March 18, 2009

Web Reconnaissance for 03/18/2009

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Warthog's Wrants: Threats - We seem to be surrounded by threats lately. The outside threats are mainly Iran, China, the Norks, but in a chilling blast from the past, Russia even seems to be posturing lately. Our internal threats are our own government. First, I think we need to decide which threat is the most pressing and confront it. Being an uncomplicated person with cut and dried views, I think it's time to pump out the big white shithouse in D.C. I think there should be a strong and unified call for congress to resign and be replaced. Once we have our house under control, we can look at threat mitigation for outside threats. Controlling our house is not going to be simple. It's not going to happen quickly. We need many things to happen. (READ MORE)

Lonewolf Diaries: Only Conservatives Can Be Racists, You Morons… - “Obama looks like a Chimpanzee…” That’s the exact reaction elicited from Liberals in response to Sean Delonas’ recent comic strip in the New York Post. Granted, they prefaced it with, “Conservatives are trying to say…” in an attempt to play off their own prejudice while projecting it onto conservatives. Is anybody out there truly fooled by, or scared of, these blatant attack patterns? What can I say; the liberal playbook is as bland and predictable as a Vin Diesel sequel. “How can we better handle said attacks?” you may be thinking. Oh, Big Hollywood… I’m so glad that you’ve asked. Assemble the troops! The aforementioned comic was meant to poke fun at the recent shooting of a chimpanzee amidst a chardonnay and Xanax bender in Connecticut, while simultaneously taking a jab at the stimulus bill. (READ MORE)

AJStrata: Obama: Military Personnel Owe America For Being Injured In War - Ed Morrissey does his usual excellent job of distilling this down to its essence: “If the country needs more revenue streams, it should find some other way to find them than the backs of our wounded veterans. They’ve sacrificed enough. Shame on the Obama administration for attempting to weasel out of our commitment.” Nuff said - end update - You don’t think socialized medicine will be all that bad? Ask wounded war veterans who may be required to pay the US government for medical treatments for their war injuries: “The leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization says he is ‘deeply disappointed and concerned’ after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries. The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in such cases.” (READ MORE)

Victor Davis Hanson: The “Depression” for Us Idiots - I confess I don’t know all that much about the theory of economics, and have done some unwise things in the strict financial sense the last thirty years—remodeled an ancient family farm house that will never be appraised at what was sunk into it, both farmed and rented out a 40-acre Thompson seedless vineyard whose returns usually did not pay the property taxes, irrigation taxes, infrastructure upkeep, and depreciation—and in unthinking fashion kept up my modest monthly 401(k) contributions through the height of inflated Wall Street stock prices. I could go on, but will leave at that. My point? Many of us who have little abstract financial or economic sense are nonetheless baffled about the bad news from the economic front—and the inability of so-called experts to clarify issues. Let me list some troubling items. (READ MORE)

Jammie Wearing Fool: Obama Has His Priorities - The president took some time off from his manufactured outrage over AIG to focus like a laser beam on the important issues facing America. Like who he's picking in the NCAA tournament. “In an exclusive interview, airing on Wednesday’s Noon ET SportsCenter, with senior college basketball writer Andy Katz, President Barack Obama filled out his bracket predictions for the 2009 NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament. President Obama’s bracket will be posted on Wednesday, and will appear alongside the millions of fans expected to play’s Tournament Challenge games. Last year, the ESPN Men’s Tournament Challenge set a record with 3.65 million entries. Katz’s interview will also be available on and on ESPN Mobile platforms.” (READ MORE)

The Virtuous Republic: WCPO’s Biased Reporting on Cincinnati’s Tea Party Rally - I attended Sunday’s Tea Party rally on Fountain Square from about 3:20 until 5 p.m. I circled the square several times, trying to get photos of the great signs created by those who attended. I stand by my earlier statement that this was a well-behaved crowd. It was made up of mostly families, and to be quite frank, it was the safest that I’ve felt downtown since the riots nearly tore out the city’s economic heart some six years ago. Several Cincinnati bloggers, see here, here, and here all described the crowd as energetic and focused on the task at hand and as one site put it: “I went to the Palin rally in Lebanon last year, and that was indeed exciting, but this one seemed to have even more raw energy. Nearly everyone had a sign. The overall feeling was not one of hatred. Yes, we hate Obama’s policies (and, yes, we want his misguided aims for the country to fail), but today I witnessed a crowd of people overwhelmed by another emotion–love (of country–ed).” (READ MORE)

