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The official blog of the National Center for Public Policy Research, covering news, current events and public policy from a conservative, free-market and pro-Constitution perspective.

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Friday
Aug202004

Extreme Weather & Global Warming

Iain Murray has a good post on extreme weather events and global warming on The Commons Blog. Quoting Spiked's Brendan O'Neill, the post says, in part:

Dr Mark Saunders, a weather expert at University College London (UCL), says we need to cool down. 'I don't think the weather we have seen is particularly unusual, to be honest. Somewhere in the world you will always get extreme weather events - whether it's a storm, a flood, or a drought. There are always people being affected by extreme weather. There is no study to my knowledge which shows that more people are being affected now, or that more people will be affected by freak weather this year than in previous years.'
There's more in Iain's post.



Back in 1998, husband David wrote a paper for us on this topic. Titled "Don't Like the Weather? Don't Blame it on Global Warming," the paper examined charges that mid-90s forest fires, heat waves, blizzards and hurricanes were indicators of global warming. Because the paper reviews a century's worth of trends on these extreme weather events, it remains one of the most popular downloads on the National Center's website even now, six years later.

Friday
Aug202004

"America Was Built By European Garbage"

Interesting theory about anti-Americanism by Europeans on Redhunter Thursday.



I doubt it is the full explanation, but it is food for thought.

Friday
Aug202004

Gergen's Curious Leadership Selection System

David Gergen, speaking on Hardball, just referred to Ann Coulter as a "Republican leader."



Is the standard now that every right-of-center pundit is a Republican leader and every left-of-center pundit a Democrat leader?



I assume Gergen -- apparently a registered Republican but a "Democrat leader" by this standard -- thinks so.



It used to be that one had to be elected to public and/or party office to be a party leader. Very quaint -- the party members actually had a say in who their leaders were.



Under Gergen's system, the media picks the leaders -- whomever is a guest on a talking head show is annointed.

Thursday
Aug192004

Media Censors Poll

Davids Medienkritik opines about FoxNews.com silently deleting an online presidential poll showing John Kerry way ahead...

Wednesday
Aug182004

US Basketball Team Stuns US Basketball Team

More musings from husband David:

What's next? The United States Olympic beach volleyball team will lose in an upset to the District of Columbia's beach volley ball team?



Over the weekend, the US basketball team was reportedly defeated by Puerto Rico's basketball team.



Did I miss something?



The last time I looked, Puerto Ricans were full U.S. citizens. Were Puerto Ricans to move to any state in the United States, they could vote in federal elections like every other citizen. They'd also earn the "right" to pay federal taxes -- which may explain why they often don't.



The "chief of state" in Puerto Rico is George W. Bush. In Puerto Rico, the United States controls nationality and citizenship; currency; foreign relations; commerce; military service; mining and minerals; social security; the postal system; and the list goes on and on.



So what gives with the Olympics?



Shouldn't the sports headlines have read: "US Basketball Team Stuns US Basketball Team"?

Wednesday
Aug182004

Coalition of the Willing Dominating the Olympic Games

From husband David:

The Coalition of the Willing countries are dominating the Olympic games.



As of August 17, Coalition nations had amassed 90 medals, compared to only 67 for all other nations (over 40% from communist regimes).



Nineteen of the Coalition's medals have been won by the United States.



But hold on a minute...



If the United States did such a poor job building the alliance for Iraqi freedom, where did all the other 71 medals come from?



It's quite a mystery.



Better get U.N. Inspectors on the case.

Tuesday
Aug172004

MoveOn.org Swift Boat Ad Moves On News Pages

I haven't actually counted the news articles, but it looks to me as though MoveOn.org's new ad about the swift boat veterans ad is getting more establishment media coverage than the swift boat veterans got when they unveiled their ad.



If this trend keeps up, watch for conservatives to start attacking their own attacks on liberals just to get the establishment press to cover their original charges...

Monday
Aug162004

Frustrating Hurricane Reporting

This Reuters story doesn't make sense to me.



Referring to Florida residents hardest-hit by Hurricane Charley, on the one hand, Reuters reports:

Immediate needs such as water, food and shelter appeared to have been quickly met. Some 4,000 National Guard troops ferried supplies, erected tents for temporary shelter and patrolled against looting.



"We're very well taken care of, there's lots of everything," Kathy Tooker, 30, said. She and her four children were among some 500 people at a Red Cross shelter at the L.A. Ainger Middle School in Englewood.
On the other hand, the article goes on to say:
But frustration, fatigue and anger were beginning to set in. Some of the people at the shelter were wondering when they would get vouchers for food and housing...
The story seemingly is reporting both that the displaced residents have been given food and housing yet are frustrated that they do not have vouchers for food and housing...?



