Friday, July 31, 2009

Do warm climates shrink your brain?

The latest scientific findings on the evolution of the brain below. In my usual totally "incorrect" way, I am going to point out that modern-day data confirm the hypothesis too. Africa is a generally warm place and African heads tend to be noticeably smaller. Some of the East Africans (Sudanese etc.) that I see around Brisbane could almost be classified as microcephalic. And, as the article below implies and as modern research confirms, there is a connection between brain size and general intellectual ability. Now that I have pointed out the connection, I think we will see the research finding below vanish from sight

It is one of the biggest mysteries in human evolution. Why did we humans evolve such big brains, making us the unrivalled rulers of the world? Some 2.5 million years ago, our ancestors' brains expanded from a mere 600 cubic centimetres to about a litre. Two new studies suggest it is no fluke that this brain boom coincided with the onset of an ice age. Cooler heads, it seems, allowed ancient human brains to let off steam and grow.

For all its advantages, the modern human brain is a huge energy glutton, accounting for nearly half of our resting metabolic rate. About a decade ago, biologists David Schwartzman and George Middendorf of Howard University in Washington DC hypothesised that our modern brain could not have evolved until the Quaternary ice age started, about 2.5 million years ago. They reckoned such a large brain would have generated heat faster than it could dissipate it in the warmer climate of earlier times, but they lacked evidence to back their hypothesis.

Now hints of that evidence are beginning to emerge. Climate researcher Axel Kleidon of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany, modelled present-day temperature, humidity and wind conditions around the world using an Earth-systems computer model. He used these factors to predict the maximum rate at which a modern human brain can lose heat in different regions. He found that, even today, the ability to dissipate heat should restrict the activity of people in many tropical regions (Climatic Change, vol 95, p 405).

If keeping cool is a problem now, Kleidon says, it would have been even more challenging - perhaps too challenging - 2 or 3 million years ago when temperatures were a few degrees warmer than today and air-conditioning units were harder to come by.

A new study by Schwartzman and Middendorf suggests that a small drop in global temperatures may have made a big difference. The pair used basic equations of heat loss to estimate how fast the small-brained Homo habilis would have been able to cool off. Assuming overheating limited the size of H. habilis's brain, they then calculated what drop in air temperature would have been needed for Homo erectus to be able to support its bigger brain (see diagram). They found that a drop in air temperature of just 1.5 °C would have done the trick (Climatic Change, vol 95, p 439).

Given the timescales involved, it may be near-impossible to match definitively the onset of an ice age with speciation, but a 1.5 °C drop is consistent with the cooling climate of the time, says Middendorf.

"In principle, I'm receptive to the hypothesis," says Dean Falk, a palaeoanthropologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee, "but I need the data." She says that if measurements showed that people living in tropical countries today have smaller brains relative to their body size than people in temperate climates, this would go against expectation and lend support to Kleidon's model.

Being able to cool bigger brains can only be part of the story, however. It would have lifted the brakes on expansion, says psychologist David Geary at the University of Missouri in Columbia, but there has to be something driving the increase.

Over the years, researchers have come up with three broad reasons why bigger brains might have been advantageous: to give their owners the ability to cope with changing climates by exploiting technologies such as shelter, fire and clothing; to deal with the cognitive demands of hunting and gathering; or to help people outsmart their neighbours.

To help narrow this down, Geary collected data from 175 fossil hominin skulls, from 1.9 million to 10,000 years old. Then he looked to see whether brain size was best correlated with climatic variability - a crude measure of biodiversity which could indicate the complexity of hunting and gathering - or the human population size at the time, which could reflect the complexity of social interactions.

Geary's analysis found that population size was the best predictor of brain size, suggesting that our ancestors' need to outcompete their neighbours in order to survive may have been the strongest driver of brain growth (Human Nature, vol 20, p 67).

The case is far from closed - Geary's study does not demonstrate cause and effect, for one thing - but the picture beginning to emerge suggests that an ice age set the stage for a socially driven brain boom. And from that time on, it was the brainiacs who stole the show.



The iron law of bureaucratic expansion

An excerpt from the recently reprinted article on "Parkinson's Law"

It would be interesting to follow the further progress by which the 8,118 Admiralty staff of 1935 came to number 33,788 by 1954. But the staff of the Colonial Office affords a better field of study during a period of Imperial decline. The relevant statistics are set down below. Before showing what the rate of increase is, we must observe that the extent of this department's responsibilities was far from constant during these twenty years. The colonial territories were not much altered in area or population between 1935 and 1939. They were considerably diminished by 1943, certain areas being in enemy hands. They were increased again in 1947, but have since then shrunk steadily from year to year as successive colonies achieve self-government.

It would be rational, prior to the discovery of Parkinson's Law, to suppose that these changes in the scope of Empire would be reflected in the size of its central administration. But a glance at the figures shows that the staff totals represent automatic stages in an inevitable increase. And this increase, while related to that observed in other departments, has nothing to do with the size—or even the existence—of the Empire. What are the percentages of increase? We must ignore, for this purpose, the rapid increase in staff which accompanied the diminution of responsibility during World War II. We should note rather the peacetime rates of increase; over 5.24 per cent between 1935 and 1939, and 6.55 per cent between 1947 and 1954. This gives an average increase of 5.89 per cent each year, a percentage markedly similar to that already found in the Admiralty staff increase between 1914 and 1928.

Further and detailed statistical analysis of departmental staffs would be inappropriate in such an article as this. It is hoped, however, to reach a tentative conclusion regarding the time likely to elapse between a given official's first appointment and the later appointment of his two or more assistants. Dealing with the problem of pure staff accumulation, all the researches so far completed point to an average increase of about 5¾ per cent per year.

Much more HERE


Liberals Support Crime, Not Punishment

The New Duranty Times devoted nearly an entire Sunday op-ed page to l'affaire Henri-Louis Gates and Barack Hussein Soetoro's reprehensible grandstanding. They chose to feature the thoughts of Professor Glenn Loury, an economist on the faculty of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Professor Loury devoted 1500 words to his basic conclusion:
I believe we should be pursuing far-reaching reforms in our criminal justice system. We should invest more in helping the troubled people — our fellow citizens — caught in the law enforcement web to find a constructive role in society, and less in punishing them for punishment’s sake.

Notice the way he describes robbers, rapists, murderers, dope dealers, burglars, carjackers, thieves, and wife-batterers:
troubled people caught in the law enforcement web

As if the police, the courts, and the community were predatory spiders catching innocent flies.

Of course, the opposite of what Professor Loury imagines is in fact the case. Criminals are not innocent victims of the law enforcement system, they are willful predators, who prey on the weak and the innocent in order to satisfy their own desires. And the purpose of incarcerating them is not punishment for punishment's sake, the purpose of incarceration is not punishment at all -- its purpose is simply to keep them off the street so that their innocent victims can have some respite time from their depredations.

Professor Loury, of course, is a racialist. His major concern with the administration of criminal justice in the United States is that it appears to affect his own race more than he thinks it should:
Another inescapable fact is that most of those incarcerated are black and Hispanic men. (They constitute approximately two-thirds of those being held in state prisons and municipal jails.)

And in typical antinomian fashion, this Gramscian apologist for murderers, rapists, and doppe dealers thinks that imprisonment causes the crimes for which the imprisoned are incarcerated:
Overrepresentation of blacks among lawbreakers is the result as much as it is the cause of our overrepresentation among the imprisoned — a fact about which the conventional racial narrative has too little to say. Nevertheless, this is a principal source of the tension in interactions between the police and black men like me.

And what were Professor Loury's interactions with the police? He describes them:
Readers should know that I have had my own run-ins with the law. Twenty-two years ago a former girlfriend accused me of assault. While the charges were dropped, I had to endure the indignity of being “processed” by the police and judged in the press. Later that year, I was caught in possession of a controlled substance, spent the night in jail, and was required to enroll in a drug treatment program for my sins. My interest in the issues of race and law enforcement reflects more than academic curiosity.

