Saturday, August 09, 2008

Misplaced EUphoria

Looking at it in the cold, clear, light of the day, the Airbus A380 is 37 years late, and $20.000.000-89.000.000 short:

There's nothing better, right?

Yeah, that's what the media think. They don't have enough good things to say about Airbus' double-decker super-jumbo. Even we raved about it. But c'mon -- does the world really need this leviathan? Airlines and the passengers they treat like cattle were doing just fine before the A380 came along, weren't they?

Besides -- the Boeing 747 did it all first.

The 747 has been around since 1970, and more than 1,100 have rolled off the production line. They've carried millions of passengers and countless tons of cargo to the four corners of the earth. If you travel for a living you've probably flown on one, especially if you spend much time in Europe or Asia. After nearly four decades in service, the 747 is doing just fine, thanks.

We're not saying that the A380 doesn't have some things going for it. For one thing, it's the first true twin-deck commercial airliner. It has nearly 40 percent more floor space than the 747, and it carries more people (though if you are one of the 853 unlucky souls squeezed into an all-coach A380, our hearts go out to you). And although some people here at Autopia think it looks like the result of a one-night stand between a Beluga whale and an albatross, I think it's gorgeous.

But don't write off the 747-800, Boeing's latest model, as obsolete junk. It carries 467 passengers (just 22 fewer than the Emirates A380), and at 250 feet long and 64 feet tall, it's not exactly tiny. It's 11 percent more fuel efficient than the A380, though that comes from Boeing, so take it with a grain of salt. It's $20 million to $89 million cheaper and you can pimp the Intercontinental model (pictured) just like the 'bus if that's your thing. Airports don't have to rebuild their terminals to accommodate it. And like an old friend, people know the 747 and trust it.
But to put it more bluntly, as a soon to quit Luftwaffe pilot who preferred the idea of flying for UPS told me: Boeing actually asks pilots what they want in the way of performance and layout, Airbus designs things to death and they’re still awkward. That was pre-A380, but I certainly hope that it isn’t still true.

- H/T to Val de Texas

9 to 5 lifers

Funny, because despite all the MSM hype about the broken dollar, Paris is full of Americans. The French can't take advantage of the strong Euro and travel because to take advantage of it, you have to earn a few of them first.

Learn ‘em to be 'fraid

The seas are rising. The tsunamis will arrive weekly. The rainbows are coming... and this time it’s personal.

Repent now, for the end is nigh, and the rainbow people are coming.

“Rapid Reaction Force”

Russian tanks and the artillery of third world style siege roll into Georgia, and the EU takes 24 hours to “express concern”. It should surely have the Iranians quaking in their black socks and brown sandals at the EU’s “enforcement measures” that they’re under now over the nuclear weapons program that the EU has bought them enough time to continue by negotiating about it endlessly:

In a statement published Friday by the bloc's current president France, the European Union announced it had begun to apply new measures against Tehran, including closely scrutinizing financial groups doing business with Iranian banks, and holding back on loans for companies trading with Iran. The EU's 27 members will also inspect airplanes and ships traveling to and from Iran...
Go get ‘em, sparky! Now they’ll likely have to do a thrillingly intrusive body cavity search of most of Europe’s ‘champions’ while they’re at it. At this point they’re just killing time anyway:
The leaders of Europe can no longer pretend that they don't know what Iran is up to. A leaked internal document prepared for the European Union's foreign ministers warns that it is probably too late to prevent the Iranian government from acquiring nuclear weapons. "At some stage we must expect that Iran will acquire the capacity to enrich uranium on the scale required for a weapons programme." The document also admits that efforts to impede the Iranian nuclear program have failed. "In practice . . . the Iranians have pursued their programme at their own pace, the limiting factor being technical difficulties rather than resolutions by the U.N.
I’m sure the Swiss always wanted to glow in the dark.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Oppression, Then and Now

Hey there, hi there, ho there, kids! Want to get all worked up kicking someone in the head to please teacher? Well it’s been going on for a WAY long time!

