Saturday, August 01, 2009

“Retired” Terrorist Meets Hollywood Squares

When all the right people hate you...

The group condemned the use of the interview with Mr Abu Aita. “This was a dirty use of our brother, Ayman, and we don’t accept that the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades is part of the film,” the statement said.

Mr Abu Aita claims that he was tricked into appearing in the film and that he is no longer involved with the Martyrs’ Brigades. He has threatened to sue Baron Cohen. “This man, I think he is not a man,” Mr Abu Aita said. “He is not saying the truth about me. He lied.”
...You’re doing something right.

Even our brother, Paul Lynde knew more about enlightened civilization that Brüno’s dupe ever would.

Even as flippant and goofy as he was, he knew what mattered, and could sum it up in a single line. Aita, on the other hand, doesn’t seem intelligent enough to understand that he’s given unearned rights to speech that he doesn’t deserve.

Friday, July 31, 2009

I Blame an Insufficient Number of Human Sacrifices

Chicago Sees Coldest July In 67 Years
After all, it’s no less scientific than the logic behind “global warming”, um, “climate change”, um, “climate turbulence”, and what’s even better, it doesn’t require coercive social conditioning and idiots bringing eugenics up again only 64 years after Hitler euthanized himself.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

From Central and Eastern Europe to the Apologizer-in-Chief: A Remarkable Breach of Convention Doubling As a Public Expression of Mistrust

It’s a remarkable breach of convention when close and very dependent allies of the United States display their anxieties about being sold out to Russia by the country they regard as the guarantor of their sovereignty and independence
writes John Vinocur.
That’s what an open letter to the administration of President Barack Obama from Central and Eastern Europe, signed by 22 intellectuals and former leaders from the region, including Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa, boils down to — a public expression of mistrust.

Released last Thursday, nine days after Mr. Obama’s speech in Moscow on Russian-American relations, the letter — which has gotten a public endorsement from Poland and, according to an American observer, has the approval of several of the region’s current leaders — makes plain an existential concern about what it regards the administration’s insufficient engagement in countering a “revisionist Russia.”

The letter is emblematic of a widening gap: On one side, an American government whose friends fear could trade off their East European interests as a hinge for deals on Iran and nuclear disarmament. And on the other, people from the old Soviet bloc who take as an ominous matter Russia’s attempts to re-establish a zone of influence along its borders.

The letter’s frankness is twice rare: It comes from a region absolutely without objective interest or amusement in needling the United States. And, whatever its signatories have been told by way of reassurance in the last weeks — like no U.S. sellout will occur — the document still disseminates the notion that the Obama administration is messing up an important piece of foreign policy.

In stating its view of Russia’s threat to the region, the letter makes clear the accompanying discomfort it feels about “a realist” America in 2009.

Of course, Mr. Obama’s Moscow speech did say “states must have the right to borders that are secure and their own foreign policies.” But in much of Eastern and Central Europe, not quite a year after Russia’s invasion of Georgia, the president’s reference to international law doesn’t suffice as reassurance from and to the heart.

Little is certain in this changing relationship of old allies, the letter suggests. Rather, the signatories talk — in terms of desire, not fait accompli — of their hopes of finding a “moral compass” and “commitment” in U.S. policy.

They add emphatically that no one is more capable than the people of Eastern and Central Europe to recognize the signs of a compliant America or a principled one:

“We know from our own historical experience the difference between when the United States stood up for democratic values and when it did not. Our region suffered when the United States succumbed to ‘realism’ at Yalta. And it benefited when the United States used its power to fight for principle” during the Soviet era.

…These Europeans, in particular anti-Communist heroes of the stature of Mr. Havel and Mr. Walesa, can find dreaded signposts for a newly “realist” America — in this context, a contemptible word meaning willingness for compromise at democracy’s expense — when the United States waters down the description of its essential role in winning the Cold War and ending the Soviet domination of their region.

