Monday, November 30, 2015

Kotkin Disses Brown

Writing at Newgeography,com, Joel Kotkin takes a long, mostly negative, look at California Governor Jerry Brown. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link. It's no secret Kotkin doesn't approve of where Brown has taken the state.

Brown's father, Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, was a CA governor of an entirely different stripe - he was a builder of university, transportation and water storage infrastructure we still rely on. His son has built little but prisons.

Now Jerry B. is off to Paris to pontificate at the climate summit, to brag about how green CA has become. He is basically turning CA into a plantation economy - Kotkin calls it "feudal" - like many less developed countries. The irony is that if Brown could accept that truth, he would hate it and change. He can't, so he won't.

Weird Apiary Science

For several years people have been writing and talking about the impending demise of the honey bee, without which many of our food crops would not pollinate or produce. This phenomenon has been called "colony collapse disorder."

Now The Washington Post reports the industry has turned around, the data says there are more hives in the U.S. today than there were 9 years ago. In fact the article infers that what was posited to be a mysterious malady was in fact the admittedly mysterious acceleration of a natural occurrence.

The immediate solution is simply to replace the missing colonies and keep on keeping bees, if the article is to be believed. Two quotes:
Randal R. Tucker and Walter N. Thurman, a pair of agricultural economists, explains that seasonal die-offs have always been a part of beekeeping: they report that before CCD, American beekeepers would typically lose 14 percent of their colonies a year, on average.

So beekeepers have devised two main ways to replenish their stock. The first method involves splitting one healthy colony into two separate colonies: put half the bees into a new beehive, order them a new queen online (retail price: $25 or so), and voila: two healthy hives. The other method involves simply buying a bunch of bees to replace the ones you lost. You can buy 3 pounds of "packaged" bees, plus a queen, for about $100 or so.
So, yes, more colonies are dying out and, perforce, being replaced. But, no, we are not running out of bees. And yes, it does now cost more to raise bees. Entomology still needs to learn what has accelerated the die off of bee colonies.

Marvelous Malta

RealClearWorld provides a link to a BBC News Magazine story about the island nation of Malta. It's a former British colony where Queen Elizabeth II lived as a young married princess in the late 1940s and early 1950s, before becoming Queen in 1952 upon the death of her father.

The BBC communicates something of the flavor of the place. Like Gibraltar, it mixes Mediterranean warmth and charm with British order.

The DrsC very much enjoyed the two visits we've made to Valletta. It's not as pretty as Corfu, but English is widely spoken and the weather's balmy.

If we decided to live somewhere in Europe, Malta would be an outstanding choice. We don't suffer overmuch from "island fever" and could afford to get away periodically, probably to Switzerland.

Spengler Endorses Cruz

Endorsements - of this or that candidate - are beginning to occur. We reported one for Fiorina a couple of days ago.

Now one of our favorite pundits, the trenchant David P. Goldman who channels Spengler for PJMedia, endorses Ted Cruz. Goldman lists 10 reasons to choose Cruz, see his top reason:
He can beat Hillary Clinton. Not just beat her, but beat her by a landslide. Mrs. Clinton isn't that smart. She looks sort of smart when the media toss her softballs, but in a series of one-to-one, nowhere-to-hide presidential debates, Cruz would shred her. Cruz was the top college debater in the country. He knows how to assemble facts, stay on message, anticipate his opponent's moves and neutralize them. He's a quarter-century younger than Mrs. Clinton, smarter, sharper, and better prepared. He's also clean as a whistle in personal life and finances, while the Clintons could reasonably be understood to constitute a criminal enterprise.
And who knows ... Cruz might even nab some Hispanic votes.

Questioning Free-Range Insanity

An old, crazy man shoots up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, killing three and injuring several more. People will blame guns. He could as easily have rammed the people with his car.

The real issue is our decision in the 1960s not to institutionalize the insane. They live among us in their tens of thousands and several times a year one snaps and begins killing people.

I understand the civil rights argument for giving people the right to be "different" and not locking up everyone a little strange. Most such never do anything more than behave, or opine, somewhat oddly.

Most don't, a few do, and we''re not very adept at detecting a priori who will and won't turn violent toward others. Time was, we rounded them all up and warehoused them in asylums. And yes, those were grim places.

Similar places wouldn't need to be so grim today since we can control the more egregious behavior with meds which "work" in the sense that they rein in the weirdness. What they don't do is "cure" the underlying problem, so the treatment is palliative and must be continuous to be effective.

Sadly, those suffering mental maladies often don't like how dull their meds make them feel and won't take them if not monitored. This is particularly an issue with bi-polar individuals who miss the natural highs of that condition.

Since there is no realistic way to keep lethal objects out of the hands of the insane, perhaps we should consider keeping the insane where they cannot commit mass murder. Alternatively, we need to learn to accept the random violence we currently experience as "a cost of doing business in the preferred (maximum civil liberties) way."

Review: Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2

The other DrC and I saw Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 Sunday afternoon. It is the third and final film in the Hunger Games series.

Darn faithful to the book, the film is long, violent, and ultimately it's good. No spoilers here, too many have yet to see it. Many of your favorites from the first two films are back reprising their roles, some have large parts, others not so much.

If you liked the first two films, you'll like this one. If you haven't seen those, Part 2 probably won't make much sense to you.

The other DrC said she should have reviewed Part 1 before going to see Part 2, just to "get up to speed." That's not bad advice.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Faces and Races

Miami is the de facto capital of Latin America and the Miami Herald takes its role in the region seriously. Their Andres Oppenheimer is an astute observer of Latin America who writes a regular column.

Today he describes Latin America sending more young people to U.S. universities, a positive trend but not one especially of interest to COTTonLINE readers. I'm more interested in the stock photo which illustrates the column, go take a look.

It portrays the leaders of Mexico and Brazil: Enrique Pina Nieto and Dilma Rousseff. What I want you to notice is that if you didn't recognize them and were told they were southern Europeans you'd believe it.

This is fairly typical of Latin America where the people in charge are mostly of European stock and those in less lofty positions more often have Amerind or African ancestry. The exceptions like today's Bolivia are noticable for their rarity.

Advertising billboards in the region often portray blonds and people with light eyes and skin, something rarely seen on the street. Nobody seems offended by this, rather the advertisers believe it will attract customers.

Norteamericano cultural imperialism, or is it homegrown? The latter, I believe. We've seen the same thing in India and in Quebec, a province where many women are blond but few men or children share the trait. Imagine that.

Not the Main Event

Ross Douthat writes for The New York Times, he sometimes gets it right, other times not quite. Today's column is one of the latter, one of his "not quite" columns.

In it Douthat draws parallels between the multisided civil war in Syria and the more clearly defined Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s. There are some such, obviously. And he observes the obvious differences as well.

Where Douthat drops the ball is in his conclusion, he writes:
If the war in Spain was a dress rehearsal for World War II — well, the truth about Syria is that it’s probably not a rehearsal for anything. It’s the main event, and nobody can foresee when it will end.
Sorry, Syria isn't the main event. It is but one theater in the Long War. Others include Yemen, Palestine, south Thailand, south Philippines, Kashmir. Afghanistan, Somalia/Kenya, Libya, Sudan, the Sahel, and the Sinai. I suppose you could include Lebanon and the Balkans, although they are (temporarily) quiet.

As for foreseeing its end, a distinguishing feature of the Long War is that nobody on our side can even imagine the genocidal carnage required to end it. It's probably best for us to think of it as "unending" as its roots go back a thousand years.

ISIS, on the other hand, appears realistic about the vast slaughter required to end the Long War, They have made genocide-for-non-Muslims an explicit goal, one we must frustrate if, as I expect, we cannot bring ourselves to embrace its reciprocal.

Autumn Leaves in NorCal

Fall comes late in our part of Northern California. Of course, it is long since snowy winter in western Wyoming. Every year we experience two springs and two falls. one in each place.

New England isn't the only place with fall colors. The other DrC has pretty photos on her website taken last week of local trees showing off their fall plumage, check it out here.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Climate Change: Real But No Emergency

Matt Ridley writes in Scientific American about the question of climate change. Hat tip to RealClearScience for the link.

Ridley strikes a moderate note with which I choose not to argue. I don't believe it to be, at this point, proven fact but it fits the observed data better than other models.
The climate change debate has been polarized into a simple dichotomy. Either global warming is “real, man-made and dangerous,” as Pres. Barack Obama thinks, or it’s a “hoax,” as Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe thinks. But there is a third possibility: that it is real, man-made and not dangerous, at least not for a long time.

This “lukewarm” option has been boosted by recent climate research, and if it is right, current policies may do more harm than good.

If sensitivity is low and climate change continues at the same rate as it has over the past 50 years, then dangerous warming—usually defined as starting at 2 degrees C above preindustrial levels—is about a century away.

We should spend the coming decades stepping up research and development of new energy technologies. Many people may reply that we don’t have time to wait for that to bear fruit, but given the latest lukewarm science of climate change, I think we probably do.
That's a relief. Convince Obama, won't you?

