Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sen. Obama goes negative

The AP reports from Springfield, Mo:
"Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face. So what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me," Obama said. "You know, he's not patriotic enough, he's got a funny name, you know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."
Note that he is not talking about anything Sen. McCain has actually said or done. Instead, he is making a prediction about what Sen. McCain is "going to try." This way he thinks that he can, without any evidence, call McCain a racist and get away with it.

UPDATE: After initially denying that he was calling Sen. McCain a racist, his staff later admitted that that was what he meant.

UPDATE II: Sen. Obama admits his comment was about race and then denies it all within one paragraph.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

All the bias that fits

Kausfiles reports that the LA Times has forbidden its bloggers from so much as mentioning the Sen. Edwards scandal:
In a move that has apparently stirred up some internal discontent, the Los Angeles Times has banned its bloggers, including political bloggers, from mentioning the Edwards/Rielle Hunter story. Even bloggers who want to mention the story in order to make a skeptical we-don't-trust-the-Enquirer point are forbidden from doing so.
In an e-mail, LA Times editor Tony Pierce claims that "we have decided not to cover the rumors or salacious speculations." This, of course, is not really an LA Times policy as is obvious if one looks up the LA Times' treatment of the unsubstantiated rumors that Sen. McCain had an affair. A google search of turns of dozens of mentions of the allegations including, for example, this one, this one, and this one.

RELATED: A Rasmussen poll says 17% still believe that news media try to be unbiased.

UPDATE: PowerLineBlog notes that the NY Times also seems not to be covering the Edwards story either.

UPDATE II: The LA Times may not report on "rumors" but it seems that it does print fake interviews.

UPDATE III: The Sunday Times (UK) has run the Edwards story including a comment about the failure of the US media:
The story has been bubbling away for months, but so far there has been not a word about it in the mainstream newspapers, even though Edwards was John Kerry’s running mate in 2004 and has been tipped for a prominent job in an Obama administration – if not vice-president, then attorney-general or antipoverty tsar.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How to buy a judge, II

Class action lawyers were suing Countrywide Financial for charging excessive fees. Countrywide's chief executive Angelo Mozilo know he had to take action. He found a way to pay off the judge, Richard Aldrich, according to an article in Conde Nast Portfolio, That article explains how it is done:
In January 2004, Richard Aldrich, a California state appeals court judge, decided to refinance his 8,200-square-foot house next to a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course at the Sherwood Country Club in Westlake Village. He turned to a prominent Sherwood member: Countrywide Financial chief executive Angelo Mozilo.

Aldrich’s application was assigned to a loan officer named Robert Feinberg; the judge was seeking a $1 million loan and a $900,000 line of credit. By email, Feinberg alerted Mozilo that the credit line was “above what guidelines allow.” Mozilo responded, “Go ahead and approve the loan, and close it as soon as possible. Don’t worry about this deal, it’s golden.” Countrywide further waived half a point, or $5,000 on the million-dollar loan. (Homebuyers can reduce their interest rates by paying points, which are equal to 1 percent of the value of a loan.)

That wasn’t Aldrich’s only contact with Countrywide. At the time he refinanced, a class action lawsuit against Countrywide was pending before the appellate court, brought by borrowers contending that the company offered an inadequate payment to settle allegations that it charged excessive fees for credit reports. That August, Aldrich was part of a three-judge panel that unanimously rejected the borrowers’ appeal.
You can also use this same approach to buy regulators or even senators. Countrywide also provided discounts to Sen. Dodd (D-CT), who, conveniently is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Judicial Watch writes that Sen. Obama similarly received 6-figure windfall:
It appears that due to his position as a United States Senator, Barack Obama [D-IL] received improper special treatment from Northern Trust resulting in an illicit 'gift' which has a value of almost $125,000 in interest savings.
We have the best government that money buy. So plan ahead, pick the right officials, and compensate them generously.

PREVIOUSLY in this series, a different way to buy a judge was explained here. Also, how to buy a congressman was explained here.

