« November 2008 | Main | January 2009 »

December 31, 2008

On Proportionality

Michael Totten


Andy McCarthy

Victor Davis Hanson

EU Referendum

James S. Robbins


Front Page Magazine

Dr. Earl Tilford


More Michael Totten

Tribe Lands DeRosa

Tony Lastoria is all over the Indians' trade today. See also the official story from indians.com.

All I can add is that I love the deal. Shapiro adds the infielder he has been seeking, and can now get on with acquiring a middle of the rotation starter prior to spring training. Nice off-season, Mark.

America Losing Its Mind

Iain Murray isn't sorry to see 2008 end, but his gloomy assessment of our evolving energy lunacy doesn't bode well for 2009 and beyond.

2008 was a year when America lost its mind over energy. As energy prices spiked thanks to (as we now know) artificially inflated demand, politicians mostly discussed ways to make them higher still. No energy idea was too stupid for someone to be praised as a genius or visionary for proposing it. Oil companies fell over themselves to make adverts telling people not to use their main product. Congress told American car makers they weren’t making the cars people wanted to buy, so they were going to make them do it or fine them into closure. Car makers responded by demanding money from the taxpayer. Congress agreed. The invisible hand was thereby nailed to a Congressional table. For one brief, shining moment, it looked like even this Congress would be forced to relax idiotic restrictions on oil exploration, but “Drill, baby, drill” was retired as the oil price collapsed and so we will have to go through the whole thing again on the next oil price spike, when we will be told it is too late to explore and drill (again).

This was the year when every energy-snake-oil salesman realized that “green jobs” was the magic phrase that unlocked taxpayer wallets. A vast army of careers in the compact-light-bulb-changing industry awaits America’s youth. The progression from trainee light-bulb-changer to assistant-light-bulb-changer to certified-light-bulb-changer to lightbulb-changing-supervisor to lightbulb-changing-regional-manager to lightbulb-changing-firm-CEO to lightbulb-changing-Czar will tempt the most ambitious young people (even if most of the actual changing will be done by recent immigrants from Mexico). The 500,000 extra unemployed as a result of the “green jobs” scam will at least be able to pat themselves on the back that, by losing their jobs, they have reduced global emissions infinitesimally.

Browns 2008

The The Cleveland Browns website was blank for a time this afternoon. Some thought a major announcement related to the hiring of the franchise's new management team might be imminent. Others suggested they were just running the 2008 highlight film.

Happy New Year!

Uncle Jay reviews the 2008 news in holiday song. Worth a grin or two...

(Thanks, Judy)


J.G. Thayer at Contentions:

A few weeks ago, Illinois Governor Blagojevich was recorded as saying he thought he could get at least a million dollars for Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.

Yesterday, he gave it to a man who had contributed about $20,000 to the governor’s campaigns.

I guess this economic slump is hitting everyone…

December 29, 2008

The Obama Effect


By July, we will come to feel that 2009 will be one of the most upbeat years in our history, as what used to be the news media begins to get behind America and report on all the mysteriously wonderful things that are suddenly taking place.

All the campaign talk of the Great Depression, a Vietnam-like war, and our shredded Constitution will now thankfully subside as the Obama administration assumes office and solves problems with conciliation, dialogue, and multilateral wisdom, rather than shrillness, unilateralism, preemption, and my-way-or-the-highway dogmatism. We will hear that, by historical levels, unemployment is still not that bad, that GDP growth is not historically all that low, and that deficits, inflation, interest rates, and housing starts are all within manageable parameters. "Depression" will transmogrify into "recession" which in turn by July will be a "downturn" and by year next an "upswing" on its way to boom times.

Indeed, almost supernaturally crises will be solved with the departure of the hated Bush: no more flooding streets from cracked water mains that were a result of a President's neglect of infrastructure, and no more spontaneous crashes of Mississippi River bridges due to diversions of critical federal aid from cash-strapped states to Iraq. And when the temperatures rise or drop, the wind howls, the clouds burst forth or go away, the snow melts or piles up, it will be, well, nature that caused the havoc, not the current occupant of the White House who failed to sign Kyoto.

2008 - Turning Point on AGW?

The Telegraph posits that 2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved...

Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned in three significant respects.

