Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Condi Gets Angry With Abbas

Front Page Magazine reports that America's Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice read the riot act to Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

During Condoleezza Rice’s three-hour meeting with Mahmoud Abbas last week in Ramallah, she reportedly “employed a threatening tone.” A Palestinian Authority official said that “We’ve never seen her in such a bad mood.”

Later at a press conference after meeting in a Jerusalem hotel with Abbas and Ehud Olmert, she “briskly walked into . . . the hotel’s main ballroom, gave a vacuous 90-second declaration and unceremoniously left, taking no questions.”

Rice was angry with Abbas for having earlier signed an agreement in Mecca that officially makes his Fatah movement a junior partner of Hamas. Abbas is said to have protested that “the only two options facing me were civil war or national unity, and I chose the second.” Rice apparently didn’t buy it.
I think he is right on that one. Since the agreement the Palestinian Civil War has damped down considerably. I believe in the last couple of weeks there have only been 5 deaths and they were attributed to family feuds probably triggered by earlier civil war violence.
Rice’s anger suggests that she has sincerely believed that Abbas is a constructive force who is worth American coddling and encouragement—even to the extent of funding, training, and equipping his militia. The anger, in other words, seems to be a case of empiricism catching up with delusion and denial. It must especially sting that it was the Saudis—whom Rice, the State Department, and the U.S. generally are always trying to impress by demonstrating their tenderness toward the Palestinians—who pressured Abbas into formally capitulating to Hamas and further enshrining the latter as the Palestinian standard-bearer.

It’s hard, after all, to see why Rice—ostensibly a conservative and not a fluttery-hearted liberal—got so disappointed in her Palestinian charge. There has always been much information available showing his lack of moderacy and total lack of interest in complying with the road map.
I never understood why Arafat got so much adulation (until Bush) from American Presidents. That guy promised peace in English and War in Arabic. A first rate double dealer. He got a Nobel Peace Prize too. I guess the Nobel Committee does't read Arabic. Lucky for Arafat. Not so lucky for the Israelis.

The Jerusalem Post reports on Condi's tough talk.
Even the most veteran officials in the Mukata "presidential" compound in Ramallah cannot recall such a tense meeting between a Palestinian leader and a senior US official as this week's encounter between PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

As Rice was walking out of the three-hour meeting, the officials rushed to phone Palestinian reporters to inform them that the talks were "very hard," and that the secretary of state had actually "rebuked" Abbas for signing the power-sharing Mecca agreement with Hamas earlier this month.

Reflecting the gloomy mood in Abbas's office, a top PA official said he did not rule out the possibility that Abbas would eventually end up being isolated in the Mukata like his predecessor, Yasser Arafat. "Rice employed a threatening tone during the talks with President Abbas," the official said. "We've never seen her in such a bad mood. She just doesn't understand that the president had no choice but to reach a deal with Hamas."

The official quoted Abbas as telling his aides after the Ramallah meeting that, by rejecting the Mecca deal, the US was "pushing the Palestinian people toward civil war."
America these days is adamant about not providing direct aid to the Palestinian governent. What money is given only goes to food and medical aid provided by NGOs or as we used to call them, charitable organizations.

Here is a report on the post summit press conference:
As reporters and advisers to the three leaders waited in the cavernous ballroom floor of the hotel, there was no overblown, Oslo-like sense of "feeling the flutter of history's wings." There was no expectation, no sense of moment, no anticipation of great diplomatic drama.

As a result, nobody was really disappointed that following nearly two-and-a-half hours of meetings, Rice briskly walked into a flagless, partitioned section of the hotel's main ballroom, gave a vacuous 90-second declaration and unceremoniously left, taking no questions. No one had expected anything more.

Which doesn't mean the summit was a complete flop. What it means is that a cold bucket of realism seems to have been tossed onto the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process. What it means is that there is a growing realization that not every impasse can be broken in disengagement-like fell swoops, not all deadlocks solved by wholesale Israeli confidence-building gestures.
What they mean is that Israeli capitulations will no longer be required to advance the "peace process". Which is a start towards realism.

Carl in Jerusalem has some thoughts.

H/T Israpundit

Gang Rape of Israeli Girls by Arabs

I couldn't blog this myself. Too horrible.

Carl in Jerusalem

The Tomato Plot

The leader of Iran says there is a plot to make food unaffordable for the masses.

Iran’s president said on Sunday the country’s enemies had hatched a range of plots to push the Islamic Republic to give up its disputed nuclear programme, including driving up the price of tomatoes and other food.

But Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said such tactics would not work, Iran’s ISNA news agency quoted him as saying.

Rising prices, particularly the cost of tomatoes which form an important ingredient in Iranian food, have prompted growing public criticism of Ahmadinejad’s government. The president has often dismissed complaints as media exaggeration.

"In order to harm us, they (enemies) make plots, for instance they come and push tomato prices up in the market. They think we will give up our ideals with their plots," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in which he said Iran would not reverse its atomic plans.
The real reason for the rise in prices of course is too much money chasing too few goods. Significant inflation as Milton Friedman pointed out is a monetary phenomenon.

Iran had a lot of cash on hand from its $30bn in bank withdrawals last year. Now every one knows that running the printing presses is bad. So I think the surpreme leader thought that real money backed by a real economy couldn't hurt. However, it doesn't matter where the money comes from. What matters is the supply of money vs. the supply of goods. Too much money chasing too few goods causes inflation.

This is not a Western plot. It is the supreme leader shooting himself in the foot. That has got to smart. And make walking difficult.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Medal Of Honor

President Bush gave out a Medal of Honor today for an event that happened over forty years ago in Vietnam. I give you the President in his own words:


THE PRESIDENT: Welcome. I am pleased that you all are here on a very special day. Presenting the Medal of Honor is one of the great privileges for the President. The medal is the highest military decoration a President can confer. This medal is awarded for actions above and beyond the call of duty.

Today I am proud to bestow this medal on a daring pilot, a devoted soldier and a selfless leader, Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Crandall. I welcome Bruce and his wife, Arlene, back to the White House. I congratulate you on 50 years of marriage. She must be a patient woman. (Laughter.) I also am glad that their three sons and three of their grandchildren are here. Welcome. I'm especially pleased that some of Bruce's comrades have joined us.

As an officer, Bruce always put his men before himself. Today, his men are here for him. And this afternoon, 41 years after his heroic actions in Vietnam, America recognizes Bruce Crandall with our highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor.

The journey that brought Bruce Crandall to this day began 74 years ago in Olympia, Washington. Growing up, Bruce was a gifted athlete and a bit of a handful. (Laughter.) A teacher once observed that he had "a unique ability to get into trouble and out of trouble without any trouble at all." (Laughter.) At Olympia High School, Bruce was named an All American in baseball. He batted .612 for the league champs — I think we better check the scorecards. (Laughter.) His dream was to be drafted by the New York Yankees. Instead he got drafted by the U.S. Army. (Laughter.)

He was commissioned as an officer, trained as an aviator. His early career took him on mapping missions over Alaska, and North Africa, and Latin America. In 1963, he reported to Fort Benning to help lead a new unit that would become known as the air cavalry. Two years later, he arrived in Vietnam as a major, and as a commanding officer in the 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion.

As a leader, Major Crandall earned the respect of his men with his honesty and his humor. He earned their admiration with his remarkable control over a Huey. His radio call sign was "Ancient Serpent 6," which his men shortened to "Old Snake." (Laughter.) Or sometimes, they used a more colorful nickname — (laughter) — which we better not pronounce. (Laughter.)

On the morning of November 14, 1965, Major Crandall's unit was transporting a battalion of soldiers to a remote spot in the la Drang Valley, to a landing zone called X-Ray. After several routine lifts into the area, the men on the ground came under a massive attack from the North Vietnamese army. On Major Crandall's next flight, three soldiers on his helicopter were killed, three more were wounded. But instead of lifting off to safety, Major Crandall kept his chopper on the ground — in the direct line of enemy fire — so that four wounded soldiers could be loaded aboard.

Major Crandall flew the men back to base, where the injuries could be treated. At that point, he had fulfilled his mission. But he knew that soldiers on the ground were outnumbered and low on ammunition. So Major Crandall decided to fly back into X-Ray. He asked for a volunteer to join him. Captain Ed Freeman stepped forward. In their unarmed choppers, they flew through a cloud of smoke and a wave of bullets. They delivered desperately needed supplies. They carried out more of the wounded, even though medical evacuation was really not their mission.

If Major Crandall had stopped here he would have been a hero. But he didn't stop. He flew back into X-Ray again and again. Fourteen times he flew into what they called the Valley of Death. He made those flights knowing that he faced what was later described as an "almost unbelievably extreme risk to his life." Over the course of the day, Major Crandall had to fly three different choppers. Two were damaged so badly they could not stay in the air. Yet he kept flying until every wounded man had been evacuated and every need of the battalion had been met.