What was the deed that made him a hero? In 1932 Pavlik Morozov exposed his father as an “enemy of the People.” He informed the OGPU (as the KGB, or Soviet secret police, was then called) that his father was helping the kulaks, successful peasants who refused to relinquish their land and livestock to the State as was required by the Collectivization Plan, and was therefore branded as an enemy of Socialism. Pavlik's father was arrested, tried, and sent to a concentration camp, never to be seen again.
That was then, but this is now! Can you feel the lack of electricity and the unconditioned humid air? Now don’t get too excited! You might use more oxygen than you’re rationed! So just Hoooooold that breath!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

John Edwards, Father of the Year

Même face, même race

The only French Presidential candidate who pontificates about his own country's decline while constantly making race-baiting jibes is Jean-Marie Le Pen.

BBC Circulating al Queda Propaganda

It is an open secret in Karachi, that any member of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's family deemed to be "a 1% threat to US security" is in American custody.
That may be the only "crime" that Aafia Siddiqui has committed.
so quothe the BBC, in spite of that fact that the woman in question, Aafia Siddiqui, had shot at an coalition soldier. Previously, they had lived outside Boston where this injustice was visited upon them:
The 11 September 2001 attacks in the US changed everything. Her husband was detained by the FBI for questioning.

The reason was his purchase of night vision goggles, body armour and military manuals.

He is said to have told the FBI it was for big-game hunting. Aafia Siddiqui was also questioned briefly, but later released, as was her husband.
Aside from the muddled BBC radio reporting over the past few days on the matter which incorporate the confusion of what rumors pass for “facts” in Pakistan, the BBC publish on their website all manner of accusations that Jawa Report finds has it’s origins in an al Queda propaganda video made in July of this year.

The Jihad’s fifth column in the west take this as proof that she was secreted away, raped, and tortured since 2003 without any evidence, even though there was a published bulletin seeking her whereabouts up until June of 2008 when she was arrested by an Afghani soldier.

I knew this was coming. The jihadi intertubes and their allies in the "human-rights movement" were all abuzz about "Prisoner 650" prior to the news that Aaifia Siddiqui was captured in Afghanistan on July 17th. According to various "rumors" a woman has been held by the U.S. at Bagram Air Base, tortured, and raped since 2003. Who started the rumor? None other than al Qaeda itself in a video called "Escape from Bagram" in which several al Qaeda members, including Abu Yahya al-Libi himself, claimed they tried to rescue the poor woman from the evil infidels.

Laughable, no? Well, no. Because tens of millions--possibly hundreds of millions--of Muslims actually believe that "Prisoner 650" exists.

Recently several "human rights groups" began to associate "Prisoner 650" with Aaifia Siddiqqui. Based on what? Nothing other than believing that "Prisoner 650" exists, that Siddiqqui was missing and wanted by the FBI, and one of Siddiqqui's uncles claiming he thought she had been picked up by the ISI for questioning.

If you looked closely at these "human rights groups" you'd see that they were not so much interested in, say, the rights of Tibetans for self-government as they are about getting Khalid Shiekh Mohammad martyr status. The most important being the self-styled "human rights" group at Cage Prisoners who are really a front for the followers of Omar Bakri Mohammed and Abu Hamza. Take a gander at the prisoners they're trying to get set free and you'll see names like Johnny Walker Lindh (admitted American Taliban), Jose Padilla (suspected in a plot to commit "dirty bomb" attacks), and, unsurprising, the blind mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing, Sheikh Omar Abdur Rahman.

Are we getting the picture here? The rumors that women were being held and tortured at Bagram Air Base by the U.S. was started by ... al Qaeda. The rumor that Aaifia Siddiqui was being held by the U.S. was started by ... Siddiqui's family, many of which are known al Qaeda sympathizers.
And the BBC took this to mean “news”, effectively legitimating without many citations of sources, terrorist propaganda. They quote without irony her sister:
"It is always believed one is innocent until proven guilty, not the other way round," her sister, Fauzia, told reporters in Karachi on Tuesday.
Something one might find rich when discussing someone nabbed while attempting murder. I wonder if they extend that courtesy of not detaining before trial in Pakistan?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

To Hell with the Prime Directive, Mr. Spock!