First, all over the world, temperatures have been dropping in a way wholly unpredicted by all those computer models which have been used as the main drivers of the scare. Last winter, as temperatures plummeted, many parts of the world had snowfalls on a scale not seen for decades. This winter, with the whole of Canada and half the US under snow, looks likely to be even worse. After several years flatlining, global temperatures have dropped sharply enough to cancel out much of their net rise in the 20th century.

Ever shriller and more frantic has become the insistence of the warmists, cheered on by their army of media groupies such as the BBC, that the last 10 years have been the "hottest in history" and that the North Pole would soon be ice-free – as the poles remain defiantly icebound and those polar bears fail to drown. All those hysterical predictions that we are seeing more droughts and hurricanes than ever before have infuriatingly failed to materialise.

Even the more cautious scientific acolytes of the official orthodoxy now admit that, thanks to "natural factors" such as ocean currents, temperatures have failed to rise as predicted (although they plaintively assure us that this cooling effect is merely "masking the underlying warming trend", and that the temperature rise will resume worse than ever by the middle of the next decade).

Secondly, 2008 was the year when any pretence that there was a "scientific consensus" in favour of man-made global warming collapsed. At long last, as in the Manhattan Declaration last March, hundreds of proper scientists, including many of the world's most eminent climate experts, have been rallying to pour scorn on that "consensus" which was only a politically engineered artefact, based on ever more blatantly manipulated data and computer models programmed to produce no more than convenient fictions.

December 28, 2008

It's Over....Again

The Browns management turnover officially started tonight when word of the firing of Executive V.P. and G.M. Phil Savage became public, and the purge should be pretty much complete on Monday when Romeo Crennel meets with owner Randy Lerner to get his pink slip.

Tony Grossi

Before the game was even finished, General Manager Phil Savage knew he had been fired by owner Randy Lerner. Savage returned to Cleveland by car while the rest of the Browns' contingent bused home.

Lerner did not attend the game. A source said that Lerner was lining up interviews with Bill Cowher and other coaching candidates -- including at least two minorities to comply with the NFL's "Rooney Rule."

Lerner is expected to meet with coach Romeo Crennel this morning and deliver the news that he will not be retained as head coach.

The Browns denied an ESPN report that Crennel was fired Sunday night.

Hiko couldn't watch the Steeler game today, and for the first time in a long time, I didn't watch it either. I was easily talked out of it by my son-in-law the Vikings fan, and watched the Giants-Minnesota game instead. I had no interest in seeing my team lose for the 11th time in a row to the Steelers live and in HD. Sorry, Randy. But send the ticket invoice again sometime during the winter as usual, and I'll get a check to you just like I always do. Will there be someone there to get it?

After ten years of miserable football , Browns fans are left with the fifth pick in the draft, along with the faint hope that Randy Lerner will get good advice, show sound judgment...and just maybe gets a little bit of luck with the decision he is about to make. It's encouraging that he is going after people who have been there, like Bill Cowher, who was seen in Cleveland getting wined and dined as long ago as October.

If he wants to be considered, Scott Pioli of the Patriots will be pursued for the top front office job, and he may finally be ready to step out of Belichick's shadow. It stands to reason too that young offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel of the Pats could come along with him, presumably as head coach. McDaniels is a Canton McKinley grad, but I think his youth works against him as a candidate for the Browns job.

No candidate is hotter around the league than Steve Spagnuolo, Giants defensive coordinator, and he'll be on Lerner's radar as well. Grossi also reports that the Browns have already identified some minority candidates to interview in order to comply with the NFL's so-called Rooney Rule. This is of course to demonstrate the organizational willingness to consider a black man for their head coaching position. Sheesh.

Within a few days Lerner may have a glut of experienced NFL head coaches available to interview. Any or all of Herman Edwards, Mike Holmgren, Marvin Lewis and Wade Phillips could be unemployed by mid-week. That also means lots of competition for the good candidates from people like Jerry Jones.

As for Romeo, he has conducted himself admirably in this disastrous stretch run, with his demise all but assured, and open speculation about his sucessor in the media every single day. He has been as classy and honest with the players and fans and media as he has been hapless as an NFL head coach.

It's about to get very interesting. Click on the Browns link at TCF for takes from Hiko, Gary Benz, Mansfield Lucas and all the guys on the Browns beat. Or talk about it on the boards.

