Sunday, February 28, 2010
This is from my most favorite lady on the internet, Pamela Geller:
So Israel, the beacon of science, technology, medicine, art, music, beauty, and humanity is an "insult to the entire humanity," but the crushing, brutal and violent ideology of Islam and the sharia that brutalizes, slaughters, honor kills, clitorectomizes, beheads, annihilates non-believers, imposes dhimmitude, proliferates Islamic Jew-hatred, persecutes, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Serbs, Zoroastrians, et al, demands jiyza, crushes dissent, democracy and basic human freedoms, converts or kills, commits 9/11, 3/11, 7/7, Mumbai, London, Bali, New York, Madrid, jihad piracy, misogyny, slavery, litigation jihad, economic jihad, academic jihad, is a ........."blessing to the entire humanity"?
Existence of Zionist regime an insult to humanity, president Tehran, Feb 28, IRNA -- hat tip Rut
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday that existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to the entire humanity.
Friday, February 26, 2010
The above You Tube video is a 90 minute lecture on Fructose.
Is watching this worth your time? HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) was invented in Japan in the '60s, and introduced to the US in the '70s.
This doctor most eloquently takes you on a ride that will entertain and educate. I stumbled across this video a few days ago, and I've now watched it 3 times. For me, it's a life changing video.
Paper written by Dr George Bray-Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Another interesting article on HFCS making fat.
Google "Daily water intake recommendation". What you will find is that you should drink 8 glasses of water per day. I've had doctors tell me that too. But my guess is, the doctor who told me that has never in his life drank 8 glasses of water in one day. I've known people who have not drank a glass of water in years.
So, may this be the reality? Have a look see. Once again, there's a ton of people that say you're suppose to do something one way, and there's some "quack" saying that maybe that's not quite the truth.
So what are we to do? First, we must follow what to us is common sense. As we're finding out with man-made global warming, not only might the science not be true, but that scientists actually rigged the data. We must look at the studies, but common sense must be our final guide.
Labels: Water intake
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
God Bless this Man
Son of Hamas founder spied for Israel for more than a decade
James Hider in Jerusalem
Mosab Hassan Yousef, a 32-year-old convert to Christianity, now lives in California
IMAGE :1 of 2
The son of one of Hamas’s founding members was a spy in the service of Israel for more than a decade, helping prevent dozens of Islamist suicide bombers from finding their targets, it emerged today.
Codenamed the Green Prince by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, supplied key intelligence on an almost daily basis from 1996 onwards and tracked down suicide bombers and their handlers from his father’s organization, the daily Haaretz said.
Information he supplied led to the arrests of some of the most wanted men by Israeli forces, including Marwan Barghouti, a Fatah leader often tipped as a potential president who was convicted of masterminding terrorist attacks, and one of Hamas’ top bomb-makers Abdullah Barghouti, who is no relation of the jailed Fatah chief.
Mr Yousef, a 32-year-old convert to Christianity who now lives in California, has revealed the intrigues of his years as a spy in a new book called Son of Hamas, much to the concern of Shin Bet, whose operations will be revealed in detail. While the revelations may give a boost to Israel’s intelligence service, whose external counterpart Mossad is still grappling with the diplomatic fall-out of last month’s Hamas assassination in Dubai, there will be concern that the account may give too many insights into the murky world of espionage.
Two more Britons caught up in Hamas hit
Dubai hit squad 'used diplomatic passports'
Dubai demands the arrest of Mossad chief
However, Mr Yousef’s work will be far more damaging to Hamas, whose brutality he denounced. Dubai police have suggested that Mahmoud al-Mabhuh, the top Hamas militant found dead in a hotel room in the emirate on January 20, may have been betrayed by an insider from the Islamist movement itself.
And Mr Yousef had harsh words for the movement that his father helped form, and which now rules the Gaza Strip after a bloody takeover in summer 2007. “Hamas cannot make peace with the Israelis,” he told the daily. “That is against what their God tells them. It is impossible to make peace with infidels, only a cease-fire, and no one knows that better than I. The Hamas leadership is responsible for the killing of Palestinians, not Israelis."
Mr Yousef’s former Israeli handler, identified only as Captain Loai, praised the resolve of his agent, whose codename derived from the colour of Islam – and Hamas’ – banner and from his exalted position within an organization that regularly kills those suspected of collaborating with the Jewish state.
"So many people owe him their life and don't even know it," he said. "The amazing thing is that none of his actions were done for money. He did things he believed in. He wanted to save lives. His grasp of intelligence matters was just as good as ours — the ideas, the insights. One insight of his was worth 1,000 hours of thought by top experts."
Mr Yousef, whose father is still in an Israeli jail cell, from where he was elected as an MP in 2006, went as far as tracking down would-be kamikazes himself in the streets of the West bank during the Second Intifada which erupted a decade ago and left thousands of Palestinians and Israelis dead. On one occasion he followed a bomber from Manara Square in the centre of Ramallah, just north of Jerusalem.
“We didn't know his name or what he looked like — only that he was in his 20s and would be wearing a red shirt," said the former handler. "We sent the Green Prince to the square and with his acute sense, he located the target within minutes. He saw who picked him up, followed the car and made it possible for us to arrest the suicide bomber and the man who was supposed to give him the belt. So another attack was thwarted, though no one knows about it. No one opens Champagne bottles or bursts into song and dance. This was an almost daily thing for the Prince. He displayed courage, had sharp antennae and an ability to cope with danger."
Mr Yousef, who converted from Islam to Christianity a decade ago – in itself, a dangerous act – was arrested by the Israelis in 1996 and within a year had been recruited by Shin Bet, then released to begin working as an informant.
Speaking by telephone from California, Mr Yousef told Haaretz he worried that the Israeli Government might release some of the prisoners he helped put behind bars in exchange for Gilad Schalit, a young Israeli soldier abducted by Hamas from the Gaza border more than three years ago.
“I wish I were in Gaza now," he said. "I would put on an army uniform and join Israel's special forces in order to liberate Gilad Schalit. If I were there, I could help. We wasted so many years with investigations and arrests to capture the very terrorists that they now want to release in return for Schalit. That must not be done."
Sometimes a picture really captures a moment. A moment that is cherished for a long time. I'm very proud of this picture.
This picture is my wife with her father, one day after vascular surgery. It was not known if he would survive surgery.
In this picture, I think what is captured is my wife's relief that her "Daddy" is still alive. But more than that, her love for him.
President Obama signed into law raising our debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion.
I asked my wife to calculate a number for me while she was at her computer: Take 14Trillion and multiply by .03. She told me she couldn't do it, the calculator she was using ran out of digits.
Anyway, if our interest payment on a debt of $14 Trillion is 3%, that comes out to $420 Billion. Friends, $420 Billion per year, just to service our national debt. Let's have some fun. Let's say the interest on this $14 Trillion goes to 10%. Want to know the figure? $1.4 Trillion! Imagine $1.4 Trillion per year, just on interest only.
I'm no economist, but if may say in layman's terms, "Folks, we're in deep shit". I mean like really deep deep shit.
If my wife would join me on this, I would buy property and begin subsistence farming. I don't know what's going to hold for the future, but it's going to be one hell of a ride.
Labels: National debt.
For twenty years I have been studying nutrition. It's been something I'm passionate about.
What is the ideal diet? Is there such a thing? What I think is ideal is definitely in the minority. Let me say what most believe: That animal consumption is of extreme importance. We must get our protein. If there is a holy grail in nutrition, the number one commandment: Make sure you eat lots of animal protein.
