never be possible. Exciting results in SBRI's malaria research hint at the possibility of even more powerful approaches in the future.Thanks, Bill. Keep it up. Additional material: How the money is being used - map Measuring how clean water improves health in Nepal
Thursday, November 23, 2006
High Prices -- Lower Pay -- More UnemployedFrance's government consumes more than 50% of their economy versus 35% in the US. Germany, Italy and other countries are almost as high as France. Massive government spending takes away personal options and forces dependence. And that reduces the incentives to work, save, invest and do things yourself. If you measure the difference in income you will prefer the US's results: "U.S. per capita output in 2003 was $39,700, almost 40 percent higher than the average of $28,700 for European nations." Walter Williams reports at Townhall on a study by Dr. Daniel Mitchell, research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, titled "Fiscal Policy Lessons from Europe."
Over the last decade, the U.S. economy has grown twice as fast as European economies. In 2006, European unemployment averaged 8 percent while the U.S. average was 4.7 percent. What's more, the percentage of Americans without a job for more than 12 months was 12.7 percent while in Europe it was 42.6 percent. Since 1970, 57 million new jobs were created in the U.S., and just 4 million were created in Europe. Dr. Mitchell cites a comparative study by Timbro, a Swedish think tank, showing that European countries rank with the poorest U.S. states in terms of living standards, roughly equal to Arkansas and Montana and only slightly ahead of West Virginia and Mississippi. Average living space in Europe is just under 1,000 square feet for the average household, while U.S. households enjoy an average of 1,875 square feet, and poor households 1,200 square feet.And we can see where people choose to live and where they invest their money:
Some 400,000 European science and technology graduates live in the U.S. European migration to our country rose by 16 percent during the 1990s. In 1980, the Bureau of Economic Analysis put foreign direct investment in the U.S. at $127 billion. Today, it's more than $1.7 trillion. In 1980, there was $90 billion of foreign portfolio investment -- government and private securities -- in the U.S. Today, there's more than $4.6 trillion, much of it coming from Europeans who find our investment climate more attractive.So do the countries of Europe make changes to increase growth and attract more investment. No. They attack their competitors with economic restrictions. Read it. Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of More Liberty Means Less Government: Our Founders Knew This Well.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Religious causes have caused some wars and deaths. But the mega numbers belong to atheism. During the 20th Century Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mao exceede 100 million deaths. And that number is just killing their own people. The wars they caused killed many more. But atheist of the 21st century see only religion as the cause. Dinesh D'Souza of Hoover Institute reports:
The problem with this critique is that it exaggerates the crimes attributed to religion, while ignoring the greater crimes of secular fanaticism. The best example of religious persecution in America is the Salem witch trials. How many people were killed in those trials? Thousands? Hundreds? Actually, fewer than 25. Yet the event still haunts the liberal imagination. It is strange to witness the passion with which some secular figures rail against the misdeeds of the Crusaders and Inquisitors more than 500 years ago. The number sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition appears to be about 10,000. Some historians contend that an additional 100,000 died in jail due to malnutrition or illness. These figures are tragic, and of course population levels were much lower at the time. But even so, they are minuscule compared with the death tolls produced by the atheist despotisms of the 20th century. In the name of creating their version of a religion-free utopia, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong produced the kind of mass slaughter that no Inquisitor could possibly match. Collectively these atheist tyrants murdered more than 100 million people. Moreover, many of the conflicts that are counted as "religious wars" were not fought over religion. They were mainly fought over rival claims to territory and power.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
There is one person who knows the situation of the world's oil reserves better than anyone. Daniel Yergin of Cambridge Energy Research Associates rejects the "common knowledge" that "we are running out of oil right now." The world's oil production can continue to grow at least until it increases by 50% in 20 years. Bloomberg:
The world probably has 3.7 trillion barrels of oil left, more than twice the estimates of geologists and analysts such as Matthew Simmons, of the investment bank Simmons & Co., who argue global output is close to a peak, said Peter Jackson, director of oil-industry research for the Cambridge, Massachusetts, firm. ``The peak-oil theory causes confusion and can lead to inappropriate actions and turn attention away from the real issues,'' Jackson said in remarks prepared for a conference call today with analysts, investors and reporters. ``Oil is too critical to the global economy to allow fear to replace careful analysis about the very real challenges.''And...
When global crude output begins to fall around 2050, the decline probably will be gradual, giving policy makers, industry and energy producers time to develop new alternatives to petroleum-based fuels, the report said....
`Bursts of Growth' CERA's Jackson said today that ``bursts of growth are about to happen'' in oil production in Angola, Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico and the Saudi kingdom. Questions about the ``reliability'' of some Middle East reserve estimates don't negate the huge oil deposits those countries still have yet to tap, said Jackson, former chief geologist for Enterprise Oil Plc, which was acquired by Shell in 2002.And this will give us time to develop alternate energy sources. After all, the earth of bombarded by energy from the Sun every day.
Untapped Reserves Refiners have used about 1.08 trillion barrels of crude since the birth of the petroleum industry in Pennsylvania in 1859, according to Cambridge Energy. Undiscovered fields probably hold 758 billion barrels, followed by 704 billion trapped inside a very hard type of rock known as shale, and 662 billion in the Middle East, according to the report. The rest of the firm's 3.7 trillion barrel total comes from untapped reserves in the deepest seas, the Arctic and places such as Canada's tar sands and Venezuela's Orinoco basin.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Bad news for our economy. People who oppose economic growth were elected. And they didn't hide their backwardness. Jacob Weisberg reports at Slate: "The Lou Dobbs Democrats - Say hello to the new economic nationalists."
