Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy New Year

I am on vacation for the rest of the week. I'll resume blogging next week. Happy New Year.

Friday, December 25, 2009

From the Weekly Standard

Click on image to enlarge:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Britain condemns Livni arrest warrant

As reported in The Sydney Morning Herald:

JERUSALEM: Britain has vowed to change laws that enabled a warrant for the arrest of the Israeli Opposition Leader, Tzipi Livni, on Monday.

The warrant was issued by a London court against Ms Livni on suspicion of war crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead, Israel's three-week offensive against against Hamas in Gaza that began on December 27 last year.

At the time of Operation Cast Lead, which occurred in the lead-up to general elections held in February, Ms Livni was Israel's caretaker foreign minister and also leader of the then governing Kadima party. The arrest warrant was issued at the request of lawyers representing a number of Palestinian rights organisations, but was rescinded immediately after it became apparent that Ms Livni was not actually in the country.

Ms Livni's office has confirmed that she was planning to visit London but had cancelled the trip due to ''scheduling problems''. According to a statement issued by Ms Livni's office, the British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, expressed ''shock'' at the arrest warrant, and promised ''to work immediately to ensure that a similar occurrence would not happen in the future'' against Ms Livni or other Israeli leaders.

In a phone call to Ms Livni on Tuesday, Mr Miliband said he was appalled by the issuing of the warrant.

''It's not personal,'' Ms Livni was quoted telling him. ''It's about the entire state of Israel and our ability to go on working together against common threats,'' she said.

Speaking on Tuesday at the Institute for Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Ms Livni said she regretted none of the decisions made during Operation Cast Lead. ''I would take the same decisions, each and every one,'' she said.

The arrest warrant has provoked a furious reaction from Israeli Government officials, who have demanded British law be changed.

Mr Miliband reportedly told his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, that the warrant was ''completely unacceptable'' and stressed the importance of the relationship between the two countries.

Britain's ambassador to Israel, Tom Phillips, was given a severe dressing down by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's national security adviser Uzi Arad, who claimed the arrest warrant was ''an immoral act aimed against Israel's right to self-defence''.

Mr Netanyahu's office also released a statement utterly rejecting ''the absurdity that is happening in Great Britain''. ''We will not agree to a situation in which [former prime minister] Ehud Olmert, [Defence Minister] Ehud Barak, and Tzipi Livni will be summoned to the bench.''

Earlier this year, other Israeli officials including the Vice Prime Minister, Moshe Yaalon, and Shin Bet chief, Avi Dichter, cancelled visits to Britain because of the threat of arrest.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


HERE are the 100 reasons, released in a dossier issued by the European Foundation, why climate change is natural and not man-made:

1) There is “no real scientific proof” that the current warming is caused by the rise of greenhouse gases from man’s activity.

2) Man-made carbon dioxide emissions throughout human history constitute less than 0.00022 percent of the total naturally emitted from the mantle of the earth during geological history.

3) Warmer periods of the Earth’s history came around 800 years before rises in CO2 levels.

4) After World War II, there was a huge surge in recorded CO2 emissions but global temperatures fell for four decades after 1940.

5) Throughout the Earth’s history, temperatures have often been warmer than now and CO2 levels have often been higher – more than ten times as high.

6) Significant changes in climate have continually occurred throughout geologic time.

7) The 0.7C increase in the average global temperature over the last hundred years is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term, natural climate trends.

8) The IPCC theory is driven by just 60 scientists and favourable reviewers not the 4,000 usually cited.

9) Leaked e-mails from British climate scientists – in a scandal known as “Climate-gate” - suggest that that has been manipulated to exaggerate global warming

10) A large body of scientific research suggests that the sun is responsible for the greater share of climate change during the past hundred years.

