Tuesday, June 30, 2009

By Any Other Name

Has any previous administration employed verbal subterfuge as much as the six months of Obama's? Stimulus, transparency, IGs, Iran, Honduras, and this cap and tax mess. It's as if a slick car salesman has talked his way into the White House. Here's a quote from his Sunday press klatch discussing the 'energy independence' bill:
So the future part of it -- this really hangs that the future part is greater in the United States; that, you know, Ford is now deeply committed, and I think GM and Chrysler are coming along, deeply committed -- their future is not to lobby to sell big, heavy inefficient cars. They're realizing now in a world 10 or 20 years from now their future will be in manufacturing light, energy efficient cars, because will have to want to buy those because the price of oil will be higher.

So this is really a bill that helps give industry a certainty that this is coming along, rather than depending whether you start now or five years from now -- let's start it now.
What a doozy. One translation might be: "the auto companies are 'coming along' because their balls are in a vice with the WH logo; other industries will follow suit because if they don't we'll put 'em out of business. American families will like their new beer can POSmobiles --and they'll thank me for letting them like 'em! And, hey, how about that Wayne Gretzky".

There's a milder version where Obama really thinks putting the economy under a lockdown during a recession will bloom growth and he really, really wants us all to believe, so bad he's going back on his no tax promise.

But all the subterfuge, evil eyes, and smiling backstabs are now redundant with Franken in the house, er Senate. Liberal Utopia has arrived! No need for bipartisanship, brother. The guy who called Limbaugh a big fat idiot will help show us all the way.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Statehood for DC, This Time for Real?

This rather interesting exchange took place today between a reporter and Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary:
Q Can I ask you one more question, just quickly, on sort of a D.C. issue? And that is, why hasn't the President changed his license plates on the presidential limousine? Is he planning to change them to the "Taxation Without Representation" plates or --

MR. GIBBS: I think rather than change the logo around the license plate, the President is committed instead to changing the status of the District of Columbia.

Q But it's a symbol, though, that a lot of people look at as --

MR. GIBBS: Well, I guess I would ask you to ask people in Washington whether they'd like to have that status changed or that symbolism screwed on to the back of a limousine.
Gibbs went on to say the legislation is moving through Congress, supported by the prez. He didn't mention representation, he mentioned statehood. Some in the press corps seemed shocked. They should not have been.

This is one of those talked about fantasies that nobody ever thinks will occur. But a lot of fantasy is in the process of occurring right now. Googling around a bit here are two articles on this issue, one from Mother Jones and this one from a guy named Longstreet, who believes the solution is to shrink the District down to the Constitutionally mandated 10 square miles then partition the remaining land back to the states that supplied it originally.

That sounds correct, but it's certainly far from politically correct, which is more important to this president. "New Columbia" would essentially be a square doughnut, that is if they don't bypass the GD piece of paper and just turn the whole thing into a state.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gitmo Backpeddle

Apparently Friday's WaPo story about Obama's consideration of indefinite detention of Gitmo detainees was just a 'draft'. Now they are saying KSM and a few others (some of the main pool?) might actually be tried in US courts. We can all believe that when seen, but they seemed to be more specific on one who won't be tried here:
Walid bin Attash, accused of being involved in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, could be among those held indefinitely, a senior official told the newspaper.
Here's one jaded view as to why they might exclude bin Attash, but perhaps it's also something to do with this:
Following his uncle's arrest in Rawalpindi on March 1 2003, the 25-year old al-Baluchi spent the next two months with Walid bin 'Attash, until the pair were arrested on April 29 along with a man named Abu Ammar in Karachi on suspicion of a plot to bomb the American embassy.[4][1] al-Baluchi had a copy of a letter to Osama bin Laden from Saudi scholars in his pocket, a computer disk containing a draft of a letter to bin Laden, two images of the September 11 attacks, and a perfume bottle containing low-concentration cyanide used to bleach and perfume clothes.[2] al-Baluchi was also accused of discussing the possibility of exporting explosives to the United States through textile companies, but claims to have no knowledge of what conversation is being referenced.
Or this:
Under interrogation following his capture, al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash will say that after the bombing of the USS Cole (see October 12, 2000), Iran makes a concerted effort to strengthen relations with al-Qaeda. However, Iran is rebuffed because Osama bin Laden does not want to alienate his supporters in Saudi Arabia, which has poor relations with Iran. Nevertheless, Iranian officials are apparently willing to assist travel by al-Qaeda members through Iran, on their way to and from Afghanistan, by not placing telltale immigration stamps in their passports. Such arrangements are particularly beneficial to Saudi members of al-Qaeda.
Emphasis added to point out the mention of two states, coming from a former bin Laden aide in an organization the 9/11 commission called "rootless and stateless". But as they say, info obtained through 'torture' isn't always reliable.

BUT WHA.... 6/29/09

Will any of the intrepids ask Gibbs what happened to the last plan on Gitmo?

Honduras Chaos

There is usually more than meets the eye to such stories, but the initial news about the ousting of Honduras president Manuel Zelaya has once again shined some light on our own foreign policy and set up some interesting dichotomies:
Mr Zelaya's ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, blamed "the Yankee empire"
Not a exactly a ringing endorsement coming from an opponent of term limits. The Yankee empire responded thusly:
US President Barack Obama called on Honduras to "respect democratic norms, the rule of law".
Well yes, but in what context, the ousted president or the military? The former president explained:
Zelaya said a planned coup against him had been thwarted after the US refused to back it.
It's not surprising our current crew wouldn't back a coup but in the process it now seems the US has taken an ambivalent stance over a president who was possibly trying to rig a vote to extend himself in office by ignoring a court order and Supreme Court ruling and the wishes of their Congress. Hey, he was only pursuing hopenchange for the poor folks.

Obama is again 'deeply concerned'; obviously that's his style since it's unclear how everything will play out and/or whether the military might be more corrupt than the president, etc, but in the process it comes off looking like we're backing the leftist thug.

ADDITIONALLY 6/28/09

If nothing else we're all going to get an education on Central American politics from this:
Mr. Chávez was quick to react to the events unfolding in Honduras. In comments to Telesur, the regional news network backed by Venezuela’s government, he said: “Behind these soldiers is the Honduran bourgeoisie, the rich who converted Honduras into a banana republic, a military and political base for the North American empire.”
That's probably designed to trigger reactionary social justice parallels, which would force the US to step back, but it's too early to tell where our true interests were. McCain would have surely been pointing out stuff like this:
In addition to financing pressure groups, Zelaya has also been accused of intimidating journalists. In the past year, journalism has become a much more dangerous profession in Honduras. Journalists Carlos Salgado and Rafael Munguia were both shot in public places, and others have denounced threats on their lives. On May 19, Honduran human rights activist Ramon Custodio asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IAHCR) to provide protection for journalist Armando Villanueva and his family, who were the targets of threats which Villanueva insists came from the president.
A'jad was cozy with Chavez but now his people lay beaten in the Tehran streets. Obama finally condemned it. Now Chavez is backing Zelaya, threatening military action, and Obama tepidly waits. The caution is understandable and perhaps even laudable at this point but eventually a stand must be taken--it's not above anyone's pay grade.

MORE 6/28/09

The Department of State has criticized the Honduran court for the removal, saying the act should be condemned 'by everyone' because they failed to follow the rule of law. Not sure who she means did the failing.