This view holds that if the Americans don’t talk confidently about their victory, their obligation to defend it is diminished.

In Moscow, Mr. Obama seemed mostly to relativize the era.

He spoke of the Cold War almost as a disembodied time when “American and Soviet armies were still massed in Europe, trained and ready to fight” across “ideological trenches.”

Then, vaulting over the deaths, the dictatorships, the Berlin Wall and the economic collapse of the Soviet Union, he said, “in a few short years, the world as it was ceased to be.”

There was no specific reference to the successful outcome of two generations of American policy, or to U.S. responsibility for defending its results.

For those Europeans under Soviet control for almost 50 years — taking into account the president’s status as a guest in Moscow — the omission and the speech’s aftertaste of moral equivalence had to be striking.

Especially since Mr. Obama, in his book “The Audacity of Hope,” praised Ronald Reagan for his “insistence there was no easy equivalence between East and West. In all this, I had no quarrel with Reagan. And when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, I had to give the old man his due.”

(There’s more here: Compare the president’s Moscow reference to the “Cold War reaching a conclusion through the actions of many nations” to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s version of events. Experiencing the Soviet empire’s implosion from the East German side of the wall, she has pointed to Mr. Reagan’s strength and said “it was exactly this strength that led to the collapse of socialism and to Germany’s reunification.”)

Is This the America That Obama Wants?

A decision by France’s energy regulator that seems to defy both logic and Europe’s green consciousness has set off a political storm here, shaking up entrenched interests in the electrical power sector
writes David Jolly (some sentences are different between the NYT's online version and the IHT's print version — I have sometimes reestablished the original (?) wording).
At the center is a tiny company that seeks to save consumers money.

Two weeks ago, the French Energy Regulatory Commission, the C.R.E., decided that Voltalis, a company that installs electricity management devices in homes and businesses and then manages their use, would have to, in effect, pay power producers for the power that it saves — effectively destroying its business model.

…The ruling immediately led to charges of too much coziness among entrenched interests in the electrical power sector.

Challenges, a French business magazine, suggested that the country’s electricity producers, including Électricité de France, which is 85 percent owned by the government, wielded too much influence over regulators.

Voltalis’s chief executive, Pierre Bivas, took his case to the public last weekend, where the reaction has been scathing.

“At this rate, it will soon be obligatory in France to consume large quantities of electricity, or face taxes and fines, and maybe imprisonment, too,” the antinuclear group Sortir du Nucléaire said in criticizing the decision.

At peak periods, producers must bring more costly capacity on line or demand must be limited. Voltalis’s technology, which is also in use in the United States, has disrupted the existing model.

“From the consumer’s side, it’s exactly symmetrical,” Mr. Bivas said on Tuesday. “In both cases, the energy produced is used by consumers and paid for by consumers. They’re saying consumers should pay for the energy that was never produced and never used.”

…Cécile George, a technical expert for the regulator, said the decision hinged on how the company would be paid, because having the grid operator pay Voltalis "would be discriminatory against how other large suppliers are treated." “Voltalis can’t be a free rider,” she said.

Following the airing of the "discriminatory" view, with its attending "we, in the government bureaucracy, are valiantly fighting against injustice", we get to the government administration's reaction, complete with the necessary "we are all in this together, we fair knights of France, and we are fairly going to give a little to everyone" language.

Jean-Louis Borloo, the French energy and environment minister, backed the regulators in their decision. But on Monday, perhaps because of the rising political heat, he said he would appoint a working group to propose the legal and regulatory changes necessary “to favor energy-saving and respect the interest of all the parties involved.” The panel is to report back by year’s end.

The Culture has been Reduced to a Sad PR Exercise

Funny, isn’t it that failed societies seem to grasp at straws. The doofuses on C Dans L’Air, a kind of metrosexual Oprah program are in their journalistic mimicry trying to plausit that Barack Obama has French ancestry through a distant character somewhere who was a Huguenot escapee. Nonetheless, this give him a lineage the empty shells of C Dans L’Air something to finally live for. They even rather amusingly filed it under “International Politics.”

