Sunday, August 31, 2008

B.C. natural gas finds exceed production

More good news. At the end of 2007 British Columbia, Canada, had more reserves of natural gas than at the beginning.

Solving two equation on the back of an envelope finds that British Columbia's 2007 production was about 27.3 billion cubic meters and new discoveries was 48.3 billion. On a flat line basis at the end of 2006 there was enough for 17 years like 2007. At the end of 2007 they had the reserves for 17.7 years.

Vancouver Sun:
Energy companies, in 2007, discovered almost twice the amount of natural gas as British Columbia produced during the year, raising provincial gas reserves to a new high. B.C. had almost 483 billion cubic metres of remaining raw gas reserves, compared with 462.4 billion cubic metres at the end of 2006, according to the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission's latest report on hydrocarbon and by-product reserves. Alex Ferguson, the commission's CEO, said high levels of exploration and technological improvements helped boost discoveries in 2007 that were 177 per cent in excess of natural gas production during the year.

No recession here - growth

Good news! The economic results have been updated: There was growth at 3.3 per cent in the second quarter. No recession. A recession is shrinking for two quarters in a row. For all the talk this has not happened; there has not been a recessions since President Clinton's last months in office. Did this lead the nightly news? Digital Rules By Rich Karlgaard:
In case you missed this good news, the second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) was revised up, from 1.9% to 3.3%. Our friend Brian Wesbury was the only economist who got close to calling it. He had predicted 3%.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Back at work

I started back to work half time Monday 8/25. My energy is still low, so half time is all I can do. Today I put in 3 hours, then did my exercise and some errands. Then I needed 3 hours rest before I could do the last hour. I will continue part-time work until mid-November when Boeing's short-term leave will no longer provide help. I can now walk with full weight. But I have some pain and limp. (This is the most pain I have had since the day after surgery.) Getting even weight both walking and standing is high priority, so I use one crutch lightly loaded most of the time. I am still doing a bunch of exercises to help with range of motion and obscure little muscles no one knows exist. And for over a month I have been riding an exercise bike every other day at 70 to 80% max heart rate. It feels good to get some real exercise. I am doing everything I can for full recovery. I saw the orthopedic surgeon, but I didn't have my big picture questions ready. He told me no more check ups unless I have problems. So I didn't get to the questions I have been putting off to concentrate on more immediate concerns. - How much will I recover range of motion? - Will I be able to do big bike rides and rough hikes? I realize it's my problem and my recovery is up to me. The exercises the physical therapist has me doing will help with having the flexibility to handle rough ground and such. I just wish I had the road map. Thanks for your prayers and support. Broken pelvis

I would have made same mistake as Obama

Senator Barrack Obama gave up being president of the United States when he passed over the VP choice who would have helped him the most - Hillary Clinton. Millions of Democrat women are hopping mad over Hillary not being the nominee for president and doubly so for her not being the nominee for vice president. John McCain saw the opening Obama made and ran right through it, picking Governer Palin of Alaska to be his VP running mate. In his shoes I would have made the same mistake. Bill Clinton would not have let Obama do the job he was elected to. Clinton can't play second fiddle to anyone. Clinton would have been over Obama's shoulder every second of his 4-year term. I saw a cartoon showing Obama sitting at his desk in the oval office. But he can't do any work because Bill and Hillary are sitting on his knees doing the work and keeping him away. I too would rather lose than have to carry Bill Clinton on my shoulders for 4 years. I would have made the same mistake. It's going to be a long 10 weeks for Obambi. The media will make it look close, but it won't be. In 2004 the news media even manufactured polls showing a tie going into election day, when George W. Bush got 3 million more votes and the deciding state, Ohio, had a gap of over 100,000 votes.

Thermal storage of solar energy

The push for solar thermal | Videos on ZDNet: At the Intersolar Conference 2008 in San Francisco, Fred Morse, senior advisor at Abengoa Solar says, "Don't underestimate thermal storage." The veteran solar industry exec talks about the benefits of concentrating solar technologies and the reasons why utility companies are starting to back thermal storage. Convenience post.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

How the Georgian Conflict Really Started

Moscow claims they were responding, but Putin moved first. And it was the culmination of years of interference in Georgia by the Empire of Russia. Anybody who thinks that Moscow didn't plan this invasion, that we in Georgia caused it gratuitously, is severely mistaken," President Mikheil Saakashvili told me during a late night chat in Georgia's presidential palace this weekend. "Our decision to engage was made in the last second as the Russian tanks were rolling -- we had no choice," Mr. Saakashvili explained. "We took the initiative just to buy some time. We knew we were not going to win against the Russian army, but we had to do something to defend ourselves." ... In fact, they had mobilized reserves several days ahead of time." This was precisely the kind of information that the Russians have suppressed and the world press continues to ignore, despite decades of familiarity with Kremlin disinformation methods. "We subsequently found out from pilots we shot down," said Mr. Saakashvili, "that they'd been called up three days before from places like Moscow. We had intelligence coming in ahead of time but we just couldn't believe it. Also, in recent weeks, the separatists had intensified artillery barrages and were shooting our soldiers. I'd kept telling our guys to stay calm. Actually we had most of our troops down near Abkhazia where we expected the real trouble to start. I can tell you that if we'd intended to attack, we'd have withdrawn our best-trained forces from Iraq up front."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Democrat nuts intimidate Michelle Malkin in Denver

Well, the morons tried. But she has more class than 100 of them. She was cool despite being surrounded by a dozen large men. Pajams Media video taped it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dems rally against unions! in Denver