A Plug for Fiorina

Iowa resident Dave Begley has made a point to see most, if not all, of the GOP candidates for the presidential nomination as they've toured Iowa courting its caucus-goers. His reports on those have appeared at the Power Line website, and he's seen much to admire.

He has finally made his choice and that choice is Carly Fiorina. He writes an admiring endorsement for Carly posted on his blog, The Art of 21st Century Wisdom.

If you'd like to see, collected in one place, the arguments in her favor I suggest reading his endorsement is worth your time. Fiorina is certainly one of the aspirants for whom I would vote, if nominated.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Eye Candy

Have you seen a YouTube video cut to go along with country singer Austin Cunningham's ballad "The Girls on Fox News?" Hat tip to friend Earl for the link. It is funny and cute, and yep, Fox News has hired some stunning women.

Murdoch and Roger Ailes figured out we'd rather look at a pretty lady while hearing the depressing news of the day. Think of it like the Mary Poppins' "spoonful of sugar" which "makes the medicine go down, in the most delightful way."

Five Stages of Grief

With the Trump candidacy showing no immediate signs of ill-health, we begin to see the GOP elites, the donor class, and the punditry start to cope. You gotta know they won't back Hillary, and they won't start a 3rd party movement, leaving only two choices: stay home or get on-board.

As several have noted, the elites are proceeding through the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Their denial has been well-documented, as has their anger. Some evidence of bargaining has already surfaced, along with depression.

Between now and the effective end of the primary season we'll see if they go the whole five steps to acceptance. If Trump flames out, they won't have to eat that final portion of crow labeled "acceptance" and will, I am certain, deny any bargaining that preemptively took place.

My crystal ball is "in the shop." I don't know whether or not Trump will win the GOP nomination. Whatever happens, he will have made the 2016 race more interesting, fun, and arguably more consequential. Watching the supposed "elites" squirm has been a lot of that fun.

The Dutch Step Up

A fascinating story out of the Netherlands - via an article by Reuters - concerning a new Dutch government policy toward unsuccessful asylum-seekers who refuse to leave. The Council of State ruled as follows:
A Dutch high court on Thursday upheld a government policy of withholding food and shelter to rejected asylum-seekers who refuse to be repatriated, giving legal backing to one of Europe's toughest immigration policies.

The Dutch government "has the right, when providing shelter in so-called locations of limited freedom, to require failed asylum-seekers to cooperate with their departure from the Netherlands," a summary of the ruling said.
Dutch policy will likely put them at odds with the EU bureaucrats in Brussels. The EU refuses to face there is no way Europe can afford to take on the entire MENA population, or any significant portion thereof, as a welfare burden.

Experience a Trump Rally provides a link to a Molly Ball article in The Atlantic which describes a Trump rally in Myrtle Beach, SC. You know she meant it to be a put-down, but her admiration for his skill and crowd-sense leaks through. Some random quotes.
They (the audience) seem so nice, your friends and neighbors. Your fellow Americans.

I hear, over and over again, that illegal immigration is the biggest problem we face. Almost everyone says their second-choice candidate is Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas; many express a wish that he and Trump would run on the same ticket.

These people aren’t skinheads. They don’t seem like jerks. Most of them are wearing jeans. (snip) There are a lot of couples. They are, it is true, overwhelmingly white people. Do you have a problem with that?

It is fun to be here. Even the reporters, to whose perfidy Trump devotes a substantial chunk of his speech, are having fun—you never know what Trump is going to say, and you get a lot of airtime.

Despite all the negativity and fear, the energy in this room does not feel dark and aggressive and threatening. It doesn’t feel like a powder keg about to blow, a lynch mob about to rampage. It feels joyous.

This is the thing Trump knows: You can stand around fretting about truth and propriety and the danger of pandering to baser instincts. Or you can give the people what they want.
The article makes a snide reference to Mrs. Trump's Slovenian ancestry. In case you don't know, independent Slovenia is Austria's de facto southern province. It is mountainous, pretty, thoroughly European and quite prosperous. Not at all part of the Balkan mess.

Who Is Next?

Campus radicals are demanding the names of various historical figures, mainly presidents, be removed from campus units, buildings, etc. because those worthies were insufficiently sensitive to black oppression. Several pundits have asked "Who is next?"

I propose Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the next target. As Commander in Chief he presided over a U.S. military with segregated units, black troops served in different units than did whites. Actually, every president until Harry S. Truman did so. That should make the lot of them anathema - non-persons in the Soviet sense.

Or, we can relax and say "Those were different times with different beliefs, and it makes no sense to impose today's values upon them. Let's honor what they accomplished in spite of it." I take that view but understand it will not appeal to young radicals and others who cannot or will not walk a mile in another's shoes.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Wishes

The DrsC wish all COTTonLINE readers a Happy Thanksgiving day, and successful shopping tomorrow on Black Friday, if that is your plan (we skip the shopping). It is our hope that you have much for which to be thankful. We certainly do.

You have about a month until Christmas, a period that tends to be eventful personally, if not nationally. It is time to get the Christmas letter written and the cards ready to mail. Celebrate responsibly, be of good cheer, and enjoy the seasonal decorations and music. Stay safe, keep warm, and smile often.

America Is Sickly

Roger Cohen writes a column for The New York Times. Today it is written as a conversation between a well-informed mother and her son about how World War I started, and how the situation today has similar characteristics, similarities the mother unconvincingly denies. Along the way, Cohen renders this opinion of our nation, in the mother's voice:
Some people call America an empire even if it doesn’t have an emperor. It is the most powerful country on earth, with soldiers all around the world and different peoples that rely on it for direction and protection. But America’s getting weaker.

Because, like I said, America is sickly. It's getting weaker.
From a progressive, writing for the left's paper of record, that is a remarkably candid (and sobering) view of our national health as the Obama era winds down. If Cohen's assessment is correct, as I believe it to be, voting for 4-8 years of "continuity with Clinton" is tantamount to treason.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Aerial Combat on Syria-Turkey Border

The Turks shot down a Russian military jet somewhere along the Turkey-Syria border. One pilot was reported killed after ejecting, likely by ground fire, the other was rescued. Now Russia and Turkey are arguing about whether the jet was or was not in Turkish airspace.

It becomes ever more clear that Erdogan's Turkey is abetting an ISIS victory in Syria. They see ISIS crushing both the Assad government and the Kurdish rebels.

Largely Sunni Turkey roots for Sunni ISIS, against Assad's Alawites and his Shia allies - the Iranians and their local Hezbollah proxy from Lebanon. Plus it has been clear for over a decade that Turkey would go to war to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish state anywhere near their borders.

Turkey is a NATO member, if attacked by Russia they could demand NATO support them in fighting off Putin. Defending a Turkey that supports ISIS would be extremely unpalatable to other NATO nation members.

There is every chance NATO would not comply, if it appears Turkey instigated the fight. At that point, the whole NATO schemata is called into question, something Putin would flatly love. It gives him a motive to attack Turkey, perhaps shoot down a couple of their planes, trying to goad them into jumping in with both feet. Watch this space.

Fact Checking Failure

Donald Trump famously says there were NJ Muslims celebrating the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. The Washington Post's so-called "fact checker" Glenn Kessler reported finding no support for this assertion and awarded Trump four Pinocchios, denoting a maximum lie.

Meanwhile John Hinderaker at Power Line did a quick search and found Kessler's own WaPo had published a report sourced to the Jersey police concerning such celebration. Now Mark Steyn has found the story was covered by The New York Times and a couple of Jersey TV stations too.

Chances are Trump exaggerated some when he said "thousands" were involved, so what? Trump always exaggerates, it is his stock in trade, so sue him.

It seems clear there were some number of radicalized Muslim Arabs in New Jersey who publically expressed joy about the World Trade Center attack. Deal with it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Boxer, Feinstein on Different Tracks

Blogging at Huffington Post, California's 75 year old junior Senator, Barbara Boxer (D-CA) opines that Republican candidates are being too harsh concerning refugees and jihadis. Oddly, her senior colleague Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) thinks Obama isn't being harsh enough.

Normally they're on the same page. In this case I believe Feinstein has access to intelligence Boxer doesn't see and that intel makes a difference.

Also Boxer has announced she will not run for reelection, while Feinstein has not spoken of her future plans. DiFi can certainly read the polls that say Americans are fed up with Obama's inaction on ISIS. Lame-duck Boxer - disregarding public opinion - agrees with our lame-duck President that the Syrians are fluffy little bunny rabbits we must cherish.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Affirmative Action Damages Talented Minority Kids

Stuart Taylor Jr. writes, for The American Spectator, about the damage racial admissions preferences of elite universities do to minority students. Black and Hispanic students are recruited to help campuses meet affirmative action quotas, not because it is what is best for the students.
Only 1 to 2 percent of black college applicants emerge from high school well-qualified academically for (say) the top Ivy League colleges. Therefore, those schools can meet their racial admissions targets only by using large preferences. They bring in black students who are well qualified for moderately elite schools like (say) the University of North Carolina, but not for the Ivies that recruit them. This leaves schools like UNC able to meet their own racial targets only by giving large preferences to black students who are well qualified for less selective schools like (say) the University of Missouri but not for UNC. And so on down the selectivity scale.

