Saturday, October 31, 2009


There is a "Halloween edition" of GREENIE WATCH just up.

Losing Ground: Hispanic children fall behind their peers quickly, a study finds

All the studies show that Hispanic illegals and their offspring have markedly lower average IQ scores than the white average. My orientation in psychometric research has however always been great caution about the validity of any tests used and I initially felt that the remarkable success of ancient Central Americans in building rather advanced civilizations despite being cut off from the major source of human progress (the Eurasian continent) implied a higher IQ for their descendants than the tests showed.

That is however a fairly arguable proposition and the findings reported below have changed my mind. I think that the findings below confirm what the IQ tests say. The results below show what I very "incorrectly" call the "chimpanzee effect". A month old chimpanzee is much smarter and more capable than a human infant of the same age but the human does of course far surpass the chimp eventually. In other words, low IQ is less evident in the early years and most evident in adulthood. We find a similar effect in blacks. Average black IQ is closer to average white IQ in childhood than in adulthood. Beyond the early teens, black IQ stops rising but white IQ does not. White IQ peaks at about age 16.

And what is reported below is precisely another example of the chimpanzee effect: Intellectual achievement gap smallest in early childhood but rapidly increasing with age. I must stress that I am NOT saying that either blacks or Hispanics are similar to chimpanzees. ALL human beings of any race are much smarter than chimps. I am just using chimps as a vivid demonstration of what seems a general truth: That real gaps in intellectual ability become evident later rather than sooner -- and the Hispanic developmental pattern is exactly what we expect of an average IQ that is indeed lower

A forthcoming study on Hispanic children’s cognitive skills underlines the challenges the country faces in aspiring to close the achievement gap between these children and their white and Asian counterparts. Hispanic “children fall behind their peers in mental development by the time they reach grade school, and the gap tends to widen as they get older,” reports the New York Times. “The drop-off in the cognitive scores of Hispanic toddlers, especially those from Mexican backgrounds, was steeper than for other [low-income] groups and could not be explained by economic status alone. . . . From 24 to 36 months, the Hispanic children fell about six months behind their white peers on measures like word comprehension, more complex speech and working with their mothers on simple tasks.”

This new study, from the University of California–Berkeley, may be unusually blunt in its assessment of Hispanic cognitive development, but it is hardly unprecedented. A 2004 study by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office found a similar decline in Hispanic students’ ability to keep up with their peers in learning English. Children from Mandarin- and Spanish-speaking households begin kindergarten with similar levels of English proficiency, but their paths quickly diverge. The Mandarin-speaking students make continuing progress in mastering English, while the Hispanic students’ advance stalls out in the second and third grades as the demands of California’s English-proficiency test grow more difficult. Mandarin kindergartners establish oral skills in English in one year, the legislative analyst found, and by the beginning of second grade, they have begun developing a mastery of reading and writing, unlike Hispanics. The widening English-proficiency gap between Asian and Hispanic students may reflect parental willingness to expose children to English at home, but the gap occurs in math as well.

This summer in Southern California, I observed Hispanic students who had been taught in English throughout their school careers, yet who possessed very weak formal language ability. An in-class reading assignment at Locke High School in Watts asked students to answer the question: “Why is it important to use all your skills during your teen years?” A ninth-grader wrote in response: “To make it better.” Another question, “What sudden insight came to the engineer?” elicited the answer: “How to put the little mirrors.” While diagnosing the student-written sentence, “The pigs squealed loudly because the’re [sic] bored at the barn,” a high-school English teacher in Santa Ana asked his class: “Why does the dependent clause need to be in the past tense?” A student answered: “Because you’re talking about a lot of people.”

The Berkeley researchers speculate that the early decline in Hispanic students’ language and reasoning skills may reflect inadequate maternal stimulation in the home. And indeed, a Santa Ana elementary-school principal recounted to me her largely unsuccessful efforts to get parents to teach their children such basic kindergarten-survival tools as cutting with scissors and the words for colors. “Kids come in not knowing the alphabet in Spanish or the sounds of Spanish,” she said. “They use three-word sentences; they come in without oral-language ability.”

The Berkeley study will inevitably be used to buttress the Obama administration’s plans to pour billions of federal taxpayer dollars into early-education programs. As a matter of education policy, such efforts represent wishful thinking. Head Start has been repeatedly shown to have no lasting effect on students’ academic performance. Even the most successful and lavishly-funded of such early-intervention programs — the iconic Perry Preschool Project from the early 1960s in Ypsilanti, Mich. — explained only 3 percent of the earnings of its participants at age 40, and about 4 percent of their educational-attainment levels, wrote John J. Miller in NR in 2007. Replicating the Perry Project’s services on a national scale for Hispanic children would be extraordinarily expensive and produce only modest results. Many children who receive early intervention provide inferior intellectual stimulation for their own children, whether for innate cognitive or for cultural reasons.

But the more interesting implications of the study and others like it are for immigration policy. Our de facto immigration policy is currently weighted to a population that appears to require massive additional government education spending — even before formal schooling begins — to be made academically competitive. This choice would not seem to be economically rational, at least so long as we aspire to universal college-going. If the country remains committed to sending a far greater number of students to college, as even many conservatives continue to be, we better get ourselves a different mix of immigrants if we don’t want to bankrupt our education budgets. Alternatively, if the open-borders lobby prevails and Latin American migration continues to dominate our immigration flows, it’s time to acknowledge that many students never will be college material, nor do they need to be to lead productive, fulfilling lives.



Vincent Luebeck

What would you think of a man who went around the place singing to himself snatches from a cantata written by an obscure 17th century German composer? You would probably think him quite mad but in your kinder moments you might say: "An eccentric; probably an academic". I am that person and I am a born academic (I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation in 6 weeks; some people take that many years) so I hope I can be excused. The words that are stuck in my head at the moment are: "Und deine Fusstapfen triefen von Fett". I must have sung them to myself a hundred times in the last few days. The words are so crazy that I dare not translate them but they are in fact a quotation from the Psalms. What makes them good is the music that Vincent Luebeck has set to them.

All of which comes about because I have been playing lately one of my favourite cantatas: Gott wie dein Name by Vincent Luebeck. Luebeck was 11 years older than J.S. Bach and more famous than Bach in his day. And at his best Luebeck is as good as Bach. And I mention all that because I have just discovered that people have begun to put up some Luebeck works on YouTube. A good example below for those who like that sort of thing:

Note the extensive use of pedals. Pedals usually access the largest pipes.


More on the hidden man


Looking for evidence of Obama's past, Fox News contacted 400 Columbia University students from the period when Obama claims to have been there, but none remembered him.

Wayne Allyn Root was, like Obama, a political science major at Columbia who also graduated in 1983. In 2008, Root says of Obama, "I don't know a single person at Columbia that knew him, and they all know me.

I don't have a classmate who ever knew Barack Obama at Columbia. Ever! Nobody recalls him. I'm not exaggerating, I'm not kidding." Root adds that he was also, like Obama, "Class of '83 political science, pre-law" and says, "You don't get more exact or closer than that. Never met him in my life, don't know anyone who ever met him. At the class reunion, our 20th reunion five years ago, who was asked to be the speaker of the class? Me.

No one ever heard of Barack! And five years ago, nobody even knew who he was. The guy who writes the class notes, who's kind of the, as we say in New York, the macha who knows everybody, has yet to find a person, a human who ever met him. Is that not strange?

It's very strange." Obama's photograph does not appear in the school's yearbook and Obama consistently declines requests to talk about his years at Columbia, provide school records, or provide the name of any former classmates or friends while at Columbia.

NOTE: Root graduated as Valedictorian from his high school, Thornton-Donovan School, then graduated from Columbia University in 1983 as a Political Science major (in the same class as President Barack Obama WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN IN).

SOURCE. See also here for more. The story seems odd even for Mr. Coverup but, although the story first aired in 2008, I cannot find anywhere that have attacked it in their usual way, although it is mentioned on one of their discussion threads. There seems no doubt that Root did say what is reported above. So it looks to me that Snopes have been unable to find anyone who remembers differently.


Too important not to criticize

Among the most pathetic letters and e-mails I receive are those from people who ask why I don't write more "positively" about Obama or "give him the benefit of the doubt."

No one-- not even the President of the United States-- has an entitlement to a "positive" response to his actions. The entitlement mentality has eroded the once common belief that you earned things, including respect, instead of being given them.

As for the benefit of the doubt, no one-- especially not the President of the United States-- is entitled to that, when his actions can jeopardize the rights of 300 million Americans domestically and the security of the nation in an international jungle, where nuclear weapons may soon be in the hands of people with suicidal fanaticism. Will it take a mushroom cloud over an American city to make that clear? Was 9/11 not enough?

When a President of the United States has begun the process of dismantling America from within, and exposing us to dangerous enemies outside, the time is long past for being concerned about his public image. He has his own press agents for that.

Internationally, Barack Obama has made every mistake that was made by the Western democracies in the 1930s, mistakes that put Hitler in a position to start World War II-- and come dangerously close to winning it.

