Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How Not to Defend Against Piracy

You have to love articles like this one in the Wall Street Journal. Arthur Bowring, from the Hong Kong Shipowners' Association tells the world how ships should defend themselves. Of course he doesn't want the ships to actually defend themselves.
But in the meantime, shipowners and their seafarers in the Gulf of Aden will protect themselves as best they can. We do not believe that they should do this by arming themselves, or by carrying armed guards, because this could contribute to escalating violence and put the safety of seafarers in jeopardy.

A better solution is to coordinate ships' transits more closely with the naval presence in those waters, and to monitor International Maritime Bureau reports, and other reports, to avoid areas where attacks are taking place. The naval forces working to protect our ships could also improve their effectiveness through better coordination, more defined "rules of engagement" and the organization of regular convoys. Countries should also adopt and enforce legislation that criminalizes piracy at sea, in line with the relevant articles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, so that pirates may be caught by navy ships and prosecuted, not returned to the beach to pirate again.

That's right. Don't arm yourself, because being taken hostage and having your life threatened is much safer for seafarers, just like not fighting back is the safest response from a rape victim. Not that there aren't any international security firms out there that do these things professionally either.

Convoying works as we all know, but apparently there are reasons that they don't do it. Mainly because no one is willing to provide convoy protections. Bowring should have provided a list of Navies that are standing up and taking on the fiscal responsibility for convoys. Even more entertaining is his contention that they should be checking reports of where piracy is happening. Maybe he missed the point that the latest acts of piracy were far far away from where they normally hunt.

I really like the "rules of engagement" statement. It's quite simple actually. If someone starts shooting at you and trying to take your ship, you shoot at them. It is more difficult for Navies because they have an expected humanitarian behavior toward the pirates. Though India didn't seem to play that game recently. The British have stated they don't want to play because they have no way of prosecuting. As for the UN's Law of the Sea convention, it would have some use, except that it has so many hugely detrimental regulations against countries and their Navies, not to mention their sovereign rights, that it isn't worth being a party to. Of course, this wouldn't stop the piracy, it would just make it clear as to how to prosecute it.

Fixing the Effect Not the Cause

So Obama is stepping up and trying to play president before he's elected. I guess that doesn't matter much since he can't really do anything unless Bush agrees. I think the biggest issue is that most of what ChangeyHopey and the Progressives want is to again fix the after effects of the down turn into recession rather than the what has been causing it. In fact, I don't hear any discussion other than the bank bailouts that are fights against the cause.
"My commitment is to do what's required so that our financial system works and credit flows. President Bush has indicated that he has the same approach, the same attitude," Obama said.

But Obama stepped symbolically away from Bush as well, stressing repeatedly that his stimulus plan was aimed at middle-class wage earners, not just big financial institutions. It was an implicit reminder that many of Bush's economic policies have favored the wealthy.

"We cannot have a thriving Wall Street without a thriving Main Street, that in this country we rise or fall as one nation, as one people," Obama said, promising to make good on his pledge to bring tax relief to families earning less than $250,000 a year.

Obama also used Monday's news conference to lob a warning at the Big Three automakers — and indirectly their powerful union, the United Auto Workers — who have pressed Congress for $25 billion in government loans to wrest them from the brink of bankruptcy.

The problem with this stance is that it ignores that "the wealthy" includes small and medium businesses. Interesting that they are put into the same boat. Missing the point that the economy runs on business not on government handouts. Where is the reform legislation? The US has some of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. You want to keep jobs here in the US and create new ones, how about cutting businesses some slack and leaving their money in their hands.

As for the big three dinosaurs from the auto industry, I still don't see them reforming their ways. And let's not forget the UAW and other unions that are a party to the problems. I don't see any reason to bail the auto industry out. Especially since the Dems don't want to anger their major union voter base by telling them to get in touch with reality. Everyone else in business has to take pay cuts, the pilots unions and other unions for the airlines all finally came to that realization and the airlines seem to be healthier for it. Not that they are an example of a properly functioning industry. But at least they have worked through that difficulty.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Obama's Second Amendment - Eric Holder

David Kopel puts together an excellent description of Eric Holder with regards to gun control. If Obama thinks this is a convincing move to support his claim that he supports the second amendment, I think we can continue to believe him a liar, or at least a politician, which is about the same thing.
As Deputy Attorney General, Holder was a strong supporter of restrictive gun control. He advocated federal licensing of handgun owners, a three day waiting period on handgun sales, rationing handgun sales to no more than one per month, banning possession of handguns and so-called "assault weapons" (cosmetically incorrect guns) by anyone under age of 21, a gun show restriction bill that would have given the federal government the power to shut down all gun shows, national gun registration, and mandatory prison sentences for trivial offenses (e.g., giving your son an heirloom handgun for Christmas, if he were two weeks shy of his 21st birthday). He also promoted the factoid that "Every day that goes by, about 12, 13 more children in this country die from gun violence"--a statistic is true only if one counts 18-year-old gangsters who shoot each other as "children."(Sources: Holder testimony before House Judiciary Committee, Subcommitee on Crime, May 27,1999; Holder Weekly Briefing, May 20, 2000. One of the bills that Holder endorsed is detailed in my 1999 Issue Paper "Unfair and Unconstitutional.")
Read the whole thing. And you should follow the links. If this isn't indicative of a policy that is going to cause major damage to gun owner rights, I'd love to know what it is indicative of.