Meanwhile liberal comments here and there seem to be in favor of Zelaya, who was only trying to further Honduran self-determination. IOW, the Congress should have allowed the referendum. This begs the question as to how far the US go to stop 3rd world countries from voting themselves a dictator, who will then eliminate the democracy that spawned him. Obama seems in favor of letting the chips fall... at least today.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Side Tracks

To the daily struggle we all face between good and evil, man vs woman, love vs lust, etc.



Mission Accomplished?

Late Friday afternoon we got this:
Obama administration officials, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, are crafting language for an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.
Well, he certainly can't just let KSM and the others walk out the front gate of Gitmo, unless they are in the act of 'escaping'. Even worse would be bringing them to US courts and watching them walk out the front door of a Manhattan courthouse after their cases were tossed due to tainted evidence.

Meanwhile, Cheney has seemingly gone dark again. He's soon to emerge at a bookstore near you but the question remains whether he'll get those requested CIA docs, or whether it matters anymore. The cries for a truth commission have seemingly wilted in the summer sun.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Inspector General Update

In light of the recent Inspector General flap(s) it might be helpful to go back to Obama's address to Congress this past February:



Overnight and transparency were the two linchpin anchors of the program, which were handed to Biden (who proceeded to forgot the website name--which doesn't work as advertised anyway). At any rate, one might think a story about inspector general firings in this arena might force the press to remember what they quickly forgot about the Gerald Walpin firing. Fortunately Stacy McCain has the memory they don't.

Follow the links--the tie-in to Biden is of course Amtrak but the main theme in all of this is how flimsy the notion of oversight was all along, something the Dems knew when they used it as a selling point. The mainstream press (and masses) have no interest in stories about inspector generals. Matter of fact, even a blog post about it will be largely ignored, unless titled "inspector general sex scandal" and maybe not even then (apologies to the IG profession but somehow it doesn't evoke much titillation).

The same old dog and pony sales pitch is being used with health care and cap/trade, and will likely be employed with immigration amnesty and a host of other lollipops from the liberal make-a-wish tree. And no, it's probably not limited to the Democrats--those in power aren't about to let a few watchdogs take down their entire hot dog factory--but we were promised change this time around.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cap and Trade in the Balance

Too bad the Jackson tragedy will likely eclipse the House's vote on cap and trade Friday. Matter of fact, one must go to the UK Guardian to find much on the story at this hour. Surely in retrospect the Dem caucus is glad they stopped Al Gore from hopping a C02-spewing private jet to fly to DC and wax climatic in a last-minute push even if Hannity was preempted by the Jacko coverage. America is on the verge of taking the first giant leap into socialism, and only a few bloggers seem to care.

But will it pass? Word is the blue dogs are nervous due to the utility bill blowback but Powerline notes that it might just have enough to squeak through due to the farm compromise. Recall Obama vowed that low income folks would be immune from the skyrocketing utility rate increases kicking in during 2012 (well after they have to campaign for the 2010 midterm), so apparently they figure the stimulus will have stopped the Bush recession by then.

It's worth paying attention. Friday's House vote might be a nice little tell-tale as to how solid some of these former conservative districts really are for the Dems, not to mention how close the electorate is paying attention. But it would be irresponsible to leave this story without clarifying things. There is global warming--everyone pretty much agrees--but not everyone agrees on the exact cause. Nevertheless, the US Government is on the verge of proclaiming an ability to change the climate of earth on a large scale--just by taxing people. That's fairly audacious, isn't it? Certainly worth an ABC special, one might think.

PICTURES 6/26/09

Doesn't it make sense to first determine what Earth's global temperature might look like assuming there was no man-caused CO2 emissions at all? In other words, a baseline. There are many charts in cyberspace but let's use this one for context:



Clearly, even zealots like James Hansen cannot reliably claim that fossil fuels caused the global temperature dip prior to the 19th century. At some point the world was going to recover from that dip, which appeared to begin in the mid 1800s. So how much of what we saw in the 20th century was actually a natural recovery? Here's the United States temperature trend for the last 100 years. Keep in mind most of the above chart was from proxy sources (tree rings, ice cores, etc) while this chart comes from the most reliable climate measuring system in the world:



Why did temperatures level off in the middle part of the century? Why was the slope of temperature rise between 1910 and 1940 almost the same as it was between 1980 and 1998? These questions keep getting asked but few seem to be able to provide definitive answers.

Without fully understanding all these changes it seems rather dangerous to roll the dice with the world economy in the midst of the worst financial crisis since, well, the last spike in world temperatures, that is unless the change one seeks is strictly political. We know Obama wants change. We also know he's smart enough to understand that even he can't change the earth's natural climate system, nor raise and lower the sea.

UPDATE 6/26/09

From the administration:
"The bill contains provisions to protect consumers, keep costs low, help sensitive industries transition to a clean energy economy and promote domestic emission reduction efforts," the White House in a statement of support for the legislation.
Hmm. Sounds like something a used car salesman might say to sell a clunker. The administration seems intent on protecting consumers from evil capitalists who would sucker them on a variety of products, yet we seem to have no watchdog agency to protect citizens from the government selling us down the river in the name of global socialism.

SPEAKING OF WATCHING... 6/26/09

The New York Times has an editorial essentially threatening the 30 or so Dems on the fence if they don't vote yes:
American politicians, from both parties, insist that they want to combat global warming and reduce this country’s dependence on fossil fuels. Members of the House will soon have a chance to show they mean it. Voters should watch carefully to see what they do.

...

But we know the answer to that. By any measure — drought, famine, coastal devastation — the costs of inaction, of clinging to a broken energy policy, will dwarf the costs of acting now. It is this truth that the House must keep firmly in mind as it votes.
Some may read that as "we'll spare no expense to tar you into oblivion for ruining the planet if you don't toe the line". Of course, wouldn't a ticked-off New York Times harassing a blue dog Dem actually help that person against a Republican challenger come 2010?

EPILOGUE 6/26/09

Boehner's faux filibuster was like flashing Waxman and Pelosi the moon on the way off the end of the gang plank--the GOP still ended up in the water. It was about all he could do to make news as Jackson coverage permeated cable and broadcast on a Friday evening. Opponents can now make the point that Congress passed a bill they didn't read, on a subject they don't understand, based on a scientific theory that's incomplete.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Sanford Disaster

Mark Sanford is now another broken politician, ruined life and career in hand, limping towards the nearest ditch with a shovel in hand. Ho-hum, just another day in the continuing implosion of the opposition party in America.

Lib partisans are in stone-casting hyperdrive--that's life in big city politics. Michelle Malkin gets Sanford told on his gross stupidity while others might wonder about the timing and how the personal emails were all cued up and ready to go, reportedly in the hands of a newspaper last December. It doesn't matter. And geez, Naked Hiking Day? Have the Dems already legalized that in America or have we lost all our decency?

Since Sanford's a self-admitted bottom line kind of guy he'd appreciate the rather blunt floor he's left his pals: a nice bloody self-inflicted wound that will hamper future fights against Obama's socialism express. Someone should smack the strategist who thought it was clever to hang all the GOP hats on family values (or allow Democrats to leave that impression). Everyone sins but in politics only the right takes heat for it, and they know that.