At the heart of those mistakes was trying to mollify your enemies by throwing your friends to the wolves. The Obama administration has already done that by reneging on this country's commitment to put a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe and by its lackadaisical foot-dragging on doing anything serious to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. That means, for all practical purposes, throwing Israel to the wolves as well.

Countries around the world that have to look out for their own national survival, above all, are not going to ignore how much Obama has downgraded the reliability of America's commitments.

Iraq, for example, knows that Iran is going to be next door forever while Americans may be gone in a few years. South Korea likewise knows that North Korea is permanently next door but who knows when the Obama administration will get a bright idea to pull out? Countries in South America know that Hugo Chavez is allying Venezuela with Iran. Dare they ally themselves with an unreliable U.S.A.? Or should they join our enemies to work against us? This issue is too serious for squeamish silence.

More here



Report: Feds overstated jobs created under stimulus: "A Colorado company said it created 4,231 jobs with the help of President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan. The real number: fewer than 1,000. A child-care center in Florida said it saved 129 jobs with the help of stimulus money. Instead, it gave pay raises to its existing employees. Elsewhere in the U.S., some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two, three, four or even more times. The government has overstated by thousands the number of jobs it has created or saved with federal contracts under the president’s $787 billion recovery program, according to an Associated Press review of data released in the program’s first progress report.”

Russians to ride nuke spaceship to Mars: "A nuclear-powered spaceship that can carry passengers to Mars and beyond may sound like science fiction. But Russian engineers say they have a breakthrough design for such a craft, which could leapfrog them way ahead in the international race to build a manned spacecraft that can cover vast interplanetary distances. They claim they’ll be ready to build one as early as 2012. In a meeting with top Russian space scientists Wednesday, President Dmitry Medvedev gave the nuke-powered spacecraft a green light and pledged to come up with the cash to cover its $600-million price tag.”

It’s not just marijuana — DEA is at war with other medicines too: "Our efforts to control the lives of people who take drugs for fun have led us to destroy the lives of people who take drugs for serious medical conditions. The harsh reality here is that the best medicines often become popular with people they weren’t intended for. That’s going to happen no matter what you do. But if every effective pain reliever is overly restricted, then the medicine’s primary purpose of relieving pain can never be achieved. The drug war has gone blind even to the most basic functions that drugs are supposed to serve in our society.”

SC: Pols celebrate success of Boeing welfare scam: "The landing was delayed, but Boeing has arrived in South Carolina and is bringing along 3,800 jobs to build its new, state-of-the-art jet. Jilting its longtime Washington state manufacturing base, the Chicago-based airplane maker said Wednesday it will build its second 787 Dreamliner assembly line in North Charleston. … The General Assembly … approved a massive tax incentive package, part of a host of promises made to Boeing since the company first discussed the possibility of locating in South Carolina in August. The package would eliminate income and other taxes for the company for a decade and provide low-interest construction bonds.”

Britain: Stop outlawing jobs: "The Trade Union Congress (TUC) is calling for the UK national minimum wage to be increased to £6 an hour from October 2010. In Scotland a government committee suggests the public naming and shaming and an increase in fines for employers who break the minimum wage. While in Jersey the Employment Forum has outlined plans to increase the minimum wage to £6.20. The sound of breaking windows fills the British Isles. The timing of this is awful — not [that] there ever is a good time to outlaw jobs — but with unemployment set to continue to rise into next year, those at the margins will of course be adversely affected by restrictions on employer and employee.”


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or 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)


Friday, October 30, 2009

Dismantling America

By Thomas Sowell

Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official, not even a Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate but simply one of the many "czars" appointed by the President, could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50 percent or 90 percent? Did you think that another "czar" would be talking about restricting talk radio? That there would be plans afloat to subsidize newspapers-- that is, to create a situation where some newspapers' survival would depend on the government liking what they publish? Did you imagine that anyone would even be talking about having a panel of so-called "experts" deciding who could and could not get life-saving medical treatments?

Scary as that is from a medical standpoint, it is also chilling from the standpoint of freedom. If you have a mother who needs a heart operation or a child with some dire medical condition, how free would you feel to speak out against an administration that has the power to make life and death decisions about your loved ones?

Does any of this sound like America? How about a federal agency giving school children material to enlist them on the side of the president? Merely being assigned to sing his praises in class is apparently not enough.

How much of America would be left if the federal government continued on this path? President Obama has already floated the idea of a national police force, something we have done without for more than two centuries. We already have local police forces all across the country and military forces for national defense, as well as the FBI for federal crimes and the National Guard for local emergencies. What would be the role of a national police force created by Barack Obama, with all its leaders appointed by him? It would seem more like the brown shirts of dictators than like anything American.

How far the President will go depends of course on how much resistance he meets. But the direction in which he is trying to go tells us more than all his rhetoric or media spin.

Barack Obama has not only said that he is out to "change the United States of America," the people he has been associated with for years have expressed in words and deeds their hostility to the values, the principles and the people of this country. Jeremiah Wright said it with words: "God damn America!" Bill Ayers said it with bombs that he planted. Community activist goons have said it with their contempt for the rights of other people.

Among the people appointed as czars by President Obama have been people who have praised enemy dictators like Mao, who have seen the public schools as places to promote sexual practices contrary to the values of most Americans, to a captive audience of children.

Those who say that the Obama administration should have investigated those people more thoroughly before appointing them are missing the point completely. Why should we assume that Barack Obama didn't know what such people were like, when he has been associating with precisely these kinds of people for decades before he reached the White House? Nothing is more consistent with his lifelong patterns than putting such people in government-- people who reject American values, resent Americans in general and successful Americans in particular, as well as resenting America's influence in the world.

Any miscalculation on his part would be in not thinking that others would discover what these stealth appointees were like. Had it not been for the Fox News Channel, these stealth appointees might have remained unexposed for what they are. Fox News is now high on the administration's enemies list.

Nothing so epitomizes President Obama's own contempt for American values and traditions like trying to ram two bills through Congress in his first year-- each bill more than a thousand pages long-- too fast for either of them to be read, much less discussed. That he succeeded only the first time says that some people are starting to wake up. Whether enough people will wake up in time to keep America from being dismantled, piece by piece, is another question-- and the biggest question for this generation.



Be thankful for men who risk this to serve their country

Retired Army Sgt. Richard Yarosh has gotten used to the stares. His face is blanketed in knotty scar tissue. His nose tip is missing. His ears are gone, as is part of his right leg. His fingers are permanently bent and rigid. All is the result of an explosion in Iraq that doused him in fuel and fire three years ago.

"I know people are curious," he said. "They'll stop in their tracks and look. I guess I can understand. I probably would have stared, too." Soon, a lot more people will be staring at Yarosh's face but in a very different way: A life-sized oil painting of him will go on display at the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington later this month. The portrait, by Matthew Mitchell, is a finalist in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, which recognizes modern portraiture at the gallery known for its collection of notable Americans.

The gallery received more than 3,300 entries. Many are less conventional portraits, including video and photos, but others, like that of Yarosh, draw strength from the traditional head-and-shoulders composition, said curator Brandon Fortune.

Mitchell's use of the style - historically reserved for nobility, a high-ranking military officer or a president, not a disfigured soldier in an Army T-shirt - democratizes such paintings, Fortune said. "The portrait is clearly meant to honor him. I think that contributes to the gravity of the presentation," she said....

The day was Sept. 1, 2006, and Yarosh was manning the turret of a Bradley assault vehicle, patrolling a road that he'd been on "a million times." Only this time, the vehicle hit an explosive device. The fuel tank blew, and Yarosh was instantly covered in flames. He took a blind jump from the top of the vehicle, breaking his leg and severing an artery that would eventually force an amputation. He rolled around in the dirt, but with so much fuel, he couldn't get the fire out. He lay there, next to the burning vehicle, and gave up. "I wasn't in pain. I could accept the fact that I was going to go. This was how the Lord would take me," he said.

But for reasons he still can't explain, Yarosh rolled to his right one more time and suddenly fell into a canal, where the flames were extinguished. Fellow soldiers pulled him from the water even as his body armor disintegrated into ash, and he survived....

Yarosh was astonished when he saw the completed portrait. "It was perfect. I couldn't believe that he captured me," he said. "It captures my pride. I'm proud of the way I look. I'm proud of the reason for the way I look."

More Here

Another tale of American military heroism here


Halloween: A Teachable Moment About Socialism

I'm not a big fan of Halloween, but I have some advice for those of you who expect to allow your children to take part in the ritual of trick-or-treating: Use the five guidelines listed below and allow the 2009 version of the costume- and candy-intensive holiday to serve as a teachable moment about socialism and about "spreading the wealth around" in the manner touted so often by President Barack Obama:

1. Tell your child he cannot eat any of the candy he collects and will, instead, have to take all of it to the ACORN office nearest your home (wipe tears);

2. Tell your child he will have to turn over their bags full of candy to the government-authorized agents who, in addition to collecting the candy, will need to record his name, Social Security number and contact information for future use (wipe tears);

3. Tell your child he will have to wait 12 weeks for ACORN officials to count all of the candy he collected and repackage it for equal-share redistribution among all children in their community (wipe tears);

4. Tell your child that, within 12 weeks, he should expect to be provided instructions for picking up a his fair and equal share of the treats he collected after ACORN officials finish counting all of the collected candies (wipe tears); and

5. Tell your child that the scenario above offers them a glimpse of what the future in the United States will look like if socialism is allowed to flourish (wipe tears for last time) and that he can keep his children from having to experience such pain by voting for - and by encouraging others to vote for - conservatives whose values line up with those of this country's founders and the framers of the U.S. Constitution.