The story goes on to interview residents who want money from the federal government:
"It's tough.... Just trying to clean up. Tough to start over," said Anthony Jones, 42, whose two-bedroom mobile home in Punta Gorda was shredded.



Jones, speaking after a day of picking through his scattered belongings, said he was not insured and hoped for help from the federal government.
I realize what I am about to comment is going to offend some people, but why the heck did he live in a mobile home in hurricane country without insurance? And why should federal taxpayers who live in lower-risk states (many of whom bought insurance for their own homes despite -- in probably most cases -- lower risk of home loss) give him their heard-earned money? I do have sympathy for the fact that he lost his home, but I think this sounds like a case in which (if he can't afford to buy a replacement home) he should get himself a rental apartment and leave his fellow taxpayers out of it.



Back to the article. On the Reuters website, it is headlined: "Floridians Who Lost Homes to Charley Frustrated." Yet the only indication of frustration is the mysterious matter of wanting food and housing vouchers. The rest of the story is about officials expressing gratitude at the low loss of life and satisfaction that the food and housing needs of the displaced have been so successfully met.



I'm sure it is very tough for the hurricane victims. I'm sure it is even tough for those who evacuated and came home again, particularly those in poor health or who had to travel with small children. I'm also sure that most Floridians handled all this with grace under pressure and without expecting or requesting public funds. I bet most Florida homeowners actually have insurance. Why doesn't this Reuters story reflect this? Why must disaster reporting always seem make it seem like folks are up a creek without a paddle unless and until the federal government steps in?



The people of Florida, I bet, are way more self-reliant than this article lets on.

Sunday
Aug152004

Inversion: Post Covers Recreation, Blogs Unearth News

The Washington Post devotes the cover story of its weekly magazine to blogging.



So is the Post finally aware that it is being outscooped by the blogosphere? Not so you'd notice. They wrote about a sex blog.



Meanwhile, Captain's Quarters blog is so far running rings around the Post and the rest of the establishment press on the swift boat story.

Sunday
Aug152004

Conservative Clothing, Liberal Thinking

Two of the many things that struck me as I watched C-SPAN's rebroadcast of the 1971 debate between John Kerry and John O'Neill on the Dick Cavett show...



First, people dressed a lot better then. We make fun today of clothing styles of the 70s, but when the camera pans the audience, the men are in suits and the women in dresses.



Second, this country is a lot more conservative now.



Ironic.

Sunday
Aug152004

Unique Truth

Ed Haislmaier says columnist Mark Steyn agrees with me about Gov. McGreevey's speech.

Sunday
Aug152004

Heartwarming

Best Olympic Picture.



Maybe best picture of the year.



Hat tip: Franco Aleman via Vodkapundit

Saturday
Aug142004

Why We Fight

I'm a couple of days late in noticing, but Redhunter has posted an excellent essay on the war on terror. One of several notable points:

By carrying the war to the enemy we have forced them to fight where we want to fight, at a time and place of our choosing. That they are carrying out ambushes and bombings does not change this, for these are merely tactical offensives, and do not change the basic nature of the campaign. By carrying the war to them we are on the offensive. We have taken the war into their neighborhood, and by doing so have kept it out of ours.

Saturday
Aug142004

Global Warming Lawsuits -- AGs Ignore Science, Constitution

The Providence Journal was kind enough to publish an op-ed I wrote. It addresses the eight state attorneys general who are attempting to run a coup on Congress by taking over our national global warming policy.



Rhode Island's AG is one of the offenders.



Addendum: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has now printed it as well. Wisconsin's AG also is one of the eight. The paper also printed an opposing view in favor of this legislation by litigation by John Passacantando, executive director of Greenpeace USA.

Friday
Aug132004

That Does Not Compute

On Wednesday, I reported on hilarious doings at the Davids Medienkritik blog.



The story is even funnier now.

Friday
Aug132004

Let Every Vote Be Counted

Husband David has some thoughts on New Jersey:

A liberal mantra over the past several years has been "Let every vote be counted," a none-too-subtle suggestion that all the votes weren't counted in Florida in the 2000 presidential contest (despite about a bazillion recounts), throwing the election to George Bush.



But I agree with the sentiment: Let every vote be counted.



Let the votes of 8.6 million New Jersey residents -- including those of 1.7 million blacks -- be counted to select a replacement for Governor James McGreevey.