When they touched down on their last flight, Major Crandall and Captain Freeman had spent more than 14 hours in the air. They had evacuated some 70 wounded men. They had provided a lifeline that allowed the battalion to survive the day.

To the men of la Drang, the image of Major Crandall's helicopter coming to their rescue is one they will never forget. One officer who witnessed the battle wrote, "Major Crandall's actions were without question the most valorous I've observed of any helicopter pilot in Vietnam." The battalion commander said, "Without Crandall, this battalion would almost have surely been overrun." Another officer said, "I will always be in awe of Major Bruce Crandall."

For his part, Bruce has never seen it that way. Here's what he said: "There was never a consideration that we would not go into those landing zones. They were my people down there, and they trusted in me to come and get them."

As the years have passed, Bruce Crandall's character and leadership have only grown clearer. He went on to make more rescue flights in Vietnam. He served a second tour, and he retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel. As a private citizen, he's continued to serve. He's worked in local government, and he speaks to students all across our country. One of his favorite stops is Midland, Texas. (Laughter.) It happens [to be] where Laura and I grew up. In fact, he's been to Midland so many times they gave him the key of the city. It's not exactly the Medal of Honor. (Laughter.) It's not a bad thing to have. (Laughter.) Maybe one day I'll get a key to the city. (Laughter.)

A few years ago, Bruce learned he was being considered for our nation's highest military distinction. When he found out that Captain Freeman had also been nominated, Bruce insisted that his own name be withdrawn. If only one of them were to receive the Medal of Honor, he wanted it to be his wingman. So when I presented the Medal to Captain Freeman in 2001, Bruce was here in the White House. Captain Freeman wished he were here today, but he got snowed in, in Iowa. His spirit is with us. Today the story comes to its rightful conclusion: Bruce Crandall receives the honor he always deserved.

In men like Bruce Crandall, we really see the best of America. He and his fellow soldiers were brave, brave folks. They were as noble and selfless as any who have ever worn our nation's uniform. And on this day of pride, we remember their comrades who gave their lives and those who are still missing. We remember the terrible telegrams that arrived at Fort Benning, the families devastated, the children who traced their father's name on panel three-east of the Vietnam Memorial wall.

Our sadness has not diminished with time. Yet we're also comforted by the knowledge that the suffering and grief could have been far worse. One of the reasons it was not is because of the man we honor today. For the soldiers rescued, for the men who came home, for the children they had and the lives they made, America is in debt to Bruce Crandall. It's a debt our nation can never really fully repay, but today we recognize it as best as we're able, and we bestow upon this good and gallant man the Medal of Honor.

H/T The Corner

Sandmonkey On Jailed Egyptian Blogger

My favorite Egyptian blogger The Sandmonkey has been blogging about jailed blogger Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman.

CAIRO -- An Egyptian court's imprisonment of a blogger last week is another official blow to free speech, according to fellow bloggers and human-rights activists.

"It affects the only space of free speech left in Egypt, which is the Internet and the blogs, and it could possibly hinder what you can write in the future," said a prominent Egyptian who posts in Web logs, or blogs, anonymously under the name Sandmonkey.

An Alexandria court convicted Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman, 22, of insulting Islam and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, sentencing him Thursday to four years in prison.

Suleiman, a former student of Al-Azhar University, the Middle East's most respected Sunni religious institution, attacked the university, Muslims and the Egyptian government in his blog.
That is not the worst. In true Soviet style his own father has denounced him and called for his death.
His parents denounced him, demanding that he recant or be executed, one Egyptian newspaper reported.

The court's sentence has shocked the growing Egyptian blogosphere. Its more than 3,000 writers, from all levels of Egyptian society, increasingly have exposed police torture and other government excesses through Web articles and videos. Some post in English, although most -- like Suleiman -- write in Arabic.

"These charges are indefinable -- you can't define insulting the president, you can't define the space for religion," said Sandmonkey. "There are no fixed parameters for that."

"What really upsets me is ... that he has no sympathy coming from the Egyptian street, mainly for what he said about Islam and religion," said another blogger who posts under the name Big Pharaoh. "This is really scary. It could start with Abdel Kareem and it could go to other areas. In the future, maybe anyone who writes about politics will get arrested."
Big Pharaoh comments on the sentence - scroll down.

Here are a few Sandmonkey posts on the subject.
Abdel Karim family disowns him
Abdel Karim gets sentenced
My PJM piece on Abdel Karim is up
Proxy Blogging
Leave Egypt, to where exactly?
Follow Up

H/T Israpundit

Lets You And Him Fight

I was reading Michael Totten's blog and came across this interview of him by the Jerusalem Post. One part of the interview caught my eye. (Question by the Post in bold)

Are Syria and Iran still supplying Hizbullah? Have they recovered from the war last summer?

Absolutely. Hizbullah is as strong, or at least nearly as strong, as they were last July. Iran and Syria will continue supplying Hizbullah until they fear the consequences of continuing their support or until no one in Lebanon is willing to receive their support. Right now everyone who dies because of Syrian and Iranian support for Hizbullah is Lebanese or Israeli. They have no reason to stop until that equation is altered.
This fits in with some of my posts from last summer (July and August '06) where I said Israel must take on Syria if it was to accomplish its war aims.

Now it looks like, although Israel thinks a war with Syria is not likely this year, it is preparing for a war with Syria. Perhaps the Israelis are wizing up.

Cross Posted at Classical Values and at The Astute Bloggers

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Was Jesus Buried in Jerusalem?

I was reading a post at Classical Values about the claim that the burial site of Jesus has been found. From Classical Values I got a link to Israelity Bites where a hot discussion is going on about the topic.

Digging for controversy, the Titanic filmmaker James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici are about to stun Christians the world over with a docu-drama that claims archaeologists have located the casket of Jesus.

The inscribed box, with some human remains still inside, apparently was crammed into an old cave near Talpiyot, an industrial zone in Jerusalem, alongside nine other two thousand year-old sarcophagi allegedly containing the bodies of Mother Mary, the carpenter Joseph, a little-known brother called Jofah, Mary Magdalene, and, most surprisingly of all, Jesus's son Judah, who technically could be considered the grandson of God.
Supposedly they have DNA evidence, archeological evidence, and scholars who back up the claims. The DNA evidence seems far fetched since we don't have any sure way of proving anything except that the people buried in the tomb are related. Which would not be unusual.

Naturally I had a few words on the subject which I left at Israelity Bites. I start out with a reply to one of the commenters who said if there is no God (i.e. the find has solid evidence backing it) there will be no reason to be good. As if we must be good for God's sake and not for the sake of goodness.
If there is no God we are just going to have to be nice to each other for the hell of it.

Whether the story of Jesus is right in all details or is in part fiction has nothing to do with the quality of the philosophy.

However, may I suggest a return to the old time religion? If it was good enough for Jesus it is good enough for me.

BTW the divinity of Jesus was not definitively settled until the Council of Nicea in 325.

If Jesus was not divine as the Council insisted then Christianity is just another Jewish sect. Nothing wrong with that.

Except that male Christians will need to be circumcized. Which reduces AIDS transmission.
Man that is going to hurt. Especially the adults. Maybe there will be a grandfather clause, i.e. if you are old enough to be a grandfather you are excused.

Normally circumcision (the Jews call it a bris) is done a few days after a boy is born. Probably in the hope that he will forget. It hurts. The babies cry. They are given a few drops of wine to dull the pain. I'm sure that helps. However, I can say from my own experience that I do not remember.

Any way, however this turns out a lot of people are going to be upset.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Since I have a post up on cognitive ability and how it seems fixed, I thought it would be a good idea to post this bit of advice.

There is now considerable evidence that breast-fed children have higher intelligence. For a long time it was impossible to be certain this was not merely because the more intelligent mothers (whose children received good genetic and environmental backgrounds) were those who could breast feed, or chose to do so. However, research by Lucas et al. (1992) with premature babies fed through a tube and the type of milk randomly selected has shown that those given human milk do indeed have a higher intelligence when tested as children. The effect was an amazing 10 IQ points.

Cross Posted at Classical Values and at The Astute Bloggers

Friday, February 23, 2007


According to the American founders all men are created equal.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,...
Does that mean all men have equal talents? Of course not. Some are fast runners and some are slow runners. Some are very smart some are not so smart. The equality the founders professed was equality before the law. And there by hangs a tale.