Katie Couric weighs in on victimology

During the primary season, Democrats struggled with the issue of whether to 'vote their race' or 'vote their gender.' For some the issue came down to whether racism or sexism was of greater concern. As Haaretz reports, prominent liberal Katie Couric now adds her opinion:
I find myself in the last bastion of male dominance, and realizing what Hillary Clinton might have realized not long ago: that sexism in the American society is more common than racism, and certainly more acceptable or forgivable. [emph. added]
Hat tip: M. Calderone.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Vote for the blank slate!

Jim Geraghty (hat tip LGF) writes about Sen. Obama's record:

No Paperwork For Obama Grants From 1997 To 2000

From the Chicago Sun-Times article on grants distributed by then-state-legislator Barack Obama.

(Records from 1997 to 2000 weren't available.)

There's a shock.

His state legislative office records may have been thrown out, he told us.

He's never released a specific list of law clients, instead giving a list of all of his firm's clients, numbering several hundred each year. His campaign will only confirm representation when the media comes to them with a specific case.

He won't release his application to the state bar. He's never released any legal or billing records to verify that he only did a few hours of work for a nonprofit tied to Tony Rezko.

He's never released any medical records, just a one-page letter from his doctor.

Does it bother anyone that a guy with political ambitions for his entire adult life has not left a paper trail?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gitmo torture tactics revealed

The attorney for Gitmo inmate Salim Hamdah wants Hamdah's statements to interrogators excluded from his trial because of the "coercive tactics" used there by the US. As the Washington Post reports:
Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden who is accused in a terrorism conspiracy, told a military court that during questioning in 2002, a female interrogator "came close to me, she came very close, with her whole body towards me. I couldn't do anything. I was afraid of the soldiers."

"Did she touch your thigh?" asked Hamdan's attorney Charles Swift.

"Yes. . . . I said to her, 'What do you want?' " Hamdan said at a pretrial hearing. "She said, 'I want you to answer all of my questions.' "

"Did you answer all of her questions after that?" Swift asked. Hamdan said he did.

Hamdan's attorneys are seeking to persuade a judge to throw out incriminating statements he allegedly made to interrogators at the U.S. military prison here, arguing that they were obtained through coercive tactics.
Hat tip: BotW.

The New York Times as propaganda

In an article provocatively entitled "Book Cites Secret Red Cross Report of C.I.A. Torture of Qaeda Captives," the NY Times writes:
Red Cross investigators concluded last year in a secret report that the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation methods for high-level Qaeda prisoners constituted torture and could make the Bush administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes, according to a new book [written by Jane Mayer] on counterterrorism efforts since 2001. ....

Citing unnamed “sources familiar with the report,” Ms. Mayer wrote that the Red Cross document “warned that the abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted.” Red Cross representatives were not permitted access to the secret prisons where the C.I.A. conducted interrogations, but were permitted to interview Abu Zubaydah and other high-level detainees in late 2006, after they were moved to the military detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
So, the basis for these allegations is merely claims by terrorists. He claims as an example of torture, that some prisoners were “slammed against the walls,” something that is not unusual for guards at the best prisons to do to misbehaving prisoners and Al Qaeda prisoners do have a reputation for attacking guards. The NY Times, however, reports no context at all. By printing terrorist's claims uncritically, the NY Times is just serving as a vehicle for enemy propaganda.

Hat tip: BotW.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

BBC dramas: Politically correct or politically ridiculous?

The BBC has a new TV drama, Bonekickers, in which "an extremist Christian" beheads a innocent Muslim. This left-wing view of the world is reminiscent of their 2002 drama series, MI-5, which also featured bizarrely twisted but politically-correct plots.

The PC-bias of the BBC's news, as opposed to dramas, goes back as far as their siding with Hitler over Churchill.

Creationism in Europe

In the New Humanist, Peter Kjaergaard writes about the disturbing rise of in influence of creationists. both Christian and Moslem, in the EU, particularly Britain, as well as Russia, Serbia, and Turkey.