Bill Clinton did the same if not worse than Sanford but leaves with his dignity after two terms. The Dems retook Congress in 2006 with a mantra of 'the culture of corruption' yet one of those Dems, Congressman William Jefferson, is currently undergoing a bribery trial to almost zero fanfare:
Nigerian businessman Dumebi Kachikwu told jurors that supporters of then-Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar paid Jefferson $100,000 to help Abubakar make political contacts in the United States, including introductions to other members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
And tonight a network TV anchor will deliver the evening news from the White House while a few weeks ago one bowed to the president, yet the scuttlebutt will continue to be Sanford's adventure with an Argentinian mistress. Nice flameout.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Obama Press Conference

Obama held another filibuster disguised as a press conference, answering about five questions. For some reason the White House web site had this announcement along with the video,



Why would they need an Arabic translation again? Is this now standard? It certainly has nothing to do with Iran, unless it was designed as a subtle jab at the Mullahs. Oh well, surely there's a good reason.

As to reaction, the righty pundits have weighed in and pointed out the lack of questions on North Korea, none on the wars, none on why the big guy fired Gerald Walpin and the other two IGs. OK, Politico is not 'righty'. Good point.

Adding here--there were no decisive follow-ups on how we're going to afford cap and trade as unemployment rises to 10+ percent; no explanation of how he could have been consistent on his Iran rhetoric from day one while at the same time saying he was measuring his comments to avoid becoming a 'foil' or leaving the impression the US was 'meddling' (when this dichotomy was pointed out the reporter was cut off, and quite brusquely); and no questions about the Gitmo detainees. What about the Uighurs! But we are all up to speed on Obama's smoking habits.

The big guy singled out a Huffington Post reporter for an Iran question (those pesky neocons at Politico again). Imagine Bush singling out Ed Morrissey or John Hinderaker, or perhaps Matt Drudge. Yes yes, we know, "Jeff Gannon".

Health care got the most attention and some of these twits managed to ask a few pertinent questions, such as how private insurers might compete against a government subsidized public pool, or whether companies would have any reasons not to dump their current plans and let their employees sink or swim with Uncle Sam. Obama's answers were almost reminiscent of his AIG pitchfork populism, subtly bashing the private insurance companies and taunting them about competition, as if they could actually fairly compete against a publicly-backed political monolith.

On the same note, Jake Tapper managed to crack the veneer as to what might happen if a person who likes their current health care, which Obama says they can keep, ends up being on the receiving end of their employer deciding to dump that health care for the public pool (which of course will happen, especially with struggling companies). Not a real coherent answer but surely one Charlie Gibson will unravel tomorrow night while entertaining America live from the White House Blue Room.

It's Not Just Michelle Bachmann

The left had a party making fun of Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann for saying she would refuse to fill out the 2010 Census if it has probing questions not associated with Constitutionally-mandated enumeration. Think Progress joined the pile-on, reminding us that her statement...
BACHMANN: The mother lode of all data information will be from the Census. … Unfortunately, the Census data has become very intricate, very personal, a lot of the questions that are asked. I know for my family, the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home. We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that.
...amounts to a defiance of the law. Well, it's nice to see TP outraged about law-breaking. Perhaps they'd like to weigh in on this story from our local gazette:
Not far away at the offices for Latino Memphis, government representatives told a group of about 15 Hispanic leaders they should urge family and friends to participate in the 2010 Census, which will study the population shift that helped make the beauty salon a reality.
One of the government representatives was an official with the Census Bureau, who went on to explain to an assembled group:
"Whether a person is here legally or illegally, they have to be counted," said Terrance O. Fluker, partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau.
Mr. Fluker reminded them of the government services the census could bring and also assured any illegals present that it would not be used to enforce the law:
Fluker repeatedly reassured those gathered Monday that the government wouldn't use Census information to deport people.

"It's sealed under lock and key, and no one can get access to it," he said.
Whew. Well, it remains to be seen whether undocumented aliens who refuse to be documented will get any better treatment from the press or lefty bloggers than did Ms. Bachmann or anyone who agrees with her principled stance.

Monday, June 22, 2009

On Meddling in Iran

Here's what Obama said in his Cairo speech, as reported by Iran's Press TV:
"In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government," Obama said during his keynote speech to the Muslim world from Cairo University in the Egyptian capital.

It is the first time a sitting US president has publicly admitted American involvement in the coup.
Here's what CIA analyst and former Alec Station chief Michael Scheuer said about possible CIA involvement in the present Iranian uprising:



"It depends on what various intelligences services are up to in the Iran; whether we try to push these people into a civil war or not. Surely we're active there, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Jordanians, the Israelis; they're all there trying to foment this kind of problem."
If Scheuer is correct then Obama knows exactly how many active assets we have on the ground trying to 'foment' the overturn of their recent election. Rather timely, since he just apologized for (or admitted) our role in the 1953 overturn a few weeks ago in Cairo and got washed with praise from the street.

Gee, it almost sounds like he's not being, shall we say, 'brutally honest' with the American people, perferring to maintain a cover story and a few secrets to keep things going our way. Well, true change is sometimes hard to see close up.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Side Tracks

Tull:



Bunny:



(this one won't stay up very long...)

Getting Tough with the Enemy

"Not spoiling for a fight"?



Pretty tough talk. Seems he's found the enemy. But shouldn't he be saving some of that piss and vinegar for the terrori extremists ayatollahs tinhorns man-caused disaster perpetrators?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Global Tests

It's getting edgy out there. The remaining two cogs of the axis of evil are both threatening to boil over, with Iran nearing a showdown in the street and North Korea playing a brinksmanship game over a likely shipment of WMDs. It's possible we are approaching a "Biden test" moment, unless cooler heads somehow suddenly prevail.

Cooler heads is probably why Obama has been so cool so far, fearing any increase in rhetoric might escalate into something worse. But the problem with bullies is that they never seem to respond favorably to such games--they always seem to sniff out the tactic and push the event to the next level, forcing action.

Would Kim be brazen enough to launch a missile eastward, knowing it might green-light an attack on his nuke facilities? His massive army could retaliate by storming over the DMZ and into the south, forcing the war-weary and nearly bankrupt United States to open a third war front. Is he that crazy, or desperate?

And how might our largest bond holders next door likely react? They've been itching to make a world statement. Taking that further, how much are both Iran and North Korea actually just cats paws for larger states who can't be seen to directly be in confrontation with the shining city on the hill?

Big decisions, but as Obama said recently, "that's why I took the job". The phone may soon be ringing.

A Reason for Tort Reform

All this hullabaloo about health care for the most part ignores the high cost of malpractice insurance due to the threat of outrageous lawsuits from personal injury attorneys. Obama has been keeping a low pro on this issue although he did sign off on a tort reform bill while in the Illinois State Senate and may be using it now as a carrot to bring the Repubs to the table.

But it's doubtful he'll throw lawyers into the same dumpster as he did Wall Street bankers and brokers, nor will be discourage youngsters from making the law their profession despite the economic drain caused by frivolous lawsuits (or the threat thereof). As a result, legal gibberish reaches all-time highs every week as companies try to protect themselves from nearly every eventuality. Below is a snapshot of instructions from a new lawnmower regarding filling it with oil..



Did you catch the nonsense?

Quietly into the Night

That's most likely where the Walpin story is heading despite other IGs being brought in to the mix. There were no questions posed to Robert Gibbs at today's presser about this, which means only two reporters have mentioned it so far. Iran and health care are getting all the ink, and both are likely to flare even more in the weeks ahead. Stories about Inspector Generals are often complicated and dry, which is probably why Walpin was typecast as confused.

Really, it shouldn't be surprising at all that the administration dropped a senile card on him--they did the same to McCain and reportedly, also to NSA Jim Jones. Maybe Walpin should look into a discrimination suit.