People who I highly respect believe this. I don't know a percentage, but I would put it upwards of ninety. Doctors, nutritionists, lay people, this is the common thought.
I'm rereading Robert Pritikin's book, The Pritikin Weight Loss Breakthrough, and he talks about our fat instinct. When man was hunter/gatherer in search of food, it may be days before food was found. Man developed a taste for fat, and his body learned to store fat for lean times. Well, we still have that fat instinct, it's just that we don't need it anymore. In fact, as we can so readily see, it's deleterious to our health.
So what is the ideal diet? I'm not telling. But I'll link you to others who I think know a hell of a lot more than I do, and in their own way, they all say the same thing:
Dr McDougall, T. Colin Campbell, Dr Joel Fuhrman, Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, Nathan Pritikin, , Dr Neal Barnard, and Dr Dean Ornish.
Labels: What is ideal diet
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Today was a beautiful day is Southern California. We've had a lot of rain, so it was nice to drive in the sunshine.
I picked up my father in law (FIL) for lunch. He recently went through a very serious vascular surgery, so any time spent with him is a huge joy in my life.
We went to Paul's Place in the Rossmoor/Seal Beach area. What a lovely place. Outdoor patio seating, people hanging out, everyone enjoying the great food and good vibes.
Being with my FIL just makes me happy. He's had a tough go of it, but he really enjoyed being at Paul's Place along with me. Simple things make me happy. I'm glad we could enjoy this day and give thanks.
BTW, how can you look at those 3 beautiful babies, and not have a smile in your heart? Que bella!
More on smiling
From The American Interest Online
DC Post Runs With Climategate; NY Times Still in Tank
The New York Times turned down the Watergate story, giving the Washington Post ownership of the story of the decade. Now the Washington Post is going for a repeat, scooping the somnolent Times on the Climategate story. The Post story by Juliet Eilperin and David A. Farenholdt is no skeptic’s dream, but Post readers now know something that Times readers are still in the dark about: the climate change movement has taken a serious hit in recent weeks as allegations of misconduct and high profile errors undermine the credibility of the key institutions and figures in the movement.
The Times‘ behavior is increasingly hard to explain. In the last month the paper has given away a huge story once again, this time handing it over to the British press overseas and, over here, to the blogosphere and, finally and belatedly, the Washington Post. Coming at a time when the Times is on the defensive in terms of its journalistic reputation and its financial health, the impact of the current failure is likely to be significantly greater. Authority is the Times‘ most important asset; by missing Climategate the Times is not only doing its readers a serious disservice. It is reinforcing the narrative that the Grey Lady of the mainstream media is too slow, too hampered by inhibitions and bias, too close to its sources, to serve as a reliable source for news.
This Sunday’s “Week in Review” would have been a perfect place for the Times to give readers a thorough, balanced and informed account of the swirling accusations and revelations that promise to end the Obama administration’s ability to deliver on its commitment to pass comprehensive climate change legislation in 2010. News of the political collapse of the climate change movement was deemed unfit to print; it would have upset too many people. Instead, the Times ran with, among other things, two stories on the implications of the Greek crisis, a review of Victorian era personal classifieds, a piece on the evils of soda pop and a helpfully lighthearted introduction to Canada which included the information that the Maple Leaf stands for nature and growth while the beaver stands for loyalty and industry.
I am not sure how long the reputation of a great newspaper can withstand the consequences of this kind of news judgment; the steady (and to me, painful and unwelcome) erosion of the Times‘ influence and prestige is unlikely to end until its pages regain the reputation as the first, best place to learn about the vital events of the day. At some point, the Times will simply have to break down and let its readers in on the Climategate story. When that happens, it will be interesting to see how it explains why it chose not to inform its readers, many of whom care passionately about this issue, of a series of vital developments unfolding one after the other on a matter of great concern. Was the newspaper so blinded by entrenched bias and assumptions that it was simply unable to see what was news? Or did pro-environmentalist staffers actively work to block the paper’s ability to cover a major news story because they didn’t think publication would benefit an agenda they held was of enormous global importance?
Meanwhile, out in the real world, the multifaceted credibility collapse that is Climategate majestically and inexorably unfolds. The IPCC and its increasingly embattled chair have taken another major blow; closer examination of IPCC’s claim that North African food production would fall 50 percent in the next decade reveals that there was no scientific evidence for the claim, that the IPCC itself had solid evidence against it, and that Dr. Pachauri was instrumental in publicizing the false but attention-getting statement. The core temperature data that the IPCC used to establish the degree of global warming to date and on which it based its predictions for the future, is coming under tougher scrutiny. As if this wasn’t enough, Professor Phil Jones, the director of the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University, the source for much of the core climate data and the author of some of the most damaging e-mails revealed when stolen emails from climate scientists were made public, answered questions from the BBC. His answers to some of these questions will give climate skeptics even more ammunition. Examples:
BBC – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming? Jones: Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods. BBC: When scientists say “the debate on climate change is over”, what exactly do they mean – and what don’t they mean? Jones: It would be supposition on my behalf to know whether all scientists who say the debate is over are saying that for the same reason. I don’t believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this. This is not my view. There is still much that needs to be undertaken to reduce uncertainties, not just for the future, but for the instrumental (and especially the palaeoclimatic) past as well.
What? There is no statistically significant evidence of global warming for the last fourteen years, and the debate over global warming is not over in the opinion of “the vast majority of climate scientists?” And this is what a defender of global warming now says? No one who depends on the New York Times for information has a clue that any of this could be true. For these faithful readers, the scientific consensus is ironclad, the discussion is over, and only flat-earthers and oil companies think otherwise. And there is more. The UK’s Guardian, whose deep editorial sympathy for the climate change movement has not overcome its journalistic good sense, has published an investigation into Professor Jones’ handling of data which suggests that Dr. Jones himself may have messed up big time. The Guardian story of February 9 reports serious allegations that vital data on Chinese weather stations used by Professor Jones as the basis for an important paper published in Nature magazine no longer exist. Lost in the clutter of Jones’ poorly managed office records? Skeptics claim that the data never existed and Jones is covering for fraud. Either way, since the paper was cited as an authority by the IPCC on an important issue, the authority of climate science will take another nasty knock. The scientific consequences of all this are very far from clear. It may still be true that global warming is an urgent planetary problem that should be addressed quickly to ward off catastrophe. It may even be, as Bill McKibben stoutly maintains in The Washington Post, that ‘Snowmageddon’ is just another piece of evidence pointing to rapid warming of the globe. Personally, I’m still clinging to the rebuttable presumption that global warming is real and it is serious, but I have to admit I wouldn’t be as surprised now as I would have been three months ago to discover that the truth turns out to be somewhat less dramatic, less categorical and less immediately actionable than what we’ve been led to expect.
But the story the Times cannot bring itself to print is not about belief. It is a political story that the Times is failing to report. Can it be that the editors and reporters of what for the last three generations has been America’s newspaper of record simply cannot the dots? Is it so hard to figure out that the shift to the right in the US political climate since last summer and the loss of the Democratic supermajority in the Senate plus the political boost that Climategate gives opponents of comprehensive climate change action means that serious legislative action in the US this year on climate change is a dead duck? The Times doesn’t have to go this far to have a major story on its hands: what about “Prospects for Cap and Trade Dimming as Climate Skeptics Rally?”