What I'm going to look at here is inequality. Let us start with sports.It seems some people run faster than others. I guess we have races to find out who is fastest of the fast.
Running offers the best prima facie case for the potential impact of body type differences. Athletes of West African descent dominate sports requiring speed and jumping, such as basketball and football. They hold the fastest two hundred 100-meter times, all under 10 seconds, and 494 of the top 500 times. In last weekend's NFL draft, of the 69 players who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds or less, only one is white.
How about marathons? That is a little different story.
Humans are different, the consequence of thousands of years of evolution in varying terrains. This is not an issue of black and white. East African blacks, from Kenya and Ethiopia, for example, have traveled a different evolutionary path and are genetically distinct in many aspects of their body type and physiology from West Africans. The best East African time in the 100 meters, 10.28 seconds, ranks near 5,000 on the all time list.

While relatively poor sprinters, East Africans win more than 50 percent of top endurance races. Almost all trace their ancestry to the 6,000-8,000 foot highlands that snake along the western edge of the Great Rift Valley. This region of roughly 1.5 million wins 40 percent of international distance events. The Nandi district in Kenya, 500,000 people – one-twelve-thousandth of Earth's population – sweeps an unfathomable 20 percent, marking it as the greatest concentration of raw athletic talent in the history of sports. They win in large measure because elite runners have a near perfect biomechanical package for endurance: lean, ectomorphic physiques and huge natural lung capacity.

"Kenyans are born with a high number of slow twitch fibers," states Bengt Saltin, director of the Institute of Sports Science in Copenhagen. "They have 70 to 75 percent of their muscle fibers being slow. Very many in sports physiology would like to believe that it is training, the environment, what you eat that plays the most important role. But based on the data it is 'in your genes' whether or not you are talented or whether you will become talented."
White folks sure got short changed when it comes to being runners. There must be some kind of athletics white people are good at. In fact there is.
Genetically linked, highly heritable characteristics such as skeletal structure, the distribution of muscle fiber types, reflex capabilities, metabolic efficiency, lung capacity and the ability to use energy more efficiently are not evenly distributed among populations and cannot be explained. For example, whites of Eurasian ancestry, who have, on average, more natural upper-body strength, predictably dominate weightlifting, field events such as the shot-put and hammer (whites hold 47 of the top 50 throws), and the offensive line in football. Where flexibility is key, East Asians shine, such as in diving and some skating and gymnastic events (hence the term "Chinese splits").
What does he mean by cannot be explained? I think he means that there is no explanation for the clustering of traits in certain groups other than isolated populations in different environments. Natural selection. Darwin in action. In the 100,000 years since our ancestors left Africa we have differentiated according to environment. That is pretty rapid evolution.

So what is all this race stuff any way? It is not like the different races can't interbreed. Isn't race just a social construct? Well no.
Several analyses have confirmed the genetic reality of group identities going under the label of race or ethnicity. In the most recent, published this year, all but five of the 3,636 subjects fell into the cluster of genetic markers corresponding to their self-identified ethnic group. When a statistical procedure, blind to physical characteristics and working exclusively with genetic information, classifies 99.9 percent of the individuals in a large sample in the same way they classify themselves, it is hard to argue that race is imaginary.
Now here comes the hard part. I think that it is now evident and different races have different athletic talents and even within races there are still more subdivisions. What about cognitive ability? Something the scientists call 'g', but we will call it by its better known but somewhat inaccurate term intelligence quotient or IQ. The term 'g' refers to raw computing power. IQ (not 'g') is divided into two main parts. Verbal and spatial intelligence.

Let us look into a real world example, Ashkenazi Jews, to see how this works.
Ashkenazi levels of real world accomplishment are impressive and thus support the IQ studies. Jewish Americans make up no more than three percent of the U.S. adult population. But in the 1995 book Jews and the New American Scene, the prominent social scientist Seymour Martin Lipset, a Senior Scholar of the Wilstein Institute for Jewish Policy Studies, and Earl Raab, Director of the Perlmutter Institute for Jewish Advocacy at Brandeis University, pointed out
"During the last three decades, Jews have made up 50% of the top two hundred intellectuals, 40 percent of American Nobel Prize Winners in science and economics, 20 percent of professors at the leading universities, 21 percent of high level civil servants, 40 percent of partners in the leading law firms in New York and Washington, 26% of the reporters, editors, and executives of the major print and broadcast media, 59 percent of the directors, writers, and producers of the fifty top-grossing motion pictures from 1965 to 1982, and 58 percent of directors, writers, and producers in two or more primetime television series." [pp 26-27]
Interestingly, the Ashkenazi cognitive advantage seems to be mostly in verbal and numeric, rather than visual, skills. For example, in Hollywood, fewer top cinematographers are Jewish compared to screenwriters or agents.
So that is one example of variation on the high end. The results are obvious. The differentiation of the Ashkenazi Jews happened in a span of 1,000 years or less. That is very rapid evolution.

So are Ashkenazis a race? Maybe. What they are for sure is an identifiable sub group based on DNA (their DNA is most like Arabic DNA, not too surprisingly) and genetic diseases that cluster in the Ashkenazis like Tay Sachs.

What about variation on the low end? Here comes the really hard part.
When the late Richard Herrnstein and I published The Bell Curve eleven years ago, the furor over its discussion of ethnic differences in IQ was so intense that most people who have not read the book still think it was about race. Since then, I have deliberately not published anything about group differences in IQ, mostly to give the real topic of The Bell Curve--the role of intelligence in reshaping America's class structure--a chance to surface.

The Lawrence Summers affair last January made me rethink my silence. The president of Harvard University offered a few mild, speculative, off-the-record remarks about innate differences between men and women in their aptitude for high-level science and mathematics, and was treated by Harvard's faculty as if he were a crank. The typical news story portrayed the idea of innate sex differences as a renegade position that reputable scholars rejected.

It was depressingly familiar. In the autumn of 1994, I had watched with dismay as
The Bell Curve's scientifically unremarkable statements about black IQ were successfully labeled as racist pseudoscience. At the opening of 2005, I watched as some scientifically unremarkable statements about male-female differences were successfully labeled as sexist pseudoscience.

The Orwellian disinformation about innate group differences is not wholly the media's fault. Many academics who are familiar with the state of knowledge are afraid to go on the record. Talking publicly can dry up research funding for senior professors and can cost assistant professors their jobs. But while the public's misconception is understandable, it is also getting in the way of clear thinking about American social policy.

Good social policy can be based on premises that have nothing to do with scientific truth. The premise that is supposed to undergird all of our social policy, the founders' assertion of an unalienable right to liberty, is not a falsifiable hypothesis. But specific policies based on premises that conflict with scientific truths about human beings tend not to work. Often they do harm.

One such premise is that the distribution of innate abilities and propensities is the same across different groups. The statistical tests for uncovering job discrimination assume that men are not innately different from women, blacks from whites, older people from younger people, homosexuals from heterosexuals, Latinos from Anglos, in ways that can legitimately affect employment decisions. Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 assumes that women are no different from men in their attraction to sports. Affirmative action in all its forms assumes there are no innate differences between any of the groups it seeks to help and everyone else. The assumption of no innate differences among groups suffuses American social policy. That assumption is wrong.
The American Psychological Association, not a hot bed of racism, checked out The Bell Curve and this is what they found.
There is no technical dispute on some of the core issues. In the aftermath of The Bell Curve, the American Psychological Association established a task force on intelligence whose report was published in early 1996. The task force reached the same conclusions as The Bell Curve on the size and meaningfulness of the black-white difference. Historically, it has been about one standard deviation in magnitude among subjects who have reached adolescence; cultural bias in IQ tests does not explain the difference; and the tests are about equally predictive of educational, social, and economic outcomes for blacks and whites. However controversial such assertions may still be in the eyes of the mainstream media, they are not controversial within the scientific community.

The most important change in the state of knowledge since the mid-1990's lies in our increased understanding of what has happened to the size of the black-white difference over time. Both the task force and
The Bell Curve concluded that some narrowing had occurred since the early 1970's. With the advantage of an additional decade of data, we are now able to be more precise:

(1) The black-white difference in scores on educational achievement tests has narrowed significantly.

(2) The black-white convergence in scores on the most highly "g-loaded" tests--the tests that are the best measures of cognitive ability--has been smaller, and may be unchanged, since the first tests were administered 90 years ago.
What does all this mean?

Let us start with some simple statistical assumptions that are aproximately correct and see if we can figure out what the implications are. First IQ. Ashkenazi Jew IQ is 115. White IQ is 100. American black IQ is 85. These are averages. They tell you NOTHING about individuals. Let us also assume a standard deviation (a measure of variation) is 15 for all groups. I'm going to use this handy bell curve calculator to get my results.