Readers should also realize that in neither of those two episodes, including one that involved a "controlled substance," was Professor Loury incarcerated. And the "controlled substance" was (according to a contemporaneous article in the New Duranty Times) marijuana and cocaine. He just can't bring himself to name it in the Times, because to do so would give the lie to his claim that we need to go about "ratcheting down the federal penalties for low-level drug trafficking." Yet he still has the audacity to claim that:
We should seriously consider that many of our sentences are too long — “three strikes” laws may be good politics, but they are an irrational abomination as policy. We should definitely consider decriminalizing most drug use. We need to reinvent parole.

On the contrary, my dear Professor. "Reinventing" parole and shortening sentences will do nothing but increase the population of criminals in the community, and the crimes they commit will worsen the plague. "Three strikes" laws are designed to take incorrigible criminals off the streets, and prevent them from committing more crimes.

What I find particularly offensive about Professor Loury's advocacy on behalf of rapists, murderers, carjackers, thieves, and dope dealers is that most of the victims of the criminals whose cause he champions are in fact members of the same black community that Professor Loury claims to be supporting. The victims murdered by the black murderers who are let off the hook by black urban juries are overwhelmingly other black men. It is the black community in which, as Professor Loury phrases it, "drug trafficking and gang activity are important parts of the social economy of the inner city."

Professor Loury should spend a few minutes to consider that the black criminals whose careers he would facilitate are not in fact victims of the criminal justice system, but victimizers of their own community. Unfortunately, the inner city black communities have come to tolerate a level of lawlessness which the hard-working, church-going, family-raising black men and women who migrated from the deep South would never have allowed.

And there you have the problem in a nutshell. The black family survived slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, World Wars I & II, and the Depression. But the black family could not survive the liberal wrecking ball of the Great Society programs that facilitated illegitimacy and idleness. A once proud community of men and women whose seemingly infinite capacity for backbreaking work made them sought-after by industrial employers in the Northern cities, has been reduced to dependency by liberal politicians who created a socialistic plantation where docile, reliable Democratic voters were used to perpetuate their own helplessness. And reduced to a condition of tolerating the crime and mayhem that is tearing it apart.

Such is the America that socialistic liberals wish for us all.




Is there any better way to boost the cosmetic surgery business in Mexico?: "The Democrats are still scrounging to figure out more ways to tax the tar out of Americans in order to fund their government healthcare scheme. The latest idea they are said to be considering is a 10% excise tax on cosmetic surgery .. face-lifts, tummy tucks, hair transplants, etc. It would use the tax code as a means of enforcement. Not only would procedures prohibited under Section 213 of the tax code not be deductible, but they would be subject to a new tax. Well .. here we go again. This is more of the same from the Democrats - go after those evil, disgusting high-achieving rich people by taxing the stuff that they do with their money. That ought to bring them down to size. The middle class isn't out there getting face lifts ... so they won't complain about the new tax. I told you yesterday that sooner or later the Democrats will find a way to tax pretty much anything that high-achievers can do by virtue of their higher earnings. That will include special taxes on nicer homes, better cars and more exciting vacations. Think I'm kidding? Just wait ... and you have a chance to put more of these dangerous people in office next year, go for it."

China/Taiwan relations improving: "The leaders of China and Taiwan have communicated directly with each other for the first time in the 60 years since Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan with the remnants of his army. The outreach followed Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou being elected president of the Kuomintang (Nationalists) on Sunday, with 92.5 per cent of the 300,000 votes cast -- although the turnout was low at 58 per cent of party members. It enabled China's President, Hu Jintao, to send a message to Mr Ma from one party leader to another, rather than having to acknowledge that Mr Ma also holds the leading role in the government of a state whose sovereignty Beijing does not recognise. This news was acclaimed in China, leading the country's main 7pm China Central TV news bulletin, which is relayed throughout the country. The latest warming of relations marks another historic step of the rapid thawing which has taken place since Mr Ma replaced Chen Shui-bian as president 14 months ago. Since then, direct communications have been established by air, sea and post, and Chinese businesses have been permitted to begin investing in Taiwan, and Chinese tourists to visit the island state. The countries have also advanced, to October, talks towards a form of free trade agreement similar to that between China and Hong Kong. [Now that China and Taiwan are both doing well economically, China can afford to recognize Taiwan without losing face]

TX: Police can use force to compel hurricane evacuation: “A new state law will allow police to arrest people who don’t leave town under mandatory evacuation orders. As it stands, officials cannot compel people to evacuate, only warn that those who stay behind won’t have any emergency services at their disposal. The new law gives county judges and mayors the power to authorize use of ‘reasonable force’ to remove people from the area. The law, passed this year, takes effect Sept. 1, in the heart of hurricane season in Texas. It also applies to other disasters, such as fires or floods.”

Obituary: The Episcopal Church in the United States (1789-2009) Cause of Death: Suicide: "The Episcopal Church in the United States took another major step toward ensuring its own demise last week, by adopting a resolution endorsing the ordination of homosexuals as clergy and bishops. The resolution was widely interpreted as abandoning a moratorium on the ordination of homosexual bishops that was adopted after the furor surrounding the appointment of Gene Robinson, a homosexual man, as the Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. Several branches of the worldwide Anglican Communion, particularly the more conservative churches in Africa, rejected the decision to elevate Robinson. In the U.S., a number of Episcopal parishes and dioceses have already left the Episcopal Church altogether, and they recently organized as the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)... Most observers believe that this year’s resolution may be the last straw that results in a complete rupture of relationships between the Episcopal Church and most other worldwide Anglicans... In addition to a break with worldwide Anglicans, the Episcopal Church action is likely to lead to further erosion here in the United States as well. News about the release of the American Religious Identification Survey earlier this year focused on the 10% drop since 1990 in the percentage of Americans who identify as Christians (from 86% to 76%), without noting that almost all of the decline occurred in the 1990’s. But they also failed to highlight that the biggest drop in Christian self-identification has come among the more liberal “mainline” Protestant bodies—such as the Episcopal Church, which dropped from 3.5 million adherents in 2001 to only 2.4 million in 2008."

Spinning has been stimulated anyway: " How much are politicians straining to convince people that the government is stimulating the economy? In Oregon, where lawmakers are spending $176 million to supplement the federal stimulus, Democrats are taking credit for a remarkable feat: creating 3,236 new jobs in the program's first three months. But those jobs lasted on average only 35 hours, or about one work week. After that, those workers were effectively back unemployed, according to an Associated Press analysis of state spending and hiring data. By the state's accounting, a job is a job, whether it lasts three hours, three days, three months, or a lifetime. "Sometimes some work for an individual is better than no work," said Oregon's Senate president, Peter Courtney. With the economy in tatters and unemployment rising, Oregon's inventive math underscores the urgency for politicians across the country to show that spending programs designed to stimulate the economy are working — even if that means stretching the facts. At the federal level, President Barack Obama has said the federal stimulus has created 150,000 jobs, a number based on a misused formula and which is so murky it can't be verified."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Amusing: Google have yet again blocked any new posts to my GREENIE WATCH blog -- as they say it is a possible spam blog. I wonder how long it will take them to unblock it and let me start posting there again this time? The format and general contents of the blog have been the same for years so one can only wonder at what forces were at work in this action. I imagine that the Warmists have been busily "flagging" it. Censorship of contrary views is a large part of their modus operandi. They can't stand the simple facts that I regularly put up there.


Wow! The latest from Pat Condell

He has always been Mr Straight-talk but his attack on the Islam-appeasing Left below outdoes all his previous efforts

After that I almost feel that I should say no more today. He has said it all. But I WILL go on.


Bully Boys: A Brief History of White House Thuggery

by Michelle Malkin

Six months into the Obama administration, it should now be clear to all Americans: Hope and Change came to the White House wrapped in brass knuckles. Ask the Congressional Budget Office. Last week, President Obama spilled the beans on the "Today Show" that he had met with CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf -- just as the number crunchers were casting ruinous doubt on White House cost-saving claims. Yes, question the timing.

The CBO is supposed to be a neutral scorekeeper -- not a water boy for the White House. But when the meeting failed to stop the CBO from issuing more analysis undercutting the health care savings claims, Obama's budget director Peter Orszag played the heavy. Orszag warned the CBO in a public letter that it risked feeding the perception that it was "exaggerating costs and underestimating savings." Message: Leave the number fudging to the boss. Capiche?