Anyway, assuming this story dries up the epilogue might feature several bullet points,
  • Walpin was too good. IGs most probably walk a fine line and he stepped over his, despite the dirt he found.
  • KJ (and probably others) bought a settlement to get stimulus money into Sacramento, otherwise they were political toast. The idea he never communicated with anyone in the White House is hard to swallow.
  • Although the Congressional Black Caucus is upset at the Senate's slavery apology resolution (because it doesn't allow for reparations) Obama is tunneling underneath by increasing money to AmeriCorps and ACORN entities as a way to 'spread the wealth around' without many seeing it. Clearly, many commited liberals see the only way to save our blighted cities is by throwing money at them and Walpin was an old dinosaur standing in the way.
So he had to go. But he leaves with his ethics intact--the same can't be said for his adversaries.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

About Bush's "Firing Back" and the Pilot

Two stories in the news right now. First, Bush "Firing Back" at Obama...

Here's the seminal quote on Gitmo as delivered by Huffington Post:
"I told you I'm not going to criticize my successor," he said. "I'll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don't believe that persuasion isn't going to work. Therapy isn't going to cause terrorists to change their mind."
That sounds more than a bit confusing towards the end. Just another Bushism? Here's how the Washington Times phrased it, as linked by Drudge:
"I told you I'm not going to criticize my successor," he said. "I'll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don't believe that -- persuasion isn't going to work. Therapy isn't going to cause terrorists to change their mind."
Notice the dash, which means he stopped mid-sentence and clarified. The video will tell, but would it surprise anyone if HuffPo left off the dash on purpose?
...

Condolences to the family of the Continental pilot who passed away on a flight from Brussels to Newark. And the sensationalism knows no bounds..

The 'passenger' who helped 'fly the plane' was a relief pilot. The story here will probably become the pilot's age, 61 (they were flying as flight 61, weird). Federal regulations were changed in 2007 allowing pilots to continue flying past the age of 60. Previously they were forced into retirement, now they can continue through age 65. This event should not change that rule, but some might make hay over it.

Our Fault

That's New York City if we don't act, and act now. And by the way--it's our fault:
1. Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced. Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.
That's the first finding of a report entitled "Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States", a document in which the new director of NOAA calls "landmark" and a "game changer".

It will no doubt be trickling its way into the MSM as the administration gears up for cap and trade legislation. The scientists are calling it "bi-partisan" but only because it was started during the Bush years--there are no dissenting opinions as to their key findings. Politicians can now point to the "bi-partisan report" when setting the new tax rate and bankrupting the coal industry.

There is an accompanying website that contains a video of the announcement. Skeptics should skip directly to the Q&A at the end, past the 30 minutes mark, where a reporter asks how a tipping point can be reached if we've already reached it; he was probably talking about the government scientist who earlier this year said elements of climate change were already irreversible. Their answer--there's still time, but only if we act now! Order before midnight! Or thereabouts. Ironically, the reporter was trying to accuse the administration of sugar coating the report. Amazing.

Amazing, but not surprising--the voters wanted change and they are getting it. Perhaps the most telling item can be found along the top banner of the official website, which contains the headline:
Integrating federal research on climate and global change
Notice it reads "global change" not strictly "climate change". That's probably not a mistake. It aligns with Obama's signature slogan and also puts these scientists squarely in the middle of "mitigation" and "adaptation" efforts where they've wanted to be all along. It's why so many of them were angry during the Bush years.

Check out WUWT for much more.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Unsolved Mysteries

Still lots of uncertainty about the crash of AF 447 but the evidence is slowly providing some clues:
The paper also reported that some victims were found with little or no clothing, and had no signs of burns.

That lack of clothing could be significant, said Jack Casey, an aviation safety consultant in Washington, D.C., who is a former accident investigator. "In an in-air break up like we are supposing here, the clothes are just torn away."
That, combined with being shock-exposed to temperatures from -30F to -40F, should have been enough to put most of the victims to sleep well before hitting the water, perhaps a small comfort to the victms' families.

As to the theory, a break-up/ejection theory comports with an extreme turbulence event. They found the tail fin largely intact, which some have compared to AA 587 (downed due to wake turbulence) except in this case the rudder section was intact, unlike 587. Of course it also comports with an explosion as per former NTSB member John Goglia:
Lack of burn evidence would not necessarily rule out an explosion, said John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

If something caused the lower fuselage to burn or explode, "passengers would not be exposed to any blast damage" and the plane would still disintegrate in flight," Goglia said. "These are scenarios that cannot be ruled out."
Identification of the bodies is also critical, as pointed out by former NTSB Managing Director Peter Goelz:
"If the victims found in one part of the ocean mostly came from one part of the plane, and the victims in the other area came from another part of the plane, that is really telling you something," he said - perhaps what parts of the plane had broken up in the air.
The above two gentlemen were involved in the TWA 800 crash investigation during the 90s, another airliner that broke up and plunged into the ocean, reputedly from a fuel tank explosion (the one directly under the passenger compartment):
Goelz noted that the pattern of injuries found on passengers of TWA Flight 800 - which went down in 1996 off the coast of Long Island, New York - helped investigators confirm that the nose broke off and fire blew back from the fuel tank.
Since they are bringing up flight 800 please allow a short detour for comparion, beginning with the phrasing, 'the nose broke off and fire blew back from the fuel tank'. The quote, assuming it was direct, begs for more explanation. It's as if they believe the causative event, a fuel-air explosion, which was massive enough to split the aircraft in two, would have allowed the nose-less section to simply fly along intact spraying flaming fuel back through the rear seats. OK then, the initial theory was that this rear section with wings included was zoom-climbing upwards another 2000 feet trailing a flaming fuel spill, which looked like an ascending missile.

How much fuel was left to burn in the near empty center tank after the explosion? Especially since it must be assumed the wing tanks were functioning since the engines were still producing thrust to propel the plane upwards. Presumably the wing tanks did not explode when the nose was sheared off by the initial explosion. An exercise in hair splitting perhaps, but puzzling nevertheless. Maybe that's why the NTSB has gradually climbed down off that explanation over the years.

In comparison, the only thing remotely weird about 447 so far was the eyewitness report of a large flash in the vicinity, which clearly could have been lightning. Autopsies will obviously be critical in clearing up some of the mysteries here but very little official information was ever publicly released on the autopsies from flight 800, which prompted an engineer to file a FOIA with the FBI in an effort to determine the properties of small 'bb-like' fragments found in some of the bodies. It seems logical to think that metallurgical tests on these fragments could have helped rule out a bomb or missile, providing concrete support for the spark theory. But it didn't happen.

Instead the FBI was very unresponsive, which led to an appeal, which led to a decision. As with all conspiracies this engineer could just be a partisan crank out to blast Bill Clinton or make a quick buck, as could this person. This post will be called conspiratorial, as will anyone who argues against the official story, which is why most steer clear. But the evidence says what it says. Actions speak louder than words. To wit--after nearly 13 years we're still awaiting the nitrogen fuel inerting system retrofit. Imagine if they find that 447 was brought down due to exploding fuel vapors.

That's why it's so critical to find the black boxes, especially the CVR. In the 800 event it provided very little aside from a curious comment about a fuel-flow indicator (common on 747s according to NTSB) followed by nothing. If this French A330 was brought down by turbulence alone there will almost certainly be conservation pertaining to the problem prior to the event.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Walpin-Gate?

It's hard for the press to concentrate on anything other than Iran and health care, but the Walpin thing is still twisting in the breeze. Still not sure whether he simply went over the edge, letting his conservatism get the best of him, or was just tenaciously doing his job. He was an IG, after all. And he kept uncovering abuses (they are calling it sloppiness, aka Sandy Berger) no matter what is being said about how he operated.

