ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Architect Analyzes The Dems

Karl Rove provides this excellent Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal on the issue of whether Obama is ready for prime time. Here's a snippet:

[...]
Mr. Obama has not been a leader on big causes in Congress. He has been manifestly unwilling to expend his political capital on urgent issues. He has been only an observer, watching the action from a distance, thinking wry and sardonic and cynical thoughts to himself about his colleagues, mildly amused at their too-ing and fro-ing. He has held his energy and talent in reserve for the more important task of advancing his own political career, which means running for president.

But something happened along the way. Voters saw in the Philadelphia debate the responses of a vitamin-deficient [Adlai] Stevenson act-a-like. And in the closing days of the Pennsylvania primary, they saw him alternate between whining about his treatment by Mrs. Clinton and the press, and attacking Sen. John McCain by exaggerating and twisting his words. No one likes a whiner, and his old-style attacks undermine his appeals for post-partisanship.
[...]

Fortunately for Obama, his supporters, the undecided Dems, and the press doesn't seen the contradictions in Obama's post-partisanship message, his actual record, or his cheap attacks on McCain.

And, as far as accomplishments are concerned, when was the last time you heard a journalist in the MSM actually point to the fact that he's done nothing as a Senator? His only true accomplishment was his speech in 2004 - a version of which he's been giving for the past 4 years.

What leadership!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Still Crazy After All These Years

This laughable article by an aging Hippie in the New York Times just begged to be commented on.

My comments will be interspersed throughout:

April 23, 2008
Op-Ed Contributor

The Accidental Rebel

By PAUL AUSTER

IT was the year of years, the year of craziness, the year of fire, blood and death. I had just turned 21, and I was as crazy as everyone else.

There were half a million American soldiers in Vietnam, Martin Luther King had just been assassinated, cities were burning across America, and the world seemed headed for an apocalyptic breakdown.

Being crazy struck me as a perfectly sane response to the hand I had been dealt — the hand that all young men had been dealt in 1968. The instant I graduated from college, I would be drafted to fight in a war I despised to the depths of my being, and because I had already made up my mind to refuse to fight in that war, I knew that my future held only two options: prison or exile.

I was not a violent person. Looking back on those days now, I see myself as a quiet, bookish young man, struggling to teach myself how to become a writer, immersed in my courses in literature and philosophy at Columbia. I had marched in demonstrations against the war, but I was not an active member of any political organization on campus. I felt sympathetic to the aims of S.D.S. (one of several radical student groups, but by no means the most radical), and yet I never attended its meetings and not once had I handed out a broadside or leaflet. I wanted to read my books, write my poems and drink with my friends at the West End bar.

Forty years ago today, a protest rally was held on the Columbia campus. The issue had nothing to do with the war, but rather a gymnasium the university was about to build in Morningside Park. The park was public property, and because Columbia intended to create a separate entrance for the local residents (mostly black), the building plan was deemed to be both unjust and racist. I was in accord with this assessment, but I didn’t attend the rally because of the gym.

