Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bait and switch

Is this an example of incompetence at Associated Press, or are they deliberately trying to mislead people who only skim headlines?

AP: Asshat Press.

Update: They've now corrected the headline to read "Iraq wraps up election with no major violence".

Putin's popular support nosediving in Russia

Russians are a fickle bunch it seems. As long as oil and gas prices were flying high and Russia was bullying small neighboring states, they loved their Vladimir Putin, whether as president or prime minister.

But with Russia's economy circling the drain along with everyone else's, old Vladimir isn't looking so hot any more.
The march was sanctioned on the condition that demonstrators kept off the road, carried no banners and chanted no slogans. [That's not a demonstration, that's just a bunch of people walking on the sidewalk. --ed.]

The marchers blithely ignored the restrictions. Marching down the city's main street, they chanted "Putin resign!". Some banners [even compared] the prime minister to Hitler.

Although only several hundred began the march, ordinary passersby applauded in encouragement as they passed and many even joined them. By the time the demonstrators reached their finishing point in a square dominated by a statue of Lenin, their number had swelled to nearly 2,000.

It might not seem like a huge number, but the government has reason to be worried. Russia is a country where most dissenters -- save for a small hardcore group led by former chess champion Garry Kasparov - have been cowed into submission.
If the unrest spreads, watch for Putin to enact some form of emergency measures to completely stifle dissent (even more so than now) and stay in power indefinitely.

Scenes soon to be forgotten

During the Bush presidency, the left memorialized and exaggerated every petty Bush blunder. But since they'll quickly flush down the memory hole any similar acts by their man Obama, we'll just set this picture aside for safe-keeping.

It seems that the most intellectually gifted president ever can't quite tell a window from a door.

H/T Iowahawk

Friday, January 30, 2009

Awesome: Michael Steele new RNC chair

Been under a bit of a news blackout with work-related travel and just heard that Michael Steele is the new Republican National Committee chairman. Great news.

I met Steele last fall during the general election campaign and was highly impressed. Best of luck to you, Mr. Steele!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Name That Party, Hartford edition

So, I'm in my old home state of Connecticut this week on business, and ran across this article in the Hartford Courant this evening. Cliff's Notes version: Hartford mayor Eddie Perez has contractor renovate home for nothing, contractor later gets lucrative city contract. Try finding any reference to Perez's party affiliation in the article.
Mayor Eddie A. Perez sat in his office at city hall on a late June day in 2007 and assured a pair of state criminal investigators that the rumors weren't true, that he had long ago paid in full for the $20,000 renovation at his home by city contractor Carlos Costa.

He could even get them the canceled check to prove it.

But barely an hour and a half after Perez said goodbye to the investigators, the mayor was in the offices of the Hartford Federal Credit Union filling out an application for a $25,000 home equity loan. It fell to Perez's lawyer nine days later to tell investigators that the mayor, in fact, had never paid Costa for the work that had begun more than two years earlier.
As a former denizen of the Hartford area, I can say with confidence that Hartford politics is just a bush league version of Chicago politics.

Oh, yeah...Eddie Perez is a Democrat...and a former gang member, to boot.

'An Inconvenient Truth' refuted

A buddy of mine sent me a link today to a PDF doc which represents a serious smackdown of Al Gore's book An Inconvenient Truth by Mario Lewis, Jr. At the risk of committing serious thievery, I'll paste the whole Executive Summary below, but you really should download and read the whole thing.
An Inconvenient Truth (AIT), Vice President Al Gore’s book on “The planetary emergency of global warming and what can be done about it,” purports to be a non-partisan, non-ideological exposition of climate science and moral common-sense. In reality, AIT is a colorfully illustrated lawyer’s brief for global warming alarmism and energy rationing. It is a j’accuse hurled at fossil-energy-based civilization, especially the USA, and above all the Bush Administration and its allies in the U.S. oil and auto industries.

We do not expect lawyers to argue both for and against their clients, nor do we expect balance from party men. However, although Gore reminds us (in the film version of AIT) that he “used to be the next President of the United States,” and concludes the book and film with a call for “political action,” he presents AIT as the work of a long-time student of climate science—and a product of meditation on “what matters.” He thus asks us to expect more from him than the mere cleverness that can sway juries or win elections.

This reasonable expectation is unmet. In AIT, the only facts and studies considered are those convenient to Gore’s scare-them-green agenda. And in many instances, Gore distorts the evidence he cites.

The present paper, a running commentary on AIT, finds that most of Gore’s claims regarding climate science and climate policy are either one sided, misleading, exaggerated, speculative, or wrong. An extensive summary of AIT’s distortions is provided in Appendix A. Below is a list of 25 of egregious examples.