The Tygrrrr Express: More hate mail from leftists gone wild - The Tygrrrr Express is leaving Los Angeles for a few days, bound for New York today. A couple of days later will be a Thursday trip to Atlanta. That 24 hour pit-stop will be followed by several days in South Florida. My relationship with the Sacramento Queen prevents me from going completely crazy in South Beach, but I have more than fulfilled my quota of Spring Break fun over the years. In addition to partying in Miami, the Republican Jewish Coalition Leadership has their quarterly meeting in Fort Lauderdale. Some political heavyweights will be there. Of course, South Florida also means mom and dad. It is nice to be around people that care about me. Until then, it is time to open up the hate mail bag and expose some more liberals gone wild. It is possible for somebody to be a political liberal, or even a political leftist, without being hateful. (READ MORE)

McQ: Community Organizing From The White House (Budget And AIG) - Once a community organizer, always a community organizer, I suppose - from an email I received recently from the Obama campaign email list: “The current debate in Washington over President Obama's budget has made one thing clear -- ensuring our long-term prosperity won't come without a fight.” The eternal campaign continues with attempts to solicit the same ground support "magic" the campaign was able to solicit during the presidential campaign. However, doing that during a campaign when the focus is a person and his promises vs. attempting to do that when the person in question has gained the office and is now talking about concrete proposals which may or may not be in the best interest of the country isn't quite as easy. (READ MORE)

Marc Ambinder: Backlash Nation - What do these events have in common? Jon Stewart's entertaining, meatless takedown of Jim Cramer....Rick Santelli's Chicago tea party....White House and Congressional anger over AIG bonuses....Republican distress over the 98%-earmark free omnibus budget? These are all examples of the performance of populist outrage in the theatres of the elite. Their targets aren't exactly straw men, but you could be forgiven for wondering why CNBC, employment contracts, earmarks and mortgage assistance for non-delinquent homeowners come in for so much approbation. To paraphrase Megan McArdle, earmarks didn't persuade China to invest its savings glut in U.S. Treasuries; Jim Cramer didn't invent leverage (or greed, or the desire to make money in the stock market) and AIG's derivative traders profited from the government's desire to secure homesteads for as many Americans as possible. (READ MORE)

Soccerdad: Pincus fed paranoia - I’ve blogged quite a bit about the Chas Freeman appointment, but there’s a need to post (at least) one more item. Originally when Walter PIncus wrote about Freeman’s withdrawal he took great care to emphasize the Jewish opposition to the appointment. “Rosen’s initial posting was the first of 17 he would write about Freeman over a 19-day period. Some of those added more original reporting, while some pointed to other blogs’ finds about Freeman’s record. In the process, Rosen traced increasing interest in the appointment elsewhere in the blogosphere, including coverage by Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard, and Chait and Martin Peretz of the New Republic.” Never mind that for every Michael Goldfarb who questioned the appointment there was an equal and opposing M. J. Rosenberg, who supported the appointment. (READ MORE)

Kim Priestap: The War on Man-Caused Disasters - Now we know why the Obama administration no longer uses the term terrorism, terrorists, terrorist attacks, or the war on terror. They're trying to move away from the politics of fear, you see, so Janet Napolitano says we're fighting the war on man-caused disasters. “Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has an explanation about why she never mentioned the word ‘terrorism’ during her first testimony on Capitol Hill. Napolitano tells the German news site Spiegel Online that while she presumes there is always a threat from terrorism: ‘I referred to "man-caused" disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.’” Someone please tell me Obama's presidency is one big joke. (READ MORE)

Baron Von Ottomatic: Krakatoa - According to the History Channel show I'm watching, the third of four explosions from Krakatoa in 1883 is the loudest sound in recorded history. Equivalent to 13,000 Hiroshima bombs, something like 150 megatons, being detonated at once. It was heard two thousand miles away in the middle of the Australian desert. How freakin' cool would it be to watch something like that from a survivable, upwind direction? Survivable being the key as ~36,000 people died in the eruption - probably a tenth of what it would be if a similar eruption happened today. Morbidity aside, I can't think of any spectacle that could be more awe inspiring than a volcanic eruption. Except maybe a nuclear explosion. I remember another History Channel show where US soldiers were goofing and putting on sunscreen before they hunkered down in a trench not all that far from an a-bomb detonating. (READ MORE)

Eugene Volokh: Anti-Palestinian Fliers Lead to Calls for Police Investigation; Police Say The Fliers Are Free Speech - The University of Maryland Diamondback reports: “University of Maryland Palestinian students and supporters were confronted with malevolent opposition Tuesday in the form of posters bearing vivid anti-Palestine propaganda that students said made them feel threatened, though it did not stop Palestinian Solidarity Week from continuing Wednesday night....One such flier depicted a woman, wearing a traditional Muslim burqa and holding an AK-47 in one hand and a bomb-toting baby in the other. ‘What did she teach her child today?’ was written above the picture.” A University of Maryland Police spokesman reports that the department concluded that, "Basically, these fliers were free speech, [p]lain and simple." But the university administration seems to take a different view: (READ MORE)

