Sunday, January 24, 2010
Apart from our president making us all poorer by spinning the arrow of pain away from health care (booyah!) toward the capital markets (yeah, yeah, we know the Chinese and the opposition to Bernanke had more than a little to do with it -- allow us our fun), last week was a barrel of laughs. What better way to start another fun week than with a tab dump?
Does corporate money in politics actually lead to more corruption or lower regard for government? The professors have studied it up and down, and cannot prove either to be true. There are ready-made "experiments," too. There are American states with bans on corporate money and those without, with no differences in outcome. Australia and Britain are at opposite ends of the regulatory spectrum, and again there are no obvious differences.
A hilarious and pretty darn true discussion of life in a marriage of equals.
A few years back conservatives spun in to a tizzy over the decision by the Council on Foreign Relations to meet with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during one of his visits to the United States. I dissented, arguing that the liberal foreign policy establishment might move toward a more hawkish position if they saw him up front and personal. Well, whether or not that meeting had any direct effect, one of its participants, Council president Richard Haass, has become an advocate for regime change in Iran. Read the whole thing, for it is chock full of interesting ideas for undermining the Islamic Republic.
The political site Five Thirty Eight has an interesting analysis of the current chances of the Republicans to take control of the Senate in November. Right now the highest probability is that the Democrats will emerge with 53 or 54 seats, assuming that Lieberman continues to caucus with them.
In the must-read mainstream media editorial of the day (granted, a low standard), the Washington Post (via Glenn) pounds on the Obama administration for having blown the Flight 253 investigation.
UMAR FAROUK Abdulmutallab was nabbed in Detroit on board Northwest Flight 253 after trying unsuccessfully to ignite explosives sewn into his underwear. The Obama administration had three options: It could charge him in federal court. It could detain him as an enemy belligerent. Or it could hold him for prolonged questioning and later indict him, ensuring that nothing Mr. Abdulmutallab said during questioning was used against him in court.
It is now clear that the administration did not give serious thought to anything but Door No. 1. This was myopic, irresponsible and potentially dangerous.
A conservative anti-terrorism expert I know made the same point to me in a private conversation the other night, with a slightly different perspective. He argued that it was bureaucratically inevitable that Abdulmutallab would be dealt with under "Door No. 1" (given Miranda warnings, lawyered up, and such) once the administration and the Holder Justice Department made it policy to deal with terrorists as criminals rather than potential combatants. Why? Because the bureaucracy -- and especially the junior field agents who pull the Christmas Day shift -- will respond according to protocols and standard operating procedures. There is no time, as a practical matter, for the young guy on the ground in Detroit, or even his boss, to find Attorney General Holder at home and see if he should do anything differently. So once you make the policy decision that these guys should get treated as ordinary criminals, that is how they will be treated. This is a tragedy, because as this expert pointed out the effective extraction of intelligence from such a person should take weeks, which now is only possible in exchange for a politically and probably ideologically impossible plea bargain.
Of course, we may no longer have interrogators who know what they are doing.
Christopher Hitchens on, like, the word "like" as used by your, and my, teenaged daughter. Which is, you know, hilarious.
Still worried about health care "reform"? Everything you always wanted to know about the dark art of "reconciliation," the procedural device by which it might be possible to slip a health care bill through with a simple Senate majority.
The Nobel Prize curse continues: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is not yet Arafat, but do not count it out yet.
In TigerHawk football news, I am entirely unmoved by the AFC champion game. Jets, Colts, who cares? I slightly dislike the Jets, but their victory would delight many of my friends and family. Filled with the milk of human kindness, I'll throw them some back-handed hopes and dreams. In the NFC? Normally I'm all for the black-and-blue division, but this year I want the Saints to win it all. New Orleans deserves a bit of happiness.
It's later! From my Facebook scroll, the "top ten passions of ancient Rome." If you have to degrade an empire, this is the way to do it.
I'm thinking corporate money in politics HAS to lead to less corruption because we'll need fewer inside men and fixers to get around limits on spreading a message. Why should a company pay Biden's son to buy Biden's influence when it can now legally just buy a couple of billboards?
And, speaking of corruption, maybe the Christmas bomber's arrest wasn't an intentional error but simply happened because Holder is focused on making more political changes in the DoJ and it's activities.
Leave it to Watts Up to screw it up. The IPCC Chapter author didn't believe the information was wrong. He knew it was from grey literature, and the IPCC procedures discourages but doesn't forbid using grey literature, like reports from industry. He shouldn't have used non peer reviewed literature in this instance, it was a screw up, but it wasn't faked.
If you're looking for something that's faked, Monckton is your man. Or Pat Michaels.
True, davod, but you don't need any evidence from him to convict him! There were 300 witnesses, or whatever, to his attempt to blow up the plane! The harm was done when we told the clown that he had a right to a lawyer and to stay silent. No harm would have been done to the case if they had locked him away and sweated him for a few weeks before -- oops -- telling him that he had a right to remain silent, because we did not need any confession or other evidence from him to convict him. Yet another example of why the constructs of the criminal law do not work in anti-terrorism.
"In a lot of the criticism of trying Abdulmutallab in the criminal courts, conservatives seem to be having a hard time dealing with the fact that Abdulmutallab reportedly sang like a bird about his plot, who he was working with and a lot more."
And to answer Dawnfire's question - yes, there is a difference between mistaken and faked.
Oh I see. So the claim is that the guy wasn't being deceptive, he just deliberately made unsubstantiated claims for political effect out of zeal for a good cause.
Oddly, that doesn't change my opinion one bit.
From the above article: "The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders... [He] also said he was well aware the statement... did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research... ‘It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.’"
Hm. False information included in a report specifically for political effect. But not faked. Just completely invented.
Dawn - the fact that Daily Mail will put its own agenda-advancing spin in the lead sentence (alleging Lal "included purely to put political pressure") makes the whole article less trustworthy.
Lal believed the information was true, a quotation that had been repeated in the grey literature from an Indian climatologist. It wasn't invented, it was a mistake - TH himself covered this nearly two months ago.
I don't feel much like defending Lal - unlike your side, the scientific mainstream admits mistakes, - but the attack on him and on climate science has been exaggerated.
Worth noting that the Himalayan glaciers are melting and will melt more, it's just the rate that was exaggerated.
This BS again?! I go away for a few days and come back to find people arguing about science they know nothing about, using evidence that doesn't exist, and quoting crap from a UN study produced using fraud science and overseen by a man with business interests riding on the the conclusion. Please!
Here's a fun reminder of the glory days of Obamanationhood! The closing of the GITMO detention facility anniversary is today, and a walk down memory lane seems appropriate. Did he keep any campaign promises? Any at all?
Fun and laughter, that's all we're after: Glaciergate: Hitler's Last Straw.
Yeah, we don't bother to check if it's BS or not. That's why they call us scientists- or attorneys.
Blarina - I watched the video until the point where it said the skeptics caught the problem.
It wasn't skeptics of course - they're useless - it was a mainstream scientist named Graham Cogley:
Also an Indian scientist I'm less familiar with was involved, I think he disagrees on extent but not on reality of human-caused warming.
One paragraph in 3,000 pages, the paragraph didn't get included in technical or policy-maker summaries, and the skeptics didn't find it.
"It wasn't skeptics of course - they're useless"
True, we've been ineffectual until now. I for one am making up for lost time. Now that I've woken up I won't stop until Al Gore etc etc. is roasted on a spit, metaphorically speaking of course.
As a corollary, I'll never trust a word you say again.