Can you believe it? A glimmer of hope: a few Democrats who prefer the children over the teachers' unions. This was not the entire convention, but a break-out session of about 500 people. But, still, leaders spoke on the record and the Democrat crowd joined them in opposing union power. Mickey Kaus - Slate Magazine: Things We Thought We'd Never See: Democrats Rally Against the Teachers' Unions! I went to the Ed Challenge for Change event mainly to schmooze. I almost didn't stay for the panels, being in no mood for what I expected would, even among these reformers, be an hour of vague EdBlob talk about "change" and "accountability" and "resources" that would tactfully ignore the elephant in the room, namely the teachers' unions. I was so wrong. One panelist--I think it was Peter Groff, president of the Colorado State Senate, got the ball rolling by complaining that when the children's agenda meets the adult agenda, the "adult agenda wins too often." Then Cory Booker of Newark attacked teachers unions specifically--and there was applause. In a room of 500 people at the Democratic convention! "The politics are so vicious," Booker complained, remembering how he'd been told his political career would be over if he kept pushing school choice, how early on he'd gotten help from Republicans rather than from Democrats. The party would "have to admit as Democrats we have been wrong on education." Loud applause! Mayor Adrian Fenty of D.C. joined in, describing the AFT's attempt to block the proposed pathbreaking D.C. teacher contract. Booker denounced "insane work rules," and Groff talked about doing the bidding of "those folks who are giving money [for campaigns], and you know who I'm talking about." Yes, they did! As Jon Alter, moderating the next panel, noted, it was hard to imagine this event happening at the previous Democratic conventions. (If it had there would have been maybe 15 people in the room, not 500.) Alter called it a "landmark" future historians should note. Maybe he was right. P.S.: My favorite moment didn't concern the unions. It came when NYC schools chief Joel Klein called for a single national testing standard. Groff, a crowd favorite, made the conventional local elected officials' objection that you need flexibility, one size doesn't fit all, "what works" in County X might not work in County Y. And he was booed! Loudly. By Democratic education wonks. Wow. (The "one size" argument cropped up in the welfare reform debate too--and I assume it's just as bogus in the education debate. We're a national economy with cities that look more or less alike. What works in County X is almost certainly also going to work in County Y.) P.P.S.: John Wilson, head of the NEA itself, was also there. Afterwards, he seemed a bit stunned. He argued pols should work with unions, in pursuit of a "shared vision," not bash them. But isn't this a power struggle where you have to bash the other side to get leverage, I asked. "Then you have losers," he answered. P.P.P.S.: Mickey's Assignment Desk: Has someone done the trend piece on all these smart, young, powerful bald,** black state and local elected officials--e.g., Fenty, Booker, Groff, Nutter--who are taking on their unions? You'd need a name. Hair Club for Men is already taken. Domeboys? ...

Promising efforts to store wind power

Wind power is not practical at this time because the wind blows when it wills, not when we need the power. We need to be able to store the power from wind for use at the times of peak power demand. Here is a promising development CNN Money :
One problem perhaps more than any other has proven a drag on the long-term prospects for wind power: how do you turn on the lights when the wind isn't blowing? A New Jersey company said Tuesday it has joined with Michael Nakhamkin, one of the top thinkers in energy storage, to develop new ways to trap wind-generated power in underground reservoirs. Nakhamkin has helped develop technology to pull excess energy off the power grid _ usually at night when usage has waned _ to run compressors that pump air into sealed, underground caverns that once held oil, salt or natural gas. During periods of higher demand, the air is released and heated to run air expansion turbines. ... Compressed air in a cave about a third the size of the New York Giants' football stadium _ roughly 21,500,000 cubic square feet _ would be enough to power a 300-megawatt turbine for 8 hours, Daniel said. That load could power about 200,000 homes _ a small city _ for about 8 hours, said John A. Stratton, an electrical power systems professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. "That's a healthy load," he said. "It's going to get us through the peak of the day by using excess energy at night." While the process isn't totally efficient _ energy is lost while being transferred _ it "makes wind a very different kind of energy than it is today," Stratton said.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Zimbabwe opposition gets a little power

There is a significant break through in Zimbabwe. Some power for an opposition party for the first time since independence in 1980. Seattle Times Newspaper:
Zimbabwe's main opposition party won the top job in parliament Monday, scoring a surprise victory that could give President Robert Mugabe's foes leverage in power-sharing talks. It is the first time since Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980 that the speaker's post has not been held by an ally of the autocratic Mugabe. The election of Lovemore Moyo of the Movement for Democratic Change on a 110-98 vote brought cheers, with opposition legislators breaking into a song declaring "ZANU-PF is finished!" The result indicated some members of the ruling ZANU-PF may have voted for Moyo in the secret ballot.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Drilling Boom Revives Hopes for Natural Gas

Good news on the energy front - very good news. Natural gas is the clean fossil fuel we want. Drilling Boom Revives Hopes for Natural Gas -
American natural gas production is rising at a clip not seen in half a century, pushing down prices of the fuel and reversing conventional wisdom that domestic gas fields were in irreversible decline. The new drilling boom uses advanced technology to release gas trapped in huge shale beds found throughout North America — gas long believed to be out of reach. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel, releasing less of the emissions that cause global warming than coal or oil. Rising production of natural gas has significant long-range implications for American consumers and businesses. A sustained increase in gas supplies over the next decade could slow the rise of utility bills, obviate the need to import gas and make energy-intensive industries more competitive. While the recent production increase is indisputable, not everyone is convinced the additional supplies can last for decades. “The jury is still out how big shale is going to be,” said Robert Ineson, a natural gas analyst at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a consulting firm. Still, many people in the natural-gas industry believe a new era is at hand, and a rising chorus of Wall Street analysts and Congressional lawmakers supports that notion. Competition among companies for rights to the new gas has set off a frenzy of leasing and drilling. “It’s almost divine intervention,” said Aubrey K. McClendon, chairman and chief executive of the Chesapeake Energy Corporation, one of the nation’s largest natural gas producers. “Right at the time oil prices are skyrocketing, we’re struggling with the economy, we’re concerned about global warming, and national security threats remain intense, we wake up and we’ve got this abundance of natural gas around us.”

Hugo Chavez is losing influence with Latin American learders

Bad news for dictator Hugo is good news for the people of Venezuela and for all the Western Hemisphere. Washington Times - Embassy Row : Venezuela's anti-American president, Hugo Chavez, is losing influence throughout Latin America, even in countries headed by center-left leaders who rejected his radical socialism, according to a former ambassador who also criticized congressional Democrats for opposing a free-trade deal with the pro-American government of Colombia. Jaime Daremblum, Costa Rica's ambassador to the United States from 1998 to 2004, said Mr. Chavez is becoming increasingly autocratic in his own country and threatening to other nations because of a huge military buildup fueled by high oil prices. "With his 'Bolivarian' revolution discredited both at home and abroad, Chavez's desperate hope is that militaristic nationalism will strike a chord," Mr. Daremblum wrote in an analysis of Mr. Chavez's latest acquisition of Russian weapons and of his attempts to hide the damage to the economy from his socialist policies. Mr. Chavez last month purchased about $2 billion in Russian arms on a trip to Moscow, Mr. Daremblum said, referring to Russia press accounts. The Venezuelan strongman previously bought $4.5 billion in arms from Russia. "He claims, absurdly, that he is preparing for a U.S. invasion. In fact, his military buildup is intended to consolidate his power and intimidate his neighbors," said Mr. Daremblum, now director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the Washington-based Hudson Institute. Mr. Daremblum said Mr. Chavez's influence is shrinking to some of the poorest countries in Latin America, including Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador and Nicaragua. "Although the full extent of [Mr. Chavez's] mismanagement has been camouflaged by high energy prices ... , he is wrecking the Venezuelan economy," Mr. Daremblum said. "The health care system has deteriorated alarmingly, and food shortages remain a persistent problem. "Corruption is widespread, and rampant crime has earned [the capital] Caracas its reputation as the most dangerous city in the Western Hemisphere."

Who Lied About Iraq?

