Archive for February, 2009

Jolly Rot [UPDATED]

Let’s file this story under “Blowing Aggie’s Stack”:

The English town of Worcester is seeking sister city status with Gaza City in a gesture of solidarity with Palestinians, a government official said Thursday.

Councilor Alan Amos told Britain’s Channel 4 News the twinning would draw attention to what he called the “dreadful occupation” and blockade that Gazans had suffered. The BBC says Worcester City Council backed the move this week.

Sister city status in Britain typically involves the organization of school visits, trade links, and cultural exchanges, but it was unclear whether authorities in Worcester, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of London, had discussed their plans with their counterparts in Gaza. Calls to the city council went unanswered late Thursday.

Britain’s foreign policy would likely make any official exchange awkward as the Gaza Strip is ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas, which the Britain considers a terrorist organization. Britain’s Foreign Office has warned its citizens that travel in Gaza would be “reckless.”

Please note that Worcester isn’t one of those Pakistani Muslim-dominated cities like Bradford or Oldham “oop north”. No, this is good, home-grown, British anti-Semitism, just like mom used to make (if mom was a Mitford or a Mosely).

They had to twin with Gaza? Gaza under Hamass?

Where else are they “twinned”? Nuremburg? Wannsee? Treblinka?

UPDATE
Reader Joe alerts us to these comments that not all of the people of Worcester approve of this deranged idea.

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Anti-Semitism Increasing On College Campuses [UPDATED]

Judea Pearl speaks out

His son, Danny, was beheaded by Islamic terrorists in Pakistan. He is a professor at UCLA. And listen to what he has to say about our college campuses:

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) — Jewish students and faculty at California universities fear for their safety on campus because of threats aimed at them over the Middle East conflict, the father of a slain Wall Street Journal reporter said Friday.

Judea Pearl, whose son, Daniel Pearl, was kidnapped and killed by al Qaeda extremists while on assignment in Pakistan in 2002, told reporters at a news conference that anti-Semitic e-mail and verbal threats have escalated since Israel’s three-week invasion of Gaza in January.

“I received hate messages (after a recent panel on “Human Rights and Gaza”) from someone at UCLA who did not identify himself and said, ‘I saw you in Ackerman Union and I know where your office is and I’m going to beat the (expletive) out of you,’” said Pearl, who teaches computer science on UCLA’s Westwood campus. “I handed it to the campus police, and they did not do anything.”

The university denies it, naturally. They have no record of a complaint.

Pearl and officials at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, where the news conference was held, are concerned that administrators on college campuses across the country are not doing enough to foster freedom of expression while protecting Jewish students and faculty members from acts of intimidation on campuses.

“The verbal abuse is there, the intimidation is there, the feeling of helplessness is there, not only among students but among faculty,” said Pearl.

Jew hatred took the life of his son and now his life is being threatened. The administration, not just at UCLA, but at university campuses across the country, is busy doing it’s nails, I guess. If you study Jewish history, this is not new, certainly not in academic settings (see Germany). Shame. I don’t know what else to say.

- Aggie

BTL here: Interview with Judea Pearl here.

A taste:

Do you think we’ve reached some sort of point of no return in the questioning of Israel’s legitimacy?

JD[sic]: There is latent anti-Semitic pressure in the world and Gaza took the lid off. That’s one way to look at it. Group hysteria is catching. Gaza gives people the chance to feel morally superior. I mean, look at the Libyan government. Are they saying they’re morally superior to Israel? For the Libyan people it’s very important that there’s one speck, one human area, where you’re worth something – you’re morally superior to the Jews. It’s a confirmation of worthiness. The average Libyan is not having a very good time most days. So it’s good to have a scapegoat. This is what Durban is about.

Hey, he can’t say that. Off with his head!

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Oh [Bleep]

Liberal want government out of the bedroom—and a good thing, too—but don’t be surprised to find them in your bathroom:

The NY Times belabors us with the future of toilets, and the technological advances associated therewith (Just wait – the big breakthroughs are happening in Sweden!). Their story ought to come with a NSFB warning (Not Safe for Breakfast), and probably is not the ideal topic for cocktail party banter. However, we are remorselessly committed to being up to speed on the latest in the greening of America, so let’s unload.