As a result, experts agree, most black students at even moderately selective schools — with high school preparation and test scores far below those of their classmates — rank well below the middle of their college and grad school classes, with between 25% and 50% ranking in the bottom tenth. That’s a very bad place to be at any school.

This, in turn, increases these students’ isolation and self-segregation from the higher-achieving Asians and whites who flourish in more challenging courses.

It is critical to understand that these are not bad students. They did well in high school and could excel at somewhat less selective universities where they would arrive roughly as well prepared as their classmates.

But due to racial preferences, they find themselves for the first time in their lives competing against classmates who have a huge head start in terms of previous education, academic ability, or both.
Could we ever be realistic enough to say that the most highly competitive universities would be meeting their quotas if they managed to attract the "1 to 2 percent of black college applicants (who) emerge from high school well-qualified academically for (say) the top Ivy League colleges"? That's what should happen, but sadly the SJWs won't stand for it.

Reasons to Say "No" to Refugees

The AEIdeas website links to a poll by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies which finds that 13% of Syrian refugees have "positive" or "somewhat positive" attitudes toward ISIS. Hat tip to for the link.

Syrian refugees are what our President is asking us to accept in our communities. This study suggests roughly one of every eight Syrian refugees feels okay toward ISIS. The only group in the MENA region with more positive attitudes is the Palestinians.

Obama proposes admitting 10,000 refugees. One-eighth of 10,000 equals 1250 potential terrorists. Even 10% of that number could cause one blazing lot of chaos, mayhem, and death.

Imagine the FBI headcount required to keep an eye on 1250 ISIS sympathizers. I estimate 5-7 agents to watch each suspect 24/7. The FBI would need an additional headcount of roughly 9,000 agents and supervisors. Direct salary and benefit costs alone would run roughly $1 billion, not including autos, clerical support, office space, per diem, training. etc., figure another billion.

Even if you watch people for five years and they do nothing wrong, they can still turn sour in the sixth year and do a berserker, meaning you have to keep watching at least until they are old, meaning costs like these effectively in perpetuity.

Ten thousand people who speak little or no English will require welfare plus Medicaid, so you have another half billion or so, year after year. Accepting these refugees is not a good idea.

Obama Midwifed ISIS

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is quoted by The Hill as blaming the U.S. for the rise of ISIS, and he is probably correct. A more accurate attribution would be to blame President Obama.

The Obama administration dickered with the Iraqi government about a continuation of the Status of Forces agreement that permitted U.S. troops to stay in country without falling under Iraqi law. Claiming the Iraqis wouldn't make the deal we needed, Obama pulled all U.S. troops out of Iraq.

Who believes the world's only superpower could not coerce the terms it needed from a client government we created? Very clearly, Obama got the outcome he wanted; a refusal that gave him an excuse to pull our troops out.

Had we coerced the needed agreement and left our troops there, we could have kept the Iraqi Shia government from beating up on the Sunnis, driving them into the arms of what became ISIS. If we can justify leaving 30,000 troops in Korea for 60+ years to prevent a resumption of the Korean War, we could have certainly left 10,000 in Iraq for a decade or two.

Obama violated his own rule not to do stupid stuff. Removing our troops from Iraq was Obama's dumb "mission accomplished" moment. He stupidly walked away from victory in order to win a highly temporary political advantage.

ISIS is the result. The fault is Obama's.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The EU a Sham?

Janet Daley writes for The Telegraph (U.K.) from a vantage point on the right, here about Europe and what a sham the EU has turned out to be. See a few key thoughts:
The institutions of the EU are not fit for purpose and its conception of democracy is a sham. There is a good reason why member states cannot simply put aside their own interests and the concerns of their own populations for the sake of a Europe-wide policy: because their internal democracy is the real thing.

The governments of France, Sweden, Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria – all caught up in this chaotic, and now terrifying situation – are responsible in the most direct and incontrovertible sense, to their own electorates.

It isn’t the future of the UK’s membership that needs to be re-thought: it’s the whole European project.
The dreams some had of a "United States of Europe" are on hold for now, maybe for the foreseeable future. Perhaps they always were unrealistic.

I've Made a Little List

There has been much gnashing of teeth about some candidates' consideration of establishing a list of Muslims in the U.S. Before you get entirely wee-wee'd up about this invasion of privacy, take a look at The Washington Post's Philip Bump article appearing in The Boston Globe.

According to Bump, this info is already in existence, compiled by the private sector. A competent data miner can purchase and cross-reference together a list that would be, if not perfect, darn close to it.

My guess: the FBI has already has built this list, perhaps with the aid of the NSA, and is quietly laughing up their sleeve at all the fuss. Given the ease and relevance, if they haven't done so somebody should be fired or, failing that, sent to monitor government fraud in Hagatna, Guam.

In the 1950s and 1960s we had lists of Communists in the U.S., as that ideology had set itself against us. Today, certain aspects of Islam have set themselves against us, lists of possible adherents once again are useful.

A Happy Thought

The Washington Examiner's Michael Barone writes about the challenges facing both major political parties. I believe COTTonLINE readers will enjoy his conclusion.
Republicans have a chance of emerging from their gathering storm with an attractive nominee and plausible policies. Democrats seem likely to emerge from theirs with Hillary Clinton and policies dictated by an incumbent contemptuous of public opinion on issues like Syrian refugees and gun control - and a world that seems to be spinning out of control.
If Barone doesn't leave a grin on your face with that summary, you are an unusual COTTonLINE reader.

SUV, Pickup Sales Up

The Financial Times reports sales of SUVs and pickup trucks are up. Author Edward Luce, a climate Chicken Little who believes we're to blame for the sky falling, writes that lower gasoline prices are a factor encouraging purchase of these less-fuel-efficient vehicles.

At least the U.S. is no longer the #1 polluter, he reports. China has that dubious distinction, while India is #3. Luce basically concludes nations with representative governments won't do much about greenhouse gases because people don't want to curtail their lifestyles and won't voluntarily choose to do so.

Climate alarmists ignore that (a) North America has the worst weather, on average, of any inhabited continent on the planet (excluding Antarctica) and (b) outside a handful of large cities, we're a private vehicle-based culture. Vehicles with substantial ground clearance and four wheel drive (mostly SUVs and pickups) are a serious boon in places which get snow, ice, and/or torrential rains - in other words, most of the U.S. and all of Canada.

If Luce is correct, if the climate is going to warm, perhaps foundations should fund grants to investigate ways to take advantage of warming, or ameliorate its downsides. Examples: heat-tolerant GMO crops, developing vacation property in Canada's Northwest Territory, stay-cool architecture, more efficient AC.

Argentina Votes for Change

Reuters reports via CNBC exit polls in Argentina show outsider Mauricio Macri will win the presidential run-off election held today. A non-Peronist center-right mayor of Buenos Aires, Macri is viewed as pro-business and pro-growth.

Incumbent President Cristina Fernandez was term-limited out of office as her second consecutive term is ending soon. Her hand-picked Peronist successor Daniel Scioli appears to be losing.

Peronism has been the long-time curse of Argentine politics. It's policies consist of protectionism verging on autarky, elaborate social welfare programs including government as employer-of-last-resort and corruption.

If Macri can put Argentina on a path like that taken by Chile, market-oriented and private sector driven, both the country and the region will be better off. It remains to be seen whether Macri will have sufficient legislative support to enact what he's promised.

An Argentina for whom no one need cry would be a wonderful achievement for Macri. His is a country of enormous (as yet unfulfilled) promise.

The Poor Don't Vote

Writing in The New York Times, Alec MacGillis investigates the question of why persons of modest means end up voting for Republican candidates who do not support assistance programs like Obamacare and food stamps. He begins with the notion that they are voting against their own economic interests.

Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link. Digging deeper MacGillis finds:
The people who most rely on the safety-net programs secured by Democrats are, by and large, not voting against their own interests by electing Republicans. Rather, they are not voting, period. They have, as voting data, surveys and my own reporting suggest, become profoundly disconnected from the political process.

The people in these communities who are voting Republican in larger proportions are those who are a notch or two up the economic ladder — the sheriff’s deputy, the teacher, the highway worker, the motel clerk, the gas station owner and the coal miner. And their growing allegiance to the Republicans is, in part, a reaction against what they perceive, among those below them on the economic ladder, as a growing dependency on the safety net, the most visible manifestation of downward mobility in their declining towns.

These voters are consciously opting against a Democratic economic agenda that they see as bad for them and good for other people — specifically, those undeserving benefit-recipients who live nearby.