Just as the first logo-branded Presidential product is proving himself to be rather quite unintelligent, and politically divisive, people in the US are growing to regret the fact that they elected him. Ergo – quite naturally, as the specter of quasi-magical thinking and philosophical emptiness rises, the more appealing he is in Europastan. The fact remain that the more it is that a society hates and resents America, the more they like Barack Obama and want to claim him as their puppet.

Maybe the stories are connected on some gut-level

In Battle, Hunches Prove to Be Valuable

New Poll Finds Growing Unease on Health Plan

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dutch to neo-Malthusian sects: Been there, done that, got the t-shirt

It looks as though somebody missed the memo: the idea is to ratchet up the hysteria, not speak rationally about it:

The Netherlands is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world, but the Dutch meteorological institute sees no reason to adapt its scenarios for the future.

There is no reason to panic. Despite last year's finding that the Netherlands and Western Europe are warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world, there is no need revise the climate change scenarios that the Dutchmeteorological institute (KNMI) drew up three years ago to help the Netherlands deal with climate change. In other words: there is no need to make the dikes twice as high.

That is the reassuring message of a new KNMI report published on Wednesday.

In 2006, the KNMI envisioned four possible scenarios for the Netherlands in 2050, based on different degrees of global warming. All four scenarios started from the premise that the Netherlands will continue to warm up, its winters will get wetter and the sea level will continue to rise.

Since then a lot has been said about climate change: from theories that it is just a lot of scaremongering to the prediction that the central Dutch town of Amersfoort will soon have a beach, as in Al Gore's climate change movie. As a result, the KNMI was being asked more and more often by local authorities, water boards and architects if its 2006 predictions were still up to date. Wasn't it time to raise thedikes, widen the sewers, start building heat-resistant buildings?

"There was a need to make an intermediary assessment, to look at the recent research and to judge it as part of one vision for the Netherlands," says KNMI researcher Albert Klein Tank. "That's what we're there for."

The KNMI's conclusion is that the existing scenarios are still a good foundation to base policy on.

Yes, the Netherlands and Western Europe are warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world; storms are more intense than was predicted three years ago, and international research shows that the polar caps of Western Antarctica and Greenland are melting faster, which may have an impact on the Netherlands.

But, the KNMI says, our scenarios still stand. "The changes are still within the margins of the scenarios."

I wonder what the 100-monther 89-monther sect thinks about such blasé talk from officialdom?

Note the graphic 23 seconds into the clip

Mythbusters, a continuing series

With the exception of the price, of course:

Organic food is no healthier than ordinary food, a large independent review has concluded.

There is little difference in nutritional value and no evidence of any extra health benefits from eating organic produce, UK researchers found.

The Food Standards Agency who commissioned the report said the findings would help people make an "informed choice".

But the Soil Association criticised the study and called for better research.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine looked at all the evidence on nutrition and health benefits from the past 50 years.
Note to those of the "food miles" faith. Then again, maybe the organic brand is actually an example of those mystical products which only have sales because of marketing tricks by Big Business and induced wants versus actual needs. The "No Logo" types are always going on about the pernicious nature of advertising, never actually providing examples mind you.

Who would have guessed that organic foods are the closest product to fit the misleading/marketing-driven/hood-wink the public into purchasing un-needed products routine?

How many of you Canadians in the room think you have a terrible health care system?

From Paul Krugman, aka the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics "for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity", we have this (thanks to Hervé). (By the way: Should an analyst — an unbiased, objective analyst — say "bad move on my part" when things do not go in the direction he expected them to?)

That Nonexistent Cat Sure Likes Lasagna!

Care for some disturbingly dark graphic Haiku?

You Want a Lifetime of Freedom and Stability

So do we.