I went because I was crazy, crazy with the poison of Vietnam in my lungs, and the many hundreds of students who gathered around the sundial in the center of campus that afternoon were not there to protest the construction of the gym so much as to vent their craziness, to lash out at something, anything, and since we were all students at Columbia, why not throw bricks at Columbia, since it was engaged in lucrative research projects for military contractors and thus was contributing to the war effort in Vietnam?
Yes... they want to build a park = great opportunity to protest the Vietnam war!
Speech followed tempestuous speech, the enraged crowd roared with approval, and then someone suggested that we all go to the construction site and tear down the chain-link fence that had been erected to keep out trespassers. The crowd thought that was an excellent idea, and so off it went, a throng of crazy, shouting students charging off the Columbia campus toward Morningside Park. Much to my astonishment, I was with them. What had happened to the gentle boy who planned to spend the rest of his life sitting alone in a room writing books? He was helping to tear down the fence. He tugged and pulled and pushed along with several dozen others and, truth be told, found much satisfaction in this crazy, destructive act.
So, you're one of those emotional and irrational people who can be swept up with the sentiment of the masses... especially by someone with great speaking abilities. Any chance that you're an Obama supporter?
After the outburst in the park, campus buildings were stormed, occupied and held for a week. I wound up in Mathematics Hall and stayed for the duration of the sit-in. The students of Columbia were on strike.
What a bunch of little brownshirts you were!
As we calmly held our meetings indoors, the campus was roiling with belligerent shouting matches and slugfests as those for and against the strike went at one another with abandon. By the night of April 30, the Columbia administration had had enough, and the police were called in. A bloody riot ensued. Along with more than 700 other people, I was arrested — pulled by my hair to the police van by one officer as another officer stomped on my hand with his boot. But no regrets. I was proud to have done my bit for the cause. Both crazy and proud.
Sounds like an unsuccessful bierhall putsch to me!
What did we accomplish? Not much of anything. It’s true that the gymnasium project was scrapped, but the real issue was Vietnam, and the war dragged on for seven more horrible years.
Of course not. Little is ever accomplished through speeches or attacking a tangential institution which has no power to change anything about the object of your anger. Of course, this is the modus operandi of the Moonbat Left - parodied by South Park here. Have a music festival, speak truth to power, come up with some stupid bumper sticker slong (Free Tibet!), and then take a lonnnnnnng toke on the peace pipe and hope something changes.

Hey... Hope for Change. Now I get why you all dig Barry Obama so much.
You can’t change government policy by attacking a private institution. When French students erupted in May of that year of years, they were directly confronting the national government — because their universities were public, under the control of the Ministry of Education, and what they did initiated changes in French life. We at Columbia were powerless, and our little revolution was no more than a symbolic gesture. But symbolic gestures are not empty gestures, and given the nature of those times, we did what we could.
Remember this Mr. Auster... I know you're older than me, but memorize this statement from now on:

SYMBOLIC GESTURES ARE MEANINGLESS GESTURES
I hesitate to draw any comparisons with the present — and therefore will not end this memory-piece with the word “Iraq.”

Auster: Wooops! Looks like I ended this memory-piece by mentioning the word "Iraq" by saying I wasn't going to mention "Iraq." See what I did there?

How clever of me, eh? Well, now let's just totally blow the readers' minds with how pathetic I am.
I am 61 now, but my thinking has not changed much since that year of fire and blood, and as I sit alone in this room with a pen in my hand, I realize that I am still crazy, perhaps crazier than ever.

Paul Auster is the author of the forthcoming “Man in the Dark.”

If at the age of 61 you have not matured, evolved, changed the way you think about the world in which you live, you're not trying very hard. If you still have the self-absorbed perspective that you had at 18, then you are a complete and pathetic moron.

Oh, and thanks for demonstrating how pathetic you are by taking us down memory lane in order selfishly market your book.

You hypocritical capitalist pig.

The comments on the article are great, too. They show the full range of idiocy from the Left, like the guy who thinks Paul Auster a hero and calls John McCain a war criminal.

In keeping with the Still Crazy theme, I've updated Paul Simon's lyrics to Paul Auster's idiocy (blame Mark Steyn as he's my inspiration for this):
I met my old hippie friend
On the street last night
she seemed so glad to see me
I just smiled
And we talked about some old protests
And we toked ourselves some grass
Still crazy after all these years
Oh, still crazy after all these years

I'm not the kind of man
Who tends to grow up
I seem to lean on
Old familiar ways
And I am a big fool for protest songs
That are shouted in my ears
Still crazy after all these years
Oh, still crazy after all these years

Four in the morning and I'm 61
woke up because I had to pee
Longing my youth a--way
Ill never worry
Why should I?
I haven't changed after 40 years

Now I sit by my laptop in my comfortable, hypocritical, bourgeois life
And I watch the capitalists go by (hoping they're handling my 401k well)
I fear I'll do some damage
One fine day - not just my usual empty gestures
But I would not be convicted
By a jury of my peers because
We're all crazy after all these years
Oh, still crazy
Still crazy
Still crazy after all these years
sorry... had to.

