Saturday, November 28, 2009
Drew's assessment of Obama's advisors: She scored "the Chicago crowd," which she characterized as "a distressingly insular and small-minded West Wing team." The White House, Ms. Drew says, needs adult supervision—"an older, wiser head, someone with a bit more detachment."
Noonan comments: Who are the wise men and women now? Who are the Robert Lovetts, Chip Bohlens and Robert Strausses who can came in to help a president in trouble right his ship? America seems short of wise men, or short on those who are universally agreed to be wise.
The Obama bowing pictures are becoming iconic not for those reasons, however, but because they express a growing political perception, and that is that there is something amateurish about this presidency, something too ad hoc and highly personalized about it, something . . . incompetent, at least in its first year.
Noonan also notes that a president's actions and image created in the first year of a presidency, often stay with the president. It remains to be seen, but Obama doesn't appear to be coming across as a Lincoln or Kennedy--the Carter image seems to be more appropriate at this point.
The Economist asks: "Does this president have a strategy. . .?" It assesses both his critics and those arguing that he is only in the first inning of a grand strategy. The writer states: It is a fair point, but as the months drag on, the “weak” case has been gaining the upper hand. Mr Obama has yet to show he has the staying power to take on a dangerous, stubborn and occasionally bad world. Even allowing for Israel’s shift this week, the president has hardly lived up to his promise to work for Middle East peace “with all the patience and dedication that the task requires”. With one big exception, he has not yet shown that he can back his oratory with a stick—and that was a tariff on Chinese tyres, a weak sop to America’s unions.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Another view. There is some kind of conspiracy or cover-up.
Watch this video!
The Politics of Science: Hillary Clinton famously remarked that during the Bush years it was “open season on open inquiry,” rehashing the familiar charge that a faith-based obscurantism dogmatically dismissed not only the claims of legitimate science, but also the very claims of reason itself. President Obama has stayed true to the liberal posture that whatever policy he happens to advocate is the only one substantiated by empirical science. However, it has become increasingly clear that the president’s claim to rigorously adhere to a science of politics—a science that provides unprejudiced information upon which he can craft sound policy—has been overtaken by a politics of science—the crass and Procrustean transformation of whatever data is available into further confirmation of his own ideological commitments.
And I like the following quote from Instapundit. It's beginning to look more and more like Czechoslovakia in 1973.
ROGER SIMON on ClimateGate and Talk of “Transparency.”
UPDATE: A reader emails: “I now have a sense of what it was like living under Communism in Eastern Europe. The state-owned (in our case, establishment) press won’t report on reality so people had to turn to Samizdat to learn what’s actually happening in their world. It’s rather amazing. Also, having an Army of Davids go through these emails will pay dividends for years.” Well, Declan McCullagh at CBS has done a good job. But big-media folks seem to be slotting most of what coverage they do for the web, not for print or broadcast.
But word seems to be getting out.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
The first step toward "cultural competence," says the task group, is for future teachers to recognize -- and confess -- their own bigotry. Anyone familiar with the reeducation camps of China's Cultural Revolution will recognize the modus operandi.
The task group recommends, for example, that prospective teachers be required to prepare an "autoethnography" report. They must describe their own prejudices and stereotypes, question their "cultural" motives for wishing to become teachers, and take a "cultural intelligence" assessment designed to ferret out their latent racism, classism and other "isms." They "earn points" for "demonstrating the ability to be self-critical."
When he entered office, US President Barack Obama promised to inject US foreign policy with a new tone of respect and diplomacy. His recent trip to Asia, however, showed that it's not working. A shift to Bush-style bluntness may be coming.
The mood in Obama's foreign policy team is tense following an extended Asia trip that produced no palpable results. The "first Pacific president," as Obama called himself, came as a friend and returned as a stranger. The Asians smiled but made no concessions.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
As the Obama administration considers how to approach the next phase of the $700 billion financial bailout, questions are being raised on Capitol Hill about whether it is helping the economy.
. . .not much is happening with global warming at the moment. The Earth's average temperatures have stopped climbing since the beginning of the millennium, and it even looks as though global warming could come to a standstill this year.
And here are some of the hacked emails indicating some kind of conspiracy to keep the global warming theory alive when the data is not supporting it.
Unfortunately, we’ve a long, long way to go before the public mood (and scientific truth) is reflected by our policy makers. There are too many vested interests in AGW, with far too much to lose either in terms of reputation or money, for this to end without a bitter fight.
But if the Hadley CRU scandal is true,it’s a blow to the AGW lobby’s credibility which is never likely to recover.
