Archive for November 2009

Chutzpah of Climate Change Bureaucrats

Too bad the word “chutzpah” would be banned by the United Nations for being “Zionist” because UN official Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,sure has it. To believers of anthropogenic global warming, air travel is one of the largest contributors to global warming, producing not only CO2 but nitrous oxide which is believed to be twice as damaging. It has even led to protests by greens at Heathrow Airport, calling air travel non-essential and demanding that it be regulated.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri flew at least 443,243 miles on IPCC business in this 19 month period. This business included honorary degree ceremonies, a book launch and a Brookings Institute dinner, the latter involving a flight of 3500 miles.

...

So strong is his love for cricket that his colleagues recall the time the Nobel winner took a break during a seminar in New York and flew in to Delhi over the weekend to attend a practice session for a match before flying back. Again, he flew in for a day, just to play that match.

Yep, that’s chutzpah.

North Carolina: Barbecue and Burritos

Living in rural North Carolina I have discovered the joy of Lexington-style Barbecue and authentic Mexican cuisine. That’s right; in places like Mount Airy, Dobson and Elkin, towns with less than 20,ooo people each, I have found some of the best Mexican food that I have ever tasted. When I was living in Southern California during college I got spoiled by the stuff, so imagine my surprise when I found it here in the deep South.

I haven’t found a decent Chinese or Japanese restaurant let alone Indian, but when it comes to Mexican the places here can’t be beat.

Update: The best Mexican restaurant that I have found in the USA is Las Cuatro Milpas Mexican Food, 157 N. Main St. Lake Elsinore CA.

I’m not sure how I found Las Cuatro Milpas. We were driving around the Southern California area two years ago when we stopped there on a lark. Roberto’s in San Diego was a bust. It had been the best when we lived there in the late 80’s/early 90’s but the restaurant had become a chain and lost its soul – and the food its flavor. It was late morning when we stopped in to Las Cuatro Milpas looking for something cold to drink. We ended up staying there two hours for lunch. The owner Louie Trujillo welcomed us and kept bringing food to the table, each course more delicious and flavorful than the last.

Now I am no means a foodie, but I have had a handful of transcendent experiences with food that become the standards by which all other meals are judged. Las Cuatro Milpas was one of those experiences and has stood the test of time representing the very best of Mexican food. Fresh ingredients; the perfect mix of spices; excellent prices and friendly service. Las Cuatro Milpas is the reason why I believe that Mexican cuisine is one of the top cuisines in the world.

Done badly, Mexican food is awful. Taco Bell and del Taco come quickly to mind. Done right and Mexican is a great meal. Done perfectly and you have one of those moments that Buddhists call satori - a glimpse of Nirvana – and Las Cuatro Milpas gave me one of those moments.

The tamales. My god the tamales were so good.

Oh, and while I’m thinking about it, Death to Taco Bell! The food is only good when you are college aged, drunk/stoned and don’t know any better.

The Council Has Spoken: November 27, 2009

Congratulations to this week’s non-council winner.

The Strata-Sphere - Alarmist hide truth about (lack of ) global warming

Full voting here.

I am humbled that my post The Weak Horse Named Obama won in the council category against the usual stiff competition from all the council members. These writers challenge me and for that I am grateful.

ClimateGate Shows the Importance of the Amateur Scientist

For most of its history, Science has always made room for amateurs or non-science professionals. However the 20th Century pushed these scientists to the edges in favor of professional chemists, physicists and biologists using advanced tools at large well-funded laboratories, leading the authors of a 1996 paper to write “Modern science can no longer be done by gifted amateurs with a magnifying glass, copper wires, and jars filled with alcohol.” Writer, teacher and amateur scientist Forest M. Mimms III has published numerous scientific articles in publications like Science and Nature and disagrees, “The term amateur can have a pejorative ring. But in science it retains the meaning of its French root amour, love, for amateurs do science because it’s what they love to do. Without remuneration or reward, enthusiastic amateurs survey birds, tag butterflies, measure sunlight, and study transient solar eclipse phenomena. Others count sunspots, discover comets, monitor variable stars, and invent instruments.”

More importantly is a deep understanding and appreciation of the Scientific Method and its application in our daily lives. One doesn’t have to have beakers boiling away in their basement to apply the method to everyday problems. Science is a powerful tool; one could argue it’s the most powerful tool ever invented.