*** UPDATE ***
Wretchard over at The Belmont Club also pokes fun at Paul Auster - aka Rage Boy.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Another Inconvenient Truth - Part 1,774

Or, "Time To Fire Up the Hummer and Put It on Cruise Control"

Phil Chapman has this excellent article in The Australian about a potential climate change that we're not prepared for. All based on recent photos of the sun.

Here's the latest photo (click on the image to see if you notice anything unusual):


No doubt Mr. Chapman is bought & paid for by the Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas Industries, plus any number of whackjob free-market thinktanks... at least, that's what I expect to hear about anyone who doesn't worship at the altar of Algore.

But, let's read Mr. Chapman's article and see what he has to say, shall we?

Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh
Phil Chapman | April 23, 2008

THE scariest photo I have seen on the internet is [at] www.spaceweather.com, where you will find a real-time image of the sun from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, located in deep space at the equilibrium point between solar and terrestrial gravity.

What is scary about the picture is that there is only one tiny sunspot.

Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.

All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.

There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that 2007 was exceptionally cold. It snowed in Baghdad for the first time in centuries, the winter in China was simply terrible and the extent of Antarctic sea ice in the austral winter was the greatest on record since James Cook discovered the place in 1770.

It is generally not possible to draw conclusions about climatic trends from events in a single year, so I would normally dismiss this cold snap as transient, pending what happens in the next few years.

This is where SOHO comes in. The sunspot number follows a cycle of somewhat variable length, averaging 11 years. The most recent minimum was in March last year. The new cycle, No.24, was supposed to start soon after that, with a gradual build-up in sunspot numbers.

It didn't happen. The first sunspot appeared in January this year and lasted only two days. A tiny spot appeared last Monday but vanished within 24 hours. Another little spot appeared this Monday. Pray that there will be many more, and soon.

The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth's climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790.

Northern winters became ferocious: in particular, the rout of Napoleon's Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812 was at least partly due to the lack of sunspots.

That the rapid temperature decline in 2007 coincided with the failure of cycle No.24 to begin on schedule is not proof of a causal connection but it is cause for concern.

It is time to put aside the global warming dogma, at least to begin contingency planning about what to do if we are moving into another little ice age, similar to the one that lasted from 1100 to 1850.

There is no doubt that the next little ice age would be much worse than the previous one and much more harmful than anything warming may do. There are many more people now and we have become dependent on a few temperate agricultural areas, especially in the US and Canada. Global warming would increase agricultural output, but global cooling will decrease it.

Millions will starve if we do nothing to prepare for it (such as planning changes in agriculture to compensate), and millions more will die from cold-related diseases.

There is also another possibility, remote but much more serious. The Greenland and Antarctic ice cores and other evidence show that for the past several million years, severe glaciation has almost always afflicted our planet.

The bleak truth is that, under normal conditions, most of North America and Europe are buried under about 1.5km of ice. This bitterly frigid climate is interrupted occasionally by brief warm interglacials, typically lasting less than 10,000 years.

The interglacial we have enjoyed throughout recorded human history, called the Holocene, began 11,000 years ago, so the ice is overdue. We also know that glaciation can occur quickly: the required decline in global temperature is about 12C and it can happen in 20 years.

The next descent into an ice age is inevitable but may not happen for another 1000 years. On the other hand, it must be noted that the cooling in 2007 was even faster than in typical glacial transitions. If it continued for 20 years, the temperature would be 14C cooler in 2027.

By then, most of the advanced nations would have ceased to exist, vanishing under the ice, and the rest of the world would be faced with a catastrophe beyond imagining.

Australia may escape total annihilation but would surely be overrun by millions of refugees. Once the glaciation starts, it will last 1000 centuries, an incomprehensible stretch of time.

If the ice age is coming, there is a small chance that we could prevent or at least delay the transition, if we are prepared to take action soon enough and on a large enough scale.