Obama issued an even more explicit order to unleash the hounds on Blue Dog Democrats during his health care press conference. "Keep up the heat" translated into Organizing for America/Democratic National Committee attack ads on moderate Democrats who have revolted against Obamacare's high costs and expansive government powers over medical decisions. Looks like there won't be a health care beer summit anytime soon.

The CBO and the Blue Dogs got off easy compared to inspectors general targeted by Team Obama goons. Former AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin was slimed as mentally incompetent ("confused" and "disoriented") after blowing the whistle on several cases of community service tax fraud, including the case of Obama crony Kevin Johnson. Johnson is the NBA star turned Sacramento mayor who ran a federally funded nonprofit group employing AmeriCorps volunteers, who were exploited to perform campaign work for Johnson and to provide personal services (car washes, errands) to Johnson and his staff.

Walpin filed suit last week to get his job back -- and to defend the integrity and independence of inspectors general system-wide. But he faces hardball tactics from both the West Wing and the East Wing, where first lady Michelle Obama has been intimately involved in personnel decisions at AmeriCorps, according to youth service program insiders.

At the Environmental Protection Agency, top Obama officials muzzled veteran researcher Alan Carlin, who dared to question the conventional wisdom on global warming. The economist with a physics degree was trashed as a non-scientist know-nothing.

Obama Treasury officials forced banks to take TARP bailout money they didn't want and obstructed banks that wanted to pay back TARP money from doing so. The administration strong-armed Chrysler creditors and Chrysler dealers using politicized tactics that united both House Democrats and Republicans, who passed an amendment last week reversing Obama on the closure of nearly 800 Chrysler dealerships and more than 2,000 GM dealerships.

At the Justice Department, Obama lawyers are now blocking a House inquiry into the suspicious decision to dismiss default judgments against radical New Black Panther Party activists who intimidated voters and poll workers on Election Day in Philadelphia. The DOJ is preventing Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., from meeting with the trial team in the case. Wolf has been pressing for answers on what communications Attorney General Eric Holder and his deputies conducted with third-party interest groups and other political appointees about the case. So far: radio silence.

In the mafia culture, bully boys depend on a code of silence and allegiance -- omerta -- not only among their brethren, but also from the victims. The victims of Obama thugocracy are no longer cooperating. Perhaps it won't be long until some of the enforcers start to sing, too.



Disaster in the Making?

by Thomas Sowell

After many a disappointment with someone, and especially after a disaster, we may be able to look back at numerous clues that should have warned us that the person we trusted did not deserve our trust. When that person is the President of the United States, the potential for disaster is virtually unlimited.

Many people are rightly worried about what this administration's reckless spending will do to the economy in our time and to our children and grandchildren, to whom a staggering national debt will be passed on. But if the worst that Barack Obama does is ruin the economy, I will breathe a sigh of relief.

He is heading this country toward disaster on many fronts, including a nuclear Iran, which has every prospect of being an irretrievable disaster of almost unimaginable magnitude. We cannot put that genie back in the bottle-- and neither can generations yet unborn. They may yet curse us all for leaving them hostages to nuclear terror.

Conceivably, Israel can spare us that fate by taking out the Iranian nuclear facilities, instead of relying on Obama's ability to talk the Iranians out of going nuclear.

What the Israelis cannot spare us, however, are our own internal problems, of which the current flap over President Obama's injecting himself into a local police issue is just a small sign of a very big danger.

Nothing has torn more countries apart from inside like racial and ethnic polarization. Just this year, a decades-long civil war, filled with unspeakable atrocities, has finally ended in Sri Lanka. The painful irony is that, when the British colony of Ceylon became the independent nation of Sri Lanka in 1948, its people were considered to be a shining example for the world of good relations between a majority (the Sinhalese) and a minority (the Tamils). That all changed when politicians decided to "solve" the "problem" that the Tamil minority was much more economically successful than the Sinhalese majority. Group identity politics led to group preferences and quotas that escalated into polarization, mob violence and ultimately civil war.

Group identity politics has poisoned many other countries, including at various times Kenya, Czechoslovakia, Fiji, Guyana, Canada, Nigeria, India, and Rwanda. In some countries the polarization has gone as far as mass expulsions or civil war.

The desire of many Americans for a "post-racial" society is well-founded, though the belief that Barack Obama would move in that direction was extremely ill-advised, given the history of his actions and associations.

This is a president on a mission to remake American society in every aspect, by whatever means are necessary and available. That requires taking all kinds of decisions out of the hands of ordinary Americans and transferring them to Washington elites-- and ultimately the number one elite, Barack Obama himself.

Like so many before him who have ruined countries around the world, Obama has a greatly inflated idea of his own capabilities and the prospects of what can be accomplished by rhetoric or even by political power. Often this has been accompanied by an ignorance of history, including the history of how many people before him have tried similar things with disastrous results.

During a recent TV interview, when President Obama was asked about the prospects of victory in Afghanistan, he replied that it would not be victory like in World War II, with "Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur." In reality, it was more than a year after Japanese officials surrendered on the battleship Missouri before Hirohito met General Douglas MacArthur for the first time.

This is not the first betrayal of his ignorance by Obama, nor the first overlooked by the media. Moreover, ignorance by itself is not nearly as bad as charging full steam ahead, pretending to know. Barack Obama is doing that on a lot of issues, not just history or a local police incident in Massachusetts.

While the mainstream media in America will never call him on this, these repeated demonstrations of his amateurism and immaturity will not go unnoticed by this country's enemies around the world. And it is the American people who will pay the price




Read here some of the hate-mail Michelle Malkin gets from the Left gets BECAUSE she is Asian. Leftist tolerance and anti-racism are just more of their shallow pretences.

Big government in New Jersey: "Big Government is why New Jersey created only 6,800 private sector jobs from 2000 to 2007—while public sector jobs grew by more than 55,800. Big Government is the reason New Jersey ranks as the worst of 50 states on the Small Business Survival Index. And Big Government is a leading reason New Jersey has a “corruption problem” that an FBI agent at Friday’s press conference characterized as “one of the worst, if not the worst, in the nation.”

Iran deadline reassures Israel: "The US has set a deadline of September for Iran to abandon its suspected nuclear weapons program and allow international inspectors into the Islamic state. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday during talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington's efforts to convince Iran to allow inspections of its atomic sites were "not open-ended". Mr Gates told Mr Netanyahu that the US and Israel saw "eye to eye" on the Iranian nuclear threat. The September ultimatum is significant, as President Barack Obama has previously referred to "the end of the year" as the deadline for Iran to open its facilities for inspection. In return, Mr Netanyahu said Israel would utilise "all available means" to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons -- an apparent reference to an airstrike, which Israel insists is an option. The exchange came before Mr Netanyahu and US special envoy George Mitchell last night held a three-hour meeting to discuss Washington's desire for a resumption of peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials. The meeting appeared not to resolve any issues, with both men afterwards reluctant to go into details."

Ayatollahs feeling the pressure: "Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has ordered a jail holding protesters detained after last month's election to close, as reports said at least three demonstrators had died in custody in recent days. The secretary of Iran's National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, said Ayatollah Khamenei yesterday ordered "the closure of a detention centre which was not up to required standards". Iranian judicial officials say about 300 protesters arrested during the demonstrations that followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's hotly disputed re-election are still being detained. The head of Tehran prisons, Sohrab Soleimani, denied that two protesters, Mohsen Ruholamini and Mohammad Kamrani, had died because of beatings in prison, but said they had been struck down by meningitis. Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi said that if Mr Ruholamini had "died of meningitis, then how come his teeth were broken"? Reports yesterday said there was concern even among Iran's ruling elite that detained protesters were being mistreated by the Revolutionary Guard Corps, which had taken an ever larger role in Iranian affairs since protests over last month's disputed presidential election triggered a massive crackdown. Iran's parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, an Islamic conservative, called for the detainees to be freed to prevent any rights violations. Iran's judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, ordered that the fate of the prisoners be decided within a week."