Add the fact that Obama is not displaying much transparency right now and it certainly appears possible he was fired for political reasons, at least from what's been reported to date.

But will this story get any legs? Senator Claire McCaskill says he's not following the law--HER bill (she means S-2324), which Obama co-sponsored (passed as HR-928). But the smoldering heap might actually be Walpin's very recent report on grants to the City University of New York, who's in the tank for 75 million, not a measly 400 thou. Maybe ABC News can set up their nightly news tomorrow night from the Oval Office and ask some tough questions.

MORE 6/17/09

As of this morning I had not found any questions posed to Robert Gibbs of the White House on this topic. Today was different. Jake Tapper (who else) got the ball rolling and Major Garrett picked it up:
Major.

Q Robert, just to follow up on Jake, was the White House unaware that it needed to inform Congress 30 days in advance about Mr. Walpin's intended firing?

MR. GIBBS: I need to look at what Ms. McCaskill said regarding that. I just don't have that with me.

Q But it's -- number one, it's the law of the land, and number two, Senator Obama voted for it. I'm just wondering if the White House was aware of that -- regardless of what Senator McCaskill said.

MR. GIBBS: Well, since the question came based on what Senator McCaskill said -- and I haven't seen that part of it -- let me, as I just stated twice, check on that.

Q Okay. The letter that was sent out last night was regarded by Mr. Walpin as "a total lie." And -- that's what he told us -- and he said it was unnecessarily personal and accusatory. And I wonder if you felt there was anything the White House wanted to say about that letter and the contents thereof in response to that?

MR. GIBBS: Well, again, I think this was -- let me read the first sentence of the second paragraph. "Mr. Walpin was removed after a review was unanimously requested by the bipartisan board of the Corporation." These were views that were held by many people as part of that board, and certainly the administration stands behind what's in the letter.

Q Following up on that, why not leave it at that and why did the White House feel it necessary to say he was disoriented and confused?

MR. GIBBS: Well, I have occasion to watch FOX every now and again, and I think there have been commentators that surmised that maybe we needed to be more specific about the reasons. I think members of Congress have asked for that, and I think it's detailed in the letter.
The letter was of course the smear job sent to Claire McCaskill last evening providing more info, essentially that Walpin was a confused, disoriented old coot. That seemed to soothe McCaskill (it must be tough going against the big guy, even for 24 hours).

And surely the "Fox" commentator Gibbs referred to was Glenn Beck, who had Walpin on recently and had him back tonight to perform a standard govt senility test, which Walpin of course passed with flying colors. At the end Beck asked him if he thought he'd 'win' this fight with Obama, to which he replied 'probably not'--even more proof of his lucidity and his grip on sanity. Funny how speaking truth to power has gone out of fashion.

Up is Down

Cheney can't get any evidence released but the ACLU keeps scoring, successfully getting some transcripts from AQ military tribunals in 2007 allowing the news media to run headlines saying "torture" was ineffective in gaining information.

This will of course make Rosie O'Donnell's day (she's still waiting on that epiphany from engineers that fire does not melt steel) but she shouldn't overdo it on the celebration. Indeed, KSM did say he liked to make up stuff in order to stop the 'torture' but at the same hearing:
Although he said he made false confessions, in the same hearing, Mohammed had a personal representative read a statement in which he admitted to having taken part in 31 separate terror plots and responsibilities.
Here they are for those inclined to look at history. Chances are his exaggerations were more centered on the plots than the torture.

As to Abu Zubaydah, who lost a nut in his gunfight capture in Pakistan, he also whined about torture in 2007, even tying it to his gunshot wounds:
"After months of suffering and torture, physically and mentally, they did not care about my injuries that they inflicted to my eye, to my stomach, to my bladder, and my left thigh and my reproductive organs... Doctors told me that I nearly died four times," Zubaydah said.
Where's the gratitude for the American doctors who saved his miserable life after the shootout so we could find out the whereabouts of KSM and others? Geez.

Hey, this bunk is tried and true. Every terrorist is taught to do it and every far lefter has tried to use it to further their continuing war against capitalism. Yet most of the peeps get it, right? Most of them understand these AQ guys were dirty wanted terrorists even before 9/11, before Bush, right?

Maybe not. Polls show most people hold Dick Cheney in pretty low regard. Wonder if they've polled KSM's popularity? Today's narrative is that our intrepid terrorist only lied to make the beatings stop (poor guy) while Cheney wants another attack to justify the beatings. The public has largely forgotten the War on Terror, even though an American soldier was just killed by a jihadist in Arkansas. Jose Padilla, a sleeper cell organizer who was without question an AQ operative bent on poisoning innocent fellow citizens, is now allowed to sue a Justice Department lawyer trying to find ways to stop him, and many applaud with glee. And Obama seems oblivious to it all, pointing out the dangerous world created if we don't adopt federalized health care right now. Yep, up pretty much equals down these days.

The Czar Presidency

Obama is looking at creating another czar, or a small flock of them, to harass the financial services industry under the guise of consumer protection. In March he told Jay Leno:
"When you buy a toaster, if it explodes in your face, there's a law that says, 'Your toasters need to be safe,' " Obama said. "When you get a credit card or you get a mortgage, there's no law on the books that says, 'If that explodes in your face, financially, somehow you're going to be protected.' "
How will he define the difference between a defective appliance and a defective mortgage or credit card, exactly? Will it have anything to do with the consumer running up too much debt or getting a mortgage too big for their family income?
A bill proposed by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., would create a five-person, presidentially-appointed commission to look at consumer protection issues in mortgages and credit cards. It gives the commission the power to ban abusive, unfair and "anti-consumer" practices and "restrict" financial products and practices that cross the anti-consumer line.
Which leaves open for politicians to determine what the "anti-consumer line" is. But there's already such an entity out there offering consumer protection free of charge and he can be heard every day across most of the nation on radio--Dave Ramsey. By the way, wonder when Obama will begin cracking down on "we tote the note" car lots or shyster lawyers?

For a person who complained about Dick Cheney wanting to expand the executive power of the presidency (mainly to fight terrorism) this is beyond hypocritical.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Voices from Iran

Hot Air's Allahpundit is receiving tweets from students out of Iran. They paint a bad picture. Here's a sample:
RT @iran09: As a reminder, ALL THE COUNTRY is on fire! ppl are fighting in ALL CITIES for their VOTE and against the DICTATORSHIP!
Earlier Ahmadinejad refused to answer when CNN's Christiane Amanpour asked whether he could ensure his competitor's safety. Here she is giving an update with some dramatic footage..



If this election was indeed rigged (were they using Diebolds?) or just outright fraud how might they script it? Speculating here, but they probably wouldn't want a razor-thin margin because that would suggest instability and division to the rest of the world. Chances are they wanted a clear mandate but knew it wouldn't be credible to show a Saddam-like 90+ percent margin so they went with a compromise in the 60s to show a decisive 2 to 1 victory. It doesn't appear the peeps are buying it.

The bigger question is how do we react? Do we accept the results unconditionally and congratulate Mahmoud and if so, what message would that send to those fighting for the freedoms George W. Bush Obama supposedly desires?

