Monday, December 22, 2008

Rather misleading

[Update - if you click through you'll find Instapundit updated.]

Instapundit says, MOUTH BUT NO MONEY on Proposition 8? Generally, when I “beat the bushes” for contributions, I also contribute myself. Apparently Andrew Sullivan feels differently, or perhaps there’s some mistake somewhere.

If you click through to the post, you'll see an interesting comment:

Pete said...
Andrew Sullivan is not a U.S. citizen (and can't become one because he is HIV+) so he cannot legally contribute. Does that answer your question?

10:33 PM


This comment was posted half an hour after Instapundit linked, and yet it seems like Glenn Reynolds could have done more research. Let's watch for updates.

According to Wikipedia Andrew Sullivan is not a US citizen.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Anti Global Warming 'Science'

Much more widely read than a mere report by the Senate Minority leader is this quote from Protein Wisdom:

POZNAN, Poland - The UN global warming conference currently underway in Poland is about to face a serious challenge from over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe who are criticizing the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore. Set for release this week, a newly updated U.S. Senate Minority Report features the dissenting voices of over 650 international scientists, many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN. The report has added about 250 scientists (and growing) in 2008 to the over 400 scientists who spoke out in 2007. The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.

The U.S. Senate report is the latest evidence of the growing groundswell of scientific opposition rising to challenge the UN and Gore. Scientific meetings are now being dominated by a growing number of skeptical scientists. The prestigious International Geological Congress, dubbed the geologists’ equivalent of the Olympic Games, was held in Norway in August 2008 and prominently featured the voices and views of scientists skeptical of man-made global warming fears. [See Full report Here: & See: Skeptical scientists overwhelm conference: '2/3 of presenters and question-askers were hostile to, even dismissive of, the UN IPCC' ]


Isn't that cute? The dateline makes it look like a real media report! And Dan Collins doesn't do much to dispell the impression either, he treats it like a news item, though he does link to the senate site.

Climate Progress does a good job bringing out the fine print. Here are a few quotes, you can click through any of them to the full post.

On what does Inhofe’s office base the “Sea Levels Fail to Rise” claim? Nothing more than a single blog post by a former TV meteorologist, Anthony Watts, who runs a denial website. That post claims “We’ve been waiting for the UC [Univesity of Colorado] web page to be updated with the most recent sea level data. It finally has been updated for 2008. It looks like the steady upward trend of sea level as measured by satellite has stumbled since 2005. The 60 day line in blue tells the story.”

[Graph not copied - click through]

...

No matter how many studies debunk the myth that the sun is a dominant cause of recent warming, the deniers just can’t let go. Inhofe’s office shouts “Study: Half of warming due to Sun!” On what basis? Again, a blog post by a denier — this time one who selectively quotes from a new Geophysical Research Letters study (subs. req’d). The blog and Inhofe’s office write:

… they conclude that “Our results are in agreement with studies based on NH temperature reconstructions [Scafetta et al., 2007] revealing that only up to approximately 50% of the observed global warming in the last 100 years can be explained by the Sun.”

First, let’s give the full quote from the GRL study:

However, during the industrial period (1850-2000) solar forcing became less important and only the CO2 concentrations show a significant correlation with the temperature record. Our results are in agreement with studies based on NH temperature reconstructions [Scafetta and West, 2007] revealing that only up to approximately 50% of the observed global warming in the last 100 years can be explained by the Sun.

Oops. The study shows that in the industrial period, it is carbon dioxide, not solar forcing, that is significantly correlated with the temperature record. The authors were not saying that their study found half the warming in the last century can be explained by the sun. It was saying their study found that only CO2 had a significant correlation, that the sun was not significantly correlated to temperature, and that the sun was clearly under half the contribution.

...

FORGET PADDED, LAUGHABLE LISTS: SCIENCE, NOT SCIENTISTS, TELLS US HUMANS ARE WARMING THE PLANET DANGEROUSLY

Inhofe’s Office claims “More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims.”

Yet the vast majority of those names are simply repeated from a 2007 list that was widely debunked, see Inhofe recycles unscientific attacks on global warming” and here and here and here. Let me repeat what I wrote at the time.

[Once again, click through to the whole post. Each 'here' is a hypertext link.]

“Padded” would be an extremely generous description of this list of “prominent scientists.” Some would use the word “laughable.” For instance, since when have economists, who are pervasive on this list, become scientists, and why should we care what they think about climate science?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Credit Where Credit is Due

I always mention any questionable facts I see on Instapundit because he's a nine foot giant with a club who claims to lead an army of Davids. My name is David, and he fights for the Republican establishment, so I tend to think he's Goliath in disguise. Plus, he's too busy to acknowledge my comments or criticisms, and some members of the mainstream media haven't been.

He just linked to what looks like a great book though. I'm gonna have to track it down.

I'm not sure what this economic upheaval will do to our superpower status, but this book is about what kind of superpower we want to be.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another Faux Hillary Site?

I think Instapundit has linked to another faux Hillary site.

I can't be absolutely sure, but the home page says:

This space is for the 18,000,000 Americans who continue to support Hillary Clinton. It is our intent over the next four years to show the other 18,000,001 Americans how they made a BIG mistake putting Obama in the Whitehouse. We will not be bitter, but we will not support the "Radical Agenda" of an Obama administration.

On the other hand, no mention of Hillary as Secretary of State, no names of authors names so we can check to see if they supported Hillary before Obama came around, and a recent post about how unfair people are to conservatives (I can't find a post link, but dated November 30, and selling a book).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Instapundit does it again!

Professor Reynolds links to an article on the 'sham of sexual harrasement training'. He remarks ironically how shocked he is, implying he knew it would be a sham all along. I bet lots of people didn't even click through to discover the article is by a man who refused to take it, and did no research on the actual content of the course - or at least doesn't mention it.

Reynolds Wrap.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I've been posting here

http://www.politicalcortex.com/user/David%20Weisman/stories

I'm not sure if I'm going to start cross posting to this blog or not. This links to my stories, if you click on the upper right you can see the whole group blog.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wowee, still biased but with a pretty new web site!

A whole article on Bush's attacks on the media, focused on the new GI Bill. It doesn't mention repeated explanations by PROPONENTS (including McCain himself) that it would keep soldiers in longer by giving people who only served a couple of years much less.

The Washington Times has a pretty new layout, but the same coverage.

Friday, May 02, 2008

They Told Him

Usually Instapundit uses this formula ironically, only to point to draconian measures taken by Democrats. Oddly enough, he refers now to the enforcement of a McCarthy era anti-communist oath. Maybe he figures liberals are to blame because its in California.

THEY TOLD ME THAT IF GEORGE W. BUSH WERE RE-ELECTED, we'd see college professors fired for refusing to swear loyalty to the state. And they were right!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Apology

I only caught part of Bill Maher's post apology show today, and he certainly didn't sound humbled by the experience. I'm not Catholic, and on another day I might even agree about certain things not making sense. Today I'm thinking of Christians who are very smart people - and of what things I take for granted that might seem ridiculous in a hundred years.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Whose Shenanigans?

Instapundit links don't always make a clear judgement, but here the Reynolds verdict is in - Wikipedia has engaged in Shenanigans.

So let's click through to Lawrence Solomon's complaint.

The thought police at the supposedly independent site are fervently enforcing the climate orthodoxy

No punctuation because this is the subtitle of his article. He doesn't settle down much further on, but he does get more specific. Some of his wikipedia edits have been reverted:

When Oreskes's paper came out, it was immediately challenged by science writers and scientists alike, one of them being Benny Peiser, a prominent U.K. scientist and publisher of CCNet, an electronic newsletter to which I and thousands of others subscribe. CCNet daily circulates articles disputing the conventional wisdom on climate change. No publication better informs readers about climate-change controversies, and no person is better placed to judge informed dissent on climate change than Benny Peiser.

