Archive for January, 2010

Why I Left The Right; Exhibit 87a

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Right Wing blogs are aflame because Obama is devoting CIA resources to examining global warming.


What’s happening is that the CIA is sharing data they already have with climate scientists, reversing Bush’s cancellation of the previous agreement.

The monitoring program has little or no impact on regular intelligence gathering, federal officials said, but instead releases secret information already collected or takes advantage of opportunities to record environmental data when classified sensors are otherwise idle or passing over wilderness.

There could be some concerns about classification barriers breaking. But, no, CIA agents are not monitoring glaciers.

Guys? Do your fucking homework before you scream blue murder.

We’re At War

Friday, January 8th, 2010

The “conservative” part of this country is busy demonstrating, once again, that the War on Terror is not something they take seriously. It’s just a big partisan game to them.

Every since Richard Reid, we have used the criminal justice system to prosecute terrorists caught on American soil. This has been very uncontroversial. Yet, suddenly, it’s travesty that Obama wants to put the panty bomber on trial.

It’s very difficult to define partisanship better than hating someone for doing what you praised your guy for.

But what’s bother me more is the constant repeating of the “We’re at War!” meme. It’s the unceasing rallying cry of the Right — that Obama doesn’t realize we’re at war. This bullshit has continued in the face of a massive troop buildup in Afghanistan and the continuing of Bush’s Iraq policy.

“We’re at war” is not a policy statement anymore; it’s the political equivalent of a fashion statement. It’s the conservative answer to “No Blood For Oil!”. Here’s Sully, describing Giuliani’s TV appearance earlier today:

But what I really take from Rudy’s remarks is that he believes that merely saying “war on Islamist terrorism” again and again somehow helps us win. What most sentient beings have learned these past several years is that taking this war to a constant and grand rhetorical level empowers Jihadists more than it weakens them. There is a sick syndrome in which “conservatives” get into some dysfunctional relationship with Islamists with each faction elevating the other in global consciousness.

Obama is trying to wind down this drama and focus on actually finding and killing terrorists, removing their recruitments tools (like torture and Gitmo), and defusing their appeal to the Muslim middle. I will further note that Giuliani, in his criticism that Obama has not treated this like a war, has failed to mention the huge build-up of forces in Afghanistan. I remain deeply ambivalent about this strategy, but surely Giuliani would approve. It’s many more troops and many more resources than Bush ever devoted to Afghanistan. And yet all Giuliani believed showed Obama’s concern with terrorism was his use of the word “war” yesterday.

This is not a serious policy. It is not a serious politics.

During the 1980’s, Leftists used the constantly criticize Reagan over his Israel policy. The constant refrain was that he wasn’t “taking the problem seriously”. When you asked them what it meant to take the problem seriously, they wouldn’t have an answer. They didn’t have an alternative. All they knew was that they hated Reagan and that he wasn’t taking the problem seriously.

The Right does have some actual differences with Obama: mostly that he’s had back-channel talks with Iran and stopped torture — both of which are steps toward victory in my book. Both, of course, also demonstrate the spectacular incompetence of the last Administration, which is a prime motivation for the angry response.

But in the end, the vituperative rhetoric is way way out of proportion to these policy changes. In the end, it gets down the partisan bullshit. In the end, it’s a mantra.

Compare and Contrast

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Barack Obama’s response to the intelligence failure of the Christmas attack to George W. “I have no regrets” Bush.

Which one represents the party of personal responsibility again?

Think Thin

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

I’m at the AAS, listening to people talk about science. So you can imagine my response to the psuedo-science involved in a study that comes to the — gasp! — shocking conclusion that married women tend to put on more weight than single women and women tend to gain weight when they become moms (i.e., they don’t shed all the pregnancy weight). They spend the entire article wondering why and coming up with all kinds of conspiracy theories without going for the obvious explanation.

Stand by for ground-breaking articles that show that single men have more gym memberships than married men and women tend to be less up to date on modern trends when they have kids.


It’s not that the data is useless. It’s that they can’t seem to understand the meaning of the data.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

But it’s been hot more often than it’s been cold.

Heart-Warming Story of the Day

Monday, January 4th, 2010

You’re welcome.

The Trial

Monday, January 4th, 2010

It’s amazing how fast the “we can’t do trials for AQ guys arrested on the battlefield” has morphed into “we can’t do trials for AQ arrested in this country”. What the panty bomber did was a criminal act, no? Since when do we turn criminals into un-persons? It’s equally amazing how fast “we need to torture in ticking time bomb scenarios” has morphed into “we need to torture full stop”.

This is why, for all Obama’s faults, I’m glad the GOP is no longer in power. They are still willing to burn the Constitution and the rule of law if they think it can make them marginally safer from scary terrorists. Even if it doesn’t.

New Year’s Linkorama

Monday, January 4th, 2010

It’s been nothing but Linkoramas lately. But I’ve been posting some article at the other blog. Hopefully, now that the holidays are over, I can get back to being my usual cantankerous self.

  • Climate Crock of the Week takes on the medieval warming period. On the flip side, Ronald Bailey takes the air out of the rising oceans hysteria.
  • Bad taxes — both cuts and hikes. Will there ever come a day where our politicians see the tax system as a way to raise money not to create social engineering?
  • If you wonder why US health costs are soaring, here’s a big reason.
  • Cracked, being better than the MSM, reviews overlooked celebrity deaths of 2009.
  • I have to agree with Neal Boortz. Every year, one random homeowner’s association should be taken out and shot.
  • Interesting analysis hints that speculation, not subprimes, caused the collapse.
  • You can run but you can’t hide.