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Ed Driscoll

The Perfect Storm

Like a Hurricane

May 22nd, 2013 - 12:06 pm

Once again, another hurricane or tornado, another member of the left politicizing it. This time around, it’s comedienne Lizz Winstead, the co-creator, back in the 1990s, of Viacom’s The Daily Show, before its current incarnation with Jon Stewart:

She thought she was making a topical political joke, but a co-creator of ‘The Daily Show’ managed to enrage many of her followers after tweeting joke about the Oklahoma tornado’s political motivations.

‘This tornado is in Oklahoma so clearly it has been ordered to only target conservatives,’ wrote comedian Lizz Winstead, in a tweet, around 3:30 Monday afternoon.

The tweet was an apparent attempt at using the occasion of the May 20 twister to comment on the scandal currently plaguing the IRS and Obama administration.

Winstead, co-creator and former head writer for ‘The Daily Show,’ promptly received a stream of angry responses to her tweet.

User @swashamokc wrote, ‘As an Oklahoman, I don’t think this was something that would result in my continuing to follow you.’

An unrepentant Winstead responded, ‘If its not OK to YOU for me to combine news stories to point out hypocrisy AND Im not making fun of victims u shld Unfollow.’

But then gravity of the tornado’s impact became clear. Winstead’s joke suddenly wasn’t so humorous and the normally funny lady was all red.

Well, all blue, actually, as the far left has a long habit of making some of their nastiest, worst-timed attempts at “humor” as hurricanes and tornadoes are in the midst of wreking havoc:

(Sorry for the interruption in posts. There’s quite a story behind it, which I’ll upload in the next couple of days.)

Finding Nemo

February 9th, 2013 - 1:16 pm

“Storm Shuts Down Northeast; Thousands Without Power, Airports Closed,” Newsmax reports:

A behemoth storm packing hurricane-force wind gusts and blizzard conditions swept through the Northeast overnight, where more than 650,000 homes and businesses lost power and New Englanders awoke this morning to more than 2 feet of snow.

Airlines scratched more than 5,300 flights through Saturday, and the three major airports serving New York City as well as Boston’s Logan Airport closed.

More than 38 inches of snow fell in Milford in central Connecticut, and an 82-mph wind gust was recorded in nearby Westport. Areas of southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire notched at least 2 feet — with more falling.

Flooding was also a concern along the coast, and the possibility led to the evacuation of two neighborhoods in Quincy, Mass., said Fire Deputy Gary Smith.

Snow piled up so high in some places Saturday that people couldn’t open their doors to get outside. Streets were mostly deserted throughout New England save for plow crews and a few hardy souls walking dogs or venturing out to take pictures. In Boston’s Financial District, the only sound was an army of snowblowers clearing sidewalks. Streets in many places were impassable.

Perhaps knowing that somebody might actually be watching, the storm was powerful enough to knock CNN’s late-night programming out of all-gun-control-all-the-time-mode last night for the first time seemingly since 1973.

At the PJ Tatler, Stephen Kruiser spots the Huffington Post blaming the storm on — well, two guesses:

Climate change may or may not have helped generate the nor’easter lashing the East Coast this weekend. Such storms happen with some regularity, after all. But the amount of snow the storm called “Nemo” ultimately dumps, and the extent of flood damage it leaves in its wake, may well have ties to global warming, climate scientists suggested.

Funny, I thought “Snowfalls Are Now Just a Thing of the Past.” It was in all the papers:

That was from 2000, the same year that the New York Times sniffed, “it does not take a scientist to size up the effects of snowless winters on the children too young to remember the record-setting blizzards of 1996. For them, the pleasures of sledding and snowball fights are as out-of-date as hoop-rolling, and the delight of a snow day off from school is unknown.”

This week though, as James Lileks noted on Twitter, “News report of East Coasters stocking up on bread, milk and toilet paper. So snowstorm = French toast and dysentery.”

This fellow really knows the drill:

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And finally, Glenn Reynolds asks, when did we start naming non-hurricanes, anyhow? An Insta-reader replies that we didn’t — it’s just a goofy trend recently started by the Weather Channel.

Does it snow much in Torino?

Update: “Gov. Deval Patrick is taking some extreme measures to keep people off the roads.” Trust me, just click.

