Patterico's Pontifications

11/6/2006

Crazy, That Global Warming

Filed under: General,Real Life — Patterico @ 11:26 pm

It’s November and we’re running our air conditioner.

You Know . . . “Precedence.” Like “Que Slaw” and “Story Decides This” and . . . and All That Legal Stuff

Filed under: Buffoons,Dog Trainer,General,Judiciary — Patterico @ 9:27 pm

The L.A. Times has an editorial today titled “Don’t abort precedence.”

“Precedence”??

The editorial makes about as much sense as the headline.

(H/t Howard, who suggests that the editors may have meant “precedent.”)

Life Outdoes the Onion

Filed under: Buffoons,General,Morons,War — Patterico @ 9:09 pm

A Guardian op-ed is titled Saddam: A Tribute. (Via Allah.)

And indeed, it is (seriously) a tribute to Saddam.

But it’s so much more.

Sure, it praises Saddam’s Iraq:

Within Iraq itself, a secular state offered women opportunities unimaginable in nearby countries, and provided a standard of living far from unreasonable by the standards of the developing world.

And surmises that it might have been good for Saddam to develop the bomb:

Had he acquired nuclear weapons, this might have proved a useful check on Iran’s regional ambitions.

But it’s also a song of praise for Stalinist totalitarianism:

Living under tyranny may not be ideal, but it is not impossible. In the Soviet Union, life took on a character of its own, in which the human spirit managed to flourish in spite of the political constraints. The literature generated in those conditions can still inspire us. Today, many former Soviet citizens feel no more free under the yoke of global capitalism than they did before, and some would like to see the return of Stalinism.

as well as the Chinese variety:

The people of China seem in no rush to jettison a regime that holds out the prospect of prosperity at the expense only of liberty.

Perhaps a more accurate title would be “A Paean to Repressive Regimes.”

Except that the guy does appear to find one regime too oppressive . . . Britain’s:

Even in Britain, our supposed attachment to our supposed freedom turns out to be tenuous. We seem content to toss aside ancient liberties in the face of a dubious war on terror, and we live, cheerily enough, under a regime of surveillance that the KGB might have envied.

You can’t make this stuff up, folks. Just as truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, real pieces in the Guardian are sometimes weirder than humor pieces in the Onion.

L.A. Times Struggles Valiantly to Neutralize Good News for GOP — Part Two: Lower Fuel Prices

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:24 pm

The L.A. Times has an amusingly Michael Moore-esque story in the Business section today, designed to neutralize the boost Republicans might get over the lower prices we’re seeing at the gas pump.

How do you spin that against Republicans, you ask? By discussing the perception that it’s a conspiracy!

Today’s article is titled Lower pump prices fuel political conspiracy theories, with a deck headline reading: “Many Americans think the recent drop is tied to the Bush administration and GOP election hopes.” The lede sentence reads:

Filling the tank of his Honda Accord, Daniel Carmolinga eyed the blinking numbers on the gasoline pump with a mixture of relief and suspicion — relief that the total was significantly lower than it would have been a few months ago, but suspicion that Tuesday’s election might have something to do with it.

The article actually goes into Michael Moore territory, mentioning those dark ties between the Bushes and the Saudi oil barons:

How would they pull off a fuel-price drop? Bush’s stance on Iran and other foreign policy matters can certainly move oil markets, and so can decisions affecting the oil levels in the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And there is the Bush family’s close relationship with the royal family of Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer and the most powerful member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Don’t forget the Halliburton connection:

Skeptics also focus on the oil companies, a group that has strong ties to the White House and donates heavily to Republicans. The companies also make daily decisions that can influence markets and pump prices, including adjustments involving inventories, production, imports, exports, trading and wholesale pricing.

And the article remembers to mention the idea that cronies from Goldman Sachs are manipulating the market:

Another theory holds that nontraditional energy futures investors — those who are looking for profits rather than a barrel of oil — intentionally throttled back their activity on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The presumption is that they did so to send prices for oil and gasoline tumbling so congressional control wouldn’t shift to Democrats, some of whom favor reining in hedge funds and other speculators that have made energy markets more volatile.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which runs a widely tracked commodities index, reinforced suspicions in August by sharply cutting the gasoline portion of the index, causing the fuel’s futures prices to plunge. Bush’s Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., was chief executive at Goldman Sachs before taking his current post.

Of course. It’s so obvious. How did we not see it befo’?

What are the real reasons behind the falling prices? A USA Today story — that’s right; USA Today is focusing on facts while the L.A. Times focuses on conspiracies! — had the following explanations for lower gas prices:

•The end of summer. Driving slows, reducing demand for gasoline. And federal requirements for clean air, summer-blend gasoline end next month, making gasoline cheaper to refine and import.