With this guy as Attorney General can we expect more Janet Reno type actions? Waco and Ruby Ridge seem to leap to mind. God forbid you have a license to carry. The police then will all have standing orders to use paramilitary force to serve warrants. And I'm sure with all that restraint and automatic weapons no one will die.

Wonder where he stands on all those wonderful last minute pardons? Hopefully he'll be taken through the gauntlet during the hearings irrespective of the pass that Patrick Leahy has already given him.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Leahy said that Holder "would bring the kind of leadership, temperament, experience and judgment we need to restore the rule of law and rebuild the reputation of the Department of Justice so that it is worthy of its name."
Restore the rule of law? Nice. I'm going to bet that Ruby Ridge was just fine with Leahy. And letting rich tax evaders off the hook for a nice contribution isn't an issue either.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

India's Moon Adventure

I saw this linked at Drudge. Interesting article. Especially since the Indian officials seem to think their achievement is comparable to the space technology developments performed by the USA or USSR. Get this:
Experts said it was a significant feat because India's moonshot was successful in the very first attempt — something that even major space powers like the US and Russia could not achieve. The man who launched the Indian moon mission, Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, had said, "It's undoubtedly a great moment for India because nearly 50% of the moon missions of other countries have not been successful."
Right. Lets see. India is using computers that were only a dream in 1969. Rocket technology has existed for how many years? I seem to recall that the USA and USSR had to take the primitive rocket technologies from the Gremans and make it viable.

Should we discuss the modern power technologies? How about modern aerospace material technologies?

And they go there unmanned and the USA went there manned. So how about those technologies that they didn't have to develop? Life support, heating, food storage, water usage?

Good for India. Welcome to the Moon, fifty years after those that actually did all the real work go there.

Data Integrity and Global Warming

I'm still fascinated that this happened at all. You'd think that with data base management and programming that this government agency would be capable of the most simplistic of auditioning functions. Apparently the Algorithms top cheerleader has again proven to be untrustworthy.
A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore's chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.

This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.
Their explanation is just pathetic.
A GISS spokesman lamely explained that the reason for the error in the Russian figures was that they were obtained from another body, and that GISS did not have resources to exercise proper quality control over the data it was supplied with. This is an astonishing admission: the figures published by Dr Hansen's institute are not only one of the four data sets that the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relies on to promote its case for global warming, but they are the most widely quoted, since they consistently show higher temperatures than the others.
So how much of the data they've been feeding into the debate is absolute rubbish? Who knows. And since no one really knows doesn't this make it reasonable for a demand for audit of the methods and data? If this was a business this would have been a reason for people to be investigated. I'm guessing nothing will occur.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

You Can't Make This Shit Up

Caught this at damnum absque injuria. I'm pretty much stunned. From the original article:
As he prepares to take office, President-elect Barack Obama is relying on a small team of advisers who will lead his transition operation and help choose the members of a new Obama administration. Following is part of a series of profiles of potential members of the administration.

Name: Jamie S. Gorelick

Being considered for: Attorney general, but associates now say she is not interested in being considered for the job.

Would bring to the job: A wide-ranging Washington résumé that spans corporate, legal and national security affairs. Ms. Gorelick (pronounced Guh-REH-lick) was the No. 2 official at the Justice Department in the Clinton administration, from 1994 to 1997, and if chosen would be the second woman to be named attorney general, following her former boss, Janet Reno. Ms. Gorelick would also bring corporate experience to an Obama administration at a time of financial crisis.

Gorelick for Attorney General? WTF?! This fucking imbecile who put up walls between every intelligence agency and law enforcement agency frustrating any effort to even detect the 9/11 attack, who then sat on the 9/11 commission is up to make a further distaster of the justice deparment is stunning.

Want more entertainment, here's some more of her CV:
Used to work as: Vice chairwoman at Fannie Mae, the giant mortgage lender, where she was paid a reported $25.6 million in salary and other compensation from 1998 to 2003. She went on to join the Washington law firm Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale & Dorr as a partner, where she has represented a range of clients, including Duke University in defending claims brought against it by some of its lacrosse players in a highly publicized rape investigation. She was a Democratic appointee on the 10-member commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks.
With a midas touch like that, I'm sure she won't be another Reno. No Waco's or Ruby Ridges coming.

Who ever considered this train wreck for the position should be shit canned immediately.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Smell Peanuts

Well, the nannying will begin shortly, though with a minor road-block in the senate. Let's hope the last bit of gridlock allows some sanity. I know it won't block much, but a coarse shit filter is better than none.

I have to agree, for the most part, with Jay Tea over at Wizbang:
Economy a bit on the shaky side: Check

Very unpopular Republican president blamed for the loss of his (would-be) successor: Check

Trouble with Iran brewing: Check

Energy crisis: Check

Smiling, cheerful national newcomer Democrat elected as president:<Check

Career Washington insider elected as vice-president: Check

Russians/Soviets feeling belligerent and expansionistic: Check

Man, we are so screwed...
I don't think we are screwed, but we will be in for some unpleasant times. Hopefully Obama won't make as much of a mess as Jemma did.