11) Politicians and activiists claim rising sea levels are a direct cause of global warming but sea levels rates have been increasing steadily since the last ice age 10,000 ago

12) Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of Biogeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London says climate change is too complicated to be caused by just one factor, whether CO2 or clouds

13) Peter Lilley MP said last month that “fewer people in Britain than in any other country believe in the importance of global warming. That is despite the fact that our Government and our political class—predominantly—are more committed to it than their counterparts in any other country in the world”.

14) In pursuit of the global warming rhetoric, wind farms will do very little to nothing to reduce CO2 emissions

15) Professor Plimer, Professor of Geology and Earth Sciences at the University of Adelaide, stated that the idea of taking a single trace gas in the atmosphere, accusing it and finding it guilty of total responsibility for climate change, is an “absurdity”

16) A Harvard University astrophysicist and geophysicist, Willie Soon, said he is “embarrassed and puzzled” by the shallow science in papers that support the proposition that the earth faces a climate crisis caused by global warming.

17) The science of what determines the earth’s temperature is in fact far from settled or understood.

18) Despite activist concerns over CO2 levels, CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas, unlike water vapour which is tied to climate concerns, and which we can’t even pretend to control

19) A petition by scientists trying to tell the world that the political and media portrayal of global warming is false was put forward in the Heidelberg Appeal in 1992. Today, more than 4,000 signatories, including 72 Nobel Prize winners, from 106 countries have signed it.

20) It is claimed the average global temperature increased at a dangerously fast rate in the 20th century but the recent rate of average global temperature rise has been between 1 and 2 degrees C per century - within natural rates

21) Professor Zbigniew Jaworowski, Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw, Poland says the earth’s temperature has more to do with cloud cover and water vapor than CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

22) There is strong evidence from solar studies which suggests that the Earth’s current temperature stasis will be followed by climatic cooling over the next few decades

23) It is myth that receding glaciers are proof of global warming as glaciers have been receding and growing cyclically for many centuries

24) It is a falsehood that the earth’s poles are warming because that is natural variation and while the western Arctic may be getting somewhat warmer we also see that the Eastern Arctic and Greenland are getting colder

25) The IPCC claims climate driven “impacts on biodiversity are significant and of key relevance” but those claims are simply not supported by scientific research

26) The IPCC threat of climate change to the world’s species does not make sense as wild species are at least one million years old, which means they have all been through hundreds of climate cycles

27) Research goes strongly against claims that CO2-induced global warming would cause catastrophic disintegration of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets.

28) Despite activist concerns over CO2 levels, rising CO2 levels are our best hope of raising crop yields to feed an ever-growing population

29) The biggest climate change ever experienced on earth took place around 700 million years ago

30) The slight increase in temperature which has been observed since 1900 is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term natural climate cycles

31) Despite activist concerns over CO2 levels, rising CO2 levels of some so-called “greenhouse gases” may be contributing to higher oxygen levels and global cooling, not warming

32) Accurate satellite, balloon and mountain top observations made over the last three decades have not shown any significant change in the long term rate of increase in global temperatures

33) Today’s CO2 concentration of around 385 ppm is very low compared to most of the earth’s history – we actually live in a carbon-deficient atmosphere

34) It is a myth that CO2 is the most common greenhouse gas because greenhouse gases form about 3% of the atmosphere by volume, and CO2 constitutes about 0.037% of the atmosphere

35) It is a myth that computer models verify that CO2 increases will cause significant global warming because computer models can be made to “verify” anything

36) There is no scientific or statistical evidence whatsoever that global warming will cause more storms and other weather extremes

37) One statement deleted from a UN report in 1996 stated that “none of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed climate changes to increases in greenhouse gases”

38) The world “warmed” by 0.07 +/- 0.07 degrees C from 1999 to 2008, not the 0.20 degrees C expected by the IPCC

39) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says “it is likely that future tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes) will become more intense” but there has been no increase in the intensity or frequency of tropical cyclones globally

40) Rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere can be shown not only to have a negligible effect on the Earth’s many ecosystems, but in some cases to be a positive help to many organisms

