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Archive for May, 2007

May 31st 2007

Bush’s Non-Hysterical Approach To Warming

Nearly lost at the bottom of President Bush’s speech today on all the U.S. tax dollars he intends to ship off to Africa and Vietnam to fight AIDS was the prez-speak behind the leaked and viciously red-lined mark-up of Germany’s draft global warming initiative.

Scroll way down here, or read the salient points here, complete with a hysterical (as in Warmie hysteria) cartoon:

In recent years, science has deepened our understanding of climate change and opened new possibilities for confronting it. The United States takes this issue seriously. The new initiative I am outlining today will contribute to the important dialogue that will take place in Germany next week. The United States will work with other nations to establish a new framework on greenhouse gas emissions for when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

Note that he didn’t say that science has deepened our understanding of the threat of climate change; President Gore certainly would have delivered that line differently. The new initiative he is outlining is certainly meant to contribute to the discussion in Germany, as in knock the German proposal off the table.

So my proposal is this: By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases. To help develop this goal, the United States will convene a series of meetings of nations that produce most greenhouse gas emissions, including nations with rapidly growing economies like India and China.

Two key elements to this graph: First, the phrase “a long-term global goal” is loaded with meaning. It’s not a G8 goal, it’s a global goal, and it’s long-term, which presumably will eschew the 2020 goals of the Germans, which are basically nuts when you’re looking at a global climate system which may not be heating up anyway?

And most important, Bush is signaling that without commitments from China and India, there will be no deal with the U.S. Huzzah! Win-winsville, because either China and/or India submarine the deal and we’re off the hook, or they join in adn the world will become a less polluted place.

In addition to this long-term global goal, each country would establish midterm national targets, and programs that reflect their own mix of energy sources and future energy needs. Over the course of the next 18 months, our nations would bring together industry leaders from different sectors of our economies, such as power generation and alternative fuels and transportation. These leaders will form working groups that will cooperate on ways to share clean energy technology and best practices.

I like the flexibility defined in this paragraph: short-term and mid-term steps allow opportunities to test impacts of various goals on the economy. It’s also very non-european, and a very bright idea, to include industry leaders in the talks.

It’s important to ensure that we get results, and so we will create a strong and transparent system for measuring each country’s performance. This new framework would help our nations fulfill our responsibilities under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. The United States will work with all nations that are part of this convention to adapt to the impacts of climate change, gain access to clean and more energy-efficient technologies, and promote sustainable forestry and agriculture.

Reaganesque: Trust but verify.

The way to meet this challenge of energy and global climate change is through technology, and the United States is in the lead. The world is on the verge of great breakthroughs that will help us become better stewards of the environment. Over the past six years, my administration has spent, along with the Congress, more than $12 billion in research on clean energy technology. We’re the world’s leader when it comes to figuring out new ways to power our economy and be good stewards of the environment.

And, in closing, the way to meet this challenge is not draconian restrictions on global economies and artificial restrictions on the opportunities for poorer nations to improve the lives of their citizens. Rather, it is technology.

This is everything the Europeans didn’t propose, and it explains all the red ink on the German draft proposal.

As evidence mounts that predictions of global warming doom are just mis-reads on what’s happening on the planet … or the solar system … it looks like Bush is buying time by initiating a cautious, slow process that has plenty of opportunity for other nations to blow it.

I’m warming up to it.

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May 31st 2007

You Think Our Lawyers Are Bad?

This is really a story about the foolish hanging-on of arranged marriages more than it is about bad lawyers (although it’s about bad lawyers, too). It’s from India, a land where many misogynistic traditions that should have died hang on tenaciously in the face of modernization.

LUCKNOW (Reuters) – Lawyers tied a young man to a tree and beat him outside a court in India for refusing to marry one of their relatives, an official said on Wednesday.

They rounded on the victim when he arrived at a court in the Taj Mahal town of Agra to settle a dispute over marrying the niece of one of the lawyers.

Indian TV channels showed the abusive lawyers tearing off the man’s shirt, tying him to a tree trunk and cutting bald patches into his hair. The 22-year-old victim was then beaten up.