Problem with new Air France speed sensors too: "An Air France flight from Rome to Paris earlier this month briefly lost its speed readings due to faulty sensors, pilots said yesterday, in the latest safety scare involving speed sensors. Several problems with speed sensors, or pitot tubes, made by Thales have been reported since 2008, and investigators are looking to see if they played a role in last month's fatal crash of an Air France plane. A spokesman for France's SNPL national pilot union, Erick Derivry, said the union would ask Air France to see whether the latest incident was similar to those previously reported. If it was, the union would ask the airline to replace its Thales sensors on its Airbus fleet with models manufactured by Goodrich. [An American firm. How humiliating!] Air France replaced an earlier Thales model on its planes with a more recent version following the June crash of one of its Airbus A330s. All 228 people aboard died when the Rio de Janeiro to Paris flight crashed into the sea. But the latest incident on July 13 occurred with a new model, the company said."

MA: Medical leaders wary of healthcare overhaul’s cost: “If you want to know how the proposed overhaul of the US healthcare system may play out nationally, talk to top executives at the biggest medical and life sciences companies in Massachusetts. As the heads of leading hospitals, insurers, and biotechnology companies, they have dealt with the complexities of near-universal healthcare since 2006, when Massachusetts became the first state to mandate insurance coverage. That gives them a unique perspective on the national effort to overhaul healthcare. As the debate in Washington heats up, local executives warn that two goals of the Obama administration — expanding insurance coverage and controlling spending — may prove incompatible. And as Massachusetts strains to deal with the increasing costs of its successful healthcare program, they raise questions about who will pay for the projected $1 trillion cost on the federal level.” [See more on this on my SOCIALIZED MEDICINE blog]

Iran stays silent on US offer of dialogue: “The U.S. is hearing only silence from Iran on its offers of dialogue. Iran’s leaders, who initially seemed to welcome engagement, are turning inward to deal with the post-election crisis. If Iran’s rulers mention the West at all these days, it’s to tell Iranians the U.S. and its allies are behind the turmoil. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his hard-line allies have repeatedly blasted the West, saying it is trying to topple clerical rule by fueling the opposition protests that erupted in the wake of the disputed June 12 presidential election.”

An utterly disgraceful British bureaucracy: "The Ministry of Defence faced mounting public anger yesterday as it tried to cut the compensation awarded to a soldier who is fighting in Afghanistan after recovering from a gunshot wound that left him with one leg shorter than the other. Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, also wants to reduce the payout to a Marine who fractured his right thigh while on a training exercise. The case at the Court of Appeal could prevent hundreds of servicemen and women from receiving larger compensation packages for their injuries. If the MoD fails in its appeal, it could lead to the rewriting of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, a tariff listing sums to be awarded for different types of injury. Critics have accused the MoD of failing in its duty of care towards soldiers."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Some history the Left would like you to forget

The fraternal coming together of two socialist armies

After Stalin and Hitler had carved up Poland between them, there was a joint parade of the Soviet and Nazi armies in the city of Brest on 23 September, 1939. On the right in the picture is German Major General Heinz Guderian and Soviet Brigadier Semyon Krivoshein. The German is the better-dressed one, of course.


A Post-Racial President?

by Thomas Sowell

Many people hoped that the election of a black President of the United States would mark our entering a "post-racial" era, when we could finally put some ugly aspects of our history behind us. That is quite understandable. But it takes two to tango. Those of us who want to see racism on its way out need to realize that others benefit greatly from crying racism. They benefit politically, financially, and socially.

Barack Obama has been allied with such people for decades. He found it expedient to appeal to a wider electorate as a post-racial candidate, just as he has found it expedient to say a lot of other popular things-- about campaign finance, about transparency in government, about not rushing legislation through Congress without having it first posted on the Internet long enough to be studied-- all of which turned to be the direct opposite of what he actually did after getting elected.

Those who were shocked at President Obama's cheap shot at the Cambridge police for being "stupid" in arresting Henry Louis Gates must have been among those who let their wishes prevail over the obvious implications of Obama's 20 years of association with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Anyone who can believe that Obama did not understand what the racist rants of Jeremiah Wright meant can believe anything.

With race-- as with campaign finance, transparency and the rest-- Barack Obama knows what the public wants to hear and that is what he has said. But his policies as president have been the opposite of his rhetoric, with race as with other issues. As a state senator in Illinois, Obama pushed the "racial profiling" issue, so it is hardly surprising that he jumped to the conclusion that a policeman was racial profiling when in fact the cop was investigating a report received from a neighbor that someone seemed to be breaking into the house that Professor Gates was renting in Cambridge.

For those who are interested in facts-- and these obviously do not include President Obama-- there has been a serious study of racial profiling in a book titled "Are Cops Racist?" by Heather Mac Donald. Her analysis of the data shows how this issue has long been distorted beyond recognition by politics.

The racial profiling issue is a great vote-getter. And if it polarizes the society, that is a price that politicians are willing to pay in order to get votes. Academics who run black studies departments, as Professor Henry Louis Gates does, likewise have a vested interest in racial paranoia. For "community organizers" as well, racial resentments are a stock in trade. President Obama's background as a community organizer has received far too little attention, though it should have been a high-alert warning that this was no post-racial figure.

What does a community organizer do? What he does not do is organize a community. What he organizes are the resentments and paranoia within a community, directing those feelings against other communities, from whom either benefits or revenge are to be gotten, using whatever rhetoric or tactics will accomplish that purpose. To think that someone who has spent years promoting grievance and polarization was going to bring us all together as president is a triumph of wishful thinking over reality.

Not only Barack Obama's past, but his present, tell the same story. His appointment of an attorney general who called America "a nation of cowards" for not dialoguing about race was a foretaste of what to expect from Eric Holder. The way Attorney General Holder has refused to prosecute young black thugs who gathered at a voting site with menacing clubs, in blatant violation of federal laws against intimidating voters, speaks louder than any words from him or his president.

President Obama's first nominee to the Supreme Court is, like Obama himself, someone with a background of years of affiliation with an organization dedicated to promoting racial resentments and a sense of racial entitlement. An 18th century philosopher said, "When I speak I put on a mask. When I act I am forced to take it off." Barack Obama's mask slipped for a moment last week but he quickly recovered, with the help of the media. But we should never forget what we saw.



Rep. Conyers (D-MI): "What good is reading the bill?"

Congressman John Conyers (D-Naturally-MI) has finally committed the “unforgiveable sin.” In his own smarmy, dismissive manner, he has told the truth about how he and his elitist colleagues really feel about actually reading the bills with which they saddle the country-bumpkin American people. “What good is reading the bill,” the oily career politician ventured at a recent National Press Club luncheon, “if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?” Well, the answer to that question is really two-fold.

First, when you are a semi-literate shyster who has made your living being a race pimp for the past 40 years, there’s really very little sense in your reading the bills at all. To begin with, you wouldn’t understand them unless the monosyllabic words were written in big block letters with multi-colored crayolas. And, besides, all you really need to know is how much is earmarked for race-baiting set-asides.

Second, when you are busy committing and abetting fraud on a routine basis, it’s hard to take time out from your crowded schedule for trifling matters like fulfilling your constitutional duties.

After all, you are the man who repeatedly violated House ethics rules by directing staffers to work on local and state campaigns, and babysit and chauffeur your children. You are the man who allowed a former top aide convicted of fraud to obtain a fake passport through your office, and then flee to Ghana. And, of course, you are the man who stands accused of helping your jailbird wife attempt to defraud the Environmental Protection Agency.

Doesn’t really leave much time for reading 1,000-page pieces of bothersome legislation, does it? Much easier just to vote Yes, nationalize the entire medical industry, and stick the taxpayers with tens of billions of dollars a year for bogus healthcare treatment. But, then, that is the sinful, shameful nature of Washington politics as usual, isn’t it?



Blue Dogs: All Bark, No Bite

The Democrats’ self-styled fiscal conservatives don’t have a voting record to match their rhetoric

The Blue Dog Democrats could make or break health-care reform. That’s both good news and bad. It’s good news because the Blue Dog coalition, formed in 1995, currently lists 52 Democrats in the House of Representatives and boasts of being “fiscally conservative.” To emphasize their point, the Blue Dogs post the national debt (more than $11 trillion)—and the share every American has in that debt ($36,683)—on their Web site.

