Sweden on its Deathbed
From The Brussels Journal, Fjordman warns that in Sweden, "vanity now blocks sanity."
From The Brussels Journal, Fjordman warns that in Sweden, "vanity now blocks sanity."
There are 11 days to go before the first exhibition game, and the Browns' third string quarterback is still unsigned. Pardon me while I stifle a yawn. Here's the foreboding ESPN headline; No end in sight for Browns rookie Quinn's holdout. Really? No end?
The Plain Dealer site blares "Quinn Still MIA", and says that the quarterback "doesn't appear close" to signing. This is inferred by beat writer Mary Kay Cabot from all the signs she sees...like G.M. Phil Savage saying "the two sides are 'right there' on some things but that they just haven't been able to get it done yet."
Wow. That does sound hopeless.
It happens every year, and probably in most every NFL city. The fans are starved of football news, and their first round draft picks are the last to sign. Agents have multiple clients and busy schedules. Negotiations are complicated and linked to other negotiations. Still it is rare for a first round pick to hold out beyond the second exhibition game.
But as soon as July practices begin, fans and media agonize over their unsigned first-rounder, labeling him a "holdout". He's missing valuable practice time. He needs to learn the system. He needs to get to know his teammates. Oh, the humanity!
Remind me again how many first round picks sat out last season. Oh, right. None. And if the Browns have any sense at all, the job Brady Quinn has been so derelict in preparing for this year will involve mostly a baseball cap and a clipboard. One hopes.
I know, a rookie quarterback could learn an awful lot in those four practices he has missed so far. But isn't he supposed to be a smart kid? He went to Notre Dame. Right now, he's smart enough to listen to his agent Tom Condon, one of the best. And part of the reason Savage can take a firm stand in negotiations is that he doesn't really need Quinn to be productive on the field this year.
Phil Savage and his team conduct contract negotiations as far from the media consciousness as is possible in the modern era. I saw no local writers reporting that there were signs that Joe Thomas "appeared close" to signing before Savage announced the done deal a few days ago. That's not the way he does business.
One morning, probably yet this week, Savage and Brady will have a press conference to announce the contract. Then the Browns fans who want so badly to believe that Brady Quinn is the savior of the franchise will get about the business of making the backup quarterback the most popular player on the team, and clamoring for him to play sooner instead of later. It has always been that way.
UPDATE 8/6: They're down to final details. It looks like Brady Quinn will be in an orange helmet when the team opens exhibition play Saturday. And this seemingly interminable nightmare will finally be over.
If anything can motivate Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson, this circus has to be it.
UPDATE 8/7: Exactly one week after the initial article in this post warned that there was "no end in sight", Brady Quinn has agreed to terms with the Cleveland Browns on a five-year contract. What's next? Dogs and cats living together in peace and harmony?
After the New York Times got around to acknowledging progress in Iraq under the command of Gen. Petraeus by way of a generally optimistic op-ed by Michael E. Oâ€™Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack today, the blogs of the left are busy trying to discredit the authors as (gasp) supporters of the Iraq campaign. See Brian Faughnan at WWS on how that is problematic for them. Also at WWS, Michael Goldfarb comments on the NYT piece.
Tom Maguire looks at the previous positions of Pollack on the war. He helped make the original case for deposing Saddam, but has been a vocal critic of the White House since the invasion. And Allahpundit says O'Hanlon is now the left's public enemy number two...after O'Reilly of course.
what is most telling about this piece is the introduction:
Viewed from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration's critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.
For the sake of argument, let us suppose that the authors are right when they claim the Bush administration has "lost essentially all credibility." Does this excuse the administration's critics for being "unaware of the significant changes taking place"--especially when some of those critics have, for reasons of partisanship, ideology or just plain animus, actively campaigned to destroy the administration's credibility?
In the critics' defense, one may say that they have not, by and large, been in positions of responsibility; that if things have gone wrong in Iraq, the administration deserves the lion's share of the blame.
On the other hand, those critics now include the leaders of both houses of Congress, as well as several politicians who would like to become president. For them, at least, it is a serious failure of leadership if they base their views on Iraq on their own disdain for President Bush, or the hope of exploiting voters' disdain for him, rather than on reality.
Besides, the Democratic Congress has the important business of impeaching the Attorney General to attend to.
UPDATE 7/31: Somehow I missed this post by Dean Barnett until this morning.
UPDATE 8/1: Read Michael Barone too.
What would you do if you were President of the United States for two hours...and were basically killing time at the office on a Saturday?
What (Acting) President Cheney Did
Dick Cheney was acting president for about two hours on Saturday July 21 (while the president underwent a medical procedure). To the surprise of Cheney haters everywhere, he didn't seize the opportunity to start a war, pardon Scooter Libby, or ship Carl Levin to Gitmo for questioning.
So what was Dick Cheney up to during the two hours of his acting presidency? Our colleague Stephen F. Hayes, author of a terrific new Cheney biography (Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President), tells us that the man caricatured in the mainstream media as Darth Vader stayed home and wrote a letter to his grandchildren.