Skepticism plays an integral role in Science. In a sense it begins with the null hypothesis that attempts to prove the claim under investigation is not true until proven otherwise. The purpose of the null hypothesis is to weed out biased results.

One could say that it’s easier for an amateur scientist to be mislead by the media. In response, the amateur scientist could state that working alone she is less likely to be mislead by group think and the unwillingness to voice a contrary opinion in the corporate setting. How easy is it for a scientist to disagree with the opinions of his peers or his superiors? In a professional setting one exchanges autonomy in exchange for support: a paycheck, equipment, peers. How easy is it for a scientist to disagree in this environment? Go back even further. How difficult is it to dissent in college or graduate school when from your advisors decide whether you advance in your field or not?

The amateur scientist has the freedom to think and dissent if necessary, whereas the professional scientist has been indoctrinated throughout his entire career to accept the validity of a theory on faith. Express disagreement at any step along the way and forget tenure, hiring or the next promotion.

That’s why I find the emails stolen from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia troubling. These emails show a clear pattern of intellectual character assassination against anyone who is skeptical of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory. Instead of a healthy clash of ideas supported by evidence we have “scientists” acting more like medieval inquisitors to prevent the publication of arguments and evidence that question the current scientific orthodoxy. I

The emails support what global warming skeptics have said all along – that theories and evidence that undermined AGW were being buried, hidden and in some cases outright destroyed in order to shore up AGW. In an exchange between Professor Phil Jones, the head of the Climate Research Unit, and professor Michael E. Mann at Pennsylvania State University, Jones writes, “”If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone” and, “We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.” Mr. Jones further urged Mr. Mann to join him in deleting e-mail exchanges about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) controversial assessment report (ARA): “Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re [the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report]?” All this to hide the fact that the earth has been cooling over the past decade instead of heating up as the models predicted.

Add the inability of AGW to be disproven (if global temperatures rise – it’s due to anthropogenic global warming. If they fall as they have been doing for the past ten years, it’s due to anthropogenic global warming), and it’s easy to see how James Delingpole at the Daily Telegraph calls the emails the “final nail in the coffin of ‘anthropogenic global warming’,” and what Andrew Bolt calls the greatest scandal in modern science.

I don’t expect the theory to die so easily. There is too much money behind the current orthodoxy, and worse, an entire generation of scientists have been raised to not question anthropogenic global warming. Fighting money and faith… Well I’m confident that in the end Truth will win out but before it does trillions of dollars will be wasted on solutions to a problem built on a shaky scientific foundation.

The Anthropogenic Global Warming theory points out the danger of professional science straying from the path of legitimate scientific inquiry into faith and orthodoxy. Science needs the amateur scientist and the skepticism and freedom of thought he or she brings now more than ever.

Update: Ilya Somin at Volokh Conspiracy writes:

Most of us, however, lack expertise on climate issues. And our knowledge of complex issues we don’t have personal expertise on is largely based on social validation. For example, I think that Einsteinian physics is generally more correct than Newtonian physics, even though I know very little about either. Why? Because that’s the overwhelming consensus of professional physicists, and I have no reason to believe that their conclusions should be discounted as biased or otherwise driven by considerations other than truth-seeking. My views of climate science were (and are) based on similar considerations. I thought that global warming was probably a genuine and serious problem because that is what the overwhelming majority of relevant scientists seem to believe, and I generally didn’t doubt their objectivity.

At the very least, the Climategate revelations should weaken our confidence in the above conclusion. At least some of the prominent scholars in the field seem driven at least in part by ideology, and willing to use intimidation to keep contrarian views from being published, even if the articles in question meet normal peer review standards. Absent such tactics, it’s possible that more contrarian research would be published in professional journals and the consensus in the field would be less firm. To be completely clear, I don’t think that either ideological motivation or even intimidation tactics prove that these scientists’ views are wrong. Their research should be assessed on its own merits, irrespective of their motivations for conducting it. However, these things should affect the degree to which we defer to their conclusions merely based on their authority as disinterested experts.

Update #2:
While packing for our move to North Carolina I found the Wife’s data books from her master’s research in Japan – a small boxed brick of penciled in data books.  That data was used for her degree resulted in several published papers. Not that the data was ever lost; I knew pretty much where it was at all times. I even know where all the Statistica, Excel, and other data files are on my home office network for that work, as well as her more important chimpanzee research that netted her her doctorate. Even though those files haven’t been touched in a decade they are backed up and stored. Why? Because you don’t throw out data.