In his efforts to provide the American candidate an effective setting for his campaign stop in Germany, Foreign Minister Steinmeier found a crucial ally in the mayor of Berlin. Far from sharing the Chancellor's reservations, Wowereittold the daily Die Berliner Zeitung that he would welcome Obama -- in his words -- "us[ing] Berlin as a platform to give an important speech." And as the authorization to use municipal property to this end would have to come from the Berlin city government, or Senat, that Wowereit heads, the mayor's receptivity to the proposition was of obvious relevance. The city government would also -- "of course" -- provide security for the event, Wowereit added.

As if to send all of those horrible Americans to a sort of re-education camp, it seems that the German FM and Berlin Mayor, both members of opposition parties in Merkel’s grand coalition, are trying to change the course of a foreign election, notes John Rosenthal in the World Politics Review. As they many not realize, the transparent nature of the exercise seems to have then needed the kind of cover, a form of weaseling, that at least Germans will buy:
To deflect the charge that the city of Berlin and Germany as such were thus facilitating the campaign of the Democratic candidate, Obama's German sponsors hit upon the idea of declaring that Obama would be speaking not as an American presidential candidate, but merely as a senator or even just a "private citizen" -- as if there were two Obamas and the presidential candidate had not made the trip.
And possibly providing a donation in kind which might not be lawful as well, not to mention the malleability, arrogance, and cavalier nature of a campaign willing to accept it.

Sure, it might not be as juicy as watching another fake populist turn his career into a flaming twisted roadside wreck at the hands of a whacky, happy-go-lucky new-age blackmailer, baby-mama, and all-around over the hill politico trying to trade on the last chance she might have in life to get pregnant, but it’s just as hilarious to watch the press suppress or put a happy face on the venal nature of these supposed defenders of the politically useful downtrodden.

We’ll hear from all of these folks some day on ‘songs for aging children’, but until then, I cant imagine there being enough healing intervention to compensate for that little common sense and morally absent decision making. Funny, isn’t it, that most of us are happy with actually having a job to pay off those pyramid-power, ritual high colonics, and crystal-healing-by-your-person-angel classes?

Rats, Disease, and the European Way!

Ah, ouai! But zis is not Guantanoamo!

Almost 10 years after a book on overcrowding, rats and disease at Paris's La Sante prison shocked France, conditions in the nation's 195 jails are worse, social activists say. On July 28, Justice Minister Rachida Dati presented a bill to build more jails and increase use of electronic bracelets to keep inmates at home to ease congestion in cells, some of which have barely twice the space France's animal rights society recommends for a dog.

Opposition Socialist Member of Parliament Michele Delaunay says the plans will make little difference. The problem, she says, is a judicial culture that imprisons people awaiting trial --
How DARE they!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

"I'm so overexposed, I'm making Paris Hilton look like a recluse" said Barack Obama in… February …2005

You have heard about the Republican candidate's stooping to negative ads and hateful campaigns, haven't you? Disgusting, scandalous, going down into the gutter, etc… Well, it so turns out that the McCain campaign was doing little more than using Obama's own comparison to Paris Hilton! And that, from a Washingon Post article of three and a half years ago (merci à Arnaud)…
"Andy Warhol said we all get our 15 minutes of fame," [quipped Barack Obama in February 2005]. "I've already had an hour and a half. I mean, I'm so overexposed, I'm making Paris Hilton look like a recluse."
In a related story, John Rosenthal wonders who paid for the rock-star speech in Berlin of Obama the "private citizen", pointing out that at best, "Germany involved itself in an American election campaign, thus violating a core principal of international law. At worst, by providing Obama the campaign "platform" and perhaps direct or indirect subsidies as well, Germany violated not only international law, but American law too.":
If such a payment was indeed required, then, it would clearly have been paid not by Obama the "private person," but rather by the Obama campaign. If, on the other hand, no payment was required or the Berlin city government required payment less than that it would normally demand, then matters are even more serious: since this would amount to an illegal campaign contribution from a foreign source. Who paid, moreover, for setting up the stage? Who paid for the rock and reggae bands that "opened the show" before the "headliner" arrived? We know, at any rate, who paid for security: namely, the city of Berlin and hence, ultimately, German taxpayers. A special police deployment, reported to number some 700 officers, was assigned to the task. This treatment as well -- the sort that is ordinarily reserved for foreign heads of state or government -- constitutes a serious violation of the customary diplomatic protocols governing the relations among states.
Update: More news from Obama's past