For this reason, when visiting Oreskes's page on Wikipedia several weeks ago, I was surprised to read not only that Oreskes had been vindicated but that Peiser had been discredited. More than that, the page portrayed Peiser himself as having grudgingly conceded Oreskes's correctness.

Upon checking with Peiser, I found he had done no such thing. The Wikipedia page had misunderstood or distorted his comments. I then exercised the right to edit Wikipedia that we all have, corrected the Wikipedia entry, and advised Peiser that I had done so.


I read the article, then clicked over to the discussion page. There is no misrepresentation of Peiser's views in the current article - or discussion. You wouldn't think it from Solomon's article, but the discussion page explains a lot. There seem to be two major policies at issue. Wikipedia has established a rule that self published material (such as a blog or personal website) can't be used as a source. That rule may not be perfect, but there is a logic to it, because otherwise anyone could write something on any other page besides wikipedia and use it as a footnote. Also, an editor can't use 'personal research' in an article for much the same reason. Of course, if Peiser wrote a letter or article of complaint in anything not self published, that would be different.

Since Solomon doesn't link to the discussion page or the article in question, I will, although this version reflects discussion after Solomon's article was published. This is just a short quote, there are also defenders of Solomon's viewpoint.

Now to comment further - Peisers comment on Naomi Oreskes paper in Nature is a self published source. To be more specific: it hasn't been printed in a reliable source (in fact it was rejected by Nature), but only on Peisers own website. Despite this we include a mention of his critique, because its notable. It is presented in due weight and in accordance with WP:BLP.
The edits of Mr. Solomon changed that - and introduced a significant bias towards an unpublished critique of a scientific paper, and (might i mention) a critique that the author (Peiser), according to the ABC source - doesn't support anymore. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 15:58, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't know if the link has been posted, but the article referencing this page is Wikipedia's Zealots. Joshdboz (talk) 16:16, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

He didn't even get Kim's gender right. So much for fact checking... Raymond Arritt (talk) 16:49, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
As if this was an indication of anything... It kinda happens. --Childhood's End (talk) 17:59, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm impressed that it does... specifically as he makes a point out of it in the article "She (or he?) is an editor at Wikipedia" - had he done any decent amount of research on my userpage and profile as he says in his article - then its in rather plain sight there. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:45, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Another rather interesting detail - he starts by using the name tabletop, which was a user who has made exactly one edit (not related to Solomons at all) here [8], and then he continues on to claim that he is me.
Hmmm - rather sloppy research methinks. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 19:16, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
You'd think "This user is male" on your userpage would be a hint, but maybe that's too obscure for some people. Raymond Arritt (talk) 19:40, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bill Maher is the left's Ann Coulter

You could say this was just humor - but when is saying nasty things about someone humor? Via Cybercast News Service:

(CNSNews.com) - Comments by HBO's Bill Maher insulting the Pope and calling Catholicism a "cult" that promotes "organized pedophilia" have stirred resentment among many American Catholics upset he would say this the week before Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States.

The comments were made on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Friday, April 11. Maher went into a long monologue on his program comparing the Catholic church to a polygamous cult -- the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints -- which was raided on April 3 and whose founder, Warren Jeffs, was convicted last year for being an accessory to the rape of a teenage girl.


The Catholic Church has a serious problem, but accusing the Church as a whole of actively promoting (as opposed to covering up, or stucturally contributing to) this problem is unreasonable. There are plenty of Catholics who sometimes vote Democratic - and are repelled by the Maher wing of the party. Just as Republicans who seriously hope for success in Iraq should be repulsed by Ann Coulters suggestion that Muslims should be killed or converted by force, so should Democrats who really believe we are the party of inclusiveness reject Maher.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Washington Times Editorial Repeats Error!

This is hilarious! James Lyon of the Washington Times repeated the same mistake he made last month!

History is a good teacher. What comes to mind is the 1968 Tet offensive that was a catastrophic defeat for the North Vietnamese, who lost more than 100,000 combat troops, but was turned into a victory for them by our media, according to the North Vietnamese Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap. If it worked then, let's try it again.

Courtesy of the Snopes.com reference on Urban Legends:

Claim: Vietnamese general Vo Nguyen Giap's memoirs pinned U.S. military failure in Vietnam on American anti-war protesters.

Status: False.


Snopes.com has a thorough essay on this false rumor. History professor Ed Moise has studied one of the books where the quote was alleged to be found (the other doesn't exist). Washington Dispatch commentator Greg Lewis apologized for citing a quote from a book that he later found did not exist.

Oh yes. Here's the first time he made that mistake.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Republican Fixer tells all - or almost all?

Allen Raymond, convicted former dirty tricks expert for a number of Republican campaigns, doesn't sound like such a sleezeball on this Jon Stewart Daily Show interview.

On the other hand, he still sounded like a sleezeball when I reviewed his book.

"His first campaign was a local election, and direct mail played a big part in it. He specialized in saying misleading things about his candidate’s opponent, some of which were nasty and personal. If he actually lied he doesn’t tell us about it – that might be illegal. He says his candidate complained to him about how the direct mail people were out of control, and he wanted the dirtier tricks stopped because some of the people who knew the truth and despised him (the candidate) for the misleading tricks were neighbors. Raymond says he encouraged this while pretending to try and stop it, because that was what was needed to get the candidate elected – and he liked the feeling of being an aggressive win-at-all-costs mercenary. I’m not sure if Steve Corodemus (he names names) was really as innocent as Raymond pretends or if he’s one of the few people Raymond still feels loyalty to – but I wouldn’t vote for him, a really capable and trustworthy assemblyman would have found out and put a stop to this garbage."

Joseph Palermo of the Huffington post has a great review, though he doesn't talk about what what our former fixex might still be hiding:

Raymond's experience inside the bowels of the RNC and his expertise in smear tactics, racist push polls and robo-calls, voter suppression, and other Republican mainstays give him a useful perspective. Maybe Democratic candidates in the future can better counter the inevitable Republican smears and attacks with a better understanding of how they work. But I wouldn't count on it.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Is Basra to Maliki as Iraq is to W?

Since the Basra assault began Tuesday, violence has spread to Shiite districts of Baghdad and other places in Iraq where Shiite militiamen hold sway, raising fears that security gains often attributed to a yearlong American troop buildup could be at risk. Any widespread breakdown of a cease-fire called by Moktada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric who founded the Mahdi Army, could bring the country right back to the sectarian violence that racked it in 2006 and 2007.

Mr. Maliki has personally staked his reputation on the success of the Basra assault, fulfilling a longstanding American desire for him to boldly take on rogue Shiite groups. But at the same time, as criticism of the assault has risen, it has also brought into question yet another American benchmark of progress in Iraq: political reconciliation.

“We don’t have to rush to military solutions,” said Nadeem al-Jabiri, a Parliament member from the Fadhila Party, a strong rival of Mr. Sadr’s party that would have been expected to back the operation, at least on political grounds. Instead of solving the problems in Basra, Mr. Jabiri said, Mr. Maliki “escalated the situation.”

For the third straight day, the American military was reported to be conducting airstrikes in support of Iraqi troops in Basra. Iraqi police officials reported that an American bombing run killed eight civilians.

The American military did not immediately acknowledge the incident. But Maj. Tom Holloway, a British military spokesman, said: “We are aware of reports of an incident in the Basra area resulting in civilian casualties. We are investigating the report and do not have further details at this time.”

