Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lots to catch up with today so just short excerpts:

Hillary does McCain's work for him: "Hillary Clinton has created fractures within her own party after controversially slighting Al Gore and John Kerry while seeking to portray Barack Obama as out-of-touch with the American people. "The Democratic Party, to be very blunt about it, has been viewed as a party that didn't understand and respect the values and the way of life of so many of our fellow Americans," Senator Clinton said during a forum on faith yesterday. "We had two very good men and men of faith run for president in 2000 and 2004. But large segments of the electorate concluded that they did not really understand or relate to or frankly respect their ways of life." Senator Clinton, fighting a rearguard action for her political life, yesterday continued to pound the message that her rival was an elitist whose comments about the bitterness of small-town folk in middle America was proof he could not defeat John McCain in a general election. "He's a good man and a talented and gifted man, but I think his comments were elitist and divisive," she said earlier in the day."

Hillary's NAFTA pretensions: "Hillary was a strong supporter of NAFTA. Her official schedule reveals that she attended meetings designed to promote its passage and her memoir, Living History betrays no hint of any opposition to her husband's key legislative accomplishment of his first two years in office -- the ratification of NAFTA. Hillary and I spoke frequently through all of 1993 and 1994 and together we plotted to help NAFTA ratification. She was deeply involved in the decision to enlist past presidents in supporting the bill and followed the vote count with heightening anxiety as it appeared closer and closer."

Berlusconi back in Italy: "Self-made billionaire Silvio Berlusconi won a third term as Italian prime minister today after his centre-left rival, Walter Veltroni, conceded defeat. Mr Berlusconi, 71, had earlier all but claimed victory after poll results showed his centre-right alliance won six seats more than the minimum needed for an absolute majority in the all-important Senate. The media tycoon now returns to the prime minister's office for the third time since 1994, the year after he burst onto the political stage by creating the Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party. Victory in the Senate is essential to Italy's governability, and since seats are allotted on a regional basis the makeup of the upper house does not always reflect the national vote. In the lower house Chamber of Deputies - where the winning coalition is automatically awarded 340 seats of a total 630 - Mr Berlusconi's forces won 46.4 per cent, according to projections based on a 41 per cent vote sample. Mr Berlusconi formed his People of Freedom party (PDL) last year, absorbing National Alliance, and stood in the elections in coalition with the populist Northern League of Umberto Bossi. Trailing them were his main rivals, a centre-left coalition led by Mr Veltroni's PD party, which garnered 38 per cent in the lower chamber." [Comments here]

An amusing gaffe: "Senator Barack Obama's name has been mangled plenty of times during his campaign for the presidency, although never in the presence of 1,200 news executives and TV cameras. It happened today at The Associated Press' Annual Luncheon, where the Democratic presidential candidate spoke and took questions. Dean Singleton, chairman of the AP's board of directors and head of Denver-based MediaNews Group, slipped when asking the senator if he could envision sending many more US troops to Afghanistan, where "Obama bin Laden is still at large". Obama gave a quizzical look and said, "I think that was Osama bin Laden".

Olmert recognizes Israel's self-interest for once: ""Israel's secret service has declined to assist U.S. agents guarding former U.S. President Jimmy Carter during a visit in which Israeli leaders have shunned him, U.S. sources close to the matter said on Monday. Carter angered the Israeli government with plans to meet Hamas's top leader, Khaled Meshaal, in Syria, and for describing Israeli policy in the occupied Palestinian territories as 'a system of apartheid' in a 2006 book."

More media lies: "The San Francisco Chronicle aptly sums up the media's overall reaction to a new report on income inequality by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute: "Rich getting richer, poor getting poorer." It's a facile reaction to a publication heavily larded with policy proposals up-front that have to be endured before you get to the part that's causing all the fuss. And once you get to the meat of the paper, you find that the Chronicle's take is ... well ... untrue. According to Pulling apart: A state-by-state analysis of income trends, between 1987-1989 (the initial period studied) and 2004-2006, the bottom fifth of income-earners saw an 11.1% increase in real income while the top fifth of income earners enjoyed a 36.1% increase in real income."

The ever-meddling British government: "The government may tighten planning laws to end concentrations of student houses in England's university towns. The Department of Communities and Local Government is considering building on the introduction of licensing for houses in multiple occupation. It says 'studentification' makes some areas 'ghost towns' during holidays."

Vicious British bureaucracy: ""A woman who helped to set up the NHS Organ Donor Register says it was wrong to stop a mother who needs a transplant from using her daughter's kidneys. Rachel Leake, 39, of Bierley, West Yorkshire, was told that her daughter Laura Ashworth's dying wish to donate her organs could not be honoured. The 21-year-old's kidneys and liver went instead to three other patients."

Madison Ave starts to listen!: "In ADVERTISING AGE, a shocking message to advertisers: "Bashing Fathers and Husbands Isn't the Right Way for Marketers to Sell Products." Defenders of the advertising status quo generally put forth the following arguments: Males are "privileged" and "it's men's turn," so it's OK to portray them this way, and that men simply don't care how they're portrayed. Both of these arguments are highly questionable. Young males certainly aren't privileged. The vast majority of learning-disabled students are boys, and boys are four times as likely as girls to receive diagnoses of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Girls get better grades than boys and are much more likely than boys to graduate high school and enter college."

Africa's Aid Problem: "William Easterly's 2006 book, White Man's Burden, places the amount of aid sent to Africa over the last 50 years at over $2.3 trillion dollars-yet poverty, corruption, and the AIDS crisis continue to be insurmountable problems there. Foreign aid's ongoing failure to spark change recently incited Edward Luttwak to declare that things would improve if only the international community would leave Africa alone. "If anybody cared about Africa what they really would want to do is to do the very opposite: do everything possible to bring about the disappearance of the state," Luttwak said"

Tracing the genes for IQ: "The genetic roots of reading and mathematical ability plus patients' responses to one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in Britain are to be investigated by the largest study of DNA and health. DNA samples will be collected from more than 120,000 people in a 30 million pound expansion of the Wellcome Trust's Case Control Constortium project (CCC), which is running the world's most comprehensive search for genetic influences on disease. The second phase of the project will allow scientists to examine how DNA affects the course of 25 diseases, as well as individual responses to statin drugs for lowering cholesterol. Since 2005 the project's initial phase has discovered dozens of common genetic variants that raise or lower the risk of 12 main medical conditions"

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race and IQ.


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A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is a recent example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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