Thursday, December 31, 2009

Black students, harassed for "acting white," get $150,000

The South Carolina Lawyers Weekly (Hat tip: Eugene Volokh) reports that two Black students sued the Williamsburg County School District over racial harassment they claim they received from other Black students. The school district offered and the students accepted a $150,000 settlement:
Both students were African-American, and so was most of the elementary school's student body, according to Kobrovsky [the student's lawyer]. Most students were also black at the high school that her uncle attended.
The problem was the culture of rural Williamsburg County, he said.
"You have a culture where to act like you want to do well in school is considered acting white. And that is part of why we're saying that it was racial, even though the students were all of the same race because they weren't acting how the others thought they should be acting as members of that race," Kobrovsky said.
The uncle testified that racial separation in the county generally meant white students attended private schools while black students attended public schools.
At the public schools, he said, fitting in meant not being what his family was: "churchy," "upright" and wanting education, as another witness put it, according to a trial transcript.
"You see, it's a crime to act white, or it's a crime to be white," the uncle testified.
Harassment, he testified, made him feel that "we are just dumb, we're just not people, we're undergraded, we're degraded, and we're not even supposed to be in this world." [Emph. added]
This is believed to be the "first Title VI lawsuit based on claims of intra-racial discrimination in South Carolina public schools."

Bill Cosby raised the issue back in May 2004: ''boys attacking other boys because the boys are studying and they say, 'You're acting white.''' Later in 2004, in his convention speech, Barack Obama said we need to "eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white." Clarence Page discussed it in more detail:
There's nothing all that extraordinary, really, about kids ridiculing or ostracizing other students for making good grades, but it takes on a disturbing and tragic cast in the black community. When our kids put down their peers for allegedly, quote, "acting white" if they pick up a book or talking white if they use good English. It's disturbing because African-Americans have enough handicaps in the world without adding more of our own making.
It's hard to say how much this sort of negative peer pressure has to do with the persistent black/white achievement gap in schools, but it certainly doesn't help. Black leaders as diverse as Bill Cosby and Barack Obama have said as much. Now comes new word that blacks are not alone. Two Harvard researchers have found the stigmatizing effects of acting white appear to be felt even more by Hispanics who get top grades. Harvard economist Roland Fryer and graduate student Paul Torelli found that higher grades tend to bring more friends to white teens, while just the opposite happens to black and Hispanic youths. [Emph. added]
RELATED: Jesse Jackson is reported to have accused Barack Obama of "acting white" while Ralph Nader accused Obama of trying to "talk white."

WELCOME to readers of Sardonic Sister.

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of racism:
“You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man.”
"The city wasn't ready to hire a white police chief."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Abdulmutallab lawyers-up

The Washington Post reports that the would-be Christmas bomber has stopped talking:
Abdulmutallab remains in a Detroit area prison and, after initial debriefings by the FBI, has restricted his cooperation since securing a defense attorney, according to federal officials.

California global warming rules to backfire

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

France's carbon tax ruled unconstitutional

The Constitutional Council of France has ruled that France's planned carbon tax is unconstitutional. Like the cap-and-tax proposals in the US Congress, the French law exempted the biggest polluters from the tax. (An impressive 93% of CO2 emissions were exempt.) The Council determined that these exemptions (a) "[ran] counter to the aim of fighting climate change" and (b) created "inequalities" that were unfair to those who did pay the tax. This apparently violates a some French efficacy and fairness requirements, making the tax unconstitutional.

One wonders what would happen to US laws if they were subjected to similar constitutional requirements.

With enough gov't spending, murderers will become nice people

The Detroit News reports on a felony murder case of an infant by her mother and the mother's boyfriend:

Authorities believe the infant girl, Asia Wyatt, was beaten to death at a home in the 600 block of Prentis on Dec. 24. The girl's 21-year-old mother then concealed the death for about a day before calling EMS on Dec. 25, Detroit Police 2nd Deputy Chief John Roach said.

"The facts of this case will be revealed in court," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy said in a statement today. "While I understand that parenting classes cannot be mandatory before parenting children, too many cases are occurring in Wayne County."

Murders can be prevented by classroom lectures? Doesn't that sound about as plausible as having been able to stop Hilter with more of Chamberlain's diplomacy, or as stopping Iran's nuclear development by offering to be nice to them.

Hat tip: Instapundit and Sand in the Gears

His 30 pieces of silver does not make him popular

The special deals for Nebraska that Sen. Reid gave to Sen. Nelson (D-NE) in exchange for his vote on Obamacare has not made him popular in Nebraska.  Rasmussen reports that a mere 17% of Nebraskans approve:

Just 17% of Nebraska voters approve of the deal their senator made on Medicaid in exchange for his vote in support of the plan. Overall, 64% oppose the health care legislation, including 53% who are Strongly Opposed. In Nebraska, opposition is even stronger than it is nationally.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters in the state believe that passage of the legislation will hurt the quality of care, and 62% say it will raise costs.....

Forty-two percent (42%) say their senator has been too supportive of President Obama’s agenda while 13% say he’s not been supportive enough. Thirty percent (30%) say he’s got the balance about right.

Interestingly, Obamacare even less popular among the uninsured, the supposed beneficiaries of the plan, than among the insured, as Ed Morrissey details:
Here’s an interesting internal: among those uninsured, 62% disapprove of Nelson after his vote on ObamaCare.  In fact, fewer uninsured approve of Nelson (37%) than insured (39%).

The root cause of terrorism

The Washington Post reports:
The 23-year-old Nigerian man accused of the attempted Christmas Day bombing of an American airliner apparently turned to the Internet for counseling and companionship, writing in an online forum that he was "lonely" and had "never found a true Muslim friend."