One-sided statements
  • AIT never acknowledges the indispensable role of fossil fuels in alleviating hunger and poverty, extending human life spans, and democratizing consumer goods, literacy, leisure, and personal mobility.
  • It never acknowledges the environmental, health, and economic benefits of climatic warmth and the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content.
  • It neglects to mention that aggregate mortality and mortality rates due to extreme weather events declined dramatically during the 20th century.
  • It neglects to mention the circumstances that make it reasonable rather than blameworthy for America to be the biggest CO2 emitter: the world’s largest economy, abundant fossil energy resources, markets integrated across continental distances, and the world’s most mobile population.
  • The book impugns the motives of so-called global warming skeptics but never acknowledges the special-interest motivations of those whose research grants, direct mail income, industrial policy privileges, carbon trading commissions, regulatory power, prosecutorial plunder, or political careers depend on keeping the public in a state of fear about global warming.
  • AIT never addresses the obvious criticism that the Kyoto Protocol is all economic pain for no environmental gain and that regulations stringent enough to measurably cool the planet would be a “cure” worse than the alleged disease.
Misleading statements
  • AIT implies that, throughout the past 650,000 years, changes in CO2 levels preceded and largely caused changes in global temperature, whereas the causality mostly runs the other way: CO2 changes followed global temperature changes by hundreds to thousands of years.
  • It ignores the societal factors that typically overwhelm climatic factors in determining people’s risk of damage or death from hurricanes, floods, drought, tornadoes, wildfires, and disease.
  • It erroneously implies that a study, which found that none of 928 science articles (actually abstracts) denied a CO2-global warming link, shows that Gore’s apocalyptic view of global warming is the “consensus” view among scientists.
  • It reports that 48 Nobel Prize-winning scientists accused Bush of distorting science, without mentioning that the scientists acted as members of a 527 political group set up to promote the Kerry for President Campaign.
Exaggerated statements
  • AIT hypes the importance and exaggerates the certainty of the alleged link between global warming and the frequency and severity of tropical storms.
  • It claims polar bears “have been drowning in significant numbers,” based on a single report that four polar bears drowned in one month of one year, following an abrupt storm.
  • It portrays the collapse in 2002 of the Larson-B ice shelf—a formation the “size of Rhode Island”—as harbinger of doom. For perspective, the Larson-B was 220th the size of Texas and 1/246th the size of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS).
  • AIT presents a graph suggesting that China’s new fuel economy standards are almost 30% more stringent than the current U.S. standards. In fact, the Chinese standards are only about 5% more stringent.
Speculative statements
  • AIT blames global warming for the record-breaking 37-inch downpour in Mumbai, India, in July 2005, even there has been no trend inMumbai rainfall for the month of July in 45 years.
  • It blames global warming for recent floods in China’s Sichuan and Shandong provinces, even though more damaging floods struck those areas in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • It blames global warming for the disappearance of Lake Chad, a disaster more likely stemming from a combination of natural regional climate variability and societal factors such as population increase and overgrazing.
  • AIT warns that a doubling of pre-industrial CO2 levels to 560 ppm will so acidify seawater that all optimal areas for coral reef construction will disappear by 2050—implausible because coral calcification rates have increased as ocean temperatures and CO2 levels have risen, and today’s main reef builders evolved and thrived during the Mesozoic Period, when atmospheric CO2 levels hovered above 1,000 ppm for 150 million years and exceeded 2,000 ppm for several million years.
  • It warns of “significant and alarming structural changes” in the submarine base of the WAIS, but does not tell us what those changes are or why they are “significant and alarming.” The WAIS has been retreating since the early Holocene. At the rate of retreat observed in the 1990s, the WAIS should disappear in about 7,000 years.
  • It warns that “moulins”—vertical water tunnels formed from surface melt water—could cause half the Greenland Ice Sheet to break off and “slide” into the sea, even though the scientific study to which Gore alludes found that moulins increase glacial flow by only a few meters a year.
Wrong statements
  • AIT claims glaciologist Lonnie Thompson’s reconstruction of climate history proves the Medieval Warm Period was “tiny” compared to the warming observed in recent decades. It doesn’t. Four of Thompson’s six ice cores indicate the Medieval Warm Period was as warm as or warmer than any recent decade.
  • It claims the rate of global warming is accelerating, when it has been remarkably constant for the past 30 years—roughly 0.17°C/decade.
  • It attributes Europe’s killer heat wave of 2003 to global warming; it was actually due to an atmospheric circulation anomaly.
  • It claims that 2004 set an all-time record for the number of tornadoes in the United States. Tornado frequency has not increased; rather, the detection of smaller tornadoes has increased. If we consider the tornadoes that have been detectable for many decades (F-3 or greater), there is actually a downward trend since 1950.
  • It blames global warming for a “mass extinction crisis” that is not, in fact, occurring.
In light of these and other distortions, AIT is ill-suited to serve as a guide to climate science and climate policy for the American people.
Great and read the whole thing.

Hackers' new target: Digital road signs

I'm not sure what I'd think if I was driving along and saw this. I'd probably assume I was approaching a Barack Obama fan rally.

Anyway, I'm glad hackers have finally found a way to amuse us.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cincinnati not into snow plows

Got to Cincinnati last night and it started snowing around midnight. It was a fun drive this morning, and I've yet to see a snow plow or sand spreader.

Monday, January 26, 2009

THIS ... is ONN

Exurban League catches CNN slobbering all over Barack Obama and modifies CNN's logo accordingly.

Click over to Exurban League to see what all the fuss is about. We're in serious trouble if the media doesn't start doing their job.

Flashback: The Groove Tube

Richard Belzer from The Groove Tube, back when he was, you know, funny. I was wondering why for the past few days I'd been thinking about this movie. The answer is revealed in the first :20 seconds of this clip, after which you can stop watching because it kind of goes downhill from there.

Yeesh...I can't believe that movie was released in 1974.

Elton John: Turn off the Internet for five years

Elton John thinks the Internet should be shut down for five years. He thinks people will be more creative. Or something.
He claims it is destroying good music, saying: "The internet has stopped people from going out and being with each other, creating stuff."

[ ... ]

"Let’s get out in the streets and march and protest instead of sitting at home and blogging."
Uh, yeah. There are already enough idiots in the streets marching and protesting. Do we really need more?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Change we can lose our lawn furniture to

Spotted over at

Taking over the kitchen

Mrs. Poolbar was bugging me to relocate a massive MP3 collection I'd foolishly stored on some old Sun lab hardware. After struggling with SCSI cabling and Samba configs, I finally got things moving to another PC. The price she paid was loss of the kitchen island for the afternoon.