What percentage of white Americans are going to be top college material with an IQ above 125? About 5%. How many Ashkenazi Jews will be found in that range? About 25%. How many American blacks (African blacks are significantly different)? About .4%. Which means if we follow merit alone, there ought to be about 10 times as many whites per capita as blacks capable of work in our top institutions. This is a depressing fact of life, just as the Ashkenazi Jews are a bright spot.

It gets worse at the very high end. For scores above 160, the brightest of the bright, among the Ashkenazi Jews the proportion will be about one in a thousand. For whites the number is zero (actually that really means less than one in 10,000 because the calculator does not do really small fractions) and for blacks the number will be a much smaller percentage than whites. Given that Ashkenazi Jews are at least 100 times as likely to be in that range relative to whites and Ashkenazi Jews represent about .1% of the world's population, the results we see above are not unexpected.

We see all this born out in the top science and math prizes.

So the question as Lenin put it is: "What is to be done?" First off treat people as individuals not statistics. Every one has their own group of talents that should be develped as fully as possible.

Second off we are turning into a society whose rewards are based on cognitive ability. Something the Bell Curve guys discuss at length. What is their answer, besides giving every one a fair shot to develop their talents? They suggest socialism light. The top perfomers should be able to reap top rewards for top performance. Not every one gets first prize in the race. However, because of the work of these top performers, labor doesn't have the value it once did. "John Henry, the Steel Driving Man" was a harbinger of that. It is hard to compete, labor wise, with a motor controlled by a microprocessor. So the top performers are going to have to help those on the bottom, if for no other reason than to keep the peace. Socialism lite.

Milton Friedman and a number of others (including The Bell Curve authors) think that the negative income tax (instituted by Nixon) is the way to go because the bureaucracy required is minimal.

I think we also have to accept that there is a limit to what our public schools can accomplish. Each added increment of resources is going to produce a diminishing return.

There are lots more policy implications in all this. More than I can deal with here. The main point for me is that even in a race blind society not all races will do equally well at all tasks.

A couple of books that might be of interest:

Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We're Afraid to Talk About It

The Bell Curve

Cross Posted at Classical Values

The Worst Job in America

Selling drugs in the inner cities is the worst job in America. The pay is low and the death rate is much higher than the death rate in Iraq. Drug prohibition has literally created a war zone in American inner cities.

A University of Chicago economist who lived with a gang for ten years looks at the details from an economic and sociological perspective. The talk lasts about twent-two minutes and is given by one of the researchers on the project, economist Steven Levitt.

Classical Values has the video.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

New Vistas

Reader Paul has sent me a couple of links on what Microsoft's Vista will mean to computer users.

This link is for non technical folks. Let me excerpt a bit: have focused chiefly on Vista's new functionality, for the past few months the legal and technical communities have dug into Vista's "fine print." Those communities have raised red flags about Vista's legal terms and conditions as well as the technical limitations that have been incorporated into the software at the insistence of the motion picture industry.

The net effect of these concerns may constitute the real Vista revolution as they point to an unprecedented loss of consumer control over their own personal computers. In the name of shielding consumers from computer viruses and protecting copyright owners from potential infringement, Vista seemingly wrestles control of the "user experience" from the user.

Vista's legal fine print includes extensive provisions granting Microsoft the right to regularly check the legitimacy of the software and holds the prospect of deleting certain programs without the user's knowledge. During the installation process, users "activate" Vista by associating it with a particular computer or device and transmitting certain hardware information directly to Microsoft.

Even after installation, the legal agreement grants Microsoft the right to revalidate the software or to require users to reactivate it should they make changes to their computer components. In addition, it sets significant limits on the ability to copy or transfer the software, prohibiting anything more than a single backup copy and setting strict limits on transferring the software to different devices or users.
For the more geeky among us here is a look at Vista by a computer security expert.

Here is a really neat geeky explanation of what Microsoft is trying to accomplish. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, which is another way of saying copy protection:
Note C: In order for content to be displayed to users, it has to be copied numerous times. For example if you're reading this document on the web then it's been copied from the web server's disk drive to server memory, copied to the server's network buffers, copied across the Internet, copied to your PC's network buffers, copied into main memory, copied to your browser's disk cache, copied to the browser's rendering engine, copied to the render/screen cache, and finally copied to your screen. If you've printed it out to read, several further rounds of copying have occurred. Windows Vista's content protection (and DRM in general) assume that all of this copying can occur without any copying actually occurring, since the whole intent of DRM is to prevent copying. If you're not versed in DRM doublethink this concept gets quite tricky to explain, but in terms of quantum mechanics the content enters a superposition of simultaneously copied and uncopied states until a user collapses its wave function by observing the content (in physics this is called quantum indeterminacy or the observer's paradox). Depending on whether you follow the Copenhagen or many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, things then either get weird or very weird. So in order for Windows Vista's content protection to work, it has to be able to violate the laws of physics and create numerous copies that are simultaneously not copies.
When I first got into computers (1975) the promise was that what was once the province of the big guys (IBM) would now be available to the average citizen at a modest price. People would be able to do things never before possible (on a mass scale) and users, not software/hardware priests would be in control. Vista looks like a reversion to the bad old days.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Duke And The Cultural Marxist Program

I was commenting at Durham in Wonderland about the Duke Lacrosse case. I was explaining what the faculty Group of 88 are really up to and explaining their motivation.


Cultural Marxism explains what the Gang 88 is up to.

The subversion of America. i.e. turning America into the USSR.

an excerpt from the above Cultural Marxism link:

Both communism and the New Left are alive and thriving here in America. They favor code words: tolerance, social justice, economic justice, peace, reproductive rights, sex education and safe sex, safe schools, inclusion, diversity, and sensitivity. All together, this is Cultural Marxism disguised as multiculturalism.

an excerpt from a link at the above link:

Gramsci posited that because Christianity had been dominant in the West for over 2000 years, not only was it fused with Western civilization, but it had corrupted the workers class. The West would have to be de-Christianized, said Gramsci, by means of a "long march through the culture." Additionally, a new proletariat must be created. In his "Prison Notebooks," he suggested that the new proletariat be comprised of many criminals, women, and racial minorities.

Thus thugniggaintellectual.

Communists have always used the criminal element to advance its cause. They represent the muscle of the movement. Thus the New Black Panther Party (NBPP).

The NBPP is not an abberation. It is part of the plan. Where argument and persuasion do not work intimidation will be used.

BTW this was all worked out in the 1920s.

About 5% of the American population creates the wealth we all enjoy. That 5% are our top intellectual performers.

In any Communist regime they will be the first up against the wall.

This is what the thugniggas of the world are up to. Which is why this is the "perfect" case for them.

The sex stuff is all about destroying coherent families because such families are naturally in the way.

I have been pretty much a libertine in my youth. However, nature changes all that when children start to arrive. It surprised me. Children naturally seem to change most people's point of view on the subject. Conservatism is nature's political program for families.

The USSR was a bastion of free sex in the beginning. That went away after the first few years because it is not natural for families. Families are naturally conservative. It has nothing to do with politics. It is nature.

To reduce the power of natural conservatism, sexaul libertinism is promoted for all, not just the unmarried, because it breaks family bonds and family bonds as Gramasci saw were an impediment to "revolution".

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Driving A Wedge

Hamas is accusing the US of driving a wedge between moderates and militants. Except that the difference between moderates and militants is timetable not outcome.

A senior Hamas official on Monday accused the United States of "sowing sedition" among the Palestinians, hours after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held a rare summit with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hamas's deputy political leader, told a Palestinian rally at the Yarmouk refugee camp near this Syrian capital that US policy was based on "sowing sedition among the peoples and states of the region through dividing the Middle East into two camps: A moderate camp and a non-moderate one."
The problem is that the "moderates" get no western money if they unite with the militants and they really want that money.

Saudi Arabia has promised the Palestinians $1 billion a year. However, the real cash flow seldom matches their promises. Thus western money would cushion any shortfall.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Congressman Manzullo Against Cut And Run

My Congressman, Don Manzullo-R, Illinois 16th Dist, sent me this letter about his vote against cut and run. I'm reprinting it in whole:


Floor Remarks on Iraq Resolution

Congressman Don Manzullo

February 13, 2007

Mr. MANZULLO. Madam Speaker, I am privileged to be a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Our chairman, Mr. Lantos, has scheduled for March a hearing to discuss the different proposals relating to the handling of the war in Iraq. He has promised a lot of time for debate on all the different bills introduced in the House of Representatives, ranging from those that call for us to pull out of Iraq immediately, to those that demonstrate our presence there as part of a larger war, not against a nation, but against a movement, Islamic jihadis. They are everywhere and are responsible for attacks in India, Jordan, Israel, England, Egypt, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Spain, Turkey, the Gaza, Morocco, Pakistan and in the United States and Iraq.