"I have no one to speak too [sic]," read a posting from January 2005, when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was attending boarding school. "No one to consult, no one to support me and I feel depressed and lonely. I do not know what to do. And then I think this loneliness leads me to other problems."

"He always did the bare minimum of work," [Fabrizio Cavallo] Marincola [who studied with Abdulmutallab at University College London] said of his classmate, who he said was nicknamed "Biggie."

"When we were studying, he always would go off to pray," Marincol continued. "He was pretty quiet and didn't socialize much or have a girlfriend that I knew of."
Hat tip: Instapundit.

In all cultures, there are young, depressed, lonely people who may occasionally feel suicidal. What is different about Islam is that it offers such people an easy path to honor and glory through the killing of infidels. In other cultures, by contrast, achieving honor and glory tends to require sustained hard work.

RELATED: While Democrats tend to believe that the root cause of terrorism is poverty, Michelle Malkin discusses "the wealthy, pampered lifestyle of would-be Christmas Day bomber Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab."

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers.

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of terrorism
-Gitmo torture: Metallica is proud of its music's message to terrorists
-Speaker Pelosi's deep thoughts on giving Miranda rights to terrorists.
-AG Eric Holder was for enhanced interrogation before he was against it.
-The NY Times finally admits we were fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq
-Gitmo torture tactic revealed: "she touched my thigh!"
-NY Times skeptical of Bush but trusts terrorists
-Global warming predicted to cause more terrorism
-Before Al Qaeda: the socialist-terrorist alliance of the 1980s
-Islam forbids silk neckties for men

More vote fraud: New York State

Vote early, vote often is the Democrat's motto.  New York City Democrats appear to have been putting that into practice by voting in elections illegally at their second homes, successfully swinging election outcomes, for example, in rural Columbia County, New York.  New York requires residents to vote only at their primary residence.  John Fund reports

In a closely contested race for local offices, more than 20% of the ballots were cast by absentees, almost all of them by weekend residents who appeared to have delivered narrow victories to local Democrats. In response, Republicans have sued, pointing to evidence that many of the absentees were people whose jobs, drivers licenses and primary residences were in New York City and legally should have voted there. Some may even have voted in both jurisdictions. Approximately 60 absentee ballots are at issue and could sway the result of some races if disqualified.

The case will be heard by a local judge in State Supreme Court in Columbia County tomorrow. Evidence before him will include spreadsheets showing that many of the county's absentee voters had signed affidavits for property tax exemptions on homes outside of Columbia County or signed second-home riders on mortgages securing their Columbia County property. Those riders explicitly say their primary residences are elsewhere.

Hat tip: Instapundit.

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of vote fraud:
How to buy a vote
NJ Dems demand equal rights for fraudulent voters
Nevada accuses ACORN of 39 felonies
Three Obama supporters plead guilty
Another ex-ACORN worker pleads guilty
An insider's guide to vote fraud
Vote fraud update
Absentee ballot and dishonest elections
Fraud and Deceit in 2004

MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 2009

The "unbiased" news media is always good for a laugh and Fox's morning show reviews some of the highlights from the Media Research Center's 2009 awards:

Hat tip: GatewayPundit

Yemen blames US

The Canadian Press reports:
Yemen's government said Tuesday the U.S. should have shared its warnings about the Nigerian suspect in the botched Christmas Day airline attack, and said it was tightening restrictions on student visas like the one that allowed the young man to enter the country.

Information Minister Hassan al-Lozy confirmed that Umar Faruk Abdulmutallab spent two extended periods in Yemen, as recently as this month,....

Al-Lozy said that the U.S. never shared its suspicions about Abdulmutallab with Yemen, a largely lawless country that has turned into a key stronghold for al-Qaida.

"We didn't get any notice from the Americans to put this man on a list," al-Lozy said. "America should have told Yemen about this man, as they have of others." [Emph. added]

If US airline passengers must endure the pointless indignities of the TSA, the least that our government could do is keep its watch lists up to date.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Obama and the Iranian freedom protests

Why to close gitmo, not

ABC News reports:
Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.

The suspected bomber, 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, told FBI agents he was trained for his Christmas Day mission in Yemen by top leaders of al Qaeda who provided him with the explosive materials. [Emph. added]
Hat tip: Moonbattery.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Napolitano and the Christmas bomber

With regards to the would-be Christmas bomber, Janet Napolitano, the current Secretary of Homeland Security, declares "the system worked." On the other had, (a) the security screening failed to find his bomb, (b) her department failed to put the known and Al Qaeda-trained terrorist on its no-fly list and (c) the only reason the plane's passengers survived was because one passenger, a Dutch film maker, spotted the smoke and disarmed the bomb. Even CNN had a hard time swallowing the administration's spin. Michelle Malkin summarizes Sec. Napolitano's first year:
Beginning with her embrace of the impotent euphemism “man-caused disasters” to the hit job on conservatives and veterans that she was forced to apologize for, to her assertion that crossing the border illegally “isn’t a crime per se”, to her boneheaded claim that 9/11 terrorists came in through the Canadian border, Ja-No has confirmed time and again that she’s not ready for prime time.
The TSA's response, which is to promote new rules, limiting passenger access to pillows and bathrooms breaks, seems hopelessly ineffective.

The solution for effective aircraft security, as Israel discovered decades ago, is not so much to look for weapons or bombs as it is to look for terrorists. Passengers are screened verbally. In this case, the would-be terrorist, even if it wasn't known that his father told the US he was a likely terrorist, should have been easily spotted: "he claimed to be traveling to Detroit for two weeks to visit friends, but had no luggage with him beyond a small carry-on."