And yes, that is a Bitburger beer there, by golly!

Obama not quite changey enough for Iran?

Not everyone is completely enthralled with Barack Obama ascending the throne this week...
Iran's parliament speaker said his country has doubts that US President Barack Obama's Middle East policy will be different from the Bush administration, state television reported Sunday.

Speaker Ali Larijani said Obama's stance on the crisis in Gaza and the United States' support for Israel have "created many doubts about the 'change' theory."

He also cautioned that Obama's actions on Iran's disputed nuclear program would be "another test for the change word" used by the new president during his campaign.
So I guess we got that going for us.

Lightbulb jokes for the Obama Era

The People's Cube has a bunch of lightbulb-changing jokes for the Age of Obama.
Q: How many Obama voters does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: None. Hoping that it would change is quite enough.

Q: How many autoworkers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: 17 at GM, Ford and Chrysler; 1 at Honda, Hyundai and Toyota.

Q: How many Chicago pols does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: F--- you, what am I gettin' outta this?

Q: How many Democrats does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: It's burnt out on the Republican side, so we're not changing it.

Q: How many MSM journalists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: No need, Obama is the Light.
More at the link.

European (and now American) insanity watch

Why is it that when Europeans march in support of Palestinian terrorists and prosecute a legislator for telling the truth, Barack Obama is so eager to appeal to Europeans?

Re-defining 'tolerance'

An op-ed piece in today's Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star by Steven Hill of the New America Foundation holds up Malaysia as an example of religious and cultural tolerance and moderate Islam.
But contrary to the stereotype about Muslim countries, Malaysia is for the most part a tolerantly religious nation. Indeed, religious toleration is enshrined in the nation's constitution. Other religions thrive here--Hindu, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Confucianism, Taoism, and other traditional Chinese religions.
Not so fast there, Hot Rod. I visited Malaysia a couple years back, and much of this is true, at least in the more urbanized areas. I visited a Starbucks just north of Kuala Lumpur and was attended by a 20-something female Muslim barista who joked and wise-cracked in near-perfect English like any American Starbucks employee. But such anecdotes don't tell the whole story of religious 'tolerance' in Malaysia.

For example, they say nothing about the Malaysian government's demolition of Christian churches and other non-Muslim places of worship, nor do they tell of the Malaysia chief justice's push for hardline Sharia law, already practiced in some Malaysian states.

Finally, let's not forget that to "tolerate" isn't the same as to "welcome". One might tolerate the presence of a raging boil on one's ass, but won't be sorry when it's gone.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Guantanamo domino effect?

With an order now in place to close Guantanamo Bay, Barack Obama may come under pressure to follow suit with in-country detention facilities in Afghanistan.
As President Barack Obama declared with a fanfare his intention to close the controversial Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention camp last week, he made no mention of another growing US-run prison - with more than twice as many inmates and an even murkier legal status.

More than 600 detainees are held at the US Bagram Theatre Internment Facility - known by campaigners as "the other Guantanamo". Not only are there no plans to close it, but it is in the process of being expanded to hold 1,100 illegal enemy combatants; prisoners who cannot see lawyers, have no trials and never see any evidence there may be against them.

[ ... ]

"If they close Guantanamo and they expand the one in Bagram, it's the same - there will be no difference," said Lal Gul, chairman of the Afghanistan Human Rights Organisation.

"If Barack Obama wants to close Guantanamo he should also set out to close not just Bagram, but detention centres in Khost, Kandahar and Jalalabad."
The article describes some detainees who were allegedly "snitched" on by members of rival clans or tribes with an axe to grind, and those cases are surely worthy of review to make sure we're actually holding someone for cause. But just as surely, those detainees are very few compared with the number of prisoners caught firing an AK or RPG at coalition forces in combat.

But, yeah, what the hell. Let's just engage in a perpetual game of catch and release in Afghanistan. After all, our eight years of pure, delicious crazy have just begun.

Friday, January 23, 2009

'Post-Barackalyptic wasteland'

Just look at all Ozombies lurching about, not knowing what to do in the absence of His Holiness. And the litter...oh my god, the litter.

Spotted over at Iowahawk.

Order to close Gitmo a big mistake

As expected, Barack Obama issued an executive order to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba within a year. This is a huge mistake and is Exhibit "A" that the new president is interested more in appeasing the masses and currying favor with the rest of the world than in sound national security policy.

Remember the spontaneous global outrage when it was first announced that Islamist terrorists and unlawful combatants captured on the battlefield would be taken to Gitmo? Yeah, me neither. That only came later when the media, ever eager to portray George W. Bush in the worst possible way, decided that detaining seriously dangerous individuals without access to due process was immoral. With a steady drumbeat of fabricated outrage, the media machine got huge numbers of people to agree that ruthlessly violent, murderous jihadis should, for reasons never explained, have their status elevated above that of a prisoner of war.

"Close Gitmo!" makes a great rallying cry for the leftist freaks who believe the US can do no right while a head-chopping Islamist terrorist can do no wrong, and pandering to that ignorant, know-nothing pacifist mindset to garner votes makes a certain amount of political sense, but we count on our elected officials - especially the president - to do one thing above all else: make the country safer, not put it in more danger.