•Sluggish demand. Gasoline use in the first eight months of the year is up 1% vs. a year ago, less than the 1.5% to 2% growth that’s typical, says Michael Morris, analyst at the U.S. Energy Information Administration. “Wholesalers are trying to get rid of product. The growth in demand for gasoline has really tapered off,” he says.

Wholesale prices are falling faster than retail gasoline prices, meaning stations are making more money than when prices were $3. Wholesale prices Tuesday ranged from $1.77 to $1.79 a gallon, well below the $2-plus prices typical until recently.

•Petroleum traders, worried that prices are too high to last [or carrying out an evil plot to help cronies in the Bush Administration! — Patterico], are selling their holdings. That pushes prices down. They also believe hurricanes won’t disrupt Gulf of Mexico production, OPIS senior analyst Tom Kloza says.

Crude oil, which accounts for roughly half the price of gasoline, ended New York trading Tuesday down 90 cents, at $69.71 a barrel. That’s the first time it’s closed at less than $70 since May 4.

BO-RING!! Why rely on the facts when you can float conspiracy theories?

The only time the L.A. Times story hints at these factual, non-conspiratiorial explanations is when it quotes defensive-sounding statements from people like Dick “Halliburton” Cheney. Meanwhile, the “experts” in the story recommend suspicion — and lots of it.

When you and I want to help the Republican party, we volunteer to make phone calls to get out the vote. When L.A. Times editors want to help the Democrats, they just run stories like these.

It must be nice to have that kind of power. I wonder how long they’ll keep it.

P.S. Another attempt by the paper to sour the public on good news for the GOP is discussed immediately below.

L.A. Times Struggles Valiantly to Neutralize Good News for GOP — Part One: The Saddam Verdict

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Politics — Patterico @ 7:04 pm

On this last day before the election, the L.A. Times is hard at work trying to put a negative spin on any news that might be positive for Republicans.

For example, the paper’s front page today portrays the Saddam Hussein verdict as bad news for Iraq.

The article omits any historical perspective of the verdict’s importance. Saddam is one of the few genocidal mass murderers that the world has brought to justice in the last 100 years. Does the paper discuss that angle?

No.

Rather, the article focuses on the alleged shortcomings of the trial — and one the possible sectarian strife caused by differing views of the verdict, as shown by the article’s lede:

The trial of Saddam Hussein that ended Sunday with a guilty verdict and death sentence for the former Iraqi leader, once viewed as a means of reconciliation and justice, instead seemed to fuel the sectarian division that grips the country.

It’s hard to imagine that Saddam’s verdict is going to have much effect on sectarian division in Iraq. Have they been holding back until now? The big picture is that a genocidal dictator has been brought to justice, in one of the few times in recent history.

When Mussolini died, did the L.A. Times worry first and foremost about whether the trains would still run on time in Italy?

Next: Part Two — the editors put a negative spin on lower fuel prices.

WaPo Piece on Soldiers’ View of A Pullout from Iraq

Filed under: General,War — Patterico @ 7:49 am

Via Instapundit comes an interesting article in the Washington Post that quotes soldiers in Iraq as saying that it would be a disaster to pull out now. Sample quote:

“Take us out of that vacuum — and it’s on the edge now — and boom, it would become a free-for-all,” said Lt. Col. Mark Suich, who commands the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment just south of Baghdad. “It would be a raw contention for power. That would be the bloodiest piece of this war.”

This is not an isolated view among the soldiers:

The one thing the war is not, however, is finished, dozens of soldiers across the country said in interviews. And leaving Iraq now would have devastating consequences, they said.

Two points about the article got my attention. The first is that it creates an interesting counterpoint to the opinions of the soldier I discussed in this post, who told me he believes we are sitting ducks in Baghdad, and we should establish a couple of strong bases in Iraq and get out of the business of patrolling Baghdad. It just goes to show you that, like Americans here, the guys on the ground have different opinions about what we should do.

The second is this: can you imagine a piece like this running in the L.A. Times or the New York Times? Of course you can’t.

We’re constantly told that op-ed pages have a wall of separation from newspapers’ news sections. If you believe that, then it’s an odd coincidence that the Washington Post is the only paper of those three to have editorialized in favor of the war.

Also, it takes a rare paper that is actually willing to dig up and report the truth, whether it favors the Administration or not. Most of these newspapers show little interest in, say, documents that might support the Bush Administration position on issues like WMD or Iraq ties to Al Qaeda. Their feeling seems to be: supporting the Administration is not our job.

But your job is reporting the truth, newspaper editors — whether it favors the Administration or not. It’s nice to see a paper actually take that tenet seriously.


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