That’s the great Tom Maguire from Just One Minute, and we’ll dump the rest of the story there (oh, you pun).

Because the green toilet is nothing compared to white toilet paper, the scourge of our time:

Extra-soft toilet paper is more harmful to the environment than gas-guzzling cars, campaigners claimed yesterday.

An obsession by Americans for the expensive quilted and multi-ply paper means that thousands of trees are being cut down for the U.S. market every year.

More than 98 per cent of toilet paper in the country comes from virgin forests and uses hardly any recycled materials.

Toxic fumes are also released into the atmosphere because of the chemicals used in paper pulp manufacture.

Mr. Whipple, a criminal mastermind? I always suspected he might have some tender beauties locked away in a dungeon somewhere.

Personally, you’ll have to pry the Charmin Ultra Soft out of my cold dead… well, you get the idea.

How many of you would go for this?

toiletwipges5-500_thumb.jpg

“Natural living” advocates unveil their latest planet-saving invention – the reusable toilet wipe.

Surely it’s time global warming believers marked their houses with some sign, a green pentacle or something, as a warning to visitors to enter at their own risk.

I always thought the crescent moon was the universal sign.

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Will O’ The Whip

George Will gets downright Inquisitorial on some NY Times hack reporter.

Let’s watch in HD:

Few phenomena generate as much heat as disputes about current orthodoxies concerning global warming. This column recently reported and commented on some developments pertinent to the debate about whether global warming is occurring and what can and should be done.

On Wednesday, the Times carried a “news analysis” — a story in the paper’s news section, but one that was not just reporting news — accusing Al Gore and this columnist of inaccuracies. Gore can speak for himself. So can this columnist.

Reporter Andrew Revkin’s story was headlined: “In Debate on Climate Change, Exaggeration Is a Common Pitfall.” Regarding exaggeration, the Times knows whereof it speaks, especially when it revisits, if it ever does, its reporting on the global cooling scare of the 1970s, and its reporting and editorializing — sometimes a distinction without a difference — concerning today’s climate controversies.

Which returns us to Revkin. In a story ostensibly about journalism, he simply asserts — how does he know this?

The column contained many factual assertions but only one has been challenged. The challenge is mistaken.

Citing data from the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, as interpreted on Jan. 1 by Daily Tech, a technology and science news blog, the column said that since September “the increase in sea ice has been the fastest change, either up or down, since 1979, when satellite record-keeping began.” According to the center, global sea ice levels at the end of 2008 were “near or slightly lower than” those of 1979. The center generally does not make its statistics available, but in a Jan. 12 statement the center confirmed that global sea ice levels were within a difference of less than 3 percent of the 1980 level.

The scientists at the Illinois center offer their statistics with responsible caveats germane to margins of error in measurements and precise seasonal comparisons of year-on-year estimates of global sea ice…. Concerning which:

On Feb. 18 the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that from early January until the middle of this month, a defective performance by satellite monitors that measure sea ice caused an underestimation of the extent of Arctic sea ice by 193,000 square miles, which is approximately the size of California. The Times (“All the news that’s fit to print”), which as of this writing had not printed that story, should unleash Revkin and his unnamed experts.

I hope you were able to follow that—follow the link to taste all the delicious sniping.

I’m kind of a science nerd myself (until very recently, I still had the Texas Instruments programmable calculator I bought in the mid-70s)—which is why I’m so pissed at the scientists who have lent their names and reputations to the panic of global warming. Watch any Nova episode, and you’ll see science is no stranger to controversy, dispute, and ego.

The very heart of science is amassing data and concocting a theory to explain them—not the other way around. The Goracle and his disciples are making a mockery of science. Any theory that does not admit as a possibility that it might be wrong is just playground bullying in the school of science.

Satellite error? Impossible. Well, okay, maybe once. Twice?

A rocket carrying a NASA satellite crashed near Antarctica after a failed launch early Tuesday, ending a $280 million mission to track global warming from space.

Well, it would have missed an iceberg “approximately the size of California” anyway.

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Spot the Lies!