"Dear Kate, Elizabeth, Grace, Philip, Richard and Sam," he began. "As I write this, our nation is engaged in a war with terrorists of global reach. My principal focus as Vice President has been to help protect the American people and our way of life. The vigilance, diligence and unwavering commitment of those who protect our Nation has kept us safe from terrorist attacks of the kind we faced on September 11, 2001. We owe a special debt of gratitude to the members of our armed forces, intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies and others who serve and sacrifice to keep us safe and free."
The letter is written on Cheney's official letterhead and it closes with a personal request.
"As you grow, you will come to
understand the sacrifices that each generation makes to preserve freedom and democracy for future generations, and you will assume the important responsibilities of citizens in our society. I ask of you as my grandchildren what I asked of my daughters, that you always strive in your lives to do what is right."
The letter is signed:
"May God bless and protect you.
Richard B. Cheney
Acting President of the United States
Kind of a cool keepsake for the grandchildren, obviously, and a glimpse at the things that were on Cheney's mind during those two hours.
Hugh Hewitt's interview with John Burns of the New York Times will air on Monday's radio show. I wonder if Andrew Sullivan will claim that Burns' journalistic objectivity has been "rendered moot" since he "is willing to be used by the Republican propaganda machine" by appearing with Hugh. I'm sure that White House spin and neocon talking points are what we can expect from Burns...that is, if the Extremist Partisans Radio Network by-laws prevail.
UPDATE 7/1: Here is the transcript of Hugh's interview with John Burns. While Burns sees progress militarily, he is not nearly as optimistic on the prospects for political reconciliation. Nothing is sugar-coated here. I highly recommend you read the whole interview.
When you have a few minutes, it's well worth spending on this essay by Robert Kagan from Policy Review via RCP. It's sort of an over-arching assessment of the geopolitical situation in the world today, with the United States as the greatly flawed, yet absolutely necessary, sole superpower. It's quite long, but Kagan is so readable that it flies by...if this kind of stuff floats your boat, that is. Here's a sample.
Predominance is not the same thing as omnipotence. Just because the United States has more power than everyone else does not mean it can impose its will on everyone else. American predominance in the early years after the Second World War did not prevent the North Korean invasion of the South, a communist victory in China, the Soviet acquisition of the hydrogen bomb, or the consolidation of the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe -- all far greater strategic setbacks than anything the United States has yet suffered or is likely to suffer in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor does predominance mean the United States will succeed in all its endeavors, any more than it did six decades ago.
By the same token, foreign policy failures do not necessarily undermine predominance. Some have suggested that failure in Iraq would mean the end of predominance and unipolarity. But a superpower can lose a war -- in Vietnam or in Iraq -- without ceasing to be a superpower if the fundamental international conditions continue to support its predominance. So long as the United States remains at the center of the international economy and the predominant military power, so long as the American public continues to support American predominance as it has consistently for six decades, and so long as potential challengers inspire more fear than sympathy among their neighbors, the structure of the international system should remain as the Chinese describe it: one superpower and many great powers.
This is a good thing, and it should continue to be a primary goal of American foreign policy to perpetuate this relatively benign international configuration of power. The unipolar order with the United States as the predominant power is unavoidably riddled with flaws and contradictions. It inspires fears and jealousies. The United States is not immune to error, like all other nations, and because of its size and importance in the international system those errors are magnified and take on greater significance than the errors of less powerful nations. Compared to the ideal Kantian international order, in which all the world 's powers would be peace-loving equals, conducting themselves wisely, prudently, and in strict obeisance to international law, the unipolar system is both dangerous and unjust. Compared to any plausible alternative in the real world, however, it is relatively stable and less likely to produce a major war between great powers. It is also comparatively benevolent, from a liberal perspective, for it is more conducive to the principles of economic and political liberalism that Americans and many others value.
American predominance does not stand in the way of progress toward a better world, therefore. It stands in the way of regression toward a more dangerous world. The choice is not between an American-dominated order and a world that looks like the European Union. The future international order will be shaped by those who have the power to shape it. The leaders of a post-American world will not meet in Brussels but in Beijing, Moscow, and Washington.
People who believe greater equality among nations would be preferable to the present American predominance often succumb to a basic logical fallacy. They believe the order the world enjoys today exists independently of American power. They imagine that in a world where American power was diminished, the aspects of international order that they like would remain in place. But that 's not the way it works. International order does not rest on ideas and institutions. It is shaped by configurations of power. The international order we know today reflects the distribution of power in the world since World War ii, and especially since the end of the Cold War. A different configuration of power, a multipolar world in which the poles were Russia, China, the United States, India, and Europe, would produce its own kind of order, with different rules and norms reflecting the interests of the powerful states that would have a hand in shaping it. Would that international order be an improvement? Perhaps for Beijing and Moscow it would. But it is doubtful that it would suit the tastes of enlightenment liberals in the United States and Europe.
