Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Robotic reassurances

Today the President dragged himself in front of a microphone and managed to haltingly parrot a prosaic check-list focused on locking the barn door behind the horse.



What we all knew last Friday has finally penetrated to the Oval Office.

The jerky cadence and utter lack of passion the President brings to bear after 6 days of preparation is perhaps a more frightening sign even than the "...perfunctory, plodding, bloodless..." (Malkin) and "...horrible desiccated complacency..." (Steyn) of yesterday's robotic reassurances.

Especially since we found out today that the CIA has been following the BVD-bomber since August and that the American Embassy in Nigeria was warned not once, but thrice. And that 80 Yemenis released from Gitmo are leading the al Qaeda forces there. (That's where he got the bomb.) And that the terrorist is connected to the same Imam who encouraged the jihadist shooter at Fort Hood.

See also:
Suddenly, Obama’s not so fluent any more

Monday, December 28, 2009

He is not engaged

The leader of the free world, vacationing and casually tieless, speaks about the attempt of an Islamist religious fanatic to kill hundreds of Americans in American air space. He is also speaking, though he does not seem to realize it, of the utter failure of his head of Homeland Security before and after the fact. The President might also have mentioned the failure of the Secretary of State to pay attention to credible intelligence about terrorists. The line, "Heads will roll." comes to mind. But he has no anger at his subordinates or at the bomber. He's mailing it in. Resenting having to speak about it. Literally, reading a press release.

Flat. Rote. Disengaged. Affectless.

It only took 3 days for this brilliant orator to "reassure" Americans with such a performance. It was, admittedly, a better performance than he put in after Fort Hood, there were no shout outs or smiling. He got right to the point.

Maybe he is learning on the job, but it is way, way too slow.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What would "the system failed" mean?

On an international flight into Detroit, passengers and flight crew were able to restrain a man after his bomb fizzled.

That man has been in a database of those with Islamist terrorist connections for two years. Last month the man's radical politics and terrorist ties were reported to the American embassy in Nigeria. The report came from a former Nigerian economics minister, who is also the terrorist's father. The father says that he is "'surprised' his son had been allowed to travel after he had reported him to the authorities. Great Britain refused to grant the terrorist a visa as recently as May.

The "no-fly" list is thereby revealed as a joke. Credible warnings about terrorists are not being acted upon.

We have, then, evidence that the Obama Administration had advance knowledge sufficient to have prevented the attempted bombing. Failure to do so abetted an act of terror. I wonder if we'll hear any comment from those, like disgraced Obama appointee Van Jones, who charged that George Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance? I wonder if anyone will connect the dots to the terrorist attack at Fort Hood? That was predictable, too. Just not by the politically correct individuals charged with preventing it.

Janet Napolitano says "The system worked." "The system," then, is to depend on bad detonators and civilian intervention?

You may call it incompetence as ...well, not as an excuse, because it is not excusable... but as a way to avoid thinking about the probability that non-enforcement of the no-fly rules and ignoring credible warnings are sins of commission, not omission. This is frightening and it is evil.

It is evil even if it is not intentional.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Attempted "man-caused disaster"

WSJ NEWS ALERT: Passenger Tries to Blow Up Plane, Claims Tie to al Qaeda

The WSJ has changed the headline to: Bomb Attempt on U.S.-Bound Flight
A passenger on a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight tried Friday to detonate an explosive device strapped to his leg and later told investigators he had affiliations with al Qaeda and was trying to blow up the plane, according to a senior U.S. official.

"We believe this was an attempted act of terrorism," said a White House official.
Somebody in the WH didn't get the memo. That was almost a "man-caused disaster," certainly not an act of terrorism. And it was not "attempted," it just failed in the attempt.

This is important. You see, if it's war on "man-caused disasters," then Anthropogenic Global Warming qualifies and the attempt to stop it, misguided and doomed to failure though it may be, is nonetheless worth the beggaring of Western economies.

