Saturday, November 22, 2008

Imaginary News Headline Caption Contest

But not quite with THIS image. No, rather what would the headlines of the editorials and "news" items read if that was George Bush, and not Barack Obama with a crowd praying for, with, and perhaps later on with some friends, to him.

Friday, November 21, 2008

As the Rest of the World Turns....

Reisen in das Land der Neid und Müdigkeit

As noted previously, a great many Germans, always fond of anti-capitalistic "it's the man's fault" explanations for nearly anything and have managed to let their post O-gasm glow of being freshly ravished last exactly a week. The mags and rags pander to it of course, but amid the sad and outdated cliches we've seen before with cowboys, truckers, cowboys, men in busieness suits (I guess they just don't think they have any of those,) cowboys, locusts, and cowboys... we see that now someone is indulging lefty anarchist-cum-welfare-addict assasination fantasies. Medienkritik:

With Obama, Spiegel and others will no longer be focusing attacks on the American executive (at least in the short-term) as was standard practice under Bush. Instead, as we have previously speculated, they will likely turn to attacking broader aspects of American society (the economic downturn is the current dominant theme) for all that is wrong in the United States and the world. Think World Scapegoat USA. Think pet peeves. Having to respect Obama just makes accomplishing what readers require a bit more demanding.
It makes sense on one level. There appear to be enough Germans found in this survey as Clarsonimus has clued us in on, to live up to their stereotypes - in this case one of being an incredibly miserable bunch of grousers.
How, uh, shocking or something. But, then again, the most shocking thing about the latest study concerning the German nation’s outlook on life in general and democracy in particular isn’t the fact that it is so negative and down and fatalistic and just plain pitiful (their outlook is always that way, otherwise they wouldn’t call themselves Germans - although this time it’s the most negative it’s been for about twenty years or so), no, the most shocking thing about this latest study is that anyone could possibly think to classify it as being news at all.
It's an outlook from that "I'd rather have a frontal lobotomy than have a bottle in front of me school" from which the same adopt the inverse, but that probably isn't important when you've already turned into Morrissey.

Barack Obama aurait-il pu être élu en France ? La question agite la France monocolore

Could a Barack Obama have been elected in France? asks Philippe Bernard in Le Monde.

Regarding Iran, the Europeans No Longer Fear a Too Rigid America But a Too Conciliatory America

What is most surprising about the Europeans' initial interactions with Barack Obama, writes Daniel Vernet in Le Monde, is a warning not to get too cozy with the Iranian régime.
C'est là qu'on voit que les temps ont changé. On n'est plus à l'ère de George W. Bush et des soupçons d'interventionnisme irréfléchi. De la part des Etats-Unis, les Européens ne craignent plus une attitude trop rigide mais trop conciliante. Les idées de M. Obama à propos d'un dialogue "sans conditions" avec Téhéran les inquiètent.

…les trois Européens sont payés pour savoir que les Iraniens sont maîtres dans l'art de gagner du temps sans rien concéder. Mais rien n'indique que le président élu et son entourage n'en soient pas tout aussi conscients.
In other words, what the always-more-lucid-than-thou Europeans always fear (Bush or no Bush) is… a clueless America. In one direction or the other.

In the Middle East, the American soldier is an inspiring and worthy heir to those who liberated France and Europe

Who are they, those soldiers from across the Atlantic, what is their daily life like, and what support do they bring to the men of our OMLT on a daily basis?
asks Merlin, a French soldier in Afghanistan.
…what impressive warriors they are! We have not come across any bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be.

…And combat ? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all - always coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks : they switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with the enemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting : they just charge !

…We seldom hear any harsh word, and from 5 AM onwards the camp chores are performed in beautiful order and always with excellent spirit. A passing American helicopter stops near a stranded vehicle just to check that everything is alright; an American combat team will rush to support ours before even knowing how dangerous the mission is - from what we have been given to witness, the American soldier is an inspiring and worthy heir to those who liberated France and Europe.