Cassandra: That Nuance Thing, Again - So - given that this review is accurate (and I haven't read his book, so I have no way to assess it) where do people like me fit into Andrew Sullivan's moral matrix? “... in the next few years, I realized that the Republican party had no interest in reaching out to gay people on the basis of human dignity, individual freedom and economic liberty. My own minority was only admitted into the coalition if it agreed to dehumanize itself.” Since when has admitting there may be tension between unlimited individual freedom and longstanding societal interests amounted to "dehumanization"? Dehumanizers!!!! It seems to me that Mr. Sullivan is once again cheerfully imputing the worst possible motives - on no evidence - to anyone who doesn't happen to share his beliefs. Either you agree with him, or you're an Evil, Wrong/Bad Dehumanizer. There is no middle ground. But on to the review, and the matrix: (READ MORE)

Michael Tanji: An Alternate Path - This is not an article about Charles Freeman; it is about something bigger than Charles Freeman, for which he is simply a poster boy. While anyone who is looking for an objective, informed voice on issues relative to national diplomacy and security should be at least concerned about statements attributed to Charles Freeman, one should not forget to look at this issue from another angle: Why does it seem like the only post-governmental living that can be made by people like Mr. Freeman comes at the expense (real or perceived) of their independence and objectivity? Now, when I say "people like Freeman," I'm saying senior, seasoned officials who have logged serious time working in the trenches for their government. Their rewards, hard fought and won, tend to cumulate in a glory assignment, a high-level award, and a modest pension. (READ MORE)

Stop the ACLU: Supporters of Capitalism Are Crazy, Says Harvard - In their usual projective way, Leftist psychologists, sociologists etc. have been trying for over 50 years to portray conservatives as mentally ill in some way. The article below refers to the latest such attempt. I have myself written at great length in the academic journals on claims of this sort (e.g. here and here) but the article below does such a good job of ridiculing the Leftist jerk-offs concerned that I will say no more: Last weekend, Harvard University sponsored a conference called (I am not making this up) “The Free Market Mindset: History, Psychology, and Consequences.” Its purpose was to try to figure out why, since everyone knows the current crisis amounts to a failure of the market economy, the stupid rubes continue to believe in it. The promotional literature for the conference opened with That Quotation from Alan Greenspan - the one in which he suggested that there was, after all, a “flaw” in the free market he hadn’t noticed before. (READ MORE)

Melanie Phillips: That fabled consensus again - To date, objections to man-made global warming theory have rested on such positions as a) there is no evidence that current warming levels are deviating from historical patterns; b) studies claiming the existence of such evidence tend to be sloppy, inaccurate or fraudulent; c) claims of already visible effects of such warming are demonstrably false; d) the theory rests upon dubious computer modelling, which boils down to ‘rubbish in, rubbish out’; e) something as complex as climate cannot be predicted in such a simplistic manner. But now a new study has been published which states flatly that the very idea of anthropogenic global warming ‘lies outside any science’. Physicist Dr. Gerhard Gerlich, of the Institute of Mathematical Physics at the Technical University Carolo-Wilhelmina in Braunschweig in Germany, and Dr. Ralf D. Tscheuschner co-authored a July 7, 2007 paper entitled ‘Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within the Frame of Physics’ which has just been published in the International Journal of Modern Physics. (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Anti-Semitism and the Paranoid Dynamic - One of the most common defenses of childhood is externalization. It is not at all atypical for a child to react to a disappointing grade with the explanation that the teacher is unfair or needlessly rigorous. The fault is therefore not the child's perhaps less than stellar study habits or preference for TV and video games to study, but is rather the responsibility of the teacher, who treated the child most unfairly. A refinement of externalization is projection. In projection, a more immature and pathological defense, the child did poorly on the test because the teacher holds a particular animus for the child. "My teacher hates me and marked my test unfairly." When projection is transient and situational, it falls within the spectrum of "normal pathology"; ie, the typical neurotic reactions that we all have to one degree or another at one time or another. (READ MORE)