If the WSJ was going to change the headline, it should have been Passenger Tries to Blow Up Plane, Claims Tie to al Gore. Abdul Mudallad was just trying to eliminate a source of CO2 and couldn't afford Carbon Credits.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Senator Tom Coburn on the Health Care Bill

Voting Against Government-Run Health Care
This vote is indeed historic. This Congress will be remembered for its arrogance, corruption and stupidity. In the year of 2009, a Congress ignored the coming economic storm and impending bankruptcy of our entitlement programs and embarked on an ideological crusade to bring our nation as close to single-payer, government-run health care as possible. If this bill becomes law, future generations will rue this day and I will do everything in my power to work toward its repeal. This bill will ration care, cut Medicare, increase premiums, fund abortion and bury our children in debt.

This process was not compromise. This process was corruption. This bill passed because votes were bought and sold using the issue of abortion as a bargaining chip. The abortion provision alone makes this bill the most arrogant piece of legislation I have seen in Congress. Only the most condescending politician can believe it is appropriate to force Americans to pay for other people's abortions and to coerce medical professional to take the lives of unborn children.
The Congress also not merely ignored, but disdained, the overwhelming opposition of Americans to this bill. These corrupt looters need to be taught a lesson. And I don't mean a vote. I mean incarceration alongside former Representative William Jefferson, their clumsy mentor and spiritual guide.

Read the whole thing at the link above.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Houses Secretly United With Themselves Will Not Stand

Harry. Nancy. Do this at your peril.
Look for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to try to circumvent the traditional conference committee process by which the different versions of health care reform passed by each house will be reconciled. If so, it will be the latest example of violating principles of transparency and accountability in the single-minded pursuit of legislative victory.

Conferences involving members from both houses are messy things. They are usually conducted in public and often televised, and can produce a compromise version of the bill that leaves rank-and-file members tempted to vote against the final version. That could be perilous in the case of health care since it's likely to pass without a vote to spare in the Senate and the House's version passed by only five votes.
"Principles" of "transparency" and "accountability?" That those words appear on the same page as the words "Pelosi" and "Reid" is a travesty.

I predicted this, and it is proven true: Our current government is the most corrupt United States government of the last 100 years.

This is not merely domestic malfeasance. As the Obama Administration ages, it edges ever cosier to third world corruption. It encourages Putin, Chavez, Jong-il and Ahmadinejad while dissing Brown, Sarkozy, Netanyahu and all of the former Soviet colonies in Eastern Europe.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ben Nelson: unabashedly corrupt

I wonder how it feels to be Senator Ben Nelson today? He abandoned his "principles" in accepting forced federal funding for abortion. In exchange he was able to divert taxes from 49 other states to Nebraska.
Nelson's agreement to an abortion-related change in the bill drew criticism from Nebraska Right to Life, a longtime supporter, and the state's Catholic bishops, who issued a statement that they were "extremely disappointed" in him.

His rebuttal came in the form of his vote, as well as a statement. "Too many Nebraskans struggle more each year to pay rising health care costs," he said. "Too many fear or face bankruptcy and too many are left behind, unable to obtain basic health coverage for themselves and their families."
Ben Nelson, openly bribed and unremorseful, thinks Nebraskans' problems are special. I suspect a large majority of Nebraska voters disagree.

This isn't going to be forgotten by next November, the disdain will only be reinforced as more details become known. We know about Nelson. We know about Landrieu. We already know about some others: Bribe lists 1 and 2. Then there's the mystery hospital.

There is rage today, how extensive and lasting remains to be seen, but I think the Dems seriously misunderestimated voter objections to a kleptocracy.

Update: Tuesday, December 22, 2009, 12:13PM

Neb.'s Nelson sees backlash on health reform plan
Gov. Dave Heineman "contacted me [Senator Ben Nelson] and he said this is another unfunded federal mandate and it's going to stress the state budget, and I agreed with him," the Nebraska Democrat said. "I said to the leader and others that this is something that has to be fixed. I didn't participate in the way it was fixed."