Researchers such as Kathryn Edin, of Johns Hopkins University, found a tendency by many Americans in the second lowest quintile of the income ladder — the working or lower-middle class — to dissociate themselves from those at the bottom.

Meanwhile, many people who in fact most use and need social benefits are simply not voting at all. Voter participation is low among the poorest Americans, and in many parts of the country that have moved red, the rates have fallen off the charts.
Whether you view the poor not voting as a problem or as a feature has a lot to do with which party normally gets your vote. Democrats hate it; Republicans are likely to think individuals relying on various means tested programs (collectively called "welfare") shouldn't be eligible to vote.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Feral Parakeets of Texas

Not everything we do here at COTTonLINE is deadly serious, or alternatively snarky. Have some fun looking at a Texas Monthly article with photos about several sizable colonies of feral monk parakeets resident in that large, uncrowded state. Hat tip to for the link.

Natives of the pampas of Argentina, bright green monk parakeets were brought here as pretty pets but, as the article notes, wore out their welcome by being very LOUD. Disillusioned owners opened their cages and let them go, they found each other and multiplied and now there are likely thousands of these little beauties.

I haven't seen the monk parakeets of Texas but I remember seeing whole flocks of wild parrot-type birds with hot pink underwings in Australia. When a flock executes a sharp bank and turn in flight, there is an aerial flash of pink that is amazing.

Like parakeets, parrots tend to be seed eaters and spend quite a lot of time on the ground feeding, I remember looking out my motel window in Perth and seeing two on the ground under a nearby tree.

Long Thoughts on the Long War

There are plenty of shallow analyses of ISIS and Europe's travails therewith, Robert Kagan's article for The Wall Street Journal isn't one of them. It isn't short and it isn't upbeat, but it does take a dispassionate view of the mess and its many antecedents.

I believe if you read it you will learn, or at least be reminded of, some aspects of the situation you weren't considering. Kagan may be this generation's Henry Kissinger, high praise indeed at COTTonLINE.

The "Joys" of Socialism

Fox News posts an Associated Press story that 73% of families in Venezuela are in poverty. Give it another few years and maybe they can reach 100% poverty.

Isn't that socialism stuff wonderful? In Maggie Thatcher's words, the government in Venezuela has run out of other people's money to spend.

AP tries to blame the poor economic performance on low oil prices, admittedly a factor. However, the demotivating aspects of redistribution on otherwise highly productive people cannot be overlooked.

Knocking yourself out at work makes no sense if harder work doesn't equal more income and a better life. In the absence of an obvious quid pro quo, folks would rather have the leisure, particularly in Venezuela's hot, humid climate.

Price fixing demotivates manufacturers and suppliers who cannot make a decent return on investment; soon shelves in the shops are bare. Bottled water and toilet paper are said to be in short supply, no laughing matter in a third world country with nonpotable tap water and high levels of dysentery.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Long War Is Not Over

Writing in The Weekly Standard, authors Hayes and Joscelyn summarize the dreary details of Barack Obama's foreign policy failures. As COTTonLINE readers know, they are many and depressing. I would share with you their conclusion at the end of a long article:
Al Qaeda is not decimated. ISIS is not jayvee. Iran is not our friend. Terrorists sent by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are not isolated extremists. Attempted bombings by operatives dispatched by the Pakistani Taliban are not one-off attacks. Planned assaults on American facilities overseas are not protests. Groups blowing up airliners are not contained. September 11 was not an episode. Mass casualty attacks are not setbacks.

The long war is not over.
As Churchill famously said during WW II after winning the air Battle of Britain, we aren't at the beginning of the end, but it just might be the end of the beginning. Meanwhile President Powder Puff makes Neville Chamberlain look, by comparison, like a junk yard dog.

Dem Majority: U.S. at War with Radical Islam

An ABC News/Washington Post poll, conducted since the Paris attacks, looks at Americans' attitudes toward admitting refugees and U.S. military involvement in countering ISIS. Some key findings:
Perhaps most fundamentally, 59 percent of Americans in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, say the United States is at war with radical Islam, which is little changed from a poll earlier this year.

Seventy-three percent support increased U.S. air strikes against the Islamic State, or ISIS, and 60 percent back more ground forces, double the level of support for ground forces from summer 2014. One reason: Eighty-one percent see a major terrorist attack in the United States in the near future as likely.

There are differences among political groups on other issues, but many of those in degree, not direction. Just more than six in 10 Republicans and independents say the United States is at war with radical Islam; that declines to 53 percent of Democrats, fewer, but still a majority.

In the sharpest division, 69 percent of Democrats approve of Obama’s handling of terrorism. Sixty-four percent of independents, and 85 percent of Republicans, disapprove.
A majority of respondents were opposed to admitting Syrian refugees and unconvinced screening is either possible or effective.

This Generation's Reagan Democrats

Hat tip to Breitbart for the link to an Ipsos poll where the French market research firm looked at the Trump phenomenon. They asked a number of questions including whether respondents agreed with the following three statements:
1) I don't identify with what America has become.
2) These days I feel like a stranger in my own country.
3) America is [NOT] a place I can feel comfortable as myself.
Ipsos identifies those agreeing with all three as "strongly nativist." People agreeing with two are labeled "moderately nativist" and those agreeing with only one are called "slightly nativist." You have to disagree with all three to earn their approving label of "not nativist." They also asked respondents' politics.
Fully 64% of Republicans are moderately or strongly nativist, including over a quarter (26%) who agree with all three of the nativist statements (compared to only 31% moderately or strongly nativist among Democrats). Such trends clearly show Trump’s appeal among the Republican base.

So who are these nativist voters who might be kingmakers in 2016? They look something like the Republican party in general. They tend to be whiter than the rest of the population, older, less likely to have a 4-year college degree and live in the South.
Might the nearly 1/3 of Democrats who feel like "strangers in a strange land" be potential Trump voters? I believe you could make a strong argument for that outcome. They could become this generation's Reagan Democrats.

Hat tip to the late R. Heinlein for coining the phrase "strangers in a strange land" in a very different context.

Chipotle Overdoes It

The E. coli outbreak at Chipotle continues to spread; it's now found in six states. See a Reuters story via Yahoo News for details.

COTTonLINE understands a Mexican restaurant striving to achieve authenticity. However, including a side of Montezuma's Revenge takes authenticity to levels most people would rather not experience.

Trump Has a Shot

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza headlines his The Fix column as follows, and it isn't ironic, he's serious:
Yes, Donald Trump could absolutely be the Republican nominee in 2016
This he backs up with numbers, and a telling photo of a 'yuuge' Trump crowd in blue Massachusetts. I'd go one step farther and say Trump "could absolutely be" the next president. 

These are tough times in which President Obama, to whom Clinton is tightly tied, is utterly wimping out. Such times do not reward Obama's vaguely obscene and definitely metrosexual "leadership from behind."

Trump's tough talk could resonate with the electorate as did Teddy Roosevelt's. After a prolonged drought, voters may well crave a leadership testosterone fix, which Trump is best able to provide.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Reid Investigated

The Associated Press reports a Utah prosecutor is investigating whether former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was criminally involved in a "pay to play" scheme, which allegedly was an exchange of campaign contributions for help in quashing a federal investigation of questionable activities.

Sure, the investigator's motives are probably political, but it would be lovely to see one-eyed Harry in an orange jumpsuit. Talk about the worm turning, that would be a treat.

Soccer Fans Pro-Terror in Turkey

Paul Mirengoff blogs at Power Line, here he comments on the refusal of Turkish soccer fans to observe a minute of silence in honor of those killed in Paris. Instead they booed and shouted "Allahu Akbar," Mirengoff links to video of the booing.
The next time you hear President Obama or Hillary Clinton insist that the wave of terrorism committed by Muslims has nothing to do with Islam and is deeply deplored within the Muslim world, remember this video.
Many Sunnis in Turkey, including President Erdogan, are rooting for ISIS to win in Syria and perhaps elsewhere. They hate the Kurds, Assad's Alawites and Hezbollah's Shias.

The Junior Red Guards

Col. Kurt Schlichter (Infantry, Ret.) blogs at; on Tuesday his topic was campus radicals protesting racism and demanding spaces free from anguish-causing ugly words. Some of his thoughts are fun:
It’s beautiful how this conflict divides the liberals between the establishment and the students, and how it further subdivides two of their main establishment constituencies, academics and mainstream media journalists. For too long, both of these groups of hapless losers have been able to pretend to support free speech.

Well, suckers, now it's getting real. The little monsters you spawned don't much like free-speech, and they want you to shut up too, not just us conservatives. Being academics and journalists, and therefore presumptively without spines, most of you guys will submit. A few of you won't, and it will weaken your coalition when some number of your members walk away because they just can’t swallow your catering to these Junior Red Guards.

Conservatives should be loving this fight. We're sitting on the sidelines and watching our enemies beat each other to a fussy pulp. This is a classic wedge issue.