But everything is political, even the news. I gather from friends better connected than I that many top environmentalists in the US are still in denial, still hoping that somehow this will all go away.
News flash: it won’t.
My guess is that some of the environmentalists are hoping that even if strong action can no longer be expected in Congress, President Obama can be lobbied to push through regulatory changes and other executive actions that get the job done. This Times story gives the possibility some credence. If you were the rattled head of a major green organization contemplating the possible meltdown of a decade long campaign to get a binding international agreement to stop global warming, lobbying the White House at this point could well look like your last possible hope both to save the planet and to avoid a devastating setback to a movement and a cause that has consumed your professional life.
Even that will be lost if the mainstream media picks up the Climategate story and really runs with it. In the UK, a previously strong public consensus that agreed that global warming existed and was caused by human action has melted away since November. Americans were always more skeptical about global warming than our more biddable British cousins; how will the polls move here as this stuff comes out? Could somebody or several somebodies at the Times hope they are saving the planet by keeping the Climategate story under wraps?
As long as this story was rumbling out there in the blogosphere, Fox News and other ‘below the salt’ media outlets, the environmental establishment can pretend to itself that nothing has changed. The environmental groups and individuals in the President’s base can lobby hard to get him to push for legislative action or sign executive orders that advance the agenda. If that is the calculation, it is a very short sighted one. Not only does it leave the Times looking unbelievably foolish when the Washington Post beats it to the story, the political strategy was always doomed to fail.
Comprehensive climate legislation was already a hard sell before Climategate; the recession had driven environmental issues to the absolute rock bottom of the public’s priority list. If Congress, currently fumbling around with and so far failing to produce either a jobs bill or a health bill, now turns its attention to a big climate bill — even as the science behind it appears increasingly suspect to the public — how will that play in the fall? If the President short circuits the legislative procedure and makes major energy policy by executive order or regulatory decree even as from the public’s standpoint the scientific consensus is becoming less solid and less reliable, where does that leave the White House? As this Politico story by Jonathan Martin reminds us, Republicans are already using the climate issue to target vulnerable Dems.
Here’s a thought for the truly twisted conspiracy theorists to chew on: could the New York Times be working for a Republican victory this fall? Probably not, but the paper of record couldn’t be doing more to help the GOP on this issue if it tried.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
A little more Orwell 1984
From LA Times
Joe Biden update: Iraq one of Obama's 'great achievements'
February 11, 2010 | 2:26 am
Thank goodness, Vice President Joe Biden went on CNN to chat with Larry King Wednesday night. So many think things are not going so well for the Democrat administration, as The Ticket chronicled here.
Many Americans recall the ex-Sen. Biden's Democratic primary plans to give in to Iraq's fractious factions and carve the country into three territories. And even more probably recall Biden's boss' plan to halt the Iraq war years ago. As long as it got started anyway without the permission of the then state senator.
Plus, of course, Obama's vehement opposition to the 2007 American troop surge of you-know-who from Texas that Obama knew for certain was only going to worsen sectarian strife there. (See 2007 video here.)....
Well, of course, it didn't turn out that way, thanks in large measure to the brave service of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops who served in that war-torn land and helped peace to break out despite the loud political acrimony back home over their role.
Now, the Obama-Biden pair that opposed the Iraq war and its tactics and predicted their failure is prepared to accept credit for its success.
It seems that Biden, who's from Delaware when he's in Delaware and Pennsylvania when in Pennsylvania, is certain now that Iraq will turn out to be one of the Obama-Biden administration's greatest achievements.
Here's how Biden put it to Lar:
I am very optimistic about -- about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You're going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You're going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government.
I spent -- I've been there 17 times now. I go about every two months -- three months. I know every one of the major players in all the segments of that society. It's impressed me. I've been impressed how they have been deciding to use the political process rather than guns to settle their differences.
Biden did not elaborate on what all the administration's other "great achievements" were so far.
No doubt, Iraqis too are very thankful for that 2008 U.S. election. (Full King transcript here.)
-- Andrew Malcolm
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The American Interest
From the Associated Press
By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer – Wed Feb 10, 2:42 pm ET
WASHINGTON – A steady drip of unsettling errors is exposing what scientists are calling "the weaker link" in the Nobel Peace Prize-winning series of international reports on global warming.
The flaws — and the erosion they've caused in public confidence — have some scientists calling for drastic changes in how future United Nations climate reports are done. A push for reform being published in Thursday's issue of a prestigious scientific journal comes on top of a growing clamor for the resignation of the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The work of the climate change panel, or IPCC, is often portrayed as one massive tome. But it really is four separate reports on different aspects of global warming, written months apart by distinct groups of scientists.
No errors have surfaced in the first and most well-known of the reports, which said the physics of a warming atmosphere and rising seas is man-made and incontrovertible. So far, four mistakes have been discovered in the second report, which attempts to translate what global warming might mean to daily lives around the world.
"A lot of stuff in there was just not very good," said Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and a lead author of the first report. "A chronic problem is that on the whole area of impacts, getting into the realm of social science, it is a softer science. The facts are not as good."
It's been a dismal winter for climate scientists after the high point of winning the 2007 Nobel, along with former Vice President Al Gore, for championing efforts to curb global warming and documenting its effects.
_In November, stolen private e-mails from a British university climate center embarrassed a number of scientists for their efforts to stonewall climate skeptics. The researchers were found to have violated Britain's Freedom of Information laws.
_In December, the much anticipated climate summit of world leaders in Copenhagen failed to produce a meaningful mandatory agreement to curb greenhouse gases.
_Climate legislation in the United States, considered key to any significant progress in slowing global warming, is stalled.
_Some Republican U.S. senators, climate skeptics and British newspapers have called for Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, to resign. They contend he has financial conflicts of interest involving his role with the climate panel and a green-energy foundation he set up. He has vigorously denied any conflicts.
_And in recent weeks, a batch of mistakes have been uncovered in the second of the four climate research reports produced in 2007.
That second report — which examines current effects of global warming and forecasts future ones on people, plants, animals and society — at times relied on government reports or even advocacy group reports instead of peer-reviewed research. Scientists say that's because there is less hard data on global warming's effects.
Nine different experts told The Associated Press that the second report — because of the nature of what it examines — doesn't rely on standards as high or literature as deep as the more quoted first report. And they say cite communication problems between lead authors of different reports so it is harder to spot errors.
The end result is that the document on the effects of climate change promotes the worst of nightmares and engages in purposeful hyping, said longtime skeptic John Christy of the University of Alabama, Huntsville.
David King, Britain's former chief scientific adviser who once lectured at the University of East Anglia, home to the climate center where scientist e-mails were hacked said that scandal laid bare the weaknesses in the IPCC. In a telephone interview, he said those who challenged the IPCC's assessment "are seen to be rocking the boat, and this in my view is extremely unfortunate."
Scientists — including top U.S. government officials — argue that the bulk of the reports are sound.
"The vast majority of conclusions in the IPCC are credible, have been through a very rigorous process and are absolutely state of the science, state of the art about what we know of the climate system," said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco, who runs the agency that oversees much of the U.S. government's climate research.
The problems found in the IPCC 2007 reports so far are mostly embarrassing:
_In the Asian chapter, five errors in a single entry on glaciers in Himalayas say those glaciers would disappear by 2035 — hundreds of years earlier than other information suggests — with no research backing it up. It used an advocacy group as a source. It also erroneously said the Himalayan glaciers were melting faster than other glaciers.