Returning to the three-year-old-plus Washington Post story, incidentally, also interesting are Mark Leibovich's following paragraphs:
One of the keys to being well liked in Washington is to appear humble, which is why Washington is so full of people who are so unhumble when it comes to touting how humble they are. All of this comes naturally to Obama.

His signature quality is the ease with which he inhabits his charisma. Nothing about him conveys "trying too hard," as one might sense with a John Kerry, who often appears to be burning 500 calories for every hand he shakes. When he works a room, there is no clench to Obama's perma-smile or detectable strain to his small talk. He projects effortlessly, whether being earnest, wonkish or sheepish, and as with so many "likable pols," he applies self-deprecation as a favorite balm against any prima donna conceit.

…It's hard enough being a new senator: so many rules to learn, rooms to find, staffers to hire. But Obama's arrival packs the added bother of ridiculous expectations -- in addition to the absurdity of signing autographs for the security guard wanding him at the airport, or being asked during a press conference about his "place in history." (This question came the day before Obama was sworn in.) "I don't think I have a place in history yet," Obama replied. "I got elected to the U.S. Senate. I haven't done anything yet."
Read also the sentence about "the senator who is 99th in seniority", "No trips to New Hampshire or Iowa, either, for what it's worth", as well as Tom Daschle's recommendations, such as:
"You want to make everyone aware that you're a workhorse." As opposed to a "show horse," the likes of whom are inevitably pegged and resented within the chamber.

The Courage to Stand Up to the Feminists

…restraining orders are issued without the due process required for criminal prosecutions, yet they carry the threat of a prison sentence for anyone who violates them
writes the Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly.
Judge Francis B. Schultz rejected most of those arguments, but he cited a long line of cases holding that "clear and convincing evidence" is required in order to take away fundamental rights, such as a parent's right over the care and custody of his children.

Feminists are in an uproar about Judge Schultz's decision and would like the New Jersey Supreme Court to reverse it. Feminists want courts to uphold a woman's right to kick a man out of his home based on a woman's unverified accusations.

Family courts are notorious for issuing restraining orders based on one woman's unsupported request. The New Jersey Law Journal reported that an instructor taught judges to be merciless to husbands and fathers, saying, "Throw him out on the street, give him the clothes on his back, and tell him, 'See ya' around.'"

…the feminist agenda calls for domestic-violence laws to punish husbands and fathers above and beyond what can be proven in court under due-process procedures.

… U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. … wants to pretend a man is a felon even if he is not. That's the feminist anti-male agenda.

…It's time to restore basic constitutional rights to husbands and fathers by repudiating the feminist agenda that considers men guilty unless proven innocent.
More from Stephen Baskerville and from Bruce Eden:
Hudson County Superior Court Judge Francis B. Schultz should be considered an American hero. He stood up against the powerful feminist-controlled domestic violence machine and ruled that the New Jersey domestic violence statute is unconstitutional, and that people's 14th amendment rights were being violated. Judge Schultz could have taken the politically correct route; he did not. …

The time has come for common sense, constitutional protections to stop the bleeding of false allegations which permeate the family courts. The Attorney General's Office is in no position to oppose this ruling without discriminating against men. Either enforce the perjury laws or eliminate them altogether.

Love is a Warm Bullwhip

The Soviet dictator, who was responsible for the deaths of around 15 million people during his 31-year reign of terror, is in second place in online voting for the Name of Russia competition.
An inspiration to the likes of Mugabe. A goal in life for Mobutu Sese Seko. It’s a long tradition, one that’s brought us centuries of soul-killing strongmen. Europeans have always liked being under the boot of authority. It either offers the reassuring quality of “getting the putsch over with” or was and probably still is their form of aspiration to greatness, that is, wanting to be the cruel Dominator:
"Stalin is the most popular name in Russia," said Sergei Malinkovich, the Communist party leader who is driving the Stalin canonisation campaign.