Rightist Parties Surge in Europe

Business Insider reports parties of the right in Europe are doing well across much of the continent.
[It's] a group of European political figures and parties that don't all want to be associated with each other, but all share at least two common tenets: opposition to immigration and skepticism about the European Union. Some even advocate leaving the single currency.
Called out for special attention as gaining support are Sweden's Democrats, Germany's AfD, the Netherlands' Party for Freedom, Austria's Freedom Party, Italy's Northern League, and France's National Front. I believe you could add Britain's UKIP, and Hungary's Fidesz and Jobbik parties, these not mentioned in the article.

Savvy COTTonLINE readers are entirely unsurprised by this outcome. It's exactly what we'd expect to occur in countries overrun by culturally dissimilar refugees among whom a covert minority are terrorists.

Bi-Lingual Malaise

Politico Europe has a good article on the dysfunctions of the Belgium government, these mostly stemming from the nation's linguistic divide. Northern Belgium speaks Dutch, southern Belgium speaks French, the capital is officially bilingual but majority French-speaking. The country is corrupt, functions poorly, and yet makes marvelous beer, chocolate and wonderful fried potatoes, what Americans call "French" fries.

In truth, Belgium should probably be two countries: a Flemish state speaking Dutch, and a Walloon state speaking French. However, like a unhappy couple arguing over a treasured home, they cannot agree on who gets Brussels so they stay "together" sort of, while doing almost everything separately.

Out of the resulting governmental failure to coordinate arises the nest of jihadism that is Mollenbeek. In Belgium it functions like a failed state where nefarious activities can (and do) flourish.

Belgians apparently like their government being somewhat inept. I sense their feeling is better an inept government which can't do much harm than a forceful government dominated by the other language group, always a risk in a divided country. Similar feelings keep the Canadian national government somewhat weak relative to the provincial ones.

Profiling Works, Rejecting It Doesn't

The Daily Mail (U.K.) reports Hillary Clinton's comments regarding Islam and violent jihadism. According to her, they are unrelated. Her words:
Islam itself is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.
The Daily Mail continues:
Blaming 'radical Islamic terrorism' for vicious attacks of the sort that killed 129 people last Friday in Paris, she said, 'is not just a distraction.' Affiliating them with a religion, Clinton insisted, 'gives these criminals, these murderers, more standing than they deserve.'
Exactly how many jihadis are not Muslims? Exactly zero. Do jihadis believe it is all about their faith? Yes, they do. Outsiders defining jihadis as non-Muslims doesn't make them so. ISIS is an end-times apocalyptic Muslim movement.

If Clinton/Obama had said there are good Muslims and bad Muslims, who could disagree? I get they don't want to blame all Muslims for violent jihad. I agree not all Muslims are actively involved.

Perhaps many do not support it, although I'm less certain of that. Many Europeans who stayed home supported the Crusades, I suspect many nonviolent Muslims tacitly support the jihad.

Saying the bad actors are not Muslims is nonsense. Not looking for jihadis among Muslims is like not looking for Mafiosi among Sicilians. Profiling works, which is why the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have profilers.

A Donald Dream

I was reading about the various ideas Trump has for his presidency (it doesn't occur to him he might not be elected). This prompted me to fantasize a line from his inaugural speech.
Allah needs to rev up the virgin production line. We're gonna send him a yuuuge pile of martyrs.
Did I get his tone about right? It feels like it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Nearly Two-Thirds Disapprove

The Gallup polling organization asked over 1000 Americans, by phone, about their attitudes toward the President's handling of several things, including ISIS. Here is that question:
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the situation involving Islamic militants, commonly known as ISIS, in Iraq and Syria?
They were questioned during the period November 4-8, 2015, before the attacks in Paris happened. The results, 30% approve, 64% disapprove, and 6% have no opinion. Hat tip to for the link.

Our current situation is much the same as if President Roosevelt had sympathized with Germany and Japan when Pearl Harbor was attacked. It was our good fortune in 1941 that he did not; today we're not so lucky.

GOP Tries to Help, Dems Try to Block

The Hill reports Republicans are trying to pass legislation making background checks more stringent for Syrian refugees. It also reports Democrats are lining up to vote against trying to identify terrorists before they have a chance to harm Americans. This is typical Democrat anti-Americanism.

Later: It turns out 47 House Democrats voted with the Republicans in support of the measure. Whether they acted out of fear of voters or latent patriotism is unclear, but laudable nevertheless.

Fox News calls the measure's 289-137 win a veto-proof majority. Let's see what the Senate does.

Super Snark

Peter Wehner, writing in Commentary Magazine, characterizes our President, sans restraint:
We all know people of towering arrogance and we all know people of staggering incompetence, but Barack Obama is quite possibly the perfect package. No one on the scene today combines these two qualities in quite the same way as Mr. Obama.
He excels at both, no question. No wonder we're all suffering Obama Derangement Syndrome. Hat tip to for the link.

A Reality Check for Progressives

Instapundit provides a link to a Kevin Drum article in Mother Jones, normally a liberal rag. Drum surprisingly writes good sense about reactions to the Paris attacks and admitting Syrian refugees to the U.S.
To the average person, it seems perfectly reasonable to be suspicious of admitting Syrian refugees to the country. We know that ISIS would like to attack the US. We know that ISIS probably has the wherewithal to infiltrate a few of its people into the flood of refugees. And most voters have no idea how easy it is to get past US screening. They probably figure it's pretty easy.

So to them it doesn't seem xenophobic or crazy to call for an end to accepting Syrian refugees. It seems like simple common sense. After all, things changed after Paris.

Mocking Republicans over this—as liberals spent much of yesterday doing on my Twitter stream—seems absurdly out of touch to a lot of people. (snip) It makes them wonder if Democrats seriously see no problem here. Do they care at all about national security? Are they really that detached from reality?
Hint: Yes, Democrats are that detached, No, they don't care. However, they do understand they can't admit those feelings.

Getting past U.S. screening will be ridiculously easy because the Assad government of Syria - on the U.S. sh*t list - won't cooperate with the FBI. ISIS can confiscate authentic passports of Syrians with zero extremist history and hand them to terrorists who look something like the photo. An afternoon of coaching and rehearsal should get most of them past screening.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Buh-Bye for Bobby

National Journal reports Gov. Bobby Jindal announced on Fox News he is "suspending" his presidential campaign. "Suspending" means "ending," in case you wondered.

Herewith in Jindal's honor, a bye-ku or haiku of goodbye, a form popularized by James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal.

Governor Jindal,
A lonely advocate for

Minimal Benefit to Marginal Students

A continuing theme at COTTonLINE has been trying to spread awareness that not all college degrees are created equal. Major matters, so does the university's prestige, or lack thereof.

Writing for Bloomberg View, Megan McArdle reviews a working paper by three economists for the National Bureau of Economic Research. She quotes them as follows:
In the early 1980s, American men with at least four years of college education earned about 40 percent more on average than those whose education ended with high school. By 2005, this college wage premium rose to above 90 percent. During the same time period, the fraction of men with a four-year college degree in the working-age population all but remained constant.
As any reader who stayed awake in basic Economics remembers, a greatly increased degree wage premium should result in a greatly increased number graduating from college ... should, but hasn't. The researchers seek to understand why people aren't behaving in an economically rational fashion.  McArdle notes:
More people start college than did in 1985; it’s just that they don’t finish. So you can’t explain this by saying that people are avoiding college because of the size of the potential tuition bills.

The increasing variance, or risk, in the earnings of college graduates means that people who enroll in college are embarking on a search process in which they discover what their likely earnings are. As they realize that they’re more likely to end up in the bottom tier of college graduates, people become more likely to drop out. Others don't don’t drop out, but graduate and then end up in jobs that don’t require a college diploma.

This model implies that the gains from pushing marginal students into college are likely to be small, for both the students and for society; those students are more likely to drop out or graduate but reap little or no wage premium for their degree.
Imagine how little demand there is for graduates in Philosophy, Women's Studies, Theater Arts or Communications, how little premium their degree earns. Marginal students often end up in marginal majors after which those who persevere to graduation earn sub-par wages.

What McArdle doesn't say: often a university benefits more from enrolling marginal students than do the students being enrolled. Particularly if it helps the university meet de facto quotas of one sort or another, transparently mislabeled as recruitment "goals."

Foot-Shooting Season Opens, Bag Limit: 2

Reacting Sunday to the campus protests happening now, and recent Baltimore/Ferguson inner city riots, we wrote the following, concerning the result of the 1960s campus and inner city violence:
On the upside, they basically gutted the Democratic Party for a generation. Think of McGovern and McCarthy, not to mention the people who lost to Reagan (twice) and Bush 1.
Today Michael Barone expresses for RealClearPolitics much the same notion:
Berkeley and Watts were followed in California by the election of Gov. Ronald Reagan, riding a wave of support from a GI generation that financed its great universities and supported civil rights legislation. Nationally, Republican presidents won five of the next six elections. 
With luck, the progressives will once again shoot themselves in both feet, producing a painful condition wherein the sufferer can't decide which sore foot to favor.