But Heineman expressed anything but gratitude, saying he had nothing to do with the compromise and calling the overhaul bill "bad news for Nebraska and bad news for America."

"Nebraskans did not ask for a special deal, only a fair deal," Heineman said in a statement Sunday.
Update: 5:41PM Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Busted: Ben Nelson Caught In The Act

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hopenchangenhagen

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

This photo of President Obama speaking with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the Climate Change conference in Copenhagen is interesting for the body language and for the fact that this is how the White House wishes to portray Obama's latest effort in "smart" diplomacy.

What's the caption?
"Jeez, Dad, I know I'm overdrawn on my allowance already, but I really need the money."
"The time for talk is over. My teleprompter just crashed."
"I'm this close to socializing medicine and a de facto one child policy. Can't you help me out?"

The photo is even more interesting in the context of this article from Die Welt.

I hope Obama makes a third trip to Copenhagen soon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nearly an A-?

We noted yesterday that Obama awarded himself a "solid B+" for his performance to date. His approval rating is at minus 19, and falling, this week. He was plus 8 as recently as August, at which time the public considered his performance wasn't worth even a C: How the Public Graded Obama
Handling of the Economy = C-
Handling of Health Care = D
Handling of Foreign Affairs = C

As for the grade the public gave President Obama himself? C-.
He's down 27 points since that publicly awarded C-.

The man thinks he's improved to B+ since then? Do we have to add delusional to narcissistic? Note: Should you object to the term "delusional," remember he told Oprah he deserves an A- if Pelosi & Reid succeed in crippling the American health care system - where he scored a D just 4 months ago.

I don't think that "grade" means what he thinks it means.

Friday, December 11, 2009

"The belief that peace is desirable is rarely enough to achieve it."

I have the advantage of not having watched or listened to our President's Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Barack Obama's mannerisms and speech patterns, his peculiar cadence, must by now detract from the message even for avid followers; if for no other reason than overexposure.

I cannot listen to the man for more than a minute or three. But read, this is a surprising speech. You will find platitudes and code words, of course, but they are relatively few - for an Obama speech, vanishingly few. At least it seems so when insulated from his inflection. And though it raises its cheery face, even the narcissism is confined.

You remain aware you won't like the methods should he succeed in implementing some of the visionary pabulum. For example, what he really means when he says "institutions" or "investment" is surely discomfiting. Still...

Overall, this was a good speech. It is the first time I've even barely suspected President Obama had any sense of American history aside from the community organizing hall of fame. A stronger and more pointed defense of American power and American beneficence has not been mounted by this Administration. The bad guys have never been so chided. The anti-government protesters on the Islamofacist street have been mentioned. Favorably.

That is not saying a lot, I know, and this speech is a thin reed in context. Its concreteness is highly suspect, but it did surprise me. He should be held to it.
The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest -- because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if others' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.
It is not long, read it for yourself.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Smarta&& diplomacy
"Gimme the prize and I'm outta here."

Obama Snubs the King

Maybe this is supposed to make the Brits feel better: "See, the special disrespectfulness for Britain isn't so special."

Not to mention the Israelis, Poles and Czechs.

Or maybe refusing an invitation from the King of Norway is necessary because there is fear about another spasmodic Presidential bow to royalty.

Or maybe Obama is confused about how cabbages differ from kings. David Axelrod does resemble a walrus if the light is just right.
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
Obama is sure the sea is going to get boiling hot, though. That's his next stop.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Outstanding!

