January 2005

Last April I read a Victor Hanson article that listed TWA 800 amongst other terror attacks. Since the official explanation was that TWA 800 was brought down by a fuel tank explosion, I queried the inclusion of TWA 800 in such a list. Mr. Hanson replied saying “We do not know exactly what caused the mysterious and spontaneous explosion of flight 800 and therefore I was remiss at this time to include it among the other confirmed accounts of terrorist murdering, for which I stand corrected.” I’ve been skeptical of the official line and
Jim Miller links to a Frontpage interview with Peter Lance that makes me even more skeptical.

Which is more likely? 1) After logging millions of hours in the air without incident a 747 is blown out of the sky by a spontaneous fuel tank explosion, or 2) After repeated attempts to blow up a passenger aircraft, one of which nearly brought down a 747, Al Qaeda succeeds. Peter Lance makes a good case for option 2.

The puzzling thing is why the Bush administration has been reluctant to pursue leads that would put the Clinton administration in the dock for 9/11. But the problem is that the very agencies that would need to do the leg-work are hopelessly compromised and riddled with officials whose primary operating mode is CYA. The 9/11 Commission itself suffers from the same problems, as Lance notes. For me, the presence of Jamie Gorelick on the Commission proved that was a CYA operation.


The election coverage showed women lining up to vote in large numbers, despite the terrorist threats. Cori Dawber of Ranting Profs in her critique of the NYT coverage notes and quotes a fascinating insight into how they solved the problem of searching women voters;

By the way, there’s something in this article that doesn’t speak to warning but that really speaks to the bravery and commitment of Iraqi women, and that I’ve seen reported nowhere else:

Every soldier on election duty heard intelligence warnings that insurgents would try to slip bomb-laden suicide vests into polling places beneath the long gowns of an Iraqi woman or of a man in woman’s clothing. That presented a particular difficulty in a society where it is not acceptable for a man to search a woman, and there were hardly enough women in the Iraqi Interior Ministry to spend a day at every polling site conducting body searches.

But American officers devised a solution. They agreed on a plan with Iraqi security forces, who were the visible presence inside each polling place, that one of the first women to arrive at larger polling places would be searched, and that woman would in turn be asked to search 10 others. One of those 10 would then search 10 others before voting, and so on in a daisy chain.

That is simply staggering. Remember that in all but one case, when the suicide bombers went, it was the people patting them down they took with them. This procedure, creative though it was, essentially meant a mass deputization of the Iraqi female population. With all the talk of the Iraqi security services showing up in ski masks, these women were called upon to protect the polling places on the spot, in front of their neighbors, with no way to hide their identities, and in a position that was undeniably on the front lines. And apparently a good many of them did it.

That is commitment to democracy. And it should embarrass every American who skips an election from this point on.

Hey, Mr. Mineta, maybe that’s how you can solve the airport security mess – let the passengers do the searching. On second thoughts, maybe not such a great idea.

None. Can they give credit where credit is due? Not if W is the man. Kennedy would leave the Iraqi people as soon and as deceptively as he left Mary Jo Kopechne to drown. Kerry would bail even sooner, judging by his performance this evening on the news circuits, such as would have him.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi people celebrate their first free election since Saddam did an Adolf and took control. Will either Massachusetts’ Senators celebrate with them? Don’t hold your breath.

The Diplomad tears apart the latest scaremongering from the International Climate Change Taskforce with able assistance from Tim Worstall at Tech Central. Particularly on point is their critique of the arbitrary starting point of 1750 AD chosen by the task force as their baseline. The task force report says:

“On the basis of an extensive review of the relevant scientific literature, we propose a long-term objective of preventing average global surface temperature from rising by more than 2°C (3.6°F) above its pre-industrial level (taken as the level in 1750, when carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations first began to rise appreciably as a result of human activities).

Worstall’s response is devastating:

Allow me to translate that for you. We have decided to take an arbitrary number, 2 °C, set the baseline at the bottom of the Little Ice Age, immediately after the Maunder Minimum, mix in every scare story we can think of to scare the fecal matter out of you rubes and if you don’t listen carefully to us important people we’ll hold our breaths until we turn blue. (We might also note that no one, no one at all, thinks that human influence on the climate started in 1750 AD. Try 8,000 BC with the invention of agriculture.)

Meanwhile, Tim Blair cites a report that man’s influence on the climate started even before the invention of agriculture. The Australian Aboriginals, starting 50,000 years ago, burnt out Australia. In the process, they converted Australia’s ecology to one that depends on frequent bush fires.

If this International Climate Change Taskforce wants a baseline they should use the Last Glacial Maximum. That was about 21,000 years ago when the global ice extent was at its greatest. Those were not good times for Gaia, as this overview of climate change over recent geological time notes:

The Last Glacial Maximum was much more arid than present almost everywhere, with desert and semi-desert occupying huge areas of the continents and forests shrunk back into refugia. But in fact, the greatest global aridity (rather than ice extent) may have been reached slightly after the Last Glacial Maximum, somewhere during the interval 19,000-17,000 years ago (17,000-15,000 14C years ago).

Of course, reviewing the recent past history of the Earth’s climate as it struggles out of yet another ice age makes a complete mockery of the task force’s statement that:

While no amount of climate change is safe and many communities, such as those in Arctic regions and low-lying island states, are already experiencing adverse impacts, scientific evidence suggests that there is a threshold of temperature increase above which the extent and magnitude of the impacts of climate change increase sharply. No one can say with certainty what that threshold is, but it is important that we make an educated judgment at this time based on the best available science.

(My bold) The Earth has suffered nothing but climate change for most of its history. The climate has never been stable or safe. In reality, it has been an unending cycle of ice ages followed by brief interglacial warming periods. It has changed suddenly, too, within those cycles. Kyoto won’t make a jot of difference to that cycle.

Here are a few of them…

Bergergate? Has Sandy Berger been hung, drawn and quartered yet? Figuratively speaking, of course. The good news is that the criminal probe of the Berger case is in front of a federal grand jury.

John Kerry’s military records? If he’s even thinking about running again, he needs to release them, in full. Of course, doing so may well doom his chances. But, as Macbeth was fond of saying, “If it were done, when ’tis done, then ’twere well, It were done quickly”.

Darfur? Arab Muslim militia are still going about their business; i.e. killing black people. They’ve wiped out 100,000 people, or more, and displaced ten times that number. But the world seems blind to the ongoing genocide.

The Plame Game? Still waiting for resolution. This one has expanded to cover the issue of the confidentiality of journalists’ sources, as this editorial notes. In my view, journalists have so abused the “privilege” they have lost any right to keep their sources confidential. In 2004 we saw administration opponents inside the CIA, the State Department and the Pentagon, leaking damaging memos to the press. Sometimes, the memos seemed designed to be leaked. The leakers intent, aided and abetted by friendly journalists, was to stop Bush winning a second term. Some of the leaks also damaged national security but that didn’t stop the MSM. Rathergate proved, once and for all, that journalists were not out to inform the public, but rather, to achieve a partisan objective.

Afghanistan? Well, it is good news that the MSM can’t find any bad news to report from there, so I suppose that’s a blessing. That’s how we are going to measure our victories — by MSM silence.

History will record that the battle for Fallujah was the critical battle in the war against terrorism in post-Saddam Iraq. US ad Iraqi forces killed or captured thousands of terrorists and forced the rest to flee to other cities. That left them more exposed and easier to catch and it forced them to risk everything in their campaign to disrupt the coming elections. Yes, they’ve made headlines in anti-American rags, such as the NYT and WPO, with each car bomb but they are also running out of resources faster than they can be replenished.

Fox News reports that:

Sami Mohammed Ali Said al-Jaaf, also known as Abu Omar al-Kurdi, was arrested during a Jan. 15 raid in Baghdad, a government statement said Monday. Two other militants linked to Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s terror group also were arrested, authorities announced Monday.

Al-Jaaf was “the most lethal of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s lieutenants,” the statement said.

Al-Jaaf was responsible for 32 car bombing attacks that killed hundreds of Iraqis, the statement said. Al-Jaaf “confessed to building approximately 75 percent of the car bombs used in attacks in Baghdad since March 2003,” said Thaer al-Naqib, spokesman for interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

Good news indeed.

I had an 8 mile training run scheduled for 7:30am Saturday morning. When I got up it was snowing. It had snowed all night and the roads weren’t plowed or salted. So it took a while to get to the starting point. About twenty of the more foolhardy members of our running group showed up. The asphalt trail we run on wasn’t plowed so we ran through 4 to 6 inches of snow. It snowed the whole way and beards, moustaches, eyebrows and eyelashes were soon iced up. The trail wasn’t slick but traction was poor. We figured 6 miles of that was equivalent to 8 on a dry trail. That’s the third weekend in a row where I’ve run in a blizzard.

It’s been a challenging winter in NE Ohio and we’ve gotten off easy. Places like Duluth, Minnesota hit 40 below. Further south, places like Raleigh had to cope with unexpected winter storms. Betsy wasn’t too happy about it:

Having spent seven hours in my car to drive my normal 20-minute route, I was less than receptive to northern snobbery about southern drivers.

Weather records get broken simply by the passage of time. The more time passes the greater the probability that a new record will be set for something, somewhere. Breathless media reporting tries to turn such events into trends and rabid environmentalists, such as Al Gore, will cherry-pick temperature records to show that the world is getting warmer at a catastrophic rate.

One thing is for sure; whatever warming that has occurred in the last century has been slight and hasn’t stopped new records being set for lowest temperature ever at various lucky locations around the globe.

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