"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, April 4, 2011

Quick Thoughts on a Number of Fronts

Some quick thoughts on a number of fronts:

1.  Wisconsin.    Tomorrow Wisconsin will vote on who will be the deciding vote in the state's Supreme Court.   Incumbent David Prosser is a relatively sedate conservative jurist, yet he is being targeted by the Left because, if they defeat him, they will have a 4-3 majority on the Court, and will thus be able to veto -- they won't call it that -- any and all of Governor Scott Walker's attempts to reign in state spending or the power of state public employee unions.   It's an extraordinarily important lesson, and I am very afraid that it will turn out to exemplify one of the grand truths of government growth -- that the people whose oxen are gored have much more incentive to fight to keep their entire livelihoods than do the rest of us who simply pay an incremental part of our incomes in taxes to pay for those livelihoods.   The 200,000 who earn their livings from the state will organize and spend and fight to keep their jobs, while the 4,000,000 who pay their way have better things to do with our time.  Also, in a close, small, off-year, down-ballot election, don't underestimate the cheating factor.   And we all know which side cheats.   (Hint:  it's the people wearing the SEIU buttons.)

2.  Burning the Koran.   So some jerk down in Florida thinks it's an important symbolic protest to burn a Koran.   And, the inevitable happening as it's wont to do, some other jerks in Afghanistan use this as a pretext -- and you can't overlook the cynicism of it -- to exhort lunatic Islamists to murder some UN workers in Mazar-i-Sharif.   Now even more jerks, including Senator Lindsey Graham (R - South Carolina), to grab attention on the Sunday shows (Graham is notoriously solicitous of Beltway elite cocktail party opinion), says that there oughta be a law against Koran burning.   Funny, I don't remember so much outrage from the media when various lefty "artists" did things like soak crucifixes in urine or put on plays with gay Jesuses, etc., but then that only insulted Catholics.   Apparently we are supposed to be adults and put up with the reality that there are jerks out there who are going to get their jollies by insulting our religion, but Muslims have a license to kill if anyone draws Mohammed in a cartoon.   I think the preacher in Florida who burnt a Koran is an idiot.   But we desperately need to stop excusing Muslims as peculiarly excitable.   We have free speech and they don't; we tolerate dissent (even idiotic dissent), and they don't.  That's just one among many of the reasons why the West is better and more moral than the Islamic world, and we forget it at our peril. 

3. Climate Change.   There will be a lot of press in the next few days about testimony before Congress that a new examination of the data supports prior conclusions about global warming.   Don't buy it.  Here's a letter from one of the key skeptics which shoots holes in this testimony.    The upshot is that problems with the sites where temperatures have been taken -- many of which are in areas that have urbanized over the period in question, creating "heat islands" around the sensors -- are likely the source of significant upward bias in temperature readings over the past few decades.   To give an example, here is a photograph of a temperature reading station that has been in use since 1867:

I'm thinking that maybe, just maybe, this temperature gauge wasn't in a parking lot in the 1800s, and there maybe weren't cars driving by on a regular basis.   I'm just saying...

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