Unless you believe in AGW - then it’s okay evidently.

Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

Science isn’t supposed to be this sloppy which is why I would hesitate calling the University of East Anglia personnel “scientists.” I believe “charlatans” and “hucksters” would be better terms.

Update #3:
Christopher Booker at the Daily Telegraph calls ClimateGate the “worst scientific scandal of our generation.” What I find particularly troubling is that by injecting science into politics, as AGW believers have done, they are also creating one of the worst political scandals of our generation.

Update #4:

Investors Business Daily takes issue with the lack of ClimateGate coverage by the mainstream media:

So the dominant media no longer check the growth of government, especially when government is poised to impinge on our freedoms.

Rather, they feed public perceptions in a propagandistic loop. Those fearless watchdogs of the press? Gone.

They’ve been gone for awhile – at least since becoming propagandists for Obama. Given the press’s infatuation with Leftist icons like Mao, Che, and Stalin (the New York Times was propagandizing about Comrade Josef almost sixty years ago) and adoration of collective action, it’s not a surprise. Thankfully there is the Internet – which they haven’t shut down. Yet.

Update #5:
Wired magazine explains how scientists screw up and some eventually overcome their own biases to make discoveries.

Dunbar came away from his in vivo studies with an unsettling insight: Science is a deeply frustrating pursuit. Although the researchers were mostly using established techniques, more than 50 percent of their data was unexpected. (In some labs, the figure exceeded 75 percent.) “The scientists had these elaborate theories about what was supposed to happen,” Dunbar says. “But the results kept contradicting their theories. It wasn’t uncommon for someone to spend a month on a project and then just discard all their data because the data didn’t make sense.” Perhaps they hoped to see a specific protein but it wasn’t there. Or maybe their DNA sample showed the presence of an aberrant gene. The details always changed, but the story remained the same: The scientists were looking for X, but they found Y.

The Germans State The Blunt Truth

Der Spiegel: Obama’s Nice Guy Act Gets Him Nowhere on the World Stage

Upon taking office, Obama said that he wanted to listen to the world, promising respect instead of arrogance. But Obama’s currency isn’t as strong as he had believed. Everyone wants respect, but hardly anyone is willing to pay for it. Interests, not emotions, dominate the world of realpolitik. The Asia trip revealed the limits of Washington’s new foreign policy: Although Obama did not lose face in China and Japan, he did appear to have lost some of his initial stature.

The Council Has Spoken: November 20, 2009

Congratulations to this week’s winners:

Council: Bookworm Room - The Perils Of An Affirmative Action President

Noncouncil: The Rosistance - The lawyer in the White House and the spy in federal prison giving away national security secrets

Full voting here.

Gasoline vs Gasohol Real World Comparison

One of the myriad ways I manifest my geekness is that I track my gas mileage. After moving to rural North Carolina I began to notice that the mileage on my 10 year old Honda had improved by roughly 4 mpg to 27 mpg. At first I thought it was the fact that I don’t do much interstate driving anymore. Most of my driving is now on double lane rural roads with 55 mph speed limits, and it’s tough to go much faster with a pickup truck or grandmother in front of you. 80 mph on multilane interstates is a thing of the past.

The answer came a couple of weeks ago at the gas pump. Most of the gas stations do not offer gasohol whereas in the Philadelphia area E10 - or 10% ethanol – is the norm. I’m a big supporter of ethanol, especially the cellulosic kind, but being also a math geek I thought I would take the opportunity to figure out how much using E10 had cost me over the past 5 years.

I drive roughly 20,000 miles a year. Let’s assume that the average price per gallon of gasoline during the past 5 years was $2.75/gallon.

So had I driven 100,000 miles on pure gasoline at 27 mpg I would have needed a smidge over 3,700 gallons and spent $10,186 on gasoline during that 5 year period. On E10 at 23 mpg I actually used 4,350 gallons of fuel and spent $11,963.






















MPG Gallons Cost
27 3,704 $10,186
23 4350 $11,963
646 $1,777

So over a five year period I paid almost $1800 more in fuel using E10 than I would have using pure gasoline. That’s about $1/day more in fuel costs.