Where's the outcry from the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus that 1.7 million blacks have been disfranchised?



Note to liberals: I think your hypocrisy is showing... again.

Thursday
Aug122004

An Acceptable Reality

Jeff Jarvis is all over the McGreevey story. So is Clayton Cramer.



Personally, I thought McGreevey's speech was quite possibly the dopiest thing I ever heard. "One's unique truth" -- bletch! No such thing! There is truth, and there is falsehood. Not a bunch of little unique truths.



I know this because I looked "deeply into the mirror" of "my soul" and realized it. Or maybe thinking so is just one of the "virtue[s] of my traditions." Bletch again!



McGreevey said: "I began to question what an acceptable reality really meant for me." For me it means no more blatherskite speeches like this!



Addendum: I'm watching Arianna Huffington tell Keith Olbermann on MSNBC that McGreevey's speech was powerfully moving or some such blather. Triple bletch! By the way, did anyone notice that although McGreevey praised his wife during the speech, he did not glance at her even once while doing so -- even though she was standing next to him? That's not natural behavior if one means what one is saying. Now Arianna is claiming we should "celebrate" this speech...



However, the interview does have one redeeming characteristic: Olbermann let Huffington complete a thought. That's more than Chris Matthews let a representative from Veterans for Kerry and John O'Neill do on the immediately-prior show on MSNBC tonight. Every time the two guests started to tell their version of a story, Matthews interrupted them. It might have been an interesting show, but Matthews refused to let the viewers to hear enough to be able to compare the contrasting views of the two guests.

Thursday
Aug122004

Three Little Ridenours Can Sleep Soundly Tonight

Iain Murray explains on The Commons Blog that global warming is not the threat to coral reefs that some previously thought.



So, he says, Nemo is safe.


Thursday
Aug122004

O'Neill v. Kerry

In Wednesday's New Republic Online, Kenneth Baer argues that it would be in John Kerry's interest to sue Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.



Trial lawyer William J. Dyer takes an opposing view on his BeldarBlog.



My [limited] observation:



Unfit to Command co-author, prominent SBVT member and Kerry nemesis John O'Neill, who is a trial lawyer, seems to be mapping strategy using tactics he learned in courtrooms. If I'm right, this dispute -- however it may be resolved -- is unlikely to unfold in the manner typical of past political controversies.



Modern political controversies have tended to be battles of the soundbite, as each side attempts to appear to have the upper hand during each news cycle. So campaign consultants tend to be experts in mastering this skill. Subtlety, moreover, is no virtue to a campaign manager. He'll use the political equivalent of a nuclear weapon as his first option.



Trial lawyers, on the other hand, have mastered death by a thousand cuts. Subtley helps them trap an opponent when he's least expecting it. Soundbites and their equivalent of a news cycle (ending the day on a high note, for instance) play but a supportive role.



Trial attorneys tend to release evidence in a slow and (they hope) damning drip, drip, drip. They master pacing. Political strategists let out all their talking points pretty nearly the minute they think of them. Pacing to them is something to do when poll numbers don't look good.



The craft of trial lawyering is different from that of campaign consultants in another way, too. Campaign consultants don't worry too much about the truth. If they can convince you that Candidate X will deliver world peace and prosperity within a day of taking office, they'll gladly do so and call it a good day's work -- regardless of the truth.



Yes, of course, trial lawyers lie, too -- sometimes in the most preposterous ways. (Witness various arguments against tort reform.) But basic training in the trial lawyer craft is that an attorney should keep his feet on the firmest ground available. Trial lawyers are taught not even to ask questions in trials unless they know what the answer is likely to be. By contrast, you can't watch two minutes of a political debate on a cable TV talk show without realizing that campaign people will say nearly anything.



If caught falsely promising world peace, a political candidate is trained simply to ask: "Why is my opponent against world peace?"



Political campaigns commit logical fallacies with abandon. Sometimes doing so is the only reason they are successful. (Witness Bill Clinton's successful effort to beat back impeachment.) Trial lawyers do so only at their own peril.



O'Neill v. Kerry will played out by very different strategies than that parallel competition, Bush versus Kerry.

Wednesday
Aug112004

Pro-Bush Poll Censored

Visit Davids Medienkritik, a German blog (written in English), to read the hilarious story of major German news organizations that have stopped running online Bush v. Kerry popularity polls because -- apparently -- they didn't like the poll results.



Davids Medienkritik provides wonderful insights about "Old Europe." I added it to my blogroll, and visit it often.