I’ve already visited this once today, but since he actually spoke on the subject, let me comment again:

As a candidate for President, I made clear my support for a timeline of 16 months to carry out this drawdown, while pledging to consult closely with our military commanders upon taking office to ensure that we preserve the gains we’ve made and protect our troops. Those consultations are now complete, and I have chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months.

Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.

You might say that acknowledging as wrong his absurd pledge to remove the troops in 16 months is almost statesmanlike.

But read the pledge itself and see if he isn’t quibbling on the meanings of “end”, “troops”, and “sixteen”:

The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased, directed by military commanders on the ground and done in consultation with the Iraqi government. Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 – more than 7 years after the war began.

It does go on to mention a residual force, but who believes 50,000 troops—one-third more than are in Korea—is a residual force?

Through this period of transition, we will carry out further redeployments. And under the Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government, I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.

Well, of course you will! George Bush signed the agreement with the Iraqi government. You didn’t do anything.

One more:

In short, today there is a renewed cause for hope in Iraq, but that hope rests upon an emerging foundation.

For which thank you General Petraeus (and President Bush, ultimately). Not you. You opposed the surge.

I’m sure there are more, but why waste my time? He has as much to do with ending combat in Iraq as my great Aunt Gertrude.

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Durban: Dead

Well, they had to get one right. I mean, just by odds alone:

Looks like Obama has come to his senses regarding the hatefest that will be Durban II. The U.S. is pulling out.

The Obama administration has decided to boycott the so-called Durban II conference out of concerns for anti-Semitism.

Multiple sources on a conference call with the White House on Friday told JTA that the Obama administration had opted not to attend any further preparatory meetings ahead of the planned U.N. conference against racism in Geneva in April.

Confirmed here:

“We’re not going to further engage in Durban II,” a senior State Department official told AFP on the condition of anonymity.

A second U.S. official said on the condition of anonymity that the government tried to find a way to participate. “We made an honest effort,” the official said.

The second U.S. official said the United States had been interested in a document that was shorter than the one eight years ago and would not single out a particular country.

“We would be prepared to consider a document that contains an affirmative approach to race and laid out a positive vision for tackling the challenges,” the official said.

“It would not reaffirm the elements of the 2001 Durban Declaration and Program of Action, would not contain specific references to any one country or a single conflict,” according to the official.

The document “would not reference to the problematic concept of defamation of religion, and would not go further than the DDPA on the issue of reparations for slavery,” the official added.

But the official said the Obama administration sent a team to the preparatory talks only to find out that the draft document was made even worse after some changes.

The official did not say what the changes were.

I could say something about blind squirrels finding nuts, but let me just thank them, even if for the only moral decision. Maybe they’ve learned something. (God, ain’t I Little Miss Sunshine today?)

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What…a…Liar

I need to come up with some kind of nickname for the Prevaricator in Chief: Barack O’Liar… BO’L… Fibber McGee… the Great Equivocator.

“If your family earns less than $250,000 a year,” Obama said in his speech to a joint session of Congress, “you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.”

Unless, that is, your family pays a utility bill. Earlier from the same podium, Obama exhorted Congress to send him “legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution.” This cap-and-trade program would increase the cost of energy for everyone, regardless of income. It is a broad-based (if indirect) tax increase of the sort the casual listener would have thought Obama ruled out in categorical language.

Obama is a talented, but a wily and dishonest, salesman. Nineteenth-century pol Martin Van Buren earned the sobriquet “the little magician” for his skillful manipulation of New York’s political machine. Obama is the rhetorical magician, depending — as all magicians do — on deft sleight of hand.

In his speech, Obama didn’t want his listeners to think he’s a big-government heir to Lyndon Johnson, so he talked of slashing waste. He said his team had begun going “line by line” through the budget, and “we have already identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade.”

In common parlance, “savings” is taken to mean . . . well, savings. But half of this $2 trillion is accounted for by Obama’s planned tax increases on the rich — in other words, he has identified revenue, not savings. Much of the rest is arrived at by assuming the Iraq War would cost $170 billion a year for the duration, even though Obama has long planned a drawdown. Obama portrays himself as ruthlessly paring back government when he is simply raising taxes and leaving Iraq.