Lesson of the day: neckties and Islam

In Islam, it is forbidden ("haraam") for men to wear silk neckties.  Shaykh Muhammad S Al Munajjid explains:
The scholars are agreed that it is permissible for women to wear and use pure silk, and that it is haraam for men to do so, because of the hadeeth of ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) took a piece of silk in his right hand and a piece of gold in his left, held them aloft and said: “These are haraam for the males of my ummah and permitted for the females.” (Reported by Ibn Maajah, 2/1189).
Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, of the London Mosque, warns that "men and women sometimes are so indistinguishable that in the streets people are mistaken one for the other" and the purpose of this rule, in part, is to maintain the distinction.

Separately, the blog "The Religion of Peace" reports that "Islamic terrorists have carried out more than 14,569 deadly terror attacks since 9/11."  The owner of the blog has received a death threat.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Democrats disappointed in Obama

Even Democrats are starting to see problems with the leadership of last year's Messiah. Drew Westen, a psychologist and Puffington Host blogger, writes:
Somehow the president has managed to turn a base of new and progressive voters he himself energized like no one else could in 2008 into the likely stay-at-home voters of 2010, souring an entire generation of young people to the political process. .....
Westen believes, bizarre as it may sound, that Pres. Obama's current unpopularity is due to his having "tack[ed] to the center" and the solution is for Obama to govern from further to the left.

By constrast, William M. Daley, of the Chicago political machine, reviews all the bad poll numbers and, instead of the renewed radicalism that Westen wants, recommends moderation:

Despite this raft of bad news, Democrats are not doomed to return to the wilderness. The question is whether the party is prepared to listen carefully to what the American public is saying. ....

All that is required for the Democratic Party to recover its political footing is to acknowledge that the agenda of the party's most liberal supporters has not won the support of a majority of Americans -- and, based on that recognition, to steer a more moderate course on the key issues of the day, ....

Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress seem happy with themselves to be on the brink of sinking the US health care system, as Gary Varvel illustrates:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Health care cuts to be decided in secret

Sen. Reid and Speaker Pelosi are expected to bypass the normal conference committee process and instead to meet behind closed doors to reconcile their two Obamacare bills. If you have forgotten candidate Obama promising to broadcast such negotiations on CSPAN as part of a new era of transparency, then watch this video:

Hat tip: Astute Bloggers.

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of Democrats lying:
Lie to me
Lying as a political strategy
Lies that feel good
Faking the news
We had to figure out how to deal with a former president who was just lying
Democrats and Ethics: some poll results
Dems accuse Gen. Petraeus of lying
Lying about history
News media fakery
Liberal claims dishonesty is a virtue

A visit from the ghost of health care future

We all know that the budget estimates for Obamacare are dishonest. Bish illustrates:But then, Democrats like dishonesty.

Consider what the Obama campaign says the Senate version of Obamacare will accomplish:
-- Finally stop insurance companies from denying coverage due to a pre-existing condition.

-- Make sure you will never be charged exorbitant premiums on the basis of your age, health, or gender.

-- Allow young people to stay on their parents' coverage until they're 26 years old.
To anyone who understands how insurance works (shared risk), it is obvious that all those changes will increase insurance rates. Blue Cross Blue Shield says rates will increase 54%. But then, Democrats expect to be lied to.

RELATED: Michelle Malkin discusses Obamacare and defining dependency up and Obamacare as a lump of coal.

PREVIOUSLY on Obamacare:
Obamacare may raise insurance costs by 54%

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of Democrats lying:
Lie to me
Lying as a political strategy
Lies that feel good
Faking the news
We had to figure out how to deal with a former president who was just lying
Democrats and Ethics: some poll results
Dems accuse Gen. Petraeus of lying
Lying about history
News media fakery
Liberal claims dishonesty is a virtue

Lie to me

One of the frightening things about liberals is the degree to which they consider dishonesty to be acceptable in pursuit of their goals.  For example, left-liberal historian Garry Wills writes:
I did not think he would lose me so soon—sooner than Bill Clinton did. Like many people, I was deeply invested in the success of our first African-American president. I had written op-ed pieces and articles to support him in The New York Times and The New York Review of Books. My wife and I had maxed out in donations for him. Our children had been ardent for his cause. ....

He said that he would not oppose war in general, but dumb wars. On that basis, we went for him. And now he betrays us. Although he talked of a larger commitment to Afghanistan during his campaign, he has now officially adopted his very own war, one with all the disqualifications that he attacked in the Iraq engagement. This war too is a dumb one. It has even less indigenous props than Iraq did.

Iraq at least had a functioning government (though a tyrannical one). The Afghanistan government that replaced the Taliban is not only corrupt but ineffectual. The country is riven by tribal war, Islamic militancy, and warlordism, and fueled by a drug economy —interrupting the drug industry will destabilize what order there is and increase hostility to us.

We have been in Afghanistan for eight years, earning hatred as occupiers, and after this record for longevity in American wars we will be there for still more years earning even more hatred. It gives us not another Iraq but another Vietnam, with wobbly rulers and an alien culture.

As Wills acknowledges, Obama campaigned on a pledge to not merely continue but to emphasize the Afghan war.  Wills, however, is deeply disappointed that the position wasn't a lie.

Wills has other complaints about Obama:
His backtracking on the treatment of torture (and photographs of torture), his hesitations to give up on rendition, on detentions, on military commissions, and on signing statements, are disheartening continuations of George W. Bush’s heritage.
As an historian, Wills should be aware that rendition, military commissions, and signing statements were not originated by Pres. Bush. Bush's military commissions, for example, were modeled on those set up by FDR. Acknowledging such history would of course interfere with Wills' liberal self-righteousness. In these instances, Wills appears to be lying to himself.