American Thinker Do not believe that post-invasion intelligence invalidates our justification for using military force against Saddam's Iraq. The truth is the exact opposite. The US was fully justified to use military force against Iraq, even knowing what we know now -- especially knowing what we know now. We should not allow the false story -- almost accepted as fact -- as we head into a Presidential election, to go unchallenged. The False Story "The United States invaded Iraq based on false premises. The administration orchestrated a public relations drive to prove that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and connections to the 9/11 terrorists - both proved false." USA Today While these two sentences came from USA Today, they describe the words behind the music of the "Bush lied, people died" meme echoing throughout the media chambers since at least 2004. The lies in just these two sentences are almost Shakespearian in their layered texture. The statement even lays out a false premise in accusing the Bush administration of using false premises. If lying is an art, our media have mastered it. The Premise Our invasion of Iraq was not based on a public relations drive; it was based on Public Law 107-243, otherwise known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq, passed by the 107th Congress in October of 2002 . (Herein referred to as the "Authorization".) It passed the House with a vote of 296 to 133 (by 69%) and the Senate with a vote of 77 to 23 (by 77%), including 58% of Senate Democrats. In short, it was overwhelming; it was bipartisan; and it was law.

U.S. team picks Georgian to lead them in Olympics closing ceremony

McClatchy Washington Bureau While U.S. athletes have stayed silent about politics during these Olympic Games, their actions have spoken volumes. First came the decision by U.S. team captains to pick runner Lopez Lomong, who was a Sudanese war refugee, to lead the U.S. delegation into the Aug. 8 opening ceremony as the team's flag bearer. Many interpreted Lomong's selection as a dig at the Chinese government's support of Sudan, which has armed militias that have killed hundreds of thousands of people in the country's Darfur region. On Friday night, the U.S. team entered the political fray again by choosing archer Khatuna Lorig, who was born in what is now the country of Georgia, to be the U.S. flag bearer in Sunday's closing ceremony. With Georgia recently fighting a mismatched war against Russian troops in the separatist Georgian province of South Ossetia, many saw Lorig's selection as a show of support by U.S. athletes for the besieged Georgians.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Freer trade does cause benefits

The economic researchers are very careful. They don't jump to conclusions. Antoni Estevadeordal and Alan M. Taylor of UC Davis did the research with all the special considerations. National Bureau of Economic Research We find evidence that a specific treatment, liberalizing tariffs on imported capital and intermediate goods, did lead to faster GDP growth, and by a margin consistent with theory (about 1 percentage point per annum). Endogeneity problems are considered and other observations are consistent with the proposed mechanism: changes to other tariffs, e.g. on consumption goods, though collinear with general tariffs reforms, are more weakly correlated with growth outcomes; and the treatment and control groups display different behavior of investment prices and quantities, and capital flows.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Senator Schumer might have to pay for causing bank run

California is considering punishing distinguished Senator Schumer for the causing the run on and failure of IndyMac bank. The Story And the background story at Townhall:
Bob Dole once said the most dangerous spot in Washington was between Chuck Schumer and a TV camera. That may be true. But it might be even more dangerous to be a shareholder in, depositor in, or employee of a bank which Schumer decides to attack. Indymac Bank was having trouble, of course, before, but nothing as serious as a bank run. Bank runs, after all, are very rare in modern history. Common enough during the great depression, they largely disappeared in response to FDR’s creation of a system of safety nets such as FDIC. So why a 30s style bank panic now? Why Indymac? Because the left hated them. Indymac has been in the crosshairs for some time. The trial lawyers started going after them about a month ago. Not long after that, Schumer started sending letters to regulators attacking Indymac, questioning the financial viability of a bank which he had never examined. Neither Schumer, nor any of his staff even bothered to contact Indymac with any questions. Unsatisfied with the response, Schumer leaked his letters to the press. The local paper in Pasadena (where the bank is located) played along, and ran the story with a headline strongly suggesting insolvency. Of course, the next day depositors lined up at the door and started withdrawing money. Over the next 11 days, $1.3 billion came out. Indymac, just a regional bank, could not stand that kind of tsunami and it was forced to close its doors.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Wind Jammers - BANANA - updated

The innocent Greenie: "Replace all power generation by renewable wind, solar, biomass, etc." The innocent Greenie: "And we will block increasing the capacity of the electric power transmission system.
But wind and solar are plentiful in remote locations. How can we use more of them without more transmission capacity? The innocent Greenie: "Do you expect us to be part of the solution?"
In this year's great energy debate, Democrats describe a future when the U.S. finally embraces the anything-but-carbon avant-garde. It turns out, however, that when wind and solar power do start to come on line, they face a familiar obstacle: environmentalists and many Democrats. To wit, the greens are blocking the very transmission network needed for renewable electricity to move throughout the economy. The best sites for wind and solar energy happen to be in the sticks -- in the desert Southwest where sunlight is most intense for longest, or the plains where the wind blows most often. To exploit this energy, utilities need to build transmission lines to connect their electricity to the places where consumers actually live. In addition to other technical problems, the transmission gap is a big reason wind only provides two-thirds of 1% of electricity generated in the U.S., and solar one-tenth of 1%. ... In California, hundreds turned out at the end of July to protest a connection between the solar and geothermal fields of the Imperial Valley to Los Angeles and Orange County. The environmental class is likewise lobbying state commissioners to kill a 150-mile link between San Diego and solar panels because it would entail a 20-mile jaunt through Anza-Borrego state park. "It's kind of schizophrenic behavior," Arnold Schwarzenegger said recently. "They say that we want renewable energy, but we don't want you to put it anywhere."
They continue with... it's just nonsense. On the one hand they say that using green power will be cheaper. But on the other, they oppose building the infrastructure to use the green power that they claim to want.
Update 8/27/08 The New York Times has a thorough story on the transmission shortage and wind power. * BANANA = Build absolutely nothing nowhere at all.
Image via GNU public license.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

John McCain can & did turn Tsar Putin’s invasion of Georgia into a drill, drill, drill issue