Chairman Lantos wants to make sure that all sides are heard, that all possible alternatives are given an airing. But that is what is missing in the bill that the Democratic majority has given us this evening: it can't be amended. Can you imagine three days of debate without the opportunity to amend a bill? That implies the Democratic leadership believes they have a monopoly on truth and fear input from other Members of Congress.

The bill we are debating today condemns the infusion of up to 21,000 more troops in Iraq. However, at a time when we should be excited about a new proposal calling for a major shift in our policy on Iraq, the bill we are debating condemns it. This proposal taps as its new leader Lieutenant General David Patraeus, who should be given an opportunity to succeed. Confirmed unanimously by the Senate, he has extensive knowledge of other wars and military conflicts and has resolved that America can achieve a favorable result in Iraq.

The new policy is a shift in the rules of engagement and calls upon the Iraqis themselves to step up in responsibility and achievement. A Washington Post story dated January 12 of this year with the byline, ``Withdrawals could start if Iraq plan works: Gates,'' repeats the words of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on January 11, Gates said: ``If these operations actually work, you can begin to see a lessening of the U.S. footprint both in Baghdad and Iraq itself. Then you could have a situation later this year where you could actually begin withdrawing.''

Isn't that what Americans want, a plan of action with a new focus, stabilizing Iraq and bringing our troops home? But that plan is not being debated today, and that is why I am going to vote against this resolution.

We live in extremely dangerous times. We know Iran is developing atomic weaponry. We also know that six other Arab nations are actively seeking atomic technology, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The stakes are onerous. That is why America's men and women in uniform not only deserve our support in the field, but also here in the House of Representatives, by allowing their opinions to be voiced through their Members of Congress. It is the least we can do for them.

Terrorists In Georgia USA?

Baron Bodissey at Gates of Vienna is reporting on aerial survelance of the Jamaat ul-Fuqra compound in Georgia. Some photo analysis is provided. The Baron is asking for help from any one who could assist in further analysis.

The Christian Action Network [CAN -ed] recently made another aerial run over a Jamaat ul-Fuqra compound, this time the one near Commerce, Georgia. Martin Mawyer, the president of CAN, has kindly made the resulting photos available to Gates of Vienna.

The compound on Madinah Road actually has a Royston address, and is about halfway between Commerce and Royston, to the northeast of Atlanta.

Jamaat ul-Fuqra — the terrorist organization whose cover group is known as the Muslims of America — means “community of the impoverished” in Arabic.
The Baron has a lot of speculation, however he could use some help from an experienced photo interpreter.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Cultural Marxism

American Thinker looks at Cultural Marxism

There are two misconceptions held by many Americans. The first is that communism ceased to be a threat when the Soviet Union imploded. The second is that the New Left of the Sixties collapsed and disappeared as well. "The Sixties are dead," wrote columnist George Will ("Slamming the Doors," Newsweek, Mar. 25, 1991)

Because the New Left lacked cohesion it fell apart as a political movement. However, its revolutionaries reorganized themselves into a multitude of single issue groups. Thus we now have for example, radical feminists, black extremists, anti-war ‘peace' activists, animal rights groups, radical environmentalists, and ‘gay' rights groups. All of these groups pursue their piece of the radical agenda through a complex network of organizations such as the Gay Straight Lesbian Educators Network (GSLEN), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), People for the American Way, United for Peace and Justice, Planned Parenthood, Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), and Code Pink for Peace.

Both communism and the New Left are alive and thriving here in America. They favor code words:
tolerance, social justice, economic justice, peace, reproductive rights, sex education and safe sex, safe schools, inclusion, diversity, and sensitivity. All together, this is Cultural Marxism disguised as multiculturalism.
It is not about melting pot America. It is about Balkanize and conquer.

Clinton On Iraq

Christopher Hitchens has a fine piece on the trajectory of our war with Iraq. was on the initiative of President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, both of whom delivered extremely tough speeches warning of another round of confrontation with Saddam Hussein, that the Senate passed the Iraq Liberation Act that year, making it U.S. policy to remove the Baathists from power. It was the Clinton administration that bombed Sudan, claiming that a factory outside Khartoum represented a chemical-weapons link between Saddam and Osama Bin Laden. And, as Sen. Clinton reminded us in the very same speech, it was "President Clinton, with the British and others, [who] ordered an intensive four-day air assault, Operation Desert Fox, on known and suspected weapons of mass destruction sites and other military targets" in Iraq. On its own, this is enough to make childish nonsense of her insinuation that an "obsession" with Saddam took root only after the Bush-Cheney victory in 2000.
This just in: Clinton calls for pullout starting in 90 days.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the early front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has called for a 90-day deadline to start pulling American troops from Iraq.

Clinton, the wife of former President Bill Clinton, has been criticized by some Democrats for supporting authorization of the war in 2002 and for not renouncing her vote as she seeks the U.S. presidency in next year's election.
H/T Instapundit and Don Surber and a commenter at Ann Althouse.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

The Victory Caucus

The Victory Caucus is a new blog devoted to Victory in the war against Islamic fascism.

What is their mission?

This will be a long and serious effort, but it starts now. We have established a team within the site that will focus on identifying strong candidates -- veterans, ideally --- as well as teams devoted to identifying White Flag Republicans and their antimatter opposites, the Blue Dog Democrats. These three groups will be at the forefront of our efforts to identify the districts where we can do the most good: whether that is to replace a defeatist Democrat with a new Republican victory candidate --- or to help a Blue Dog Democrat who is strong on the war take down a White Flag Republican. Here, party comes second: victory --- and country --- come first.
If you wish to do more Register at The Victory Caucus.

Cross Posted at Classical Values and at The Austute Bloggers

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Palestinians Are At It Again

It looks like the Palestinian Civil War has resumed.

The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) condemned Thursday an attack by unknown gunmen at the house of MP Yousef Alsherafi in northern Gaza Strip.

In a released statement, the PLC condemned the attack, reminding all Palestinian factions of abiding by the recent agreement on ending all forms of internal violence, reached in the Saudi Arabian city of Makkah two weeks ago.

The press release emphasized the need to swiftly form a national unity government in line with what has been agreed upon over the weekend between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Prime Minister, Ismaily Haniya.

Meanwhile, various parts of the Palestinian territories saw over the past couple of days a number of incidents such as shootouts at the house of Palestinian planning minister in Nablus city, at some Fatah members in the Gaza Strip town of Bani Sohaila and a small-scale shootout between gunmen on the Salaheldin main road in central Gaza Strip.
If they keep this up some one is going to get killed.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Friday, February 16, 2007

Murtha Has A Plan

Murtha has a plan for American defeat in Iraq. MoveCongress.Org says John Murtha will speak to them about removing support for our troops and thus ending the War in Iraq. Evidently they would prefer genocide followed by a full scale Middle East War. MoveCongress has spoken and here are their words.

The Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense has begun consideration of the president’s $93 billion supplemental appropriations request for Iraq. Action on the request will be the first opportunity for the new Congress to exercise its “power-of-the-purse” over the Iraq war.

Chairman Murtha will describe his strategy for not only limiting the deployment of troops to Iraq but undermining other aspects of the president’s foreign and national security policy. Chairman Murtha discusses these steps in a videotaped conversation with former Congressman Tom Andrews (D-ME), the National Director of the Win Without War coalition, sponsor of

Join us here tomorrow for this exclusive interview.
The bolding was by me. Also note that the offending sentence can no longer be found at MoveCongress. I wonder why? Well, it is a big web with eyes and ears everywhere.

Why do I feel this is 1936 all over again?
And now, on March 7, 1936, while France had only a caretaker government, Hitler, not fearing the League being used against him, sent troops into the Rhineland. According to the Versailles and Locarno treaties the Rhineland was to remain demilitarized. The move defied these agreements but was popular in Germany - an issue of national sovereignty - the Rhineland being a part of Germany. But Hitler's generals were concerned. Germany's army was still not ready for combat. Hitler had assured his generals that they could withdraw at the first sign of a counter move by France's army, but he had taken measure of the pacifism in France and Britain and was confident that France and Britain would do nothing. His move into the Rhineland caused a sensation and the world waited to see what France and Britain would do.
Bolding again mine.

The UN is corrupt and will do nothing. The enemies of liberty advance with the help of our anti-war folks. Did some one say 1936?
Churchill, in the House of Commons, declared the remilitarization of the Rhineland to be a triumph for Hitler. He spoke of the danger to parliamentary nations from heavily armed dictatorships. He complained that Britain was confronting dictators "without weapons or military force" and that the spirit of British people was being tamed and cowed "with peace films, anti-recruiting propaganda and resistance to defense measures."
Fear of the Left in France

In May, 1936, elections in France brought to power a new coalition government, called the "Popular Front" - a coalition that included Communists - who were responding to the Soviet Union's new policy of allowing alliances with anti-fascists. After only a few days in office, France's new government announced its intentions to improve working conditions - which, along with wages in France, lagged behind other advanced industrialized nations. Labor leaders were emboldened by the Popular Front's victory. They were impatient and wanted to demonstrate their power, so they sent their workers out on strike, aggravating everyone but labor and the Left.