There has always been debate around what responsibility, if any, business enterprises have to support causes, the disenfranchised, the environment, or the community-at-large. Good corporate citizenship often gets confused with public relations efforts. Celink challenges corporate leadership to demonstrate their commitment to corporate citizenship by supporting those who have provided them with the freedom and safety to do business, and in doing so, to let them know their sacrifice has not been forgotten.
The whole thing:
Celink Gives Back to Veterans

Monday, December 07, 2009

The offsets East Anglia CRU SHOULD have purchased

Bad Code Offsets


And in case you are not up to speed on Climategate, here are a couple of recent items worth a read.
Climategate reveals 'the most influential tree in the world'

Understanding Climategate's Hidden Decline

A related note on Google's treatment of Climategate: Googlegate? Or maybe you're just a person doing something Google's CEO thinks "...that you don't want anyone to know, [so] maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." Tell that to Nathan Hale, Eric.


Bing, anyone?


And let's not ignore the Copenhagen "slummit," where I wish Our President the same success he had lobbying in that venue for a Chicago Olympics. Opinion: From ClimateGate to Carbonhagen

Really, the carbon footprint of Morocco? Even counting the heavy breathing caused by free hookers? Is it still prostitution if they don't get a grant for political correctness charge? Maybe we should call it professional courtesy extended to the climate hookers people who've prostituted science.

So, maybe it's Gropenhagen

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Boxing with Prometheus

On Tuesday, TOC mentioned Prometheus and his punishment by Zeus for giving the secret of fire to Man. The post included a link to a painting of Prometheus having his liver ripped out by a bird of prey. Since Prometheus was a Titan, and immortal, his liver regenerated daily. It was ripped out over and over again.

TOC thinks the person, or persons, who released emails and other information from the East Anglia CRU deserves great credit for trying to ensure humanity can continue the use of Prometheus' gift.

Now comes Senator Barbara Boxer, who wants to assume Zeus' role in punishing the Climategate whistle-blower. Boxer: Hackers should face criminal probe over 'Climategate'

One may ponder whether Prometheus got off easy. He didn't have to attend even one Senate hearing where he would have to listen to Ms Boxer.

Ms Boxer's presumption of criminality notwithstanding, I have seen no proof the Climategate emails were liberated by a "hacker," and I consider it entirely possible it was an inside job, done by a scientist still burdened by scruples. Whoever did this, I wish you eternal escape from Ms Boxer's sights. If she does catch you, though, remember to call her "Babs."

IAC, I cannot recall Ms Boxer's ire being expressed in 2006 when the New York Times published stolen national security secrets (see here and here). (The Times, by the way, is same newspaper that refused to publish Climategate emails because their provenance was spotty.)

In Prometheus' case the torture ended when Hercules killed the bird. To torture the analogy, perhaps it could be voters in Ms Boxer's State who play Hercules' role in this case.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

There's a flag on the field

Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt are justly known as great orators. In their speeches regarding the wars of their times they were unafraid to use the terms "victory" and "win." In fact, they were rather enamored of the concept. In Barack Obama's oration on his Afghanistan strategy last night neither of those words appeared on the teleprompter even once. He did say 'I' over 40 times, however.

Lincoln, Churchill and Roosevelt peppered their speeches with a timeless commitment to prevail. Obama outlined a timetable for withdrawal. Tunku Varajarajan captured the spirit nicely.
Can you imagine Churchill delivering a speech like this, one so full of a sense of the limitation of national possibilities?
No, I can't, but it sure reminds me of Dhimmi Carter. Was Obama wearing a cardigan? Our European allies, (You remember, the ones Bush alienated.) see the same theme.
Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America's new strategy for Afghanistan. It seemed like a campaign speech combined with Bush rhetoric -- and left both dreamers and realists feeling distraught.
If the decision about Afghanistan had been a play in an NFL football game, there would have been penalty flags thrown for excessive cerebration and international grounding.


Bad link fixed.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Prometheus unbound

The HARRY_READ_ME.txt file leaked from East Anglia CRU is a combination of FORTRAN and comments by the programmer who inherited the maintenance and "enhancement" of some of the world's premier climate modeling software. The file is intended to help others understand how the climate modeling software works and to help the programmer remember why he coded such and such. He documents his travails. It is evident that he was frustrated.