Hat tip: LGF

PREVIOUSLY, creationist teachings in Germany and Italy were noted here.

Friday, July 11, 2008

How to buy a congressman

Rep. Charlie Rangel, chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, has four rent-controlled New York City apartments provided by the Olnick Organization. The New York Times reports that in the current NYC battle over aggressive evictions of tenants from rent-controlled apartments, Rep. Rangel has sided with the tenants except when Olnick was involved:
The Olnick Organization and other real estate firms have been accused of overzealous tactics as they move to evict tenants from their rent-stabilized apartments and convert the units into market-rate housing.

Tensions are especially inflamed in Harlem, where the rising cost of living and the arrival of more moneyed residents have triggered anxiety over the future of the historically black neighborhood. And Vantage Properties, a company established by Olnick’s former chief operating officer, has attracted billions in private equity financing by promising investors that it can aggressively convert tens of thousands of rent-stabilized apartments, many in Harlem.

Yet Mr. Rangel, a critic of other landlords’ callousness, has been uncharacteristically reticent about Olnick’s actions.
Rangel's rent-controlled rent is $3,894 per month for his four apartments and the NY Times estimates that the uncontrolled rent would be $7,465 to $8,125 per month. That's a savings, in round numbers, of $4,000 per month or $48,000 per year. Should that be enough to assure a congressman's silence?

Hat tip: JamieWearingFool and Instapundit.

PREVIOUSLY in this series: "How to buy a judge"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Scientists find a cause of global warming: cleanliness

Environmental regulations have succeeded in reducing smog. Skies are cleaner now than even just a few decades ago. According to a new paper in Geophysical Research Letters, the cleaner air allows more sunlight to reach the Earth and this may be a major causes global warming. As reported by New Scientist:
GOODBYE air pollution and smoky chimneys, hello brighter days. That's been the trend in Europe for the past three decades - but unfortunately cleaning up the skies has allowed more of the sun's rays to pierce the atmosphere, contributing to at least half the warming that has occurred. ....

Christian Ruckstuhl of the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science in Switzerland and colleagues took aerosol concentrations from six locations in northern Europe, measured between 1986 and 2005, and compared them with solar-radiation measurements over the same period. Aerosol concentrations dropped by up to 60 per cent over the 29-year period, while solar radiation rose by around 1 watt per square metre (Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1029/2008GL034228). "The decrease in aerosols probably accounts for at least half of the warming over Europe in the last 30 years," says Rolf Philipona, a co-author of the study at MeteoSwiss, Switzerland's national weather service. [emphasis added]
If true, then numerical climate simulations, of which the UN is so fond, apparently have the whole aerosol issue backwards:
The latest climate models are built on the assumption that aerosols have their biggest influence by seeding natural clouds, which reflect sunlight. However, the team found that radiation dropped only slightly on cloudy days, suggesting that the main impact of aerosols is to block sunlight directly.
Hat tip: Moonbattery.

PREVIOUSLY, I discussed here a paper which identified solar irradiation as a major influence on the environment and a paper which indicated that much of 'global warming' of terrestrial temperatures was likely due to experimental error. Many examples of the politicization of science by the left were discussed here. The emotional appeal of global warming to the left was discussed here.

The opposite of liberal

In the NY Times, Zev Chafets writes about Rush Limbaugh and his outlook on America:

But Limbaugh’s real hero and constant role model is Ronald Reagan.

Limbaugh admires many aspects of Reaganism, but he is especially animated by his belief in American exceptionalism. “Reagan rejected the notion among liberals and conservatives alike who, for different reasons, believed America was in a permanent state of decline,” he wrote to me in an e-mail message. “He had faith in the wisdom of the American people. . . . He knew America wasn’t perfect, but he also knew it was the most perfect of nations. Reagan was an advocate of Americanism.”

This optimistic forward-looking outlook is the opposite of the depression that infects so many Democrats.

