Tuesday, May 29, 2007
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday she led a congressional delegation to Greenland, where lawmakers saw "firsthand evidence that climate change is a reality," and she hoped the Bush administration would consider a new path on the issue.Let's see if I get this right. Pelosi takes a bunch of her fellow Congress critters to Greenland on a private jet to look at evidence of "Global Warming". No mention BTW of the greenhouse gasses generated at taxpayer expenses to accomplish that trip. She follows in a long line of ecological warriers like Al Gore and Laurie David who also accomplish their evangicalizing using private jets. The difference though here is first that Pelosi's jet is paid for by American taxpayers and is likely quite a bit bigger.
Also, I question her timing in trying to scare us about "Global Warming" on Memorial Day. I would prefer if she had restrained herself to honoring our war dead on that one day of the year dedicated to that task.
Monday, May 28, 2007
- The contestants must control territory;
- there must be a functioning government;
- each side must enjoy some foreign recognition;
- the sides should have identifiable and regular armed forces; and
- they should engage in major military operations.
At present, only the first of these five criteria is met in Iraq. Jihadists control territory in Anbar province and some areas on Baghdad's outskirts. But the jihadists do not have a functioning government anywhere in Iraq, nor do they have regular armed forces that engage in major military operations.Note though that:
The U.S. Army's definition is not universally accepted, however. Former national director of intelligence John Negroponte defined a civil war as "a complete loss of central government security control, [and] the disintegration or deterioration of the security forces of the country." J. David Singer, political science professor and former consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense and State Department, and his protégé Errol A. Henderson define civil war as "sustained military combat, primarily internal, resulting in at least 1,000 battle-deaths per year, pitting central government forces against an insurgent force capable of effective resistance, determined by the latter's ability to inflict upon the government forces at least 5 percent of the fatalities that the insurgents sustain." Such criteria justify the civil war label, but by Henderson and Singer's definition, Iraq has suffered seven separate civil wars in the last forty-five years.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Nissan North America has a warning for customers: placing your electronic key too close to your cellphone could leave you stranded.Isn't technology great.
The automaker is asking customers driving new models of two of its flagship sedans to keep their car keys and cellphones at least an inch apart to avoid disabling the "intelligent keys."
Cellphones kept near Nissan's I-Keys -- wireless devices designed to allow drivers to enter and start their cars at the push of a button -- can erase the electronic code on the keys, rendering them unable to unlock or start the cars.
As you can imagine, the events in Anbar are of great importance to me. All recent reports indicate that violence is down dramatically, and not just in Ramadi as I first thought, and has been publicized. We have turned the tribes to our side. Everyone from Time magazine to Michael Yon is sending signals that we've turned a corner there.
If this is truly the case, and not just a confluence of factors that have led to a lull, then we may have found part of the answer to your query as to how to handle 3rd Gen gangs/irregular warfare/the problem with no name (as in your post: "Total Blurring of Crime and War"): the answer is not to eradicate an insurgency, it is to create or find one's own group that offers a reasonable alternative. This is really what has happened in Anbar: the tribes were colluding with Al Qaeda and other criminal and terror groups, but now we have turned them and empowered them. This is not nation-building; it may even be the opposite. Some time ago, Robert Kaplan wrote this in the LA Times:"Those who proclaim today that the only real solution to the Arab dilemma is political freedom are correct. The problem is that they are describing a process that could encompass several bloody decades. After all, it took centuries for stable democracy as we know it to evolve in Europe. In this Darwinian shaking-out process, the new forms of political legitimacy may more closely resemble militarized social welfare organizations such as Hezbollah and the Al Mahdi army than the ramshackle contrivances of the European model that we saw in the post-colonial era."Isn't this what we are seeing in Anbar? A tribe that is allied with the US is much more similar to Hezbollah than it is to a nation-state.
Here's the real takeaway though: this never would have happened without some sort of American presence in Iraq. It was not diplomats that turned the tribes, it was military officers. That is the secret that will be hard to swallow: we are in an age wherein the opposite of the 'exit strategy' will have to be the lynchpin of strategy: presence, not early exit, is what is required in these broad swaths of the world that where instability threatens US interests. The key will be not to figure out whether to be there or not, which is the current debate. The key will be to figure out how much to be there and in what form: soldier, diplomat, spy, or some other category that has yet to be determined: perhaps a combo of all three, or perhaps some privatized version of any one of them.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
This is the snowiest spring on Pikes Peak in more than a decade. Barr Camp recorded 231 inches of snow this winter. (It only saw 50 inches in 2006.)
