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Obama’s calibration on Gaddafi and Libya

Obama's calibration on Gaddafi and LibyaRewinding a few weeks, President Obama had a decision to make in response to the attempted revolution in Libya. He could have said, “We watch events with concern. We will use all the diplomatic and economic means at our disposal to influence the situation, but (let me be clear!) this is not a case where U.S. military power will be used.” There’s a strong argument to be made that that would have been the correct approach. After all, U.S. forces are fighting in Afghanistan, are still in harm’s way in Iraq, and have been in action against al-Qaeda types with varying degrees of secrecy in other locales, including East Africa and Yemen. North Korea continues to represent a potential war that might explode at any minute; and then there are all the humanitarian missions the U.S. military is performing, and so on. In other words, there were very good reasons for Defense Secretary Robert Gates to be extremely reluctant to get U.S. forces engaged in Libya at all. Continue reading Obama’s calibration on Gaddafi and Libya

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Politically correct on Islam: To be or not be – that is the question

There are two stories whose headlines can be seen in various places today, and a comparison of the two seems instructive. One goes like this: Fort Hood shooting: Nine Army officers get reprimand for missing warning signs raised by Nidal Hasan.

The U.S. Army has announced that nine officers will be reprimanded in some way for “leadership failures relating to the career of Maj. Hasan.” Major Nidal Hassan shot 13 people to death at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, and wounded 32 others, in what was by far the deadliest jihadist attack in the United States since September 11th, 2001. For some of the officers involved, the reprimands are described as “career-ending.” Continue reading Politically correct on Islam: To be or not be – that is the question

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NPR credibility implosion continues

Blogger Patterico has a “read-it-to-believe-it” exchange, via Twitter and email, with the NPR ombudsman — that’s right — where she (Alicia Shepard) initially makes a false assertion for which she had no evidence (i.e. that Ron Schiller had said on the infamous tape that he was currently a Republican), then neglects to bother to listen to the recording when the relevant part is handed to her, and then … well, read it all.

(Definition of ombudsman: one that investigates, reports on, and helps settle complaints. Failing in spectacular fashion on every score here.)

Addendum: A number of NPR journalists have issued a letter saying that they were “appalled by the offensive comments made recently by NPR’s now former Senior Vice President for Development. His words violated the basic principles by which we live and work: accuracy and open-mindedness, fairness and respect.” OK. But in light of Patterico’s post, how about the accuracy, open-mindedness and fairness of NPR’s ombudsman? She had every chance to correct herself in some kind of timely manner, but just could not bring herself to do it.

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Iowahawk, Joe Biden and High Speed Trains

Take the ingredients in the title above, mix them up, and you have a tantalizing recipe. From Iowahawk: Biden Vows to Jump Canyon by Amtrak. (Given the proclivity of Iowahawk‘s satire to become reality, it seems that the future will be fun, if, perhaps, short-lived.)

Standing on the rim of the gaping two-mile wide chasm of the Grand Canyon in a star-spangled jumpsuit, Joe Biden today announced a new $53 billion federal high speed rail program that will include funding for “SkyTrain X-2,” a new experimental locomotive that, if successful, will make him the first known U.S. Vice President to jump the Grand Canyon by rail.

“This is a big fucking deal – a big fucking deal,” explained Biden. “And I wouldn’t have volunteered for this mission if I didn’t have complete confidence in Amtrak, my good buddy [US Transportation Secretary] Ray LaHood, and Four Loko – the official energy drink of SkyTrain X-2.”


The $53 billion program announced today would begin with the building of a complex criss-crossing national rail network, the crown jewel of which will be the ‘Sustainability Express’ subterranean solar train, providing non-stop service between Wilmington, DE and Scranton, PA.

“When it is finished in 2046, it will shave nearly 15 minutes off the comparable driving time between Wilmington and Scranton,” boasted the Vice President.

Read it in its entirety.

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Breakthrough boosts U.S. oil supplies

A new drilling method is opening up enormous new fields of recoverable oil in the United States, within underground shale, according to the AP. The method is less expensive than deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and is predicted to boost domestic U.S. production by 20 – 40% within five years, producing 1 – 2 millon barrels of oil a day. This method of oil drilling is already producing oil in North Dakota and Texas, and other fields showing promise include some stretching beneath Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico and California.