Yet if we reject the election as fraud it means we don't believe the government is legitimate going forward, which blurs any future diplomatic efforts Obama wants to pursue. Which way will he go? The street awaits an answer:
CNN reporter says Iranian students keep coming up to him and saying if Obama accepts this result, they're doomed
If he follows his tendency Obama will want to wait several days before committing to anything concrete, which is probably wise, but if things escalate he won't have that luxury. The real wild card here is the supreme Ayatollah---the real "president" of Iran.

MORE 6/15/09

In case you haven't seen many pictures from the chaos, here's a roundup. Looks like the govt goons are winning the street wars, for now, especially after this account:
Seconds earlier the man had dared to stand up to the baton wielding men because they had shoved a 14-year-old girl. For his chivalry he got one of the most savage beatings I have ever seen at the hands of four Iranian riot policemen and members of the Baseej, Iran's plain clothed volunteer militia.

"To hell with Iran," he said as he sat beaten and battered along the sidewalk. "This is not my government. This is not my country."

A grown man who watched the beating burst into tears.
At what point does Obama lose this crowd?

Order Before Midnight!

Remember? The trick was later updated to 'order in the next ten minutes', as if the commercials were airing live. Obviously, enough people have fallen for the trick over the years to keep them going. Anyone who's watched the jewelry or merchandise channels will recognize it by the little countdown clocks that pressure people to call now before it's 'too late'.

Now it's being used to sell a "climate change" treaty that will assuredly remove money from American pockets and might even strip away some of our sovereignty to boot. In return we are promised a 'saved' earth, as if mere men can save earth from climate shifts. If it sounds too good to be true...
“Time is short, but we still have enough time,” the official, Yvo de Boer, who is the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said at a briefing.
Al Gore used it first in his Oscar winning sci-fi thriller saying something about 10 years left to act before the point of no return. NASA scientist James Hansen recently doubled down by saying we only have four years to act, even though his own GISS charts show a leveling off of warming since 1998. As if that wasn't enough, he even threw in a hyperbolic reference to America's coal trains as "death trains". Of course, that kind of scaremongering rhetoric won't be scorned by guys like Frank Rich anytime soon because as we know, Hansen is on the side of the angels.

Don't know about you, but every time I come across a high pressure salesmen it always leaves me smelling a rat--even if there isn't one.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Side Tracks

Something a bit more modern..



And someone who undoubtedly influenced them...

The War on Britain Continues?

Regards the Bermuda vacation destination chosen for several Uighurs:
A senior US official has told the BBC Washington decided not to tell London ahead of time about a deal to resettle four Guantanamo detainees in Bermuda. A diplomatic row blew up over Bermuda's decision to accept the four Chinese Muslim Uighurs on a US request.

Bermuda is a British overseas territory but the US official said Washington had acted secretly to ensure success.
It's becoming apparent that the Obama administration is going out of its way to tear down any appearance of a 'special relationship' between the UK and US. The question is whether this is happenstance, incompetence, or part of an orchestrated campaign to improve America's overseas reputation with Muslims by dumping on our main partner in Iraq? Since Obama has been called by some the smartest president ever it must be the latter.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Walpin Thing

Just surfing around after tiring of the Letterman-Palin duel and came upon this story:
President Barack Obama says he has lost confidence in the inspector general who investigates AmeriCorps and other national service programs and has told Congress he is removing him from the position.
My, my. This may be nothing but it's certainly got a titillatingly something ring about it:
  • Obama sides with former NBA star Kevin Johnson, whose charitable operation was accused of skimming public funds by an old white Republican donor who has publicly supported John Yoo and has strong opinions on 'don't ask, don't tell';
  • the antagonist was by most accounts a distinguished pick by the former administration but some leftist site called "Exxonsecrets" is touting his membership in the Federalist Society;
  • Obama's grassroots political goals are furthered by community organizations such as Americorp and ACORN who funnel money from the Treasury down to street level- Obama is tripling funding for Americorp going forward;
  • Democrats were outraged when Bush apparently fired US Attorneys for political reasons.
KJ is now the mayor of Sacramento. His former non-profit, the Hood Corps, was accused of skimming federal funds, which according to a March story in the SacBee caused some to worry whether the city would receive federal stimulus funds down the road. KJ wasn't worried, though:
"I believe, as the City Attorney did in September, that there will ultimately be zero impact on the city's eligibility to receive the federal funds that Congresswoman Matsui, Governor Schwarzenegger, our U.S. Senators, and I are working hard to deliver to our city," he wrote. "I am optimistic this will be resolved positively in short order."
Could this be an example of resolved? Walpin was the one who got KJ in trouble to begin with:
In response, federal officials placed St. HOPE Academy, operator of Hood Corps; Johnson, who was St. HOPE's founder and former president; and Dana Gonzalez, Hood Corps' former executive director and now a mayoral volunteer, on an Excluded Parties List, meaning they were suspended from access to federal grants and contracts for up to one year or until the case is resolved.

The federal audit of Hood Corps' use of funds is ongoing. A spokesman for the Office of the Inspector General declined to say when the review would be finished.
Now Obama has 'lost confidence' in the man who blew the whistle yet won't provide anything other than strong assurances by Greg Craig that they are doing the right thing. Hmm.

OK, granted this could be a game of partisan whiffleball. Maybe Walpin became a right wing zealot who overstepped his mission by trying to prevent the guy who he thought was scamming the taxpayers from getting even more spending power. Maybe it was a racial thing. Or a Jewish thing. On the other hand it might be a prime example of hardball Chicago politics at work. Surely the intrepid White House press corps will get to the bottom of it.

MORE 6/12/09

As pointed out by the anonymous commenter, the Obama administration issued talking points heralding Judge Sotomayor for the SCOTUS and right there on plain paper was this gem:
At the time of Judge Sotomayor?s nomination to the Second Circuit, Gerald Walpin, who the New York Times called “a former federal prosecutor who is widely known in New York legal circles as a staunch conservative,” described Judge Sotomayor as “exactly what conservatives want: a nonactivist judge who does not apply her own views but is bound by the law.” GOP, Its Eyes on High Court, Blocks a Judge, New York Times (Jun. 13, 1998).
Beautiful. The Obama folks used Walpin's cred as a 'staunch conservative' to prop up their court pick but suddenly Obama has 'lost confidence' in the same guy, perhaps because of the staunch part. Whether this negates his previous opinion on the judge remains unclear. Meanwhile......

Checking the White House press briefing for any intrepid questions, I used Firefox's indispensable control-F function to search for "Walpin"...



Got the same red light with "KJ" and "Americorp". Maybe someone will ask on Monday.

MORE 6/14/09

It's hard to get a read on this story. Walpin, by some accounts, seems like he could be an overzealous right winger picking on KJ's efforts to improve life for inner-city folks in Sacramento. He (KJ) has remarked that government grants are too complicated to strictly follow, which doesn't sound entirely implausible (although somewhat ironic, since most liberal-Dems think the government is society's salvation).

Yet on the other hand, Obama has been forceful in saying he wants tight controls on government spending and is trying to cut his ballooned deficit in half by 2012 while advocating sunshine in government to a level never seen. On the surface this smells like him trying to get rid of a hardass IG going by the book so he can get on with the bidness of funneling money to a top supporter.

Something else that doesn't make sense is the settlement. The US Attorney's Eastern District Office is blasting this guy for talking to the media about St HOPE, yet they turn around and penalize KJ and the organization to the tune of nearly a half mil. Why doesn't that exonerate Walpin? Sounds like he was right. Of course, the settlement opened some doors Walpin had closed, to wit:
In settling the case, the government agreed to lift its suspension of any future grants to the academy and Johnson agreed to immediately repay $73,000 in past grants. The academy was given 10 years to repay the remaining $350,000.