For example: We could gather all the bulldozers in the world and use them to dirty the snow in Canada and Siberia in the hope of reducing the reflectance so as to absorb more warmth from the sun.

We also may be able to release enormous floods of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) from the hydrates under the Arctic permafrost and on the continental shelves, perhaps using nuclear weapons to destabilise the deposits.

We cannot really know, but my guess is that the odds are at least 50-50 that we will see significant cooling rather than warming in coming decades.

The probability that we are witnessing the onset of a real ice age is much less, perhaps one in 500, but not totally negligible.

All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead.

It will be difficult for people to face the truth when their reputations, careers, government grants or hopes for social change depend on global warming, but the fate of civilisation may be at stake.

In the famous words of Oliver Cromwell, "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."

Phil Chapman is a geophysicist and astronautical engineer who lives in San Francisco. He was the first Australian to become a NASA astronaut.
It's interesting that Chapman's analysis, predictions, etc are all prefixed with the appropriate level of uncertainty (which is required when predicting the future). Compare his measured analysis with the certainty of the moonbats and disciples of Algore.

I say we all go out and buy some gas guzzlers and save the planet!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

OK, So I'm Way Behind the Curve - "Charlie Wilson's War"

I had wanted to see "Charlie Wilson's War" when it came out last year but never got around to it. I rented it today, the first day it was available. It is a totally amazing movie and very hard to believe it came out of Hollywood.

Charlie Wilson, a Democratic congressman from Texas, nearly single-handedly orchestrated American policy in Soviet occupied Afghanistan during the mid and late 1980s. Through his tireless efforts the Afghans received the support they needed to defeat the Soviets. It is quite a story. "Charlie Did It" read the banner at CIA when it was all over.

Afghanistan and our role in the defeat of the Russians there in the 1980s is probably best known for the "blow-back" that has occurred when the Taliban and al Qaeda took power. This culminated in 9/11 and the war in which we now find ourselves.

That is to say that the argument is advanced today by those on the Left that it was wrong to aid Afghanistan because the blowback followed.

Just because something followed an action does not mean it was caused by the action. Something called ergo proctor hoc if I recall correctly, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now. Indeed jihad has followed the liberation of Afghanistan from the Soviets but was not necessarily caused by our aiding in that liberation.

The closing of the movie quotes Charlie Wilson, paraphrasing, that what we did was glorious and it changed the world, but we fucked up the end game.

How did we do that?

We dropped Afghanistan like a hot potato once the Russians were defeated. We left a void into which stepped the Taliban. As they say, the rest is history.

Is there a lesson there?

Perhaps a lesson we should remember as we decide our future in Iraq?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC:MontereyJohn

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tony Snow Joins CNN - You Have Got to be Kidding Me

April 21, 2008
Former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow joins CNN
Posted: 04:08 PM ET

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former White House press secretary Tony Snow will join CNN as a conservative commentator beginning Monday.

CNN president Jon Klein announced that Snow, a long-time political observer with a longstanding news background, will contribute to CNN as the network continues to broadcast winning political coverage.

Snow most recently served as press secretary to President Bush. For 10 years, beginning in 1996, he appeared on Fox News Channel as the host of Fox News Sunday, Weekend Live with Tony Snow and other programs. Before joining Fox, Snow served as a substitute "From the Right" co-host for CNN's Crossfire.

Snow has also been a newspaper writer, radio host and


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Happy Earth Day!!!

Happy Earth Day to everyone. I hope everyone prays earnestly to Gaia and realizes that we can't continue living in this modern society - we must return to the more peaceful times of the Middle Ages, when people were connected directly to the Earth, when people were self-sufficient, when people made their own clothes, and when the nightmare that is the internal combustible engine hadn't even been thought of yet.

We have an impressive set of posts on Green topics, from the dangers of Global Warming to the wonders of a No Impact Lifestyle (It can be so beneficial spiritually to compost your own waste!). And certainly don't forget our commentary on the awe-inspiring and yet to be questioned film from our Dear Leader, Al Gore.