... we saw enough during the campaign to be alarmed about one tendency in particular: economic nationalism. Many of the Democrats who recaptured seats held by Republicans have been described as moderates or social conservatives, who will be out of synch with Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi. The better term, with props to Fareed Zakaria, is probably illiberal Democrats. Most of those who reclaimed Republican seats ran hard against free trade, globalization, and any sort of moderate immigration policy. That these Democrats won makes it likely that others will take up their reactionary call. Some of the newcomers may even be foolish enough to try to govern on the basis of their misguided theory. There is an important distinction to be made between economic populism and economic nationalism. Many of Tuesday's Democratic victors stressed familiar populist themes: the little guy against the big guy; corporate misbehavior; and tough times faced by working people. Al Gore ran in 2000 as an economic populist and so, implausibly, did John Kerry in 2004. Raising the minimum wage (which Republicans stupidly failed to do before the election) is a classic populist position. Opposing Bush tax cuts for the wealthy is another.The distinction:
But in places where Democrats made their most-impressive inroads this year, one heard a distinctly different message of economic nationalism. Nationalism begins from the populist premise that working people aren't doing so well. But instead of blaming the rich at home, it focuses its energy on the poor abroad. The leading economic nationalist today is probably Lou Dobbs, who on nights other than Election Night natters on against free trade, outsourcing, globalization, and immigration on CNN.We have more work than ever explaining that everyone wins with trade and economic freedom.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Working the election - as a bottom-level poll judge - being sick, attending the Christian Musicians Summit and the wedding of special friends: took all my energy for the week. We lost and we aren't happy. I didn't think the people of the US would trust their defense to the Democratics. The Demos will not defend us. They even say so. They will pull out of Iraq and deploy our troops to Sri Lanka or some other quiet spot far from our problems. The Demos will not track the Islamic radicals who say they want to kill us. The Demos exposed our effective programs, which killed the programs. Let the terrorists enter and work together - their New York Times did it. When they get their policies in place and the attack occurs it will be George Bush's fault. The Demos call today's strong economy... actually this time they quit talking about it; it is too good for them the drag down. They always have in the past. All their talk of "bipartisanship" is talk. They cooperation with President Bush ended before it started. The Demo plan: Raise the taxes to slow the economy. Start new programs - expensive ones. Raise the national debt and blame Bush.
Friday, November 03, 2006
One way to reduce green-house gas emissions is to use nuclear power. Nuclear power, once the plant is built, is very cheap to operate. So let's get moving. Australia is, The Australian reports:
Australian Prime Minister John Howard's hand-picked nuclear energy taskforce will find that a nuclear industry could be commercially viable within 15 years, giving the green light to the Prime Minister to radically shake up Australia's energy market. Former Telstra boss Ziggy Switkowski's review will also find the cost of nuclear power should come down dramatically as more global powers invest in the technology and the cost of fossil fuels go up. Last night, Minister for Industry and Resources Ian Macfarlane said a 15-year timeframe was "very realistic", offering an optimistic assessment from the Howard Government on the way forward for nuclear power.Good show. Get moving.
The NY Times today revealed that Iraq had a nuclear development program that was gaining success.
Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990’s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.Bush was right! Jim Geraghty at NRO has analysis:
When I saw the headline on Drudge earlier tonight, that the New York Times had a big story coming out tomorrow that had something to do with Iraq and WMDs, I was ready for an October November Surprise. Well, Drudge is giving us the scoop. And if it's meant to be a slam-Bush story, I think the Times team may have overthunk this...Update: In 2002 Saddam Hussein's foreign minister told the International Atomic Energy A... that Hussein was aggressively developing nuclear weapons. Roy Robison has been following the translation of the documents captured in Iraq:
What to keep in mind when you read the NYT article. [quote follows] Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq had abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away. The Senate Prewar Intelligence Review Phase II report reveals that Saddam’s Foreign Minster told the US government that Saddam was trying to build a bomb. He said Saddam was trying to get uranium and was irate that his nuclear team was taking too long.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Soros, in an interview on 60 Minutes, says his character was developed when during World War II he got false identification and helped his false godfather with his official duties including confiscating property from Jews. Sweetness and Light has the transcript:
KROFT [interviewer]: (Voiceover) And you watched lots of people get shipped off to the death camps. Mr. SOROS: Right. I was 14 years old. And I would say that that's when my character was made.And...
KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson. Mr. SOROS: Yes. Yes. KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews. Mr. SOROS: Yes. That's right. Yes. KROFT: I mean, that's--that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult? Mr. SOROS: Not--not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don't--you don't see the connection. But it was--it created no--no problem at all.So we know more about Soros. He aided the Germans to steal property from Jews!! Via Doug Ross @ Journal Thomas Lifson at American Thinker
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Here is what John F Kerry told college students Monday at Pasadena College:
"You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."Here is video of him saying the words. I think it is clear, since he was speaking to students at a college: you students, either study or you will be stuck in Iraq. But honorable Mr. Kerry says he was talking about President Bush? Huh? Bush got better grades at Yale than Kerry did. By his own reasoning it's Kerry who is stuck, since he got poorer grades. But Kerry's original statement is in line with what the Democrats are saying this year - Iraq is a loser for the Republicans - only poor schlubs would go into the military and serve to defend our country in Iraq. Are they all inviting Kerry to appear with them at campaign events this week? Surely they want to showcase him. Update: No, they are telling Kerry to stay away:
Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts canceled campaign appearances with Democratic congressional candidates in three states after members of his own party criticized his remarks about the Iraq war and U.S. troops. Kerry won't appear today in Mankato, Minnesota on behalf of Tim Walz, a Democrat challenging Republican Representative Gil Gutknecht. The decision to cancel ``ultimately'' was Kerry's, said Walz spokeswoman Meredith Salsbery. Bruce Braley, a Democrat running for Iowa's 1st Congressional seat, asked Kerry not to campaign with him tomorrow, the Quad-Cities Times reported. Braley thought Kerry's remarks suggesting people with less education ``get stuck in Iraq'' were inappropriate, the paper said, citing Braley spokesman Jeff Giertz Kerry also won't appear today in Philadelphia with U.S. Senate candidate Bob Casey, ABC News reported. Casey's race to unseat Republican Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania could be pivotal to Democrats' hopes to gain control of the Senate. In Montana, Jon Tester, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Senator Republican Senator Conrad Burns, also sought to distance himself from Kerry.Via Lucianne.com.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Conservatives are more generous in giving than liberals. Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks has done the research and is publishing a book - "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism," (Basic Books, $26) is due for release Nov. 24. It is now listed at Amazon.com for pre-order. The Syracuse Post-Standard (New York State):
... he cites extensive data analysis to demonstrate that values advocated by conservatives — from church attendance to two-parent families to the Protestant work ethic and a distaste for government-funded social services — make conservatives more generous than liberals. ... When it comes to helping the needy, he writes: "For too long, liberals have been claiming they are the most virtuous members of American society. Although they usually give less to charity, they have nevertheless lambasted conservatives for their callousness in the face of social injustice.".