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sorry, got a horrible virus

Hopefully I'll be posting again in a day or so.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A Shattering Discovery

UPDATE: Read the comments. Debonair Dude thinks the way I use quotations HTML linked to his original posts might be confusing or misleading, so I won't do it anymore, but I didn't change this since I don't want it to seem like I'm trying to hide the way I did it or make his comment not make sense. If he tells me he wants it deleted I'll be happy to do so.

Debonair Dude is a bit annoyed at his fellow conservatives.

Look I don’t know if its me that is not making my point clearly enough, or those people that tend to listen with cotton stuffed in their ears?But I’ll have ONE MORE shot at it. Then you can call me a “Rino” a “Hippo” or what ever other STUPID cliche that you wish to.

Logically he seems to have a point:

2. All of the above have dropped out...ALL OF THEM!

3. The only choice we have now, Or should I say that I have now is to

a. Support the party’s choice who is John McCain.

b. Vote for the 2 Libs, Hillary or Obama ( and that choice will never happen.


But why is he using logic all the sudden? Conservatism is about wanting huge deployments and tax cuts too. It's about not trusting our government to make sure all Americans have health care, but saying it can rebuild Iraqi healthcare - and the rest of Iraq too. It's about saying that industial policy can't work because it violates the laws of the free market, and complaining about the unfair advantage of China with it's government supported industries. It's about being unable to give up any tiny sliver of pork, but cutting taxes to force someone to cut pork in the future.

I think he should endorse Fred Thompson. When I first heard an actor was in the race, I thought we were doomed. He could use all his acting skills to convince the religious right he was one of them, and promise his soul to the rich corporate donors. He would have been Ronald Reagan except the trial lawyers would have loved him too. It turned out he didn't have fire in the belly. If the Republicans had been smart enough to feed him lots of beans and make him bend over, then light a match behind his buttocks, they would have seen plenty of fire, and they could have won the election.

Debonair Dude will probably want to say nobody reads this blog. It just so happens I got e-mail from nobody@hotmail.com who said he was getting bored with my blog and wanted to do something more interesting, such as watching the grass grow, so there goes that argument. I may be dumb, I may even be dumber, but I'm not trying to reason with a bunch of Republicans calling "Rino Rino!"

That's the last thing you hear before the herd stampedes and tramples everything in their path.

The Real Goods on Industrial Policy

Via Avedon Carol's The Sideshow, a Buzzflash book review of Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism, by Ha-Joon Chang. This review of an excellent book which I'm going to get hold of a copy of is also an essay by someone who knows about the subject. Reviewer Thom Hartmann quotes Alexander Hamilton at one point where the author himself only summarizes,

As Hamilton noted (this is only referenced in the book - I'm filling in Hamilton's actual words here):

It is a primary object of the policy of nations, to be able to supply themselves with subsistence from their own soils; and manufacturing nations, as far as circumstances permit, endeavor to procure, from the same source, the raw materials necessary for their own fabrics.

As to how to accomplish that, Hamilton and Coxe had a straightforward plan, which was adopted by the Founders of this nation:
I. Protecting duties.

Protective duties, or duties on those foreign articles which are the rivals of the domestic ones, intended to be encouraged. [B]y enhancing the charges on foreign articles, they enable the national manufacturers to undersell all their foreign competitors.

II. Prohibitions of rival articles or duties equivalent to prohibitions.

Considering a monopoly of the domestic market to its own manufacturers as the reigning policy of manufacturing nations, a similar policy on the part of the United States in every proper instance, is dictated, it might almost be said, by the principles of distributive justice; certainly by the duty of endeavoring to secure to their own citizens a reciprocity of advantages.

III. Prohibitions of the exportation of the materials of manufactures.

The desire of securing a cheap and plentiful supply for the national workmen, and, where the article is either peculiar to the country, or of peculiar quality there, the jealousy of enabling foreign workmen to rival those of the nation, with its own materials, are the leading motives to this species of regulation. …

IV. Pecuniary bounties [industry direct financial subsidies].

This has been found one of the most efficacious means of encouraging manufactures, and it is in some views, the best. Though it has not yet been practiced upon by the government of the United States (unless the allowances on the exportation of dried and pickled fish and salted meat could be considered as a bounty) and though it is less favored by public opinion than some other modes. Its advantages, are these -- It is a species of encouragement more positive and direct than any other, and for that very reason, has a more immediate tendency to stimulate and uphold new enterprises, increasing the chances of profit, and diminishing the risks of loss, in the first attempts.

V. Premiums [incentives for production, innovation, or quality].

These are of a nature allied to bounties, though distinguishable from them, in some important features. Bounties are applicable to the whole quantity of an article produced, or manufactured, or exported, and involve a correspondent expense.

Premiums serve to reward some particular excellence or superiority, some extraordinary exertion or skill, and are dispensed only in a small number of cases. But their effect is to stimulate general effort. Contrived so as to be both honorary and lucrative, they address themselves to different passions; touching the chords as well of emulation as of interest. They are accordingly a very economical mean of exciting the enterprise of a whole community.


There's a whole lot more Hamiltonian goodness there, but I'm pretty sure President Washington's compatriot is out of copyright by now, and has passed beyond litigation in any event.

This is sort of like the essay I wrote a few days ago, except twenty times better. My work as a blogger is cut out for me.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Congradulations Bloomberg!

I want to congradulate Mayor Bloomberg on his decision not to run - and start thinking about who is funding Nader.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Industrial Policy

The newest firestorm in the blogosphere is over Obama's corporate tax reform plans. I've seen too many blog posts to link to them all. Will they really help us? Are they just vaporware, or does he have real plans? Where can we find the details?

It seems they should be important, because some people are worked up.

According to Paul Craig Roberts on Counterpunch (click through to read the whole thing):

As reported by the Financial Times, Obama proposed a lower tax rate for US companies that maintain or increase their US workforce relative to their overseas workforce.

Economists, who have crawled out on a limb in defense of jobs offshoring, quickly denounced Obama's plan. As the US economy continues to lose relative ground, economists hold more tightly to their misconception that a country benefits by moving high value-added, high income jobs abroad and replacing them at home with low value- added, low income jobs. This view, which places the rights of capital far above the rights of labor and the duties of citizenship, is economically nonsensical as well. Whatever the defects of Obama's plan, it shows more serious thought than can be found among Washington policymakers and the economics profession.


I haven't been able to get at the article in the Financial Times, so I looked for links to Obama's speeches that were closer to home:

I don’t know about a time-out, but I do know this – when I am President, I will not sign another trade agreement unless it has protections for our environment and protections for American workers. And I’ll pass the Patriot Employer Act that I’ve been fighting for ever since I ran for the Senate – we will end the tax breaks for companies who ship our jobs overseas, and we will give those breaks to companies who create good jobs with decent wages right here in America.

Here at last we have something specific, a reference to s specific bill with the details worked out. Here are some details from the Patriot Employer Act, not a link to the original bill but a summary on Obama's Senate web site:

The Patriot Employers legislation would provide a tax credit equal to 1% of taxable income to employers that:

After all that? One !@#$%^& percent, not of revenue but of taxable income? What about all the companies that pay no taxes at all - how will this affect them? Speaking of which, what about companies not incorporated in the United States? If this were a value added tax it would hit companies regardless of where they were incorporated - but I don't see that on his website. Has he told the Financial Times something not on his own website? He's still talking about the Act I just quoted in his recent speeches.

I'm not saying this isn't a small step in the right direction - though I'm not sure it is. We need to think hard about industrial policy though, and before we can ask if Obama's policy will bring us towards our goals, we should ask what our goals are.

We need an example – a nation which has successfully used industrial policy to promote growth. That nation is China. For all their faults their growth rate has been phenomenal over the past few years, greater than that of any industrialized country. We must certainly consider the costs as well as the benefits of the policies we look at – but look we must.