An Update (11/24/09).
More seriously, in one e-mail, a prominent global warming alarmist admits to using a statistical "trick" to "hide the decline" in temperatures. Anthony Watts provides an explanation of this case in technical detail; the "trick" consists of selectively mixing two different kinds of data-temperature "proxies" from tree rings and actual thermometer measurements-in a way designed to produce a graph of global temperatures that ends the way the global warming establishment wants it to: with an upward "hockey stick" slope.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Rod Dreher: I see him as a disillusioned early supporter. Sarah Palin is selling a personality, not a platform. That's not dumb. She's doing the best she can with what she has to work with. She quotes her father's line upon her resignation this summer as Alaska's governor: "Sarah's not retreating, she's reloading." On evidence of this book, Sarah Palin is charging toward 2012 shooting blanks.
A discussion of why the left fears her: What this country needs is a strong conservative leader with the courage of her convictions. Sensing those qualities in Sarah Palin, the liberal left is becoming frantic because they can't seem to halt her popularity. The reason they're panicking is because they're afraid of her connection with regular folks who work for a living, pay their taxes, attend a religious worship service regularly and believe that our country has lost the moral fiber that once united us.
An Alaska opponent: Palin neither organizes nor mobilizes. There is no Palin movement -- or organization of any depth and substance. There is no Palin philosophy beyond bromides about smaller government, the evils of abortion and the dangers of popular culture (which, right this moment, is making her a rich woman). While she easily won election as governor of Alaska in 2006, her victory was built largely on her fresh, attractive face and her predecessor's unpopularity.
Palin-Beck in 2012!
The media is really negative on Palin. 37 negative stories; 2 positive stories.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
At the heart of the identity crisis plaguing today’s France is a significant immigrant population that refuses to become French, and a multicultural left that has allowed them to live isolated in ghettoes for decades, where many have fallen prey to Muslim preachers of hate.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
This has been a frustrating thing for me as a Muslim activist. Many Muslims disagree with political Islam, but they're not pressured to take on the mosque leadership. So you have discussions in the mosque going far beyond theology and the example of the Prophet; imams use the pulpit, or minbar as it's called in Arabic, to discuss politics. I've sent this over and over again in mosques I've attended.
Remember that mosque in Phoenix? There were 500 people there that day. I was the only one who publicly criticized the imam for that. And yet, every Muslim I talked to was offended by what the imam did. But they have this sheep mentality. They don't want to fight the tribe. They don't want to rock the boat. They don't understand that showing that we can criticize ourselves is not a weakness, it's a strength.
And Rod Dreher also wonders where the media is when dealing with radical Islam in America.
When it comes to investigating and exposing radical Islam in America, the media see their job as managing the story, not telling it. Six years ago, the then-head of the Islamic Society of North America came in for an editorial board meeting. He talked about peace, friendship and tolerance. But when I calmly asked him how he reconciled that rhetoric with the record of support for radical causes among ISNA board members, he shook his fist at me and called me a Nazi.
When anti-Semitic, anti-Christian hate literature is found at a mosque, or radical speakers give a program praising a Muslim fanatic, or Muslim children are taught the philosophy of the foremost philosopher of Islamist terror – all of which have happened in the Dallas area in recent years – few care to notice.
"Connecting the Dots" -- Stephen Hayes tries pull together the trail of Hasan.
The vast majority of Africans hold a worldview of causation very different from our own. Most Africans believe that any major occurrence, good or bad, has two causes. The first might be called physical: for instance, that a retrovirus causes AIDS by destroying the cells of the immune system. The second is a spiritual, less tangible cause, but is perceived to be no less real.
A natural corollary of viewing the spirit-world as the source of human suffering is the belief that man is (or thinks he is) under the thumb of God. If a person genuinely believes this, he will work to please the spirit-world through his actions. Morality has a practical emanation in this sense, because the goodness of a man's actions is tied to perceived material benefits. Evangelical Christianity encourages Africans to view their problems in this spiritual-moral frame of reference. The rhetorical pattern that emerges from African churches today is a lamentation, but not self-pitying, asking, "How can we change to better please God?"
The public health lobby answers this question by saying, essentially, "Start using condoms." This is the narrow-minded response, much more so than the call for behavioral change. As long as this attitude persists, Western policy will remain discordant with the realm of cause and effect within which Africans are operating. Christianity, as well as Islam, is a huge force whose day-to-day impact on African lives cannot be ignored. Any successful HIV/AIDS strategy will have to enlist churches, their moral authority and their enormous memberships.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Major problems exist for the elderly in the current bill. Where is the AARP?
