Archive for the 'General' Category

It’s clearly blue, right?

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

See for yourself.

Super fun bonus: there’s a word for this and it is projection.

He’s dead, Jim

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Bones: “We’ve heard it a hundred times, that Bill’s getting fat and I’m looking like death.” That was 23 years ago. We hope that Spock enjoys a new life on Omicron Ceti III.

They blinded him with science

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Pielke:

Prof. Roger Pielke, Jr., at CU’s Center for Science and Technology Policy Research has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress on climate change and its economic impacts. His 2013 Senate testimony featured the claim, often repeated, that it is “incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.”

Powerline has more on this increasingly strange group of witch hunters. Ban argon!!

More chickens come home to roost

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Rajendra Pachauri’s hockey stick has a few problems, according to Mark Steyn. We noted some of the issues with this fine gentleman half a decade ago and more. Pull quote from 2007: “If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late, there is not time.” Evidently the “action” he was talking about then was seriously misunderstood.

Woof!

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Apropos of what we discussed just yesterday, dog bites man. (Like chooses like to be with and emulate; it is the way of the world.) On the other hand, man bites dog over at CBS. Woof!

Strolling down memory lane

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Deep thoughts from a decade ago:

The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme. We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.

And from AP in early 2008:

At the press club, he jokingly offered himself as his running mate and embraced Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan even though he said he doesn’t always agree with him. He criticized the U.S. government as imperialist and stood by his suggestion that the U.S. invented the HIV virus as a means of genocide against minorities. “Based on this Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything,” he said.

So now you have one part of a 4-part answer to the question this man is asking. QED

Beware of ECBs bearing gifts

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Stratfor:

Greece and its lenders reached a temporary deal late Feb. 20. The agreement was carefully crafted to make both Athens and the reluctant governments of Northern Europe happy, but it comes at the price of postponing a resolution of the crucial issues. As a result, a “Grexit” from the eurozone will be deferred in the immediate term, but the crisis is far from over.

Greece and the Eurogroup agreed to extend Athens’ bailout program for four months. The agreement keeps Greece under the protective umbrella of the European Central Bank, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The ECB will continue to provide liquidity for Greek banks, while the European Union and the IMF will make funds available should Greece need them.

However, this deal has left many questions unanswered. First, Greece promised to present a list of economic reforms — probably focused on cracking down on tax evasion and corruption and reforming Greece’s public administration — by Feb. 23. This list will be further detailed and then agreed upon with the European Union and the IMF by the end of April. In order for Greece to receive the next tranche of the bailout, the European Union and the IMF will have to accept these proposals. (This is probably the part of the deal that made the agreement acceptable for Germany.) Still, the key source of conflict between Athens and Berlin — the specific reforms that Greece will apply in exchange for the bailout money — has only been postponed.

Second, the size of Greece’s primary surplus was also omitted in the agreement. The European Union and the IMF promised Greece to take its economic situation into account when setting a deficit target, a small victory for Athens. This issue will also become problematic again in April, when Athens is supposed to present the exact details of what it plans to do.

In the coming days, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will have to sell the deal to the most radical members of his left-wing Coalition

Alan Greenspan: “I believe they will eventually leave. I don’t think it helps them or the rest of the eurozone — it is just a matter of time before everyone recognises that parting is the best strategy. The problem is that there there is no way that I can conceive of the euro of continuing, unless and until all of the members of eurozone become politically integrated — actually even just fiscally integrated won’t do it.” He’s right of course; it’s just a matter of time. It will be interesting to see if Tsipras can sell this mini-deal at home.

BTW, a decade ago we thought the euro was likely to fail; our reasoning was what is playing out now.

Compare and contrast

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

This and This. Ha.

It’s getting hard to overstate just how weird things have gotten. Weird. A parallel universe where 98% of bad things are either secular or the fault of some guy Kony. Of course the most interesting thing is that the crazy narrative of the administration carries no weight with most Americans, including for the first time the MSM, who now put serious people like Graeme Wood on the air.

Did we say weird? How about not backing Egypt’s play against ISIS? How about guys like Rudy Giuliani now saying openly and in public what a lot of people only thought or whispered a couple of years ago? (Final bonus fun from AT.) Weird.