The American exceptionalism, as espoused above by Reagan and Limbaugh, was articulated by Thomas Jefferson.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Birth certificate not forged

Texas Darlin, a pro-Hillary website, has been promoting theories by JimJ (of noquarterusa) and Polarik, that Sen. Obama's birth certificate is a fake. A. J. Strata explains why he thinks that their theories are "BS." Charles Johnson (of Rathergate memo and fauxtography fame) agrees: the birth certificate is genuine.

Previously, Larry Johnson, another blogger at the pro-Hillary site, noquarterusa, was claiming special knowledge of the Michelle Obama whitey tape that he never produced.

UPDATE: Separately, an Obama supporter, Donald Sutherland, is claiming that Hillary supporters are "doing their damndest to undermine" Obama. He may be on to something.

UPDATE II: Someone at AtlasShrugs calling himself "Techdude" is making yet another claim that the Obama certificate is forged. A. J. Strata has replied here.

The New York Times and the art of self-deception

The editors of the NY Times begin their July 4 editorial with:
Senator Barack Obama stirred his legions of supporters, and raised our hopes, promising to change the old order of things. He spoke with passion about breaking out of the partisan mold of bickering and catering to special pleaders, .... Now there seems to be a new Barack Obama on the hustings.
Sen. Obama's campaign promises have ranged from the unrealistic (such as his claim to be able to overcome his partisanship) to bizarre (his claim to stop the oceans from rising). Are the editors at the New York Times be so naive as to believe it all enough that Sen. Obama "raised [their] hopes"? Or, are they just pretending to be naive?

The NY Times then reviews Sen. Obama's changing positions on federal funding of campaigns, "grass-roots"-based fundraising, electronic eavesdropping, "warrantless wiretapping," and federal funding of faith-based charities. The Times finds these flip-flops "perplexing." Of course, they are not "perplexing" except to those who try to delude themselves into thinking that Sen. Obama is something other than the usual say-anything-to-get-elected politician. Not "perplexing" at all.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Liberalism explained as a guilt complex

From John Lennon's last interview:
"No messages from any phony politician are coming through me." I said that earlier and it's still true. That still stands. I dabbled in so-called politics in the late Sixties and Seventies more out of guilt than anything. Guilt for being rich, and guilt thinking that perhaps love and peace isn't enough and you have to go and get shot or something, or get punched in the face, to prove I'm one of the people. I was doing it against my instincts. [p.96 of ISBN:0312254644]

Web censorship debate in Iran

The Iranian parliament has voted make a priority of passing a bill to apply the death penalties to bloggers who harm "mental security in society" by promoting, for example, "corruption" or "apostasy." AFP reports:
Iran's parliament is set to debate a draft bill which could see the death penalty used for those deemed to promote corruption, prostitution and apostasy on the Internet, reports said on Wednesday.

MPs on Wednesday voted to discuss as a priority the draft bill which seeks to "toughen punishment for harming mental security in society," the ISNA news agency said.
One the Iranian parliament's biggest admirers is Bill Clinton. As he explained (link also has the audio) to Charlie Rose in 2005:
[Iran is] the only country in the world that has now had six elections since the first election of President Khatami. [It is] the only one with elections, including the United States, including Israel, including you name it, where the liberals, or the progressives, have won two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote in six elections: two for President; two for the parliament, the Majlis; two for the mayoralities.

In every single election, the guys I identify with got two-thirds to 70% of the vote. There is no other country in the world I can say that about, certainly not my own.
Of course, the Democrats would not try to promote a similar bill to censor US media. The death penalty is too extreme, and they wouldn't say the bill was about "mental security." They might call it instead "the fairness doctrine."

Race obsessed

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Obama running for Bush's 3rd term?