Now we know this story would have never made the international wire if the perpetrators hadn’t been lawyers — we love to laugh at/feel disgusted by lawyers. We have to wonder how many similar cases of violent outfall from planned marriages come and go without our notice.

The Hindus aren’t the misogynists the Muslims are, but besides forced marriages, they abort or kill their pre-born/new-born daughters, burn widows with their husbands and subjugate women in many ways — which you’ll recognize the next time you see an Indian couple walking, the man several steps ahead of the woman.

This is just another example of the incredible energy and potential wasted by cultures that insist on keeping women from reaching their natural potential. I’ve read two outstanding thoughts on this topic today, thanks to the Watcher.

The first, linked above, is from Pat Santy (Dr. Sanity), writing broadly (please, no pun) on how Islam treats women:

We frequently joke about men’s preoccupation with sex and female body parts in the West, but our fascination with “T&A” is nothing when you consider that the Muslim world is literally consumed by female sexuality and with their fear of it. It is ironic that both Muslim men and women are under the mistaken impression that Western society is oversexualized compared to them, when in fact, it is practically impossible to be more obsessed with sexual matters than they are in Muslim communities.

The second was from Kobayashi Maru, in a post about climate change; specifically, about a brilliant 15 year-old Australian girl who developed a model that accurately predicted the end of Australia’s drought while at the same time disproving much global warming dogma:

In much of the Islamic world (to put it mildly), a 15-year-old female would not have access to the kind of intellectual cultivation, encouragement or freedom this young woman obviously has.

Wow. I’ve gone all the way from some Hindu planned marriages to Islam’s fear of, hatred of and destruction of women. Sickness knows no bounds.

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May 31st 2007

My Fair Ahmadinejad

I almost never lift a post in its entirety, but this is just too good, so what’s a rule if you never break one?

Without further adieu, Judeopundit’s Why can’t a Zionist be more like Iran? (Poor souls who have never seen My Fair Lady, be rebuked!)

DOCTOR AHMADINEJAD:
Why can’t the Zionists be like Iran?
Iran is so honest, so thoroughly square;
Eternally noble, historically fair.
Who, when you’re Mugabe, will always give your back a pat.
Why can’t the fake regime be like that?

Why does every one do what the other does?
Can’t a Kuffar learn to use his head?
Why do they do everything the Big Satan does?
Why don’t they grow up, well, like the Imam instead?

Why can’t the Zionists take after Iran?
Iran is so pleasant, so easy to please.
When they take you hostage, you’re always at ease.

Would you be slighted if I put your name in quotes?

GHOLAM-ALI HADDAD-ADEL:
Of course not.

DOCTOR AHMADINEJAD:
Would you be livid if I had a centrifuge?

GHOLAM-ALI HADDAD-ADEL:
Nonsense.

DOCTOR AHMADINEJAD:
Would you be wounded if I spoke of wiping you out?

GHOLAM-ALI HADDAD-ADEL:
Never.

DOCTOR AHMADINEJAD:
Well, why can’t the fake regime be like you?

Some Basij commander may shout a bit.
Now and then, there’s one who’s less than sublime.
One perhaps whose vigilance you doubt a bit,
But by and large we are a world paradigm!

Why can’t the Zionists take after Iran?
‘Cause Iran is so friendly, good-natured and kind.
A better ally you never will find.

If I hosted the First International Congress on the Culture of Resistance would you bellow?

GHOLAM-ALI HADDAD-ADEL:
Of course not.

DOCTOR AHMADINEJAD:
If I denied your silly Shoah, would you fuss?

GHOLAM-ALI HADDAD-ADEL:
Nonsense.

DOCTOR AHMADINEJAD:
Would you complain if Nasrallah was my fellow?

GHOLAM-ALI HADDAD-ADEL:
Never.

DOCTOR AHMADINEJAD:
Why can’t a Zionist be like us?

[dialog]

DOCTOR AHMADINEJAD:
Why can’t the Zionists be more like Iran?
Persians are decent, such regular chaps;
Ready to help you through any mishaps;
Ready to buck you up whenever you’re glum.
Why can’t a Zionist be a chum?