“Congresswoman Says Deadly Haitian Earthquake ‘Was A Blessing,’” as spotted by Florida’s Shark Tank blog:

 I’ve been to Haiti prior to the earthquake, and I would consider the earthquake even it might sound strange, but the earthquake was a blessing, it  eventually will be.-Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL)

The congresswoman added that the people inhabiting the numerous tents that have been erected as a result of the earthquake were “not necessarily people who are affected by the earthquake,” and were actually people who “moved into the tents after the earthquake because they can get free water, and food and everything.”

 They moved from the countryside to the city, thousands and thousands moved because that was the place to be because that’s where you got the international aid, that’s where you got the international healthcare.” - Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL)

Perhaps her source was MSNBC: “Olbermann Uses Devastating Haiti Earthquake…to Justify ObamaCare!,” Newsbusters reported three years ago. Which was right around the same time that this similarly unfortunate soundbite occurred:

Education Secretary Arne Duncan called Hurricane Katrina “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans” because it forced the community to take steps to improve low-performing public schools, according to excerpts from the transcript of a television interview made public Friday afternoon.

As I wrote at time, James Wolcott and Michael Moore could not be reached for comment. (SMOD’s being awfully quiet as well.)

But all of these meteorological-themed Start From Zero moments pale (pail?) next to Paul Krugman praising the economic benefit of mankind’s ultimate CLT-ALT-DLT moment, ‘The Miracle of the 1940s.’

On Saturday, linking to a First Things essay on “Environmentalism’s Deep Misanthropy,” I asked, is the misanthropy present because they’re leftwing environmentalists, or simply because they’re leftists? Right now, my money’s very much on the latter half of the equation.

Like a Hurricane

January 7th, 2013 - 6:34 pm

“New Jersey Senate President: Christie May Have ‘Prayed’ For Sandy To Come,” CBS-New York reports:

New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said Monday that Gov. Chris Christie might have “prayed” for Superstorm Sandy, because it has provided cover for what Sweeney said are the governor’s failed economic policies.

Sweeney said the Republican governor’s jobs plan before Sandy was a disaster, and now the reconstruction will provide an economic boost through thousands of construction jobs.

“I guess he prayed a lot and got lucky because a storm came,” Sweeney said.

Project much? While it was unfortunate to see Gov. Christie embracing Mr. Obama in the last week before the election, I really don’t think he’s moved so far to the left that he’s fully onboard with that ideology’s constant praying for hurricanes and other forms of ecological smiting.

The Decline and Fall of the Boardwalk Empire

November 23rd, 2012 - 3:01 pm

Way back in 2003, James Lileks explored what the concluding scene of The Towering Inferno said about the infantile state of 1970s pop culture:

At the end of the movie comes a perfect 70s moment, a Deep & Profound comment from Paul Newman, the architect of the skyscraper. He’s sitting on the curb with Faye Dunaway, the smoking tower behind him, and he says: “Maybe we should just leave it there as a monument to all of the bullshit in the world.”

A burned-out, 138-story wreck left vacant as a “Monument to Bullshit.”

In the 70s, this was deep. This was profound. Maaaan, that’s so true. Tha’d be great, you’d be flying in to San Fran, and you’d see this big charred building, and it would be like yeah, that’s how it is, they didn’t update the sprinkler code to reflect new construction paradigms and so people died, man. Facile as it sounds – and facile as it is, granted – the times wanted a monument to those who identified bullshit as bullshit, not those who came up with something ennobling and true. <eyes rolling>

You need both. But the more you celebrate the former, the less likely you are to notice the latter. When a certain flavor of nihilistic cynicism starts to taint the debate, anything that smacks of optimism and cheer tastes saccharine and cloying.

Did I say the infantile state of 1970s culture? I meant the infantile state of 2012 culture, of course:

The roller coaster that was swept right-side up into the Atlantic Ocean as Hurricane Sandy slammed the Jersey Shore may not be torn down, according to Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers.

The picture of the ride, which looks more like a water slide these days, has become an iconic image of the damage Sandy  wreaked up and down the coast just over three weeks ago.

But Mayor Akers, in an exclusive interview with NBC 4 New York, said he is working with the Coast Guard to see if it is stable enough to leave it alone.

If it is, Akers said it would make “a great tourist attraction.”

Perhaps it’s all just a matter of context.