The Script

Claudia Rosett

We all know the script: Palestinian terrorists attack Israel, again and again and again — as in, Hamas firing some 3,000 mortars and rockets from Gaza into Israel over the past year, some 200 of these since the expiration last week of a six-month “ceasefire.” Finally, Israel strikes back, targeting the terrorists.

And the cogs of the middle-eastern cuckoo clock grind into action. Arab states issue denunciations of Israel. Diplomats lament the imperiling of the “peace process.” The despot-heavy UN takes time out from its day-to-day trashing of Israel to issue calls for “all parties” to end the violence. The U.S. officially backs Israel, but simultaneously undercuts Israel by issuing calls to rush humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, and then joins the gang of appeaseniks pressuring Israel into another “ceasefire” –which gives the terrorists a chance to regroup and attack again. From the media, out roll the articles and broadcasts lambasting Israel for use of “disproportionate force”; out come the photos and the fauxtography; and the further vilification of Israel proceeds under headlines such as this gem from the Washington Post: “Israeli Airstrikes on Gaza Strip Imperil Obama’s Peace Chances.”

What a heap of hooey. What’s actually imperiling Obama’s “peace chances” in this sorry landscape is the presence of a terrorist haven operating in broad daylight right next door to Israel, in the form of the Hamas-run Gaza strip. And the continuing exaltation of terrorism by the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank. And another terrorist haven in the form of Hezbollah-infested Lebanon to the north. And yet more terrorist havens right nearby in the form of Syria and Iran, which harbor and help both Hamas and Hezbollah. And terrorist funders such as – according to the U.S. State Department – “private benefactors in Saudi Arabia and other Arab states”


One might well wonder: If Hamas or its terrorist brethren were to set up enclaves next to Paris, Vienna, Berlin, London, New York and Washington, and fire 3,000 rockets and mortars at such democratic neighbors — what, exactly, would the inhabitants of Paris, Vienna, Berlin, London, New York and Washington judge to be the appropriate response?

December 17, 2008

Reason on Cuba

Catch Reason Editor Nick Gillespie's little video Killer Chic: Hollywood's Sick Love Affair with Che Guevara

Also at Reason, Michael Moynihan, on the Hollywood fascination with the Castro regime, exemplified by the incoherence and banality of Sean Penn.

December 15, 2008

Economic Misinformation

Debunking conventional wisdom about the U.S. economy in two separate articles...

From the Business and Media Institute, The Media's Top 10 Worst Economic Myths of 2008 (via Ed Driscoll)

And in the WaPo, James P. Moore, professor at Georgetown University, with "5 Myths About our Sputtering Economy"

Trucker and Suckers

Randall Hoven says it's not as easy as it seems to categorize Illinois politics....

Notes from the Underbelly of Illinois

December 9, 2008

Pay to Play

At Protein Wisdom, excerpts from the indictment of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. A inside look at how politics gets done....only this time the U.S. Attorney had an informant in Blagojevich's inner circle, and a tape recorder on the Governor's phone calls.

Here's the Chicago Tribune story on the indictment and arrest of the Governor, which includes a report that Blagojevich tried to force the owners of the Tribune Company to fire Tribune editorial writers who had been critical of him.

Good linkage and comment at Hot Air.

Something tells me that this is not the Rod Blagojevich that Barack Obama knew.

It's interesting too that most of the major media organs have so far been unable to determine which political party Blagojevich belongs to.

December 6, 2008

Dear Browns

Mansfield Lucas wants to get a few things off his chest as the Browns transition to a new management team. I sense a hint of the frustration of 40 lean years coming through in the piece somehow. See what you think.

A Letter To The Next GM & Head Coach Of The Cleveland Browns

December 4, 2008

On the Brink?

Mark Steyn has an interesting post on the bizarre political power play going on in Canada.

...what's happening in Canada is shaping up as the biggest constitutional crisis in the country's history. Remember when Jim Jeffords flipped control of the Senate to the Dems because he wasn't invited to the Vermont Teacher Of The Year reception? This is the nuclear version of that.

December 3, 2008

I Thought Dissent Was Patriotic

The detention in London of a conservative MP, and the confiscation of his computer and papers from his home, seems a perfect example of that "chill wind" that Tim Robbins always felt blowing in Bush's America, (without ever being able to identify any actual victims of it.) Roger Kimball says this is "How Democracies Perish".