Obama boasted of a “recovery plan free of earmarks, and I want to pass a budget next year that ensures that each dollar we spend reflects only our most important national priorities.” Again, the casual listener might conclude Obama won’t tolerate earmarks, although a $410 billion spending bill is currently speeding through Congress with 8,500 earmarks Obama stands ready to swallow.

Even as he expands government, Obama forswears any interest in expanding government and says he’s scaling back: “Everyone will have to sacrifice some worthy priorities for which there are no dollars, and that includes me.” Really? The only programs he said he’d cut were ineffective education programs, useless weapons systems, and subsidies to agribusiness, and his budget increases discretionary spending by 12 percent next year.

Is this fun anymore? I mean I like beating a piñata as much as the next guy, but we never get any candy.

Well, we don’t; I think Henrietta Hughes is filling up on Snickers.

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Britain Shares The Love [Update]

from the mouths of diplomats

A British official says a U.K. diplomat has been suspended following his arrest for an alleged anti-Semitic rant in a London gym.

Foreign Office Minister Gillian Merron told members of Parliament on Friday that Rowan Laxton, 47, had been suspended from his job at the Foreign Office and will face disciplinary proceedings.

He was arrested last month on suspicion of threatening to stir up religious hatred, but has not been charged.

He allegedly used foul language and criticized Israel’s conduct during the conflict in Gaza and allegedly made an offensive comment about Judaism. Merron says the police investigation continues.

Witnesses had told the British newspaper The Daily Mail that they heard Laxton shouting “f**king Israelis, f**king Jews,” while watching a TV report of Israel Defense Forces operations in Gaza from the seat of an exercise bike.

He also reportedly shouted that IDF soldiers should be “wiped off the face of the Earth.”

I am sure he’d like to wipe all of us off the face of the earth. Further proof that Europeans are ever so much more sophisticated that us cowboys. I wonder how many diplomats would still be working if they shouted those curses at members of any other minority group?

Update: England will not let just anybody in

artbishopafpgi.jpg

The Vatican said Friday it is not satisfied by the apology issued by a Catholic bishop who denied the Holocaust, saying the cleric must still clearly “distance himself” from the controversial comments.
Bishop Williamson arrived in England surrounded by police and reporters.

Bishop Williamson arrived in England surrounded by police and reporters.

Bishop Richard Williamson, who is now in England, issued a statement Thursday saying he regretted making the remarks. But he did not retract them or say he had changed his mind about the Holocaust.

The Vatican is not satisfied with the good Bishop’s holocaust denying apology, and Argentina expelled him, so where does he go? England. Where else?

- Aggie

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What…an…Idiot

Hey kids, what say we raise taxes in a recession?

Yeah, that’s the ticket!

His plan for revitalizing the economy relies on sucking about a trillion dollars out of it over a ten-year period, starting in 2011:

1) On people making more than $250,000.

$338 billion – Bush tax cuts expire
$179 billlion – eliminate itemized deduction
$118 billion – capital gains tax hike

Total: $636 billion/10 years

2) Businesses:

$17 billion – Reinstate Superfund taxes
$24 billion – tax carried-interest as income
$5 billion – codify “economic substance doctrine”
$61 billion – repeal LIFO
$210 billion – international enforcement, reform deferral, other tax reform
$4 billion – information reporting for rental payments
$5.3 billion – excise tax on Gulf of Mexico oil and gas
$3.4 billion – repeal expensing of tangible drilling costs
$62 million – repeal deduction for tertiary injectants
$49 million – repeal passive loss exception for working interests in oil and natural gas properties
$13 billion – repeal manufacturing tax deduction for oil and natural gas companies
$1 billion – increase to 7 years geological and geophysical amortization period for independent producers
$882 million – eliminate advanced earned income tax credit

Total: $353 billion/10 years

[T]he hike from 15% to 20% on capital-gains taxes assumes that people will invest and cash out in the same manner they do at 15%. They won’t. The fact of increasing the tax will discourage investors and encourage them to shift money out before the hike. Not only will the extra revenue vanish, but investment levels will drop, leading to job losses and less opportunity for American businesses.