The head of the new government was Leon Blum, the leader of France's Socialist Party. Rightists in France wondered whether Hitler conquering France would be any worse than the Left in power in France, Rightists knowing that Hitler would suppress the Left. The expressions "better Hitler than Blum" and "better Hitler than Stalin" were heard.
What good are weapons and military force if you can't use them? Churchill was of course in great dismay over the British situation in 1936. Had he been in America today he would have been livid.

Churchill did have one nice thing to say about America. "Americans can always be depended upon to do the right thing --- after they have tried everything else."

He was right, but it is going to cost us. Dearly.

You can hear what John Murtha has to say at Google Video.

Mark Levin has an excellent rant on Murtha [audio].

Murtha has me frosted. So I'm adding a bit more on this crook.

The Washington Times calls the Murtha plan a plan for defeat.
In the wake of September 11, McGovernism -- that is, the reflexive opposition to the use of force by the United States against foreign enemies that has dogged the Democratic Party since Richard Nixon's time -- became more of a liability than ever. At least, it appeared that way judging from the 2002 and 2004 election results. But in last year's congressional elections, the Democrats came up with a shrewd, cynical new P.R. strategy that has until now served them well: saying lots of nice things about American soldiers fighting in Iraq while simultaneously advancing resolutions that denigrate their mission. But the decision to effectively cut off funds by micromanaging their use -- rather than by doing so directly -- may also be unconstitutional.

When the House votes today on the resolution denouncing Mr. Bush's plans for additional troops to combat al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Iraq, members should be under no illusions about what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic Party leadership are trying to do: to make it impossible for American troops to properly do their job in Iraq.
The battle going on in Iraq is still in doubt. It may be in doubt for a number of years. Insurgencies are not defeated over night.

Sweetness and Ligght has some good quotes:
By Richard Cowan and David Alexander

WASHINGTON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - U.S. Rep. John Murtha, a leading congressional opponent of the war in Iraq, on Thursday said his plans for placing conditions on how President George W. Bush can spend $93.4 billion in new combat funds would effectively stop an American troop buildup.

"They won’t be able to continue. They won’t be able to do the deployment. They won’t have the equipment, they don’t have the training and they won’t be able to do the work. There’s no question in my mind," the Pennsylvania Democrat said.
Lovely. If our troops need help the cavalry will not be on the way.

Murtha says he was once a Marine. I'll agree with that. He is a Marine no longer.
"We’re trying to force a redeployment not by taking money away, by redirecting money," Murtha said, adding he wants U.S. funds to be slanted more toward diplomacy and Iraq reconstruction…
Now why would John "I coulda been a crook" Murtha want to redirect the money? His brother is a defence lobbyist. Perhaps he will have some say in how these redirected funds will be spent. Ya think?

Further reasearch shows Murtha's Military Medals may have been unearned.
"Of course Congressman Saylor wanted to help if he could, but there was nothing in the service record to indicate the wounds were of any severity and the documents specifically indicated that next of kin was not notified in either instance," Fox told the Herald-Standard in 1996. "We were amazed that Mr. Murtha was asking for Purple Hearts for superficial lacerations," he added.
I guess Murtha belongs to the John Kerry squad of war heros.

The Captain's Quarters has some thoughts on Murtha's slow bleed of American troops.

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Jumping Ship

It looks like the American government is jumping off the Abbas ship.

The United States has informed Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that it will shun a future Hamas-Fatah coalition government because it will not explicitly recognize Israel, Abbas aides said Thursday.

That position would be a severe blow to Abbas, who is trying to reach a power-sharing deal to end Palestinian infighting and to get crippling international sanctions on the government lifted.

Last week, the two political rivals reached a coalition agreement in principle, and the Hamas-led government was to resign later Thursday to pave the way for a coalition government.

Until now, Washington had withheld judgment on the power-sharing deal.

Abbas received word of the new US position in a phone call from a senior US State Department official late Wednesday, the aides said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue. A US diplomat then delivered the same message to Abbas in person Thursday, the aides said.
That has got to hurt. No amount of "National Unity" fakery is going to work until the Palestinians agree unequivocally to the Quartet's main demands which are: the renunciation of violence, the recognition of Israel, and adherence to past peace agreements.

If Hamas does this they will get killed by their own people. If they don't do this they get strangled economically. Tough choice.

What the US is saying is that for the Palestinians "National Unity" is pointless.

I'm ticking off the hours until the civil war starts up again.

I just read an interesting bit that may explain why the US reserved comment on the deal until now. It looks like they waited until the "National Unity" government was formed.
By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH, Associated Press Writer

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas announced the resignation of his Cabinet on Thursday, a formality that paved the way for the formation of a national unity government with Fatah . Haniyeh said a unity government would usher in a new era for the Palestinians. He stood next to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during the ceremony. Abbas then authorized Haniyeh to form a new coalition government.

Meanwhile aides to Abbas said Thursday that U.S. diplomats told them Washington plans to shun a future Hamas-Fatah coalition government because it will not explicitly recognize Israel.

If the U.S. decides to shun a new Hamas-Fatah government, it would be a severe blow to Abbas. The Fatah moderate leader has been trying to implement a power-sharing deal with Hamas to end Palestinian infighting and lift crippling international sanctions against the government.

Washington had previously withheld judgment on the power-sharing deal.
This looks suspiciously like a diplomatic double cross. Wait until "National Unity" was a done deal, then tell the parties involved it is not going to work.

There is a picture of Abbas at the first link in this piece. It looks like he is having a very bad case of acid reflux and forgot to bring his Tums. He is now in a fight for his life.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Dissension In The Ranks

Evidently Fatah is having trouble keeping the troops in line.

The Palestinian Authority has fired hundreds of security officers who refused to participate in the recent fighting against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
It also looks like we are back at disunity as the order of the day.
Meanwhile, PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas announced that it was "premature" to talk about the resignation of his government. Haniyeh was expected to submit his resignation on Tuesday to pave the way for the formation of a Palestinian unity government. Haniyeh did not offer any reason for his decision to delay the resignation, sparking speculation of renewed tensions with Fatah.

Fatah officials admitted on Tuesday that they were facing "certain difficulties" in persuading the US and EU to accept the agreement that was reached with Hamas in Mecca last week.
And just what might those difficulties be? Might it have something to do with the fact that the "National Unity Government" will not agree to the renunciation of violence, the recognition of Israel, and adhering to past peace agreements? The US's and the EU's minimum requirement for recognizing the Hamas led government.

OK. That is the current political situation. We will get back to that later. Sometimes the Jerusalem Post writes as choppily as I do.

So what happened with the troops?
PA security officials told The Jerusalem Post that the officers were dismissed for "failing to fulfill their duties" during the armed clashes with Hamas militiamen. The officials described the behavior of the security officers as a "form of mutiny." They said most of the officers were fired after they refused to defend senior PA and Fatah officials who came under attack from Hamas.

In one incident, scores of officers refused to confront Hamas gunmen who besieged the home of Gen. Muhammad Ghraib of the Preventative Security Service in the northern Gaza Strip for eight hours before killing him.

The fired officers belonged to the Preventative Security Service, Military Intelligence and Force 17.

According to the officials, the officers are suspected of sympathizing with Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees, an alliance of various armed groups in the Gaza Strip.
Taking their pay from one side while secretly helping the other? It really has to frost you when people don't honor their contracts. Oh? They are Palestinians? Never mind.

Palestinian President Abbas has put off giving a "National Unity" speech. That is funny. I thought they had that all sewn up in Mecca a few days ago. Sewn up with a billion dollars of Saudi thread. It appears the sewing was not that great and the thread is unraveling. Remember what your mother told you. Don't pull on that thread. The whole garment will unravel.
By Wafa Amr

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas abruptly put off an address he was due to give on Thursday about a new unity government and an official said on Wednesday the delay was due to a dispute with Hamas.

Abbas had been expected to promote the deal in a speech to Palestinians before heading to the Gaza Strip to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader who is supposed to lead the new unity government agreed in Mecca.

Abbas adviser Nabil Abu Rdainah told Palestinian television the president would give his speech after the Gaza talks.

Some Hamas lawmakers said Haniyeh would not step down until he and Abbas, the moderate Fatah leader, had finalised several unresolved issues in the Saudi-brokered deal including naming an interior minister and deputy prime minister.