Mad about free trade: "Interview with Daniel Griswold, author of Mad About Trade. Griswold: “John Mackey is right. Free trade has been wrongly branded as something for the benefit of big business at the expense of average Americans. Most Fortune 500 companies benefit from globalization, and that is fine. They employ a lot of Americans and sell a lot of U.S.-brand products around the world. But trade is also about benefiting tens of millions of low- and middle-income American families by insuring competition for their consumer dollars. Free trade is about creating better, more sustainable jobs for our children, building relationships with people in other countries, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, and sending young girls in developing countries off to school rather than to the field. Our task shouldn’t be that difficult. Evidence and economic logic are on the side of free trade. We just need to tell the story in a way that connects with people in their everyday lives.”

The world of Salamanca: "The subject of the medieval period highlights the vast gulf that separates scholarly opinion from popular opinion. This is a grave frustration for scholars who have been working to change popular opinion for a hundred years. For most people, the medieval period brings to mind populations living by myths and crazy superstitions such as we might see in a Monty Python skit. Scholarly opinion, however, knows otherwise. The age between the 8th and 16th centuries was a time of amazing advance in every area of knowledge, such as architecture, music, biology, mathematics, astronomy, industry, and — yes — economics.”

Neutering the Net: "I have always been an opponent of ‘net neutrality,’ but mostly because the proponents of it I’ve read have taken it to mean unlimited bandwidth for almost no cost, something that would guarantee the death of the net. Bandwidth costs money. Somebody has to pay for it. Those who use it should pay for what they use. Most people view ‘net neutrality’ as an entitlement, something the internet service providers somehow ‘owe’ them. Balderdash! But the recently proposed FCC rules do not do that, if Wired’s excerpt (link below) is representative. They’re more like guaranteeing that your long distance carrier may not disconnect your call because you’re talking about changing carriers.”

NASA launches newest, behemoth rocket: "NASA’s newest rocket successfully completed a brief test flight Wednesday, the first step in a back-to-the-moon program that could yet be shelved by the White House. The 327-foot Ares I-X rocket resembled a giant white pencil as it shot into the sky, delayed a day by poor weather. Nearly twice the height of the spaceship it’s supposed to replace — the shuttle — the skinny experimental rocket carried no passengers or payload, only throwaway ballast and hundreds of sensors. The flight cost $445 million.”

Latest battle in book price wars: "The American Booksellers Association loves people who buy books. It loves them so much that it wants to protect them from wicked retailers who sell popular titles at affordable prices. In fact, it wants to protect them from themselves. Consumers, after all, are likely to rejoice at the chance to pick up a bestseller like Stephen King’s Under the Dome or John Grisham’s Ford County for just $9, well below their list price of $35 and $24 respectively. The ABA, a trade group for independent bookstores, is doing all it can to preserve the republic from such pernicious bargains. In a letter to the US Department of Justice last week, the association called for an investigation into the ‘predatory’ behavior of, Wal-Mart, and Target — behavior it said ‘is damaging to the book industry and harmful to consumers.’”

Maximum confusion over minimum wages: "Given that we have rising unemployment, a reduction in minimum-wage rates might bring relief to some unemployed workers. Demand for labor increases with lower wages. However, advocates of minimum-wage laws often have trouble with economic reasoning. Some see the wealth of large corporations as a sign that they can afford to pay their workers more per hour. Others think that employers exercise monopsony control over wages from the buyers’ side of labor markets.”

“Saving” jobs isn’t always good: "The Obama administration is patting itself on the back for saving the jobs of thousands of educators by doling out stimulus funds earlier in the year. But should we all cheer just because Ms. Frizzle didn’t get the boot? Teachers, like all professionals, have no right to employment. In the private market people who are good at their jobs are in demand and courted with money.”

The 2009 Economics Nobel Prize: "The Nobel prize committee described Ostrom’s findings as showing that privately organized communities often manage resources such as lakes and fish better than do governments. First of all, government bureaucrats have a knowledge problem; they lack sufficient information about what to regulate. Moreover, as economist Friedrich Hayek pointed out, the relevant knowledge is decentralized and ever changing, so even with computers the remote governmental authorities are unable to collect sufficient knowledge to efficiently micro-manage such resources. They may not even know what knowledge they should be gathering.”

Guantanamo laureate: "Candidate Obama often sounded as if he had always assumed that Bush first created Guantanamo as a monument to his Constitution-shredding paranoia, and only later filled it with largely innocent prisoners. At one point Obama offered his Senate office to help lawyers sue on behalf of Guantanamo prisoners. But as President Obama has discovered — just as he has dropped his campaign talk of ending renditions, tribunals, wiretaps, and intercepts, and of rapidly withdrawing from Iraq — Guantanamo is a bad choice among a number of worse ones.”

British defence chiefs blamed for leaky aircraft that crashed: "The Ministry of Defence and Britain’s largest defence company were officially blamed yesterday for the deaths of 14 servicemen who were killed when an RAF Nimrod surveillance aircraft burst into flames over Afghanistan three years ago. In one of the most damning official reports published, the MoD was accused of sacrificing the safety of members of the Armed Forces to cut costs. The ministry was guilty of a “systemic breach of the military covenant” between the nation and the men and women of the Forces, the report said. “Airworthiness was a casualty of the process of cuts, change, dilution and distraction,” Charles Haddon-Cave, QC, concluded after a 20-month review of the background to the disaster on September 2, 2006, which represented the single biggest loss of life of service personnel in one incident since the Falklands conflict in 1982... There had been signs before the disaster that the Nimrod MR2, of which aircraft XV230 was one, had design faults, notably the juxtaposition of fuel pipes with hot-air ducts which presented a “catastrophic fire risk”."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or 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)


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Simplistic thinking in politics and the ad hominem fallacy

Sad to say, in politics logical thinking seems to come a poor second to emotional appeals -- and we see a pernicious example of that below.

Historical revisionism is found among both Leftists and nationalists, though it is far and away most prevalent on the Left. Some surveys have shown, for instance, that a majority of U.S. Democrat voters are "truthers": People who believe that it was George Bush who blew up the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001. And the chronic Leftist denial of the horrors of Communism is legendary.

Compared to that, the skepticism about the Holocaust seen among some nationalists is small beer but the Left-dominated media seek out such views like sniffer dogs and make a huge deal about any of it that they find. So one skeptical word about the holocaust serves to stigmatize someone for life, even if it was a passing phase or an incidental element in the evolution of that person's thinking.

The prime example of that at the moment is of course Nick Griffin of the anti-immigration British National Party. And the fact that he is a staunch friend of Israel is not allowed to excuse him. So the Jewish writer below is right to say that support for Israel from nationalists is an embarrassment. But it is only an embarrassment because of the simplistic thinking of Leftists in the media and politics -- who with kneejerk predictability resort to the ad hominem fallacy (The fallacy that a statement is wrong because of who said it). So if Griffin supports Israel, support for Israel must be wrong: Quite incredible stupidity but staple fare for the Left.
In politics Over the past few weeks, the Jewish state has been publicly endorsed by two particularly controversial members of the far right.

Firstly, Nick Griffin, leader of the racist British National Party, which currently accepts only white people as members, declared that his was the only party to support Israel in its "war against terrorists" during Operation Cast Lead.

While Griffin, who was elected in June to the European Parliament, is not usually paid much attention, this time was different. He was speaking on Britain's most prestigious political television program, BBC's Question Time. The decision to invite him had proven so controversial that 8 million viewers tuned in, compared with the program's usual 2 to 3 million. The entire country was hanging on his every word.

Just three weeks earlier, the Conservative Party — now widely expected to win the next election — was embroiled in a national row over its alliance with another European member of parliament, Poland's Michal Kaminski.

Kaminski, who leads an important rightist bloc, has been disliked in Jewish circles since he declared in 2001 that the Poles should not apologise for the massacre of Jews by Polish residents of Jedwabne in 1941, unless "the whole Jewish nation [apologises] for what some Jewish Communists did in eastern Poland". There were also concerns that he had worn the Chrobry Sword, a symbol of the Catholic ultra-right in Poland and that he still maintained these unsavory connections.

So when, in early October, he appeared at the Conservative Party's annual conference, the main Jewish representative body – the archaically named Board of Deputies – wrote to Conservative leader David Cameron asking for reassurances. Labour's foreign minister, David Miliband, went on the attack and the ensuing media row, which is still ongoing – the Conservatives were forced to recently reassure Hillary Clinton on the subject — tarnished what should have been Cameron's moment of triumph.

But it did not go unnoticed that Kaminski was in Britain as the special guest of the Conservative Friends of Israel — who had also taken him, this summer, to Israel, where he was pictured smiling by the Western Wall and was welcomed by deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon. Kaminski, it emerged, was considered a staunch friend of Israel in Brussels, where he regularly spoke up for its right to self-defence...