_A sentence in the chapter on Europe says 55 percent of the Netherlands is below sea level, when it's really about half that amount.
_A section in the Africa chapter that talks about northern African agriculture says climate change and normal variability could reduce crop yields. But it gets oversimplified in later summaries so that lower projected crop yields are blamed solely on climate change.
_There's been a longstanding dispute about weather extremes and economics. The second report says that there are more weather disasters than before because of climate change and that it is costing more. The debate continues over whether it is fair to say increased disaster costs are due to global warming or other societal factors such as increased development in hurricane prone areas.
Scientists say the nature of the science and the demands of governments for a localized tally of climate change effects and projections of future ones make the second report a bit more prone to mistakes than the first report. Regional research is more often done by governments or environmental groups; using that work is allowed by IPCC rules even if it is seen as less rigorous than traditional peer-reviewed research, said Martin Parry, chairman in charge of the report on climate effects.
The second report includes chapters on each region, which governments want to be mostly written by local experts, some of whom may not have the science credentials of other report authors. That's where at least three of the errors were found.
In Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, four IPCC authors call for reform, including Christy, who suggests the outright dumping of the panel itself in favor of an effort modeled after Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. A fifth author, writing in Nature, argues the IPCC rules are fine but need to be better enforced.
In response, Chris Field of Stanford University, the new head of the second report team, said that he welcomes the scrutiny and vows stricter enforcement of rules to check sources to eliminate errors in future reports; those are to be produced by the IPCC starting in 2013.
Many IPCC scientists say it's impressive that so far only four errors have been found in 986 pages of the second report, with the overwhelming majority of the findings correct and well-supported.
However, former IPCC Chairman Bob Watson said, "We cannot take that attitude. Any mistakes do allow skeptics to have a field day and to use it to undermine public confidence, private sector confidence, government confidence in the IPCC."
Associated Press writer Raphael Satter contributed to this report from London.
Below is Prof Watson on Climate Science
No one around me believes in this science. I do. I do not want to pursue it to the depth of the speaker, but I certainly want caloric restriction (CR) to be a part of my life.
I have mentioned CR before in my blog. Check the internet to see how CR affects not only how long you may actually live, but the kind of health you can acquire now, or the diseases you could forgo in the future.
I have mentioned CR before in my blog. Check the internet to see how CR affects not only how long you may actually live, but the kind of health you can acquire now, or the diseases you could forgo in the future.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
What a beautiful woman. There is nothing that I enjoy more than seeing a woman of beauty. Women are cherished in Western Civilization.
Do some of the answers to the puzzle of that woman-hatred lie in Koranic passages and sayings like these?
The Prophet said, "I looked at Paradise and found poor people forming the majority of its inhabitants; and I looked at Hell and saw that the majority of its inhabitants were women."
O ye who believe! When ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If ye are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body. But if ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands, Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete his favour to you, that ye may be grateful.
Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) o 'Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?" The women replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her religion."
The answer is yes.
As in yes, yes, yes and yes. Oh dear God, yes.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Is it Crazy to Call Obama a Socialist or a Fascist?
Well that's what we keep hearing, as Morgan recently noted, and I've seen out there in internet land, and from pundits on TV.
We have people haughtily calling us stupid and insane for calling a spade a spade, as if we, like most of them, don't really know what the words mean. As I said in one comment on a YouTube video out there:
if Socialized Medicine isn’t socialism … if nationalizing companies isn’t socialism … if redistribution of wealth isn’t socialism … maybe we have different dictionaries.
So ... no. It's not crazy.
Read your history, they admonish us. Well I have. And it's apparent that either they haven't, or they're banking on the fact that a lot of people haven't and that we will just buy what they're saying, cower before their derision, and Shut Up. Fortunately knowledge is a good inoculation against such ridicule.
Nazi is short for Nationalsozialist … which was a term for supporters of Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or the National Socialist German Worker’s Party.
Be very suspicious about any political movement with the word “workers” in the title. They're all brothers. Communism, Socialism, Fascism, and Nazism.
Fascism was the Italian National Socialist movement. Hairs are split about how “socialistic” national socialism really was because the global socialists (eg: the Soviets) considered it “right-wing” socialism, which is probably why the term is used to smear conservatives. Either way, they were collectivist systems. And does it really matter if the state runs the corporations or the corporations run the state? Either way, the State and Corporations are one in these systems.
National Socialism was considered “right-wing” because (again, by its close relative just to its left) of it’s emphasis on strong, strict, social controls.
But are you really going to try to convince me that the Soviets and the Maoists didn’t use strict social control?
I think the globalists kid themselves about how different they really are, and how egalitarian they really are. The Ruling Class always develops, and it always has special privileges.
I also think the reasons they object to the term "socialist" are 1) bad connotation due to abuses of socialist governments in the 20th century (in other words, it's bad marketing) and 2) they really think that they can do this gradually, without a bloody revolution, and everybody will just be happy once we all see how wonderful it is. So in other words, no boody revolution, no "Socialism".
But they fail to see ... the reason that we are anti-socialist has little to do with the bloody revolution aspect. It has to do with the fact that, as a political philosophy for running a state and its economic system, it doesn't work. And it doesn't "not work" because of the bloodiness of the revolution or the iron-fistedness of the State --- it doesn't work because it rewards sloth and punishes productivity and innovativeness. (And the iron-fistedness of the state becomes necessary because it doesn't work!)
It is inherent in human nature to want to better one's lot in life. Generally speaking, when bettering one's lot in life while following rules that keep you from confiscating from others -- you better others' lives as well. You produce. "Money", in reality, is a representation of production. (A portable proxy, if you will.) The more you produce as a nation, the wealthier your nation is ... the better you do. The less incentive to produce, the less will be produced. The poorer your country will be.
So what you end up with is lower production, and confiscation from the productive to redistribute to the non-productive.
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
Sounds great, on the surface, but it ain't human (or animal) nature. On top of that, who decides what your abilities are, and who decides what someone's needs are? And if I "need" more because I'm not performing up to my ability ... how does that get resolved?
That's right. The state must either force me to work, or force someone else to support me. If neither really works, then everybody gets poorer. This will not stop the state from continuing to use force, though, and it will use more and more of it as time goes on in more and more desperate attempts to keep control. This happens eventually every time. It is inevitible, because of the nature of what we are, and that is homo sapiens. It gets bloody one way or the other, because at some point someone's going to rebel against being used.
We know that. We don't want to go there. Which is why we resist. If we resist too much for their liking when they have enough power, we will be liquidated (too many of us to imprison). That's the way they roll. If they don't have enough power, they will be subdued and discredited when we win. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. If we do not resist and let it happen, eventually the iron fist of the state will, as I discussed above, become tyrannically oppressive at some point anyway. It has to.
Because state socialism is incompatible with human nature. Human compassion works well at the level of the free individual, where one is free to decide when, to whom, and how much, and nobody is coerced into anything else.
From AI The American Interest Online
I just wish all these stories were a little easier to find in the US press. These stories have been and continue to be on the front pages of UK newspapers; American newspapers by and large aren’t, yet, taking them as seriously and the growing numbers of Americans who are following the scandals are mostly tracking them from internet reports like this one or directly in the British press. This too needs to change, and the sooner the better.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Dickens, poverty and progress
from The Adam Smith Institute Blog by email@example.com (Dr Eamonn Butler)
It's Charles Dickens's birthday. He was born on this day back in 1812. He had a career in journalism, reporting on Parliament and writing in various papers and journals, though today we remember him as the most popular novelist of the Victorian age. Indeed, his name has given us a description of Victorian Britain – Dickensian, meaning depressing cities dominated by dark, polluting smoke-stack factories, with underpaid workers living cheek-by-jowl in overcrowded squalour.