Why is thinking something Zionist never do?
And why is logic never even tried?
Martyring Palestinians is all they ever do.
Why don’t they straighten up the mess that’s inside?

Why can’t a Zionist behave like Iran?
If I had usurped the Al-Buraq Wall,
Been made a Pariah by one and by all;
Would I start weeping like a bathtub overflowing,
Or carry on as if my home were in a tree?
Would I launch jets and never tell me where they’re going?
Why can’t a Zionist be like me?

Brilliant!

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May 31st 2007

Ryan Gets His Knife And Heads For Iraq

Remember Ryan? The soldier who’s leaving next week for Iraq and is the recipient of the kindness of his on-line buddies at Bimmerforums.com? Here’s an update from Incredible Daughter #1:

We succeeded in getting Ryan his knife! So far we have raised nearly $400, and a brand new Reeves knife will be in his possession before he leaves next Tuesday.

However, we are still raising money for his under-stocked platoon. If you would like to help Ryan and his fellow soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division, please send your money to:

Paypal to: joe@hero-gear.com

Cash/check/money order to:
Hero-Gear
Attn: Operation Buller
521 South College St
Winchester TN 37398

Make sure you put Operation Save Buller in the subject line.

ID #1 tells me Ryan was very touched by this show of support. He said he feels it’s not appropriate for him to keep the knife that came to him as the result of the kindness of others, so he will hand it over to another Iraq-bound soldier when he’s safely home.

What an exemplary young man! Please keep him in your prayers.

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May 31st 2007

Battle For The World Bank, Round Two

Robert Zoellick is entering a war zone. The forces of corruption at the World Bank have won their first battle, with Paul Wolfowitz as a high-profile casualty, and they are pressing forward.

Victory, which they define as the complete removal of Bush and Wolfowitz fellow travellers who have reform on their mind, is near, so they have shifted their focus to Wolfowitz-ite Suzanne Rich Folsom, who heads the bank’s Department on Institutional Integrity.

(What better place for the forces of corruption to attack?)

We pick up the story in today’s WSJ op/ed:

Mr. Zoellick’s first test will come early. As we go to press, sources inside and outside the bank tell us that a follow-up to the putsch against Mr. Wolfowitz is being engineered by Managing Director Graeme Wheeler and Staff Association Chair Alison Cave against Suzanne Rich Folsom, who runs the bank’s Department of Institutional Integrity, or INT. Ms. Folsom, an ethics lawyer brought in by former president Jim Wolfensohn and promoted to her current job by Mr. Wolfowitz, has been aggressively pursuing corruption investigations, much to the alarm of some at the bank.

Prominent among those investigations is one concerning an Indian health project. Irregularities in the project, including indications of bid-rigging and bribery, led Mr. Wolfowitz to veto further loans to India in 2005 while the investigation unfolded, despite fierce protests from the project’s managers. Now that the INT is about to issue a report about the project, Mr. Wheeler has been lobbying the bank’s executive directors to place Ms. Folsom on administrative leave, and for the INT’s oversight responsibilities to be radically diminished.

If Zoellick stops Wheeler and Cave in their tracks and supports a strong and independent INT, he will be signaling the World Bank community that the name on the door might have changed, but the direction of management has not.

If Folsom falls, Zoellick will be telling us he either lacks the will or the power to fight the corruption that is at the core of the world bank.

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May 31st 2007

Hillary Takes Money From Geezer-Bilker

“What could be more despicable,” writes Froma Hallop in today’s RCP, “than selling data about vulnerable old people to telemarketers already under scrutiny for defrauding them?”

She goes on about the company that did just that:

InfoUSA packaged the names under such labels as “Suffering Seniors,” for elders with cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. Another list, called “Oldies but Goodies,” identified gamblers over the age of 55. “These people are gullible” is how it was advertised.

Crooked call centers from Canada to India bought these databases and proceeded to con lonely old Americans out of their life savings. It’s against the law for list brokers to sell names to apparent criminal operations, but that did not deter infoUSA, according to the Iowa attorney general, who is investigating the company.