Larry Kudlow has a powerful line for McCain to attack on: Kudlow's Money Politic$ on National Review Online:
Will John McCain turn Tsar Putin’s invasion of Georgia into a drill, drill, drill issue? He should. It will throw Democrats even more on the defensive — especially Sen. Obama whose weak response to Putin’s neo-Soviet actions have already put him way behind the eight ball on Russia. McCain’s responses have been superb. And President Bush today adopted many of them — in particular the warnings on world trade, the G8 (G7?), and a Truman-like airlift of humanitarian assistance relief. Even sending Condi Rice over there and putting SecDef Bob Gates into play. McCain has been appropriately tough all along. And this Putin ploy will resonate with voters much more than Beltway pundits believe. But global strategist Thomas Barnett has the energy angle on Russia’s invasion of Georgia exactly right. He says, “Now we all have clarity about the nasty nature of Putin’s Russia,” and this gives us clarity on the need to dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil. He asks: Why would the U.S. want to expose the American economy to the potential risk of being held hostage by a couple of oil pipelines that run through the old Soviet empire? He goes on to say, “It’s all-of-the-above time, gang."
John at Powerline says McCain did just this in a radio address on Saturday. Powerlineblog quoting McCain:
Georgia stands at a strategic crossroads in the Caucasus. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which brings oil from the Caspian to points west, traverses Georgia. And if that pipeline were destroyed or controlled by Russia, European energy supplies would be even more vulnerable to Russian influence. There are many reasons why the Russian invasion of Georgia is of grave concern to America and to our allies. Above all, Georgia is a struggling democracy where Soviet tyranny is still fresh in memory. And when young democracies are threatened or attacked, and innocent civilians are targeted, they should be able to count on the free world for support and solidarity. Another very serious concern is the effect of this aggression and conflict on the world energy market. For some time now, I have been making the case for a dramatic acceleration of domestic energy production, primarily on economic grounds. With high prices and growing demand for oil and gas, Americans cannot remain dependent upon others for the most vital of commodities. But now we are reminded that energy policy is also a matter of the highest priority for our nation's security.
John: McCain aligned himself unequivocally with the "all of the above" approach championed by Congressional Republicans:
All of this only adds to the urgency of producing more of our own energy, including America's enormous oil reserves that lie offshore. We need to drill here and drill now, so that our energy supplies and the strength of our economy do not depend on the decisions or dictates of foreign powers. On energy policy, my opponent and his allies in Congress offer only half measures or no measures at all -- as in their shared opposition to offshore drilling. In the long term, most everyone agrees that America must shift toward alternative energies like wind, solar, tide, hydrogen, and bio-fuels. But my opponent's policies fail to meet the challenges of the immediate future. To achieve energy independence, America will need every resource at our disposal, including nuclear power and the use of our abundant coal supplies that lie from Colorado to West Virginia. America has multiple choices in the great test of energy independence and the right answer is "all of the above."
John: We can hope, perhaps, that before long "all" will include ANWR, as well.

North Korea Endorses Barack Obama

Congratulations, Senator Obama. You have the lead in endorsements from dictators, well at least one. DPRK Studies The Chosun Shinbo (조선신보, also Romanized as Chosun Sinbo), a newspaper in Japan controlled by the North Korean organization Chosun Soren (a.k.a the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, 재일본 조선인 총련합회), has endorsed Barack Obama over John McCain in the upcoming U.S. presidential elections. This is not to be confused with American-style endorsements from newspapers as communications from the Chosun Soren and via the Chosun Shinbo are generally understood as the official position of the North Korean regime: The newspaper expressed hope of better ties between North Korea and the United States under an Obama administration

CERN's Large Hadron Collider explained in rhythm and rhyme

The Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland started testing on Wednesday. The conspiracy theorists claim it will send mega-powerful death rays that will destroy life on earth as we know it. Follow the link for the rap video. I get a kick out of the young women scientists in hard hats deep in the massive underground machinery rapping. You will learn some science also. Nerdcore: Do you lay awake at night worried that physicists tinkering in Geneva at the new Large Hadron Collider might destroy reality as we know it, or are you hoping they open a portal to a parallel dimension that just happens to have really hawt aliens? I do. Both. If you don't, let let Will Barras and friends take you on a ride in their ode to the search for the Higgs boson. Mad props for the Stephen Hawking shoutout on the hype track. Update. CBS's 60 minutes got the grand tour before it started.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Clinton, Obama Deal Could Let Supporters Disrupt Convention

I watch very little TV, but I am going to watch the Democratic circular firing squad in Denver every day. Hillary hasn't given up; watch her; no, not her, but her unruly supporters - wink, wink. And, better yet, the Remember 68 crowd want a bloody confrontation with the police. Is it wrong to enjoy your political enemies beating each other up? ;-) Fox News - America's Election HQ:
Hillary Clinton supporters will get their chance for catharsis at the Democratic National Convention in Denver as the New York senator’s name will be included in the nomination, but the gesture might not be enough to still the waters and unite the party. A joint statement issued Thursday by Clinton and Barack Obama said Clinton will be included because they want to ensure that “the voices of all 35 million people who participated in this historic primary election are respected and heard in Denver.” “I am convinced that honoring Senator Clinton’s historic campaign in this way will help us celebrate this defining moment in our history and bring the party together in a strong united fashion,” Obama said. Still upset from an epic primary battle, some of Clinton’s supporters are not buying the unity theme planned for the Democratic National Convention. One group intends to paper the city with fliers, promote a video detailing what they contend were irregularities in the nominating process and unleash bloggers to give their take on the proceedings.

V-J day ended WW II

August 14, 1945: V-J Day: Japan announced their surrender. 9/2/45: The surrender was signed on US battleship Missouri in Tokyo Harbor. On 9/2/95 we witnessed the 50th anniversary of this event sitting shoreside of the Mighty Mo in Bremerton, Washington.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Seattle Times Feels Threatened, Calls for "Net Neutrality" Jeff Poor's recent post reported on the potential return of the Fairness Doctrine under a President Obama--specifically for the purpose of the governing the internet. He quoted FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell who said the following:
“I think the fear is that somehow large corporations will censor their content, their points of view, right. I think the bigger concern for them should be if you have government dictating content policy, which by the way would have a big First Amendment problem.” “Then, whoever is in charge of government is going to determine what is fair, under a so-called ‘Fairness Doctrine,’ which won’t be called that – it’ll be called something else. So, will Web sites, will bloggers have to give equal time or equal space on their Web site to opposing views rather than letting the marketplace of ideas determine that?”
Lest you think McDowell is being alarmist, consider, for a moment, the Seattle Times's pushback efforts against the erosion of MSM control and the future institution of "Net Neutrality." As part of the Times's regular Op-Ed page, they have an ongoing series of articles called "The Democracy Papers." The intro to this section reads:
The Democracy Papers is a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech. Technology has created space for more voices, yet fewer and fewer are heard. The American press and media are being decimated by consolidation. This transformation from many owners into five or six large corporations and the lessening of small outlets for radio, newspapers, magazines and music are chilling a once robust marketplace of ideas. What should Americans do? This series explores the arguments and the backlash.
The "threats to our freedoms of speech" to which the Seattle Times ominously refers is the same supposed corporate control and censorship to which McDowell alludes. According to the Seattle Times, this consolidation is "chilling" the "marketplace of ideas." Liberals sure do love to have their ideas "chilled," don't they? Of course, all of this ignores the single greatest development in the history of news reporting and prompts me to ask: Hey Seattle Times, have you ever heard of the internet? The real trend they should be following is the incredible democratization of the news and opinion-making that has wrested control of the news marketplace from the few, liberal powerbrokers. The Times's cri de coeur is nothing more than a self-interested longing for better days when they and their cohorts controlled the media agenda. You know, back in the day when they could squash reporting of scandals like John Edwards's and print libelous accusations of scandal about John McCain with nary a dissenting opinion. Those were the days, weren't they? —Jacob S. Lybbert is a PhD. student at the University of London