41) Researchers who compare and contrast climate change impact on civilizations found warm periods are beneficial to mankind and cold periods harmful

42) The Met Office asserts we are in the hottest decade since records began but this is precisely what the world should expect if the climate is cyclical

43) Rising CO2 levels increase plant growth and make plants more resistant to drought and pests

44) The historical increase in the air’s CO2 content has improved human nutrition by raising crop yields during the past 150 years

45) The increase of the air’s CO2 content has probably helped lengthen human lifespans since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution

46) The IPCC alleges that “climate change currently contributes to the global burden of disease and premature deaths” but the evidence shows that higher temperatures and rising CO2 levels has helped global populations

47) In May of 2004, the Russian Academy of Sciences published a report concluding that the Kyoto Protocol has no scientific grounding at all.

48) The “Climate-gate” scandal pointed to a expensive public campaign of disinformation and the denigration of scientists who opposed the belief that CO2 emissions were causing climate change

49) The head of Britain’s climate change watchdog has predicted households will need to spend up to £15,000 on a full energy efficiency makeover if the Government is to meet its ambitious targets for cutting carbon emissions.

50) Wind power is unlikely to be the answer to our energy needs. The wind power industry argues that there are “no direct subsidies” but it involves a total subsidy of as much as £60 per MWh which falls directly on electricity consumers. This burden will grow in line with attempts to achieve Wind power targets, according to a recent OFGEM report.

51) Wind farms are not an efficient way to produce energy. The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) accepts a figure of 75 per cent back-up power is required.

52) Global temperatures are below the low end of IPCC predictions not at “at the top end of IPCC estimates”

53) Climate alarmists have raised the concern over acidification of the oceans but Tom Segalstad from Oslo University in Norway , and others, have noted that the composition of ocean water – including CO2, calcium, and water – can act as a buffering agent in the acidification of the oceans.

54) The UN’s IPCC computer models of human-caused global warming predict the emergence of a “hotspot” in the upper troposphere over the tropics. Former researcher in the Australian Department of Climate Change, David Evans, said there is no evidence of such a hotspot

55) The argument that climate change is a of result of global warming caused by human activity is the argument of flat Earthers.

56) The manner in which US President Barack Obama sidestepped Congress to order emission cuts shows how undemocratic and irrational the entire international decision-making process has become with regards to emission-target setting.

57) William Kininmonth, a former head of the National Climate Centre and a consultant to the World Meteorological Organisation, wrote “the likely extent of global temperature rise from a doubling of CO2 is less than 1C. Such warming is well within the envelope of variation experienced during the past 10,000 years and insignificant in the context of glacial cycles during the past million years, when Earth has been predominantly very cold and covered by extensive ice sheets.”

58) Canada has shown the world targets derived from the existing Kyoto commitments were always unrealistic and did not work for the country.

59) In the lead up to the Copenhagen summit, David Davis MP said of previous climate summits, at Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and Kyoto in 1997 that many had promised greater cuts, but “neither happened”, but we are continuing along the same lines.

60) The UK ’s environmental policy has a long-term price tag of about £55 billion, before taking into account the impact on its economic growth.

61) The UN’s panel on climate change warned that Himalayan glaciers could melt to a fifth of current levels by 2035. J. Graham Cogley a professor at Ontario Trent University, claims this inaccurate stating the UN authors got the date from an earlier report wrong by more than 300 years.

62) Under existing Kyoto obligations the EU has attempted to claim success, while actually increasing emissions by 13 per cent, according to Lord Lawson. In addition the EU has pursued this scheme by purchasing “offsets” from countries such as China paying them billions of dollars to destroy atmospheric pollutants, such as CFC-23, which were manufactured purely in order to be destroyed.

63) It is claimed that the average global temperature was relatively unchanging in pre-industrial times but sky-rocketed since 1900, and will increase by several degrees more over the next 100 years according to Penn State University researcher Michael Mann. There is no convincing empirical evidence that past climate was unchanging, nor that 20th century changes in average global temperature were unusual or unnatural.

