#COP20Lima : The seriousness of unseriousness

Via William Teach of The Pirate’s Cove, I found this article in The New York Times:

Climate Deal Would Commit Every Nation to Limiting Emissions
By Coral Davenport, December 14, 2014

Representatives applauded at the approval of an agreement reached in Lima, Peru, on Sunday to reduce the global rate of greenhouse gas emissions. (Credit Cris Bouroncle/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

LIMA, Peru — Negotiators from around the globe reached a climate change agreement early Sunday that would, for the first time in history, commit every nation to reducing its rate of greenhouse gas emissions — yet would still fall far short of what is needed to stave off the dangerous and costly early impact of global warming.The agreement reached by delegates from 196 countries establishes a framework for a climate change accord to be signed by world leaders in Paris next year. While United Nations officials had been scheduled to release the plan on Friday at noon, longstanding divisions between rich and poor countries kept them wrangling through Friday and Saturday nights to early Sunday.

The agreement requires every nation to put forward, over the next six months, a detailed domestic policy plan to limit its emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases from burning coal, gas and oil. Those plans, which would be published on a United Nations website, would form the basis of the accord to be signed next December and enacted by 2020.

That basic structure represents a breakthrough in the impasse that has plagued the United Nations’ 20 years of efforts to create a serious global warming deal. Until now, negotiations had followed a divide put in place by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which required developed countries to act but did not demand anything of developing nations, including China and India, two of the largest greenhouse gas polluters.

“This emerging agreement represents a new form of international cooperation that includes all countries,” said Jennifer Morgan, an expert on international climate negotiations with the World Resources Institute, a research organization.

More at the link. I included the photograph from the Times article to emphasize just how unserious this was; serious negotiators wear suits and ties, not jeans and wrinkled shirts at international conferences. Thomas Friedman, an Op/Ed columnist from the Times, wrote:

Continue reading ‘#COP20Lima : The seriousness of unseriousness’ »

Rule 5 Blogging: Vive la France!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Vanessa Paradis in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

The Wehrmacht rolled over the main French armies in a blitzkrieg attack in the spring of 1940, but some Frenchmen and women continued the fight in the only way available to them: an underground resistance. Here are some of the French resistance fighters.

military_woman_france_wwii_000001

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Vive la France!’ »

From Around the Blogroll

Kentucky basketball whips North Carolina to pass first test without Poythress
By Jerry Tipton | December 13, 2014

Kentucky’s Marcus Lee battled for a rebound in the first half against North Carolina. (Mark Cornelison, staff photographer, Lexington Herald-Leader)

When Karl-Anthony Towns stepped to the foul line to try to extend a 16-point lead Saturday, a Kentucky fan could be heard calling out to Roy Williams.”Hey, Roy!” he yelled at the North Carolina coach. “How about ‘dem Cats?!”

By then (4:56 left), No. 1 Kentucky was well on the way to a heady 84-70 victory over the Tar Heels and, maybe more importantly, showing that the sudden loss of Alex Poythress less than 48 hours earlier might not be problematic. It certainly wasn’t in game one of the post-Poythress portion of the season.

But even with a convincing victory over No. 21 North Carolina, UK Coach John Calipari advised the Big Blue Nation to proceed cautiously.

“I’m going to tell you, the biggest issue (remains) with us missing Alex,” Calipari said. “And it doesn’t go away. Don’t think, well, they played well without Alex.”

Somewhere, sometime, maybe against UCLA next Saturday or at Louisville the following Saturday, Kentucky will need an athletic play that can’t be scripted or taught.

“Trey doesn’t do that,” Calipari said of Trey Lyles, who started in Poythress’s place against North Carolina. “Trey’s a totally different player. Karl does some of it, but not like Alex does.”

Poythress could do that. But he’s gone after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament in practice Thursday. To compensate, Calipari said, Kentucky must become more efficient on offense and even better on defense.

“So we’re not in the position to have to have that play,” he said. “Because it’s not there anymore.”

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/12/13/3591297_live-game-blog-noon-kentucky-basketball.html?sp=/99/322/&rh=1#storylink=cpy

UK is undefeated and ranked number one in the nation, with one more currently ranked team on its schedule, the #4 University of Louisville Cardinals on December 27th.

And now, on to the blogroll!

This is what Senator Feinstein was trying to accomplish

From the Associated Press, via The Philadelphia Inquirer:

U.S. officials must be prosecuted, U.N. says
John Heilprin, Associated Press | Posted: Thursday, December 11, 2014, 1:08 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland – All senior U.S. officials and CIA agents who authorized or carried out torture like waterboarding as part of former President George W. Bush’s national security policy must be prosecuted, top U.N. officials said Wednesday.

It’s not clear, however, how human-rights officials think these prosecutions will take place, since the Justice Department has declined to prosecute and the United States is not a member of the International Criminal Court.