Here are a few examples of his view of the system from the Toronto Sun.
Page 17 "But what are all those monthly files? DON'T KNOW, UNDOCUMENTED. Wherever I look, there are data files, no info about what they are other than their names. And that's useless "

P18 "It's botch after botch after botch."

P31 "The biggest immediate problem was the loss of an hour's edits to the program, when the network died ... no explanation from anyone, I hope it's not a return to last year's troubles ... This surely is the worst project I've ever attempted. Eeeek."

P37 "Oh, GOD, if I could start this project again and actually argue the case for junking the inherited program suite."

P45 "... this should all have been rewritten from scratch a year ago!"

P47 "Am I the first person to attempt to get the CRU databases in working order?!!"

P57 "As far as I can see, this renders the (weather) station counts totally meaningless."

P71 "COBAR AIRPORT AWS (data from an Australian weather station) cannot start in 1962, it didn't open until 1993!"

P98 "What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah -- there is no 'supposed,' I can make it up. So I have : - )"

P98-99 "You can't imagine what this has cost me -- to actually allow the operator to assign false WMO (World Meteorological Organization) codes!! But what else is there in such situations? Especially when dealing with a 'Master' database of dubious provenance ..."

- "So with a somewhat cynical shrug, I added the nuclear option -- to match every WMO possible, and turn the rest into new stations ... In other words what CRU usually do. It will allow bad databases to pass unnoticed, and good databases to become bad ..."

P241 "OH F--- THIS. It's Sunday evening, I've worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done, I'm hitting yet another problem that's based on the hopeless state of our databases."

P266 "This whole project is SUCH A MESS ..."
Aside from the fact that this demonstrates why programmers seldom work in the Marketing Department, it is worthwhile to remember Harry is trying to model a vast and chaotic system with tools which are, even if used with utmost precision, inadequate to the task. This alone is why I have never believed the climate modeling software output. The programming is impossible in a world where Chaos Theory suggests a butterfly's wing-flap in Brazil can initiate a chain of events resulting in a typhoon in the Indian Ocean. If you could convincingly model that, you could convincingly begin to design something to model climate, centuries into the future.

But the bug-ridden, data-deprived, agenda-bent climate models we already have don't even account for clouds. None - not one - of the AGW climate models accounts for the effect of clouds in the basic algorithms. Clouds, by the way, are formed from the most important greenhouse gas - water vapor. H2O accounts for 95% of all greenhouse effects on this planet.

So, it turns out that the programs they actually use for the computer model are worse than useless. The data is just short of random (that of it which was not deleted). The programmer has to guess at which of the 11,000 uncatalogued files are appropriate as input to any one of hundreds of sub-routines, and he has to modify the code to preserve the hokey stick. (That's not a typo.)

On evidence produced by this, this ...words fail me... we are supposed to return to the energy use of the early 20th Century as well as pay billions of dollars to the third world through Al Gore's carbon indulgences company. I suppose it would work, just not quite as well as foreign aid.

In an email, D.S. provides this summary:
This CRU project isn’t just bad design combined with bad code, it’s bad design (actually it’s design-on-the-fly) combined with bad code combined with bad data. They had non-existent weather stations (which they simply added as “new” weather stations), the same weather station but with different latitudes and longitudes, weather stations with latitudes and longitudes that put them in another country and even one that was reporting data 30 years before it was built. And yet with hundreds (thousands?) of computer manipulations of the input data using blatant assumptions to make it look coherent (or at least capable of being processed without crashing) and processing it with flakey code that generated errors the programmer had never seen before, Phil Jones professes great confidence in the output and it was a major basis for the IPPC report. What a farce!
Whoever liberated this data from East Anglia is just short of Prometheus' in his service to mankind. Prometheus name means forethought in English. You may recall Prometheus' gift to humanity was fire and what he suffered for giving it.