64) Michael Mann of Penn State University has actually shown that the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age did in fact exist, which contrasts with his earlier work which produced the “hockey stick graph” which showed a constant temperature over the past thousand years or so followed by a recent dramatic upturn.

65) The globe’s current approach to climate change in which major industrialised countries agree to nonsensical targets for their CO2 emissions by a given date, as it has been under the Kyoto system, is very expensive.

66) The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed that a scientific team had emailed one another about using a “trick” for the sake of concealing a “decline” in temperatures when looking at the history of the Earth’s temperature.

67) Global temperatures have not risen in any statistically-significant sense for 15 years and have actually been falling for nine years. The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed a scientific team had expressed dismay at the fact global warming was contrary to their predictions and admitted their inability to explain it was “a travesty”.

68) The IPCC predicts that a warmer planet will lead to more extreme weather, including drought, flooding, storms, snow, and wildfires. But over the last century, during which the IPCC claims the world experienced more rapid warming than any time in the past two millennia, the world did not experience significantly greater trends in any of these extreme weather events.

69) In explaining the average temperature standstill we are currently experiencing, the Met Office Hadley Centre ran a series of computer climate predictions and found in many of the computer runs there were decade-long standstills but none for 15 years – so it expects global warming to resume swiftly.

70) Richard Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote: “The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the Earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. Such hysteria (over global warming) simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth.”

71) Despite the 1997 Kyoto Protocol’s status as the flagship of the fight against climate change it has been a failure.

72) The first phase of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which ran from 2005 to 2007 was a failure. Huge over-allocation of permits to pollute led to a collapse in the price of carbon from €33 to just €0.20 per tonne meaning the system did not reduce emissions at all.

73) The EU trading scheme, to manage carbon emissions has completely failed and actually allows European businesses to duck out of making their emissions reductions at home by offsetting, which means paying for cuts to be made overseas instead.

74) To date “cap and trade” carbon markets have done almost nothing to reduce emissions.

75) In the United States , the cap-and-trade is an approach designed to control carbon emissions and will impose huge costs upon American citizens via a carbon tax on all goods and services produced in the United States. The average family of four can expect to pay an additional $1700, or £1,043, more each year. It is predicted that the United States will lose more than 2 million jobs as the result of cap-and-trade schemes.

76) Dr Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, has indicated that out of the 21 climate models tracked by the IPCC the differences in warming exhibited by those models is mostly the result of different strengths of positive cloud feedback – and that increasing CO2 is insufficient to explain global-average warming in the last 50 to 100 years.

77) Why should politicians devote our scarce resources in a globally competitive world to a false and ill-defined problem, while ignoring the real problems the entire planet faces, such as: poverty, hunger, disease or terrorism.

78) A proper analysis of ice core records from the past 650,000 years demonstrates that temperature increases have come before, and not resulted from, increases in CO2 by hundreds of years.

79) Since the cause of global warming is mostly natural, then there is in actual fact very little we can do about it. (We are still not able to control the sun).

80) A substantial number of the panel of 2,500 climate scientists on the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change, which created a statement on scientific unanimity on climate change and man-made global warming, were found to have serious concerns.

81) The UK’s Met Office has been forced this year to re-examine 160 years of temperature data after admitting that public confidence in the science on man-made global warming has been shattered by revelations about the data.

82) Politicians and activists push for renewable energy sources such as wind turbines under the rhetoric of climate change, but it is essentially about money – under the system of Renewable Obligations. Much of the money is paid for by consumers in electricity bills. It amounts to £1 billion a year.

83) The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed that a scientific team had tampered with their own data so as to conceal inconsistencies and errors.

84) The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed that a scientific team had campaigned for the removal of a learned journal’s editor, solely because he did not share their willingness to debase science for political purposes.