Zeid Raad al-Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said it’s “crystal clear” under international law that the United States, which ratified the U.N. Convention Against Torture in 1994, now has an obligation to ensure accountability.

“In all countries, if someone commits murder, they are prosecuted and jailed. If they commit rape or armed robbery, they are prosecuted and jailed. If they order, enable or commit torture – recognized as a serious international crime – they cannot simply be granted impunity because of political expediency,” he said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hopes the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques at secret overseas facilities is the “start of a process” toward prosecutions, because the “prohibition against torture is absolute,” Ban’s spokesman said.

More at the link.

The lovely Senator Feinstein is trying to get some sort of revenge against President Bush, Vice President Cheney and the people fighting the Islamists around the world. This statement by the Secretary-General increases the chances that senior Bush Administration officials might be arrested if they traveled abroad.

Of course, the proper response of any President who had any actual balls — we recognize that this excludes President Obama — should be, to any country which attempts to seize or arrest any American on these charges is that that country must release our people, immediately, or it will become a radioactive black hole in the ground.

Once the Republicans take control of the Senate in January, they should inform the Democratic Minority Leader that Senator Feinstein will no longer be allowed to serve on the Intelligence Committee, and her security clearance should be revoked.

The left and the working class

From the Op/Ed page of The New York Times:

Have Democrats Failed the White Working Class?
By Thomas B Edsall | December 9, 2014

Why don’t white working-class voters recognize where their economic interests lie? Somewhat self-righteously, Democrats keep asking themselves that question.

A better question would be: What has the Democratic Party done for these voters lately?

Not much!

At work and at home, their lives are worse than they were a generation ago. Their real incomes have fallen, their employment opportunities have diminished, their families have crumbled and their ties to society are fraying.

This is how daily life feels, to many in the white working class. Unlike blacks and Hispanics, whites are not the beneficiaries of affirmative action programs designed to open doors to higher education and better jobs for underrepresented minorities; if anything, these programs serve only to limit their horizons.

Liberal victories in the sexual and women’s rights revolutions – victories that have made the lives of many upscale Democrats more productive and satisfying — appear, from the vantage point of the white working class, to have left many women to struggle as single parents, forced to cope with both male defection from paternal responsibility and the fragmentation of a family structure that was crucial to upward mobility in the postwar period.

This bleak view emerges from two recently published works, “Labor’s Love Lost,” by Andrew Cherlin, a professor of public policy at Johns Hopkins, and “Was Moynihan Right? What Happens to the Children of Unmarried Mothers,” a research report by Sara McLanahan and Christopher Jencks, sociologists at Princeton and Harvard, respectively.

More at the link. We have previously noted that, despite what the official economic numbers might say, polls indicate that 72% of the public believe that we are still in a recession. The official, U-3 unemployment rate, the big number that draws the most attention, remained steady at 5.8% in November, but here are numbers behind the numbers that need attention. For high school graduates 25 years of age or older, with no college, the U-3 rate is 5.6%, but for those over 25 who didn’t complete high school, it is 8.5%; that’s a big number, and remember, it only counts those who are actively looking for work. The U-6 unemployment number1 is 11.4%.

In other words, when we have noted that the “white working class” has deserted the Democrats, it is because they can feel the failure of the Democrats’ policies in their wallets, and in their bones.  Despite the wholly misleading official unemployment number, there are fewer full-time jobs than before the recession began. The Obama Administration’s and the Democrats’ moves to normalize the status of illegal immigrants, opposition to which the left see as racist, simply increases the supply of non-college educated workers vis a vis the demand for such workers, and working class people — white or not — can see that.

Continue reading ‘The left and the working class’ »

  1. The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines the U-6 unemployment rate as “Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force,” and “Persons marginally attached to the labor force are those who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for work. Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule.”

We told you so! Opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline is costing some people their lives.

We have previously noted that the oil industry’s response to government delays in permitting pipelines simply led to more oil being shipped by rail:

Boom! North America’s Explosive Oil-by-Rail Problem
By Marcus Stern and Sebastian Jones, Reporting for InsideClimate News

Regulators in the United States knew they had to act fast. A train hauling 2 million gallons of crude oil from North Dakota had exploded in the Canadian town of Lac-Megantic, killing 47 people. Now they had to assure Americans a similar disaster wouldn’t happen south of the border, where the U.S. oil boom is sending highly volatile crude oil every day over aging, often defective rails in vulnerable railcars.

On the surface, the response from Washington following the July, 6, 2013 explosion seemed promising. Over the next several months, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued two emergency orders, two safety alerts and a safety advisory. It began drafting sweeping new oil train regulations to safeguard the sudden surge of oil being shipped on U.S. rails. The railroad industry heeded the call, too, agreeing to slow down trains, increase safety inspections and reroute oil trains away from populous areas.