"The people have forgiven him for the repressions, the collectivization, the elimination of cadres of the Red Army and other inevitable errors and tragedies of those cruel military and revolutionary times.

"Stalin has become the true national leader of Russia. He turned a backward country into an industrial giant."
How then, looking back on their path through the 20th century, could anyone say that they even have a living culture at all, as so many of them are font to say of the new world?
Despite the church's reluctance, St Petersburg's Communists are convinced their vision will come to pass. They have already commissioned religious icons depicting Stalin with a halo round his head that have reportedly sold very well around the city.

"By the end of the 21st century, icons of St Josef Stalin will be in every Orthodox Church," Mr Malinkovich said.

Monday, August 04, 2008

It’s Not Easy Being Green

What’s so cute about the comfortable lie that the left’s received wisdom has about the US being the biggest polluter on earth is that to have this “wisdom” requires a great deal of ignorance about the rest of the world.

The Beijing Olympics will expose the environmentalist fraud that the U.S. is the world's biggest polluter. Compared with China, we get the gold medal for energy efficiency. Can Al Gore speak Chinese?

Don't expect any protests from groups such as Greenpeace in Tiananmen Square as the Olympics open. China doesn't allow open protests, and environmentalists are quietly ignoring China's new status as the world's biggest polluter. But at these Olympics, oxygen tanks will be an essential piece of athletic equipment.
The amusing thing is that while the Chinese are in fact the worst users of energy one can imagine in the post-soviet age, their draconian techniques employed in controlling it during the Olympics are no different than the way they’ve handled people in any other matter in life, and that the green-red-trots seem rather attached to being draconian, so long as they find a rationalization by which to tell you that you should submit to their superior knowledge if you know what’s good for you.
The Berkeley researchers say China's emissions are growing at an annual rate of 11%. In 2006-07, China added 186,000 megawatts of coal-fired electrical generation capacity, equivalent to two United Kingdoms. The U.S. Energy Department says China's emissions rose 138% from 1990 to 2005.

As the Heritage Foundation's Ed Feulner points out, China's emissions rose 8% last year after jumping 11% in each of the two previous years. The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency notes that China alone accounted for two-thirds of the growth in global greenhouse gas emissions in 2007.
In other words, these great heroes of “the Worker” have managed to turn out more atmospheric pollutants than their actual economic growth, inverting the American success story, which all the while is the thing that the world’s precious political watermelons like to imagine is some sort of “crime against humanity”: polluting less by being more productive and andvancing industrial capacity.
Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development indicate that China's carbon-dioxide emissions per unit of output are five times those of the U.S. Our emissions rose by 1.5% last year after declining 1.3% the year before. Our GDP is rising faster than our emissions, meaning we are becoming more energy efficient every day.

As the big, bad USA's carbon dioxide emissions fell in 2006, our economy boomed 3.3%, says the Energy Information Administration. We used energy more efficiently and reduced emissions without Kyoto. Energy use per unit of GDP fell 4.2 % in 2006, and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP fell by 4.5%.

Compared with the Kyoto signatories, the U.S., not Al Gore, should be getting a Nobel Prize. The United Nations reports that greenhouse gas emissions from the Kyoto signatories, despite all their efforts, increased 2.6% from 1990 to 2005. Austria, New Zealand and Canada increased their emissions over 1990 levels by 14%, 23% and 54%..
But that doesn’t fit the script, because that isn’t what the left’s script is really for.

Appellation D'origine Contrôlée Non Way, José

- via the charming and talented Debbie Schlussel

Sunday, August 03, 2008

So Long, Shorty

It seems the war on Jihadists has provoked an arms race.

The sources said that the explosives could weigh between five kilogrammes to seven kilogrammes, made deadly by adding glass splinters, metal ball bearings and bullets.
A “hair shirt” if there ever was one.