E10 is mandated in the Philadelphia area by clean air laws. Is it worth it? Since I make more than the average I can afford the additional cost, so it’s worth it to me. However for many others who drive 20,000 miles the additional $350+ dollars a year is an unnecessary burden.

The Weak Horse Named Obama

UPDATE: This post was voted First Place by the Watcher’s Council. Thank you!

A friend who voted for Obama last year (and regrets his decision BTW) asked me why I opposed the civil prosecution of terrorists and supported military tribunals. He thought that treating them as run-of-the-mill criminals was an insult, and that by convicting and sentencing them in a military tribunal elevated their status from terrorist to warrior. Here are the reasons I gave him for why I believe that Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision is the worst political decision made since President Ford pardoned Nixon in 1974.

1. Confusion on the battlefield. Imagine that a terrorist has been captured near the Afghan-Pakistan border. The commander in the field has to consider what the likely political decision will be: will he be tried in an American civilian court or in a military tribunal? At the point of time of capture – and for weeks later – he won’t know whether to mirandize the terrorist and give him an attorney or detain him for military tribunal. This reflects the role of the military in conflict: are they soldiers subject to the rules of war, or are they well-armed policemen?

It’s not clear whether this political decision to try one terrorist in a military tribunal and another in a civilian court is even legal. One terrorist who is tried in military court could demand to be tried in civilian – or vice versa. Sen. Lindsay Graham pointed out yesterday in the hearing with the Attorney General that this was one example how the decision clearly wasn’t well thought out by Holder and the administration.

2. Civilian courts and military tribunals follow vastly different procedures and requirements. The presumption of innocence for example. There isn’t any in a military tribunal. Consider the Nuremberg Trials. Goehring was guilty; the question was the extent of his guilt. In fact Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) had already plead guilty and faced a death sentence by the military tribunal – until the Administration halted all military tribunals for review.

So KSM suddenly becomes innocent and it’s up to prosecutors to prove him guilty according to the rules of the venue selected by the Obama administration. But being mirandized is a prerequisite by civilian courts.

When captured KSM demanded an attorney. He didn’t get one. This fact alone could sink the prosecution, and was brought up by Graham in yesterday’s hearing. “We would never allow that to happen,” Holder replied. Graham pressed him on that answer, but Holder didn’t explain further (video here).

Setting the issue of acquittal aside for a moment, a civilian court relies on evidence. That evidence has to be collected methodically and in a transparent manner.

3. Secret evidence cannot be used in a civilian trial. Any evidence against KSM must be made public. How was he located? What methods were used? Were these methods themselves legal? Any illegally obtained evidence – from waterboarding or an illegal wiretap for example – could be the basis for an appeal or overturning of a sentence as laid out by the legal concept of the Exclusionary Rule.

4. The procedure of capturing and detaining KSM gets put on trial. Were his rights violated? Was his imprisonment lawful? In short the Bush Administration gets put on trial for its procedures rather than KSM’s murder of 3000 civilians.

5. Civilian courts are public; military courts private. Did you follow the trial of the 20th Hijacker? I did. It was a complete farce. In the end he was convicted but after providing him with a forum to preach.

6. KSM could walk. Military tribunals are not subject to appeals; civilian cases can be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. Any technicality could be used to convince a judge to overturn or restrict his sentence. However Attorney General Holder stated there was no way KSM or any other terrorist would walk.


“if one of these terrorists” in the future were found not guilty or given a short sentence, Holder agreed that the Justice Department would still retain the authority to lock them up as enemy combatants.

“I certainly think that under the regime that we are contemplating, the potential for detaining people under the laws of war, we would retain that ability,” Holder said.

So we’re going to try KSM and associates, and if there is a problem with the trial, Holder is going to do a Plan B.

What happens if KSM (and his co-defendants) “do not get convicted,” asked Senate Judiciary Committee member Herb Kohl. “Failure is not an option,” replied Holder.

Charles Krauthammer noted:

Not an option? Doesn’t the presumption of innocence, er, presume that prosecutorial failure—acquittal, hung jury—is an option? By undermining that presumption, Holder is undermining the fairness of the trial, the demonstration of which is the alleged rationale for putting on this show in the first place.

Attorney General Eric Holder is a smart man, as is his boss, so watching these two men say and do something so blatantly stupid is unnerving.