"Hamas has made several unacceptable conditions which cannot be implemented. The Mecca agreement cannot be re-interpreted and must be implemented immediately without any conditions," a Palestinian official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Evidently it was not just a pull of a thread. Some one got their chain yanked.

So what do the ordinary folks in Gaza think?
After countless broken cease-fires, skepticism in the Palestinians territories remains strong.

"There is a lot of mistrust," said Bakr, the local Fatah chief. "If it (the Mecca deal) lasts for six months, it is a good agreement."
If it lasts six weeks he will be lucky. I give it six days. However, a word of caution, I have been known to be way too optimistic on these deals.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Readiness For What?

The Democrats have a strategy for defeat in Iraq.

Top House Democrats, working in concert with anti-war groups, have decided against using congressional power to force a quick end to U.S. involvement in Iraq, and instead will pursue a slow-bleed strategy designed to gradually limit the administration's options.

Led by Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Pa., and supported by several well-funded anti-war groups, the coalition's goal is to limit or sharply reduce the number of U.S. troops available for the Iraq conflict, rather than to openly cut off funding for the war itself.

The legislative strategy will be supplemented by a multimillion-dollar TV ad campaign designed to pressure vulnerable GOP incumbents into breaking with President Bush and forcing the administration to admit that the war is politically unsustainable.
I wonder if after our pull out it becomes necessary to retake Iraq to prevent genocide, will that be politically sustainable?

No doubt Democrats have the courage of their convictions.
"What we have staked out is a campaign to stop the war without cutting off funding" for the troops, said Tom Mazzie of Americans Against Escalation of the War in Iraq. "We call it the 'readiness strategy.'"
Readiness for what?

Certainly not readiness to defeat our jihadi enemies. It is 1936 all over again.

This move by the Democrats will not shorten the war against the jihadis. It will make it at least ten times bloodier for them and us.

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Five More Victims Of Sudden Jihad

I put off blogging about the Salt Lake massacre until there was more information. We have it now.

Ajka Omerovic, who said she was Talovic's aunt, visited the home Tuesday afternoon. She told the Deseret Morning News that Talovic had been "a good boy." She said the family are Muslims from Bosnia who had lived in the vicinity of Sarajevo.
It is early days in this story.

Unfortunately unlike the Mr Taheri-azar of North Carolina the jihadi in this case will not be available for questioning. Ever.

If this gets more frequent it will make Muslims unwelcome in America.

Eric at Classical Values has an early take on events. He believes if there had been more folks with weapons (concealed carry) the killer would have been brought to heel sooner.


Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Reality Based

The “reality based” movement has morphed into the Net Roots.

Obviously they have decided that reality is too much of a burden and now references to reality are no longer required. All that is required now is belief. No pesky facts can in any way intrude.

Breath of the Beast has an interesting look at the origins of this kind of attitude in human mass psychology. He starts out with a quote from Louis Menand.

The mysterious part of totalitarianism’s appeal—and here we return to the Problem of the Loyal Henchmen—is that its official ideology can be, and usually is, absurd on its face, and known to be absurd by the leaders who preach it. This is because the mob is made up of cynics; for them, everything is a lie anyway. And the masses’ hostility is free-floating. It has no concrete object: the masses are hostile to life as it is. The more extreme and outrageous the totalitarian ideology, therefore, and the more devoid of practical political sense, the more ineluctable its appeal. Totalitarian rule, Arendt argued, is predicated on the assumption that proving that a thing is true is less effective than acting as though it were true. The Nazis did not invite a discussion of the merits of anti-Semitism; they simply acted out its consequences. This is why documents like the memorandums for which Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason and “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” continued to be believed even after they had been exposed as forgeries, and why the Moscow Trials were defended even by people who knew that the “confessions” were fraudulent. It’s why some of the defendants in those trials went uncomplainingly to be executed for crimes they had not committed.
The idea that the anger and disenfranchisement of the “Arab street” is in some way a comprehensible rationale for the callous barbarity of the attack on innocent civilians is an offense to humanity. Ironically, the very enormity of the crimes they commit and the wildness of the pretext they do it under, are taken by those who do not understand the game they are playing as proof of the authenticity (even righteousness) of what they do.

The rage, when looked at honestly, is nothing more than that same invincible, fervent stupidity that filled the air at the nazi rallies in Munich or that propelled the Bolshevik protesters into the streets of Moscow. This wild arousal state crowds out reason and hope. It pumps up its own excitation and then demands revenge on the world for the distress it has caused itself. Daniel Pearl’s death tape is the perfect illustration of the end result. It is actually mostly propaganda and screed. It is an obscene blend of lies, fabrications and outrageous distortions. It intimidates by showing Daniel Pearl being forced to “admit” to being a Jew and making him dwell on his Jewishness. Then at the end, after his head is hacked off and held up as a trophy, a threat scrolls onto the screen. This will be repeated “again and again” it promises. That phrase, “again and again” forms a mocking echo to the Israeli Slogan “never again”.

In much the same way that Hitler told the world what he had planned in Mein Kampf the Islamofascists are being very honest with us.
I am also reminded of the Christian philosopher Tertullian who may have said "I believe because it is absurd." Which is the way of madness.

In direct opposition to the Catholic Church's current position that faith and reason are not in opposition. Their little to do with Galileo seems to have cured them (mostly) of their opposition to science.

This conflict has been going on for a very long time. In fact we use Greek names for the opposing philosophies. Dionysian and Apollonian. Ecstasy vs. Reason.

My position in all this? I get my ecstasy from reason. Much more difficult than ecstasy alone. So much more worthwhile. It also avoids embarrasment when reality does not match faith. Since there can be no contradiction in my philosophy, then I simply modify my faith. The faith based people have no such luxury and thus are bound to smash into the wall of reason. Me? I prefer to brush lightly against it and change my course.

American Thinker weighs in on the subject of Islam's embrace of faith over rationality.
Muslim reformers of the past century - such as Mohammed Abdu, Refaa Al-Tahtawi, Taha Hussein, Ali Abdel-Razik and others - sought and unfortunately failed to modernize Islam. The militants, led by Hassan Al-Banna and his partisans, won this battle, and forced their vision to "Islamize" modernity on the people. They created a certain pattern - a mindset and a lifestyle - and promoted it as "The Valid Islam," Al Islam al-Sahih.

They resorted to seduction and fear to impose this pattern on their societies, and made sure to attach an "Islamic" label to each and every aspect, with the clear implication that other patterns were deemed non-Muslim and illegitimate. An increasingly wide array of things fall under this valid pattern: the Islamic dress, the Islamic banks, the Islamic economy, the Islamic education, the islamization of science, media and the judiciary system, the application and enforcement of Islamic laws, the widespread dissemination of the fundamentalist culture, the promotion of Islamic medicine and the Prophet's medicine, the expansion of Islamic organizations, the marginalization of the national identity of the state in favor of Islamic nationalism, and the islamization of daily vocabulary and political terms (mobayaa, welaya, shura, thawabet al-oma, etc..).

As a result, the Muslim countries wasted their chance to embrace modernity, opting instead to import a shallow veneer of modernity from the West; and they became idle consumers of the products of civilization, with no contributions to offer.
So now you know why we are in a war of civilizations. Except it is not really a war of civilizations. It is the age old war of reason vs. unreason. A war that is much older than Islam and Christianity.

The two main political parties in America mirror this age old conflict. The left aligning (mostly) with the Dionysian and the right aligning (mostly) with the Apollonian. Which is why these days I side mostly with the right where reason has more sway, despite the frequent lapses.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Magnetism At War

A. Jacksonian left an interesting comment on my piece "Clouds" posted at Classical Values. It is a fascinating look at magnetism, war, global climate, and impending doom from natural causes. I'm posting it here in full. And, thanks A.J. for your always interesting posts and comments.


Actually, there have been numerous magnetic field reversals in Earth's history. The fact that this was so was discovered due to WWII subsurface magnetic readings taken to try and find U-Boats. Once all the data got put together, identical stripes of different magnetic polarity could be seen on either side of the mid-Atlantic. This was one of the great insights that led to the first International Geophysical Year and the culmination of data from core samples on magnetism and radioactivity that led to the discovery that these stripes were coincident at the same time in history indicating they were placed at the same time. The mid-Atlantic ridge was analyzed and folks realized that new material was being forced out there and it contained the same magnetic orientation and strength as the surroundings as the rock cooled. The very first tape recorder had been discovered, save the 'tape' was oceanic basalt. Global studies of similar rocks pointed to the exact same magnetic orientation at the same time and the same changes over time. This has proven to be a long term key for analyzing rock strata, and measuring the orientation and radioactivity not only places it in time but in position.