Au Moyen-Orient, le soldat américain est un beau soldat, digne héritier de ceux qui libérèrent la France et l’Europe

Qui sont-ils, ces soldats d’outre Atlantique, quel est leur quotidien et quel soutien apportent-ils quotidiennement à nos hommes des OMLT ?
demande Merlin, soldat français en Afghanistan dans une observation personnelle et "from the field" qui contredit quelque peu les descriptions superlatives, apocalyptiques, et hystériques de la presse de l'Hexagone (la guerre est un "désastre", le soldat américain "a peur", la "tragédie" du quotidien) depuis le confort de leurs bureaux à Paris.
…quels soldats ! Nous n’en avons pas croisé de mauvais. Etrange quand on sait combien nous savons être critiques !

Et au combat me direz-vous ? Si vous avez vu RAMBO vous avez tout vu : toujours présents pour se porter à la rescousse quand une de nos équipes se trouve dans le pétrin, et toujours dans des délais très brefs. C’est un de leur secret : ils passent de la tenue claquette T-shirt à la tenue de combat en trois minutes, et arrivés à proximité de la position ennemie leur mode d’action est simple et déroutant : ils foncent !

…Ici, rarement un mot plus haut que l’autre, et dès 5 heures du matin les travaux d’intérêts généraux se font dans le plus bel ordre et sans jamais rechigner. Bref, de ce qui nous a été donné de voir, de l’hélicoptère de passage qui s’arrête à côté d’un véhicule en panne pour savoir si tout va bien aux sections de combat qui se portent en appui des nôtres avant même de savoir si la mission est périlleuse, le soldat américain est un beau soldat, digne héritier de ceux qui libérèrent la France et l’Europe.

Leftist Promises: Why Europe Doesn't Work Anymore

(A handout to François)

In Defense of Pornography

Funny. When it comes to X-rated movies and triple-X stores in neighborhoods, leftists say it is protected speech, they point to the First Amendment, etc…

Then we must not judge; then pornography is okay.

When it comes to talk radio, suddenly that is when "pornography" becomes something despicable (a four-letter word, so to speak).

Then suddenly, we are able to judge; then pornography is not okay.

A David-versus-Goliath tale

The success of California's Proposition 8 was truly a David-versus-Goliath tale
writes Ben Duffy as he discusses "a number of unexamined assumptions and a slew of overtly prejudicial language" as well as "sucker-punching democracy".
The traditional marriage movement stood up to the judges, the California attorney general, the newspapers, the religious Left and the governor to win a major victory in the on-going culture war. … It's game over, right?

Not quite. This is where the shadiness of the homosexual lobby becomes blatant cheating.

Death Cab for Goofy

Aw. Idn’t dat cute... Clearstream. Again.

Former prime minister faces trial in France

Villepin is accused of engineering the dissemination of a fake list of secret accounts at Clearstream that appeared to link several French politicians, including Sarkozy, to kickbacks from the sale of navy frigates to Taiwan in 1991.
Being the revised version of the warrior-poet-king ain’t what it used to be in EUtopia since the great protector of the realm bit has been reduced to a complex involving pacifism and bribing officials to permit arms peddling.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dans quelle société saine un nouveau venu peut-il sceller une amitié avec de parfaits inconnus en répandant sa haine sur un peuple du monde?

In Swirtzerland, writes Stéphane
— and I am ready to bet upon it, in most parts of Europe — in 2008, to integrate oneself, one has to be anti-American.
Meanwhile, Davids Medienkritik asks, Will Anti-Americanism Disappear in German Media now that Obama is President?

Birth Dearth of a Nation

People continue to ask: “who are the citizens of Europe?” Well, to begin with, it’s people from non-member states that are trying the hardest to get in, while the actual citizens are trying very hard to avoid history altogether and be a non-nation. Non-confederacy extended to anything that actually IS the role of the state (foreign policy, legal justice, defence,) while the EU itself is preoccupied by standards that can be set by industries themselves, and trying to look like they’re filling the potholes and building roads – the precise opposite of any sane definition of governance.

Then again, what do you expect? The European world-view seeks global (outsourced) governance in nearly anything that matters – so long as it’s own ideas can be injected in it and imposed on others. Such is what we find with the misperseption with the idea that the American view of free markets asn the European notion of “social markets” (whatever that is this week,) both have an impact on reversing the global economic downturn. They don’t. Arguing that point will not recapitalize banks, all it could do is change the practices in the future.