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of Democrats lying:
Lying as a political strategy
Lies that feel good
Faking the news
We had to figure out how to deal with a former president who was just lying
Democrats and Ethics: some poll results
Dems accuse Gen. Petraeus of lying
Lying about history
News media fakery
Liberal claims dishonesty is a virtue

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New scientific paper says CO2 irrelevant to climate

A new paper from Prof. Lu of the University of Waterloo suggests that global warming has been caused by halogens, not by CO2. Halogens had previously been associated with the ozone hole and Lu suggests that, through a mechanism that also involves cosmic rays and atmospheric ice crystals, halogenated molecules may also control global temperatures. His 87-page paper on the subject, to be published in Physics Reports, can be found here. In the plot below, he compares the rise and fall of halogen concentrations, measured as "equivalent effective stratospheric chlorine" (EESC), with global temperatures: Since halogens were banned by the 1987 Montreal Protocol, the EESC concentrations have started to decline. Note that this decline seems to match the decline in global temperatures observed this decade. If Lu's theory is correct, then we can expect to see declining temperatures for several more decades as EESC values drop back to natural levels.

Senate Republicans are despicable

Roll Call reports;
Senate Republicans have agreed to end their filibuster of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) health care reform bill a few hours early, allowing for a vote at 8 a.m. on Christmas Eve.
This is an issue that grass-roots Republicans consider to be the most important of the year, truly a matter of life and death, and the Senate Republicans don't care enough about it to stay late.

The Republicans should be using every parliamentary trick available to bring Senate business to a halt until Democrats agree to drop Obamacare. Instead, they are going home early. It is no wonder that a Tea Party candidate would outpoll a Republican even though there is no political party called "Tea Party."

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has more.

Obama reaches record of -21% on net approval.
Poll shows Democrats have lost their minds: they see ghosts.
Obama's polls consistently worse than Carter.

White House honors mass murderer

The White House has decorated its Christmas tree this year and BigGovernment reports that the tree has an ornament to honor one of the 20th century's most brutal dictators, Mao Tse-Tung:Mao ZeDong (the alternate transliteration) is estimated to be responsible for 40 to 70 million deaths.

Obama sets yet another record

With Obamacare reaching the 60 votes needed for cloture in the Senate, Obama's strong disapproval ratings among likely voters has shot up to 46%. His approval index (strongly approve minus strongly disapprove) has now reached a record of -21:56% of likely voters disapprove somewhat or more of Obama's performance while only 44% approve somewhat or more. Among the critical unaffiliated voter block, Rasmussen reports that 62% disapprove.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Palm Pre vs. iPhone

In a strange town, as a friend and I were about to drive to the airport, he starts asking people for directions.  He had an iPhone with GPS but the iPhone's GPS, he explained, is worthless.  All it does it show google map info which, although good, is hard to use when driving.  By contrast, the GPS app that comes with a Palm Pre provides not just a map but also spoken turn-by-turn directions.  Street names are pronounced also.

You can buy GPS apps for the iPhone that provide spoken directions although the cost is about the same as a stand-alone GPS machine and you will encounter another iPhone limitation: it has trouble doing two things at once.  If you have the GPS app running you might not be able to play music or, if playing, you might not be able to change songs.  The source of this is that the iPhone's operating system is not true multitasking.  By contrast, the Palm Pre's OS is Linux which is true multitasking so you can run many apps simultaneously and switch between them effortlessly.  Thus, on the Palm Pre, the music and GPS apps run side-by-side with no problem. 

Another big advantage of the Pre is that it doesn't use AT&T.  For whatever reason, AT&T's cell phone service has such a bad reputation that even Saturday Night Live has made fun of it

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

White House threatens Nebraska

Nebraska's Sen Nelson is one of the Democrats on the fence about Obamacare.  According to the Weekly Standard, the White House is planning a counter-attack against him:
According to a Senate aide, the White House is now threatening to put Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base on the BRAC list if Nelson doesn't fall into line.

Offutt Air Force Base employs some 10,000 military and federal employees in Southeastern Nebraska. As our source put it, this is a "naked effort by Rahm Emanuel and the White House to extort Nelson's vote." They are "threatening to close a base vital to national security for what?" asked the Senate staffer.

Indeed, Offutt is the headquarters for US Strategic Command, the successor to Strategic Air Command, ....
Of course, playing politics with national security is nothing new for Democrats.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A lighter look at our current disaster

With trillion dollar deficits, double-digit unemployment and the threats to freedom that the proposed cap-and-trade and health care legislation represent, it may be hard for Americans find something in our political situation at which to laugh. But, watch this and try:
Hat tip: GatewayPundit.

PREVIOUSLY, on the subject of poll numbers slip sliding away:
Obama polls reach another record low
Poll shows Democrats have lost their minds: twice as likely to have seen a ghost as Republicans.
If there were a Tea Party, it would out-poll the GOP.
For 306 straight days, Obama's polls have never been above Carter's.

The commander-in-chief is clueless

CBS "60 minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft interviewed Pres. Obama on Sunday:
KROFT: In your West Point speech, you seemed very analytical, detached, not emotional. The tone seemed to be, ‘I’ve studied this situation very hard. It’s a real mess. The options aren’t very good. But we need to go ahead and do this.’ There were no exhortations or promises of victory. Why? Why that tone?

OBAMA: You know, that was actually probably the most emotional speech that I’ve made, in terms of how I felt about it. Because I was looking out over a group of cadets, some of whom are going to be deployed in Afghanistan. And potentially some might not come back.