The decision to close Gitmo poses the immediate problem of just what to do with the 250 or so prisoners currently held there. Obama has issued an order with absolutely no plan on how to implement it. If the media wasn't so infatuated with the guy, the first question asked during yesterday's first White House press briefing under the new administration would have been "How does closing Gitmo improve the security of the United States?". The question, of course, went unasked as far as I can tell.

The longer term problem of closing Gitmo with no plan on what to do with existing detainees and those yet to come is the implication it has for troops in the field. What do military authorities do with enemy combatants captured on the battlefield after they've wrung out of them whatever intel they can (in accordance with the Army Field Manual, of course)? Kick 'em loose? Ship them to the US for trial? Execute them?

I have to admit to a certain amount of ignorance, myself. I actually believed that Obama did take national security seriously and that he'd find a way to placate the idiotic masses who don't.

Retroactive America-bashing

A new 'study' by the University of Zurich suggests that Brits died in the sinking of the Titanic due to crass, loutish Americans.
Professor Bruno Frey of the University of Zurich claims that the British passengers on the doomed cruise liner perished in the 1912 disaster because they were polite and willing to stand in line while American passengers pushed their way to the front and were placed in lifeboats.

While “women and children first” was followed as the "unsinkable" cruise ship hit an iceberg and fell to the floor of the Atlantic, Frey claims that many Britons lost their lives because they were courteous, while "uncultured" Americans were more likely to push ahead in line.
Hey, Bruno, haven't you heard? Barack Obama is president now and America is cool again. Ixnay on the ashingbay!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jay-Z: 'My President Is Black'

If there was any question that we're entering a new age of gracelessness with the election of Barack Obama, I think those questions are answered explicitly here. There are enough "mother-fuckers" thrown around here in Jay-Z's appearance at this particular inaugural ball (Youth ball, I think) to keep you entertained right to the 5:50 mark where the rapper really finishes with a flourish.

Yay! No more white lies!

BBC manipulates Obama inaugural sound bite

I don't know what you'd call an audio-only version of fauxtography...fauxdio?

TonyN at Harmless Sky uncovered a bit of BBC trickery in their coverage of Barack Obama's inaugural address. It seems they spliced together a few segments from different parts of his speech to make it all sound like a single statement on fighting global warming.
Paragraph 16

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Paragraph 22

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the spectre of a warming planet. We will not apologise for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
Those bolded pieces that TonyN emphasized are the bits that were spliced together to make a single sound bite in the Beeb's broadcast in an apparent effort to make Obama's stance on global warming strongly than it may have otherwise sounded.

Once again, the link to the audio clip.

H/T to reader Ayrdale.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Off to a bad start

For all of Barack Obama's lofty rhetoric about post-partisan politics and bringing the nation together, his presidency got off to a pretty crappy start.

One of the worst things about Obama? His supporters. It's one thing to work oneself into a schoolgirl's ecstatic frenzy over his very presence, but the classless chanting of "na-na na-na, na-na na-na, hey-hey-hey, goodbye!" when outgoing President Bush appeared was completely disgusting.

What's that you say? That was just his supporters and not Obama himself? Well...
President Obama will keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. He and Vice President Biden will take steps to ensure that the federal government will never again allow such catastrophic failures in emergency planning and response to occur.

President Obama swiftly responded to Hurricane Katrina. Citing the Bush Administration's "unconscionable ineptitude" in responding to Hurricane Katrina...
That's from the fucking new web site. It's apparently now official US Government policy to publicly excoriate a past president for the abject failures of state and local governments. And in the likely event that the page disappears down the memory hole:

And to think I was willing to give them a chance. Less than 24 hours in and I already despise this new administration.

A kibitz from Mark:

Obama Irony alert. The very day that his tech lackeys posted the above, and Joseph Lowery reminded us that whites have yet to embrace right (I guess electing The One isn't enough)... The One declared by Papal Encyclical Presidential Proclamation that January 20th, 2009 to be a day of Renewal and Reconciliation :

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2009, a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation, and call upon all of our citizens to serve one another and the common purpose of remaking this Nation for our new century.

Who says minivans aren't cool?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Victory, Hamas style

Hamas held a "victory rally" before a backdrop of bombed-out buildings in Gaza.
The U.N. chief inspected the devastation wrought by Israel's onslaught in Gaza on Tuesday, leading a moment of silence at the smoldering U.N. headquarters, as the territory's militant Hamas rulers, triumphant at having survived, held victory rallies amid the ruins.
I thought "victory" to these guys meant getting blown up and meeting their 72 virgins?

'My fellow citizens...'

Obama opened his inaugural address with "My fellow citizens...". Not "My fellow Americans..." as might be expected from a new American president, but "fellow citizens".

Guess he didn't want to leave out his fellow "citizens of the world".

Britain's ever over-reaching state

On the surface, this is merely appalling. On closer consideration it reveals a terrifying presumption by the state that children are better off under control of the state than of their parents.
Baroness Morgan said: "I'm sure the vast majority do a good job. However, there are concerns that some children are not receiving the education they need.

"And in some extreme cases, home education could be used as a cover for abuse. We cannot allow this to happen and are committed to doing all we can to help ensure children are safe, wherever they are educated."
Baroness Morgan is Britain's "Children's Minister", a scary title if ever I heard one. Can you imagine a "Secretary of Children's Affairs" here in the US? Well, actually, as of today maybe I can. But I digress.

No evidence or examples are offered up, just the possibility of such "extreme cases". And you know that when it's "for the children", legislators of every stripe will fall all over each other trying to be the first to pass new laws.

With NEA-friendly Democrats oozing into every nook and cranny of government, look for home education to come under further scrutiny and control here in the US.