Monday, October 30, 2006
Good for Lynne Cheney, the "Second Lady" of the US as Vice President Cheney's wife. She took Wolf Blitzer to task for promoting the propaganda of the Islamic jihad terrorists. I join her in questioning Blitzer's commitment to the United States. "Do you want the US to win?" "Then why are you showing this propaganda?" Wolfie says it's just news. Wrong. CNN is promoting the Islamic Jihadists' propaganda. CNN is working for them. Good for Mrs. Cheney for putting CNN back down in its hole. Double Tap is in the Army National Guard and spent a year in Iraq. He has the video.
The American Criminal Lawyers Union, I mean the ACLU, claims to work for our liberties. But they spend their time on the biggest threats to liberty - nativity scenes. Huh? And same-sex classes in schools. Huh? Unfogged reports:
The Education Department recently announced that they are giving school districts more latitude for implementing single-sex classes and schools. The ACLU and a bunch of feminist organizations are in a huff because they say that it is condoning discrimination and are threatening to sue.She has first-hand knowledge:
I think that's a bad move - I went to a single-sex high school and believe I got far more out of it than I would have in a coeducational setting. I think a lot of what I gained from the experience ties into LB's post about the lack of female pundits and what m. leblanc had to say about women's comments being ignored. I'd always been outspoken in class but it wasn't until I was at an all-girls school that I felt my comments were heard and challenged.And she has previous analysis of the lack, not lack, lower numbers, of female pundits.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Distinguished former President Bill Clinton is undermining AlGore's global warming road show with his own "global initiative." But Clinton is also twisting the facts to suit his agenda. Clinton is going around saying that Brazil has gained energy independece (true) by growing and using ethanol, but that's not true. Investor's Business Daily caught him this time in Clinton Shills For Bad Energy Policy:
Energy: Bill Clinton's back, now touting tax hikes for ethanol to California voters. "If Brazil can do it, so can we," he said, claiming an ethanol switch ended Brazil's need for foreign oil. Once again, he's telling whoppers. Brazil did achieve independence from foreign oil all right. It happened this past April. But Clinton, true to form, doesn't quite recall the critical point showing how it was done. Here's a clue for the semi-retired former president and policy wonk: Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva didn't celebrate the oil independence milestone out in an Amazon sugar field. No, he smashed a champagne bottle on the spaceship-like deck of Brazil's vast P-50 oil rig in the Albacora Leste field in the deep blue Atlantic. Why? Brazil's oil independence had virtually nothing to do with its ethanol development. It came from drilling oil.Oil. They did it by drilling for and consuming oil. From 2004 to 2006 Brazil increased its oil production by 400,000 barrels per day to 1.9 million. But ethanol only produces 292,000 barrels. That's 15% of the energy production. Let's keep looking for a developing alternate energy sources. But they have to make economic sense. If they have to make their own way in the marketplace, then some will become succesful, while others won't make sense and will fail. But it doesn't help to lie about them.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Grameen Bank of Bangladesh and its founder, Muhammad Yunus. They provide micro-loans for the poor to help them start tiny enterprises. Great news! This is not the politically correct way to aid the poor. The "right" way is to feel compassion and donate our time and money to them. But it works. The people they are helping are enterprising. A small loan for a specific purpose helps them get going. How can you be sure the borrower does what she promised with the money? They organize the borrowers into small groups where they hold each other accountable! Alvaro Vargas Llosa of Peru is very active in getting micro-loans used in Latin America and around the world. He writes in TCS Daily:
For half a century, wealthy nations -- and rock stars -- have focused on foreign aid as the way to spur development. Foreign aid started with President Harry Truman's "Point Four'' program at the end of the 1940s, partly to pre-empt the spread of communism. To judge by ever increasing budgets and last year's call at the United Nations for a doubling of aid by 2015, it continues to be the fundamental focus of efforts to bring about prosperity in poor countries. No attention is paid to the fact that in sub-Saharan Africa, the region to which most of the foreign aid has gone in the last quarter-century, per capita income has dropped by 11 percent. Numerous government programs involving handouts and training have also failed to do the trick in many countries. What the poor really want is an environment in which undertaking a profitable venture is not a nightmarish bureaucratic and legal process.
Monday, October 23, 2006
300 million Americans as of this week. Good. Every person is productive, that is, can be productive and makes America a better place. Just because some choose not to be productive - and are allowed to - does not mean we should exclude someone else. We are not running out of land. Land that people value is getting more expensive - because people want to use it and will pay too. Also, in many areas the price rise is due to shortage forced by our politicians, who complain the loudest about the high prices they caused. Here in Seattle, WA, the county severely restricts any development beyond an arbitrary "rural" line. The intention is to force higher density in the already developed areas. And the result is what we call "a perfectly predictable surprise." (credit to a Republican female commentator whose name I don't recall.) Higher prices. Mark Steyn recognizes the good news and calls out the doom sayers:
But the wee bairn might have expected a warmer welcome from his or her compatriots. Alas not. "Three hundred million seems to be greeted more with hand-wringing ambivalence than chest-thumping pride," observed the Washington Post, which inclines toward the former even on the best of days. No chest-thumping up in Vermont, either. "Organizations such as the Shelburne-based Population Media Center are marking the 300 million milestone with renewed warnings that world population growth is unsustainable," reported the Burlington Free Press. Across the country, the grim milestone prompted this reaction from a somber Dowell Myers. "At 300 million," noted the professor of urban planning and demography at the University of Southern California, "we are beginning to be crushed under the weight of our own quality-of-life degradation."Because he already covered this development in his new book, America Alone which came out this week by coincidence.
