Saturday, July 21, 2007
Charlie Sykes has the pertinent details--including contact information for Sens. Kohl and Feingold, who joined 36 of their Democratic brethren (plus 1 indedpendent) in voting to kill the shield.
This is an absolute travesty, and I only hope voters remember it when these people come up for re-election.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
IMAO sums up this tempest in a teapot quite nicely:
Shocker: Fred Thompson Only 99.925% Pro-Life Before His Senate Career
Conservative will have to ask themselves whether they can vote for someone like Fred Thompson who, while 100% pro-life since at least 1994, was only 99.925% pro-life fifteen years ago? How will he compare to our other choices such as Rudy Giuliani (used to be 3% pro-life, now 5% pro-life), Mitt Romney (averages about 63% pro-life over his political career), and John McCain (pro-life percentage N/A due to death of campaign)?
Couldn't have put it better myself--but since past Thompson clients, real or alleged, will almost certainly pop up again at some point, let's end this post by quoting the end to the NY Times story:
In a column published on the conservative blog Powerline, Mr. Thompson wrote that in light of lawyer-client confidentiality, it would not be appropriate for him to respond to those who are “dredging up clients — or another lawyer’s clients — that I may have represented or consulted with” 15 or 20 years ago.
If “a client has a legal and ethical right to take a position, then you may appropriately represent him as long as he does not lie or otherwise conduct himself improperly while you are representing him,” he wrote.
He continued, “In almost 30 years of practicing law I must have had hundreds of clients and thousands of conversations about legal matters. Like any good lawyer, I would always try to give my best, objective, and professional opinion on any legal question presented to me.”
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Just about every generation has some horrific evil that it must fight. For the Democratic Party today that evil is carbon dioxide emissions. For the rest of us, it is an ideology that teaches that its deity is sanctified by the blood of innocents, just as the Aztec deities were.
History will see that clearly. And judge accordingly.
Just how clearly remains to be seen, considering that the greatest evil of the last generation (communism) is for the most part depicted by historians (read: academics [read: far left]) as having been either a) an overblown threat or b) not that bad, really.
Of course, at this rate, we won't be the ones writing the history of this generation.
That is, after all, a privilege reserved for the victors.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
It's looking more and more like his campaign has been blindsided and all but killed by his support of an unpopular immigration bill.
Calling anything about this debate settled (beyond the plain facts that the earth is warming and that human activity has played a part in it to some degree) is just asking for trouble. And in looking at the early commentary on the story, I found, via Smoke If You Got 'Em, some 2005 research from Duke University that would seem to poke some holes in the study as described in the BBC story.
The major underpinning of the new study is that the sun's output has decreased over the past twenty years--since about 1985--and thus doesn't mesh with rising temperatures. However, in examining the report on the Duke study, we find some problems with that assumption:
According to Scafetta, records of sunspot activity suggest that solar output has been rising slightly for about 100 years. However, only measurements of what is known as total solar irradiance gathered by satellites orbiting since 1978 are considered scientifically reliable, he said.
But observations over those years were flawed by the space shuttle Challenger disaster, which prevented the launching of a new solar output detecting satellite called ACRIM 2 to replace a previous one called ACRIM 1.
That resulted in a two-year data gap that scientists had to rely on other satellites to try to bridge. "But those data were not as precise as those from ACRIM 1 and ACRIM 2,” Scafetta said in an interview.
Nevertheless, several research groups used the combined satellite data to conclude that that there was no increased heating from the Sun to contribute to the global surface warming observed between 1980 and 2002, the authors wrote in their paper.
Lacking a standardized, uninterrupted data stream measuring any rising solar influence, those groups thus surmised that all global temperature increases measured during those years had to be caused by solar heat-trapping "greenhouse" gases such as carbon dioxide, introduced into Earth's atmosphere by human activities, their paper added.
But a 2003 study by a group headed by Columbia's Richard Willson, principal investigator of the ACRIM experiments, challenged the previous satellite interpretations of solar output. Willson and his colleagues concluded, rather that their analysis revealed a significant upward trend in average solar luminosity during the period.
If the new study is wrong about what the sun's been doing, then it's little more than a waste of paper, since its methodology is a direct comparison of solar output and cosmic ray intensity to the average global surface temperature. (It's probably also worth noting that if the researchers are working with measurements of solar output from the last 40 years, as the BBC story claims, then a little over a quarter of their data came from before 1978. Go back and reread the first paragraph of the above quote to see the significance of that.)