More progress

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Graeme Wood, who teaches at Yale and speaks Arabic, in The Atlantic:

the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam. Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail…

ISIS follows a distinctive variety of Islam…The most-articulate spokesmen for that position are the Islamic State’s officials and supporters themselves. They refer derisively to “moderns.” In conversation, they insist that they will not — cannot — waver from governing precepts that were embedded in Islam by the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers. They often speak in codes and allusions that sound odd or old-fashioned to non-Muslims, but refer to specific traditions and texts of early Islam…

Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman, called on Muslims in Western countries such as France and Canada to find an infidel and “smash his head with a rock,” poison him, run him over with a car, or “destroy his crops.” To Western ears, the biblical-sounding punishments — the stoning and crop destruction — juxtaposed strangely with his more modern-sounding call to vehicular homicide…But Adnani was not merely talking trash. His speech was laced with theological and legal discussion, and his exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone — unless the armies of Islam were in a defensive position, in which case Muslims in the lands of kuffar, or infidels, should be unmerciful, and poison away.

Progress at the WaPo was a tentative thing, but this is really straight talk in an establishment publication.

It’s not Washington’s birthday, and other matters

Monday, February 16th, 2015

And February 22nd isn’t either. George Washington was born on February 11, 1731, according to the Julian calendar in use at the time. England and the colonies switched to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, which changed the DOB by a year and 11 days. The government moved the holiday to third Monday in the late sixties, around the time of other convenient scams. Will we ever learn?

Other matters include the enjoyable if very uneven and way too long SNL 40 show. Nice and sentimental to see the geezers. We recall that, if memory serves, NBC gave away tickets on the street for the first few shows, and we turned down tickets to show #2. That was a famous one with Paul Simon, but it seemed kinda late. Also, Jack Cashill notes what some of the now-geezers were doing back in the mid-70’s.

Life in the age of blather

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Somebody at Daily Beast:

the violence perpetrated by Christian terrorists in America. For starters, since 1977 there have been ”8 murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 181 arsons, and thousands of incidences of other criminal activities” targeting reproductive health care facilities here at home. With few exceptions, there were perpetrated by Christians

We wonder if the percent of Americans who agree and disagree with this has changed since the GZM controversy.

Final point: let’s count, hmmm, 1 murder every 5 years in the example above, versus, say, 21 a day in some other places.

Pictures at an exhibition

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

We don’t usually go there, but hey, the WaPo did. And these folks just look so Feb 14 happy! That’s it. Have fun!

Hmmmm

Friday, February 13th, 2015

There’s a new book by Peter Wallison on the financial crisis of 2008. You know, Lehman Brothers and the expensive disaster that ensued. (We note in passing that Wallison seems to share our opinion of Dodd-Frank.) What’s very interesting is the range of views at Amazon. A lot of 5’s offset by a lot of 1’s. Most curious is that almost all of the 1’s come from people who have no other reviews of books or no other reviews at all, so they’re bogus. That in itself would seem to be a pretty good reason to buy the book. But here’s the question: who are the trolls???

Other than that, it was swell

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Harvard study, page 21:

Dodd-Frank did not mitigate concerns over banking sector concentration: The top five bank-holding companies control nearly the same share of U.S. banking assets as they did in the fiscal quarter before Dodd-Frank’s passage. Meanwhile, community banks with $1 billion or less in assets have seen a significant decline, while large community banks have also suffered losses, albeit at a less drastic pace. The rapid rate of consolidation away from community banks that has occurred since Dodd-Frank’s passage is striking given that this regulatory overhaul was billed as an effort to end “too-big-to-fail.”

Well, it sure dealt well with the pressing issues of Congolese minerals and Chinese drywall.

One of these things might be true

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Guardian

By the end of the century, assuming current CO2 emissions trends continue until the end of the century, Helena, Mont, will see about 85 fewer freezing nights, which is comparable to Lubbock, Texas, today. Buffalo, NY, which currently experience about 124 freezing nights each year, will only see about 57 a year in 2100, making it more like Charlotte, NC. Ann Arbor, Mich, will see less than half its current number of nights below freezing (131), which is more like Huntsville, Ala(60). In fact, more than 80% of the cities we analyzed — 593 of the 697 — could see at least a 50% reduction in number of nights below freezing, and more than 20% — 145 of the 697 — could see at least a 75% reduction. There are even 28 cities, mostly those that currently experience between 10 and 20 nights below freezing, that may see at least a 90% reduction. For these cities, freezing nights will become a rare event that occurs about once a year, comparable to the current conditions in Brownsville at the southern tip of Texas.

Telegraph:

Homewood has now turned his attention to the weather stations across much of the Arctic, between Canada (51 degrees W) and the heart of Siberia (87 degrees E). Again, in nearly every case, the same one-way adjustments have been made, to show warming up to 1 degree C or more higher than was indicated by the data that was actually recorded. This has surprised no one more than Traust Jonsson, who was long in charge of climate research for the Iceland met office (and with whom Homewood has been in touch). Jonsson was amazed to see how the new version completely “disappears” Iceland’s “sea ice years” around 1970, when a period of extreme cooling almost devastated his country’s economy.