One victim was Richard Guthrie, a 92-year-old Iowa farmer. InfoUSA sold his name to a swindler who employed women to lure him into the spider’s web by offering friendship over the phone.

“One gal in particular loved to hear stories about when I was younger,” Guthrie later told a reporter. The sharks proceeded to drain at least $100,000 in savings, according to his family.

Cause to be upset, for sure. But why is Frommer, who worked for the Clinton administration and says of herself “people like me worked their darndest to drag Bill over the finish line of his last four years. We were not about to let the Republican leadership use a sex scandal as a pretense to overturn an election,” bring this up now?

Because, she says, “that old sick feeling is coming back,” the old sick feeling she had when Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, the global con man. It’s coming back because InfoUSA’s prez, Vinod Guptar is a major, and welcome, Clinton contributor.

In 2002, he flew the Clintons to a vacation in Acapulco on the company jet. The Omaha-based enterprise subsequently paid Bill Clinton more than $2 million in consulting fees. Gupta gave $1 million to his foundation.

The concern goes beyond the Clintons’ decision to consort with such questionable personalities. That they would do it so openly magnifies long-festering discomfort over their judgment.

If you’re from Iowa, you know all this because the story of Richard Guthrie, the geezer with a heart for gold-diggers, has been publicized extensively.

Hallop, who likes Clintonian politics, asks Hillary to show a little class. But that’s all it would be: a show. Hil and Bill have shown us time and again that they won’t apply moral judgments to their political and financial methodologies.

That didn’t hurt Bill because he slid into power as a relative unknown. Hillary, on the other hand, has had the opportunity to learn from past misdeeds and mistakes and better herself, but she has chosen not to. She remains corrupt to her core, unable to put good above Clinton.

She has no business — other than the business of bettering the Clintons — to be president.

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May 31st 2007

Which Sentence Is Cruel And Unusual?

Death penalty foes are quick with the powerful words “cruel and unusual,” hoping to hand a Constitutional guilt on those of us who support the death penalty. It’s never worked because for all their magic, mere words almost never can change deeply held convictions.

But experience can … and I wonder if this story will change the thinking of death penalty advocates. BBC reports from Italy:

Hundreds of prisoners serving life sentences in Italy have called on President Giorgio Napolitano to bring back the death penalty.

Their request was published as a letter in the daily newspaper La Repubblica.

Italy has almost 1,300 prisoners serving life terms, of whom 200 have served more than 20 years.

Italy has been at the forefront of the fight against capital punishment and recently lobbied the UN Security Council to table a moratorium on it.

But at home some of the country’s longest serving prisoners want the death penalty re-introduced.

‘Light into shadows’

The letter they sent to President Napolitano came from a convicted mobster, Carmelo Musumeci, a 52-year-old who has been in prison for 17 years.

It was co-signed by 310 of his fellow lifers.

Musumeci said he was tired of dying a little bit every day. We want to die just once, he said, and “we are asking for our life sentence to be changed to a death sentence”.

Is life imprisonment more cruel and unusual than a quick execution? For many, it must be. Musumeci is the type it would hurt the most: He lived the high-adrenaline life of a mobster, got thrown in prison where he re-applied his energy to earn a law degree. That’s a lot of drive to be confined to the hopeless repetition of days that is his sentence.

And nearly a quarter of his fellow lifers feel the way he does.

Communist legislators (i.e., those that share the views of our current batch of Dem leaders) have a solution: Cap sentences at 30 years. It’s actually an interesting concept because releasing a bunch of 55 to 85 year olds probably won’t pose much threat to society, but morally, it’s corrupt.

Death sentences are reserved for capital cases, and the only two possible punishments for murder are a life in return — either a life behind bars, or a life that’s terminated.

Death penalty foes should look at Italy and ask themselves about the nature of cruelty. If so many prisoners see a life sentence as more cruel than a death sentence, who are they to belittle the morality of death penalty supporters?

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May 30th 2007

My Favorite Iraq War Photograph, Maybe

I saw this photo yesterday on AP but didn’t have time to do anything with it, so I was glad that Gateway Pundit posted it.

The photo speaks volumes about who the Iraqis really trust as the good guys and I just love it.