According to the libertarian ‘fundamentalist’ interpretation of Adam Smith, industrial policy can never benefit industry. The original Adam Smith speaks out for government funded public education, favoring those industries which require a large number of educated workers. Other than that, his disciples haven’t distorted his work too much – he’s pretty laissez fair.

So, look at the Chinese industrial policy, forcing auto makers to build plants in China in order to be allowed to sell cars there. Perhaps this has been of no long term benefit to China. Perhaps all Chinese efforts to foster electronics and computer industries are doomed to leave Chinese manufacturers worse off than a laissez fair policy would have left them. So maybe we have nothing to worry about.

Those of us who don’t find that completely convincing may need new ideas. In modern American corporate life, it is not uncommon for people to change jobs. Sometimes something may make a balance sheet look good for ten or twenty years forward but not benefit a corporation or the nation that gave birth to it in the long term. With all it’s corruption and inefficiencies, the Chinese government seems to have found ways to manipulate our institutions. Perhaps with national unity of purpose even government can be effective.

I’m not suggesting that there is a secret Chinese Adam Smith who has written a book about how to take advantage of a capitalist society where ‘campaign contributions’ are legal, although certain kinds of overt corruption are much rarer than they are in China. Adam Smith didn’t so much invent entirely new ideas as codify, relate, and organize disparate ones, discussing for the most part what was already done by business owners and suggesting it worked for the common good. Similarly, through trial and error the Chinese have come upon tools which may be the seeds of something much larger.

Suppose we decided that Chinese divergence from free market principles will not be its own punishment. Our industrial policy would probably come in two parts – interim and long term.

Although the doctrinaire conservatives of today might not wish to acknowledge it, a good start for our interim policy might be Ronald Reagan. Don’t look so surprised. When Japanese auto imports were threatening Detroit, he didn’t push protectionist legislation, which would have been anti free market. No he got the Japanese auto companies to agree to voluntary quotas. I don’t know if he threatened them with protectionist legislation behind closed doors, but they certainly knew legislation had advocates in congress. The Chinese will understand the logic, and the name of Reagan may help attract American support. It won’t be easy though. The Japanese already had a great deal of market share to lose why Reagan made them an offer they couldn’t refuse – and if we wait until the Chinese have that much before saying anything, the dollar might collapse. The Chinese own huge quantities of dollar denominated assets, so they wouldn’t want that to happen – unless they concluded it would advance their long term strategic interests. Hmmm.

Lets think about our long term interests. The Chinese have found many clever ways to encourage American companies to manufacture things in China, where the skills and knowledge of workers, engineers, and managers are eventually available to Chinese companies. Of course they have low labor costs to tip the scales in their favor – but it seems long term policy is a part of it.

Asked whether Chrysler was worried that the alliance might help Chery develop into a competitor that might threaten its U.S. partner, LaSorda told The Associated Press, "No, we're not. With us or without us, they're going to grow. So the question is, 'Are you going to go with a winner?'"

********************************************

Ford is not saying how many workers it expects to take the buyouts by a March 18 deadline. But Wall Street analysts say the company has set a goal to get 8,000 employees to sign up.
General Motors is also extending buyout offers to all of its 74,000 hourly employees, while Chrysler is offering buyouts to workers on a regional and individual plant basis.
The belt-tightening comes after years of declining market share and increased competition from foreign automakers, led by Toyota.


It may well be that American auto companies are indeed doing the rational thing in terms of maximizing shareholder return - cutting jobs in the USA, accepting gradual losses of market share now in exchange for short term earnings which don't have to be discounted by risk or forgone interest. Is this really the best thing for the country? If not, the problem isn't really the free market. After all, it's the Chinese acquiring our technological skills rather than the reverse. Yet the strategy of building huge monster trucks which don't fit in a garage doesn't seem a long term winner for a variety of reasons - one being that China may do it too.

Cost cutting is needed, but there's no reason why American cars can't be world leaders for modern technology and low maintenance and quality, much as Toyota is today. I wonder how we could structure free market incentives so that making this a long term project would be cost effective.

Savings will be needed - and the first place to start is upper and middle management. The USA automakers seems to have more people in management than many other companies.

Ford is planning on giving retirement incentives to older workers and rehiring new ones for less. The union is part of the plan, so it doesn't seem all bad for workers. Maybe work rules could be changed too - right now it's hard to shut down plants that are temporarily unprofitable. Maybe workers could even be encouraged to get temporary jobs elsewhere during temporary shutdowns, with a small subsidy instead of full salary from their regular employer.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Wow

I have to admit you have a heck of a lot more fans than I do - but so does Hillary Clinton!.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A protest less blogged than Berkley

The Political Cat links to a blog about a protest less warblogged than the Berkley one. Perhaps this is because the atypical Berkley protest does show hostility to the military, while the Michigan protest blogged at Wyan.blog is full of 'support our troops - bring them home' signs.

You can find a bunch of great protest photos at Wyan.blog.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Gun Free zones

Credit where credit is due. I still don't think the right to bear arms refers to machine guns anymore than it refers to tanks or nukes, but it seems the latest shooting was in a 'gun free' zone. Small gun free zones seem to be a bad idea when you can buy a gun right outside them. Of course conservative politicians have gun free rallies - but they have people to enforce the rule, you're hardly going to have security search every student entering a school.

Do Gun-free zones encourage school shootings?, via Instapundit.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Will I be LGF moonbat of the day?

Little Green Footballs quotes President Bush (and nobody else) on what he calls the Protect America act.

Awhile ago, before any law was passed, the executive branch asked a bunch of telecommunications companies to help them eavesdrop - without a search warrant. Of course they didn't do this for no reason - the administration believed national security was involved.

One of the problems with this bill is it offers complete retroactive immunity to these companies. Don't misunderstand the following - although there are powers I wouldn't entrust to any president, I'm just using Hillary as an example here because the Democrats seem to understand the danger here, while not all the Hillary haters do.

Suppose Hillary were to surprise everyone and win the nomination at the last moment and become president. Suppose her reelection campaign isn't going well, and Republicans are saying her actions have increased rather than decreased terrorism. Suppose she felt some of those Republicans were endangering the USA by creating panic, undermining American morale, endangering our nation by reducing respect for our security apparatus, whatever.

The circumstances don't quite justify a warrant on paper, but she asks certain telecommunications companies to help her out. What precedents would you like to have in place?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Alas, they are shortsighted - or looking at the wrong world

We wouldn't want the government - or even some quasi private body - telling people in the media what they could say, would we? The only alternative is for private individuals to comment as forcefully and firmly on the media as possible.

Surely Al Shartpon (despite his many faults, none of which I see on display right here) has the right to express his opinion as to whom others should patronize and who they shouldn't. Of course those others have the right to do as they choose. Hillary has the right to say what she thinks of any commentator - and while there are risks to her announcing someone has their head stuck where the sun doesn't shine, they are hers to take, and certainly no indication she would use government power to enforce them.

I'm not sure if Our World as we see it is myopic or merely from another planet, but Debonair Dude seem a tad overwrought.

"Now what’s going to happen if this Power Hungry dirt bag gets to be President? The TV reporter David Schuster would get FIRED in a New York minute. What exactly did Hillary want after David Schuster apologized? His head?"

Does Hillary have free speech, or does she have to pretend to accept an apology she considers insincere? More imortantly, what about poor Imus? Whenever he's tired of a job, he makes outrageous comments until his employers have to fire him, which makes him more controversial so he gets a better paying job next time. Being defended by self righteous conservatives makes his task much harder. Are you going to force him to desecrate holy symbols in public before his employers are allowed to fire him without having to fear accusations they don't support free speech?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What do they do to lobbyists who flip flop?