Here's Janet Daley in the Telegraph:

Anyone who thinks that this incident is being somehow blown out of proportion by opposition politicians and an excitable media had better think again. A senior opposition spokesman has been arrested and detained, had his personal possessions and confidential correspondence examined, and his family home occupied, without being suspected of any criminal offence.

The object of the exercise seems to have been intimidation and the flaunting of power. Short of an outright, totalitarian suspension of democracy, this is about as serious as it gets. Freedom is under threat in ways that we would not have thought conceivable a generation ago. The threat seems to be coming in various forms from a government desperate to save its own credibility and to be so convinced of its moral righteousness that it can justify the most blatant abuses of what we had taken to be the fundamental principles of a free society.

December 2, 2008

Fred Video

It's few minutes of your life you'll never get back, but you might be interested in Fred Thompson's video about the burden we're dumping on future generations of Americans with out-of-control spending and entitlement growth. This kicking the can down the road should be a national scandal, but it isn't, and Thompson is one of very few people trying to articulate the seriousness of the problem. That's why he gets space here.

The Media and the Mumbai Murders

Thought I'd gather together what I thought was some worthwhile reading on the Mumbai terrorist attack, including lots of commentary on how the media has treated the story.

But first, don't miss the eye-witness account at Forbes.com of an American who was in the Taj hotel in Mumbai, and survived the terror attack there with the help of the "Heroes at the Taj", the members of the hotel staff who sacrificed their safety, and in some cases their lives, to protect the hotel guests.

In his Slate column Christopher Hitchens suggested stronger support for our ally India, the world's largest democracy, than what has been in evidence to this point, and then observed that...

...perhaps there will again be enough Western saps—as with the attacks on the United States and Britain and Turkey and Tunisia—to claim that none of this would have happened if not for the foreign policy of Bush and Blair. (I do not hold my breath, but as of the time of writing, this moronic faction has—amazingly—not yet been heard from.)

He need only have waited a day or two. The warm and fuzzy Deepak Chopra did just that on CNN within hours, as reported by Dorothy Rabinowitz in the WSJ:

What happened in Mumbai, he told the interviewer, was a product of the U.S. war on terrorism, that "our policies, our foreign policies" had alienated the Muslim population, that we had "gone after the wrong people" and inflamed moderates. And "that inflammation then gets organized and appears as this disaster in Bombay."

All this was a bit too much, evidently, for CNN interviewer Jonathan Mann, who interrupted to note that there were other things going on -- matters like the ongoing bitter Pakistan-India struggle over Kashmir -- which had caused so much terror and so much violence. "That's not Washington's fault," he pointed out.

Given an argument, the guest, ever a conciliator, agreed: The Mumbai catastrophe was not Washington's fault, it was everybody's fault.

Arthur Herman has a good piece at NRO called Lost Illusions that starts this way...

It’s been fascinating, but also disheartening, to watch the mainstream media completely miss the real story about the 60-hour terrorist rampage in Mumbai, India — which may have killed as many as 300 people, and has certainly injured hundreds more. What died in Mumbai — besides scores of innocent people in their hotel rooms and at the Mumbai Jewish Cultural Center and on the blood-drenched platform at Chatrapathi Sivaji railway terminal — were certain illusions about the war on terror, and how to deal with terrorists.

"They're Winning", says Steve Emerson:

This past Saturday, the New York Times ran an op-ed piece entitled “What They Hate about Mumbai,” focusing specifically on the free market sins of that great city. With contrived evenhandedness, the op-ed managed to blame both Hindus and Muslim extremists—without blaming either party in particular for the murderous attacks.

Without realizing it, the Grey Lady had hit upon a great travel series. In the best spirit of jihad for dummies, why not a year’s worth of op-eds focusing on “Why They Hate____” filled in, mad-libs style, with the U.S., Britain, Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Kenya, and the other 74 countries where radical Islam has reared its violent head? With only the moral blindness that the New York Times could capture, each op-ed would portray the attacks in a contrived even-handed way, without blaming, or even naming, the perpetrators of the attacks—Muslim jihadists.

Watching and reading the last 5 days of reports of the Mumbai attacks was an Alice in Wonderland experience. Even after an Islamic terrorist group took credit, TV anchors and reporters assiduously avoided the term Islamic terrorist. They must have consulted with the Thesaurus for the Politically Correct to determine that the word “gunmen” would not offend any jihadist.