Curiously, this Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal from one of the founders of Greenpeace seems to assert that our Movement (or, in my preferred German, Bewegung) is more motivated by (radical) politics and less by actual science. It seems that he disagreed with some of the positions of Greenpeace (saying that they weren't based on the scientific evidence) and he left the Organization.

Surely this man is just a shill for some oil or coal company. Well, I'm sure that this article won't get much press from the other Eco-friendly bloggers, so I'll provide it here in the interest of letting you decide:

OPINION
Why I Left Greenpeace
By PATRICK MOORE
April 22, 2008; Page A23

In 1971 an environmental and antiwar ethic was taking root in Canada, and I chose to participate. As I completed a Ph.D. in ecology, I combined my science background with the strong media skills of my colleagues. In keeping with our pacifist views, we started Greenpeace.

But I later learned that the environmental movement is not always guided by science. As we celebrate Earth Day today, this is a good lesson to keep in mind.

At first, many of the causes we championed, such as opposition to nuclear testing and protection of whales, stemmed from our scientific knowledge of nuclear physics and marine biology. But after six years as one of five directors of Greenpeace International, I observed that none of my fellow directors had any formal science education. They were either political activists or environmental entrepreneurs. Ultimately, a trend toward abandoning scientific objectivity in favor of political agendas forced me to leave Greenpeace in 1986.

The breaking point was a Greenpeace decision to support a world-wide ban on chlorine. Science shows that adding chlorine to drinking water was the biggest advance in the history of public health, virtually eradicating water-borne diseases such as cholera. And the majority of our pharmaceuticals are based on chlorine chemistry. Simply put, chlorine is essential for our health.

My former colleagues ignored science and supported the ban, forcing my departure. Despite science concluding no known health risks – and ample benefits – from chlorine in drinking water, Greenpeace and other environmental groups have opposed its use for more than 20 years.

Opposition to the use of chemicals such as chlorine is part of a broader hostility to the use of industrial chemicals. Rachel Carson's 1962 book, "Silent Spring," had a significant impact on many pioneers of the green movement. The book raised concerns, many rooted in science, about the risks and negative environmental impact associated with the overuse of chemicals. But the initial healthy skepticism hardened into a mindset that treats virtually all industrial use of chemicals with suspicion.

Sadly, Greenpeace has evolved into an organization of extremism and politically motivated agendas. Its anti-chlorination campaign failed, only to be followed by a campaign against polyvinyl chloride.

Greenpeace now has a new target called phthalates (pronounced thal-ates). These are chemical compounds that make plastics flexible. They are found in everything from hospital equipment such as IV bags and tubes, to children's toys and shower curtains. They are among the most practical chemical compounds in existence.

Phthalates are the new bogeyman. These chemicals make easy targets since they are hard to understand and difficult to pronounce. Commonly used phthalates, such as diisononyl phthalate (DINP), have been used in everyday products for decades with no evidence of human harm. DINP is the primary plasticizer used in toys. It has been tested by multiple government and independent evaluators, and found to be safe.

Despite this, a political campaign that rejects science is pressuring companies and the public to reject the use of DINP. Retailers such as Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us are switching to phthalate-free products to avoid public pressure.

It may be tempting to take this path of least resistance, but at what cost? None of the potential replacement chemicals have been tested and found safe to the degree that DINP has. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently cautioned, "If DINP is to be replaced in children's products . . . the potential risks of substitutes must be considered. Weaker or more brittle plastics might break and result in a choking hazard. Other plasticizers might not be as well studied as DINP."

The hysteria over DINP began in Europe and Israel, both of which instituted bans. Yet earlier this year, Israel realized the error of putting politics before science, and reinstated DINP.
[...]
We all have a responsibility to be environmental stewards. But that stewardship requires that science, not political agendas, drive our public policy.

Mr. Moore, co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace, is chairman and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies.




Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler