Wotka World Wide

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Victor Davis Hanson hits the bulls eye again with his latest:
For two weeks, the administration was largely quiet about the unrest in Libya until the insurgents began taking entire cities and seemed on the verge of closing in on Gaddafi’s Tripoli. Then President Obama called on Gaddafi to step down and stop the “unacceptable” level of violence. But things then got worse, not better, once Gaddafi began to employ a level of violence that his ilk counts on to stay in power (cf. Assad in Syria or Ahmadinejad in Iran). So at last we announced a funny sort of no-fly-zone, inasmuch as Gaddafi can put down the rebellion without use of his planes and gunships. We vowed to have an international commander soon; we promised to restrict our activity to patrolling the air only (after sending missiles into quite a lot of initial targets on the ground). We are not going after Gaddafi himself (although the tyrant has nowhere to go, must be taken out for the rebels to succeed, and seems to be already targeted by the Europeans, without our “knowledge”). In the new Middle East multilateralism, America supplies the firepower, Europeans the policy and high profile, Arabs the public cover, and the international community the legitimacy — as long as the campaigning is brief, the losses small, and the rebels supposedly somewhat Western in outlook. But no one yet has told us why we must not “meddle” in Iran, must ignore the Saudis going into Bahrain, should continue “outreach” with Assad, must support the ouster of Mubarak and Ben Ali, but are so far mum about further challenges to pro-American authoritarians in the Gulf and Jordan.
Read the whole thing.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Megan McArdle has some very good questions about the planned Florida and California rail projects:
[T]he idea seems to have become to build trains where it's possible to build trains, and hope that development follows. But trains succeed where they are better than some alternative form of transportation. In the case of Tampa to Orlando, they're worse than a car, and there isn't even any air travel to replace; in the case of Fresno-to-Bakersfield, it may be better than a car for a few passengers, but there are too few passengers to make the trains better than cars for the environment.

Meanwhile, projects that do make economic sense, like an actual high-speed Acela, or Southeastern High-Speed Rail Corridor, are going nowhere. They might have a better chance of success if rail advocates hadn't abandoned them in favor of building whizzy demonstration projects with dubious economic appeal.

But is it really a good demonstration project if the train doesn't have any passengers? Or if the people to whom you've demonstrated it finish their trip in Bakersfield, sans car? It seems to me that this is a very good way to demonstrate cost overruns, disappointing passenger figures, and a single-minded commitment on the part of rail advocates that defies common sense.
Not that anyone will listen to her.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Helen Thomas makes it clear in this month's Playboy interview that the remarks about the Jews that got her fired were just the scratching the surface of the way she feels. And it isn't pretty to hear. Don't expect this story to get too much mainstream play though.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Media ignoring death threats against Wisconsin lawmakers. Could their bias be any more obvious? After their calls for civility following the Giffords shooting, their silence now is especially galling.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Streaming copyrighted material soon to be a federal felony? Looks that way if the new White House recommendations are put into place by Congress. They also want the ability to wiretap suspected offenders. Good thing they are worried about the real problems facing our nation.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The reaction from the Left and the mainstream media over Rep. Peter King's congressional hearings into radicalization of American Muslims is really sickening to behold. They are throwing around terms like "inquisition" and "McCarthyism" when King is really trying to address a serious problem facing the US and the world. Letting Hamas-linked groups like CAIR frame the debate is dangerous. America's politically correct attitude is causing it to ignore the serious danger in our midst, as seen recently from home-grown radicals like Major Hassan, the Times Square bomber and the underwear bomber, among others. When over eighty percent of terrorist activities being investigated by the Justice Department concern radical Islamists, there is a real problem that needs to be addressed. The New York Daily News has a great op-ed on the subject today:

The real underlying story here is how the self-anointed leadership of the Muslim community - groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North AmericaMuslim American Society - are the ones responsible for instilling panic into the Muslim community by suggesting that these hearings will lead to "hate crimes" against Muslims. and the

That canard has been used by these groups for years in their attempts to intimidate the media, commentators and critics of radical Islam from truly analyzing the role of these groups and others in radicalizing their constituents in the American Muslim community. The documents showing the creation of these groups with the assistance of the Muslim Brotherhood were introduced into evidence in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and DevelopmentFBI expert as a front for Hamas, and was also listed, together with the Islamic Society of North America, as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation indictments. several years ago. At the trial, the Council on American-Islamic Relations was described by an

Groups such as these routinely play the "Islamophobia" card, and get attention for doing so in the mainstream media, in order to silence criticism of Islamic radicalism. In fact, these very same groups, just like the Obama administration, categorically refuse to even use the term "radical Islam" in order to excise the term from the American vernacular.

Critics have taken issue with King's focus on one religious minority. But, in fact, in previous years, Congress has held numerous hearings into various ethnic subcultures that have spawned illegalities - including the Italian mob, Hispanic drug cartels, black and white prison gangs, white racists and neo-Nazis.

Hopefully Rep. King can get more publicity for the actual purposes and findings of his hearings, as opposed to the publicity being generated by those lying about his intentions. There is quite a difference.

Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter is going on trial in Pennsylvania for allegedly soliciting sex with an underage girl and exposing himself via webcam. And this isn't the first time allegations have been made against him. I hope they throw the book at him this time and let him see what hard core prisoners think of guys like him. The real question, though, is why this is getting coverage from a UK paper but not in the US...

Monday, March 07, 2011

Charles Krauthammer hits one out of the park with his latest:
Now that revolutions are sweeping the Middle East and everyone is a convert to George W. Bush's freedom agenda, it's not just Iraq that has slid into the memory hole. Also forgotten is the once proudly proclaimed "realism" of Years One and Two of President Obama's foreign policy - the "smart power" antidote to Bush's alleged misty-eyed idealism.

It began on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's first Asia trip, when she publicly played down human rights concerns in China. The administration also cut aid for democracy promotion in Egypt by 50 percent. And cut civil society funds - money for precisely the organizations we now need to help Egyptian democracy - by 70 percent.

This new realism reached its apogee with Obama's reticence and tardiness in saying anything in support of the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran. On the contrary, Obama made clear that nuclear negotiations with the discredited and murderous regime (talks that a child could see would go nowhere) took precedence over the democratic revolutionaries in the street - to the point where demonstrators in Tehran chanted, "Obama, Obama, you are either with us or with them."

Now that revolution has spread from Tunisia to Oman, however, the administration is rushing to keep up with the new dispensation, repeating the fundamental tenet of the Bush Doctrine that Arabs are no exception to the universal thirst for dignity and freedom.

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Megan McCardle on bias in academia:
It is just my impression, but I think what conservatives want most of all is simply recognition that they are being shut out. It is a double indignity to be discriminated against, and then be told unctuously that your group's underrepresentation is proof that almost none of you are as good as "us". Haidt notes that his correspondence with conservative students (anonymously) "reminded him of closeted gay students in the 1980s":
He quoted -- anonymously -- from their e-mails describing how they hid their feelings when colleagues made political small talk and jokes predicated on the assumption that everyone was a liberal. "I consider myself very middle-of-the-road politically: a social liberal but fiscal conservative. Nonetheless, I avoid the topic of politics around work," one student wrote. "Given what I've read of the literature, I am certain any research I conducted in political psychology would provide contrary findings and, therefore, go unpublished. Although I think I could make a substantial contribution to the knowledge base, and would be excited to do so, I will not."
Beyond that, mostly they would like academics to be conscious of the bias, and try to counter it where possible. As the quote above suggests, this isn't just for the benefit of conservatives, either. Just as excluding blacks and women from academia by tacit agreement allowed for a certain amount of wrong-headed groupthink, so does excluding people with different political views. No, I'm not saying you have to hire a Young Earth Creationist to be a biology professor, but I don't see why it should matter in a professor of Mathematics or Sociology.

Trying to be more conscious of one's own bias, and even to attempt to work against it, should not be such a hard task for people as brilliant, open-minded, and committed to equality and social justice as I keep hearing that liberal academics are.
And their attempts at explaining away the bias are pretty pathetic too, as Paul Krugman ably demonstrates by using statistics that simply don't prove his point at all. Read the whole thing.
A fair and balanced look at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie from the New York Times? Unbelievable, but true:

Perhaps the most consequential episode between Christie and the union, at least as far as public perception was concerned, had to do with the pay freeze. Almost as soon as the scope of the budget problem became clear, the governor called on teachers, who received scheduled raises during the recession, to accept a one-year freeze. He reminded the teachers that a lot of private-sector workers felt lucky if they could keep their current salaries, and he said a voluntary freeze would enable the union to avoid widespread teacher layoffs in cash-poor school districts. Most local chapters of the union ignored him. Ultimately some 10,000 union members — teachers and support staff — saw their jobs eliminated. Christie hasn’t stopped talking about it since.

The union maintains that Christie’s plea was mere gimmickry, because the layoffs would have happened even if its local chapters acceded to the demand for a freeze. But even if this is true, it would seem to reflect a staggering lack of political calculation. Had the teachers agreed to take the short-term hit by acquiescing to a temporary freeze, it would have been worlds harder for Christie to then run around the state demanding longer-term concessions on pensions and benefits. And when the layoffs did materialize, the governor would most likely have shouldered most of the blame. Instead, the whole affair seemed to prove Christie’s point about the union’s self-involvement, and it enabled him to blame the teachers themselves for the layoffs.

Christie is letting the unions hang themselves, which is always a great strategy for winning a political argument. The fact that it plays well with the voters and the NYT is a bonus. This guy seems to have the chutzpah and broad appeal required to be President, and I hope he gets enough done this year in New Jersey to decide that he is needed to tackle similar problems at the federal level and that our federal government is dying for some of his tough love.

First deepwater drilling permit granted for Gulf of Mexico since BP oil rig disaster last year. It took a direct order from a federal judge to get a decision, with hopefully more approvals to come soon. Drill, baby, drill!!