So powerful is Dickens's writing that even historians have come to accept this description as objective fact. But we have to remember that Dickens was a social campaigner as well as a great wordsmith. He used his literary talents to highlight the problems of industrialisation through emotion and exaggeration. Indeed, he was brilliant at it, and his writings did actually change the Victorians' attitudes on issues such as poverty and class inequalities, which most thinking people at the time believed were the immutable condition of humanity and the working out of God's plan.
In fact, though, the factories, for all their ills, represented a step up for the working poor. The alternative was a life of equally long hours and backbreaking physical labour on the land in rain, sleet, snow or baking heat, a life made worse by the certainty of periodic crop failure, starvation and disease. The poor were not forced into urban factories: rather, they knew (in the words of William Barnes's poem) that they could 'make money faster, in the air of darkened towns' and that Linden Lea was not the rural idyll that it was painted. It was, of course, a revolution, an industrial revolution, in which things changed rapidly: with shoddy, functional buildings thrown up with little knowledge or understanding of the social consequences. How could anyone know? But before long, standards improved, hygiene and sanitation became standard, and the wealth generated by the new industries allowed even the poorest to rise out of the 'Dickensian' world.
What is fascinating to me about the myth of man-made global warming is not only how it came into being, but how the MSM, especially the American MSM will shield real news from the public.
This, from Mark Steyn
House of Peers [Mark Steyn]
As Jonah and I have written here previously, "climate change" is not only a scientific scandal but also a massive journalistic failure. While the "Canadian Journalism Project" continues to insist that dissenting from the orthodoxy is "irresponsible journalism", Matt Ridley at The Spectator acknowledges the reality:
Journalists are wont to moan that the slow death of newspapers will mean a disastrous loss of investigative reporting. The web is all very well, they say, but who will pay for the tenacious sniffing newshounds to flush out the real story? ‘Climategate’ proves the opposite to be true. It was amateur bloggers who scented the exaggerations, distortions and corruptions in the climate establishment; whereas newspaper reporters, even after the scandal broke, played poodle to their sources.
Mr Ridley credits various British, Canadian and American bloggers, and then makes this observation:
Notice that all of these sceptic bloggers are self-employed businessmen. Their strengths are networks and feedback: mistakes get quickly corrected; new leads are opened up; expertise is shared; links are made.
The correcting mechanisms of competitive businesses are largely alien to America's unreadable monodailies, which is why they'll be extinct long before the polar bear. As an example of what Matt Ridley's talking about, consider this piece designed to prop up the increasingly discredited IPCC from ABC Australia's Margot O'Neill. It's a simulacrum of reporting rather than the real thing. It has quotes from impressive sounding experts, but, as Mr Ridley put it above, she is playing "poodle to her sources":
Here is how Queensland University's Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a world expert on coral reefs and climate change, describes what happened when he contributed a small slice of the 2007 IPCC report:
"The IPCC has one of the most rigorous review processes I have ever experienced. There are various stages of review. The first round involves the working groups picking over the text (hundreds of eyes and qualified expert opinions). If you have been involved in this process, it is a quite an experience which takes months and years - involving a lot of pedantic haggling over detail - but always using the peer-reviewed literature as the base..."
And on he yaks, in great detail. Like all the poodles of the environmental beat, Margot O'Neill repeats those magic words "peer review" every couple of paragraphs like a talisman to ward off evil deniers. But, in the course of invoking the phrase "peer review", she never bothers to look at whether the IPCC actually does it. By contrast, without benefit of the resources of a national TV news operation plus salary and benefits, lone blogger Donna Laframboise did a couple of text searches on the IPCC report and discovered multiple predictions of doom - on Himalayan glacier melt and much else - resting not on peer-reviewed science but merely on activist groups such as the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace. Miss Laframboise writes:
Nothing prevented Ms. O'Neil from taking a firsthand look at the IPCC report herself. She, like me, could have typed "WWF" (which stands for the activist group, the World Wildlife Fund) into a search box and found the 16 distinct WWF citations in the IPCC's 2007 report. Within a few minutes she could also have found the eight Greenpeace papers listed...
Instead, Ms. O'Neill - who has 25 years experience as a journalist - was utterly bamboozled by the PR machine which is the IPCC. She fell for their slick mirage. And then she passed it along to her viewers and readers.
For good measure, Miss Laframboise points out that Margot O'Neill was either suckered by or consciously misrepresented her expert witness:
In the process she might have noticed that one of her scientific experts - Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (whom she quoted as saying: "I don't think you could have a more rigorous process") - is a co-author of one of those non-peer-reviewed Greenpeace papers.
The poodles are heading for the endangered species list, and deservedly so.
Labels: Global warming and journalism
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Reminds me of the question: If it takes 1 hour per pound to cook a 10 pound roast (10 hours), how long does it take to cook 2 five pound roasts?
On Public Speaking
I have been a member of Toastmasters for a year. If you read about public speaking on the internet, many say it's a good idea to join Toastmasters to improve one's speaking skills.
So since becoming a member I've improved. Not only have I improved as a speaker (that I improved isn't saying much) but my life has improved too. I'm more open to talk.
Before, I would keep things inside. Now I'm more willing to be spontaneous. And I'm finding others laughing at my silly jokes. (Most of the time.) I believe it actually takes courage to say something funny, because I could always be rejected. But the more I do it, the more I'm OK with that. Often times, I realize a lot of people just don't have a sense of humor. (Well, we all do, it's just that we suffer from adultitis.)
So I think I'm starting to more and more find my funny bone. And I realize that's the direction I want to take in public speaking. Speaking is an important form of communication, but I want to use that platform with humor. I realize for me to convey ideas, I don't want to by serious the whole time. I want to be funny. I want to have others laugh and have a good time, and I want to laugh and have a good time too. So while the message is important, what is even more important is shared laughter. Friendship.
What are your ideas?
PS. It's been awhile, but I think the formula is A squared Xs B squared=C squared
Labels: Public Speaking Humor
Friday, February 5, 2010
NBC cafeteria celebrates black history month
The sign in the NBCU cafeteria has been removed. We apologize for anyone who was offended by it.
This Twitter feed appears to have been started just to tweet this was set up a few months ago, but was used for the first time today.
> Update at 5:30: NBC-owned TheGrio.com (an “African American Breaking News and Opinion” site), has a response from the chef who came up with the meal and made the sign. In part:
It’s not trying to offend anybody and it’s not trying to suggest that that’s all that African-Americans eat. It’s just a good meal.
Remember how Fuzzy Zoeller the golfer lost all his endorsements because he mentioned Tiger should not have fried chicken for the Champions dinner?
I know I'll be buying this the day it arrives. Kudos to Steve Jobs. This is going to be a lot of fun. Imagine going to a restaurant. The waitress brings a menu. No thanks, I have it right here (as I show her my Ipad). After ordering, we purchase tickets to the comedy show that begins after dinner. It's only a 10 minute walk, but even that is shortened. Mr Jobs gave me the code to make the lights turn green.
New York Times
The more, the better. That’s the fashionable recipe for nurturing new ideas these days. It emphasizes a kind of Internet-era egalitarianism that celebrates the “wisdom of the crowd” and “open innovation.” Assemble all the contributions in the digital suggestion box, we’re told in books and academic research, and the result will be collective intelligence.