Monday, January 19, 2009

No global warming for USA in 2008

I caught this graphic over at Watt's Up With That, always a great source of material to counter the global warming/climate change fanatic in your office. You have to look real close to find any region of the US that averaged "much above normal" for 2008 temperatures (Long Island), while most of the rest of the country averaged "near normal" or lower. No area of the continental US was designated "record warmest".

Nice going, Al Gore.

Anti-semitism disguised as pacifism

Berlin-based Israeli reporter Ze'ev Avrahmi takes "pacifist" Germans to task in this column and rightly calls their motives into question.
If I had a choice, I would also like to end the conflict without guns. I would also self-righteously like to point out that violence only creates more violence. I would like to be leftist, pacifist and completely unaware of the daily attacks from Gaza on Israel for the past eight years.

And at the same time, here is something I want to ask these German pacifists: Would you still condemn the right to self-defence if Austria or Poland would attack Berlin and Munich with daily barrages of rockets?

I also want to ask them: Where is the preaching against violence when there are daily attacks on foreigners in Germany? Why don’t you cry out loud when your fellow German citizens beat up and attack innocent refugees and immigrants on the outskirts of Berlin or in small towns in Bavaria or Saxony?

And where is your outspoken pacifism when Jews, only 60 years after the Holocaust, have to wear baseball caps to hide their kippas when they walk in the streets of Berlin because they are, again, afraid to identify themselves as Jews in the former Nazi capital?

And why do you keep silent when German police force their way into an apartment in Duisburg to tear down Israeli flags to placate Muslim protestors who were becoming violent? [Video of the incident below. --ed.]

I would like to know why pacifism gains so much strength every time it is directed against Israel. How come the newspaper pictures of the war are so one-sided and pro-Palestinian? Could it be that anti-Semitism is again prevalent in Germany, only this time it conveniently disguises itself as being anti-Israel?
Read the whole thing because Avrahmi raises many more excellent points. The German fascism that made possible the Holocaust is an extreme far-left ideology, so it's no surprise that today's leftists ignore Hamas' aggression against Israel that brought about the Israeli response.

Via Mark's place, the video of the flag incident:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

'Many sons, and a lot of guns'

Via my brother Chuck.

Ever wonder how it is that every swingin' dick in Pakistan and Afghanistan is armed to the teeth? Well, wonder no more. In the Durra province of Pakistan's ungoverned (and apparently ungovernable) tribal areas, they're cranking out a thousand weapons a day. By hand.

Fascinating (and scary) stuff.

Urgent: Rev. Wright says something sensible

In shocking news today, Rev. Jeremiah Wright said something that actually made sense and outraged nobody.
Barack Obama's controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, says the lesson in Obama's rise to the White House is that black people shouldn't limit themselves -- or allow others to.
Wright later protested that his words were taken out of context.

Hansen gets hysterical

Actually, NASA's James Hansen's been hysterical for quite a while, but with a growing body of evidence contradicting global warming dogma and Barack Obama's inauguration coronation imminent, he needs to step it up a notch.
Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of Nasa scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen who last week warned only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. Crucially, that action will have to be taken within Obama's first administration, he added.
With a sympathetic ear in the White House Hansen must figure he's got a limited window of opportunity to ram through legislation that will bring us a living standard roughly equivalent to the hunter-gatherers of 10,000 years ago.

The eve of a new era?

So we've got about 48 hours before Barack Obama's inauguration as President of the United States Savior of Mankind, and things are already starting to look crazy. Examples:
  • Driving home last night from the airport in Richmond after returning from the west coast, I saw a car with the license plate "NOV0408". Maybe it was the brain damage caused by watching Nights In Rodanthe on the plane ride home, but it took me a second or two to make the connection to Obama's election date.
  • All those big lighted traffic information signs on I-295 and I-95 between Richmond and Fredericksburg had messages warning motorists of Inauguration Day traffic. A hundred freakin' miles south of Washington.
  • Need a hotel room anywhere between Washington and the area south of Richmond for the inauguration? Fuhgeddaboudit.
  • Want a lasting - as in permanent - memento from the big day on Tuesday? You can get an Obama tattoo.
OK, yes, it is a big deal that we're about to install our first black American president. But an Obama tattoo? What if he turns out to be a bigger crook than Nixon and gets his ass impeached? Aren't a lot of people setting themselves up for a huge letdown no matter how Obama's presidency plays out?

Friday, January 16, 2009

"In the unlikely event of a water landing..."

You know, I fly around 100,000 miles a year and I've heard that pre-flight safety briefing so many times I can just about recite it myself. The part about the "unlikely water landing" always made me snicker to myself because I always figured that, apart from being unlikely, it would also be highly unsurvivable. Shows you what I know.

Kudos all around to the pilots and crew, and to the ferry captains who quickly took it upon themselves to attend to the passengers. Awesome job.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Promises, promises

Heh...another one from Clay Jones.


Worldwatch Institute reports that in order to avert climate catastrophe, carbon emissions will have to drop to near zero by the year 2050...and go even lower thereafter.
To avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change, world carbon emissions will have to drop to near zero by 2050 and "go negative" after that, the Worldwatch Institute reported on Tuesday.
What a joke. Here's their vision for a perfect world:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

In a few words...

An aborted take off in Atlanta yesterday resulted in an unusually late arrival in the Bay Area last night (well, this morning actually), and now of course work gets in the way of regular posting. So, after hearing some particularly loathsome opinions on the subject, I'll just leave you with this:

If you believe Israel is the aggressor in the current Gaza conflict, then you deny Israel's right to self defense.