How Olympics have made life worse, not better, for Chinese

Eamon McCann, Columnists - ‘Not for decades has an Olympic Games been opened in such a colourful and overpowering fashion’ — Die Welt. ‘Eye-poppers gave way to jaw-droppers, stunners were followed by dazzlers’ — NBC. The most common reaction to the Olympic opening ceremony has been awe. But the hype and the hoopla can’t hide the fact that the single most awesome aspect of the occasion has been the scale of the deception, and the extent to which the Western media have colluded in presentation of a pageant of propaganda. Over the seven years since China ‘won’ the 2008 Games, the International Olympic Committee has encouraged a belief that human rights in the country would improve as quid pro quo for selection to stage the Games. In fact, no undertaking along such lines was given, or required. It may be that the IOC muttered something to the effect that there might be a problem with regard to human rights, and the politburo replied that would all be sorted out. It’s been sorted out in the sense that dissidents have been thrown into jails and the poor hunted out of sight lest visitors be brought face-to-face with the reality of life for the mass of the people. Far from the Games ushering in more tolerant attitudes on the part of State officialdom, they have brought about a zero-tolerance approach to anyone or anything which might challenge the fraudulent picture of China which the free-market Stalinists of the Hu Jintao regime want the Games to transmit to the world.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Global cooling

Decade has had fewest 90-degree days since 1930 -- Chicago - August is the wettest and often the muggiest month of the year. Yet, summer heat continues in short supply, continuing a trend that has dominated much of the 21st Century's opening decade. There have been only 162 days 90 degrees or warmer at Midway Airport over the period from 2000 to 2008. That's by far the fewest 90-degree temperatures in the opening nine years of any decade on record here since 1930. This summer's highest reading to date has been just 91 degrees. That's unusual. Since 1928, only one year—2000—has failed to record a higher warm-season temperature by Aug. 13.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Caspar Arman - How to lie with real data

From Climate Audit about a leading global warming "authority." I give him the floor: The Texas Sharpshooter fallacy is a logical fallacy where a man shoots a barn thirty times then circles the bullet holes nearest each other after the fact calling that his target. It's of particular concern in epidemiology. Folks, you are never going to see a better example of the Texas Sharpshooter work itself out in real life than Caspar Ammann's handling of Mann's RE benchmark. I introduce you to Caspar Ammann, the Texas Sharpshooter. Go get 'em, cowboy. In Ammann's replication of MBH, he reports a calibration RE (the Team re-brand of the despised calibration r2 statistic) of 0.39 and a verification RE of 0.48. So that's his bulls' eye. In our original papers, we observed that combinations of high calibration RE and high verification RE statistics were not necessarily "99.99% significant" (whatever that means), but were thrown up quite frequently even by red noise handled in Mannian ways. So something that might look at first blush like sharpshooting, could happen by chance. In my first post, the other day on this, I observed that Ammann's simulations, like ours, threw up a LOT of high RE values - EXACTLY as we had found. There are nuances of differences in our simulations, but he got a 99th RE percentile of 0.52, while we got 0.54 in MM2005c. Rather than disproving our results, at first blush, Ammann's results confirmed them. Mann didn't appear to be quite the sharpshooter that he proclaimed himself to be or that everyone thought. (This is something that should have been reported in their article, but, needless to say, they aren't going to admit that we know the street that we live on.) It's not that the MBH RE value for this step isn't in a high percentile - it is, something that we reported in our articles, though in a slightly lower percentile according to our calculations. For us, the problem was the failure of other statistics, which suggested to us that the seemingly high RE statistic (99.999% significant) was an illusion from inappropriate benchmarking - a form of analysis familiar in econometrics (especially the seminal Phillips 1986). The pattern of MBH statistics (high RE, negligible verification r2) was a characteristic pattern of our red noise simulations - something we reported and observed in our 2005 articles. Obviously, it wasn't enough for Ammann to show that the MBH RE value was in a high percentile - he wanted to show that it was "99% significant" as the maestro had claimed. So he re-drew the bulls' eye. A couple of days ago, I described the two steps whereby Ammann gets the MBH RE score (0.4817) into the 99% "bullseye" but this was my first cut analysis and did not tie it directly to the re-drawing of the bullls' eye. Ammann's first step was to assigned an RE value of -9999 to any result with a calibration RE under 0. That only affected 7 out of 1000 and didn't change the 99% percentile anyway. So this seemingly plausible argument had nothing to do with re-drawing the bulls' eye, as noted previously. The bulls' eye was re-drawn in the next step - where Ammann proposed a "conservative" ratio of 0.75 between the calibration RE and verification RE statistics. Using this "conservative" ratio, he threw out 419 out of 1000 votes. The salient question is whether this "conservative" procedure has any validity or whether it's more like throwing out black votes because they couldn't answer a skill-testing question like naming the capital of a rural county in Tibet or identify the 11th son of Ramesses II. I'll provide some details below and you decide. First no one has ever heard of this "conservative" benchmark - and I mean, no one. You can't look up this "conservative" ratio in Draper and Smith or other statistical text. The "conservative" benchmark is completely fabricated. So everyone's statistical instincts should be on red alert (as Spence_UK and Ross' have been and as mine were.) So I thought - let's look at the votes that didn't count. What did the rejected votes actually look like? First of all, if a simulation had a negative RE score, those would fail the test and be re-assigned to -9999. OK, but those didn't matter, because they were already to the left of the target; the 99% bulls' eye wasn't affected by this. The only ones that mattered were the votes with RE scores higher than MBH which were thrown out on this new technicality. There were 13 votes thrown out on this pretext which I list below in order of decreasing RE score (note once again how high both the calibration and RE scores are in these rejected votes.) Most of the rejected votes had calibration RE values above 0.3, but slightly lower the value of the calibration RE in the WA emulation of MBH (0.39), but the third one in the list had both a calibration RE and a verification RE that were higher than MBH. Nonetheless, the vote still got thrown out. The RE score was too "good". For a calibration RE of 0.3957, the maximum allowable verification RE to be eligible would be 0.528! (0.3957/.75). Turn that over in your minds, folks. If the calibration RE was 0.3957, unless the verification RE was exactly between 0.4817 (MBH) and 0.528, the score would be be placed to the left of MBH and the bulls' eye re-drawn. Redneck scrutineers would be proud. The data and more are at Climate Audit.

The story the main-stream media couldn't see

Cartoon of John Edwards with sweetheart. CNN, NY Times and Washington Post are wearing dark glasses and carrying the canes - they should be white - that blind people use. They just can't see the story.