A couple of posts by Ace of Spades should be bring a modicum of comfort to GOP voters:

If, as we are all now saying, “the polls were right,” then they were right pre-Sandy, too. If they weren’t right pre-Sandy, why is the left covering Nate Sliver with laurels? His entire thesis was “the polls are right,” and not just at the end, but the whole way through.

Datum: Bush was ahead in polls by 3 points going into the 2000 election. Then the DUI story broke on the weekend before the election. He wound up losing the popular vote by around 0.5%. Late breaking news which had a greatly disproportionate impact on the vote. Its importance was not due to its actual importance — its importance was due solely to its recency.

What if the whole election was swung by a random Black Swan event which had nothing to do with anything that was being debated throughout the past two years?

I think people are averse to crediting so much to chance and chaos.

And then there’s this:

The winning party talks up a realignment that will permanently keep them in power. The losing party is despondent at that notion– they sense it’s true. How can we beat anyone, the losing party things, if we cannot beat this unqualified, dishonest, smug, man who has set the country on a suicide mission which will destroy it?

Why can’t the country see through the Imperial Presidency of this corrupt corporate cronyist? What’s wrong with America? What’s wrong with us?

The losing party thinks they’ll never win an election again.

And then…

I won’t spoil the surprise if you haven’t read it yet.

Update: Allahpundit isn’t so sure about how many Sandy intervened in the election.

Marathon Mike

November 2nd, 2012 - 8:50 am

“‘We Need Food, We Need Clothing’: Staten Island Residents Plead for Help 3 Days After Sandy,” ABC reports. However, as the New York Daily News notes, such horror stories aren’t preventing Mike Bloomberg from focusing on more important mayoral duties:

Desperately needed food, water and generators were being rushed Thursday to Sandy-ravaged Staten Island while local leaders blasted the city’s “idiotic” plan to stage the New York City Marathon in the midst of the crisis.

Staten Island Councilman James Oddo urged Mayor Bloomberg to reconsider, especially while rescue efforts are still underway on the hard-hit South Shore.

“The notion of diverting even one police officer, one first responder, one asset away from this carnage is beyond irrational,” the Republican lawmaker told The Daily News.

“The mayor said to me, ‘We’re not going to diminish what is happening on Staten Island.’ You know what happens on marathons – you put a cop on every corner. How are we going to have enough resources?”

Speaking of which, the New York Times evidently has enough resources, in spite of the myriad disasters caused by Sandy, to run stories such as this article yesterday: “A Restroom Plan Can Reduce Worry:”

A raceday outfit. A prerace meal. A playlist. A warm-up routine.

And there is one more thing runners obsess over but are often too shy to discuss in public: making sure that digestive issues have been dealt with. “If you don’t address it or wing it then that’s when you lose valuable time in the marathon,” John Honerkamp, chief coach for New York Road Runners, said.

It is a vital part of any proper prerace routine, said Adam Banks, chief executive of NY SportsMed, a sports therapy practice. “Carrying that extra weight with you for 26 miles is extremely uncomfortable.”

That’s why 1,750 portable restrooms, from A Royal Flush, are placed at the start of the New York City Marathon.

“A lot of runners laugh about it, but a really important component to having a good race is doing your prerace business,” said Beth Risdon, a running coach and running blogger.

No really — that’s an actual headline and the first paragraphs of an article in the most important paper in the most important city in the world in a time of natural disaster.

Gray Lady Down, indeed.

(Cross-posted at Instapundit.)

It’s the Personal Touch That Counts

August 29th, 2012 - 2:22 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

“There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate.”

Obama on the evils of automation, June of 2011.

“Obama Honored Fallen SEALs By Sending Their Parents a Form Letter Signed By Electric Pen.”

Gateway Pundit today. Click over for the photos.

As Ace writes in response, “Obama Is Officially Trying To Lose This Race” — additionally confirmed by these dueling headlines linked to by the Drudge Report just now:

“Carney: Obama ‘Did Not’ Watch Republican Convention, Instead Watched Sports.”

“McConnell: Obama prepping for PGA, not presidency.”

But hey, the man needs to relax, eat his waffle, and kick back with some ESPN at night, given what his day job entails: “Just a reminder: Obama campaigning today, doing online chat while storm pounds Louisiana.”