The Duke researchers, using the Columbia group's estimates of solar output as the base for their calculations, concluded that the sun was responsible for a minimum of 10-30% of the increase in the planet's surface temperature between 1980 and 2002.
Who's right? I'm hardly in a position to say one way or the other. I am, however, in a position to say that the debate is far from settled.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
An earlier version of this article included a passage in which Judith DeSarno said Fred Thompson reenacted a cowboy death scene from one of his movies. The version of the article that was printed in Saturday's newspaper replaced the earlier, online version. That newer version omitted the reference, because confirmation of the name of the movie could not be made before the story got reprinted. Based on DeSarno's account, the scene that she said Thompson reenacted appears to be from "Keep the Change," a TNT television western that would have been in production around the time of the lunch and dinner that she described.
So, ultimately, no alterations were made to the version of the story that appeared in the print edition. That is very good to see.
"Keep the Change" was officially released in 1992, so it appears when I was checking Thompson's filmography, I stopped a year too soon.
According to the IMDb, in "Keep the Change," Thompson played a character called Otis. So now, if someone can confirm that 1)Otis was a cowboy and 2)Otis died in the film (bonus points if it was a death scene Thompson could have reenacted at a lunch or dinner without causing a scene) the Times looks to be safe...on that front, anyway.
That doesn't excuse its ignoring the Clinton connections, the lack of records, or the overall irrelevance of alleged pro-choice Thompson activity from 1991 (that is to say, before an alleged 1994 pro-choice survey stance--all parties agree that if he was at that point pro-choice, he has long since made a complete and firm conversion to a pro-life position).
A "retcon"--short for retroactive continuity--is a storytelling technique often seen in serial fiction (TV shows, comic books, professional wrestling, movie series, video games, etc.). Basically, when some new story element contradicts something previously established in the series, the historical background of the series is altered--either to reconcile the two conflicting elements, or to eliminate one (normally the older one) in favor of the other.
The all-knowing, all-perfect authors/producers/editors are, of course, not usually eager to trumpet these maneuvers, because each is an implicit admission that they screwed up; fans, for their part, will often wryly note them, for the same reason.
But that's fiction for you--nothing's real; it's all part of the game.
It's a bit different when it apparently happens with a newspaper. NewsBusters notes that, without notice or explanation, the LA Times has altered a highly problematic paragraph from its story a few days ago about Fred Thompson's alleged pro-abortion lobbying:
In the July 7th version of the story Judith DeSarno, the woman making the accusation that Thompson worked for her pro-abortion organization in '91, mentioned that she had talked with the Senator about his "cowboy death scene" in a movie he was in. She claimed she talked to him about this scene during one of the diners she claimed to have had with him where they discussed his lobbying efforts.
The problem with DeSarno's original claim is, Thompson was never in any westerns in the 1990s. In fact, he appeared in a western only recently with the HBO movie "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee", which was released this year -- and in that he played president Ulysses S. Grant.
So, in an apparent attempt to make DeSarno's claims of a 1991 meeting seem more truthful, the "cowboy" section was removed from the story.
The old paragraph read:
At one of the meals, she recalled, Thompson re-enacted a cowboy death scene from one of his movies. She also remembered him telling her that Sununu had just given him tickets for a VIP tour of the White House for one of Thompson’s sons and his wife.
The new paragraph reads:
Thompson kept her updated on his progress in telephone conversations and over meals at Washington restaurants, including dinner at Galileo and lunch at the Monocle, she said. At one of the meals, she recalled, Thompson told her that Sununu had just given him tickets for a VIP tour of the White House for a Thompson son and his wife.
There you go, all nice and cleaned up so that the dissembling is removed and NOW it looks more truthful... again!
Now, it's possible that the DeSarno inconsistency could be explained by the film in question not being recent (when the year is 1991, the '90s don't cover much ground). It wouldn't explain the paragraph being altered, but it would make it look less sinister.
So, let's double-check. Here, from his IMDb profile, is Thompson's complete movie filmography, up to and including the year in question (1991):
- 1985: Marie (historical drama; played himself)
- 1987: No Way Out (government thriller)
- 1988: Feds (comedy)
- 1989: Fat Man and Little Boy (historical drama)
- 1990: The Hunt for Red October (thriller)
- 1990: Days of Thunder (racing drama)
- 1990: Die Hard 2 (action)
- 1991: Flight of the Intruder (military drama)
- 1991: Class Action (law drama)
- 1991: Necessary Roughness (comedy)
- 1991: Curly Sue (comedy)
- 1991: Cape Fear (thriller)
I'm still not quite sold on Thompson, but--at least as far as the GOP primary goes--his people certainly know where his strengths are. (Of course, I despise both the movie Titanic and that !#$%#$&$@^ song, so I might be just a little biased with regards to this particular promo.)