The War in Georgia Is a War for the West

Let's support Georgia. The Soviet Union, I mean Russia, cannot stand to have a country in "its sphere of influence" be independent and have a legitimate elected government. President MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI writing in the
No country of the former Soviet Union has made more progress toward consolidating democracy, eradicating corruption and building an independent foreign policy than Georgia. This is precisely what Russia seeks to crush. This conflict is therefore about our common trans-Atlantic values of liberty and democracy. It is about the right of small nations to live freely and determine their own future. It is about the great power struggles for influence of the 20th century, versus the path of integration and unity defined by the European Union of the 21st. Georgia has made its choice. When my government was swept into power by a peaceful revolution in 2004, we inherited a dysfunctional state plagued by two unresolved conflicts dating to the early 1990s. I pledged to reunify my country -- not by the force of arms, but by making Georgia a pole of attraction. I wanted the people living in the conflict zones to share in the prosperous, democratic country that Georgia could -- and has -- become.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Book report: Rubicon

William Morrow publishers sent me a pre-release copy of "Rubicon." I read enough of it to see that is just another "Dick Cheney decided ahead of time to destroy the world and reads nothing and only listens to yes-men advisors." "When Ceasar crossed the Rubicon, the Roman republic died and the age of the emperors began. We now stand before a Rubicon of our own. Cross it, and the American republic will be dead as well." You can spend your money and time on it. I won't spend even my time on it.

The Ronulans are after me

The rabid supporters of Ron Paul are trying to take over the Republican Party. They have tried going with the Losertarians (Michael Medved's term for Libertarians) to no success. This time they are working the trenches and having some success. It's easy to get started at the grass-roots level because the lowest-level office, precinct committee officer, has a vacancy rate - guessing - of 50% in the RP. So they can get into those slots almost by asking. Where the PCO slot is occupied there is an election every two years, which is always ignored, because it's never contested. This year they are going for broke. They are taking on a powerful, entrenched incumbent - ME. A good looking, soft spoken neighbor who is taller than me (!) is carrying the Ron Paul banner in Sheridan Heights, Lake Forest Park, WA. He makes no pretense of being a Republican or sharing our values. He won't even promise to support our candidates if he becomes the Republican PCO. Our district chairperson Lisa Thwing and her husband Doug are on top of things. They smelled him out immediately and went on the alert. The district helped me get the word out to my neighbors - that I am the real Republican - while I am incapacitated by my injury and cannot doorbell. Broken pelvis

Vote Ron Hebron Precinct Committee Officer LFP-1056 - 32d District

Vote at the polls on August 19 - Check your mailbox now for your absentee ballot Eric Earling at Sound Politics covers some of their techniques.

The joke is finally on Barack Obama

US Election 2008: The joke is finally on Barack Obama - Telegraph UK
Have you heard the one about the presidential candidate who was once so popular that comedians were frightened to make jokes about him? The punchline is this: the more seriously he took himself, the more Barack Obama has become a laughing matter. Only a month ago American comedians and satirists were complaining that they found it hard to get people to laugh at the first black presidential nominee
That is a half truth. People would laugh, but not the right people. The comedians didn't dare make a joke about ObaMessiah. The Brits laugh at his holiness and find opening moves by the US PC comedians. Read it at the link above.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Does DoD want to get the tanker aircraft contract right?

I have never been one of the "Boeing was robbed" people. I am a "true believer." I figure you make the rules clear then call the game and that's it - fair is fair. But more and more analysts are saying the Pentagon changed the rules and effectively "single-sourced" the tanker contract to the more expensive, but not more capable aircraft - the Airbus supported by the governments if Europe. Merrill Cook at National Review Online:
A recent report by the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO) devastatingly critiques one of the Pentagon’s critical procurement processes. The July 2008 report demonstrates that the government botched contracts for an urgently needed new generation of aerial refueling tankers not just once, but twice. With years of delay and billions in budget overruns in many of the Department of Defense’s top programs, many observers are asking just how deep the Pentagon’s procurement problems run. They want to know what the Pentagon’s new chief, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, will do about it. The problems have been building for years. DOD has allowed squabbles between defense contractors to maroon several key acquisition priorities into a bureaucratic no-man’s land. This at a time the armed forces are in great need of quick turnarounds on life-saving systems like the armored MRAP vehicles for troops patrolling dangerous streets in Iraq. Unfortunately, few in Washington seem to have learned the lessons of past procurement mistakes. Exhibit A: The Pentagon is trying for the third time to complete a fair competition for a $35 billion contract to replace our fleet of tanker-refueling aircraft. These are the oldest aircraft still flying, and some date back to the Eisenhower administration. Few question that they pose a serious safety threat to pilots. Woeful mismanagement of a sole-source contract hamstrung the first control, while the Government Accountability Office (GAO) rejected the second as an obsequious effort to award Northrop Grumman and EADS — a subsidized European contractor under criminal investigation — a lucrative defense contract for a more expensive and less capable tanker aircraft. Now under the gun from Congress to produce quick results, Gates has promised that he and his deputy, Undersecretary John Young, will personally oversee the new tanker competition. But instead of simply re-evaluating the previous competition’s bids according to the rules, the Defense Department seems to be engaging smoke-and-mirrors tactics....
The original report is at GAO.

Obama's tire pressure was off by 111 times

Editor Seattle Times Re: Seattle Times 8/7 "Obama pokes at McCain over tire-pressure issue" Viewing the original video I see that Obama said "we can save all the oil they are talking about getting by drilling if everyone was just inflating their tires and getting regular tuneups. You can actually save just as much." It is true that inflating tires will save oil. But far from true that it will eliminate the need for more supply of oil, which is what he claimed. John Hinderocker did the math: Americans drive approximately 2,880 billion miles per year. If we average 24 mpg, we use around 120 billion gallons of gasoline in our vehicles. If, through perfect tire inflation, we improved our collective fuel efficiency by 1.5%, that would be 1.8 billion gallons. A barrel of oil produces around 20 gallons of gasoline, so the total savings available through tire inflation is approximately 90,000,000 barrels of oil annually. How does this stack up against "all the oil that they're talking about getting off by drilling"? ANWR is estimated to produce 10 billion barrels of oil. It can replace 90 million barrels per year for 111 years, not just one year. The continental shelf will produce even more, but we don't know how much because exploration is banned. Oil exploration will produce far, far more than inflating our tires. Obama was off. By about 111 times.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Anti-Bush Protests Fizzle, Pro-U.S. Rallies Sizzle as Bush Visits Korea

The lame-stream media don't report the good news. Amy Proctor - Blog As President Bush arrived in Seoul, Korea today, the media predicted that Bush’s visit would be met with “large protests”. The “progressives” and anti-U.S. civic groups thought the turn out opposing Bush would be huge: “We predict more than 10,000 citizens will participate. We’ll show Korean people’s voice to Bush,”’ one member of the coalition said. However, 374 conservative groups planned pro-American demonstrations welcoming Bush in Seoul Plaza, just a short distance from the progressive’s rally site. Turns out, only a couple hundred protesters came out while 15,000 pro-U.S. Koreans came out to welcome Bush into the capital city of Seoul.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Proud China promises; China breaks promises

China made many promises to be awarded the privilege of hosting the Olympic games. But proud China only keeps the promises that suit its own agenda. - Open internet access - for the press only? No one knows the scope of the promise of "openness," because the IOC kept the agreement secret. So breaking this promise was with the help of the International Olympic Committee. - Air quality

They tried. They promised good air quality, but continued to build coal-fired power plants. They closed the streets to most traffic last week to clean up the air. First it succeeded, then the smog returned. This is not a broken promise, but a bureaucratic botch job.