There is not a speech that I've made that hit me in the gut as much as that speech. And one of the mistakes that was made over the last eight years is for us to have a triumphant sense about war. There was a tendency to say, ‘We can go in. We can kick some tail. This is some glorious exercise.’ When in fact, this is a tough business.

The superficiality of this response is mind-boggling. He has reduced the difficult issue of denying Al Qaeda a sanctuary in the historically ungovernable country of Afghanistan down to clich├ęs about "triumph" or "kicking tail." How could he have listened to seven years of Bush speeches on Afghanistan and reduced it all down to Bush just wanting a "glorious exercise"?

Democrats are always warning about repeating the mistakes of Vietnam. Yet, here is Obama in office and, by not providing the resources that the military says they need to succeed while also scheduling a defeat in advance, he is doing his best to guarantee a Vietnam-like debacle.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Obama sets another record

Rsmussen tracks Pres. Obama's approval index as the percent of likely voters who strongly support him minus the percent who strongly disapprove. Up until two days ago, this index had never dropped below -15. Today, it has dropped to a record of -19:The strong approval number has dropped to 23% while the strong disapproval has risen to 42%. Among the important "unaffiliated" voters, strong disapprovals, at 49%, outnumber strong approvals, at 21%, by more than two to one.

Separately, only 41% support the Obamacare bill currently working through Congress while 51% oppose. This is the first time that support for the bill has stayed this low for two weeks in a row.

PREVIOUSLY, on the subject of recent polls:
Democrats twice as likely to have seen a ghost as Republicans.
If there were a Tea Party, it would out-poll the GOP.
For 306 straight days, Obama's polls have never been above Carter's.

Pew study says Dems have lost their minds

Democrats I know often claim that they are more rational than other humans, in part, because they have cast aside ancient superstitions like Christianity. According to a recent Pew survey (full study-PDF), Democrats may have cast aside Christianity but they have replaced it with primitive superstitions. For example, Democrats are twice as likely to have seen a ghost as Republicans:Hat tip: Byron York.

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of liberal spirituality:
Obama campaign becomes a "transcendent" "religious" movement
Atheism is a belief shared by Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, and Democrats
Obama supporters tell of spiritual conversion

Saturday, December 12, 2009

One might think that the heart of Pres. Obama's jobs plan was to make health care expenses less predictable and most likely higher. His jobs policy, however, also extends to regulating (and raising the price of) everything to do with transportation and energy. Chip Bok illustrates the effect on the economy:
Is this really a joke? If these estimates are correct that humans breathing produce as much as 5% to 12% of all human-caused CO2, how long will it be before the EPA really does start asking us to hold our breath? It seems that there nothing that "global warming" will not allow them to regulate.

PREVIOUSLY on global warmism:
UN IPCC responds to Climategate with wild accusations
Surprise: EU's carbon trading riddled with fraud
Global warming and the test of science, III
Global warming and the test of science, II
Global warming and the test of science, I
141 scientists wrote letter to UN challenging global warming hysteria.
Ma'am Sen. Boxer for and against climate whistleblowers.
BBC propaganda on global warming
Climate alarmist Phil Jones to step down pending review
Why Penn State's investigation of its global warmist will go nowhere
Former boss calls James Hansen call an embarrassment to NASA
NASA's global warming scientists caught hyping false data
James Hansen "muzzled" by Bush White House?

Friday, December 11, 2009

UN IPCC responds to Climategate with wild accusations

At a press conference in Copenhagen, journalist Phelim McAleer asked IPCC official and Stanford Professor Stephen Schneider about Climategate. Dr. Schneider responds by claiming that the Climategate e-mails had been "redacted'':
"I don't make comments based on redacted e-mails presented to me by people who values I don't trust.''

Reporter McAleer and his cameraman were removed from the press conference by armed UN guards, reportedly at the request of Schneider's staff.

Since none of the people involved in Climategate have disputed the accuracy of the e-mails, Prof. Schneider's claim that the e-mails were redacted seems both desperate and ill-informed.

It is also revealing that, with all the news media covering the conference in Copenhagen, a UN IPCC official such as Dr. Schneider was taken by surprise by a simple question on Climategate. Apparently, they must feel so confident in the docility of the international press that they are not bothering to prepare responses.

Obama sets records

Pres. Obama continues to set records. One of them is that his approving rating at this point in his presidency is the lowest in the history of polling. White House Press Secretary Gibbs responded to the poll results by comparing Gallup to a kid with a crayon. Jay Leno put Gibb's claim in perspective:
“President Obama’s approval rating hit a new low of 47 percent, according to the latest Gallup poll. But White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that a 6-year-old with a crayon could come up with the same poll results. I bet it’s the same 6-year-old with a crayon that came up with the last budget.”
Another impressive Obama accomplishment has been that, for the entire period of his first 306 days in office, Obama's job approval was been as low or lower than Pres. Carter's:

More on this and other Obama-Carter comparisons can be found at WorseThanCarter.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Surprise: EU's carbon trading riddled with fraud

EuroPol, the EU law enforcement organization, reports that carbon trading is up to 90% fraudulent:
The European Union (EU) Emission Trading System (ETS) has been the victim of fraudulent traders in the past 18 months. This resulted in losses of approximately 5 billion euros for several national tax revenues. It is estimated that in some countries, up to 90% of the whole market volume was caused by fraudulent activities.
Hat tip: Instapundit and Volokh Conspiracy

EuroPol provides a helpful diagram (PDF) explaining how "carbon credit carousel fraud" works (click image to enlarge):
Some Americans may be jealous of these rich opportunities that the EU offers to criminals. Do not despair, however, because the Democrats hope to start a similar cap-and-trade scheme here in the US.