With McCain apparently on the verge of imploding, the better Thompson looks, the better I'll feel.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Sheehan Considers Challenge to Pelosi
CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - Six weeks after announcing her departure from the peace movement, Cindy Sheehan said Sunday that she plans to run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unless she introduces articles of impeachment against President Bush in the next two weeks.
Sheehan said she will run against the San Francisco Democrat in 2008 as an independent if Pelosi does not seek by July 23 to impeach Bush. That's when Sheehan and her supporters are to arrive in Washington, D.C., after a 13-day caravan and walking tour starting next week from the group's war protest site near Bush's Crawford ranch."Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership," Sheehan told The Associated Press. "We hired them to bring an end to the war. I'm not too far from San Francisco, so it wouldn't be too big of a move for me. I would give her a run for her money."
(H/T Don Surber)
So, which is Sheehan? Voice of the Democratic base, or useful idiot? (For the Democrats, I mean--we already know she's a useful idiot for Al Qaeda et al.)
This is a win-win situation for the GOP. Pelosi--a voice of the Democratic Party--will have to twist herself in knots trying to defend herself without admitting that Sheehan and her cohorts are in fact the latter. If Pelosi manages to do it, she'll have given Republicans a treasure trove of soundbites for 2008.
And if she can't pull it off, the Democratic base shatters.
Mauldin seems to believe that this is all to the good--that, as he puts it, "I expect Iran to be the new friend of the U.S. sometime next decade." To which, I can only pose two questions:
- What are you smoking?
- Can I have some?
What's likely to emerge from the ruins of the Iranian theocracy isn't a US-friendly country. What's likely to emerge from the ruins of the Iranian theocracy is a failed state--something along the lines of what happened to Russia in the 1990s (and what the left wing in this country is pushing to have happen to Iraq) magnified.
Here's the real scary part: By 2014, Iran is virtually guaranteed to have gone nuclear.
We're still worrying and fretting about the nukes that scattered every which way when the USSR went under, some of which might have or may eventually fall into the hands of terrorists.
How much easier--and how much more likely--would it be for the likes of Hezbollah to pluck nuclear weapons out of the wreckage of a country that, more than any other in the world, has made its name as a state sponsor of terrorism?
And today, the paper's editors finally came out and said publicly what pretty much anyone capable of adding 1+1 and getting 2 has known for years: They want the US to pull out.
The paper claims, in essence, to be reading the writing on the wall. What they neglect to mention is that much of that writing is graffiti--and that they and their allies are the ones who spray-painted it there.
Don Surber says pretty much everything I could hope to way about the Times' shameful performance today. Particularly memorable was this passage from the Times editorial:
That conversation must be candid and focused. Americans must be clear that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Potentially destabilizing refugee flows could hit Jordan and Syria. Iran and Turkey could be tempted to make power grabs. Perhaps most important, the invasion has created a new stronghold from which terrorist activity could proliferate.
...and Surber's blistering response:
By “could” the Times means “will.”
This is madness. It is lunacy to suggest that UN peacekeepers drawn randomly from other countries and thrown into the maelstrom with no leadership skills or experience will do a better job than 150,000 professional soldiers with 4 years experience in Iraq.
Africa burns while UN blue helmets look askance and indulge themselves in child porn and petty theft. That is the Times prescription for Iraq.
The chaos would result in zero civil liberties for 25 million Iraqis. The Times clamored for extraconstitutional rights for 500 or so jihadists at Gitmo — men captured on the battlefield. Now the Times is willing to forfeit any civil justice system at all in Iraq.
What the Times proposes may be over-the-top, but it should be remembered for the Times has abandoned its principles.
Its next call to spend more money on the environment will be framed with the reminder of how large a carbon footprint the Al-Qaida Car Bombing Brigade will leave in Iraq if we surrender immediately.
Its next call for equal pay for women will be framed with a reminder that the Times is willing to allow in Iraq for the stoning of raped women as punishment for “adultery.”
Its next call for more spending on education will be framed with the reminder that the Times is willing to allow students in Iraq to be blown up in their schools and to be forced to attend jihadist schools.
Its next call for “affordable housing” will be framed with the reminder that the Times is willing to allow for millions more to become refugees in Iraq as they flee the violence that will engulf that nation in the wake of a withdrawal of the U.S. troops.
Its next call for revamping Homeland Security will be framed with the reminder that the Times is willing to allow Iraq to resume its role as the chief exporter of terrorism to Israel.