America is the 172nd least densely populated country on Earth. If you think it's crowded here, try living in the Netherlands or Belgium, which have, respectively, 1,015 and 883 inhabitants per square mile compared with 80 folks per square mile in the United States. To be sure, somewhere such as, say, Newark, N.J., is a lot less bucolic than it was in 1798. But why is that? No doubt Myers would say it's urban sprawl. But that's the point: you can only sprawl if you've got plenty of space. As the British writer Adam Nicholson once wrote of America, "There is too much room in the vast continental spaces of the country for a great deal of care to be taken with the immediate details." Nothing sprawls in Belgium: It's a phenomenon that arises not from population pressures but the lack thereof.Also check Hugh Hewitt's write up of four books everyone should read to be apprised of the situation we are in and its urgency.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Even the liberal Seattle Times thinks Senator Maria Cantwell has done a poor job. They endorsed Mike McGavick for US Senate from Washington. He is very impressive. But am I surprised that they have very strange criteria for their endorsement? Been there.
In six years, Cantwell has grown somewhat in independence and influence, but not as much...Yes, you have to go against your political party, especially a Republican.
To demonstrate his independence, McGavick has called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He also shows realistic thinking on a range of issues. On the Iraq war, McGavick wants to find a way to win and Cantwell wants to find a way not to lose.They are off on a strange route again. No difference between winning and not losing? When asked about control of public spending, Cantwell restates her support of the line-item veto, a reform that would require a constitutional amendment and therefore isn't realistic, either. Her actual voting record has not been for restraint. True; she has been one of the biggest spenders. Their bottom line fortunately is competence.
McGavick, in contrast, showed at Safeco that he was able to take on big problems. We think he could make an innovative and influential senator for Washington.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Stefan Sharkansky at Sound Politics points out that Mrs. Gregoire, who calls herself governor, earned an F for fiscal irresponsibility among the 50 states of the US. The list at Cato puts her near the bottom. But their narrative makes me sick, because it's true:
Christine Gregoire, one of the worst new governors in the nation, was elected in 2004 in one of the closest and most contentious elections in Washington history--a controversial Palm Beach-style recount made her the winner of the gubernatorial race by only 129 votes. Famous for being the lead negotiator in the $206 billion shakedown of cigarette companies known as the 1998 multistate tobacco settlement, Gregoire quickly took aim at state taxpayers upon entering office. She's raised multiple taxes already: the cigarette tax (by 42 percent), the gas tax (by 34 percent), the state's liquor tax (by $1.33 a gallon). And she resurrected the estate tax, too. Gregoire even helped the legislature overturn the law that required a supermajority to raise taxes in the future. All of this to fuel her spending binge, which expanded the general fund budget by more than 8 percent in fiscal 2006 alone. Tax activists have placed a repeal of the estate tax on the ballot in Washington, and Gregoire has already stated her opposition. In the meantime, she was quick to propose new ways to spend the $1.6 billion budget surplus this year. With a legislature controlled by her own party, perhaps the only check on Gregoire's big-government ambitions in years to come will be the usually feisty tax activists in the state.Good for our tax activists. Tim Eyman, let's keep after them.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Husks, stalks and leaves have cellulose for their structure. Cellulose has defied attempts to break it down for uses such as fuel. But now researchers are having success. But cellulose has other important uses. It is left in the field to reduce erosion and slowing the release of carbon dioxide. I am in favor of any fuel source that makes economic sense. The Seattle Times on Monday:
A federal Energy Department study concluded that cellulose plant materials could help renewables supply 30 percent of the nation's liquid fuel needs by 2030. But tapping farm fields to produce both energy and food crops also creates new risks for agriculture and the environment. Some cellulose materials — such as the corn harvest leftovers — already play an important role when returned to the soil. As they decay, they help fight erosion, improve the organic matter that is key to soil quality, and slow the release of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Christians are being persecuted - killed - in Indonesia. By the "religion of peace" - Islam. Monday, October 16: Palu, C Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - Reverend Irianto Kongkoli, secretary general of Central Sulawesi`s Christian church synod, was gunned down by an unidentified man here Monday morning, eyewitneses said. Eyewitnesses said Irianto, the reverend, was shot when he was about to buy building materials in Sinar Sakti shop on Monginsidi street in Palu subdistrict at 8:15 a.m. local time. "Suddenly a gunfire explosion was heard and the reverend collapsed with gunshot wound on his head" said a witness who spoke on the anonymity. The policemen from the Central Sulawesi district office and the Palu police precinct came to the site of the incident and cordoned of the place, the anonymous person said. Irianto and his wife were rushed to nearby Bala Keslamatan hospital on Wood Ward street, 500 meters away from the material building shop. Unfortunately, the reverend died afterwards. There was no official statement from the police but they directly searched for the perpetrators in Palu city. Persecuted Infidels in Indonesia is a blog covering the situation.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
In Alaska they enjoy the windfall of oil revenues - so much that individuals pay no taxes; they receive a check from the state. So they watch the price of oil. And they don't like what they see now. Alaska Journal:
The current slide in crude oil prices could accelerate into a plunge to as low at $35 per barrel next year, ConocoPhillips' chief economist, Marianne Kau, told a group of economists in Anchorage Oct. 11. That's a sobering prospect for the next governor of the state - who will take office in early December - because a dip in oil prices, combined with declining North Slope production, could throw the state budget into a deficit again after two years of surpluses. .... Prices won't dive to $9 per barrel that Alaska saw in 1999, but they could go to $35 per barrel, Kau said. "Given the current slowdown in the economy and high inventories in the market, prices should logically be at $35 per barrel now," she said.There is something new here ...
What has helped drive prices up is a huge flow of money coming into oil markets from commodity investment funds. These funds are likely to exit the market as prices slide, quickening the downturn, Kau said. "These new financial players are creating a lot of short-term price volatility.Steve Forbes predicted this last year, but a bit quicker, like by now.