Urgent Memo to Mitch Landrieu

August 27th, 2012 - 5:03 pm

“This time, before the storm hits, please remember you have half a thousand buses to evacuate your citizens who need help this time,” Doug Ross writes, in an “Urgent Memo for the New Orleans Mayor.”

‘Not Understanding God’s Plan’

August 27th, 2012 - 3:26 pm

This just in from actor, theologian and meteorologist Samuel L. Jackson. Apologies in advance for the blast of Tarantino-esque language:

“Unfair Shit: GOP spared by Issac ! NOLA prolly Fucked Again! Not understanding God’s plan!”

Why do liberals root for hurricanes so often?

“Has God forsaken the Republican Party?…Weather forecasts show that a storm, likely to grow into Hurricane Isaac, may be chugging toward . . . Tampa, where Republicans will open their quadrennial nominating convention on Monday.”

– Dana Milbank, the Washington Post, this past Tuesday.

“R convention delay due to Isaac: I guess God has ways to shut that whole thing down”

– Former Mich. Gov Jennifer Granholm turned Current TV newsreader, on Saturday.

“Samuel L. Jackson Upset God ‘Spared’ GOP From Hurricane, Quickly Apologizes.”

– Headline, Big Hollywood, today.

“Actress Ellen Barkin retweets wish for Isaac to wash pro-lifers out to sea; blames Twitchy.”

Headline at Twitchy.com today.

“Here’s an idea,” conservative blogger JWF quips today. “Barack Obama in his acceptance speech four years ago said he’s lower the sea levels. Doesn’t he have the power to simply command Hurricane Isaac to stop now?”

And speaking of four years ago, here’s a flashback to our video on that year’s crop of leftists rooting for hurricanes:

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(Yes, the title of the above video was inspired by one of the many great songs written by the first man on the moon.)

Last night, Glenn Reynolds featured the “Blog Comment of the Day,” which could be found at William A. Jacobson’s Legal Insurrection site:

“Fascinating that a man shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ as he mows down 35 people on an army base isn’t motivated by Islam… but a guy who has the same name as hundreds of others—and says nothing as he fires—is obviously a Tea Party zealot.”

As Glenn replied, “It’s all about the narrative.”

W. Joseph Campbell, the veteran journalist and author of Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism, who blogs at his Media Myth Alert Website writes that the MSM is “Slow to learn: Lesson for journos in Brian Ross’ egregious error on ABC.” But they’re only lessons to be learned if the MSM considers itself to be in the reporting business. They do not — they’re in the business of advancing narratives which help advance the right (read: left) politics:

How did Ross — a veteran television reporter whose ABC biography unabashedly declares him “one of the most honored and respected journalists in the country” — come to disseminate “information before it was properly vetted”?

ABC’s apology didn’t say.

It may have been that Ross was excessively eager to be first in reporting a linkage to a conservative political movement. He may have been unable to restrain his ideological inclinations. He may have been misled by a producer.

Whatever the reason, his error on a television program that attracts 4.5 million viewers was inexcusable — and eminently preventable.

In the swirling uncertainty that invariably marks the hours after a disaster, journalists are well-served to show deliberation and restraint, to be mindful that error and distortion often blight the first reports of dramatic events.

I discuss this phenomenon in my latest book, Getting It Wrong, noting that “it is a near-certainty that erroneous reports will circulate in a disaster’s immediate aftermath.”

I also point out in Getting It Wrong:

“By recognizing that implausible rumors and exaggerated casualty tolls almost always are among the first effects of major disasters, journalists may spare themselves considerable embarrassment and their audiences great confusion.”

Getting It Wrong revisits the badly flawed news reporting of Hurricane Katrina’s assault on New Orleans in 2005 — which offers enduring if unlearned lessons for journalists about the near-certainty of error in disaster coverage.

The reporting about Katrina’s destructive assault, I write, “was in important respects flawed and exaggerated. On crucial details, journalists erred badly, and got it wrong.”

The MSM’s response to all of that would be a loud, “So what?” As always, the narrative trumps all. From their point of view, Katrina wasn’t botched; as the New York Times said the previous year when it dismissed Dan Rather’s RatherGate debacle, it was merely “fake but accurate.” The media’s truthiness in Katrina ultimately served a higher purpose, which could be seen in the election results the following year and in 2008.