A Wall Street Journal editorial finds some consistency in Sen. Obama's recent policy 'recalibrations' on eavesdropping, NAFTA, gun-rights, welfare reform, and government money for faith-based charities and they conclude:
Most Presidential candidates adapt their message after they win their party nomination, but Mr. Obama isn't merely "running to the center." He's fleeing from many of his primary positions so markedly and so rapidly that he's embracing a sizable chunk of President Bush's policy. Who would have thought that a Democrat would rehabilitate the much-maligned Bush agenda?
UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer also has assembled a good collection of recent Obama flip-flops here. (Hat tip: nogirlemen.)

Modern liberalism as a religious revival

In the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens has an excellent article on the 'global warming' phenomenon. Before discussing the similarity of 'global warming' to previous mass movements, he reviews some science:
NASA now begrudgingly confirms that the hottest year on record in the continental 48 was not 1998, as previously believed, but 1934, and that six of the 10 hottest years since 1880 antedate 1954. Data from 3,000 scientific robots in the world's oceans show there has been slight cooling in the past five years, never mind that "80% to 90% of global warming involves heating up ocean waters," according to a report by NPR's Richard Harris.

The Arctic ice cap may be thinning, but the extent of Antarctic sea ice has been expanding for years. At least as of February, last winter was the Northern Hemisphere's coldest in decades. In May, German climate modelers reported in the journal Nature that global warming is due for a decade-long vacation. But be not not-afraid, added the modelers: The inexorable march to apocalypse resumes in 2020.
So, what makes 'global warming' so compelling to its many true believers? He notes a few of the reasons:
Socialism may have failed as an economic theory, but global warming alarmism, with its dire warnings about the consequences of industry and consumerism, is equally a rebuke to capitalism. Take just about any other discredited leftist nostrum of yore – population control, higher taxes, a vast new regulatory regime, global economic redistribution, an enhanced role for the United Nations – and global warming provides a justification. ....

Surely it is no accident that the principal catastrophe predicted by global warming alarmists is diluvian in nature. Surely it is not a coincidence that modern-day environmentalists are awfully biblical in their critique of the depredations of modern society: "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." That's Genesis, but it sounds like [NASA global warming evangelist] Jim Hansen.

And surely it is in keeping with this essentially religious outlook that the "solutions" chiefly offered to global warming involve radical changes to personal behavior, all of them with an ascetic, virtue-centric bent: drive less, buy less, walk lightly upon the earth and so on. A light carbon footprint has become the 21st-century equivalent of sexual abstinence.

Yes, and you can see that gas-guzzling power-hog Al Gore is clearly in the tradition of the fundamentalist preachers who get caught with prostitutes. The bottom line is that 'global warming' appeals to that all-powerful liberal guilt complex:
Listen carefully to the global warming alarmists, and the main theme that emerges is that what the developed world needs is a large dose of penance. .... In this view, global warming is nature's great comeuppance, affirming as nothing else our guilty conscience for our worldly success.
This is consistent with the Obama campaign with its theme that penance leads to salvation as for example when Sen. Obama preaches that his election will be "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Swedish nanny state

The schools in Sweden have decided that they have the authority to decide who gets invitations to an 8-year boy's birthday party. As reported by the BBC:
An eight-year-old boy has sparked an unlikely outcry in Sweden after failing to invite two of his classmates to his birthday party.

The boy's school says he has violated the children's rights and has complained to the Swedish Parliament. ....

The boy's father has lodged a complaint with the parliamentary ombudsman. ....

The boy handed out his birthday invitations during class-time and when the teacher spotted that two children had not received one the invitations were confiscated. ....

A verdict on the matter is likely to be reached in September, in time for the next school year.
It is a good thing that the Swedish Parliament has nothing more important to do.

Hat tip: Blue Crab Blvd .

When the children are in charge

The (Qatar) Peninsual reports:
Libya's most senior oil official said on Thursday he was studying the possibility of reducing output in response to a US threat to sue OPEC members, although he said the North African country had no concrete plans to do so for now. [emphasis added]
So, the child-like (that is, emotional not rational) threat by the Democrats to sue OPEC gets a child-like response from Libya.

Hat tip: Gateway Pundit.
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