More Pitot Problems Seem to Be Emerging for Airbus

During a recent flight, more problems seem to be emerging for Air France (and Airbus) regarding one of its planes' Pitot tubes…

Leading one patriotic reader to exclaim:
Et pour les autres compagnies ? Bon sang, pourquoi personne ne pose t-il la question pour les autres compagnies ??

Mais Oui, Of Course; Garçon! One More Glass of Rouge For la Mam'zelle

But ov course, zis ees a storee zat could onlee 'ave been sent to mee by a Frenchman — what you zink? (zank iou, François)…

The Governor of Arkansas, a Former Vice-Presidential Candidate, Has Resigned

Or so said the France 2 channel's introductory comment announcing its report on the resignation of Alaska's Sarah Palin…

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kangaroo Juvenile Court Kidnaps Babies

"All they want is our money" says one couple whose child was kidnapped by the Child Protective Services (sic) "and our child — for more money". (More from Phyllis Schlafly and from Stephen Baskerville…)

Dieu Merci We Don't Live in George Bush's America

Thank God we don't live in George Bush's Amérique, deadpans Hervé, as the Frenchman points out that between 2001 and 2008, telephone wiretapping in France has increased by 440% (although even this high number is allegedly a far cry from other West European countries).

According to Le Monde (although some readers point out that the newspaper of reference needs to tidy up on its math),
Selon une étude universitaire dont rend compte Le Figaro dans son édition de mardi 28 juillet, disponible dès lundi sur le site internet du quotidien, les interceptions téléphoniques judiciaires ont augmenté de 440 % entre 2001 et 2008, passant de 5 845 en 2001 à 26 000 en 2008. "De quoi grever le budget de la Chancellerie", souligne le quotidien : les opérateurs et leurs prestataires facturent 497 euros hors taxes chaque interception sur une ligne fixe, et 88 euros hors taxes celles sur un téléphone mobile.

Is it Spanky Time Yet?

Much as it was with the fighting KPD and SA brown-shirts in the collapsing days of the Weimar Republic, violence is thought to be in the cards for Berlin. The only difference between these leftists and Liebknecht or Hitler’s leftist thugs is that they really don’t have anything to really fight over.

The headlines are there almost every morning: BMW burnt, VW set alight, a Mercedes torched. Almost nightly, somewhere in Berlin, a vehicle is set on fire in what police say are political statements by an increasingly militant left-wing. Around 170 cars have gone up in flames this year; and earlier this month, police vehicles became the latest targets.

Additionally, during May Day celebrations this year the traditional scuffle between left-wing protestors and police became unusually violent. Leftists also recently staged a demonstration at Berlin's defunct downtown Tempelhof airport.
The really funny part of all of this is that it isn’t happening to nearly the same degree in the former east Berlin, but rather in the traditional land of the fantasy-radicals and “mall punks”. The other funny thing is that the Berlin Brigade booked out of Tempelhof more than a decade ago, leaving its’ heritage to the Prussians who paraded there, and the Nazis building Lufthansa’s rep there.

The Army as the left would have it. Oohrah!
Is Wowereit Fanning the Flames?

"The capital's mayor is stirring things up against the police and then using (them) his employees as cannon fodder during large protests," Wendt told SPIEGEL ONLINE, referring to this year's May Day demonstrations in Berlin when more than double the number of police were injured than the previous year and local police chiefs were blamed for not being more forceful. Not only that, Wendt said, but parts of Wowereit's administration -- the governing coalition pairs the center-left Social Democrats with the far-left Left Party -- were openly sympathetic to the left-wing extremists. "That's not really a shot in the arm for my colleagues. A lot of Berlin police have had enough," Wendt said.
But there really isn’t anything new about this. Berlin has always enjoyed it’s educational head-wounds as much as it’s enjoyed being unenthusiastic about the perversions and misperceptions that were most easily at hand.