It’s really amazing what private industry and entrepreneurship can achieve. Some predict that this new method of recovering domestic oil, combined with some other factors, could reduce the U.S. need for foreign oil by 60%, by the year 2020. That’s good news for the country’s economy and for the country’s security.

And now the countdown begins to when the Obama administration’s EPA begins to throw obstacles in the way of this innovation …

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Ronald Reagan on the big screen

Do yourself a favor during the current orgy of debate and discussion regarding Ronald Reagan, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth, and read Mark Steyn’s appreciation of Reagan the movie actor. Any article that has the following as the opening paragraph qualifies as absolutely golden almost regardless of what follows (if you ask me):

If I understand correctly the Left’s dismissal of Ronald Reagan back in the Eighties, it’s that he was a third-rate B-movie ham of no consequence and simultaneously such an accomplished actor he was able to fool the American people into believing he was a real president rather than a mere cue-card reader for the military-industrial complex. These would appear at first glance to be somewhat inconsistent characterisations, but they can be reconciled if you have as exquisitely condescending a view of the American people as, say, Gore Vidal.

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Reuters slams Palin again for “blood libel” and gets it exactly wrong

They just can’t help themselves.

A Reuters story today (written by John Whiteside and edited by Todd Eastham) comments on Sarah Palin’s speech earlier at a tribute to Ronald Reagan, in which she warned that the Democrats’ big government policies have set America on the “road to ruin.” Towards the end of the piece, we are treated to a summary of what they think we ought to believe about Palin. Continue reading Reuters slams Palin again for “blood libel” and gets it exactly wrong

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Understanding Rush Limbaugh

In the latest issue of the magazine Commentary, there is an excellent article by Wilfred McClay titled “How to Understand Rush Limbaugh.

Those who listen to Rush’s show may question the need for such an explanation, but, although in his piece McClay points out the many ways in which the political left misunderestimates Limbaugh and continually gets played by him as a result, the real value of his article, especially in a forum like Commentary, is as a primer for those conservatives who still fail to get the El Rushbo phenomenon. Despite Limbaugh’s gargantuan ratings, there are still millions of conservatively-inclined Americans who lack either the opportunity or inclination to listen to Rush Limbaugh or talk radio generally. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but many of them form decided opinions about Limbaugh nonetheless, based largely on how he is characterized in the larger, mainstream media. So, they absorb and regurgitate keywords such as blowhard, buffoon and bomb-thrower, and imagine that Limbaugh makes his living by riling people up into frenzies of incoherent outrage. This — the impermeable conventional wisdom on Rush Limbaugh — could hardly be further from the truth. Continue reading Understanding Rush Limbaugh

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Egypt: Yes, it’s Bush’s fault

The recent revolt in Tunisia has been followed by massive unrest in Egypt, and frustrations are beginning to bubble into actions in a number of other Middle-Eastern dictatorships. Is it 1989 again? Too soon to say that, but things are moving quickly, and, should Mubarak fall, it will surely encourage revolt in other nearby countries with underemployed and unhappy young populations. Continue reading Egypt: Yes, it’s Bush’s fault

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Obama-English dictionary

Just a couple of small entries which are on my mind this morning.

When President Barack Obama speaks tonight in his State of the Union speech of investing in things, what he means is government spending; i.e., the federal government taking money from people who have earned it and spending it on favored projects.

When President Barack Obama speaks tonight in his State of the Union speech of green jobs, what he means is jobs that require government spending.

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Forty percent of pregnancies in New York City ending in abortion

Figures from the local Department of Health indicate that the rate of abortion in New York City has exceeded 40% in recent years. In other words, nearly one in two of all known pregnancies in the five boroughs of New York City ends with an abortion. (Via CBS News.)

It’s beyond words, really, but you have to look for some. What does this say about the level of self-hatred in a society, masquerading as self-will and independence? Continue reading Forty percent of pregnancies in New York City ending in abortion

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Wind Farms Cause Climate Change

From the BBC:

Wind farms, especially big ones, generate turbulence that can significantly alter air temperatures near the ground, say researchers.