The Blue Dogs have even growled recently that the House’s health-care reform legislation is too expensive. It raises taxes too much and doesn’t do enough to slow the growth in health-care spending. But do the Blue Dogs really belong in the fiscal conservative pack? They talk like fiscal conservatives but vote like liberal Democrats. So far this year, the House has seen at least four major spending bills. Here’s how the Blue Dogs voted:

* The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (Schip). One of the first things the Democratic leadership wanted the newly inaugurated President Obama to sign was a huge expansion of Schip. Democrats have been trying to pass the expansion for over a year, with some bipartisan support. President George W. Bush vetoed the legislation twice, and Congress sustained his veto both times by a hair.

Schip was created for low-income uninsured children not eligible for Medicaid. Under the old bill, children whose family incomes were 200% of the federal poverty level were covered. With the new bill, Democrats increased funding to cover children whose family incomes are up to 300% of the federal poverty level—or $66,000 a year for a family of four. The Bush administration and most conservatives thought it should remain at 200%. Did the Blue Dogs agree? Only two voted against the expansion.

* The $787 billion stimulus. The next major spending package was Mr. Obama’s stimulus bill. Not one House Republican voted for the bill. The Blue Dogs? Only 10 of 52 voted against it.

* President Obama’s 2010 federal budget. In April, Congress took a vote on the president’s $3.5 trillion budget for 2010—by far the biggest spending package in history. Again, not one House Republican voted for the bill, but only 14 Blue Dogs joined them in opposition.

* The cap-and-trade energy tax. In June, the House took an enormous step by pushing through the president’s cap-and-trade energy tax. The legislation will stifle economic growth by imposing huge new costs on every business and each American household. Eight House Republicans voted for the bill. Twenty-nine Blue Dogs voted against the legislation.

Had those eight House Republicans voted with their party, it’s not clear that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have let that many Blue Dogs break with the Democrats. It is also unclear how many Blue Dogs voted against the bill because of their self-proclaimed fiscal conservatism. Blue Dogs from energy-producing states, for instance, may have been looking out for local interests.

So the question is how many expensive government expansions can a group of congressmen vote for and still claim to be fiscally conservative? Only one Blue Dog, Bobby Bright of Alabama, voted against all four bills. And only four Blue Dogs voted against as many as three of the bills.

Republicans have long called themselves fiscal conservatives. But after their spending spree in the first six years of the Bush administration, they are widely perceived to have tarnished their brand. Are the Blue Dogs tarnishing their brand, too? If 80% of them voted for the stimulus bill and nearly 75% voted for the 2010 federal budget, can the group rightfully claim to be fiscally conservative?

The health-care bill will be the final test. The House legislation will cost at least $1 trillion over 10 years, including around $550 billion to $600 billion in new taxes. That doesn’t count the employer mandate that will force employers to provide coverage or pay a penalty.

If all House Republicans oppose the bill, which seems likely, the Blue Dogs have enough votes to make or break health care in the House. Blue Dog Mike Ross of Arkansas says the bill can’t pass the House. He’s right, but only if 40 Blue Dogs or other Democrats vote against the bill.

The Democratic leadership and the president will put enormous pressure on the Blue Dogs to support the legislation. Now we’ll see if the Blue Dogs have bite to go along with their bark.




HI: State health director reaffirms Obama’s birth certificate: “In an attempt to quash persistent rumors that President Obama was not born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961, Hawaii’s health director reiterated this afternoon that she has personally seen Obama’s birth certificate in the Health Department’s archives. ‘I, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawai’i State Department of Health verifying Barrack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen. I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago …’ On Oct. 31, Fukino originally tried to put an end to the belief among so-called ‘birthers’ that Obama was not born in the United States and thus was ineligible to run for the office of president.” [Well why will Obama not let anyone see it?]

Fighting healthcare & the politics of fear: “In crisis marketing, the GOP, moderate Democrats and anyone else who has doubts about this healthcare plan can’t simply say ‘no’ since it is obvious healthcare does need repair. They have to acknowledge something has to be done. What is happening with healthcare? Why does it seem that if we don’t go along with the White House’s agenda we’re heading into the abyss? This is the same thing that happened with bank bailouts and is still happening with global warming. This is what I would call a crisis marketing tactic, a CMT. With CMT, the momentum for change is created by suggesting that the alternative to change — even radical change — is simply too dire to contemplate.”

The real unemployment rate hits a 68 year high: “Although you have to dig into the statistics to know it, unemployment in the United States is now worse than at any time since the end of the Great Depression. … The official unemployment rate hit 9.4% in May — already as high as the peak unemployment rates in all but the 1982 recession, the worst since World War II. And topping the 1982 recession’s peak rate of 10.8% is now distinctly possible. The current downturn has pushed up unemployment rates by more than any previous postwar recession.”

Storm insurance irresponsibly cheap: “Texas is a model of fiscal stability compared with most other states — with one glaring exception. Texas is one hurricane away from bankrupting its state-run wind insurance pool. The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, Texas’ insurance market of last resort for coastal property owners who don’t have private insurance, is living on borrowed time and borrowed money. Coastal insurance rates are priced below market and below the risk posed by coastal properties.”

How governments run things: “Yes, we know the argument, if only those wise people who had learned how to steal the most votes were put in charge of running everything then we’d all be gambolling in flowered meadows and life for all would be immeasurably better. This argument works right up until we look at what actually happens when the politicians manage to run something. Like, say, the monopoly off track bookie in New York State.”

Wrong big picture, dangerous fine print : “President Obama has of late been spending much of his energy arguing that it is absolutely urgent that both chambers of Congress pass a bill this summer so that a final bill will get to his desk by October. Why? Why, because ‘the time is now.’ And the status quo is unacceptable. And we’ve never been this close before. Never mind that in the bills as now written, nothing would actually happen for more than three years. Indeed, no uninsured American would get health insurance under the Democratic bills until 2013 at the earliest. In fact, the CBO has estimated that the number of uninsured Americans will increase in 2011 and 2012, before the bills’ major provisions go into effect. And of course 2013 is safely after the next presidential election, just in case anyone’s keeping track. This is about political momentum. The administration and Democratic leaders in Congress understand that the more people learn about what these bills would actually do to American health care, the less the public will like them.”


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A small reflection on science education

As I mentioned on my personal blog, my son was recently awarded the degree of Bachelor of Science with first-class honours in mathematics. I of course attended the graduation ceremony, which was for science graduates only. Such ceremonies are in general rather tedious, though we did have one good speech and some excellent music. So I amused myself while I was sitting there by speculating on the ethnicity of each graduand as he or she came forward. I was considerably assisted in that by my interest in onomastics. Names tell you a lot. The University of Queensland has a good international standing so the one undisputable fact was that the graduands came from all corners of the globe, Africa excepted. Though there was, I think, one African there. So what was the dominant ethnicity of those graduating with bachelor's degrees? Were they white Anglo/Celts like my son and myself? Far from it. The days of WASP domination of anything are now long gone and white Anglo/Celts were far from a majority among those graduating. The most prominent ethnicity was far and away Han Chinese -- comprising about 50% of the graduands, at a rough estimate.

So the 21st century will definitely be the century of China. That the sort of people who invented modern science are no longer much interested in it does bespeak decadence to me. Fortunately the population of Australia is at the present about 10% East Asian so they will help keep us afloat long after we would otherwise have sunken into drug and alcohol fueled decay. My son won't be "The last of the Mohicans" but he will be one of the few. (The Mohicans didn't die out anyway pace James Fenimore Cooper)


Some good thoughts on police matters from Casey Lartigue -- a light-skinned black man

His basic point is that politeness pays

The black president of the United States stupidly commented on the arrest of a black Harvard professor in his own home by a white police officer. Some random thoughts and memories:

* I'm sure most people are still trying to figure out who Prof. Gates is. As G.K. Chesterton once wrote: "Journalism consists largely in saying 'Lord Jones is dead' to people who never knew Lord Jones was alive."

* Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Gates' arrest was "every black man's nightmare." Perhaps. But having a criminal in my house is even more of a nightmare. Also, having the president of the United States talk off the cuff about me about something he doesn't know is pretty bad. And getting shot by a cop after I escalated a situation would also be worse than getting arrested.