First, prosecutors said the same thing with OJ 14 years ago. Last I checked he was on the golf course somewhere presumably with better fitting gloves. (CORRECTION: Simpson is currently serving time in prison for robbing a sports memorabilia dealer in Los Vegas-thanks to Jack S.) Secondly federal courts are not Kangaroo Courts. If the primary reason for Holder and Obama to try KSM is to tout the American Legal System, they would have to abide by its decision should a terrorist like KSM received a favorable ruling.


“It’s heads I win, tails you lose,” says Joshua Dratel, a top New York criminal-defense lawyer who has represented numerous defendants in terrorism cases. “It does unfortunately ruin the effect of the notion that we are bringing them to federal court to uphold the rule of law, if you say, ‘If the rule of law doesn’t work, we’ll try something else.’ ”

Ruin it? Yep, I’d have to agree. What’s the point of touting the virtues of American Justice if everyone knows the “fix is in” for a defendant? I don’t think it is. I have a hard time believing that the administration would have the spine to stand up to the courts to keep terrorists locked up. At the same time I don’t see them committing political suicide by letting them go free either. In short I don’t see any benefit at all to trying defendants in civilian courts.

Can you imagine KSM walking away – what it would do to our image abroad? Jihadists already think we are weak; such an outcome would be the biggest recruitment tool since Carter sat on his hands while Iranians tortured embassy personnel.

Bin Laden liked to call America the “weak horse” in his speeches. “...when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse.” He saw his vision of Islam as the strong horse and freedom as exemplified by America the weak horse. The decision to try terrorists in civilian courts is yet one more example supporting Bin Laden’s belief.

UPDATE: I spoke to my 88 year old mother over the weekend. She too regrets her vote. She lives with one of my sisters who is a devout believer in the One. She and her husband won’t let my mother watch Fox News – so she waits until they are asleep.

My mother is a life-long Democrat. The last Democratic president I heard her talk about this way was Jimmy Carter over 30 years ago.

Obama Bows…

But the world refuses to bow back.

Amateur hour at the White House continues…

The Ignorance of the Obama Administration

My father died suddenly when I was 11 years old. I last glimpsed him through the rear window of my parents’ Pinto wagon as he exited the car at the city hospital where he worked as a maintenance man. Seven hours later the phone rang and my world was never the same. I can still hear my mother’s screams echoing from 32 years ago.

I have gone on, made a family of my own, and become successful in my own way. But some wounds never heal. They don’t scar. And while they don’t hurt as much as they once did, they nevertheless do hurt and occasionally even bleed.

My father’s death is like that to me. It wounded me and changed me in ways that are so numerous that it’s impossible to state for sure what ways exactly other than to say every way possible. I am the man I am today because of my father’s death. I am the father I am today for the same reason. My son has now passed the age I was when I lost my father, and each day with me still around is a small triumph in my modest goal to never have him experience what I experienced in 1977.

What about “closure”, “getting over it” or other lame commands stated by well meaning people who have absolutely no clue what they are talking about? I’m amazed at how quickly the “c” word gets thrown about after a tragedy. Within hours of the Fort Hood shootings I swear I heard it used once by someone discussing the investigation. I’m sure the person’s motives were pure, but to even mention the concept when the corpses of loved ones are still warm shows a callousness, emotional ignorance, if not downright stupidity about grief. Better that the loved ones be ignored and left to their devices than for such goat-like prattling in the aftermath of a massacre.

I am deeply troubled by the Obama administration for a similar reason. The decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) in New York shows an ignorance by the administration and lack of appreciation of the magnitude of the 9-11 attacks. Worse it betrays the fact that this administration has not learned the lessons of 9-11 and endangers the American people by failing to prevent future attacks.

Here’s an experiment: ask a friend what they were doing that day, and let the memories of 9-11 come back from the closet that most of us have hidden them in. For some of us it makes us feel uncomfortable. For others it is downright painful. Yet either way that day touched us and changed us forever.

9-11 wounded us as a people and each of us individually. While most of us were lucky to not have a friend of loved one die in the attacks, we each still suffered that day from the pain of our identify as Americans. This is exactly what the men like KSM and Osama Bin Laden intended. What they had not intended was to provoke a war that would send the former into a prison without trial and bury the latter under hundreds of tons of rubble in Tora Bora (for the record I personally believe Bin Laden is dead).