85) Ice-core data clearly show that temperatures change centuries before concentrations of atmospheric CO2 change. Thus, there appears to be little evidence for insisting that changes in concentrations of CO2 are the cause of past temperature and climate change.

86) There are no experimentally verified processes explaining how CO2 concentrations can fall in a few centuries without falling temperatures – in fact it is changing temperatures which cause changes in CO2 concentrations, which is consistent with experiments that show CO2 is the atmospheric gas most readily absorbed by water.

87) The Government’s Renewable Energy Strategy contains a massive increase in electricity generation by wind power costing around £4 billion a year over the next twenty years. The benefits will be only £4 to £5 billion overall (not per annum). So costs will outnumber benefits by a range of between eleven and seventeen times.

88) Whilst CO2 levels have indeed changed for various reasons, human and otherwise, just as they have throughout history, the CO2 content of the atmosphere has increased since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and the growth rate has now been constant for the past 25 years.

89) It is a myth that CO2 is a pollutant, because nitrogen forms 80% of our atmosphere and human beings could not live in 100% nitrogen either: CO2 is no more a pollutant than nitrogen is and CO2 is essential to life.

90) Politicians and climate activists make claims to rising sea levels but certain members in the IPCC chose an area to measure in Hong Kong that is subsiding. They used the record reading of 2.3 mm per year rise of sea level.

91) The accepted global average temperature statistics used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998.

92) If one factors in non-greenhouse influences such as El Nino events and large volcanic eruptions, lower atmosphere satellite-based temperature measurements show little, if any, global warming since 1979, a period over which atmospheric CO2 has increased by 55 ppm (17 per cent).

93) US President Barack Obama pledged to cut emissions by 2050 to equal those of 1910 when there were 92 million Americans. In 2050, there will be 420 million Americans, so Obama’s promise means that emissions per head will be approximately what they were in 1875. It simply will not happen.

94) The European Union has already agreed to cut emissions by 20 percent to 2020, compared with 1990 levels, and is willing to increase the target to 30 percent. However, these are unachievable and the EU has already massively failed with its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), as EU emissions actually rose by 0.8 percent from 2005 to 2006 and are known to be well above the Kyoto goal.

95) Australia has stated it wants to slash greenhouse emissions by up to 25 percent below 2000 levels by 2020, but the pledges were so unpopular that the country’s Senate has voted against the carbon trading Bill, and the Opposition’s Party leader has now been ousted by a climate change sceptic.

96) Canada plans to reduce emissions by 20 percent compared with 2006 levels by 2020, representing approximately a 3 percent cut from 1990 levels but it simultaneously defends its Alberta tar sands emissions and its record as one of the world’s highest per-capita emissions setters.

97) India plans to reduce the ratio of emissions to production by 20-25 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2020, but all Government officials insist that since India has to grow for its development and poverty alleviation, it has to emit, because the economy is driven by carbon.

98) The Leipzig Declaration in 1996, was signed by 110 scientists who said: “We – along with many of our fellow citizens – are apprehensive about the climate treaty conference scheduled for Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997” and “based on all the evidence available to us, we cannot subscribe to the politically inspired world view that envisages climate catastrophes and calls for hasty actions.”

99) A US Oregon Petition Project stated “We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of CO2, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

100) A report by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change concluded “We find no support for the IPCC’s claim that climate observations during the twentieth century are either unprecedented or provide evidence of an anthropogenic effect on climate.”

Some Humor

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Reporting From Paris is Safer than Reporting From Gaza

In a rare moment of candor, The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune published a report by Steven Erlanger entitled "In Gaza, Hamas’s Insults to Jews Complicate Peace."

For those of us who are critical of these two publications because of their usually biased reporting about Israel, this article came as a pleasant surprise. At the same time we had to ask ourselves what had motivated Erlanger to file suddenly a report so critical of Hamas. The answer came when I read an article published by CAMERA which seems to shed light on reporting from Gaza. Steven Erlanger wrote this article in Paris after concluding his stint as correspondent in Jerusalem.