But for Israel, this is a disaster. From now on, anyone in Britain supporting Israel publicly can be expected to be told they are holding a position only the racist BNP, or the likes of Kaminski, holds. It will many years to shake off these associations.



Perhaps I should add a few words about the Mieczyk Chrobrego or Chobry Sword, and point out that it too has become the target of an ad hominem slur. Some history: Boleslaw I Chrobry became the first King of Poland in 1025. He was a brilliant man and very successful militarily. He greatly enlarged Poland by conquest of neighbouring areas. He was able to turn Poland into one of the largest and most powerful monarchies in Europe. In the summer of 1018, in one of his most famous expeditions, Boleslaw captured Kiev (now in the Ukraine), where, according to legend, he notched his sword when hitting Kiev's Golden Gate. Later, a sword known as szczerbiec, meaning notched sword or "The dented one", would become the ceremonial sword used in the coronation ceremony of Polish kings. It is now kept at Wawel Cathedral, a church located on Wawel Hill in Kraków, which is Poland's national sanctuary. The cathedral has a 1,000-year history and was the traditional coronation site of Polish monarchs.

So it is easy to see why a representation of the Chobry sword would be chosen as their symbol by a minor 20th century Polish nationalist political party. That it was a patriotic icon long before the 20th century, however, is the main point. That 20th century nationalist political parties have used it does NOT mean that it is solely a 20th century nationalist political party symbol. It is simply a Polish patriotic symbol generally and any Pole could wear a representation of it with pride.


The race and IQ debate on Britain's Channel 4 TV

Britain's Left-leaning "Daily Mirror" had a laconic summary of the matter but of greater interest was a particularly well-informed comment from one of its readers, which I reproduce below, with his links made clickable. I then close with a most amusing comment from Britain's "Greenest" (and faltering) newspaper, the inaptly-named "Independent":

1. I have little faith that this show would have provided an objective take on things as it relied on the Lewontin Fallacy (more within group gene variation than between group variation). This was debunked in 2003 by Cambridge geneticist AWF Edwards. The problem is that it overlooks the correlations and that genes vary in frequency across groups.

2. Efforts to tar IQ tests with bad things in history overlook the fact that Stalin and Hitler banned IQ testing. In Hitler's case he banned them because Jews did well on them.

3. IQ tests actually have a progressive background in allowing working class kids with academic ability to get into Colleges previously only for the rich. See here

4. Tests aren't perfect but they predict academic performance very well. More recently neuroscientists have identified that people have quite distinct brain characteristics which correlate with iq test performance. These include cortical thickness, myelination quality and efficiency in processing info.

UCLA neuroscientist Paul Thompson & Yale Psychologist Jeremy Gray summarize these findings here.

5. These traits are significantly heritable.

"The UCLA researchers took the study a step further by comparing the white matter architecture of identical twins, who share almost all their DNA, and fraternal twins, who share only half. Results showed that the quality of the white matter is highly genetically determined, although the influence of genetics varies by brain area. According to the findings, about 85 percent of the variation in white matter in the parietal lobe, which is involved in mathematics, logic, and visual-spatial skills, can be attributed to genetics. But only about 45 percent of the variation in the temporal lobe, which plays a central role in learning and memory, appears to be inherited.

Thompson and his collaborators also analyzed the twins' DNA, and they are now looking for specific genetic variations that are linked to the quality of the brain's white matter. The researchers have already found a candidate--the gene for a protein called BDNF, which promotes cell growth. "People with one variation have more intact fibers," says Thompson."

Source for the above quote

6. Many genes have undergone significant change over the past 10,000 years so the possibility that groups would differ to some extent on average is not implausible.

"Dec. 10, 2007 - Researchers discovered genetic evidence that human evolution is speeding up - and has not halted or proceeded at a constant rate, as had been thought - indicating that humans on different continents are becoming increasingly different.

"We used a new genomic technology to show that humans are evolving rapidly, and that the pace of change has accelerated a lot in the last 40,000 years, especially since the end of the Ice Age roughly 10,000 years ago," says research team leader Henry Harpending, a distinguished professor of anthropology at the University of Utah.

Harpending says there are provocative implications from the study, published online Monday, Dec. 10 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: "We aren't the same as people even 1,000 or 2,000 years ago," he says, which may explain, for example, part of the difference between Viking invaders and their peaceful Swedish descendants. "The dogma has been these are cultural fluctuations, but almost any Temperament trait you look at is under strong genetic influence."

"Human races are evolving away from each other," Harpending says. "Genes are evolving fast in Europe, Asia and Africa, but almost all of these are unique to their continent of origin. We are getting less alike, not merging into a single, mixed humanity." He says that is happening because humans dispersed from Africa to other regions 40,000 years ago, "and there has not been much flow of genes between the regions since then."

Source for the above quote

Now for a gem from "The Independent", below:

It is an abhorrent notion yet with some scientific credibility. James Watson, the co-discoverer of DNA, has expressed gloom about the future of Africa on the basis that "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says, not really". There are plenty of other illustrious scientists who support the view that there is a kind of global league table of intelligence, apparently with the Australian Aborigine at the bottom, and Omaar talked to several of them. But he found that their assertions are largely based on IQ tests that militate against the developing world, taking no heed of "wisdom, social intelligence and creativity". Moreover, in South Africa, where educational opportunities are no longer determined by race, such ideas are increasingly confounded.


Even by Green/Left standards, the implication that war-torn, dirt-poor and half-starving Africa is a powerhouse of "wisdom, social intelligence and creativity" is seriously deranged. Sadly for the wittingly-blind Left, "wisdom, social intelligence and creativity" is mostly to be found among the high IQ populations of European and East Asian origin -- JR



ACLU still fighting George Bush (They miss him so): "After the Senate today passed a Homeland Security appropriations bill with an amendment that would grant the Department of Defense (DOD) the authority to continue suppressing photos of prisoner abuse, the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to Secretary Robert Gates urging him not to exercise the authority to suppress the photos. The amendment, which would allow the DOD to exempt photos from the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), is aimed at photos ordered released by a federal appeals court as part of an ACLU FOIA lawsuit for photos and other records related to detainee abuse in U.S. custody overseas, although it would apply to other photos in government custody as well. The bill will now head to President Obama's desk for signature. The ACLU letter states that the photos would show the pervasiveness of detainee abuse and would shed light on the connection between that abuse and the decisions of high-level Bush administration officials. According to the letter, the photos "are of critical relevance to an ongoing national debate about accountability."

Boondoggle coming up: "The White House is expected to announce Tuesday a multimillion-dollar deal that will convert a closed General Motors plant in Wilmington, Del., into a factory making electric vehicles. Vice President Biden will make the announcement that Fisker Automotive of Irvine, Calif., is expected to invest $175 million to retool the plant. Fisker, which will pay the old GM $18 million for the facility and equipment, is getting tax incentives from the state of Delaware, although officials there declined Monday to say how much. Fisker plans to make a car in Delaware that is being developed under the name "Project Nina" after the ship belonging to explorer Christopher Columbus. Russell Datz, a Fisker spokesman, said that the project's name is meant to be "symbolic of the transfer from the old world to the new in terms of auto technology." The car is expected to cost about $39,900 after tax incentives. The Fisker facility is expected to create 2,000 jobs"

Large Hadron Collider switched on after year of repairs: "After starting it with a bang, which promptly turned into a whimper, scientists have quietly powered up the Large Hadron Collider for a second time. The preliminary run was low key compared with the ill-fated switch-on in September last year, but CERN scientists said the first beams suggested that the £3.6 billion experiment in Switzerland was finally under way again. “It’s the beginning of a very well-planned and cautious switch-on,” Brian Foster, a particle physicist from the University of Oxford, said. On Friday proton beams and lead ions were sent at a relatively low energy around a section of the ring containing the “A Large Ion Collider Experiment” (Alice) detector. Protons were also sent through the LHCb detector, which is designed to investigate why the Universe is made up almost entirely of matter and hardly any antimatter. The beams travelled through a quarter of the ring in total. “The acid test of any accelerator is when you put the beam in,” said Steve Myers, director of accelerators and technology at CERN. “We were holding our breath a little bit, but it worked incredibly well.”

Obama using the White house to solicit political contributions: "During his first nine months in office, President Obama has quietly rewarded scores of top Democratic donors with VIP access to the White House, private briefings with administration advisers and invitations to important speeches and town-hall meetings. High-dollar fundraisers have been promised access to senior White House officials in exchange for pledges to donate $30,400 personally or to bundle $300,000 in contributions ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, according to internal Democratic National Committee documents obtained by The Washington Times."

DC sniper set to die by lethal injection: "The mastermind of the 2002 Washington, DC-area sniper attacks will die by lethal injection next month, Virginia officials said Tuesday. John Allen Muhammad declined to choose between lethal injection and electrocution, so under state law the method defaults to lethal injection, Virginia Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said.”