And so what if Brian Ross is fired from ABC? Vivian Schiller of NPR can fire Juan Williams for a thoughtcrime that he expressly stated he didn’t act upon, recommend Soviet-style psychiatry for him, and bounce back on her feet (or “fail upward,” as Stacy McCain recently put it) as “Chief Digital Officer” at NBC News’ Internet division. If you thought NBC was rather biased now…

And speaking of Rather-biased, Dan Rather is still working on TV, albeit he’s now found in the bowels of your DirecTV guide instead of at the top of it; and to bring a decade worth of disastrous network news “reporting” full circle, recently wrote — or at least put his name atop — a new article at CNN.

Ross will do fine, whether at ABC or some other bastion of old media “journalism.” From the point of view of either his current or future employers, his was a job well done yesterday.

Related: From Joel Gehrke at the Washington Examiner, “A Short, Incomplete History of Media Trying To Tie The Tea Party To Tragedies.”

Update: Yesterday, Jim Treacher wrote:

This goes beyond speculating about a murderer’s motives. This is slandering an individual who had nothing to do with a terrible crime, while the families of the victims are still reeling, just because of his political beliefs. You’d think liberals and the media (pardon the redundancy) would’ve learned something after Gabby Giffords and all those other people got shot, and somehow it became Sarah Palin’s fault. But again, learning from their mistakes: What’s in it for them?

Check back in November for the answer to that. Or ask Jay Carney.

Convention Clusterfark Bad Omen for Dems?

June 26th, 2012 - 12:49 pm

According to the lefty Talking Points Memo site, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is the latest Democrat to bail on her party’s presidential convention:

“In years when Claire is on the ballot, she has historically not gone to the convention,” the aide said, “because she believes it’s important to stay in Missouri to talk to voters.”

The aide stressed that McCaskill did not attend the 2004 Democratic National Convention, when she was running for governor of Missouri.

Interesting comparison to that convention; and more on past conventions in just a moment. But first, let’s do a head count. Are we up to seven Democrats now? Last Wednesday, The Daily reported, “At least half a dozen Democratic officials have said in recent days that they won’t attend the Democratic National Convention this September in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the president will formally receive the party’s nomination for a second term:”

The latest: New York Democratic Reps. Bill Owens and Kathy Hochul, both of whom won special elections in recent years – in 2009 and 2011, respectively – that were heralded by party leaders.

“I guarantee that my time will be better spent meeting the farmers, small business owners and other people who put me here,” Hochul told The Daily today.

A spokesman for Owens gave a similar explanation.

“He just has a packed schedule back home,” he said.

This comes on the heels of Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Critz saying he’d opt out, and a trio of West Virginia Democrats — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Sen. Joe Manchin and Rep. Nick Rahall — all doing the same. Even though most of the convention-skippers have claimed they’d simply rather spend time back home, the political undertones are clear. After all, these Democrats share one thing in common: They answer to a conservative-leaning electorate that, at best, views Obama with a great deal of skepticism.

So skipping a late-summer convention that doubles as a love-fest for Obama is something of a political no-brainer, especially considering the fact that a week full of extravagant parties doesn’t make for the best optics with the country still in the midst of a fragile economic recovery.

“It’s an easy way to make a statement that you’re independent,” said Democratic strategist Steve Murphy. “There are tight districts where Obama’s not doing particularly well, and it makes sense from a political perspective for these folks. But I’m not sure how much difference it makes. After all, they’re going to have to defend their voting records either way.”

Perhaps the reduction in attendees isn’t just limited to vulnerable politicians.  “Facing a major deficit, Democrats are scaling back on their convention festivities,” Erika Johnsen writes at Hot Air:

Democrats canceled a political convention kick-off event at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and will move the activities to Charlotte’s main business district, the convention’s host committee announced. …

The move comes as party planners are grappling with a fundraising deficit of roughly $27 million, according to two people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss internal party politics. With a party ban on direct contributions from corporations, the host committee has raised less than $10 million, well short of its $36.6 million goal, said one of the people. …

In January, Steve Kerrigan, chief executive officer of the convention committee, said that Democrats were shortening their convention from four days to three “to make room for a day to organize and celebrate the Carolinas, Virginia and the South and kick off the convention at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Labor Day,” Sept. 3.