Yet Apple, a creativity factory meticulously built by Steven P. Jobs since he returned to the company in 1997, suggests another innovation formula — one more elitist and individual.
This approach is reflected in the company’s latest potentially game-changing gadget, the iPad tablet, unveiled last week. It may succeed or stumble but it clearly carries the taste and perspective of Mr. Jobs and seems stamped by the company’s earlier marketing motto: Think Different.
Apple represents the “auteur model of innovation,” observes John Kao, a consultant to corporations and governments on innovation. In the auteur model, he said, there is a tight connection between the personality of the project leader and what is created. Movies created by powerful directors, he says, are clear examples, from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” to James Cameron’s “Avatar.”
At Apple, there is a similar link between the ultimate design-team leader, Mr. Jobs, and the products. From computers to smartphones, Apple products are known for being stylish, powerful and pleasing to use. They are edited products that cut through complexity, by consciously leaving things out — not cramming every feature that came into an engineer’s head, an affliction known as “featuritis” that burdens so many technology products.
“A defining quality of Apple has been design restraint,” says Paul Saffo, a technology forecaster and consultant in Silicon Valley.
That restraint is evident in Mr. Jobs’s personal taste. His black turtleneck, beltless blue jeans and running shoes are a signature look. In his Palo Alto home years ago, he said that he preferred uncluttered, spare interiors and then explained the elegant craftsmanship of the simple wooden chairs in his living room, made by George Nakashima, the 20th-century furniture designer and father of the American craft movement.
Great products, according to Mr. Jobs, are triumphs of “taste.” And taste, he explains, is a byproduct of study, observation and being steeped in the culture of the past and present, of “trying to expose yourself to the best things humans have done and then bring those things into what you are doing.”
His is not a product-design philosophy steered by committee or determined by market research. The Jobs formula, say colleagues, relies heavily on tenacity, patience, belief and instinct. He gets deeply involved in hardware and software design choices, which await his personal nod or veto. Mr. Jobs, of course, is one member of a large team at Apple, even if he is the leader. Indeed, he has often described his role as a team leader. In choosing key members of his team, he looks for the multiplier factor of excellence. Truly outstanding designers, engineers and managers, he says, are not just 10 percent, 20 percent or 30 percent better than merely very good ones, but 10 times better. Their contributions, he adds, are the raw material of “aha” products, which make users rethink their notions of, say, a music player or cellphone.
“Real innovation in technology involves a leap ahead, anticipating needs that no one really knew they had and then delivering capabilities that redefine product categories,” said David B. Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School. “That’s what Steve Jobs has done.”
Timing is essential to make such big steps ahead. Carver Mead, a leading computer scientist at the California Institute of Technology, once said, “Listen to the technology; find out what it’s telling you.”
Mr. Jobs is undeniably a gifted marketer and showman, but he is also a skilled listener to the technology. He calls this “tracking vectors in technology over time,” to judge when an intriguing innovation is ready for the marketplace. Technical progress, affordable pricing and consumer demand all must jell to produce a blockbuster product.
Indeed, Apple designers and engineers have been working on the iPad for years, presenting Mr. Jobs with prototypes periodically. None passed muster, until recently.
The iPad bet could prove a loser for Apple. Some skeptics see it occupying an uncertain ground between an iPod and a notebook computer, and a pricey gadget as well, at $499 to $829. Do recall, though, that when the iPod was introduced in 2001, critics joked that the name was an acronym for “idiots price our devices.” And we know who had the last laugh that time.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Climate change email scandal shames the university and requires resignations
The hacked emails shows that Phil Jones, after 20 years of failing to issue a correction, isn't the only one who should resign
Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and a professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, who, at the heart of the scandal, failed to make a vital correction for 20 years. Photograph: University of East Anglia
This is a tough time for climate science. The Guardian's new revelations about the hacked emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia might help to explain the university's utter failure to confront its critics. They could also explain why the head of the unit, Phil Jones, blocked freedom of information requests and proposed that material subject to those requests be deleted. He has been spared a criminal investigation only because the time limit for prosecutions has expired.
The emails I read gave me the impression that Phil Jones had something to hide. Now we know what it might have been. The Guardian has discovered that Jones appears to have suppressed data that undermines a paper he published in Nature in 1990. The paper claimed that Chinese weather stations show that local heating caused by urbanisation has very little effect on the temperature record. It now seems that much of the data they used is worthless and the documents required to validate it do not exist. The paper might be 20 years old, but in a way that makes the scandal worse: Phil Jones has had 20 years in which to issue a correction. Even after the hacking in October last year, he has still not done so.
When the emails were first published in November, I called for Professor Jones's resignation as head of the CRU. Though he has stepped down temporarily, his position is now even less tenable. The longer he leaves it, the worse this will get.
I believe the head of communications at the university, Annie Ogden, also has to go. She was warned repeatedly that the university's handling of this issue was a catastrophe, and still the policy – of utter passivity in the face of crisis – remains unchanged. Today was a re-run of what happened in December: though the story was on the front page of the Guardian's site at 9pm last night, by 10.30 this morning UEA had still not prepared a response and was unable to answer questions from journalists. As the emails show, climate scientists at the university have been up against a well-armed public relations campaign for many years, but no one at UEA has developed a strategy for responding. Even now the university has failed to make the obvious move: to call in a crisis management team, or at least to hire someone who can show they know how to respond to an emergency.
In fairness, Jones himself responded this afternoon, telling the Press Association that he was confident the 1990 paper, which drew on 42 urban and 42 rural sites, was correct because it was validated by the new data. He said: "I am confident in my mind the site movements that might have taken place at some of the sites were not that important to affect the average of the 42 sites."
The head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Rajendra Pachauri, is also in hot water. In November he dismissed as "voodoo science" a report for the Indian government showing that the IPCC's date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers was wrong. It's now clear that, actually, the IPCC's claim was voodoo science. It reproduced a speculative suggestion – that the glaciers were going to disappear by 2035 – that had not been published in any peer-reviewed journal. Pachauri's immediate dismissal of the Indian government's refutation was unscientific as well as wrong.
Now the Sunday Times alleges that he first heard that the glacier date was wrong in November, and failed to act. Pachauri was busy preparing for the Copenhagen summit, so perhaps it's not surprising if he didn't pay much attention, but someone at the IPCC should have done so, rather than letting the issue fester.
Pachauri is also taking a lot of heat for his outside interests, though he insists that the allegations made against him are flat wrong. It's worth remembering that he was appointed to run the IPCC after the Bush administration had his predecessor, Bob Watson, booted out at the behest of ExxonMobil. On 6February 2001, 17 days after George W Bush was sworn in, AG (Randy) Randol, ExxonMobil's senior environmental adviser, sent a fax to John Howard, an environmental official at the White House. He asked,
"Can Watson be replaced now at the request of the US?"
The US government immediately complied. Once it had extracted Watson, it accepted Pachauri as his replacement. The very qualities which made him acceptable to the climate change deniers in the White House – he wasn't a climate scientist, he had friendly relations with business – are now being used by climate change deniers as a stick with which to beat him.
Damaging as some of this material is, at least people on this side of the climate science fence are able to confront the problem. Both stories – the glacier error and the revelations about the Chinese weather stations – were broken by the brilliant reporter Fred Pearce, who is possibly the world's longest serving environmental journalist, and has spent decades explaining and championing climate science. The IPCC's glacier claim was actually drawn from an article of Fred's, published in New Scientist in 1999. But it was he who exposed the mistake the panel had made.
