Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hot Air

Glenn Reynolds notes the slow hurricane season and makes one his patented witty asides: "But I thought that global warming was going to produce an ever-growing number of hurricanes like Katrina . . . ."

The problem is that the Ross Gelbspan column in the link doesn't say what Reynolds implies.

As the atmosphere warms, it generates longer droughts, more-intense downpours, more-frequent heat waves, and more-severe storms.

Although Katrina began as a relatively small hurricane that glanced off south Florida, it was supercharged with extraordinary intensity by the relatively blistering sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. (emphasis added)

Gelbspan is saying that warming will intensify storms, not make more of them. The irony is that most of the Southeast could use a hurricane. Whatever damage one might do on the coast, if a tropical depression were to dump heavy rains over Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee, it would be a blessing.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Al Wins, Michelle's Head Explodes!

Had the committee consulted me, I would have recommended Bill McKibben for any global warming related Nobel Peace Prize, but it's worth seeing Al Gore (and the IPCC) win just to be able witness the fallout. Sure Michelle Malkin's head explodes about 30 times a week, but it never seems to get old--at least not to her.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

odds & Ends

Because American political coverage isn't vacuous enough, Pajamas Media has a roundup of links about the latest critical issue--Obama's "refusal" to wear an American flag pin. Where's the MSM on this critical issue?

This Victor Davis Hanson post has a list of "leftwing talking points" that Ahmadinejad talked about in New York recently. They include "Katrina, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, missing WMD, the 1953 Iranian coup." It's interesting that he cedes the issues of competent government and torture to the leftwing, but what caught my was the part about the 1953 coup. I haven't noticed leftwingers bringing it up but it is worthwhile to occasionally remind Americans that our history with that country didn't begin in 1979. It may be "leftwing" for an American to bring the subject up but wouldn't it qualify as patriotic, a more conservative impulse, for an Iranian to be upset about it? I've noted before the disdain conservatives have for the patriotism of foreigners.

While praising The New Republic's ridiculous review of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, Jeffrey Herf states that "Goldberg is quite right that many people in the West are reluctant to attach the label of anti-Semitism to arguments." I've been under the impression in the last few years that the term has been thrown around so carelessly that it has lost meaning.

The Bacevich article in the latest TAC has received loads of attention and that's good, but there are other worthwhile pieces in the issue. That includes an essay (the second of two) that includes this gem of a quote: ". . . for so long . . . far too many Americans, possibly a majority, preferred comforting lies to unpleasant truths and acted as co-conspirators in their own deception." It also features a column by Fred Reed pointing out that foreigners, the jerks, insist on seeing things from their own point of view and get tired of American meddling and condescension. Really?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Worse. Worser. Worstest.

Via Dennis Dale, I learn that Keith Olbermann took notice of Andrew Bacevich's Sycophant Savior essay in the Oct. 8 American Conservative. Dale writes that "Olbermann evinced (or affected) an unlikely ignorance of the vast gulf between current Republican Party leadership and the American Conservatives' valiant insurgency, deliberately encouraging the misunderstanding that the magazine and such Republican boosters as Rush Limbaugh are intellectual and political kin. Similar to the neocon's creative categorization of Shi'ite Hezbollah along with Sunni Al Qaeda."

I'm guessing that Olbermann had no idea of the vast gulf separating TAC from the Republican and rightwing establishment, which is pretty sad considering that the publication was cofounded by his MSNBC coworker, Pat Buchanan. I remember PJB and Bill Press promoting the first issue on that channel five years ago.

Olbermann declaimed that "for some reason there does not seem to be a George Bush-led race among Republicans to blast either Limbaugh or 'The American Conservative' the way they so happily wrung hands over the MoveOn.org Petraeus advertisement." For anyone in the know--a comparison between Bacevich, a perceptive critic and author who is one of our finest thinkers on foreign policy; and Limbaugh, a boorish ignoramus--is laughable. Also, I can't imagine Olbermann resisting Bacevich's backstory--a Vietnam veteran who lost his son to the Iraq War--if he had known about it.

P.S. When I wrote the part about the discussion of TAC's first issue it occurred to me that the magazine is now five years old. Happy Birthday!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Democracy in America . . .

Can somebody give me evidence to show that Americans have any capacity left for self-government? While trolling through NRO's Corner today, I caught this post from Kathryn Lopez with the text of a pro-Limbaugh resolution that Lopez, of course, endorses:

OCTOBER 1, 2007

Mr. KINGSTON submitted the following resolution


Commending Rush Hudson Limbaugh III for his ongoing public support of American troops serving both here and abroad. Recognizing Mr. Limbaugh for his relentless efforts to build and maintain troop morale through worldwide radio broadcasts and personal visits to conflict regions . . .

This is a counter the anti-Limbaugh resolution endorsed by some Democrats, that in turn is a counter to the anti-Moveon.org resolution that the Congress passed recently. Do these people have nothing better to do than to make fools of themselves, and of America, on the world stage?

Every time I start to think that I've become to cynical about the state of American Democracy, I discover that the opposite is the case.