Can it be that reporters in the Middle East are rarely critical of Hamas because this can be hazardous to the health of the reporter? The answer is yes, and Erlanger proves it.

I'll take anything that the media publishes that if fair towards Israel, but the problem is that these reports never appear in the midst of a crisis when they are most needed.

However, I'll take anything and whenever it is published. But the New York Times will have to do much more before I renew my subscrition.

Read Article in the NYT

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Who let the dogs out?

In preparation for the Olympics, Vancouver transit has announced the introduction of bomb-sniffing dogs to its mass transit system. The announcement has some Muslims worried, since they consider dogs unclean and avoid contact with them. Muslim cab drivers in that city have gone as far as refusing blind passengers in their cabs if they have a seeing eye dog. Some Muslim residents have asked for the dogs to be trained to remain 30 centimeters away from them.
Perhaps the dogs to should be trained to avoid sniffing Muslims all together. After all, who would expect a devout Muslim to carry explosives?

If you want to know how intimidated the Canadian media has become because of legislation and threats, all you have to do is scroll to the end of the article in the CBC web page. The comments section is disabled and no comments are accepted on this topic.

You don't need a fear-sniffing dog to recognize why.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Don't Cry for Federal Bureaucrats

The number of federal workers making salaries above $100,000 has increased by 46%, those earning above $150,000 by 119% and those with salaries above $170,000 by 93%.

On average federal workers earn $30,000 more than their counterparts in the private sector. All this for spending most of the day placing "out to lunch" signs on their desks. However, I am grateful for those who do nothing. The ones who really scare me are the ones doing their jobs.

Something to read over the weekend...

Charles Krauthammer has written a fantastic analysis of the way the redistributionists are fighting to achieve what socialism failed to do. Using the new religious fervor of environmentalists, the left is slowly but surly moving towards the destruction of our economic system. No beards, or guerrillas, no fighting in the jungle, no demonstrations. The new radicals are wearing suits and ties, are clean cut and use their connections among the "intellectual elites" to move in the direction of a world bureaucracy running every aspect of our lives.

Read Article by Charles Krauthammer

Having been involved in the field of education, I am aware of attempts by all kind of organizations to infuse their ideologies into the classroom. The motto for many of those ideologues could have easily been "Brainwashing is Fundamental." As a supervisor I usually took the magazines, posters and videos I received in the mail and threw them in garbage. Videos I not only threw away, but made sure that they were destroyed prior to their disposal. Teachers are always looking for a "day off" when they can just sit in the back of the room and show a movie, regardless of content or quality.

Well, now Michelle Malkin reports about a project between Hollywood and Marxist propagandist Howard Zinn that will be shown on the History Channel based on his "A People's History of the United States." The first victim of this documentary will be the truth.

I have no doubt that thousands of teachers will record this program and show it to millions of children. The process of brainwashing and indoctrination is starting earlier and earlier; and we the taxpayers are paying for it. The process will culminate in college, where parents will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to make sure that their children are educated to despise what our forefathers worked so hard to achieve.

Read Article by Michelle Malkin

"Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread." --Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sheikh Obama and His Two Wars, by Daniel Pipes

Obama’s Nobel “lecture” offers critics the usual cornucopia of opportunities, but I shall focus on just two statements:

“I am the commander-in-chief of a nation in the midst of two wars.” And here I thought there were three wars. Obama’s two are Iraq and Afghanistan; missing is what George W. Bush termed the War on Terror and I call the “war on radical Islam.” Obama apparently reduces that third one to al-Qaeda and counts it as part of the Afghan war. His mistake has real consequences; long after American troops have left Iraq and Afghanistan, Islamists will be attacking and subverting us. If we don’t see their efforts as a war, we lose.