If you deny Israel's right to self defense, then you deny Israel's right to exist as a state.

If you deny Israel's right to exist as a state, I've got nothing more to say to you.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Running To Stand Still

This might be my favorite U2 song, performed by Ed Kowalczyk of Live in Perth, Australia (according to the YouTube info).


How cool would this be just sitting in the driveway? I'm not sure what the take-off speed is, but I'm pretty sure you'd be breaking speed limits hitting it.
If it survives its first test flight, the Terrafugia Transition, which can transform itself from a two-seater car to a plane in 15 seconds, is expected to land in showrooms in about 18 months’ time. looks like it even has a sunroof!

State Department stupidity

Widespread computer illiteracy at the State Department recently brought their e-mail system to its knees:
A cable sent last week to all employees at the department's Washington headquarters and overseas missions warns of unspecified "disciplinary actions" for using the "reply to all" function on e-mail with large distribution lists.

The cable, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, was prompted by a major interruption in departmental e-mail caused by numerous diplomats hitting "reply all" to an errant message inadvertently addressed and copied to several thousand recipients.

[ ... ]

Officials said the storm started when some diplomats used the 'reply all' function to respond to a blank e-mail sent recently to many people on the department's global address list.

Most demanded to be removed from the list while others used 'reply all' to tell their co-workers, in often less than diplomatic language, to stop responding to the entire group, the officials said.

Some then compounded the problem by trying to recall their initial replies, which generated another round of messages to the group, they said.
Stupidity compounded by more stupidity. But this comes as no surprise to me, personally.

In 1995, right after I got off active duty with the Air Force and went back to being a reservist, the company I'd gone to work for was awarded a contract with the State Department to provide training on a new Windows-based e-mail application. Our statement of work clearly stated that a prerequisite to taking the class was knowledge of the Windows desktop environment.

Since I was the lucky one chosen to teach the classes, I showed up at Foggy Bottom for the first session - it was a one-day class, and our contract called for five of them to be delivered over the course of a week - to find that only about a third of the people in the class had ever used a computer. I could have been a dick about it and declared a "customer-induced delay" and walked out, but instead decided to improvise a one hour crash course in using Windows.

When I started to explain the concept of "point and click", one guy (I shit you not) picked up his mouse and, aiming it at the monitor, complained that his mouse wasn't working. I was one happy IT geek when that week was over because each day at least half the class was computer illiterate.

Anyway, I guess I should have spent a bit of time on e-mail etiquette. But the contract didn't call for it.

Save the planet: Stop googling

Assuming for a moment that man-made CO2 is the evil of all evils as Al Gore claims, this is still one of the stupidest things I've seen since, oh, at least yesterday.
Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research.

While millions of people tap into Google without considering the environment, a typical search generates about 7g of CO2 Boiling a kettle generates about 15g. “Google operates huge data centres around the world that consume a great deal of power,” said Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard University physicist whose research on the environmental impact of computing is due out soon. “A Google search has a definite environmental impact.”

[ ... ]

...A recent report by Gartner, the industry analysts, said the global IT industry generated as much greenhouse gas as the world’s airlines - about 2% of global CO2 emissions.
OK, so CO2 makes up a meager .038% of the atmosphere, and I'm supposed to be worried about an insignificant contribution to a tiny percentage of that?

Go hump somebody else's leg.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ferrell's Bush show will "surprise"

Will Ferrell, who parodies George Bush on Saturday Night Live, has a one-man show coming up he says will "surprise" viewers.
Will Ferrell says audiences should expect the unexpected from his upcoming one-man Broadway show and HBO special about President George W. Bush.

Ferrell, known for his Bush impersonation on "Saturday Night Live," said Friday there's nothing derivative about the production. He says it will surprise people with its twists and turns and what it has to say about Bush.

Executive producer Adam McKay says the show aims to be funny but also hold the Bush administration's feet to the fire.
And that will surprise anyone how? Oh, I get it...maybe he meant the "funny" part.

Gender roles

The city of Gainesville, Florida last year made an amendment to their anti-discrimination ordinance allowing "transgender" people to use which ever public restroom they feel comfortable using, and not everyone's happy about it.
A blond girl heads from a playground into a women's restroom. A scruffy man, lurking outside, darts in behind her. "Your City Commission Made This Legal," the words on the TV screen read.

The dark ad came from opponents of a gender identity provision added last year to the city's anti-discrimination ordinance, which now allows the city's roughly 100 transgender residents to use whichever restroom they're most comfortable using.

Foes want to repeal the new protection with a March 24 ballot measure that has divided Gainesville, a generally gay-friendly university city surrounded by staunchly conservative north Florida.
Whether Gainesville is "gay-friendly" or not is orthogonal to the discussion. A lesbian or a gay man is not necessarily "transgender". According to the dictionary, a "transgender" person is one "appearing or attempting to be a member of the opposite sex, as a transsexual or habitual cross-dresser." In other words, they're by definition weird.

What Gainesville is effectively saying here is that if some perv is feeling a bit frisky, he can throw on some make-up and a dress and cruise public womens' toilets all day long.

This really isn't all that goddamn difficult...if your driver's license says "male", you use the men's room, if it says "female", you use the women's room.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Leon Panetta, Spymaster

Emboldened by the criticism that wasn't, Barack Obama went ahead and named party hack Leon Panetta to Director of Central Intelligence.

I think Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star cartoonist Clay Jones summed up this choice nicely yesterday.