Scientists v. UN

Obama as a master communicator

There are many times when Pres. Obama's thoughts seem muddled and incoherent (e.g. is he for or against huge deficits?). At other times, his communications can be crystal clear as here when he he flips the bird to Hillary:
The crowd reaction leaves no doubt that they understand what he did.

Watch here as he flips the bird to a Mayor who supported Hillary:

Here he gives the finger to John McCain:

Hat tip: GatewayPundit and RightWingNews.

In a different form of hate speech, Sen. Reid, on Monday, compared Republicans to the pre-civil-war defenders of slavery. Apparently, he is unaware which party it was that actually supported slavery.

Obama disses Norway

The (UK) Guardian reports that Norwegians are "incensed" over Pres. Obama's decision to skip events normally associated with receiving a Nobel prize:
Barack Obama's trip to Oslo to pick up his Nobel peace award is in danger of being overshadowed by a row over the cancellation of a series of events normally attended by the prizewinner.

Norwegians are incensed over what they view as his shabby response to the prize by cutting short his visit.

The White House has cancelled many of the events peace prize laureates traditionally submit to, including a dinner with the Norwegian Nobel committee, a press conference, a television interview, appearances at a children's event promoting peace and a music concert, as well as a visit to an exhibition in his honour at the Nobel peace centre.

He has also turned down a lunch invitation from the King of Norway.
The Guardian also reports that there will be protests against Obama's decision to wait 18 months before he surrenders Afghanistan to Al Qaeda and the Taliban :
Peace activists opposed to the Afghanistan war are planning a 5,000-strong protest in Oslo.
You can't please everyone.

PREVIOUSLY, on the general subject of Obama's foreign policy:
"Obama, Obama, you are either with us or with them,"
Iran accepts Obama's surrender
Obama angers Iran
Obama gets an education
Krauthammer on a roll
Obama's go-it-alone foreign policy: Russian edition
Obama alienates Germany
Obama's charm offensive not working
Obama snubs Brazil
Obama insults Britain
On Iran's nuclear program, Obama abandons cooperation with Europe
Obama antagonizes India

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

GOP: a dead brand

Rasmussen asked likely voters to "assume that the Tea Party movement organized as a new political party" and them asked them who they would vote for. Despite 6 months of the MSM's obscene comments and ridicule, the Tea Party outpolled the GOP:
In a three-way Generic Ballot test, the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds Democrats attracting 36% of the vote. The Tea Party candidate picks up 23%, and Republicans finish third at 18%. Another 22% are undecided.

Among voters not affiliated with either major party, the Tea Party comes out on top. Thirty-three percent (33%) prefer the Tea Party candidate, and 30% are undecided. Twenty-five percent (25%) would vote for a Democrat, and just 12% prefer the GOP.

Conservatives should be the Republican party base but little more than half of conservatives consider themselves Republicans and those who vote Republican overwhelmingly think their leaders are "out of touch":
Data from the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows that just 55% of conservatives nationwide consider themselves Republicans. Recent polling shows that 73% of Republican voters believe their leaders in Washington are out of touch with the party base.
The Republicans in Washington need to hold a strategy session.

Hat tip: B. Daniel Blatt

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Lt. Col. Allen West tells it like it is

Lt. Col. Allen West is running against incumbent rep. Ron Klein (D-FL) in Florida's 22nd district. Watch him speak:

West previously made news for his controversial, among liberals anyway, but apparently successful anti-terror efforts in Iraq. CNN reported on the controversial part which was West's interrogation of a suspected terror-sympathizer:
West said the policeman, Yahya Jhrodi Hamoody, was not cooperating with interrogators, .... [West took] the suspect outside, put him on the ground near a weapons clearing barrel and fired his 9 mm pistol into the barrel.

Apparently not knowing where West's gun was aimed, Hamoody cracked and gave information about the planned ambush on West's convoy, thwarting the attack.

West said there were no further ambushes on U.S. forces in Taji until he was relieved of his leadership post on October 4. ....

Asked if he would have act differently if under similar circumstances again, West testified, "If it's about the lives of my soldiers at stake, I'd go through hell with a gasoline can."
If I were under his command, he would have my loyalty.

You can read more about this decorated veteran here.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Obamacare may raise insurance costs by 54%

The Wall Street Journal writes:
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has found that premiums in the individual market will rise on average by 54% over the status quo, which translates into an extra $3,341 a year for families and $1,576 for singles. The White House denounced the report as a "sham" before it was even released, which shows how seriously it takes such concerns. ....

Blue Cross found costs will rise if Democrats force insurers to cover anyone who applies and then limit how much insurers are allowed to charge based on age or health condition. Economists call this adverse selection; people will wait until they're sick to buy coverage, and the Democratic rules make it perfectly rational for them to do so.
The Wall Street Journal quotes from a White House blog to illustrate just how clueless the Obama administration is about the relevant economics:
"And you can bet as we continue to make progress," communications director Dan Pfeiffer wrote on the White House blog, "the insurance industry will continue to try and distract and misinform because they know their very profitable status quo is in grave danger." He must be referring to the industry's overall profit margin of 2.2% in 2008. [Emph. added]
PREVIOUSLY on Obamacare:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Obama conquers the fog of war

Often, if you wage a war, you don't know who is going to win. By providing a surrender date in advance, has Pres. Obama removed all the mystery?

Chip Bok illustrates how Obama's plan works: Is this a plan that our soldiers should be willing to die for?


Ma'am Sen. Boxer was for climate whistleblowers before she was against them.