I'm not sure how long they've been doing this...or how long they'll get away with doing it (surely someone is suing them?), but this site based in the UK has aggregated a ton of content of current and past TV shows (American and British), as well as hundreds of full-length movies, documentaries and music videos, making them all viewable onscreen...for free.
Now, I don't watch a lot of TV that doesn't involve a game played with a ball of some sort, so I probably won't spend a lot of time here. But it's a heck of a resource, if only for trivia question research. Check out the movie section too.
Guilty or innocent, we will never watch an NBA game the same way. He's going to hang over everything -- every referee, every shaky outcome, every bad call -- in ways the average fan doesn't fully realize yet. Maybe they'll throw Donaghy in jail, maybe they won't, but he'll linger over every court like a black cloud. You'll hear his name more than you think. You and your buddies will make "that guy looks like he's pulling a Donaghy!" jokes every time a referee is making calls against your favorite team. Hecklers will gleefully play the Donaghy card after every bad call against the home team. For honest referees still working games, it doesn't matter what happens from this point on -- their collective integrity will always be questioned, their collective track record won't matter, and that will be that.
So that's one problem. The second problem is more complex. When news of the scandal broke on Friday, as J.A. Adande pointed out in his column on ESPN.com that day, every diehard NBA fan had the same reaction. They weren't thinking, "I can't believe it!" or "Oh my God, how could this happen?" They were thinking, "Which one was it?" This was like finding out that your grandfather who smoked three packs a day for 50 years just came down with lung cancer. It was sad but inevitable. It was only a matter of time.
Simmons details how Tim Donaghy may have compromised the 2007 NBA Finals with his work in Game 3 of the Spurs-Suns series:
Imagine being a Suns fan right now. You just spent the past two months believing that your team got screwed by the Stoudemire/Diaw suspensions, that you would have won Game 1 if Nash didn't get hurt, that you would have taken Game 3 if you hadn't been screwed by the officials, that you would have cruised in Game 5 if two of your best guys weren't suspended for running toward their best player as he lay in a crumpled heap. Now it looks like an allegedly compromised referee worked Game 3.
Well, how much did Donaghy affect the game? How many calls did he whistle on Stoudemire? How many of Bowen's potential fouls did he not call? Was he the seemingly incompetent schmuck who made that three-seconds-too-late call on Ginobili? Did Tim Donaghy cost you that game?
If David Stern wants to do right by the fans, then he should order NBA TV to rerun the tape of Game 3. We need answers. We need to know for sure. Hell, they can start a series called "NBA Hardwood Classics: The Tim Donaghy Collection" and we'll spend the rest of the summer combing through games and figuring out how many Donaghy could have fixed. Like Game 6 of the Raptors-Nets series, which New Jersey won by a point in the final seconds. Did he swing that one? What about Game 2 of the Orlando-Detroit series, when the Magic rallied for a late cover in the final seconds with Donaghy jogging around? What about the Heat-Knicks game from last February in which the Knicks were given a 39-8 free-throw advantage and covered a 4.5-point spread by 1.5 points? Did Donaghy call those two technical fouls on the Miami coaches? Is there footage of Pat Riley screaming at him?
As Simmons says, it's David Stern's worst nightmare. And it's a pretty ugly period for professional sports in general. Major League Baseball can't decide it its commissioner should be party to a drug-tainted superstar breaking the record of a legend. The NFL has one of its superstar-millionaires under indictment for operating a dog-fighting enterprise. And an NBA ref is found to be a crook. Bring on college football.
Hitchens says that for George Galloway...
The mills of justice grind with maddening slowness, but they do at least grind.
But Galloway has been found by two separate investigations to have been on the payroll of Saddam Hussein while he was campaigning to end sanctions and leave the dictator in power. Evidence that is "undeniable" from the latest report from Parliament shows that, not only was he taking bribes to do the bidding of a tyrant, he was stealing from the Iraqi citizens he purported to be helping with his "charitable" front organization. To call the man a scumbag is to do a disservice to upstanding scumbags everywhere. More Hitch:
The "Oil for Food" program was the means by which the most vulnerable people in Iraqâ€”the children, the sick, and the agedâ€”were supposed to be protected from the effect of sanctions aimed at the regime. To have profited from its abuse or its diversion is therefore somewhat worse than to have accepted a straight-out bribe or inducement from Saddam Hussein. It is to have stolen directly from the neediest and the weakest, in order to finance a propaganda campaign that in turn blamed the West for the avoidable sufferings of Iraqis between 1991 and 2003.