Obama: Not so fast on that digital TV thing

Barack Obama's transition team is urging congress to postpone the date for transition from analog to digital TV broadcasts.
President-elect Barack Obama is urging Congress to postpone the Feb. 17 switch from analog to digital television broadcasting, arguing that too many Americans who rely on analog TV sets to pick up over-the-air channels won't be ready.

[ ... ]

"With coupons unavailable, support and education insufficient, and the most vulnerable Americans exposed, I urge you to consider a change to the legislatively mandated analog cutoff date," Podesta wrote to the top Democrats and Republicans on the Senate and House Commerce committees.
They're right to request the postponement given that the coupon program ran out of money sooner than expected and there are unknown numbers of Americans who won't be able to get the converters.

Fox News fear mongering

I don't know who the hell decides what goes on the web site at Fox News Channel, but they're starting to look a bit like Weekly World News when they keep putting crap like this on their front page. The actual article they lifted is, of course, somewhat less alarmist.

More to the point, the much ballyhooed renewed cycle of solar activity is not only largely truant, it may not live up to expectations when it does show up.

And the global warming theocrats so want solar cycle 24 to start, and start big while global temperatures remain low. The only problem for them is that when solar activity does pick up again and is followed by increases in global temperatures, how will they spin it?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Conditional patriotism

I've noted before that the patriotism of the left appears conditional upon who's president at a given point in time. Via Hot Air we're provided additional evidence of that.
The hundreds who massed at the University of California [Berkeley, natch. --ed.] campus here on election night responded to Barack Obama's victory by heading off on a route that has been for a generation the sacred way for the activist left: out the campus gates, through Sproul Plaza, and down Telegraph Avenue toward People's Park.

By the time they arrived at the intersection of Telegraph and Durant avenues, where a tie-dye vendor occupies one corner, it became clear they did not come to challenge the system now preparing to consecrate a new regime in Washington. At one point, a man scaled a lamppost and unfurled the Stars and Stripes. The crowd broke out in the national anthem.

"People finally felt like our generation had reclaimed patriotism," said Haley Fagan, 24, a Berkeley paralegal who got stuck in a car trying to cross the street as the crowd surged. "It was a moment that we felt comfortable with it."

After generations of finding their voice in dissidence, some Americans on the left wing are adjusting not only to a new postelection comfort with patriotic symbols, but also to the political reality they represent. Believing in Obama after Inauguration Day will mean identifying with the machinery of U.S. power.
Of course, us knuckle-dragging, slack-jawed wingnuts on the right will continue to be just as patriotic and love our country just as much in another two weeks when Barack Obama is sworn in as president, while in another four or eight years the leftists can go back to hating the country that offers them the freedom to do so. More likely, they'll find out in a year or so that America is still America regardless of who's president and they can go right back to hating it that much sooner.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Leon Panetta for DCI? Really?

You've got to be kidding me. Barack Obama has picked Leon Panetta to head up CIA.
Leon Panetta, Barack Obama's surprise choice to head the CIA, clearly isn't someone with much hands-on national security or intelligence experience. But no one disputes that the man knows government.

[ ... ]

"It is true that he doesn't have an intelligence background. But he certainly dealt with intelligence. In the Iraq Study Group, we dealt with it every day. He certainly dealt with it as chief of staff," said Democrat Lee Hamilton, former chairman of the House International Relations Committee and chairman of the Iraq Study Group. Panetta brings an "outside perspective" to the job, he said.
In other words, his "experience" in intelligence is as a consumer of intelligence product, not as a producer of it. There's a vast and significant difference between the two. Being a consumer of fine wine doesn't mean you know jack shit about making it.

Even fellow California Democrat Dianne Feinstein isn't sold:
Fellow Californian Sen. Dianne Feinstein, set to chair the Select Committee on Intelligence, indicated that the choice caught her off guard.

"I know nothing about this other than what I read. My position has consistently been that I believe the agency is best served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time," she said in a statement.
Great...a partisan hack and presidential lapdog at CIA. What could possibly go wrong?

Monday, January 05, 2009

If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance...

...baffle 'em with bullshit. It seems the Taliban are taking that advice seriously.
The Taliban claims its forces last year killed 5,220 foreign troops, downed 31 aircraft, destroyed 2,818 NATO and Afghan vehicles and killed 7,552 Afghan soldiers and police.

Obama's influence

My brother Mark sent me this pic from Jerusalem Post, which appears to be from some pro-Palestinian demonstration.

How about a response: "Jihad. Yes we JDAM!"

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Gadget rant: Plantronics 360 Bluetooth headset

This is the Plantronics 360 Bluetooth headset, a reasonably-priced model at around 35 bucks. OK, I'll stop fawning over this monument to stupidity and get this out of the way right now: Don't get one. And keep in mind that I haven't even used this thing yet.

My first Bluetooth headset, a Jabra BT350, finally gave up the ghost a while back. It was a damned good headset and served me well for about four years. But nothing lasts forever, and in dire need of one, Mrs. Poolbar gave me hers to use since she never used it anyway. While working from home one day, I left it on a table in between calls and one of our cats ran off with it. We looked all over but I suspect it's in some part of the house only the cats know about. Anyway, yesterday I finally picked up a new one.

This morning I wrestled the package open (product packaging is a rant for another day) and popped the headset out, along with the charger. My first thought was, "What the hell? What kind of Bluetooth headset these days comes with an AC charger? I looked at the protective cover on the headset's charger receptacle and was happy to see the well-known standard USB symbol there, meaning I could just use any one of my eleventy or so USB cables to charge the headset. Not so fast there, Sparky.