Via Shakesville

The Right Wing Watch has discovered a case of advocacy group flip flop. Fidelis has gone from hating McCain to loving him.

"What a miraculous turn of events! Do you suppose the presence of Joseph Cella - a former Fidelis president, Fred Thompson-backer, and anti-Rudy activist – on McCain’s newly announced Virginia Family Issues Leaders committee had anything to do with that?"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hillary Campaign Going Down

You'll be glad to hear they're getting back up though - hopefully to support Obama in the general election - and Hillary for a leadership role in the senate.

Seeing as this seems very symbolic - the baby wasn't hurt either, just a little shaken.

But I did have to agree when he said, “You have done this our entire marriage! We’ll be walkin’ along one minute, there will be a commotion, I’ll look down and you’ll be on the ground.”.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Common sense the long way round

At Protein Wisdom they sometimes admit the obvious the long way round.

Today Dan Collins tells us:

"What Stanley cannot do, try as he might, is to demonstrate that Hillary! is treated more unfairly than other high-profile politicians, such as the one presently in the White House. If Hillary!-hatred is driven by misogyny, then to what do we attribute BDS? Of course, his point is rhetorical rather than intellectual, so perhaps that’s expecting rather too much."

So I take it all that stuff about how "Bush Derangement Syndrome" involves treating W much harsher than anyone would ever treat a liberal has gone by the wayside.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

b.a.d enlightenment

Upside down cake is misnamed - at least in the northern hemisphere. All those globes and solar system models which show the northern hemisphere on top are wrong. You may think I mean that both sides are equally top or bottom, but no. The proof is that Australians good naturedly refer to themselves as living 'down under', and they would be more sensitive about this assumption if they didn't know the truth.

What we call an 'upside down cake' is in fact right side up, with a plate on top of it, a table on top of that, and the planet Earth balanced atop the stack.

This may seem a rather odd way of looking at things, but the aftermath of blogroll amnesty day has started me thinking strange thoughts. None of the very biggest liberal blogs linked to it - but Instapundit did. This started me googling - did Glenn Reynolds ever purge conservatives from his blogroll? I rediscovered something I might have noticed last year. Glenn links to Skippy. He does have liberals on his blogroll - and I can't find any references to his dropping old friends either.

I'm adding Instapundit back to my blogroll. I remember being annoyed the way he referred to Drudge as a legitimate news source - and constantly complained about the New York Times. Well, OK, I guess none of my favorite liberal blogs are perfect either - and I do read him.

I was pleased to discover I bookmarked this post from A Layman's Point of View - it lodged in my mind, but I never posted about it. I'm not convinced, but it provides a starting point to get inside the heads of those we wish to persuade:

Me: (reaching the truck with the next box, I put it in the truck and looked at him, breathing hard) You're a Democrat, right? "Progressive," liberal, support Bill Clinton, hated Reagan, right?


Student: Yes, that's right, how did you know?

Me: A Republican would have offered to carry a box!

The student left without asking any questions.


Lesson 2: Liberals don't practice what they preach, like REALLY helping others. They'll watch you carry the box, even tell you HOW to do it, but won't really lift a finger to help.


I've often wished that conservatives would stop a second to think. If they can't trust W. to nominate conservative justices, is it even possible he made so managerial mistakes presiding over the administration of the rebuilding of Iraq? Does anyone miss Rummy's brilliance - and if not, did they all get carried away defending him? If they think Bush is soft on illegal aliens because he wants to keep salaries low for big businesses - is it even possible this compassion for big businesses has influenced his tax policies?

So I will be the change I would like to see in the world. Let me stop and think a second.

Can it be that we are really less compassionate than conservatives? I've seen conflicting studies - do you count donations to a church if most of the money is spent on services attended by the donators, and the facilities and programs used by them? How about if some churches do a lot to help the poor?

At times like this I'm reminded that if we're not less caring, we are not necessarily much more so. When we look back at ancient Rome or the British empire, we don't see good guys and bad guys. From our present perspective all the politicians and parties had much more in common than they knew.

Does it matter? I think perhaps it does. Words transmit more than logical arguments. Emotions and who you are come in as well. The pacifism of Ghandi and MLK came through with their character - men who went to jail and risked much worse standing up for what they believed in. A rich kid who could count on someone else doing his fighting is something else. It is too easy being anti-war merely because we personally don't like fighting - when we enjoy comfortable lives because we are protected by policemen.

Does this make the war in Iraq a prudent idea, well executed? Of course not. But think of all the rage we hear on the left at times, spit at people who might possibly do horrible things when placed in imposible positions, but who do many heroic things as well.

At the very least, we must do what we would have our countrymen do. Let us understand why they hate us - yes, why so many on the right hate us so fervently, even many of those who are decent people otherwise. There is a parallel here, if we have eyes to see it. There were many who believed a few years ago that once we showed the sleeping giant had been woken, that we had the will as well as the ability to use our enormous military power, the world would treat us with much more respect. And there are many who believe if we are angry enough and loud enough, the things we consider obviously true will abruptly be clear to our opponents as well. Let's remove the beam from our own eye before we try to remove the lumberyard (yes lumberyard, I'm a liberal, I still think they're crazier than we are) from anyone elses.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Monkeyfister's blogswarm successful!

I was away from my computer a few days, but better late than never. Meanwhile, Monkeyfister's blogswarm exceeded his fondest hopes.

I'm linking to the original post in the title - his success report is here!

From mail.com:

In the aftermath of stunningly deadly and destructive tornadoes, this hard-hit community now has other worries -- looters, power shortages and a large number of residents still unaccounted for.

"They're going to have the looters and then the metal scrappers giving them hell," said Jason Newsse, who came from Myrtle Beach, S.C., to help authorities with search and recovery efforts that included cadaver-detecting dogs.

Liberal media traitors in Afghanistan, when everything is going so well.

Jeff G. doesn't actually endorse this e-mail he reprints, though his comment seems to accept the premises as a basis for his own commentary. So I can't quite accuse him of three logical fallacies in one paragraph, although his ending slur on America saddens me. Clieck through - the paragraph I quote has several links that will explain everything imbedded.

Ray Robison emails:


The media has decided that the Taliban is winning and they are running with the “resurgent Taliban” lie no matter how much NATO says the Taliban is not “resurgent”. They are burying US success to help the democrat nominee.

Are they? Or is such spin actually more helpful to the candidate seen as most likely to prosecute the war vigourously, John McCain.


(crossposted from comment discussion)

Something said by one American general is not a pronouncement by NATO as a whole - especially when he acknowledges the other people we have encouraged to send troops are not sharing his experience.

A post on the blog American Thinker is not some sort of absolute truth (insert Jeffian pronouncement on truth here) but an opinion.

Even if the above were not true, we should surely inquire if the media were aware that an American general had made this statement, if they were aware it was inarguable truth, and parallel questions for the American Thinker post before bashing them.


after awhile he gets to:

In the end, should such a movement succeed in taking power, attempts to pull out of Iraq will put both a strain (immediate) and a stain (long term) on an Obama presidency. And there won’t be much that the history books will be able to do to insulate him — aside from celebrating the fact that he was the first Black president.

Form over content.

This is our America.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Mahatma X Files: Blogroll Amnesty Day Anniversary

The Hard Part of Blogroll Amnesty Day

Afghanistan and Pakistani food shortages

We're hearing more about what the European troops aren't doing in Afghanistan - but this may be more important. From Empty Corner, via The Newshoggers blogroll amnesty day edition:

This closure is having an immediate effect in blocking supplies to NATO forces. The effects can become a whole lot worse. The shortage of bread will drive a lot of people to the Taliban.

Empty links to Dawn (a Pakistani online English language newspaper) with more information about the border closing and flour shortages.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Wisdom?

Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom is having a nightmare.

That’s what gave us Jimmy Carter. And we’re still living with that nightmare — even if a certain giant river bunny who took a presidential oar to the skull may not be.

Dreams are funny things though. The flawed military action in Iran, the eagerness to get involved in mideast peace negotiations, the 'voluntary conservation measures'.

Jimmy Carter may be a symbol for a much more recent nightmare.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The hard part of blogroll amnesty day

As part of the celebration of blogroll amnesty day, I need to link five or six blogs smaller than mine. That's tough, but I eventually decided just to minimize the windows the blogs were displayed in, making them smaller than mine. There may not be many blogs smaller than mine, but there are plenty of progressive blogs deserving more exposure.

Don't you love it when a little blog gets a story the mainstream media never even thought to look at? Meet Susan DuQuesnay Bankston of Kiss My Big Blue Butt. Since her county doesn't put local campaign finance reports online, she got the paper ones and had them scanned into the computer. She's posted the expense reports for county judge Bob Hebert online. Oh yes, remember when Tom DeLay moved to Virginia to give his state Republican election comittee a chance to choose someone else for the ballot? On January 11 she posted his voter registration card so you can see when he moved back - and think about the oath he took to a federal judge. It may be my browser but I can't seem to link to individual posts right now. It's also a lighthearted and fun personal blog.

Friday Lunch Club is another great blog. They focus on the middle east. GPC doesn't seem to live or work in the middle east, but his essays aren't based on the usual suspects - he'll introduce you to foreign media, Congressional Quarterly, and many other sources you haven't seen. He occasionally mentions private information as well - not necessarily secret, but something he heard from a source.

Here's a blog I discovered while writing this post for blogroll amnesty day. Why should you be interested in a blog about 'water issues' in the southeastern USA? I'm not sure how much of this is due to global warming, how much to rapid growth, and how much is just an unusual occurence, but we may be seeing a lot more of this in the future - all over the country. I never thought about the effect of a drought on a nuclear power plant before reading Watercrunch. Say hello to Watercrunch, which also has some exclusive pictures of an Obama rally.

Say hello to Wetmachine. He has ultra technical stuff about frequency auctions, progressive political commentary, and cyberpunk flavored fiction you can read the first chapters of for free - or buy as a complete book.

This Fucking War is a medium sized blog, but still an important one deserving more exposure. Madtom links to the 'other' war blogs that are not always linked with enthusiasm by the mainstream warbloggers. These are not only those opposed to Bush's policy or with reservations, but those of soldiers who don't follow poltiics but just write real stuff about what they go through which might give some a negative impression.

Distributorcapny is an enthusiastic participant in blogroll amnesty day. He's counting down the seconds until Bush leaves office. He has a lot of cool pictures and a few videos on his blog. He's calculated how much of Exxon's profit would be needed to bail out Merrill Lynch and Citibank - or to buy Guilliani the nomination. A fun place to visit.

Last but not least, I'd like everyone to drop by the comments section of The Dead Hand and Political Friends and tell them how wrong they are about everything. They're more fun to argue with than most small conservative blogs.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The First Anniversary of Blogroll Amnesty Day

Jon Swift sent me an e-mail - February third is the first anniversary of blogroll amnesty day.

I'm glad to say he doesn't just consider it an occassion for whining and complaining, but he wants to kick off an annual celebration of the power of smaller blogs. His e-mail doesn't mention liberal or progressive blogs specifically, which might seem odd at first. No large conservative blogs were involved in blogroll amnesty day as such. It was a few big 'liberal' bloggers who declared they wanted their blogroll to consist of bloggers they actually read - and who don't seem to be looking for interesting new blogs to read now that they are established. Not only is this their priviledge, it may be a good thing for the left side of the blogosphere in the long run. Atrios and Markos couldn't read each good small Progressive blog for long enough to pick out the superb ones even if they wanted to. The job has to be crowdsourced, largely to the people who are hoping to be among the discovered.

Of course the same applies to the right - but not all conservative bloggers realize it. Yes, Reynolds reads the blogs on his blogroll, and if one of them links to someone he might pick it up and give a new blog an Instalanch. In the main, hoping for something like that is rather like hoping to win the lottery instead of engaging in financial planning. Who knows what will catch his eye? Even if he agrees with you about most things a loves the way you express it, he probably won't realize it until he's seen several links to you on blogs he respects. You may not get an Instalanch until you're well known anyhow.

In the next week or so I'm going to expand my blogroll again. When I post about something I'll use google and technorati to see what's worth linking to. Mostly though, there are three linking blogs so good I refer people to them instead.

The Sideshow is a great place for an overview of the left side of the blogosphere. Avedon Carol must get a lot of e-mail, but if you link to her and wait patiently she will eventually notice and look you over. Give her a hat tip and blog about the most interesting things you find there. Participate in the discussion in her comments section. After awhile you could send her a link to one of your best posts, and there are no guarantees but I imagine she'll at least take a look.

If we're concerned about blogroll amnesty day you probably know Skippy already. Not only does he link to anyone who links to him, he also offers 'Say Hello' front page coverage! I don't know if he ever takes links from e-mail, but he looks over the blogs that post about his articles and participate in the discussions in his comment section.

Monkeyfister wins the award for most awards awarded to small progressive blogs. Join the community, get to know Monkeyfister and the blogs that already link there, and you'll be in time for next year. Oh yea, follow the link next to the Incivility Certification, there's some good thinking there even if you don't accept it all.

Hullabaloo doesn't link quite as much to small bloggers as the other blogs, but the links that do occur are part of thoughtful and interesting posts. Crooks and Liars has a Friday roundup which is relaively small, but being linked there is the equivilant of a highbrow Instalanch.

I don't think I can compete as a linking blog in general, so here's what I'd like to do. If anyone's managed to get in a witty debate with a conservative blog I'd like to hear about it and link to it. We'll make people forget there ever was a Reynolds - Greenwald feud! I started by reading this, though I guess you don't have to be a potty mouth if you don't want to.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I had a remarkable dialog

Say hello to Jason Williscroft of the Dead Hand Journal! I had a remarkable discussion with him on the comment section of his blog. I think his final comment pretty much gives you the flavor of it. As usual, the link text is also quoted text, linking back to his blog.

I'm going to assume that you mean "amusing" in that particular GOTCHA fashion we reserve for people who comment about books they haven't read, right?

Sure, why not. Of course, as long as we're being very clear about our premises, here's another one: your amusement must also be predicated on the oh-so-common liberal assumption that no thing could possibly be related to anything else... at least not if it sheds a negative light on a nutty liberal idea.

Thus, we must extol the virtues of urban planning while carefully avoiding the demonstrable fact that the problems it purports to solve were all caused by... urban planning! We must take great care to limit our CO2 emissions, despite the fact that it's been conclusively demonstrated that global warming causes a rise in CO2 levels, not the other way around.

And, of course, we couldn't possibly operate under the assumption that the ideas in Albright's most recent tome are the same ones she has consistently espoused throughout her entire, lackluster career. That WOULD be amusing, wouldn't it?


I would have to study urban planning before commenting on it. Until then, I won't insist he extol it. Why would I? Nah, on second thought it might be fun to watch. Extol you must, as you say.

Did you say it's been conclusively proven a rise in CO2 levels did not cause global warming? I'd like to know where. I saw some research indicating temperatures had often risen in past eras before CO2 started to rise. It didn't purport to prove CO2 didn't and wouldn't cause global warming, but only that global warming from other sources often started the initial CO2 increase. You must have seen some different research than I.