Brown said at the time of the settlement that prosecutors determined there was no fraud, but rather a culture of "sloppiness" in St. HOPE's record-keeping.

Kevin Hiestand, chairman of the board of St. HOPE Academy, said in a statement it was "about time" Walpin was removed. "Mr. Walpin's allegations were meritless and clearly motivated by matters beyond an honest assessment of our program," he said.
A "culture of sloppiness", eh? Well, isn't that what the IG's are there to correct? It's hardly "meritless" if St. HOPE had to fork over all that dough. There may be more here but it's beginning to sound like Walpin's main crime was downing a tree in front of the gravy train.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

For the Children..

Wow, the Mommy Party continues to kick tail:
His signature would then add tobacco to other huge, nationally important areas that have come under greater government supervision since his presidency began. Those include banking, housing and autos. Still to come, if Congress can agree: health care.
A tobacco czar is probably next. Oddly, he's even regulating himself (unless he's got a huge stash of Marlboros stocked away for safe keeping somewhere, or as Obama might call it, a
"presidential waiver").

But aside from a possible stimulus of the terrorist black market this sounds like bad news for kids depending on the SCHIP program for their health care. In other words, the government is the most hooked smoker of them all.

Condemnation of a Shooting

The Holocaust Museum shooting is a sad event and one rational conservatives everywhere should condemn in the strongest possible terms. Consider it condemned from here. There is a fringe element on the right that just might be more potent than their left wing counterparts and denying it is just as pointless as denying the Holocaust itself. Napolitano's report was at least partially correct, even if leaked for political purposes.

That said, the left should resist the temptation of trying to score points off this by trying to keep this story in the news cycle. Surely there are emotions and feelings that need to be understood, and perhaps even some guilt. Matter of fact, to be on the safe side perhaps the judge assigned to Von Brunn's case should issue a gag order--if nothing else but to calm the waters and ensure due process takes place.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Let's Go to the Video Tape

Hey, at least he's wearing the jacket now. But the question isn't about feet propping--no way he's the first--it's about whether a White House photographer could possibly snap a photo of the boss in such a pose while talking to the PM of Israel then release it to the media without permission.

Since the answer seems a strong 'not a chance' the question becomes why? Why would the Obama administration want this picture in circulation right now?

No wonder some Israelis feel 'cornered'. Talk is cheap, but an American official reportedly told Netanyahu not to interfere with them "changing the world". This seems to fit with Obama's days as a community organizer when he was an advocate of Saul Alinsky tactics (as was the Secretary of State) to achieve social justice. Spreading the wealth around and knocking off the rich are among the goals, and Israel is a rich state. Some believe Israel is preventing the Palestinians from getting their social justice.

What does Obama really think on the matter? Wading through sound bites, TOTUS speeches and blast faxes won't completely uncover the truth but perhaps releasing that lost Rashid Khalidi video tape might help. Recall that was the one the LA Times suppressed before the election, which evidently shows strong opinions being expressed in the company of Obama, Ayers and Dohrn at a going away party for Rashid. It can't be any more incendiary than the interrogation memos or Abu Ghraid photos but it might help bring some sunshine to the debate.

MORE 6/10/09

Speaking of some who think Israel is preventing the Palestinians of achieving their social justice here's one, although he's a bit more blunt in his description:
"Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Extremist Update

While Tiller's killer gets the press, Pvt. Long's killer begs for attention and instead gets a gag order:
Judge Alice Lightle issued the order Monday after prosecutors requested it to block court officials and police from discussing the case.
Would that be pronounced "light ly"? But this is interesting, the first extremist to produce a man-caused disaster in the new era of Obama basically considers himself an enemy combatant no matter what his lawyer says:
"I do feel I'm not guilty," Abdulhakim Muhammad told The Associated Press in a collect call from the Pulaski County jail. "I don't think it was murder, because murder is when a person kills another person without justified reason."
The question then becomes, just who are they trying to gag--the police/media or the suspect? His act alone could be seen as contradicting the new conventional wisdom that Bush was the inspiration of Islamic terrorism, and that if we only admit our mistakes and play nice peace will break out.

Where I Don't Defend Evan Thomas

After hearing about this it was tempting to cut Evan Thomas of Newsweek some slack--



Why? Because not too long ago I called Obama a sort of Klaatu character, as if sent here from the great beyond to scold the children of earth. Thomas opined similarly:
– his shtick is he's the teacher. He's the teacher. He is going to say, ‘now, children, stop fighting and quarreling with each other.’ And he has a kind of a moral authority that he – he can – he can do that-
The reason he gets no slack is because he seems to actually believe it. This isn't just a cold analytical political comparison, he's clearly a twin son of different mothers.

Not surprising Matthews let the comments pass without pointing out that if Obama were a god he wouldn't need a teleprompter. If he were a god the rising price of gas would have been halted months ago via his magic wand. And deity bows to no one, much less a Saudi monarch. People would be bowing to him. Oh wait....be healed, Brian!!. Maybe he is.


By the way, when does the official outrage over Bush causing gas prices to rise kick in?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Business as Usual

The verdict is partially in--the Stimulus bill designed to stave off disaster appears to be stimulating political paybacks and politicians more than the economy.

So how did we get here? Here's Nancy Pelosi explaining. Pay close attention as to how she answered Wolf Blitzer's question as to whether there would be any "pork" in the Stimulus Bill...



As everyone knows, the bill had zero earmarks but was chocked full of pork. She knows most people don't understand the difference in terms. A history lesson as we move forward.

A Bully in the Pulpit

Kathleen Parker saw a lot more in the Cairo speech than did other conservatives but she got this part right:
The nearly hour-long speech, which contained many inspired passages, was essentially a teaching moment. A lecture, if you will.
Yes, a lecture. That quality of detachment is what triggers people to call him the "Obamamessiah" or "the One", as if he's from another planet sent here to scold the children of earth for their past silliness, a sort of political version of Klaatu (maybe it's no coincidence the remake featured the hero scolding the planet for not going green. Nonsense? Watch the new GM commercial).

The important thing about Klaatu wasn't his noble suggestions but the massive enforcer robot standing behind him. Obama's "Gort" is the power of government, a close comparison. So far he hasn't used that power to it's full potential sticking mainly with the bully pulpit, but his messages have been targeted and telling.

For instance, when he demonized Wall Street as a prospective career for college graduates he said nothing bad about law school even though part of the health care crisis involves the rising cost of malpractice insurance. Attorney greed is simply not on the agenda right now.

But health care "reform" was on the agenda today as the Congressional Dems introduced a new plan while Obama's folks floated a trial balloon of funding it through taxing the 'wealthy'. Here's how Bloomberg News put it:
President Barack Obama wants Congress to consider taxing the wealthy instead of workers to pay for a health-care overhaul, as House Democrats discuss a plan to require health insurance for most Americans.
Emphasis added to point out the pseudo-Marxist tone of suggesting the 'wealthy' don't really work, leaving a stench of class envy (whether intended or not). And that's coming from Bloomberg! It's not hard to envision how the White House press office might handle detractors, even those who merely want to discuss reforming the present private system without a government takeover. Think "the party of no", "dittoheads", "people who don't care about the poor", Sarah Palin, etc, etc. The strawman cometh.