They just make one think that governance is doing something tangible, and appear to be responding to the call for someone to do “something… anything.” The confusion is permanent. From the EU Observer we discover just how fevered their minds really are when they refer to internal matters under the heading of “Global Governance”:

"The World Trade Organisation should be taken as a positive example of global governance," the 20 chambers said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Socialist grouping in the European Parliament on Thursday issued a five-point plan from Manchester where their MEPs had been having a strategising pow-wow, for a rebuilding of the world financial system and how to boost the economy.

Their "Manchester Declaration", is a largely Keynesian document, calling for a European green investment package to put money in people's pockets and make the shift to a low-carbon economy, targetting in particular vulnerable households and small businesses.

The left-of-centre MEPs call for much greater levels of intergovernmental co-ordination and public spending.

"The European Union has a key role to play in raising and channelling funds. There should be no taboo," said French Socialist MEP Pervenche Berès, chair of the European Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee. "The member states should discuss the possibility of the EU issuing Eurobonds to invest in European projects."
Further to that confusion is what the NGO groupies outside are saying about the very idea that personal economic behavior can be dictated:
"Let's call time on global greed," they continued. "The same systems that create poverty here – unfair trade rules and tax systems, debt burdens, privatisation and attacks on welfare spending – also create poverty in the developing world."
Good luck. Since there has never been a suuccessful economic recovery that didn't involve a reduction of trade rules, taxes, employer mandates, and public borrowing, we can see what the critic there is really looking for: some supernatural corection to whatever is historically true. Proof that the left's ideas, however bad they are, must be made to seem a success at any cost.

Wow, I say.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

They've Been Holding Back. Think of all the Misery his Brilliance could have Spared Humanity

I really can't wait for this Hamas "Scientist" to start treating people for AIDS based on his own assertions.

Ahmad Al-Muzain: "The Prophet Muhammad said: 'If a fly falls into your drink, you should dip it in the drink, and then dispose of the fly, because one of its wings bears a disease, and the other wing bears the cure.' This hadith was included in the Al-Bukhari collection. This hadith makes it absolutely clear that the Prophet Muhammad confirmed a clear scientific fact: If a fly falls into a vessel - before a person drinks from this vessel, he should dip the fly in his drink, before disposing of it. Then he should drink the beverage, because it won't do him any harm. Why? Because one of the fly's wings bears the disease, and the other one bears the cure.
Man, he's right out there on the bleeding edge of frontier of knowledge, isn't he?
"Bayer... Derived Great Benefit from [This Study]... To Treat AIDS"

"When Bayer, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, learned about this study, it derived great benefit from it. It established biological breeding farms, where they raised flies and extracted antibiotics from their wings - the strongest antibiotics in the whole world. This antibiotic was made into a course of five pills, which is given to the patients, and it is used - believe it or not, my brothers - to treat AIDS patients. It strengthens their immune system, and destroys all types of microbes with which they are afflicted. This is all thanks to the power of this antibiotic. Obviously, this antibiotic is very expensive, and one course costs more than $500, but it is very strong and effective. How did they discover it? From this hadith." [...]
Actual facts or connections obviously not needed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Governmentalism Universalism

Get elected, get the job, get your hooks on that oh-so-lovely tax-payer funded cheque, hold on for dear-life:

A 74-year-old blind woman has been told a lien will be put on her South Attleboro home if she doesn't come up with a penny she owes on an outstanding utility bill.

The city sent Wilbur a letter dated Nov. 10 stating that if the 1 cent balance is not paid by Dec. 10, the city will assess a lien of up to $48 on Wilbur's next property tax bill.

"They wasted taxpayer money on the letter," Wilbur said, noting the 42-cent charge for a stamp. City Collector Debora Marcoccio said the bill was sent out along with more than 2,000 others as the city tries to recoup outstanding balances before resorting to putting liens on property.

A computer automatically printed the letters for any account with a balance remaining, and they were not reviewed by staff before being sent out, Marcoccio said.

"It would be fiscally irresponsible for me to have staff weed through the bills and pull out any below a certain amount," Marcoccio said. " And what would that amount be?"

Marcoccio said that before lien notices are sent out, the city sends out bills for the outstanding balance.

"My question is, how come it wasn't paid when the bills went out?" she said.

In the meantime, the city is holding firm on the amount due.

Marcoccio, who called the whole situation "ridiculous," said the city will not waive the balance.