Feds: Chicago men planned to attack Danish paper: "Two Chicago men who were schoolmates in Pakistan plotted terrorist attacks against a Danish newspaper that triggered widespread protests by printing cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, federal prosecutors said Tuesday in announcing charges against the men. David Coleman Headley, 49, traveled to Denmark in January and July to conduct surveillance on possible targets, including the Copenhagen and Aarhus offices of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, prosecutors said in criminal complaints filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.”

Tax, privacy and the state: "In Norway, an extreme intervention in privacy has become a deadly threat to respected and peaceful citizens, their families, children and spouses. This weekend a number of Norwegians received blackmail letters threatening them to hand over large sums of money to the offenders. The offenders have used the publicly available tax database to pick out their victims. Each year the Norwegian government publishes all Norwegian citizens’ tax information on the internet for everybody to look at. From this database you can find out the income, paid tax and wealth of all Norwegian people and Norwegian companies. Offenders have picked out those most likely to be able to pay.”


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or 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)


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Leftism rots the brain (again)

There is a program being shown shortly on British TV about the connection between race and IQ. So Britain's most widely circulated "quality" newspaper has published an anticipatory article on the subject by a Professor of Genetics at a prestigious British university: University College, London. From the personal particulars he mentions, one gathers that he is also a long-time Leftist activist.

Quite unsurprisingly, he pooh-poohs the idea of any connection between race and IQ. But in the article he makes not one single reference to any scientific fact (despite over 100 years of academic research on the subject) and his only criticism of those who say that there is a connection between race and IQ seems to be that they are all elderly (which is not true and even if it were, so what?). Can academic standards get any lower than that? To read such schoolboyish amateurism from an eminent professor of genetics is about the clearest demonstration one could ask of the fact that the "all men are equal" crowd have lost the intellectual argument. All they have to fall back on is crude political polemics.

Insofar as one can detect any argument at all in his article, he seems to be saying that the unfailingly low standard of average black educational achievement is due to poor education -- quite ignoring the fact that American educators are at their wits' end in trying to find anything that will budge the black/white "gap" in attainment. If our twitchingly Leftist professor of genetics can find ANYTHING that will get blacks achieving at anywhere near white levels he will get a Nobel prize (not that that means much these days).

Our sad professor explains high Asian academic achievement by the "push" that they get from their families. And there is a similar article here which proclaims that low black educational attainment is due to "absent" black fathers. There is a small grain of truth in that. Parental pressure can indeed raise educational achievement to some degree. But since our unscientific professor's article consists mainly of anecdotes, perhaps I can offer a counter-anecdote. Let me in fact offer two anecdotes to show that parental pressure is only a minor factor in intellectual attainment:

My son had zero pressure on him during his schooling and I was an "absent father" throughout. His mother and I split up in the same year that he began school. But he was always a couple of years ahead of his class in reading age and now has a first class honours degree in Mathematics from a distinguished university and is well set for an academic career. How come? I am a high-achieving academic and he has academic genes. He didn't need pushing. He mainly just coasted but the work was easy for him so he still did well.

And I myself grew up in a working class family, which, like most such families, had no expectations of high achievements among its children, and I was in fact discouraged from continuing my education beyond junior school. But my parents were both great readers of books and both had siblings who did exceptionally well at school. So I obviously got good genes from them which enabled me also to cruise and still do well academically.

Explanations for low black achievement in terms of black family patterns do have one virtue: Black families are not going to change any time soon so if that is the problem, we have to conclude that the attainment "gap" is immovable. And it is immovable, though not for that reason.


Decline is a choice. Retreat abroad begins at home

By: Charles Krauthammer

This is not the place to debate the intrinsic merits of the social democratic versus the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism. There's much to be said for the decency and relative equity of social democracy. But it comes at a cost: Diminished social mobility, higher unemployment, less innovation, less dynamism and creative destruction, less overall economic growth.

This affects the ability to project power. Growth provides the sinews of dominance--the ability to maintain a large military establishment capable of projecting power to all corners of the earth.... The express agenda of the New Liberalism is a vast expansion of social services--massive intervention and expenditures in energy, health care, and education--that will necessarily, as in Europe, take away from defense spending.

This shift in resources is not hypothetical. It has already begun. At a time when hundreds of billions of dollars are being lavished on stimulus and other appropriations in an endless array of domestic programs, the defense budget is practically frozen. Almost every other department is expanding, and the Defense Department is singled out for making "hard choices"--forced to look everywhere for cuts, to abandon highly advanced weapons systems, to choose between readiness and research, between today's urgencies and tomorrow's looming threats.

For example, missile defense, in which the United States has a great technological edge and one perfectly designed to maintain American preeminence in a century that will be dominated by the ballistic missile. Missile defense is actually being cut.

The number of interceptors in Alaska to defend against a North Korean attack has been reduced, and the airborne laser program (the most promising technology for a boost-phase antiballistic missile) has been cut back at the same time that the federal education budget has been increased 100 percent in one year.

This preference for social goods over security needs is not just evident in budgetary allocations and priorities. It is seen, for example, in the liberal preference for environmental goods. By prohibiting the drilling of offshore and Arctic deposits, the United States is voluntarily denying itself access to vast amounts of oil that would relieve dependency on--and help curb the wealth and power of--various petro-dollar challengers, from Iran to Venezuela to Russia. Again, we can argue whether the environment versus security trade-off is warranted. But there is no denying that there is a trade-off.

Nor are these the only trade-offs. Primacy in space--a galvanizing symbol of American greatness, so deeply understood and openly championed by John Kennedy--is gradually being relinquished. In the current reconsideration of all things Bush, the idea of returning to the moon in the next decade is being jettisoned.

After next September, the space shuttle will never fly again, and its replacement is being reconsidered and delayed. That will leave the United States totally incapable of returning even to near-Earth orbit, let alone to the moon. Instead, for years to come, we shall be entirely dependent on the Russians, or perhaps eventually even the Chinese.

Of course, if one's foreign policy is to reject the very notion of international primacy in the first place, a domestic agenda that takes away the resources to maintain such primacy is perfectly complementary. Indeed, the two are synergistic. Renunciation of primacy abroad provides the added resources for more social goods at home. To put it in the language of the 1990s, the expanded domestic agenda is fed by a peace dividend--except that in the absence of peace, it is a retreat dividend.

And there's the rub. For the Europeans there really is a peace dividend, because we provide the peace. They can afford social democracy without the capacity to defend themselves because they can always depend on the United States.

So why not us as well? Because what for Europe is decadence--decline, in both comfort and relative safety--is for us mere denial. Europe can eat, drink, and be merry for America protects her. But for America it's different. If we choose the life of ease, who stands guard for us? ...

So why not? Why not choose ease and bask in the adulation of the world as we serially renounce, withdraw, and concede?

Because, while globalization has produced in some the illusion that human nature has changed, it has not. The international arena remains a Hobbesian state of nature in which countries naturally strive for power. If we voluntarily renounce much of ours, others will not follow suit. They will fill the vacuum. Inevitably, an inversion of power relations will occur.

Resistance to decline begins with moral self-confidence and will. But maintaining dominance is a matter not just of will but of wallet. We are not inherently in economic decline. We have the most dynamic, innovative, technologically advanced economy in the world. We enjoy the highest productivity.

It is true that in the natural and often painful global division of labor wrought by globalization, less skilled endeavors like factory work migrate abroad, but America more than compensates by pioneering the newer technologies and industries of the information age.

There are, of course, major threats to the American economy. But there is nothing inevitable and inexorable about them. Take, for example, the threat to the dollar (as the world's reserve currency) that comes from our massive trade deficits. Here again, the China threat is vastly exaggerated.

In fact, fully two-thirds of our trade imbalance comes from imported oil. This is not a fixed fact of life. We have a choice. We have it in our power, for example, to reverse the absurd de facto 30-year ban on new nuclear power plants. We have it in our power to release huge domestic petroleum reserves by dropping the ban on offshore and Arctic drilling. We have it in our power to institute a serious gasoline tax (refunded immediately through a payroll tax reduction) to curb consumption and induce conservation.

Nothing is written. Nothing is predetermined. We can reverse the slide, we can undo dependence if we will it.




Obama's big change: He moves America to the Right: "As promised, Barack Obama is bringing change to America. He's making it more Republican. It's not that more people are actually becoming Republicans or calling themselves Republicans -- the number of voters who formally identify with the party is at its lowest point in years. But we appear to be in the early stages of a shift in which political independents, people who not too long ago were sick of Republicans, are now leaning toward GOP positions on some key issues. They still call themselves independents, but they're worried by the left-leaning policies of President Obama and the Democratic Congress, especially on the economy. "The middle, which wanted to move away from George W. Bush, did not want to move this far left," says a Republican pollster who is tracking the shift. "They are tending to agree with what Republicans are saying more and more, despite the previous eight years."

Something really scary for Obama's Democrats: "The collapse of the Democratic campaign for governor of Virginia speaks volumes - chapters, anyway - about what the body politic is trying to tell Barack Obama's Democrats. They're learning, painfully, that campaigning without George W. Bush is baffling, frustrating and scary. Worse, it offers a preview of what the congressional campaigning will be like next year. One Obama doorbell ringer, working neighborhoods in Northern Virginia for Creigh Deeds, says even the promise of free pizza can't lure faithful Democrats to a rally."