Kerrigan also announced that Obama would accept his party’s nomination at the almost 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers professional football team. The outdoor finale would echo Obama’s convention speech at Invesco Field in Denver four years ago. …

Republicans have not placed any restrictions on where they raise money and have secured corporate contributions from such companies as AT&T Inc. (T), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Coca-Cola Co. (KO) to meet their $55 million target.

As Big Government’s John Sexton adds:

Of course the Charlotte Motor Speedway hasn’t moved since January, so why is this just becoming a problem now? Bloomberg News has the answer. “With a party ban on direct contributions from corporations, the host committee has raised less than $10 million, well short of its $36.6 million goal…” Ouch! Less than ten million is bad. It’s also vague. How much less than ten million did they raise?

With Democrats unable to raise even one-third of their fundraising goal, they were forced to cut a few more corners off their already stunted convention. They’ll need whatever money is left to outfit the 74,000 seat Carolina Panthers football stadium for Obama’s nomination acceptance speech. Hopefully Britney Spears’ set designer can come up with another colonnade of Doric columns on the cheap.

Usually any shortfalls in corporate campaign cash are quickly made up for by the Democrats’ union friends. In this case, that’s not happening because of more poor planning by Democrats. North Carolina is a right-to-work state, so unions “have been reluctant to contribute to the convention because Charlotte lacks unionized hotels and is in a state where compulsory union membership or the payment of dues is prohibited as an employment condition.”

When Hurricane Gustav slammed through the Gulf states in late August of 2008 and caused the GOP to lose a day of their presidential convention, Michael Moore and Don Fowler, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, both bragged that it was proof that, as Fowler was caught on video uttering, “This just proves that God is on our side.” So if that presidential convention woes are a precursor to disaster in November of 2008, what to make of this year’s clusterfark on the opposite side of the aisle?

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Or thuggishness, misanthropy and nihilism, depending upon how you look at it, as our enlightened betters on the left demonstrate their love of mankind:

Or to sum it all up, “We’re not really people to them. It’s not an accident that New York Times columnist referred to his critics on Twitter as “right-wing lice.” — and as someone noted on Twitter, not at all getting — or losing too much sleep over — the historical eliminationist rhetoric implicit in such a phrase.

The Ottawa Citizen reports, “Hurricane experts admit they can’t predict hurricanes early; December forecasts too unreliable:”

Two top U.S. hurricane forecasters, famous across Deep South hurricane country, are quitting the practice of making a seasonal forecast in December because it doesn’t work.

William Gray and Phil Klotzbach say a look back shows their past 20 years of forecasts had no predictive value.

The two scientists from Colorado State University will still discuss different probabilities of hurricane seasons in December. But the shift signals how far humans are, even with supercomputers, from truly knowing what our weather will do in the long run.

Fancy that — weather and climate experts seemed much more confident a decade ago:

The New York Times was also pretty despondent about snowfalls never returning to New Yorkback then.

RFK Jr. also wrote in the L.A. Times in September of 2008 that global warming has made snow in the DC region “so scarce today that most Virginia children probably don’t own a sled.”

That was before “Snowmageddon” arrived in the region in February 2010…which was also blamed on global warming by Time magazine.

Whoops, sorry, that was Don Fowler, then chairman of the Democratic National Committee, back in late August of 2008, when Hurricane Gustav caused the first day of the 2008 Republican convention to be scrubbed:

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Similarly, Michael Moore added back then, “I was just thinking, this Gustav is proof that there is a God in Heaven,” when interviewed by Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.

This past Friday, Charles Krauthammer tweeted, “Earthquake, hurricane, Obamacare. When does it stop? Seven more and I vote we let the Israelites go…” It’s a funny line, and nobody thought that Krauthammer was directly invoking biblical wrath.

Responding to Michelle Bachmann expressing similar sentiments to Krauthammer, Ed Morrissey adds:

Bachmann certainly didn’t follow it up with warnings about God’s wrath, as one might if arguing this point seriously. Instead, her comments pointed to wrath of a kind more consequential in elections:

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’” Bachmann said at a campaign event in Sarasota, Florida on Sunday.

“Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending,” she said.