Writer Christopher Isherwood saw in 1932 what is largely still true about anything that seems “big” or “dangerous” there.
"Wasn't Berlin's famous `decadence' largely a commercial `line' which the Berliners had instinctively developed in their competition with Paris? Paris had long since cornered the straight-girl market, so what was left for Berlin to offer its visitors but a masquerade of perversions?"
A masquerade, not unlike the prospect of Kabuki protests and Kabuki violence, when they then couldn’t tell where the risk of social destruction was until too late because of the ideological filter that they were seeing everything through. It was all repetition. Standard fare. Just like Berliner “youts” going at it today, in 1980, 1970, or in the 1930’s.
Christopher Isherwood, gamely hanging on in the city, lost touch with most of his gay friends. The more prudent ones, he guessed, were lying low, while a few "silly ones fluttered around town exclaiming how sexy the Storm Troopers looked in their uniforms." One pair of homosexual lovers, believing that "Germany was entering an era of military man-love,"
I mean, like, what a legacy. Too bad nothing has changed. The ritual bred boredom and silliness then, and it went on until it was too late. Now, the ritual breeds boredom to the extent that whatever it is that these black-shirts, ignorant of the ideology that claim to anyway, are fighting over nothing – or nothing more than a symbolic point of disagreement with civilization.

The problem comes in when the meaning is gone, the marches are nothing more than a day in the fresh air, and the minds are numb. It doesn’t take much for a new Fascism of the moral framework to step right in.
"Let's hope 1929 brings us plenty of struggle, friction, and sparks," wrote the left-wing playwright Friedrich Wolf in late 1928. Wolf got his wish: 1929, of course, was the year of the great stock crash on Wall Street, which had devastating consequences for Germany and Berlin. But 1929 had generated plenty of "sparks" in Berlin even before the October financial fire in New York leaped across the Atlantic to do its damage in Europe. Looking back, we can see that it was the beginning of the end for Weimar democracy.

- David Clay Large, Berlin

And it was all, in reality, over nothing. Any intelligent observer could tell you that the Communists and the Nazis would be handing that genuinely exhausted and exploited population the exact same thing.

If only the clown army that will be wrecking the city this fall could be broad enough to realize that.

Some things are best left un-discovered

Who says talking about taxes is a drag?

Big, Big Talkers

The more dominated by irrationalism and wishful thinking, the worse they stand. The universities in la culture du débat rank qualitatively less than they do in Hong Hong, with a population base less than 1/8th of that of France. It looks like all of those decades of social commitment to the population and social institutions has really paid off: even a mercantile obsessed (and therefore anti-intellectual) culture a fraction of its’ size can do better.

Oddly enough, and in spite of higher ed not being treated like a “right”, the rapacious and retrograde United States, representing a population roughly 6% of the sample base has roughly 40% of the top 6000 ranked universities, and 44 of the top 50.

But don’t feel bad, EUvians: Germany is matched evenly with Canada, despite the lack of Germanic-ness, its’ Polythechnik traditions, rye whiskey, only 40% of its’ population, and a distracting overabundance of hoochie mamas.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Good intentions, paving stones, etc...

Here we were led to believe the statists making decisions for the people™ was all sweetness and light:

Implementing the European Working Time Directive next Saturday, when the NHS is already under pressure with 100,000 new cases of swine flu being diagnosed in a week, is the 'probably the worst time in living memory to do this', the junior doctors' campaign group RemedyUK said.

Junior doctors are the last group of NHS staff to come into the Directive this Saturday by cutting their working week from 56 hours to 48.

Experts have warned that the NHS is not ready for the change and there will be gaps left in rotas putting patients at risk.
Generally speaking, that whole life/work balance thing usually works best if one is actually alive to enjoy it.

In the parlance of the caring professionals this is called a "push back"

Now all that is needed is a "work around":

A split between rich and poor nations in the run-up to climate-change talks widened on Thursday.

India rejected key scientific findings on global warming, while the European Union called for more action by developing states on greenhouse gas emissions.

