Idiots from Hell

Global Warming Skeptics Insist Humans Not at Fault

   

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 4, 2008; Page A16

When Christopher Monckton, who served as a special adviser to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, ponders the current political push to curb greenhouse gases linked to climate change, he thinks of King Canute.

According to Monckton, Canute — the Viking who ruled England along with much of Scandinavia nearly a thousand years ago — took his courtiers to the ocean’s edge one day, set down his throne and ordered the tide not to come in. The tide, of course, came in, and the king got his feet wet.

The lesson? The king taught his advisers “humility,” Monckton said, by showing them that even he, a king, could not control nature. In the same way, he argued, modern-day politicians should not fool themselves into thinking that humanity is having a big impact on climate.

Monckton, along with other high-profile global warming skeptics such as University of Virginia professor emeritus S. Fred Singer and Virginia state climatologist Patrick J. Michaels, are gathered in New York this week for a conference aimed at challenging the idea that a scientific consensus exists on climate change. Sponsored by the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank funded by energy and health-care corporations as well as conservative foundations and individuals, the 2 1/2 -day session poses a stark contrast to the near-unanimous chorus of concern expressed by top U.S. politicians and most of the scientific mainstream.

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Criminal Justice

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. (Thomas Jefferson)

“Psychiatric hospital beds are not profitable. In Virginia it costs $500 — an average of $500 a night to operate a psychiatric hospital bed. It costs $89 to have someone in jail. So it’s much simpler just to shuffle the mentally ill, close down the hospitals and move them into jails and prisons. That’s what we’ve done.

There are 300,000 people in this country with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression who are in our jails and prisons; 500,000 are on probation every year; 700,000 go through the court system. The largest public mental facility in the United States today is not a hospital, it’s the L.A. County Jail. That’s our system today.” (Pete Earley)


New Generation of Homeless Veterans

The Associated Press

Peter Mohan traces the path from the Iraqi battlefield to this lifeless conference room, where he sits in a kilt and a Camp Kill Yourself T-shirt and calmly describes how he became a sad cliche: a homeless veteran.

There was a happy homecoming, but then an accident car crash, broken collarbone. And then a move east, close to his wife’s new job but away from his best friends.

And then self-destruction: He would gun his motorcycle to 100 mph and try to stand on the seat. He would wait for his wife to leave in the morning, draw the blinds and open up whatever bottle of booze was closest.

He would pull out his gun, a .45-caliber, semiautomatic pistol. He would lovingly clean it, or just look at it and put it away. Sometimes place it in his mouth.

“I don’t know what to do anymore,” his wife, Anna, told him one day. “You can’t be here anymore.”

US Media Ignore Al Qaeda Torture Manual

I propose that sensible moderates everywhere do whatever they can to shatter the echo chambers on both left and right:

lgf: US Media Ignore Al Qaeda Torture Manual

This kind of groupthink is inexcusable. I watched a normally sensible guy interviewing Charles Krauthammer the other day. Krauthammer was arguing, rightly, that the recent turnabout in Anbar was huge. The interviewer said, without so much as a thought, OK, maybe it is a slight improvement — or words to that effect.

I wanted to reach through the TV screen and repeatedly slam the guy’s head into his desk. Meanwhile, subgenius politicians continue to drone on about our failure in Iraq.

Try to keep up, kids. Iraq and the Middle East have never known democracy as we do. It took centuries for us to evolve our practices. Trying to shake-n-bake a modern state in the region is just going to take more time than MTV might have you believe.

Heart of Darkness

In case anyone had any lingering doubts about the evil embodied in the Iranian regime…

Pictures from an Execution
By Philip Kennicott

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 20, 2006; Page C01

Not since they confronted snapshots of a slightly built young man named Matthew Shepard and the fence where he was left for dead in 1998 by two drug-addled no-hopers in Laramie, Wyo., have gay people been so agitated by a set of photographic images. Protesters brought black-and-white reproductions of the pictures — which show the public execution last year of two teenage boys in Iran — to a rally in Dupont Circle yesterday afternoon. The images were also used in other protests, at least 26 in countries around the world, according to bloggers involved in organizing them, and the images are displayed in the windows of Lambda Rising bookstore, near Dupont Circle.

The pictures show a dismally sad drama: Two young men, identified by the Associated Press as aged 16 and 18, are seen shackled in a prison van, sobbing; one of them is then seen being led to a scaffold; other shots show the boys together with dark-hooded men placing nooses around the boys’ necks; and two final images show their bodies hanging from ropes, in a large public square, as a crowd watches from a distance.

 

ph2006071902244.jpgWhat real martyrs look like in Iran.

 

Iraq: My Brain

I was watching a local cable program the other day. An author was in town, reading from his new book. He was bright, funny, amiable — the sort of guy many might enjoy having over for a beer.

His works were all political in one way or another, he said, adding that what Americans fear is the cost of health care, not terrorists. “I mean, come on,” he said.

His entire argument consisted of that one ad hominem.

The next day the news broke about the FBI arresting a nest of bad guys in Florida, who appear to have been planning on blowing up the Sears Tower.

Coincidentally, the men in custody are poor, dark and disenfranchised — akin to their foreign counterparts, they appear to be buffoons in search of explosives.

That got me thinking. About how much I love Bruce Springsteen, George Clooney, PBS, the BBC and all my friends who oppose the war. And how much I don’t want them running the Pentagon. But how their hearts are ultimately in the right place.

Then I got to thinking about the differences in temper between those on the right and those on the left. And how those differences often seem to come down to the division between the hard-headed and the soft-hearted, as explicated by William James in his Varieties of Religious Experience, specifically Lectures XIV and XV, where he writes about the value of saintliness:

We must frankly confess, then, using our empirical common sense and ordinary practical prejudices, that in the world that actually is, the virtues of sympathy, charity, and non-resistance may be, and often have been, manifested in excess.

The powers of darkness have systematically taken advantage of them. The whole modern scientific organization of charity is a consequence of the failure of simply giving alms. The whole history of constitutional government is a commentary on the excellence of resisting evil, and when one cheek is smitten, of smiting back and not turning the other cheek also.

You will agree to this in general, for in spite of the Gospel, in spite of Quakerism, in spite of Tolstoi, you believe in fighting fire with fire, in shooting down usurpers, locking up thieves, and freezing out vagabonds and swindlers.

And yet you are sure, as I am sure, that were the world confined to these hard-headed, hard-hearted, and hard-fisted methods exclusively, were there no one prompt to help a brother first, and find out afterwards whether he were worthy; no one willing to drown his private wrongs in pity for the wronger’s person; no one ready to be duped many a time rather than live always on suspicion; no one glad to treat individuals passionately and impulsively rather than by general rules of prudence; the world would be an infinitely worse place than it is now to live in. The tender grace, not of a day that is dead, but of a day yet to be born somehow, with the golden rule grown natural, would be cut out from the perspective of our imaginations.

The saints, existing in this way, may, with their extravagances of human tenderness, be prophetic. Nay, innumerable times they have proved themselves prophetic. Treating those whom they met, in spite of the past, in spite of all appearances, as worthy, they have stimulated them to BE worthy, miraculously transformed them by their radiant example and by the challenge of their expectation.

[…]

World of light from which all brightness shines
You have that world’s illuminating eyes.

These sad eyes in which you always dance
These eyes are agitated eyes.

sufi-mystic.net/index4.htm

O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sorrow, joy.

Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not
so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.