On the other side of the debate, people are in denial not only about the science of climate change but also about manipulation and deception by other climate change deniers. They stoutly ignore far graver evidence of falsification and fabrication by their own side, even when there is smoking gun evidence that their champions have secretly taken money from fossil fuel companies to make false claims. They make no attempt to hold each other to account or to sustain any standards of truth at all.
In fact, as Fred Pearce has shown, even their claims about the material in the hacked emails are almost all false.
The vast body of climate science still shows that manmade climate change is real and that it presents a massive challenge to human survival. But those of us who seek to explain its implications and call for action must demand the highest possible standards from the people whose work we promote, and condemn any failures to release data or admit and rectify mistakes. We do no one any favours – least of all ourselves – by wasting our time promoting false claims.
If you don't know who George Monbiot is, here's a link to him on Wikipedia
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Yesterday, I created a post on "How to do a post".
The reason I did this post is I've always wondered how people were able to create videos of their computer page, move the mouse around, and talk at the same time. I thought it was miraculous. Turns out, like everything else in life, once you know how to do it, it's easy.
I went to this website and downloaded the software to capture streaming video.
For me, when I learn something like this, I get really excited. Here's how I just used it today. I have a question about Facebook. I tried to send my wife the question with screen captured video, but the file was too big for her email. So I posted it on my blog. Then I sent my wife another email with a link to that post.
Like I say, for me it's really exciting. Sometimes when my wife helps her mom on her computer via phone, it's an exercise of frustration. By using this technology, it would be very helpful for her mom.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Canadian Premier, Danny Williams is coming to the US for heart surgery.
From CBC News
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams is set to undergo heart surgery this week in the United States.
CBC News confirmed Monday that Williams, 59, left the province earlier in the day and will have surgery later in the week.
The premier's office provided few details, beyond confirming that he would have heart surgery and saying that it was not necessarily a routine procedure.
Deputy Premier Kathy Dunderdale is scheduled to hold a news conference Tuesday morning.
She's expected to provide more details about Williams's condition, as well as how the provincial government will function during his absence.
CBC reporter David Cochrane said Williams appeared to be in good health recently. He described the premier as "fairly active," playing pick-up hockey at least once a week when work permits.
I wonder, will this make the MSM news?
This is a follow up article of him speaking about the surgery.
Wall Street Journal, Fouad Ajami
The curtain has come down on what can best be described as a brief un-American moment in our history. That moment began in the fall of 2008, with the great financial panic, and gave rise to the Barack Obama phenomenon.
The nation's faith in institutions and time-honored ways had cracked. In a little-known senator from Illinois millions of Americans came to see a savior who would deliver the nation out of its troubles. Gone was the empiricism in political life that had marked the American temper in politics. A charismatic leader had risen in a manner akin to the way politics plays out in distressed and Third World societies.
There is nothing surprising about where Mr. Obama finds himself today. He had been made by charisma, and political magic, and has been felled by it. If his rise had been spectacular, so, too, has been his fall. The speed with which some of his devotees have turned on him—and their unwillingness to own up to what their infatuation had wrought—is nothing short of astounding. But this is the bargain Mr. Obama had made with political fortune.
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He was a blank slate, and devotees projected onto him what they wanted or wished. In the manner of political redeemers who have marked—and wrecked—the politics of the Arab world and Latin America, Mr. Obama left the crowd to its most precious and volatile asset—its imagination. There was no internal coherence to the coalition that swept him to power. There was cultural "cool" and racial absolution for the white professional classes who were the first to embrace him. There was understandable racial pride on the part of the African-American community that came around to his banners after it ditched the Clinton dynasty.
The white working class had been slow to be convinced. The technocracy and elitism of Mr. Obama's campaign—indeed of his whole persona—troubled that big constituency, much more, I believe, than did his race and name. The promise of economic help, of an interventionist state that would salvage ailing industries and provide a safety net for the working poor, reconciled these voters to a candidate they viewed with a healthy measure of suspicion. He had been caught denigrating them as people "clinging to their guns and religion," but they had forgiven him.
Mr. Obama himself authored the tale of his own political crisis. He had won an election, but he took it as a plebiscite granting him a writ to remake the basic political compact of this republic.
Mr. Obama's self-regard, and his reading of his mandate, overwhelmed all restraint. The age-old American balance between a relatively small government and a larger role for the agencies of civil society was suddenly turned on its head. Speed was of the essence to the Obama team and its allies, the powerful barons in Congress. Better ram down sweeping social programs—a big liberal agenda before the people stirred to life again.
Progressives pressed for a draconian attack on the workings of our health care, and on the broader balance between the state and the marketplace. The economic stimulus, ObamaCare, the large deficits, the bailout package for the automobile industry—these, and so much more, were nothing short of a fundamental assault on the givens of the American social compact.
And then there was the hubris of the man at the helm: He was everywhere, and pronounced on matters large and small. This was political death by the teleprompter.
Americans don't deify their leaders or hang on their utterances, but Mr. Obama succumbed to what the devotees said of him: He was the Awaited One. A measure of reticence could have served him. But the flight had been heady, and in the manner of Icarus, Mr. Obama flew too close to the sun.
We have had stylish presidents, none more so than JFK. But Kennedy was an ironist and never fell for his own mystique. Mr. Obama's self-regard comes without irony—he himself now owns up to the "remoteness and detachment" of his governing style. We don't have in this republic the technocratic model of the European states, where a bureaucratic elite disposes of public policy with scant regard for the popular will. Mr. Obama was smitten with his own specialness.
In this extraordinary tale of hubris undone, the Europeans—more even than the people in Islamic lands—can be assigned no small share of blame. They overdid the enthusiasm for the star who had risen in America.
It was the way in Paris and Berlin (not to forget Oslo of course) of rebuking all that played out in America since 9/11—the vigilance, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the sense that America's interests and ways were threatened by a vengeful Islamism. But while the Europeans and Muslim crowds hailed him, they damned his country all the same. For his part, Mr. Obama played along, and in Ankara, Cairo, Paris and Berlin he offered penance aplenty for American ways.
But no sooner had the country recovered its poise, it drew a line for Mr. Obama. The "bluest" of states, Massachusetts, sent to Washington a senator who had behind him three decades of service in the National Guard, who proclaimed his pride in his "army values" and was unapologetic in his assertion that it was more urgent to hunt down terrorists than to provide for their legal defense.
Then the close call on Christmas Day at the hands of the Nigerian jihadist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab demonstrated that the terrorist threat had not receded. The president did his best to recover: We are at war, he suddenly proclaimed. Nor were we in need of penance abroad. Rumors of our decline had been exaggerated. The generosity of the American response to Haiti, when compared to what India and China had provided, was a stark reminder that this remains an exceptional nation that needs no apologies in distant lands.
A historical hallmark of "isms" and charismatic movements is to dig deeper when they falter—to insist that the "thing" itself, whether it be Peronism, or socialism, etc., had not been tried but that the leader had been undone by forces that hemmed him in.
It is true to this history that countless voices on the left now want Obama to be Obama. The economic stimulus, the true believers say, had not gone astray, it only needed to be larger; the popular revolt against ObamaCare would subside if and when a new system was put in place.
There had been that magical moment—the campaign of 2008—and the true believers want to return to it. But reality is merciless. The spell is broken.