So yes, it’s a joke, which would be apparent to everyone who isn’t obsessing about the Dominionists and their secret plans to join the Illuminati, the Bildebergers, and the Freemasons to impose a Christian theocracy on the United States, in conjunction with space aliens. But at least the media is rational enough to tell us that space aliens know how to stimulate an economy.

When they’re not rhetorically rooting for hurricanes themselves — just so long as they don’t sail up Park Avenue, and risk blowing out the windows of the Grill Room of the Four Seasons.

Pretzel Logic

August 27th, 2011 - 2:51 pm

Two posts at Instapundit highlight the circular logic of today’s society. First up, check out this New York Times paragraph, and the text highlighted by Gerard van der Leun on Mayor Bloomberg’s evacuation plans for Hurricane Irene.

Or the lack thereof:

On Friday, city officials issued what they called an unprecedented order for the evacuation of about 370,000 residents of low-lying areas, warning that Hurricane Irene was such a threat that people living there simply had to get out. Officials also made what they said was another first-of-its-kind decision, announcing plans to shut down the city’s entire transit system Saturday — all 468 subway stations and 840 miles of tracks, and the rest of the nation’s largest mass transit network: thousands of buses in the city, as well as the buses and commuter trains that reach from Midtown Manhattan to the suburbs. — Evacuations Ordered in New York as Hurricane Irene Nears – NYTimes.com

Mayor Bloomberg is one America’s most aggressive pushers of the Nanny State — but its escalating costs and concurrent dwindling demographics are rapidly turning it into the Granny State as Glenn Reynolds writes, leading an Insta-reader to ask:

Reader Clifford Grout writes: “Grandparents were often the family safety net before the fall of extended families and the rise of the welfare state. If we’ve come full circle, then… what’s the point of continuing the welfare state? Wondering…”

Empowering politicians and employing bureaucrats, apparently.

Sheesh. All of these double-standards are enough to make you want to find some politics-free entertainment somewhere.

Say, what’s on ESPN?

Related: “Hurricane Irene closes in on quiet, anxious NYC.”

Quote of the Day

August 23rd, 2011 - 7:54 pm

“People on twitter might be joking, but in all seriousness, we would see a bigger boost in spending and hence economic growth if the earthquake had done more damage.”

Paul Krugman, or his ghostwriter, today.

Presumably Japan had a sufficient quantity of broken windows for Krugman’s liking.

Update: I doubt that Krugman would appreciate the humor, but Michael Ramirez’s latest cartoon dovetails perfectly with his quote.

Update: Allahpundit on the complexities and contradictions of a Timesman:

Update: And here’s the man himself weighing in. It wasn’t his Google+ page. Duly noted, and I apologize for the error. But I hope he addresses the argument in the fake tweet on his blog. If World War II ended the Great Depression, why is it outrageous to think a Keynesian might see an economic boon to a natural calamity?

“If Paul Krugman is wondering how and why so many people–myself included–could have been taken in by the fake Google+ page put up in his name, all he needs to do is to go back over his previous writings,” Pejman Yousefzadeh adds.

Magnitude 5.9 Earthquake in Virginia

August 23rd, 2011 - 11:51 am

As Instapundit notes, “A magnitude 5.9 earthquake in Virginia:”

UPDATE: Readers felt it as far away as Baltimore, Delaware, and Lehigh, Pennsylvania.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Hard to believe, but reader Eric Halpern says he felt it in Hartford: “My vertical blinds were rocking back and forth, and we all came out of our offices to ask, ‘Did you feel that?’”

My mom in South Jersey just called to tell me she and her neighbors felt the quake as well. She described it as feeling the floor was about to cave in, and then turned on the TV to see shots of office workers leaving their swaying skyscrapers in Philadelphia and NYC on the TV news. That jibes with what Tina Korbe at Hot Air writes: “Numerous bystanders and longtime residents evacuated from buildings in New York said they hadn’t felt shaking like this since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The same thought echoed in the corridors of the Pentagon, too.”

Bryan Preston has continuous updates and links at the Tatler.

Update: But of course: “Obama Golfing in Martha’s Vineyard When Earthquake Hit.”

Drudge is wondering if more smiting is soon to come: “As Hurricane Irene barrels north towards the Florida coast, it is looking more and more likely the storm will make a big splash on the D.C. region this weekend.”

