Sunday, February 25, 2007

"Success"

On "Meet the Press" today, Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich) used the word "success" numerous times to describe the Democrats' most recent incarnation of their "redeployment" plan. Levin wants to alter the authorization for military force in order to severely limit the scope of our military involvement to counter-terrorism and training of the Iraqi army. This will allow "most" of our forces to come home.

I have extremely mixed feelings about this new language. It is encouraging to hear Levin speak of success since the Democrats have not put forth a message of success, with Pelosi calling the war something to be "dealt with".

Levin's new language is discouraging in that it is very difficult to see how the Dem plan could possibly lead to "success". I am further discouraged by Levin's string of lies that went unchallenged by moderator Tim Russert: that the Republicans had filibustered debate on the non-binding resolution (when in fact their procedural maneuvers were intended to EXPAND debate to include Republican proposals as well), that Iraq was not a haven for terrorism (when The Weekly Standard has done thorough investigation proving that it was), and continuing to point the finger at the White House for hyping intelligence (when several congressional commissions have indicated that this was not the case, and Code Pink has video of Hillary Clinton saying how she vetted all her intelligence with WJClinton administration folks).

When Levin continues to squander his credibility by repeating these lies, one can only assume that Levin is disingenuous about his plans for "success".

Thursday, February 15, 2007

How to treat those who kill our troops?

Let's say that the "Democratic Republic of Waca-waca" was suppling sophisticated armament to the knuckleheads in Iraq who are exploding IEDs and shooting down our choppers. What should the policy of the United States be toward the Waca-wacan government?

If you're name is Nancy Pelosi, your response would be to make sure that the President never ever invades the "DRWW" and does absolutely nothing to provoke them any more! Except Waca-waca isn't a joke, it's the Islamic Republic of Iran, a founding member of the Axis of Evil.

Ok, I understand that the Democrats think Bush lied us into a war in Iraq - for what purpose nobody can reasonably say - so they think Bush is crying wolf about Iran. Well, Nancy, what if he isn't lying? Do you suppose Karl Rove has a master plan to win the White House in 2008 with another lengthy war, or do you think that Bush might possibly be going out on a limb here because Iran really is doing what he says? What would Occam say?

Speaker Pelosi "fully supports" Rep. John Murtha's plan to "prohibit any military action against Iran without specific congressional approval". Pelosi and her ilk are again placing a hard bet on the rationality and peaceful intentions of Islamic Fundamentalists , and betting that a twice elected US President who is trying to fight two wars would lie us into engaging in a third major front. Things might look bad for the Republicans at this very moment, but I would be amazed if the electorate would reward this sort of behavior in 2008.

Again, Nancy, go out on a limb here and imagine the possibility that Iran is helping to kill American troops. How do you respond to those who are killing Americans? You kill them right back! Pelosi would rather tie the hands of this President and every subsequent President, permanently weakening US foreign policy, than contemplate the idea that Islamic fundamentalist states who are on the CIA list of state sponsors of terrorism might actually provide material support to Islamic fundamantalist terrorists.

Support the troops, Nancy; don't let Iranian bombs kill them without response.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

More "light bulb" politics

Ellen Goodman writes, "On the day that the latest report on global warming was released, I went out and bought a light bulb. OK, an environmentally friendly, compact fluorescent light bulb."

She goes on, "No, I do not think that if everyone lit just one little compact fluorescent light bulb, what a bright world this would be... But it was either buying a light bulb or pulling the covers over my head."

Well, at least she acknowledges that her actions were symbolic and emotional rather than efficacious. (Shhh - don't tell her what sort of toxic materials are in one of those CFLs. I'm sure she'll recycle burnt out bulbs rather than toss them in the trash, right?)

Most important are her remarks about "deniers".

"I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future."

First, let me say that comparing global warming skeptics with Holocaust deniers is absurd. A Holocaust denier will look Elie Wiesel in the face and tell him that Wiesel's firsthand experiences didn't happen. A global warming "denier" thinks, rightly or wrongly, that the projections about weather forecasts fifty years into the future aren't likely to be any more accurate than the forecasts about next month. A global warming "denier" wonders why all the global temperature charts start right after the "medieval warm period". A global warming "denier" is skeptical that the United Nations has finally done something right when it has failed in just about every other task it has undertaken.