Anyway, I have had my own dealings with the police over the years:

* Back when I was a college student many many moons ago, one of my brothers and I got stopped by police in Brookline, MA. I remember it clearly: we were returning from a meeting with other students. Less than an hour later we were waiting for a police officer to get a description of armed suspects. We were let go without incident after the officer heard on his radio that they were looking for two dark-skinned blacks. The cop even waved to us a few minutes later when he saw us. I wrote about it in the Harvard Crimson, generating several angry calls from other black Harvard students. I remember one woman in particular was distressed by the article, telling me repeatedly that my article "wasn't helpful."

* Shortly after my family arrived in Massachusetts back in 1985, one day we stopped at a bookstore so my father could check on a book. We were parked on the street....a few minutes later, a cop walked up to the car, talking to my mother... The cop said that someone had called 911 reporting that some black people were parked in front of the bank. As I recall, he said it was his duty to check it out, that he would say he had, and that was the end of it. I suppose we could have gone Gates-crazy on him, saying we had every right to be parked there, etc., that as black people we shouldn't be questioned about where we park legally (or not, I really don't recall that).

* I wrote a few years ago about helping to stop a white guy from beating up his white girlfriend or wife. I remember at one moment hoping the police would show up so they could do their duty...but also being scared to death they would show up at another moment as we (five, maybe six black men) were manhandling that one skinny white guy with his white girlfriend bruised, beaten and crying a short distance away. We would have been shot on sight, then asked questions if we had survived. What bothered us the most that night is that the cop initially treated us like we had done something wrong and the folks at the hotel weren't much better.

* Parenthetically, a Washington Post columnist (inaccurately) wrote about the rescue in front of the Mayflower Hotel a short time later. Every time I've been part of an organization or activity that has been written about in the newspaper I've wondered how they could get so many facts wrong. As Erwin Knol wrote: "Everything you read in newspapers is absolutely true, except for that rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge."

* A few years ago I had to rush home when the alarm system went off at my home in Centreville, VA. As I approached my home, I called the police and ADT (the alarm system) to let them know I was almost home and would be going inside to check on the alarm...I didn't want to get shot while I was turning off the alarm in my home... I really should not have had to call to make sure I would not get shot in my own home, I know. But I did call. I'm more concerned with my safety than I am with making a political or public policy point.

* Two days before I left America earlier this month I was pulled over by a cop in Falls Church, VA. I had gone through a stop-sign trap leading off the main road onto a service road. I guess I should have gone Gates-crazy on him. But it wasn't a good situation for me. Driving a rental. Didn't have the rental car info. I asked for a warning, told him I was leaving the country soon. The cop issued me a warning, wished me well.

* One night when I was out with some other members of the Harvard Crimson, one top editor (who is now somewhat prominent) had a bright idea that we should trash the Harvard Lampoon. Which we did. Very long story kept short, we got caught by some members of the Lampoon. The Cambridge police were called (every Harvard student, regardless of race, prefers dealing with the Harvard rather than Cambridge police), we argued in front of the cops for an hour or so before the business manager of the Crimson agreed to pay for the damages. The cops let us all go after a short lecture.

* I still take my cue from Richard Pryor when it comes to cops..."I'M REACHING INTO MY POCKET FOR MY LICENSE. BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO BE NO MUTHAFUCKING ACCIDENT."



Obama dangerously wishy-washy on Afghanistan

In the dark days of May 1940, Winston Churchill famously outlined the task before the British people: "You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terrors, victory however long and hard the road may be — for without victory there is no survival."

Contrast that with what the president told ABC News last Thursday: "I'm always worried about using the word victory, because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur."

If the goal of the U.S. in Afghanistan isn't victory, what is the purpose of the blood, toil, tears and sweat of our forces? What is the meaning of the struggle and suffering of their families? According to Vince Lombardi, "If you can accept losing, you can't win."

Now, in fairness to our president, he doesn't seem to be saying that losing is an option. He noted in the same interview that "when you have a nonstate actor, a shadowy operation like al-Qaida, our goal is to make sure they can't attack the United States." Going on, he said the U.S. "will continue to contract the ability of al-Qaida to operate," which the president called "absolutely critical." We agree.

But we are at something of a crossroads in Afghanistan. The toil, tears, sweat — and especially blood — have increased of late. As a result, public displeasure is on the rise in Britain, Canada and Germany, which with their tens of thousands of troops are taking part in the U.S.-led coalition — the kind of coalition, by the way, that liberal Democrats consider absolutely vital before fighting wars against terror states. Our allies could eventually pull out. So at a time like this, the job of the president is to remind them, and the American people, that we are in a world war against a network of evildoers.

Barely two months into this administration, the Pentagon was sent a memo announcing that we were no longer engaged in a global war on terror; this was not a "long war" the American people were faced with. No, the endeavor U.S. servicemen and women were being asked to spill their blood for would from now on be called an "overseas contingency operation." How's that to stir your patriotism?

Imagine the message that al-Qaida, the mullahcracy in Iran and nuclear-armed North Korea take from these choices of language. The U.S. doesn't consider "victory" to be its goal in Afghanistan; the U.S. no longer believes it is engaged in a "war" against the Islamists who killed thousands of Americans on American soil in 2001.

Apparently, "winning" a "war" is passe to our 21st century way of thinking. Using an "overseas contingency operation" to "contract the ability" of "nonstate actors" is the enlightened phrasing. Was the same mind-set behind the president's decision last week to second-guess police officers without knowing the facts? The "good guys vs. bad guys" mentality just isn't nuanced enough.

The truth is that eschewing plain language in favor of this kind of muddled babble sends a message of weakness to our enemies around the world. And it downplays what is at stake at a time when the American people and our allies are in dire need of some unvarnished, old-fashioned, Churchillian truth telling.




Obama's accidental gift on race: "Less than a month after being confirmed as the nation's attorney General, Eric H. Holder Jr. called out the American people as "essentially a nation of cowards" for refusing to talk openly about race. So, thank you, professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and President Obama, for starting the long-awaited national discussion on black and white identity - while averting our attention from the cockamamie scheme to nationalize health care. And kudos to the professor and the president for choosing Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department as the representative of the Caucasian-American side of this difficult and much-needed historic debate. Sgt. Crowley waged a swift and effective public relations campaign that quashed the racism meme that Mr. Gates was recklessly pushing. Of course, the attorney general is essentially right in his assessment. Much of America is petrified to bring up race, especially in public forums - the media, in particular. But for exactly the opposite reasons Mr. Holder, the Obama administration and the brain trust of modern liberalism assert. Americans, especially nonblacks, are deeply fearful that the dynamic is predicated on an un-American premise: presumed guilt. Innocence, under the extra-constitutional reign of political correctness, liberalism's brand of soft Shariah law, must be proved ex post facto. Think not? Ask the Duke lacrosse team... The mainstream media choose to flaunt story lines that make white America appear guilty of continued institutional racism, while black racism against whites is ignored. Sgt. Crowley, a proud and defiant public professional, played the moment perfectly and stopped his own assassination by media. Talk about a postmodern hero... Now that the facts of the case show that his friend the professor was the man doing the racial profiling, the president wants to end the discussion. Now we see what the attorney general meant when he spoke of cowards."

Indian moon mission succeeds: "While the world has been gripped by nostalgia for the Apollo 11 landing - the culmination of the first manned mission to the moon, which took place 40 years ago this week - India has quietly been completing its own lunar mission. The sub-continental nation launched its voyage to the stars on October 22 last year, becoming the fifth to do so, after the USA, Russia, China and Japan. On November 14 its unmanned probe landed and began sending back signals to Earth via satellite. The Indian space rocket is called Chandrayaan-1, which means “moon craft” in Sanskrit, and is currently in lunar orbit, taking 3D lunar images as part of its two-year mission to find out more about the moon’s geological, mineral and chemical composition."

India launches nuclear sub : “India formally unveiled its first home-built nuclear submarine on Sunday, joining a select band of five nations that have the capability to build the sophisticated weapons system. As the country’s electronic news media waxed jingoistic about the development, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stressed that New Delhi had no aggressive designs nor meant to threaten anyone. India, he said, merely sought ‘an external environment in its region and beyond that was conducive for its peaceful development and the protection of its value systems.’ Only the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China have the capability to launch nuclear weapons from submarines. Sunday’s launch also moves India closer to the nuclear triad, or the capability to deliver nuclear weapons from platforms based on land, air and sea.”