Read the bills? How about reading the Constitution?: "You can live in this town for years and still occasionally find yourself gobsmacked by what counts as "normal" by Washington standards. Take the ongoing debate over whether it's fair for us to expect our elected representatives to read the laws they pass and expect us to follow. Recently, Sen. Thomas Carper, D-DE, and Rep. John Conyers, D-MI, scoffed at the idea that they should read the health care legislation working its way through Congress (hey, it's only a matter of life and death). That attitude has inspired the "Read to Vote" campaign--designed to get congressmen to pledge to "read every word of every bill before casting my vote." Is reading the cap and trade bill tough? Tough. If you're planning to regulate every industrial process in America, you may have to do some heavy slogging. It's said that the Roman emperor Caligula posted new laws high on the columns of buildings so citizens couldn't read them and figure out how to avoid their penalties. He could have achieved the same effect by covering the country with such a dense thicket of rules that no one could tell what the law commands. Legend has it that Caligula also made his favorite horse a senator. Considering how lightly most of our legislators take their constitutional obligations, you could probably do worse."

Corrupt agency finally in the gun: "The government's legal aid program for the poor has agreed to recover taxpayer money that it spent inappropriately on a decorative Italian-stone wall, but lawmakers in Congress are now pressing for an investigation into new whistleblower concerns about the program. The Washington Times reported earlier this year that the Legal Services Corp. (LSC) had spent $188,000 on imported Italian stone to decorate a Texas office, an expenditure that auditors later ruled was unjustifiable. But LSC officials will face a congressional panel Tuesday with members who still have concerns with the agency's spending habits and management. The federally funded legal aid program has been dogged for years with questions about how it spends its money, which has included providing its executives with limousine transportation from its Georgetown headquarters to Capitol Hill, $14 Death by Chocolate pastries, and first-class airfare. LSC received $390 million in federal funding in 2009; President Obama asked Congress to give LSC $440 million for 2010, an 11 percent increase, and also eliminate several restrictions governing how LSC can use its money."

Obama the golfer: "President Barack Obama has only been in office for just over nine months, but he's already hit the links as much as President Bush did in over two years. CBS' Mark Knoller — an unofficial documentarian and statistician of all things White House-related — wrote on his Twitter feed that, "Today - Obama ties Pres. Bush in the number of rounds of golf played in office: 24. Took Bush 2 yrs & 10 months." Lots of time to golf... not enough time to decide our Afghanistan policy or send much needed troops to the region..."

Kiss and tell: UK census wants to know your sleeping partner: "Here is some sound advice for anyone having an illicit love affair: if you do not want to be found out, do not arrange to sleep together on the night of March 27-28 2011. That is the night when the Government is going to count the British population, creating a precise, comprehensive record of who was sleeping where, how old they were, what ethnic background they came from, and what kind of central heating kept them warm that night. The 2011 census is already being called a ’snoopers’ charter.’ It is certainly going to give everyone an incentive not to lay their head to rest in the wrong house, at least for that one night. The Conservatives complained yesterday that the 32-page questionnaire is too long, too expensive, and likely to undermine public support for the exercise, especially since anyone who does not fill in the form risks a £1,000 fine. They will be sent out by post but it will be possible to fill them in online.”

Memo to Obama: Capitalism trumps racism: "A new political thriller from PBS, ‘Endgame,’ provides the little-known, true back story of apartheid’s end in South Africa, with credit given to a for-profit mining company. Foreseeing that deteriorating conditions in South Africa would likely result in a total loss of their assets, Consolidated Goldfields initiated secret discussions between representatives of the white South African government and the exiled black African National Congress (ANC), paid for and hosted at the company’s estate in England. These talks resulted in Nelson Mandela’s being set free after nearly 30 years in prison, and the public promise by South African President F.W. de Klerk to end the government-sanctioned system of discrimination known as apartheid. Thus, Malcolm X had it completely wrong when he opined: ‘You can’t have capitalism without racism.’”

So, what’s it all about, this neo-liberalism stuff, then?: "So let’s play a little game shall we? Yes, we are indeed the evil cabal that has imposed neo-liberalism upon the world in recent decades. Yes, it is indeed all our fault: the current recession, the globalisation, the insistence upon light regulation, privatisation, freer trade if no one is quite ready for free trade yet. Yup, it’s us, the neo-liberals, teaming up with the Illuminati, the Rosicrucians and whoever Dan Brown is going to write about next to bend the globe to our will. So what’s it all about then? Other, of course, than the intense pleasure of the exercise of power over mere mortals? This actually …. world poverty rates fell by 80% from 27% in 1970 to slightly more than 5% in 2006. … The corresponding total number of poor fell from 403 million in 1970 to 152 million in 2006.”


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or 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)


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In 1942, it came down to one Marine


It's hard to envision -- or, for the dwindling few, to remember -- what the world looked like on Oct. 26, 1942, when a few thousand U.S. Marines stood essentially stranded on the God-forsaken jungle island of Guadalcanal, placed like a speed bump at the end of the long blue-water slot between New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago, the most likely route for the Japanese Navy to take if they hoped to reach Australia.

On Guadalcanal, the Marines struggled to complete an airfield. Japanese Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto knew what that meant. No effort would be spared to dislodge these upstart Yanks. Before long, relentless Japanese counterattacks had driven supporting U.S. Navy vessels from inshore waters. The Marines were on their own.

As Platoon Sgt. Mitchell Paige and his 33 riflemen set about carefully placing their four water-cooled .30-caliber Brownings, manning their section of the thin khaki line that was expected to defend Henderson Field against the assault everyone expected on the night of Oct. 25, 1942, it's unlikely anyone thought they were about to provide the definitive answer to what had previously been a mainly theoretical question: How many able-bodied U.S. Marines does it take to hold a hill against a desperate attacking force of 2,000?

Nor did the commanders of the mighty Japanese Army, who had swept all before them for decades -- OK, they decided not to push Marshall Zhukov any further in Manchuria -- expect their advance to be halted on some God-forsaken jungle ridge manned by one thin line of Yanks in khaki in October 1942.

But by the time the night was over, "The 29th (Japanese) Infantry Regiment has lost 553 killed or missing and 479 wounded among its 2,554 men," writes naval historian David Lippman. "The 16th (Japanese) Regiment's losses are uncounted, but the 164th's burial parties handled 975 Japanese bodies. ... The American estimate of 2,200 Japanese dead is probably too low."

You've already figured out where the Japanese focused their attack, haven't you? Among the 90 American dead and seriously wounded that night were all the men in Mitchell Paige's platoon. As the night of endless attacks wore on, Paige moved up and down his line, pulling his dead and wounded comrades back into their foxholes and firing a few bursts from each of the four Brownings in turn, convincing the Japanese forces down the hill that the positions were still manned.

The citation for Paige's Medal of Honor picks up the tale: "When the enemy broke through the line directly in front of his position, P/Sgt. Paige, commanding a machine gun section with fearless determination, continued to direct the fire of his gunners until all his men were either killed or wounded. Alone, against the deadly hail of Japanese shells, he fought with his gun, and when it was destroyed, took over another, moving from gun to gun, never ceasing his withering fire."

In the end, Sgt. Paige picked up the last of the 40-pound, belt-fed Brownings -- the same design which John Moses Browning famously fired for a continuous 25 minutes until it ran out of ammunition, glowing cherry red, at its first U.S. Army trial -- and did something for which the weapon was never designed. Sgt. Paige walked down the hill toward the place where he could hear the last Japanese survivors rallying to move around his flank, the belt-fed gun cradled under his arm, firing as he went. And the weapon did not fail.

Coming up at dawn, battalion exec Maj. Odell M. Conoley was first to discover the answer to our question. On a hill where the bodies were piled like cordwood, Mitchell Paige, alone, sat upright behind his 30-caliber Browning, waiting to see what the dawn would bring. One hill. One Marine.

But "in the early morning light, the enemy could be seen a few yards off, and vapor from the barrels of their machine guns was clearly visible," reports Lippman, the historian. "It was decided to try to rush the position."

For the task, Maj. Conoley gathered together "three enlisted communication personnel, several riflemen, a few company runners who were at the point, together with a cook and a few messmen who had brought food to the position the evening before." Joined by Paige, this ad hoc force of 17 Marines counterattacked at 5:40 a.m. Discovering that "the extremely short range allowed the optimum use of grenades," they cleared the ridge.

And that's where the unstoppable wave of Japanese conquest finally crested, broke and began to recede. Sixty-seven years ago, on an unnamed ridge on an insignificant jungle island. But who remembers, today, how close-run a thing it was -- or why we found ourselves in such desperate straits in 1942? .....

But once, 85 long years ago, the arrogant victorious allies quibbled about whether bankrupt Germany should be made to pay them $4 billion or $10 billion in reparations over the next 60 years, as frustrated German veterans in Bavaria grew fed up and marched down to join the German Workers' Party, an outfit that promised them a rebirth of Aryan glory, a "New Deal," if you will.