“Religion is used to justify the murder of innocents by those who have distorted and defiled the great religion of Islam.” Here, Obama follows his predecessor in presenting himself as an interpreter of Islam. I ridiculed “Imam Bush” for telling Muslims about true Islam and its distortion, and now I must ridicule “Sheikh Obama” for the same. He’s a politician, not a theologian. He’s a Christian, not a Muslim. He should steer completely clear from the topic of who are good or bad Muslims.

— Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A waist is a terrible thing to waste

Well, I continue to find things to ponder about in wonderful Boca Raton.

In my last entry I was commenting about the elderly gentleman who drove 22 miles to save 50 cents on strawberries. The other day I saw him again. And again he left me pondering.

I was at the pool. Yes New Yorkers, eat your heart out, I was at the pool while you were freezing your posteriors; when he arrived dressed in his swimsuit and a colorful shirt. So far everything was normal. I nodded at him and he nodded back. He then proceeded to remove his shirt. Upon completion of the removal I looked at him and had to grab the most important tool of Floridian swimmers: The Noodle. I was in such shock that I could have drowned without my orange noodle.

"What caused this shock?" you may ask. Was it a scar? Was it a tattoo? No.

I was in shock when I realized that the gentleman in question had no waist. The elastic on his bathing suit was wrapped around his breast. Can you picture this? Here was this specimen of a man wearing shorts that went from his knees to his nipples. Since then I witnessed other Floridians who were stricken by this strange deformity.

Can anyone tell me if this is contagious? Is it caused by expensive strawberries?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Adventures in Bocaland

And now, a few more comments on life in Florida.

There is a genetic trait that affects mostly, but not exclusively, women when spending time in Florida: Shopping.

In the case of the affected men, the scope of their interest is limited to stores where the merchandise has to be plugged, downloaded, programmed, contains screens, speakers, hard drives, tools, lenses, keyboards and instruction booklets the size of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Women, on the other hand, will go to any store where the merchandise has to be worn, eaten, decorated, or requires the hiring of Halliburton to install in the bathroom of the condo. The installation usually costs several thousands dollars more than the value of the property.

The stores in Florida that cater to these genetic needs are indeed very interesting and merit a closer look. The average mall or store is large enough to qualify outside the United States as a city-state or a principality. As a matter of fact, I have visited malls where each store was the size of St. Peter's Cathedral. The bicycle section in the super Walmart in my neighborhood could easily handle The Intrepid, and I am sure that Sam Walton would not object to selling aircraft carriers. After all, everything else is sold there.

What caught my attention the other day, was seeing old ladies, yes, widows of the Civil War veterans mentioned in a prior entry, go shopping there. When you see these ladies in an airport, they require a wheelchair to transport them from the ticket counter to the plane. Distance, 72 inches. Yet the decrepitude exhibited in the airport suddenly disappears when the store is the size Monaco and contains 25 miles of aisles. Tell a lady in Brooklyn to take a walk from Flatbush Avenue to Newark Airport and she will certify you as insane. Yet, put the same lady in a store which requires walking this distance between the underwear section and bedding. and she will walk faster than a marathon runner. Of course, this speed can be increase by strategically placing "sale" signs.

Which brings me to the subject of sales. The other day a World War I veteran, whom the Civil War veterans call "Junior", was was proudly explaining how he saved 50 cents by going to Delray to buy strawberries. Distance 11 miles each way. Even in a hybrid that must have cost him more than 50 cents

I was going to do the calculation, but I must stop blogging. My wife is waiting for me. We are going shopping.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Another Attrocity From Fallujah

The burned, mutilated corpses of two Blackwater contractors hang from a bridge outside Fallujah while Iraqi civilians celebrate.

While the media has been concentrating almost nonstop on the marital woes of Tiger Woods and the two interlopers who managed to crash the state dinner at the White House, almost nothing is being heard about the outrage perpetuated against Matthew McCabe, Petty Officer Jonathan Keefe and Petty Officer Julio Huertas who stand accused of giving a bloody lip to Ahmed Hashim Abed.