As turbines often stand on agricultural land, these changes could in turn affect crop productivity.


But Jonathan Scurlock, chief adviser on climate change and renewable energy at the National Farmers Union, said that using wind energy was “one of many measures, which can be [used] to mitigate climate change”. “The major threats to agriculture in terms of changing the air temperature come directly from the fossil fuel industry and deforestation, increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere,” he added.


But Dr Roy noted that even though wind farms were unlikely to have an effect on global climate change, “the impacts on local climate can be large”.

He also said that the study was not about comparing wind power to any other technology, but about considering and addressing possible side effects of this green energy.

“Wind energy is likely to be a part of the solution of the global warming problem,” he said.

“Often, in a rush to implement new technologies, we ignore possible side‐effects that may show up in the future.

What’s in question is local climate change. In the end, of-course, all climate is local. It doesn’t much matter to you if you’re told the world has gotten two degrees warmer when your house is buried in snow and your pipes are freezing. In any case, the law of unintended consequences continues to rule, while the global warming advocates with their grand schemes to remake the world continue to stumble ahead regardless.

Addendum: And of-course, as has become increasingly well-known, wind turbines are also unbearably loud for people living nearby.

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Healthcare nightmare

From the WSJ:

We have entered a political wonderland, where the rules are whatever Democrats say they are. Mrs. Pelosi and the White House are resorting to these abuses because their bill is so unpopular that a majority even of their own party doesn’t want to vote for it. Fence-sitting Members are being threatened with primary challengers, a withdrawal of union support and of course ostracism. Michigan’s Bart Stupak is being pounded nightly by MSNBC for the high crime of refusing to vote for a bill that he believes will subsidize insurance for abortions. Continue reading Healthcare nightmare

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Mr. President (Obama): Have Pity On The Working Man

PrezNow, I know that Randy Newman is some kind of darned liberal, and (based on media reports I’ve seen) was quite recently in possession of a very fine case of Bush Derangement Syndrome. I don’t like him for his politics, but I do genuinely enjoy his artful and ironic way with a song. And all I know is that his song Mr. President (written around 1974, but with something of an aura of 1934) has never been a more relevant and sharply-aimed arrow than it is at this very moment. Today, President Barack Obama, in the face of so much incredulity — on both sides of the aisle, mind you — and in the face of so much frustration on the part of average Americans, continues to pursue his ideological goal of getting the hands of the federal government firmly around the U.S. health-care system. On this particular day he is doing it by means of a televised “summit” with Democrats and Republicans from Congress, as if all of the issues have not had more than their due airing over the past 13 months and more; as if he has just not had sufficient time to make his arguments. He persists in this vein while the U.S economy continues to descend in its death spiral, with real working Americans (and once working Americans) continuing to suffer in ever greater numbers, and with no real recovery even in sight. Continue reading Mr. President (Obama): Have Pity On The Working Man

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President Barack Obama and the Right to Trial

PrisonPresident Obama’s policy (as of today) with regard to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility seems to me to be summarizable in the following way:

The use of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay has damaged the reputation of the United States around the world. The U.S. has compromised its principles by detaining people there. We can do better. We will try those who we can in the U.S. court system. We will use military tribunals to decide the fate of a select few. We will repatriate certain others, or persuade other nations to detain them in some manner. In the end, I know we will still be left with some individuals who cannot be dealt with in these ways. These are individuals who cannot be tried in our courts due to a lack of conventional evidence and charges, but who we know all the same to be dangerous men. I, as President, will not under any circumstances risk the security of Americans by letting these individuals go free, given their potential to cause great harm. Therefore we will find a way to legally detain them, here in the U.S., in maximum security prisons, for as long as may be necessary.

The above is no attempt to caricature or to mock the president’s policy, but simply an attempt to state it briefly and fairly based on his own recent remarks and those of members of his administration.

I wonder, however, at what point all those who have been calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay (some since late in 2001) will realize the implications of President Obama’s policy, if and when it is fully realized. Continue reading President Barack Obama and the Right to Trial