Peters on Paris (and Raqqa)

I've been waiting to see Col. Ralph Peters' view of the conflict with ISIS and the attack in Paris. It appears in the New York Post, excerpts of his excellent column follow:
What can be done? The answer is easy to mouth — and unwelcome to those who conduct foreign policy by platitudes (such as “there’s no military solution”). The base line is that you can’t win by playing defense. You must take the war to the enemy — without restraint. If you’re not determined to win at any cost, you’ll lose.

War is never clean or easy, and the strictures imposed on our military today just protect our enemies. Collateral damage and civilian casualties are part of combat and always will be. The most humane approach is to pile on fast and win decisively — which results in far less suffering than the sort of protracted agony we see in Syria.

The generals who won World War II would start by leveling Raqqa, the ISIS caliphate’s capital. Civilians would die, but those remaining in Raqqa have embraced ISIS, as Germans did Hitler. The jihadis must be crushed. Start with their “Berlin.”

Kill ten thousand, save a million.

Unthinkable? Fine. We lose.
President Obama counts on the loss taking several years; more than enough time to finish his term in January, 2017, and leave with some (self-perceived, delusional) shred of dignity.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Retired Professor Muses ....

Universities have sown the progressive wind, and are now reaping the radical whirlwind. Good luck to them.

Mostly they will cravenly knuckle under, I predict. It couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of idiots savant.

Weird Catalytic Science

James Tour, winner of the 2008 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize in the Experimental category, and his collaborators, found graphene doped with nitrogen and augmented with cobalt atoms is an effective, durable catalyst for the production of hydrogen from water. So reports the Foresight Institute, hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Imagine using electric power from the solar panels on your roof to split rain water from your cistern into fuel for your car, with the aid of this catalyst. Talk about no carbon, low impact power ... this could be a game changer. It is much cheaper than the platinum catalysts now used.

Faster, please ....

Audacity and Ruthlessness

Stephen Green blogs as Vodkapundit at PJMedia. Hat tip to Ed Driscoll blogging at Instapundit for the link. Green muses about the world since the Paris attacks:
If the 21st century has a big question, it was asked on September 11, 2001. That question is: Can the West coexist with radical Islam, or in the worst case even with Islam at all?

Unlike a global hot or cold war, jihad can be done on the cheap. A few well-trained bombmakers can keep an entire generation of half-educated suicide bombers primed for mass murder. A few “migrants” with rifles and smartphones can hold hostage a great city, a City of Light, killing or wounding hundreds.

The West’s response has so far been an impossible combination of recklessness, fecklessness, and denial.

We fight like it’s 1999, like it’s a war about nothing. The jihadis fight as though they mean to conquer the world, although their reach exceeds their grasp.

We fight as though there’s no point or even any need to win, although we could. In our War About Nothing, we cripple our own intelligence, open our borders, and comfort ourselves with false hopes about the efficacy of a phony air war against a canny enemy.

We may lack the will, but we do not lack the means. God help us if we ever allow the situation to deteriorate to the point where our choices are either suicide or genocide.

After Friday’s attacks in Paris, the only two qualities we should look for in our next president are audacity and ruthlessness. All the rest is fluff and must be cast aside before our Age of Seinfeld becomes our children’s Age of Slaughter.
With his call for audacity and ruthlessness, Green concludes we have already reached the point where something very near genocide may be required. COTTonLINE believes those who seek martyrdom should normally be accommodated, for as General George S. Patton, Jr. famously said:
No dumb bastard ever won a war by going out and dying for his country. He won it by making some other dumb bastard die for his country.

Have Yourself a Bloody Little Christmas ....

Scott Johnson of Power Line quotes an unnamed "well-connected law enforcement source" on what to expect next from ISIS.
IS has aspirations to strike Western targets between now and Christmas: airports, seaports, and large, crowded venues in the Christmas commercial period preferred. The European intelligence people are trying to figure out whether these intentions are aspirational or operational at this point. IS would like to hit the US and/or the UK. The million dollar question is, do they have the capability to do it here on their Christmas timetable?
Seems like a good reason to do your holiday shopping online. It will be prudent to avoid the target-rich crowds at malls and theaters, also at holiday parades and bowl games.

ISIL Is Not Contained

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, takes issue with President Obama on the subject of ISIS, as reported by RealClearPolitics, which has video:
I have never been more concerned. I read the intelligence faithfully. ISIL is not contained. ISIL is expanding.

There's only one way we are going to diminish them and that is by taking them out, because they are growing. They are in more than a dozen countries now.
OMG, an old school Democrat with backbone, who knew any survived?
Note: ISIL = ISIS = Da'esh = Islamic State = Caliphate.

Editorial Note

I was wrong. I guessed five of the Paris attackers would be found named Mohammed. So far only one of the Paris attackers was a Mohammed. There are, apparently two more whose names aren't known, according to a CBS News story. All are, however, Arabs.

Republican Attitudes Toward Islam

Public Policy Polling is a Democratic polling outfit. They recently polled Republicans in Iowa, mostly about the GOP horserace for the nomination, but more interestingly about attitudes toward Islam among Iowa Republicans. They found:
Trump's recent comments about President Obama waging a war on Christianity don't hurt him much with the GOP base. 69% agree with the sentiment that the President has waged a war on Christianity, with only 17% disagreeing. Trump's probably not hurting himself too much with his negativity toward Muslims either- only 49% of Republicans think the religion of Islam should even be legal in the United States with 30% saying it shouldn't be and 21% not sure. Among Trump voters there is almost even division with 38% thinking Islam should be allowed and 36% that it should not.
To a Democratic pollster, Trump is the bogeyman. Hence the repeated references to The Donald above. Nevertheless, sensible Iowa Republicans know when Communism was the ideology in opposition to our civilization, we basically outlawed it, if not technically, certainly in practice. Earlier we treated fascism the same way.

Now Islam is the ideology in opposition to our civilization. Calling itself a "religion" should not give it protection a merely political movement wouldn't have. After all, Communism was a religion disguised as a political system, it had "holy" books and prophets, schisms too, and true believers in the millions.

We could begin by carefully monitoring religious pronouncements on behalf of Islam in the West. Those which go beyond prescribing moral behavior for followers to exhorting them to coerce others should be deemed sedition and punished accordingly. Such monitoring should be especially careful in our prisons where Muslim proselytizing is common.

Advocacy of criminal behavior should be viewed as conspiracy to commit crime, or some such, and prosecuted. It is akin to yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theater, similarly unprotected by the First Amendment.

It is certainly true that around the world, Islam doesn't "play nicely" with other faiths and non-believers. It is a violent presence in the Philippines, Thailand, India, Myanmar, China, France, Spain, the U.S., the U.K., Nigeria, the Sahel, the Balkans, Australia, Denmark, etc. Basic refusal to be merely one of the faiths represented in a place, to coexist peacefully is a hallmark of many branches of Islam, these branches need lopping.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Late Lament

The days are short at this time of year, and will become shorter yet before heading in the other direction. I look out the darkening window and remember song lyrics from many years ago, the Moody Blues' Late Lament:
Breathe deep the gathering gloom,
Watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people look back and lament,
Another day's useless energy spent.

Impassioned lovers wrestle as one,
Lonely man cries for love and has none.
New mother picks up and suckles her son,
Senior citizens wish they were young.

Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colors from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white.
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?
No question, the gloom gathers and the lights fade. Not sure I wish I was young, the future doesn't inspire confidence. Whatever, it was a heck of an intro to Nights in White Satin.

Terminix Time

If it wasn't clear before Paris, it should be clear now. Civilization's battle with extreme Islam is not a war in the usual sense.

Think of it as if we are homeowners and they are termites, or we are a patient and they are streptococci, or maybe we are farmers and they are locusts. The answer to all of these is identical: extermination. It is time to call in the equivalent of Terminix or Orkin, and eliminate the pests.

You don't negotiate with termites, or streptococci, you kill them, as many as you can, as fast as you can. In both cases there is collateral damage, good insects or microorganisms get killed too. That comes with the territory - do it or die, the choice is ours.

Our President needs to lead, follow, or get out of the way. He's proven he won't lead, there's nobody to follow, so getting out of the way is what remains, maybe Joe Biden can grow a pair.

Obama Does Not Wish to Defend This Country

Sen. Ted Cruz, speaking on Fox and Friends, as quoted in The Washington Post:
I recognize that Barack Obama does not wish to defend this country. He may have been tired of war, but our enemies are not tired of killing us. And they’re getting stronger.
Among other things, it's a particularly apt paraphrase of Leon Trotsky's, "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."

In an eerie parallel to Reagan's "Government isn't the solution, it's the problem," Obama believes America isn't the solution to world problems, America is the world's problem and his goal is to make it less of one.

I would expect Obama and Rand Paul mostly agree about this goal. COTTonLINE disagrees utterly.

Meanwhile, Michael Goodwin in the New York Post opines:
Paris is the final straw. Obama’s exemption from reality has expired. He must either commit to leading the free world to victory, or step aside so someone else can.