"If there's a bill, it must be paid," she said.
With such stern qualities there is no doubt that one day City Collector Debora Marcoccio will ascend to that true centre of power in southwest Massachusetts, the position of County Collector. Then those pesky plebes will really have to bow down.

Governmentalism, every barrel scraped - all pennies scrounged.

Update: Huzzah to Antonio Viveiros for picking up the tab.

The Make Believe Superpower

Someone wants to be taken seriously for the sake of everyone pretending to take them seriously.

Soren Kern:

European leaders have congratulated Obama on his election victory by sending him a six-page letter in which they benevolently “offer” the United States a “partnership of equals” in order to address global problems in the post-Bush era.

That’s right: Europeans are calling on Obama to “accept” Europe as America’s equal on the global stage. The idea behind this new man-to-man relationship with Washington was hatched by (surprise, surprise) France, which currently holds the EU’s six-month rotating presidency.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says the reason for establishing an equal transatlantic partnership is that “the world has changed.” Europe has suddenly realized that the United States “is not the only one concerned by the world’s problems. The European Union has become more resolute…. We don’t want to play a secondary role any more,” says Kouchner.
The claim is implausible. They will, as the German withdrawal of committment to the fight in the Taliban in Afghanistan does in the face of the prior insistence that the US "not go it alone."

I'm sorry, but given the unreliability of our "European betters", there is no way anyonme on earth will not have to "go it alone" when the Europeans are involved in the partnership, specifically because they do nothing. Even since unsuccessful dismantling the Former Yugoslavia, an effort that has taken far longer than what now is at the phase of a successful peace-keeping operation in Iraq, this has been patently obvious.
What’s behind Europe’s latest round of “let’s play superpower make-believe?” European leaders are testing Obama’s mettle, plain and simple; they want to see if he will bend more easily to the European will than did his predecessor. European leaders never wracked up the courage to ask President Bush directly for a partnership of equals because they knew he would have laughed them out of town.

Bush understood that Europeans were unable and unwilling to match their words with deeds. Faced early on in his presidency with the solemn responsibility to protect Americans from terrorism, Bush effectively told European leaders to “Put Up or Shut Up.” Most Europeans decided to take their ball and go home. They then rode out the rest of the Bush Administration by salving their wounded pride with anti-Americanism.
The analogy couldn't be any better. The goal is as it always is, to exert the maximum leverage and highest profile at least or no cost, but also for very little reason other than to avoid some sort of Euro-humiliation. Increasingly, there seems to be no point to their outward actions other than for their own commercial interest, and little evidence that the EU's purported interest in riding the human rights/social justice parade to no effect and at no cost. The latest word on the 6 helicopters for

Darfur that the Europeans have not been able to come up with since 2004? They're hoping for some charity from the Russians who are providing 4 to indulge their moral vanity that they have any effect other that a parisitic one on humanity.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Farewell Welcome to Arms

With good reasons, French merchants want to arm themselves.

CCTV cameras and metal bars weren't sufficient to protect themselves against attack. Merchants in Moissy-Craymel (Seine-Saint-Denis/77) decided to resort to firearms.

Yesterday afternoon a dozen of them went to the Police Commissariat in Moissy to ask for gun permits for their shops.

"We decided to protect ourselves."
There never will be a cop around when you need one, even in a police state, and these people know it.

Information sought (aka, Too lazy to Google)

Most of the footage showing those pirates off the coast of Africa show rather diminutive and dilapidated vessels loaded with heavily armed modern-day Jolly Rogers.

Are there international maritime regulations which keep the crew of vessels such as the now boarded Sirius Star from having access to an on-board armoury? Ramming the pirate vessel? Other?

Causation, Correlation, Clue?

From the wires:

Huntington's economy has withered, its poverty rate is worse than the national average, and vagrants haunt a downtown riverfront park. But this city's financial woes are not nearly as bad as its health.

Nearly half the adults in Huntington's five-county metropolitan area are obese — an astounding percentage, far bigger than the national average in a country with a well-known weight problem.

Huntington leads in a half-dozen other illness measures, too, including heart disease and diabetes. It's even tops in the percentage of elderly people who have lost all their teeth (half of them have).
From wikipedia:

Huntington's city councilors are also elected to four-year terms at the same time as the mayor. There are eleven members of the council, nine of whom represent single-member districts, while the other two are elected at-large by the city as a whole. Huntington's city council has the authority to draft and debate ordinances and can override a mayoral veto with a two-thirds majority. There are currently ten Democrats and one Republican on the city council.
No doubt Spiegel is re-routing its journos from Kannapolis to Huntington.