From all of that continents now were seen as in motion... well, all geological plates were seen as in relative motion to each other based on sub-plate movement. All from trying to find U-Boats in WWII. That information required that we change how we look at the planet and ask it different questions and we found different answers, and so our view of the planet changed and changed again so we could understand what the rock
was telling us.

Some magnetic flip-flops have been coincident with extinctions (large and small) but not all of them. Changes in background cosmic ray incidents is an indicator from the solar system's relative position within the galaxy and who its neighbors have been. That has also varied over time some changes, up and down, coincident with extinctions, some not. Continents coming together to form supercontinents and their break-ups have been a high, nearly 1:1 indicator of extinction events as habitats suddenly disappear or appear both having long-term impacts on life in those ecozones.

Volcanic activity can play a part, especially those large caldera events at Yellowstone, Toba and elsewhere, as they release large amounts of particulates into the upper atmosphere. The idea for for the amounts was put forward in a good way by a movie on the History Channel. Consider the ejecta to Mt. St. Helens to be a sugar cube. Tambora was a box of sugar cubes (the volcano responsible for the 'year without a summer'). Yellowstone is a 1m x 1m x 1m packing crate of sugar cubes. That gets pretty close to the scale differences involved for relative particulate output, save the actual crate is a bit bigger than the 1 meter cube. Yellowstone, itself, goes through different cyclic events, where it will rest for hundreds of thousands of years and then erupt and continue with smaller-scale, continuous eruptions for a long period and then go quiet. Considering that this same hotspot laid down the meters thick basaltic rock seen in Oregon and Washington States, that is nothing to be sneezed at.

We haven't even started in on the real disasters that can hit North America and will, sooner or later. Cyclicity and periodicity tell us that these things will return, sooner or later, as the geophysics behind them has not changed for them. Global Warming? Heh. Yellowstone! Because once it hits, it continues on for thousands if not tens of thousands of years... did it before and will do it again. And that will assuredly change climates on the planet... I wouldn't suggest trying to 'laser lance' it either. That would be like taking a can of soda, putting it in a paint shaking machine for half an hour, heating it up to couple of hundred degrees and *then* trying to put a small hole in the container. Not a good idea, at all, really. Just like trying to build flood protection on land that is sinking...

Cross Posted at Classical Values

CAIR About Guilford

Commenter linearthinker reminds me in an e-mail that I have not covered the CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) aspect of the Guilford College fight. Let me rectify the oversight.

Here is a bit of what CAIR had to say on 26 Jan. '007

"At approximately 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2007, an altercation took place in Bryan Hall on the Guilford College campus involving physical violence and alleged verbal abuse. Such behaviors have no place at Guilford and will not be tolerated in a community that values the peaceful resolution of conflict."

"It is important that political and religious leaders in North Carolina speak out against the kind of hate that apparently motivated this attack," said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "The alleged bias motive of the assailants clearly warrants the intervention of the FBI in this case."

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
They have been pretty quiet about the whole thing lately.

You don't hear much fron the Anti-Defamation League (a Jewish organization) about it since they first came out with their statement supporting the Palestinians.

I think the silence is because they have figured out the Palestinians probably initiated the attack.

The low down on CAIR is that it looks like a terrorist supporting organization.
On December 18, 2002, Ghassan Elashi, founding board member of CAIR-Texas, a founder of the Holy Land Foundation, and a brother-in-law of Musa Abu Marzook , was arrested by the United States and charged with, among other things, making false statements on export declarations, dealing in the property of a designated terrorist organization, conspiracy and money laundering. Ghassan Elashi committed his crimes while working at CAIR, and was found Guilty.
It also looks like they are not very American friendly.
CAIR Board Member Imam Siraj Wahaj, an un-indicted co-conspirator in the first World Trade Center bombing, has called for replacing the American government with an Islamic caliphate, and warned that America will crumble unless it accepts Islam.
I think America wll crumble if it does accept Islam.

So what is CAIR's goal for America? Here is their advice to Muslims who stay in America.
"Those who stay in America should be open to society without melting, keeping Mosques open so anyone can come and learn about Islam. If you choose to live here, you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam ... Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth."
You know I don't think this is going to go over well with most Americans. In fact it could just turn them resentful. Or worse.

General Patton of WW2 fame had a few things to say about the Muslim world.
"To me it seems certain that the fatalistic teachings of Muhammad and the utter degradation of women is the outstanding cause for the arrested development of the Arab. He is exactly as he was around the year 700, while we have kept on developing" -- General George S. Patton: The War as I Knew It
He spent a lot of time during WW2 in the Arab world. No doubt he was significantly briefed on Islamic culture so as to keep the natives as friendly as possible. Education and experience add weight to his opinion.

For more on the history of the case: Guilford College

Monday, February 12, 2007


You were hoping for an erudite discussion of one of the works of Aristophanes? Not today. Instead we are going to look at how clouds and cosmic rays influence our weather and more importantly, climate.

Every one who has looked into the subject knows that climate science is no longer much about science. It is about politics.

When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works. We were treated to another dose of it recently when the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the Summary for Policymakers that puts the political spin on an unfinished scientific dossier on climate change due for publication in a few months’ time. They declared that most of the rise in temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases.
I was a global warming sceptic once. Now I'm a believer. Given the fact that we have a lot of evidence that other planets in our solar system are heating up as well, I'm not convinced that the global warming the Earth is experiencing is man made.
Twenty years ago, climate research became politicised in favour of one particular hypothesis, which redefined the subject as the study of the effect of greenhouse gases. As a result, the rebellious spirits essential for innovative and trustworthy science are greeted with impediments to their research careers. And while the media usually find mavericks at least entertaining, in this case they often imagine that anyone who doubts the hypothesis of man-made global warming must be in the pay of the oil companies. As a result, some key discoveries in climate research go almost unreported.
Solar output has increased about 0.5% over the last 100 years according to the latest estimates.
The best measurements of global air temperatures come from American weather satellites, and they show wobbles but no overall change since 1999.

That levelling off is just what is expected by the chief rival hypothesis, which says that the sun drives climate changes more emphatically than greenhouse gases do. After becoming much more active during the 20th century, the sun now stands at a high but roughly level state of activity. Solar physicists warn of possible global cooling, should the sun revert to the lazier mood it was in during the Little Ice Age 300 years ago.

Climate history and related archeology give solid support to the solar hypothesis. The 20th-century episode, or Modern Warming, was just the latest in a long string of similar events produced by a hyperactive sun, of which the last was the Medieval Warming.
A strictly radiation accounting shows that increased solar output accounts for about 60% of the global warming of the last 100 years. What could account for the other 40% if not man?

Well we have a new candidate. Cosmic rays. Or the lack of them actually.
Disdain for the sun goes with a failure by the self-appointed greenhouse experts to keep up with inconvenient discoveries about how the solar variations control the climate. The sun’s brightness may change too little to account for the big swings in the climate. But more than 10 years have passed since Henrik Svensmark in Copenhagen first pointed out a much more powerful mechanism.

He saw from compilations of weather satellite data that cloudiness varies according to how many atomic particles are coming in from exploded stars. More cosmic rays, more clouds. The sun’s magnetic field bats away many of the cosmic rays, and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world. On the other hand the Little Ice Age was chilly because the lazy sun let in more cosmic rays, leaving the world cloudier and gloomier.

The only trouble with Svensmark’s idea — apart from its being politically incorrect — was that meteorologists denied that cosmic rays could be involved in cloud formation. After long delays in scraping together the funds for an experiment, Svensmark and his small team at the Danish National Space Center hit the jackpot in the summer of 2005.

In a box of air in the basement, they were able to show that electrons set free by cosmic rays coming through the ceiling stitched together droplets of sulphuric acid and water. These are the building blocks for cloud condensation. But journal after journal declined to publish their report; the discovery finally appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society late last year.
So it would appear that increased solar output comes with an amplifying mechanism. Cosmic rays and clouds.

In Global Cooling I looked into how the sun powers our short term climate cycles. Longer term climate cycles appear to be driven by orbital mechanics such as the roundness of Earth's orbit around the sun and global wobble which changes the angle the Earth presents to the sun. Those are well known and are called Milankovitch Cycles.

There is another factor which needs attention. The Earth's magnetic field waxes and wanes. Currently we are in a waning phase. It has declined about 10% in the last 160 years.

I suppose that will give "the sky is falling" folks something new to be scared to death about and some new reason for them to declare that we have to raise taxes to have the money to fix the problem.

Some things never change.

You can read more about clouds, cosmic rays, and climate change at The U.K. Telegraph

Update: 13 Feb '007 1053z

Donalds Sensing discusses the issue with lots of charts, graphs, and pretty pictures of the sun.

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values