But almost a year and a half later—and after three railcar explosions in the United States—those headline-grabbing measures have turned out to be less than they appeared. Idling oil trains are still left unattended in highly populated areas. The effort to draft new safety regulations has been bogged down in disputes between the railroads and the oil industry over who will bear the brunt of the costs. The oil industry is balking at some of the tanker upgrades, and the railroads are lobbying against further speed restrictions.

And rerouting trains away from big cities and small towns? That, too, has been of limited value, because refineries, ports and other offloading facilities tend to be in big cities.

InsideClimate News, The Weather Channel, and The Investigative Fund have monitored the regulatory response to oil train explosions this year, focusing on whether the agency that oversees the railroads—the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)—is able to ensure that the nation’s aging railroad infrastructure can safely handle its latest task: serving as a massive, rickety network of pipelines on wheels.

We found that regulators don’t have the resources to catch up with—let alone, get ahead of—the risks posed by exploding oil trains. That has left the FRA politically outgunned by the railroad industry, leaving it largely to police itself.

There is a lot more at the link. But we noted that “while rail transportation is very safe, accidents do happen, and people get killed. Pipelines can also leak or break, but they have normally not involved anyone being killed. Pipelines are generally safer, and can be made safer still, but nothing is completely risk-free.”

An obvious, if very uncomfortable, question for the vociferous opponents of the Keystone XL Pipeline project: how many lives is it really worth to stop oil pipeline construction?

 

Being wrong is never a discouragement to the left! They just double-down.

Law enforcement should automatically believe rape claims, to the point that they are seriously investigated. But what the left want is for rape claims to be automatically believed to the point at which the accused are punished, financially and societally, without regard to investigation or proof. The law must hold that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, but the left want the accused to be guilty until proven innocent . . . and even then be punished. From The Washington Post:

No matter what Jackie said, we should generally believe rape claims
Incredulity hurts victims more than it hurts wrongly-accused perps.
By Zerlina Maxwell1 | December 6, 2014

In last month’s deep and damning Rolling Stone report about sexual assault at the University of Virginia, a reporter told the story of “Jackie,” who said she was gang raped at a fraternity party and then essentially ignored by the administration. It helped dramatize what happens when the claims of victims are not taken seriously.

Now the narrative appears to be falling apart: Her rapist wasn’t in the frat that she says he was a member of; the house held no party on the night of the assault; and other details are wobbly. Many people (not least U-Va. administrators) will be tempted to see this as a reminder that officials, reporters and the general public should hear both sides of the story and collect all the evidence before coming to a conclusion in rape cases. This is what we mean in America when we say someone is “innocent until proven guilty.” After all, look what happened to the Duke lacrosse players.

In important ways, this is wrong. We should believe, as a matter of default, what an accuser says. Ultimately, the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist. Even if Jackie fabricated her account, U-Va. should have taken her word for it during the period while they endeavored to prove or disprove the accusation. This is not a legal argument about what standards we should use in the courts; it’s a moral one, about what happens outside the legal system.

The accused would have a rough period. He might be suspended from his job; friends might defriend him on Facebook. In the case of Bill Cosby, we might have to stop watching his shows, consuming his books or buying tickets to his traveling stand-up routine. But false accusations are exceedingly rare, and errors can be undone by an investigation that clears the accused, especially if it is done quickly.

More at the link.

Well, what about the Duke Lacrosse case? After more than a year, the three accused players were declared not only not guilty, but completely innocent by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, and the rogue prosecutor, Mike Nifong was disbarred. But the three accused players had their lives ruined, and were out hundreds of thousands in legal bills,2 had their educations disrupted, and know one can even know what career damage they suffered. The Duke lacrosse team coach was forced to resign, and the Athletic Director resigned two years later. I wrote about the case here, referencing an article by Jill of Feministe. If you read through the hundreds of comments, you’ll find that the majority are convinced, as Jill was, that maybe the three men who were accused didn’t rape Crystal Mangum, but that “something” must have happened there. A fine gentleman named Tony wrote:

She was raped, the DA screwed the case, the white boys had good lawyers and they got off.

End of story.

Yes, Tony is an idiot, but there are a lot of idiots out here, and I’d guess that there are still people out there who think that the Duke lacrosse players did something wrong.

And, from the limited evidence we have, I can’t say that I am impressed by the intelligence of Zerlina Maxwell, either. She is an attorney, yet she has just advocated that real harm — albeit not physical harm — come to those who are accused of rape, regardless of whether they have actually raped anyone. Why? Because “the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist.” Yet, her prescription would assign real costs to people who have done nothing wrong!

Rape is a crime which is treated very differently in this country: almost no media, including the professional media and independent blogs, The First Street Journal among them, will keep the name of a woman who has claimed to have been raped confidential.3 The reason is clear: real reputational harm has come to victims before.