Hikers venturing above treeline will find that the peak is more wintry this May than it usually is in January, and they should be prepared.
Labels: Global Warming
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Don’t set the holiday picnic table just yet. You might need to clear some snow first..But then, since this is Colorado,
The southwestern mountains of Colorado are under a snow advisory, with up to 8 inches of accumulation possible. A freeze watch is in effect for tonight in the San Luis Valley region and much of southeastern Colorado is under a flash flood watch.
Conditions are expected to improve tomorrow, with highs forecast in the mid 60s along the Front Range. Highs are expected in the 70s to near 80 over what should be a mostly sunny Memorial Day holiday weekend.Nevertheless, it is sometimes hard here in Colorado to take predictions of Global Warming seriously, when we are getting blizzards a couple of days before Memorial Day.
Labels: Global Warming
4 for $11 or 2 for $5.50?
Tonight I discovered that this sort of thing really does confuse people to the store's advantage. I was shopping for soft drinks, and found that you could buy 2 12 packs of 12 oz Diet RC for $5.50 or 6 12 packs of 12 oz Diet Coke (with either Splenda or Nutrisweet) for $11. That is a wash, which is obvious when you compute that one 12 pack is $2.75, or 48 cans sell for $11. So, I bought one of each, to compare the taste of the two Splenda sweatened colas.
But then, I watched a woman grab a 24 can box of 12 oz Cokes. I figured that if the store was selling four 12 can boxes for $11, it would be cheaper to buy a 24 can box instead of two 12 can boxes. Larger packages are always cheaper.
Wrong. The 24 can box cost $6.99, $1.49 more than if she had bought two 12 can boxes. Worse, mixed in were 8 packs of 12 oz bottles for $5.99. This works out to $17.97 for 24 12 oz bottles.
So, within a foot or so in the Coke section the store had:
- 12 packs of 12 oz cans @ 48/$11
- 24 packs of 12 oz cans @ 48/$13.98
- 8 packs of 12 oz bottles @ 48/$35.94
Then, you realize that this is Evil Incarnate, VP Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne. Worse, Worldnetdaily.com: Cheney's lesbian daughter gives birth:
"The vice president is pleased to be a grandfather for the sixth time," spokeswoman Megan McGinn said.and
President Bush told People magazine in December that Mary Cheney would be "a loving soul to her child.".. "The vice president took me aside and gave me the good news. He and his wife, Lynne, are very happy for Mary," Bush said. "I think Mary is going to be a loving soul to her child. And I'm happy for her."
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Our moral and mental development, and the high productivity that accompanies it, have taken place under a system of decentralized capitalism. I would claim that the capitalist system accounts for more than 100 percent of the reduction in poverty that has taken place over the past hundred years.
How can capitalism account for more than 100 percent of the reduction in poverty? Is that mathematically possible?
If we take into account the factors that have retarded poverty reduction, then we can argue that, by overcoming those factors, capitalism accounts for even more than 100 percent of poverty reduction. That is, if world poverty has fallen from 90 percent to 20 percent over the past 200 years, then capitalism would have reduced it by even more were it not for the retarding factors.
Ironically, the biggest factor retarding the capitalist solution to poverty may well be the crusade to end poverty using conscious planning. Certainly if one includes among the planned solutions to poverty the experiment with Communism (and I see no reason why it ought to be excluded), then the case against intentional anti-poverty efforts is rather compelling. Simply compare poverty in North Korea with that in South Korea, for exa
Monday, May 07, 2007
So all-in, her stated lifestyle changes have reduced her carbon footprint by about 10 tons / year.But of course she starts from a very high plateau, which the author didn't get into. By all indications, her house dwarfs Algore's 10,000 foot home. Changing twenty bulbs probably doesn't cover 5% of the cost of that home. Maybe 1% if she is lucky. And she doesn't fly across country just once a year, nor does she apparently limit herself to domestic flights. So, it is likely that she starts at least 10X the rest of us, and is cutting down to 9.75X. BFD.
A lot is often made of the fact that she “sometimes” flies in private jets. According to TerraPass, a Gulfstream G4 generates 8,785 Lbs of carbon per flight hour. Let’s assume Laurie David took one roundtrip flight last year between LA and NY. Assume 10 hours of flying time = 87,850 Lbs = 44 tons.