And what “itemized deduction” will get eliminated? All of them? Some of them?

The business tax hikes are even worse. Obama will increase taxes on existing American oil production starting in 2011. Do we have massive amounts of alternative energy capacity ready to replace the energy production and usage that this will discourage? A growing economy has to have a reliable energy supply. Energy producers get hit on several fronts in this plan, and those costs will either result in lower energy production or increased cost to the consumers.

Again, the expected revenues will far exceed the reality, once the depressive economic effects of these taxes kick in. The spending, unfortunately, will be all too real, which will mean huge, ballooning deficits.

I left so much commentary in because it’s so damn good [Ed Morrissey, Hot Air].

But let me remind you of what Obama said before about tax rates and economic vitality: it’s about fairness:

MR. GIBSON: …you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, “I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28 percent.”

It’s now 15 percent. That’s almost a doubling if you went to 28 percent. But actually Bill Clinton in 1997 signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20 percent.

And George Bush has taken it down to 15 percent.

And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?

SENATOR OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.

Fairness. It doesn’t matter if we’re poorer as a people, as long as it meets his definition of fairness.

The great tyrants and fools of history are never shy or secretive about their plans. They write manifestos, pronouncements, and red books. He told us what he was going to do, and now he’s gone and done it. The dumbs**t.

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The Camomile Revolution

Some people just don’t get it:

A Cedar Rapids group will do a symbolic tea dumping into the Cedar River on Saturday because state officials won’t let them use the real thing.

An anti-tax group wanted to pitch in real tea like the Bostonian revolutionaries opposed to England’s tea taxes.

Tea, although natural and quite tasty, is considered a pollutant that can’t go into a body of water without a permit, said Mike Wade, a senior environmental specialist at the DNR’s Manchester field office.

“Discoloration is considered a violation,” Wade said.

It’s an act of civil disobedience, you nincompoop, it’s supposed to be a violation. But if it will make you happy, maybe they can dump green tea. The fish will live longer, and it’s a nice color.

How fitting that an act of protest against government overreaching is curtailed by government overreaching.

George III is laughing his tail off.

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Say it Loud, Say it Proud

Socialist. He’s a socialist. He’s not shy, he’s not ashamed.

So why should we be?

Another prominent Republican told the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday that the president’s spending plans are pushing the country to the brink of socialism.

Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, the only member of the senate to earn a perfect rating from the American Conservative Union, called President Obama “the world’s best salesman of socialism” on Friday in describing his prime time speech earlier this week.

DeMint, a fierce opponent of government expansion, told the CPAC crowd that conservatives might have to “take to the streets to stop America’s slide into socialism.”

His remarks comes a day after Mike Huckabee told the conference of conservative activists that “the Union of American Socialist Republics is being born” with the president’s stimulus package.

“Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff,” Huckabee said of the government bailing out financial institutions.

I’m not sure comparing Obama to Lenin and Stalin is going to win many hearts (leave that kind of talk to us bloodthirsty bloggers), but it doesn’t hurt Americans to know what they have done.

Can you say “Romney ’12″? (I’m not saying you have to like it, but it makes a lot of sense.)

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The Fine Print

boyshome.jpeg
(… with 50,000 exceptions):

President Obama told congressional leaders Thursday he’s planning to pull all combat troops out of Iraq by August 2010, according to three congressional officials.

Under this scenario, all combat troops will be withdrawn within 19 months of Obama’s January inauguration, three months longer than his promise on the campaign trail.

In a meeting at the White House Thursday evening, Obama also told lawmakers that he plans to keep a range of 35,000 to 50,000 support troops on the ground in Iraq after combat troops are out, the officials said.

Aw hell, what’s ten brigades, give or take a regiment or twelve?

This from an administration that eliminated earmarks, plus or minus four-to-eight thousand earmarks in the budget and screw-you-louse bill.

And from an administration that promised to halve the budget deficit—after bloating it to $1.75 trillion.

Who can keep track anymore of which trillion is for what? I can’t. A billion used to be a large number (million? ha, peanuts)—but that just makes me sound like an alta kocker. Trillion is the new billion.

But, like Zimbabwe, I wouldn’t get used to it.

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