Falling Awake

Just Darts Since 2009

Week in review [Updated 5/28-Chavez did it.]

Joe Kennedy’s friend Hugo Chavez is planning to shut down a television station that inconveniently opposes his totalitarian regime.  Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I’ve seen those television ads that salute our “friends in Venezuela.”  Maybe they’re Kennedy’s friends during the winter, but the rest of the time I suppose their cheap oil is a major contributor to “global warming.”  [UPDATE: Looks like it’s a fait accompli.]


I missed Earth Day!  In all the hustle and bustle of preparing for May Day and Cinco de Mayo, it completely slipped my mind.  Eminent ecologist Bill Maher remembered, though:

Here’s a quote from Albert Einstein: “if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” Well, guess what? The bees are disappearing. In massive numbers. All around the world. And if you think I’m being alarmist and that, “Oh, they’ll figure out some way to pollinate the plants…” No, they’ve tried. For a lot of what we eat, only bees work. And they’re not working. They’re gone. It’s called Colony Collapse Disorder, when the hive’s inhabitants suddenly disappear, and all that’s left are a few queens and some immature workers — like when a party winds down at Elton John’s house.

That last line’s actually funny.  I forgot Bill Maher used to consider himself a comedian.  Unfortunately–for Maher, not for us–the whole thing’s untrue.  First, Einstein never said anything about bees.  Second, “Colony Collapse Disorder” is a theory concocted by European beekeepers in order to justify their massive subsidies.  Third, we’ve got plenty of bees.  Maybe too manyHere’s some more!  Someone’s playing a joke on environmentalist doomsayers.  It’s just like those “marches against global warming” that always take place during blizzards and cold snaps.

Here’s a suggestion to environmentalists who really want the average person to give a crap.  Stop lying.  When you make up figures to create a sense of urgency, rational people suspect that there might not actually be a problem.  If the real data is alarming, why not stick with that?  If it isn’t, maybe you should take up a different hobby.


Poll: American Muslims reject extremes

How comforting.  Only 26% of American Muslims aged 18-29 believe suicide bombing is justified.  If it were 49%, the headline would be the same.  I wonder what the story would be if an equivalent percentage of American Christians aged 18-29 supported the bombing of empty abortion clinics?  Only the “religion of peace” gets a free pass on random murder.  (I’m arguing that Islam shouldn’t get a free pass, not that anyone else should, in case I need to spell that out.)


Anyone who thinks Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay exemplify man’s inhumanity to man should check out the Smoking Gun’s publication of Al Qaeda torture manuals recently declassified by the Defense Department.  (Obviously, click at your own risk.  The depictions are color illustrations, not photographs, but they are still disturbing.)  Some of the methods are “blowtorch to the skin,” “eyeball removing,” and “loud music.” Actually, no.  Al Qaeda is not barbaric enough to recommend loud music.

Now, I’m not suggesting we treat our captives like this.  We are more humane than they are.  As a matter of fact, Al Qaeda could even earn the right to be treated according to the Geneva conventions if they upheld them themselves.  Until that happens, loud music and excessive air conditioning don’t bother me one bit.


Google’s goal: to organize your daily life

I’d be a little more concerned about this if Google’s motto wasn’t “Don’t be evil”:

“The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?’ ”

The race to accumulate the most comprehensive database of individual information has become the new battleground for search engines as it will allow the industry to offer far more personalised advertisements. These are the holy grail for the search industry, as such advertising would command higher rates.

Mr Schmidt told journalists in London: “We cannot even answer the most basic questions because we don’t know enough about you. That is the most important aspect of Google’s expansion.”

I’m sure this is nothing.  “Don’t be evil” is admirably clear.  It’s not like Google would ever give this information to bad guys.  (NYT – reg. req.)


Canadian media needle “Sicko”

Michael Moore’s upcoming film “Sicko” compares US health care unfavorably to the Canadian system.  Canadian journalists who viewed the film in Cannes, however, were puzzled by the rosy picture Moore painted of their country’s health care situation.  Moore responded to their criticisms this way:

“You Canadians! You used to be so funny!” an exasperated Moore said at a press conference in the Palais des Festivals.

So, when pressed, he relies on the “it’s a joke, you morons!” defense.  Then he goes on the offensive:

“The Canadian system, if you look on that list of the World Health Organization, is not that far above us. It’s not like the French system. The French system is the best in the world.”

Maybe he should have figured that out before he made the film.  Now we have to find the flaws in the film Moore didn’t actually make in order to refute his arguments.  That’s not really fair.  Although it is typical.


House votes to make energy price-gouging illegal

I suppose I should get used to linking to this essay every couple of months.  The same author (Ian Murray) elsewhere makes this point more succinctly by way of rhyme:

You’re gouging on your prices if
You charge more than the rest.
But it’s unfair competition
If you think you can charge less!
A second point that we would make
To help avoid confusion:
Don’t try to charge the same amount!
That would be collusion!


Judge: Spector’s expert hid victim’s fingernail

That expert would be Dr. Henry Lee.  The judge in the Phil Spector trial found that Lee tampered with evidence at the crime scene.  The evidence, a fragment of a fingernail belonging to the victim, would have served to incriminate Mr. Spector by demonstrating that she had been struggling when the gun was fired.

You may recall that Dr. Lee was the most respected witness presented in O. J. Simpson’s defense.  “Something wrong,” was the famous sound bite from Lee’s testimony regarding the police’s handling and testing of the evidence.  Well, there’s also something wrong with a man of Lee’s stature exchanging his honor for money…



Good opinion piece here by Bob Kerrey, former Democratic senator from Nebraska and member of the 9/11 Commission.  A couple of chunks:

No matter how incompetent the Bush administration and no matter how poorly they chose their words to describe themselves and their political opponents, Iraq was a larger national security risk after Sept. 11 than it was before. And no matter how much we might want to turn the clock back and either avoid the invasion itself or the blunders that followed, we cannot. The war to overthrow Saddam Hussein is over. What remains is a war to overthrow the government of Iraq.

The critics who bother me the most are those who ordinarily would not be on the side of supporting dictatorships, who are arguing today that only military intervention can prevent the genocide of Darfur, or who argued yesterday for military intervention in Bosnia, Somalia and Rwanda to ease the sectarian violence that was tearing those places apart.

Suppose we had not invaded Iraq and Hussein had been overthrown by Shiite and Kurdish insurgents. Suppose al Qaeda then undermined their new democracy and inflamed sectarian tensions to the same level of violence we are seeing today. Wouldn’t you expect the same people who are urging a unilateral and immediate withdrawal to be urging military intervention to end this carnage? I would.

It’s all worth a read.


And finally, this post by Andy McCarthy sums up my feelings on illegal immigration and the proposed “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” better than anything else I’ve read on the subject.  Maybe better than anything I’ve written on the subject, too.  I’d have to excerpt the whole thing, so just click on over and read it if you want to.


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