Mr. Ajami, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, is the author of "The Foreigner's Gift" (Free Press, 2007).
I just received my first email newsletter from John Kinde's humor Power. He teaches how to be funny.
I've always thought I had a sense of humor, but as I've gotten older I've taken myself much too serious. As a new member of "Humor Toastmasters" I've learned a little bit about humor. And it's been life changing.
I thought that to be funny, I had to be really funny. Because of that, when I thought of something funny, first I questioned myself if it was really that funny, and usually I deemed it was not, so I just kept quiet.
With Humor Toastmasters I learned that through observational humor, it doesn't take much to get a good laugh. After that first Humor Toastmasters meeting, I've loosened up, allowing myself to say things that come of the top of my head. Sometimes it doesn't work. But for the most part, I've made others around me comfortable and been able to enjoy each other's company through humor.
I remember when I was 5 and 6 years old. I would make jokes in the class and have all the classmates laughing. I don't know where I lost my funny bone, but I want it back. Life is a wonderful thing, and part of its joy is through humor.
Here's one of my observational humor jokes that was a lot of fun: My wife and I were in Laughlin ordering lunch. On the menu was "Bone-in ham". I asked the waitress how they put the bone in the ham. My wife thought that was so funny, she almost peed her pants. The waitress thought I was a wacko. I'm happy that my wife enjoyed my corny sense of humor.
If you don't think the bone-in ham is funny, trust me, you had to be there. And besides, when I only tell a joke once every 2 years, you'd laugh at just about anything too.
Our Obama Saga--Victor Davis Hanson
Chapter One — The Liberal Hope and Dream
I think our Obama collective story will some day be written something like this. The leftwing anointed vision of America got stalled with the failures of the Great Society, and the high tax, big government discontent of the 1970s and 1980s.
Abroad after Vietnam, the gospel that America was the problem sputtered out — with the fall of the Soviet Union, the rejoicing in Eastern Europe with the liberation from communism, the market reforms of China, and the general rise of a murderous radical Islam, coupled with the later 9/11 attacks.
In short, doctrinaire liberalism, now to be recast as progressivism, was in trouble. About all that could be hoped for in lieu of ideological governance were entrenched liberal congressional enclaves, which served traditional Democratic constituencies — and offered occasional opposition to conservative excess and corruption of the Abramoff sort.
Jimmy Carter was simply too inept, self-righteous, and inexperienced to retake Rome from the barbarians. A gifted Bill Clinton might have; but he was too savvy for subservience to an unpopular ideology, too enslaved instead to his multifarious appetites and too malleable and worried about Bill Clinton to be a principled avatar of hope and change.
So the media, academia, the unions, the foundations, and the elite on Wall Street kept waiting for the Great Stone Face to appear — the saintly deliverer who would at last have the requisite skill and pedigree to bring a benevolent liberal statism to the unwashed, who for so long in their ignorance and selfish, petty agendas had resisted what was good for them.
Chapter Two — The Perfect Storm
Then the unexpected occurred without warning. The Iraq War was successfully demagogued as Vietnam redux. Indeed, we still apparently think it was lost, and the surge a failure. The Republican Congress by 2006 was mired in corruption. After eight years of Republican rule, conservatives of the base had tired of 50/50 deal making that had resulted in more big government and big deficits.
John McCain almost seemed more interested in losing majestically to our first serious African-American presidential candidate than conducting a hardball successful campaign. He too had alienated his base in the past, and many never forgot it, as their lackluster emotional and financial support attested.
Barack Obama, in contrast, offered to many an irresistible win/win proposition: centrist, bipartisan governance, and absolution for past sins through the election of a president of color. That Obama was young and patterned himself after JFK in his eloquence and pizzazz made a nice antithesis to George Bush’s tongue-tied speeches. And that the world promised that they would like us again only made it all the sweeter for the gullible.
Chapter Three – The Ascension
So Obama came in, quickly shed his thin centrist exoskeleton, and started in on the long promised bigger government agenda. In short order, we saw the absorption of some of the private sector, attempts at statist health care, and appointments that reflected an equality-of-result philosophy, mandated and enforced by a guardian class of Ivy-League technocrats, immune to the protocols they enforced on ignorant others, although, unlike Plato’s overseers, subject to no harsh regimen.
Abroad, at last we would fulfill the old pledge of the United Nations, follow global consent, back out of worthless old alliances, reach out to misunderstood nationalists, admit prior guilt, appreciate the role of race, class, and gender oppression in world affairs, scoff at artificial Manichean divides and inherit a multilateral world in which an unexceptional United States became simply one among many, unqualified to judge others, unable to enforce artificially constructed rules of international behavior.
Obama was the ultimate homeopathic — cure the patient by giving more of what caused the symptoms in the first place. If for a half-century an encroaching government, ever more regulations, politicized education, therapeutic stifling of free expression, higher and higher taxes, and expanding entitlements had threatened to make America less competitive, less free, and less prosperous than it could be, Obama in reaction would apply more of the same to cure the patient. Bush’s deficits? Expand them fourfold? Unfunded Prescription Drug — try Unfunded State Health Care. Fifty-percent of income given over to local, state, and federal taxes? — raise them far higher.
Chapter Four — The Resistance
Yet all that was not easy for a variety of reasons.
1) The United States had become so fabulously wealthy, so unimaginably free, and so roundly envied precisely because for two centuries it had promoted individual freedom, equality of opportunity, and free market economics in contrast to the other Western variant of mandated egalitarianism, government control of behavior, and state-run commerce. As the tea-party protests proved, traditions die hard and free peoples do not easily surrender their prerogatives to Ivy-league philosopher-kings.
2) While Obama was certainly a new and gifted candidate, and while he was surely to the left even of Carter and Clinton, and while he inherited majorities in both houses of Congress, and while the stars really did line up for him in autumn 2008, he was in many respects to prove a flawed leader of the leftist renaissance.
Obama knew little of Middle America and had little desire to learn. His idea of the nuances of the United States was gleaned from the university seminar and the federal payroll. Hyphenated racial-self-identity had always proved lucrative and was not to be abandoned. Postmodern indifference to the truth and facts ensured that much of what the President asserted, in reality, was not merely inaccurate but the exact opposite of what he claimed.
While Obama, the quick study, understood the role of deception, triangulation, and fudging in free-for-all politics, it was nevertheless difficult for him for long to disguise forty years of inculcation. So like a leaky faucet, the drops of an entrenched and rather scary philosophy now and then splashed upon us — Van Jones, Ron Bloom, and Anita Dunn echoed a prevailing ideological landscape.
Then there was the presidential insistence that police stereotype and act stupidly. We heard non-stop the old-time gospel that the better off must pay their fair share and spread their ill-gotten wealth, if they are to be deemed patriotic. As in the 1960s, America should apologize, given that it was as culpable as Europe or Islam for current global tensions. And so on.
3) The hypocrisy of left-wing redistribution politics and the enjoyment of the high-life, brought about by the fruits of capitalism, is a heavy anchor for Obama. Tim Geithner does not like to pay high taxes. Nancy Pelosi does like nice jets. Barack Obama likes junkets. So does Harry Reid. Charles Rangel likes hiding income on resort property. John “two nations” Edwards likes “John’s Room” in his mansion, and Green Al Gore enjoys his most ungreen estate. In other words, “progressivism” is easily identified as cynicism, as a condescending plaything of the well-off, who are exempt, either by government largess or private capital, from the very strictures they would impose on less knowledgeable others.
And from the Wall Street Journal