Along those same lines, Jules Crittenden offers an analysis of the editorial that pretty accurately sums up the Times' priorities: Genocide Preferred.
Pathetic. Despicable. Predictable.
Ladies and gentlemen: The New York Times.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Witness an LA Times story (later picked up by the AP) claiming Thompson did lobbying work for a pro-abortion organization in 1991.
Now, leave aside the fact that this was in 1991--back before a 1994 survey where he allegedly took a pro-choice stance, which isn't that big a deal (all sides are in agreement that he has long since taken a strong and consistent pro-life position). Nonetheless, NewsBusters tears the story to shreds.
(They also note that the people making these claims about Thompson have ties to the campaign of a certain other presidential candidate. Three guesses who that candidate is, and the first two don't count.)
Friday, July 06, 2007
The government section of the public library must be a spooky place for those who find Bush’s explanation of the lowest-grade quality. In the Annual Report of the attorney general, one can see pardons have been granted because criminals were “reformed,” promised to reform, or because their release might cause others to reform. Pardons have been given to those who were insane, went insane in prison, and those who might have gone insane if put into prison. Pardons have also been granted so criminals could take care of someone else who went insane, was going insane or did not want to go insane. Benjamin Ogle (convicted of manslaughter) was pardoned by Abraham Lincoln, in part, because Ogle was “rather remarkable for his good-humored disposition.” Now, imagine if Bush had written that! Lincoln was also moved by John Lawson’s “reputation for honesty.” Lawson (alias John Lassano) had been convicted for passing counterfeit money. If you think Bush’s explanation was among the very poorest, you just don’t have a library card.
Reductio ad Lincolnium doesn't do it for you? Then here are a few more presidential examples:
As long as presidents swear to uphold the law and pardon those who have violated it, we can complain about inconsistency and hypocrisy. George Washington argued ignorance of the law was a “frivolous” plea, but justified his first pardon on the ground that the recipient had not “informed himself” of the law. Vice President John Adams was angry that Washington pardoned the Whiskey Rebels. But, as president, Adams pardoned participants in Fries’s Rebellion. William H. Taft argued it was “necessary” for rich criminals to serve out their sentences, but pardoned some of the wealthiest people ever convicted. Rutherford B. Hayes pardoned Ezra Heywood because he thought Heywood had been wrongly convicted for “obscenity.” After Hayes got a good chewing-out from his wife, he refused to “nullify” the law or “intrude” when persons were convicted for similar behavior. Grover Cleveland had pardons for vote fraud committed in favor of his own party. Otherwise, it was a “barefaced and wicked” offense. Dwight Eisenhower took Harry Truman to task for last-minute pardons, then followed suit.
Might I also suggest that if Bush were issuing a pardon or clemency for the crime of leaking Valerie Plame's identity--rather than for apparently inconsistent testimony from a politically-charged fishing expedition--those complaining might have a bit more of a leg to stand on.
But it would be silly of me to think that liberals believe that's what Libby was convicted of, wouldn't it? It would be like liberals thinking that people like me believe 9/11 was orchestrated by Saddam Hus...
Wait a sec.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
His decision to commute Scooter Libby's prison sentence falls squarely into this pattern.
Let's get this out of the way straight off: It should also be clear to all involved that Libby was not the fish Democrats were looking to fry. The situation is, in many ways, similar to the Georgia Thompson scenario here in Wisconsin; just as the Thompson trial was seen as an indictment of the Doyle administration, so Libby's was seen as the Bush administration on trial.
Let's also get this out of the way: Libby was convicted of perjury by a jury of his peers (albeit with substantial problems--more than sufficient grounds for appeal, and I do think that Libby's conviction will eventually be overturned, as Thompson's was). His punishment, while far closer to the maximum allowable than the minimum (and twice as harsh as the prosecution wanted--though even what the prosecution wanted would have put him in prison for well over a year) was within prescribed sentencing guidelines. The sentencing judge was acting well within the letter of the law once Libby had been convicted.
If there was a justification for Bush to get involved here, it would be that the case should never have gone to trial in the first place--that the special prosecutor, having discovered early on the source of the leak which prompted his appointment in the first place (and having determined that the leaker had not committed a crime in doing so) proceeded to go on a fishing expedition--a witch hunt, in essence--looking for someone--anyone--to haul before a jury.
The thing is, those aren't grounds for commuting Libby's sentence. Those are grounds for a full pardon.