Phyllis Chesler at FPM

The Islamic terrorists keep telling us that their barbaric massacres and homicide bombings are being done in the name of Islam. Muslim organizations keep insisting that Islam is a religion of peace. Even as civilian blood cries out for justice, or for security, the intelligentsia warn us that Muslims and Islam are not the problem, that American foreign policy and Zionism are the real problem. The Western mainstream media refuse to take the barbarians at their word lest they be accused of “racism” or “Islamophobia.”

For example, in a recent issue of the New York Times‘ front page coverage of the Mumbai massacre, the reporters do not describe the terrorists as “Islamic terrorists.” Instead, they refer to them as “Pakistani-based militants,” “militants,” “gunmen, (five or six times)” “attackers,” and “suspects.” They quote President Bush who referred to them as “killers.” They quote the head of India’s National Security Guards who called them “terrorists.” Once or twice they mention India’s “vulnerability to terrorism” but they do not join Islam, Islamism, or fundamentalist Islam to terrorism.

Tom Gross at NRO

It was a meticulously organized operation aimed exclusively at civilian targets: two hospitals, a train station, two hotels, a leading tourist restaurant, and a Jewish center.

There was nothing remotely random about it. This was no hostage standoff. The terrorists didn’t want to negotiate. They wanted to murder as many Hindus, Christians, Jews, atheists, and other infidels as they could, and in as spectacular a manner as possible. In the Jewish center, some of the female victims even appear to have been tortured before being killed.

So why are so many prominent Western media reluctant to call the perpetrators terrorists? Why did Jon Snow, one of Britain’s most respected TV journalists, use the word practitioners when referring to the Mumbai terrorists? Was he perhaps confusing them with doctors? Why did Reuters describe the motivation of the terrorists, which it preferred to call gunmen, as unknown? Were we meant to suppose that it might have been just anything — that to paraphrase Mark Steyn, they were perhaps disgruntled former employees of Lehman Bros embarking on an exciting midlife career change?

Again, why did Britain’s highly regarded Channel 4 News state that the militants showed a wanton disregard for race or creed when exactly the opposite was true: Targets and victims were very carefully selected.


How are we going to effectively confront terrorists when we can’t even identify them as such?....

...But then the terrorists in Mumbai didn’t need to make any public announcements. They knew that many deluded Western journalists and academics will do that job for them, explaining that the West is to blame, especially the Zionists.

We have started seeing this already on the BBC — the world’s largest TV and radio network, which broadcasts in dozens of different languages around the world, and is lavishly funded by the British taxpayer.

You would be hard pressed to find any talk of radical Islam on the BBC in recent days, or mention of the fact that Islamists think India should be a Muslim country. Instead, the BBC continues to try to persuade its massive global audience that “it is a local Indian problem”, that “the subcontinent has a history of unrest”, and so on.

In a related piece, Bret Stephens of the WSJ invokes Jenin, al-Durah and Gitmo Koran-flushing as examples of how Western media is manipulated by terrorist groups:

...it's worth wondering why a media that treats nearly every word uttered by the U.S., British or Israeli governments as inherently suspect has proved so consistently credulous when it comes to every dubious or defamatory claim made against those governments. Or, for that matter, why the media has been so intent on magnifying genuine scandals (like Abu Ghraib) to the point that they become the moral equivalent of 9/11.

Michael Medved:

Islamist extremism is at its core fiercely, fanatically anti-Semitic--- not just opposed to specific Israeli governments or particular western policies. Apologists for Islamo-Nazi terror try to describe it as an inevitable response to American imperialism or Israeli "occupation" policies. The Mumbai atrocities highlight the absurdity of such claims. Local Muslim communities in India and Pakistan (which alone supplied the killers this time) bear no connection with Israel at all and no connection with America, other than receiving abundant American aid and business (showered on India and particularly on Pakistan). Neither the United States nor Israel has played any role in the ongoing dispute between Hindus and Muslims over control of the remote, mountainous territory of Kashmir—the main point of agitation for the Mumbai killers—and yet those killers nonetheless made a point of targeting Americans and Jews. The specific focus on the peaceful, unarmed, social service/religious operation at Chabad House demonstrates that the Islamists count as fanatical, anti-Semitic Nazis, not just anti-Zionists or anti-imperialists.


Ralph Peters