So, so far she’s in the hole by about 34 tons if you assume one r/t private flight.
But hey, she’s started to cut way down on toilet paper.
Labels: Global Warming
Friday, May 04, 2007
Thursday, May 03, 2007
The basic problem is that societies have been geared up for having a lot of kids, based on the reality throughout history until very recently that most kids died before being able to breed. But advances in medical care, hygene, etc. have cut that throughout most of the world dramatically. The required solution is to cut birth rates accordingly, and thus we have seen the Chinese "one child" policy, and similar things throughout the developing world.
But what has to be remembered is that much of the movement towards much smaller familes comes from the women. They are the ones who don't want to spend their lives making babies, and then slaving over raising large families. And, don't forget, living in poverty. The best way out of poverty is to limit famility size. A lot.
Until very recently, the women in Moslem countries were kept barefoot, ignorant, and pregnant. Much more ignorant than the men, and this was working to keep the birth rates high. But even without getting formal education, many women now have access to satellite TV, the Internet, etc., and are finding out about the rest of the world, that the rest of the women in the world don't live that way, that there are really good reasons not to, and that there are ways to avoid it. And, that is slowly going to kill Islamic terrorism.
But, as was pointed out by one of the most dangerous economists of the 20th Century, in the long run, we are all dead anyway.
It makes some small interesting points. One is that the Sunni Arab population is now down to about 9%, and is expected to drop to 5% by year's end. Six months ago, Strategy Page was suggesting that it would be down to 10% by year's end, and it apparently already is. The importance of this cannot be underestimated. First, there is the refugee problem - that means some two million have fled already, and another one million by the end of the year. Add to that that these are often the best educated Iraqis.
Another is that the wall that was going up was working. It was apparently working quite well. The car bombers needed to live and operate in heavily Sunni Arab regions for protection and anonymity, and the walls going up were forcing them to go through checkpoints to get out of those areas. But the minute that it was pointed out that Israel had built a wall for a somewhat similar reason, both sides of the ethnic divide demanded that it be stopped. Thus, we see the Iragi Moslem version of political correctness. It may work well and save lives, but if the Israelis do something similar, tough. It is better to take the civilian casualties than the embarassment of being like the hated Israelis.
The article has a lot of other good insights into what is going on right now in Iraq.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Here's why the bill Congress passed is unacceptable.
It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing. All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars and gather their strength and begin plotting how to overthrow the government and take control of the country of Iraq.
I believe setting a deadline for withdrawal would demoralize the Iraqi people, would encourage killers across the broader Middle East, and send a signal that America will not keep its commitments.
Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure, and that would be irresponsible.
Second, the bill would impose impossible conditions on our commanders in combat. After forcing most of our troops to withdraw, the bill would dictate the terms on which the remaining commanders and troops could engage the enemy. That means America's commanders in the middle of a combat zone would have take fighting directions from politicians 6,000 miles away in Washington, D.C.
This is a prescription for chaos and confusion, and we must not impose it on our troops.
Third, the bill is loaded with billions of dollars in non-emergency spending that has nothing to do with fighting the war on terror. Congress should debate these spending measures on their own merits, and not as a part of an emergency funding bill for our troops.
I had been looking for this for those times I find myself arguing against someone who claims that al Qaeda isn't in, nor has it ever been in, Iraq.
As unconfirmed news broke that the chief of al-Qaeda in Iraq may have been killed in a battle with a rival terror group, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called on President George Bush to step in and halt the slaying of terror leaders.
“It’s a known fact that every time a terror leader is killed, another rises to take his place,” said Sen. Reid. “Therefore, the only way to stop the spawning of new terror leaders is to halt the slaying of the current ones.”
First, he was apparently killed by Sunni tribesmen. This would likely be strong indication that our reproachment with the Sunni tribes in Anbar is paying dividends. For the first four or so years after our incursion into Iraq, they aided and abetted al Qaeda and the flow of foreign born terrorists into Iraq. Al Qaeda then overstayed their welcome, trying to impose strict Sharia law in the areas that they dominated. This seems to be coming to a screaching halt, with 80% of the Anbar tribes signing on with the government and now working closely with Iraqi and American security forces.
Secondly, there is indication that al-Masri was in Iraq BEFORE we invaded. That is, of course, impossible, esp. since al Qaeda is still, according to many, still not in Iraq. And, esp. since it is also common accepted wisdom that Saddam Hussein wouldn't work with fundamentalist Sunni terrorists like al Qaeda.