9-11 damaged us. It changed how we looked at the world; we weren’t too big to be hurt after all. Our safety disappeared. Every public place could be the venue for the next attack. We closeted ourselves in our homes. Comedy died because no one felt like laughing. David Letterman and Jay Leno avoided the air waves knowing that the time wasn’t ripe for us to laugh. Even such irreverent staples as The Onion begged “We want our boring lives back.”

Eventually we got them back. 9-11 changed us but eventually normality reasserted itself and the flag stickers that we all spontaneously pasted on our cars and in our shop windows faded and were removed. 8 years on we have achieved a new normalcy and the fear and determination that 9-11 inspired have been replaced by our own personal day-to-day concerns.

But the pain is still there. And it will be there forever just as the pain has never left those who experienced November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy died.

Unfortunately members of the Obama administration including the President himself seem ignorant of the pain of 9-11 and more importantly, it’s lessons. Has anyone in the administration even read the 9-11 Commission Report? The failure to prevent the shootings at Fort Hood show that the “Chinese walls” separating our law enforcement agencies – a key reason for the failure to prevent the attacks according to the report – have been reconstructed after being torn down briefly under the Bush administration. The report showed that the battlefield was not a place to conduct criminal investigations protecting the rights of the accused. Finally it proved that the terrorists had become adept at using the legal system to its advantage. Like a virus that hijacks a healthy cell, destroying it and flooding the body with copies, al-Qaeda and other like minded groups used the limitations of international and domestic law to raise money, recruit, plan and execute terrorist attacks around the globe. Yet the authorities have been unable to develop a prevention strategy of their own to prevent these attacks.

The legal system is designed to punish crimes after they have been occurred and to deter future crimes through the severity of those punishments. It is reactive after the fact and has difficulty being proactive, preventing the attacks from occurring. Had the 9-11 hijackers been stopped and searched before the attacks, civil liberties and Muslim groups could have accused the authorities of “racial profiling.” Had the authorities clamped down on the preaching of radical imams there would have been accusations by these same groups of religious persecution. These limits are real, as shown by the failure of the authorities to stop Maj. Hasan from shooting up Fort Hood.

Yet the Obama administration clings to the legal system that existed prior to 9-11 and has changed very little since. Like the human immune system the American legal system is a remarkable system. Most of the time both systems function well and protect us. But terrorists can evade and hijack that system just like HIV can infect the human body. In both instances something must be done to halt or reverse the infection.

With HIV our society has come up with drugs that destroy the virus and hold it at bay. With terrorism our military has attacked the militancy at its sources in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The solution is not perfect: I’d be happy to see Riyadh added to the list – but it has been effective. Since 9-11 there have been countless plans devised to kill Americans on American soil, but only one – the Fort Hood attack – has been successfully executed.

Now the Obama administration wants to stop the anti-virals and surgeries and let the system take care of the disease of terrorism. This is akin to an HIV positive man quitting his antivirals in the belief that he never had HIV to begin with. When such a man acts, he’s the only one who suffers. When the Administration acts, we are the ones who ultimately pay the consequences.

My father drank and smoked for most of his life. I quit both. He hated travel and was afraid to fly; I have lived in some of the world’s most exotic places. He was distant from his children; I struggle not to hug my son in public to avoid embarrassing him. Most importantly I faced my father’s death and learned from it. The Obama administration on the other hand hides from 9-11 and willfully ignores its lessons. The trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed is the ultimate proof of that.

Deer Season

I woke up this morning to the sound of gunfire. Musketfire to be exact. Deer hunting season switched from bow and arrow hunting to muzzle loaders on Saturday, and hunters have been on the neighboring property “hunting bambis” as they call it around here. The gents next door started their day at 6:30am. Dickheads.

Things will get worse soon. Rifle season starts on Saturday and continues till Christmas. I’ve posted new signs around my property but plan to run daily patrols. I have no quarrel with hunters unless they step foot or kill on my land. I owe the bank a large sum for this land, and if I want to let the bambis run on it without fear then I’ve bought that privilege. If they want to hunt land like mine then they should buy it just like I did.

It’s going to be an interesting couple of weeks.

What If…

What if God is powerful but not omnipotent?