B..S. from the '60s

Politico reports Hillary Clinton's words from last night's debate:
I come from the '60s— a long time ago. There was a lot of activism on campus —- civil-rights activism, antiwar activism, women's rights activism. And I do appreciate the way young people are standing up and speaking out.
I too come from the 1960s. Like Clinton, I also remember its campus activism. It was destructive bullcrap then and, in its modern reincarnation, it is bullcrap today.

The young people "standing up and speaking out" are cultural vandals, expressing the same "I won't let you ignore me" impulse as the least talented graffiti taggers. Like '60s radicals, today's noisy children will spend the rest of their miserable lives mistakenly thinking "I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody."

Who remembers Mario Savio or Jerry Rubin? Basically only old farts like me who despised them. We still deal with the cultural vandalism they began.

On the upside, they basically gutted the Democratic Party for a generation. Think of McGovern and McCarthy, not to mention the people who lost to Reagan (twice) and Bush 1.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Pope: Paris Part of Piecemeal 3rd World War

The New York Daily News reports Pope Francis' comments on the Paris terror attacks:
Francis called the wave of terrorist violence that killed at least 127 people “a piece” of the “piecemeal Third World War" and said the bloody rampage was "not human."
No matter how hard he tries, Pope Francis cannot be wrong all the time. He inadvertantly spoke truth about Paris. Do you suppose low-level, asymmetric conflicts - Ukraine, Syria, Paris - will typify warfare in the 21st century?

Paris Postscript

Mark Steyn weighs in via SteynOnline on the European state-of-play following the Islamic attacks in Paris. This isn't snarky, funny Steyn, it is angry, bitter Steyn ... less fun, no less incisive.
If M Hollande isn't prepared to end mass Muslim immigration to France and Europe, then his "pitiless war" isn't serious. And, if they're still willing to tolerate Mutti Merkel's mad plan to reverse Germany's demographic death spiral through fast-track Islamization, then Europeans aren't serious. In the end, the decadence of Merkel, Hollande, Cameron and the rest of the fin de civilisation western leadership will cost you your world and everything you love. 
Europe fought the Mongol hordes to a standstill. What can they have been thinking, opening their borders to unassimilable Muslim hordes?

The major European cultures - our ancestral homelands - are arguably suicidal. Perhaps Paris will be a wake-up call, if it is not already too late.

Late Nite Snark

In light of the events of this evening, I imagine one ISIS jihadi turning to another and soulfully quoting Casablanca: 
"We'll always have Paris."

Friday, November 13, 2015

How Many Mohammeds?

Two days ago we posted material from Mark Steyn's column about all the violent terrorists named  Mohammed (various spellings). Anybody want to take bets on how many of the eight terrorists who died fighting in Paris earlier this evening were named Mohammed?

My money is on 5 or more. President Obama will assure us, of course, this is merely an amazing coincidence and their faith has nothing whatsoever to do with their violent behavior.

Could you say something that far-fetched with a straight face, without sniggering? I could not.

Egg on the President's Face ... Again

This morning on ABC's Good Morning America, President Obama made the following statement in response to a question from host George Stephanopoulos concerning ISIS. Breitbart has both text and video:
I don’t think they’re gaining strength. What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them.
Later in the day, gunmen with suicide vests and explosives killed more than a hundred people at several locations across Paris. Before being killed or blowing themselves up, they were heard to shout "Allahu akbar" and "this is for Syria."

Two successive headlines from the website:
#PARISBURNS: ISIS Takes To Twitter To Gloat Over Paris Attacks
Daily Caller, by Michael Bastasch

Obama On Widening ISIS Threat: ´We Have Contained Them´
Investor´s Business Daily, by Editorial
Who was responsible? The coordinated attacks suggest ISIS or al Qaeda. What they do not suggest is any effective containment of militant Islam whatsoever.

Hapless Barack Obama just can't catch a break. Fate keeps flipping him the fickle finger.

The Krauthammer Analysis

For National Review, Dr. Charles Krauthammer says the fourth GOP debate showed the field narrowing, as he sees Kasich and Paul basically disqualifying themselves, and Fiorina and Bush not making enough progress to gain ground. He writes:
Tuesday night did not radically alter the trajectory of the Republican race. But it will hasten the winnowing of the field. If you narrow the viewfinder, the debate stage shrinks from eight to six to a possible final four: Cruz, Rubio, Carson, Trump. (Chris Christie, who shone in the undercard debate, has the best outside shot at crashing this group.)
Krauthammer concludes with the telling question:
Which one of these can you actually see inhabiting the Oval Office?
I answer his question as follows: I can see Cruz and Trump, and they'd have very different presidencies. Trump's would be more interesting to watch, he might be a showboating American Putin.

A Cruz presidency might be scary good or might be frustrating, depending on whether he continues to war with Congress. Rubio is, I fear, a Republican Obama - a talented young speaker who is unprepared for the challenge. Carson is simply clueless.

CA's Bad Business Climate

One of the topics we follow at COTTonLINE is the continuously worsening business climate in the state of my birth, California. The National Review has an article which adds rich detail to the usual litany of California's overregulation, runaway litigiousness, high taxes and excessive property costs. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

The author quotes Chuck DeVore, a CA state legislator for 6 years who now works for the Texas Public Policy Foundation:
California’s job market has rebounded on the strength of Pacific Rim markets, Silicon Valley, and the creative industries. But the Golden State’s big-government-knows-best policymakers continue to export jobs from more traditional sectors of the economy. The net result is a widening rift between the elites who live within ten miles of the Pacific and the rest of the state. It’s only a matter of time before California’s high-tax, heavy-regulation policies will cause the state to once again lead the nation in job losses.
Governor Brown has evidently bet that the high tech sector can keep growing enough to carry the rest of the state. That plus a wave of affluent retirees who can afford the high cost to enjoy what most admit are the nicest weather and scenery in the continental U.S.

Brown hopes those two sectors will bring in enough wealth. Then an army of public servants will tax that wealth, and spend the taxes supporting, managing and controlling the much greater army of poor service workers, ag workers, welfare recipients, and illegal immigrants. "Hope" isn't much of a plan.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Lummis Not Running in '16

The Associated Press reports via Yahoo News that Wyoming's one and only member of the House of Representatives, Cynthia Lummis, has decided not to run for reelection in 2016 but will serve out her current term. Republican Freedom Caucus member Lummis first won the seat in 2008.

Dick Cheney's daughter Liz has indicated some interest in running for the vacant seat, as has Tim Stubson, a Caspar lawyer and state legislator.

Dems: Trump Hardest to Beat

Matt Drudge posts a link to a CBS News article reporting the results of a CBS News/New York Times poll. Much of what they relate looks at Democrats' attitudes toward Clinton and Sanders.

What COTTonLINE finds interesting is that they asked Democrats which Republican would be hardest to beat. The answer was Trump, 31% vs. Carson 15% and it went downhill from there. You have to scroll down to find this.

Let me go out on a limb a little. I think that finding means Trump is the Republican by whom some Democrats might possibly be persuaded to change parties and vote GOP.

Maybe he's got that Reagan show biz thing going for him, eh?

Coulter's Rant

Have some fun, go see Ann Coulter's salty take on the fourth GOP debate. I think it's safe to say she wasn't universally impressed with the performances on display. About Marco Rubio, who cosponsored an amnesty bill through the Senate, she writes:
He said the "problem is that today people are not successful working as hard as ever because the economy is not providing jobs that pay enough." 
To which Coulter responds:
I wonder if the dump of millions of low-wage foreign workers on our country has anything to do with that?
And she concludes:
We need to have at least one GOP debate where the only topics allowed for discussion are: immigration, trade and crime -- i.e., (1) the only domestic policies Republicans disagree on, and (2) the only policies that directly affect most people's lives.

As We Have Repeatedly Written

The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan describes the Republican Party's main conflict:
The great, enduring issue that divides the wise men, elders and big donors of the GOP (who are the natural protectors and supporters of the party’s professional politicians) and the base (which is turning to the outsiders) is illegal immigration. The base hates it. The elders and donors vary in their support—some accept it for practical reasons, some are enthusiastic, some are true open-borders ideologues—but they all support it. That taints their warnings to stick with politicians who know how things work.

The party on this huge issue is split between the top—the affluent and influential—and the bottom—the indignant, the worried and working-class.
In other words, a split between the dollars and the voters. COTTonLINE has been writing about this for some months.

Our nation doesn't need new immigration laws, we need the federal government to enforce the laws we have now. It needs to seek the help of states, counties and cities to do it. In addition, cities must experience a cutoff of federal funds when offering sanctuary to illegals.