By doing anything in this case, Bush draws the wrath of the Democrats and their media allies. But by allowing the conviction to stand, Bush implicitly concedes that Libby should have been prosecuted--and that the administration, by proxy, is guilty of whatever nefarious schemings Joseph and Valerie Wilson are claiming this week.
In typical ham-fisted fashion, Bush has garnered the worst of both worlds--for himself, for his administration, and for his party.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
In a magazine article titled "Fascism Anyone?" (Free Inquiry, Vol. 23, No. 2), Laurence Britt, who studied fascist regimes, lists 14 common threads. Here are a few: powerful and continuing nationalism; disdain for human rights; identification of enemies as unifying cause; obsession with national security; rampant cronyism and corruption in positions of power; and religion and government intertwined.
Three points to be made here:
- While it's not an online discussion, the corollary of Godwin's Law--which holds that whoever brings up the Nazis (or, in this case, their more generic fascist equivalents) has lost the argument--should probably apply here.
- With the exception of the last two points--one of which applies just as well to Democrats as to Republicans, and the other of which is used/abused by the columnist to confuse religious activism with a state-sponsored church--these "common threads" are largely exaggerations of traits that are essential for a nation's survival and prosperity.
- Whether one believes these traits have crossed the line into fascist characteristics is almost certainly determined by whether one believes we are confronted by a serious threat.
Suffice it to say that Bauer-King and I have very different opinions on that last question.
Gore claims the snowcap atop Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro is shrinking and that global warming is to blame. Yet according to the November 23, 2003, issue of Nature magazine, "Although it's tempting to blame the ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain's foothills is the more likely culprit. Without the forests' humidity, previously moisture-laden winds blew dry. No longer replenished with water, the ice is evaporating in the strong equatorial sunshine."
Gore claims global warming is causing an expansion of African deserts. However, the Sept. 16, 2002, issue of New Scientist reports, "Africa's deserts are in 'spectacular' retreat . . . making farming viable again in what were some of the most arid parts of Africa."
Gore argues Greenland is in rapid meltdown, and that this threatens to raise sea levels by 20 feet. But according to a 2005 study in the Journal of Glaciology, "the Greenland ice sheet is thinning at the margins and growing inland, with a small overall mass gain." In late 2006, researchers at the Danish Meteorological Institute reported that the past two decades were the coldest for Greenland since the 1910s.
Gore claims the Antarctic ice sheet is melting because of global warming. Yet the Jan. 14, 2002, issue of Nature magazine reported Antarctica as a whole has been dramatically cooling for decades. More recently, scientists reported in the September 2006 issue of the British journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Series A: Mathematical, Physical, and Engineering Sciences, that satellite measurements of the Antarctic ice sheet showed significant growth between 1992 and 2003. And the U.N. Climate Change panel reported in February 2007 that Antarctica is unlikely to lose any ice mass during the remainder of the century.
Taylor ends his piece by wondering whether Gore will "rise to the occasion" and "lead by example in his call for an end to the distortion of science."
Taylor, apparently, has forgotten that Al Gore was a high-ranking member of the Clinton Administration--and that of the few to rise to the occasion in that administration, fewer still can be mentioned in polite company.
When you consider some of the other teams that Yi Jianlin's handlers considered acceptable places for him to end up, it becomes clear that most of the reasons suggested for their objections to the Bucks--team quality (Boston), geographic location (Chicago), Asian-American population (both of those, as well as Philadelphia), etc.--don't hold water.
You keep coming back to one conclusion: it isn't that Yi's handlers don't want him playing for the Bucks. It's that they don't want him playing in Milwaukee.
It's all about the tiny Milwaukee market--and that's what makes this such a dangerous situation. Keep in mind that there is a very real chance that, when Senator Kohl finally sells the team, the Bucks will move to another city if they cannot get a new arena (the name I hear bandied about every so often is the Las Vegas Buck$, and I'm hard-put to disagree), and that it is already a no-go location for most of the NBA's established stars (to such a degree that, when a player refuses to leave the Bucks, as happened with Michael Redd in 2005, he's considered to be "snubbing" the other team).
That kind of leverage from the likes of Kobe Bryant, while we might complain about it, can be tolerated. But from a draft pick--from what is supposed to be the rebuilding safeguard of all NBA teams?
By drafting Yi, Larry Harris has stupidly picked a fight--and wagered Milwaukee's very suitability to host an NBA franchise on the outcome. If he loses--and I think he will--and the Bucks are forced to trade Yi (or Yi goes back to China rather than play for them) then for the good not only of the team, but of the NBA as a whole, the Bucks will be forced to move.
And the city of Milwaukee will be the big loser in the fiasco.