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May 30th 2007

FDT?

Fred Dalton Thompson will run for president, Politico reports:

Thompson is planning to enter the presidential race over the Fourth of July holiday, announcing that week that he has already raised several million dollars and is being backed by insiders from the past three Republican administrations, Thompson advisers told The Politico.

Thompson, the “Law and Order” star and former U.S. senator from Tennessee, has been publicly coy, even as people close to him have been furiously preparing for a late entry into the wide-open contest. But the advisers said Thompson dropped all pretenses on Tuesday afternoon during a conference call with more than 100 potential donors, each of whom was urged to raise about $50,000.

RCP’s polling summary currently puts the undeclared Thompson at 10%, tied with Romney and behind McCain (18.2%) and Giuliani (26%).

The 4th of July is one of the slowest media days of the year, so he’ll get massive coverage … with few watching. But if he comes out with a hefty campaign chest and the right note to his announcement, the polling numbers should shuffle quickly.

Me? Undeclared. I’m not a McCain guy by any stretch and Giuliani’s lack of federal experience and social liberalism scare me. Thompson poses a powerful alternative to Romney, so I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the campaigning right up to when I tap the tube in the voting booth in the California primary.

hat-tip: Real Clear Politics

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May 30th 2007

Wednesday Reading

Oh, happy day! The Watcher has posted this week’s nominees for some of the finest reading in the blogosphere.

My humble nominees were my post Bush Defies Warming Autocrats At G8 and for best post by someone not a member of the Watcher’s Council, Memorial Day and the Mirror of Hope from Sigmund, Karl and Alfred.

Before getting to the rest of the nominees, an announcement: there’s an opening on the Council. We will greatly miss the exceptional writing at Francis W. Porretto’s Eternity Road, but our loss could be your gain. If you’re up to a couple hours of excellent reading a week in return for greater exposure for your blog (sounds like a deal, eh?), read these rules and consider it.

Now, here’s the full list, starting with the Council links:

  1. Living on $1 a Meal
    The Glittering Eye
  2. “But Isn’t the Real Issue …?”
    The Colossus of Rhodey
  3. Mitt the Mormon
    Bookworm Room
  4. Talking With the Bad Guys
    Soccer Dad
  5. No Friend Left Behind (Update)
    Done With Mirrors
  6. HuffPo Writer Equates Isolated Christian Nutjob To Islamism’s Global Terror Network
    Rhymes With Right
  7. Reflecting On 230 Years Of Blood and Sacrifice
    Right Wing Nut House
  8. Bush Defies Warming Autocrats At G8
    Cheat Seeking Missiles
  9. A Cure for “Anti-Zionism”
    Joshuapundit
  10. Let Their Victims Come
    Big Lizards
  11. Memorial Day: Just Another Day of Instruction?
    The Education Wonks

Non-council links:

  1. In Response to the WaPo: What Really Matters
    The Moderate Voice
  2. Liberal Pyromaniacs
    Intellectual Conservative
  3. Sticking To What I Know Best
    Dr. Sanity
  4. Why Can’t a Zionist Be More Like Iran?
    Judeopundit
  5. US Muslims and Suicide Bombings
    The Huffington Post
  6. Teachers Pay Raise: $430. Governors Pay Raise: $32,000.
    Bay Area Houston
  7. Obama’s Health Care Panacea
    The QandO Blog
  8. Memorial Day and the Mirror of Hope
    Sigmund, Carl and Alfred
  9. Brave Men and Demons
    Michael Yon
  10. On Memorial Day
    Hugh Hewitt
  11. Death to Pedophiles
    La Shawn Barber’s Corner
  12. From the Mouths of Babes: Climate Analysis That Actually Works
    Kobayashi Maru
  13. Changeable News Network
    Rite Wing TechnoPagan
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With Obama winning the presidency by seven percent, we can't blame the media. Their laudatory coverage and refusal to extensively probe into Obama's background and [lack of] experience was at best responsible for five percent of his vote, the pundits tell us. Here is a compilation of over 100 significant instances of pro-Obama/anti-McCain bias during the 2008 campaign.

For all 'Media Bias 2008' – Click Here

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