BAnning ex-athletes

Joey Cheek gold medalist in speed skating was denied a visa to travel to China.

... This effort cut short by family injury - not me this time.

Obama gave McCain the advantage

Excellent analysis by a friend of Hugh's: Clark Judge at Hugh Hewitt In the Reagan speechwriting shop, we had a rule about what today is called the mainstream media: The media does not just get things wrong; they get it EXACTLY wrong. Barak Obama’s recent overseas trip is an example. Widely reported as a triumph, the tour in fact marked the worst week in the Democratic candidate’s long campaign. Despite saturation coverage unlike any presidential aspirant has ever received, much of it close to worshipful, by the end of this past week, Obama’s lead in the Real Clear Politics average of polls was the lowest it had been since early June. And for the first time ever, the Gallup tracking poll, which had previously given Obama a consistent edge, showed the candidates tied as of Friday. Why? The first and most obvious reason was a string of gaffes. Despite reports like Hendrik Herzberg’s in The New Yorker that Obama came off as a deft navigator of global waters, the excursion was filled with missteps. For example, in saying that he remained against the surge, even after General Petraus had explained to him its remarkable effectiveness, he showed what many saw as a reckless disregard for national security. In canceling a visit to troops after being told that cameras couldn’t follow him, he reenforced a widely shared suspicion that all he was up to was political posturing. [Be sure to read the rest] ... In other words, in venturing overseas, Obama abandoned his agenda and embraced Senator McCain’s. He did this without prompting and apparently without realizing how foolish an errand he was on. Many in the media have held that the 2008 election will be most like the election of 1980. In 1980 the public knew they didn’t like Carter but took until a week before the election to decide they trusted Reagan. Just as Reagan was the issue in 1980, some suggest, Obama is today. If the public trusts him, they will make him president. But with so much coverage, not just on this trip but for months before, who in America cannot have formed a firm opinion of Senator Obama by now? Senator McCain is the one the public is still assessing. It is he, not Obama, who the American people must now decide to trust or not. Once again the media has not just been wrong. It has been exactly wrong.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Some sanity in Vacouver BC

After years of encouraging heroin addicts to shoot up some sanity has appeared. The sanity is in the Canadian government in Ottawa, but it should spread to reduce the misery and danger that Vancouver has adopted. The area where heroin users can shoot up legally is dangerous. It adjoins popular tourist sites, but the tourists - and the residents - are not safe. I have heard horror stories from friends and coworkers. Clement's Insite attack leaves WHO red-faced:
MEXICO CITY — The World Health Organization has strongly endorsed safe injection sites like Vancouver's Insite as one of the “priority interventions” that countries should implement to slow the spread of HIV-AIDS, a view that was swiftly and firmly rejected by Canada's Health Minister. “Allowing and/or encouraging people to inject heroin into their veins is not harm reduction, it is the opposite. … We believe it is a form of harm addition,” Tony Clement said Tuesday in Mexico City, where he is attending the XVII International AIDS Conference. While the minister's views on Insite are well known, Mr. Clement repeated them Tuesday at an event where he was endorsing and promoting a new WHO “how-to” guide on battling the epidemic, which promotes needle exchange and safe injection sites. The Health Minister's comments left officials from the agency flummoxed and red-faced.
Notice that the distinguished minister appears to be double speaking.
He also said that the federal government supports various forms of harm reduction for intravenous drug users such as needle exchange, methadone treatment and rehabilitation, but rejected safe injection as illegitimate. “We're not prepared to allow people to die” by condoning their continued drug use, Mr. Clement said. Mr. Clement has never clearly stated why the government supports needle exchange and rehab programs but so sternly opposes the existence of a facility where drug users can actually use the safe needles and be encouraged to enter rehab. The sticking point appears to be that, at Insite, drug users cannot be arrested and prosecuted.

With Democrat Convention in Mind, Denver Bans Carrying Urine, Feces

See new source in update at the bottom. Rush Limbaugh : "With the Democrat National Convention in Mind, the City of Denver has Banned Carrying Urine and Feces." A story written by Daniel Chacon, let me share parts of this story with you: "Poo and pee dominated a public hearing Monday on a new law that prohibits people from carrying certain items if they intend to use them for nefarious purposes. The law, crafted in advance of the Democratic National Convention, was adopted unanimously by the City Council. But not before a hearing laced with comedy and profanity. Representatives from some of the groups planning large-scale protests during the DNC this month said the ordinance was unnecessary and accused city officials of fear mongering. 'The intent of this ordinance is to try to smear protesters and make them look as if they are somehow criminal or somehow going to engage in some kind of gross conduct,' said Glenn Spagnuolo, an organizer with the Recreate 68 Alliance." Why would they think that, Glenn? The name of your group is Recreate 68. What happened in 68? Utter chaos, bombs, tear gas, and all kinds of burning fires, raging fires and automobiles in Chicago in 68. Recreate 68? So now they can't tell you that you can't carry poop and pee around, and you get mad about it? You mean you intended to? "No, Mr. Limbaugh, we're just afraid of what this is going to make people think of us." Don't worry about that, Glenn, people already have you people sized up, and we're hoping you perform, baby. (laughing) We hope Recreate 68 means exactly what it says. What was the name of that weapon that these protesters used? The crap cannon ... * * * Local Denver watcher of the 68 protesters * * * Drunkablog

Paris Hilton - better energy policy than Barrack - updated

If anyone should know that any publicity is better than none it is spoiled brat Paris Hilton. Her sentencing to jail got her air time and more fame. So it is so nice of her to help John McCain when she intended to hurt time. Paris's energy policy is better than B Obama's. Funny or Die McCain has gone ahead of "Mr. Cool" in YouTube views: Washington Times

Gov. Palin of Alaska talks straight

Larry Kudlow's first choice for VP My Interview with Alaska Governor Sarah Palin - The Corner on National Review Online:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has exactly the high energy, political toughness, and conservative reform message that would boost Sen. John McCain’s presidential run if Big Mac were to put her on the ticket. In an interview last evening on CNBC, Palin was very clear on her drill, drill, drill message for Alaska and the rest of the U.S., along with her strong supply-side tax-cutting and free-market economic views. She did not shirk from questions about an investigation of her firing the state’s safety commissioner. She told us she has nothing to hide — let them bring it on. Palin is dealing with Alaska’s culture of corruption by supporting all manner of reform and investigation. She basically dissed Ted Stevens, calling him a distraction. She then talked about cleansing the Republican party of all the pork-barrel corruption that cost it the congressional election of November 2006. Palin’s response to all the vice-presidential talk is fascinating. It was a point of view I have never heard before and it underscored her independence. I have interviewed all the veep prospects, and I still have Gov. Palin at the top of my list. The interview