Once, those who sought "peace, peace at any price" sold scrap steel to the Japanese, attended "peace conferences," stood by and hoped for the best as Hitler re-militarized the Rhineland and then grabbed Austria and the Sudentenland in what we now know were a series of huge bluffs -- the fuhrer started out using "tanks" that would barely have stood up to a cap pistol.

We gave away our advantages, one by one, based on our trust in the good will of man. Till it came down to one Marine. Shall we have to cut it that close, again?

More here



My granddaughter, Ashley is a recent college grad. She drives a flashy hybrid car, wears all the latest fashions, and loves to go out to nightclubs and restaurants. Ashley campaigned hard for Barack Obama. After the election she made sure I (and all other Republican family members) received a big I told-you-so earful on how the world is going to be a much better place now that her party is taking over.

Having lost both roommates, Ashley recently ran short of cash and cannot pay the rent (again) on her 3 bedroom townhouse. Like she has done many times in the past, she e-mailed me asking for some financial help. Here is my reply:

I received your request for assistance.

Ashley, you know I love you dearly and I’m sympathetic to your financial plight. Unfortunately, times have changed. With the election of President Obama, your grandmother and I have had to set forth a bold new economic plan of our own…”The Ashley Economic Empowerment Plan.” Let me explain.

Your grandmother and I are life-long, wage-earning tax payers. We have lived a comfortable life, as you know, but we have never had the fancier things like European vacations, luxury cars, etc. We have worked hard and were looking forward to retiring soon. But the plan has changed. Your president is raising our personal and business taxes significantly. He says it is so he can give our hard earned money to other people. Do you know what this means, Ashley? It means less for us, and we must cut back on many business and personal expenses.

You know the wonderful receptionist who worked in my office for more than 23 years? The one who always gave you candy when you came over to visit? I had to let her go last week. I can’t afford to pay her salary and all of the government mandated taxes that go with having employees. Your grandmother will now work 4 days a week to answer phones, take orders and handle the books. We will be closed on Fridays and will lose even more income to the Wal-Mart.

I’m also very sorry to report that your cousin Frank will no longer be working summers in the warehouse. I called him at school this morning. He already knows about it and he’s upset because he will have to give up skydiving and his yearly trip to Greenland to survey the polar bears.

That’s just the business side of things. Some personal economic effects of Obama’s new taxation policies include none other than you. You know very well that over the years your grandmother and I have given you thousands of dollars in cash, tuition assistance, food, housing, clothing, gifts, etc., etc. But by your vote, you have chosen to help others — not at your expense — but at our expense.

If you need money now, sweetheart, I recommend you call 202-456-1111. That is the direct phone number for the White House. You yourself told me how foolish it is to vote Republican. You said Mr. Obama is going to be the People’s President, and is going to help every American live a better life. Based on everything you’ve told me, along with all the promises we heard during the campaign, I’m sure Mr. Obama will be happy to transfer some stimulus money into your bank account. Have him call me for the account number which I memorized years ago.

Perhaps you can now understand what I’ve been saying all my life: those who vote for a president should consider the impact on the nation as a whole, and not be just concerned with what they can get for themselves. What Obama supporters don’t seem to realize is all of the money he is redistributing to illegal aliens and non-taxpaying Americans (the so-called “less fortunate”) comes from tax-paying families.

Remember how you told me, “Only the richest of the rich will be affected”? Well guess what, honey? Because we own a business, your grandmother and I are now considered to be the richest of the rich. On paper, it might look that way, but in the real world, we are far from it.

As you said while campaigning for Obama, some people will have to carry more of the burden so all of America can prosper. You understand what that means, right? It means that raising taxes on productive people results in them having less money; less money for everything, including granddaughters.

I’m sorry, Ashley, but the well has run dry. The free lunches are over. I have no money to give you now. So, congratulations on your choice for “change.” For future reference, I encourage you to try and add up the total value of the gifts and cash you have received from us, just since you went off to college, and compare it to what you expect to get from Mr. Obama over the next 4 (or 8) years. I have not kept track of it, Ashley. It has all truly been the gift of our hearts.

Remember, we love you dearly….but from now on you’ll need to call the number mentioned above. Your “Savior” has the money we would have given to you. Just try and get it from him.

Good luck, sweetheart.

Love, Grandpa




I have just put up here a once-famous 1936 essay by W.T. Stace called "THE SNOBBISHNESS OF THE LEARNED". He expresses views that have long been mine also.

NASA is “go” for crucial rocket test: "NASA is set to blast off a prototype rocket on Tuesday that carries hopes of returning humans to the Moon, and for the first time to Mars, despite deep uncertainty about the program’s future. The space agency said everything is in order for Tuesday’s two-minute, 30-second test of the Ares I-X rocket, a first look at the launch vehicle designed to replace NASA’s aging space shuttle fleet.”

OK: New abortion laws spark court battles: "Two new laws being challenged in the Oklahoma courts would give the state some of the strictest abortion laws in the country by forcing women to answer questions about race and their relationships, and to listen to a doctor talk them through an ultrasound. Legal challenges to the laws are in their early stages, but observers say the trajectory of cases could mirror that of the partial-birth abortion debate, which went through Nebraska courts and was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court before Congress made it a federal law that was upheld in 2007…. Opponents of the laws say they were drafted to make a woman’s already difficult decision to have an abortion even more difficult.”

The best plan: No plan: "A guy in Florida, who figured out a new way to keep bugs off his oranges, made it happen. But not by himself. A guy who started a little trucking company in Texas, who figured out how to make things run just a bit faster and more efficiently, made it happen. But not by himself. A farmer in Iowa, who put in the extra time to cultivate that extra field, made it happen. But not by himself. Millions of individuals, not governed or guided by any central plan, most of them not even aware of the rest of the picture, made it happen. But if there was no master plan making them all do what they do, and making them all work together in harmony, what could possibly have made it all work? Simple: the quest for personal gain.”

Kemp’s keys: "I believe that free-market capitalism — on the supply-side and along with King Dollar — is the best path to prosperity. That’s the model my late dear friend Jack Kemp successfully espoused to President Reagan more than 30 years ago. It’s the incentive model of economic growth. It conquered the inflation of the Carter years, and launched a 20-year prosperity that saw the creation of 45 million new jobs and a twelve-fold stock market increase. It’s the model that expanded the investor class to 100 million strong through the Clinton 1990s. I spoke this week at the launch of the Jack Kemp Foundation in Washington, and I emphasized this model along with the universal, timeless economic principles on which it is based. Today this model seems all but forgotten in the nation’s capital, but I firmly believe it is just what we need to reignite American economic growth and exceptionalism.”


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or 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)


Monday, October 26, 2009

America’s Obama Obsession - Anatomy of a Passing Hysteria

Victor Davis Hanson

For 30 months the nation has been in the grip of a certain Obama obsession, immune to countervailing facts, unwilling to face reality, and loath to break the spell. But like all trances, the fit is passing, and we the patient are beginning to appreciate how the stupor came upon us, why it lifted, and what its consequences have been.


Barack Obama was elected rather easily because, in perfect-storm fashion, five separate trends coalesced last autumn.

1) Obama was eloquent, young, charismatic — and African-American. He thus offered voters a sense of personal and collective redemption, as well as appealing to the longing for another JFK New Frontier figure. An image, not necessarily reality, trumped all.

2) After the normal weariness with eight years of an incumbent party and the particular unhappiness with Bush, the public was amenable to an antithesis. Bush was to be scapegoat, and Obama the beginning of the catharsis.

3) Obama ran as both a Clintonite centrist and a no-red-state/no-blue-state healer who had transcended bitter partisanship. That assurance allowed voters to believe that his occasional talk of big change was more cosmetic than radical.

4) John McCain ran a weak campaign that neither energized his base nor appealed to crossover independents. McCain turned off conservatives; many failed to give money, and some even stayed home on election day. Meanwhile, the media and centrists who used to idolize McCain’s non-conservative, maverick status found Obama the more endearing non-conservative maverick.

5) The September 2008 financial panic turned voters off Wall Street and the wealthy, and allowed them to connect unemployment and their depleted home equity and 401(k) retirement plans with incumbent Republicans. In contrast, they assumed that Obama, as the anti-Bush, would not do more bailouts, more stimuli, and more big borrowing.

Take away any one of those factors, and Obama might well have lost. Imagine what might have happened had Obama been a dreary old white guy like John Kerry; or had Bush’s approvals been over 50 percent; or had Obama run on the platform he is now governing on; or had McCain crafted a dynamic campaign; or had the panic occurred in January 2009 rather than September 2008. Then the trance would have passed, and Obama, the Chicago community organizer and three-year veteran of the U.S. Senate, would have probably lost his chance at remaking America.


I note all this at length because Obama seems to act as if this right-center country — one that polls oppositely to his positions on most of the major issues (deficits, spending, nationalized health care, homeland security, Guantanamo, cap-and-trade, etc.) — has given him a mandate for a degree of change not seen in nearly 80 years.

Apparently, Team Obama figured that with sizable majorities in both the House and the Senate, Obama would snap his fingers, Congress daily would pass bills redefining America, and Obama would stay in perpetual campaign mode to hope and change the country to accept his agenda. Governing would be like campaigning, as audiences fainted hearing the details of a 1,500-page health-care bill or of ever more sins from America’s past.