In defense of organ-legging : “Writing in the New York Post, Brian Kates and William Sherman build on a Brooklyn rabbi’s arrest on ‘organ trafficking’ charges to bemoan the fact that American patients wait three years for a kidney, ‘driv[ing] many to the underground market,’ where they may pay in excess of $100,000 to a ‘broker’ to procure the organ for them. This procurement process may involve bringing a poor donor from the Third World to the US, or require the patient to travel in the other direction. What the authors don’t mention is why it takes three years for a transplant patient to get a kidney in the United States. And that reason is? If you guessed ‘government,’ you guessed right.” [See also Sally Satel on this]

Affirmative actions and related collectivisms: "For collectivists individuals don’t matter, groups do. For some it is the entire human race that is of sole concern, for others it is members of a given race or nation or ethnic or some other smaller group. Collectivists have an explicit doctrine about this, no one need to be guessing. Individuals are figments of our social imagination. They exist no more than do cells in our bodies exist as independent, sovereign entities. Sovereignty, the right of self-government, belongs only to the group. You and I and the rest of individuals are parts or elements, just as ants are in an ant colony or bees in a bee hive. The colony or the hive matters. This is why collectivists always fret about society or community. For them these are not what people individually choose to be part of, no way. These are what all ‘individuals’ literally belong to.”

Myth #1 Health Care Costs Are Soaring: "No, they are not. The amount we spend on health care has indeed risen, in absolute terms, after inflation, and as a percentage of our incomes and GDP. That does not mean costs are soaring. You cannot judge the “cost” of something by simply what you spend. You must also judge what you get. I’m reasonably certain the cost of 1950s level health care has dropped in real terms over the last 60 years (and you can probably have a barber from the year 1500 bleed you for almost nothing nowadays). Of course, with 1950s health care, lots of things will kill you that 2009 health care would prevent. Also, your quality of life, in many instances, would be far worse, but you will have a little bit more change in your pocket as the price will be lower. Want to take the deal? Health care today is a combination of stuff that has existed for a while and a set of entirely new things that look like (and really are) miracles from the lens of even a few years ago. We spend more on health care because it’s better. Say it with me again, slowly—this is a good thing, not a bad thing. . . ."

Bureaucracy drives up health care plan's costs: "The health care reform plan proposed by House Democrats would create at least a dozen new federal programs, boards and task forces, contributing to the proposal's hefty price tag that has drawn criticism from Congress' official scorekeeper. Democrats say the bureaucratic infrastructure is necessary to administer the expansion of health care benefits to the tens of millions of uninsured Americans while creating more competition for private insurers to drive down out-of-control costs. The health care reform bill, which is expected to cost roughly $1 trillion over 10 years, would create a public health insurance plan and a health insurance "exchange," a clearinghouse where consumers will be able to shop for public or private coverage. The programs will require a massive undertaking by the federal government that analysts say likely will take years to fully implement. Much of the concern on Capitol Hill, both among Senate Democrats and Blue Dog Democrats in the House, centers on the proposals' cost. In its preliminary review of the House's version, the Congressional Budget Office said the bill would raise the federal deficit by $239 billion over 10 years. The figure has been disputed by Democrats, who say the CBO can't fully judge the bill's cost-cutting measures. But the office's top official made headlines when he said neither the House nor Senate bills addressed the costs of health care, the primary reason President Obama has taken on the politically dangerous endeavor." [See more on this on my SOCIALIZED MEDICINE blog]

New Mexican truck rules a defeat for unions: "A plan containing guidelines on getting Mexican trucks back on U.S. highways has gone through bureaucratic review, the first step toward ending Mexican tariffs on $2.4 billion worth of U.S. goods. Implementing the plan would quell growing dissent among U.S. businesses that are hurt by Mexico's tariffs and that continue to besiege Washington with claims that doing nothing will result in job losses. The tariffs were imposed as retaliation for legislation enacted in March that took Mexican trucks off American highways, despite the North American Free Trade Agreement's program to let them into the United States.

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Monday, July 27, 2009

Obama's support for an offensive black racist has dented him

After Jeremiah Wright, I suppose he thought he could get away with it. But he is President now and needs to live up to his own hype. He is failing. And the controversy is still sizzling. The article below is one of two on the subject in the current issue of "The Times" of London. I was going to write no more on this subject but since it is still sizzling I think I should record some of that sizzle

They are calling it bar-stool diplomacy – a novel attempt by President Barack Obama to cool a heated racial controversy by inviting the offended parties to settle their differences over a beer at the White House. Yet the president’s efforts to limit the fallout from a row over the arrest last week of Henry Louis Gates Jr, a black Harvard professor, may serve to extend a furore that has shaken the White House and raised questions about Obama’s vaunted leadership skills.

The row showed no sign of diminishing yesterday as Massachusetts media pressed for the release of police tapes that could shed new light on the angry exchanges between Gates and Sergeant James Crowley, a white officer who arrived at the professor’s Cambridge home to investigate a report of a break-in.

The incident led to a rare breakdown of Obama’s previously impressive political judgment. Having spent much of the past two years steering clear of racial controversy and nurturing an image of so-called “postracial” conciliation, the president plunged unexpectedly into the Gates affair. He declared on Wednesday, when it was still far from clear what had happened, that the Massachusetts police had “acted stupidly” by arresting Gates, whom Obama described as a personal friend.

By Friday evening, Obama was back-pedalling furiously and his invitation to Gates and Crowley to join him for a beer was interpreted as an acknowledgment by the president that he had spoken too hastily in “maligning” the police. “I could have calibrated those words differently,” he said. Yet the move also ensured that a story he desperately wants to go away will continue to overshadow his domestic political agenda. No beer-drinkers are likely to make as many headlines as the president, the professor and the policeman. Gates said yesterday that he would accept the invitation and would meet Crowley.

Within hours of Obama’s televised press conference on Wednesday night it was clear the Gates incident did not exactly fit the shameful mould of thuggish white cop picking on an innocent black man.... The fact that Gates was hauled away from his own home despite having provided proof that he lived there fuelled the complaints of “racial profiling” – supposed police discrimination against blacks.

It then emerged that Crowley, 42, knew a great deal about police treatment of black suspects – he had been hand-picked by his African-American chief of police to teach a local academy course on avoiding discrimination.

Obama’s discomfort increased when Sergeant Leon Lashley, a black Cambridge officer who was at the scene, said he supported Crowley’s actions “100%”. Lashley added: “I was there. He did nothing wrong. There’s nothing rogue about him. He was doing his job.”

As police unions around the country took umbrage at Obama’s “stupid” remark, it was not just white conservatives who were happy to bash the president. Bill Cosby, the black entertainer who has criticised African-Americans for a “victim” mentality, said he was “shocked” by the president’s willingness to jump into the dispute. “If I’m president of the United States . . . I’m keeping my mouth shut,” added Cosby.

Crowley told a local radio station: “I think he’s way off base wading into a local issue without knowing all the facts.”

By Friday evening, Obama was back in character as the smooth and charming diplomat as he joked about Crowley’s problems with overwhelming media attention. “He wanted to find out if there was a way of getting the press off his lawn,” the president said. “I informed him that I can’t get the press off my lawn.”

Behind the humour lay an awkward reality for Obama. His approval ratings have been slipping steadily as Americans worry about his interventionist policies. In a Rasmussen poll released on Friday, he fell below 50% for the first time, and an ugly argument about race is not going to help him recover.



Is Henry Gates a crook who had good reason to fear the police?

Just an excerpt from a much bigger story below

Henry Louis Gates, Jr controls a tax-exempt, non-profit charity, Inkwell Foundation, Inc, that managed to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct support in one year, yet only gave out $27,500 in grants, the bulk of which went to Gates' employees and Harvard colleagues. Also, as recently as September 2008, the Boston Globe reported that Gates' charity was not in compliance with the law for failing to register the proper paperwork, despite the charity existing since 2005. The charge at the time was that it was "bogus," as you'll see below. In fact, the state Attorney General's office told the Globe the charity was likely either inactive, or dissolved. Yet, documents below show the charity is healthy, wealthy and active.