It's no fun. Their declining population is causing empty towns and stagnant economic nongrowth. The Boston Globe:
Russia is the only major industrial nation that is losing population. Its people are succumbing to one of the world's fastest-growing AIDS epidemics, resurgent tuberculosis, rampant cardiovascular disease, alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, suicide, and the lethal effects of unchecked industrial pollution. In addition, abortions outpaced births last year by more than 100,000.``nezhiloye" -- depopulated
Antonina Makarova, 78, spends her days watching news and soap operas in her peeling wooden dacha, the only inhabited structure in two lanes of sagging cottages that once were a village. Her nearest neighbor, 80-year-old Maria Belkova, lives in adjacent Sosnovitsy, population 2. But Belkova can't hear anymore, and all in all, Makarova finds the television better company. ``All the houses here were filled with people. There was a cheese factory. But now everyone else has died. God has taken care of them, and he's still making me suffer," Makarova said. ``Even the thieves have disappeared." The Tver region, along the upper reaches of the Volga River 130 miles north of Moscow, is dotted with more than 1,400 villages such as Kstinovo marked ``nezhiloye" -- depopulated. Since 1989, the number of people here has shrunk by about 250,000 to about 1.4 million, with deaths outnumbering births more than 2 to 1.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
It's not funny. It's not tragic. It's just stupid. President Clinton sent Honorable Secretary of State Madeline Albright to North Korea to show Kim Jong Il how nice we are. She gave him a Michael Jordan autographed basketball. Clinton continued to send him nuclear material for his power plants - peaceful, you know. So they hoped. They hoped against all experience. Michelle Malkin's Hot Air has a very funny video about Albright's folly. And success of the tactic of being nice to your enemies, so they will like you. It's not tragic; it's stupid. Hot Air Zucker video YouTube is the host site for the video. They blocked access to it, by marking it "inapproprite," though it did not contain objectionable material, except for Clinton worshipers. World Net Daily has the story:
The popular video-sharing YouTube site, which is being purchased by Google for $1.65 billion, limited access to a political ad that mocks the Clinton administration's policy on North Korea, but contains no profanity, nudity or other factors generally thought objectionable. The company announced a "flagging" policy change just this week, about the time that a controversial spoof by Republican filmmaker David Zucker depicting former Secretary of State Madeline Albright as a cheerleader for Islamic terrorists started appearing with a warning page in front, requiring verification that a viewer is 18 before the video will appear.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Despite "Bridge to Nowhere" Senator Ted Stevens, you can now see where the big bucks go. Who gets it, etc. At Fed Spending.org - Built by OMBwatch.org with funding from Sunshine Foundation. Read about Senator Ted's dirty dealings at The Captain's. He is unbelievably bad. If Alaska had an honest senator they might get what they want, such as oil production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. All they get now is favors for Ted's family and friends.
Sen. Ted Stevens, considered the Republican king of pork, just before the pre-election congressional recess killed a requirement for the Defense Department to evaluate unauthorized earmarks imposed by members of Congress on the Pentagon. Freshman Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma had won Senate passage of the ''report card'' as part of the Defense appropriations bill. The evaluation would show that the military really does not want most of the estimated $8 billion in earmarks added by Congress this year. However, Stevens succeeded in stripping the reform from the final version of the bill before it was signed by President Bush. Coburn intends to try to pass the report card as a freestanding bill during the lame-duck session after the election.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
President Vladimir Putin of Russia has continuously tightened his control of the government. He has shut down independent newspapers and television stations. He has arrested independent businessmen. A few brave independent journalists have been digging into areas connected to Putin's past as head of the KGB secret police. One of them, Anna Politkovskaya, was shot and murdered as she walked into her apartment building. Reuters reports:
Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead on Saturday at her apartment block in central Moscow, police said. "According to initial information she was killed by two shots when leaving the lift. Neighbors found her body," a police source told Reuters. Police found a pistol and four rounds in the lift. Politkovskaya, a 48-year-old mother of two, won international fame and numerous prizes for her dogged pursuit of rights abuses by Putin's government, particularly in the violent southern province of Chechnya. "The first thing that comes to mind is that Anna was killed for her professional activities. We don't see any other motive for this terrible crime," said Vitaly Yaroshevsky, a deputy editor of the newspaper where Politkovskaya worked. Moscow chief prosecutor Yuri Syomin told reporters at the crime scene, a nine-story Soviet-era apartment building in central Moscow, that he was treating the death as murder. Paramedics took Politkovskaya's body, wrapped in a white sheet, out of the building and put it into an ambulance. A middle-aged woman laid flowers at the doors of the building and stood with her head against the wall, crying. Politkovskaya's silver Lada, filled with supermarket shopping bags, was parked outside the apartment block. Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, a shareholder in Politkovskaya's newspaper Novaya Gazeta, called the killing a "savage crime." "It is a blow to the entire democratic, independent press," Gorbachev told Interfax news agency. "It is a grave crime against the country, against all of us." In the days before her death, Politkovskaya had been working on a story about torture in Chechnya, which was expected to be published on Monday, her newspaper said. DISTRUSTED PUTIN The rebel province has been a constant headache for the Kremlin. Russia sent troops in 1994 to crush an insurgency but after 12 years of bloodshed and the devastation of the province's capital Grozny, sporadic attacks continue. Politkovskaya was a fierce critic of Putin, whom she accused of stifling freedom and failing to shake off his past as a KGB agent. "I dislike him for ... his cynicism, for his racism, for his lies ... for the massacre of the innocents which went on throughout his first term as president," she wrote in her book "Putin's Russia" which was published overseas but not in Russia.More at Michelle Malkin's web site.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
A good idea in theory is welcomed by rip-off men. The European plan to allow trading of carbon credits is off to a rough start. First, everyone cheated, except the British, I have heard. Everyone grossly overstated the offsets that they had - rain forests and such. Second, people are selling the 21st Century's Brooklyn Bridge. The Guardian in the UK:
.... Francis Sullivan, a carbon offset expert who led attempts by banking group HSBC to neutralise its emissions, said: "There will be individuals and companies out there who think they're doing the right thing but they're not. I am sure that people are buying offsets in this unregulated market that are not credible. I am sure there are people buying nothing more than hot air." The carbon offset market worth about £60m worldwide, up from £20m in 2005. Within three years it is expected to top £300m, as a growing number of organisations and companies race to declare themselves "carbon neutral". Mr Sullivan said: "There are sharks out there who are literally just trying to get money off you. People were offering to sell us large chunks of the rainforest in Papua New Guinea. I don't think it was theirs to sell." Concern is growing that the demand for offsets is allowing projects to claim savings they do not deserve, which are then sold on as "carbon credits". A tree planting or windfarm project reckoned to save up 30,000 tonnes of carbon could sell an equivalent number of carbon credits for about £3 each. To provide a true carbon saving, the developers of such projects must demonstrate that it would not have happened without the investment raised by selling such credits, called additionality. The saving is then worked out against what would have happened, the baseline..