Monday, August 04, 2008

Tom Coburn clobbers Dinghy Harry Reid

The Democratics turned off the lights in Congress and went on a 5-week paid vacation. What/who drove them to insanity? A principled cost cutter, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Washington Times
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid tried to shove an $11.3 billion pork-barrel bill past the Republicans last week but was gunned down by Oklahoman Tom Coburn and 39 of his friends. It was an embarrassing defeat for Mr. Reid, who never met a spending bill he didn't like, and a sweet victory for Mr. Coburn and his fellow Republicans who are trying to regain the trust of the GOP's disillusioned base as the party of fiscal discipline. Mr. Coburn, an obstetrician who still delivers babies, earned his reputation as the Senate's Dr. No for using his senatorial prerogative to place a hold on nearly 80 spending bills, enraging Democrats and a few Republicans who saw one budget-busting bill after another shredded and shelved by the Western waste fighter. Frustrated by the pile of bills Mr. Coburn was killing, Mr. Reid cobbled dozens of them into one fat-filled, omnibus monstrosity called the Advancing America's Priorities Act and made it the Senate's priority business at midweek.
If there had been more Tom Coburns and fewer Jerry Lewises the Republicans would not have lost Congress in 2006. In the article on Rep. Jerry Lewis at Congrespedia scroll down the section on Earmarks to read about his great failure. He did considerable damage with the earmarks to his own benefit in his district, but much more by preventing systemic improvement through his leadership position. The Wall Street Journal in an editorial before the 2006 election predictively labeled him "Minority Maker."

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, voice of the gulag, dead at 89

One of the keys to the fall of the Soviet empire died this week. Alexander Solzhenitsyn was the "voice of the gulag." (The Soviet system of labor camps for political prisoners he descibed as an archipelago - system of island) He was imprisoned suffering cancer but survived. He wrote about his prison experience in A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, so the world learned of the cruelty of the Soviet system. Not that there weren't plenty of clues before, but he shocked the world. Telegraph:
In his lecture of acceptance of the Nobel prize for Literature in 1970, Solzhenitsyn quoted a Russian proverb: "One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world." Those words succinctly encapsulated his literary creed. In a country where autocratic leadership had long obliged the populace to seek more inspiring government, Solzhenitsyn, like Tolstoy, Dostoevsky or Akhmatova before him, became a vital source of spiritual succour to his huge circle of readers. Despite the ban imposed on all his works after the publication of his masterly A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962), he was very widely read – in photocopied samizdat form – in his native Russia. He was also the only Russian writer to achieve the best-seller lists in the West, and sold more than 30 million books in more than 30 languages. Not that fame or fortune held much temptation for Solzhenitsyn.
He was expelled to the US in 1974 because he was reaching the people of Russia despite his writings being banned. But he didn't take to Western capitalism. He criticized it widely. He was invited to address the Harvard University 1978 commencement. He shocked his hosts by observing that the West was suffering a collapse of our civic courage:
Political and intellectual functionaries exhibit this depression, passivity, and perplexity in their actions and in their statements, and even more so in their self-serving rationales as to how realistic, reasonable, and intellectually and even morally justified it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice. And the decline in courage, at times attaining what could be termed a lack of manhood, is ironically emphasized by occasional outbursts and inflexibility on the part of those same functionaries when dealing with weak governments and with countries that lack support, or with doomed currents which clearly cannot offer resistance. But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists.
He returned to Russia in 1994 for the rest of his life.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The fight for higher gas prices

Why do your required business when you can cause higher gas prices instead? Nancy Pelosi made her mark on history by being the first Speaker of the House in 50 years to fail to pass even one appropriations bill before sending her troops home for another vacation Friday. Why did she choose ignominy? To cause higher gas prices, of course! More supply lowers the price; that's what they are fighting. See Law of Supply and Demand. paid subscription required AFAIK
Hell -- otherwise known as Congress -- has officially frozen over. For the first time since the 1950s, Members will skip town today for the August recess without either chamber having passed a single appropriations bill. Then again, Democrats appear ready to sacrifice their whole agenda, even spending, rather than allow new domestic energy production. Or even a mere debate about energy. The Democratic leadership is stonewalling any measure that might possibly relax the Congressional ban on offshore drilling. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid know that they would lose if a vote ever came to the floor, and they're desperate to suppress an insurrection among those Democrats who are pragmatic about one of the top economic issues. Behind this whatever-it-takes obstructionism is an ideological commitment to high energy prices. The rulers of the Democratic Party want prices to keep rising.
And Senator Maria Cantwell has her favorite higher-gasoline-price initiative included. The attack on speculators - not housing speculators, only energy:
A good gauge of the radicalism of their energy blockade is the lowest common denominator of this energy fight: The effort to blame "speculators" for $4 gas was promoted by both Barack Obama and John McCain, as well as nearly everybody else in Washington. Sure enough, the House voted 276-151 on Wednesday for a bill that would have driven oil futures trading overseas. But the legislation actually failed to become law -- by design. It needed a two-thirds majority because Speaker Pelosi suspended the rules to prevent Republicans from offering amendments, drilling among them.
Cross posted at Sound Politics.

Friday, August 01, 2008

US Oil hypocrite

The American, A Magazine of Ideas : Until the U.S. opens its offshore waters to oil drilling, it will be seen as the world’s worst energy hypocrite. If you think that the issue of offshore drilling is only a matter of interest to American environmental groups and the U.S. Congress, think again. At last month’s World Petroleum Congress in Madrid, the blatant hypocrisy of U.S. energy policy—demanding that OPEC members expand their oil drilling efforts while restricting offshore drilling here at home—was a prominent topic of discussion. Indeed, the U.S. ban on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf was mentioned by three of the most powerful people in the global energy business: the head of OPEC; the chief executive of Brazil’s national oil company, Petrobras; and the Saudi oil minister. All of them said the United States should start drilling in its offshore areas. During a press conference in Madrid, Chakib Khelil, the Algerian oil minister and president of OPEC, was asked what the United States could do to lower oil prices.

Economy is growing - bad news for the bears

The US economy is not in a recession. It grew in both the first and second quarters of 2008. The perma-bears can't accept this good news, so they color it to make it bad news. "The 1.9 per cent growth was smaller than expected." Financial News - Yahoo! Finance:
But the gross domestic product still increased at a 1.9 percent annual rate, up from 0.9 percent in the first quarter but less than the 2.4 percent economists were looking for.