Why They're Dying Too Young

In addition to snark (see immediately below), at which he excels, Steyn often is as on-target with political and social insights as the similarly multi-talented Ann Coulter. See his take on the declining lifespan of less-educated middle aged whites:
(Their) lives are not only shorter than their compatriots, shorter than socioeconomically similar Canadians, but shorter than pretty much anyone in the developed world other than Russian men face down in the vodka. That seems not unconnected to the dissolution of the border, and the ceaseless supply of cheap foreign labor, and the stagnation in wages, and the shriveling of the employment market to crappy low-paid service jobs about to be rendered obsolete by technology.
Steyn nails our domestic problems in half a paragraph.

Your Daily Snark

The irrepressible Mark Steyn cracking wise on his website about Rubio's oft-repeated claim that his candidacy is about the future:
Even that leaden cliché can be moving and, indeed, persuasive if it's being advanced by a septuagenarian candidate seeking to shape a world he will never see. But when, like Rubio, you look twelve years old, it's just a middle-school commencement speech.
"A middle-school commencement speech" indeed. MoDo would be proud of that line.

Fun Factoid

Rasmussen Reports has telephone polling data about the following question:
Do Americans have true freedom of speech today, or do they have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble?
They found:
71% of American Adults think political correctness is a problem in America today, while only 18% disagree. Ten percent (10%) are undecided.
People often say what they know to be PC, but act on their beliefs when it is safe to do so. See, for example, the "Bradley effect." This drives SJWs crazy.

Ocean Mess Exaggerated

Writing at Power Line, Steven Hayward posts about research that finds alarmist claims of ocean death either greatly overstated or completely false. COTTonLINE is not surprised.

The other DrC and I did a cross-Pacific cruise last year. We sailed from Los Angeles to Osaka, Japan, by way of Hawaii and Guam, with stops in Taiwan, Okinawa, and Shanghai.

Having heard about the ugly mats of indestructible plastic garbage supposedly floating on the ocean surface, I made a point of looking over the side whenever I was near the rail. Translation: several times a day for 26 days - a decent sampling of the world's biggest ocean.

In the open ocean I saw a single small piece of floating garbage exactly once in all that distance, 9000+ miles. Harbors are a different story, but not nearly as bad as you'd imagine.

McManus: Surgeon Carson Can't Cut It as President

Doyle McManus covers politics for the Los Angeles Times. We don't always agree but I see much merit in his column arguing that Dr. Ben Carson doesn't have what it takes to be President.

I don't agree, for example, with his worry that Carson thinks U.S. military forces shouldn't be "bound by the laws of war." It is clear to me that recent Presidents have too often tied the hands of our military, resulting in inferior performance and excess U.S. casualties.

I agree with McManus that Carson doesn't seem to understand how our law functions, or the difference between debt ceilings and government spending. Though McManus doesn't mention it, I am also concerned that Carson is a creationist.

An Artful Dodger

Writing at Slate, Reihan Salam describes how Marco Rubio has dodged the illegal immigration issue. It is an issue on which his former pro-amnesty positions put him at odds with most GOP voters.

Illegal immigration is also the issue on which Ted Cruz has been most able to distinguish himself from Rubio; Cruz has taken an uncompromising stance against illegal immigration. A far-from-wealthy candidate, it is unclear whether Rubio can afford to cross the party's big money backers who love all immigrants as cheap labor and avid customers.

Unfortunately, the only reason the MSM will try to pin Rubio down on the issue is because he might be the GOP's most formidable opponent to Hillary Clinton. Whatever, as long as they have a motive, it will suffice. Rubio's position on this key issue must be made clear.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Global Cooling, Anyone?

Drudge Report links to an article in The Nation reporting climate modeling research in England showing we're headed into another Little Ice Age. It is more accurately another Maunder Minimum when the sun goes quiet, and cooler.

Scroll down to see how the last Maunder Minimum was responsible for the exceptional quality of Stradivarius violins. Maybe the increased greenhouse gas will keep it from getting too cold.

Snark of the Day

Byron York, writing in The Washington Examiner, headlined his column thusly:
Kasich uses debate as opportunity to irritate voters
York doesn't pick a winner, but says Kasich is a clear loser. Apparently he made the most of his "opportunity to fail." Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

No Coincidence

The always quotable Mark Steyn, in his most recent column, cites a page from his book America Alone. See what he wrote:
Not long after September 11th I said, just as an aside, that these days whenever something goofy turns up on the news chances are it involves some fellow called Mohammed. It was a throwaway line but, if you want to compile chapter and verse, you can add to the list every week.
A plane flies into the World Trade Center? Mohammed Atta.
A sniper starts killing gas-station customers around Washington, DC? John Allen Muhammed.
A guy fatally stabs a Dutch movie director? Mohammed Bouyeri.
A gunman shoots up the El Al counter at Los Angeles airport? Hesham Mohamed Hedayet.
A terrorist slaughters dozens in Bali? Noordin Mohamed.
A British subject self-detonates in a Tel Aviv bar? Asif Mohammed Hanif.
A terrorist cell bombs the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania? Ali Mohamed.
A gang rapist preys on the women of Sydney? Mohammed Skaf.
A Canadian terror cell is arrested for plotting to bomb Ottawa and behead the Prime Minister? Mohammed Dirie, Amin Mohamed Durban and Yasim Abdi Mohamed.
And the list doesn't include Faisal Mohammed, this fall's knife-wielding freshman at University of California Merced. Quite a track record for a religion of peace, don't you think?

I wish someone would ask President Obama to explain how their name-in-common is merely a coincidence. How their shared faith has nothing whatsoever to do with their violent behavior.

Reanalysis of Middle Age Mortality Rates

Two days ago I commented on a study which found middle aged whites with little education were not living longer but were, in fact, starting to die somewhat younger due to alcoholism, drug abuse, cirrhosis and suicide. Along comes a statistician/demographer who gave the data a closer look.

Andrew Gelman posts at a site called Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science. He writes:
Let me emphasize that this is all in no way a “debunking” of the Case and Deaton paper. Their main result is the comparison to other countries, and that holds up just fine. The place where everyone is confused is about the trends among middle-aged non-Hispanic white Americans.

The published curves were biased because they did not correct for the changing age distribution within the 45-54 bin. When we make the adjustment we find something different: no longer a steady increase. And when we look at men and women separately, we find something more.

Actually what we see is an increasing mortality among women aged 52 and younger—nothing special about the 45-54 group, and nothing much consistently going on among men.
So ... it's poor, white women who are dying somewhat younger than expected (though older than men), dying from substance abuse and suicide.  And this has happened since 2005, since the recession.

A coincidence? Probably not.

Winners and Losers

Fox News' Chris Stirewalt reflects on last night's GOP debate and pronounces five winners, one loser, and two draws. His winners include Carson, Cruz, Rubio, Fiorina, and Paul. His draws are Trump and Bush. His loser is Kasich.

That's probably not far off the mark. However, I'm inclined to say if you weren't a winner, you're a loser because you got no positive momentum and several others did.

A Salute

Ninety-seven years ago today what was then known as The Great War ended with the defeat of the Central Powers: Germany and Austria-Hungary, plus Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire. Fighting ended on the eleventh month (November) and the eleventh day of 1918 at the eleventh hour when a cease-fire went into effect.

Since that time we've observed the day, first as Armistice Day and after 1954 as Veteran's Day. It's a day we are reminded freedom isn't free, for as President Thomas Jefferson wrote:
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
COTTonLINE salutes our nation's veterans, living and fallen. We owe you a debt nothing can repay.

Post-Debate Spin from Clinton Camp

The Clinton campaign counted the number of times (40+, by their count) GOP debaters mentioned Hillary Clinton in the fourth debate, Yahoo Politics reports. Needing something about which to get excited, they jumped on this Clinton obsession and the relative infrequency with which the middle class was mentioned, arguing that means Clinton owns that issue.

Sorry, guys and gals, that notion is just spin, lipstick on the pig. The real interpretation is that GOP primary voters put defeating Clinton first, above creating more and better jobs for the middle class.

In today's political environment, giving people something to vote against is crucial, it is the main motive of many voters. Clinton is only slightly less unpopular than Barack Obama, he's anathema to a majority at this point, and so is she.

Once there is a GOP nominee, be certain that person will spend plenty of time and energy talking about helping the middle class regain its footing. The issue will not be ceded to Clinton.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Debate: A First Take

A quick survey of various pundits suggests no clear winner of the overcard tonight. Paul appeared to have a good night, but I doubt his message will find many GOP buyers. Trump and Carson were, if anything, a bit weak.

Rubio caught some flack but made some good points, Cruz was on target as usual, but has likability issues. Bush had a good night but not good enough to move him up much.

Kasich was abrasive, as is his habit. Florin did herself some good, I think. I liked her notion that a Putin only respects muscle and we need to show some before talking with him.

I like what Cruz said about illegal immigrants, as quoted in The Washington Post.
He joked that party elites and the mainstream media were easy on Bush because they don’t feel the economic threat that immigrants pose to working-class Americans. If people were coming across the Rio Grande with journalism degrees, Cruz said, the American media would suddenly see immigration as a major problem.
It really does depend on whose ox is being gored, doesn't it?