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma took CNN's Miles O'Brien to task for advocating certainty of human-caused global warming and basing his case on a fictional movie! In a Senate press release:
Senator Inhofe also questioned O’Brien about his 1992 CNN report regarding fears of a coming ice age. O’Brien responded by citing the 2004 fictional Hollywood global disaster movie, “The Day After Tomorrow” to back up his science reporting. “This is "The Day After Tomorrow" scenario that we're talking about,” O’Brien said after being confronted by Senator Inhofe on his climate reporting.Inhofe also pushed back on accusations that his position is the result of donations by oil companies:
But when O’Brien interviewed global warming alarmist James Hansen on several different occasions most recently in August 2006, he failed to inform CNN viewers about Hansen’s partisan funding from Teresa Heinz Kerry’s left-wing Heinz Foundation, or Hansen’s subsequent endorsement of Democrat John Kerry for President. O'Brien also failed to inform CNN viewers of Hansen's partisan ties to former Vice President Al Gore and Hansen’s concession that the use of "extreme scenarios" was appropriate to drive the public's attention to global warming.And he reminded O'Brien that 12 years ago he was alarmist about global cooling.
INHOFE: And I wonder also, Miles, it wasn't long ago -- you've got to keep everyone hysterical all the time. You were the one that said another ice age is coming just 12 years ago. O'BRIEN: I said that? I didn't say that. [....] INHOFE: You said, in talking about a shift that was coming -- you said, "If the Gulf Stream were to shift again, the British Isles could be engulfed in polar ice and Europe's climate could become frigid. [From CNN Transcript titled Scientists Research the Rapidity of the Ice Age dated December 19, 1992.]" That's another scary story.Good work, Senator. Keep it up.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
George Will highlights Washington's censoring speech by court order in Newsweek. He is not covering the State Public Disclosure Commission's announcement Thursday that the wrong people are financing campaigns. See Interest groups have taken over elections, panel fears. They are just warming up; watch them. No. He is talking about the successful efforts last year by several cities to shut up talk radio hosts when they threaten tax revenues. Successful? Yes. After the judge ruled that their speech counted as capaign contributions John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur were able to keep talking because I-912 was an issue, not a candidate. There is no spending limit for issues (Will says there is during the last 3 weeks), but there is for candidates. So talk-show hosts are prevented from enthusiastically covering a candidate like Carlson and Wilbur did I-912. And he certainly slowed them down; a court order against one tends to cause caution. Will:
SEATTLE—As the comprehensive and sustained attack on Americans' freedom of political speech intensifies, this city has become a battleground. Campaign-finance "reformers," who advocate ever-increasing government regulation of the quantity, timing and content of political speech, always argue that they want to regulate "only" money, which, they say, leaves speech unaffected. But here they argue that political speech is money, and hence must be regulated. By demanding that the speech of two talk-radio hosts be monetized and strictly limited, reformers reveal the next stage in their stealthy repeal of the First Amendment.And
This is the America produced by "reformers" led by John McCain. The U.S. Supreme Court, in affirming the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold speech restrictions, advocated deference toward elected officials when they write laws regulating speech about elected officials and their deeds. This turned the First Amendment from the foundation of robust politics into a constitutional trifle to be "balanced" against competing considerations—combating the "appearance of corruption," or elevating political discourse or something. As a result, attempts to use campaign regulations to silence opponents are becoming a routine part of vicious political combat.
Everyone knows the Democrats will win the US House of Representatives. "Everyone knows..." Time Magazine took a deeper look. Mike Allen and James Carny report:
But top Republican officials maintain an eerie, Zen-like calm. They insist that the prospects for their congressional candidates in November's midterms have never been as bad as advertised and are getting better by the day. Those are party operatives and political savants whose job it is to anticipate trouble. But much of the time they seem so placid, you wonder whether they know something. They do. What they know is that just six days after George W. Bush won re-election in 2004, his political machine launched a sophisticated, expensive and largely unnoticed campaign aimed at maintaining G.O.P. majorities in the House and Senate. If that campaign succeeds, it would defy history and political gravity, both of which ordain that midterm elections are bad news for a lame-duck President's party, especially when the lame duck has low approval ratings.Their report gets into how the Republicans are doing it.
In the off year of 2001, the creators of the 72-Hour program tested it in odd, lower-profile contests, including court races in Pennsylvania. The Bushies picked clusters of precincts where they quietly tried their new methods, then compared those with similar precincts where the campaigns did things the more traditional way. Those experiments helped Republicans develop a handful of precepts that constitute the party's playbook for this fall: .... Low tech can be better Caller ID, TiVo, cable channels and satellite radio all make it harder to reach voters than it was just a few years ago, increasing the importance of person-to-person appeals, the hallmark of old-fashioned, grassroots campaigns that used to connote an amateur or a low budget. "You clearly have to have TV ads," says White House political-affairs director Sara Taylor, "but for a little less TV, you can buy a whole lot of pizzas and phone lines and salaries for young men and women right out of college" to make phone calls, knock on doors and recruit and manage volunteers.But, of course, they end on a negative note.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Newsweek's Lally Weymouth did it right. While interviewing Iran's Ahminajad she asked him four times about his intent to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. And he weaves and bobs each time. He won't back up his own public statements. But shame on Tim Pagett in Time. Rich Karlgaard, editor of Forbes Magazine, at his blog Digital Rules:
At one point, Chávez tells Padgett, "Capitalism is the way of the devil and exploitation, of the kind of misery and inequality that destroys social values. If you really look at things through the eyes of Jesus Christ--who I think was the first socialist--only socialism can really create a genuine society." A remarkable assertion! Padgett's challenge? Nothing. Zippo. Another Chávez whopper: "If you think Chávez is intimidating free expression, just watch television there--my God, 'devil' is the least of things the opposition is allowed to call me on the air." Padgett's follow-up? Nothing again. What a wimp.
Quebec, Canda (the province) is not attracting foreign investment, due to high costs. Taxes are high, pay is high. Plus labor has a tight hold of union membership, which reduces flexibility. The Globe and Mail reports.