Speaking on behalf of global warming deniers everywhere, I reply that there are very few actual "deniers" in the true sense of the word. Just about everybody thinks that the Earth is undergoing climate change. Even Rush Limbaugh, among the most skeptical of the "deniers", thinks only that natural fluctuations, most probably solar fluctuations, are the determinant force behind any climate change that might be happening.

"Deniers" might hold one or more of the following views:
1 - Outright denial - A position held by very few, but recently bolstered by one of the coldest few weeks on record in North America. How is it that ice floes in the Arctic are melting when the pipes in my heated buildings are freezing? And I'm pretty sure polar bears can swim too.
2 - Skepticism about man's effect on the environment - Couldn't it be the sun? What about our computer models? Wouldn't a big volcanic eruption (which could happen any time now) have a greater effect on cooling the earth than anything man could do (or cease to do)?
3 - Skepticism about man's ability to affect this change - "Kyoto?" Are you serious? CFL's? Prius?

I'm not about to go into a lengthy defense of global warming skepticism, because I haven't decided what I think. I do know that many of the loudest global warming "activists" are suggesting "solutions" that don't have a chance in hell of influencing the global climate. I do know that Ellen Goodman and countless others like her have failed to address the scientific claims of skeptics, instead resorting to ad hominem attacks.

Comparing global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers like Ahmadinejad can't be expected to convert any would-be "deniers" to Ellen Goodman's view, so one questions the purpose of an "opinion" piece not intended to influence anybody else's opinion.

Lastly, I urge everyone to go out and buy some CFLs. Not because they're supposed to be better for the environment, but because they're economical.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Conservative case for Fluorescent Bulbs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs have become somewhat of a cause celebre for greeniacs. A California Assembly person even introduced legislation to ban incandescent lights in favor of CFLs. And while this is a silly, nanny-state reaction from those who think the government just can't do enough to interfere with our lives, Conservatives are missing a great opportunity to show that we don't burn down rainforests for fun in our spare time.

Eco-freaks talk about how much CO2 is theoretically taken out of the air by using fluorescent lights, sometimes in terms of hypothetical "cars taken off the road". That's all fine and dandy, but there's a much easier case to make that isn't preachy - they're cheaper. Cheaper over the long run to be sure, since the up front costs are much higher, but still, cheaper.

How is a cheaper light bulb not a Republican issue? Better living through technology! Economic development helps fund the research and development that helps us live better!

CFLs aren't uniformly better than incandescent lights. I'd rather read to a "warmer" traditional light than a "bluer" CFL. And CFLs don't work as well in colder environments. In my personal experience, a CFL at 40 degrees F takes a few minutes to gain reasonable luminescence. Still, I'm replacing most of my old bulbs with CFLs because they do basically the same job, they do it cheaper, and I don't have to change the bulb as often.

Honestly, it has nothing to do with saving the environment.

Inverse Sunk Cost Fallacy - Iraq

What is the value of a stable Iraq?

Democrats might accuse the Bushies of committing the "sunk cost" fallacy with respect to the Iraq war, particularly not wanting lives already lost to have been lost "in vain". However, Democrats seem to be committing the opposite fallacy. Dem Presidential candidates are falling over each other trying to get out of Iraq - "it's not worth another life."

Oh really? Not one more life? What if it was just one more life to make it all work out, then would it be worth it? What if it was 100, or 500? The Democrats seem to be saying that leaving behind a reasonably stable Iraq just isn't worth anything at all, which it clearly is. Has it been worth 3000+ KIA's? I suppose that's a matter of perspective. Is it worth something? Absolutely.

Most recently, "Her Royal Thighness" Hillary Clinton says she will end the war in 2009 if it hasn't been ended by then. Well, maybe things will be different. Maybe they won't. I'd like to get a look at Hillary's magic 8-ball to see what sort of info she's been getting about the future. I just hope it's better than the info she got in the past. (Past info: Code Pink video -start it at 6:30, you won't be missing anything-, Code Pink Website)

(Aside: In the video, Hillary says cutting taxes while going to war was irresponsible. History has proven her wrong.)