But, after just a few months in office, that proved not to be the case. Just as a number of planets had to line up precisely to allow an inexperienced hard-left ideologue to be elected president, so there would have had to be a similar configuration to allow him to govern successfully.


1) Obama had to match his unity rhetoric with brotherly action. In fact, he has done the opposite. At one time or another, Obama and his supporters have, rather scurrilously, insulted doctors, insurers, the police, tea-partiers and town-hallers, opponents of his health-care plan, non-compliant members of the media, and a host of other groups as either greedy, dishonest, treasonous, unpatriotic, moblike, racist, or in general worthy of disrespect.

Fewer and fewer Americans now believe that Obama — after just nine months of governance — is a uniter. In Obama’s world, doctors carve out children’s tonsils for profit, racist morons rant at legislators about losing their private health care, and trillions in borrowed money must be paid back by the greedy rich whose capital was unearned in the first place.

When his base supporters lambaste him for softness, they are lamenting his inability to become an effective partisan — not a lack of partisanship in general. In surreal fashion, liberals demand that the ideologue Obama become more ideological precisely at the time his ideologically driven agenda is souring millions of non-ideological Americans.

2) His opposition is no longer ossified, but decentralized and grass roots. One of the oddest proofs of that statement is the sudden leftist furor at tea parties, town halls, the media, dissent, and free speech. As long as Obama was opposed by calcified Republicans in Congress, there was no real danger to him. But once the opposition proved populist, panicked liberal elites started demonizing populism — and Obama now finds himself opposed to the popular grievance-mongering that was once the mother’s milk of our Chicago organizer’s existence.

3) Obama campaigned on the notion that even if voters might not like his policies, they most assuredly would like him. Even that spell is now lifting. The more the American public gets to know Barack Obama, the less they find him appealing.

On matters racial, their campaign-season unease with his connection to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his toss-offs like “typical white person,” and his stereotyping of rural Pennsylvanians has not been allayed; rather, it has been amplified by Eric Holder’s Justice Department, Obama’s own statement that the Cambridge police acted “stupidly” in arresting Professor Gates, and the use of the race card by prominent Democrats from the likes of Rep. Charles Rangel to Gov. David Paterson of New York.

Much of the newly stirred public suddenly assumes two things from the Obama administration: that the president himself will periodically say something racially insensitive or unwise; and that his supporters will call opponents of his policies racist. If we have wearied of all that in nine months, think what four years of it will do to the public mood.

More here


How to deal with an angry Leftist

From a conservative bookstore proprietor

A woman came in last night looking for a book by some feminist author that I had never heard of before, no big surprise there. So, I look it up in our search engine and the computer says that we might have it in the store. MIGHT have it, not WILL. So I tell her that I can check our inventory and see if it’s there and show her the section it would be in.

“No, that’s fine, I’ll find it myself. I’m going to look around a bit first”

Ten minutes later, as I’m showing another customer to 1984 I run across her in Literature looking around and she barges in to the conversation I’m having with my customer and sneers “Where is the section on Women’s rights?” I tell her again “It’s upstairs and I’ll be happy to take you to it as soon as I am done here.”

“No, I can fine it myself.” Note the lack of a ‘thank you’.

Sooo, as you can probably guess, I end up helping another customer find the Christianity section, which is upstairs, and as we get to the top of the escalator that same woman is standing in the middle of Independent Readers YELLING “Is there SOMEONE ACTUALLY WORKING here who can HELP ME!!!!”

Once again (because we were slammed with customers) I offer to show her the section and she is bitching the whole way about how the women’s studies section should be near the front of the store because it’s so important and how this author’s book should be on display because she’s doing a signing tour in California right now and she’s a NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST!!

Well, we get there and we have no copies. She flips her sh*t over it and repeats how wonderful this writer is and how we should all be required to read her crap and then says “Why don’t you have 900 copies here?!?! You have plenty of room! Her book should be displayed all over the store to inspire women everywhere about what they can do!”

I had to. I know it was wrong but what can you do when the set up is that perfect? “Well, ma’am, we were going to but we’re saving that spot for Sarah Palin.”



Where Are the Defenders of Capitalism?

When the “New Deal” is taught in public schools around the nation, students are told that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s big government programs were there to “save capitalism.” And when George W. Bush pushed for bailouts and stimuli at the end of his term, he stated, “I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.”

Now, Americans have elected a president who has taken the stance that private companies have failed at healthcare, pollution control, automobile manufacturing, banking, and fiscal solvency during this recession. And Barack Obama has threatened a government healthcare takeover, costly cap-and-tax restrictions, and draconian bank regulations along with more bailouts and trillion-dollar, deficit exploding stimuli.

So now the left and Michael Moore are helping Obama bury the free-market system by asking rhetorically, with a clear alternative in mind, “What is the price that America pays for its love of Capitalism?” But the real question should be: “Where are the defenders of capitalism and free-markets?”

Capitalism assumes that markets have “free competition.” That means for a business to succeed, it does so without the help or hindrance of government coercion.

Many of those who blame capitalism for this recession use businessmen and capitalists as their scapegoat. But the truth is, these powerful individuals are anything but champions for the system that has made them rich.

For example, in last week’s Slate column Eliot Spitzer wrote "The chamber [of commerce] remains an unabashed voice for the libertarian worldview that caused the most catastrophic economic meltdown since the Great Depression.” When the truth is, as Timothy P. Carney at the Washington Examiner reports, “The Chamber lobbied for the Great Wall Street Bailout, lobbied for the $787 billion stimulus bill, and supported a bigger Cash-for-Clunkers.”

The unprecedented massive new growth in government has changed “market-entrepreneurs” into “political-entrepreneurs.” In other words, money-hungry businessmen can do far better lobbying a few politicians with the power to allocate billions (now trillions), then trying to please millions of private individuals who each may spend thousands.

In the past, the champions of capitalism become winners by satisfying consumers with products that people want to buy. The apologists for the new big government system become winners by satisfying politicians by delivering bribes and campaign contributions (but, I repeat myself) that directly result in votes.

In short, the real culprit is not true capitalism; it is the political “pay-to-play” perversion of capitalism. The reason big government destroys productivity and wealth is that it causes efficient resources and capital to be shifted towards political favoritism and lobbying. Every single dollar that is spent taking a congressman out to dinner or a junket (excuse me, “fact-finding trip”), could have been used to expand production or create a new and exciting product.

During the Great Depression it was Objectivist Ayn Rand and economist Ludwig von Mises that stepped up to the plate to defend capitalism. So, where are our defenders of capitalism today? Well, you needn’t bother sending Diogenes to Wall Street.




I have put up a fair bit up on my Paralipomena blog recently, for those who find what I post there interesting. I don't call myself a Greenie but I must say that my latest post there has got me fuming. I also wonder whether anyone looks at my Homepage (Backup here). Some of the links on it have been dead for over a year and nobody has mentioned it to me so I gather that it must be pretty boring. Anyway I have just updated all the links on it (I think and hope) so it is at least fully usable again.

Reality: It's a bitch: "The discussion began with our Left-leaning friend saying that we need stringent government regulation of, well just about everything, in order to protect the Little Guy from rapacious Big Boys with lots of power. To do this we had to give the State lots and lots of power to counter-balance the Big Guys out to hurt the Little Guy. It's a pretty standard argument from the Left. My reply was what I would call Libertarianism 101. Simply put, I argued that history has shown that when the State is given such powers it is rarely used to protect Little Guy. Instead Mr. Politician conspires with Big Guy to use the new fangled powers in order to make life for Mr. Politician and Big Guy better at the expense of Little Guy."

The trouble with unions: "The underlying trouble with unionization is its ability to capture government, particulary when that industry is so protectected by the government. Ironically many on the left - often quite rightly - disparage the relationship between big business and government, but they also need to accept that many unions behave no better. The problem in both instances is not the survival and expansionist interests of business and unions, but the power of the government to regulate and discriminate."

And the worst airport in the world is in Delhi? No: In London: "Heathrow airport has again been voted the worst airport in the world, according to a global poll of airline passengers. The survey of members of Priority Pass, the world's leading independent airport lounge programme, included responses from 160 countries. The respondents to the annual survey have taken, on average, 17 flights in the past year. It is a repeat of last year's result when Heathrow was still recovering from the ill-fated opening of Terminal 5, which saw passengers suffer lengthy flight delays and large numbers of lost bags. “We are working very hard to make every passenger's journey to or from better than the last one, and these figures demonstrate the we are making good progress,” said the airport's chief operating office Mike Brown. “However, the challenge is continuously to raise standards and through our long-term investment strategy, which sees £1 billion spent on facilities and services every year, we are rebuilding an airport of which the UK can be rightly proud." Charles de Gaulle airport, in Paris, was voted second worst, followed by Los Angeles, Frankfurt International and Miami International. Singapore Changi, a perennial favourite, finished top, followed closely by Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok. Amsterdam Schiphol was the pick of Europe's airports."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc. He has a lot to say this time about the appearance of the British National Party on BBC TV.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or 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)