Her confusion on Afghanistan, Obamacare, and other issues is discussed by Matt Lewis at Townhall.

Obama hears us!

From DayByDay. Hat tip: Don Surber.

Unbiased news report of the day

Often news reporters are highly skillful at being biased, being able to twist the facts so subtly to fit their narrative (example: BBC). At other times, news bias is just silly as in this headline from a local CBS news channel:
The headline reads "Popular NY Dem Suozzi concedes defeat" and refers to Democrat Tom Suozzi's loss to Republican Edward Mangano for the county executive position in Nassau County on NY's Long Island.

If Democrat Suozzi were actually the "popular" candidate in the race, don't you think he would have won the election?

Hat tip: James Taranto.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Obama's speech

Pres. Obama has called on our troops to fight and die in Afghanistan for 18 months after which he may decide to surrender, depending on the "conditions on the ground."  Is that the kind of leadership that you would find inspiring?

One of the more bizarre passages in the speech was:
On September 11, 2001, nineteen men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000 people. ....  They took the lives of innocent men, women, and children without regard to their faith or race or station. [Emph. added]
Why is that important to Obama?  Is he trying to offer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed a possible legal defense against charges that 9-11 was a hate-crime?

BookwormRoom has more on last night's speech.  Still more from Michelle Malkin.

Related: A 95-year Navy vet asks Obama to "shape-up."

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The BBC is a master of the art of propaganda

In an article on Phil Jones resignation, the BBC writes about the controversial e-mails:

'Out of context'

At the time that the theft of the data was revealed climate sceptics picked up on the word "trick" in one e-mail from 1999 and talk of "hiding the decline".

Professor Jones said the e-mail was genuine but taken "completely out of context".

He released a copy of the actual e-email which reads: "I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline."

Professor Jones said: "The first thing to point out is that this refers to one diagram - not a scientific paper.

"The word 'trick' was used here colloquially as in a clever thing to do. It is ludicrous to suggest that it refers to anything untoward."

The first thing to note is that, out of all the e-mails, the BBC has picked a single word, "trick," to discuss. They have done this because it is the easiest for Jones to defend. Then they proceed to let Jones offer his defense without a single interruption. Jones explains, correctly, that, in science, a "trick" is often a good thing. The professional trained journalists at the BBC fail to ask the obvious question: what was "the decline" that he was hiding and why? Also, they let him get away with a howler:
Professor Jones said: "The first thing to point out is that this refers to one diagram - not a scientific paper.
That "one diagram" was not just any diagram. It was the centerpiece of global warmist propaganda. It, for example, appeared on the cover of the World Meteorological Organization's report (PDF): "WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 1999."

You can find excellent analyses  of the ClimateGate e-mails that put the e-mails in much needed context but you won't find those analyses in the legacy media.  You will find them on the web if, for example, you click here, here, here, here, or here.

Climate alarmist Phil Jones to step down pending review

The AP reports:

Britain's University of East Anglia says the director of its prestigious Climatic Research Unit is stepping down pending an investigation into allegations that he overstated the case for man-made climate change.

The university says Phil Jones will relinquish his position until the completion of an independent review into allegations that he worked to alter the way in which global temperature data was presented.

Among the released e-mails was one from Jones asking a colleague to "delete any e-mails you may have had with Keith [Briffa] re [the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report]." To do an effective investigation, the university would have to have seized the computers he used (at least the ones owned and controlled by the university) before Jones had the chance to delete any more data or correspondence. I doubt that they have done that: such a seizure would be ungentlemanly. Consequently, their university investigation is unlikely to uncover anything that Jones doesn't want them to find.

Rep. Hinchey: Bush 'intentionally let bin Laden get away'

On MSNBC, Rep. Hinchey (D-NY) says the Bush administration "intentionally let bin Laden get away.... That was done by the previous administration because they knew very well if they would capture Al Qaeda there would be no justification for an invasion in Iraq":
The MSNBC host challenges Rep. Hinchey's theory. I wonder if that will cause a backlash by the netroots against the network.

Rep. Hinchey was one of the 11 co-sponsors of the Kucinich resolution to impeach Pres. Geo. W. Bush.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Huckabee on the left, II

Maurice Clemmons, currently sought in the execution-style murders of four police officers, would still have been in prison on a 108-year sentence except that Gov. Huckabee (R-AK) commuted his sentence. This was one of several controversial pardons by the former governor.

Huckabee's policies as governor were often more left than right. (He has sometimes been called a pro-life liberal.) I had previously discussed his foreign policy ideas which were based on inappropriate childhood analogies, something that is common on the left.

I'd buy this guy a tank of gas!

From one of those circulating e-mails:

Hat tip: Rob.

Obama has no trouble making decisions, except when they're hard

James Taranto provides the details.

"Obama, Obama, you are either with us or with them,"

So chanted Iranian pro-democracy demonstrators last Nov. 4 on the 30th anniversary of the seizure of the American embassy. Dr. Foud Ajami, noted author and a professor at Johns Hopkins University, says that the pro-democracy side was disappointed with Obama's answer:
By not responding to these cries and continuing to "engage" Tehran's murderous regime, his choice was made clear.
Dr. Ajami also reports that reality has caused Pres. Obama to back down from his campaign pledge to solve the Kashmir problem:
[Obama] was quick to assert, in the course of his exuberant campaign for president last year, that his diplomacy in South Asia would start with the standoff in Kashmir. In truth India had no interest in an international adjudication of Kashmir. What was settled during the partition in 1947 was there to stay. In recent days, Mr. Obama walked away from earlier ambitions. "Obviously, there are historic conflicts between India and Pakistan," he said. "It's not the place of the United States to try to, from the outside, resolve those conflicts."
In another disappointment, Obama's apology tour to the middle east has failed to make friends:

It was the norm for American liberalism during the Bush years to brandish the Pew Global Attitudes survey that told of America's decline in the eyes of foreign nations. Foreigners were saying what the liberals wanted said.