As we say, ban the argon. Charts here.

Progress

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

You can read Ruth Marcus’s column in a negative way if you like. We don’t. (For perspective, here’s Jonah Goldberg on the other side.) Marcus’s column means that comparative religion and comparative violence are now legitimate subjects in places like the WaPo newsroom and editorial offices. Fine. It means we’re all finally past the time of George Bush’s inanity of 9/17/01. That’s progress.

Bill Evans

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Good piece on Bill Evans in the WSJ by Doug Ramsey. He’s been dead for 35 years? Who knew? We saw Bill Evans at a club, somewhere on lower Broadway if memory serves. It was probably in 1976 or 1977. He asked for requests at some point and we suggested Never Let Me Go. He said he never performed that outside of the studio session that appeared on Alone. We have no idea if that’s true.

The point is that he believed it

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Peace for our time:

I want to thank the British people for what they have done and next I want to say that the settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem which has now been achieved, is in my view only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace. This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it, as well as mine. Some of you perhaps have already heard what it contains, but I would just like to read it to you. We the German Fuehrer and Chancellor and the British Prime Minister have had a further meeting today, and I agree in recognising that the question of Anglo-German relations is of the first importance for the two countries and for Europe. We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German naval agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two countries never to go to war with one another again. We are resolved that the method of consultation shall be the method adopted to deal with any other questions that may concern our two countries and we are determined to continue out efforts to remove possible sources of difference and thus to contribute to assure the peace of Europe…My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Go home and get a nice quiet sleep

VDH

The appeasing party is not always the weaker one. In 1938, Combined British and French military power was greater than that of the Third Reich. President Jimmy Carter had far more military options than did the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran during the 1979-80 hostage crisis. Instead, stronger democratic nations feel that they can continue to enjoy short-term calm and peace of mind — and let others worry about any long-term likelihood of aggression. Maybe by treating jihad, terrorism and radical Islam as taboo words, radical Muslim terrorists will respond and become less threatening. In truth, appeasement, not deterrence, is the more reckless path. With serial concessions, democratic leaders convince aggressors that they must be stronger than they actually are.

It was only 11 months after Chamberlain spoke those words that WWII began. 11 months! He clearly believed what he was saying and less than a year later WWII began. Remind you of anyone or anything?

Very unusual, and so forth

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Strong words from the Gallup CEO on the ridicuoulsly low labor force participation rate. Guy’s not with the program. What’s up with that? And the UN reports more horror from ISIS. Finally, China cut reserve requirements. That’s it. Things along the line of the UN report are so awful that words fail.

Mumps, measles, chicken pox, polio, and other diseases

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

LAT:

Gunmen shot and killed four health workers carrying out a polio vaccination drive Wednesday in the capital of Pakistan’s restive Baluchistan province, police officials said. The deadly shooting was the latest to target polio workers — whom Islamist militants accuse of conducting espionage in the guise of vaccination campaigns — in Pakistan, one of three countries where the disease has not been eradicated…Workers administering oral polio drops to the children are frequently attacked across Pakistan, particularly in Baluchistan, the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the port city of Karachi and the northeastern tribal areas. Gunmen shot at a polio worker outside Peshawar on Monday when he was visiting houses to administer the vaccine. Jamaat ul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group later released a “policy statement” on polio saying that the vaccine is “dangerous to health and against Islam.”

AS:

it is absolutely true that I reject a notion that somehow that creates a religious war because the overwhelming majority of Muslims reject that interpretation of Islam. They don’t even recognize it as being Islam, and I think that for us to be successful in fighting this scourge, it’s very important for us to align ourselves with the 99.9 percent of Muslims who are looking for the same thing we’re looking for — order, peace, prosperity.

So vaccines are now controversial in the US as well as Pakistan? People are freaking out over 100 cases of measles? What a world! As a veteran of mumps, measles, chicken pox, German measles and similar things, our recollection is that they were no big deal, a few days off from school. We understand that there are rare acute problems, but those are the exception. Contrast that with polio, a devastating disease all of the time. The quality of a society can be measured by how well it deals with deadly or debilitating diseases. So far the US is not doing well.

Bonus fun: the cheap (and highly profitable) correlation between CO2 increases and a couple of degrees F is having significant problems. We need more witch doctors for more new things to frighten the great unwashed.