Jairam Ramesh, the Indian environment minister, accused the developed world of needlessly raising alarm over melting Himalayan glaciers.

He dismissed scientists' predictions that Himalayan glaciers might disappear within 40 years as a result of global warming.
Let's hope Jairam is not just holding out for more funding. Meanwhile the principals in the main room seem to have hit a bit of rough patch:

Germany called a French idea to slap "carbon tariffs" on products from countries that are not trying to cut greenhouse gases a form of "eco-imperialism" and a direct violation of WTO rules.

The issue of greenhouse tariffs has met bitter opposition from developing countries such as China and India, who count on the developed world to buy their exports as they build their economies in the face of the worst financial crisis in decades.

Matthias Machnig, Germany's State Secretary for the Environment, told a news briefing on Friday that a French push for Europe to impose carbon tariffs on imports from countries that flout rules on carbon emissions would send the wrong signal to the international community.

"There are two problems -- the WTO (World Trade Organization), and the signal would be that this is a new form of eco-imperialism," Machnig said.

"We are closing our markets for their products, and I don't think this is a very helpful signal for the international negotiations."
Maybe this can all be straightened out "off-line".

It’s Perfectly Normal on EUranus

Hatred is the only thing that gets their rocks off.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hey Scooter, Nice Peashooter

After a decade of subsidies, and every industry having to grease themselves up with endless political Astro Glide, someone in Germany finally noticed that you can’t run an industrial economy on something as poorly energetically inferior as wind power.

Germany's renewable energy companies are a tremendous success story. Roughly 15 percent of the country's electricity comes from solar, wind or biomass facilities, almost 250,000 jobs have been created and the net worth of the business is €35 billion per year.

But there's a catch: The climate hasn't in fact profited from these developments. As astonishing as it may sound, the new wind turbines and solar cells haven't prohibited the emission of even a single gram of CO2.
They also learned about something called a “market” – which is to say “people figuring out what price they can sell things to one another”, if you can imagine that. More specifically, the idea behind Carbon trading that I found hilarious a few minutes after I heard of the idea more than a decade ago: if you want people to emit less, and they succeed, wouldn’t the price of that asset fall?
Even more surprising, the European Union's own climate change policies, touted as the most progressive in the world, are to blame. The EU-wide emissions trading system determines the total amount of CO2 that can be emitted by power companies and industries. And this amount doesn't change -- no matter how many wind turbines are erected.

Experts have known about this situation for some time, but it still isn't widely known to the public. Even Germany's government officials mention it only under their breath. No one wants to discuss the political ramifications.
What gets even funnier is that all of this talk of the rising level of ‘green power’ production taking place, touted as a tool against foreign energy dependency, is leading to the reduction in demand and eventual shutting down of coal-fired power plants, displacing the only serious and non-nuclear source of energy available to Germans domestically, and making them more dependant on Russian natural gas for both base and peak loading.

Poll duel

On the one hand:


European Approval of Obama Surges

A new survey finds that a majority of Europeans approve of, and trust, America's new president. But the rest of the world, the Middle East in particular, has yet to surrender to Barack Obama's international charm offensive.
On the other:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 29% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -11. That’s the first time his ratings have reached double digits in negative territory (see trends).

The only victories the Apologizer-in-Chief is concerned with is over America conservatives and the American Way of Life

Victory is not the goal in Afghanistan (shookhran to Arnaud).

The only victories the Apologizer-in-Chief is concerned with is over America conservatives, over American military funds, and over the American Way of Life…

Arnaud adds:

Hussein is now worried about using the world victory? Did his victory speech in Chicago worried him as being reminiscent of “the Emperor coming down to Mc Arthur”?

Since when is victory a cursed word?

Can’t wait to see Hussein landing on a plane carrier with a “Mission NON accomplished” banderole.

Interesting is also his description of Al Qaida and the Talibans as “non-nation state” and “non state actor”, then why on earth does he want the Geneva convention be applied to these AH?