Is it possible that Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was acting strange when law enforcement showed up at his door because he didn't want the story below to come out? It may take a tax lawyer to answer that question, but based on this research, it can't be ruled out. We know the press has questioned Gates about the charity in the past and gotten no response.

Acting on a tip and with an item at Instapundit in mind (much more at this link), I was curious when Joseph Culligan of Web of Deception emailed with a tip as to the home's ownership. It seems Harvard does own the home in which Gates lives. But it's also the address for his charity, see below.

Third, Harvard sent someone from the University maintenance department over to secure Gates’ house and/or fix the broken lock on his front door. How many people have an employer who’ll send maintenance staff over to fix up or watch over their house?

Scroll all the way to the bottom at this link for the actual documents, including the real estate information. Gates uses Harvard (12 Quincy St.) as his home address on the charity paperwork, as opposed to the same one as his charity, which is where he actually lives and was at when the recent police incident took place. It would seem to be incorrect. A wiki has this Inkwell below as it's center item and reports that a Globe reporter has accused it of being a "bogus" charity.

More HERE (See the original for links)


Community Organizer-in-Chief

Voters in last November's election never really got a clear sense of just what candidate Barack Obama did during his years as a "community organizer." The phrase carries with it some vague suggestion of volunteers working selflessly to represent the downtrodden, the powerless in the community, as they seek to climb out from under the yoke of domineering and exploitative authority. Wikipedia gives us some sense of that notion:

"Unlike other forms of more consensual "community building," community organizers generally assume that social change necessarily involves conflict and social struggle in order to generate collective power for the powerless."

An Internet search for a definition of community organizing turned up someone named Mike Miller at something described as the Organize Training Center. Mr. Miller's take on community organizing comes extraordinarily close to the principles that Barak Obama, former community organizer, is applying to his role as the nation's new president. There is a remarkable carry-over from his earlier role to his present one:

Organizing does two central things to seek to rectify the problem of power imbalance—it builds a permanent base of people power so that dominant financial and institutional power can be challenged and held accountable to values of greater social, environmental and economic justice . . .

When viewed in this context, many of the Obama policies that defy logic begin to make perfect sense, even proposals and programs that on their face appear to be in perfect conflict with the common good—as well as common sense.

Some of these would, of course, include: degrading our health care system down to Canadian and British standards; turning on the money spigot in the form of an ill-conceived "stimulus" that will neither create jobs nor improve the economy; follow the forever-futile policy of trying to spend our way out of a recession; nationalizing bankrupt car companies on behalf of union interests, thereby preserving failed business models to the tune of tens of billions of dollars; supporting the despicable "card check" legislation that will foster retribution and, inevitably, violence against workers who would be deprived of the secret ballot; raising taxes to astronomical levels—on individuals, corporations, small businesses—in the teeth of a severe recession, a course that risks turning a crisis into a catastrophe; and touring the globe while busily ingratiating himself with every two-bit despot, dictator, and enemy of democracy he can find by repeatedly apologizing for America's past failings and transgressions.

I could go on but it would be pointless. Each of these policies, as well as others, is incompatible with even the barest degree of fiscal responsibility, job creation, personal liberty, and America's stature on the international stage. They stand as a perfect contrary indicator to traditional American values like individual choice and freedom from an intrusive government that stands in the way as an obstacle to individual achievement and its rewards. One can only conclude that since each and every one of them are so wrong-headed and patently antithetical to the well-being of the nation, there must be another agenda at work having nothing to do with setting the country on the road to recovery.

Another policy I failed to mention perhaps can give us some insight into the true agenda at work here. Part of the president's tax proposal provides euphemistically-dubbed "tax credits" to the roughly 60% of the populace that does not actually pay income taxes. This would create the perverse situation in which having no obligation to pay anything under the tax code becomes a profitable enterprise, leaving the non-payer with a net gain. The source of these credits, of course, is the 40% that enjoys no such immunity under the tax code.

Now we know what candidate Obama meant when he told Joe the Plumber that as good Americans we should "share the wealth." What he really meant was that government should act as an intermediary through which wealth is simply redistributed. Thus, a campaign comment that many interpreted to signify the candidate's belief that all Americans should share in the opportunity to achieve prosperity really had a darker meaning: that government's proper role is to expropriate by fiat the assets of one group of Americans and transfer them to a different group.

Go back for a moment and re-read the quotations on the function of the community organizer and it becomes evident that Mr. Obama is still acting in that role. He is working to build a "community" in which the influence of the "powerful" is diminished and that of the "powerless" is enhanced. "Solutions" like wealth redistribution and lowest-common-denominator health care serve to achieve that outcome. Hence the "dominant"—corporations, financial institutions, rich people—should be challenged and held accountable to values of greater social, environmental and economic justice. Scrutinized in that context, then, policies that don't meet the standards of rationality when viewed through the prism of their purported purpose—such as economic measures designed to address economic problems—take on new meaning as vehicles aimed at "fixing" what Mr. Obama thinks is the real problem with the country—the problem of power imbalance.

Perhaps Americans will in time despair of their flirtation with social and economic collectivism. If they do, however, this administration's legacy will not be simply that it pursued policies that the country eventually rejected. It will be remembered instead for its most egregious act—exploiting and exacerbating a genuine national crisis in the interests of pursuing a radical social and economic agenda.

Perhaps more than any of its 43 predecessors, the Obama administration provides a perfect illustration of Ronald Reagan's observation that government is not the solution to the problem, it is the problem.



Ignoramus in chief?

This week President Obama has caught a lot of flack for stating "I don't know all the facts", but then proceeding to provide unwarranted and inflammatory conjecture anyhow. Although that statement was concerned with a very specific incident, one might argue that this is a phrase that he might want to utter before speaking on major policy topics like economics and health care. For it seems that like many who emerge from liberal academic echo chambers, he is chock full of intellect, but lamentably short on actual knowledge.

The President has thus far admitted his ignorance as to what was specifically contained in the House health care but urged its rapid passage in order to do great things such as save the planet and not ruin the upcoming Congressional vacation. And Fred Barnes at the Weekly Standard calls Obama the "Know-Nothing-in-Chief" for his seeming total void of knowledge free-market economic theories:
There's no evidence Obama has even a sketchy grasp of economics. Is President Obama an economic illiterate? Harsh as that sounds, there's growing evidence he understands little about economics and even less about economic growth or job creation. Yet, as we saw at last week's presidential press conference, he's undeterred from holding forth, with seeming confidence, on economic issues.

Obama professes to believe in free market economics. But no one expects his policies to reflect the unfettered capitalism of a Milton Friedman. That's too much to ask. Demonstrating a passing acquaintance with free market ideas and how they might be used to fight the recession--that's not too much to ask. But the president talks as if free market solutions are nonexistent...

Getting back to the topic of health care, fairly intelligent and experienced men state that the President doesn't even do a good job faking that he knows what he is talking about.

Glenn Reynolds speaking on the Hugh Hewitt show said "Obama is an idiot when he talks about medical things...", as well as saying some of the President's prescriptions doled out when taking on the subject are like "...prescribing a laxative for lung cancer. This guy is making health care policy, and he's clueless."

On the same show, Charles Krauthammer (a former board certified doctor) said this:
"The real problem with Obama is he’s extremely intelligent, but he’s even more arrogant. And he trusts his own intelligence to get him through anything, even with a lack of knowledge. And it is amazingly arrogant. He’s standing up there, and he’s saying that there are doctors out there who will rip out a kid’s tonsils in order to make some money, without even knowing what are the indications for a tonsillectomy, and what’s not. He sort of made it up as he went along. You’re right. He operates on what he thinks he only needs, a minimal level of knowledge..."

Fortunately for us, but unfortunately for the President, his ignorance of a range of ideas on major policy issues may well be the undoing of his proposals. Much of this is due to the repeated public display of this ignorance in his self-induced hyper-exposure. If he were to keep from the spotlight, and only appear when escorted by a phalanx of teleprompters, he could limit the damage. But it may already have been done. But perhaps he is willing to sacrifice these things on the altars of vanity and narcissism.

Unfortunately it would not be a surprise if President Obama had spent all those years in academe becoming an intellectual, rather than a learned man.

Post above recycled from Charlie Foxtrot


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)