Well, it's reasonably likely that Madeline Albright espouses the same ideas she has expoused previously, though it doesn't always happen. Myself I prefer to read books before commenting on them. At any rate I will try to read most of your blog posts before commenting on them. In case it turns out the ideas are pretty much the same as you've been espousing through your blogging career, I hope you'll at least bring out some of the wit you used against Mr. Torgerson on occasion, so there need be none of the accusations of lackluster you level against the hapless Albright.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Avoiding a hard choice

If victory in Iraq is really possible, it is highly desirable. McCain is the only cheerleader of the Iraqi war I might consider voting for. He may have supported Bush against the anti-war people, but he's also pointed out that Bush wasn't doing enough. He's really about victory, not just sticking it to liberals.

This doesn't prove that victory is possible. The Iraqi's have passed a law allegedly meant to pacift the Sunnis - which was strongly opposed by the Sunnis. We have no leverage over the Shia government. We can't tell them we'll leave if they refuse to cooperate, because the only leaders who don't say we should leave as fast as possible say any talk of leaving (or that there are serious problems) is capitulation to the terrorists - and to Democrats. The Shias fear the Anbar Awakening militias will ultimately turn against the central government and or the Shia. If they are wrong their distrust will eventually provoke the Sunnis. If they are right that is even worse news.

Iraq may no longer be our Vietnam. It may be our India - what India was to the British empire. One generation does fairly well, then the next generation forgets the past, then there is violence again.

In a way it is a relief to hear Republicans talking like this, as does Andy of Political Friends:

McCain is a big believer in the man-made global warming myth. McCain is a cosponsor of the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Act. This would impose many of the Kyoto type regulations on the United States without the U.S. ever signing on to to Kyoto. You may believe that climate change is happening, but the impact of a law like this on U.S. companies could be devastating. Democrats typically favor this type of global legislation, not Republicans.

McCain not only supports a higher tax burden on American citizens, he also believes in the same class warfare the Democrats resort to when they discuss taxes. McCain originally voted against the Bush tax cuts. On the campaign trail, he is saying he did this because the tax cuts weren't coupled with spending cuts. I can understand this point of view. However, originally he didn't vote for the tax cuts because they helped out "rich Americans" at the expense of the "working class". Which party does that sound like?


I don't know if it's good or bad, but this will spare me a difficult choice in November. McCain is the only candidate who has knowledge, who comes from military training and a military family, who can do more than more of the same, or hoping he chooses good advisors. It may be good - I would be tempted to believe we could win in Iraq, and if this was ever possible it may no longer be. India cost the British Empire more per capita than Vietnam cost us.

I don't believe any Republican besides McCain is likely to be elected. My main fear is that the Democrats will fail to acknowedge was is already happening because they fear to be blamed for it.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fried squirrel

I've seen an awful lot of jokes about fried squirrel lately. Maybe some people have been wondering how Huckabee could be crazy enough to mention that on television. For many of us, it's easy to forget that trapping or shooting a squirrel can be the difference between having meat and not having meat for some of the rural poor. Nobody who was even in that situation, or knew anyone in that situation, will be impressed by the sneers.

Police at the door

A 31-year-old Spanish woman was bathing her children in her Madrid home when police showed up on her doorstep.

'You had an abortion in February 2007,' the officers said, handing her an invitation to be questioned as a witness at a police station investigating alleged irregularities at the Clinic Isadora, which terminated her pregnancy.

...

Groups described as neo-Nazi or ultra-conservative have attacked Madrid clinics, smashing windows, spraying walls and threatening employees or clients.

Spanish abortion clinics staged an unprecedented strike last week in protest against the attacks and what they regard as an unjustified increase in administrative inspections.


The strike was from Jan 8 to Jan 12. You would think this would have had anti-abortion activists cheering, but the clinics didn't see it that way. It certainly didn't deter this.

Is this in our future? It's hard to track down much about what happened. There are Spanish newspapers published in English, but they don't have much about this. This article was supplied to Big News Network by the Indo-Asian News Service. Somehow they feel more like talking about it in English than the Spanish do.

Wikipedia lists a few countries where abortion is outlawed under all circumstances. They don't all have freedom of the press, so who knows what goes on there. It seems the most dangerous places are not always those with the strictest laws, but those where they have the most popular support.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The secret to keeping Pakistani nukes safe

I've seen a lot in the mainstream press about Pakistan, the dangers of extremism and political repression. If I just read the usual suspects I never would have found out about the flour shortages, and the role they may play in destabalizing Pakistan.

High-level meeting on flour crisis, from Dawn.

From Worldnews, Flour crisis persists despite govt's tall claims

Another article from Dawn, Protest held against flour crisis

There are a couple of articles about wheat shortages too.

Could keeping Pakistan stable be as simple as sending them food?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Wikileaks

I'm not endangering National Security here - wikileaks is already well known and has been mentioned in major media.

According to the about page, Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interest is in exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations.

Further down they say:

Who is behind Wikileaks?
Wikileaks was founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

Our public Advisory Board, which is still in formation, includes courageous journalists, representatives from refugee communities, ethics and anti-corruption campaigners, including a former national head of Transparency International, human rights campaigners, lawyers and cryptographers.

There are currently over 1,200 registered volunteers, but we need more people involved at an organizational level.


and further down still:

Why are the Wikileaks founders anonymous?
Most people who are involved with Wikileaks are not anonymous, however, the founders (and obviously our sources) remain anonymous. Our reasons are:

Some of us are refugees from repressive countries with families still in those countries.
Some of us are journalists who may be banned from entering these countries for work if our affiliation was known.
Additionally, given that some must be anonymous for reasons outside of their control, an imbalance of representation and exposure is threatened unless all founders remain anonymous. Furthermore, the effort to encourage anonymous sources to release material to the public is enhanced by an ability to empathise via solidarity in anonymity. Anonymity also demonstrates motivation by goals higher than reputation seeking.


You do find some names, including some authentic Chinese dissidents, if you dig around. Yet the lions share of the leaks seem to be from the United States government. Not quite what you'd anticipate from the reasons given. That doesn't prove anything, and even if it did it wouldn't show who. Maybe someone than me can investigate more systematically.

I have a hunch though. Who has been very clever at using computers against the United States? Who has been working hard to control the internet?

So maybe China. The site says they do ban Wikileaks inside China, and I believe it, but that doesn't mean they don't use or even sponsor it.

So I searched for Wikileaks about China. In comparison to the scads of stuff from the United States, there were only a handful. Fair enough, it's harder and more dangerous to leak stuff from there - although you would think those Chinese dissidents would give this section a leg up. With the (possible) exception of a document I found in Chinese, everything seems to have been leaked to other places before appearing on Wikileaks. Original documents from our military have appeared there. Hmmmm.

This could possibly be bad. I wish I could say the end result would be a more honest USA having an advantage over a repressive China, but selective leaking manipulated by China, perhaps even extortion of the American government, could be harmful indeed to my country.

Is this worth having our government forget about net neutrality, legislate as best it can to reduce the violence to our legal system (the constitution is not a suicide pact) and close this down at all costs? Nothing I've seen so far would justify the costs of that.

So the CIA has to start thinking what Chinese documents can and should be leaked. I think a greater portion of their intelligence is focused on us than visa versa, but if this is assymetrical warfare, I hope we're already preparing for it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Oh no!

My husband and I are both registered Democrats. With the Primary here in New York in the horizon, we are still undecided. Well at least for me, because the husband is vocal in telling me that he may not cast his vote, as his heart doesn’t beat for any of the Democratic candidates. His heart is beating for someone else although, the man hasn’t declared his bid for the White House yet.

Bloomberg is a good mayor, but he'll only be a spoiler for the Democrats.

In New York we don't usually worry about this

When we hear about snow in New York, we're usually worried about driving to work, or kids going to school. In the Colorado river basin its different.