Round and round and round and round....

The great unwashed turned their eyes towards the heavens this past weekend as the great and glorious met to "do something" in order to save civilisation and/or further their hopes for future re-election. Of course, an "action-orientated" communiqué was issued:

13. We underscore the critical importance of rejecting protectionism and not turning inward in times of financial uncertainty. In this regard, within the next 12 months, we will refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing World Trade Organization (WTO) inconsistent measures to stimulate exports.

Elsewhere today:

The European Union (EU) put antidumping duties on Chinese-made candles and non-alloy steel products on Saturday, approving an earlier flagged move as leaders at the Group of 20 (G20) summit called for countries to avoid trade protectionism.

Blessed are the experts.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Further on the European Fixation with Convenient Hatreds

German-African-American artist Marc Brandenburg employs the usual auto-promotional bombast when he calls himself a bastard, but reveals a sort of ahuman and depersonalized view of human nature when all he can say about Barack Obama is that “he's practically white.”

The subheading found in print was promptly rewritten, but what they replaced it with is early as feeble to say that “Hopefully Obama will Survive his Term of Office”:

He calls himself a "bastard", and Barack Obama and Lewis Hamilton as well. Berlin artist Marc Brandenburg likes bold words. WORLD ONLINE has talked with him about him and with him about racism in the United States. He is sure: if Obama look like Eddy Murphy - he would not win the election.
As is the case whrn you're mincing concepts to keep the social leverage of long-dead racism alive for your own uses, except for the fact that Condaleeza Rice's complection wouldn't have altered her election prospects.

But never mind all that. The reality of those who actually live in the US, a place exceedingly less given to overnt and unstated racism that Germany is.

Brandenburg is a Berliner who hasn't actually lived in the US for any significant part of his life. Die Welt is asking him these questions in the most typically European way: not because of any actual life experience or generation knoledge of the 1960s, but because of the color of his skin and over some unspoken foolish notion that there is something in his genes that qualiies him to assume that Obama will be pander to his dramatic imaginings and be assasinated due to his skin color.

I can understand the motive. In a tacit manner it gives Brandenburg a way to imagine himbself a potential martyr and vessel for your attention and public expression of pity. I hope he makes at least one sale out of it.

Those darn experts!

Quite the read last week and today regarding those experts and their (somewhat) scientific rationale for global warming and/or cooling (both?):

A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore's chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.

So far so good:

This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.

So what explained the anomaly? GISS's computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.
Undoubtedly the "experts" called oops, we screwed the pooch on that one. Hardly:

The error was so glaring that when it was reported on the two blogs - run by the US meteorologist Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre, the Canadian computer analyst who won fame for his expert debunking of the notorious "hockey stick" graph - GISS began hastily revising its figures. This only made the confusion worse because, to compensate for the lowered temperatures in Russia, GISS claimed to have discovered a new "hotspot" in the Arctic - in a month when satellite images were showing Arctic sea-ice recovering so fast from its summer
melt that three weeks ago it was 30 per cent more extensive than at the same time last year.

A GISS spokesman lamely explained that the reason for the error in the Russian figures was that they were obtained from another body, and that GISS did not have resources to exercise proper quality control over the data it was supplied with. This is an astonishing admission: the figures published by Dr Hansen's institute are not only one of the four data sets that
the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relies on to promote its case for global warming, but they are the most widely quoted, since they consistently show higher temperatures than the others.

One can imagine a faux conversation regarding this matter. Perhaps a conversation between a member of the coal-faced great unwashed and said experts:

Coal-face: Gosh, looks like these numbers will mean you have to revise your alarming forecasts.
Expert: Not at all. We just experienced some out-lying parametric data set incongruity.
Coal-face: But if the data was incorrect shouldn't that result in changes in the predictions?
Expert: Quite the opposite. We harmonised additional pre-existing data sets included in the original projections which abrogated the need for further clarification. If anything, the incorrect information further re-inforces our original conclusions.
Coal-face: But if the additional data already featured in the original data set does that mean it was wrong too?
Expert: Listen, I have to get to a meeting. Maybe we can talk later?

Where would we be without our betters?