But it doesn't stop there because after health care will come climate reform. This past Tuesday the global warming deniers, or skeptics, or haters, or flat-earthers--they call themselves realists--had their annual conference and one attendee opined:
"How do you control the weather?" asked Bob Carter, an Australian scholar from James Cook University. "For us to assume we can somehow control nature and regulate weather patterns, when we cannot even predict them correctly, is patently absurd."
Of course. The level of hubris required to believe such a thing borders on Greek God territory but as Ms. Parker illustrates, Obama is such an exalted figure people might actually believe he can lower sea level or change the course of the next hurricane. Meanwhile the 'flat-earthers' will be the ones treated as nutballs. Cue Gort.

Some might shrug and say it's always been this way and they would be right, with a few big exceptions--the bully in the pulpit, the size of the choir, and those writing the bulletins. And the conservatives have no sensible, rational and trusted voice to push back.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Side Tracks

Here is a studio outtake from The Beatles!



And a live version of the anthem of youthful rebellion...



Said Benjamin Disraeli:
A man who is not a liberal at 16 has no heart; a man who is not a conservative at 60 has no head.

Gitmo Countdown

After bashing everyone (except himself) in Cairo--in a purported effort to win foreign friends and influence tinpots--Obama's gang has floated a new Gitmo plan to the New York Times for late Friday afternoon reading:
The Obama administration is considering a change in the law for the military commissions at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, that would clear the way for detainees facing the death penalty to plead guilty without a full trial.

The provision could permit military prosecutors to avoid airing the details of brutal interrogation techniques. It could also allow the five detainees who have been charged with the Sept. 11 attacks to achieve their stated goal of pleading guilty to gain what they have called martyrdom.
They must not feel confident about getting convictions of the 9/11 five without giving up intel/sources or re-stirring the Pelosi pot. Republicans just came swarming out of a meeting the other day touting the successes of EIT amidst protesting Democrats, who seem to be starring in their own made-for-TV role-reversal reality show based on outrage over intelligence leaks.

But is quick death the way to go? Won't that piss off the torture base? Would the specter of an international firing squad or hanging enhance his reboot with the "Muslim world"? Even he can't be arrogant enough to believe one speech has forever tamed the Arab street. Of course he did say America would "stand with those who stand for peace", presumably meaning we won't stand with those who don't, like KSM. But did the audience get that nuance?

Perhaps he feels a hanging could bring some much-needed closure in the War on Terror. Some would obviously enjoy seeing KSM on the end of a rope, well, aside from most of his base and those who think Bushco blew the towers.

But it seems more likely he's running out of time on his own self-imposed political deadline and cannot possibly allow these guys to walk over torture tainted evidence with midterm elections looming. Not only that, but any discovery items that leaked would probably bolster Cheney's contentions about EIT and remind everyone how dangerous these guys really are before they won their freedom. Sounds like this might be a last best option, unless it's a ruse to call KSM's bluff.

Friday, June 05, 2009

More Thoughts on AF447

This report may or may not mean anything:
Two pilots and a passenger who was in the galley of the plane “suddenly saw far away a strong and intense flash of white light” which plunged vertically downwards and disappeared in six seconds, the pilot wrote.

The pilot had also observed storms with electric activity and cloud formations near his route.
A bright white flash and 6 second plunge into the ocean suggests a catastrophic ending, which doesn't seem to jibe with published reports about 10-15 minutes of failure alerts beamed back to Air France HQ before it disappeared.

Assuming for a moment there was a small bomb detonated in a cargo hold, such a thing could account for a gradual loss of systems leading to eventual breakup and perhaps a final fuel vapor explosion. The problem with that is the witnesses--they reported a "bright white" flash, not a fireball.

During the TWA 800 crash it was noted there were two flashes, one bright white initial flash followed by a fuel-air fireball as the plane fell into the sea. The explanation of the first bright white flash was atomized fuel vapors in the near empty Center Wing Tank being ignited by a spark in a frayed wire inside the tank, which caused a structural breakup of the aircraft. The forward section plummeted immediately into the ocean while the remaining section continued upwards a few thousand feet before finally exploding and plunging into the sea downrange.

The debris field was crucial in making those judgments (even if some believe the theory of a climbing nose-less plane was not credible) so likewise, finding a debris field here would go a long way towards explaining the event.

It's possible the folks on the Spanish plane saw an intense flash of lightning obscured by clouds that made it appear circular and brilliant, then after learning of the crash it seemed more important in retrospect. Authorities should be able to track both aircraft on a map to see whether a sighting was even possible. The NTSB has long questioned the reliability of eyewitness accounts in plane crashes.

Even if a sighting was possible the ultimate discovery of the CVR and FDR would almost certainly explain whether the white flash theory holds any merit after studying detailed meteorological analysis alongside the flight path and data readouts. This is assuming they ever find the correct debris field or that one still exists. This gentleman put things into perspective rather nicely:
The French armed forces spokesman, Christophe Prazuck, said: "Everyone has doubts about everything at the moment and we do not have the slightest beginnings of an answer yet."
Plane crashes are perhaps the most traumatic events known to man and always garner wild speculation and headlines, which is why al Qaeda and other terrorists choose aviation as a vessel for their attacks. Sadly, we usually see the media at their factual worst in the days and weeks after crashes in the rush for answers, so it's prudent to be as patient as possible--which also applies to bloggers.

MORE 6/5/09

Speaking of their factual worst, the Brazilian military was adamant yesterday that search crews had found a key piece of the airplane:
"I can confirm that the five kilometers of debris are those of the Air France plane," Defense Minister Nelson Jobim told reporters at a hushed press conference in Rio. He said no bodies had been found and there was no sign of life.
Now today:
The confusion started when the Brazilian military said on its Web site Thursday that it had recovered an 8-foot long structural support piece, a pallet, used in the cargo area of airplanes. But by Thursday night, the military had retracted that and said that the pallet — wooden — did not, in fact, belong to Flight 447.
And away the media goes, leaving the impression that no debris from the plane was actually found when indeed:
Air Force Brig. Gen. Ramon Cardoso insisted Friday that at least some of the debris spotted from the air — an airplane seat, a slick of kerosene and other pieces — are from the plane that vanished Sunday with 228 people on board. The Brazilian air force also distributed images pinpointing where the material was found.
Here's a map of everything found so far. When the news hit this morning I was wondering where an airliner seat would have come from if not from an airliner, so this makes more sense.

MORE 6/7/09

The discovered bodies, although unbearably grisly and heartbreaking for the families, will be tremendously important to accident investigators in determining whether a bomb was onboard the aircraft based on the presence of any metal fragments.

While anything's still possible it certainly looks increasingly like 447 had an encounter with a thunderstorm that didn't go well. Most pilots avoid these monsters like the plague, especially the one seen around 2 1/2 degrees north latitude early Monday morning. An earlier post here was erroneous as to the flight path; here's a better map based on later evidence. The white box shows the last known position based on the ACARS data transmission of the crippled aircraft at 0214Z; this image was time-stamped for 0215Z or one minute later.

Enhanced satellites plot cloud temperature, with brighter colors being colder, ie, higher cloud tops. Domestic flights almost always steer clear of such things but protocol might be different in the tropics. At any rate, it seems prudent to ask if or why trans-oceanic flights wouldn't have access to onboard weather data to show satellite images over the open ocean where ground based weather and air traffic radar don't exist. Airborne radar is good but it can sometimes attenuate distant (and perhaps bigger) cells if blocked by rain closer to the airplane's antenna.

There's more to learn here, such as the nature of interaction between Air France meteorologists and dispatchers with the flight crew and how attentive the pilots were to the weather ahead, something the CVR may be able to clear up.