What if Satan is more powerful than God but not by enough to destroy Him?

What if the Fall of Man were really the Fall of God – that the End of Eden came when the Devil chased God from Paradise?

What if Satan now rules the Universe while God tries to regroup?

As a result, what if evil and suffering are the norm and good and happiness are but flashes of light in the darkness?

What if reality mirrors the fantasy of Star Wars – the 1977 original not the morally ambiguous sequels?

The Council Has Spoken: November 13, 2009

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

Council: Joshuapundit - Death By A Thousand Cuts

Noncouncil: Selwyn Duke /American Thinker - Jihad and America, the land that cried sheep

Full voting here.

CNN Becomes PC-NN

CNN lost the last reason to watch the network today when Lou Dobbs resigned. Apparently Dobbs got tired of justifying his job while in the sights of various pro-illegal immigrant and Hispanic groups who had targeted him over his vocal opposition to illegal immigration.

Roberto Lovato, co-founder of Presente.org:
“We are thrilled that Dobbs no longer has the legitimate platform from which to incite fear and hate.”

I suppose telling people to follow our laws in order to come here makes one “incite fear and hate” these days. Dobbs leaves while having one of the top rated shows on the network. No doubt the Hispanics celebrating his ouster will now tune in to make up for the viewers that Dobbs takes with him (anyone want to bet that he pops up on Fox within 6 months?) Of course since Hispanics don’t watch CNN to begin with, I wouldn’t bet that the network will see any bump in its ratings for appeasing these groups.

CNN has become a pale shadow of itself since the heady days of the Gulf War in August 1990. It’s a shame that the news organization that once prided itself on the quality of its news has become lost in a fog of political ideology and liberal slant that it doesn’t even know it is in. You would think that CNN would look at the success at Fox News and take a serious moral inventory of itself, but I guess it’s no surprise that the organization formed by Ted Turner would follow its founder off the deep end into moral relativist reporting under the guise of “objectivity”.

Black Keys – Red Herring

So the President apparently has now rejected all four military options on Afghanistan. The reason? Corruption in the Afghan government. An NPR reporter in Kabul went to the local DMV and met with a frustrated taxi driver who had been trying to get a drivers license for 3 weeks. He said that he had just been told by them to provide documentation that was impossible to get, using an Afghan idiom “find the Black Keys” – the rough equivalent of a fools’ errand or “needle in a haystack.” If he paid 5000 afghanis – a month’s salary of $100 – he would get the drivers license delivered to his front door the next day.

The Obama Administration is now saying that something must be done about corruption in Afghanistan before it commits more troops, tying our commitment to its containment. Perhaps what the Afghans learn during the anti-corruption effort can be taught to the pols in Chicago – perhaps the most corrupt city in the USA (although Philadelphia comes a close second). Am I the only one finding irony in an administration with roots in Chicago complaining about corruption in one of the poorest nations on the planet?

I have questioned Obama’s commitment to the fight in Afghanistan from the beginning. I have yet to see him show that he has the stomach to lead the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Instead I see his administration looking for excuses to do nothing until they can justify pulling out and leaving the nation to be overrun by Mullah Omar, al-Zawahiri and their terror-plotting pals.

First the administration tried shifting the focus of the war on Pakistan; now its corruption. Both are red herrings meant to distract the American public from what the administration truly wants to do: retreat to the pre-2001 world of lobbing a few cruise missiles at tents in the desert after a few attacks on our embassies.

There is no way we can shift the war effort to Pakistan without flat-out invading it in violation of international law. Even the drone attacks which Biden is so fond of (and which I support as part of a comprehensive war strategy) have been called into question as illegal.

There is also no way that we can uproot corruption in a culture that has depended on it for thousands of years. Look at Chicago. We have yet to clean it up there, yet we expect a weak regime and unstable nation to accomplish it in short order. The Afghan people have been in essence told to “find the black keys” by an administration that is itself rooted in corruption.

A local policeman listened to the Kabul cab driver complaining then laughed and said that he didn’t get the license because the taxi driver doesn’t know how to drive. Having been in many 3rd world taxis including one which hit and injured a young boy on a dusty road outside of Kigoma Tanzania, I think it’s fair to question their driving skills. Perhaps that same policeman would laugh at all the hand-wringing in the White House and say that the President doesn’t believe in the war and never has.