Major storms erased fear of another dry winter across much of the state, as snowpack readings increased from near record lows in early December to near record highs by the end of the month.

"Going into the end of November, it was very touch and go - drought conditions were redeveloping over the eastern plains, and snowfall in the mountains was much less than average," Nolan Doesken, state climatologist and senior research associate at Colorado State University, said.

"Weather patterns changed abruptly. We went from being dangerously dry and warm to being back on track for an average winter."

...

With as much as 80 percent of Colorado surface water originating from melting snowpack, it's critical the state receive adequate winter snowfall, officials said.


This is good news, but I doubt all those state officials who were carefully negotiating shares of river water a few months ago will stop worrying.

It seems that after a few years of Global Warming coming faster than forcast, we may have a few years of slower than forcast warming, sure to be misinterpreted - even before they happen:

Global Warming: I wrote last year that I thought global warming had hit its high point. I don't mean the temperatures, I mean the fanatical discussion surrounding it. While there are still many many faithful believers, I think many people have had their eyes opened during the last year. I see more and more articles by Fox News, CNN, and the mainstream media discussing the other side of the argument. I think in the years to come, 2008 may be looked at as the time global warming stopped being considered a serious subject.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Huckenstein Who?

Skippy has put into words what many people seem to feel, both more clearly and less pretentiously than any blogger I've seen yet.

quite true. rove was happy to let the fundies of this country think they had an inside track to the oval office as long as the votes were coming his way. but now that a populist evangalist is looking good to a large block of the gop base, the repubbb establishment is shaking in their boots. the last thing they need is a standard bearer that cares (or at least seems to) about the middle class.

the repubbbs have spent the last two decades doing everything they can to gut the protections for most americans and feeding the wallets of the uber-rich. you can bet that the homophobia of the fundies was simply a mask that the party of larry craig and mark foley wore to grab as much campaign contributions from the church of the holier than thou as possible.


I'm leaving the typos as they are, since only Skippy would dare leave them in.

So on the one hand many liberals agree that the Republicans have suckered the Evangelicals. We are pleased they have discovered this - because we don't like the Republicans.

Conservatives often speak sarcastically of liberal tolerence. Somehow it's a relief when some of them discover that NorthEastern conservatives sitting in the big tent disparaging multiculturalism and tolerance include Christianity (except at weddings and funerals) as one of the cultures they don't want to tolerate too much of.

And yet, I know a fair number of Christians. Almost all of them are smarter than me in some ways, and many of them are smarter than me in more ways than I am smarter than them. If the conservative pretense of being more respectful for different beliefs than we is more threadbare than ever, perhaps this would be a good time to examine our own reactions.

While reversing out position on certain issues would make no more sense than deciding Prohibition was workable after all, if we had only tried harder, perhaps we should think about the idea of liberal intolerence. It's not surprising that liberals are not so different than conservatives. We are born into the same era, and mirror each other more than we would like to admit.

One starting place would be our reaction to people mocking Islam - and people mocking Christianity. I'm not saying we shouldn't care about starting riots, or that we should change out ideas about free speech, but the two standards need to be considered together. This is one of the things which has often been mentioned by the religious right, and if we don't want the Evangelicals to feel the covert disrespect of the New York - Washington conservatives is better than the overt disrespect of liberals, we should be glad instead of sorry than there are things we can and should in all fairness improve.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Pieces of the puzzle

Glenn Greenwald has put the pieces together.

Jonah Goldberg and Glenn Reynolds warn of "social unraveling" if Obama loses



Glenn unravels the irony here layer by layer. Are they merely saying people will abandon the Democratic party? Sometimes it seems so, but Goldberg says

I think it's worth imagining a certain scenario. Imagine the Democrats do rally around Obama. Imagine the media invests as heavily in him as I think we all know they will if he's the nominee — and then imagine he loses. I seriously think certain segments of American political life will become completely unhinged. I can imagine the fear of this social unraveling actually aiding Obama enormously in 2008. Forget Hillary's inevitability. Obama has a rendezvous with destiny, or so we will be told. And if he's denied it, teeth shall be gnashed, clothes rent and prices paid.

He's supposing Obama is already the nominee, so he's not supposing the problem is African Americans abandoning the Democrats. If he's hinting at racial violence, Glenn Greenwald reminds us of real violence - in the recent past.

Instigated by an order from New York congressman John Sweeney to "shut it down," dozens of screaming GOP demonstrators pounded on doors and a picture window at elections headquarters. The canvassing board, which had already found a net Al Gore gain of 168 votes, reversed a decision it had made a couple of hours earlier to begin a tally of the undervote.

The mob gang-rushed a local Democrat carrying a blank sample ballot. They threatened that a thousand Cubans were on their way to the headquarters to stop the count. Several people were "trampled, punched or kicked," according to The New York Times. The canvassing board chair at first conceded that mob pressures played a role in the shutdown -- which cost Gore the 168 votes as well -- but later reversed his position. . . . .

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Seen on the Evangelical Outpost

Don't accuse me of quoting too much from the Evangelical Outpost - there is much more, all worth reading. Did I hallucinate this paragraph? Better check.

The Mainstream Media Ain't So Bad -- Many bloggers (including me) have a knee-jerk reaction to the mainstream media. We "just know" they have a liberal bias and that they can't be trusted to report accurately on Republicans and conservatives. If my experience is any indication, then most of what we know is "just wrong."

My job wasn't to spin the press but to present the facts for the Huckabee campaign's side of the story. I expected that I'd have the toughest time with the professional journalists but most of the reporters that I dealt with (especially Michael Luo of the New York Times and Jonathan Martin of Politico) were quite fair and always professional. Even when their coverage was cringe-inducing I rarely could fault them for being inaccurate or putting their own biases ahead of the facts.

Unfortunately, the same can not be said of the conservative media.

My rapid response list included a broad range of journalists, pundits, and bloggers and variety of outlets--everything from The New York Times to HotAir. Often they would ask me to clarify statements made by the Governor, defend claims made by the campaign, or offer evidence on a point of contention. Almost always the mainstream media from the "liberal" outlets were more fair and balanced than were the ones from the "conservative" side of the media.

Some conservative outlets, of course, were notably fair and accurate. Although he never pulled his punches, Jim Geraghty at NRO's The Campaign Spot always let me present a rebuttal to the claims of other campaigns. The same can be said for NRO's Byron York, one of the few conservative reporter/pundits that seemed more concerned about getting the facts straight than he was in shoring up the conventional wisdom of the GOP establishment.

But while there were a few other exceptions that I could praise (e.g., Terry Eastland from The Weekly Standard, Phillip Klein and Jennifer Rubin from The American Spectator, the guys at RedState), far too many of the conservative outlets refused to present any evidence that conflicted with their typical anti-Huckabee narrative.

I even sent out personal emails to a number of prominent pundits and bloggers who had criticized Huckabee for being insufficiently conservative. I told them that if they would send me a list of their grievances I'd provide a personal response from the campaign addressing their concern. My only condition was that they would post the exchange in its entirety. Not one of them took me up on my offer.

As a campaign staffer, I found such behavior frustrating. But as a consumer of conservative media I found it infuriating. There are a number of pundits, bloggers, reporters, and radio hosts that I will never trust again to be "fair and balanced."

(To clarify my last point, let me say that I had only one expectation from my fellow conservatives: that they apply the same standard to every candidate. I had no problem with a conservative pundit bashing Governor Huckabee for raising the sales tax by a penny in Arkansas…as long as they also bashed Governor Romney for raising "fees" in Massachusetts. I had no problem with their complaints that Governor Huckabee wanted to establish diplomatic relations with Iran…as long as they hammered Mayor Giuliani for the same sin. Very few even made an attempt to be consistent in their criticism. That was what I found so disappointing.)