Now those surveys of 2009 bring findings from the world of Islam that confirm that the animus toward America has not been radically changed by the ascendancy of Mr. Obama. In the Palestinian territories, 15% have a favorable view of the U.S. while 82% have an unfavorable view. The Obama speech in Ankara didn't seem to help in Turkey, where the favorables are 14% and those unreconciled, 69%. In Egypt, a country that's reaped nearly 40 years of American aid, things stayed roughly the same: 27% have a favorable view of the U.S. while 70% do not. In Pakistan, a place of great consequence for American power, our standing has deteriorated: The unfavorables rose from 63% in 2008 to 68% this year.

Dr. Ajami explains why a policy of apologies fails to earn respect:

Steeped in an overarching idea of American guilt, Mr. Obama and his lieutenants offered nothing less than a doctrine, and a policy, of American penance. No one told Mr. Obama that the Islamic world, where American power is engaged and so dangerously exposed, it is considered bad form, nay a great moral lapse, to speak ill of one's own tribe when in the midst, and in the lands, of others.

The crowd may have applauded the cavalier way the new steward of American power referred to his predecessor, but in the privacy of their own language they doubtless wondered about his character and his fidelity. "My brother and I against my cousin, my cousin and I against the stranger," goes one of the Arab world's most honored maxims. The stranger who came into their midst and spoke badly of his own was destined to become an object of suspicion. [Emph. added]

Jimmy Carter similarly committed a "great moral lapse" when he abandoned the Shah of Iran, an American ally, in favor of Ayatollah Khomeini ("the saint") and it did not earn him Khomeini's respect.

It is going to be a long four years.

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of Obama's Iran policy:
Iran accepts Obama's surrender
Obama angers Iran

PREVIOUSLY, on the general subject of Obama's foreign policy:
Obama gets an education
Krauthammer on a roll
Obama's go-it-alone foreign policy: Russian edition
Obama alienates Germany
Obama's charm offensive not working
Obama snubs Brazil
Obama insults Britain
On Iran's nuclear program, Obama abandons cooperation with Europe
Obama antagonizes India

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Penn State to investigate its global warmist Mann, or not

Dr. Michael Mann became famous as the creator of the "hockey-stick" temperature plot that was highlighted by the UN IPCC in an attempt to prove global warming. In the wake of the release of the East Anglia e-mails (AKA ClimateGate or WarmerGate), the National Post reports that Penn State will investigate Mann:
Penn State University has announced that it has begun an investigation of the work of Michael Mann, the director of its Earth System Science Center, following revelations contained in the Climategate documents that have emerged from East Anglia University in the UK.
How far will this investigation go? To answer, let's consider the last time that Mann got himself in trouble. I mentioned above that he created the famous "hockey-stick" temperature plot in 1999. In 2004, it was exposed that Mann's analysis was riddled with mathematical errors. As a consequence, Congress asked the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to review the subject of the Earth's temperatures over the past 2,000 years. While the NAS report (PDF) covered a lot of territory, I want to highlight just one illustrative point. The hockey stick plot relied, in part, on temperatures inferred from tree rings, a speciality of another scientist made famous by ClimateGate: Dr. Keith Briffa of the University of East Anglia. There are two issues with tree rings: (a) do they really reflect temperature, as opposed to, say, rainfall, and (b) have we examined tree rings on enough trees that it is a statistically significant reflection of global temperature. Here is how the National Acedemies summarized their answer to the second question:
To prevent the risk that a single tree ring chronology could reflect the influence of localized nonclimatic influences (Fritts 1976, Trotter et al. 2002), dendroclimatic reconstructions often rely on networks of site chronologies. Regional tree ring networks typically have strong intersite correlations (e.g., Hughes et al. 1984, Figure 2), and continental-to-hemispheric-scale networks are able to reproduce synoptic-scale climatological patterns (Fritts 1991, Briffa et al. 2002).
In other words, they accepted Briffa's word that he had included enough trees. However, subesequent research showed that (1) the number of trees used by Briffa was indeed very small, and (2) Briffa's entire "global warming" effect is the result of the inclusion of a single tree, designated YAD061.

Why didn't the NAS investigation undercover such a huge flaw? There are two reasons: (i) it would have been an ungentlemanly insult to ask a colleague to produce his raw data and code, and (ii) even if they did ask, it is likely that no one on the NAS committee had the either the time or the interest to pursue it to the level required to expose the fraud/error. So it will likely be with the Penn State investigation of Mann: it will likely be gentlemanly and superficial and nothing interesting will be found.

The NAS was aware of the problem of irreproducible climate results and did, in their gentlemanly way, ask that data and code be released:
Peers should have access to the information needed to reproduce published results, so that increased confidence in the outcome of the study can be generated inside and outside the scientific community. Other committees and organizations have produced an extensive body of literature on the importance of open access to scientific data and on the related guidelines for data archiving and data access (e.g., NRC 1995). Paleoclimate research would benefit if individual researchers, professional societies, journal editors, and funding agencies continued to improve their efforts to ensure that these existing open-access practices are followed.
Seemingly because they were aware that their data did not support their conclusion, the Mann, Briffa, and other global warmists refused to follow the NAS suggestion, appearing going so far as to stonewall legal freedom-of-information act requests. Only because of ClimateGate has the University of East Anglia reversed course and offered to do as the NAS asked (but only after claiming to have "lost" key data).
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