An obvious, if partial, solution is to keep the names of those accused of rape confidential as well, until the legal system has had the opportunity to work through the case. The real problem with “Jackie’s” story, and the Duke lacrosse case, and the Tawana Brawley case,4 is that the left have politicized these cases, using the allegations to push for regulations and laws attempting all sorts of silly changes. Our good friend Amanda Marcotte set up the straw man:

 

Amanda Marcotte’s original post, before she scrubbed it.

No, not at all. What it does mean is that not every rape allegation is true . . . as Miss Marcotte ought to know very well from her jumping in on the Duke lacrosse case. But, rather than admit that this was yet another case of the left trying to take political advantage of a story that isn’t true, she doubled down.

It should be considered an axiom: the more the left sensationalize a case or an event, the less likely it is that the story is true. If Rolling Stone and its silly reporter had tried to be actual journalists, and checked out the story before publishing it, it would never have been published, and there would have been little harm done. Instead, people like Miss Marcotte have actually hurt the people they claim to want to help: women who really have been assaulted. Miss Maxwell claimed that an attitude of incredulity toward rape claims harms rape victims, a point with which I agree, but it is precisely the politicization of unproven claims, claims which turned out to be false, which foster incredulity.

Not that that matters, of course; the important point is to make the political case, and if some no name, male or female, happens to get hurt, well that’s progress — and progressives! — for you. After all, you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs!
_______________________________
Related Articles:

_______________________________

  1. Zerlina Maxwell is a political analyst, speaker, lawyer, and writer. She typically writes about national politics and cultural issues including domestic violence, sexual assault, and gender inequality.
  2. Each received a $20 million settlement from Duke University.
  3. However, The First Street Journal will publish the name of someone who makes a false accusation of rape, as Crystal Gail Mangum did in the Duke lacrosse case.
  4. Pushed by the despicable Al Sharpton

Heck, this could have been an ad for Bill Cassidy!

From Jazz Shaw on Hot Air:

Landrieu supporters papering town with threats of losing government benefits
Posted at 2:35 PM on December 6, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

You have to say one thing for Mary Landrieu. She told everyone that she wouldn’t be going down without a fight, and she’s living up to her word. In the closing hours of the election, Landrieu supporters have been busy bees indeed. One report coming in to Hot Air indicates that a very specific threat has been going around to anyone in several low income communities as to what will happen if they don’t get out there and vote for the incumbent Senator. The following flyer was picked up by an activist on the scene and submitted to the Black Conservative Fund.

As you can see, they are targeting a very select audience. The flyers were seen all over on the north side of Lafayette, Louisiana and were being handed out on street corners and in churches. People were pushing them into the windows of drivers and placing them on parked cars.

The language is pretty clear. If you qualify for public housing under Section 8, SNAP, WIC assistance or even Social Security (!) and Mary Landrieu is not reelected, all of these things will be taken away. And who takes credit for it on the document? A concerned citizen.

A little more at the link. But, I’d have to say, for most working people, a flyer like that would be incentive to vote against Senator Landrieu!

But Mrs Landrieu was so far behind anyway that she and her minions were throwing Hail Mary passes at every opportunity. Fortunately, none of them worked!

Rule 5 Blogging: United States Air Force

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Gisele Bundchen in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

This week: women serving in the United States Air Force. Click any photo to enlarge.

An older uniform

An older uniform

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: United States Air Force’ »

Yes, it was expected. . .

. . . but it’s still great news! From The Wall Street Journal:

Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Ousted in Louisiana Election by Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy
Landrieu’s Loss Gives Republicans 54 Senate Seats Next Year
By Reid J. Epstein | Updated Dec. 6, 2014 10:24 p.m. ET

Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu , burdened by ties to an unpopular president, lost her bid for a fourth term on Saturday to Republican Bill Cassidy.

With 97% of precincts reporting, the Associated Press projected that Mr. Cassidy, a physician and three-term House member, would win the state’s runoff election. Mr. Cassidy had 57% of the vote to 43% for Ms. Landrieu.

The outcome means that Republicans emerge from this year’s midterm elections with nine additional Senate seats and will hold a 54-46 majority when lawmakers are sworn in next year. Among its victories, the GOP swept five Democratic senators from office.

Ms. Landrieu’s defeat was widely expected after she drew only 42% in balloting in November, with several Republican rivals winning a combined 56%. The runoff was triggered because no candidate carried a majority.

Democratic groups abandoned Ms. Landrieu during the runoff campaign, leaving her without backup as Republican groups blanketed the state’s airwaves in support of Mr. Cassidy.

More at the original.

Republican candidates, as expected, also won two Louisiana runoff races for the 5th and 6th District congressional races, making the final numbers a 54 to 46 Republican advantage in the Senate, and a 247 to 188 Republican advantage in the House of Representatives.