When I lifted the cover I saw immediately that the receptacle is NOT a standard USB port. Fan-freaking-tastic! It's a USB port, but it's Plantronics' own proprietary USB port! I was dumbfounded. Why on earth would Plantronics develop their own special USB port when mini-USB ports already exist? And since Plantronics offers an optional USB cable to charge the headset, why the hell don't they just ship the headset with that cable instead of a wall charger that surely costs more to produce?


Friday, January 02, 2009

Hey! Where did everybody go?

So Mrs. Poolbar and I along with the youngest of the Poolbar spawn drove up from Virginia to Connecticut today to spend a few days with family after the holiday insanity. Traveling through Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York on the way to Connecticut on a Friday - the day after New Year's day, no less - I was certain would be a test of my patience.

While it wasn't exactly like one of those post-apocalyptic zombie movies where we had the roads entirely to ourselves, it was probably the easiest such trip I've made yet. Not a traffic backup anywhere.

Is it another sign of a truly shitty economy when nobody's driving even when gas is the lowest it's been in four years?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Predictions for 2009

For the first time ever, The Pool Bar issues its predictions for the New Year. Without further ado, our predictions for 2009.

In a massive government shake-up, the President of the United States steps down and is replaced by some guy who always thought it would be cool to be president. At the inauguration, the new president has to provide eight forms of ID and three character witnesses to convince the Supreme Court Chief Justice that his name really is Barack Obama.

After the new president does some tinkering with "that, uh, economy thingy", the Dow Jones Industrial Average tests new lows around 600 and unemployment reaches 23%. Wall Street looks something like this:

Pressed by his supporters, Obama is forced to accelerate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The most elite and battle-hardened return to the US to start training Obama's "Civilian National Security Force". The rest are sent to Afghanistan.

With the economy in shambles and Islamist terror attacks in the US now a near-weekly occurrence, Americans become nostalgic for earlier, simpler days. Apple, sensing a market trend, introduces the iPod looks something like this:

In a hastily called press conference, President Obama announces that thanks to unspecified measures taken by his administration, the planet has been healed of the scourge of global warming, and we must never speak of this issue again.

President Obama issues a press release announcing that withdrawal of forces from Iraq is complete and that he has managed to save Iraqis from the disastrous policies of his predecessor. A departing US Marine snapped this picture of Baghdad before boarding the last helicopter on the roof of the US Embassy in Baghdad:

Major League Baseball announces that sufficient funding has been raised for the first games of the season to be played by mid-month. Fans are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs.

Unable to afford the usual vacation, many Americans are forced to economize.

The New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ both stop trading indefinitely. Street corner musicianship in New York City skyrockets.

Germany concludes another successful, though somewhat toned down, Oktoberfest.

After failing to locate alternate venues, the National Football League announces there will not be a 2009 NFL season due to the Obama administration's expropriation of all football stadiums for use as "training facilities".

Citizens march on Washington, request a word with President Obama.

Caught in the act!

This stunning photo shows Illinois senate nominee Roland Burris taking a cashier's check from his pocket to hand to Gov. Rod Blagojevich in payment for appointing him to Barack Obama's senate seat.


Blago & Burris

To be honest, I've only been half-following the whole Rod Blagojevich story, including the latest with his nomination of Roland Burris to take Barack Obama's vacated senate seat.

It seems the Senate Democratic leadership is freaking out about the Burris nomination, not so much over Burris himself but over Blago's appointment of anyone to the seat. If I understand things correctly, Democrats are worried that anyone appointed by Blagojevich will be so tainted that they'd have no chance to keep the seat in Democrat hands in the 2010 election.

So once again with the Democrats, it's a matter of party over principle. Blagojevich remains Governor of Illinois. He's been charged with crimes, but as yet remains not only unconvicted but unindicted. And Patrick Fitzgerald - the federal prosecutor investigating Blago - has just requested a 90 day extension on the deadline for filing an indictment with a grand jury. As Governor, Blago still has duties to discharge, and one of those duties is to appoint a replacement to congress in the event of death or resignation of one of his state's representatives or senators.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has threatened to deny Burris' seating under Article 1, Section 5 of the constitution, which reads:
Section 5: Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.

Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either House on any question shall, at the desire of one fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.

Neither House, during the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
It's the bolded part that leads Harry Reid to believe he can keep Blago's appointee out of the senate. But here's what the constitution says about senate qualifications:
No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
Now I've got nowhere near enough self-loathing to be a lawyer, but it seems pretty clear to me that Roland Burris meets the constitutional definition of qualification. But that doesn't matter to Democrats who'll engage in any kind of chicanery necessary to keep a senate seat in the hands of the Democrats.

Update: A couple of law professors say the senate can refuse to seat Burris on the basis of judging the "returns" laid out in Article 1, Section 5 if they can legitimately say they believe he was selected under dubious circumstances.

Random post-New Year party rambling

So I saw the headline on this Fox News article just now and got confused:
Teacher Fired for Marrying Divorced Man to Sue Catholic School
I read this as some teacher being fired because she married a divorced man in order to sue the school. Hey, gimme a break...I was at a New Year's party, fer cryin' out loud!

Speaking of the New Year's party...entertainment was provided by a band called BPM. They're a three-piece funk kinda band that performs mostly covers with a few originals thrown in. Actually, some of the covers they play sound better than the originals. Mrs. Poolbar and I have seen them a few times, and they rock.

BPM stands for Bearce, Phil and Mills, by the way...not beats per minute. Catch 'em if they happen to play anywhere near you.

Anyway...Happy New Year!