Filed under: The Perfect Storm

One Million Gone in 30 Seconds

July 18th, 2011 - 12:49 pm

“1 Million Dead in 30 Seconds” — that’s one scary headline on Claire Berlinski’s new City Journal article:

While it is very expensive to tear down and replace, or reinforce, inadequate housing, it isn’t expensive at all to bolt heavy goods to the walls or to move heavy furniture away from beds. Rarely is this done in Istanbul. The odd thing is that everyone does fear the coming quake. Last year, a minor jolt panicked the city and sent the Turkish word for earthquake, deprem, to the top of Twitter’s trending topics, but almost no one knows what to do if it happens, or cares to know. I know many people in Istanbul who are wealthy enough to live in safer buildings but don’t.

They are fully aware of the risk. When asked why they don’t do anything about it, they shrug. They’re fatalistic. Most Turks think day to day, not long-term.

Contrast Turkey with Japan, where “there’s no such thing as an honest mistake,” as one American who has lived there for years puts it. “Every mistake is a moral failure. In other words, you should have worked harder, you should have prepared better, you should have been more careful. So even their [emergency] practice drills have to be rehearsed. Everybody has practiced.” After the March quake, journalist Kirk Spitzer, who lives in Japan, wrote about the culture of earthquake preparedness there: “Our shelves are lined with rubberized material to keep glasses and plate-ware from sliding; nothing fell over and broke, not even delicate champagne glasses we brought from Paris. Elsewhere, floor-mounted latches kept bedroom and hallway doors from slamming or breaking loose. Picture rails built into the ceiling kept even heavy frames from crashing to the floor.”

Ordinary, middle-class Japanese people take these steps to protect their drinking glasses. Many museums in Istanbul fail to take similar steps to protect priceless sculptures, ceramics, and cuneiform. They sit unsecured on pedestals or underneath light fixtures that would fall on them in heavy shaking. The storage rooms, according to people who work in them, are a hazard zone. This isn’t a matter of comparative wealth; it’s a matter of culture.

You see a similar failure to turn worry into action at the governmental level. Local officials in the municipality of Beşiktaş have elaborate earthquake plans—they showed them to me in a PowerPoint presentation. But they exist only on PowerPoint, where they have existed since 2008 without any progress made toward implementation. This is characteristic of the great majority of earthquake plans drawn up in Turkey since the 1999 quake. No one knows about them—certainly not the public; they look quite thorough, but they do not translate into action. No one seems to have the authority to act on the plans. No one seems to have the authority to release whatever funds would be needed to implement them. No one seems even to know who would have that authority. The funds and grants awarded by various international development agencies for retrofitting and earthquake preparation simply disappear.

Fatalism kills. Short-term thinking kills. But above all, corruption kills. On the anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, Nicholas Ambraseys and Roger Bilham published an extraordinary study in Nature. Using data from Transparency International’s Corruptions Perception Index, they calculated that 83 percent of all deaths from building collapses in earthquakes in the past 30 years took place in countries that were “anomalously corrupt”—that is, in countries that were perceived to be more corrupt than you would predict from their per-capita income.

* * *

A quarter of a million people were killed in Haiti, and God knows how many more were maimed, physically and emotionally, by collapsing buildings. This will happen again and again, in larger and larger numbers, with ever-weepier celebrity telethons to accompany the carnage. But you’ll see no calls to save the world from corrupt building practices on your grocery bags at Whole Foods. Nobody will suggest that the American government enter into seismic risk reduction treaties with other nations.

Spin the wheel: Bogotá, Cairo, Caracas, Dhaka, Islamabad, Istanbul, Jakarta, Karachi, Katmandu, Lima, Manila, Mexico City, New Delhi, Quito, Tehran. It will be one of them. It isn’t too late to save them. But we need to say the truth about why they’re at risk in the first place.

You know what to do next.

Quote of the Day, Early Entrant

June 15th, 2011 - 7:58 am

“Before I begin, I must point out that behind me sits a highly admired President of the United States and decorated war hero while I, a cable television talk show host, have been chosen to stand here and impart wisdom. I pray I never witness a more damning example of what is wrong with America today.”

Conan O’Brien, during his recent commencement address at Dartmouth. The president he’s referring to is George H.W. Bush, who was voted out of office in 1992 for Bill Clinton.

And I guarantee that we’ll see even more damning examples of what’s wrong with America in the next year and a half.