Asked 12 years ago if the province is becoming more globally competitive, 70 per cent of the respondents answered Yes, and 30 per cent said No. Asked the same question in the 2006 survey, 33 per cent replied Yes, while 40 per cent answered No and 27 per cent stated they did not know..
Sunday, September 24, 2006
An unknown company has announced it has developed a new electricity storage device that will make "A four-passenger sedan will drive like a Ferrari." CNN Money reports:
Forget hybrids and hydrogen-powered vehicles. EEStor, a stealth company in Cedar Park, Texas, is working on an "energy storage" device that could finally give the internal combustion engine a run for its money -- and begin saving us from our oil addiction. "To call it a battery discredits it," says Ian Clifford, the CEO of Toronto-based electric car company Feel Good Cars, which plans to incorporate EEStor's technology in vehicles by 2008. EEStor's device is not technically a battery because no chemicals are involved. In fact, it contains no hazardous materials whatsoever. Yet it acts like a battery in that it stores electricitTake this with a grain of salt. What is their track record? An electric car call the Zenn that goes the speed of a moped and take hours to charge.
EEStor is tight-lipped about its device and how it manages to pack such a punch. According to a patent issued in April, the device is made of a ceramic powder coated with aluminum oxide and glass. A bank of these ceramic batteries could be used at "electrical energy stations" where people on the road could charge up.Despite long claims on short experience we have high hopes for alternate energy sources. Though this is not a source of energy, but energy storage, which is necessary also.
Friday, September 22, 2006
The worldwide ban on DDT has been lifted. The ban killed tens of millions of people, mostly pregnant women and young children to malaria. Betsy McKay in the Wall Street Journal on 15 Sept 2006:
The World Health Organization, in a sign that widely used methods of fighting malaria have failed to bring the catastrophic disease under control, plans to announce today that it will encourage the use of DDT, even though the pesticide is banned or tightly restricted in much of the world. The new guidelines from the United Nations public-health agency support the spraying of small amounts of DDT, or dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, on walls and other surfaces inside homes in areas at highest risk of malaria. The mosquito-borne disease infects as many as 500 million people a year and kills about a million. Most victims are in sub-Saharan Africa and under the age of 5.Steven Milloy at Fox news analyzes the announcement:
Overlooked in all the hoopla over the announcement, however, is the terrible toll in human lives (tens of millions dead — mostly pregnant women and children under the age of 5), illness (billions sickened) and poverty (more than $1 trillion dollars in lost GDP in sub-Saharan Africa alone) caused by the tragic, decades-long ban.Who did it?
It was, of course, then-Environmental Protection Agency administrator William Ruckelshaus who actually banned DDT after ignoring an EPA administrative law judge’s ruling that there was no evidence indicating that DDT posed any sort of threat to human health or the environment. Ruckleshaus never attended any of the agency’s hearings on DDT. He didn’t read the hearing transcripts and refused to explain his decision. None of this is surprising given that, in a May 22, 1971, speech before the Wisconsin Audubon Society, Ruckleshaus said that EPA procedures had been streamlined so that DDT could be banned. Ruckleshaus was also a member of — and wrote fundraising letters for — the EDF. The DDT ban solidified Ruckelshaus’ environmental credentials, which he has surfed to great success in business, including stints as CEO of Browning Ferris Industries and as a director of a number of other companies including Cummins Engine, Nordstrom, and Weyerhaeuser Company. Ruckelshaus currently is a principal in a Seattle, Wash., -based investment group called Madrona Venture Group.Is there justice for what Ruckleshaus did?
Corporate wrongdoers — like WorldCom’s Bernie Ebbers and Tyco’s Dennis Kozlowski — were sentenced to prison for crimes against mere property. But what should the punishment be for government wrongdoers like Ruckleshaus who, apparently for the sake of his personal environmental interests, abused his power and affirmatively deprived billions of poor, helpless people of the only practical weapon against malaria?PATH is a Seattle-area nonprofit to bring about solutions to health problems. They are encouraging and funding alternatives to DDT to combat malaria and they recognize the effectiveness of DDT.
While DDT is effective, there are alternatives, including a class of insecticides called synthetic pyrethroids, some of which are used to treat bed nets, says Kent Campbell, program director for MACEPA, a malaria control program at PATH, a Seattle nonprofit organization, and a former malaria branch chief at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The political debate over DDT impedes its effectiveness in preventing the disease, he adds. "It's extremely effective when used – as long as the discussion is not moved to pro or contra DDT," he adds.x
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Hugo Chavez the president of Venezuela Wednesday at the United Nations in New York City called President Bush "the Devil", Associated Press reports:
"The devil came here," Chavez said. "Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of." He then made the sign of the cross, brought his hands together as if praying and looked up to the ceiling. Chavez's words drew tentative giggles at times from the audience, but also some applause.The translator just loved repeating his words. She just gushed in emphasis. Chavez was elected president, but he has dismantled Venezuela's constitution to the point that he is now the dictator and cannot be replaced in an election. He is providing the finances for Fidel Castro to spread Communism in the Americas. And he is taking advantage of the poverty of other countries by giving aid to them to increase his influence there, such as Jamaica (via SFGate):
In Jamaica, Chavez has given a $274 million loan for a highway and sports complex and $65 million for a refinery.An oil industry analyst says such projects make no sense:
"These projects make no economic sense, but they are part of his political megalomania, so normal economic laws don't apply," said Alberto Quiros, an oil industry analyst in Caracas and former president of Royal Dutch Shell's Venezuela operations. "Chavez is willing to pay any price."No Questions Chavez cut his New York visit short after the speech and skipped a press conference scheduled for Thursday. Why no questions, Mr. Chavez? You can support Chavez's thuggish incursions by buying Citgo Gas; Venezuela owns it. Update Senator Harkin of Iowa agrees with Mr. Chavez via Radio Iowa:
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a democrat, today defended Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's United Nations speech in which Chavez called President George Bush the devil. Harkin said the comments were "incendiary", then went on to say, "Let me put it this way, I can understand the frustration, ah, and the anger of certain people around the world because of George Bush's policies."Thanks for telling us, Tom.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
In the Washington Times:
Environmental groups are unwittingly destroying forests and killing wildlife with lawsuits. Ironically, they do so while claiming to save them. Activists again file lawsuits to stop forest management, and the government pays them to do so. They craft settlements that pay them handsomely with taxpayer money so they can live well and file the next lawsuit. No wonder they are inflexible. The latest example uses the California spotted owl and Pacific fisher in arguments supporting a lawsuit to stop restoration thinning in the Giant Sequoia National Monument. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service haven't listed either species as threatened or endangered. These activists claim spotted owls nest in dense forests, so no management should be allowed anywhere the owl might one day live. But, they neglect to mention owls also nest and thrive in managed forests. They ignore the fact owls have to eat, and their prey live mainly in young forests.And their actions cause conditions that allow wild fires:
Unfortunately, legal action has blocked common-sense thinning to restore forests to their natural diversity and resistance to catastrophic wildfire. Already, many California public forests have grown dangerously overcrowded with 10 to 20 times more trees than is natural. The Giant Sequoia National Monument is near the top of the crowded forest list. It already burned once, and it is certain to burn again. In 2002, the McNally fire blackened 151,000 acres in and around the Sequoia National Monument, coming within a mile of the Packsaddle Grove of giant sequoias. Without active management, it is only a matter of time before another major wildfire hits, possibly destroying all 38 sequoia groves in the monument. Rather than protecting forests and wildlife with lawsuits, activists condemn them to destruction. Massive wildfires move so fast that flames can overtake animals like deer, bears and fishers before they escape. Streams boil and fish die. Ash fills burrows and suffocates ground dwellers. Smoke inhalation kills most animals before the flames reach them. In New Mexico's Los Alamos Fire, 90 percent of the Mexican spotted owl's habitat was lost. Between 1999 and 2002, the U.S. Forest Service identified 11 California spotted owl-nesting sites as lost to wildfire. In 2002, the Biscuit Fire destroyed tens of thousands of acres of spotted owl habitat in Southern Oregon and Northern California, including 49 known nesting sites.The author Thomas Bonnicksen has studied California forests, including the sequoia forest, for more than 30 years. He has published numerous scientific papers on the sequoias and he is the author of "America's Ancient Forests" (John Wiley, 2000), which includes a section on the sequoia forest. Mr. Bonnicksen is a Texas A&M University professor emeritus of forest science, University of California-Davis visiting professor, and a member of the advisory board of the Forest Foundation.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I just got back from a week offline in Alaska. What a great place. Just driving from Anchorage to the next population center to the North (northeast actually) goes for over 20 miles past 3,000-plus-foot mountains rising from sea level. And it gets much better as you approach Mt. McKinley and Denali National Park by highway or train. Denali National Park and Mt. McKinley K2 Aviation (Rust's) has flights to and - at great expense - over McKinley. McKinley Creekside Cabins - at mile 224 on the Parks HIghway, about 12 miles south of the Park entrance. Nice location with great mountains across the highway, though they don't show them on their website. Prince William Sound - We drove from Anchorage through the 2.5 mile single-lane tunnel (an experience) to Whittier for a 5-hour cruise with Major Marine Cruises. We saw bald eagles, Live web cameras - List - I can't link directly; click on" McKinley Park "in this list. It's in the Southeast section if you get the list of quadrants Portage Glacier is a 50-mile drive SE of Anchorage at the entrance to the tunnel to Whittier. Looks pretty good, eh? Active Alaska volcanos - Mt. Augustine webcam from its island. It's also visible from Homer 75 miles across Cook Inlet.
Others - The current active volcanos are at the southwest entrance to Cook Inlet and are very remote.Offline - I could have been online. McKinley Creekside, which is remote from remote Denali Park, has internet access in the front office. Even deep in Denali Park at Toklat, which is mile 53 on the bus line (no private vehicles allowed), employees have internet access, a friend tells us.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
The Clinton machine can't stand the light. Previewers tell us that the series to be shown on September 10 and 11 on ABC portrays Sandy "In-His-Pants" Berger as indecisive, Secretary of State Madeline Albright as misguided and CIA chief George Tenet as ineffective. That sounds about right. So there is little argument that the Hollywood types who made this got it, if not perfect, in the ball park. But it doesn't advance Bill Clinton's legacy as the likeable president. His pretty people will stand for nothing short of full-throated praise. After all, 9/11 is about Bill, not the victims, not the threat to our security. It's about Bill. Hugh Hewitt has an excellent article at TownHall.com.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
The hand wringing about income inequality in the United States is a red herring in the truest sense. It is a false issue intended to divert attention. The poorer people in the United States are at the same level as those in the egalitarian paradise of Finland, which has the lowest income inequality. Tim Worstall at TCSDaily shows us:
In the USA the poor get 39% of the US median income and in Finland (and Sweden) the poor get 38% of the US median income. It's not worth quibbling over 1% so let's take it as read that the poor in America have exactly the same standard of living as the poor in Finland (and Sweden). Which is really a rather revealing number don't you think? All those punitive tax rates, all that redistribution, that blessed egalitarianism, the flatter distribution of income, leads to a change in the living standards of the poor of precisely ... nothing. Such may lead us to a conclusion that the EPI probably wouldn't like: If we accept (as I do) that we do, indeed, need to have a social safety net, and that we have a duty to provide for those incapable or unlucky enough to be unable to do so for themselves, we need to set some level at which such help is offered. The standard of living of the poor in a redistributionist paradise like Finland (or Sweden) seems a fair enough number to use and the USA provides exactly that. Good, the problem's solved. We've provided -- both through the structure of the economy and the various forms of taxation and benefits precisely what we should be -- an acceptable baseline income for the poor. No further redistribution is necessary and we can carry on with the current tax rates and policies which seem, as this report shows, to be increasing US incomes faster than those in other countries and boosting productivity faster as well.So the poorer people in the US are at the same level as Finland, but everyone else is higher - much higher! So take your choice: move to Finland and be lower income but equal or to the US and have the chance to get ahead - way ahead. Worstall also shows that the data from the liberal Progressive Policy Institute show that the US, as well as being ahead, is moving faster:
Things are actually looking pretty good for the US economy, then -- wealthier to start with, getting richer faster and productivity growth is also highest in the USA, meaning that this trend is only likely to continue.Via Michael Barone. Follow that link and have your screen filled with pop-ups. Don't.