Pros and Cons: Micro-Management - You will remember that insurance giant AIG received more than $170 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars to stay afloat — money authorized by our congressional leaders, as well as our president. Earlier this week AIG was found to have payed out $165 million in executive bonuses. In other words, AIG asked the U.S. government for money, and got it, and then proceeded to use a substantial amount of that money to pay its executive bonuses for — well, apparently for driving the company so far into the ground that it had to be bailed out. Fair enough. If the bailout money didn’t have any restrictions regarding using it to pay bonuses then AIG didn’t do anything legally wrong — morally wrong, perhaps, but not legally wrong. (AIG claims that it was contractually obligated to pay the bonuses, which means it might have been illegal for them not to pay them!) Shame on Congress for not attaching those strings. Fool them once. (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: VA Medical - I’ve resisted, up until now, making any comment on the kerfuffle between the president and veterans groups over the former’s plan to raise $540 million for his broader health care program by forcing veterans to use their private medical insurance. I’ve resisted because I find the plan frankly incomprehensible. Say you’re a soldier wounded or otherwise injured in the line of duty. You get stabilized at a field hospital, are sent eventually to a major medical center in Europe or at home, and are eventually discharged, losing your active duty medical benefits. The consequences of service related injuries could easily make you uninsurable by virtue of pre-existing conditions for most insurance providers even if they don’t make you unemployable for any work that offers medical insurance - a big “if” for seriously disabled vets. Even if you could get private insurance, the long term consequences of service related injuries could easily exceed annual insurance caps. Don’t get me started on co-pays. (READ MORE)

Greyhawk: The Slow Boil Begins - The American Legion describes some potential problems with the newly proposed Obama/Shinseki "F#$k the Veterans" program: “The Legion argues that, depending on the severity of the medical conditions involved, maximum insurance coverage limits could be reached through treatment of the veteran's condition alone. That would leave the rest of the family without health care benefits. The Legion also points out that many health insurance companies require deductibles to be paid before any benefits are covered. Additionally, the Legion is concerned that private insurance premiums would be elevated to cover service-connected disabled veterans and their families, especially if the veterans are self-employed or employed in small businesses unable to negotiate more favorable across-the-board insurance policy pricing. The American Legion also believes that some employers, especially small businesses, would be reluctant to hire veterans with service-connected disabilities due to the negative impact their employment might have on obtaining and financing company health care benefits.” But... (READ MORE)

Hamilton, Madison, and Jay: The mask has slipped and the emperor has no clothes - We knew the president was incompetent, and not just in the general sense. For the first time in this nation's history we have a president that was elected, and lacked even a shred of a resume. Captain Ed takes note of the fact that the honeymoon just might be over for the thrill-up-the-leg media: “Not long ago, after a string of especially bad days for the Obama administration, a veteran Democratic pol approached me with a pained look on his face and asked, ‘Do you think they know what they're doing?’ The question caught me off guard because the man is a well-known Obama supporter. As we talked, I quickly realized his asking suggested his own considerable doubts. Yes, it's early, but an eerily familiar feeling is spreading across party lines and seeping into the national conversation. It's a nagging doubt about the competency of the White House. ...” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: (Video) Jon Stewart rips Obama on wounded-vet policy - How many new conservative viewers will Jon Stewart get in the Age of Obama? If he offers up a few more segments like this, I’d guess more than a few. Stewart rips the Obama administration for its ideas on raising revenue by forcing wounded veterans to use private insurance to pay for service-related injuries. Apparently, he and Commander David Rehbein of the American Legion are both, er, angered by this notion, as Jazz Shaw’s transcript makes clear: “STEWART: You know the veterans? The men and women who risk their lives defending our country? They’re about yay tall, wear green… sometimes tan. They’re this brave. Well, when they get injured, you know who foots the bill? You. The taxpayer. It’s incredibly… fair.” (READ MORE)

Mark Brooks: The Stewardship We Owe Our Veterans - Christmas night 2003 my son Jon was nearly killed by an Improvised Explosive Device while driving through the streets of Baghdad . The bomb was a near miss and he and another soldier were only slightly wounded. Still to this day he bears the marks of that blast. Fragments of concrete or shrapnel remain in his knee. His back and hearing were affected. While mild compared to many other wounded veterans he none the less is rated 50% disabled. My concern is that as he ages those wounds which now in his youth he takes in stride will become more of an issue. So you can imagine my horror when I read the headline that said, "The American Legion Strongly Opposed to President’s Plan to Charge Wounded Heroes for Treatment.” The lead paragraphs tell the story. (READ MORE)

Uncle Jimbo: The torture of reading the Washington Post - Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post has a column bemoaning a report that purports to show we tortured detainees or had it done at our behest. While the stories told are painful, we have no way of knowing their accuracy and even if taken at face value they may not even constitute torture. “Sooner or later, we will also have to hold accountable the American leaders who ordered American citizens to torture prisoners who were captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere, in violation both of our Constitution and of international conventions we ratified long ago. I say ‘American leaders’ quite deliberately: Before any investigation has taken place, it is pointless to name names and needlessly politicize what should in principle be a neutral legal process.” That seems like a fair way to begin, let's see where she takes this. “That crimes were committed is no longer in doubt.” Really now: (READ MORE)

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