And his bedfellows in the self-interested campaign to keep Saddam in power, mostly officials in France and Russia have also long since been exposed as the cynics and opportunists and liars that they are. The leaders of those principled governments who opposed the coalition's removal of Saddam have moved on, and have shown their true colors. More Hitch:
Just look at the gang that strove to prevent the United Nations from enforcing its library of resolutions on Saddam Hussein. Where are they now? Gerhard Schroeder, ex-chancellor of Germany, has gone straight to work for a Russian oil-and-gas consortium. Vladimir Putin, master of such consortia and their manipulation, is undisguised in his thirst to re-establish a one-party state. Jacques Chirac, who only avoided prosecution for corruption by getting himself immunized by re-election (and who had Saddam's sons as his personal guests while in office, and built Saddam Hussein a nuclear reactor while knowing what he wanted it for), is now undergoing some unpleasant interviews with the Paris police. So is his cynical understudy Dominique de Villepin, once the glamour-boy of the "European" school of diplomacy without force. What a crew! Galloway is the most sordid of this group because he managed to be a pimp for, as well as a prostitute of, one of the foulest dictatorships of modern times. But the taint of collusion and corruption extends much further than his pathetic figure, and one day, slowly but surely, we shall find out the whole disgusting thing.
It's all good.
Because they are petrified that the September report from Gen. Petraeus might contain positive news, or a shred of hope for a free Iraq, and screw up the narrative of defeat and presidential humiliation that serves their political interests, the campaign is now on by the political left to discredit Petraeus in advance of the report as a GOP "tool". After all, he did agree to be interviewed by Hugh Hewitt. Hugh's summary of the ongoing smear job on Petraeus by liberal pundits and bloggers begins like this:
The decline of the leftwing netroots into one great, venomous snarl is far advanced, well-known, and much remarked upon by political observers from across the spectrum. But even given its deserved reputation for poisonous invective, the assault mounted against General David Petraeus surprises. General Petraeus made the unforgivable mistake in their eyes of appearing on my radio program and answering questions.... Both because he agreed to be interviewed by a journalist favorable to victory and supportive of President Bush and because his answers suggest progress is being made in Iraq, Petraeus has been savaged by leftist bloggers big and little.
Andrew Sullivan promptly pronounced that "a decision to cater to one party's propaganda outlet renders Petraeus' military independence moot." Don't expect the truth come September, according to Sullivan.
As with the Democrats' sniffy boycott of any debate to be conducted on the evil Fox Network, this is a common ploy of lefties who need to avoid the arguments or uncomfortable questions that would otherwise confront them, so they simply declare any media outlet that permits the expression of conservative views to be beyond the pale of reasonable discourse. Handy.
So where was Gen. Petraeus to go? There doesn't appear to have been much of a clamor from other media organs to communicate the General's perspectives on the progress of the war to the American people. Dean Barrett interviewing Mark Steyn on Hugh's show yesterday produced some quotable moments from both men on these issues, including the left's total lack of interest in the actual realities of the war:
DB: ...one of the things General Petraeus was saying yesterday is that he wants to do as much media as possible.
DB: And I havenâ€™t heard any left wing media outlet, letâ€™s say Keith Olbermann, or someone of that ilk, say I tried to get Petraeus, but I couldnâ€™t.
MS: No, and in fact, theyâ€™re very uninterested in hearing about specific military operations, how theyâ€™re going, how well theyâ€™re going, what the mood of the troops is, and what the strategic thinking at the Pentagon is, because in effect, theyâ€™ve decided their position on Iraq, and itâ€™s impervious to anything thatâ€™s happening on the ground. So in that sense, thatâ€™s the reason General Petraeus may sit around waiting for invitations from certain shows, and heâ€™s just not going to get them.
DB: Now Mark, Mark Steyn, donâ€™t you find it interesting that two months before General Petraeus reports, theyâ€™ve apparently already turned on him, and already sought to discredit whatever he might say?
MS: Yes, and I think this is a real danger, in effect, that theyâ€™re saying, theyâ€™re trying to make it appear as if he is a partisan figure. And he is, in the sense that he supports the mission, and he wouldnâ€™t be directing the mission if he did not support it. But the idea that therefore heâ€™s some kind of political hack, I think is absurd. And I think this is also, again, the Washington perspective on this. You know, this is, if youâ€™re in Iraq, this is a war that you have to fight as you see fit. And to put it in this Beltway perspective, in terms of how, which particular radio show you go on, or TV show, or how itâ€™s going to play here or there, thatâ€™s not how he thinks about it. Heâ€™s got huge numbers of American servicemen and women under his command out there in Iraq, and the idea that simply because of, that this was is somehow a postmodern war thatâ€™s only being fought in the TV and radio studios of America, I think is the sign of just how the left has sort of flown the coop, that in effect, the spin, its own spin has become the reality, and real reality canâ€™t impinge on it.
DB: Now Mark Steyn, what do you think of the narrative that we often see come forward, that the troops are the children, and we must save our children and bring them home. How does that strike you?
MS: Well, I think itâ€™s immensely insulting. For a start, theyâ€™re actually a lot more mature than the left wing commentators shrieking about the children. I was behind a car with a bumper sticker the other day, and the bumper sticker said honor the dead, heal the wounded, end the war.
MS: You donâ€™t honor the dead by basically making their death a worthless sacrifice, you donâ€™t heal the wounded by saying this is yet another war that America lost because of the emotional mawkish exhibitionism of a lot of self-indulgent and desiccated twits back on the home front. This is not how soldiers think. Theyâ€™re not children. Theyâ€™re grown men, theyâ€™re doing a more grown up job than most of the people bleating back at home. And they deserve real support, not this kind of misplaced nursery teacher coddling that looks cute on a bumper sticker, but it utterly meaningless.
More reaction to the Hewitt interview in a separate HH post.
The commentators objecting to the general being interviewed by an avowed Republican who is also a journalist no doubt don't object to Tim Russert, George Stephanopoulos and Chris Matthews running talk shows depsite their past partisan attachments. This amusing double standard says nothing about the ability of those Dems who are also journalists to conduct interviews, but volumes about the gullibility of the anti-intellectuals who want General Petraeus only to speak to the MSM and thus through the filter of MSM. That's an absurd straight-jacket which the neither the military nor any other institution in America ought to put on. The day will never come when the left forces all of America only to talk to its approved outlets, but you learn a lot about people when they start calling for gag rules and censorship. You learn all you need to know about Andrew Sullivan, for example, who premptively denounces General Petraeus as a liar for the content of his not-yet-composed much-less-delivered September report.
The tactics are working. So much noise was made following the interview that all the talk (including here) is about the noise, and not about the interview. So...one more time...Hugh Hewitt interviews Gen. Petraeus.
Dark Roasted Blend has a page of optical illusions that's worth looking at....for a while. As usual, there's a lot of other interesting and funny content there too.
News of the capture and interrogation of Khalid Abdul Fatah Daâ€™ud Mahmud Al Mashadani, a leader of the "al Qaeda in Iraq" organization seems to have blown a hole in the Democrats' effort to portray the enemy we are fighting in Iraq and the real al Qaeda as somehow being two distinct entities. One, they say, is worth pursuing with vigor (Obama apparently favors invading Pakistan) and the other amounts to a homegrown insurgency which has been re-titled "al Qaeda" by George Bush to justify our continued involvement in his ill-fated (if they have anything to say about it) Iraq campaign.
Bill Roggio has the story...the military one, not the political one.
Mashadani, also known as Abu Shahed, was captured in Mosul and is thought by the U.S. military to be the most senior Iraqi-born leader of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). During Mashadaniâ€™s interrogation, the U.S. confirmed the Islamic State of Iraq is an al Qaeda front and that its leader does not really exist.
Mashadani has a long pedigree in Iraqâ€™s Salafist terror networks, and had direct contact with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. â€œMashadani was a leader in the Ansar Al Sunna terrorist group before joining AQI two and half years ago,â€ Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner said in a press briefing. â€œHe served as the al-Qaeda Media Emir for Baghdad and then was appointed the Media Emir for all of Iraq, serving as an intermediary between AQI leader al-Masri, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri. In fact, communication between senior al-Qaeda leadership and al-Masri went through Mashadani.â€
During interrogations, Mashadani admitted that the Islamic State of Iraq was merely a puppet front group established by al Qaeda in order to put an Iraqi face on the insurgency. Mashadani cofounded the Islamic State of Iraq with al-Masri in 2006. â€œThe Islamic State of Iraq is a â€˜frontâ€™ organization that masks the foreign influence and leadership within AQI in an attempt to put an Iraqi face on the leadership of AQI,â€ said Brig. Gen Bergner.
Mashadani said the domestic insurgents groups recognize that al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State of Iraq are fronts. â€œThe idea of al-Baghdadi is very weak now because other insurgent groups have realized that the concept of al-Baghdadi is controlled by the al-Qaeda foreign fighters in Iraq,â€ said Mashadani to his interrogators.
Mashadani stated that al Qaeda in Iraq is operationally controlled by foreign fighters, not Iraqi insurgents. â€œMashadani confirms that al Masri and the foreign leaders with whom he surrounds himself, not Iraqis, make the operational decisions for AQI,â€ said Brig. Gen Bergner. â€œAccording to Mashadani, in fact, al Masri increasingly relies only on foreigners, who make up the majority of the leadership of AQI. He does not seek or trust the advice of Iraqis in the organization.â€
Is this Time.com article a crack in the wall of media silence about real progress under the surge?
Reporters and other interested parties might spend a few minutes reviewing the latest National Intelligence Estimate. It states unequivocally that al Qaeda in Iraq is al Qaedaâ€™s â€œmost visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homelandâ€ here in the U.S. In plain language: The consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community is that the most dangerous branch of the terrorist organization that attacked American on 9/11/01 is al Qaeda in Iraq.
John Perazzo examines the "special relationship" between Media Matters and Sen. Clinton, and sheds light on their hit job on the reliably liberal Don Imus. It wasn't political, you see. It was personal.
George Soros bankrolls the Center for American Progress, and Media Matters is one of its organs. And Hillary Clinton is the horse Soros intends to ride to power. Imus was anti-Clinton, so he had to go.
UPDATE 7/20: Perazzo has an epic bio of Hillary up today at FPM. Pack a lunch.
Christopher Booker writing in the Telegraph says the BBC is doing all it can to
distort counter the growing evidence that solar, not human activity is the primary influence on global warming. That is just one of several articles on climate change from the Telegraph, linked by the excellent European blog EU Referendum.
The BBC won't let the sunshine in
In the wake of the BBC's 15-hour marathon promoting Al Gore's propaganda fest for the "consensus" view of global warming (interspersed with rock music), a concerted effort was made last week to discredit the rival thesis which has recently been gaining widespread support: that the key to warming lies in the activity not of man but of the sun.
A rash of stories, typified by the BBC's " No Sun link to climate change", promoted a paper published by the Royal Society which accuses the scientists behind the "solar warming" thesis of "distorting" the data. The paper's authors admit that solar activity was higher in the 20th century than at any time in 6,000 years, and that until recently this could have been significant in raising temperatures on earth. But then everything changed. Since 1985, they claim, solar influence has weakened, while global temperatures have soared. "This debate is now settled," they say. The culprit is CO2 after all.
This may satisfy the BBC - but the latest surface and satellite data show that, since their peak in 1998, global temperatures have in fact dropped back. Last month, according to Nasa, they were as low as in 1983. Tellingly, the Royal Society paper ends its surface temperature graph in 2000 and omits the even more inconvenient satellite data altogether. However, if temperatures fall while CO2 levels rise, how can it be maintained that CO2 is the main driver of global warming?
Far from being settled, this debate is just beginning to get really interesting.
This commentary gets to the heart of the BBC's misleading treatment of the issue.
The report argues that while the sun had a significant effect on climate during most of the 20th century, its influence is currently dwarfed by human effects. It says that all known solar influences since about 1990 are downward and because global temperature has increased since then, the sun is not responsible.
No. The research could prove the contrary. Using the global temperature data endorsed by the Inter-national Panel on Climate Change, one can reach a completely different conclusion.
Recently the United States' National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said that 2006 was statistically indistinguishable from previous years.
Looking at annual global temperatures, it is apparent that the last decade shows no warming trend and recent successive annual global temperatures are well within each year's measurement errors. Statistically the world's temperature is flat.
The world certainly warmed between 1975 and 1998, but in the past 10 years it has not been increasing at the rate it did. No scientist could honestly look at global temperatures over the past decade and see a rising curve.
Whatever the cause, I am skeptical of any government-imposed "solution", and definitely one which would legislate the crippling of the U.S. economy by limiting our growth and development, especially while the world's worst environmental actors are not similarly constrained.
The standard dismissal of scientists who dissent from the global warming orthodoxy is that they are all in the pay of corporate oil interests. The fact that this is not true is not a deterrent to those who make the claim. They are on a mission after all. What's a little white lie when you're saving the planet?
But even if it were true, it would not change the fact that the scientists who blame human activity for warming, and advocate for strong government action, are doing research that is mostly government funded. Their very livelihood often depends on staying on the good side of the statists and their insatiable bureaucracy. How they can pose as any less self-interested than the dissenting scientists, and how so many people can lap up their sanctimony uncritically, is amazing to me.
Buckeye fans will want to check out this SI.com photo gallery of Ohio State's Top 10 Athletes of all time.
I have some issues with the order, and maybe with a couple of omissions (John Havlicek, Orlando Pace, Clark Kellogg, Neil Colzie, Jack Tatum?) but I guess the Bucks could put their top four or so up against just about any other school. Start with Jesse Owens, Jack Nicklaus, Jerry Lucas and Archie Griffin, icons all, and then take your pick of Eddie George, Troy Smith or Greg Oden as the fifth man.
I suppose USC could put up a quintet made up completely of Heisman Trophy winning running backs (Garrett, Simpson, Allen, White, and Bush) but that group lacks diversity. What other school has a comparable group? I'm just asking.
Frank Furedi at Spiked Online takes on the modern day population control zealots, "... todayâ€™s Malthusians...harbour a powerful sense of loathing against the human species itself. Is it any surprise, then, that some of them actually celebrate non-existence?" More excerpts:
Where in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Malthusians warned that population growth threatened people with starvation, todayâ€™s Malthusians denounce people for threatening the planet by consuming too much. As a result, contemporary Malthusianism has an unusually strident and misanthrophic streak.
Over the past two centuries, a bewildering array of problems has been blamed on population growth. At various times, famine, poverty, the failure of Third World economies, instability, revolution, the spread of communism and the subordinate position of women have been linked to population growth (8). The approach of the population growth lobby is devastatingly simple: they take a problem and argue that it would diminish in intensity if there were fewer people. Such simplistic methodology is even used to account for the emergence of new forms of terrorism today.
You donâ€™t have to be a sophisticated student of global politics to see through the simplistic and opportunistic arguments on security put forward by the new Malthusians. But then, the success of Malthusianism has never been down to the rigour or eloquence of its ideas. Rather, the success of Malthusian ideas depends on the strength of cultural pessimism at any given time. And today it is the loss of faith in the human potential, a fatalistic view of the future, which has rejuvenated the population-control crusade.
So powerful is cultural pessimism today that even the special quality of human life is now called into question. Today, pollution is seen as the principal feature and consequence of human existence. Indeed, todayâ€™s neo-Malthusian thinking is far more dismal and misanthropic than the original version. For all his intellectual pessimism and lack of imagination, Thomas Malthus possessed a far more robust belief in humanity than do his contemporary followers.
Doom-mongering for fun and profit. Hey, it works for Al Gore.
Don't say it often..."must read" stuff, by Andy McCarthy. It defies excerpting. Go do it.
So politically invested are the Democrats in the narrative that Iraq is a failure, and in the humiliation of George Bush, that they are borderline frantic now to give up and pull out soon. Too many signs lately that we are making progress with the campaign, and winning over the Sunnis to help us fight al Qaeda. The panic on the left also requires that they distort the reality in Iraq beyond recognition to portray our current situation as hopeless and ignoble.
Insulting to the intelligence of the American people? Sure. Smart politics? Quite possibly. A thumb in the eye for the troops and for the Iraqi people? Absolutely. Disgusting behavior. That wasn't a question.
Bjorn Lomborg, writing at Spiked Online, suggests we concentrate on saving a few million human lives in the present rather than focus all our attention on future climate conditions.
If you ask the 15 million people who are going to die from easily curable infectious diseases next year, the idea that climate change is our top priority seems to be massively overblown. Whatâ€™s even more important is that you ask: â€˜Where can we actually do some good?â€™ The answer is overwhelmingly: we can do very little good if we focus on climate change policies, whereas we can do immense amounts of good if we focus on some of the many other problems in the world.
I guess eradicating say, malaria, which currently kills millions of people every year, just isn't as sexy as "saving the planet" for those people who need to feel like they're part of something big and important and compassionate and redemptive.
If I were a member of the Church of Global Warmism - you know, a true believer - I would be trying to rid my movement of the anti-capitalist, anti-development Luddites, and of the Leftists and other assorted statists who are masking their own agendas with the vehicle of environmentalism. Because there is nothing benign, much less responsible, about an ideology which advocates the dismantling of the economic engine of wealth and development that has raised life expectancies, eradicated diseases, and built the most prosperous, healthiest, and most environmentally conscious civilization in history, not to mention providing the standard of living that allows the luxury of an environmental movement to exist.
Unaccountable governments don't care about environmentalism. Societies that lack flush toilets aren't testing the groundwater. The enormous wealth that exists in our modern world could be put to good use. It's about priorities and political will.
Lomborg is the founder and head of the Copenhagen Consensus
BizzyBlog has some numbers on how the five year Bush economic expansion compares with other sustained periods of strong economic performance under other administrations. Let me add that, as an Ohioan who has concerns about politics and business, I'm finding my way to Bizzy Blog more and more regularly. Tom Blumer does a great job.
With a look at the kind of protectionism we can expect more of if the electorate continues to trend left, here's a WSJ editorial on how the Democrats now aim to hold previously agreed upon trade agreements hostage to their own meddling in the labor and environmental practices of our trading partner nations. The turnaround is attributed to the influence of Big Labor interests leaning on a certain powerful Democratic Senator.
A bit off topic, but...it's funny how little we hear in the media or from the political left in America any acknowledgment that the Europe they reflexively hold up as a societal model to be emulated is largely trending right, with Merkel and Sarkozy out front. And that shift is clearly interpreted as a corrective measure , away from the unsustainable policies that have failed them. A model that Europe has tried and found wanting is the model urged on us by Democratic politicians in the U.S. Someone tell me what's "progressive" about that.
The polls tell us that, without qualification, or with one qualifier or another, about 70% of Americans have a negative view of the Iraq campaign...(It is not known if the follow-up question, "Where would you prefer to fight the war against al Qaeda?" was asked.)
In any event, July 4 provided the occasion for a collection of U.S. servicemen to weigh in on "Why We Fight", at NRO. With all the political rhetoric about funding and benchmarks and non-binding resolutions flying about, it was sobering to read the clear articulation of simple truths by some of the people closest to the front lines. Call it a timely reminder.
Like this from Iraq veteran, Major Eric Egland:
Sometimes, we must fight. We do so because freedom is worth defending, and tyranny must be opposed. America maintains a special role in defending freedom because our country does not just believe in freedom â€” freedom is our founding principle, our essence. Further, we live in the worldâ€™s oldest democracy and have been blessed with the strength to protect our freedoms and to help others who seek the same. The miracle of America is that we do not use our power to take away the freedom of others, as is the pattern of nations throughout history.
...or this from his wife, Ania Egland, a Polish native;
...what helped me was the knowledge that Eric was part of something important. The liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan is important to the people of the United States, to the people of those countries, and to freedom-loving people around the world.
My family deeply understands that â€œFreedom isnâ€™t free.â€ I grew up under Communism. My parents suffered under Nazi rule. These experiences taught us the sad fact that some people, when given the opportunity, will enslave others â€” and sometimes, only military strength can stop them.
Just as the Allies liberated Europe from the Nazis, and Western military strength made the Soviet Wall crumble, Iraq and Afghanistan were ruled by brutal dictatorships until liberated by the US and its allies.
I have lived under tyranny, and I despise it. Whether it masquerades as Fascism, Communism, or Islamic radicalism, it remains tyranny.
Two other items from the front lines of the war:
A recent Michael Yon dispatch from Iraq, "Bless the Beats and Children", is a stunning photo-essay of the aftermath of a massacre in an Iraqi village. But unlike the unverified decapitation story, which was picked up by numerous mainstream news organs, this was more of a "dog bites man" story of al Qaeda murderousness, hence the media's self-censoring refusal to report it. Anyway, please check it out, and then go to Yon's follow-up post for more details.
Michael Yon is the anti-Reuters. That he continues to kick their mainstream ass in the arena of war journalism must be tremendously satisfying to many others besides me.
Jeff Goldstein reacts to the non-interest in Yon's legitimate scoop, and quotes one anonymous mainstream journalist who admits that it's because they are humiliated over their powerlessness and inability to effectively address tyranny via their preferred, non-military devices.
And on the subject of old media war coverage, a knockout piece by another U.S. soldier in Iraq, one Matt Sanchez, also appeared today at NRO. Among other things, he talks of how the insurgents have learned that it helps to lead the news with coalition deaths if you can provide the media with video of your fiery ambushes. So they take great pains to film them...for American evening news watchers as well as for jihadi recruitment web sites. This media gives useful idiots a bad name. Read it all, but here's a sample:
The media has a conflict of values. A successful insurgent will always get more recognition than a successful infantryman â€” no matter how many successful infantrymen there are. In an arm-wrestling match between progress and propaganda, the reward of media coverage for bad behavior has a Pavlovian effect on attention-seeking terrorists.
On my trip north, our convoy was hit by an IED. An explosion is a split-second flash, something you could miss if you blink. Like attempting to photograph a lightning bolt when the sky is clear, explosions are tricky to catch on film. You have to point at the right place in the right moment, and even then youâ€™d need luck. Unless, of course, you know when, where, and how the bomb is about to go off.
Unlike any other player on the board, the press has no oversight, no mandate, few penalties, and even fewer consequences. In Fallujah, a suicide bomber kills one victim, but an â€œunidentified police officerâ€ reports 20 dead and just as many casualties. Because there are not enough reporters on the ground, too many bureaus have outsourced both their reporting and standards to third-party â€œstringersâ€ whose spectacular videos of explosions and inflated body counts have shown up on both jihadist recruiting sites and American television screens, simultaneously. These hacks-for-hire literally get more bucks for each bang.
Nothing happens? No cash from an image-driven 24-hour news cycle. Have the media made mistakes in coverage? No doubt. But in an industry where some claim to be â€œkeeping them honest,â€ thereâ€™s no penalty for false or misleading reports. With accountability about as valid as last weekâ€™s newspaper, reporters still maintain carte blanche in their work. For a group that habitually decries abuse of power and unilateralism, who watches the watchmen?
These are heady mid-summer days for Tribe fans. Adding to the buzz of a six game winning streak and a three game lead over the Tigers has been the electric debut of outfielder Ben Francisco. From his first career start Friday night in Cleveland, which he capped with a walk-off homer in the ninth inning, he put me in mind of a young Joe Carter, with the combination of power and speed that scouts crave in corner outfielders. So far, he hasn't hinted that he might be a special player, he has hit fans over the head with the idea.
After the day off Saturday, Francisco doubled in three at-bats Sunday, and then went 3 for 3 Monday with his second homer and second double. Then last night, he hit a pinch-hit, game-tying home run in the eighth inning in Detroit, his third home run in his first 13 big league at-bats, and the second one that could legitimately be called huge.
The 25-year old isn't out of nowhere. (It's UCLA actually.) He had a solid year in 2005 at AA, and tore up AAA pitching this Spring, starting his second year at Buffalo. He and Franklin Gutierrez have played their way into the team's plans in light of the injury to David Delucci and the lack of productivity from Trot Nixon. The team is transitioning to what looks to be a killer defensive outfield for several years to come, flanking Grady Sizemore with Gutierrez and Francisco.
Francisco will have more humbling rookie days ahead. But it will be good for him in the long run to take his lumps in the heat of a season-long pennant race. I don't envy Wedge his job of trying to get out of the aging Nixon whatever veteran attributes he may have, and meanwhile minimize the things the rookie will inevitably do wrong.
The DiaTribe has a good post up on the state of our first place team, shredding the excuses of fans who are still staying away, and defending many of the deals Mark Shapiro and Larry Dolan have made...and the ones they haven't.
UPDATE 7/5: Plain Dealer story on Francisco.