Abed, in case you don't know, was the mastermind behind the killing and mutilation of the four Blackwater security guards in Fallujah in in 2004.

Here we have three Navy SEALS facing a court martial and an end to their military careers, instead of being held as what they are: Examples of military heroism, sacrifice and dedication.

Look at the picture above, and tell me that a fat lip to the mastermind of this atrocity is something that merits prosecution. If you feel differently start sending letters to the White House, appropriate cabinet members and legislators.

If this is the way we treat our military, then let's get the hell out of Iraq and Afghanistan today!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Back in Sunny Florida Via Auto-Train

The platforms to load the cars

Waiting to be loaded

My car arriving in Florida

Well, I just settled in my winter residence in beautiful South Florida. As usual, the first two days were dedicated to filling the fridge and taking care of the things that needed repair.

I am of the opinion that second homes are populated by goblins that lay dormant while the place is occupied, and awake the moment we close the residence. It is at this point that they take tiny equipment and destroy faucets, washers, water heaters, and any other convenience required to make modern man/woman happy.

South Florida has also another gift to empty residences: Salamanders that are able to penetrate walls, but only in one direction. Once they are in the apartment they starve and freeze to death. However, before departing for the great condominiums in the sky, they leave thousands of little things that resemble black rice. I was told it is shit. But I cannot believe that salamanders can crap four times their body weight before dying. Guess who has to remove the carcasses and the shit. Husbands, that's who.

This time the trip South was done by railroad using Auto Train. This was done so that I could transport my car without having to drive 1350 miles, with half of these miles looking at signs that advertise South of the Border in South Carolina.

Driving is exhausting. Taking the train is just extremely tiring. Make your choice as to what you prefer. However, there was one positive aspect to this trip. My wife and I were the "kids". Most passengers were veterans of the Civil War and World War I. And they all golf.

A phenomena that takes place aboard this train requires also intensive scrutiny by scientists. The moment the lights go out, the cell phones begin to ring. Dozens of old ladies begin to look though oversized handbags for a tiny cell phone. Once they find it, they have to look at the caller ID and attempt to remember how to answer. All this while the phone is playing The William Tell overture.

Children and grandchildren who have not spoken to grandma in decades wait for the passengers to close their eyes to call. And grandma has to give intensive details about the trip, grandpa and their bowel movements.

The train departs from the suburbs of Washington at 4 PM and arrives in the suburbs of Orlando at 8 AM. You can recognize those who have taken the train for the first time by the fact that they are waiting for the car in 80 degrees weather wearing heavy ski jackets. Veterans seem to have worn shorts underneath their winter clothes. The emerge from the train in white shorts and Hawaiian or pink T-shirts.

The train is 3/4 of a mile long, and the vehicles are placed in cars that form a long tunnel. Each car has a number which is placed on the door with a magnet. As the cars emerge from the train, a dispatcher calls the number of the car and old ladies are tempted to yell "bingo" until they realize that they are in a train station and not in a house of worship.

The cars emerge in no logical order. We were among the first to arrive at the station in Virginia, and we had to wait for almost an hour to get the car. and then had to drive over three hours to get home. But, it was worth it. With all the complaints, the people at Amtrak were nice and polite. Dinner included wine, and breakfast included fresh coffee. What else can you ask for.

The lounge was open throughout the trip with free beverage and snacks. Many passengers spent hours in the lounge. I think that they were reminiscing about their experiences in the Civil War.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When Crashing The White House Was Unnecessary

Well wishers line up to shake hands with the president on New Year's Day

With all the hullabaloo created by the Virginia couple that crashed the State Dinner at the White House, I was reminded of the fact that up to the 1930's it was quite common for the president to open the White House on New Year's Day and shake hands with well wishers who stood on line for hours to participate in this event. No invitation was necessary.

As a matter fact, in 1863, President Lincoln shook so many hands that he was afraid of cramps which would make his signature appear weak on a document he intended o sign that evening.

This document was The Emancipation Proclamation.