The report, requested by House Republicans, found that Medicare cuts contained in the health package approved by the House on Nov. 7 are likely to prove so costly to hospitals and nursing homes that they could stop taking Medicare altogether.
Officials said the Defense Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff plan to discuss an examination of the Muslim presence in the U.S. military and the threat of Al Qaida influence.
Officials said the Pentagon has been receiving reports of Muslim soldiers who expressed opposition to the U.S. military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. They said the opposition was encouraged by Islamic clerics as well as Muslim officers such as Hasan, who warned Muslims against harming co-religionists.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Given that Qutb thought any Muslim that didn't share his bloodthirsty totalitarian view of Islam was no better than an infidel, you'd think that a Muslim who wanted to help the US government flag potential extremist threats domestically would be alarmed by discovering that Qutb was being taught to kids at a large local mosque. You would be wrong.
Across the region, concern is rising about the absence of US leadership on trade since Mr Obama took office. Few believe that he has the will or power to restart the Doha round of global trade talks – and he has not asked Congress for a renewal of the president’s fast-track negotiating authority.
Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg, formerly of Merrill Lynch, thinks the unemployment rate is going to at least 12 percent, maybe even 13 percent. Optimists, Rosenberg explains, underestimate the incredible damage done to the labor market during this downturn. And even before this downturn, the economy was not generating jobs in huge numbers. If he is right, all political bets are off. I think the Democrats could lose the House and effective control of the Senate. I think you would also be talking about the rise of third party and perhaps a challenger to Obama in 2012.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Indeed, when one raises even a handful of the many, many scandals surrounding the UN and money, the reaction among international law observers tends to be, in my experience, not shock and a resolution that the organization needs to be better held to account, but a general sense that those who dwell on the sordid details are somehow demeaning the institution.
Friday, November 06, 2009
In other words, the narrative after 9/11 largely remains that Americans have given in to illegitimate "fear and mistrust" of Muslims in general. A saner approach would be to acknowledge that there is a small minority of Muslims who channel generic Islamist fantasies, so that we can assume that either formal terrorist plots or individual acts of murder will more or less occur here every three to six months.
Bruce Bawer's take.
Most of the people in the mainstream media, I suspect, could also see early on exactly what was going on — but to an outrageous degree, they, too, spent Thursday evening doing their best to turn away from the obvious truth. Throughout the evening military and other authorities kept saying, and the talking heads on CNN kept repeating, that there was no sign that this was “a terrorist act” — as if Nidal Malik Hasan had to be officially connected to al-Qaeda to be a jihadist, a pious Muslim who saw the infidel as his enemy.
From Hot Air: Hasan attended a radical mosque in Great Falls, Virginia.
The issue of political correctness in dealing with terror is analyzed by Ralph Peters.
How could the Army allow an obviously incompetent and dysfunctional psychiatrist to treat our troubled soldiers returning from war? An Islamist whacko is counseled for arguing with veterans who’ve been assigned to his care? And he’s not removed from duty? What planet does the Army live on?
Hasan psychotic according to Walter Reed officials. Doctors questioned his behavior. He wired money to Pakistan. Pam Geller's view.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
The Congressional Budget Office Wednesday night released its cost analysis of the Republican health care plan and found that it would reduce health care premiums and cut the deficit by $68 billion over ten years.
The Republican plan does not call for a government insurance plan but rather attempts to reform the system by creating high-risk insurance pools, allowing people to purchase health insurance policies across state lines and instituting medical malpractice reforms.
"Not only does the GOP plan lower health care costs, but it also increases access to quality care, including for those with pre-existing conditions, at a price our country can afford," House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
People have changed the planet's climate, warming the atmosphere by churning out greenhouse gases.
But that process didn't start during the Industrial Revolution. It began thousands of years ago, according to a controversial hypothesis, before anyone uttered the phrase "global warming."
The warming, triggered by a relative handful of farmers, some cutting and burning forests and others planting rice paddies, could be the best way to explain one of the strangest oddities in earth's climate record. The notion has admirers but also adamant detractors, who say it has major holes and—just as seriously—provides an excuse for skeptics of current global warming to say that climate change is a long-term trend that has little to do with car tailpipes and modern industry.
And once again Business Week had an interesting article about the lack of investment in research and development. Both business and the federal government are very short-sighted, because it is r & d that creates future jobs. Stimulus money spent to keep some people hired in a day-care center has much less impact than money spent to develop innovations that lead to the jobs of the future. Washington and businesses are just focused on the present and not the future. But the future will come at some point.